Today’s Thoughts . . . Sept. 20, 2013

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

People ask my why I don’t have a cell phone. I am probably the only guy under 50 – hell, under 70 – who hasn’t got one. no cells picture

I do not have a sail fawn for two reasons:

They don’t work!

Literally every time I get a call from someone using a cell phone, either the call is dropped or garbled to the point that you might as well be trying to communicate using two old coffee cans and a string… at a distance of 50 miles.

Or there is this super annoying slight delay between the spoken word and its reception by the listener, making a normal conversation very painful.

Communication via cell phone is like driving via Yugo.

I didn’t buy one of those, either.

They are preposterous.

I am not paying hundreds of dollars for a phone. Or even $100. Or even $50. I paid $12 at Target for the land line corded phone in the kitchen. Yeah, I pay $30 a month to the phone company. But the damn thing works. Does not “drop” calls. I can have a normal conversation. And it will last for 20 years or more, prolly.

Best of all, it does not have a video camera, “apps” – or midget-sized buttons that can only be pecked at viably by women (and men) with Nosferatu-style fingernails

Third reason (I know I said just two):

I feel no need. I just don’t have that much to say. I feel no urge to gabble for hours – or even minutes – on dey fawn.

True, I am not “reachable” at all times.

Hooray for that!

I like being not reachable. What kind of maniac wants to be accessible to others at all times? To have what amounts to an electric leash around their necks? So that various people you don’t want to talk to can “reach” you – crashing through that wonderful bubble of aloneness that once existed commonly but which is now almost nonexistent, courtesy of these infernal devices? It is a reprieve from this world and all its obnoxiousness to have some alone time. To be able to think in peace and quiet. And that means without your blankety-blank fawn issuing forth some idiotic treacly “ring tone” while I am trying to have a conversation with you.

But, what about emergencies?

I’ll deal with ’em when they happen – which is virtually never. Oh, I may have an inconvenience to deal with every now and again. I’ll deal with it when it comes up.

Meanwhile, give me your sail fawn – so I can stomp it like I would a cockroach that crawled out from under the ‘fridge.

Throw it in the Woods?


  1. Sheesh Eric! I was pretty sure I was the last person in North America to get a cell phone, now you come out with this 12 years later!

    I don’t feel leashed by mine anymore because I don’t carry it and most of the time it isn’t charged. You can own one these days and leave it on your desk you know, there’s no law (yet) that says you need to have it with you at all times. I live in a place that must be a little more remote than you, we don’t have land lines here, at least ones that work. I also have three different places of residence so it’s kind of nice to have just one phone number.

    Half the time I don’t answer mine even when I have it with me. You can still screen calls with a cell phone. If I don’t feel like talking to people I just turn it off, there’s a handy littl button on the side.

    My wife, on the other hand will get out of bed at 10pm in the middle of a movie just to check who’s calling her. She used to answer but these days she just looks at it so she can remember who to put on her shit list.

    • Funny that…how two people can call at 10 pm but only one of them goes on the list. Or that’s how it works everywhere I’ve been. People, who can figure ’em?

      • @8 – Ditto that. But then wouldn’t I get bored if everyone was like me? I mean would you want to married to you and no one else? This whole life thing is so confusing.

    • I’ll never get one, Scott!

      For the simple reason that I don’t need one.

      A standard land line house phone provides everything I need.

      I do not feel benighted or lacking because I cannot be “reached” when I am outside the house. I’m not a surgeon. Life and death isn’t in the balance. Leave me a message; I’ll call you back when I have time.

      I maintain that convincing the average person he must have a cell phone is perhaps the most brilliant (in a evil sense) achievement of marketing and PR ever.

      I’m 46. I remember the pre-cell world. It worked fine. This business of garbling on the got-damned phone all day long – as most people seem to do – hasn’t added anything except stress, stupidity, incivility, expense and loss of personal space/free time.

      I would like nothing more than a Savanarola-style bonfire of the cell phones!

      • A guy named Phil who is one of my old co-workers from back in the days when I used to wrench on cars professionally gave me some advice one time. His advice was to “use my powers for good and not evil.” I still visit Phil back at the garage a few times a year.

