Archive for the ‘Telephone Humor’ Category

Technology Saves The Day? (Limerick)

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

So what should a pragmatist do,
Who’s reluctant to stand in a queue
When the new iPhone 6
Is on sale? Easy fix:
Send a robot to buy one for you.

(Inspired by this news item about a woman who sent a “telepresence robot” to wait on a Sidney, Australia Apple store line and buy her an iPhone 6s.)

The Almost Naked Truth

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

I love this headline: “Mother, 29, who ran through hotel naked ‘after her friend stole her pants’ is slapped with an obscenity charge.”

Not only did it make me laugh, but it reminded me of my own personal experience, memorialized in this humor column I wrote way back in the Twentieth Century:

A Traveler’s Net Woes
By Madeleine Begun Kane

If your husband ever invites you to join him on a business trip, be sure to ask him these questions:
1. Will you ever get to see him while he is not — technically — asleep?
2. What will he do, if you accidentally lock yourself out of your hotel room in the middle of the night while you are not — technically — dressed?

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to ask these questions when my husband Mark invited me to join him for a six-week Boston business trip. So I had to learn the answers the hard way:
1. No.
2. He will remain — technically — asleep.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back when my husband urged me to accompany him, all I could focus on was:
1. Whether I could pack my cappuccino machine;
2. Whether I’d get any writing done so far from home; and
3. Whether we’d have reliable net access in our room.

Okay, I admit it: I’m a little — okay a lot — hooked on cappuccino and the on-line life. And I never — ever — go to sleep without reading my email and surfing the web.

Anyway, Mark managed to convince me that working out of a hotel room in a strange city would inspire new, creative ideas. He also swore that Boston is a modern city with lots of cappuccino and Internet connections. So I reluctantly accompanied him, after packing enough gear for a year.

We checked in late that first night, and the accommodations (paid for by Mark’s client) were luxurious. But I gave no thought to our lovely hotel, the sites and sounds of Boston, or the excitement of living in a new city. While Mark unpacked, requested a wake-up call, and ooohed and aaahed at the view, I foraged for a modem connection. Only one view mattered to me — the blank one on my laptop screen.

Finally, I had the computer set up. I began to relax, happy in the knowledge that any minute I’d … What’s this? An error message? What did they mean “no dial tone”?

It must be some mistake, I told myself, as I tried to sign on again and again and again. After a dozen failed attempts I was even reduced to violating my “don’t crawl on a strange rug” rule. Struggling to reach the wall behind the desk and bed, I squeezed my arm into places it didn’t belong, pulling and pushing and tugging at anything that looked important. And trying to spot a loose connection … aside from the one in my brain.

Now a normal person would probably have given up and gone to bed after 10 or 20 or 30 failed attempts to sign on-line. (By this time, Mark had been asleep nearly an hour.) But the more disconnects I got, the more determined I was to access my net account. Am I stubborn? Yes. Plus I really needed my pre-sleep fix.

So I persisted, all the while cursing out computers, the hotel, my husband’s client, and my husband, who apparently enjoys having his bed shoved across the room while he’s sound asleep.

Then it hit me — the kind of revelation one only gets way past midnight. I’d simply phone the concierge, and he’d do some concierge type thing and get it fixed. So I picked up the phone and — you guessed it — it was as dead as my modem.

You moron, I castigated myself, as I tried to guess whether I was being personally singled out for email deprivation.

Just then, I heard a sound in the hall. Eager to find out if anyone else had phone service, and forgetting that my attire (or lack thereof) would get me arrested in many countries, I rushed out the door, wedging it open with a shoe. Luckily (I thought) the sounds were coming from the next room, whose door was ajar.

“Do you have phone service?” I asked a female guest, who was still gripping her luggage.

She didn’t answer. Instead she stared at me blankly, no doubt wondering why some barefoot, barely clad crazy woman was standing in her doorway at 3 a.m.

“Do you have phone service?” I repeated.

“No speak English,” she said, as she put down her suitcase and looked around the room, possibly for a weapon. Now desperate, I attempted to mime talking on the phone. But she apparently didn’t speak mime either.

At this point, I’m afraid I did something that can only be characterized as insane; I strode into the room, walked right past her to the far end, and picked up her phone. It was dead. This was good news, because you need a phone to get someone arrested for trespass.

I put the receiver down and belatedly began to apologize. But the woman ignored me — she was embroiled in some incomprehensible dialogue with a man (her husband?) who had apparently been in the bathroom when I invaded their room. Were they plotting my demise?

I crossed the room as quickly as I could and darted past them, hoping they wouldn’t try to stop me. And that they understood the meaning of the word “sorry.”

Finally I made it out of there, and they slammed the door behind me. Relieved, I turned toward my room and, after tripping over my failed-wedge shoe, I discovered another shut door — my own.

