516 The Question Is.... Cell phones


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

Just three weeks into his nice new job, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made a comment that lit up the phones in DC. He called the no-cell-phone-use-on-aircraft regulation an "outdated and restrictive rule" and made it clear he intended to remove it.

My! My!

Didn't his line light up!

Just a day later, Wheeler proved that he had come equipped with the DC double-shuffle when he said he, himself, of course, and obviously, and beyond a doubt wasn't in favor of cell phone use on planes.

Uh-huh. I believe you, Tom.

He said that changing the 22 year long ban on cell phones “will be only a technical advisory.”

Then he proved that he has also mastered the DC pass-the-buck test by adding that the decision to allow calls will ultimately rest with the airlines.

However, people are not happy with that. They want what they want, and by Friday afternoon a petition opposing the FCC’s move posted on the White House website attracted nearly 1,250 signatures and was fast growing.

One frequent flyer said, "Forcing [passengers] to listen to the inane, loud, private, personal conversations of a stranger is perhaps the worst idea the FCC has come up with to date ... I think the administration needs to nip this in the bud.”

The Question Is....

What will President Obama do with this hot potato?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

Suppose I tied you to the cash register at Walmart for six or eight hours and made you listen to all the inane cell phone conversations of the people going through the line.

Then multiply the two or three people in the checkout line by a hundred, sit them down, give them six or eight hours with absolutely nothing to do but call everyone they know, and give each one of them a cell phone, particularly the three in your row and the six in the rows ahead of you or behind you.

Which would you rather do?

Listen to that? Or open the cabin door and leap out?


Pat Randall 3 years, 1 month ago

Tom, Cell phones should be for emergency only. 911 I have been in line at Walmart and the cashier try to tell the person ahead of me how much they owe and the response they get is "can't you see I am on the phone"? I would open the door and leap. The airlines should have a container by the door with a big sign that says all cell phones to be tossed in the box. And a big guard with a gun standing there.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

I've had that happen to me in line too.

And I've had to stand there and listen to some of the dumbest conversations I ever heard in my life. A cell phone is a great thing. It let's people stay in touch when they are out of the house. And, of course, it's great in an emergency. For example, just a few years ago if you came across some kind of horrendous accident on the highway there was no way to report it; you had to wait for a police vehicle to come along with a radio.

But there is absolutely no need to walk around shopping and talk to someone about some trivial, unimportant nonsense. Focus on what you are doing. Get out of the way of the rest of the other people. If you get an important call, fine; but the nonsense I hear all the time is the kind of thing most people wouldn't talk about if they were face to face.

About a month ago I was in Safeway and some woman was standing in a narrow aisle, blocking one half of it with her body and the other hand with her cart. There were people stopped on either side of her. Finally, a tall woman who was about the fourth in the line of stopped people on the other side from the one I was on came walking down the aisle, grabbed the cart, rolled it all the way down to the end of the aisle, came back, grabbed the cell phone, put it up on the top shelf, got her cart and walked past the idiot staring her right in the face as much as if to say, "Go ahead! Say something!"

As for planes? If cell phones were allowed I wouldn't fly. End of statement.

I think cell phones are a great thing, but It's a simple matter of courtesy. Each of us has a responsibility to try to get along with the rest of the world.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 1 month ago

Ok, I'm going to jump into this conversation and offer the other side of the discussion. Although, I will first say that I agree completely with the comments about cell phones on planes. That would be an absolutely unbearable situation; jammed into a long metal tube with a couple hundred other people, all packed in like sardines, each having a different conversation...yikes!!!

I will say up front that I am one of those who is on my cell phone, a lot! I volunteer with a couple of different organizations and in several different capacities. I am on the road, in meetings, at different events and offices for much of my day. Add to my schedule the fact that my husband's office is in Phoenix, plus he travels extensively for his job; and our cell phones enable us to stay in touch regardless where each of us may be. If I am in a grocery store or other public place, and a call comes in, I either put my earphone in and talk that way, or I find an out of the way place where I can park my grocery cart and have my conversation. I do not block aisles or get in the way of others. If I come across someone who is blocking an aisle or access to something and they are on their phone, I either move their basket out of my way, or I say loudly, excuse me.

