The vernal equinox sort of caught me flat-footed this year. Normally, as a godless heathen, I like to welcome this pagan holiday with cups of mead and fertility rituals. Alas, in Michigan, as noted yesterday, the first day of spring is likely to, well, suck out loud. Sure, you’ve got your longer days, your clear spring sunshine, even two inches of daffodils trying to emerge in the back yard, but it hadn’t cracked 30 by the time of this morning’s dog walk. Plus, I hab a code, the first of the season (the cold season, not spring). How cruel, to avoid illness all winter, then get flattened on the first day of spring. I’ve banished myself to the snoring room. I am a temple of disease. My breath is vile. Pity me.
Actually, I should be grateful. If this had hit during the Busy Period, I’d have been a lot more miserable.
So, then, a little lite bloggage before I go back to bed with a mildewy John D. MacDonald paperback:
Thanks to Eric Zorn for finding The 20 Most Important Tools Ever, a list compiled by Forbes. Eric suggested trying to guess No. 1 before you click over, so I did, and I failed. I guessed the stirrup, based on something I read a while back, which said the stirrup changed the world, because it allowed a rider to carry and deploy weapons while astride, and gave the world Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan and all the rest of it.
I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, the idea of human history changing because of some relatively simple invention. There was a show on one of those grown-up channels — Discovery, probably — many years ago; I think it was called “Connections,” and tried to make those leaps. I liked it because it debunked lots of conventional wisdom and approached everything from left field. The episode on how family togetherness was slaughtered by central heating was simply a hoot.
(This was also the show that revealed Spriggy’s most baffling personality trait. Before they went to a break, the host would throw out a little quiz for you to think about during the commercials. In one, he asked, “What year was the inflatable rubber tire invented? 1825? 1895? Or 1888?” Alan asked Spriggy, who was lying next to the couch. When he got to “1888,” Spriggy leaped to his feet, barking furiously. He still does. Say “1888,” and he starts barking like Lassie giving a briefing on Timmy’s well adventures. What is he trying to tell us? I’m still puzzled. P.S. 1888 was the correct answer.)
Anyway, I was wrong about the stirrup. Take your own guess. I’m going back to bed.
Mindy said on March 21, 2006 at 10:56 am
I guessed the wheel. Didn’t make the list at all.
Love this sort of lite entertainment that appears here on occasion. Plastic surgery on the Mona Lisa has to be the best so far with the Einstein chalkboard a close second. And the quiz to figure out what level of hell awaits me was big fun as well.
I’m on the hunt for parts to an old Kenmore sewing machine, model 1888. Perhaps Spriggy knows where I can find them.
Am uploading some chicken soup. Break out the Vick’s VapoRub and get well soon.
brian stouder said on March 21, 2006 at 10:59 am
Well, I was thinking in terms of Stanley Kubrick and apes and bones…and therefore hammers or levers….and I was wrong, too!
But I DID get a little chuckle from the guy’s byline….an article about the most important tools ever invented, by Mr D Ewalt…sorta like an article about healthy diets by Ron McDonald
Dorothy said on March 21, 2006 at 11:31 am
Have you tried E-Bay, Mindy? I’m about the next-to-last person on the planet to become E-Bay familiar, having done so in the last 2 weeks.
Cliff said on March 21, 2006 at 11:52 am
Any list of great inventions that does not include the Popeil Pocket Fisherman lacks all credibility in my book.
Mindy said on March 21, 2006 at 1:49 pm
Yes, Dorothy. I’ve been searching eBay for ages with hopes of finding the necessary cams for the old beast. No luck yet. Been finding everything else in the world for well over six years, though. But the old sewing machine gives me a good excuse to sign in and sift through the offerings. Have fun with it and good luck bidding.
MarkH said on March 21, 2006 at 2:46 pm
Incredible that the plow was not on the list.
I saw a pbs documentary some years ago that speculated on what would be needed to survive when armageddon hit (if one survived at all). It went back through the ancestry of all tools and came to the plow as an absolute basic necessity, in order to plant and grow food. Right behind the knife, in my estimation. I can’t remember the title but I believe it was done by David Attenborough.
Dorothy said on March 21, 2006 at 3:29 pm
Mindy the first thing I bought on E-bay (and am going to pick up this weekend) was an antique Singer treadle sewing machine. I don’t care if it works – I just want to look at it! Got it for about $88, and my husband is going to refinish the cabinet. I can’t wait!
JamesRaven said on March 21, 2006 at 5:02 pm
Oh. My. Gawd. Another MacDonald reader. My favorite is The Lonely Silver Rain, the last one, where Travis discovers he has a daughter. Or, you might not be a fan and just found the book and mentioned it. In either case, I’m taking the advice I read when I got linked here, will be returning often, and will be rolling you on my blog. Thanks again.
Jeff said on March 21, 2006 at 10:26 pm
Also that guy did “The Day the Universe Changed,” which was an early version of some of the same stuff “Connections” covered: James Burke. Very good stuff, and the books are almost as good as the TV programs.