Ten minutes of door pounding later I was still stranded in the hall, and Mark (who can sleep through anything) was still sound asleep.

By now I was more or less resigned to going to bed without reading my e-mail. But no way was I sleeping in the hall.

I probably would have continued my futile pounding, but adding the crime of “destroying the peace” to trespass didn’t seem wise. And getting thrown out of the hotel probably wouldn’t help Mark’s consultant/client relations.

But what else could I do? I couldn’t very well take the elevator downstairs and beg the concierge for a key while I was dressed like this, could I?

Apparently, I could. I started down the hallway, moving as quickly as I could manage, and fervently hoping I wouldn’t meet anyone en route. Fortunately, every reasonably sane person was asleep by then. So the halls and elevator were empty, and I even made it down eight floors to the lobby nonstop. I was so relieved, I didn’t even mind the strange looks I got from the couple getting on as I got off. Or the amused grin from the concierge when I told him I needed help.

“Phone problems?” he asked, looking me up and down.

“For starters,” I answered.

“Sorry, everything’s down at least until late morning. Anything else I can do for you?”

“Yes, I locked myself out of my room. Could you…?”

“Yes, I can see you did. Hold on and I’ll get my keys.”

“This is very embarrassing.”

He took another look and grinned again. “No problem. I’ve seen a lot worse.”

Throughout the elevator ride up and the walk to my room he regaled me with tales of locked-out guests stranded in garb that made me appear ready for a full dress ball. Then he placed his key in the door and said, “Do you have any ID?”

“What?” I said, beginning to panic. “Where would I…?”

“Just kidding,” he said as he unlocked the door.

Safely back in my room, I found Mark sound asleep. Exhausted and angry, I stared at him, willing him awake. I could have been kidnapped from the room in the middle of the night, and he would never have known. I could have …

Suddenly, Mark sat up. “What is it?” he said.

“Didn’t you notice I was gone?”

“What are you talking about? One sec. I have to go to the bathroom.”

“What were you saying?” Mark said as he climbed back into bed.

“Never mind. But you should set your alarm. The phones are broken, and you probably won’t get that wake-up call.”

“Thanks,” he said as he fiddled with the clock and lay back down to sleep. “What did you do to their phones?” he added just before he began to snore.

Wexting? How Pedestrian! (Limerick)

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Wexting? How Pedestrian! (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A habit that many find vexing
Is called “wexting.” I think it’s perplexing
To text while you walk.
If you wext, then I’ll balk
At sharing a path you’re annexing.

Open Limerick To Facebook Fanatics

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Open Limerick To Facebook Fanatics
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Facebook fanatics, I know
That an outage on Facebook’s a blow.
But a crisis that small
Doesn’t call for a call
To the cops. Grab a beer or Bordeaux.

(Inspired by the lunatics who called 911 lines Friday during Facebook’s half-hour outage.)

Birthday Ode to Alexander Graham Bell

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Happy birthday Mr. Bell! (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922)

Birthday Ode to Alexander Graham Bell (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Happy birthday, dear Alex Graham Bell.
As the telephone’s father, you’re swell.
I shall try not to hold
You to blame for the cold
Way we’re tortured by phone voicemail hell.

I’m Not Swallowing This App (Limerick)

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Do we really need a beer-brewing robot that lets you make beer with your iPhone?

I’m Not Swallowing This App (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Innovations can certainly rock,
But at times they compel me to mock;
I’m feeling a jeer brewing:
IPhones and beer brewing?
How ’bout using an iPhone to talk?

There’s An App For WHAT??? (Limerick)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Just when you think a problem is unsolvable, a creative company comes up with a solution. I’m referring, of course, to Smarter Socks which, we’re told, “makes sorting socks child’s play” through “interaction between the socks with a communication button, the Sock Sorter and an iPhone app.”

What would Seinfeld have to say about this?

There’s An App For WHAT??? (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

If you find that your socks keep cavorting
And consorting with strangers, your sorting
Can be helped with an app:
Smarter Socks fill the gap
When your laundering skills need supporting.

UPDATE: Alternatively, you could ditch the app and celebrate No Socks Day 365 days a year.

How NOT To Use 9-1-1 (Limerick)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

The 9-1-1 emergency number has become so common, you’d think people would know when (and when not) to use it. But apparently not.

How NOT To Use 9-1-1 (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The 9-1-1 number is meant
For a notably urgent event.
Don’t call to report
A stale pizza or torte…
Or hamsters that breed sans consent.

(Using 911 to report a lion sighting in Virginia is probably okay … even if it turns out to be just a labradoodle groomed to look like a lion.)

