Posts Tagged ‘games’
New York, December 8 (AP) – Gyrone, a four-year-old decorative dreidel, has become increasingly frustrated over the years with the ignorance displayed by anyone and everyone he encounters, and their short attention span.
“Nobody seems to have any idea what I’m all about, and their misapprehension of my purpose,” he lamented in a recent interview. “People seem to think I have some inherent connection to Hanukkah – and I have no idea how that happened.”
“I’m just a teetotum,” he added, wondering how anyone could confuse gambling with a celebration of divine wisdom as represented by light.
Dreidels are a specific type of teetotum, a polygon-shaped spinning top used in games of chance. Teetotums are marked with the outcome on each face, indicating what action should be taken as a result of the spin. On the dreidel, a four-sided teetotum, the markings use Hebrew letters that stand for Yiddish instructions: nothing, take the whole pot, take half the pot or add to the pot.
“I wish I knew whom to blame for this,” Gyrone continued, “but no one seems to know who first took those letters and said they really stand for ‘A great miracle happened there’ in Hebrew. Whoever it was, I’d like to throttle him. If I had arms, anyway,” he added ruefully. The miracle to which he referred was of oil that miraculously burned for eight nights when only enough uncontaminated olive oil could be found for one night, according to the Talmud, after the Jews rose up against the Seleucid oppressors and reclaimed the Temple.
“To make things worse,” continued Gyrone, his tone rising, “then some fool in Israel decided to put a local spin on it: since the miracle happened there, the dreidels used in Israel should use the initial for the Hebrew word ‘here’, and a bastardized teetotum was born.”
The connection with Hanukkah might be attributed to Jewish legends about religious persecution at the hands of the Seleucid rulers of the second century BCE. Those tales recount bans on various elements of Jewish practice, including the study of Torah, and how Jews would circumvent the prohibitions by having children play games to divert the Hellenistic authorities and their informers from the true goings-on. It is unclear when, but at some later point the game of dreidel was specifically mentioned in that context, even though nothing specific about the games is part of the original legend.
For most Jewish families, the game of dreidel loses its novelty after about four minutes; the average life span of a typical plastic or wooden dreidel is between two and seven days, as the cheap toys are ignored, neglected, lost, disposed of or chewed up by the family dog. Decorative dreidels are luckier in that respect, though seldom used, according to Zvi Vohn, Professor of Jewish culture at Columbia University. “There’s an appalling lack of imagination when it comes to the game of dreidel as it’s typically played,” he explained. “Pennies? Chocolate coins? No wonder people get bored. Heck, one of the reasons my brother married a shiksa is that he couldn’t stand the boredom of dreidel.”
“We Jews are a creative bunch. I’m sure there’s some way we can give this classic game a clever twist.”
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal government fell into deep paralysis this week after President Obama developed an addiction to the online shoot-’em-up game River Raider. Legislation, campaigning and policymaking have remained stalled as Obama attempts to reach the scoring plateau of five million points.
Administration officials first suspected a problem on Sunday afternoon when calls to the Oval Office, arranged in advance for particular times, went unanswered. A series of influential Democratic Party contributors had been awarded time to converse individually with the President, but when the operator connected them, all that could be heard was digital sound effects and occasional expressions of frustration or accomplishment.
Walter Espada, a Hollywood producer and frequent Democratic Party donor, reported to White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew that the Obama did not even acknowledge that Espada was at the other end of the line. “I wanted to encourage the President to remain steadfast in his pursuit of healthcare for all Americans,” he said, referring to the health care law under legal challenge from Republicans. “But all I got out of him was, ‘Oh, come on! He was nowhere near me!”
Arthur Skyrim, Professor of Sociology at George Mason University and an expert on video game culture, explained that Obama was having trouble with the boss at the end of Missions 3 and 4 of the game, which can transform into spinning blades that destroy vehicles and harm the player’s character. The blades inflict the damage even if only in proximity to the character or vehicle, and not necessarily in direct contact.
“The President’s jousts with political opponents ill prepared him for some of the conflicts he faces in River Raider,” Skyrim continued. “Although in both cases the opposition is two-dimensional, focuses excessively on the use of guns and doesn’t care about the effects of its constituency on waterways, the similarities end there. The enemy in River Raider is far more sophisticated in its deployment of resources.”