Had I been the woman in Safeway that Tom mentioned (although that wouldn't have been me as I would NOT block an aisle) and some person actually touched me and took possession of my cell phone, that person would be facing charges of assault, as well as theft. NOBODY, for ANY reason has the right to put hands on another, nor to take their personal property!! Move the shopping cart, loudly say excuse me, a very pointed dirty look,,,all are fair game. Putting ones hands on another person or their property is way out of line!!

I recognize that my stance will not be a popular one on here, and also I am certain I will get criticized and/or chastised for my comments. However, something that I have learned as I have gotten older, is that NONE of us knows what path another is walking, or what troubles they are dealing with. That woman in Safeway may have gotten a call that a loved one had died or she was getting bad results of a medical test or some such bad news. She may have been stunned and in shock, not realizing that she was impacting many others. On the other hand, she may have just been being a rude, insensitive, selfish wench without a care for anybody else, but, why not give the benefit of the doubt and pray that there will be as much compassion and kindness for you should you ever be in a position to need it?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

No, Kim. Your stance isn't unpopular. Your first two paragraphs outlined the exact reasons why people can, and do, own cell phones, and the exact way someone with common sense uses one. Of course, if a call comes in, and it's important enough to bother with, you answer it. What else is the phone for?

As for the woman in Safeway, she was just rude and thoughtless — just one of those we could do without, but I agree with being as thoughtful to others as is humanly possible. I spend most of my times in stores smiling and telling people "Oh, that's okay."

The real problem with stores is that they have narrowed aisles down too much, they put too many useless displays in the way and they play their little mind-games, thinking we are so stupid we don't know what they're doing. I've given that some thought and decided that the store which will eventually take out WalMart will be one that advertises:







That's the place that will get my shopping bucks!


Kim Chittick 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh Tom!!! You hit the nail on the head!!!

A nephew of mine who is in management at a Walmart in Arkansas told us that Walmart policy is to rearrange the entire store and all departments every 4 years or so. This is because once people know where the items that they typically buy are located, they go right to them and don't do a lot of "browsing". Studies have proven that sales typically increase dramatically in the months following a "reset".

One of my pet peeves is stores stocking in the middle of the day when the store is most crowded. What in the world do they have a night crew for if not to get the stocking done during the middle of the night when few, if any, customers are trying to shop?

Back to the cell phone subject, I try very hard not to impact others while I am taking a call. That is just common decency. When I am with others, unless I am specifically expecting a call, then the only calls that I will take are from my husband or my kids; who know that when I say I am with someone to let me know their call is not important and I can call back.

Years ago when cell phones first came out, I had one as I traveled quite frequently on business. One day while in a meeting, my cell rang, I could see that it was my Mom, so I didn't answer, figuring she was just being "mom" and wanting to touch base. She called 2-3 more times, so I finally excused myself from the meeting and took the call. She was calling to let me know that one of the foster babies they had, had died from crib-death syndrome. Mom was quite upset and I have never forgotten that.


John Lemon 3 years, 1 month ago

Tom, What did we do when we did not have cell phones? Somehow we got by. I agree that using them on an aircraft would be disastrous (unless an emergency). One of the things that makes travel by air tolerable is the low noise factor. People with good manners (such as Kim) control when and where they use a cell phone and generally are very conscious of not irritating others. All of the other folks generally are boors and there seems to be a lot more of them because we can't isolate ourselves from them.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 1 month ago

Like John , in spite of the acknowledged conveniences of modern electronic technology. I long for the simpler, more hospitable environment that we once enjoyed. What have we wrought? I simply see it only getting worse. Who can ever put the "genie back in the bottle"?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

John, both you and Kim said it just right. I couldn't add a word to what you two said. I'd just be repeating good common sense.

I'm sorry to hear about that phone call, Kim. We sometimes do things in all innocence that we regret. It's the nature of life that we aren't perfect. Frankly, as Ron is implying in what he says, I like that imperfection. It's what makes us human. I can set my computer to do tasks and watch it do them perfectly — until a moment of choice arrives.

