Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Robosaurus Man

In a season 2 episode of the Simpsons, Homer watches a wrestling match on TV at Moe’s while the Simpson children watch the same at home. During the wrestling match, a commercial runs for a Monster Truck Rally, which features "Truckasaurus," a colossal, fire-breathing metal dinosaur that devours cars.

The commercial voice over:"One night only…one night only…! If you miss this, you'd better be dead...or in jail!" Homer Simpson, guided by an primitive, overpowering force immediately hops into his car and rushes home, where son Bart has undergone the same experience. They run towards each other and embrace, and shout as one, "Truck-a-saurus!"

I met Doug Malewicki a couple of years ago at his southern California home. He is president of Aerovisions, Inc, which is involved in a lot of good stuff. I got the impression that Doug is an "out there" visionary with a tinkerer’s pedigree. His list of accomplishments put him in the top rank of technical self expressives. He’s designed a rocket engines, built a working rocket belt, worked on personal submarines, and he’s one of the men who designed Evel Knievel’s “Sky Cycle X1” rocket car, which tried, but failed to jump the Snake River Canyon back in 1974 in the world’s most widely viewed daredevil stunt.

I think, though, the creation that he’ll probably be best remembered for is “Robosaurus." the inspiration for Truckasaurus. Robo is a 40 foot tall, twenty ton car eating robot that rips old autos in half in its huge hydraulically powered maw to please crowds at monster truck rallies and tractor pulls. Each year, Robosauraus travels the country, thrilling the spectators at air shows, car shows, festivals and sporting events, just about any event where a 60,000 pound metal eating dinosaur would be welcomed.

Here's the (I think) 2006 Robosaurus schedule. If you go or have gone previously, event descriptions in the form of comments are welcome.

Jan 21, 2006 Thrill Show Houston Astrodome

Mar. 19,20 Thunder in the Valley Airshow Columbus, Georgia

May 26,28,29 Charlotte Motor Speedway - Coca Cola 600 Charlotte, N.C

June 18 Firebird Raceway Phoenix, AZ

July 13 Old Bridge Englishtown Raceway Englishtown, NJ

July 16 Lancaster Speedway Lancaster, NY

Sept. 30, Oct. 1,2 California International Airshow Salinas, CA

A car destroying robot is a fine fitting alter ego for Doug who believes fervently in a car free or at least, a car de-emphasized world, one where personal, computerized, lightweight, ubiquitous public transportation is so well designed that driving seems like an idea for losers.

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