Great Ideas

 

February 16, 2009

Falling Asleep

We spent the weekend in Portland. On the drive down we saw no less than four abandoned mattresses by the side of the road.

The Washington State Department of Transportation should gather these and put them all in a single location. Not only would this help to keep our highways clean, but then skydivers with faulty parachutes would have someplace to aim for.

June 26, 2008

Woodwind Hero

Harmonix should release a new video game for the Xbox called "Marching Band". The target market would be kids who played guitar in high school, went on to form actual rock bands, and are curious to know what it's like to not get laid.

January 10, 2008

Rule 3.18

I had a racquetball game this afternoon against an opponent I was sure I had faced before on the ladder. He said otherwise. "No, I'm good with faces," he assured me. "I'd remember if we'd played."

Still, I was fairly confident that, not only that we'd met prior, but that there was something distinctly memorable about him, some unique characteristic that was eluding me at the moment.

Five minutes into the game it all came back to me.

And so, an open letter to the U.S. Racquetball Association:

Dear Sirs,

Please consider augmenting the USAR Official Rules Of Racquetball with the following:

Rule 3.18 FLATULENCE

Upon a Cutting of the Cheese, a player awards to his opponent a number of points equal to decibels/10. "Silently But Deadly" emissions will result in the conference of five points to an opponent and a mandatory 10 minute "airing out" period, during which the players may remove themselves from the court and the door shall be left ajar.

In the case of flatulent disputes, the player who smelt it shall be considered hereinafter to have dealt it.

October 29, 2007

Halloween: What's My Clone Code?

In the early 80's, at the height "child abduction" hysteria (and you kids thought CNN invented the culture of fear), our local TV station ran a series of commercials introducing the "Kid Code." The concept was simple. Whenever a skeevy man wearing a hat and fake mustache approached you with a fistful of lollypops, you'd shout "What's my kid code? WHAT'S MY KID CODE?" And the man would say "Manimal?"--which was of course your kid code because Manimal was effing rad. So you'd climb into the car with him and get molested. Another public service provided by local news.

Now that I am older, I am much better at estimating risk. I now recognize, for instance, the chances of my being abducted by a pedophile are vastly overblown (especially since I am 36 and have lost my boyish figure). No, the biggest threat, as I have learned from a quarter century of science-fiction novels and horror movies, is that:

  1. My body will be taken over by a malevolent presence or a rage-inducing virus;
  2. Someone will create a biological or robotic clone of me;
  3. A shapeshifter will assume my identity;
  4. Someone will graft my face onto their head;
  5. Due to wacky time- or interdimensional-travel related hijinks, there will be two or more copies of me wandering around concurrently.
Indeed, one of these scenarios seems to unfold in pretty much every movie made (e.g., Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Face/Off, Steel Magnolias, My Dinner With Andre, etc.).

Fortunately, motion pictures have also taught us how to deal with such a contingency: you demand that the Doppelganger (if Doppelganger he be) divulge some fact that only the real person could possibly know. A Clone Code, if you will.

As with a Doomsday Machine, the whole point of a Clone Code is lost if you keep it a secret. So here is mine. The next time you see "me" in person, be sure to verify that I am who I say I am; if I hesitate in responding or provide the wrong answer, flee immediately, contact the authorities, and report a ursurpage (or, in cop lingo, a "4-43").

Alternatively, if you have a shotgun handy, you may want to err on the side of caution and just take my fetch out yourself.

-----BEGIN CLONE CODE-----
Version: CCv1.0

Identity: Matthew Scott Baldwin

Challenge: "One year in high school, you wound up serially dating three girls with the exact same first name. What was the name?"

Response: "Shelley"

-----END CLONE CODE-----

If you have a blog, you may wish to publish your own Clone Code, to ensure that any of your doubles are promptly unmasked and eliminated.

And for god's sakes, don't get into a vehicle with anybody until you have adequately verified their identity. Unless it's Automan, of course. Automan is effing rad.

September 24, 2007

Fetal Attraction

I'm going to write a thriller about a knight who returns home after a year in the Crusades, and finds his wife six-months pregnant despite wearing a chastity belt. It will be a locked-womb mystery.

September 10, 2007

Scare Tactics

I'm going to start 991, an emergency hotline for people who have the hiccups. "Oh my god!" I'll scream at the people who phone in. "A killer is calling from inside your house!!"

I'm also going to start a support line for People Who Do Not Currently Have A Song Jammed Into Their Head. It will just play this, 24/7.
 

June 11, 2007

Pet Peeves

Hey Science, thanks for the hypoallergenic cats. That's terrific, really. High fives all around.

But hey, small request? While you're in there messing around with meow-meow genes, could you also program them NOT TO INCESSANTLY MEW AT 6:17 IN THE MORNING???! Because that would be great. Thirty bonus points if you can apply the process to existing cats, so we retrofit this knucklehead:

Edgar
A.k.a. "The Klaxon"

(Yes, okay, we accidentally fed you at 6:17 AM one time. Like, three years ago. But we are never never never never going to do it again, do you understand? Never. Your official feeding time is seven o'clock ... plus the four minutes per "meow" that pierces our bedroom door prior to seven o'clock that I add out of sheer spite.)

In fact, Science? Why don't you just go whole hog and program cats with some basic groundrules. You know, like Asmov's Three Laws of Robotics. Something along the lines of:

  1. A cat may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. This includes transmogrifying from "adorable kitty enjoying a tummy rub" to "bandsaw" without warning.
  2. A cat may not barf on the floor or, if the barfing is unavoidable, will only barf on kitchen tile, rather than the goddamned carpet.
  3. When I am struggling under the weight of an overstuffed armchair, carrying it from the the living area to the kitchen so the cleaner guys can come and steam the seven gallons of cat barf out of the carpet, a cat (specifically: Louie) may not suddenly decide that this would be a wonderful moment to affectionately rub against my legs. Seriously Louie, stop. Go away. Stop. Get out of here. Come on, if you don't knock it off I SWEAR TO BAAL I'M GOING TO DROP THIS MOTHERLOVING SOFA RIGHT ON YOU YA FREAKIN MORON!
Or if it's easier, Science, just twiddle dog DNA until they shit in a box, and I'll just get some of them next go 'round. That's pretty much all cats got going for 'em anyhow.

May 23, 2007

How To Trick A Girl

Go up to a girl and say "You are pretty." Then, when she says "thanks," say "yeah ... pretty attractive!!"

Gets em every time.

May 11, 2007

FHM

If you haven't already enjoyed this astounding video, please do so now. It's not safe for work ... I guess, I dunno. Hard to say. If your boss walks into your office while you are watching it, he will either fire you on the spot or promote you to CFO, one of the two.

The artists behind this masterpiece also have a MySpace page, which has attracted thousands of visitors. In fact, the amazing amount of attention these guys have attracted makes me wonder if there might be a market out there for this kind of stuff.

FHM
 
April 04, 2007

A Modest Proposal

Internet Access Captchas

Note: If the proposal is accepted, this will likely be my last post.

February 26, 2007

QuickChange

Thanks to debit cards, cash is pretty much obsolete. I can walk around for days without a dime in pocket or a care in the world, cheerfully deducting all my purchases from my checking account.

In fact, the only time I find myself in need of greenbacks is when I'm purchasing something so inexpensive that I cannot use my debit card, either because the store has a "minimum charge" policy, or because I'm trying to get Ho Hos out of a vending machine. In these cases there's always the ATM, but it's a drag to have to navigate seven menu screens to get cash, and then I typically wind up with $19.15 more than I wanted anyhow.

That's why I think ATMs should have a QuickCash option. Here's how it would work. Two prosthetic hands would be attached to the top of the machine. If you want $5, you hit one and shout "Gimmie five!"; hitting both and shouting "Gimmie ten!" submits your request for a sawbuck. Voice recognition software verifies your identity and the money is dispensed immediately.

I think this idea could really catch on. And, if successful, the machines could be retrofit to dispense girlie magazines as well. "Gimmie some skin!"

January 18, 2007

Dumb Or Really Dumb?

Have you seen that show Deal or No Deal? It's incredible. And by "incredible" I mean "incredible it wasn't canceled seven minutes into the pilot." Seinfeld fancied itself "a show about nothing," but, man, these guys really walk the walk.

A contestant comes on and is given an amount of money between one cent and a million bucks. That's it. That's the entire program. Everything else is suspenseful music and reaction shots.

The other day I saw a woman at Target buying a copy of the Deal Or No Deal board game. Yes, the only thing that could make that formula more exciting is if you took the money and the models out of the equation. Man, throw in a six-pack of nonalcoholic beer and your evening will be off the hook!

Of course, the real weakness of Deal Or No Deal is that the show is all carrot and no stick -- I mean, even a "loser" still walks away a penny richer. That's why I'm currently pitching an even better show to ABC called "Ten Grand Or Tennis Ball To The Nuts?"

Here's how it works. A contestant comes on stage, and a tennis ball cannon is aimed at his privates. A giant digital stopwatch begins counting down backwards from 30 seconds; when it reaches zero, the player either receives a check for $10,000 or an incapacitating groin injury. Sometimes, in the latter case, the ball is fired with such velocity that it bursts, whereupon children rush on stage to collect the candies that spill out.

Hypothetically the contestant would have a 50% chance of receiving the money. But, because I know what the American people want (i.e., "to see people roll around on a stage while groaning in agony"), we'd rig it so only 3 out of any 10 players walk away with cash, while the rest don't walk anywhere for a fortnight.

