Archive for the ‘Great Ideas’ Category

Have you ever dropped your phone and broken the screen? Because I haven’t. Oh, I’ve dropped my phone before but it’s never broken.* It seems like some people are cursed though, and break their phone every other week. You’ve seen these people, the ones whose screen looks like it was stomped on by a pissed off hippo. Anyway phone droppers, your worries are over. An enterprising young engineering student has invented the “Mobile Airbag” that deploys whenever you drop your phone. Genius really. Check it out.

*I once dropped my phone in the urinal at a restaurant. Awkward. 

      

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Orlando Sentinel: While many people view South Florida’s invasive iguana population as an annoyance at best and a pandemic at worst, Ishmeal Asson sees something else: lunch.

The Fort Lauderdale resident and native Trinidadian considers eating iguanas to be a way of life. Growing up, Asson learned to roast the island critters at roadside and backyard gatherings. Iguana is a staple in the Caribbean, where the reptiles are a native species and are known as “pollo de los árboles,” or Chicken of the Trees. Their meat contains more protein than chicken, and members of some cultures believe it has medicinal properties.

Asson said he and his friends use a traditional method of preparing iguana. “First, we cut off the head, then roast [the body] on the fire. You have to roast it with the skin on because it’s easier to take the skin off once it’s roasted,” he said. “Then, we cut it up into pieces and season it with a lot of fresh produce like chives and onions. I love to season it with curry and hot pepper, too. We’re having a cookout this weekend.”

Not gonna lie. I don’t hate this idea. Iguana seasoned with chives, onions, curry and hot peppers sounds delish. Hey, I’m a big animal guy but I love gator, tree frogs and stuff like that. Anything that will eat me is fair game for dinner in my opinion. Plus I was harassed by an iguana the size of a German Shepherd in Montserrat once. Dead serious. Dude was relentless. Have you ever seen one of those things run? Sneaky fast, man. Bottom line, pass me a plate of that Chicken of the Trees, man.

PS- I’ve never been harassed by a tree frog. Sorry if I misled you there.

 

The worldwide interweb can take you to some weird places, amirite? Ever be searching for something and happen onto a site where you just can’t hit that back button quickly enough? Yeah, me too. Scary stuff man, believe me. I started researching something called The Dark Web one day awhile back because I was going to write about it, but what I found freaked me out so much I decided to back slowly away for a bit. Here’s a video if you want the basics. Chills, man. Anyhoo, I stumbled upon a site today that was describing how sometimes kids can come up with way better ideas than adults, specifically when naming stuff. Here are my Top 10 favorites, with the actual name followed by the made-up kid’s way better name.

Rhinoceros

What could possibly be better than a Rhino, you ask? Why, the Battle Unicorn of course. Yep. If unicorns went to battle, that’s who they’d send. 

Mosquitoes

Mosquito is a pretty cool name, no? Not nearly as cool as Vampire House Flies though.

Dreams

This one is actually sort of poetic. One child called her dreams The Stories in My Eyes. Beautiful.

Buzzard

Oh this one is good. What better description of a buzzard than the Halloween Eagle? Cool.

Vultures

From a completely different kid we get a new name for vultures – the Flamingo Witches. Hell yes they are.

Gloves

Now we have a little guy who couldn’t remember what gloves were supposed to be called. What he came up with was Hand Socks because, well, they are.

Wolves

I really like this one. One kid saw some wolves in a national park and promptly christened them Party Dogs. Love. It.

Cemeteries

Not to get a little morbid, but kids can be pretty literal, ya know? Hence the new name for cemeteries – Die Yards.

 

Harmonica

Once again, this is a way cooler name than harmonica – the Cowboy Trumpet. Kids, man.

Cooking Pot

And our last entry once again makes perfect sense. Why confuse things by calling it a pot when it’s actually a Stove Bucket? Because that’s exactly what it is.

So I know you all have kids that have come up with new names for stuff, some maybe even better than these. Whaddaya got?

 

Japan, man. They’ve come a long way since the that little incident back in ’45. Check out these great ideas from the Land of the Rising Sun.

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Holy . . .

