Cork Dork Laments, ‘Why Didn’t I Think Of It First?’

Because you are a dolt and a doofus as well as a dork.  Hey, so kill the messenger already.  Rest easy: None of us thought of it either.

Consider these vignettes, transfused with varying volumes of veracity:

The sail was invented in 3200 BC by Egyptians in reed boats trying to travel against the Nile’s current.  For some ineffable effin’ reason, it was not until 1961 that Pierre-Marcel Lemoignet  thought to flip a sail on its side, thus inventing the parasail.

printing pressAlexander Bain patented a fax process 1843,  33 years before the telephone was invented and a hundred twenty-one years before the first fax machine hit the market.  Somewhat after Bain’s demise, we presume.

Gutenberg had originally intended to showcase his printing press at fifteenth century World’s Fair and spent every nickel he had to travel to it.  So screwy was communication in those pre-printed poster days that he got the date wrong and wound up showing up an entire year late.  Only an infusion of cash from a pitying patron saved the printing press from the trash heap of history.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts

George Washington Carver invented the peanut as a substitute for brazil nuts, which were then known by a horrible racial epithet.  In fact, Stan Laurel can be seen selling them under this childish and offensive name in ‘The Pest’.  Google it if you are so inclined; ‘Brazil Nut’ under ‘nomenclature’.

Helix the Cork, The Wonder, Wonderful Cork…

I may not have invented Helix, but I did invent their theme song.  What do you have to show for it, Einstein?  All you invented was the rice bra, sleeping bag pants and a hairnet for the shower that doubles as a beekeeper’s helmet.



In Bordeaux, apparently, l’homme de l’heure is Antonio Amorim, Chairman and CEO of the world’s largest manufacturer of cork stoppers, who  (in conjunction with Illinois’ own bottling giant, O-I) has introduced a ‘re-renewable and modern product that meets consumers’ growing desire for sustainability and quality, while delivering the brand building and premium image packaging wineries rely upon.’

Amorim mouthed this mouthful of marketing mumbo-jumbo at Vinexpo,  where his bottle stopper brainchild was unveiled.  Were I there at the Bordeaux Parc des Expositions Exhibition Centre, of course, my mouthfuls would be re-restricted to vintage Premier Cru, but then again, I do not have a brand new cork idea to share with the world.

helix-cork-10Neither does Amorim, of course—twist-off, re-resealable, re-renewable, sustainable, quality corks have been used and re-used in high-end whiskey and low-end Port for eons.

The ‘invention’ has been causing a big stir nonetheless, with everyone and their brother weighing in.

Since I have no brother, I guess it’s me.

My kinda archangel, baby

My kinda archangel, baby

Food and Wine’s Gabriel Bell begins his column A New Era Dawns With The Invention Of The Twist-Off Wine Cork with this modest declaration:

‘You’ll always remember this moment—sitting in front of your computer, right here, right now—when you first heard of the twist-off wine cork.’

Bell is so damned excited about playing the archangel Gabriel bringing us tidings of great joy that I don’t have the heart to tell him that I read fifteen articles about Helix before I got to his.

And I’m not on a computer, Gabe—I’m on an iPhone.


Dan'l Bane and his bane companion Mingo

Dan’l Bane and his bane companion Mingo

The Inquisitr [sic] opines”

‘One of the biggest boons to the wine industry has been that once the cork came out, there was no putting it back in…’

‘Boons’?  Potentially le auteur means ‘one of the banes’?  Let me talk to the editor, stat.  Tell him/her that it is Daniel Bane on the line—a bane companion.


According to gizmag:

‘Since the Helix cork is formed by pressing cork fragments in a mold rather than cut straight from the cork tree bark, four years of development and testing by Amorim and O-I was undertaken before they had a stopper that could not only screw in and out, but would also do the job of a traditional cork.’

Except that, as you recall, the original problem with corks was not that you might forget how to use your corkscrew, but that the natural bark is susceptible to the chemical compound trichloroanisole.  Right?  Did the four years of research come up with something, anything in the pressing-cork-fragments-together-process that eliminates TCA?

None of the articles seem to think it is important enough to mention.


Clipboard dnaSo, for me—despite Gabriel’s angelic bell-ringing from the bell-tower—like Paul Revere shouting, ‘The Helix is coming, the Helix is coming’ and Scientific American predicting that just as Watson/Crick won a Nobel Prize in Physiology for discovering the double-helix of DNA, Antonio Amorim is a shoo-in this year for discovering the single-helix cork—I am far too busy with more important matters to concern myself.

Busy With What?

So glad you asked.  I am busy putting the clear coat on my own set of wine industry inventions in lieu of next year’s Vinexpo.

I have, dear readers, come up with the following gizmotic gimmicks for the grape guru who has everything.


1735-shipwreck-bottles-10002553A Fully Submersible, Pool-Ready Wine Cellar meant to replicate the deep sea conditions that preserved a few of the bottles of 1735 Mosel discovered in the wreckage of the sunken Vleigan Herd.  Granted, most of that wine was bad, but those that survived fetched upwards of $5 large at auction, so the waterproof wine cellar will pay for itself in only a few decades.

tqweet paperWaterproof Toilet Paper printed with wine-related feeds from Twitter; perfect for the wine-loving scuba diver who desperately needs to take a shit but cannot surface without risking decompression sickness.

Waterproof Wine-Flavored Floss:  Fully-biodegradable and dishwasher-safe dental floss flavored to suit whatever wine you enjoyed with your meal that evening.  Currently being produced in cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, alvarelhão, gaglioppo, sauvignon blanc, magyarfrankos and öküzgözü—the later a favorite of my brother from another mother, Kevin Karl.

Wine-Scented ‘Soap-On-A-Rope’: Large, long lasting, very fragrant bar of triple-milled, translucent glycerin soap on a nylon rope with the following grape aromatics:  Merlot, pinot noir, refošk, muscat, usakhelauri, crljenak kaštelanski and Thompson Seedless.  Also available on a hemp rope (for your ‘green’ friends and lovers) under the alternate name ‘Dope-On-A-Rope’.   Guaranteed impermeable to moisture and caustic acids.

Clipboard underwearLeakproof  Château d’Yquem ‘Funderwear’:  His-and-her skivvies with the logo of the famous sugarplum Château silkscreened on the crotch area without the slightest authorization!  Let ‘em strip search you, the pervs!

Realistic urine stains are actually youthful d’Yquem-infused polyfibers woven into the fabric; fecal-colored stains are from vintages at least fifty years old.

As you can see, I’m loaded, ready for bear, and set for Vinexpo 2014!

Or maybe I’ll pull a Gutenberg and show up a year late.

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1 Response to Cork Dork Laments, ‘Why Didn’t I Think Of It First?’

  1. Lisa says:

    I actually found this more eneitratning than James Joyce.

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