Best of all, the scenes of Testicular Trauma can be repackaged and aired again later in the week as part of "America's Funniest Home Videos." And 70% of the people stupid enough to go on my program would be unable to reproduce thereafter. ITS WIN-WIN-WIN!

August 29, 2006

Captain Retcon

I've finally discovered my superpower. It wasn't readily apparent, since it alters the entire space/time continuum every time it is activated and essentially erases all traces of its own existence. But I think I have its number.

Here's how it works:

  1. I come up with a great idea;
  2. My power makes that thing a reality.
This would pretty much make me the most powerful man in the universe, were it not for one catch: my power assigns ownership of this fabulous thing I have conjured into existence to someone else. And it even goes so far as to alter history so that this thing, whatever it might be, has been around for some time.

I should have realized all this back when I came up with My Big Fat Geek Wedding, an idea so ingenious that it was inconceivable anyone could have thunk it up first. But I just dismissed that as a fluke. Recently, though, the evidence has been mounting. Last week, for instance, I witnessed a friend open a bottle of beer with his wedding ring. "That's pretty cool," I said. "But you know what would even cooler? If someone invented a ring with a bottleopener built into it. The cool part would be if the inventor was me, and I made a million dollars for doing it."

And then, a few days later, I was at a stoplight in the middle of a bike ride, and happened to look down:

Okay, see: that's exactly what I'm talking about. Every great idea of mine is retroactively invented.

Oh well. Even though I won't personally profit, I guess I can still use my powers for good. For instance, here's a great idea I just now thought up: three Star Wars prequel films that don't totally suck.

Woohoo, I'm going to go rent them again now! This time they're going to be awesome!!

Update: It appears that my powers do, in fact, have limits.

April 20, 2006

You Are What You Antique

My Farrell recollections (see previous post) came to me while watching Antique Roadshow the other evening. I presume you're familiar with Antique Roadshow. It's that program on PBS where a bunch of people from the Dakotas bring their junk to a big convention and a Antique Roadshow expert will look at it and drone on and on for a hundred minutes about how the brand of lacquer on the frame was only used in 1867, and finally he announces that this particular hunk of useless would probably fetch "in the two thousand to three thousand range," and the owner gasps and says "rilly?" half a dozen times before announcing that, while she no idea it was worth so much, she would never dream of selling it because it's been in the family for years, but later, after taking it home and deliberation for three days, she lists it on Ebay, whereupon someone from the other Dakota buys it for thirty-five bucks. That program.

Anyway, I was watching Antique Roadshow and doing what I always do -- namely, wondering why the hell I was watching Antique Roadshow -- when someone got an appraisal on some Ye Olde Tymey Ice Cream Parlour paraphernalia, and, bang, just like that I was thinking about Farrell's. One of the greatest things about Farrell's was their "Pig's Trough," a two-bananas, six-ice-cream-scoop sundae so large that, if you finished it, the entire Farrell's staff would come out and sing a song about what a pig you were. It was every kid's dream to one day earn the Pig's Trough ribbon of completion.

Now that Farrell's is out of business, I think Antique Roadshow should adopt the "Pig's Trough" model. I mean, occasionally someone must bring in worthless crap, and they desperately need to do something to break up the monotony of that show.

Appraiser: ... and, see this shoddy worksmanship? You don't see that kind of indifference to quality until the late 20th century. I'd estimate this was made in 1977, maybe early 1976.

Owner: Oh ...

Appraiser: It's also worth noting that the "up" button doesn't work at all, and the lower switch is permanently jammed in the "Pro 2" position.

Owner: Yeah ...

Appraiser: Taken as a whole, I'd estimate this Mattel handheld electronic football game would sell somewhere in the neighborhood of nothing whatsoever.

Owner: Aw, nuts.

Appraiser: But, I'm willing to make you a special Antique Roadshow offer. If you can eat the entire thing in one sitting, we will give you this huge and ridiculous-looking blue ribbon.

Owner: I'll take it!

{Forty-three minutes later.}

Owner: I can't do it ... I can't ...

Appraiser: C'mon now. Just one more swallow.

Owner: I can't ...

{Owner swallows. Antique Roadshow staff members spring from everywhere, clapping and singing.}

Antique Roadshow Staff: Oh, he's a certain special someone! Oh, he's just so darned unique! He's a piggy, piggy, piggy! And he ate his whole antique!

April 17, 2006

The Buddy System

I don't think the government should get involved in gay marriage. But, on the other hand, I don't think the government should be involved in straight marriage either.

That might sound like a strange sentiment coming from a happily married guy like me. But The Queen and I, not religious in the slightest, got married only because it was the only option available to us. If we could have gotten civilly unionized, we probably would have gone that route. Instead, we just made it as secular an affair as possible, with a retired judge as the officiant and a ceremony held in the Seattle Aquarium.

The fundamental problem with "marriage" is the word, not the institution. It means different things to different people, which largely accounts for the acrimonious debate over gay marriage that grips the nation every election year. For some "marriage" is a religious arrangement, where two people are joined together by God; to others it refers to the purely secular tradition of pledging fidelity to one another in the hopes that your friends and relatives will give you DVD players and ice cream makers. Until the two sides in the gay marriage debate agree on a common definition -- something unlikely to happen anytime soon -- we're going to just go around and around in circles on this issues for decades to come.

The gov needs to get out of the marriage business altogether, ya'ask me. Separation of church and state, yo. It should relinquish claim to the word "marriage" altogether, let it revert to its original, religious meaning, and wash its hands of the whole thing. Don't get me wrong -- I still think there should be a secular equivalent. Just don't call it "marriage." And don't call it "civil unions," either -- that term is sullied by those who have been trying to pawn it off as some kind of bargain basement matrimony.

I think the United States should adopt the Buddy System.

Here's how it would work. When a citizen reaches Buddying age, he or she will receive a charming, hand-written note in the mail from the government. This is what it will say:

Hi there! Welcome to adulthood. You've had it relatively easy so far, all things considered: what with the parents, and the no job, and the not paying taxes, and the ability to eat an entire Italian sausage and black olive pizza without feeling like crap the following morning. Sure the whole puberty thing sucked, no argument there. But by and large life has been pretty sweet.

Unfortunately things get a little trickier from here on out. You might have to work a job you don't particularly like, or find yourself with all kinds of obligations you'd just as soon avoid. Maybe you'll feel your idealism leech away, and your patience for the status quo dwindle. Perhaps the people who signed your yearbook "2good + 2b = 4gotten!" will move away and 4get you, and your opportunities to meet new, fun people will become increasingly limited. And -- trust me on this one -- no TV show will ever seem as cool as the ones you enjoyed when you were 13.

Yeah, adulthood is a drag sometimes. And that's where the Buddy System comes in. At some point, you may find it useful to Buddy up with another person, someone you will watch over and who will, in turn, watch over you. Like the earlier version of this system you may have used at school or at camp, your Buddy's job will be to make sure you don't get lost. But less a literal "don't get lost in the forest during a dayhike" and more a figurative "don't get so lost working at a crummy job that you forget how much you like gardening." Or, you know, whatever.

So, at some point, feel free to take a Buddy. Or don't: whatever works for you. But iIt's a scary world out there, and sometimes a Buddy is just the thing you need to make it seem a bit more manageable.

Also, couples wishing to Buddy would be required to have their ceremony somewhere awesome, like a waterslide park or a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert or the Seattle Aquarium. And an open bar would be mandated by law.

I think this is a compromise the whole nation could all get behind, don't you?

April 10, 2006

Uri Nation

I'm not much of a "car decal" kinda guy, but I thought up this one on my morning commute and could envision it on the back of my Corolla.

 
March 07, 2006

The Bachelor-Ate

Let's face it: dating reality shows have gotten boring. That's why I think they should really push the envelope, with a new show called "Black Widow." The program would begin with one woman and twelve suitors. But instead of voting one of the guys off at the end of each show, once a week the woman would, after having sex with one of the men, kill and eat him.

See? Now that's something I would tune in to watch.

September 29, 2005

defective yeti CareLess Bands

It seems like you can't rip a yuppie's arm out of its socket these days without acquiring a few "care bands" in the process.

For those of you who have been too busy scouring thrift stories for Rubik's Cubes and parachute pants to keep abreast of current trends, "care bands" are these rubber rings that people wear around their wrist, each of which costs about a ha' penny to manufacture and sells for, like, five bucks. People are willing to pay the markup because some amount of the money is contributed to charity, and then the band itself serves as an homage for their largess.

Other weblog might pontificate about the ethical dilemmas posed by this conflation of philanthropy and fashion. But not us, oh my goodness no. We would never presume to judge you, not when there's a buck to be made.

In fact, we're willing to take things to a while new level, asking: if your sole purpose in giving to charity is to advertise the fact, why not just skip the whole "giving to charity" step?

That's why defective yeti is proud to announce CareLess Bands. At only $1 a piece, CareLess Bands cost just a fraction of the cost of traditional care bands. Plus, you can have the message of your choice emblazoned thereon, allowing you to affiliate yourself with the demographic, social movement, or worldview of your choice.

How can we afford to offer a better product for less money? Because we contribute absolutely nothing to worthy causes -- and pass the saving on to you!!

