Put those callers on hold 

At last -- a technological device we truly need!

Leave it to the Japanese to find a way for us to combat the intrusiveness of modern technological gadgetry ... with another gadget. In this case, the technological Darth Vader that we're combating are those clamorous, infuriating cell phones. No matter where you are -- in a coffee shop, at the theater, even in church for God's sake! -- there's likely to be some yo-yo yacking into a cell phone as loud as can be, acting super important and generally being a full-fledged public pest.

So you sit there stewing, trying your best to ignore the noise, even while your mind involuntarily plots various brutally painful ways to murder the S.O.B. But wait, say Japanese entrepreneurs, we've got a better way for you to stifle the technological terrorism of cell phones: a jamming device.

According to an AP story out of Tokyo, you can get a short-range jammer there that renders these rude phones mute. No calls can come in, none can go out -- it effectively turns the blankety-blank cell phone off.

The standard jammer only has a radius of about 20 feet, but that's enough to shut-down any cell-phoner who's yammering away in a restaurant or who takes a call in a movie theater. At $480 each, the devices are pretty pricey, but just imagine the sheer joy of jamming some jerk in mid-sentence -- that's gotta give you a priceless thrill!

Of course, where there's progress ... there's a bureaucracy trying to squash it. Japan's ministry of communications, probably carrying water for the cell-phone makers, has ruled that the jammers can be used only in theaters or concert halls, claiming that "malicious use of jammers could threaten the integrity of the phone system." Hey, what about the malicious use of cell phones?

They'll get my jammer when they pry my cold, dead fingers from around it.

Speaking of Jim Hightower

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