Archive | January, 2010


27 Jan

January 27, 2010

In my last blog, I went on and on about the FOUR- yes, freakin’ FOUR- phone books that arrived at my house. Well today I got a fifth. Who in the world needs FIVE phone books? This one was the Ambassador Yellow Pages, and it may actually have been the real yellow pages since A- it was all spelled out in two words, not an easily trademarked one (yellowpages) and B- it had that old “let your fingers do the walking” logo. So I did.

I picked it up in my fingers and walked it straight out to the recycling bin.

Does anyone even look in that book anymore? And who would look in four yellow pages? They all have the same information! At least the cosmos had the right sense to send me only one white pages, but why why oh why did I get four competing yellow pages? How can anyone make any money from that? How can I make money from that?

I wanted to complain and ironically I could not find the telephone book’s telephone number.

UPDATE here!

The Phone Book Again? Really?

24 Jan

January 24, 2010

Last week’s snow storm dumped 48 inches of phone book right in the lobby of my apartment building. That’s right, in the middle of the snowstorm, when even the mail carriers took the day off to polish their shotguns, the phone books got through.

And nobody cared.

Why should they? For most of the history of the phone book it has been totally useless. When Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone, he was the only name in the phone book. Back then, the book was a mere 19 pages, 18 ½ of them ads for lawyers and sexual dysfunction pills. As soon as a second phone was sold, he promptly had his number unlisted.

As phones spread to rural areas, so did the phone book. (Phone books follow the phones like hookers follow sailors. And herpes. But I digress.) Farmers, though, had no use for the phone book as every single call had to go through an operator who would dial the number for you, then listen in on your call.

FARMER JOE: Hello, Sam?
SAM: Joe? Is that you?
FARMER JOE: Yep. Has you seen my boy Lucas?
SAM: Not since last week’s plowing. Anything wrong?
FARMER JOE: Tarnation, he’s been messing around with that Josie Smith girl. Claims he got her with child.
OPERATOR: Oh no he di’n’t! Shut yo’ mouth!

In the 1970’s phone books in New York City were the size of the Federal Deficit and required Charles Atlas to carry around on his back. They were no fewer than 3,000 pages long and were good for standing on to reach high shelves or to smash bugs with. You couldn’t actually look up any phone numbers because the paper was so thin the pages shredded as soon as you tried to turn them. On the plus side it was easy to line hamster cages, but on the minus side made the book fairly useless. To make matters worse, we got two phone books- a white one for residential listings and a yellow one for ads, er, I mean commercial listings.

Today’s phone book is a lot thinner, mainly because whoever is smart enough to own a phone is also smart enough to know how to unlist it. Who actually has his home number in the phone book? Who wants to be contacted? Are they so lonely that they are begging people to find them? In the classic film Rat Pfink A Boo Boo (I am totally not making that one up, Google it.) the heroine CB Beaumont is terrorized by three thugs named Link, Hammer, and Benjie simply because they picked her number at random out of a phone book. (Unfortunately for them, she is also the girlfriend of Batman rip-off, Rat Pfink. I’m telling you, look this up.) I am not going to take any chances on being terrorized by thugs, mainly because I am not dating a superhero.

BTW- Rat Pfink A Boo Boo also stars “Romeo Barrymore” and Kogar the Swinging Ape. Seriously, stop reading this and check out that film.

Anyway, on this particular day that I started writing about and then totally ignored, the phone books arrived, all four of them.

Four? Yes, four. Four different phone books, all really the same.

The first one is The Yellowbook, which I think is the new name of the old Yellow Pages. “Yellow Pages” apparently could not be trademarked. (Copywrited? Whatever.) More on this later. It is about 650 pages for all the businesses in Brooklyn and comes with a big magnet glued to the front for a law company fronted by a washed up actor. Which law company? Take your pick. They are all fronted by washed up actors.

The next is the Superyellowpages, all one word, by Verizon (their motto- We Don’t Care Too Much.) See what I mean about not being able to trademark Yellow Pages? This book has its title all in one convenient word. It just trips off your tongue, say it with me, slowly, SSUuuperrrrRRYELLlllloooowpaaaaaagessssssss. Ahh! Anyway, I’m not so sure what’s so super about it because A- it has the same ads as the Yellowbook, and B- is an inch shorter, making it that much less effective for smashing bugs.

The third book was even smaller, a slim 450 pages. Also by Verizon, it was the local book for my specific neighborhood. This one combines the residential and commercial listings into one useless book. Why is it useless? Because I, like most people in the city, drive, and like to frequent businesses more than five blocks away. Also, being so thin, you can never reach the top shelf by standing on it no matter how good you are at tippy toes.

Lastly and most uselessly, is the Verizon White Pages. Although it is easily the thickest of the bunch, over a thousand pages, there is nobody in it. You have a cell phone- are you in it? No. I have a cell phone- am I in it? No. People with cell phones, which are almost everyone, don’t get into the phone book. And Verizon should know this; they are one of the largest cell phone providers, despite being inept and full of a-holes. (Yes, I carry a grudge.)

And why pick up the phone book anyway? If I want a number, and the phone is in my hand, I call 411 and the operator (HA! HA! There are no more operators, they are all computers!) connects me. Or I can find a number online. Or better yet I find the website online, or just use Twitter which doesn’t require a phone at all.

This is why, one week after they were dumped in my lobby, 99% of them were dumped outside with the trash.

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