Cell Phones Must Fry Brain Cells

Hot dog

No! Do not try to dry Fido in the microwave, either!
(Image from BadMovies.org)

I don’t make many off-topic posts, because there are too many personal blogs out there. My life is even less interesting than yours, so I’m not going to inflict that on you. However, there is one thing about me that you’ve probably already detected, and you read this blog either despite or because of it. That trait you’ve no doubt discerned is this: I hate stupid people.

I don’t mean those unfortunate folks who have a low IQ through some accident of genetics or environment. What I can’t stand are the intentionally stupid! You know the type. The intentionally stupid are the folks who have, by all outside indications, completely normal brain function, yet they choose to be idiots! They refuse to think! They refuse to use an ounce of logic or apply any critical thinking to most life situations.

One manner in which this inability to think manifests itself is through the adherence to primitive superstitions that violate all known facts. That’s why I do this blog. Fundamentalists drive me nuts.

So when I choose to write the occasional off-topic post, I hope you’ll bear with me. Or just treat it like it’s a Meg episode and change the channel. There will be a better Family Guy on next week.

So here is my Meg episode.


Cell phones are like fundies. I have absolutely no use for them, and they annoy the hell out of me.

I had a cell phone once. Everybody else was getting them, so I thought it might be nice to have one. What I overlooked was the fact that there was no reason in the world that I might actually need it. I guess I figured it was like the internet. You don’t realize that you need it until you get it, then you can’t imagine how you ever got along without it.

Well, it doesn’t work that way. At least it didn’t for me. I hardly ever used it. I was paying $30/month for the “convenience” of making at most one call a month. The deal breaker, though, is that I couldn’t get a signal at home. I live on the side of a hill, so I’m in some sort of weird cell phone shadow.

I ultimately got rid of the useless thing. I was happy to live my life like this, unburdened by the yoke strapped around the neck of the rest of you.

Cell phone

Woman with cell phone

The only problem is that my car broke down recently. Of course it chose to do this in the rain. While I was on my way to work. When I was already running late.

So I wandered around in the rain for 20 minutes and came to this distressing revelation: They removed all the pay phones! All of them! They’re gone!

After that incident, I decided I could tolerate getting a cell phone again just for things like car trouble. They have pay-as-you-go plans now, so it wouldn’t be quite as expensive.

That’s how I ended up with a new cell phone. I actually bought the thing a month and a half ago, and it has been sitting unopened on a shelf ever since. I finally decided that I’d better activate the bugger this weekend, so I can actually have it with me when I need it.

While trying to figure out how the thing works, I ended up reading the manual. That’s when I saw the “Use and Care” page. You know the drill: Don’t get it wet, don’t let it get too hot or cold, and this:

Don't microwave your cell phone.

Why did they feel the need to include this? Is there an epidemic of people giving their phones baths and then sticking them in the microwave to dry like they’re an apocryphal poodle?

There were only six little “don’t” symbols on that page, and the designers felt it was important enough for one of those cautions to be “Don’t microwave the frickin’ phone!” Who the hell thinks sticking electronic devices in the microwave is a good idea?

I’m taking names here! I want to know who these retards are that Motorola is trying to protect with this notice. These people should not be allowed out of the house without a leash. I certainly don’t want them in my town or on my school board or in the voting booth!

Another Puzzle

I also have one more mystery I’m trying to figure out. This phone isn’t terribly well designed. Among its peculiar features are some truly cryptic icons. Take this, for example:

You're screwed!

What the hell is that supposed to be a picture of? The only thing it looks like to me is a screw. That second picture looks like the side of the screw and also the overhead view. I guess they’re saying “You’ve got no signal! You’re screwed!”

The Yoke’s on Me

My main reason for getting the phone was for emergencies. I wanted to recharge it on the weekend and then leave it in the car for the week. But the user manual says this about high temperatures: “Always take your mobile device with you when you leave your vehicle.”

