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February 25, 2005


Having spent this past week in various phases of air travel, I am wondering if it would be possible to require cell-phone manufacturers to put some kind of decibel governor on cell phones, so that if a person talked too loud into the phone, the phone would stop working. Or, better yet, explode. Is this too much to ask?

Update: Ted Habte-Gazomba recommends that I get this, which might solve the problem. On the other hand, it might cause some people to shout into their phones even louder.


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Good Morning Dave,
Up early again, I see. Metamucil time?
Oh, Yeah, exploding cell phones based on decibel level is an outstanding Idea.

Well, I don't know about exploding phones, but people don't like it if you stand near them and take notes.

Either that or just stand near them and talk into your sleeve ever so often. This works best with long sleeves. If you have short sleeves, it looks like you're checking your deodorant every 30 seconds....which, come to think of it might make them move away from you too....

The louder you talk the better your signal is. Its a proven fact.

What you don't realize is that imaginary friends are notoriously hard of hearing. Many of these people you see shouting into their cell phones like some sort of deranged lunatic are in fact.... deranged lunatics. Years ago, you would have seen them, talking loudly into the air, and would have veered to the extreme opposite end of whatever space you happen to be co-occupying, for fear that they might become violent.

Now, someone has kindly given each of these people a prop cell phone, so instead of being discomfitted by their talking, we merely think they're rude and/or have really poor service.

A better plan, of course, would have been to pair them up, so they appeared to simply be having an argument.


Since I am opposed to violence, I must recant my earlier post. However, I am requesting that I still retain "First" among equals on this particular thread.
Perhaps a better solution would be a device that when the decibel level reached a predetermined limit, a Barry Manilow earwig of a song (Mandy?)would begin playing. I think this would give pause to the most virulent of the loud talkers.
If this failed, the miscreant could perhaps be arrested and sentenced to attend all of Cher's
final tours until they finally cease.

Why get upset? This is reality telephone.
I recently sat behind a young lady on a bus in London - absolutely rivetted - as she described intimate details of her sex-life and recent break-up with her boyfriend. It made daytime soap look The Brady Bunch. I now know more about her sexual peccadilloes than I do my wife's. As she was South-African, I learned useful new words (I do not know what a 'Kloetzak' is, but I suggest you don't try it on burly Afrikaners). Anyway, should you not be entertained, just sigh, get up out of your chair, grab the "remote" out of the jerk's hand, and tell the person on the other end you're changing the channel, because their reality telephone session is just too boring.


I previously posted the solution to this problem on a previously threaded thread of this problem.

Simply pick up a silly object (if on the plane, let's say your shoe) and begin loudly mimicking them, only, for every word they say, you substitue "BLAH"

So, you stand rignt next to them, trying to mimic their facial expressions and body movements, yelling "Blah? BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!" into your shoe.

If nothing else, the world will be a better place.

Considering recent past events, I wouldn't recommend removing your shoes on an airplane. Your seat mates might get nervous. And you will end up on "The Nightly News".

I think my mind is forever frozen in sophomoric behavior. The obvious answer:

A straw, a piece of paper and your own spit.

Spit wads aimed at this person from behind your book, magazine, or blatently out in the open if you must. It's effective and funny too. And if you're really proficient, the straw isn't necessary.

What's so silly about a shoe phone?

I was in studio I work at and there were a few people were being greeted and told where they were going and what they would be doing by an intern. Quietly chatting and smiling politely.

All of a sudden, this idiot who works there got a call and began to speak at a decibel usually reserved for rock crushing machines. The people trying to hear the intern were thrown off as was the intern who knew better than approach this dork.

I saw this and being an a**h**e or superhero - depends on who you talk to - I walked over to the screaming guy, stood next to his empty head, oh, sorry, I mean ear, and screamed,

"Yeah! What happened next? Really? And then what?"

After giving me 'The Glare Of Death' he got the hint and went into his office. All of four steps away.

That is why I think if the sound level reaches dramatic proportions electric shocks to the offenders ear would work.

We already have the solution: Trigger Happy TV has a guy going around quiet places screaming into a giant toy cell phone. Unfortunately, the show's in Britain, so we need an American counterpart to cover our churches, movie theaters, and airports.

I believe this is a geezer disorder

Oh, Dave, don't be so modest. You've already provided part of the solution. (Does that sound too much like Glinda?) When decibels exceed community proximity comfort levels, the cellphone company should query the database to retrieve the user's name and a recording should blast into their receiver,




Why can't I say something witty for once? Why must you always beat me to it?

