Yesterday I was over helping my friend Johnson. the man with two last names, straighten up a few things on his office computer Now Johnson is a complex, not to say contradictory sort of character, He is a confirmed luddite, disdaining all the geegaws and trappings of the 21st century. He is also an early adopter, being self employed, of anything that looks like it might save him time and money. He had the first voice activated cell phone that I ever saw. Of course it called a lot of wrong numbers, because it couldn’t understand what he was saying. He drives a Prius and will proudly tell you how hard it was to study the twenty three pages in the owner’s manual about how the key fob works. He also enjoys nothing so much as putting around in his forty-something year old wooden boat.

So yesterday Johnson remembered that we have been talking about going over to what he insists on calling “The Side Track Tap,” which isn’t it’s name, over in Smyrna for an open mic night. “Did you ever try free 411?” he asked me. Free 411, it turns out, is a toll free number that you can call, instead of 411, and get phone numbers looked up for you, or free. The only catch is that you have to put up with some advertising in order to get the number.

Johnson called this number and asked for the “Side Track Tap” in Smyrna and, on his speaker phone, we listened to an invitation to go for an all expenses paid weekend at the lovely Okefenokee resort, “press one to connect to Okefenokee resorts now,” and $10 off of the price of any regular set of frames at Eyeglass Hut, “press two to make an appointment for a free eye examination.” Finally after some negotiations, with the talking computer at Free 411, over the name of the place we were looking for and the right city; computers don’t know that Smyrna is pronounced Suh-mur-nuh in these parts; we got the number, called it and learned that they are not open yet, at two in the afternoon on New Years Eve.

It struck me that people, even my friend Johnson, will put up with quite a lot in order to get something free. This brings me to my New Years’ Resolution for 2008. I am going to be more crassly commercial about blogging this year, offering free content, laced with commercial advertising. Well, probably not on this blog, since it is mostly personal ramblings and WordPress dot com, bless them, won’t allow me to put adds on here anyway. I am preparing to launch a third blog though. Stay tuned. This one will be a full fledged dot com. It is going to have music, action, color, smell, and it’s own Amazon store. It will also have free content that I think people will find worthwhile.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

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