But don't take my word for it -- just look at these satisfied customers, all of whom are me:

Note: wearers are not required to have slender, girlish wrists that will snap like twigs in a strong gale, although defective yeti Careless Bands will constrict blood flow to normal-sized hands, resulting in loss of sensation, gangrene, and eventual amputation. Just, you know, FYI.

defective yeti Careless Bands are made from only the finest materials available at Walgreens, and most will include illegible writing and misspellings -- proof that each has been lovingly handcrafted. Don't delay! Paypal $1 to defective yeti today, and get ready to show the world that you care ... less!

August 04, 2005

Pushes My Button

Speaking of this, you know what I think they should do? I think they should make it so if you press an elevator button that's already lit, it goes off. This would serve two purposes.

First, it would allow a rider to cancel a button pressed in error.

Second, it would thwart those A-personality types who enter the elevator and press the button for their floor even when it's already lit. This would obviously be the greatest boon of the technology, because, as we all know, those people are totally fucking annoying.

June 28, 2005

Carma

I got stuck in traffic the other day. Sitting there at a complete standstill, and at a loss for anything better to do, I started counting carpool lane cheater. At one point six singly-occupied vehicles in a row zoomed past me.

Apparently they've just given up on HOV lane enforcement. I don't really blame them, considering the number of violators. And, in a way, it's kind of nice that all the aggressive drivers self-select themselves out of traffic and into the HOV lane. But, still, the Department of Transportation ought to do something.

That's why I propose they simply rename the HOV lane the "Asshole Lane." That more accurately describes its contents now anyway. Furthermore, drivers should have to apply a bumper sticker reading "I AM AN ASSHOLE" to their SUVs to indicate that they are an authorized user of the lane.

It will be nice to have all the assholes clearly labelled. And hey: if we can get them all into a single lane, those of us in regular traffic will only have to contend with, like, a dozen cars on our morning commute.

Speaking of which ...

Last week on the freeway I got stuck behind one of the few idiots not in the asshole lane. Indeed, he was in the far right lane, and since I intended to take the next exit I had no choice but to follow him. The guy was in a pickup, travelling about 15 miles per hour under the speed limit, and completely preoccupied with something other than driving. He kept leaning way over to the right, so far down that I couldn't even see his head anymore, as if he were reading fine print off of a clipboard lying on the seat next to him, or giving a blowjob to his imaginary passenger. During these periods he would drift wildly, and when he occasionally popped his head back up he would abruptly wrestle the vehicle back into his lane before disappearing again.

As we reached the off-ramp he again began to drift rightward, well out his lane. In fact, he was heading straight for the median between the freeway and the exit. In my mind's eye I could see him slamming into the barrier at his oh-so-pokey 40 MPH and I was thrilled at the image.

Then I snapped out of my reverie and reached for my horn to warn him, just as his head popped up and he frantically jerked the truck to the left, missing the median by a couple of feet.

But, still: totally wishing death on some guy because he'd added forty seconds to my commute.

Dude, what's up with that? And I know that's not the first time I've felt The Evil creeping up on me in the middle of rush hour.

What is it about traffic turns us into rageaholic bastards? Or does it just trick us into revealing our true selves? Suzanne Necker once said "fortune does not change men; it unmasks them." Maybe the same is true of Interstate 90.

May 02, 2005

I Find Your Lack Of Banjo Disturbing

Word on the street is that Revenge of the Sith is dark -- like really, really dark, darker even than The Empire Strikes Back. That's too bad. I'm sure I speak for all Star Wars fans everywhere when I say that the comic hijinks of C3PO, Jar-Jar, and those loveable Ewoks have been our favorite parts of the series.

Fortunately the film doesn't come out for another week, so it's not too late for George Lucus to turn that frown upside-down. And I have a great idea as to how he could do it. I think he should reveal that the grill on the front of Darth Vader's mask is, in fact, a built-in harmonica, and during those lonely moments when Darth is by himself -- eating a microwave dinner at home or waiting for a bus or whatever -- he will sometimes breath out a few verses of "Oh, Susanna" to keep his spirits up.

Maybe the helmet's technology could even allow him to sing along while playing:

Oh I come from planet Tatooine,
The weather, it was dry.
Was a Jedi knight, but now I'm bad
Oh Padmé don't you cry.

Amidala
Oh don't you cry for me,
Cuz I'm happy on the dark side with
My master Palpatine ...

April 11, 2005

Breotches
Sweet Betsy From Pike
Folk Song
c. 1870

Oh don't you remember sweet Betsy from Pike,
Who crossed the wide prairie with her lover Ike,
With two yoke of oxen, a big yellow dog,
A tall Shangai rooster, and one spotted hog?

Well Ike and Sweet Betsy attended a dance,
And Ike wore a pair of his Pike County pants ...

I'm not one to overly romanticize the past -- I like living in a world with more flavors of ice cream than strains of smallpox -- but I think we can all agree that the tradition of every county having their own pants should be revived immediately.

That would be so awesome. Just image: me at a party, chillin' with my homies, some young punk in low-riding jeans pimp-rolls over and gets all up in my grill, saying, "yo, what up wit the tan khakis, grampa?" And then I'm all like "best be steppin' -- King County pants repraZENTS!"

April 04, 2005

Idea!

You know what would be really funny? If someone made a comedy movie and the bad guy character was named Richard and everyone called him Richard throughout the whole movie but then at the end when the good guys wins he (the good guy) said "See you later -- Dick!" and the bad guy looked all steamed because in addition to being a legitimate nickname for people named Richard "dick" is also a euphemism for male genitalia. If anyone uses this be sure to credit me.

December 02, 2004

Auld Lang Resigned

I'm going to make my New Year's resolutions today and strive to break them all by the end of the year.

By getting all my capitulation out of the way now, I figure I can keep 2005 100% failure-free.

November 11, 2004

Hair Apparent

Have you seen that show Extreme Makeover, where they take a bunch of perfectly normal looking women and do plastic surgery on them until they look like something you'd purchase at a mannequin factor's "Ding 'N' Dent" sale?

I think they should have a spin-off show where they try and make middle-aged men more attractive, and call it Extreme Combover.

August 26, 2004

100 Demeter Dash

With the Olympics in Athens this year, I think the organizers missed a golden opportunity to incorporate some Greek mythological events into the games. Like maybe the synchronized swimmers could sing hypnotic songs and lure passing sailors to a watery grave. Or the weightlifters would have to clean King Augean's stables -- I'd totally watch that on TV.

America would totally kick ass in the Eternal Uphill Boulder Push.

Update: Paul from funkwit writes, "Great idea, Matthew ... but I bet the female archery competitors wouldn't go for it."

August 09, 2004

WWAD

The Catholic Church has been a little down on its luck recently, what with the abuse scandals and the Pope running out of people to confer favor on, to the point where he has to resort to blessing breakdancers. What they need is something that will not only refill their depleted coffers, but also enable them to earn the goodwill of people across the world like they did during the crusades.

That's why I think they should found What Would Atkins Do, Incorporated.

Here's how it works. The church opens a series of bakeries across the nation, selling all varieties of grain products: bread, muffins, pasta, you name it. Each outlet also employs a deacon, who sanctifies everything before its shipped to locals stores. It would be sort of like the kosher food deal, but, you know, Christier.

And voila: moneymaker! The 96% of the American population currently on the Atkins diet could enjoy all those baked goods they've had to forego, without having to worry about meddlesome carbs. Thanks to the (literal!) miracle of transubstantiation, those WWAD cinnamon rolls and bagels will turn into the (literal!) body of Christ after consumption, thereby converting a carbohydrate-laden doughnut into a the relatively carb-free hunk of Messiah. Dieters get to eat bread again and stave off eternal damnation, all at the same time -- it's win-win!

If WWAD, Inc. is successful (how could it not be?), they could even branch out by opening vineyards and launching a line of sanctified wine for vampires.

July 16, 2004

Proposed Names For The Impending Plague
  • Sirius the Virus
  • Influenza Xtreme
  • The Sputum Jamboree
  • Shatner's Folly
  • Ol' Scratch 'n Hack
  • Smallpox II: Electric Boogaloo
  • The Wiggles
  • Supergout!
  • Windows Longhorn
  • The Ragin' Contagion
  • Bank of America's Magenta Fever
May 12, 2004

America's Next Couch Potato

I'm going to make a million dollars selling mirrors to idiots and telling them they are ultra-thin flatscreen TVs that only receive reality shows about lazy people.

April 09, 2004

Ah, Spring

This weekend I'll be working on my newest project: cheep-dates.com, an easy-to-use, online dating service for birds. I'm setting it up for my feathered friends in the backyard so that they can find mates in a quick, convenient manner, one that doesn't involving CHIRPING RIGHT OUTSIDE MY WINDOW AT FIVE FUCKING THIRTY IN THE MORNING.

March 17, 2004

Best Dog-Park Pickup Line Ever

"They say that people look a lot like their pets. And you've got one fiiiine lookin' beagle."

November 24, 2003

Die, Türblitzen

You know who drives me nuts? Door rushers. You know who I mean -- everybody's seen these guys in action. I bet the Germans even have a word for them, Die Türblitzen or something. Türblitzen are the folks who stand right in front of the elevator doors while waiting for a car to arrive. And the moment the doors open they rush forward like they've been shot out a cannon.

Türblitzen always seem completely flabbergast to discover that an elevator already contains people who inexplicably want to get out -- they always sort of cry "oh!" and pull up short. But do they then get out of the way? No, they do not. Instead they just stand there dumbly, occluding half of the doorway like cholesterol in an artery, forcing disembarking passengers to squeeze around them.

