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May 18, 2007

Things That Would Be Cool: A List

Hey, you know what would be cool?

1. The Cure doing a cover of Heart's "Barracuda"

2. Battered, deep-fried M&Ms

3. A computerized guitar with LEDs in the neck so you could download tabs and chords into it of your favorite songs and learn how to play them that way

4. Alberto Gonzales receiving an enthusiastically hemorrhaging rectal polyp for every single lie he's told during his testimony on the Hill

5. Everyone who is getting ready to type "Oh, yeah, how about [insert Democrat and/or Clinton administration figure] getting a [insert terrible physical punishment] for [insert alleged incident]?" into the comment thread for this entry suddenly being consumed by an unexpected pack of carnivorous goats, which just happens to be passing by their homes

6. Joan Jett fronting Van Halen

7. Some pie right about now

8. A hybrid engine lawn tractor (he said, after paying $40 for gas for his lawn tractor yesterday)

9. A remote controlled monkey

10. Oh, I don't know what else. You tell me in the comment thread.

Posted by john at May 18, 2007 11:44 AM

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Monty | May 18, 2007 11:50 AM

A genetically engineered actual living Turducken, programmed to nest in roasting pans inside ovens.Also, it should have a pull-tab head.

Matt W | May 18, 2007 12:02 PM

A program that could accurately transcribe interviews conducted with 2+ people in the room.

That and a rabid were-turtle that attacks green bean farms with reckless abandon until there are no more green beans.

Jenny | May 18, 2007 12:02 PM

Rabbits who only eat weeds.

A book of gelato recipes for the exceptionally awesome gelato maker I got yesterday as an early wedding present. (We, I mean. We got.)

Matt W | May 18, 2007 12:04 PM

Oh, and a teleporter that can transport me from my front door to the office door, thereby eliminating an hour-long commute.

MisterStinky | May 18, 2007 12:07 PM

punch to go with the pie.

Simon Proctor | May 18, 2007 12:08 PM

A note on point 2, you need to visit Scotland more often. Any and all chocolate can and will be deep fried here.

It's kind of scary, deep fried Creme Egg anyone?

Nikitta | May 18, 2007 12:09 PM

Some suitable punishment for bands who turn their music into political speeches. There's no problem with bands having some opinions, but letting their lyrics be almost entirely political speeches? GAH!

I'm right now listening to Megadeth's United Abominations and they have done just that. More's the pity since I actually like their music.

Maybe some magic change of their lyrics to not being political speeches, but to be about something else... Then I could enjoy their music without getting nausea.

John Fiala | May 18, 2007 12:09 PM

An airline with large seats and legroom.

The whole TSA/take your shoes off/your belt set off the metal detector we have to pat you down security theater disappearing overnight.

A company that would deliver pie to your door in the same way that pizza or chinese food is delivered.

(Which reminds me - anyone else like the Papa John's webform for ordering pizza? Clean, easy to use interface, handles half-toppings easily, and it's smart enough to tell you when your local delivery office is closed.)

Monty | May 18, 2007 12:11 PM

Not Very Temporary Tattoos, that still have to be needled in (for the sacrifice/macho factor) but are slowly absorbed by your body, vanishing completely after six months. Mine would be of my pet Turducken, right on my forehead.

Neil Clarke | May 18, 2007 12:11 PM

1. A moat(with drawbridge) around my house.
2. A life-size animatronic Godzilla in the backyard.
3. A flame-thrower to clear the snow from the driveway in winter.

Djscman | May 18, 2007 12:14 PM

World Peace. All conflicts are resolved by hot-dog-eating contests.

Hover-skates, -cars, and -hammocks.

A cell phone small enough to be strapped to the wrist. It can also tell time.

Tickets to the Jon Stewart show tonight. (No, not the Daily Show.)

Chang, for rizzle. | May 18, 2007 12:15 PM

9. A remote controlled monkey

Isn't this what kids are?

Gosh, what do I wish for? Right now it's someone to help a friends who's in need. Then it'd be someone to teach my classes for me so I could finish my damn book. No, make that someone to take care of all my repsonsibilities so I could finish my damn book.

Yeah, so I guess I need a remote controlled monkey, too.

Oh, and a death ray. Nothing spells satisfaction like a death ray.

Emily | May 18, 2007 12:15 PM

Deep-friend Oreos are pretty tasty, I must say.

Cynic | May 18, 2007 12:17 PM

Why limit it to one sleazy politician? How about bleeding hemorrhoids to everyone on either side of the aisle who has the mistaken impression that the federal government exists to tell us how to live.

Q: Can a bleeding hemorrhoid have bleeding hemorrhoids?

A: Ask anyone currently running for the oval office...they qualify on the first count, anyway.

John Scalzi | May 18, 2007 12:18 PM


I wanted to start small -- a trial program as it were -- and then see if it was scalable from there.

Kate | May 18, 2007 12:19 PM

1.) If Neil Finn or Sting showed up at my apartment door and asked me to sing a duet.

2.) If I could go to ball or black tie event.

3.) If clouds were made out of banana pudding.

Yes, these would be cool for me. Not you. But this isn't really about you in my universe is it? Muhahahahah.

Eric | May 18, 2007 12:22 PM

It would be cool if the younger generation of musical acts picked up the mantle of acts like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, Peter Gabriel, U2, Sinead O'Connor, et al. and doing politically-relevant and inspiring music.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. It seems like one of my personal wishes might negate someone else's, but no harm meant.


