Monday, July 25, 2011

RE: (Humor) Not Made in America...inventions that could have been

Not Made in America

There’s no doubt about it. There are plenty of products that have never made it into the mainstream.

While some may be items we’re really missing out on, I’m guessing most ended up just where they needed to – in the copyright office vault, under lock, key, -ground.

I decided to come up with my own list of products that have never been added to a shelf, showroom, or stockpile. These, of course, are all in jest, erupting from my brain as one of my little “What if?” scenarios.

Humorous List of Inventions That Were Never Meant to Be...

1. (Talking) Chair for single living.

Explanation: If you are a sole practitioner in life, this is the chair for you, offering up a variety of verbal settings to suit your differing communication needs. Whether you’re looking for a motivational cheerleader, empathetic counselor, compassionate friend, or drill sergeant, this chair will supply what you lack, intuitively adjusting for mercurial moods. At the press of a button, this piece of furniture will prove more responsive than your last blind date and you don’t even have to wear a clean shirt.

Problem: The first trials indicated confusion with the settings and the intuitiveness of the chair morphed into a “here’s what’s best for you” approach. In the process, every member participating in the focus group was offended when suggestions of losing weight, getting a life, and piping down were offered by the surly recliner.

2. Salsa-flavored milk.

Explanation: The theory behind this product was to counteract the accumulated heat associated with salsa ingestion, while preserving the requisite desired kick of the aforementioned product.

Problem: The lab tried countless fillers, coloring agents, and bulking ingredients to get this product to just plain look better and less gloppy, but to no avail.

3. Liver-infused donuts.

Explanation: Market research showed that at each end of the age continuum -- babies and elders -- enjoyed the tasty treat that is the magnificent donut. Couple this finding with the fact that both ends of this demographic spectrum require iron supplementation and this seemed to be a winner.

Problem: They’re liver-infused donuts. Without lying, that is a tough sell and while lying was discussed, the underlying taste of liver could not be fried out of those donuts, no matter how much canola oil was plumbed from the depths of the Canola Sea.

4. Cheese-flavored Antacid Tablets.

Explanation: Not everyone is a fruit person and few people over the age of five are *chalk eaters, so it seemed logical to pickup on the passion that is cheese eating by consumers and flavor a popular, though ghastly tasting, product with this familiar taste.

Problem: As it turns out, most people only like cheese in, on, or around their food, not their antacids, gum, or other helpful, training-to-be-medication products.

*Right after I wrote this column there was a Dr. Phil special on people who eat non-food items. Sure enough, one of the guests was a woman who ate chalk (as did her mother) proving, once again, that fact and fiction are more than just kissing cousins.

5. Luggage with a built-in chair.

Explanation: You’re at the airport, waiting in line to check-in and you would give anything just to be able to sit down. Wha-la! That piece of stylish luggage you’re supporting is now supporting you by converting into an on-the-go deck chair, allowing you to “take a load off” quickly and efficiently.
Problem: This proved to be a popular item in the testing phase and the product was ready to launch when a terrible sitting accident occurred. It seems that one of the last focus group members decided to perch on the luggage in a “hands free” manner, misunderstanding the importance of thigh support in concert with successful perching. Gravity took over and production plans have been suspended for the foreseeable future. Patents and lawsuits are still pending.

6. Disposable running shorts.

Explanation: Of course runners are very active people who go through running shorts more frequently than they do finish line tape. Initially, NASA was involved in the manufacturing of material that would be strong, disposable, yet comfortable or as one scientist said, “Yeah, right!” Subsequently, a group of young, underemployed physical education majors were asked for their design ideas.

Problem: Alas, many runners sweat profusely and this wreaked havoc with the replication of test results when fine tuning the Dispose-away-shorts-today™ design. A host of additional problems accumulated when runners were polled as to styles that would be offered. As one sprinter put it so succinctly, “Our shorts can have style?”

7. No-Luv.

Explanation: No-Luv is a medication which renders a broken romance, not just a distant memory, but a "non-memory," acting as a reverse Sodium Pentothal drug.