Limerick Rut

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Limerick Rut
By Madeleine Begun Kane

A woman was stuck in a rut.
She’d tripped, falling down on her butt.
She was wedged in so tight,
She might be there all night.
Seems its risky to text while you strut.

When Readings Go From Verse To Worse

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

I was asked to read several limericks at the third annual Los Angeles Limerick Fest Wednesday night, held at the Altadena Ale House. Since I live in New York City, arrangements were made for me to read them via phone.

As you can tell from this limerick, my reading went awry:

When Readings Go From Verse To Worse
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Reading limerick verse from afar
Via phone to a mike in a bar
Is a risky affair:
Noise and feedback will blare.
Pass the sidecar. I’m still below par.

My Telemarketer Hang-up (Limerick)

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

My Telemarketer Hang-up (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

My name’s on the “do not call” list,
But our phone rings non-stop, and I’m pissed.
“How’s my energy plan?”
Says a voice — not a man,
But a bot, energetic’ly dissed.

Limerick Ode to the iPhone’s Siri

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

No Siri for me — I’m serious!

I’m referring to Apple’s wise-cracking, female-voiced digital personal assistant, now available on the iPhone 4S.

Limerick Ode to the iPhone’s Siri
By Madeleine Begun Kane

There’s a newfangled Apple bot, Siri—
A bantering gal, rather eerie.
What a talkative lass!
I’m planning to pass.
Would a male bot be somewhat less cheery?

Limerick Ode To Voicemail

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Limerick Ode To Voicemail
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear voicemail, I love and adore you.
And I’m puzzled by those who deplore you.
Oh, the charm of your voices
And all of those choices.
Wait, I’m lying — I really abhor you.

(Related Humor: The Outgoing Message I’d Love To (But Probably Shouldn’t) Leave On My Answering Machine (Limerick))

Commanding and Demanding (Haiku Quintet)

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Designing programs
for software business clients —
command performance.

*****

Military gifts
like General Patton’s patch —
commanding presents.

*****

Want satisfaction
when your weapon’s sarcasm?
Pick a smart target.

*****

An unrooted soul
steps on the joy of others
and roots for failure.

*****

Meaningful haiku
that’s smart, breezy, yet mellow —
ticklish challenge.

*****

(Haiku Heights commands prompts us to write haiku using the word command; One Single Impression wants us to be sarcastic; Sensational Haiku Wednesday roots for us to write haiku; and Three Word Wednesday prompts us to use breeze, mellow, and tickle in one fell swoop.)

Facebook Straits (Updated — The Saga Continues)

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Last week, shortly after I posted my latest Limerick-Off and announced it on Facebook, the FB powers-that-be gave me quite a scare. Out of the blue, I was locked out of Facebook.

A few minutes after my account was frozen, I received an FB email security alert informing me that I was infected by the Koobface virus and that my account would be blocked until it was removed. The email “helpfully” explained that I had gotten it from downloading some video I damn well knew I hadn’t downloaded. In fact, I had run a virus scan several hours earlier and had downloaded nothing in the interim.

Nonetheless, I spent the next few hours running two different virus scans, neither of which found anything. After that, I wasted more time trying to regain access to my account. This involved:

1) Swearing on a bunch of bibles that I was virus and worm-free;

2) Writing, “pretty please let me back on Facebook — I promise to be good” one-thousand times on a local grade school’s blackboard; and

3) Trying to convince FB that I’m really the account owner by (and I swear this is true) attempting (and failing) to ID nine Facebook friends by their photos.

When I told hubby Mark about the ID nine FB friends by their photos test, he start laughing hysterically. Why? Because few people are less visual than I am. Not only don’t I pay attention to FB photos, but under pressure I’d be hard pressed to ID one of me.

The whole time I was taking (and flunking) the photo test, I was praying to the god of agnostics that Facebook would give me another chance before permanent banishment to Twitter land.

The good news: FB gave me a second opportunity to prove I’m not an identity thief. The bad news: It involved cell phone text messaging, something I’d never done.

Yes, I know cell phone text messaging is no big deal and has been mastered by your average three-year old. But after hours of FB torture, I wasn’t in the mood to acquire a new skill. Nevertheless, after several screwed up attempts, I retrieved the FB Top Secret Code from my cell phone and convinced Facebook that I really am Madeleine Begun Kane.

But (and I know I sound paranoid) I’m convinced this will happen again. Why? Because my banishment was apparently triggered by my last batch of Limerick-Off announcement messages. (I send them only to Limerick-Off participants, but FB seems to think they’re SPAM.)

Okay, you’ve waited long enough. It’s time for a two-verse limerick:

Facebook Straits
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Dear Facebook, you’re driving me crazy.
I’m not careless or foolish or lazy.
So don’t claim you’ve detected
My puter’s infected.
It’s clean as a freshly cut daisy.