And I certainly feel there should be some punishment for artists who try to be political in some shallow, facile way; e.g. "People shouldn't be hungry, it's sad" or "War is bad." Unless it makes you shake your booty: Edwin Starr's "War" gets a pass and I'll thumb wrestle anyone who says otherwise.

Eric | May 18, 2007 12:23 PM

That should have read "made politically-relevant and inspiring music." I edited one sentence and didn't change the tense throughout. Sorry.

theophylact | May 18, 2007 12:27 PM

Couldn't the animatronic Godzilla clear the snow?

Michael Martine | May 18, 2007 12:27 PM

Jerry Fallwell didn't actually die, but had a near-death experience which invalidated all his beliefs, and afterwards he started hanging out with the Hef.

Nikitta | May 18, 2007 12:28 PM

I almost forgot: flying cars! I want flying cars to exist!

I also want us to live in gigantic dome-encapsuled cities!

Not to mention that I want to be able to have knives come out of my fingers (painlessly!) by just thinking about it!

Sally Lou Liz | May 18, 2007 12:29 PM

As a library worker, I need a hatch in the floor, on the patron side of the desk. That way, if anyone decides it is a good idea to yell at ME about their fines, or blame "incompetent staff" for their fines, I can just hit the switch, and the hatch opens, and said whining patron disappears. They would end up out in the parking lot, dirty, and as a last insult, any handbag/purse etc would come flying out afterwards, and smack them in the kisser!! Don't yell at ME because you can't keep track of a due date even when we remind you by email!

HAH! That is what I want! Where do I submit my request? If you ask for it in triplicate, you get to be the first to ride in the chute!


Lisa M | May 18, 2007 12:30 PM

*takes the pie, warms it up and adds made-on-the-porch, cranked-until-your-arm-about-fell-off, vanilla ice cream, yes, with the egg yolks in it, darn it*

Unless the pie was lemon meringue or chocolate cream. Because hello, those should not be heated.

Dan Bailey | May 18, 2007 12:34 PM

1. I'd like to hear the Cure covering "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane.

2. They probably already have them, dude. I got "tater tot hotdish" deep-fried on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair last year. That place is the Mecca of Deep Fried Foodstuffs.

3. Not a bad idea. I've been playing a lot of Guitar Hero the past few months, and I'm surprised at how good I've gotten at it. If there were a similar system for real guitar, that'd be cool. The downside, though, is that it wouldn't teach theory, or proper form.

4. So you want the man to bleed to death out his ass in less than 20 seconds? (Me too!)

5. No goats appear to be massing near the office. Whew.

6. Fucking cool idea.

7. Indeed. Pumpkin. With tons of Cool Whip.

8. A nuclear-fission powered lawn tractor would be so much cooler. And more intimidating. Intimidation is an important feature in lawn tractors.

9. With remote-controlled poo-flinging action!

10. Oh, okay, here's other things that would be cool (and highly improbable) right now:

a. trading in my car for a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution iX MR.

b. finding the time to fix up the two road bikes i'm about to sell so that i can actually get the fucking things on craigslist this weekend.

c. a Green Day cover of Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You"

d. kittens that are genetically engineered to stay kitten-sized, and kitten-fun, for their whole 20-year lifespan

e. dragging my lunch break out for two hours today

f. an order of chicken curry fried rice and a can of Sapporo

g. a new tattoo

h. getting the e-commerce portion of my font site done this weekend

Nikitta | May 18, 2007 12:36 PM

Eric: Politically-relevant and inspiring music is one thing and it can be a good thing too. However - having your lyrics be nothing but political ranting is another.

There's a big difference between the two.

If you could find the lyrics for that album, you'd see what I meant. It's the kind of political rant you might find on someone's blog or on usenet and which I don't think has a place in music.

Nikitta | May 18, 2007 12:40 PM

I'm with you, Sally. I'd just want mine to be remote controlled to work in certain customer's home, since I talk to them on the phone ;)

John H | May 18, 2007 12:42 PM

1) If Pinky and The Brain actually succeeded in taking over the world.

2) If ill-considered wars could be wiped out with a mulligan.

3) If arbitrary lines on a map weren't used to decide who should have fundamental rights and who shouldn't.

MIke Stanley | May 18, 2007 12:50 PM

8. A hybrid engine lawn tractor (he said, after paying $40 for gas for his lawn tractor yesterday)

How about a neighbor kid to mow the lawn for you?

Sorry, mowed lawns from 11-16 to make unbelievable amounts of money (for a teenager). Mowing lawns is something I don't want to ever do again. :)

marciepooh1976 | May 18, 2007 12:51 PM

Sally Lou, you may have the hatch IF you are willing to admit that sometimes books properly returned make it back on the shelf without being checked in and when this is the case remove the fine. Also, if the local govenment you work for is like the state government I work for the request will have to submitted in triplicate and with at least 2 superiors' authorizing signitures.

#3 and 4 - awesome!

David A. Young | May 18, 2007 12:55 PM

Nikitta --

Wouldn't flying cars AND domed cities be a problem?

PixelFish | May 18, 2007 12:58 PM

Nikitta, if we're gonna go the science fiction fyoocher route, let's throw in the uterine replicators while we are at it.

Onesie jumper from Speesees: $22

Baby Einstein video: $14

Uterine replicator: years and years of ongoing research.