Then it looks like some of the court cases I've seen.

Ron, it may possibly happen some day that the genie will get stuffed back in that bottle. Our trouble at the moment is that we have so overpopulated the planet that we have lost what we had just a few hundred years ago, and in some places even a couple of thousand years ago. Look at history. There have been times when humans had time to sit and think about what is important in life. Do you see anyone doing that now?

But that age could return again after the Great Catastrophe, the Mass Dying which is inevitably coming because we are failing to address the greatest pollutant of all — us. After natural forces have wiped out enough of us — aided by wars for what little remains — perhaps we will finally sit down and begin to think about what's important.

As long as there are a few libraries left, all it will take is a glance at some great books, and some great lives, which are now largely ignored by governments.

It isn't what works that is important; it's what's right.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 1 month ago


" it's what's right." . One aspect of our problems today is that there is no longer any absolute "right". it's do your own thing if it works for you. Everything is "relative".

".... humans had time to sit and think about what is important in life." I think Plato and Aristotle would agree that such an undertaking is very worthwhile and rewarding. Today it seems that the only one's who have the time or inclination towards such are old retired folks who are no longer pursuing "stuff". And those in the rat race see us as old, has been fogies that should simply die and get out of their way They lend very little credence to the wisdom we have acquired through our lives and through experience and paying attention to past history. Seems every generation has to learn the lessons for themselves..............the hard way!


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

Could be, Ron, could be.

From what I see in history, people follow the ways of their leaders. If we have leaders who are immoral get-all-you-can types then we will have people who are the same. Basically, what people think must be something like this: "Well, if everyone is doing it, it must be all right." And the "everyone" they look at are those in the public eye.

And who's in the public eye? It sure as hey isn't the people I saw when I saw when I was a kid. Back then it seemed that every film made was a small morality play. But today? All that hype? All that false crap? All the leaping over tall buildings? What does that teach? It either teaches immorality or it teaches utter nonsense, pap for those who either can't or won't learn.

Recently, I have taken to reading things written in the past because nothing written today echoes in my soul. Right now I'm reading a century old book called "Letters From My Home In India," the story of a woman who spent most of her adult life as a missionary in India told in the letters she sent home from time to time, often only once a year. Such simple, honest, heart-warming words. Such a thirst for doing good. Surely there must still be people on this earth like her.

Just coincidentally, I am also reading another book written in India, "Man-Eaters of Kumaon," written by Jim Corbett, who spent many years of his life hunting down man-eating tigers between 1900 and 1930 to help protect villagers who were helpless to protect themselves. In essence, he gave up a large part of his life doing good. The odd thing is that he both loved and respected tigers, and all animals. He just did it because it was the "right thing to do." Never made a nickel out of it. Even the profits from his books went to charity.

There are hundreds of books out there like that. I just recently read Albert Schweitzer's "On the Edge of the Primeval Forest," where he tells in the humblest possible terms about his days as a doctor in Africa. Why was he there? To do good?


Most people do not know this, but there are hundreds of thousands of free books free online on sites that DO NOT ADVERTISE! They are dedicated to making your life better.

Care to take a minute to read about how to get them? Read the next post.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

There are hundreds of thousands of free e-books you can download and read. I don't care what interests you, they're there. You don't need anything special to read them. You can download an e-reader from Adobe which will work on your computer and turn it into a virtual library.

Here are some links for you:

First, a look at the current 100 most popular downloads on one of the sites. You could just click on any of these books and own it in three or four seconds, but don't do it until you read a little more of what I have to say. It will make it easier for you.


Here's the home page for the Gutenberg Project. Just type anything that interests you — a book title, author, or subject — in the "search book catalog" box and then click a book you want and download it (but wait till you get to the part where I tell you how to get a free e-reader). Or click on "Book Categories" and go to the hundreds of lists of books by subject area (the lists are called "bookshelves"). You can find books there on literally any subject you can think of — all free. If you like, you can often get taped books, so you can just listen to them, and with a good e-reader you can make the text very large if you prefer reading without glasses.


