Traveling Will Robinson!
by Mad Dog
there isn’t a Robot Hall of Fame already. After all there’s one for
just about anything else you can think of.
||Just when you thought you
had your vacation plans set, Carnegie-Mellon University (motto:
“Sweeter than honeydew and twice as hard”) throws a wrench in the
works. Literally. They’re also throwing in some wires, solenoids, and
tin heads that swivel. That’s because they’ve just established the
Robot Hall of Fame, and you know they’re serious about it because they
put a ™ next to the phrase in their press release.
The hall of fame will be on the
school’s campus in Pittsburgh, but before they build the exhibits they
need some inductees. You know, like Will Robinson’s sidekick on Lost
in Space, R2D2, and Aibo, Sony’s robot dog. Anyone can nominate a
robot—hey, I just did, so can you!—but you have to do it by August
31st. Then a panel of judges, which believe it or not includes the
founder of the International Robocup Federation, a group dedicated
to—I kid you not—creating soccer-playing robots which they hope will
beat the human world-champion soccer team by the year 2050, will go
through the entries, mark the misspellings with a red pencil, and return
them with appropriately low scores. Hey, isn’t that what college is
The finalists that make it through
the cut will appear on NBC’s Who Wants to Marry a Pile of Wires?
and you, the home viewer, will be able to call up and vote for the
winner. Just kidding. Actually they’ll be boring and make a decision
and announce it, which is a shame since if they had any sense of fun and
competition they’d pit them against each other on Robot Wars or
The only problem is both real and fictional robots are eligible
to be nominated, so if they’re going to do battle they’d need to put
them on MTV’s Celebrity Robots Deathmatch, with the winner
getting the place of honor.
One not to be
missed is the Cockroach Hall of Fame in Plano, TX. Where else will you
find displays of real cockroaches which have been dressed up in
It’s surprising there isn’t a Robot Hall of Fame already.
After all there’s one for just about anything else you can think of.
There are the popular ones like the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame, and The National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. There’s one for
just about every sport, from swimming to basketball to volleyball to,
yes, badminton. Music has its share of halls of fame, including ones for
country music, gospel music, polkas, songwriters, and even the ukulele.
That’s right, if you’re passing through Cranston, RI be sure to stop
at the Ukulele Hall of Fame. And in case you’re wondering, yes it’s
the same one that used to be in Duxbury, MA. Come on, you didn’t think
there were really two of them, did you?
Some of the lesser known ones include
the Snowmobile Hall of Fame, the Plastics Hall of Fame, and the National
Agriculture Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, KS, which honors innovators
like Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, and Enos Perry, who
single handedly boosted the sale of turkey basters when he figured out
how to artificially inseminate cows. One not to be missed is the
Cockroach Hall of Fame in Plano, TX. Where else will you find displays
of real (though dead) cockroaches which have been dressed up in
costumes, including one created by an 85 year-old woman from Fort Worth
who decked hers out in a white mink cape and has it sitting in front of
a tiny piano? Of course she named him Liberoachi. Who wouldn’t?
There’s also The Bates Roach Motel, Late Night with David Letteroach,
and a spike-heeled, blonde-wigged Marilyn Monroach.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be the
one to go head-to-head with a hall of fame that could include The
Terminator, Robocop, and Teddy Ruxpin. Though I would like to check it
You have to take advantage of halls of fame when you come across
them. A few years ago I was driving through Canada—okay, I was
lost—and I passed the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in Elliot Lake,
Ontario. I didn’t stop because I was in a rush to get to Sudbury so I
could see the World’s Largest Nickel. Hey, roadside attraction triage
isn’t a pretty thing. Luckily I didn’t have that problem when I was
in the neighborhood of the Exotic World/Burlesque Hall of Fame, which
isn’t in Canada but rather in Helendale, CA. True, it’s hard to
actually be in that neighborhood unless you’ve made a wrong turn, but
I was nearby at the Roy Rogers Museum which was only 16 miles away. At
least it was until they moved it to Branson, MO.
Halls of fame are, by definition,
narrow in scope. And often narrow in interest. Though if you like the
Family Camping Hall of Fame you’ll probably enjoy the RV Hall of Fame.
And most likely like stopping at the proposed National Cap Hall of Fame
in Jackson, TN, though I might have that one backwards. But who
wouldn’t be intrigued by the International Towing and Recovery Hall of
Fame in Chattanooga which honors the men and women who drive tow trucks?
Sometimes we have to decide which is
the real hall of fame. Take burgers, for instance. There’s the
Hamburger Hall of Fame in Seymour, WI. as well as the International
Hamburger Hall of Fame in Daytona Beach, FL. And I’m not even
including the Hamburger Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY because it
doesn’t have any hamburger memorabilia on display, they’re just
cashing in on their proximity to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hopefully no one will try to compete
with the Robot Hall of Fame. If they’re smart they’ll start
something completely different, like maybe the Dryer Lint Sculptor Hall
of Fame. Or the Turn Signal User Hall of Fame, which would be very
small. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be the one to
go head-to-head with a hall of fame that could include The Terminator,
Robocop, and Teddy Ruxpin. Though I would like to check it out. Unless,
of course, it meant passing up the chance to see Cecil, Andy Warhol’s
stuffed Great Dane, at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. There’s
that roadside attraction
triage problem again.
©2003 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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