Not having to push a round object the size of a small cantaloupe through your cervix: PRICELESS!

Dr. Phil | May 18, 2007 01:06 PM

Kittens? Forget kittens. I want tiger cubs genetically engineered to stay tiger cubs. And they've been engineered not to get crabby in their old age. Man, would a tiger cub be a real surprise to our orange cat who thinks he runs the place -- I can just see the flabbergasted look of confusion on his face.

Tiger Cubz In Ur House

Oh, and the Chicago Cubs will beat the Boston Red Sox in a World Series which goes seven extra-inning games -- and Game 7 is decided in the 22nd inning at 4:12 am ET and the nation is collectively so drained that the next day becomes an unofficial holiday as most of the country calls in sick.

Mock me and my dream and I'll set my remote controlled titanium monkeyoid on you with its flaming poo throwing feature...

The Cubs -- wait til next century!

Dr. Phil

Diatryma | May 18, 2007 01:12 PM

Mine are rather... some of these are things I wouldn't ever use but want anyway.

A set of tuning forks. I think they're fun to play with.

A crew of brownies to take care of my floors (just the floors, I'm not greedy) to replace vacuuming, sweeping, mopping.

Uterine replicator? Yes, let's have some of those. And a suitable punishment for people who object based on stupid reasoning.

This is very specific, but I would like a kit to isolate microsomes from plant tissue. I do not want to test different protocols. I just want a Qiagen (or whatever brand) box with clearly labeled buffers and troubleshooting instructions. As long as we're wishing.

Dan | May 18, 2007 01:15 PM

It would be really cool if my brother would actually bring beer when he comes over instead of showing up and scolding me for not having any after he drank all of mine the day before.

Oh... I'd also like a big bucket of my grandmother's fried chicken. I've not had that since she passed away thirty years ago and took the recipe with her.

It'd be cool if they put real butter on popcorn in movie theaters.

Rhiannon_s | May 18, 2007 01:15 PM

I think it would be cool if Madonna decided to adopt a kakapo.

Wait, hear me out on this. Kakapos are incredibly endangered species right now, but if Madonna got one then the demand for them as pets would be so high I guarantee there would be Kakapo breeding farms opened up within days. Soon there would be so many of them they'd eventually become as common a pest as rats, racoons, urban foxes or owls!

Oh, and it'd be kinda cool if all scientologists got abducted by aliens to be taken back to Xenu (or whatever crazy alien they believe in this week). Oh, and the aliens take every single copy of Battlefield Earth too (book and movie).

RooK | May 18, 2007 01:16 PM

an unexpected pack of carnivorous goats

Who expects a pack of carnivorous goats? They're like the Spanish Inquisition, except without the capes. I think.

John H | May 18, 2007 01:16 PM

Dr. Phil: The Scrubs blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning TWICE in FOUR DAYS against the Mutts. Somebody hide the pretzels in the clubhouse...

Phillip J. Birmingham | May 18, 2007 01:20 PM

Which reminds me - anyone else like the Papa John's webform for ordering pizza? Clean, easy to use interface, handles half-toppings easily, and it's smart enough to tell you when your local delivery office is closed.

I hate it because all it ever tells me is that I live too far away for them to deliver.

Kate | May 18, 2007 01:20 PM

Dr. Phil,

Sorry, if the Red Sox go up against the Cubs, the Cubs will lose.

Yes, I'm a Sox fan. Have been since in-utero. I had to suffer the humiliation of my parents hanging a sheet on the house (Yes, on the front of the house) that was spray painted with GO SOX in the 86 world series. Imagined being laughed at for something other than your pants in grade school.

No. My days of being a suffering sox fan are OVER. If my boys make it back to the series against anyone, they'll win.

*Wears a rainslicker for the titanium monkeyoid poo attacks.*

Suz | May 18, 2007 01:30 PM

A mandatory Common Sense Test for life. You don't get at least an 75%, you don't get to buy pesticides, household cleaners, pets, or have children.

Kate's Brain | May 18, 2007 01:32 PM

The People at Kate's Brain would like to issue the following statement:

Yes. We understand that the Red Sox did complete a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. However, there has been some resistance in the Hippocampus in regards to actually recognizing the event. We still get letters from the poor girl with just a few sentences that proclaim, 'Huh?' 'Are you sure?' 'Nah. It couldn't really have happened.'

Shock therapy has been working wonders and with ongoing treatment, Kate will follow rank and one random day even almost three years later will shout, "Wooooooohooooo! Yeah!!!" for no apparent reason.

Thank you. We now return you to your normally scheduled program.

Blue Valentine | May 18, 2007 01:33 PM

Scalzi has a lawn tractor.

Scorpio | May 18, 2007 01:34 PM

I would use what's called a "binding batter" and make m&ms fritters. That would be the easiest way to deep fry them. Bet they would be good with ice cream.


Rikhei | May 18, 2007 01:35 PM

A cover of I Walk The Line done in minor key, preferably by a female vocalist (I'm thinking someone like Sia or maybe Regina Spektor).

Dr. Phil | May 18, 2007 01:42 PM

Kate -- no worries there. Though on a daily basis I have no use for the Junior Circuit in MLB, the American League has provided some worthy non-Yankees contenders the last couple of years. I was delighted that the Red Sox prevailed. My thoughts were more on the line that having a World Series in the two remaining real ballparks would be a fitting tribute to the gods of baseball, that free baseball past the ninth inning is always fun -- and mocks those who think that baseball is best played in the dark, and that though I would be happy with either winning a Cubs-Boston series, since the boys from Boston won one in this century, it would be fun to have the Cubs win one and negate all the SF novels (including my own) which predict two to three centuries of failure for the Cubs...

