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Why Didn't I Think of That?

1) A coin-operated self-service dog-washing machine ("self" meaning the dog's owner, not the dog) has been introduced in a half-dozen carwashes in the United States recently, at $10 for 10 minutes, according to a January report on one such franchise in Stuart, Fla. The "K9000" is a 3-foot-high, walk-in shower area (or push-in, for reluctant dogs) with an open top, has six separate wash cycles, conditioner and flea-and-tick options, and adjustable water pressure and dryer settings.

2) At Mannerspielplatz ("Men's Playground") near Kassel, Germany, testosterone-fueled office workers can get in touch with their "inner ditchdigger" (according to a January Wired magazine report) and frolic all day long on 29-ton backhoes, 32-ton front-end loaders, jackhammers and various other big, loud vehicles for an admission fee of about $280 a day. At the Men's Playground, the owner said, "We fulfill men's dreams."

3) Change We Can Believe In: In December, the city council in Brighton, Mich., passed an ordinance making it illegal for anyone to be "annoying" in public, "by word of mouth, sign or motions." Violators can be ticketed and fined.

4) The Happy Egg Company (Lincoln, England) altered the packaging in January for its six-egg cartons to include the prominent warning, "Allergy Advice: Contains Egg."

5) London's Gymbox in Bank athletic club, recognizing that lifting weights can be a boring way to exercise, introduced "human barbells" recently, hiring five men of various sizes (including two dwarfs) that customers could use for weights instead of the iron. One advantage of the humans is that, on request, they shout encouragement to the customer with each lift. The largest of the five is a 37-year-old, 340-pound man.

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