Australia – Yoga is being combined with beer in a push to boost mens’ physical and mental health. Free “Broga” classes are being held at The Hack in Port Melbourne, encouraging pint-adoring blokes to get fit in more ways than one.
Instructor Nim Rotenberg told 9NEWS a couple of frothies “may help men loosen up for poses.”

“It’ll definitely open up your hamstrings,” Mr Rotenberg told 9NEWS with a laugh.

Apart from physical benefits, Broga also helps men together to chat, which is essential for good mental health. In Australia, one in eight men will experience depression; a staggering six out of every eight suicides every day in the country are men. “Broga” aims to help with that.

Listen man, if anything will open up your hamstrings it’s a couple frothies and doing yoga with your mates, amirite? But seriously, leave it to the Aussies to come up with this. Those cats will drink while doing almost anything. ya know? Hell, Australians will down a 6-pack of frothies whilst having breakfast.

Australians, man.

Note: If you don’t think I’m referring to beers as “frothies” from here on out you’re out of your mind. G’day mate.

Not kidding man. Have you seen these things? Little water balls you pop right into your mouth where they explode in a burst of refreshing tastiness. They’re thin, see-through little water blobs that are made using an all natural seaweed extract. They’re fully biodegradable, will naturally decompose within 4-6 weeks if left unused, and are cheaper and more environmentally friendly to produce than plastic. Behold, the Edible Water Pod. They’re cool.

Note: I can see it coming. Edible Beer Pods. Good God.

Sometimes people just stumble into cool idea, ya know? For instance, some dude named Percy Spencer was experimenting with a new vacuum tube called a magnetron while doing research for the Raytheon Corporation in 1945. During one experiment the candy bar in his pocket began to melt. Boom! The microwave was invented.*

*Fun Fact: The first microwave oven was called a Radarange, and it weighed 750 pounds, was 5 1/2 feet tall and cost about $5,000. That’s wild.

Anyway, other stuff like x-rays, artificial sweeteners and even penicillin were invented by mistake. Seriously, look it up. I wouldn’t like to ya. But on to the point of this blog, and that is what foods were invented by accident. Let’s do the thang . . .

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Yep, the delicious goodness called Chocolate Chip Cookies were a mistake. It happened in the 1930s when a restaurant owner named Ruth Wakefield added pieces of chocolate to her cookie mix, hoping the fragments would melt and turn the batter into a chocolate brown. The chips remained solid, however, people loved them, and the chocolate chip cookie was born. And thank God for that, right?

Note: My niece Sasha can cram more chocolate chips into a chocolate chip cookie than any human being on earth. That’s a fact.

POPSICLES

The popsicle was invented by an enterprising 11-year-old kid named Frank Epperson in 1905. You see, young Frank left a glass of soda on his San Francisco front porch by accident one night with a stirring stick still it. The next day, after a chilly night, the drink had frozen. Frank pulled the stick out and, to his surprise, the drink came with it. He went ahead and licked it and found it to be quite tasty. That fateful morning stuck with him, and years later, when he was 20, he patented them as Popsicles.

POTATO CHIPS

In 1853 there was a chef named George Crum at Moon Lake House Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York. After a customer sent back a batch of fried potatoes complaining that they were not thin enough, Chef Crum got pissed. He sliced the next batch of potatoes as thinly as he possibly could, fried and salted them, and sent them back out to the complainer. That’ll teach him! However, to George’s amazement the customer loved them, and soon the word of these crunchy fried potatoes spread across the region. The Potato Chip was born.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

First off, this has to be the most widely mispronounced word in the English language, amirite? People always say Worchester Sauce when it’s really Worcestershire sauce, damn it. Anywho, it was invented by the British chemists John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins in the 19th century. The pair were asked to create a tangy sauce for a client who liked Indian cuisine, but the product they created was so strong it was inedible. So, they put it away for a few years. Alas, when they pulled it off the shelf a few years later and tried it again they were stunned to find it was now perfect. Viola!

THE SANDWICH

Wait. What? ‘Tis true! The sandwich is named after John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. It’s said that the Earl, who was quite the gambler, ordered his servant to bring him meat held between two pieces of bread so that he didn’t have to stop to eat a proper meal. Hence, the sandwich!

Note: This story is widely disputed. Still, I like it so I choose to believe it.

