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From the publisher's desk: Responding to sounds, 24/7

In preparation for my trip to Salem, I bought a new cell phone. The main reason I upgraded my cellular technology was to get instant access to email and the Web 24/7. The idea seemed to relieve some of my anxiety about being gone from the office during this busy time of year.

My new Blackberry Pearl came with all sorts of bells and whistles. I mean that literally. I have not had time to read the accompanying book or watch the instructional DVD, so I can’t take any credit for setting up the phone with custom profiles.

When I receive email sent to my Triplicate address, three gongs go off. Weeknights around midnight Loree at our Smith River printing plant sends me a report that tells me how well we met our page deadlines and if there were any press problems I should be aware of. The first night I had my new phone Rick sat up in bed when the gongs went off. He said it sounded like Buddhist monks were gathering in our room. I figured out how to change the mode to vibrate only, but that makes the phone dance noisily across the nightstand, still waking us up.

When someone sends a text message my phone plays a tune. It’s “The Entertainer,” the theme song from the movie “The Sting.” It’s a snappy tune that evokes happy memories of that fun movie with handsome duo Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Can you believe that was 36 years ago?

Last Wednesday morning, at 7:01, I heard the resounding gongs followed a few minutes later by the ragtime piano music of “The Entertainer.” The back-to-back messages were from two readers — one a prominent local educator and the other a very pregnant former employee — telling me they were crying over their breakfast while reading my column. I did not know whether to be flattered or to apologize. I knew as I wrote that “Kaleidoscope” column that it could stir up emotions in some of my readers, but in pre-Blackberry days those messages would have quietly appeared on my office computer. Beginning to panic, I wondered if the gongs and tunes would continue in my purse all day. 

When my phone rings, not to announce an email or text message, but just because someone is calling me, I hear three escalating rings that sound like an old land phone from the ’40s. The rings are shrill and sort of shaky. I answered one of those yesterday and the caller asked me how to order “Tin Fish Gourmet,” the cookbook I mentioned in a recent column. Three gongs later this morning I received the Books to Cooks e-newsletter and there’s some interesting news on that subject. In the spirit of nourishing her community, Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks is launching a “Tin Fish” Food Bank Drive. Throughout November, $5 from the sale of every copy of “Tin Fish Gourmet” will be donated to her local food bank in Vancouver, B.C. For more information check out Barbara-Jo’s Web site  bookstocooks.com , email  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call toll-free 866-688-6744.

Finally, I’d like to update the folks who’ve made my phone go off one way or another over the past week. As of this writing, Monday evening, “Special K” still has not made her debut. I fear my granddaughter has inherited the Grgas stubborn streak handed down to me by my father who got it from his. I do not know how many generations it goes back, but stubbornness is a family trait that does not skip a generation. I know because my son Collin has it.

By this time next week I should be able to tell you that I’m finally a grandmother and that while waiting for little K. to be born, I had time to read the manual and figure out how to silence my phone.

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate’s publisher, at 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.


Del Norte Triplicate:

312 H Street
P.O. Box 277
Crescent City, CA 95531

(707) 464-2141

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