Sunday, December 19, 2010

Picking brains

I heard a story on NPR the other day. It inspired me. A doctor in India saved many lives during a flu epidemic by using water and a bit of inexpensive tubing to replicate the action of a respirator.

“I believe we can solve anything,” the Indian doctor had said. All it takes is thought and creativity.

I created something yesterday.

My rain gutters were overflowing and water was seeping through the window.

I just kept remembering what my Indian mentor said, "God gave us the brain."

I figured this particular problem I could lay at the feet of my god-given brain, as it hadn't thought to have the gutters cleaned in the first place. But as they say, barn door, horse, open, gone. But even at this critical stage, the brain didn’t seem overly anxious to kick into high gear. I couldn't tear it away from a Gary Cooper movie and a box of Triscuits.

Brains, and I can only speak for the one I know on an intimate basis, are flighty things; inconvenient, and without much conscience or compassion. But can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Brains are also insomniacs. At about 2 a.m., it had an idea. Maybe, just maybe ...

Bring me some tape, it said, any kind you've got, and be quick about it, girl. Then we need a long straight stick, and what have you got in the way of a four inch hook ...

No instrument is humble, if it works.


  1. And the purpose of this brainstorm is to ... clean out the rain gutter? Is that some kind of monster pipe cleaner? Must have been some pipe. Well at least it accomplished one purpose... It got Jane Russell off the front page. I don't think my legs could have taken much more.

    WV: sorring. The mind is a beautiful thing when it's soriing, in Scandanavian yet.

  2. Thank you for the visuals. It conjures up Mr Bean.
    Was the Gary Cooper movie "Morocco"?

  3. And I only cleared my gutters out last week. I could have put your brainwave to good use here. Ah well, next year.

  4. I've been hearing npr lately also.

    Stories from India have always been amusing to me. Here's another entertaining chapter to add to the collection.

  5. Let's hear it for the insomniac brain.

    Good for it--and you.

  6. I ditto Jean - let's hear it for insomniacs - and Gary Cooper movies!

    Thanks for the graphics, too.

  7. Meet John Doe. I'd never seen it before.

    Earl, combine my design with your pipe cleaner idea and I think we're on to something we could sell on late night TV.

  8. We here in Phoenix don't have gutters. We barely have leaves. Of that I am thankful.

    I like your multipurpose design. A dual function gutter cleaner and sweeper. You get a B on utility, C-on esthetics.

  9. Also ---
    The planet Sigma Draconis VI has beings on it that can remove brains. They did this to Spock. If you don't like yours, you might try contacting them for help. I'm sure they could find you another for a trade. I happen to like your brain though.

  10. So did you get up in the middle of the night to construct your tool, or wait till the next morning? Isn't it wonderful the way our subconscious is really the one that does all the intelligent thinking? Of course, if too many people have ingenious brains like yours, OSH and Home Depot will have to close down. They rely on selling tools for every eventuality.

  11. Brilliant simplicity. It might also make a good cat toy.

  12. yes, I'm terribly proud of it, even if Pierre gave me a C minus.

    How can one not be a Cartesian dualist? While one half of you wrings your hands over a problem, the other half is totally unconcerned, and in fact a little disgusted by all the angst.

    That's why you can solve so many problems in sleep, no one's screaming at the brain anymore. In fact, if I slept fifty percent of my life, I'd get so much more accomplished.

  13. I only wish I could motivate the rest of the body to get up and do what the brain thinks it should.....sorta laike government and peons.

  14. uhm, I LOVE tools..the folks at the local hardware know me by name and when I die, my net worth is primarily in tools...but...really? really? tape? that's hardly a tool! a pump clamp or a tree trimmer or heck, even a hose clamp would work too...sorry...being critical with a non-insomniac brain right now.

    can you put Jane back on the top of the page? ;-)

  15. My gutters are 25 feet in the air. It would have to be a really big stick. I don't even know when the last time our gutters were cleaned out is, although there's one place where a roofline meets the wall of the house, leaves build up there, and I crawl out the bathroom window twice a year with a broom to sweep away the leaves. Otherwise, I have a wall leak. Here's hoping you didn't have to crawl out a bathroom window!

  16. There are plants sprouting out of the dirt in my gutters and I need an Environmental Impact Report and a permit from the city to clean them out.

