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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Speaking of ringtones (and not about other stuff)

I want so badly to write a rant this morning, but I'm going to show some restraint. 

I won't write about bloggers who are scrupulous about publishing information that jives with their worldview (e.g. acid throwing settlers or beach shelling armies)... but who feel no sense of obligation to subsequently provide updates, corrections, retractions or (G-d forbid) apologies when that information turns out to be flawed or, ahem, incorrect... even within the very narrow context in which they reported it.

No, I won't write about the dangers of bloggers acting just like 'real' journalists... except without the dual safeguards of securing bonafide sources and editorial oversight.   

I want so badly to write/rant about these things today that I can actually taste it, but I won't...

...other than to ask a rhetorical question:

'Am I the only frier (sucker) who posts apologies and retractions after rushing to judgment or having included inaccurate, extraneous or simply biased information in one of my posts'?'

AM I???

OK, I'm glad I decided not to write about that topic!

[See, I'm occasionally capable of exercising restraint]

Moving on...

I want to talk about cellular ring-tones today.

Leaving aside students and other non-working indigents who are unfettered by the yoke of convention, I have always assumed that most people have fairly sound criteria for selecting the ringtone for their cell phones... or more correctly for changing the ringtone from the default setting it came with right out of the box... to something else.

For instance, the most obvious (to me, anyway) reason for changing the default setting is that if everyone used the same ringtone it would be difficult to tell who's phone is ringing when in a crowded public place.

However, once the decision has been made to change it, the questions remains; change it to what?

It seems that some people like to select ring tones that they feel closely match their self-image (which shouldn't be confused with, say, who they really are).  This might explain the thousands of middle-aged hausfraus walking around with the theme to 'Sex and the City'  blaring naughtily from their cell phones.

Still others seem to select their ringtone based on how easy it is to discern in a noisy environment. This requires that the ringtone have a wide harmonic range (lots of both low and high frequencies to compete with what's going on around you), as well as a supplemental vibrate mode for noisy outdoor environments.

But no matter what the primary rationale for one's ringtone choice, I have to imagine that every gainfully employed person also takes into consideration how their ringtone will sound to their coworkers, supervisors and customers if their phone should happen to ring during an important meeting, right?

I mention this because, based on my limited observations, this last consideration doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone I know. 

Or perhaps people here simply haven't considered the potential loss of face at being in a large conference room full of high-level colleagues / executives and having 'The Mexican Hat Dance' suddenly come blasting from their pocket.

Of course, there's also the possibility that things like embarrassment/shame are not part of the Israeli emotional palette.  Being a transplanted 'Anglo', I still possess a modicum of shame so if this is the case I may not be able to answer these questions due to a lack of sufficient local cultural knowledge.

I bring this up for two reasons:

1. Nobody here seems the least bit embarrassed when some foolish song blasts from their pocket during a business meeting.


2. Where I would instantly snatch my ringing phone from my pocket and stab at the off button (thoroughly embarrassed at not having put my phone on 'silent' before the meeting), most Israelis I know will leisurely remove their phones from their pocket and stare intently at the incoming number on the screen for 10 - 15 excruciating seconds while everyone in the room waits patiently through three or four choruses of the theme song to 'Fame' while the culprit mulls over the difficult decision of whether or not to take the call.

Incidentally, it seems to be about a 50/50 split as to whether or not a typical Israeli will actually answer their cellphone during a meeting... and then even odds again as to whether they will carry on the conversation right there in the conference room or walk casually out of the room while loudly explaining to the caller why he/she has to make it short because there is an important meeting going on.


Every time I think I'm starting to become a teensy tiny bit Israeli, an issue like this pops up to remind me what a total gringo Anglo I am.

[Full disclosure:  My current ringtone is 'La Valse D'Amelie' from the film Amélie]


Posted by David Bogner on June 14, 2006 | Permalink


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I guess I'm not 'with it' enough to want to download music/ringtones for my phone. I like my phone to sound like a phone. And so far I haven't had any problems figuring out when it's MY phone ringing!

Posted by: val | Jun 14, 2006 1:42:20 PM

You've got to be very observant to think that much about this issue.
Now form what I've gathered, most people who go further than choosing one of the template ring tones that come with every phone, choose a song they like . A current hit, an oldie, a anthem etc…
In the case of teens, it's whatever is new and hot (quite expensive since that changes almost daily).