*accepts defeat and goes back to being productive*

I agree with the exploding phone idea. Unfortunately, my husband's phone might just be one to blow up (he is getting better, though, and he doesn't use it in airplanes).

OT - just read the snake in the toilet thing ...omg!!!!!! This is, believe it or not, one of my great fears. I ALWAYS turn the light on and check before I "sit". Now I know it's not an irrational fear...thank you SO MUCH, Dave!!

I agree with the exploding phone idea. Unfortunately, my husband's phone might just be one to blow up (he is getting better, though, and he doesn't use it in airplanes).

OT - just read the snake in the toilet thing ...omg!!!!!! This is, believe it or not, one of my great fears. I ALWAYS turn the light on and check before I "sit". Now I know it's not an irrational fear...thank you SO MUCH, Dave!!

I agree with the exploding phone idea. Unfortunately, my husband's might just be one to blow up (he is getting better, though, and he doesn't use it in airplanes).

OT - just read the snake in the toilet thing ...omg!!!!!! This is, believe it or not, one of my great fears. I ALWAYS turn the light on and check before I "sit". Now I know it's not an irrational fear...thank you SO MUCH, Dave!!

those multiple posts were NOT caused by me...the website blew-up on me!!! mea culpa!!!

okay...the website kept blowing-up on me...mea culpa for the multiple posts!

Melissa was awarded a triple due to server interference on that play.

Here's a good Latin phrase for this thread: Carpe carcerphone!

what is that motw, seize the car phone?

Okay, I had a *really* good idea... and I mean *REALLY* good. So good, in fact, that I think it extended to nearly every area of annoyance that we've ever been made to suffer. Unfortunately my shoe came untied, and by the time I tied it again, I forgot what I was going to say. I think it involved alcohol, though.

Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun (oh I hate that I read that article about white supremacists and the music they like)

i like exploding cell phones, and i like c'bols idea too, in fact, the same thing dawned on me, so boohoo, he beat me too it. never mind. how about citizen's arrests when the cellheads get too loud, but kinda doing it like barney fife would, real loud, calling them all 'fella'.. make it embarrasing. OR, asking them to repeat what they just said, esp if it is salacious or nasty .. . is there any way they COULD be embarrased?

"Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!"

It's so simple. Grow some balls, and announce from close proximity to the offender, "YOU'RE SPEAKING VERY LOUDLY."

Nah, I figured that was Melissa's subtle way of duplicating the high volume speaking of people on cell phones.

Well done, Melissa. Subtle and funny!


thank u wench, I will "look up it up"

ego amo te, wench


Dave, here are several models of cell phone jammers that not only won't set you back as much, but are more effective and are sure not to result in the offender speaking even louder, or at all, for that matter.


May be difficult getting those thru airport security.

May be difficult getting those thru airport security.

Christobol, you should have headed that the

Just the names of some of those mean business:
• Silverline 24oz Dead Blow Hammer that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!
• Silverline 4lb Lump Hammer Hickory
• Silverline 8oz Fibre Shaft Warrington Ham for the gentlemen
• Silverline 3piece Hammer Set – Claw/Pein/Lump oooh! an assortment!
• Silverline 20oz Scutch Hammer gets rid of pesky scutches

Do you need a caddy for those, C-bol?

Here's a simple trick that does not require batteries or hauling your toolbox on the plane:

Always carry a magazine or newspaper with you when travelling. Most of us do anyways.
When the need arises, simply roll it up in the shape of a cone, put it at ear level and aim it towards Mr Decibel. Squinting is optional, but adds greatly to the effect.
Whether he sees you or not doesn't matter: the other passengers will start cracking up, roll on the floor, point at him and he'll shut up in no time.
Meanwhile you're already back to reading your favorite cartoon.

Nothing beats the Binford™ 3200 Series 20 lb. Sledge.

I noticed the effective range was listed as 0 - 15 meters. Would you want one that has a more effective minimum range? I mean if you have to go hold the device up to the offender's cell phone, that pretty much will do away with any anonymity

Thanks, Marvin! :)

I don't know, vannchan... 50 feet away sounds like a pretty discreet distance to me.

Ted, I think you can get it past security, if you explain why you're carrying it.

But, in the event you run into one of those bastards who won't listen to reason, you may have to fall back on "plan B".

As everyone knows, "plan B" is where, just as loud-cell-phone-talker-dude opens his mouth to shout another idiotic word, you shove a live gerbil into his mouth.

A lot of airport stores now carry packets of live gerbils (10 count) in case you forgot yours.

