August 20, 1999
The Telecommunications Deregulation Act of a few years ago has brought many advantages with it, including reduced rates, a plethora of 10-10 numbers that will not only save you money but also give your phone number to companies you never heard of, and finally it’s broken up the main telephone monopoly and made it into an oligopoly that’s capable of fixing rates, driving small companies out of business, and giving telemarketing agencies free access to unlisted residential numbers. Back in the old days when there was only one phone company, you had two choices: you could deal with them, or you could get a couple of coffee cans and some string.
Nowadays you don’t even have to deal with one of the major companies. There’s a new beast out there called the prepaid phone service. You may have seen the commercials for these. The deal is you pay in advance for a specific amount of local and long distance time, and you pay an extra charge for anything over that time. If you’ve seen the commercials, then you may have noticed the fine print that says, "911 Service costs extra." (For those of you who live outside the United States, 911 is the number to dial in the event of an emergency.) Boy, I can’t tell you what a relief that is. I’ve never had an emergency that required me to call 911, but I’m a very nervous person so I’m always worried that I might have to. But what if I forget the number? What if they put me on hold? What if I get a message telling me to choose an extension and I’m calling from a rotary phone? What if it’s like ordering a pizza and they’ve never heard of my street? What if an ambulance comes for me and I don’t have any money to give the driver a tip? In an emergency, not having 911 will give me a lot less to worry about and I can focus on more important things, like finding a neighbor who will dial it for me.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
A THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Too often, we lose sight of life’s simple pleasures………
Remember, when someone annoys you, It takes 42 muscles in your Face to frown BUT, it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm and SMACK the asshole upside the head.
Q. What happens if you run out of gas while you’re flying?
A. Personally, we make it a point to take vitamins and get lots of rest before we fly so that fatigue is not a factor. There’s nothing more dangerous than a tired pilot. Next question.
Q. Why do airplanes climb so steeply after takeoff?
A. For statistical reasons. Since the vast majority of accidents occur on or near an airport, the pilot wants to get away from there as quickly as possible.
Q. How do you keep from getting sick while doing loops and spins and stuff like that?
A. It’s a discipline we developed when our instructor once said, "I wanted to throw up, but I wasn’t sure which way it was!"
Q. What causes turbulence?
A. We’re not absolutely sure, but studies indicate that it’s either tea or coffee. All we know is that every time we pour a cup, the ride gets bumpy.
Q. Why do some pilots insist on flying when the weather is bad and they can’t see where they’re going?
A. Because they don’t want to cancel motel reservations at their destination.
Q. What happens when your landing gear won’t go down?
A. Your insurance goes up.
Q. Have you ever had an accident in an airplane?
A. Yes. I once ruined a pair of trousers while landing in a 35-knot crosswind.
Q. Is it true that the FAA can suspend your license at any time, for no good reason?
A. The rumor is a gross exaggeration; they only work weekdays, 9 to 5.
Q. Is it expensive to learn how to fly?
A. Not really. It only costs about $1,000 . . . oh, you mean with an airplane and an instructor?
Q. What is the one basic thing that keeps an airplane in the air?
Q. How much does an airplane cost to own?
A. About three times as much as you have!
Q. But, hasn’t the recent enactment of tort reform and product-liability limits made an impact on the cost of airplanes?
A. It certainly has. They used to only cost twice as much as you had!