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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 24, 2013/ 16 Tamuz, 5773

The clothes iron: Our tech-savvy world's most neglected device

By Greg Schwem



JewishWorldReview.com | My room contained everything one would expect in a five-star property: terrycloth robes emblazoned with the hotel's logo, slippers precisely placed at the foot of the bed and enough fluffy towels to dry all exposed body parts individually, if that's what you're into. A floral scent was noticeable throughout.

"This is living," I thought, as I lowered the blinds via a tabletop console that also controlled the lights, air conditioning, stereo and television volume. Then I opened the closet and was greeted by a reality sucker punch to the gut. There, on a shelf between the digital safe and the "Program your precise temperature" espresso maker, stood the invention that technology has completely ignored.

Behold, the iron.

At a hotel like this, I was expecting some sort of device that I could stuff a balled up sport coat into only to have it reappear warm and wrinkle free -- similar to those spinning contraptions that dry bathing suits in seconds. Actually, I was expecting a butler to leap from the closet and say, "Here, I'll do that for you. More mineral water?" Instead, I found myself staring at an appliance that looked as if it were stolen from my mother's basement cupboard in 1968. Ditto for the accompanying ironing board that creaked and wobbled like an 80-year-old man who had just discovered yoga class as I attempted, arduously, to make my dress shirt look presentable.



Have we given up on improving the iron? Did we ever intend to improve it? Invented in 1882 by Henry Seeley, the first iron weighed nearly 15 pounds and, according to Wikipedia, "took a long time to warm up." Sure, we've reduced the weight but not necessarily the warm-up time. I couldn't even tell if my hotel iron warmed up at all because, 10 minutes after turning it on, the 445-degree linen setting felt suspiciously similar to the 275-degree nylon temperature. Nevertheless, I filled the reservoir with water and began making horizontal strokes, pausing several times to curse as water cascaded onto my shirt, giving it the appearance of a garment worn by a very nervous individual.

Automobiles of today bear zero resemblance to what rolled off Henry Ford's assembly line in 1913, save for the number of wheels. Alexander Graham Bell wouldn't recognize anything at a Verizon store. Yet the iron still looks like Seeley's original model -- a poorly drawn triangle with a one-size-fits-all handle slapped on top. A Google search for "ergonomic iron" did net a few results from name-brand appliance makers like Panasonic, but I have yet to see these irons anywhere and am starting to think they only exist on the Internet and tradeshow floors. I felt the same way after touring the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in 1999 and seeing products that, 14 years later, still can't be purchased at Best Buy. Weren't we all supposed to have touchscreen coffee tables by now?

Perhaps we've neglected the iron because it is not the least bit sexy, and like a snow shovel, it reminds us of manual labor. Irons are never found on wedding registries.

"Look, honey, we got that iron you wanted! And here's that toilet plunger I requested!"

But, please: Somebody, anybody, bring the iron into the 21st century before we enter the 22nd. I no longer wish to channel my inner June Cleaver when it comes to making myself presentable for important meetings. I'm ready for an iron that can be controlled via a smartphone app. I want to be wrinkle free without the possibility of burned fingers or carpal tunnel syndrome. I want an appliance that can detect whether my clothes are cotton, silk or acetate. All of you brilliant technology-minded individuals who are reading this, please submit your designs, and please do it quickly.

I'm tired of texting all of my ironing questions to my mother.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




Comment by clicking here.

Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of "Text Me If You're Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad".


Previously:



Rules of the road from the DOD (Department of Dad)
Euphoria and depression in a single spam folder
Kids, never let skills and competence stand in your way
An 'F' is a very 'Nobel' grade
The TV remote is Harvard's answer to birth control

© 2013, Greg Schwem Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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