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deep thoughts
six ideas that prove i'm a genius.
by matt morin
pop culture

Ever wonder exactly what people do at a think tank?

It may sound like a stupid question. It may in fact be a stupid question. But really, what do think tankers do? Is there just a huge conference table that everyone sits around throwing out new ideas for stuff? And if someone comes up with an idea, who makes it a reality? And how do you get a job at a think tank? Do you major in thinking? What does your business card say?

See, I think about things like this. My job is to be creative, to think up things: ads. But I think about other ideas all the time. And they’re good ideas. Things that should happen. Things like:

Currently, we can cast votes for people. Why can’t we cast a vote against someone? Really. Think about this for a second. It makes perfect sense. Instead of voting for the lesser of two evils for President, you could vote against the person you disliked most. If both candidates ended up with negative votes, those candidates would be prohibited from running again, and a new election would be held. Of course we’d have to start the elections early so that there’d be time to have a second, or a third election if necessary. But think of the benefits –- we’d never again have a candidate that most people hated. This needs to happen.

Bring back "Battle of the Network Stars."If there was ever great reality TV, this was it. Fred Grandy going against Barbie Benton in inflatable canoes. Ted Knight and Kathy Lee Crosby in a tug-o-war with Morgan Fairchild and Scott Baio. And don’t forget Howard Cosell. Tell me this couldn’t happen again with some actors from "The O.C.", Paula Abdul, and Shannen Doherty. Maybe even pit all the network stars against Goldberg and Stone Cold Steve Austin. If Marv Albert hosted, I’d never miss a show. Ever. Not even after I died.

Why can’t we pay for movies like we pay for cell phone access – by the minute? Then when you walk out of Van Helsing after 20 minutes, you’d only have to pay $1.25. You’d never feel obligated to sit through XXX because you forked out $10. How great would this be? Movies would actually make money because they were good, not because they had a good trailer. Films that were long and good, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, would make a killing. Films like Hulk would rake in $376 at the box office. More people would go see more movies because they could have a trial run. Am I going to fork out a ten spot to see Troy? Not likely. But if I had the option to watch the first half an hour for $2.50 and see if the battle scenes outweighed Brad Pitt’s stilted dialogue, then yeah, sure. See? It’s ideas like this that prove I should be running the world.

Here’s another idea: Pro sports teams who draft a player get to keep that player's rights for five years. No more J.D. Drews or Eli Mannings who, despite having done absolutely nothing in the pros, get to dictate where they go by holding out for a year. What do you think the purpose of the draft is? What warped sense of entitlement do this spoiled sports brats have? They should be happy they’re even playing. So suck it up. You know what? I didn’t my dream job right out of college either. And I made several million less.

When is someone going to start an airline you can gamble on? Why hasn’t this been done? I can’t imagine that in international airspace there are laws against it. Forget the bags of peanuts –- give me a couple of high-limit blackjack tables. Now on how many levels does this make sense? First, the bankrupt airlines would hit the motherlode. They’d be making money hand over fist. The house always wins, right? Second, they’d make money on previously empty flights. Suddenly the San Francisco to Vancouver flight is packed. Dulles to Toronto is a hot ticket. Not only would they be making money when the dealer deals himself a 20, they’d be packing every flight no matter what time of day it was. Third, passengers would love it. Tell me straight up, would you rather watch How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, or double your money when you split a pair of 7s? Plus, would the flight attendants not be way more entertaining dressed as casino drink girls? Video poker in the headrests. Hell, even Keno on the overhead monitors. Can we please do this?

Energy is expensive. Producing it involves nuclear power, or burning coal, or something else that destroys the environment. We’ve harnessed wind and solar power, why hasn’t anyone made a wave power machine? Ponder with me: Waves are free. They’re plentiful. They’re full of power. So why aren’t we using them? It’d work just like a dam does, only without blocking off an entire river and flooding all the wildlife behind it. And it certainly would cost less to build than several cubic miles of concrete does. Maybe somewhere, someone has already thought of this. But if not. I have proof right here that I thought of it first. And I’ll think fondly of you all after I make my first billion.

Now if I could only think of a way to get a job at a think tank…


Matt would love to be George Plimpton...welll, except for the being dead part. He supplies the doing and the writing. All he asks of you is the reading.

more about matt morin


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topic: pop culture
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by matt morin
topic: pop culture
published: 3.14.03


lee anne ramsey
5.19.04 @ 12:18a

I actually heard there are plans to bring back Battle of the Network Stars.

dan gonzalez
5.19.04 @ 12:27a

I was getting ready to point out why the word 'genius' and you clearly don't go together, and how Anya and Rachel, if they weren't bored to sleep, would be in here any minute to cut you down to size, and to advise you how to better celebrate your primate limitations as I do mine, when I got to the airline gambling paragraph. That is pure rock, genius, and it ruined my fun.

You are the One! Vote Morin!


trey askew
5.19.04 @ 10:09a

I'm with ya on the pro sports. Way overpaid in general.

Gambling on a plane is cool if you win. It would suck to get somewhere and be broke!