Though I’m not a technology wiz,
I know what the Koobface worm is.
And I checked — there’s no sign
Of a virus. None! Nein!
It appears that you don’t know your biz.

Update I thought, or at least hoped, that my FB travails were over. But apparently not. Wednesday night, when I tried to announce my new High-Tech Limerick-Off via Facebook group messages, FB refused to let me. Instead, it told me my message was SPAM. If I disagreed, I was instructed to write and explain why the “offending” message was kosher. I did that, of course, and await their response. In the meantime, I’m angry enough to write another limerick:

It seems Facebook does not give a damn
What it labels as unwanted SPAM.
My lim-off announcements
Are getting me bouncements.
Community? This one’s a sham.

Patently Evil? (Litigation Limerick)

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Apple and Google are in the midst of a fascinating feud over their competing products, Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Oddly enough, Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs and Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt once worked well together, even bringing Google’s search and mapping services to Apple’s iPhone. But Apple’s feeling aggrieved these days and has filed suit against mobile phone maker (and Google supplier) HTC, alleging HTC violated Apple’s iPhone patents.

And that brings me to my latest limerick:

Patently Evil?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

There’s a battle in hi-tech computing:
Yes, Google and Apple are feuding.
It’s Android v. iPhone.
Says Jobs, you stole my phone,
Alleging a large patent looting.

Pedestrian Plea

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Pedestrian Plea (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

There once was a fellow named Mike,
Who was bored while out riding his bike.
So he spoke on his cell,
Did some texting, then fell.
Multitaskers, oh please take a hike.

Update: I’ve just found out that November 17th Is “National Take A Hike Day.” Something tells me, it may be meant to celebrate something a bit different.

Ode To Takeout (Song Parody to be sung to My Favorite Things)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

I’m not much of a cook. Don’t believe me? Just try reading (or singing) my Ode To Takeout song parody, which I wrote for And They Cook, Too: A Blogger Cookbook and fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders.

Ode To Takeout (Sing To My Favorite Things)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Baked meat lasagna and Indian curry.
Sesame noodles. I’m famished! Please hurry!
Buddha’s Delight that is fit for a king.
Takeout is one of my favorite things.

Greek beef moussaka and cheese ravioli.
Brocc’li and eggplant, stir fried with aioli.
Barbecued chicken: Just breasts and some wings.
Takeout is one of my favorite things.

When I’m feeling
Pangs of hunger,
Need fine food to eat,
I thumb through my menus and pick up the phone.
Cause takeout just can’t be beat.

Turkey with stuffing that isn’t too mushy.
Beef yakiniku, but please hold the sushi.
Salad that’s topped with a dressing that zings.
Takeout is one of my favorite things.

Chicken with walnuts and garlic, quite spicy.
Filet mignon. I don’t care that it’s pricey.
Lo mein and dumplings and fried onion rings.
Takeout is one of my favorite things.

When I yearn for
Something tasty
Need good food to eat,
I leaf through my menus and reach for the phone.
Cause takeout just can’t be beat.

(Author’s Note: I live in an ethnic food wonderland — Bayside, Queens, New York — which is why all this and more can be (and often is) delivered to my home.)

The Outgoing Message I’d Love To (But Probably Shouldn’t) Leave On My Answering Machine (Limerick)

Friday, May 9th, 2008

The Outgoing Message I’d love To (But Probably Shouldn’t) Leave On My Answering Machine
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Your party can’t come to the phone.
She’s at lunch or home sick.  Please don’t moan.
Leave a message, or not.
I don’t care — I’m a bot.
But my owner says, “Leave me alone!”

(For more phone-related verse, visit Sunday Scribblings.)

UPDATE: Happy National Inane Answering Machine Message Day! (January 30th)

UPDATE 2: April 25 is National Telephone Day.

Pedestrian Poems (Limerick and Haiku Prompt)

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Today’s limerick and haiku theme is walking. First, my limerick:

Ode To A New York City Walk Signal
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Oh WALK light, you change way too fast.
Your pedestrian green doesn’t last.
You force me to run
Cross the street, which ain’t fun.
So thanks for this cumbersome cast.

And now, my walking-related haiku:

Solitary stroll
To escape the telephone.
Cell phone outsmarts me.

Now, of course, it’s your turn. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a limerick or haiku (or both) about walking. When you’ve posted your verse, please return here and add a direct link to your themed poetry.

(If you need some tips on limerick or haiku writing, I link to some helpful sites here.)

NOTE: My Ode To A New York City Walk Signal limerick is an apostrophe.  And no, I’m not referring to a punctuation mark.  Miss Rumphius tells us that an “apostrophe is a poem which directly addresses a person or thing that is generally absent.” So I thought I’d address one to a walk signal that’s tormented my husband and me for years.