StevenMJohnson's Comments

Some weeks I am given the task of judging the entries to my own NAME THAT WEIRD INVENTION contest. Judging is very hard work for me because often there are too many great title suggestions. Some entries even make me laugh out loud. Already today I burst out laughing at "never get laid again goggles." You guys and gals are way too talented for your own good.
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Frau: You asked if I claimed that I designed the original Umbrella Hat. I need to be careful in how I word my posts, thanks! What I meant to say was that working alone in the 1970s and 80s, long before Internet search engines were available, I came up with a comical and ludicrous design for an awkward hat that is an umbrella and it was published in a book 1983. Later on, I saw a commercial product that was a colorful hat that folded out as an umbrella. In fact only last week I noticed our post office delivery person wearing such a hat to keep the sun off her head.
My work should perhaps be called INVENTING CAN BE FUN. It is a process that I pursue for no commercial purpose, and so I am not competing with anyone, nor searching files of the U.S. Patent Office nor scouring Google Images to get ideas. Occasionally, of course, I will come up with something others have thought of, as you point out, many years in the past! Thanks!
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Rory: Thank you as always! Deckart and Baro: Uh, these are supposed to be jokes, okay? But Deckart, can't you see that each passenger has his/her own door? Baro: I tried to design a way for a bicyclist to enter the taxi while it is moving but I could not make it work, but if I spent more time on it, I suspect I might have worked toward a solution.
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Michaelpeets: Oh, I just now noticed that you were commenting about the skull face and not the ObamaPack. The skull face resembles me in a few years from now, and you most likely somewhat later on.
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What I am trying to get accustomed to is the rather extreme range in tastes among Neatoramanauts. A single blog gets the haters to come out, but also those who appreciate my stuff.
My wife says "be the same in praise and blame." LOL
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Michael: The President series was fun to create but it's impractical. Fill a zippered pouch with trailmix, chap stick, flashlights or maps, and the President's features are so distorted as to be unrecognizable. I added the fellow in the middle two weeks ago, in a drawing that I did in 1983. I wanted to update the drawing. Not very clear in the reduced art is the fact that those are solar chargers and cellphones stuck to his hair, like Velcro.
The old pink-faced guy on the right below looks like he has a drinking problem!
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I am quite interested in figuring out why the first commenters are more often those who see no value in my work, and want it removed from Neatorama. Early risers find fault, yet late risers arise (out of bed) to defend my work.
As a mild defense of this post, I would note that historically both men and women have adopted truly strange fashions that emphasized or exaggerated different parts of their anatomy. This post, which I would have called Decoy Mistress if I were allowed to submit my own name for it , is admittedly pretty strange!
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Okay, I see that I joined together in my memory two different news events! Scarab, you are correct that there was an incident where a cop pushed a Critical Mass cyclist to the ground, and was not punished. I recall reading about it. But I read about another event with a rider wearing a helmet cam recording a cop brandishing a gun. I had turned the motorcyclist into a bicyclist: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/19/motorcyclist-arrested-for-recording-cop-brandishing-gun-with-hel/
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Gauldar: Speaking of which, I believe there is a recent case that went viral on YouTube wherein a bicyclist with a helmet-cam videotaped a plainclothes cop who stopped him and was threatening him with a gun -- and my last information was that the bicyclist, not the cop, was in trouble!
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Dear Mr. KeepUp: I am okay with not riding a motorcycle ever again. Plus, do you REALLY want a rider on the streets with incipient hearing loss, and slowing reflexes?
Regarding your remark about an aibag (sic) inflating suit, how did you know about one of the items to appear in this Friday's blog? Do you work for a Psychic Hotline?
Steve
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Kim: Sybann is on target mentioning that the Honda Element has been purchased predominately by an unintended buyer segment! The ads originally showed twenty-something folks with surfboards or mountaineering gear wearing dirty sandals, with feet stretched out on washable, fold-down seats and with hamburger wrappers tossed on the floor. The photos in the slick brochures made the interior look like a young guy's messy bedroom.
The car's designers and planners assumed the car would be perfect for young buyers, but the young-at-heart love it most of all.
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Michaelpeets: A solar-paneled roof can power some appliances for a car or RV. Many motorhomes have them. As far as vehicles powered by solar panels, at the present level of efficiency of silicon-based photovoltaic cells (last I read it was around 19%) only extremely light, purposed-built vehicles can be powered by the sun. Marca de Luz has crossed the Continental Divide at least 8 times and reached the Arctic Circle in his little solar car, X of 1. There are Solar races where cramped, sweaty drivers, lying almost prone underneath a turtleshell of gleaming solar panels, compete using only the power from the sun. There is the World Solar Challenge, for example, from the northern city of Darwin to the southern city of Adelaide in Australia.
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Miss Cellenia, Paul, and Michael: Thanks for your supporting remarks. This Web site made an effort to spare those who are not so impressed with my work to avoid having to look at it. That should have told any reader that if you are not interested in looking at Steve Johnson's work you can simply choose to not click on "more..." Pretty simple, you would think.
There is the possibility that some folks enjoy the experience of disliking my work! People can get kicks out of so many different things!