NACHOS

Ah, nachos. So good. But here’s how they came to be. Ignacio Nacho Anaya was a maître d’ at a restaurant called the Victory Club in Piedras Negras, Mexico. One day in 1943, a group of ten military wives crossed the border from Fort Duncan Army base and demanded some grub. Unable to track down the chef and faced with the ten hungry ladies, Anaya decided to improvise—he covered a plate of tostadas with grated cheese, passed it through a salamander (a broiling unit that heats food from above), and topped the whole thing off with jalapeños. Of course the women loved it, and one of the women dubbed the dish “Nacho’s Special”, which was later shortened to just “Nachos” when Anaya took the dish to his own place—Nacho’s Restaurant.

BEER

We’re pretty sure the Mesopotamians invented the delicious Barley Pop about 10,00 years ago. What happened, you ask? See, when Mesopotamians began storing grains for bread, their storage spaces occasionally became damp which caused the grains to ferment. This fermentation process resulted in a liquid that was the earliest beer. Some lucky Mesopotamian sampled the strange liquid, got a buzz, and the rest is history. On a related note, three years later the first beer gut was spotted.

HOT & SPICY CHICKEN

Hot & Spicy Chicken was invented in Nashville, and its origins are at the world famous Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Restaurant lore traces the recipe back to current owner Andre Jeffries’ great-uncle Thornton Prince, an infamous womanizer. When she thought he was cheating, one of his jealous lover’s fed him extra-spicy chicken out of vengeance. Problem was, Thornton liked it so much that he began cooking it at his restaurant. Crazy but true.

COKE

Coke was invented in 1886 by a guy named John Pemberton. Pemberton was a wounded veteran who had become addicted to morphine, so he tried to create a replacement to stave off his addiction. Through some messing around in his pharmacy, he created a tonic that eventually became the original Coca Cola formula. As you may have heard, it contained small amounts of cocaine as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut. Let’s just say the original Coke could give you quite the high. Anyway, in 1887, another Atlanta pharmacist, Asa Candler, bought the formula for Coca Cola from Pemberton for $2,300. By the late 1890s, Coca Cola was one of America’s most popular fountain drinks.

CHEESE PUFFS

Here’s what happened. The Flakall Company up in Wisconsin invented a machine that crushed grains for animal feed without hulls and grain dust. A bro named Edward Wilson noticed that workers poured moistened corn kernels into the machine to reduce clogging. The machine got so hot that the moist cornmeal came out in puffy ribbons, hardening as it hit the air and fell to the ground. Wilson took the ribbons home, added oil and seasoning, and made the first cheese curls. Genius!

ICE CREAM CONES

At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, an ice-cream vendor had run out of bowls. Back then that’s how everyone ate ice cream, from a bowl. Earnest Hamwi, a neighboring concessionaire, rolled the waffle-like pastries he was selling (they were called Zalabis) into a cone so his neighbor’s ice cream could be held inside, just to lend a friend a hand. People loved it, and the Ice Cream Cone was born.

SLURPEES

Omar Knedlik, owner of a Dairy Queen franchise in Kentucky, had a fountain machine that kept breaking down, so he had to store his sodas in the freezer, sometimes for too long. His customers didn’t mind, though. In fact, they kept on ordering “those pops that were in the freezer a little bit longer.” Realizing that his disaster had turned into an opportunity, Knedlik built a new machine to deliberately produce that strange, frozen drink that everyone loved. Later, the ICEE dispenser was bought by more than 300 companies before 7-Eleven licensed it in 1965 and renamed the drink “Slurpees.”

And there ya have it, cool foods that were created entirely by accident? Cool, right?

Genius stuff up in here.

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You know how when you buy something and you get all the parts mixed up? With this product the parts come packaged and in order.

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That’s an elevator button. It’s far away so you won’t have to wait once you’re at the door.

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Public bathroom door opener. No grabbing the nasty door handle.

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To prevent that battle to keep light from coming in through the crack.

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For those of us who flush with our foot in public toilets.

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Hell yes I need this. I always get it wrong. Every. Time.

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I’m sure there must be another one that says NO FREAKING WAY.

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For your dog! Yes!

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I’ve actually seen these. They tell you how many seconds are left until the light changes. GREAT idea.

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Self-explanatory. Perfect.

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Der.

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Great water recycler. Love it.

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Hard to run these lights.