Posted by: Jacky | Jun 14, 2006 2:02:58 PM

I know what you mean about the apologies. I have several SHORT posts I want to whip up and upload, but feel that I can't do it until I sit down and write the LOOOOOOOOONG eating crow (and also feeding some) post I promised my readers.


Posted by: sarah | Jun 14, 2006 2:25:51 PM

I like your choice of ring tone! Yann Tiersen's music almost manages to make me feel like an elegant parisian sitting in a chic café somewhere in Paris... (a very nice feeling!)

Posted by: zemirah | Jun 14, 2006 2:58:05 PM

"It seems that some people like to select ring tones that they feel closely match their self-image (which shouldn't be confused with, say, who they really are). This might explain the thousands of middle-aged hausfraus walking around with the theme to 'Sex and the City' blaring naughtily from their cell phones."

It's hard to realize you are no longer in the Parsha. Remember on the inside of of those "middle aged hausfraus" beats the heart of the hotter, slimmer, hipper young woman.

Hmmmm....could I be projecting....Nahhh.

FYI- I use "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" that way I know it is my phone and Ride of the Valkaries for my hubby's ring.

Posted by: Marjorie | Jun 14, 2006 3:05:48 PM

I always try to post retractions or apologies when more info comes to light and the inittial story has been proven incorrect.

As far as ring tones, mine is The Chicken Dance. I think I need to change it because every time my phone rings, I have this irristable urge to do the chicken dance.

Posted by: seawitch | Jun 14, 2006 3:31:40 PM

tocaca & fugue all the way! (i think that's what it's called...?)

Posted by: Tonny | Jun 14, 2006 3:54:37 PM

In E Jerusalem, they seem to favour polyphonic Techno: I'll take 10 Mexican Hat Dances over some of that.

That was very funny.

And I would reveal mine, but I run the risk of blowing my cover to the legions of unsuspecting Jerusalemites!

Posted by: PP | Jun 14, 2006 3:59:03 PM

Val... Did they even have phones when you were a kid? Oh yeah, they had those hand cranked 'party line' ones where your neighbors could listen in. =:~>

Jacky... Yeah, but what could compel a middle aged executive to download and install 'Greensleeves' as his ringtone? I'm just sayin'.

Sarah... Just for the record, you weren't really one of the people on my list.

Zemirah... I am not a big fan of French film in general, but I loved that film and the soundtrack was such a big part of the charm.

Marjorie... What, Jordan couldn't find 'Also Sprach Zarathustra? :-) BTW, I haven't wanted to bother you guys but I hope everything went OK with the baby's operation.

Seawitch... I'm sure that must go over big in meetings. :-)

Tonny... [~blink~] I'm sorry, did you say "tocaca & fugue"? Pardon me while I poop myself laughing. HAH! Ahem, I think you might have been going for toccata & fugue (in D minor by J.S. Bach)... but then again you may be talking about some new excretory musical movement with which I'm unfamiliar. [snort] That reminds me of when people at weddings would come up to the band to ask if we could play 'Cannonball cannon' (when what they really wanted to hear was Pachelbel's Canon).

PP... Your ringtone is that unique? Now you really have me curious.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 14, 2006 4:08:50 PM

With all the teen's blasting pop and rap( garbage) from their phones.. its Kashmir by Led Zeppelin for me!

Posted by: David | Jun 14, 2006 4:21:49 PM

Oooh, you do tease your poor old readers, don't you? Now where's that good old rant? Fobbed off with ring tones?
Feh, I'm just a boring old genuine ye olde Englishe user of a phone whose only alternative to an unappealling ranges of warbling mindless tunes is a standard US telephone ring tone. Now why can't I get a real Englishtelephone ring? And by the way, yer actual English seem to be addicted to just as in-your-face a range of ringers as the Israelis. In fact, it's something of a defining feature....concerts, meetings, funerals, you name it....someone's bound to have their little number go off.

Posted by: Judy | Jun 14, 2006 4:22:00 PM

Mexican hat dance. Tee hee.

I love it when it's something like "Final Countdown" or some other hairband 80s hit. Of course then it's stuck in your head forever.