Here's the page for a place called The Archive. It is dedicated to saving everything that used to just be lost. You can get anything from books, to music, to videos, to I-do-not-know-what — at least a million items. The link I am putting up will take you to the easiest place to start. It will have Albert Schweitzer's book showing. You'll see that you can click on "Read Online" and go read the book right there and then. Or you can click on the format you want. EPUB is the best; it's the same format used by public libraries if you borrow an e-book, and it will run on the Barnes and Noble e-reader called the Nook, or any good computer e-reader. I'll show you where to get a beautiful — free — e-reader in a minute. If you were to click on EPUB or Kindle, or whatnot, on this page it would download a copy of the whole book on your machine in that format in less time than it took me to type three of these words. To find other books, type the title, author, or subject in the Search box, but be VERY careful to select "texts" in the pop-up menu next to it before you click on the little magnifying glass search button. Otherwise you'll get all kinds of things. Here's the link:


Here's where to get the best e-reader made, Adobe Digital Editions:

Free, of course.


Just go down to "Getting Started" and its all yours. It comes with its own book of instructions which automatically becomes your very first book, so you read the instructions in the e-reader itself. At the moment I have over 350 books in my Adobe Digital Editions.

Good reading!


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

If anyone decides to try all this and needs some help, just ask.


Pat Randall 3 years, 1 month ago

Back to Walmart. All stores rearrange their goods every few years for the same reason Walmart does. People know what they want and if it is kept in the same place forever that is all they buy. If things are moved around and you have to look for what you want you will find something else to buy along with what you came in for.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

"If things are moved around and you have to look for what you want you will find something else to buy along with what you came in for."

That's the theory. The truth is that with three major supermarkets in town it's easier to just switch to the one which leaves things alone. Back when Lolly and I used to shop together we had gotten in the habit of going to Walmart. That way Lolly could take a few extra minutes each week to browse around the clothing department; it was fun. But after Lolly could no longer go to town I would respond to WalMart moving things around in quite a different way; I would stop in at Bashas or Safeway for anything I couldn't find — and I got in the habit of stopping there FIRST.

The end result is that I now spend somewhere between one quarter and one half as much at WalMart as I used to. Once I got used to buying something at Safeway I just continued doing it. And in some cases I noticed that some other product was cheaper, or of better quality, and in a more convenient size, so I switch that over to Safeway too. Each couple of weeks the list of things I get there grows a little longer. One of these days things will flip and I'll be spending most of my shopping money at Safeway, and WalMart will have step-by-step chased away a faithful customer.

Besides, the psychology is all wrong. People are not stupid; they know what's going on and it makes them mad as hell. What sense does it make to get your customers mad at you?


Pat Randall 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't shop at Basha's or Safeway unless I can't find it at Walmart. I am not signing up for their stupid cards. And I won't pay the high dollar for purchases without them. When I have to pay 50 cents a pound or more for something because I don't have a card, forget it . Or $2.00 a can for coffee. And those two stores also change their products around just like Walmart. You just haven't noticed.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

I won't argue with you, Pat, except to say this: In WalMart the changes are constant, obvious, and irritating — mainly because their purpose is so transparent. And yes, I have seen other stores rearrange their shelves. Since I have been here, however, Safeway has done it just once. It was an entire store change, not the constant niggling changes that drive people up a wall, like pulling the standard product off the shelf when introducing a store brand substitute. I am a firm believer in competition, and I enjoy a bargain just like anyone else, but I WILL NOT be manipulated, and that's that!


Tom Garrett 3 years, 1 month ago

Ah, yes. How true!

Would you believe that in 53 years we never once had an argument? Not even once.

I remember our first few months together. Lolly was pregnant. She smoked Pall Malls and I smoked Winstons — 4 packs a day.

I came home one day and she was holding her stomach. "Can't smoke," she said. "Turns my stomach."

Just like that, after smoking since 1947 I gave up smoking (it was 1960).

Came home about a month or so after David was born and there's Lolly smoking an old dried out Pall Mall. "Well," she said, "I didn't say forever." :-)

I quit again in 1965, smoked a pipe for a while. Then she gave up smoking an so did I.

From my hero, "A man's gotta know his limitations."


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