They are using waves for power. I want to say in Norway or Greenland but I can't remember.

russ carr
5.19.04 @ 11:39a

From PowerFrontiers.com:

"A small company in South Wales (UK), Tidal Hydraulic Generators, will soon test a 1MW turbine driven tidal plant. Ocean power has been harnessed for a long time but not successfully at large scale. Wave powered generators have been around for years but are costly and can disrupt shipping and the ecosystem because they tend to be closer to the surface. In this new tidal based system, the turbines are on the sea floor and rotate relatively slowly. The system is estimated to cost the same as wind power and only a little more than fossil fuels. A potential use as a self powered desalinization plant is also interesting since fresh water supplies are becoming a concern worldwide. If the test is successful, expect to see tidal power and desalinization plants pop up all over."

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 11:47a

Damn. There goes my billions...

Ok, here's another idea. Why hasn't anyone done self-tinting car windows? They have those eyeglasses that get darker when in sunshine. Why not put that technology on car windows? The sunnier it is, the darker they go, and vice versa.

mike julianelle
5.19.04 @ 11:53a

Prolly because those glasses look idiotic.

jael mchenry
5.19.04 @ 12:52p

Without question, the gambling airline is tops on this list. Without question.

I remember being really annoyed when Coppertone finally came out with single-use sunblock packets, a brilliant idea... of mine. But the jury's still out on electronic backyard soundproofing...

anya werner
5.19.04 @ 12:54p

The problem with casting votes against people . . . which is also known as a recall election . . . is you can end up with Gov'n'r Arnold.

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 1:00p

Except casting a negative vote would mean that there would never be anymore recall elections. Everyone has a good reason to vote - even if you don't like either of the candidates.

jael mchenry
5.19.04 @ 1:29p

Even if there are negative votes, you can still end up with someone lots of people hate. It's just a question of fewer people hating one of the candidates, which is kind of what we've already got.

mike julianelle
5.19.04 @ 2:10p

Exactly. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 2:28p

Yes, but the lesser of two evils is also lesser.

But think about how perfectly that idea would work in the upcoming presidential election. if you didn't necessarily love Kerry, but would do anything not to have Bush win again, you could cast a negative vote for Bush.

It seems like there are a whole bunch of people who aren't sold on Kerry but don't like Bush, and because of that they simply won't vote.

This idea would allow a bunch of people to have their voices heard even if they didn't like either of the candidates.

And Jael, I don't think Bush beat Gore because more people hated Gore. I think a lot of people voted for Bush because Gore bored them to death. Now what would you rather have? A mediocre and boring president, or a terrible non-boring one?

jael mchenry
5.19.04 @ 2:34p

I never said people hated Gore. I'm against your statement "But think of the benefits –- we’d never again have a candidate that most people hated." Because we could. Giving the negative vote doesn't mean everyone will vote, you know. Inertia's pretty powerful.

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 2:57p

True. But like I said, I was hoping that the negative vote idea would give more people a reason to vote.

No one likes the movie-by-the-minute idea, huh? I thought that'd be a big hit.

lisa r
5.19.04 @ 3:45p

Prolly because those glasses look idiotic.

I resemble that remark. *she says as she peers at her computer screen through her transition lenses*

mike julianelle
5.19.04 @ 3:57p

Sorry Lisa. But it's true. Re-evaluate.

Matt, don't you think the anti-vote idea would also allow for more dopes to slide in? All of a sudden, someone noone cares or knows much about could be President, just cause his/her opponent inspired so much passion.

As for the movie thing, it's not a bad idea, but I have a problem abandoning movies or books midstream, personally. You can't really judge them piece by piece, it's not truly indicative of the whole thing. But I guess for people without that kind of film-watching integrity, the option could be appealing. But I'm against it the same way I'm against leaking the first 10 mins of a movie instead of a regular preview.

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 4:07p

Mike, I agree (mostly) with your moviegoing philosophy. But there are just some movies you sit down to watch and quickly know they're going to be unwatchable.

I bet at one point or another, we all wished we'd asked for our money back from a movie. But does anyone ever do that? Not really.

And yes, lame politicians could slide in, but casting a negative vote would basically be saying "I'll take anyone over that person." So if some other bonehead does get in, well, in essence, that's what you wanted.

mike julianelle
5.19.04 @ 4:13p

Right, but people don't always know what they want, or know what they SHOULD want. Especially in the U.S. But that's a different column.

Anyway, I would prolly watch some Battle of the Stars, depending on the competitions. But, seriously, isn't that what those celeb poker games are now? Updated, poker-centric versions of that show?

lisa r
5.19.04 @ 5:42p

Sorry Lisa. But it's true. Re-evaluate.

Laugh all you want, but it sure beats playing musical eyewear whenever you go in and out of a building, as well as cheaper than 2 pairs of prescription glasses.

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 5:45p

I'm telling you, that car tinting idea would be a gold mine.

jeffrey walker
5.19.04 @ 6:21p

I always wanted to build a grocery store / roller skating rink. I mean, I know there would be a lot of injuries, but it'd still be so awesome.


dan gonzalez
5.19.04 @ 8:54p

I know there would be a lot of injuries, but it'd still be so awesome

Especially if you're an ambulance chasing, morally casual lawyer. It'd be gold in that case.

dan gonzalez
5.19.04 @ 8:59p

A mediocre and boring president

Why would anyone assume Gore would have been mediocre and not worse? You have no idea, and he was the crappiest, most non-visible VP ever.

