Rube Goldberg's cartoons of wildly impractical machines made him a minor celebrity during their syndicated newspaper run from 1922 until 1934—my first introduction to his machines came from the now-painfully-dated ZOOM on PBS, whose website is still, hilariously, online. The show, "By Kids, For Kids," was a reliable titan of my childhood, and their attempts at building a Rube Goldberg-style toothpaste squeezing machine inspired a huge headache for my mother as I, with my younger brother as co-conspirator, tore apart the house trying to reconstruct what we saw on TV. And they say public television never hurt anybody.
For our final issue of the term we present articles inspired by Rube Goldberg's roundabout, obtuse, and wildly entertaining machines. This editor's note could be considered a Rube Goldberg machine because none of the articles have much to do with the man, his cartoons, or his cultural legacy, and this is our way of trying to connect rolling balls, falling dominoes, and freewheeling levers between our ostensible subject and the writing we've collected. We have stories of a religious upbringing in Texas, the fakery of Humans of New York, what happens when you try to hike 54 miles without stopping, and an assortment of summer fiction.
Until next term,