“On the other hand,” he equivocated, “Republicans do seem capable of learning from one encounter to the next, unlike the soldiers in River Raider,” who deploy in an identical manner game after game.
The President’s devotion to the game reached the point that instead of signing waiting legislation into law, he used the documents on his desk in making fan art for the game. The host site for the game, Miniclip, judged his submission worthy of displaying in their top three fan art slots. It was unclear whether the site administrators were aware of the identity of the artist, who used the screen name OsamaKiller2012.
In a phone interview, Lew conceded that it was perhaps a mistake to allow unfettered internet access from the Oval Office. “We thought initially it would help us muster information resources to help in developing policy and countering our opponents’ initiatives,” he explained. “But over the last week it’s become clear we need some controls.”
“If that’s not an argument for government regulation, I don’t know what is.”
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Now that we have five kids we can do this:
THAG and MIGGTHA’S FAMILY
Spit up all over Mommy’s clothes
Abuse Daddy’s computer just to get attention
Refuse to eat food that I specifically requested
Pour way too much cereal and milk
Complain about lack of clean laundry I was supposed to put away myself
React with tantrum to diaper change
Climb into clothes dryer
Insist on wearing clashing, out-of-season clothes and footwear
Throw laundry at ten-year-old
Give seven-year-old satisfaction of the reaction he sought to provoke
Keep crying through attempts to nurse
Toss toys down the steps
Refuse to wipe myself
Ignore admonition to get into pajamas
Find every distraction possible from homework
Demand to nurse juuuust when Mommy has begun to drift to sleep
Pull four-year-old’s hair
Refuse to eat because food was served on wrong color plate
Break eyeglasses. Again.
Feign stupidity in order to evade responsibility
Contract high fever just to drive parents into a panic
Dump kitchen garbage all over the floor
Traipse about the house stark naked, requesting help finding what to wear
Leave house without informing parents
Insist I’m fine in just a T-shirt on a really cold day
Back when I used to waste my time on the web in completely different ways, I participated in an ongoing game called A Question for My Answer. Each player had to formulate a question for the answer supplied by the previous player in the sequence, then provide an answer that the next player would question. Here are a couple of the ones I still remember:
A: That’s “discreet,” not “discrete.”
Q: So, Mr. President, you want a separate chapter about each intern?
A: Just put it in the sink.
Q: Hey, Joe, where do you want this rotting llama carcass?
A: Airplane fartknocker.
Q: And if it’s a girl?
So, the idea here is to involve you, the pathetic reader, in an even more pathetic attempt to create some inane juxtapositions right here, at (checks URL) Mightier than the Pen. I’ll do a few off the top, just so I don’t have to jump straight into the rejection of deafening silence, and i shall end with an answer for you to question. If you are sufficiently moved, please submit your submissions via comment. I promise to moderate things as quickly as possible. Of course that might mean a week and half from now, but it won’t kill you to wait. I hope.
A: Over my dead body!
Q: Mom, do you want a Lady Gaga-themed funeral casket lid?
A: Our payment policy is Net+30.
Q: Wouldn’t it be a shame, Mr. Thag, for this lovely store of yours to burn down, when you could have enjoyed our protection?
A: I got it!
WARNING: DESPITE COPIOUS REFERENCES TO BEN & JERRY’S ICE CREAM, THIS POST IS UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, AND IN ALL OTHER WAYS TASTELESS, OFFENSIVE AND SHOULD BE TAKEN OUT AND SHOT.
It’s amazing what can come from just shooting the breeze with one’s spouse. Just the other night, when we should have been sleeping, Mrs. Thag and I instead engaged in a bit of intellectual tomfoolery, developing ideas for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors that will never exist and of course should never exist, if there is any Good and Right in this world. As you know, the jury is still out on that point.
Now, given that Ben & Jerry’s maintain an area of their web site called the Flavor Graveyard (or at least they used to), an In Memoriam to bygone concoctions, the flavors we concocted in our lurid imaginations would instead represent the aborted fetuses, if you will, of Ben & Jerry’s flavors. For the record, no, Aborted Fetus was not one of the proposed flavors. For one thing, it lacks that special brand of cutesy wordplay we have come to expect from those avatars of socially conscious marketing; it would have to be something more along the lines of “Embryogurt” or “Pitocinnamon” to evoke anything genuinely worthy of Ben and Jerry.
