Off the Record

"Some things never change. Take the Whidbey Telephone Company directory...simply called The Phone Book around our place. Ever since moving here in the mid-70s, a revised directory would land in our mailbox annually. In the beginning, it appeared in the it's late fall. But whatever the season, it was ready to be perused, flipped and even buried under piles of paper and other family clutter. Have you seen The Phone Book? has been an ongoing question in our house over the years.We shouldn't be surprised that as South Whidbey grew, so did The Phone Book. Every year we were greeted with a slightly plumper volume containing more names, more numbers, more ads than ever before. The design underwent a modified facelift, too, and instead of generic pictures on the cover we now have photographs of our isle. Who can forget the purple version?But one thing hasn't changed over the years...The Phone Book's shape. Measuring 6X9, she snuggled in nicely with the other items in our roadside mailbox. Fit perfectly under a phone, on a bookshelf, and was just the right size for my car's glove box. Best of all, you could plunk her into your purse at the last minute if you weren't sure where you were headed. As of last week it was bye-bye to the old, hi-hi to the new. The November 2000-2001 Whidbey Telephone Company directory has made her debut, and she's got an updated look. Not only does mama have a brand new face, she's been supersized!With a shot of a blissful sunset gracing her cover, I almost overlooked her countenance amidst the glut of catalogs and magazines. Probably a glitzy tourism brochure out of British Columbia, I thought. Or maybe a catalog selling aromatherapy products. And with her casual and scripty new age typeface, it could easily have been an invitation to yet another Get To Know Your Inner Self Workshop.Then there's the thing about her height...and width. Bulked up to a whopping 7X11, she's too big for my car's glove box; I'll have to put her under the seat. And whereas she only contained about 72 names per page in her former life, today she's nearly doubled her entries per page. The only thing that seems to be smaller than last year's edition is her definitely shrunk. In another ten years, many of us will be demanding a special BIG TYPE version of our beloved book. OK, I'll get used it. And I'm sure I'll continue to hear the familiar, Have you seen The Phone Book? No matter what size or shape she's become. Some things never change. MORE PHONY STUFF: In my recent column about Tim Russert and his fondness for the little white board, I mentioned a phone call I made to Office Max company headquarters in Chagrin, Ohio. Well, they finally recalled my call, and here's what Steve the PR guy had to say in a voice mail: Hi Sue, it's Steve at Office Max...I had a message from you on Friday and I unfortunately am just getting back to you now. I know it's probably past your deadline and unfortunately I had some other issues come up here that I had to deal with, and took a little more precedence over the dry eraser story. So, again I apologize and I hope in the future you'll keep us in mind for stories and keep us in mind as a source. But if I can certainly help you out with anything now, you can give me a call at... Thanks, Steve, but I wonder what could take precedence over my dry eraser story? How many staples are used per capita in the U.S. What types of office products are selling well with people over the age of 100? Journalists calling to find out if there is really somebody in your office named Max? Stay tuned.CHAD, CHAD, CHAD: I'm probably among the majority of folks who wasn't aware that the little punched out paper thing on a voter's ballot is called a chad. Not to be confused with the masculine name Chad nor the country in North Central Africa. Well, for all you folks thinking that chad would be a fun domain name, it's taken. is part of that is part of Got that? But I doubt if any of them have information about their namesake; dimpled, hanging or otherwise. By the way, the domain is for sale. Grab it!Sue Frause can be reached at "

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