Holy smokes, I hate these people.

Fortunately, I totally figured out how to solve this problem. All buildings should have a hardwired algorithm that makes elevators doors on the third floor or higher occasionally open when the car isn't there. By my reckoning, the scourge of Türblitzen would take care of itself in about a month.

Somebody please get on this.

October 17, 2003

Stocks Fall On Disappointing Forecasts -- The Movie!

Via Monkey Disaster:

Studio plans 'Fan Interference' movie

A Chicago Cubs fan reaching for a foul ball, an action blamed by some for keeping the team out of the World Series, has already inspired plans for a movie, according to a published report. Trade publication Daily Variety reports that Revolution Studios has accepted a pitch for a movie tentatively titled "Fan Interference" ...

Okay, stop. Stop right there.

Revolution Studios accepted a "pitch" for this movie? Let's ignore the pun for the moment (actually, let's ignore it forever) and concentrate on the fact that the studio required another human being to "pitch" this idea. How do you wind up running a movie studio if it never occurs to you that interesting things that happen in real life might also be interesting when they happen in a film?

And how did this "pitch" go, exactly? I can only imagine. "You'd better notify your next of kin, because this idea is going to Blow. You. Away. Are you ready? Are you sitting down? Okay, here it is. You know that thing they are showing incessantly on tv for free? Well you should show it ... in theaters!"

How much do you get paid for a service like this? If it's more than a dollar then, Revolution Studios, come to papa yeti next time the ol' movie idea well goes dry. Check out these great concepts I just-this-moment came up with:

  • A movie where, defying Bush, the senate votes to make Iraq pay back loan
  • A movie where F.D.A. approves new Alzheimer's drug
  • A movie where Bolivia's poor proclaim abiding distrust of Globalization
  • A movie where 4 American soldiers killed in 2 new attacks in Iraq
  • A movie where breast-feeding seen not to curb childhood obesity
  • A movie where Bush and Japan's Premier fail to agree on issue of the dollar
  • A movie where, after 21 hours, Chinese spacecraft lands safely
  • A movie where Lee Bailey, expert on cooking and entertaining, dies at 76
  • A movie where Jack Black gives the performance of his career in 'School of Rock'
  • A movie where occcasional showers expected throughout weekend
I've got a million of 'em. Seriously.

October 07, 2003

H.C.I.

There was yet another riot on The UW's Greek Row last week:

All available Seattle police, the State Patrol, a sheriff's helicopter and campus police were needed to quell an alcohol-fueled disturbance early yesterday morning in the fraternity district north of the University of Washington A mattress was set afire in a street, a vehicle was turned over, and other cars, including three police cars, were damaged. Police estimated total property damage at $6,000. Witnesses and people who called police estimated 300 to 500 people were involved. [Seattle P-I]
Apparently the whole thing started as a block party and then raged out of control.

It's funny how that happens -- parties are held every night of the week without incident, but occationally one hits the flashpoint. In fact, these riots share a lot in common with forest fires, which also seemingly spring from nowhere and catch everybody off guard.

The problem in each case in an overabunance of fuel. That's why I'm a big supporter of The Healthy Colleges Initiative, which reduces the risk of college-based riots through selectively thinning of student bodies. Crack teams of "harvesters" sweep through campus every few months and cull those students that pose the greatest danger. Specifically:

  • Deadwood (students coasting by on C minuses, liberal arts majors, etc.)
  • Old growth (students who have been matriculated for 6 years or more)
  • Shallow-rooted seedlings (First-year students who are just going to drop out after a year of incessant alcohol- and drug-use anyway)
  • Monocultures (students who strive to look like whatever the prevailing fashion is at the moment)
  • Epiphytes (students who are unable to support themselves, and only going to college because their parents are paying for it)
I also think they should air PSAs starring Everclear the Binge-Drinking Bear. "Only You ... Can Stop Knuckledheaded University Riots, Bro"

September 03, 2003

The defective yeti Coworker Lunch Theorem

If spontaneously organizing a coworker lunch outing without a predetermined destination, the number of minutes that will elapse between the first suggestion of the event and the group actually leaving the office will be equal to

n2 + 5
Where n = the number of persons involved.

August 08, 2003

Flash Mop

Oh man, have you heard about these Flash Mobs? They are so rad. Secret email goes out to a bunch of cool people and then they all, like, get together somewhere and act like robots or worship dinosaurs or some other crazy thing. Hah hah! So awesome!

Now I totally want to do one here in Seattle! So I'm proud to announce that defective yeti's First Flash Mob takes place on August 17!

Here's the plan. Everybody meet up at the house at 11765 Parker st. N. (98101) on that Sunday morning. Then, at exactly 10:00 AM we'll completely clean the place! Hah hah! Talk about zany and unexpected! We'll go nuts: scrubbing the shower and cleaning the gutters and washing the cars and mowing the lawn and brushing the cats, etc. This is going to totally freak out the house owners (who I will trick into going to get French Slams at the nearby Denny's while this takes place)! And when we're done (making sure we clean behind the fridge, just to be extra-unexpected) we'll suddenly disperse. Poof!

Hah hah! This is going to be so wild we'll probably get in the paper and stuff. Just meet at the house on the morning of Sunday, August 17th (don't worry about how we are going to get in -- fortunately I have a key and will leave the door unlocked), bring cleaning supplies, and be sure to pass this message on to all of your friends. It's gonna be, like, so great! Flash mobs! Woo! Spread the word!

June 13, 2003

Great Ideas A Go Go

Here are some Million Dollar Ideas I have come up with recently but am too lazy to do anything with.

  • Combination Cell Phone / Electric Shaver: Now men on their way to work can engage in two of the most dangerous while-driving activities at the same time! Woo!

  • Caffinated Pens: If instinct is going to impel me to chew them, I might as well get a buzz.

  • Hummus Deodorant: I loves me some hummus, but I am disinclined to eat anything that smells like hippie. That's where Hummus Deodorant would enter the equation. "Strong enough for a man, but made for a traditional Middle-Eastern spread."

  • Condensed Movies For Old People: If there's one thing old people like, it's condensed stuff. Well, okay: if there's only one thing old people like it's buffet-style restaurants, granted, but if there's two things old people like it's buffet-style restaurants and condensed stuff. Digests full of condensed magazine articles. Books full of condensed novels. Condensed milk. So they should make condensed movies for old people. Condensed movies would be just like full-length movies except two minutes long. They would contain all the best special effects, action sequences, and jokes from the film, and a voiceover would give a quick summary of the plot. ("In a world ... full of violence ... one man lives on both sides of the law ..."). They could show maybe seven or eight condensed movies before the feature presentation. Best of all, theaters wouldn't have to make any changes, since modern "teasers" pretty much show you the entire film already.
    Narrator: ... and you'll never guess the shocking finale!

    Female Lead In Film: I can't believe that you, my husband, are the murderer!

    Male Lead In Film: It's true. And look, here comes our dog, the one we thought was killed in the first half an hour of the movie!

    Female Lead In Movie: I am a man.

    All theaters would really have to do is (a) start charging old people $8 to see the trailers and then (b) roust them from the cinema before the actual film starts so that they can go to Royal Fork instead of sitting behind me and hollering "WHAT DID HE SAY?!" to each other after every line of dialog. Win-win!
  • May 12, 2003

    Only A Test

    As you may have heard, Seattle will be engaging in a huge, simulated bioterrorism attack this morning. I'll be doing my part to help make this drill as authentic as possible by first looting the corner store when I hear of the "attack," and then bringing all the beef jerky, Chick-O-Sticks and Mountain Dew Code Red I can carry back to my office, where I will spend the remainder of the day curled up in the fetal position under my desk and mewling. So, anyway, postings might be light today.

    Update: Whoa -- I just heard on the radio that this whole TopOff2 simulated terrorist thingamaroo is costing 16 million! Dollars! That's a heck of a lot to pay for what is essentially one big role-playing game scenario. I mean jeeze, couldn't they just hire, you know, a really kickass Dungeons and Dragons DM -- maybe someone who used to run Top Secret campaigns or something -- and do the whole thing in the basement of the Wizards Of The Coast building?

    DM: Okay Greg, you are in your office mayoring when a terrorist sets off a dirty bomb. What do you do?

    Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels: Um, okay, I, um, I call Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and tell him to go down there and, like, investigate.

    DM: Don't just say it, roleplay it.

    Nickles: Oh right. Um, okay, "ring ring!"

    Kerlikowske: I pick up the phone. "Hello."

    Nickles: "Someone set off a dirty bomb!"

    Kerlikowske: I say "Who is this?!"

    [Laughter]

    Nickles: Hah hah! I say "This is Mayor Greg Nickels and I order you to go investigate the dirty bomb!"

    DM: Okay, roll against Charisma and see if he's convinced. Meanwhile, what do you do, Gary?

    Seattle Fire Chief Gary Morris: I grab my Fire Axe of Tor +2 and slide down the pole to my truck...

    If you paid for soda and pizza you could probably do the whole thing for under a hundred bucks.

    March 13, 2003

    Annnnnnnnnnd We're Back

    I’m not a big fan of air travel. I suppose I would enjoy it more if I had been bitten by a radioactive grouse and was therefore able to fly around unassisted, but I instead have to rely on airplanes to get me from point to point. And yesterday I spent six hours on a Boeing 737 as I flew from Miami to Seattle, a flight that may well be the longest possible within the continental United States.

