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Rube Goldberg

Describing an unnecessarily complicated machine used for a simple task. Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist known for drawing such contraptions. I just love these silly Rube Goldberg machines—it takes imagination to design something so complicated!
See also: rube

hey, Rube!

A rallying cry for assistance when trouble breaks out. The phrase began in the days of touring carnivals and circuses. A carnival or circus performer or stagehand who found himself in an argument or altercation with patrons or other outsiders yelled, “hey, Rube,” the signal for his colleagues to run and help him out. An item in the Chicago Tribune in 1882 explained that “a canvasman watching a tent is just like a man watching his home. He'll fight in a minute if the outsider cuts the canvas [to sneak in], and if a crowd comes to quarrel—he will yell, ‘Hey, Rube!' That's the circus rallying cry, and look out for war when you hear it.” “Rube” might have been the name of an actual person summoned for assistance, although another possibility is that “rube” referred, as it still does, to country bumpkins; that is, to members of rural carnival and circus audiences who were likely to start trouble.
References in periodicals archive ?
Three years later, Rubes was Bottom in the Festival's North American premiere of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Ezra Schabas, author of Jan Rubes, A Man of Many Talents (Dundurn Press, 2007)
Rubes shared Don Alfonso with Peter Van Ginkel, but Van Ginkel was ill for part of the Eastern and nearly all of the Western tour and Rubes had to sing almost all 53 performances.
Rubes remembers one flight when, as they were debarking in frigid temperatures, the pilot warned the cast to breathe very deeply to avoid internal injury.
Rubes had Overture in mind when he asked Hungarian-Canadian writer George Jonas to write an opera libretto for him.
Jonas's first impression of Rubes was that he was "European, charming, sophisticated" and of Ilona Kombrink (Rubes' choice for the female lead) that she was "strikingly beautiful and, to my way of thinking, as typically American as anyone can be.
According to Jonas, Rubes wanted the opera revised because he felt that it was not sufficiently effective and entertaining throughout its entire 30 minutes.
Yes, it was an urbane, sophisticated tale, and Rubes found that making introductory remarks helped audiences to enjoy it.
These rubes are folks who would otherwise be part of Jerry Springer's bread and circuses, but Dr.
Of course, it's OK to laugh at these rubes and their penny-ante travails - they've put this all on themselves by wanting to appear on the show.
When these high-minded rubes kneel in humble sincerity and recite the ``Fear no more the heat o' the sun'' eulogy, the gaping Luckman Auditorium feels as hushed and cozy as a chapel.
Many thanks to Dennis McCarthy for single-handedly painting movieoers in the San Fernando Valley as a bunch of unsophisticated rubes (Daily News, Dec.
He convinced his Tribeca chef, Sebastian Carosi, and even one of his waiters to accompany him to the suburbs of la-la land where the sophisticated, traveled dwellers of Oak Park, North Ranch and other affluent neighborhoods would, hopefully, appreciate the trio's creative culinary and service efforts even more than those Portland rubes did.
In other words, charge the rubes in the burbs more for less.