Nov. rambling: down the rabbit hole

ancient board games

too-on-point
From https://wronghands1.com/2021/11/12/too-on-point/

Does the red pill have an antidote? Why do previously reasonable people go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, and what can be done to bring them back?

The vaccine tore her family apart. Could a death bring them back together?

Pharmaceutical messianism and the COVID-19 pandemic

Why WHO skipped ‘nu,’ ‘xi’ for the new COVID variant, omicron

Trump believed his press secretary when she told him he’d win ‘because’ of COVID

Nations Fiddle While the Earth Burns (and Floods)

Time’s Up– IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD, AND WE KNOW IT

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Union Busting and The Power Grid 

 Wealthy Americans get paid leave. Shouldn’t the rest?

The scary rise of private intelligence companies 

What your smart devices know (and share) about you

 Public-Private Partnerships Are Quietly Hollowing Out Our Public Libraries 

Parents are scrambling after schools suddenly cancel class over staffing and burnout. (It’s happened at least twice in Albany this fall.)

To Catch a Turtle Thief: Blowing the Lid Off an International Smuggling Operation

An Extraordinary 500-Year-Old Shipwreck Is Rewriting the History of the Age of Discovery

Land Back and The Third Reconstruction: A Truth Commission with the Shinnecock Nation 

Can a Doughnut Heal Our World?

Culture

etymologyAn Indigenous chef is putting her heritage on the menu with landmark restaurant 

French dictionary adds non-binary pronoun

Sesame Street debuts Asian-American muppet

Lee Elder, first Black golfer to play in Masters, dies at age 87

How to wake up early, even if you’re not a morning person

The link to Friends and Foundation of the Albany Public Library book talks 

Some People Can Literally See Time 

Your 2 Step Guide To Creating Mindfulness Gratitude Practice

Ancient Board Games, even more ancient than I am

Ken Levine’s 250th podcast: For Those Who Love Lucy

David Brickman and Stanley Tucci are not the same person

RIP, laugh track 

The Love Boat video shows every single guest in alphabetical order.

Now I Know:  What Does the Fox Spray? and How Ben Franklin Killed the Competition and The Boy Who Shared His Wish and  The Somewhat-Fake Sausage That Saved Lives

Heart-pulling Christmas commercials

MUSIC

How Great Thou Art, performed by Carla Fisk

A Pile Of Dust – Voces8

Fanny Mendelssohn 

Peter Sprague Plays Miles Davis

Romanian Rhapsody #2 by Georges Enescu

Come A Little Bit Closer – Jay and the Americans

Barnyard Boogie – From Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume

Overture to Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin

Future Past (Visualizer) – Duran Duran

Symphony No. 3 by Aram Khachaturian

J. Eric Smith: Be Thankful for What You’ve Got

Latke Recipe – the Maccabeats

Coverville 1379: Cover Stories for Lorde and Taylor (Swift) and 1380: Covering the 2021 Inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – Carpenters

C is for Cooperation, and Competition

I don’t mind losing, but I DO like to win.

Anyone who knows me casually will likely come to the conclusion that I am a rather cooperative guy, and that would be true. I got a Masters degree in Library Science, a very cooperative field, at a school, not necessarily coincidently, dominated by women students. Whereas, a decade earlier, I had dropped out of a Masters program in Public Administration, where the students were far more competitive, and not so incidentally, far more male.

The classic example: when I would be in the library trying to find a resource in the PA program, and couldn’t find it, there was a good chance that someone else had, and had hidden it to make it more difficult for others; really zero-sum. Whereas the library folks were more of a “high tide lifts all boats” people, that by helping others, one was helping oneself, and the profession.

My cooperativeness, however, ends when it comes to playing games: board games such as SCRABBLE, or especially backgammon. In card games such as hearts and bid whist, I can be a bit ruthless.

I think it’s a function of the fact that my paternal grandmother, who taught me the card game canasta. Once I understood the fundamentals of the game, she played me as though I were an adult. So when I did defeat her, it wasn’t a gimme. Likewise with my great aunt Deanna, with whom I played 500 rummy and Scrabble; my parents, with whom I played pinochle; and my paternal grandfather, with whom I played gin rummy. I sensed they all believed that letting me win would not serve me well. I play my good friend Mary in backgammon these days, and I never attack her position without statistical good cause, but to the untrained observer, it seems to be mean; I never play to be mean. I don’t mind losing, but I DO like to win.

