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Idea blogs spread wealth of innovative concepts

Frank Sennett Correspondent

Tired of seeing their weird, wacky and wonderful brainstorms scatter to the winds, several inventive bloggers now invite readers to bring the ideas to life.

The genre’s so crowded it’s already spawned two Steal My Ideas sites and one called Steal My Ideas, Please. Great minds think alike – and theirs do, too.

I kid only because idea blogs themselves are often playful. They’re virtual repositories for the sometimes-great notions their proprietors dream up in the shower, scribble on receipts and shoot upright in bed to record.

Four of these bloggers shared their inspirations and favorite inventions via e-mail. “I have so many notebooks full of ideas – all types of crazy stuff,” said Paul Bertino of stealmyideas.org. “I would look through them sometimes and feel kind of sad.”

Now readers can browse his site and feel happy as they ponder the marketability of helium backpacks, meat shakers to sit alongside salt and pepper (filled with bacon bits, perhaps?) and soda bottles with built-in straws. Say, that last one could actually sell.

Bertino said readers like his combination knife-fork called (what else?) The Knork. “My favorite non-invention idea is probably P.A.P. (People Against P.A.P.),” he added. “It’s a sinister organization that mysteriously grows the more people organize against it.”

Forget inventing; Bertino should be writing jokes for Steven Wright.

Speaking of cool writing gigs, Peter Mucha of Steal My Ideas, Please works as an online reporter and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer. For years, he said, “I’d get ideas and write them down. Some came true – just by coincidence.

“Gradually, it became clear I’d never be able to develop them all,” Mucha added. “So, I thought, why not give them away? Could be fun, might help some people. It’s an outlet for a compulsive bent. Besides, isn’t the Web about information for free?”

With the Philadelphia Phillies set to become the first major sports franchise to rack up 10,000 losses, Mucha suggested creating big foam hands with fingers curled to form a zero. Waving four of those after a “We’re No. 1” hand would give fans a great way to commemorate the bleak milestone.

Other Mucha marvels include squeaky rugs that alert homeowners whenever someone enters or leaves, toilet overflow alarms and a “change of pace” button Netflix customers could click on for recommended films outside their normal viewing patterns.

His favorite proposals include a Baby People Magazine featuring celeb tots and Marshmallow Duckies that swim across cups of hot chocolate. Some of Mucha’s ideas – such as cup-holding hats and bicycles made of scavenged parts – already have been popularized by others. But what do you expect when he’s offering them for free?

These blogs can act as bona fide entrepreneurial incubators. The other Steal My Ideas blogger, Michael Ciuffo, is working with a friend to manufacture a College Tuition Clock he proposed. It will continuously update the total amount of tuition being spent for a given student during the school year.

“Any time the kid thinks about skipping class, he would see that his parents have spent $10,034.58 on him so far and might reconsider,” Ciuffo wrote. “Parents could place a picture of themselves looking angry to add a more chilling effect.”

Stealmyideas.com and Stealmyideas.net are “under construction,” but amusing and potentially useful idea blogs seem to be proliferating.

Millions of Hundred Dollar Ideas recently floated the notion of rideable luggage, for instance. Meanwhile, Idea a Day and Idea Volcano posted reader proposals for nicotine-gum vending machines and a brake-light button drivers could press to back off tailgaters.

Hey, how about a site that collects the best proposals from all these idea blogs? If you steal that idea, though, please give me some credit.

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