The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present:
THE AUTO BODY ESTIMATE: Vol. II, #37, April, 1999

My neighbor Gerry is a problem solver. For example, I've watched admiringly as he's done all sorts of fearless modifications to his Volkswagen van: from customizing the fridge door with a hack saw, to swapping engines and transmissions, and even disposing of an old van carcass by cutting it up with a SawsAll and sneaking one garbage can-sized piece into the trash each week until it went away. Like most of us, Gerry grew tired of receiving phone sales calls. Gerry, however, has solved the problem. Now when you call his house, you hear the following recording: "You have reached a number that does not accept solicitations. If you are a solicitor, please add this number to your "Do Not Call" list and hang up now. Otherwise please press 1 or stay on the line." I think this technology should be expanded to filter out more than just solicitors: "You have reached a number that does not appreciate criticism from in-laws. If you are an in-law with criticism, please step into your kitchen, place the old kitchen sponge against your nose and mouth, and take a deep breath." - or - "You have reached a number that does not participate in surveys. If you are conducting a survey, please begin an additional survey in which subjects are asked if they find surveys intrusive and pointless and mark my response as 'yes'. Then ask yourself if you couldn't be making more money in phone solicitations." I also think you should be able to program your own messages in, but still have them read by the computer voice lady: "You've reached a number that doesn't want to hear any excuses from bass players about why they're going to be late to practice again, even if a squirrel DID chew through the power cord to their clock radio."

I wonder if Gerry was alerted to this technology by a phone solicitor. What if they have a better product next year? Furthermore, if you'd paid Gerry for the time he used to spend hanging up on phone solicitors, would this have cost more or less than the price of this new system? Ultimately, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before those pesky phone solicitors find a way around this. We've seen this kind of thing before. First there was Caller ID, which let you know the phone number of incoming calls. Then there was the ability to block Caller ID, so even those who had Caller ID couldn't tell what number you were calling from. Next there was a way to filter out those callers who were blocking caller ID. Now, for yet ANOTHER additional fee, you can override the filter that blocks incoming calls which have the override for caller ID. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as the principal shareholder in a major phone company, but ONLY if there isn't such a thing as Karma (provided technology hasn't devised a way to override Karma).

Speaking of Kars, money making schemes, and intrusive advertising, we've reached the part of this missive where I attempt to entice you to attend the next performance of The Auto Body Experience. On tax day, Thursday,April 15th, we'll be at the Cabooze. First up is an acoustic set from Tea & Sympathy, then The Auto Body Experience, followed by Florence Welk. We'll start sometime around 10:30. Questions? Comments? Give us a holler.

-Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh-Bah, Knights Of The Auto Order

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