I mean, we're talkin' wishes here, right?

Oh, and about the titanium remote controlled monkeys -- making them out of titanium rather than genetic and biomechanical alternation means that they'll smell better, and won't carry hemorrhagic fevers in their bite (unless we want to add those to the payload) -- but any die-hard true Red Sox fan is safe from the TRCM's and their flaming poo.

Yankees fans, however, should duck.

Dr. Phil

Karl Cook | May 18, 2007 01:44 PM

Having that Matter Transmitter from Niven's A World Out of Time that selectively transmits all the free radicals & toxins out of your cells (and repairs your telemeres) to return you to Youth.
That and the genes of Lazarus Long perhaps...
Antigravity! For local transport purposes, not relieving the Earth of large portions of itself in weapon-like fashion a la Brin's Earth
Ok, if those are to far out, how about the will to invest in sustainable energy sources, like Core Taps? ...Or Solar Wind Farms? ...oh, wait- too far out again.
Nanoassemblers and (Star Trek's) Replicator Technology?
More down to earth then- big, flexible, spectrum-tunable OLED screens?
Viable Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered automobiles and trucks?
How about this then? If all the World's Evangelical Ministers realized the errors of their ways, dissolved their ministries and donated all their money back to their deluded followers and all their property to ME ...and Scalzi!

Blue Valentine | May 18, 2007 01:46 PM

1. My own lawn tractor.

2. A picture of Scalzi's lawn tractor.

cathy | May 18, 2007 01:50 PM

It would be really cool if my boss fell head first into a woodchipper.

It would also be cool if Apple went back to making all its own parts so their computers would be reliable again (says the annoyed increasingly less loyal Apple user who is taking her Macbook back to the store for the second time this month. A computer that was only bought because the G4 iMac had the inverter, lcd and logic board crap out twice.)

Berry | May 18, 2007 01:51 PM

As for #3, it exists: Behold the FretLight Guitar System!


Ryan | May 18, 2007 02:03 PM

#6 is something I would pay a great deal to see.

Every member of congress and the executive branch suddenly coming down with total amnesia.

Clay | May 18, 2007 02:04 PM

I don't think I'm alone when I say I'd like approximately 90% of the various cable news networks (to include staff) to spontaneously combust.

I'd like to have some nice, not too anthropophagus space folks come and build us a beanstalk.

Some Tylenol would be nice about now.

Nikitta | May 18, 2007 02:07 PM

David A. Young: If the domed cities are just gigantic enough, flying cars would not be a problem; in fact they would mean that you could have apartments on the inside of the dome - even close to the top.

We could also have solar cells on the outside.

cheshiregrins | May 18, 2007 02:09 PM

#4 plus six months spa treatment in gitmo for every lie

Willy Nelson and Johnny Cash covers by slovenian punk bands

Karl Rove already has the prototype for #9 maybe he'll lend it to ya in a couple years

Jenny Rae Rappaport | May 18, 2007 02:14 PM

I had deep-fried pickles yesterday, for the first time. They were good! =)

Jim Wright (off storming da castle) | May 18, 2007 02:41 PM

You know what would be really cool? John Scalzi doing a book signing in Anchorage, Alaska. Yeah, that would be cool.

But if I can't have that, I'll settle for Chang's Death Ray. I want mine mounted on the hood of my truck, so's I can Zap! people who drive while yakking on their freaking cell phones and swerving from lane to lane without warning. Also a pocket-sized version so I can Zap! people talking on their cell phones at 80db about their OBG/YN exams in the frozen food aisle of the grocery store. I'm not talking complete death here, I just want to be able to crisp a ear or two, as a warning. Zzzzzzt! Don't be a dick! You know, like that.

Note: Except for the marketing firm that came up with the "Head-on, applied directly to the forehead!" commercial, those assholes get fried and their smoking bodies left beside the road as a warning to other annoying dickheads.

nisleib | May 18, 2007 02:49 PM

1) A really cool car that runs on rainbows and puppy kisses

2) A vorpal sword

3) To lose fifty pounds instantly

4) For Bush and all his goons to be forcibly castrated with a rusty spoon.

5) A license to smack stupid people with an idiot stick.

6) A hat that lets me communicate telepathically with my dogs.

7) A literary agent who will push my work.

Jim Wright (off storming da castle) | May 18, 2007 02:56 PM

6) A hat that lets me communicate telepathically with my dogs.

Hmmm, I don't know about this one. I suspect all you'd hear is something like: throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball. I'm hungry, I'm hungry, I'm hungry, I'm hungry. Let's go for a walk, let's go for a walk, let's go for a walk. Ooooh, got an itch gotta lick my...". Well, you get the idea. I think the novelty would wear off pretty quick.

Mary Kay | May 18, 2007 02:56 PM

I wouldn't mind a piece of pie myself. Blueberry ala mode, thanks.

Otherwise, cool: I get appointed God Emperess of the Universe and we run things MY way for a while.


Douglas | May 18, 2007 02:59 PM

-Teflon coated toilet bowl

-Cell phone / glucose meter

-iPhone / garage door opener

JP | May 18, 2007 03:05 PM

I think we're all missing a huge problem with the list.