That wasn’t part of the deal! If I had wanted a small thing that I had to carry with me everywhere I went and couldn’t leave in the car on a hot day for more than three hours, I would have gotten a baby.

24 Responses to “Cell Phones Must Fry Brain Cells”

  1. Lilith Says:

    I have a pay-as-you-go mobile phone that ends up costing me about $5 a month. I’m not much of a phone person, so I only use it so people can contact me fast if they really need to (I don’t bother with a landline at home and friends know I prefer email), or so I can call a cab if I’m stranded somewhere.

    As for the warning – it’s standard cover-your-arse stuff that all manufacturers, so litigious idiots can’t sue them. It’s the same reason that packages of peanuts contain warnings of “may contain traces of nuts” – I should bloody well hope so, that’s what I was paying for!

    BTW, I soooo didn’t need to see Meg getting stripped by her brother – ewwww!

  2. Joker Says:

    Some of the warnings are meant to be generics IE if leaving it out on the dashboard in Arizona heat would screw up the phone they have to provide that as a general thing to everyone everywhere. The microwave one is new on me, might be someone did it and tried to sue so they added that as a just in case measure.

  3. Robert Madewell Says:

    I don’t have one and never have. I just don’t know of anyone that needs to get a hold of me that bad.

  4. Jeff Eyges Says:

    These people should not be allowed out of the house without a leash.

    Ron (he said gently), you’ve just described the vast majority of the American public.

    (And I believe that little symbol is supposed to be an antenna. Why it’s upside down is beyond me; perhaps for people who don’t know which end is up?)

  5. Les Says:

    There’s a very good reason they put that warning in there as this YouTube video clearly demonstrates.

    But seriously, I had one back when I traveled a lot for my job and then gave it up after that was done due to lack of use. Went cell free for many years and then last year I picked a new one up for me and the wife when we moved into the new apartment as we decided to not get a land line and go cell-only instead. Still doesn’t use it enough to eat up all our monthly minutes, but the flexibility of having it with me all the time does come in handy.

  6. Jim Says:

    Yeah, there have been ass-clowns who, after being caught in the rain, decided to quick-dry their phones in the microwave. The warning (and your reaction) reminds me of Wonko the Sane from Douglas Adams’ “So Long, And Thanks for All the Fish,” who decided the rest of the world was obviously bonkers after discovering written instructions on how to use a toothpick.

    The signal strength indicator is, I believe, supposed to represent a cell phone tower and the international “no” sign.

    There are plenty of people who do really need cell phones; I’m a reporter, and about half of my job is done by cell phone while away from the office.

    And I still prefer a cell phone to a baby. Cell phones have volume controls, and they don’t make a mess if you squeeze ’em.

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    What throws me is that I can think of a lot of stupid things to do with a cell phone (e.g., don’t eat, don’t insert rectally, etc.), so why don’t they put warnings against all of those as well? Microwaving cell phones must be way more common than those others. Just how many idiots are out there?

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    Oh, and about that video. I love how there’s a dog howling in the distance at the end.

  9. Ron Britton Says:


    BTW, I soooo didn’t need to see Meg getting stripped by her brother – ewwww!

    Then maybe you’ll find this a little less disturbing:

    Meg and Bart

  10. 4ndyman Says:

    Ron – that symbol is a filter, signifying that the phone company is filtering money out of your pocket even though you can’t get a signal to place or receive a call.

    And if you think that’s bad, babies are known to get even worse cell phone reception.

  11. Ron Britton Says:


    And if you think that’s bad, babies are known to get even worse cell phone reception.

    Yes, but at least they’re making them smaller now. Here’s an early baby from the 1980s:

    First generation baby

  12. Thomas Says:

    Hell, I’m bothered by railings.

    Why to we have to fuck up the aesthetics of so many great old buildings by putting railings at the edge of everything. As if somehow, before modern litigation, people were just flying the hell off of every precipice around.

