Saturday, January 28, 2006
Garrison Keillor: Purdue is a school for people who want to build stuff. Their engineering programs are among the finest in the world. Here is a list of the different degrees you can get: Mechanical Engineering (GEARS AND MOTORS), Industrial Engineering (BIG SLOW MOTOR, WARNING SIREN), Civil Engineering (TRAFFIC JAM), Biomedical Engineering (FRANKENSTEIN GROWL then "FIRE GOOD"), Chemical Engineering (LIQUID SLOWLY DRIPPING), Electrical and Computer engineering (ZAP, ZAP. KEYBOARD) and also Aeronautics (JET AIRCRAFT) and Astronautics ("ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN..." ) If you can dream it they can figure out a way to build it here. The life of an engineering student is an exciting one. You get to play with the wind tunnel (WIND), the G-force chair (WHIRLING), the static electricity ball (STATIC, ZAP), the particle accelerator (WHIRRING, ZOOM), rockets (BLAST OFF) and missiles (WHOOSH, POOF). Of course some things haven't worked so well.
There was the fishing cap with the built-in MP3 player (MUSIC) it caused deafness and it scared away the fish. And if it got wet (SHORTING, FEEDBACK) it made you lose your hair.
There was the first Post-It note with the powerful glue you couldn't get the darn thing off. You had to use a sandblaster. (SFX)
There was the helicopter with the rubber blades that were meant to be easier to maintain, but it was difficult to steer (RUBBERY FLIGHT).
The life-preserver pants with the air cartridge in the crotch you pulled the rip cord and they suddenly expanded (WHOP) and they would float, but nobody dared to use them. And sometimes in the water, you'd turn upside down. (WHOA, BUBBLES)
Teflon shoes which repelled stains, but (WHOA. WHOOAAA) not good for footing.
The high speed escalator was a good idea but (ACCELERATING, WHOAAAAAA) the public wasn't ready for it.
Or the self-cleaning tie (SPLAT, WHIRR, WIND-SHIELD WIPERS) Or the explosive boomerang (FUSE, THROW OFF, RETURN, EXPLOSION) Or the tiny surgical masks for chickens to protect them from the flu (MUFFLED BOKS).
Or the wiretaps that trigger a ballpeen hammer in the telephone that taps the criminal on the forehead (BONK. OOHHHH)
Or the donut holster for policemen (BLOOP OF DISPENSER) You can carry two donuts in each one, or one Bismarck. (DISPENSER, SQUOSH)
The aerosol bikini was developed here. (SPRAY) It didn't go far.
The ATM machine that also dispenses breath spray. (DISPENSER)
Self-destructing kitty litter (MEOW. EXPLOSION)
The combination All-in-One Printer-Scanner-Fax-Copier-Toaster Oven- Cat Carrier-Tanning Bed.
Ant this (TINY PHONE RING) The "Raisin Phone." Small enough to fit on your fingernail, you pop it in your mouth, and stick your left index finger in your ear.