The kids may be nose deep in their phones, but at least we have Siri and Alexa for human-like interaction.


All of our technology today talks to us. It started with the GPS boxes telling us, “In 500 yards, make a left turn.” Now we have toddlers who have figured out how to tell Alexa to play “Baby Shark” on the smart TV in the living room.

Typically the voice in the box is some nameless, gentle woman’s voice that sounds straight out of an NPR broadcast. But in just the past week Amazon announced that you’ll be able to now personalize your Alexa assistant with the actor Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic voice. You now can wake up to Nick Fury telling you the weather like you’re an Avenger.

I can’t lie, there’s a part of me that wants to set it to his role from “Pulp Fiction” though. 

The makers of Alexa are hinting that future updates may include more celebrity voices, and if that’s true, I want to start a petition right now for voices that the rural ranchy crowd might enjoy.

I mean, if the Beef Checkoff Program doesn’t get its foot in the door and somehow get Sam Elliott to voice beef product orders over Alexa, they’re missing a marketing gold mine. “I see it’s been two weeks since you’ve ordered ‘Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.’ Do you want to add steak to your grocery list?”

Any list of rural and ranchy voices for Alexa should probably also include:

Tommy Lee Jones, as Captain Woodrow F. Call: “I ’spect you been sittin’ up all night reading the good book. Can I recommend your next read?”

Robert Duvall, as Augustus “Gus” McCrae: “We don’t rent pigs. But should I put bacon on your grocery list?”

Val Kilmer, as Doc Holliday: “I’ll order your huckleberry … jam.”

Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp: “You tell em your order is coming! And a free item is coming with it!”

Kevin Costner, in any of his iconic western roles: “May I recommend ‘Yellowstone’ for your to-watch list?”

 Willie Nelson: “It appears you’re ‘On the road again’—take a left turn in 500 yards.”

 Clint Eastwood: “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk? Because you’re getting free shipping.”

One can only hope that the makers of Alexa and countless other voice assistants of the future get on the ball and make this happen for us out here in ranch country. Because who wouldn’t want to hear John Wayne, The Duke himself, tell you “I’ll re-order that toilet paper for you, Pilgrim.”

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or

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