My own Chris Rock cell phone moment

I just very nearly had my own Chris Rock cell phone moment. I was just about ready to post the letter below, with proper names, in despair of finding another way of contacting this man whose email address was getting confused with mine, when I received a letter that led me to be able to contact his management company. Turns out his email address was only one letter different than mine. Crisis averted, but I’m posting the letter anyway because it’s kind of funny.


I started getting mail intended for you at my private email address (which consists of the letters toj at this ISP (link deleted)) several weeks ago. I concluded at first that there had been an error and that someone had the wrong address for you in their address book.

As I continued to get more messages, however, I grew concerned. The occasional email was one thing, but in the last two days I have received, erroneously addressed to me, a thank you letter from someone who had dinner with you and your wife and a letter having to do with the upcoming production of the TV series [DELETED]

At first I assumed that you were just some random schmoe with the same initials as me. Now it seems you’re a schmoe with the same initials as me who works in the entertainment industry. This is, as they say, interesting. Not as interesting as having Chris Rock’s old cell phone number, but interesting nonetheless. I shudder to think of what might enter my mailbox accidentally if this confusion isn’t rectified. And I don’t really want to know.

At any rate: I have owned the email address in question for several years and would suggest that you contact your business associates and straighten them out regarding your correct address. Should you wish to contact me to discuss this matter privately, please use the email link in my profile.

Thanks for your time.


Tim Jarrett

But now I’m wondering: should I have milked it? Should I have emailed back all the people and asked for, say, Kevin Bacon’s cell phone number? Did I do the right thing? I guess we’ll never know.

Sigh. I used to think it was cool having a really short email address. Now I don’t know. Seems like there’s a lot of potential for confusion.

RIP Ray Charles, Robert Quine

Reposted after it mysteriously disappeared yesterday afternoon

On Thursday afternoon I was getting ready to write an obituary for Robert Quine, guitar hero who apparently killed himself last weekend, when I heard on KEXP that Ray Charles had passed away. Both will be missed. Ray Charles was starting to be in danger of being a living Mt Rushmore, so much a part of America through his constant TV appearances and patriotic performances (even well into his 70s) that people like me thought of him as a monument rather than a living musician. Hopefully this will be an occasion, past the mourning, to evaluate and appreciate his truly astounding artistry as well as his life.

Most of what I see on Google News is the AP release (which is identifiable for listing one of his best known songs as “What’dI Say” (note the lack of space—proving that even the best papers don’t copyedit wire feed)). Here’s the BBC obituary.

Regarding Robert Quine: as much as Ray Charles was a towering monument on the landscape, I think Quine was more influential for me personally through his boostership of the Velvet Underground and his truly seminal work with Lou Reed on The Blue Mask and with Tom Waits on Rain Dogs.