***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) Here in the United States, a "lemon" often means a defective product. For
example, it is often the case (sadly) that someone will say, "My car is a lemon."
That is, it gives him/her constant problems.
(a) In the first sentence, it says that Alessi is "proud of his flops." "Flops" means
"failures." Something like "lemons." As I read that last sentence, it means that
Alessi is proud that he is NOT careful. He does NOT want to be "safe." In other
words, he wants to experiment with new ideas. He does not want to be terrified
of trying new things. After all, if he makes 100 things, maybe 99 will be flops or
lemons, but the 100th thing may turn out to be a great success. Of course, I do
not know (for I am a nobody who has never invented anything), but they say the
great leaders in this world are not afraid to fail. By failing and trying again, those
leaders often eventually reach success. "Playing it safe" is not the sign of a truly
creative person such as Alessi. (He has even published a book with pictures of his
lemons. He is not ashamed. On the contrary, he is proud that he tried to do
something different, not the "mundane and generic.")