Saturday, October 29, 2011

Honorary Stunt Dad: Rube Golderg

As a kid I was introduced to the joy of Rube Goldberg contraptions through cartoons. Episodes of Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, and Road Runner all incorporated wacky, obfuscating Rube Goldberg machines that would ultimately lead to our respective villain being flattened like a pancake or blown to smithereens.

I'm happy to discover my oldest son is a chip off the old block and also a Rube Goldberg fan. But as with most things these days, our children are able to enjoy much richer content at higher fidelity than we did some 10, 20, er, um 30 years ago. Was it really 30 years ago? I still struggle with new math.

Anyway, my son spends hours watching Rube Goldberg contraptions on YouTube. Forget plots of revenge and wasted minutes on chase scenes, he just wants to watch the magic of objects performing tasks they were NOT designed to do in the most ridiculously complicated, inventive and silly ways possible. And when it comes to building them ourselves, we have plenty of marble tubes, Thomas Trains, Hot Wheel tracks, Legos and bubble machines to make up dozens of complicated scenarios to turn the light switch from on to off.

I highly recommend sitting down with your little one(s) and building your own Rube Goldberg machine. Maybe make it turn the lights off, the radio on, or get the old man a beer. For inspiration you can check out these choice selections now playing on YouTube. I would have made one myself and recorded it in action, but it takes a really long time and so I wrote this article instead.

My favorite homemade Rube Goldberg video on YouTube

No modern day mention of Rube Goldberg can go without the OK GO music video "This Too Shall Pass"

Honda used the idea of Rube Goldberg machine in an advertisement for their new Honda Accord.

To learn more about the man who did a short stint as an engineer for the San Francisco Water and Sewer Department, was a sports cartoonist, created several cartoon series and created the art of overly complicated comical inventions that would later bear his name; visit the Wikipedia entry on Rube Goldberg.

Have you created your own Rube Goldberg at home? We would love to see it and post it on Upload the video to YouTube and fill out this form to submit it to Stunt Dad HQ.

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