Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Universal De-Blatherator

masks all forms of blather with something interesting
  [vote for,

It happened again, not two hours ago. I met my wife at her co-workers house to have a barbecue and she (my wifes co-worker) proceeded to blather endlessly about nothing. No one else was allowed to enter the "conversation," and the topic of conversation (alternately work politics and gossip, which over the course of a few hours meld into one) was immutably fixed. It was not that she was vicious, or spiteful, or a bad human being. It's just that after giving her a fair hearing I realized that she would say absolutely nothing of any interest to me whatsoever.

Courtesy dictated that I not simply up and walk away. Her husband was inside (for a suspiciously long time, I might add) preparing the kebabs, so food was ostensibly on its way. My wife works with her, so I couldn't simply up and leave without potentially creating some sort of rift. . .

The only thing that got me through the afternoon with sanity intact was the Universal De-Blatherator (U D-B). The size, shape, and color of a small hearing aid, the U D-B performs two distinct functions. Firstly and most simply, it operates as a radio so that your station of choice, set manually in the bathroom or some other neutral space of privacy, is fed discreetly into your ear and overpowers the blatherer across the porch, but secondly and more importantly there is a tone recognition alarm that will go off whenever the blatherer phrases a question or set of statements that absolutely demands a response.

Tone recognition monitors the inflection of the background noise (blatherer) and emits a beep over the radio station whenever voice inflections follow patterns indicative of a question (shortening of spaces between words accompanied by a simultaneous upswell of pitch is one of several indicators of a question). Granted, it wouldn't be perfect, and whenever the U D-B beeped you'd probably need to say "pardon me? I'm sorry, what did you say?" but then you could get back to the baseball game for another few innings.

So the next time you are confronted by a yammering motor mouth, stick the Universal De-Blatherator in your ear, lean back in your chair, don your super-reflective sunglasses and do nothing but nod and smile until the Cubs win the World Series.

Mungo, Mar 28 2004

Half-baked http://www.visit4in...s/EggCreditCard.cfm
By Egg. (Does that make it coddled?) [egbert, Oct 05 2004]


       But then you miss the game (or whatever it is you would rather listen to). It's about getting some sort of use from your time when you are hopelessly trapped in an utterly useless situation.
Mungo, Mar 28 2004

       hello? Hello? Wait, is this thing off?
theircompetitor, Mar 28 2004

       I tend to drift off anyway; into my own little world. My brain does a fairly good job of sensing when I'm supposed to supply some verbal token, but I'm often left looking at the speaker with an attentive expression, when I realise that the group is looking back at me...
Detly, Mar 29 2004

       Inflection-mimicking is vitally important. That way, some form of "yeah" is almost always correct.   

       Or you could go with go old mother nature, and roll the dice everytime (much less effort).   

       The two-part answer should be delicately diffused, because the whole operation topples over with one slip of the tongue. Never trust your multi-tasking abilities. But a split personality or two never hurts, as long as one is on the clock at all times.   

       I hope this helps.
K-trein, Mar 29 2004

       // Tone recognition monitors the inflection of the background noise (blatherer) and emits a beep over the radio station whenever voice inflections follow patterns indicative of a question (shortening of spaces between words accompanied... ///   

waugsqueke, Mar 29 2004

       Wouldn't this be the " La La La I'm Not Listening" hat featured in a recent credit card/loan advert? (Linky link.)
egbert, Mar 29 2004

       I'm sorry, what were you all saying?
eyeguy, Mar 29 2004

       Something about Sparticus.
Detly, Mar 29 2004


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