Yet another in an errant series of my bitching at the Universe.


  Part 1)  Non-compliant Traffic Control Hardware

  I'm sure you've been in the situation at least once when, sitting at a
stoplight, the cross-street's light goes yellow and that one guy just
doesn't simply sneak under the yellow light; no, he guns the motor through
the red light, cutting a hard left in front of you as you get halfway into
the intersection which, by law, is now your right-of-way, and he proceeds to
nearly (or in some cases, deftly) rip the left-front fender from your car
with that steel rear bumper one's own car never seems to be equipped.

  While blowing your horn and giving the guy the finger and a very
demonstrative set of simple expletives that look good visually if not sound
good aurally--while these may offer some equalization of your offended sense
of proportion, there is a better solution:

  What if a gas-charged harpoon-style cannon was mounted on each opposing
lightpole to the intersection, such that one cannon could oversee two of the
four roads leading away from the intersection.  Instead of a harpoon,
though, the cannon is loaded with a grappling hook and a hundred or so feet
of tempered steel tractor chain.  When the annoying driver alerts the
robot vision image processing system (which resides in that yellow box on
the stoplight pole--it certainly has space in it) the harpoon is
servo-locked onto the nimrod's rear bumper--rear axle if reachable--and
blam!  His car is quickly brought to a halt and reeled back to where it
belongs.  If the driver is so lucky as to have his rear bumper/axle snapped
cleanly off by this maneuver, again the robot vision computer will determine
the moment of supreme humiliation on the driver's face at which point it
snaps the page one photo for the next day's Daily Log.

  The idea here is, of course, that nothing is quite so effective against a
person pulling sneaky stuff as intense public humiliation.  We can take it
further, too:

  In my town, a crosswalk is useless.  Try to cross at one, and you'll be
knocked into the next intersection.  (I have actually been *bitched at* by
drivers who had to `come to a sudden halt' as I was foolishly in their way
crossing through the walk under a sign that read `yield to pedestrians in
crosswalk'.  It was like some Monty Python sketch.

  Well, these intersections would have an a few extra pieces of hardware
installed.  Solenoid-controlled tire shredders on the street and chainguns
mounted on the lightpoles.  The action is quite straightforward:  When a
pedestrian steps onto the walk, the contol system prepares the intersection
accordingly.  Up pop the tire shredders (Wile E. Coyote would be proud) to
stop normal traffic.  For the speed-negligent, the chainguns would blow the
tires out a safe distance away such that the vehicle would be stopped before
colliding with the pedestrian.  To prevent the stranded car from posing a
traffic problem the grappling hook would winch it off to the side.

  Now to combat another road problem:

  Since passing a law to prohibit deer from darting out onto a road would
appear to be ineffective, we instead mount a chaingun with a fire control
system strictly programmed to activate upon sensing DEER ONLY to the car. 
The objective here is simple; blow the deer into bits small enough such that
they cannot dent your car.

  Part 2)  The Quest for a Completely Hot Pizza

  Ever notice how pizza just happened to be engineered to not reheat and
taste as good as the previous evening when it arrived at the house?  Enter
the stasis box.

  The stasis box would be a small microwave oven-sized device that would
literally keep the object inside it in the exact same state it existed at
the moment it was put a half-eaten hot pizza.

  It is such an obvious necessity one wonders why it has not been made
available as of yet.  The simple answer that such a device is
science-fiction is far too obvious.  The actual answer is much more likely:
They don't want us to enjoy our hot pizza the next day.  Can you imagine the
economic upheavel the pizza industry would sustain if every college town on
Earth suddenly reduced their call-in orders by 80%?  That if everyone had a
stasis box they could efficiently consume their pizzas *without* ordering a
new hot one even when 60% of yesterday's is in the fridge?

  It is a conspiracy that belongs in the same category as left-handed sugar,
hydrogen-fueled cars, and the metric system.

   Have a better one!