Phancy phone includes plenty of phantastic pheatures

I may have mentioned this before, but just in case you forgot, I'll say it again. I'm not a techie.

In fact, I would probably label myself electronically challenged. I never learned to program a VCR. (You remember those, don't you?) Fortunately, those complicated machines are now as outmoded as eight-track tape decks. DVDs are much easier to manage, though I do have to admit to some confusion when trying to switch the remote from satellite to video.

I have trouble with a digital recorder. I can't tell if I'm recording on folder A, B, or C or if I have any more space left. I usually just record over something and hope I don't erase necessary, pithy quotes from USDA officials and such.

I have an IPod that, presumably, will hold 1,000 songs. Unfortunately, I don't know 1,000 songs that I care to listen to and would not have time to get around to all of them on a drive from here to Amarillo anyway. And even if I were going to be in my truck for 247 hours (Willie hasn't recorded that much music yet.), I wouldn't be able to figure out how to download any new tunes without destroying the ones already cached in the gizmo. And what would I do without The Essential Willie Nelson on long trips through West Texas and Southern Oklahoma?

So you might wonder why I finally succumbed to the temptation to purchase a telephone with more electronic wizardry included in a 3×4 frame than you would have encountered in an entire 1960s era Western Auto Store.

I'm still wondering myself, but have decided the main attraction is that it's just so darn cool. It has features — lots of them. I can punch a button and get a weather report, seven days' worth. I can change a few parameters and get a weather report for Amarillo or Weslaco or the river where we might be fishing tomorrow.

I can check my stock reports. Well, that's not necessarily a good thing at the moment, a bit depressing actually. But if the market ever goes up I can check it in a snap.

I can read the news. And here's a cool thing. If I turn the gizmo sideways, the monitor changes and I read on a wider screen. How does it do that?

It takes pictures, actually pretty good ones, though I still don't need a camera in a phone because it's too expensive to take into the river with me and why else would I want a portable phone/camera except to photograph that 22-inch trout that I'm destined to catch one of these days, which no one will believe unless I have proof.

I can check e-mail, but don't tell the boss in case he wants to catch up with me too often. I can get sports scores — see who beat the Cowboys last. I can check the Texas and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Web sites to determine where the fish were biting two weeks ago.

I can download music, games and DVDs (for a nominal fee). I can get directions, and anyone who has ever taken a trip with me knows that will come in handy.

I like all the stuff I can do with my fancy phone. It's like a home entertainment center that fits in my pocket. And I'll like it even more if I can ever figure out how to make a call on it.

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