Remote controlled monkey is only #9.

I mean, really. This should be #1, #2 at least. Imagine the possibilities. I'd definitely buy the model that has the 'Oook' and 'Fling' button on the remote control. See? #1.

As for my entry: I'm with Jim Wright. And by Anchorage, Alaska, I mean Houston, Texas.

nisleib | May 18, 2007 03:12 PM

No, JP, Austin Texas. What's Tors problem with Texas? Why won't they send him here?

Sally Lou Liz | May 18, 2007 03:12 PM

Wow, I love all these suggestions. I've filed them away for the car discussion this evening. As proud residents of Soviet Canuckistan we are heading to our cabin for the first official long weekend of the summer. We don't call it May 2-4 for nothing!!!

MarciePooh: you know there are times when items get missed, and in fact I handled one of those today. We always check the item in, waive the fine (of course) and add in an apology for any problems our error caused. Pretending we never make mistakes is like a cat pretending it didn't just fall off the sofa, when we all saw it happen! :)

Chryss | May 18, 2007 03:42 PM

1) For grad school to say, "Aw, we knew you'd do a kick ass thesis, anyway," and go ahead and give me the credit now, so I could have a summer.

2) Clothes that automatically put themselves in the washing machine and dryer.

3) A self-cleaning kitchen.

4) For the lovers of Quark XPress and the lovers of Adobe InDesign to come together in peace and harmony and loving one another regardless their choice of layout programs.

Oh, and worldwide peace, etc.

Eric Berlin | May 18, 2007 03:54 PM

Would you settle for an animatronic chimpanzee?

Laura | May 18, 2007 04:00 PM

A raygun that forced politicians to tell only the truth.......oh wait, that would make their heads explode......That could be good too.......

Christian | May 18, 2007 04:46 PM

A silk handkerchief, the lingerie section from the Sears catalog, and....

Oh [blushes]...

Never mind.

The ray gun, Yes, I want the ray gun!

Mark | May 18, 2007 04:57 PM

2) Yum!

7) Hmmm, a slice of key-lime with a long, tall glass of iced tea sounds good.

8) Get a herd of sheep and have them nibble the grass to the appropriate height. That way you never pay for gas on the tractor again and the sheep also fertilize the lawn as they mow it.

10-a) For Rosie (the Jetson's robot) to be real and mine. No more dishes or laundry for me, yeah baby!

10-b) For Mr. Scalzi to finish his sequel to The Android's Dream.

10-c) Cures for [insert any/all diseases that killed people you loved here].

10-d) A mental time machine allowing me to download all of the knowledge I have today (or at any point in the future) into my younger self. Knowing what I know now, I would have paid considerable more attention in high school and probably would have enjoyed school a lot more.

10-e) A decent resort hotel on one of Saturn's moons which anybody could afford to visit (even middle-class schmoes). Seriously, what could be cooler than waking up with a view of Saturn's rings coming up over the horizon?

Johan Larson | May 18, 2007 05:10 PM

7. Some pie right about now

You know, if you lived in a major city, there would probably have been a mad fan who brought you pie about an hour after you posted that message.

Consider moving out of the sticks, John.

John Scalzi | May 18, 2007 05:18 PM

Johan Larson:

Yeah, but that would be, you know, awkward. Especially if they brought me the wrong kind of pie.

JimW | May 18, 2007 05:29 PM

Spontaneous, embarrassing bodily malfunctions for actors who mistake award shows for political pulpits.

And two of those Death Rays - one for my balcony and one for my car.

gerrymander | May 18, 2007 05:35 PM

A personal #10: A picture of John's face during the for the "feeling fine, never better" Gonzales interview after #4 comes true.

(Yes, I'd rather have honest politicians than spontaneous anal bleeding as punishment for the dishonest ones. Also, a pony.)

John Scalzi | May 18, 2007 05:36 PM

Well, everyone wants a pony, Gerrymander.

JonathanMoeller | May 18, 2007 05:47 PM

"4) For the lovers of Quark XPress and the lovers of Adobe InDesign to come together in peace and harmony and loving one another regardless their choice of layout programs."

QuarkXPress sucks.

Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks oh dear God it sucks.

Many was the time I had to drag myself to work at 3 in the morning because the server with the Quark Hardware Volume License key had failed, meaning that none of our Quark installations would start, which meant people would call me in a panic at three in the morning saying WHY THE HELL WON'T QUARK START MY DEADLINE'S IN FOUR HOURS AND DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN IF YOU DON'T FIX THIS RIGHT NOW I WILL KILL YOU! PAINFULLY!

Yes, Adobe InDesign sucks. The important thing is that it sucks less than QuarkXPress.

So watching Quark's market share collapse like a deflated accordion has indeed been a Cool Thing, if only out of spite.

Miscellaneous Steve | May 18, 2007 05:53 PM

Well, everyone wants a pony, Gerrymander.

Not me. I want a hippopotamus. And a shiny blue pogo stick.

Nikitta | May 18, 2007 06:33 PM

I'm so much easier than that when it comes to animals; I just want a cat. I miss being owned by a cat, but we can't have one where we live now.

Well - We will get one again when we live somewhere where we can.

I don't like ponies, but having a real dragon would rock.

Steve Buchheit | May 18, 2007 06:42 PM

Jim Wright, on communicating telepathically with dogs, yeah, the same thing happens once you learn the language of birds. All this talk of winds, lift factors, and which bugs or worms are the best, it gets old really darn quick.