    Take-offs, in particular, freak me out. Every time a plane leaves the tarmac I mentally picture the paper airplanes I threw as a child, all of which left my hand and promptly transmogrified into Earth-seeking missiles. Once we’re in the air I’m generally fine, although turbulence will make me gasp and clutch my armrest and notify God that I was just joking about the whole being-an-atheist thing.

    The main source of my unease is that, deep down inside, I don’t believe airplanes can fly. I mean have you seen them, the airplanes? They’re huge! There’s no way they can fly. And don’t give me that flummery about the Bernoulli's principle or lift coefficients or blah blah blah, because you know it’s crap as well as I do. I think the only reason planes fly is because everyone on board believes that they can. So I sit there in my seat and try as hard as I can not to disbelieve in air travel, for fear that, by entertaining doubt, I’ll be the one that causes the whole enterprise to fail.

    Of course, none of this is an issue after three hours or so -- by then I’m so tired of being in the plane that I’m immune to terror. Indeed, when we hit turbulence I find myself rationally considering the fact that, were we to go into a tailspin and crash, at least that would shorten my travel time. Landings don't bother me in the least because, by the time we return to Earth, I’m pretty much numb, which is exactly the state I prefer to be in while flying.

    My ideal airline would actually knock the passengers unconscious before take-off, and revive them upon landing. Wouldn’t that be great? You sit in your assigned seat, the "oxygen masks" drop down, you suck down halothane until you’re out cold, and you wake up six hours later, slumped against a post in the baggage claim area. That would rule. And think about the cost savings for the carrier: no need for movies, no need for food or beverages – they wouldn’t even have to put windows in the plane. I’m telling you, when they launch Insensate Air I’ll be the first one to purchase a ticket.

    March 07, 2003

    This Idea Is ElimiGREAT!

    Have you seen that show ElimiDATE? Oh man, it's a keeper. They pair up one guy with four girls (or vice versa) and then, one by one, he kicks them to the curb until he's left with the one with the largest breasts. It's easily the most brilliant show since Small Wonder got cancelled.

    The only problem is that everyone on the show has the IQ of tomato juice. So I think they should have a Joe Millionaire-esque spin-off. Imagine if the four lunkedheaded college boys were paired up with a woman who was secretly a PHD in, say, organic chemistry. Then, during their outings, the woman is instructed to discuss her field of expertise as much as possible, even while the men resort to their usual lower-common-denominator innuendo to try and get in her pants.

    Boy: So, what do you like and stuff?
    Woman: I like studying heterogeneous catalysts and cleavage of structural proteins.
    Boy: Cleavage! Yeah, baby!
    Woman: I also enjoy working on RNA isolation by acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform extraction.
    Boy: Right on. I like basketball and getting’ busy.
    Then, after the four dupes have gone out with the genius, they are rounded up and given an exam on the subject matter. Whoever scores the highest gets a scholarship at the community college of thier choice.

    This will be a great show. It will be called "EluciDATE".

    March 05, 2003

    Matt Millionaire

    It's a literal dream come true: my road to millionaireism begins today.

    Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2003 18:02:16 -0500
    From: Rob Stevenson
    Subject: Slap me with Brie

    Matthew,

    Something along these lines? If you're game (and you want to link to it) I will pay you $2 for every shirt sold.

    By the way, I was impressed by your spot on Rewind, but Marketplace is really the apex of public radio success. So, what is David really like?

    Sincerely,
    Rob Stevenson
    Vice President
    T-Shirt Giant, Inc.

    There you go, kids. I know how often you read this site and think "Boy, that Matthew Baldwin sure makes some humorous observations about yogurt. I wish there was some way that I, Faithful Reader, could help make him a millionaire." WELL NOW YOU CAN!! I mean "NOW THERE IS!!" A WAY TO HELP MAKE ME A MILLIONAIRE, THAT IS!!! All I need is, let's see, one million divided by two is, um, okay, 500,000 people to buy this shirt, and then I will have more money than I could shake a stick at, which is saying something because, believe you me, I can shake a stick at a lot of money.

    By the way, I think Rob really improved this shirt by dropping the "On Iraq" from the phrase "I Oppose The War On Iraq!" After all, a garment bearing the full slogan will lose relevance as soon as the current war starts (7:44 PM PST this evening, by the latest reckoning). But owners of a shirt with the abridged tagline will be able to don it each and every time France opposes a war (i.e. roughly every seven weeks).

    As for Dave (I call him "Dave") Brancaccio, I'm happy to report that he was every bit as charming and well-spoken in person as he is on the air. At least he was, until his fifth hot toddy. Then, Jesus: we couldn't shut him up about the hummels. "Oh sure, there's lots of companies making adorable ceramic figurines," he'd say, "but few people realize that a figurine can only be called a 'hummel' if it's actually produced by the M.I. Hummel company or handcrafted by W. Goebel Porzellanfabrik blah blah blah blah ..." And he carries photos of hummels in his wallet -- what's up with that? I kept trying to change the subject to the 1976 Ethiopian monetary conversion from the birr to the dollar, but no dice: hummels hummels hummels. Eventually I just excused myself from the table, went to the restroom, and escaped by crawling out a window.

    February 18, 2003

    Duck, Cover, and Enjoy Coke!

    Apparently the recent decision by the Federal Government to go Code Orange and urge Americans to arm themselves with duct tape and plastic sheeting caused Wal*Mart's sales to skyrocket. Of course, in our consumer oriented society, it's not difficult to figure out what's going to happen next.

    Stage one: Regular Terror Alerts: After intense lobbying by hardware stores and other establishments selling sundry supplies, the Feds will issue terror alerts whenever the economy needs a "shot in the arm". Typical announcement: "A recent uptick in 'chatter' leads us to believe that a terrorist attack could occur anywhere in the United States, except in participating Wal*Mart, Sam's Club, and Home Depot locations."

    Stage two: Brand Names: Then, when telling Americans how to protect themselves against the threat of terrorism, specific brands will be mentioned. Typical announcement: "We urge all American's to stock up on Terror-Care brand duct tape and plastic sheeting. Terror Care: Buy It, If You Love Your Family™."

    Stage three: Product Placement: Soon, those selling non-safety related items will pony up to have their product mentioned in the warnings. Typical announcement: "And because you may have to remain holed up in your house for weeks after the detonation of a so-called 'dirty bomb,' we recommend you immediately preorder Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from Amazon.com, just in case."

    Stage four: Naming Rights: Lastly, the terror stages will rechristened to incorporate the names of the highest bidder. Typical announcement: "Today we are raising the terror alert to Code Orange Julius. We remind you that this is the second-highest level of threat, superceded only by Mountain Dew's Code Red."

    January 21, 2003

    Great Ideas For Dead People

    Apparently there's a company that will take the ashes of your deceased loved-one and turn them into a diamond. That's a great idea! But the prices are outrageous: ten grand for only three-fourths of a caret.

    Why so much? Is it because it's expensive to generate the pressure needed to squeeze a gem out of carbon-based ashes? If so, they should offer a cheaper option for regular folks like you and I: pay for a lower PSI and turn your deceased loved-one's ashes into a charcoal briquette! Heck, that would be better than a diamond, because you could put the final product to good use.

    Neil: Awesome barbecue, dude. These bratwurst are killer.

    Carl: The secret is in the Uncle Milton.

    And for real cheapskates, they could just stuff your loved-one's ashes into a snowglobe for keepsaking. Actually, that's a pretty great idea in its own right. A few months back we had a Terror Alert here in Seattle after some Brainiac dropped a baseball fan's ashes onto Safeco Field. And the FAA prohibits the release of cremated ashes over urban areas anyway. So they should make custom snowglobes, with landscapes (or baseball stadiums) in the bottom and Dead Guy Ashes in the air. Why drop Grandpa Willie over Manhattan once, when, with a daily shake, you can scatter his ashes over the city day after day after day?

    January 13, 2003

    You Heard It Here First

    I can see where this is going.

    Women are in it for money, men are in it for sex. Or so we're told by the recent rash of "relationship" reality programs hitting the airwaves.

    FOX (as usual) fired the first volley with Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire, in which a gaggle of attractive (but not especially well-off) women competed for the nuptials of a well-off (but not especially attractive) man. ABC then ripped off this premise and turned it into a series entitled The Bachelor. FOX is now satirizing the trend with Joe Millionaire, where a bunch of sexy girls vie for the affections of a man they (erroneously) believe to be wealthy.

    ABC, meanwhile, has rolled out the next iteration in this downward spiral: The Bachelorette. Here again we have a dozen people competing to wed a member of the opposite sex. But unlike the stars of Marry and Bachelor, the Bachelorette is not a millionaire. She is, however, Smoking Hot -- or, at least, she fits the criteria set by TV for "Smoking Hot" designation: blond, buxom, under thirty and entirely too thin.

    The question then becomes: how will FOX parody this? It's easy to make a man appear rich and then pull the rug out from under those competing for his attention. But how do you hornswoggle a bunch of shallow suitors into thinking that someone is Smoking Hot when they are not? Announce, in the final episode, that she is a brunette that dyes her hair? Reveal that her breasts are not authentic? Stun the contestants with the knowledge that Ms. Right consumes two, sometimes three meals a day?

