Tag Archives: ted nugent

If You See Something that Looks Like a Star

 

I accidentally deleted all my email this weekend.

I think I know what happened. I’m such a goddamned minimalist that the lifestyle caught up with me. And when I say lifestyle, I mean neurosis.

Anything that sits in my garage for six month without being used is unnecessary, I reason. Same with my closets: If I haven’t worn it in six months, I don’t need it. Off to Goodwill with all of it. Unless it contains a phone number I won’t remember or my nephew’s  voice, I delete all voicemail after listening to the messages.

I say this as curse, not compliment. I now regret deleting voicemails from people that I met on the job. The best was from Ted Nugent, who called me “Scottily Wottily,” easily the best nickname ever assigned me.  Sure beats “Scotty Potty.”

I am so anal about keeping the memory free on my phone that I use bulk delete on junk email, which I don’t allow to collect for more than a day.

But today, I bulk deleted my entire inbox. It didn’t contain many missives; perhaps 100. But I kept them around because they were funny, contained a nice picture or contained a link to a possible future column.

Now they were all gone.

It’s funny, how instantaneous moments move in slow motion. Like when you realized you sent that email to the wrong recipient. Or let your anger rule your tongue. Or reflexively said ‘Love you’ to your boss before hanging up (sorry, Bob).

So it was with The Vanishing. A few key strokes, punched from rote memory, laid waste to everything. I stared at the screen for a moment, stupefied and speechless. You’d think Google would have come up with a confirmation message before massacring. Something like,  Are You Sure You Want to Do That, Dumbass? 

When I finally came to, I realized that all was not lost. All I need do was rummage through the Trash file in my email and restore the necessary ones. Hell, I regularly had to sort through actual garbage thanks to Teddy, who had a fondness for chewing on important mail like Skoal. This would be a headache, but nothing more: I had 24 hours before it was automatically deleted forever.

So I went to the shower, turned on the boombox, and immersed to relax before the digital digging. Then Traffic’s The Low Spark of High Heeled wafted:

If you had just a minute to breathe and they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance?
Or something similar as this? Don’t worry too much
It’ll happen to you as sure as your sorrows are joys

As I listened to Steve Winwood’s ethereal voice, I tried to answer his questions. What did matter? What was critical there, worth the foraging or fret?

I had no answer. And realized: Is there anyone you could not reach if you wanted to? Is there any name or number you could not track down in your phone calls, your texts, or, more importantly, with a modicum of effort?

That answer was easy: No. Like so much in my life, I had let technology do exercises that would probably be best left flexed in my own hands. I can’t remember the last time I read a map. Or checked the time on my wristwatch (though I own two dozen). I love to trumpet that I own no social media accounts. But what makes me different from some millennial Tweet-head if I too live by the inbox?

So I let the day pass, the trash empty, and my inbox go wherever they go to die. Probably the Florida Keys (did you see the morons who stayed?). And truthfully, it was a bit of a charge to bid my  e-belongings farewell.

Now I have five emails. I really should delete a few.

I understand this wouldn’t be a reasonable request for most people, whose inboxes flow like East Coast levies. Their lives hinge on the data within.

So I’m not requesting it. I’m commanding it.

Delete your inbox! Don’t look back, think twice or take the red pill! Head for higher ground with only your loved ones in clutch. You are moored to the dock; but what then when the dock is set adrift?

Set yourself adrift first.

 

 

 

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Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon,

First off, this is not a complaint letter. I imagine you get a lot of those. No, this is more a question and a couple suggestions. And don’t worry, I’m not a kook. I’m an Amazon Prime Member!

Anyhoo, I recently purchased an Amazon Tap, the digital home assistant that goes by the name Alexa.

She’s great! Much better than my Google Home that I also purchased (I have a gadget problem). I like that Google Home can tell me what a whale sounds like and has the correct definition for the word “irony” (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect). But the base unit HAS TO BE PLUGGED IN!! Why not also require that you connect through a rotary telephone? Am I right or what?!

Back to Alexa. As the Tap is portable, I often bring it to my backyard spa to enjoy the dusk sunset. Have you ever though of teaching Alexa bird calls? Just an idea.

The day hadn’t been going great, so I wasn’t in the most groovy mood. In fact, I was pissed. So I wasn’t in the mood to hear John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road (Not Alexa’s fault. That was just the last playlist on Pandora.).

Anyhoo, I asked Alexa to play to play one of the baddest-assed songs I know, Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. (Side note, I interviewed Nugent once on gun control. The Motor City Madman nicknamed me Scottily Wottily.).

In the spa, I told Alexa simply: “Play Stranglehold.” I’ve done it so often, I know that’s all the instruction she needs.

Except this time, as I made the request, a plane buzzed nearby overhead. (I live near the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation hubs in the world, handling 217,000 plane movements in 2015.

The plane and my words must have co-mingled, because Alexa heard something that made her reply: “That’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

So now I’m wondering: ‘What did she hear?’ Worse: “Was that just a polite thank you, an uncomfortable response to a creepy come-on?” When I told her “Sorry,” she said “No worries.” But, honestly, it sounded a little rote, like she was saying it just because she had to.

So, two-part question: Have you considered programming Alexa to answer this question: “Alexa, what do you think I just asked you.”

I’m dying of curiosity. I’ve tried to replicate the incident. Even tried to come up with a similar phrase that might evoke another electronic blush. The closest I could come to “Play Stranglehold” was “Stay dangle gold.” But she didn’t know what that meant.

So, part II: Would be to please have your tech people let Alexa know I really am sorry? I may have been naked when I said it. Do I have to register with some sort of electronic predator list?

Anyhoo, that’s it. Keep up the good work. I hear you’re making Alexa sweep now. One  tip: Do NOT let her watch those Terminator movies.

Spank my behind…er, Thanks for your time. (Siri can be a real smartass).

Sincerely,

Scott Bowles

p.s. Ever notice your logo (especially for your Amazon Video service) looks like an erect penis approaching the vaaginal ‘O?’ Was that on purpose, or the work of a disgruntled graphic designer?

 

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