    I think we should watch some late-night TV together and brainstorm.

  17. What an excellent tool ... the brain I mean.


  18. My brain would've preferred Meet John Doe too!!! You have rain gutters that need unclogging...we have a deck that needs to be dug out...

  19. Brilliant idea. You could make some delightfully huge pipe cleaner people once rainy season is over. (Or am I the only one who did crafts with pipe cleaners as a kid?)

    WV: dippe. I guess that's what you did with your Giant Pipe and Gutter Cleaner®

  20. 'No instrument is humble if it works. KB

    'See you in the darkness.' Gary Gilmore

    I can do anything. In GQ I appeared as a man.' Boy George

    I wanted to be a plumber.' Robert Goulet

    Be the change you want the world to become.' Mohandas Gandhi

    'Deep down I'm pretty superficial.' Ava Gardner

    'what would a monkey do?' bandit

    WV: coment

  21. And you said you weren't handy with tools!(said in nasly voice)

    I believe that's either a refrigerator brush or a gynormous baby bottle brush. Whatever it is, now it's been repurposed and reinvented. Very, very cool. Good thinkin'.

  22. For Christmas, Katie gave me my first trademark.

    And smarty-pants Trish, the tree trimmer didn't work. Needed something that could plumb. Thank god it worked because, depending on who (whom?) you believe, we're having the worst drenching in 2, 10 or 20 years.

  23. What? No ladder?

    I don't think this would work on the load in our gutters. The giant pipe cleaner would bend back when it hit the debris. We need to get up there with a shovel.

  24. I really don't like it when the rain gutter overflows. So, I clean them out regularly. I was once caught on the roof with a garden hose cleaning out the gutters in the middle of a heavy storm. My neighbor came to the conclusion I was nuts.

    Years ago, BC (Before Chieftess), I dated a woman who was also an inventor. She lived in the hills and had a years-long battle with the deer that ate her rose bushes. Her invention, which seemed to work, was to tie tampons on the rose bushes. They blew in the wind which scared the deer away. The only problem was that all of her neighbors thought she was crazier than my neighbor who caught me hosing off the roof in a rainstorm.

  25. Let's have a "Crazy Behavior Smackdown"!

  26. "Tie a yellow tampon to the old oak tree!"

  27. Four inches????

    By the way, MSNBC just made it sound as if SoCal is about to float away or sink in mud, but you all sound jolly. Alarmist journalism again?

  28. You have to remember, Banjo, that Southern California is on the edge of a desert. People get all giddy when it rains. Newscasters break into programs to announce their Storm Watch update - 1/4 inch is expected - batten down the hatches! Rain is a cause for celebration, unless of course, your house gets flooded or slides down a hill in a mudslide.

  29. And what the hell are you going to do with THAT?

    Sorry, my brain is not developed enough to put two & four together to come up with a reasonable answer to that question on my own.

    I just hope no one got hurt.

  30. What are you saying, Carolynn, "you'll poke your eye out?"

    Banjo, most of these guys can afford to be cavalier about our flooding -- they don't live here.

    DB, and you DATED her?

  31. In defense of Triscuits. They really do sneak up on you with their savory deliciousness. (There could be Nobel in your future.)

  32. Yes, Karin, I dated her, but I didn't marry her.

  33. Yet another reason Kathy is a favorite person of mine.

  34. the hype over a little rain---hello, it's LA, the land of drama?!?! As with a quake a number of years back---came on the news here as if a 7.5 had hit. It was a 4.2? No one could find anything amiss, other than rattled nerves and some power outages.

    ROTFLMAO! db...Mr she'd just tied can lids or tinsel to the roses it might have done the trick! well, guess I should admit I got caught "erasing an eraser" once in school. Teacher thot I was nutz. I was merely trying to get the lead off the eraser so it didn't leave more marks on the page than I was trying to clean up.

    And KB---that's what STICKS and BRANCHES are for! sheesh! no need to make new fangled tools! big stick, ladder, jab, jab, jab, done, right?

    then again, a now-ex-husband of a friend tried to use a pressure drain opener to unclog a downspout once. Didja know those downspouts are aluminum? They tend to blow out at the least little pressure like that! Ken not only was covered from knees down in the stuff that had backed up, but also had a spout that now had a "bonus" opening part of the way down the spout!