Posted by: Alice | Jun 14, 2006 4:23:33 PM

Judy - my phone has a traditional English ring (Samsung).

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 14, 2006 4:30:47 PM

My ringtone (on my American phone, at least; not my Israeli one) is a recording of a conch shell. Sounds like a shofar or a foghorn ;-) .

My Israeli phone ringtone is a fun upbeat techno polyphonic tune that makes me feel like a party in my pocket. It's called... "NYC" of all things. :-P

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Jun 14, 2006 4:43:30 PM

I want a phone that sounds like a phone! There is no telephone sound ON my phone! I can ring in tango, rhumba or mambo. The theme from Peter Gunn. A cat miaou-ing, a dog barking. My phone will NOT plain ring, and I cannot purchase a plain ring (although i can purchase a person SAYING "ring ring" in Japanese). I took it back to the dealer so he could find me a plain ring. Impossible!

I am a middle aged hausfrau. I just WANT a plain phone sound. It's just embarassing.


Posted by: Talmida | Jun 14, 2006 4:53:45 PM

For a moment I thought you were going to write about the high-pitched ringtone heard only by teenagers that made the news in the last day or two...

At any rate, you've done enough chuppahs to recall hearing phones "ring". Even after the obligatory "the-bride-and-groom-request-all-cell-phones-be-turned-off" announcement beforehand. (Although nothing will beat interrupting a ceremony like the time the Excelsior's sound system morphed into a blaring Sinatra-sung "Lady Is A Tramp" after the seventh blessing that one time).

And remember when cellphones first became the big "must-have?" EZ passed around a bag to the band at the beginning of a gig- "Gentleman, phones in here. You'll get them back at the end of the job." Like checking your gun at the door...

I keep mine on "vibrate"- referred to as "putting it on 'stun' ". Ringtone? Regular.

However, my favorite was my friend CB's. Whatever service he had at the time was so deeply "classical-music"-hip they offered Paul Hindemith's "Variations On A Theme By Von Weber."

Hope all's well- you're still spoken of (and occasionally "musically-quoted") fondly on Neshoma bandstands in the midst of this June season.

Now.... did I take a shower yet today??? (Inside joke....:-) Mike S

Posted by: Mike Spengler | Jun 14, 2006 5:08:00 PM

I have used several different ring tones. For a while I had Ray Charles doing "What I'd Say."

It always started with the him going "Ummm" followed by the "Ohhhh" and of course the Rayettes.

I didn't know that when I downloaded it, but it sure made for some interesting looks. I had one guy ask me how I got porn onto my phone.

Then just for the hell of it I downloaded Under The Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the theme to the Dukes of Hazzard.

Nothing like having Waylon let you know that a call is coming through. :)

Posted by: Jack | Jun 14, 2006 5:17:06 PM

Mine's "Jump Jive and Wail" by Brian Setzer Orchestra, but it's for this very reason that I haven't ever changed it to "The Doom Song" from Invader Zim. (I've actually recorded and uploaded it to my phone, but I don't have the nerve to switch it.)

Amelie is one of my favorite movies ("Quinze.") but I don't recall the song. Good reason to watch it again.

Posted by: Tanya | Jun 14, 2006 5:24:22 PM

I find the different ringtones incredibly useful. On my phone, for example, if a family member calls, "We Are Family" plays. For a voice mail, "Call On Me" by Eric Pryzd. Finally, for all other calls, "Pour Some Sugar on Me" (for reasons known only to me). *Very* helpful in letting me know whether I actually want to pick up the phone or not.

I figure that if I have to listen to some sort of ringtone, I might as well choose it myself. :)


Posted by: Kate | Jun 14, 2006 5:44:13 PM

I agree about being baffled by people who keep their rings on during business meetings - I always switch to vibrate if the meeting's serious but I need to be able to be reached... how hard is that?

Anyhow, I'm another one who uses different tones for different people so I know who's calling... for random calls, though, it's the early-80's great Take On Me by A-ha and I'm proud of it :)

Talmida - my sig-other has an old-fashioned real telephone ring as his ringtone... email me and I can get it for you

(on my phone, he's the theme from Charlie's Angels... ooh baby...)