Here, then, are some of the selections we (meaning I, because, there is no way I can allow her reputation to be soiled any further) pulled out of our cerebra (or elsewhere). The challenge lies not so much in coming up with a convincing name as it does in matching the name with appropriate ingredients (yet another reason the Aborted Fetus flavor never really developed past a certain point. If you catch my meaning.) You may feel free, if you lacked the sense to stop reading this post at the beginning, to contribute your own ideas to this surprisingly, uh, fertile intellectual ground.
Malignant Tuber: With freshly irradiated yams
A-O-Kaopectate: Banana-broccoli-liver ice cream with Marmite globs and runny chunks of Brie
Carcinnamon: From the verdant groves of Chernobyl
Hemphysema: For that smoked flavor that never really leaves you
Pedophilbert: (If you think I’m going to give this one any more thought, you’re nuts.)
Flotilla Vanilla: With Marvi Marmalade!
Tomatorexia Nervosa: (Another flavor with a slim chance of my elaborating on it)
Pomme de Terrorist: This extraordinary rendition of French Fries will make your taste buds feel they’ve been waterboarded!
Genocider: Limes against humanity
Carnaval Qaeda: With 72 extra-virgin olives pressed for each pint
Naga-Sake (or Beeroshima): With Atomic Fireballs; 15-kiloton proof
Gang Grape: (You can’t force me to give more details on this one)
Whorseradish: Giving new meaning to the term “root vegetable”
Your turn. If you dare.
I am honored to present the Household Resistentialist Awards, given to inanimate objects that go above and beyond in frustrating the intentions of humans. We have new categories this evening, and the competition for each award has been fierce. In the end, we trust that our choices will resonate with you.
Let us begin the proceedings by calling attention to Toys with Many Small Pieces. This category began as a niche, but quickly came into its own as the quantity of injuries and inconvenience these toys cause gained rapid recognition. Here are our nominees:
The LEGO scattered about the house: For their performance in ambushing unsuspecting parental bare feet. The LEGO pieces executed their mission with exquisite timing, waiting for exactly the right time of night that Dad’s yelp would wake the miserable toddler.
The K’nex pieces: For making themselves available to the four-year-old with a knack for experimenting with What Might Fit in the Bathtub Drain, even though K’nex tend not to be found in the bathroom. The resulting plumber’s bill amounted to $240.
The set of marbles: For finding exactly the right time to burst out of their heretofore unbroken container and scatter all over the floor, creating a bedroom-level hazard unseen since the toothpaste-clogged sink of 2007. Special mention goes to the blue-and-white marble for bouncing clear across the room and cracking the monitor screen.
The old set of Tinker Toys: For getting stuck together so tightly that Dad ended up breaking a piece and giving himself splinters.
And the award goes to: The LEGO! Not only do they provide sole-piercing ambushes, the pieces adhere so well to one another they cause the occasional separated fingernail in vain attempts to wedge them apart. Well done!
Next up: Vehicular Manslaughter – The wheeled wonders that wound. From little matchbox cars to the family SUV, these little devils have the power to maim, kill and drive people nuts.
The Flat Tire: When Dad juggled the schedule to find available times to teach the six-year-old how to ride a bicycle, he had no idea what was in store. He painstakingly removed the training wheels and raised the seat to accommodate the boy, then proceeded to pump up the tires by hand. But the bicycle tire had other things in mind – namely, the discovery, after schlepping the bike to the park (the only stretch of flat ground in the vicinity), that all the pumping was for naught. Of course the tire didn’t let on that it had a puncture; it led Dad to believe he had simply attached the pump improperly. So he schlepped back home in the heat, retrieved the pump and began using it. Then he realized it was for naught, and had to haul the bike back, all but unused.
The uninstallable car seat: The family car was generously lent to friends for a small moving job, which entailed removing all of the cumbersome rear seats. The time-consuming reinstallation process proved even more frustrating when one of the seats refused to lock into place. After momentary panic and a series of random moves that could not have accomplished anything tangible, the seat decided it had toyed with Dad long enough, and settled into place.
The collapsing computer caddy: After years of uneventful use, the wheeled contraption holding Mom’s computer tower decided to bow, rendering its wheels moot. Now, to reach the sockets and doodads in the rear of the machine, she must use sufficient force to move it outward, but not too much, lest important things get disconnected.