        We’re all slaves… And we’re all doing the digital dance together! Let’s boogie.

        • dom wrote, “use my powers for good and not evil.”

          That’s excellent advise.
          How-freaking-ever; all too often people are bamboozled by others into thinking what they’re doing is just that, when it’s the opposite.

          The message of the Z.A.P. is the solution to that.
          It’s mathematical, even!
          Just apply it to any equation you find yourself in and see how it works out.

          {Z.A.P. is the Zero Aggression Principle, a.k.a. the N.A.P., the Non-Aggression Principle, for anyone who might just be tuning in. Or, even for some who might have thought they understood, but didn’t really.)

  2. Eric,

    I think they’re pretty handy. I use mine to read articles while at lunch, look up addresses while in unfamiliar areas, etc… My previous job left me with a Xoom tablet that I’ve downloaded the factory service manuals to – much better than thousands of grease-stained pages. It also provides internet for the house – no DSL or cable out my way. Both of these devices deal with my far-sightedness by having a zoom feature (very handy with complex diagrams in the FSMs).

    I only get calls from co-workers during the day (company-paid phone) and family after hours. And if I don’t want to be contacted I put it in airplane mode. I could do without the phone, but I doubt I’d be reading as many articles on line. Most of my voice calls occur while I’m at my desk or while I’m at home.

    Of course, I don’t trust the thing with anything important. And I don’t social network, unless you count the weekly call home.

    • michael, you use this for internet. Does it port to another computer? I know I’ve heard of this but never seen it done. Since the only decent internet I can get is satellite dish, I’d be interested to have a $30-35 air card I could use instead of $100/mnth satellite bill.

      • The tablets can be set up as a WiFi hotspot and/or connect directly to your PC via USB. This should work on any Linux, Windows, or Mac computer. Note you’ll have to “root” (Android) or “jailbreak” (Apple) the tablet if you want to do this without forking over an extra $10/month to the carrier.

        You can set up a PC (Linux/Windows/Mac) with one of the air cards to do the same. The air card out of the box would provide internet access to the PC it was plugged into. If that’s all you need, the great. But if you have a cheap WiFi router, you should (with a bit of internet searching) be able to turn your system into a WiFi hotspot for your house.

        There are also WiFi hotspots, which should be about the easiest of them all to set up, although I’ve never used one before.

        My Verizon bill for 10 GBytes/month runs under $80/month; overage is $15/GByte. If you want to set up something like this, let me know and I’ll be glad to help.

        • michael, thanks. I had satellite for $80/mnth at one time but it’s since increased in price. I was trying to avoid those high costs. I do have a wifi router I used with it and that was nice. I had a laptop that was stolen(no, I didn’t call the cops and I know who stole it. He probably has his heart go into his throat every now and then when he hears something in the dark…..good deal). I appreciate the info and the offer of help.

      • @8 – Local companies want way too much for the slow DSL where I live. I am just too far away from their DSLAM and no fiber-optic out here in the boonies. So I use a Verizon wireless data card, plugged into a Cradlepoint WiFi router. Lets me use my computers, IPod etc. from one card. Not the cheapest fix ($60.00-$80.00/Mo.) but it works fairly well. I also have the flexibility to put the little box in my car and listen to internet radio on the road.

  3. I like being not reachable. What kind of maniac wants to be accessible to others at all times?

    This. I am often unreachable. It’s intentional. I like not being disturbed. I actually just plain dislike phone conversation. I am known to go see someone in person rather than call. I did it today. There was an error on a bank statement. I ran over the bank. Actually ran, it’s 4 blocks away or so and there’s a short cut, to get there by 5pm to get it corrected. The banker, she says I could have called… oh. I didn’t even think of calling. I just ran over.

    Land line phone? I bought mine in 1991. I think it was $25.
    I’ve got another one. Found it the trash. In its original box. It’s in the kitchen. I don’t use it. I have an old rotary phone somewhere. I think it goes back to the 1950s. I should convert it to modular so I can plug it in 😉

    On another note, there is a cell phone for you Eric:
    No longer made though.

