History Channel's "Invention USA"- Some Genius, Some Flops, Always Intriguing

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• Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"

Removing Popcorn Ceilings Might Not Be Worth It
There was an invention program on recently, forget the name, station and details but I recall some of the particulars. There was a panel of two men and a woman. Inventors would appear before them in a dramatic entrance and as a jester before the court. The inventors would display their invention, provide data such as how much money has already been invested, gains and publicity exposure to the ongoing product and finally, how much money the inventor would need to sell some part of the profits of their invention to any member of the panel willing to bid.

The panel would then pepper the inventor with questions about the product. After the Q&A session the member of the panels would either remove themselves from the bidding or often they would make a counter-offer. So if an inventor was offering 10% of his handy widget business for an investment of $50,000, the interested panel member might come back with an offer of meeting the dollar amount of the requested investment dollars but for a 50% interest in the inventor's widget company.

The inventor would often go offstage to consider any counter-offer, or even to downsize his own offer if he or she thinks a reduction might move the recalcitrant but interested members of the panel.

At some point a deal was struck and all in all, it was a pretty interesting program.

According to the History channel web site, Invention USA, which airs on Friday nights from 9 to 10 pm EST:
Invention USA follows Reichart Von Wolfsheild and Garrett Lisi, both innovators and scientists with ties to investors, as they go in search of the next breakthrough invention. Whether they're traveling the country to visit garage innovators at home or meeting with inventors at their Los Angeles testing lab, Reichart and Garrett will put prototypes to the test and give a tough, no-nonsense evaluation of each invention's potential. If they like what they see, they'll invest to help bring the product to market. The stakes are high and dreams are on the line: Every idea has the potential to change someone's life... or even the world.
The two hosts of this History channel show are the equivalent of the illustrious panel of that show in my memory. I'm not sure what the description "with ties to investors" means but the similarity of this show to the other one is evident.

In this version of the show, the would-be investors in the invention actually go to the locale of the inventor as opposed to the inventor bringing the invention to the investors. Which is a good thing as the two inventions I saw being demonstrated would have been ill-presented in the confines of a television studio.

On invention was a real hoot. Though I'm no investor in inventions, I got eyeballs and some common sense. The invention of the "popcorn ceiling remover" had a lot of flaws beginning with its very concept.

Which is not to deny the irritation of the popcorn ceiling and the angst the removal can cause to homeowners. Now I don't know who came up with the idea of the popcorn ceiling but there was a reason for it. Ceiling sheetrock is often the site of nasty water stains should there be a leakage which causes water to have trickled down before a fix. Ordinary paint before the invention of sealant type paint didn't cover these ugly stains and aside from totally replacing the sheetrock, the notion of a thick layer of paint filled with a type of fiber that covered the stains. Popcorn ceiling paint was also used to cover ceiling tiles once used prolifically on ceilings.

Whatever the case, popcorn ceilings are so 70's and there's a whole country out there filled with ceilings painted with popcorn paint. Removing popcorn ceiling paint is a nasty dirty job. All of that filler used in the paint for popcorn ceilings has to come raining down and it all lands somewhere.

Still and so, seriously, there are only so many popcorn ceilings in America. Sure they're in abundance now but for how long would and investor in a popcorn-ceiling-removing invention get any return before all of the popcorn ceilings across the fruited plains were gone?

Further, well you had to see this Rube Goldberg invention the inventor used to remove the popcorn ceiling. It was hooked up to a vacuum cleaner device and had a big awkward hose that collected the paint fibers. So the air and floor wasn't filled with popcorn ceiling fiber but using the device designed to capture the debris was tiring. One had to wonder if it wouldn't just be easier to wait for the air born debris to settle then sweep up everything with a broom rather than get a backache and shoulder pain from wielding the invention designed to eliminated all that effort.

Wolfshield and Lisi chose NOT to invest in this invention.

Next, a construction worker designed a better and more stable ladder. This invention had a separate drop-down part that steadied and evened out the ladder when it was placed on uneven or less stable surfaces. This was a bit of genius, in fact, because no matter the warnings, when people need a ladder they grab what they have and set it up with more of an attention paid to reaching what needs reaching than nonsense like avoiding a fall of tip over.

Wolfshield and Lisi actually test out the submitted inventions themselves and at times it's amusing. They tested out a newly designed safety harness designed to protect a worker from strangulation, or emasculation, from a fall off of a scaffold or other high construction site. They took a turn at removing the popcorn ceiling and they climbed the re-designed ladder.

This is an interesting show, easy to watch and inspiring in a fashion. Check it out on the History channel for someday these inventions might be the stuff of great history.

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