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So you can push your bike up or down the steps.

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This has Sparky written all over it.

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The mom and toddler swing. Cool.

Efficient.

Now that I think about it, they’re not secret anymore. Sorry. Anywho, click on a photo to peruse.

Sweet Mother of all that is holy, somebody make me this.

You’re welcome. Click to enlarge.

Located in the Binhai Cultural District In Tianjin, the five-story library is called “The Eye of Binhai”. It covers 34,000 square meters and can hold up to 1.2 million books. Taking just three years to complete, the library features a reading area on the ground floor, lounge areas in the middle sections and offices, meeting spaces, and computer/audio rooms at the top. Check out the video below the photos for more awesomeness. On a related note, I have no idea how they reach the books on those upper shelves.

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Sweet Lord Almighty.

Life·Hack

– a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way.

We’ve all read about life hacks, those helpful bits of advice aimed at making our lives easier. And although Life Hack is a fairly new term, the actual act of coming up with better ways of doing things is as old as man himself. Or herself. You get the gist.

Hell, as a Southern Ohioan I’ve seen cars with wooden bumpers, duct taped windshields and cooking smokers made from filing cabinets, so I can relate to redneck ingenuity as much as the next guy.

Anyway, this whole “life hack” thing reminded me of a guy I knew in college we called Muggs. Dude was always bending the rules, sometimes in minor ways, other times in major ways. I’ll give you three examples.

First off, the Muggs was cheap as hell. He was so tight that when he smiled his kneecaps moved. Anyway, he never tipped and would never pay for anything, including stamps. When sending a letter, he’d put the address he wanted the letter to go to as the return address, then put his address as the main address. Then he’d go uptown and drop his letter in the mailbox without a stamp, which would then be returned to the person in which he intended to receive it in the first place. Diabolical. Incredibly, it worked. Keep in mind the cost of a stamp was 13¢ back then. Good God.

As for me, I’d always been taught you shouldn’t mess with the federal government, so I didn’t.*

*If you don’t count the mailbox killing spree I went on in high school with my idiot friends. 

Another life hack Muggs’ wild imagination came up with was the in-car bar. Hear me out on this one, because it’s ingenious, wildly inappropriate and probably illegal. Muggs went to an auto parts store and bought a new windshield washer container for his car, the one that sits under the hood. He bought new tubes that take the cleaning fluid to the windshield as well. Then he installed the new container and redirected the tubes under the dash and through the air vents in his dashboard.

See where this is going yet?

Next, Muggs filled the container with whiskey, so whenever he wanted a drink he’d simply put a cup under the vent, hit the button that turns on the windshield wiper cleaner, and let the booze poor into his cup. If he got pulled over he just closed the vent. That’s wild, man. I remember that before he told us about this I always wondered why he had a cooler of ice in his front seat with nothing else in it.

Bottom line, Muggs was an evil genius. Hell, I’m pretty sure that’s so original there’s no law against it.

Muggs was also in a frat (pretty sure it wasn’t sanctioned or anything) that held a yearly raffle to raise money for “charity”, and by “charity” I mean a big end-of-the-year bash with a live band, booze and plenty of co-eds. Of course Muggs was in charge of the raffle. I remember guys selling chances to win a used car for $5, and they’d sell these tickets for months. Problem was, nobody ever saw anything other than a photo of the car, and every year the big winner was somebody’s uncle from Bardstown, Kentucky or somewhere. Every year at the party the winner would be announced by Muggs:

“And the winner is . . .  drumroll please . . .  Charlie Starkweather of Saluda, North Carolina! That’s my uncle! I’ll see that he gets his 1973 Lincoln Continental Town Car!”

I can’t say this with certainty but I’m pretty sure there was never a car and that the big raffle was 100% profit, minus the cost of buying the tickets.

Muggs, man. God knows how much he pocketed for himself.

As for me, I was taught my own little life hack a couple years ago when I tried to cancel a hotel room in a small coastal town at the last minute. Here’s my phone conversation:

“Hello, Blue Surf Hotel. Charlie speaking.”

“Hey Charlie. This is Dave Shoemaker. I made reservations for Thursday night but I need to cancel. Something’s come up.”

Note: I could have said I had an emergency but I never tempt fate, which may have then handed me an actual emergency just for spite. Fate can be a real bitch. Anyway . . .

