crazy contraptions for social distancing

Have you ever heard of a Rube Goldberg machine? It’s a contraption (usually homemade) where the whole point is to make a machine that’s way more complex than necessary to do a simple task. These types of machines were seen often in Looney Tunes cartoons, and they often used the music of Raymond Scott, specifically a song called “Powerhouse“.*

I happened across some YouTube videos of people making their own, which is interesting. They make it look easy, but it takes a lot of practice to make these work reliably. Building one uses spatialization and geometry and physics, which can be a learning experience. It also requires patience and carefulness, plus trial and error, which are good to learn, too. But enough talk — here are a couple of videos that show an impressive one built to help with eating while we’re supposed to be social distancing.

How to pass the salt while social distancing:

And even better, how to pass the pepper while social distancing:

*This is bonus, if you want to know more about that song. It’s often used with either an assembly line or a Rube Goldberg machine (which is also known as a “Heath Robinson contraption” in some parts of the world). This song was used in over 40 Warner Bros. cartoons, also in The Ren and Stimpy Show, The Simpsons, Animaniacs, The Drew Carey Show, The Bernie Mac Show, Spongebob SquarePants, and even a Visa commercial. So you’ve probably heard it.

If you’re still reading and want to hear the song in context with some clips from Looney Tunes, check this out:

One last bit of randomness — Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons and Futurama) once ranked “Powerhouse” #14 on a list of his “100 Favorite Things”. I’ve never made such a list. Have you? It sounds like a fun thinking exercise.

viewer mail, Christmas day special

Traffic here at the blog was at the lowest point of the year on Christmas Day (and it was still 223 pageloads).  This is understandable, because we aren’t posting new content around that time, and most people are probably spending time with their families and playing with their new toys.  Since fewer people are browsing the Internet that day, I had to wonder what people were searching for.  I’m going to limit the results just to what brought people to this blog, and I’m going to remove some of the similar entries.  (Also, only a certain number of search terms are stored for each day, so this may not be everything.)

Here’s the partial list of search terms that brought people here on Christmas Day (with the number of searches using that term):

basketball    34
sumo wrestling    11
poop    10
mount rushmore    8
basketball pictures    6
tank    6
sherman tank    5
funny christmas lights    4
bad hair    4
swedish goat fire    4
bad hair day    3
weird christmas quotes    3
pics of amazing lights on houses on chri    2
homer simpson + toilet paper    2
hair bands    2
fry turkey accident    2
pictures of deep frying turkeys gone wro    2
the burger king guy    2
poop in toilet    2
turkey frying accidents    2
pooping dog    2
beaker bunsen    2
bacon bbq    2
halo    2
carnivore pizza    2
truck driving    2
mr t    2
bacon crackers & shredded cheese    2
christmas straw goat    1
funny soccer celebrations    1
mountain dew ingredients explained funny    1
30 pound pizza man vs. food    1
“monstrosity” “burger”    1
facts about toilet    1
muppets professor    1
little mac mike tyson’s punch out    1
fat men dancing    1
covered in post it notes    1
cheese empanadas    1
wii for fat people    1
obama afro    1
bacon ham buffet    1
swedish christmas straw goat    1
worms in feces    1
homer simpsons wise sentites    1
bad mood no reason    1

There you have it.  Are you surprised?  Imagine someone on Christmas Day searching for “fat men dancing” or “worms in feces” or “poop in toilet”.  I reckon some people spend their Christmas day a lot differently than I do…  🙂  To each their own…  But it’s not a problem, because we’re open 24/7, and pages of randomness are served even if no one is in the office.  That’s one of the neat things about technology…

BTW, if you found this page via an Internet search, we’re written about most of these topics, and you can search just this blog using the search box in the sidebar.

Burger King commercials

Have you seen the Burger King commercial where some moms are in a car and are trying to run down “The King”?  (That is, the funny-looking Burger King guy, not Elvis.)  They are running over street signs and various other items on the side of the road.  There’s a small disclaimer that says “professional driver”, but I’m not so sure about that…  I mean, it was some women driving all over the road, running over stuff…  Maybe the disclaimer is just some legal “fine print” that is required so they don’t get sued…

I tried to find a video of it, and I’m sure it’s online somewhere, but I’m not going to search too long for it.  I do have a life.  🙂  But during my search on YouTube, I found a few others for Burger King that you might enjoy.

Mr. T made a commercial for Burger King in 1985.

And here’s one called “Simpsonize Me“, and it’s a promotion for the Simpsons Movie.  There’s also a commercial promoting the Krusty Burger, where Krusty fights The King.

the special days of November, pt 1

It’s now November (albeit halfway over), and like we did last month, we’re going to look at some of the special holidays this month.  I’m going to cover only maybe half of them, because there’s a bunch (and some are just stupid).   You can find the full listing at other sites, but you can find our original commentary and analysis on these special holidays only at this site.  Let’s begin with the month-long celebrations.

November is :

  • National Model Railroad Month — I’d like to have one of those huge model railroad sets, because I like trains, and I’d do some interesting things with it.  The background scenery would be really cool and random, and I’d be tempted to make multiple trains race toward each other and crash on a bridge, like Gomez Addams did for one of his hobbies on The Addams Family TV series.  He also made the bridge explode at just the right time.  (That really was a great show.)
  • Peanut Butter Lovers Month — This one requires no explanation.  But I will make a suggestion or two — you can mix it with jelly, of course, or you can mix it with chocolate.  Mmm…
  • Good Nutrition Month — This must be some type of mistake.  Why would someone schedule this the same month as Thanksgiving?  That just makes no sense.  Because during the Thanksgiving holiday (which can stretch over a few days, as far as the eating is concerned), all diets are declared null and void.  In addition to eating lots of the main dishes like turkey, ham, dressing, etc., desserts will also be consumed in large quantities.  Pecan pie is a regular at my get-togethers.  I propose we move Good Nutrition Month to January, when everyone wants to start diets.
  • National Blog Posting Month — This is obviously a new one, and thus isn’t on some of the lists I’ve seen.  The idea is for bloggers to try to publish at least thirty posts in thirty days.  That’s a noble idea, for sure, but it’s just not gonna happen here.  This is another holiday that could be scheduled better, like during the middle of winter when there’s no major holidays and when it’s too cold to be outside much.  Besides, I’ve got too much stuff to do for writing every day.  🙂

Now let’s look at some of the week-long celebrations :

  • Week 1 — Chemistry Week — Some school students may think chemistry is boring, and with certain teachers it is, but it can be a really cool subject.  Certain combinations of ingredients create explosions, which is cool.  And if you study how the basic elements form compounds that are essential to life, it reveals the magnificence of creation, which points to God, our Creator.
  • Week 3 — Game and Puzzle Week — It’s a good excuse to bring out some board games, which tend to get neglected with all the modern technology we have.  So bring out Monopoly and/or dominoes, to suggest a few.  (BTW, did you know you can get Monopoly in all kinds of “flavors” now?  I’ve seen one for Transformers, Family Guy, The Simpsons, etc.  You can even create your own version on their website and they’ll send it to you.)

I’ll continue this in the next post, or it’s going to get really long…