And I'll take one of those zap guns while were at it. I was thinking of forward launched missiles, but I'd go for the zap gun as well.

Chryss on "4) For the lovers of Quark XPress and the lovers of Adobe InDesign to come together"

I just wish I'd be able to use the program that fits the solution (either one depending on the use) unstead of having a BD manager say which one he thinks I should use because it has a higher number or he just read an article about how "zooming" it is.

JonathanMoeller, well, yes, I also wish QX developers would pull their collective anti-piracy heads out of their eversodamnexcruciating development cycle. And screw dongles.

hnu | May 18, 2007 06:49 PM

I'd like two of everything anyone above me has asked for :) no, make it three! I have my wife to think about, and my daughter :)

One Of The Earlier Erics | May 18, 2007 07:08 PM

I agree that if one is going to write political music, one ought to do better than merely rant. I can rant by myself without being edified in the process.

But I'd happily trade the political music for a saddled hippo on a pogo stick. Man, what a f-ing cool way to get to work. Much cooler than a flying car, sorry.

Actually, after the four-hour drive home from the conference I was at this week, I'd really trade all of it - even the hippo - for a nice cocktail. Wait a second! What's this by my computer? Dreams do come true! Hooray!

Miscellaneous Steve | May 18, 2007 07:41 PM

But I'd happily trade the political music for a saddled hippo on a pogo stick. Man, what a f-ing cool way to get to work. Much cooler than a flying car, sorry.

Finally someone who understands why I want the hippo and the pogo stick! I keep explaining to my wife how much we'd save on car insurance, but she still won't go for it.

Cassie | May 18, 2007 08:09 PM

Cool would be someone putting my name in a sonnet and winning a prize for it.

There you go, John. You are officially cool.


Mary Dell | May 18, 2007 08:13 PM

Yamaha makes a #3: http://www.contoismusic.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=EZAG

As for what would be cool:

1. Audible.com carrying ONE SINGLE EFFING SCALZI BOOK!

2. Or at least being able to get them on CD

seguin | May 18, 2007 08:55 PM

Goats outside. Don't wanna say.

Lyle Hopwood | May 18, 2007 09:01 PM

I'm not wearing my glasses and I read #6 as "Joan Jett frotting Van Halen" which is a startling image indeed.

Monty (back up at the top there) - according to Penn Jillette in some book or other, using a tattoo needle with no ink produces a raised tattoo that lasts a year or so and then fades. Not very colorful, I'll warrant. But very macho. (That's why he did it.)

John H | May 18, 2007 09:16 PM

8. A hybrid engine lawn tractor (he said, after paying $40 for gas for his lawn tractor yesterday)

How about this one from John Deere? Cost: $30,000...

Anonymous | May 18, 2007 09:36 PM

Would you settle for carnivorous sheep? I mean, you do sorta have a sheep theme going on over there...

Scorpio | May 18, 2007 09:46 PM

A city that's all walking/bikes/golf carts -- garages on the outskirts for when you need to use a gas hog to try driving ...

no wait! A teleport machine! Forget the gas hogs.

Soni | May 18, 2007 09:48 PM

Things I want:

Programmable nano-skin (patterns, colors, animated effects, etc)

Utility fog (programmable cloud of multi-use nanites)

Edelman's downloadable body hacks ('specially some of those night-vision stuff and happy patches)

Westerfeld's hover boards

Household multi-material 3-D printer

Personality uploading, forking and reintegrative downloading (well, yes, you can go to that concert and still study for your finals)

FTL cruisers

Household teleportals

BrainPal to link and manage all of the above

And pie. Blueberry, please.

Friend of a friend | May 18, 2007 10:12 PM

Schadenfreude Pie, I presume? I made some tonight, using your recipe, after a friend who is a loyal reader of your blog enthusiastically described it (the recipe--he has also recommended the blog many times). He gave the pie two thumbs up. I want to know if, when you made it, the liquid infiltrated the graham cracker crust to such an extent that the crust became bonded to the pie, a sweet and crispy extrusion of the pie rather than a container for the pie. Because that's what happened to mine. Not that I'm complaining, just wondering.

It would have been cool if we'd had some ice cream to put on it, but we didn't.

Jen | May 18, 2007 10:48 PM

How about the not-yet-quite-ready aluminum & gallium powered lawn mower?


Patrick Nielsen Hayden | May 18, 2007 11:42 PM

I like a whole bunch of songs that are nothing more than unabashed political rants.

"Blackleg Miner." "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." "America the Beautiful." "Deportees." "If I Had a Rocket Launcher." "Tramp the Dirt Down."

Politics is part of life. Anything that's part of life is fit for being put into a song. Deal.

JulieW | May 18, 2007 11:45 PM

Finding the people who killed my cat and left her to die in the road, leaving four beautiful baby cats orphaned on my porch, and treating the bastards to an excruciatingly slow and lonely death.

I'm sorry. I'm very bitter right now. But I'm very happy for the smoky-cat on By The Way.

whump | May 18, 2007 11:46 PM

Following up on your previous post, those MFA aspirants can always do a few years behind the mast in software QA, because good software has a narrative.

Ariel | May 19, 2007 12:18 AM

For my boss to hear and see how other see her. Better still, have her be chewed out like she chews out her employees.
Even better... a band of screechy poo flinging monkeys overrun her office and lock the door behind them trapping her and them in the office.

deCadmus | May 19, 2007 12:33 AM

78. A constitutional amendment that required that, for each law passed, two must be repealed. Sooner or later we'd get down to basics.

