Hearing voices that aren't human

I'm not about to surrender. Not content to drive me crazy by having automated, disembodied voices answering my calls, companies, government agencies and other fiendish types have tried another tack.

They are now having automated, disembodied voices CALLING me. Not only calling me, but making me push 1 for English in order to answer the call and talk to NOBODY.

If it's me they want, they must know my name, or something about me, and probably know I am an English speaker. Why the "Press 1 for English?"

I know politicians do it all the time, but they don't make you press 1 for English, and they also are upfront about who they are.

"Hi, I'm U.S. Sen. Harry Reid looking for your vote for Sen. Obama for president" or "This is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki asking you to support Sen. John McCain."

They're still irritating, clogging up my voicemail, and just as bad as the Democratic National Committee, which clogs up my e-mail with numerous, ridiculous messages.

I am still getting DNC e-mails, and probably will until the cow chips turn gold, or the election is over, whichever comes first.

But as I said, I know who they are and what they are, and deleting them does give some special satisfaction.

But the calls I'm getting now " to my home phone "- say "to receive this call, press 1 for English" then goes on to say something in Spanish.

I don't know who it is, because I absolutely won't answer the phone with anything less than a human being on the other end. OK, maybe a real smart dog. But certainly not a computerized nobody.

So, whoever you are, whatever company or politician or church or charity, if you want to talk to me, or my husband, who is in complete agreement with me for once, turn yourself from a robot into a human.


One of my most frequent column subjects is 9-year-old Ashlee Smith, of Sparks, founder of "Ashlee's Toy Closet," which provides toys for children who have lost everything in natural disasters from the Fernley Flood to numerous fires.

She has now been honored with a few awards, including the Kohl's Kids Who Care Store Level Scholarship. This is a huge honor for her to be recognized by a retail chain store.

Ashlee will also be receiving the "Outstanding Northern Nevada Youth Heroes Award," presented by the Community Associations Institute Nevada Chapter. Ashlee and her family will be flying to Las Vegas early this month to receive the award.

Her mom, Ericka, said Ashlee is extremely dedicated to her mission of helping children who have been affected by disasters. Her mission is to one day help every child across the country and world. With her ambition and determination we have full confidence in her reaching that goal.

Ashlee is currently helping the child victims from the Ridgecrest Fire and also a family from Silver Springs that recently suffered a tragic house fire.

To help out, go to www.ashleestoycloset.org.


Piper's Opera House in Virginia City is doing better with its fundraising efforts. In early August, Storey County awarded an additional $12,000 funding from its National Park Service, Certified Local Government grant to Piper's Opera House to supplement the $110,000 award granted from the Commission on Cultural Affairs.

These funds will be used to re-open the Corner Saloon in May 2009. It has been closed since the fire of 1883, when John Piper rebuilt his opera house for the third time at the corner of Union and B Streets in Virginia City.

Piper's will be closed until spring except for special events so that work can proceed and to reduce energy costs. Upcoming events include Mumbo Gumbo on Sept. 6, Nevada Civic Light Opera productions in September, the Annual 1864 Governor's Ball on Oct. 25, and the Austin Lounge Lizards on Nov. 8. Go to www.pipersoperahouse.com for events or call 775-847-0433 for information.


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