Posted by: Stepima | Jun 14, 2006 6:02:57 PM

My first cell phone MEOWED. I thought it was awfully amusing, and having no important meetings to attend, annoyed everyone around me until the contract ran out. Having matured by a year, I chose a nice safe them from "Le Nozzi di Figaro". My current cellphone has Grieg's Peer Gynt. Which is starting to get a bit annoying, so I can't wait till my contract runs out and I can get a new cellphone. Whatever it is, I prefer my theme as different from what I usually hear, even if it's classical, as possible. Next time, maybe I'll put it up for horse neighting option. (They have one!) Not a fan of songs with words. Now, THOSE are TRULY embarrassing!

Posted by: Irina | Jun 14, 2006 6:22:17 PM

My cellphone is one of those that I can assign different rings to different caller groups, but the general one is plain ol' vanilla "Ring-Ring", which as someone already pointed out is infinitely hearable here. However, the family group rings to Coldplay's "Clocks".

Posted by: jennifer | Jun 14, 2006 6:43:53 PM

Now Dave... you KNOW that being only 3 1/2 years younger than me, YOU didn't grow up with cell phones either!

Posted by: val | Jun 14, 2006 7:00:38 PM

Sderot: Rocket siren used as ringtone

Hat Tip: Israel Perspectives

Posted by: JoeSettler | Jun 14, 2006 7:20:15 PM

since when did you learn all this retraint. that's even more anglo

Posted by: dave | Jun 14, 2006 7:42:04 PM

I don't even know what my ringtone is - I just picked one. Once my teenager decided it was too boring and he changed it. The problem was that he didn't tell me he changed it, so in a crowd I thought the phone ringing was someone else's...

Posted by: westbankmama | Jun 14, 2006 7:46:52 PM

cell phones make me nuts.
that and television. someday - i will lead the clean life and toss them all out.

Posted by: lisa | Jun 14, 2006 8:08:59 PM

I have been able to program my phone by recording sound. So my home ringtone is that of my kids talking to me.

It's quite cute but it always catches me off guard. I never expect to hear the voices.

Posted by: jaime | Jun 14, 2006 8:17:20 PM

David... Good song with lots of good memories for me.

Judy... Maybe it's because I've listened to too much Pink Floyd, but whenever I hear an English phone ring I expect it to be answered followed by the operator saying "Yes, a collect call for Mrs. Floyd from Mr. Floyd. Will you accept the charges from the United States" ... followed by the line being disconnected (Young Lust). I know I'm dating myself.

Alice... the cure for a song stuck in your head is to sing the jingle: 'By - Mennen!'

Lisoosh... I'm shocked you don't have a Muezzin. [ducking and running]

Steg... I didn't peg you for a techno guy. House, trance maybe... but not techno. :-)

Talmida... I have a news flash for you: It's been years since there was such thing as a standard phone sound. Yeah, we're both middle aged.

Mike... I especially miss Jake's (MDR) delicate announcement delivered in his dulcet tones. :-) Thanks... it's great to hear that out of sight doesn't mean out of mind.

Jack... Yup, them Duke boys are servin' up a double heapin' of trouble! :-)

Tanya... If you follow the link I posted and scroll down to the tracks of the soundtrack you can hear a preview.

Kate... I have been meaning to program different tones for different people but never seem to get around to it. I actually wanted to get the voice of the HAL9000 saying "Dave, I don't think this conversation can serve any purpose", but I couldn't find it anywhere.

Stepima... Did you miss the part where I mentioned that Israelis have no shame? :-)

Irina... You do realize that you can change your ringtone without waiting for your contract to expire.

Jennifer... Hey stranger! How have you been? I figured that for at least one of your kids you'd have the Village people's 'In the navy'. :-)

Val... But you were born in the 50s! You're like, old! :-)

Joe Settler... Now that's not just dark, it might actually make people scramble for the shelters to hear 'Red Dawn' at odd moments throughout the day. Not nice.

Dave... Haven't I always been Mr. Calm and restrained? On second thought, don't answer that.

Westbank mam... There is a woman that used to come with me to Beer Sheva once a week. Her kids used to constantly changer her ringtone and she had no idea when her own phone was ringing. Not very pleasant on a long drive, let me tell ya. :-)

Lisa... Yeah, I can see you and the Mrs. sitting out on the stone porch of your villa in Tuscany sipping Limoncello and looking out over your garden. :-)

Jaime... That's neat. I need to check if my phone does that.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 14, 2006 9:19:33 PM

My cell phone is never on the ringtone at work...vibrate or silent only!