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Mr. Bewilde: Your means of deciding to criticize or praise my individual creations by a flip of a coin is wonderful. It points up the fact that my "flights of fancy" may be intriguing in some ways they are also usually flawed in some particular. What I do is rummage in my mind in a realm called DUMB IDEAS or SOPHOMORIC SOLUTIONS, and then try to depict the ideas as if they were plausible.
I need to ask you -- should you return to this site -- what you mean by "2. My Grandfather Would hate this (bless his soul)". I gather he is no longer alive? Are you referring to the second item, the motorcycle extender? Personally I love my idea because during the years I road a motorcycle, 1959-61, I sometimes wished cars would allow me the same amount of space as if I were a car. Obviously the joke is that the extender takes away one the motorcycle's great features, the ability to maneuver in tight spaces!
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I love these. When I lived for a short while in 1965 in Guadalajara I noticed that most everyone's door was painted in a wild and lovely color combination! I never forgot that.
Nice, as usual Miss Cellenia.
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I can't help myself: When I post these I start wondering what name I WOULD COME UP WITH. I was stumped on this one. So, already I am laughing at ParalleloPants. Really, I enjoy the cleverness that is displayed by reader-contestants. I think "OMG why didn't I think of that name?"
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Ha! My wife tells me my "Neatorama experience" is good for me because it is teaching me how to react evenly to praise and blame. Timmah even managed to praise (my current post) and condemn (all my prior 25 posts) in a single sentence!
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Can I admit something here? These name suggestions are hilarious! And they suggest uses for my concepts that never occurred to me. My elephant trunk "feature" was an attempt to suggest that the shockingly cold air in snow country might be pre-warmed by the armpit. I had failed to imagine that the trunk could facilitate armpit sniffing, presumably a useful tactic for certain social situation.
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Hey Gauldar, thanks for not picking apart my ideas like some others do here.
There continues to be something of a disconnect between some of my commenters and the original intent of my work, which was as HUMOR. Sadly, I must consider the possibility that the humor is so weak that some folks assume I am serious, and therefore a bad designer. If my ideas seem "illogical" or if something I show represents a "fire hazard" that's because I made it that way intentionally. I usually work at making them flawed in some way. When my young son, while still in diapers, showed his first evidence of a sense of humor, it was when I intentionally told him something that had a MISTAKE in it. He found mistakes funny. I needn't go on and on here, I guess....
Oh well. But thanks Gauldar!
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Loved your article, loved seeing you sitting there resting your weary legs Macallan Scotch, and loved CUPCAKE WELCOME HOME MESSAGE!
And here, in the comments, I got to read your explanation for how it took you so LONG to get to Las Vegas and back. Uh, okay, now I sort of understand.
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lewen: Yes, someone recently told me about a suspended monorail system being researched by Google, a sort of hanging pod for single bicyclists. No doubt it would be more efficient than my 1990 PEDALTRAIN because there would be less resistance. But I would wonder what would happen to the line of hanging commuters on bikes if one person in the line got a charley-horse and stopped pedaling!
lewen, you are free to use the "Contact Us" feature here to let the manager of the blog know that I should be gotten rid of.
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Rocky: I agree with your "hamsters on a wheel" image. I am so old I can get by with my wife on a couple of very small pensions plus Social Security. But the economy is now seriously in bad shape and I worry about the younger people. Arianna Huffington's book THIRD WORLD AMERICA shows a graph of the growing income gap and it is frightening!
There are different ways I can understand your term "layabouts who got us in this mess": Folks who have investments that earn huge sums off their capital, allowing them to simply lay about; folks with bad habits or reduced social circumstances who simply lay about doing nothing and living off the state; folks like me who have nothing better to do than think up and draw cartoons and odd inventions; folks who through no fault of their own watched vast sectors of the economy tank and watched their job move across the border or overseas. There are many different kinds of laybouts, IMO!
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I must confess: You guys make me laugh. Out loud even. I love the thought that goes into naming this stuff, possibly MORE than goes into creating it. Or should I not admit that?
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Thanks, Cary: your mom was a wise lady.
You refer to "quirky" minds. My quirky mind long ago concluded that words can often suggest similar concepts when you tally them by their first letters. My thinking is quirky, queer, querulous, quizzical, quarrelsome, quibbling, questionable; at times it is like a quagmire where normal thoughts sink as if into quicksand. If I were a doctor I would be labeled a quack. My mind at times can quiver or quaver.
I left out a few qu words that didn't fit my theory. :)
Anyway, I hope to look up Jaffee's work and maybe find an affordable copy of one or more of books in his Stupid Inventions series as a used book on Amazon.
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Cary: But speaking of cartoonists who like to think up inventions, I was aware of and DID greatly admire the work of Philip Garner, whose work coincidentally appeared on the same pages as mine in the PEOPLE & PLACES section of Road & Track magazine in the mid-1980s.
I used to have his BETTER LIVING CATALOG paperback. Very funny stuff.
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Cary: You give me WAY too much credit for "keeping up" and being aware of other's work! Indeed I did read MAD magazine around the time it first appeared when I was age 14 but doubt I ever looked at a copy since the fifties. So, to my detriment, I had never seen, or perhaps never remembered seeing, his inventions!
I started creating comical inventions after I turned 36!
Thanks for pointing his work out to me, or reacquainting me with it!
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