Rube Goldberg: grandaddy of chain reactions

Why do something in a simple way?  People always say "build a better mousetrap", but one of my heroes did just the opposite.  His machines were hilariously complicated.  Now when something is overly elaborate, people say its "Goldberg-ian".  Makes you wonder what your last name might represent years from now...

This is his Self-Operating Napkin.  No more wiping needed.  As you raise spoon of soup (A) to your mouth it pulls string (B), thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I), which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off sky-rocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin.

Well, so in the old days, the foolish grown ups were still smoking cigars -- but at least he put his to work.  Check this out; there's a book of a bunch of Goldberg's Inventions here.