Even though we\u2019re on the \u201cDo Not Call\u201d list, there are so many loopholes that anyone who claims to be a charity can evade the regulations, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Republicans and the National Institute for the Preservation of Baby Boomers." Based on my own scientific survey, I calculate that 81% of the calls we get are from people who want money. So I\u2019ve taken decisive action and stopped answering the phone. Of the people asking for money, I estimate 5% are insurance agents, 10% are my daughters and 85% are paid professional telemarketers with degrees in fund-raising, who typically give 20% or less of what they raise to the charities, while the rest goes to their company for tuition reimbursement to help employees who want to pursue Ph.D.\u2019s in phone solicitation. There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes the telemarketers aren\u2019t paid professionals. They\u2019re students. And who can resist a call from an enthusiastic college sophomore, telling you higher education will collapse if you don\u2019t make a hefty donation to the library expansion or the faculty beer fund or to buy pom-poms for the cheerleaders? I often get solicitations from schools I attended, including a Jesuit university, a Marist high school and Humpty Dumpty Nursery School, not to mention the Dirty Paws Dog Obedience Academy \u2014 even though the dog and I flunked out. I\u2019m sure these are \u201cworthy causes\u201d \u2014 as they say in the charity world \u2014 but the constant calls are annoying. The phone system is becoming as bad as the U.S. Postal Service, which made junk mail an American institution. Most of the time, you can throw your mail away without opening it because someone is always asking for something. However, when the appeals include a dollar bill to get my attention, I take the bill and, in the interests of honest charity, I put it in the poor box at church. A while back, we had a harrowing experience at home. A telemarketer called us for three months straight, in the morning and in the evening, during breakfast and dinner and at bedtime. We didn\u2019t answer, and between midnight and 5 a.m., the telemarketer probably drove by the house to see if we were home. When my daughter finally picked up the phone, she flipped out on the poor woman, who was probably making $7 an hour, while her firm\u2019s CEO was pulling down $1.5 million. \u201cStop calling this !#@#%!! number!\u201d she yelled. As a reasonable compromise, I suggested she should start calling my daughter\u2019s cell phone. Actually, I want be charitable and I want to be kind to my fellow man, and woman, telemarketers included; it\u2019s just that I have a problem giving money to people when only a fraction of it goes to the charity. We\u2019re a nation of givers, but we don\u2019t want the gift to pay for solicitation fees. Even though we\u2019re on the \u201cDo Not Call\u201d list, there are so many loopholes that anyone who claims to be a charity can evade the regulations, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Republicans and the National Institute for the Preservation of Baby Boomers. At least the Jehovah Witnesses have the courtesy to knock on the door and smile and not ask for money. You have to respect that. During the political season, it gets even worse when Democrats and Republicans start hassling us for cash, our vote and our opinion in the cause of a free democracy. Whoever thought the democratic process could be so annoying? And Caller ID doesn\u2019t help screen the calls because telemarketers conceal themselves like CIA spies and sneak under the radar. The caller is usually identified as \u201cCourtesy Call,\u201d \u201cMaintenance,\u201d \u201cName Not Found,\u201d \u201cUnknown Name,\u201d \u201cToll Free Call,\u201d \u201cUnavailable U.S. Institute,\u201d \u201cPsycho Stalker\u201d or \u201cDaughter in Need of a Loan.\u201d When I look at the phone bill and calculate how much my land-line costs, including U.S., state and local taxes, service fees and sewer line hookups, I have to conclude it\u2019s not worth the expense because most of the calls we get are appeals for cash. I already got rid of the TV set. Can the telephone be far behind?