79. A dish of peanut butter ice-cream.

80. A user manual for my neurotic golden retriever.

81. An Electric Light Orchestra reunion tour. Kansas could be their opening act.

82. Hair where I *want* it to grow.

83. A pet polar bear. And an arctic area he could live in that wouldn't melt.

84. Instant sushi.

85. A television that has only 3 channels, each of which has something I'd like to watch (vs. one that has 255, none with programming I give a shit about.)

85. A tower. With a round library on top. Don't need the castle... just the tower will do.

86. Another 10 years' of Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips.

87. A garage that cleaned itself.

deCadmus | May 19, 2007 12:35 AM

89. Self-numbering lists.

Syd | May 19, 2007 02:04 AM

A round library (thanks, deCadmus) with secret entrances/exits--one for the public (i.e., to let my friends go "Oooooh!" over), one for myself (secret hidey-hole in case of disaster or just to hide from guests who won't stop going "Ooooooh!").

A winning lottery ticket so I can help out some friends who recently got hit with humongous medical bills. (And I'm selfish enough to want there to be enough $$ on the ticket so I can do fun stuff for my other friends. And build my round library.)

Transporter technology. That's cat-proof.

Intelligent, honest politicians who care more about what's right than what "sells."

A sudden, massive, worldwide influx of true, honest-to-whatever WISDOM for the entire population of the planet. And the rest of the universe, assuming that we are not, in fact, alone, and other civilizations may be going through their own version of benightedness.

And my mom's fried chicken, and a slice of her pecan pie. Warm. With vanilla-bean ice cream.

deCadmus | May 19, 2007 02:43 AM

But of course, Syd. Secret entrances and exits are compulsary.

Zack Weinberg | May 19, 2007 02:46 AM

I'd like the heaps and heaps of journal articles, old bills, magazines, etc. currently covering the entire surface of my desk to magically organize themselves and put themselves away in the filing cabinet that I bought, for purpose of putting all these things in, this time last year and have not touched since.

And the teleporter thingy would be nice, too. Especially if it has a small time travel capability so that one can leave one's house in San Diego at X o'clock Pacific and arrive instantly in Atlanta at X Eastern, not X+3. (Cities chosen not at all at random.)

Nikitta | May 19, 2007 05:49 AM

Yeah; politics is a part of life. Using the toilet is a part of life too, but that doesn't mean that I want to listen to an entire album about taking a dump and it doesn't mean that if I a band I used to think was good enough that I'd buy their album without a pre-listen were to make such an album, I wouldn't get disappointed. I would and I'd even talk about it.

Politics in music? Good enough. An entire album consisting of nothing but rants - all on the same subject? Not so much, IMO and I was really disappointed when Megadeth suddenly turned to do that. They used to be able to write about political things without just ranting, but not anymore it seems. I won't say that I don't want to buy future albums by them, but I'm going to give it a listen before deciding whether to buy it or not. Call it a very disappointed outburst at what I used to think was a great band.

Miko | May 19, 2007 06:51 AM

#3's been around for close on ten years now! I always wanted one but it was cheaper to just get a Squier Strat and learn the hard way.

Not that place a lot of importance on theory or form, mind. You end up turning into a second-rate Vai or Satriani imitator far too easily, and nobody wants that.

Also, you know what would be amazingly cool and groovy?

If one of the bloggers I read downloaded Imaginary Friend's new album from iTunes (who just started selling it today) and liked it, and mentioned it on his/her blog, starting a wave of word-of-mouth that spread and spread until the sales figures were enough that we could all afford .. uh, new guitar strings and maybe drum heads, I guess. There's seven of us, and 65 cents only goes so far.

Sorry to self-pimp in a non-self-pimp thread, but I'm so excited by the idea of actually making a living from music that I'm wetting myself here.

(There isn't really a music equivalent to writing manuals and brochures, unless it's doing ad music, and they usually want the Rolling Stones for that 95% of the time, too. You would not believe the amount of competition for that last 5%.)

Nathan | May 19, 2007 11:51 AM

Dr. Phil,

Your World Series as laid out is perfect...but the cubs win? In your dreams.

Go Sox!

Pat Logan | May 19, 2007 11:58 AM

For anyone who wanted to be a politician to get the Pinocchio transformation and grow a longer nose when they told a lie. Only short-noses elected!

Self-cleaning houses. They promised us this in the '70's! Where's mine?

Robot lawnmowers that do your lawns for you. Although kids are good for that too, but they charge extra.

Gum such that the flavor never runs out.

Nathan | May 19, 2007 12:05 PM

Jim Wright,

I actually wanted to build and market a car game something like that. It would have had a Heads Up Display on your windshield and controls you'd clamp to the steering wheel. Then you could choose cannons or missiles or whatever and shoot them at the other assholes on the road. The game would have made all sorts of cool noises and kept score of your hits and misses.

Not that I'm even remotely capable of coming up with a prototype for this, but I figured every state would outlaw the damn thing before we could ship them from the factory, so, a cool, (I think), idea, it remains.

RitaInHood | May 19, 2007 12:07 PM

Nothing is cat-proof. You must mean cat-resistant.

Jim Wright, who wants a Death Ray | May 19, 2007 12:22 PM

86. Another 10 years' of Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strips. And the Farside and Bloom County. That would indeed be cool.

