Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Six Best Things I Didn't Know I Wanted Until I Saw Them On TV, #4


Technically, I did not see this thing on TV. That's my disclaimer. But it's not like there are very rigorous rules here on The Best Of Everything, other than the rule that we never, ever make fun of Paris Hilton, again. One nearly-causing-an-apocalypse is enough for any blogger.

By all rights, I should be as famous as Thomas Edison, who, I think we can all agree, was (is?) pretty famous. (I'm not sure how to refer to someone who is famous but who no longer exists because he's dead. Should I use the present tense? The past participle? What is the past participle? And why did we have to learn how to diagram sentences? What was that supposed to teach us? Because I remember how to diagram sentences but not what I was supposed to learn by doing so, which makes that exercise kind of pointless.)

(Also, I'm not so sure I remember how to diagram sentences, either, now that I think about it.)

I should be famous, like Thomas Edison someday might be, because I, like Thomas Edison and Charles Jenkins, am an inventor.

Charles Jenkins, you don't know but probably should, claims to have been the inventor of the television, only he didn't call it TV; he called it radiovision and using his "mechanical radiovision" claims to have transmitted the earliest television program, in 1923. The program was a series of moving silhouette images which didn't say or do much while on screen. MTV later adapted this idea for The Hills.

Thomas Edison, meanwhile, invented the Electric Death Ray Pistol, but you don't know about that because the U.S. Government bought every copy of it and the patent, and then had Edison shipped to an internment camp to silence him. There are still 73 working models of the original Electric Death Ray Pistol, all of them in the possession of the Department of the Interior, which is why every year when Congress does the budget nobody ever suggests cutting the funding for that Department even though nobody knows what it does.

I'm an inventor, too, in the grand tradition of Charles Jenkins, in that my inventions, too, have received absolutely no notice or attention and also have not made me rich, even though they should have because they are genius. I have come up with many inventions which share the common characteristics of being brilliant and also of having never been produced, because while I have many great ideas, I have zero technical knowledge and so I also have zero capacity to take a brilliant idea from the "brilliant idea" stage to the "thing you can buy at Wal-Mart" stage, which is why the world has not yet benefitted from the luxury of using these many great ideas, such as my idea for the "In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher."

The "In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher" is, like many inventions, a simple idea: It's a dishwasher that's also a kitchen cabinet, or many cabinets if you have many dishes. The idea is to eliminate that portion of cleaning up the kitchen in which you must move the dishes from the dishwasher all the way to the cabinet. If you have the "In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher," then, after dinner, you simply take your dirty dishes, put them back in the cabinet, close the door, throw a switch, and voila, the dishes will be clean the next time you want them.

Assuming, arguendo, that it takes 3 minutes to unload the dishwasher every day, and assuming, too, that there are 270,000,000 people in the United States, half of whom are husbands who won't willingly unload the dishwasher because it takes 3 minutes, and in that 3 minutes they might miss an important second down play where the running back gains 2 yards, then, by simple math, my invention will end divorce entirely and result in families being happy, and productive, unless they really wanted the coach to call a pass play on that down.

The problem with the "In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher" is that I had the idea, but no way to go ahead and make them because the only thing I've ever actually made in my life was a loft for my dorm room bed when I was in college in 1987, and that didn't turn out so well in that (a) I built it in my parent's basement and (b) I used nails, not screws, so I couldn't take it apart and it also wasn't sturdy, and (c) I dropped out of college before actually going back to the dorms, so I didn't need it anyway.

With that as my background, you can see where I've really got no idea how to start building the "In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher" which is why it's lucky for me that I found today's thing, entry number 4 on this Minibest, which is:

Quirky.com.

Quirky.com is not, technically, one thing. And, like I said, I didn't see it on TV, but instead heard about it on a podcast. But Quirky.com is definitely something I didn't know I wanted until I heard about it, and it's also full of things that I didn't know I wanted until I heard about them.

Here's what Quirky.com does -- and I should point out that this is not a paid advertisement or solicitation in any way. I'm not a member of Quirky.com and I only just looked at it for the first time today but I love it anyway, because that's the way these things work: you see something that you didn't even know could exist and then suddenly you love it.

Quirky.com makes inventions real.

They really do, or so it would seem from the story I heard and the website I read. They let any old person just go there and for a small fee submit and idea that gets voted up or voted down and if it gets voted up, then Quirky.com might just take your idea and make it a reality and they'll share the profits with you.

You don't have to have drawings or technical knowledge or even much more than a bare concept to get your idea onto Quirky.com. One idea that's up for voting right now goes like this:

We want to create a coaster that's beautiful and really works. No moisture build up and no sticking glasses that can lead to spills.
That idea goes on to have some specifics -- a "levered base" and LED lighting (for that futuristic feel, I assume) but nothing beyond that.

Other ideas up right now include a way to have beginner guitar players get calluses and finger strength and muscle memory without practicing, which, as a longtime guitarist who only plays about once a year now sounds excellent to me because when I do get the guitar out to play a round of Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, my fingers hurt for days afterwards and I have to reteach the chords to myself everytime, and a transparent sign that had digital capacity and can be programmed with a smart phone to change -- so that you can have store window (or bumper or other) stickers that change graphics easily.

Think about that last one for a bit. At first, I was, like "Well, that's nothing" but now I really like the idea of a bumper sticker that I can reprogram, and I just went and voted for that guy.

They've already invented stuff on there, too, stuff you can buy including the "Wrapster", something to help manage the cords for your earbuds, which is something I need and want and I practically ordered them immediately until I remembered that Sweetie keeps my credit card in a secure undisclosed location (probably the Department of the Interior.)

The more I looked around there, the more I got excited that something like this even exists, and the more I thought we should've had something like this long ago, a place where people like me and Charles Jenkins can go and share our ideas and maybe get them made, because it lets us be creative but not quit our jobs and pour our life savings into creating something while worrying our wives and making our children feel like outcasts at school -- we can continue being productive members of society (or, in my case, continue the ruse that we are that) while contributing even more to society.

So really, today's thing is a metathing: It's not only something that I didn't know I wanted until I saw it on TV, but it's a thing that helps people create even more things we didn't know we wanted until we saw that they existed, and encourages people to create things that only we know we wanted but we're pretty sure other people would want, too, if we could only figure out how to get them built and marketed -- and now we don't need to do that second part, we just need to do the first part.

It's genius, is what it is. Quirky.com deserves a spot high up on the ladder of society's esteem.

Let's put it one rung below the "In-The-Cupboard Dishwasher."

Previous entries on the list:

1. The Incredible Gyro Bowl.

2. Pajama jeans.


3. The Play & Freeze Ice Cream Ball.


Click here for more MiniBests.



Want to know how making fun of Paris Hilton almost brought about the end of the world? Read the hilarious book "Do Pizza Samples Really Exist?", available by clicking this link
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1 comment:

Rogue Mutt said...

Maybe they can finally get us our jetpacks and flying cars.