Posted by: Essie | Jun 14, 2006 9:31:05 PM

I know... but somehow I can't make myself do it until I have a new phone in my hand! : )

Posted by: Irina | Jun 14, 2006 9:43:37 PM

Real men don't have 'music' on their phone .... PERIOD.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 14, 2006 9:44:19 PM


My kinda broad!

Posted by: Scott | Jun 14, 2006 9:47:45 PM


My phone NEVER rings. Vibrate only. I go to meetings all day long; a ringtone would be a disaster. And then there's shul....

BTW, I have apologized a few times and removed numerous posts from my blog.

Posted by: moc | Jun 14, 2006 9:58:03 PM

Just two comments:
1. I've heard it said that the main exposure kids have nowadays to classical music is via ringtones - sad but likely.
2. Those of you in favor of the vibrate mode as being more discreet, think again. Back when I was a student, we all politely turned off/down our phones before class. Then, over and over during class we would be interrupted by those who had set their phones to vibrate and left the phone on top of their desk. This caused their entire desks to rev and shake, making an awful noise and inevitably scaring the hell out of us all.
There, I've let it out... now I feel much better.

Posted by: toby | Jun 14, 2006 10:14:35 PM

yes yes, i did mean toccata, it was just a typo.

really, it was!

Posted by: Tonny | Jun 14, 2006 10:20:22 PM

Trep - Awesome idea! Why didn't I think of that?

By the way, I am a classic liberal (as in open minded, live and let live) not a whack job lefty which I consider to be exactly the same as a whack job right winger, just facing in the opposite direction.

Posted by: lisoosh | Jun 14, 2006 10:41:46 PM

Lisoosh-- What a beautiful way of putting political radicalism into perspective! I'm going to use that!


Posted by: Kate | Jun 14, 2006 11:24:59 PM

Essie... Whenever I put my phone onto silent I look at it several hours later and notice 19 missed calls. Vibrate works better for me in meetings.

Irina... Your call, but that seems to play into their business plan, not yours.

Scott... Oh come now. The next thing you're going to tell me is that I can't watch the Hallmark channel. Oh, and way to go... the chicks love when you call them broads :-)

MOC... I would have thought you would have the theme to Law & Order. :-) Yeah, 'm tempted to use only vibrate but then I wouldn't notice it when I have it in my backpack or on the ground next to one the hives.

Tobby... My generation's main exposure to classical music was via Looney Tunes cartoons. Is this so much worse? Oh, and there is a cultural thing here about putting phones out on the conference table during meetings... almost as though everyone is wishing for a call to arrive to prove how important they are.

Tonny... Yeah, OK. ;-)

Lisoosh... Unfortunately, the whack jobs are the political equivalent of the 'squeaky wheel'... always getting the grease.

Kate... I agree. Although Lisoosh's politics and mine only overlap by a very slim margin, I have never made the mistake of underestimating her smarts.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jun 14, 2006 11:44:51 PM


Babes then.

Posted by: Scott | Jun 15, 2006 1:57:42 AM

Great ringtone - Amelie was a fun movie, but the soundtrack was just perfect. My favourite song from it was "La Noyee".

Posted by: Lucy | Jun 15, 2006 10:48:59 AM

I have noticed a lot of improvement in Israeli attitudes toward meetings. More and mroe I am seeing guys I meet with turn off their phone as we start a meeting. Some do not but reject the call when it comes in or apologize, answer and say they are in a meeting and then turn it off..

Posted by: Rafi G | Jun 15, 2006 12:17:56 PM

My ring tone is the Ring Motif from Das Rheingold. I mean to add La Donna É Mobile as a per-caller ring tone for "My Wife's Mobile", but haven't got round to it

Posted by: Simon | Jun 15, 2006 4:34:28 PM

kol hakavod on not rantin bout those haughty ignorant idiots...i would love to comment on that but since you didnt end up postin...

gosh and all this time i thought i was the only one who 'freaked out' by phones ringin durin meetings, the obnoxious ringtones etc

Posted by: the sabra | Jun 18, 2006 10:52:38 AM

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