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01 September 2008

Inventions are Absurd

"Everything that can be invented has been invented."

- Charles H. Duell, Director of US Patent Office, 1899

See? Now you have corroborative proof that those late night commercials about submitting your invention to become an overnight millionaire are 伪造品 (that means fake in Chinese), right?

Hopefully for Mr. Duell's sake he was a better director than he was a visionary. Patent applications are filed every year at a steady clip of about 120 thousand, and that is up from 1900 (after Duell was presumably laughed out of town) when there were over 40 thousand patent applications. That is a lot of innovation sports fans.

Here are a few of my favorite innovations:

Disposable diapers. A few of you will remember a brief entrepreneurial sojourn of mine into the cloth diaper delivery business when I was in my early 20's. Great business as far as eco-businesses go (they weren't called that back then), but now as a practitioner of diaper changes and as co-wrangler of the Pooter of Terror...I do like those Huggies. Especially after Tonya said I couldn't use a garden hose and a trough to 'change/clean' Ethan...

Digital Camera. Please. Trying to print and send 100's of printed photos to friends and family of your newborn versus uploading them to the Internet? Fuggetaboutit. Digital cameras are the bomb. I'm told you can even modify a picture of a, uh, homely person and make 'em presentable?

Microwave. When I was a kid, I remember my mother calling it a $700 clock; it just sat there and told time (and it was correct - at least 2x per day!)...other than that we had no idea what to do with it. Then I grew up and spent several years a bachelor. Foot high stack of tortillas: check. Block of cheese the size of a Chihuahua: check. Cold beer: check. Gallon of picante sauce: check. Microwave to melt the cheese and warm the tortillas into a limitless 30 second bachelor dream meal: Priceless.

Do you have any I can't live with out em' items?

Next up ...the Absurdity Tour visits your local cinema......


Dana said...

My most depended on would be coffee makers - from my Bunn that brews an entire fresh pot in 3 minutes, to the new "single cup" brewers - when you just need a quick jolt.

I actually remember having to use a percolating coffee maker and waiting FOREVER for that life blood in the morning! Yes ... I'm old ...

Michael M. said...

Oh yeah...

I still have an old perco type maker for camping. Take forever and you can eat the coffee with a spoon it has so many grounds, but the worst coffee I ever had was still pretty good...

2 years ago we bought a super nice coffee maker that stores beans, grinds and brews on a custom schedule. It rivals getting a new puppy for xmas!!