There’s a card game called casino, where one of the objectives is to get the aces. There are four cards on the table, and each player has four cards in hand. My college girlfriend was playing me, and there’s an ace on the table. She went first, the ace remained, so I picked it up on my next turn. But I quickly discovered she had an ace IN HER HAND, with which she could have picked up the ace on the board. “Why didn’t you pick up the ace?” “I wanted you to have it.” I was really ticked off; love was one thing, but one does NOT throw the game.

When I play The Daughter in Sorry or Connect Four board games, I play her the same way, mostly because she has legitimately beaten me, quite often in fact. Whereas she hasn’t figured out the strategy in checkers yet, and I will point out why she oughtn’t to make a particular move. And most unfortunately for me, she really hasn’t gravitated to card games, except for UNO; she beat me twice just last week.

Here’s a great cartoon about cooperation.

ABC Wednesday – Round 12

X is for Ex, Xi, Xu

“I box in yellow Gox box socks.” – Dr. Seuss


I used to play the board game SCRABBLE a lot when I was a child, especially with my great aunt Deana. The goal isn’t to make the longest, or best words, but rather, to get the most points. So, here are acceptable two-letter words that one can use in the English-language edition utilizing the letter X. Getting an X – worth 8 points, same as the J, and more than any other save for the Q and the Z (10 points each), can be eXhilarating or eXhausting, depending on the words on the board and the other letters in your tray.

Knowing these short words will help, especially when building words in two directions. (BTW, there are sets available in several different languages, and these examples may not apply.)
AX (oh, you knew that one)
EX the letter ‘x’ (spelling letters can be useful; ar, ef, el, em, en – the latter two also printers’ measures)
OX (you had that one, too)

XI the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet (other Greek letters in this category: mu, nu, and, of course, pi)
XU a minor currency of Vietnam, 100 xu = 1 dong

“Knowing which words are acceptable – even if you have no idea of their definitions – is a perfectly legitimate strategy, and all expert players have memorized all the two-letter words and often the three-letter words as well.”

Here are the three-letter words that use the letter X:
AXE BOX COX DEX FAX FIX FOX GOX HEX KEX LAX LEX LOX LUX MAX MIX NIX OXO OXY PAX PIX POX PYX RAX REX SAX SEX SIX SOX TAX TUX VEX VOX WAX XIS ZAX

Some of these I know, though others, not so.

But wait! I recognize one of these words from literature.
Specifically: “I box in yellow Gox box socks.”
— Dr. Seuss (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish) c. 1960, 1988

Is gox a REAL word?

Apparently, YES! It means “gaseous oxygen”. (Which really confuses me because I thought oxygen usually WAS a gas. It seems to me that it’s rather like saying “liquid water”, instead of “water”, to differentiate it from ice or steam.)
***
The peculiar thing about this particular post is that I wrote it nearly six months ago! I KNEW I’d need a good idea for X, and I didn’t want to waste it! Thus my accidental use of the badge for Round 6, rather than the badge for Round 7, which I’ve since corrected.

Also, you’ll note that ABC Wednesday has a new home! For a bunch of technical reasons, the link below is now the correct location.

ABC Wednesday – Round 7

30-Day Challenge: Day 18 – Favorite Board Game


I have always loved board games. I used to play them all the time. As a kid, my favorite game was SCRABBLE, which I used to play with my great aunt, and from time to time as an adult, usually with my in-laws.

With children, I love to play SORRY. As Jaquandor explained, this is a game that by the time a kid is 4 to 6, can play an adult straight up.

I found this out when I used to play with my late friend Nancy’s son Jeff when he was about 6 in 1978 or 1979; I would not give him an advantage and he’d beat me almost half the time. Likewise, my daughter is very good at it. In fact, we often play with her stuffed animals as surrogates as well, with each of us essentially playing two colors, and she’ll often come in first and second, or at least first and third.

I’m quite fond of Monopoly. I could tell you what the purchase price and basic rent for every property on the board; unfortunately, it’s a game that really requires multiple players, and that has not been the situation I’ve found myself in of late. For our wedding, we received an Albany-based Monopoly set that I’m pretty sure we’ve never used.

I went through a phase of playing a lot of Trivial Pursuit in the 1980s and 1990s, but some people didn’t like the fact that I won too often – it’s a curse – and I probably haven’t played this century.

The game I play most often at this point is backgammon. It’s a game I learned at a bar appropriately called Bacchus in my college town of New Paltz, NY from my friend Anne. Then I didn’t play for a long time. Now I play my friend Mary at work at least twice a month at lunchtime. It’s a fairly easy game to play, though it takes a little while to ascertain the best strategy. The board often shows up on the back of checkerboards, and the game is available online, so one can hone one’s skills.