Puppies: The Next Big Invention

Puppies . . . puppies will make them sleep . . .

Sometimes blog posts take on a life of their own, thanks to readers’ comments, and give birth to new blog posts. My recent post about my former employer, The Vindicator, led me to puppies, which led me to nursing homes, which leads me to my inventions.

I was talking about newspapers’ tendency to publish depressing news and the public’s tendency to not ever want to know about these bummers and instead to read about happiness, rainbows, unicorns and teenagers who aren't taking drugs.

My friend Lynn said: "I still like the idea I read about of having a cable channel totally devoted to footage of playing puppies. People could turn the sound off and have it as a screen saver, or they could show it continuously in a nursing home. Who could be in a bad mood watching puppies?"

That is so true. Some nursing homes will get actual dogs and have them around for the old people to play with. My kids played the piano at a nursing home in New Jersey and there was a golden retriever laying there next to a wheelchair and it was just about the sweetest thing. Made me tear up as my son was playing, “Theme from Star Wars.” But having an actual dog in a nursing home means having actual dog emissions and all the work that requires. The Puppies-on-a-Screen is a much better invention.

My husband and I are crazy-good inventors. We’re always inventing things in our minds that could make life on planet Earth way better than it is now. The other night at dinner, my husband invented a restaurant jukebox that you can control with your iPhone. There are a few kinks to work out, including what happens when some jerk lines up a bunch of Captain & Tennille songs. My husband wanted to build in a feature where everyone in the restaurant could vote to remove a song choice from the list, but then we imagined a restaurant full of people furiously poking at their iPhones, trying to stack the vote and get only their songs played.  “No one will be eating,” my daughter said. It didn’t sound at all retro and nostalgic like jukeboxes used to be. The thing started to sound just depressing.

One of my best inventions yet is something similar to what Lynn suggested: A TV channel all to yourself.

Here’s how it works: You get your channel number and because this is going to be so popular your number might be 12 digits. But let’s say you get in early and your channel number is 269. You set the programming for Channel 269 by filling out a survey about what TV shows you like best, what TV shows you like at certain times of the day and night, and what TV shows you don’t ever want to see on Channel 269. Because I’m the inventor, my Channel will be 1, and I guarantee you will never see Housewives of New Jersey or any show with Gene Simmons or any Kardashian on Channel 1. I might program Channel 1 to show old Law & Order episodes during most of the day, Glee and Hoarders during dinner, reruns of all the Thursday night NBC comedies on Wednesday night (because I can’t wait for The Office sometimes; I just can’t wait), and on weekends I’m going to be wanting to see Martin Short in something, whether it be old SNL skits or the Parenthood movies.

“They invented that already,” my husband said, because that’s what he always says when I invent something. “It’s called Tivo.”

No, my invention is personal TV programming, not just recording what you want to watch later and skipping commercials. I’m calling it Personal TV or PTV although when someone else invents it for real I can’t guarantee they won’t call it something more catchy.

I hope they let old people in nursing homes put puppies on their channel. Not just because the news is so depressing, but it’s got to be hard for the average 90-year-old to look at what’s on network TV and how far we’ve come since Elvis was cut off at the waist and Lucy and Desi had those twin beds.

Now that I think of it, Puppies could be the next big hit.

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