That smartphone can text, email, navigate, surf, organize, amuse, and waste time indefinitely. But the one thing it sucks at? Actual phone calls, writes Stephen Randall in an LA Times requiem for the land line, which "sits like a weird dusty antique on my desk. It won't let me play Brick Breaker when I'm bored, it's pretty much chained to the house. It can't even take pictures."
But if I call your land line, from my land line, the remarkable happens: I can hear you, writes the deputy editor for Playboy. "Perfectly. If we're both on our cells, our conversation will be shorter, more frustrating and, if we're lucky, we'll sound like half-deaf geezers ('What?' 'Close your car window, damn it.')." After all, there's a reason why Verizon's slogan is "Can you hear me now?"—"a lot of times, we can't." So, he concludes, "If you have a land line, too, give me a call. I'm in the phone book. You have one of those, right?"