User Input

User Input: InVennting A New Tomorrow

Image courtesy

Image courtesy Google Patents

Good ol’ John Venn – evangelical preacher-man, logician and inventor of a machine that flummoxed Edwardian batters by bowling them clean over on a cricket pitch. (Do you have any conception of what I just typed? Neither do I!) Without him, we couldn’t display zingy witticisms in a graphical way. Venn enabled a whole new world of logic-based humor, and for this we should be grateful. That his cricket-bowling machine endured for a considerably shorter time shouldn’t be a knock against him. After all, what have you invented lately?

That’s a good question, actually. I feel like about every week and a half, I come up with some brilliant idea which stands out brilliantly in my mind until the moment I reach a pen. Then one of two things happen: a) my mind goes blanker than a a cloistered monk’s little black book or b) placing the pen to the page makes me realize that no one really would be interested in a device to retain butter knives placed precariously on the rim of jam jars. So I can’t say I’ve ever patented anything even half as ludicrous as an automated cricket-bowler (or that I’ve patented anything at all), but I’ve had a good idea or two in my time. Just can’t seem to remember what any of them were …

What’s your favorite bright idea, Einstein?

See Venn’s cricket bowling device patent.

  • topdeadcentre

    Someone forgot the third option outside the circle… "[Na na na na, na na na na,] HEY HEY, GOODBYE!" (The actual lyric goes: "hey hey, kiss him goodbye", and the song is by a band named Steam that did nothing else notable ever.)

    Heard often in the bleachers at Fenway Park when some unruly drunken fool gets tossed out of the ballpark by security.

  • OA5599

    The problem with cricket bowling is that it's very difficult to breed an insect heavy enough to knock over the pins.

    <img src="; width=500>

    • Alff

      Last week in the WD-40 post your comment introduced me to a new product – PB Blaster's Lawn Mower Tune Up in a can. I thought, "What the hell … my Snapper rider is 26 years old and could probably use a little love". The first indication of trouble came when I drained the crankcase after administering this product through the plug hole. What came out was not so much oil as it was very dirty solvent. The reason for the little Briggs' seemingly bottomless displacemnt suddenly became clear.

      The PB Blaster apparently chewed up what had become a protective and instrumental layer of carbon. After refilling the crankcase, the mower ran beautifully – once. It now sits siezed so tight I can't get the motor to turn in either direction, suffering from what I assume is a terminal case of piston slap.

      Moral of the story? Heck if I know. Maybe it's let sleeping dogs lie … or don't be a tightwad – buy a lawnmower more often than every 26 years. For me, it probably means I get an opportunity to better get to know the neighbor who can order replacement Briggs motors really cheap through his machine shop.

      • P161911

        Reminds me of the advice on changing automatic transmission fluid. Either do it religiously or never. If you wait a long time and then change it, you realize that it was all the gunk in there holding things together.

      • OA5599

        Oops. Sorry. I wonder if the loosened crud clogged an oil passage somehow, then the friction welded some parts together.

        I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea for me to do another oil change on my mower that got the Blaster treatment. The engine is designed without an oil filter. It is running really well now–starts at the first turn of the key.

  • P161911

    c) I think it is a pretty good idea, I might actually have a chance of patenting it. I won't mention much publicly until I at least file some sort of patent pending or something. I just can't seem to find the time to get off my lazy butt and draw it up in CAD and write up a proposal. By the time I finally do someone will have already filed the patent.

  • Every idea I've had I find has already been had through a simple Google search. Peanut butter and bacon sammich? Already been done. Airport luggage delivery service? Already being done. I do have another million dollar idea, but I'm not going to tell you guys what it is. You'll run with it and I'll do a Google search some day and find it already has been done and wind up in a tailspin of depression and drunkenness.

    • Deartháir

      Hey, sounds like what I call "Friday"!