    • Mang, BrentP. I can so totally relate to most of your post.

      Years ago I really got into Mises’. “Investment MUST Equal Savings!”
      [And spending]
      So I slashed expenses to the bone.
      Irrespective of Gary North’s advise in, The Myth of Debt-Free Living

      A landline was $25 a month, a TracFone was about $8.50 per month if I didn’t call anyone. … Which I don’t.

      The cell-phone people that I know give me a hard time when it takes a week for me to return their call.

      Right now my TracFone is good until 2018, so long as the buttons don’t stop working.
      The old versions didn’t require a new payment every six months to a year, I’m glad I kept my candy bar.

      …But if I ever go back to dial-up ISP, I’ll drop the TracFone and get a landline.
      Is NetZero even still around?
      Ha. I’ll never forget the day they sent me a message that said, … oh wait, I shouldn’t mention that story.
      To protect the innocent, ya know.

      • NetZero. My old HS buddy refuses to pay for high speed (his religion wears a beanie) because Verizon pissed him off. Even though he spends all day sending out hate Obama emails and links. He uses NetZero dial-up for $10.00 a month I think. I can’t even send him a jpeg picture, much less a video, before he answers back with how many minutes of his dinner time it takes to download.

          • Ah, mang, Garysco. I’ve already used up all my bandwidth watchin’ all the double-plus-ungood cop videos here on epa. I’ll have to wait til next month to check that out.

            Ha. In some respect, limited bandwidth, ain’t that much different than dial-up.

          • DS, I have dialup. $18/mnth or the alternative I had for years till I figured how much I was spending/wasting, satellite for $100/mnth.

            Gary, you might wanna rethink the orange jump suit. They’re really heavy, hot and stiff, scratchy. You definitely want to wear underwear and an undershirt. Good reason lots of people have the tops tied around their waist. Plus, they’ll eat your titties right down to the raw….not so good. Jails are always too hot, never a cool breath to breathe.

            • Hey Eight,

              I have been giving serious thought to buying a Dharma Initiative jumpsuit, with the patch – and “worker” – on it. It’ll help complete my identity as an evildoing domestic extremist!

          • 8 Thanks. I will keep that in mind, if they give me a choice in the first place. I just hate those Russian gulag colors of the 1930’s.

            It truly is out of control though.

            A 63 year old nearly disabled Viet Nam vet friend has a live-in, whose daughter, who was not even present at the house, called the cops and adult services on them one night because they were arguing in the kitchen. Long story short, he got arrested for “domestic violence”, even though she scratched is arm, and she was not harmed, and asked them not to arrest him. They also demanded any weapons that may be in the house (without legal authority IMHO). So they also took a his secured and locked CCW pistol (not in any way involved in the argument). $15,000.00 bail later, and 3 trips to court with a real piece of work public defender, and letters to the judge from the “victim” who refused to testify, he pled to “anger management” classes and two years probation because the DA threatened him with lots of years in state prison if he fought the case. Although they continue to live together ( I think she is a 60 something paralegal bitch IMHO) he still can’t get his gun back, and has to pay for his “classes”. Fifteen years ago the cops would look, no blood, no injury, and been on their way. But today there is too much money to be had in the probation industry.

            • Jesus, Gary –

              That was not the first thing in needed to read this morning…

              Your friend has my sympathies.

              Note: No “victim” (the alleged victim refuses to file a formal complaint) yet your friend is punished – for having “offended” the state.

              And the shitting all over what used to be due process. No evidence of a crime committed. Just heavy-handed threats from the DA, in order to coerce a “plea” that amounts to extortion. So that they can get what they wanted: His money, his property – and his liberty.

          • Eric, “I have been giving serious thought to buying a Dharma Initiative jumpsuit, with the patch – and “worker” – on it”

            LMAO on that one. When you order I want mine in large.

    • Amen.

      I believe cells have diminished our lives by diminishing our personal space, our alone time. There is something parental about being “reachable” wherever you happen to be. For example, not even in your car on your way to work are you allowed the mental free time everyone had, just a few short years ago.