Nathan: I've advocated for years that we should legalize highway weaponry. Think of it as evolution in action.

Tim | May 19, 2007 12:44 PM

Pat Logan,

Your robot lawn mover awaits.


A Repeating Eric | May 19, 2007 02:27 PM

Sadly, my pantry door is cat-proof, as my cat discovered to his dismay when he decided to sneak inside one morning as I was making lunch to take to work; of course I closed the door behind him, not realizing where he was, and left. Happily, no harm done (except maybe to his ego).

deCadmus (and Jim) you should specify a decade of good C&H, Far Side and Bloom County cartoons: Peanuts ran for, what, fifty years, maybe only half of which were good. As much as I miss Calvin and the rest, at least Watterson, Larson and Breathed went out on the high note and never really disappointed any of us. We all want more, and nobody ever said "Jeez, why won't he quit." That's kind of a treasure in itself, y'know?

hnu | May 19, 2007 02:32 PM

A new ass, this one has a hole in it :)))

glinda | May 19, 2007 02:53 PM

I'm with Pat Logan on the self-cleaning houses (and apartments).

Also, one grandmother's recipe for stuffing; I've been trying for decades of Thanksgivings to duplicate it.

My other grandmother's way with plants; I do okay, but she was amazing.

And my father's ability to make gravy.

Oh, and world peace.

But no pony, please.

Jason McCulley | May 19, 2007 05:25 PM

Joan Jett fronting Van Halen.

Michael Anthony rejoining Van Halen. Realization striking that hey, Mike and Eddie can sing! What do we need a lead singer for?

Jon H | May 19, 2007 07:37 PM

As noted above, there's a company called Fretlight that sells the guitar you want.


Darkmage | May 19, 2007 11:00 PM

The user manual for women. I'm having a devil of a time figuring them out and I would like to see the documentation.

I want a la carte cable stations. I don't want ESPN, Oxygen Network or Telemundo, I just want Discovery, History and SciFi networks. But anything more than basic cable has too much crap added to it to make it worth the cost.

A heads-up display for my car that will project speed, fuel economy, distance left on the tank, current gear and crosshairs onto the windshield. And another for my motorcycle.

Sunglasses with a transparent LCD inside that connects to my PDA via wireless connection. Whenever I talk to someone in the address book, it will display their name, correct pronunciation and whether or not I have to suck up to them next to their head so that only I can see it.

Nick Stump | May 20, 2007 05:36 PM

I tried Walk The Line in a minor key and it sounds...well, it sounds French. I like the French, their food, their language--not so many pesky words. I love their crazy politics, but their music? Nah.

If you play the song only going to the minor on the five chord, it doesn't sound as French and the minor five chord actually sounds pretty good, especially when you go back to the 7th one chord.

I second pie. Also, I wish my wife would go to the grocery and bring me a half-gallon of fresh carrot juice and a six-pack of Draft Guinness.

Pat Logan | May 20, 2007 06:16 PM

Tim: you just made my day.

Pat Logan | May 20, 2007 06:19 PM

Pricey little guy, though. I bet the price'll come down after a while.

Craig M | May 20, 2007 06:23 PM

Any kind of automatic guitar won't keep you interested as long as you might think. A music stand that could fit into a pair of "goggles", or, okay, glasses instead, would be pretty cool. After all the really hard part about guitar is mastering intonation. Once you master intonation you can control the guitar, and then the world !! Yessss!!!

Joan Jett fronting VanHalen? Yeah about that...hmmnn yeah...hmmnn...how about that huh...yeah, hummnnn.

Ray | May 21, 2007 07:40 AM

212. A Ray Gun-
I resemble that remark. Just remember there is no safety.
283. A Time Machine.
Hmm...I think with a time machine what more would you need.
11. More Guitars.
And a bigger studio.
99. A Transporter.
Because commuting between Vienna, Austria and San Francisco is starting to suck.
542. A free clean source of energy.

Bob Strauss | May 21, 2007 09:31 AM

A Leatherman tool with WD-40 built in.

Shrike58 | May 21, 2007 09:35 AM

The classical Library of Alexandria being found in a nice dry cave the way the Dead Sea Scrolls were.

John | May 21, 2007 09:58 AM

On #3, the guitar with LED frets, they DO exist:


This one only teaches chords and scales, but if THAT can be done, then someone can certainly write an interface to do Tab. So I guess it's not really a question of IF but of WHEN.

John (again) | May 21, 2007 10:01 AM

Oh. The downloadble song guitar HAS been done:

John | May 21, 2007 10:13 AM

Sigh. It helps if you read ALL the comments BEFORE you post.

Ah well, lots of linkyness for Fretlight, I guess!

Patrick in the Philippines | May 21, 2007 02:33 PM

A proper working TARDIS

Glenn Hauman | May 24, 2007 01:32 AM

Re: Joan Jett fronting Van Halen -- what you probably don't know is that post-David Lee Roth, Patti Smith from Scandal was seriously considered to take over.

And you DON'T want a la carte cable. It'll cost you much more in very short order.

Darkmage | May 24, 2007 11:58 PM

How's that? I only want three channels more than the eleven that I currently get. I don't want the ones that the cable companies pay out the wazoo for (ESPN , HBO, Cinemax, etc.)

I will pay more, yes. But I will get more and it will be the more that I want.

Enlighten me. Er, offline, please.

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