Patently Absurd

David K. Israel

I'm not sure how many of you got swept away like I did by the reality show, American Inventor, (hey, there wasn't much else on Thursday nights, I mean long gone are the days of Friends, Will and Grace and Frasier), but the country seems to be going through some kind of inventive-spirit revival. And let me say this: some of the contraptions that made it onto the show weren't half-bad at all, like that speak-n-spell type game that made it into the final three.

Of course most of the inventions were absurd, which was half the fun of tuning into the show. In that tradition, then, let me introduce you to a new site I stumbled upon a few days ago called Totally Absurd Inventions.

According to the website, these are "actual USA patented products." My favorite so far, and, no, I haven't gone through them all yet, is the "Smell This" (patent issued in 1990): a device which supposedly works better than the cup of your hand for detecting when it's time to pop an Altoid.

What's yours?