    I pondered each of these possibilities, but decided that they weren't outrageous enough for FOX to consider. And I was left wondering if this could be It, the logical end (and low) point of the genre. What could they possibly do to lower the bar even further.

    And then it hit me.

    "FOX is proud to present the next generation of reality television: The Crying Game-Show!"

    You so totally know it's gonna happen.

    January 09, 2003

    I Know Something You Don't Know

    Scene: Last week, after seeing The Two Towers in the theater.

    The Queen: I know who puts the ring in the Crack of Doom.

    Me: You do?

    Q: Yes.

    M: I don't see how. You haven't read the books.

    Q: I tried to read the books! But they were really really boring. Stupid and boring.

    M: Yes, I believe you've mentioned that several dozen times.

    Q: But it doesn't matter, because I know who puts the ring in the Crack of Doom.

    M: Okay.

    Q: It's Sam.

    M: Okay.

    Q: I'm right, aren't I?

    M: Why would it be Sam and not Frodo?

    Q: Because Frodo isn't going to make it. He's almost dead and there's another three hour movie to go. Only Sam will make it.

    M: Huh.

    Q: I'm right, aren't I?

    M: So you tell me.

    Q: I'm right.

    Scene: Last Tuesday, after rewatching The Fellowship of the Ring on DVD.
    Q: Okay: now I know who throws the ring in the Crack of Doom.

    M: Who?

    Q: Aragorn.

    M: Could be.

    Q: Because it's his destiny. There's that whole scene where they talk about that king that tried to put the ring in the Crack of Doom and couldn't do it, and then later they said that Aragorn was the heir to the Throne of Whatever, and then he had the chance to take the ring from Frodo but he didn't so he's stronger than his grandfather so he could throw it into the Crack. It's his destiny.

    M: You seem pretty confident that someone destroys the ring. How do you know that Sauron doesn't get it?

    Q: Shut up. It's Aragorn.

    Scene: Last night, 20 minutes after we turned off the light, as I lay sleeping and The Queen apparently lay awake thinking.
    Q: Matt?

    M: Mm?

    Q: Matt, I need to ask you something.

    M: Mmf?

    Q: I need to ask you a question. And it's important that you answer me.

    M: [Suddenly wide awake and alarmed]: What is it?

    Q: Who puts the ring into the Crack of Doom?


    Postscript: It would be cool if, at the end of Return of the King when Sauron finally gets the ring, they played I Got The Power by Snap, and Sauron could dance around and do the rap part ("it's gettin' kinda hectic!") and then be all like, "BOOYAH! It your face, hobbits!!" I think that would really drive home how evil he is.

    (What? You didn't know Sauron gets the ring and enslaves all of Middle Earth? Christ, I though The Queen was the only person who didn't know the ending. Jeeze, sorry man. **spoilers!** Sorry.)

    December 27, 2002

    Non Scents

    Apparently Jennifer Lopez is coming out with a new "fragrance" (which is what they call perfume these days, I guess) called Glow by J-Lo. Here's some others that will follow on its heels.

    • Mince by Prince
    • This Is How You Should Smell by Martha Stewart
    • Texas Tea by G.W.B.
    • Free For The Taking by Winona
    • Affair by Cher
    • I Am Led To Understand That This Has An Agreeable Odor But, Lacking A Nose, I Cannot Vouch For It Myself by Michael Jackson
    • Stink by N*Sync
    • Attack of the Colognes by Lucas
    • Drool by Jewel
    • I Hereby Command You To Purchase This by Oprah
    • Republic of Sudan by Alan Greenspan
    • Stench by Judi Dench

    November 20, 2002

    Legonomics

    Gold is dumb. What can you do with it? Gild stuff -- lilies and Capitol buildings and whatever -- or cram it into your cavities, that's about it. So I'm glad the U.S. dropped the gold standard back in, um, back in whenever they dropped the gold standard. But I can't seem to get fired up about the dollar either. Dollars are all the same boring color, they get wadded up and torn, and, frankly, I think Andrew Jackson was having a serious Bad Hair Day when he snapped his picture for the twenty. Plus the value of the dollar keeps going down. (Apparently it used to go up too, but that was back in the late 90's when people still thought e-potbelliedpigs-online.com was a pretty good idea).

    But I was listening to Marketplace the other day, and they said something interesting: no matter what the state of the economy, toy makers generally do pretty well -- after all, kids don't give a rat's ass if Lucent missed their third quarter projections by 7/15 of a cent, all they know is they need a Fashion Polly Sparkle Style House and, by God, they need it NOW!

    That's what gave me Great Idea #57709: the US should make the four pronged square Lego the standard unit of US currency. The bigger Legos will be worth more, and the smaller Legos will be like coins, and those huge Lego plates will be, like, $1000 bills. We'll also outlaw those stupid "Mindstorm" Legos because they are new-fangled and I don't understand them.

    This plan has so many good points that I can't even begin to list them and yet now I will:

    • When Bush announces that we're abruptly switching from the dollar to the Lego, your new wealth will depend on how many Legos you own at that moment. In other words, your affluence will become proportional to your nerdliness (which will pretty much make it a wash for Bill Gates, I guess).
    • People will have a much greater incentive to save. What can you do with a bunch of saved dollars, except hide them in the Minute Maid Premium Original Low-Pulp Orange Juice container you have in your fridge (not that I do this!!). With saved Legos, you can make castles and life-size blocky replicas of Halle Berry -- hooray!
    • Money would suddenly become color-coded, thereby making the US exactly like Canada.
    • Legos are, like, impossible to counterfeit. Believe me, I've tried.
    • When you tip a pretty waitress you could make a cat or a rose or something cheesy like that. Conversely, when you pay your taxes you could build and send in a pair of $7,860 multi-colored buttocks.
    I could go on and on, but I think it's pretty clear that this scheme has no down side. In fact, I think this is my best idea yet, except for the Combination Bagpipes / Breathalyzer, but I'm not going to tell you about that one because it's so great you'd steal it.

    November 04, 2002

    My Kitty Is The Mother Of Invention

    Remember how Larry would always burst into Jack's apartment unannounced on "Three's Company"? That's what great, pet-related ideas have been doing to my head in the last week or so. Check out these two sure-fire winners:

    Cat-A-Tonic 4000: My wife and I used to live in a noisy, urban apartment. We had so much trouble sleeping that we eventually bought one of those sound machines -- not the Miami kind, with Gloria Estafan, but the type that have, you know, a bunch of "soothing tones" to help lull you into slumber: White Noise, Ocean Waves, Babbling Brook, Crickets, etc.

    But we recently bought a house, thereby trading one insomnia-inducing problem for another. Now we no longer have the noise, but we have since acquired a handful of squirrelly, nocturnal cats. They like to show up at 2:00 the morning, leap onto the bed, and tromp around like a marching band, or give our faces unexpected groomings. So while we no longer require the white noise, we now need something to keep the kitties at bay.

    That's why I'm going to invent the Cat-A-Tonic 4000. It will work just like the traditional noise machine, except that, instead of quietly playing soothing noises, it will loudly play sounds designed to deter feline visitations. The five settings will be:

    • Vacuum Cleaner

    • Garbage Truck

    • Coke Can Full of Pennies

    • Firecrackers

    • Water Spritzer
    Also, every fifteen minutes it will bark. Land of Nod, here I come!

    Heroin Chew toys: Some friends of mine recently got a puppy that immediately ran away. It's kind of a long story, involving loose collars, thunder, and a Nick At Night "Joanni Loves Chachi" Marathon; suffice to say, the dog ran away and my friends were worried sick for days. They kept putting his food bowl out in the back yard but he didn't return until, like, six days later, when he finally hungry enought to come home.

    So in the interest of preventing this kind of tragedy from befalling others, I immediately applied by parsnip-like intellect to this vexing problem. What would prevent a dog from running away for a full week, asked I. And the answer was so obvious that I'm amazed that you, personally, hadn't already thought of it: a heroin addiction. That's where heroin chew toys come in. If your puppy runs away, he's guaranteed to be back on your doorstep, strung-out and whining for a fix by the end of the day. And this works a lot better than food as a Canine Retention Tool, because while a hungry dog can scavenge or eat (o)possums or whatever, a heroin addicted dog has no choice but to go home, unless you live in downtown Seattle, in which case your dog can get hooked up pretty much anywhere.

    Wow, these ideas are so great that I am already rich!!

    October 23, 2002

    Lipidalooza

    America's Favorite Snack Just Got Favoriter!

    This summer, people across the nation thrilled to the taste-sensation of the Deep-Fried Twinkie. But that fad is so last-August. Americans want something newer, something bigger, something that takes deep-frying to the edge and then over the edge and then across a verdant meadow and right up to a second, edgier edge.
    That's why Adipose Industries (a child corporation of defective yeti Foods and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics) is pleased to introduce

    Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkies!

    And Coming Soon from Adipose Industries:
    • Chocolate-Covered Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkies
    • Pork-Flavored Chocolate-Covered Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkies
    • Deep-Fried Pork-Flavored Chocolate-Covered Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkies
    Adipose Industries' revolutionary secret process is to take a traditional deep-fried Twinkie and deep-fry it, adding a patented second layer of oil and batter to this already delicious, nutrient-free treat! You'd have to eat 730 bowls of Total to get the same caloric content as a single Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkie-- that's enough energy to power your SUV to the moon ... and back!
    But don't just take our word for it: "American Glutton Monthly" ranked the Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkie #4 in their 2002 "Excellence In Corpulence" issue! And "Eating Well" magazine called it "an abhorrence"!
    So drive, don't run, to your nearest county fair, and experience all the seizure-inducing excitement this fat-tactular snack has to offer!

