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March 12: On This Day In History

Ghandi begins a 200-mile march to the sea. President Roosevelt gives his first fireside chat. "Mrs. Robinson" wins a Grammy. In Bombay, a bomb goes off and kills 317 people.

The phone rings and when I answer it no one is there. "Not in time? Try star-six-nine!" But the party at the other end apparently does not exist, or is veiled, or is too inconsequential to merit a second look inasmuch as star-six-nine cannot give me the number. I wonder why there was no answer in the first place. Perhaps it took everything the other party had just to dial the number?

I consider growing a beard and a moustache.

For no reason that I can think of, I remember a picnic I had with my father in the mountains above Tucson when illegal immigrants slowly emerged from the trees bordering the parking lot. They looked -- and in fact were -- desperate.

A weird email arrives from my brother. I speculate on its meaning, but then move on without drawing any conclusions.

On an unrelated matter, I experience a brief moment of satisfaction. Somewhat later, I notice the book I am currently reading sitting on my desk.

Through carelessness on my part, coffee grounds end up floating in my cup, but I see that perhaps by way of that same carelessness I have also overfilled the cup. I use a teaspoon to simultaneously skim away the unwanted grounds and remove the excess coffee.


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The no-one-is-there phenom is mostly and indication of a call center's autodialler. The next telemarketer or whatever then says hello to you when your connection is dropped to a worker.

I handg up on them routinely.

And *69 can't call them back.

Let's say there's a pollster sitting somewhere in a cube farm. He needs to make a call to ask John Q. Sample about his feelings on this year's New And Improved Democrat brand politicians. In order to optimize the human pollster's time, the computer that does his calling grabs a bunch of phone numbers it thinks belongs to various John Q. Samples and calls them all simultaneously. The first John Q. Sample to answer gets routed to the human. The other calls will then be dropped. Most of the time nobody answers the other calls, but if one of them is to you and you answer just after John Q. Sample #1, you get an empty telephone. Irritating as hell, IMHO.

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