When I was a wee lad of 10, I wanted a tape recorder for my birthday. We didn't have a functioning stereo system in the house and I wanted to be able to listen to music. Well, I got one; and I accumulated a few tapes of music (like the Star Wars soundtrack).
Then one of my friends showed me something incredible: you could record funny audio skits and then laugh at them.
When I got into junior high school, then, one of my friends had a couple of Super 8 movie cameras, and we applied this marvelous technique to making hilarious films.
Okay, they were juvenile and stupid. But I can watch them today and get a chuckle out of them, if only because I remember having so much fun filming them, and I also remember the anticipation with which we awaited the film's return from the developer.
(This was 1982. You had to wait weeks for movie film to be developed. "One-hour developing" was still years away.)
In 1985, my then-friend Eric's mother's boyfriend bought a JVC GR-C1 camcorder. And we did funny skits in front of it.
...one of the funniest things is that at first we did them all silent: we were all so used to Super-8 film with no sound that when we got in front of the camcorder, we just did our funny stuff without saying anything. Then I remembered, Hey, this thing's got sound! and started talking, which broke the ice.
And as time went on, we used other machines to make funny skits; in 1985 we were making some videos and another friend of mine was being a smartass behind the camera. Eric was running the camera while I acted; Marcus was holding up a light bar, and occasionally making silly faces at the camera. So you could hear Eric laughing while I was doing my thing on-camera, and after a few repetitions of this, Eric chortled, "Oh, God, I'm crying into this lens!" meaning the eyepiece.
(I still have almost all that video, too. Some of it is in pretty bad shape, being a copy of a copy of a copy, but I have it.)
And so what made me laugh until tears came?
My snark at #7 of the "Ten Dumbest Green Gadgets": solar-powered coasters!
Because, damn it, the coasters you have to plug into the wall are just power hogs. I'm pretty sure that plug-in-light-up-color-changing coasters are the reason global warming and pollution have become the problems they are today.I mean, come on! This is so stupid I don't know where to begin!
Let's face it: a drink coaster is there to protect your furniture from moisture and mechanical damage. All it needs to do in order to fulfill this role is to provide some kind of absorptive or containing function in a package made of something that won't mar wood. The coaster I use on my computer desk is made of sandstone with a cork base; it absorbs water and lets it evaporate. In the family room we have these nice octagonal teak coasters, which can hold about half an ounce of condensation before overflowing.
Notice something interesting about these perfectly acceptable coasters?
THEY DON'T REQUIRE A FREAKING POWER SOURCE!
Solar or WTF-ever: I don't have to plug them in or set them in the sun for 5 hours. The point is, a coaster does not need to light up to perform its basic function. And making solar cells and LEDs and the other electronics in the solar-powered light-up coasters requires a lot of toxic chemicals and a shitton of industry to support it, none of which is very "eco-friendly". And so the plain wood coasters sitting on the end table in my family room are several times as "green" as these idiotic solar-powered light up drink coasters.
In fact, everything on that list is just as pathetically idiotic as the solar-powered coasters are, and for much the same reason: if it actually does anything useful, it does with less efficiency and more expense (and more environmental damage) than conventional devices which are already perfectly acceptable for the task. *sigh*
Every once in a while, when I reread something I've written, I get this kind of laugh out of it. That makes it all worthwhile.