“Sorry old buddy, but cancellations have to made 7-days in advance. I know it’s a pain in the butt but the owners here are really strict about it.”

It was apparent to me I was talking to an older gentleman, as he had a raspy, deep voice with a slow southern drawl. Dude sounded exactly like I’d expect Old Man River to sound. Anyhoo . . .

“Seven days? I just made reservations yesterday! That makes no sense.”

“I know, I know. They make no exceptions though. Very strict folks. I’m very sorry.”

At this point I’d just kissed $155.79 goodbye since they had my credit card number and all. But then . . .

“Why don’t you reschedule, old buddy? Maybe sometime in August?”

“Not sure why I’d do that, Charlie. I’ll be long gone by then. That would do me no good at all.”

“You sure? You could reschedule ya know.”

Now I’m a little exasperated.

“Charlie, don’t you get it? I won’t be anywhere near Ocracoke on August 15th. I don’t want to reschedule.”

“Well, I’d think about rescheduling anyway, for say, August 15th. Then if something comes up you could cancel. You know, as long as you did it at least 7-days in advance.”

Realization . . . slowly . . . sinks  . . . in. My skull is a little thick, ya know.

“You know, Charlie, that’s a good idea. I  think I will reschedule. Let’s say August 15th.”

And so I did. And I also cancelled on August 7th. Life hack, man. Thanks Charlie.

I don’t see why not.

As a tribute to his late wife, Pedro Martin Ureta and his kids planted these trees in Argentina back in 1977. Awesome.

Tasty dessert.

Not as innocent as it looks.

Not as innocent as it looks.

So I had a buddy back in college who was always coming up with new and innovative ideas. He’d do things like build a complete wall of bookshelves with plastic tubing and 2 x 6 boards, stuff like that. He’d also record his professor during class, then play it on a loop while he slept. He claimed the information became imbedded into his brain that way. Dude was weird but interesting.

Anyhoo, perhaps his most ingenious idea involved drinking while driving. Listen, I’m not endorsing nor condoning his behavior, I’m just illustrating how smart this dude was.

Here’s what he did. First he went and bought and installed a new windshield washer reservoir, the container under the car hood that holds the windshield washer fluid. He then bought new tubing that usually sent the fluid to the windshield, installed it, except he re-routed it down and through the dashboard’s air vents.

You see where this is heading, right?

Next, my friend filled the reservoir with the alcohol of his choice, held his cup up under tube sticking out of the air vent, pulled the lever as if he wanted to wash his car windows, and watched as his cup was filled with booze.

Legal, probably not. Genius? Oh hell yes.

PS- I repeat, I do not condone drinking and driving. It’s just an interesting story, so shut it.

PPS- Last I heard my buddy was in politics, because of course he was.

Volkswagen has revealed a new van concept to honor the iconic hippie Microbus. It looks straight out of a science fiction movie, and it’s fueled by electricity, has self-driving functions, and much more. The new VW Microbus is an 8-seat all-electric vehicle with a driving range up to 270-miles. This baby collects traffic data using its cameras, laser, ultrasonic, and radar sensors, as well as other witchcraft and techno badassness. It’s highly customizable and stores personal seat and air conditioning settings, sounds system configuration, ambient lighting, and more. Sadly, it’s still just a concept, damn it. Because I really want one. Take a look, and click the photo to enlarge:

Heavenly tasty goodness.

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A guy told his grandma he wanted 100 things from the Dollar Store for Christmas. Grandma doesn’t like to be challenged.

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Some dude bought this for his brother. Inside was a gift card.

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Guess who was in charge of getting mom’s Christmas present this year? Rachel.

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Tina is 24 and doesn’t live with her parents. This is what they got her for Christmas.

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This guy got his dad a blanket with his picture on it because he always wanted to give someone a blanket with his picture on it.

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Seth is 27 and still living with his parents. This is what they got him for Christmas.

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Jackson wanted beats for Christmas. His parents delivered.

Oh yes. Please yes. This concoction combines Milka chocolate, sandwiched between that classic Oreo icing, with Oreo cookie goodness sitting smack dab in the middle. It’s like a backwards Oreo, and it looks spectacularly tastilicious.

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Brilliant!

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