I am bored with politics, refuse to pay attention to the news and am watching only True Crime TV shows and Turner Classic Movies these days. With the Democrats controlling the Senate and presidency, nothing good can possibly come out of Washington for at least another two years. So I thought I’d start the new year with something useful, like a short list of bad inventions.
(1) SILENT DISHWASHERS
Are people installing dishwashers next to their beds? I’ve checked my “Top 500 Daily Irritations” list and dishwasher noise is not on it.
What possible benefit derives from having a dishwasher that makes absolutely no noise? Was that gentle whooshing sound driving some homeowners bonkers? Is this a product designed by the same people who gave us the electric car, a vehicle so silent that the first sign of its approach is the sound of your pelvis breaking as the car hits you?
Not only are the virtues of a silent dishwasher elusive, but there’s one big disadvantage: You can’t tell if it’s running. A dishwasher doesn’t have to sound like the Concorde blasting off to provide some indication that the thing is working.
Now, in addition to the usual steps of washing dishes — loading the dishwasher, inserting the cleaning agent and turning on the machine — the fancy new quiet dishwashers demand yet another step of the homeowner: You have to hang around and keep putting your ear against the door hoping to hear activity. If you forget to perform this bonus time-waster, every once in a while you’ll start unloading dishes the next morning and notice that they’re still dirty.
The whole point of having a dishwasher is to minimize the work involved to get clean dishes. The dishwasher is a product that’s devolving.
(2) TELEPHONES WITH NO “OFF” BUTTON
There are only two crucial functions of a telephone: enabling you to talk to someone who is not in the same room, and to ring or — this is important — NOT ring. Without those, you have nothing.
For people with home offices, babies, small apartments or unusual hours, it’s the “not ring” feature that is the telephone’s most critical function. A phone with no ringer-off button is like a front door without a lock.
But over the past few years, cordless phone manufacturers have decided you should never be able to turn the ringer off. Like liberals, they think, “I don’t need an ‘off’ button, so I don’t know why anyone else should, either.”