C-bol - are those airport gerbils Kosher?

Blogfly, vannchan was talking about the MINIMUM effective distance.

this theoretically isn't too difficult..

if decibels >= too_loud,
then shut_phone_off;

there's already something to shut the phone off.. and i'm pretty sure cell phones are able to measure decibels..

Lab... dude! 0-15 meters = 0-50 feet...

If some schloke is so loud that you can hear him more than 15 meters away, then an electronic jammer is not the solution and you need to move directly to C'bol's suggestion... and C'bol - you did mean for that to be used on the offender and not the cellphone, didn't you?

Personally, I prefer the original suggestion by our esteemed leader... let's blow 5h1t up!!!

YEA!!! I did it. Now I can work on bolds and italics... I'm so excited! I feel like one of the cool kids now. (I know I'm not, but I can pretend for a little while, right?)

* hands Jenny_ftH a dozen virtual roses *
You go, girl! djtonyb has educated another bloglit. *clink* A toast to Jenny!

*sighs* Somedays, it's really good to be a reference wench. (and friendly, too!)

The solution is simple: Earplugs.

If they are aimed correctly, they will lodge in the offenders throat making speech temporarily impossible.

Repeat as necessary.

Jenny - congrats - I learned bold and italics really easily and it took me 3 months to learn to do links!

You can do it, girlfriend!

I meant to add that I screwed up bold and italics a lot at first, but compared to links it was a walk in the park (talking loudly on a cell phone, of course! :)

The public would never let an invention like that be inserted into cell phones...They would say it's a restraint of the freedom of speech. People get so defensive about their cell phones!

I'd like to thank everyone who made this moment possible for me... *wipes away a tear*

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I need to use my cell phone to tell everyone, very loudly, about this.

No, Eleanor, put down that sock full of nickels. Jenny's new. I'm sure she didn't mean it!

I didn't mean to offend anyone. I'm just a long time blurker trying to get into the crowd.

*goes to hide in another thread*

Nah, I figured that was Melissa's subtle way of duplicating the high volume speaking of people on cell phones.

Well done, Melissa. Subtle and funny!


how DO you do bold and italics?? i'm so glad you brought that up because i've been wondering and feeling totally elementary here on this blog? will someone PLEASE help me??

marvin, you are marvelous!! thank you for rescueing me!!!

*looks adoringly at blog hero, marvin*

Tap them on the shoulder and say " Excuse me but I am hard of hearing could you speak a little louder please I'm having trouble following the conversation."

*grabs Jenny from the Hub and pulls her into a corner*

*hits her very lightly on head with a sockful of nickels - toddler size sock with only 4 nickels in it*

JFTH - you have now been initiated and you are


MOTW - anything else we need to do????

Can you hit me with a sock full of nickels? I don't want to be cool... I just like it rough.


What if we converted all those little trailers with speedometers that show your speed, photograph your car, and write you a ticket to be sent in the mail in suburban neighborhoods (crap, this is a run-on sentence and I don't know how to fix it, but you all get the point)... into portable decibel (or bel) meters that can show the cell phone screamer how loud he is.

Thanks, Elenor. That makes me feel sooooo much better. :)

*Does a little happy dance using sock full of nickels as a tambourine*

Jenny from the Hub = Hymen job, then fur.

If that's not an initiation rite, I don't know what is.

Frankly. Or not.

LOL... Well, if I'm gonna be anagrammed, I'm glad it came down to that!

Thanks for brightening up my endless Friday afternoon at work.

HubJenny - good job ... as El said, it also took me quite a while to figger out those tricks (not Trix) ...

I thot the most interesting fact about the link site was that the jammer is out of stock, even at those rather high prices ...

Popular item, nicht wahr?

Birdman, "kloetzak" is Dutch for a guy's "family jewels". I'm assuming the words that came before it were "kicked him in the..."

Jenny from the Hub: just got home, so LTTG but let me add my congratulations too. And you were always one of the cool kids to me!

this is a test
hope i dont make a fool of myself in front of everyone!

Actually this is a hardware design problem, traditional bell co phones feed a small volume of the signal from the mike (your voice) back into your earpiece (there is a technical phrase for this-sidetone) this causes you to have some sence of how loud you are and you automaticly adjust your voice level accordingly. The loud voices you hear are caused by the same cognitive mechaism that makes people who sing along with songs they are hearing with headphones sing so amusingly loud. Why cell phones don't provide sidetone is beyond me.

I'm an aging Phd candidate in computer science and cognitive science.

Porgy TIrebiter
More Science High class of '94

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