Sunday, May 3, 2009

Winners Round 11 !! Certificate Winners

The categories are listed in no particular order, and (except for the winners) the guesses are listed in the order in which they were entered.

Category: Guesses With an Organic Element

@freshgreenbeans: I think it is a pair of lightly worn yellow flipflops from Brazil with an unripened but moderately large mango.
- WINNER: It took some soul searching. Judging these guesses as to their organic-ness meant that I was faced with some powerfully difficult decision making. Putting aside my initial objection to this guess that there was no way these items could fit in the box, I realized that Brazil plus mango plus the screen name “freshgreenbeans” meant that this guess had to take the Certificate in this category. In relation to the item in the box, this guess shares the quality of display or retention for purposes of remembering or promoting something.

@d_g_: The essence of rain.
- The item in the box is in so many ways electrical in nature, rain is simply contra-indicated.

@d_g_: Multicoloured origami paper.
- The item in the box is not terribly colorful and it is quite solid. And, there are no options for further developing this item into art or craft activities.

@cawcaw: It's a taxidermied bat.
- This is a very strong guess. If it had specified embalming rather than taxidermy, well, I don’t know.

@pigstubs: A pack of seeds to attract butterflies to your garden.
- This is another very strong guess. The item in the box has elements collected together in a way, but there is no further use for them outside of their collected state, and I can’t imagine butterflies getting interested in this item or its elements.

@shedrivesajimmy: bite-size snickers and a lizard
- This guess is certainly very organic. I feel misunderstood, however. I would not shut a living creature up in a box to put in the mail, even if that weren’t totally illegal. Also, I expect the lizard would eat all the snickers.

@AndrewLoeb: A little toy drum. Drumsticks not included. Some assembly required.
- Organic might be pushing it for toy drums, especially if the drumsticks are not included. A propos this contest, the item in the box is not a toy. An good argument could be had regarding the extent to which assembly is required, but that would be an argument one could have with someone else, not an argument pushing this guess into the top spot.

@JFerg012: DO NOT OPEN THAT BOX!!! I think it could be the Swine Flu. From what I hear, that thing is being passed around.
- A very topical guess, in line with current events. I will just tell you straight out: Swine Flu is not in the box. It is an item I have had in my possession for several months, well past the incubation period, and no one in my household has had any kind of flu.

@BrianPike: A set of 12 cookie cutters, each modeled as one of the animals in the Chinese zodiac.
- I am quite taken with this guess, and had some trouble with categorizing it. Eventually I concluded that stars, astrologers, and cookies are all organic. The strength of this guess is primarily that it would be a fantastic prize (except perhaps the rat-shaped cookie). The connection between this guess and the item in the box is the concept of a set with metal or plastic parts, but nothing more than that.

Category: Guesses With the Word Something

It is a tie - @jonathaneunice and @myracles dominated this category. They will each receive a Certificate of Achievement attesting this. The strongest guess from each of them in the match up, judged by me to be the tied winning guesses, are

@jonathaneunice: Something that will make artificial flowers seem gratuitous, pointless and wrong. I mean, even more than they already do.
- WINNER: The whole complex dance of electricity and the worlds’ rich and varied industrial profusion in the matter of making solidly utilitarian objects and showing things to people about it, while natural beauty is best left to nature, is well exemplified in the item in the box.

@myracles: Something @jonathaneunice wants but doesn't know he wants it, yet.
- WINNER: Given the explanation above, and the apparent state of @jonathaneunice’s decor, it is probably true that he can have no idea how much he wants this item.

@jonathaneunice: Something that will coordinate beautifully with this sofa, side chair, and ottoman set.
- The item in the box would probably do a fine, if hard to notice, job of this. It is a smallish item.

@myracles: Either something to write on, or something to write with.
- The item in the box is none of these things.

@jonathaneunice: Something coveted by the man on the flying trapeze. Or the man in the moon. Either one.
- Purely speculative, either way. If I had to bet, I would say more likely the man in the moon, given the translucent qualities of the item in the box.

@myracles: Something I should not place in the microwave
- Actually, it is true. You should not place this item in the microwave. It would be a bad idea. Without more specific reasons included in the guess, I cannot judge how close this guess really came.

@jonathaneunice: Something related to goiter, gout, hubris, or pout.
- I concede hubris, and under certain imaginable possibilities pout. But this guess is too varied in its speculation, and the arguments too limited.

@kylecooper: Something ethnic but not necessarily ghetto.
- This guess has the word “something” in it, and there are no arguments for connections to the item in the box.