Problem: I personally don’t see any problems whatsoever, but those crabby ACLU people did, as well as some humanitarian groups and non-profits like L.O.V.E.L.O.R.N. were all up in arms, if not in someone else’s arms.

8. Estrogen-laced chocolate.

Explanation: It was thought that this food of choice for most women could really pack a punch if it was infused with those crazy hormones that are intrinsic in our XX makeup, making us women to be reckoned with...or else.

Problem: Silly men. This is a repetitive product! Women have long known about the medicinal properties of chocolate. There is no need to enhance an already perfect supplement.

Monday, July 4, 2011

RE: O Captain! (Crunch) My Captain!...humor about that crunching sound...

O Captain! (Crunch) My Captain!

CRUNCH. At first glance, in and of itself, this is a fairly innocuous word. I would even go so far as to say it’s a positive word, evoking gastronomical imagery of fresh, sassy food infused with texture.

(The Food Network has noticeably expanded my vocabulary and my waistline.)

Crunch has the added bonus of providing a bevy of onomatopoeic opportunities. This includes an English terminology refresher course on what the heck onomatopoeia is (when the word represents the sound) and how to spell this blasted term that flouts all spelling conventions.

I would like to offer a different spin on the word “crunch” with my own “MeSpeak” when talking about how my body feels after exertion.

A simple sentence illustrating this meaning might be:

“Man, I am experiencing a skosh bit of stiffness and I’m crunchy after that work-out.” This renders the connotative meaning of crunch to be tight.

Granted, I didn’t use crunch in the usual context and I even added a “y” not before an “i” or followed by an “e” with a side of “s,” but that’s the connotative fun of it all.

The utterance of crunch does not really possess all that much life-changing emotional meaning or mood until…

Duhn, duhn, duhn…

…you consider its application to eating. As anybody who has ever sat in a crowded movie theater next to a soda-swilling, popcorn-chomping patron can tell you, you can connote the heck out of the word “crunch” when that business is going on.

A simple sentence demonstrating this might be:

“She thought to herself, Gosh, if he doesn’t stop chewing like that, I am going to clock him on the head with my purse until I hear something crunch.”

Of course, this reaction may seem a wee bit violent. I posit that the crunch auditory assault situation elicits just such a response from generally gentle persons, forcing them to turn their yin-yang jewelry backwards, zip their sweaters over their peace sign teeshirts and pretend to get into a different car than the electric one with the “Coexist” bumpersticker.

But they’re not responsible for their actions because this is a syndrome that can’t be helped. They didn’t choose to feel this way. It’s in their DNA. As surely as they inherited, say, stunning blue eyes, they may have inherited this unpleasantly prevalent reaction to crunchy food. In point of fact, this is a syndrome with its own acronym because I have helpfully created both.

Thus, it’s the same word as the word. C.R.U.N.C.H.


Although popcorn and other ambiguously caloric foods may qualify as the culprit, bringing about an attack of C.R.U.N.C.H., it is more frequently health foods that are the real perpetrator here.

It doesn’t even matter if someone closes their mouth while they’re eating these torturous victuals which necessitate excess mastication. Healthful offerings are just as high-decibel whether the maw is open or closed.

Crunchy foods garner the attention of my own husband, who normally enjoys the ability to accept any noise level due to his life-long status as a rock ‘n’ roll musician, suffering the resultant collateral damage that is hearing loss.

Let someone (and this someone is usually moi) “fire up” a carrot and this habitually mellow man turns into a high frequency detecting, cranky Chihuahua, exhibiting the same combative tendencies. With my first bite his ears go up, his head whips around, and he launches the detonation sequence on his patented I-will-give-you-one-minute-to-eat-that-item death ray glare.

I’ve been known to transport a cellophaned bag of those luscious baby carrots into the bathroom, just so I can enjoy them in a judgment-free zone where comments like, “Are you about done with those?” and “How many are in that bag anyway?” don’t machine gun away at me every three seconds, harshing my carotene mellow.

(Okay, I am a bit prone to hyperbole. It was the bedroom, not the bathroom.)

The real problem with C.R.U.N.C.H. is that you don’t seem to know you have it until someone helpfully points out to you how annoying crunching can be.

You’re welcome.