Monday, December 19, 2005

History's Greatest Inventions, 20-16

#20: The Clapper

Despite the fact that a woman sued the makers of the Clapper because she hurt her hands by clapping too hard, this is certainly one of the best convenience-enhancing inventions ever made. What would we do without it? Well, I suppose you could have a remote control, but good luck finding it. Evil gnomes stole it and hid it in their lair under the couch cushions! And God forbid we have to get up off our lazy asses and walk over to the switch . . . that would be un-American!

#19: The Trebuchet

What is a trebuchet? you may ask. Pronounced treb-yoo-shay, it is nothing less than the only useful thing the French have ever contributed to society. Here’s a picture:

According to this site,
From about the middle of the thirteenth century, the trebuchet in great measure superseded the catapult. This preference for the trebuchet was due to the fact that it was able to cast stones of 300 lbs. and more in weight or five or six times as heavy as those which the largest catapults could project.
Cool! Let’s see you do that. What’s that? You can’t? Well, now you see why the trebuchet is so freakin’ cool. You want some more? Here you go:
The stones of 50 to 60 lbs. thrown by siege catapults would no doubt destroy towers and battlements, as the result of the constant and concentrated bombardment of many engines. One huge stone of 300 lbs., as slung from a trebuchet, would however shake the strongest defensive masonry and easily break through the upper parts of the walls of a fortress.
If the Big Bad Wolf had one of these, he probably wouldn’t have lost the Bay of Pigs invasion.

#18: The Rubber Band

What else would you fling at classmates in elementary school? Certainly not your own feces, you dirty animal. This invention combines the pain-infliction abilities of a stapler with the humiliation factor of a spitwad, but with flight capabilities that surpass even the most advanced paper airplane designs. Take a bag to your first day of school and make a good impression on your hot teacher! And when she tells you to stay after school for detention, slap her on the ass and say, “I saw a porno that started like that. And I think you were the star.”

#17: Edible Underwear

Finally, we have a decent excuse not to wash our underwear. At the end of the day, take a midnight snack before you go to bed. Or, for the person on-the-go who rarely has time for breakfast, munch on yesterday’s underwear on your way to work. Add cream cheese or jelly to taste. Or, for a little more of a kick in the pants, put a few drops of Tabasco sauce on your unmentionables. (CAUTION: DO NOT add Tabasco sauce to your intimate apparel before you put them on or while you are wearing them. . . . I wish somebody would have told that to me.)

#16: The Enema 2-Pack

Some of you are no doubt wondering why the 2-pack of enemas is more important than the enema itself. There are four possible answers:
1. Do you really want to suffer the embarrassment of buying one of these things twice when you could do it once?
2. Sounds like it would be rather difficult to self-administer. You might need help. And they might require the favor to be returned.
3. It’s a party-pack, for you and a friend to have a good time.
4. . . . Once you pop, you can’t stop?
Side note: has anyone else been a cashier at a major retailer (Target/Wal-Mart/ShopKo/K-Mart, etc.)? Or more likely at a pharmacy? In my six years at Target, I only had the good fortune to ring up one of these. You just can’t make eye contact with a person when they walk up to the counter with it. And in my situation, they didn’t even try to hide it among hundreds of other items, as many do with condoms. What do you say? “Did you find everything okay?” It’s not like when someone comes up with a movie, tortilla chips and salsa. “Looks like you have big plans for tonight.” No. “I really like this brand. You never can trust your colon to an off-brand.” You can’t utilize any of the tips they gave in the Target training video on “schmoozing.”
Side note 2: I wonder what the diagram in the instructions looks like . . . .
Side note 3: a guy I knew in high school said he and some friends got some of these and tried them out, in private, I presume, but at a gathering. I assume it was one of those weird things you just do in high school (like my adventures with lawn ornaments and car chases in Creighton, a town of 500), and he was the kind who perhaps shared too much. Anyway, he said it gave him a small taste of what being gay is like. And he added that he didn’t “recommend it.” I couldn’t even bring myself to try out a bidet when I was in Spain, so I’m certainly not looking forward to prostate exams.


  1. Trebuchets 4tw! My roomie in Wollongong and I always made plans for building a mini-trebuchet. I even got a program where you input dimensions and weights on the trebuchet and it will give you a flight path and how far the load will travel.

    Trebuchets rock.