      If it’s not deliberate, I’d be surprised.

      • eric, there’s a lot of truth in what you said. I used to long for those long stretches where there was no cell coverage. The damn thing was gonna blow up continuously when I got in range so better later than sooner I say.

        • RE: Compulsory RFID implants.

          No, the funny thing is, ‘they’ consider us their property and do what they want with us, no questions asked.
          If they think they have the technology to do it, they will.

          …And no, they won’t bother to ask us if we’re ok with it. They’ll just do it.
          Most likely in a way we won’t even notice.

          Isn’t that a best farming practice?

          [Insert the latest nano-technology info, here X.]

          I can just imagine my peers, “Nano technology? That’s not real!”

          I guess the jokes is on them?

          • Nanotech IS real, though not at the “Deus Ex” franchise level.
            But it’s been used in reearch applications and manufacturing already – I think it’s so common now you can find articles in Popular Mechanics or so.

            It’s used in studying Viruses (Virii?), and in cell manipulations in biology. There’s research into using it for disease cures, too, a la cancer treatment.

            We’ve seen things take enormous jumps forward, though, when least expected. Radar, Sonar, torpedos, flight, cars, even.

            By the time we hit the “Grey Goo” nightmare scenario, it will be too late: “They” will have won.

            Need to be proactive on this as with ALL other things.
            funny how the, “Never trust anyone over 30,” crowd has morphed into the, “Do as we say, it’s for your own good,” totalitarians…

        • Well, we have mandatory immunizations against 5 million (exaggerating) diseases…
          Why not add in a thimerosol-based Nanite system, to make an RFID inside the human body, and a “compliance chip” while we’re at it….

          Dr. Who was WAY ahead of the curve, Q.V. Cybermen.

  4. I have one. Several years ago I found a great phone (Motorola E815) that works much better as a telephone then the smartphones being sold today. I pick them up on EBay between $15 and $25 each because they are not “smart” and popular anymore.

    But sadly these devices will be required in the future because Brother has decreed he must be able to contact and track each of us at 24 X 7. The sheep will welcome it, and feel special. Orwell didn’t put the Telescreen device into his story for no reason.

    • E911 compatibility was the first step. I had everything set to use a pre E911 phone forever, until I had XCVR board problems on the CDMA side. They wouldn’t activate a new board’s ESN because of that stupid law. So I used it in analog for a long time after that until finally switching to something like that E815 which I still use. However it has a knuckle crack so I know it’s life is limited now. A little epoxy hopefully will prevent it from getting worse, but knuckle crack is the doom of clamshells without housing replacement.

      Looking at some of the cheap-ass carriers that won’t make me pay $50 for data and texting and other stuff I don’t need.

  5. Dear Eric,

    I have a primitive one. Only the second one in nearly 20 years.

    I only got it because I lost the first one, not to “modernize.”

    People attempting to call me get frustrated as hell. I forget to charge it or turn it on.

    I use it mostly to call OUT when I’m away from a landline.

    Sometimes I wish I had never gotten it. I may just use it till it breaks, then avoid replacing it.

  6. I (mostly) agree, Eric. I have a sail fawn, but it’s a cheap one with no data plan. The sound quality has gotten better over the years, to the point where I usually can’t tell much of a difference between land lines and cells. In my case, I dropped the land line — I never used it anymore, and would forget to check message on it. Unlike most people, I use it as a *phone* — not as a mini-PC or GameBoy or iPod. I do like being able to “pick up” no matter where I am, and that’s become increasingly important for my job for working remotely (which is more and more often).

    The thing that gets me is how *obsessed* people are with their smartphones. Most folks walk around these days not paying attention to the world around them, but instead focused on the little screen of their phone, tapping away. And in social gatherings, I see most young people these days spending as much time focused on their phones as on the conversation and the people around them. You wonder why they both going out.

    • Dear RWN,

      “Most folks walk around these days not paying attention to the world around them, but instead focused on the little screen of their phone, tapping away. ”

      Same here on Taiwan, which is very up to date 3C tech-wise.