  13. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Believe it or not, Ron, the antenna symbol is pretty much a universal standard symbol. I’m as perplexed as you are why what looks like a funnel is the symbol for antenna signal strength, but it’s standard. Not really Motorola’s fault. The “screw” next to it is a little bit more obvious because it’s the universal symbol for “no.” Think Ghostbusters.

    Anyway, Ron, you are such a freaking luddite! What are you, 90!? 😉 Back in MY day when pay phones cost a quarter! What’s a pay phone, grandpa? lol

    You would absolutely hate my (currently) favorite hobby with a firey passion known only to fundies when thinking about The Ghey. I develop applications for my phone for fun! I’m actually a senior member on xda-developers.com (a windows mobile phone hacking site).

    However, I must admit, I hardly ever make calls on the damn thing. I primarily use it as a mobile computing device with internet access. I have the cheapest voice plan I can get with no texting, but unlimited internet. I listen to internet radio over the cell network when I commute or travel (3G networks are remarkably reliable internet connection sources), stream it via bluetooth to my car radio.

    I couldn’t live without my little phone!

  14. Ron Britton Says:


    So now you’re railing against railings?

    I think they’ve been a part of all buildings for quite a while. Cowboys are always being thrown through them in old westerns.

    When I visited China in 2001, I noticed that they didn’t seem too concerned whether they had them. There was a ship lock on the Yangtze with a stairway running up alongside it. Had to be at least 50 feet high, but no railing.

  15. Ron Britton Says:


    I am hardly a luddite. I had the original Apple Newton (Still have it, actually. My computer speaker is sitting on it.). I owned a TRS-80 Model 100 (The last product programmed by Bill Gates!). Those were both pioneering devices.

    I tried to buy an electric car in 1999, but the condo HOA was obstructionist.

    My Kindle DX arrives in a couple of weeks. Where’s your ebook reader, smartass?

    I have a bunch of other examples, but I can’t remember them all right now.

    It’s not an aversion to new stuff. The new stuff has to actually provide a better way of doing things, then I’m right there to snatch it up.

    BTW, pay phones used to be a dime.

  16. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I owned a TRS-80 Model 100 (The last product programmed by Bill Gates!).

    Bill Gates knows how to program (as opposed to, you know – buying other peoples’ work)?

  17. Parrotlover77 Says:

    My phone is my ebook reader. Snap!

  18. ericsan Says:

    Congrats on the DX! I love my Kindle 2 but the screen is too small for technical books. The DX, with its large screen and PDF support, seems perfect for that.

  19. Ron Britton Says:

    It had the features I was waiting for: A big screen and PDF support. (I have a lot of PDF ebooks.)

    That’s one of the points of this article. I don’t buy tech gadgets just because they’re cool. They have to justify their existence. If they solve a problem better than earlier attempts, then they are worthy of being in my presence.

  20. Jeff Eyges Says:

    They have to justify their existence. If they solve a problem better than earlier attempts, then they are worthy of being in my presence.

    Heh! You remind me of a certain supposedly omnipotent being…

  21. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I almost got my wife a DX because she’s constantly printing out her assignments at school and I thought it would be a great way to save paper. But after seeing the price, I think I’ll wait a bit before biting the bullet. Do let me know how you like it, Ron.

  22. Ron Britton Says:

    It’s definitely overpriced, especially considering how much profit is built into the ebook prices. I’m mostly going to use it to read my existing PDFs.

    Amazon says they shipped it last week, but the tracking number says it hasn’t gone out yet.

  23. Ron Britton Says:

    See? This is what I’m talking about! Who are these idiots who eat watches and microwave cell phones? And why are there so many of them that the manufacturer has to put it into the manual?

    Time to eat

  24. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I’d like to think that the increase in litigiousness and in immigration forces them to be more careful – but, of course, that would be wishful thinking.

    I think people really are getting dumber. It’s probably the Liberals’ fault…