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In addition to watching the Cubs struggle daily on WGN, one of the things that the neighbor kids and I used to do was to create marble runs. Matchbox cars were fairly common back then, and they would sell tracks to race them on (which I vaguely recall being this ugly orange). We would use the tracks, the slight incline of our driveways, and whatever else we could think of to do it. I do remember, once, creating one that started from my 2nd floor bedroom window, went into the gutter on the roof, and down the drainpipe on the side of the house.

Anyway, the kits for marble runs are a lot flashier now than our cobbled-together courses. I should also mention that domino runs were a favorite pastime of mine growing up as well--I recall getting a set of domino-shaped blocks that were specifically weighted at one end, and it came with a book that suggested all sorts of funky arrangements and tricks.

And all of this before I'd ever heard of Rube Goldberg.

[This reflection is specifically brought to you by the fine folk at the Japanese television show Pythagora Switch, whose 9 or so minute YouTube compilation will help this entry make a little more sense.]