Rube Goldberg

Some people will tell you that I'm a gadget guy. I'm not sure I agree ... but I do have a laptop, a PDA, four iPods, and a little thingie that allows the 'Pods to play through my car radio's speakers. Maybe I am a gadget guy, after all....

As a kid, I loved Rube Goldberg's gadget art, and I still own (and occasionally set up) Mouse Trap, one of the two early-'60s Ideal board games based on his inventions. (I used to have the other one, Crazy Clock, too, but it's long gone and no longer being manufactured. You can find it sometimes on eBay, but the one copy available as I set up this page is currently priced at $49.99! Mouse Trap's now being made by Milton Bradley and still available in stores.)

Anyway, Goldberg also did political cartoons, an assortment of daily newspaper strips, and even sports writing. Today, university engineering departments sponsor "Rube Goldberg machine" contests, where the idea is to build a fantastically complicated piece of machinery designed to perform a simple everyday task. To get to Rube's official website, click here and follow the instructions.