@lindstifa: Something that will protect me from pain, but only if applied correctly.
- I considered this carefully, and it is simply very unlikely this item could protect you from pain. All the scenarios I have been able to come up with for this item being any kind of protection fail to eliminate all pain. Maybe a slight reduction, but it would all have to be a carefully planned set-up, and there would still be some hurt.

Category: Guesses Possibly Connected to Branding or Product Promotion

@epicdeer: A Hipster PDA with Merlin Mann's picture on the cover. 2 extra binder clips included.
WINNER: I make no assertion as to whether this proposed Hipster PDA would be promoting Hipsters, PDAs, Merlin Mann, or binder clips. The wide range of things possibly being branded or promoted gives this guess the win.

@cawcaw: A baseball cap with an logo of some kind of bird.
- I understand there are sports teams who wear baseball caps, and that some of those teams are called by the names of kinds of birds, and so they put pictures of the birds on the baseball caps. I know for a fact that sometimes caps get given out for free.

@majorleaguegirl: a trivet though I can't imagine why you'd use it in the neighborhood...bad neighborhood? trivet/weapon?
- A perplexing guess. What neighborhood? Hers? Mine? The item in the box could conceivably make do as a trivet for something very small, and, in a pinch, would work as a hand-thrown projectile, but neither of these things are its intended purpose nor are they emblematic of its essential nature. Trivets are sometimes decorated with promotional motifs, as is this item, but this is all too confusing and tenuous.

@atomicfez: a video recording of Rod Stewart's performance at the H.O.G. chambers at the UN in NYC, as a UNICEF fund-raiser in BETA format.
- The electrical elements of the item in the box do not appear to be videographic in nature, and the emblem on the item is for a private for-profit firm (I think) and definitely not for an international body or non-governmental organization.

- there was no guess, just the #gwiitb tag. Also, according to Twitter @elcrowe’s page didn’t exist when I checked. I can only speculate that someone is trying to call attention to the possible existence of an elcrowe out there, somewhere.

@shedrivesajimmy: @jferg012 NOW you do it. @jferg012 @drewlawrence #gwiitb
- no guess, only what appears to be a challenge to participate, successful insofar as @jferg012 entered a guess. Thank you for the shout out, @shedrivesajimmy!

: A frisbee featuring the face of either Pele or Muhammad Ali.
- Another guess regarding which I had to put aside objections as to whether the guessed item would fit inside the box. It would depend on the frisbee, I suppose, and I have seen promotional ones that were pretty small. The main problem is there is nothing particularly aerodynamic nor graphically adorned about the item in the box.

@hippophagy: It's a limited edition Motörhead picture disc for Ace of Spades featuring the band dressed as desperados dressed in black leather.
- I like the vague connection to electricity implicit in this guess, but as discussed above, the item in the box is simply not a thing with pictures of people on it.

@fleur325: Guess #1 A small t shirt wrapped around a keychain. Both feature the image of lovely flora.
- This strongest aspect of this guess is the word “keychain” – I have an idiosyncratic notion that there is something kind of similar between a promotional keychain and the item in the box. Otherwise there is little to tie this guess to the item, as the item is of the mechanical and electrical world.

@fleur325: Guess #2 A food item not readily available at the convenience store. I think it is both sweet & unusual, with a frightening mascot.
- The item in the box is not a food item at all. The company that either made it or had it made appears to be long out of business, so nothing they make would be readily available at the convenience store. Sweet, no. Unusual, yes. There is no mascot at all, and nothing frightening.

@fleur325: last guess, an item that can only be described in song. In fact, a top ten hit was once written about this item.
- Since I am not sure in any comprehensive way the totality of what the item in the box is, I would sure appreciate hearing a top ten hit about it that would give me some insight. However, it is not really the kind of item that would inspire any hit-making band to do a song about it.

Category: Guesses Invoking Magic, Technology or Magic Technology

@snoozingdog: An everlasting dog chew toy that has unending stuffing & still makes squeaky noises even after I pull out the squeaky noise thing.
- WINNER: I suppose it would require some combination of both Magic and Technology to create such a wondrous chew toy. I would get one for my dog – she would love it. I have seen many a dog toy live only one day: the stuffing spread across the floor, the squeaky device mangled and inoperative. A bored dog and a cranky human left to deal with the aftermath.

@fistsoffolly: A colorful Chinese lantern is in the box. It may or may not have a dragon on it.
- Certificate for First Guess
- Lanterns are a form of technology, and dragons are creatures of magic, so this guess is a strong contender in this category either way.

