The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I hate the telephone!

For a change, a posting about something more personal than the usual political and religious topics on this blog. But I needed to get this off my chest.

As the title says, I hate the telephone! And people always act weird when I tell them I don't have one, but, really, why should I pay tens of dollars a month for a service I hardly use? If I really need to make a phone call, I can go to a pay phone and make one for 50¢. Can you figure out how many of those 50¢ calls I could make for the cost of one month's service if I had a phone in my residence (much worse, if I had a {shudder!} cell phone? As you might imagine, I'll never own a cell phone. I used to say I'd never own one unless I had a job that required me to, but now I'm retired, so that exception isn't going to happen.)

Surprisingly, in the 1990s I actually had two phone lines in my apartment, but one was so I could access a dial-up account (and I didn't even have a phone on that line! Some few friends attempted to dial it, and it never got answered, because even if I weren't online, I would not hear a phone ring on that number!) The other line was at my wife's insistence; I so rarely used it that if it had just been up to me, I would not have had it.

Right now I'm no longer living with her, and my current landlord has a high-speed Internet connection installed, so I do not need a phone for either of these purposes.

The telephone is really the worst mode of communication that anyone has devised; it requires both participants' real-time presence. If I call someone and they're out, the best possibility is that it rings a few times and I hang up and call again sometime. Much worse is if they have an answering machine (or even a secretary) — If I'm at a place where there is a phone (say I was calling from my residence, and I still had one as in the 1990s), I could leave that number for a callback, but then I couldn't go out until the person calls back; I'd have to sit by the phone waiting for it to ring! Otherwise, as in my present situation, all I could do is say I would call again, but I'm still out the cost of a call, and with nothing to show for it!

The telephone is a 19th century invention, and I wish it would go away. People who insist on getting a phone number are my bane — even on the Internet there are sites where a phone number is obligatory, and I have to enter a bunch of digits like 000-000-0000 or 999-999-9999 (Heaven forbid I'd use someone's real number, so that's why I'd have to use one of those!) But then they sometimes check for a real area code, so I have to make it 301-999-9999, which usually goes by.

I have an e-mail address, so people can communicate with me that way. And anyone could send me a letter at my Post Office box. So it's not as if I'm unreachable.

Just this morning, I tried to contact my doctor. She had left a message on my wife's voice-mail to call her, which my wife relayed to me on the weekend, so I had to wait till today. When I called, the receptionist said she was with a patient and asked for a number to call me back, which of course I could not give her. She suggested I call back in an hour, but of course the doctor could well be with a patient again, so this could go on for days. Finally it was agreed that the receptionist would find out what it was all about and write it down, so if I called again and could not reach the doctor then, the receptionist could give me the information. But why couldn't they just use e-mail? The whole thing would have been completed by now!

Down with the telephone!

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