    Deep-Fried Deep-Fried Twinkies It's like Armageddon ... For Your Mouth!™

    October 16, 2002

    #733 In A Series

    At my library, on the "New Arrivals" shelf, I noticed yesterday that they now carry The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Golf.

    Gimmie a break. What's next?

    AA Is For Another Alibi

    Furry Love: The Rules
    Ender's Pancreas
    Lonely Planet Guide: Antartica
    Drunken Groping (Silhouette Intimate Moments, No. 1179)
    Starfleet Retirement Community #14: Sulu Checks In
    Chicken Soup For Martin Danderson of Kentdale, Iowa's Soul
    Mars Won't Ask For Directions, Venus Loves To Shop: More Explorations Into Gender Stereotyping
    The Darwin Awards XXIV: More Dumb People! Dying!
    The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Played-Out Franchise Book Themes (Step one: "Don't panic! No one will read the 72nd or 73rd book in the series, but that doesn't mean a publisher won't buy them.")
    Update: Rory reminds me that, when it comes to marketing, you can never assume that an idea is so absurd that it doesn't actually exist.
    October 01, 2002

    defective yeti's Daily Affirmations For Dogs

    Wednesday, October 1st: "Who's a good dog? Who's a good doggy dog? Is it me? Is it me? Yes it is! I'm a good dog! I'm a good snookie-wookie doggity dog! Yes I am! Do I want a tummy rub? Do I want a tum-tum-tummy rub? Yes I do! Yes I do!"

    September 25, 2002

    Down In The Mouth

    I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow. I hate the dentist. The thing I dislike the most about going to the dentist, aside from the dentistry, is that I learn unpleasant things about myself. Like the fact that, apparently, I never floss. And that if I were to be captured by The Enemy and tortured, I'd confess everything inside of 60 seconds.

    The Enemy: Where are your loved ones hiding?

    Me: I'll never tell!
    The Enemy: Okay. Before we begin I'm going to put this tube in the corner of your mouth; it will gently vacuum up any excess saliva that --
    Me: Basement of Pizza Hut, 65th and Harrison Ave.
    At least in the old days I would get prize for making it through my visits without shrieking. Did you? The "Children's Dentist" I was dragged to as a child had two big things going for it: (1) the dentist would wear a surgical mask which made the lower half of his face look like a big cartoony basset hound (this was a lot less nightmare-inducing than it sounds), and (2) after all the unpleasantry you would get to root around in a big cardboard treasure chest and pick out a toy -- a small plastic sword or a fake hook-hand -- from amongst the hundreds of previously passed-over packages of sugarless gum. (I'm not sure what the deal was with the pirate theme; perhaps because, at this point, all you could say was "Arrrgh arrr arrrghr.") Sure the toy was inevitably some cheap piece of crap that would break the first time you hit your sister with it, but even that would be better than the "Remember to Brush!" emblazoned $0.65 toothbrush they give me now.
    The first person who starts an "Adult's Dentist" practice is going to make a killing: knowing there's a treasure chest full of Nirvana mix tapes, Warcraft III demo disks and girlie magazines (or IKEA catalogs, for the ladies) waiting for you at the end would make any dentist visit more bearable for we Gen X'ers, where X > 29. Million dollar idea, right there. I'd do it myself, but becoming a dentist would leave me with no excuse not to floss.
    September 24, 2002

    Pump Up The Volume

    I love how the commercials on tv are, like, twice as loud as the programs they interrupt. "Stayed tuned and find out who Melissa chooses, next on Fifth Wheel. THINKING OF REFINANCING!? NOW'S THE TIME!!!"

    What a great idea! I'm going to do this from now on, double my volume whenever I am engaged in self-promotion.

    Me: Hey, how are you doing?

    Girl at Party: Fine, thanks. And you?
    Me: Doin' alright. I'm Matthew, by the way.
    Girl: Nice to meet you, Matthew. I'm Cheryl.
    Me: Pretty good party, huh? I noticed you were over here looking over Paul's CD collection. Are you a big music fan?
    Girl: Uh-huh, totally.
    Me: I'm a huge music aficionado myself. I mean, I DON'T LIKE THAT POPULAR CRAP THEY PLAY ON THE RADIOS, I'M INTO INDEPENDENT MUSIC!!
    Girl: I, uh, whoa. Yeah, uh, Indie stuff rules. So do you like, ah, The Strokes?
    Me: Not any more, but I USED TO LIKE THEM BEFORE THEY SOLD OUT!!
    Girl: Oh, right. But the video is cool.
    Me: I wouldn't know, since I DON'T HAVE A TV!! Hey, that's a nice jacket you're wearing.
    Girl: Oh yeah, you like it? I got it at a thrift store, believe it or not.
    Me: I buy a lot of my stuff from thrift stores too, SINCE I REFUSE TO PATRONIZE McCORPORATIONS LIKE THE GAP!!! I AM AGAINST GLOBALIZATION!!! AND SUVS!!!!
    Girl: Do you realize you are shouting?
    Me: You may have SEEN ME ON THE NEWS during the Seattle WTO uprising. I was THE GUY WITH THE BIG PUPPETS!! Or maybe you saw MY ARTICLE DENOUNCING THE WTO that was PUBLISHED IN THE SEATTLE ANARCHISTS QUARTERLY ZINE!! As a matter of fact, I'm using that essay as a starting point for THE SCREENPLAY THAT I AM WRITING!!
    Girl: People are starting to stare.
    Me: It must be my STARTLINGLY GOOD LOOKS!!!! HERE'S MY PHONE NUMBER!!!
    Hey, that reminds me: this post was MENTIONED IN THE GUARDIAN, ENGLAND'S SECOND LARGEST NEWSPAPER!!!!!!!!!!*. Thanks to Rory for the scan.
    * Several readers have informed me that the "England's second-largest newspaper" bit is a lie. I have informed several readers that I don't care.
    August 29, 2002

    The First Law of Soft Drink Quality

    The tastiness of a soft drink decreases in direct porportion to the number of adjectives in its name.

    Sprite
    Good
    Vanilla Coke
    Not So Good
    Diet Pepsi Blue
    Bad
    Old Fashioned Sodium-free Kiwi Strawberry Cream Fanta
    Ah, no
    QED.
    August 08, 2002

    Great Name For a Blog

    Speaking of which, here's a great name for a blog: "Interview With a Vamp's Ire".

    No, wait! Wait! You didn't use it, did you? I just realized that that's a completely stupid name for a blog! Oh no, you did? You already used it? You already named your blog "Interview With a Vamp's Ire" and registered interviewwithavampsire.com and publicized the whole thing on BlogSnob? Ah geeze, I'm sorry. Man, it seemed really funny when I thought it up.

    July 19, 2002

    American Idle

    I have a great idea for a reality show: American Idle. Each episode will showcase 10 real Americans sitting around inertly, eating Bugles, and watching tv. Viewers can call up and vote for one of the contestants, and whomever receives the most votes has to go outside and run around the block a few times.

    Give me a call, FOX: I'll let this one go for a song.

    May 15, 2002

    RapidFire!

    Hey CNN, here's some news for you: your Crossfire show is duller than televised chess! You got a couple of right-wingers and a couple of left-wingers "discussing" the most polarizing topics imaginable, so that no one, over the course of the hour, says anything other than what you'd expect. James Carville thinks we're not doing enough to combat greenhouse gasses?! And Robert Novak thinks that the evidence for global warming is inconclusive?! Oh my stars and garters, who could have guessed?!!

    Fortunately, I got your fix right here. Three simple steps:

    • Rename the show "Rapid-Fire!" That exclaimation point is important, so don't leave it out.
    • Reduce the length of the show from 60 minutes to one.
    • Allow each pundit only one second and one word to address each issue.

    Moderator: Hello, and welcome to Rapid-Fire! Gentlemen, if you're ready we'll start the clock and begin. Drilling in Alaska!
    Conservative: Yes!
    Liberal: No!
    Moderator: Guns!
    Conservative: Good!
    Liberal: Bad!
    Moderator: Taxes!
    Liberal: Increase!
    Conservative: Abolish!
    Moderator: Iraq!
    Liberal: Restraint!
    Conservative: Attack!
    Moderator: Middle-East Conflict!
    Conservative: Israel!
    Liberal: Palestine!
    Moderator: Worst president ever!
    Liberal: Bush!
    Conservative: Clinton!
    Moderator: Finest president in history!
    Conservative: Bush!
    Liberal: Clinton!
    Moderator: Each other!
    Liberal: Jackass!
    Conservative: Cretin!
    Moderator: Time! This has been Rapid-Fire!

    There's a show worth watchin'.

    April 11, 2002

    Supermarket Karaoke

    Here's a couple of million-dollar ideas, free for the using.

    Supermarket Karaoke What do they play over the sound system at the grocery store? Brown-eyed Girl. My Heart Will Go On. Crazy. Desperado. In essence, the guys at the local Safeway are playing "The Best of the Karaoke Standards, Volume I". Well why not just make it official by putting a small stage and some spotlights in the produce section? Hell, they already have that intercom in place, so, really, this would require very little additional equipment. And between songs the bagboy / DJ could make requests for more cashiers and price checks on Triskets. It's a win-win-win scheme, really -- well, until someone sings "Bust a Move," I guess.