@fistsoffolly: Words. Heaps of them. Or, if not words per se, a word laxative to facilitate the work of wordsmiths.
- Again, I expect this invention would require some combination of both magic and technology. And, oh, the danger to us all if it should fall into the wrong hands. If it hasn’t already. The item in the box is worth a good conversation, but is not likely to generate streams of prose.

@BrianPike: A charm against revenue collectors, most efficacious.
- That would be a useful thing. This item has no such power. Quite the opposite, possibly. An inspector might say “When did you get this? And what are you doing buying random things like this when you owe money?”

@BrianPike: A device for making Time and Tide wait.
- I think such a device would be even more dangerous in any hands than the word laxative discussed above. Furthermore, I consider such a device logically impossible – if Time were in abeyance, how would you know?

@carterbob2: It is a book aimed at children (you don't have to lead them as much, compared to throwing books at adults). Unicorns maybe.
- First, I would like to encourage you not to throw books at children. If you do, however, many of them run from books more quickly than do adults, so your advice about leading them should be taken with a grain of salt. Second, the item in the box is not for children, by aim or intention, and there is nothing fairy-tale about it.

@BrooklynBridge_: Such stuff as dreams are made on.
- There are strong circumstantial arguments in favor of this guess. I need to know whose dreams are at issue to even speculate as to whether the item in the box comes anywhere close to being such stuff as that individual’s dreams are made on. I am fairly certain this is not one of those universals.

@lockness58: i bet it's one of those fireworks that spins and sputters with glorious sparks, and looks similar to a bumble bee.
- This is a strong guess with a serious hurdle that is entirely on my end. The grand prize is usually mailed to the Grand Prize Winner (or the Runner Up with a US Address), and it would be totally illegal for me to mail fireworks. That aside, there are some connections between fuses of the firework sort and fuses of the electrical sort. Unfortunately, not enough connections, given the strong competition this round.

@Matt_Silverman: Do we win what is inside the box if we get it right? If so, I guess "A HouseBoat."
- If the internet made it so that you could Twitter a guess for a HouseBoat from a website with a picture of a box described as 5.5" x 6.5" x 1.5" with a weight about 9 oz., that would really be some magic technology. I am sorry, Mr. Silverman, you did not win a HouseBoat or a Certificate, but I hope you enjoyed the contest anyway.

Winner! Round 11 - Grand Prize and Short List

Revealed! It is a Lucite Display Block of Electrical Components

I don't know what these are electrical components of, but someone at the COLLINS company was proud enough of them to do up this nice Lucite display block. If anyone out there can provide compelling evidence of what these bits are when they are assembled, I will make you an extra special GWIITB Honoree and send you a Certificate of Achievement.

Even when I don't have complete knowledge of what is in the box, there must be a Grand Prize Winner, and so there is. Here is the Grand Prize winner, followed by the short listed entries in the order they were entered.

@KT30003k: A product of the Industrial Age, reworked for the postindustrial era--e.g., the electronic cigarette (in a nice box).
- WINNER GRAND PRIZE – It is hard to conceive of a better summation of the emotions felt upon beholding this Lucite Display Block of Electrical Components. It looks a little like bits of a motor or switch, maybe a capacitor or something. An electronic cigarette is as good a possibility as any.

@icecolbeveridge: The world's first electronic calculator
- I am pretty certain this Lucite Display Block of Electrical Components does not contain any or many parts from the world’s first electronic calculator, but the world’s first electronic calculator probably had some copper wires, metal fittings, and little plastic thingies – all of which makes this a strong guess.

@TerryBain: The Internet.
- In other rounds I might have considered this guess to be a little smart-ass-ish, but with this Grand Prize, it just made me laugh and laugh. Such a non-specific guess (the Internet is a big thing) does not have the muscle to move out of the short list to the winner’s circle, especially with such a strong winning guess.

@toldorknown: A clustering of the non-statistical variety.
- The strength of this guess goes solely to the physical, rather than the essential, nature of the Lucite Display Block of Electrical Components. It is indeed a clustering.

@KT30003k: A handsome watch. Unfortunately, it insists on setting itself to a non-existent time zone.
- I like this guess very much, and it touches on the electro-mechanical nature of the Grand Prize, but there is nothing in the Lucite Display Block of Electrical Components that looks like it could go in a watch, handsome or not.

@icecolbeveridge: A packet of index cards enveloped in a laser-etched wafer-thin gold-plate wrapping.
- This guess reminded me of some things in the plot of Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle, and I had a train of thought from there to cyberpunk generally, plus the whole concept of “enveloping” and “laser-etching.”