Craziest invention contest, in the tradition of Karl Valentin
Every year since 1969, Bavaria’s greatest inventors have assembled for a contest that would try their talents to the limits. It is a grueling test of imagination, innovation, creativity, genius and, well, madness. No, it is not a gathering of engineers designing next year’s new BMW, it is the annual Karl Valentin Schonsten Blodsinn Wettbewerb.
“Schonsten Blodsinn Wettbewerb?”
Translated, that’s the “Prettiest Nonsense Contest.” It is a contest to see who can make the craziest invention in the tradition of that king of Bavarian blodsinn, the legendary Karl Valentin. Every year now, the Karl Valentin Musaum (yes, that is how they spell it!) will sponsor the event that is a celebration of the comic genius of Valentin — Munich, Germany’s eternal King of cabaret.
Valentin was a master of the absurd who could dig humor out of the everyday jumble of life — he was sometimes called the “Charlie Chaplin of Germany.” The Valentin Musaum in the Isartor part of downtown Munich displays several of Valentin’s own crazed ‘inventions’ — such as a fur-wrapped toothpick for winter use and an electric candle.
A performer of humorous talent in a league with Chaplin, Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy, Valentin unfortunately never attained the international (or even national) fame of his contemporaries, due to his heavy reliance on his Bavarian accent as a comic device, a dialect even Germans would have trouble understanding.
Here are some of the famous inventions from previous ‘Blodsinn’ contests:
An iron handkerchief (for a Middle Ages armored knight).
A clothes hanger for clothing without straps (it consists of the hook alone).
A Mozart Kugel revolver. (Kugel in German means bullet, but a Mozart Kugel is a Salzburg chocolate specialty with a picture of Mozart on it. So it is a gun that shoots these sweet treats.)
A grill for cooking gummi bears.
A combination sun and rain umbrella — it has holes to let the sun shine through when it shines.
A solar energy nightlight.
A coffee cup with a special shield to prevent one’s beard or mustache from getting dunked in the coffee.
A funnel device to help one guide his key into a door lock.
A ‘Zahnrad with Karies’ — (A Zahnrad is a gear, but tranlated directly it means ‘ toothed wheel.’ Therefore a Zahnrad with karies is a toothed wheel that has cavities.
A double ended key — one end is used to exit the door from inside the house, the other is used to enter the house from outside.
A personal space defender for crowded buses — two sticks with hands attached to them to be worn on the shoulders to keep other passengers a safe distance away.
A pair of ‘handshue’ and a ‘handtasche’ in the shape of human hands. (A ‘handshue’ in German is a glove, but directly tranlated it is a ‘hand shoe,’ therefore the invention is a shoe that looks like a hand and a ‘handtashe’ is a ‘hand bag’ also shaped like a hand.)
And last but not least is a ‘Knodel slinger.’ (a Knodel is a large dumpling, therefore it is a sling shot that shoots dumplings!) The inventor, Helmut Winter Pinsel, is famous for shooting these at low-flying American aircraft that pass too loud over his house.
Of course, of special interest, is the author’s own invention — a mosquito cage for people who cannot afford a canary — that won a special mention.
The Contest is held at exactly 11:01 (yes, that is the actual time) on the first Tuesday of June. Don’t miss it!