I'm not voting for you now, your genius quotient has gown down again, although the plane-gambling idea is still great. You could let people play for frequent-flyer points, since breaking people of money in mid-flights may be too conducive to air-rage.

matt morin
5.19.04 @ 9:03p

Not to get into this discussion on this thread, but Gore wouldn't have destroyed the environment or taken us to war against Iraq. That automatically makes him better than Bush right there.

Yeah, I need a deep-pocketed backer to make the Air Jackpot idea happen.

jeffrey walker
5.19.04 @ 11:02p

Gee, Dan, I don't know what it's like to be that kind of lawyer. I don't do plaintiff's work.

At a any rate, a stick in the mud like you wouldn't understand how fun a roller grocery would be. I think we should work on getting an endorsement from Johnny Knoxville.

dan gonzalez
5.20.04 @ 12:13a

Gore wouldn't have destroyed the environment or taken us to war against Ir

Like the environment is destroyed now. I'm looking, and it's still there, Realist. And how do you know Gore wouldn't have gone into Iraq? Oh yeah, that's right, he would have kissed the UN's duff and let them continue to bilk the Oil-for-food program you never speak of.

Gee, Dan,

That was not personal. I assume you're a good lawyer, and there is such a thing, because I've read your stuff. I'm right, or else you wouldn't be so sensitive about it. But you haven't read me so well, law dog, or you wouldn't have called me a stick in the mud.

Back on topic: Morin is approaching genius here, we should all support him. He just needs to be freed of certain handicapping liberal biases to truly actualize it. Keep going, you're almost there Buddy!

robert melos
5.20.04 @ 12:20a

First Dan. No VP in the history of the US has been as non-visible as Cheney. He's the invisible VP. Yes, he's had a lot to say behind the scenes, but until his appearance last month many Americans couldn't recognize him on sight.

Now the movie thing. I don't know if I would call what I've got movie integrity. I will hit a point in a film where it is so bad I know I will never sit through it again, so I have to sit through it once to see the end so I can complain about spending $10 bucks on it.

The Car window tint thing, not good. Tinted car windows are illegal in some states. Um, like, NJ. You cannot legally be driving in NJ with windows that are tinted too dark for the police to see through. I think limos are exceptions to this ruling, and only the side windows, not the back window.

Other than those objections, Matt, I think you're a genius. Of course I'm not voting for you to rule the world. Jael still gets my vote. She's had more practice by playing Civ3.

jael mchenry
5.20.04 @ 10:03a

Aw, you're a sweetheart.

As the Germans last night, I killed the Dutch, French, and Aztecs by 630 A.D. Bismarck rocks!

sandra thompson
5.24.04 @ 11:43a

May I remind you that Bush did not win nor Gore lose? Gore had half a million more popular votes than Bush, and it was decided by one supreme court vote in blantant violation of the constitution. You do not want to get me started on this. Trust me.

Since I hate gambling and flying about the same, I'll still travel serenely on Amtrak.

I am too obsessively curious ever to walk out of a movie. "It can't really be this bad, right?"

Negative voting might be an improvement. I'd have to do the math and I have a bad cold right now and don't feel like it.

Tinted windows in Florida would make if even more unearably hot inside the vehicle than it already is until the A/C can kick in. I've wondered for years what possessed people to buy black cars here.

I like the roller skating supermarkets. That would be cool. Am I the only one here old enough to remember roller skating carhops? Or carhops at all?

dan gonzalez
5.24.04 @ 2:55p

May I remind you that Bush did not win nor Gore lose? Gore had half a million more popular votes than Bush

There is nothing to start. The total of the national popular vote is completely irrelevant, per the constitution. Democracy occurs at the state level, as represented by the electors. Federal democrats and socialists seem to the be the only two groups who refuse to accept this fact.

like the roller skating supermarkets It's grown on me. What about Roller-malls? Something to mitigate the horrible banality of going to the galleria.


jeffrey walker
5.24.04 @ 3:20p

i like it. roller skating anywhere is cooler than just walking.

and you're absolutely right on the popular vote thing. The constitution framers did not want people voting n masses. This is why we have the electoral college. (P.S. - the final vote in Florida was not in Gore's favor).

Funny note on popular votes; The republicans back in the early 1990s had this theory that based on the increasing Hispanic population (whom they assumed would all vote democrat), they believed a republican would never hold the office of president again!

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your view), repubs are aligned with the religious right, and many Hispanics are VERY catholic and vote as such.

dr. jay gross
6.2.04 @ 3:11p

Try getting past politics [Bush, et. al.] and install environmentally safe/friendly energy sources by undermining the fossil fuels cartels....and take the money out of the pockets of those in power and you will find your 'genius' up the proverbial creek with the paddle up your....

Enough said - Genius and think tanks are great fiction and your speculation is the pulp of Heinlein and Bradbury.

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