While I'm recovering from the terrifying Tower of Cups ordeal, I've been entertained by this little page: http://thesurrealist.co.uk/priorart.cgi -- an automagic generator of ridiculous inventions. With so much patently absurd patent absurdity going on, it's hard to tell the difference between those random inventions and real life.
In fact, it reminded me of the (now defunct) Innovations Calatogue, a small glossy pamphlet that came through the door every month. In it you'd find wacky gadgets and semi-useless contraptions at 500x the manufacturing cost. Indeed, some of them were so stupid, it's hard to distinguish them from the randomly generated ones.
So here's a test: two of the following inventions are real, and could be found in the Innovations Catalogue. Three are from the site mentioned above. Can you sort them out?
It's a freezer that automatically updates your weblog when used, keeps children amused and emits a constant high-frequency whine!
It's a walking stick that also plays music and tells the time!
It's a pair of roller-skates that keeps your breath fresh for up to twenty-four hours! It inflates into a dinghy and destroys household pests.
It's a ceramic frog with motion sensors that makes noises!
It's like a normal TV remote control, but it works underwater.
Not easy, eh? Now we just have to find a completely irrelevant use for Graham's Cup Tower: It's a tower of plastic cups that plays the theme from Steptoe and Son, and has a built-in calculator! (PS, my Tower of Cups is coming along nicely, albeit nowhere near as looming as Graham's. Nobody tell him! But I'll continue grafting at it, until I'm ready for an all-out war.)