Well, today is the day. Is everyone excited? I know I am. Before we post the top essays, we decided to post a few of our favorite essays which didn't quite make the final cut but were worth sharing.

These essays are special. They are special because the indicate a distinct and rapid decline in the English language. They are also particularly virulent and odd and remind us that the heart of man is a dark and twisted place. Without further ado...


Last Day - Essay Contest Re: Grandma, Gadgets, etc.


Jackrabbix writes:

I believe that the human washing machine is the gadget I would most like to give my grandma. There are several reasons why I'm sure that this would be the perfect tech-toy for her. Firstly, she has all sorts of handles and strange apparatus in her shower. She goes so far as to have a seat in there, so she doesn't have to stand while she gets clean. I know that she often has dizzy spells, and these things are certainly needed for her to wash her elderly self. How great it would be for her to have one of these next to 'her chair'... She could literally roll to the side, off of her chair, and into the cleaning machine! No more hazardous walks to the bathroom for her! Secondly, she does not seem to be very good at showering in the first place. I suppose that sitting to take a shower can't be very effective for getting the grime out of... um... Well nevermind about that anyway, I'll just re-iterate that she could sure use one.

Tom writes:

I would give my gramma a pair of Oakley Thump. The thump on Gramma wouldst be the Bomb. Grammas love large sunglasses and Buicks. Buicks and Thumpin' and Jive.
They had no Thump in her day, and good they did not — or the Grammas would be a-Thumpin'. Oh, boy, would they be a-Thumpin'.
They'd be Thumpin' in their Buicks and in their Lincolns. They'd be Thumpin' in the farmers markets and in Church. They would Thump in the bathroom, and thump when they stair off into space and suck on their dentures while they thump in their shades.

My Gramma, she wouldst Thump.

Dave writes:

As I was browsing through your site, I noticed the essay contest that's
currently underway. While I would like a shot at a Pocket Candy, and
the fame and glory that winning a Gizmodo essay contest entails,
I unfortunately have no living grandmothers.

In the spirit of equal opportunity, I got to thinking. How about a robotic
Grandma? A working body to live on in her stead would be just the thing to
commemorate my grandmother's memory. So the question becomes, exactly
how will I "Pimp My Robotic Grandma"?

I'd have to start with the Repliee-style body, though I'd have to make it
Caucasian to avoid any awkward situations with my friends. A
respectable Robogranny would need Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as a PC
lodged somewhere in her robotic innards.

Of course, no robotic ancestor would be complete without a
bling-blinging LCD, so I'd require a 24" Aquos to be lodged somewhere
in her lower back area.
Robogranny is just as forgetful as Real Granny, so I'd probably need a TiVo
in there too.

Now come the real hard decisions. One eye could serve as a video camera
while the other could be a digital projector. But what to do with the arms?

I suppose one arm would need an embedded keyboard while the other could have
a trackpad mouse. Any leftover space could be dedicated to a biometric
security system; after all, this is MY Robogranny, you'll have to build your
own. (Note: Make sure you have no living grandmothers BEFORE building
Robogranny. I don't think they'd take well to meeting their robotic

So there's my Robogranny. Oh, and of course, it would have to be able to
breakdance. A man's gotta have standards.


John writes:

I've learned that grandmothers are procedural when it comes to technology, not conceptual. If a gizmo has sufficient complexity then there will be times when her procedures break down. This will result in a (rotary pulse dialed) phone call to the provider of the aberrant gizmo (POTAG).

During that phone call the grandmother will refuse to entertain the notion of learning the Way of the gizmo and instead will only be interested in getting over the present hurdle. This is a fact of life worthy of some meditation. Unfortunately, it shall always take at least three hours on the phone to deliver an effective custom procedure to a grandmother exasperated by a gizmo (GEBAG):

``I am clicking on it!''
``Ok, look down at the mouse. You are clicking on the left button, right?''
``Oh, my finger slid over to the middle button.''

Postulate: The gizmo most interesting to most grandmothers is the personal computer, and this gizmo is also one of the hardest to operate from a purely procedural paradigm.

I choose the personal computer as my favorite gadget for grandma, and proffer (hopefully with a tad more originality) that said computer should be configured with a reliable remote desktop service so that the POTAG can "just do it for her." This may involve some networking tricks, and take care not to give easy accress to a miscreant, but once configured the endless phone conversations will be a thing of the past:

``Ok you old GEBAG, step away from the keyboard. I'll fix your print queue.''
``Thank you sonny!! Cookies are in the mail!''
``Here The POTAG, have a trophy!''


AChinn writes:

Oh, my poor Grannie. She's been through a lot: two World Wars, Vietnam and the Cola Price Wars, and yet she never lost her unflinching sense of self...until recently.

It's gotten to that point where Grannie just can't operate like she used to,
and it seems to mystify and perturb her. She lacks the physical dexterity to
cook or clean, and forget about driving a car. She pretty much is now
confined to her cramped, three thousand square foot Beverly Hills apartment.
Poor dear.

I'd really like to help her regain that sense of freedom and mobility. That
way she could resume some of the matronly functions that she felt gave her
purpose: illegal street racing, bear baiting, skysurfing and the like.

So when you asked what gadget I would get for Grannie, it became so very
clear. What she needs is that Alaskan mecha!

Imagine the sense of freedom Grannie would experience stomping down the
freeway, crushing Priuses (Is that the correct plural? Is it Priuces? Prii?)
like peanut shells.

Yes, with that mecha Grannie would regain some of her long-lost
functionality. Instead of relying on Domino's delivery for dinner, one shot
from the arm-mounted flamethrowers and pow: Instant beef flamb . And stove
flamb , and counter flamb ...

Sure, Grannie still thinks a "computer" is a job you need 4 years of
postgrad to get. And sure, she hasn't driven an automobile since the days of
dodging streetcars. But what isn't there to like about a 40-foot tall,
sinister-looking armored shell? She has been nervous about national security
in these times of heightened awareness. I was just going to get her a
flashlight and some canned food, but this would be much better!

So there it is, in a nutshell. Grannie just hasn't been herself the last few
years. I just know that her spirit would be rekindled if she became the
pilot of a car-crushing, terrorism-fighting, apartment-exploding mecha. And
if not, well, it would at least make for some good TV.


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