      They’re essentially escaping into Virtual Reality.

      The 2009 SF film “Surrogates,” starring Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell dealt with that theme.

      Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others’ surrogates.

      Ironic. The i-devices were supposed to bring people closer. But used this way, they do the opposite.

      The tech itself is not bad. It’s our inappropriate use of it. We need to know when and when not to use it.

    • Repeat, my wife and daughter have smartphones. My daughter lives with hers in her hand, texting, tweeting, and talking all the time she’s not in class. My wife can’t answer a call on hers unless she’s in her car with the Jabra Tour speaker I bought her. She mainly has it just to have a smartphone, because…..I don’t know, maybe because all her little pals at work have them.

      I’m always ready to admit that I’m too dumb for a smartphone. Ain’t got one, don’t want one, wouldn’t know what to do with one. I do have to have a regular, old style dumb cell phone for business. It’s essential for me to be available when a customer needs to get in touch. I use a Jabra Tour in my car, too because I drive a 5 speed and sometimes need to talk while driving.

      Really, I don’t know what the attraction is for these things, but then I’m not young. I think it’s a young kind of thing.

      • Ed, I lived over 50 years without a cell phone. When I did get one it was a bag phone, car only thing for me since I ain’t gonna carry that fucker around. I got nothing but grief about it too. I’d be driving Blackie, often pulling a trailer and it would go off. I’d punch the button and hear the complaints start coming in, You sound like you’re in a well. Asshole, you know exactly where I am and I can’t pick up a phone, shift gears, watch traffic and corners and idiots with a phone in their hand with a phone in my hand. I couldn’t hear you at all if I had the handset in my shifter hand or steering either. It cut conversations short. When I got a hand held, after there was a bit of coverage, it worked half-ass until they went digital and then it all went to hell again. Neither mine nor my wife’s cell phone works where we live, go figure. My renter stopped by this afternoon and said they’d be hunting by the house at the tank. He tried to call me several times on my cell. I picked it up, nada. Worthless POS it is. When I was roofing though I had two, two to drive me twice crazy. I do take the occasional pic with mine but don’t do videos, don’t have text options or anything else. Most of my pics are dogs, cats or fields of flowers or some neat piece of equipment I see. I used to get texts from people but complained about the costs to me so now I don’t, good deal. If I have something important to impart to you, I’ll do it face to face anyway since I don’t care to share it with the rest of the world.

        • Yeah, I got my first one when I was about 50. In my business, I can’t do without one. The change to digital fucked everything up. If I could do what I do from an office or storefront, I wouldn’t need the damn thing and would probably be much happier.

          • Ed, and then there’s the new phone crap, always need a new one although most of mine have been 4-5 years old when I replace them and generally do so to change carriers. I had a Razor I’d dropped a million times, just too thin for my fingers but a damned good phone. I replaced it because the back wouldn’t stay on, should have fixed it or something. I find this Samsung mil-spec phone, bright yellow, big clunker, supposedly real tough, run over it with your four wheeler, no problem. Well hell, I could probably have run over that Razor a million times too since it was titanium or something. That Samsung never had to endure crap, sat on the desk or in the cupholder it’s whole life. My wife and I are coming back from the doctor one day. I take it out of my shirt pocket, flipped it open and it breaks in half. I won’t repeat what I said. The wife just stared at it. I won’t repeat what she said either. I found that old Razor the other day and charged it to get the contacts I lost on that Samsung, didn’t realize I had a backup of them. I wished the carrier was still in business. I’d go back to them and use it. But none have operated like my first Motorola, a 3 watt phone that I kept plugged in to an antenna, analog phone and it would talk like a bag phone. Sure, they did away with analog service, worked too well.

          • Yeah, Dupont issued my wife a bag phone, late 80s /early 90s. Back then my brother had a car phone and the bill used to run about $1400.00 a month. He was the sales manager for a millwork company and was on the road and on the phone all the time.

            They are cheaper now, and as long as I have to use one I will. Monday I was going from one customer to the next, call after call. I could never do that with a landline from home, so it looks like that’s the way it’s gonna be for awhile.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here