Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dear Timmy "Pumpkinhead" Russert

Just in case you really don't know how to use one of these things and you're too embarrassed to ask, I thought I'd pass along a basic "how-to" for telephone use. It sure looked like you didn't know the business end of one of these devices after your appearance on Bill Moyer's program last evening.

Calling a U.S. Telephone Number: (000) 000-0000

All telephone numbers have ten digits. The first three digits (the area code) indicate the geographical area where the phone is located. For example, 212 area code is for Washington D.C. The next seven numbers are the specific line to the business or private phone you are calling. If you have any trouble finding a phone number, call 1 + area code + 555-1212 and ask the operator to find the number of the business or person you are trying to reach. (This means press the little buttons on your phone set, one at a time, in sequence matching the phone number you wish to call. And no, you don't have to dial the hyphen, it only separates the area code and exchange number from the local number.)

If you are calling from your office at NBC, you may have to dial another number like 9 to get an outside line. Ask your boss or your all-knowing secretary. (In a pinch, ask Cathie Martin at OVP -- but you might have to call her to ask her. Send her an email if you have to, I think it's

Dialing Long Distance
You MUST dial 1 before the ten digit number you are calling for long distance (anything outside of the area code from which you are calling). Keep in mind that Washington D.C. is NOT long distance from your office in Washington D.C. You may also want to check with your boss about your long distance phone expense budget; maybe they haven't let you make long distance calls to keep costs down. We, the viewing public, certainly can't tell from out here.

Calling Other Countries
To call other countries, dial 011 for an international line, then dial the country code, area code and phone number. You can find a list of country and city codes in the first few pages of any U.S. telephone book. You do know what a telephone book is, don't you?


Oh, crikey.

[photo: University of Alberta]

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