    Latchkey Kitty Soap Operas Like many cats in America, my Louie is a Latchkey Kitty -- my wife and I leave him alone from nine to five every day while we're away at work. We read somewhere that cats like the sound of voices when left alone, so we leave NPR on all day. (I don't know if he really cares, but I do know that he's now much better versed in the Middle East conflict and the Catholic priesthood scandal than either of us.) But what would be really great is if someone would make Kitty Cat Soap Operas: Hour-long dramas that intertwine a number of cat-related plotlines. And since cats are creatures of simple needs, you wouldn't even need a script writer, you could just depict cats doing the seven things that cats do. In one of the stories you could show a cat slowly creeping up on a bird over the course of the hour and making the kill in the triumphant finale; in a second you could show a cat playing with some tinfoil; a third could just be shots of a cat sleeping on a radiator. Best of all, since cats crave routine and are devoid of memory, you could just show the same episode each and every day. You could even have a racier nighttime version with a "mating" subplot that unfixed cats could watch after their people have gone to bed. Line up some cat food and kitty litter advertisers and you've got yourself a show! (Although the ads might only be effective on those cats who do the household shopping, which I suspect isn't very many. Hmm. This idea may have a flaw.)

    March 28, 2002

    Crap2Storage

    You a should give me a lot of money, because I have an absolutely fabulous idea for a business. Now, I know the heyday of Venture Capital is pretty much over, but you should nonetheless invest heavily in this scheme. Why? Because unlike the multitude of hare-brained, half-baked, poorly-thought-out ideas that swarmed yesteryear like stray cats on a dumpster full of albacore, this particular idea absolutely cannot fail!

    It's called: Crap2Storage.com. See? You love it already.

    Ask yourself: what's the typical lifecycle of Crap in the United States? (And you know what I mean by Crap: Yoga videos, bread makers, double matted art prints of cheetahs, musical picture frames ... all that stuff that you see on tv or glimpse on a website or spot in a catalog or find in the checkout lane of a supermarket and, without thinking, buy.) Well, I'll tell you what happens to this stuff. It arrives at your home, and you set it on a kitchen counter, and then a month later you put it in a drawer or closet, and then seventeen years later you haul it off to a storage unit. And why shouldn't you? It's the American way.

    But what a hassle -- not to mention a waste of space! Unpacking the UPS boxes from Amazon.com is a chore, and taking carload after carload of Crap to your storage unit can really eat away at your valuable time. That's where Crap2Storage.com comes in. Instead of buying that battery-operated self-cleaning litter box directly from the retailer, you will instead place the order with me. I'll then order the item on your behalf, unpack it when it arrives, and drive it directly to your storage unit! No muss, no fuss! Then I'll send you an email letting you know that your brand new six-pack of passionfruit-scented candles are right where they were eventually going to wind up anyhow: at U-Stor. And I'll do it all for a mere $12 per transaction.

    Plus, I'll also set up a sister company called Crap2Charity.com for those bleeding-heart types. It will work exactly the same way, except I will take the Crap to local thrift stores.

    Please make million-dollar checks out to "Matthew Baldwin." That's "Matthew" with two-Ts.

    February 25, 2002

    Gimmie a Dipshit Sprite

    I am fascinated by the psychology of movie theater soda sales. At the core of the issue is one single, indisputable fact: movie theaters want you to pay as much as possible for your soda. I don't mean "they want you to pay as much as possible per ounce," oh no, I mean they want the total sum of moolah you fork over to be as great as possible. Because, frankly, they don't give a flying yodel how much soda you receive in return for your cash. These guys pay, like, thirteen cents per cubic kilometer of soda syrup, and they could probably give it away for free and still make a profit. It's of little concern to them whether you get 8 oz. or 128 oz., as long as your total expenditure is as large as possible.

    So a crack team of movie theater psychologists figured out the absolute maximum amount of money an average person will pay for soda, an amount that is currently somewhere around $6.00 or so. Then they figured out how much soda the person would have to receive in return for this outlay to feel like they had made a justifiable purchase, and that worked out to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 52 ounces. And with that they established their "Jumbo" -- 52 oz. of soda for six bucks.

    Of course nobody in their right mind would actually desire 52 oz. of soda without some sort of coercion, so here's what they did. The made the "Large" 32 oz, and priced it at $5.50, and made the Medium 24 oz. and priced it at $5.00, and made the "Small" 12 oz. and priced it at $4.50. So you're standing there in line and you're thinking "Jeeze, all I really want is 12 oz. of soda, but for only $1.50 more I can get the Jumbo which contains over four times the volume of the Small!! I'd be a complete mooncalf not to jump at that deal!"

    Now I've noticed that some local theaters have taken the next step in this process by eliminating the "Small" altogether, and instead calling the 12 oz soda "Child" -- never mind that no child should ever ingest 12 oz. of Surge in less than a fortnight. So if the phony economics don't talk you out of buying the smallest drink, you will also have to overcome the shame of ordering yourself a "Child-size Mr. Pibb". I think they should just run with this idea and rename all the sizes with derogatory names. Twelve oz. could be the "Asshole," 24 oz. could be the "Dipshit", 32 oz. could be the "Skinflint Pansyboy Who Can Only Drink 32 Oz. of Cola" and 52 oz. could be a "Large". It's gonna happen sooner or later, so they may as well get it over with.

    February 15, 2002

    24-Hour Give-Birth Diet
    Defective Yeti's Amazing 24-Hour Give-Birth Diet

    Lose up to 10 lbs in just one day -- AND KEEP IT OFF!!!!!!

    Have you been slowly accumulating weight over the last year?  Do you have to buy your clothing in special shops that cater to persons with large abdomens?  Do you routinely eat entire jars of garlic stuffed olives -- WE KNOW YOU DO, DON'T LIE!!!   Then you need to lose that weight -- AND KEEP IT OFF!!!

    That's where Defective Yeti's Amazing 24-Hour Give-Birth Diet comes in!  By simply following our program, you could lose up to 10 pounds -- MAYBE MORE -- in just one day!  Our diet has been so wildly popular amongst movie stars and other beautiful people that we've had to keep it a total secret -- UNTIL NOW!!

    And safe?  Hoo-boy, don't even TALK to us about safe!!! Giving birth is an all-natural, homeopathic method of weight-loss that has been used for over a hundred of years by literally millions of cultures!  Our program has you under the direct supervision of a trained medical doctor M.D. during the entire weight-loss process.

    Best of all, Defective Yeti's Amazing 24-Hour Give-Birth Diet is easy:  no complicated foods to eat or numbers to add -- just follow these three easy-to-follow steps and let NATURE DO THE REST!!!

    1. Send us your non-refundable* $19.95 entry fee and we will send you, free of charge, an information packet letting you know if you qualify for this AMAZING WEIGHT-LOSS PROGRAM!!**
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    3. Give birth and TAKE THOSE POUNDS OFF FOR GOOD!!!!!
    "ACTUAL" TESTIMONIALS!

    "Thanks to Defective Yeti's Amazing Child-Birth Diet,I lost 8 pounds in seven hours AND gained an additional tax deduction!!"

    - Marian Smoot,
    North Dakota

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    - Kevin Parker,
    "The Truth About Diet Scams",
    Wall Street Journal

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    - Roger Ebert,
    Chicago Sun Times
    What are you waiting for??!!  WELL?!!!
    Do not hesitate for even another second or read the fineprint -- ORDER NOW!!!!!!!!!!

    1-888-4GB-DIET
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    CALL IT!!!!  WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?!!?? EXCEPT WEIGHT, WE MEAN??!!!

    Watch for our informative email, coming your way several times in the next week!!

    Defective Yeti's Amazing 48-Hour Give-Birth Diet has always been a USA loving company, even before you-know-what!!  Tell the operator that you love America and receive $1 off!!  INDIVISIBLE WE STAND!!!

    The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are false.  * Non-refundable fee is 100% non-refundable.  ** Not all sexes will qualify for program.  *** Preparation make take as long as nine months.

    February 10, 2002

    Superhero Ideas

    Incidentally, if you're an aspiring but frustrated comic book writer in search of inspiration, here's some great ideas I have for for some new superhero titles:

    • The Flabbergasting Adventures of Kit and Caboodle
    • The Taste Buddies: Salty Dog, The Sweetheart, Bitter Pill and Sour Puss
    • Induration and Erythema vs. The Lesion of Doom
    • Janet and the Reno-vators
    • Interminable Tales of Calvin Judder, A Guy Who Really Likes Watching Antique Roadshow
    • The Justice League of God, Starring The CataKiller, Sergent Stiffneck, Salmon-Man and Christina the Astonishing!

    January 26, 2002

    Chindogu

    Chindogu is the art of creating almost useless objects. That is, an invention that at first seems like a great idea, but, upon further reflection, reveals itself as more trouble than it's worth. For examples, check out the Internation Chindogu Society, where you can find such speciments as the backscratcher's t-shirt and the portable crosswalk.

    Here's one I just came up with: a tiny toilet roll dispenser, about an 1.5" across, and paper rolls of a corresponding size. This would be mounted next to your sink. Then, after shaving, a gentleman can tear off tiny 1" x 1" squares of tissue to apply to his various cuts and nicks.

    If the idea of chindogu appeals to you, I simply cannot recommend 101 Unuseless Japanese Inventions : The Art of Chindogu too highly.

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