The shopping cart wheels: The team of shopping carts at the local Kroger’s has made every shopper’s life a pain in the wrist – not a single cart has four working swivels on its wheels, and some are jammed altogether. Just last week this caused a five-cart pileup in aisle six. Special mention to the dozen eggs that sent itself crashing into Mom’s dry-clean-only blazer as a result.
The strap-on roller skates: Not content to injure only the kids wearing them, these hazards took up strategic position exactly where the laundry-basket-carrying Dad would step, bruising his backside and sending the clean, folded clothes over the railing, down two levels and onto the dusty basement floor.
And the award goes to: The roller skates! Can you believe people voluntarily attach wheels to their shoes? And this is supposed to represent an evolved species? Paging Mr. Darwin, please retract your thesis…
Finally, the old standby, appliances. There was a rich crop of candidates this time, and the Academy had a rough time whittling down the choices. Here are the top five of a superb group:
The living room stereo: Not content merely to find nonexistent flaws in CDs and skip all over the place, this system caused not one, both both cassette decks to crap out. Most of Mom’s good music is on cassette: Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, Billy Joel. With everyone switching over to more durable, higher-quality media, finding a decent repair shop will prove irritating, bedeviling and downright impossible. Oh, and there are two cassettes still stuck in there.
The toaster oven: First, lull the family into complacency by functioning reasonably well for a while. Then refuse to stay on unless someone is physically holding down the “toast” button.
The dashboard digital clock: It resets every time the car gets serviced, but there’s no way to adjust the time – none of the buttons respond. What better way to cause some undue stress in people made uneasy by the thought of arriving even a few seconds late? To make it work more effectively, this clock has engineered a reading about forty minutes ahead of the actual local time.
Dad’s cellular phone: For no apparent reason, in the area where Dad spends most of his working time, his phone refuses to receive a signal. This not only causes unwanted problems with work; it also engenders bitterness with Mom, who actually blames Dad for his phone’s behavior! To top it off, even when Dad is away from the desk, this phone has a way of surreptitiously getting its buttons pressed so as to change from “vibrate and ring” mode to “silent” mode, further driving a communication wedge between husband and wife!
The electric shaver: This rechargeable baby started out so promising, so effective. It was a gift, a barely used hand-me-down from Dad’s Dad. The foil screen shaver worked twice as fast as Dad’s old rotary model. Until the foil screen locking mechanism broke on one side. Now Dad has to use both hands to shave, holding the shaver in one hand and holding the screen assembly in position with the other. Having it repaired would cost too much, and Dad has his old shaver as a backup; but going back to the backup means taking longer to shave and not getting as smooth a result.
And the winner is: The electric shaver! This appliance not only makes Dad contort himself to get a normal shave, it timed its shenanigans to coincide with the period when the bathroom lights had burned out and no one ever remembered to get new bulbs when it was convenient!
Thank you, everyone. Please enjoy the after party in the padded ballroom.
Archimedes’ Principle: Any floating object displaces its own weight of fluid.
As Applied to Parenting: The bathroom floor is gonna get absolutely soaked.
Newton’s First law of Motion: Every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.
As Applied to Parenting: The kid will stay in bed until you force him to get up; and the kid will remain wild until you force him to calm down and get ready for bed.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion: A body of mass subject to a net force undergoes an acceleration that has the same direction as the force and a magnitude that is directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to the mass.
As Applied to Parenting: Keep valuable objects out of the kid’s reach.
Newton’s Third law of Motion: The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and colinear.
As Applied to Parenting: The more you need the kid to cooperate, the more likely he is to resist.
Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation: Every point mass in the universe attracts every other point mass with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
As Applied to Parenting: The toys will never, ever remain put away.
Newton’s Law of Cooling: The rate of heat loss of a body is proportional to the difference in temperatures between the body and its surroundings.
As Applied to Parenting: The food will be too hot for the kid to eat, or you waited too long and it’s already too cool to be appetizing.
Boyle’s Law of Gases: For a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at a fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional.
As Applied to Parenting: That diaper is going to stink.
Law of Conservation of Energy: The total amount of energy in a system remains constant over time.
As Applied to Parenting: Just when you’ve gotten one kid to sleep, the other will wake up crying.
Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: One can never know with perfect accuracy both of those two important factors which determine the movement of one of the smallest particles—its position and its velocity. It is impossible to determine accurately both the position and the direction and speed of a particle at the same instant.
As Applied to Parenting: You will wrongly anticipate which direction the toddler will toss his bowl of cornflakes.
Law of Conservation of Mass: The mass of a closed system will remain constant over time.
As Applied to Parenting: No matter how healthy he is, you will be made to feel like a bad parent because your child’s weight percentile is low.
Law of Conservation of Momentum: If a closed system is not affected by external forces, its total momentum cannot change.
As Applied to Parenting: No matter how good the rest of the day was, once things start to go downhill toward evening, you know you’ll have a fiend on your hands by bedtime.
Avogadro’s Law: Equal volumes of ideal or perfect gases, at the same temperature and pressure, contain the same number of particles, or molecules.
As Applied to Parenting: Somehow the kids can tell when a sibling’s balloon, seemingly identical to his own, is actually inflated to a larger volume, and thus cause for a tantrum.
I know that most of the letters you receive arrive in the weeks prior to Christmas, so this might come as a surprise, as Christmas was two days ago and I’m only writing it now. As you can tell, this is not your typical letter to Santa: not a wish list, and not an attempt at casting ostensibly naughty behavior in a better light. The fact that you visited our house at all this year means that I was, in fact, on the “nice” list.
However, I do feel the need to communicate with you about a previous letter that I did send, the one that contained a detailed list of items I wished to find under the tree this Christmas. Having established that I had earned gifts from you this year, it puzzles me that my wishes seemed so egregiously disregarded. For your convenience, I have included a copy of the list as Attachment A.
As you can see, the list contains twenty-six items, and they appear in order of preference. But of those requested items, not a single one ended up under our tree. I did not receive my first request, a Nintendo Wii. By itself that might not be of major significance, but it causes me consternation in light of the gift delivery to my friend and classmate Gregory Walsh, just up Maple Street from me, who did receive the Wii he had requested from you, while I had to make do with a two-volume dictionary and a world atlas, neither of which, you will note, appeared on my list. In fact the closest thing to a book on my list is number 22, a DVD set of all the Harry Potter movies; I am told they started out as books.
I do not wish to imply that you, personally, are responsible for the error; of course, with many, many millions of households to visit, keeping track of the deliveries by necessity requires delegating responsibility to someone else. Nevertheless, that someone messed up badly, as I received absolutely nothing that I requested. I can understand that actual light sabers are hard to come by (number eleven on the list), but a toy one would have demonstrated that the list was received and processed. The mess-up in this case is so severe that I wonder whether you received my original letter at all. Even though I sent it three times just to be sure.
Yes, I realize that it was not identical all three times; there were additions, a subtraction and clarifications in each of the two latter letters. However, it defies comprehension that not even the obsolete versions of the list found expression in this year’s actual gifts. I certainly did not request a new scarf, but there it was, lying there with an ugly yellow ribbon, the kind of scarf Great Aunt Mildred would make for Uncle Myron. In fact I’d almost thought it was the same one, but for the fact that it doesn’t have the ketchup stains on it, and Uncle Myron showed up later wearing his just to make sure Mildred noticed. Mom made me wear the new scarf, too, for Mildred to see, I guess to make her feel good that Santa approves of her taste enough to copy it.
I realize that there is no superior or supervisor to whom to report this debacle, so I am left with no choice but to appeal to your sense of justice and proper procedure, and to request that this matter be sorted out as soon as possible. Gregory Walsh is going to be absolutely insufferable as soon as we get back to school, so I would appreciate if this can be satisfactorily resolved before Christmas break ends on Monday.
I trust this matter will receive due attention. Should you require more information from me, such as an explanation of the difference between a MiG-31 bomber-interceptor and a MiG-29 air superiority fighter (numbers 13 and 15, respectively), I shall be more than happy to elaborate.
à la mode: The scoop on Islamic gaming cheat codes
antedate: Matchmaker’s pre-screening procedure
antidote: When the patient wishes to be left alone
apprehension: Anxiety associated with iPhone programs
ascend: Upload backside photos for forwarding
attacks: An assault on the wallet
bard: Secured, as a door
buttress: Supportive seat cushion
chard: Burnt veggies
condescend: The elevator down to solitary
congestion: Stuffy, highbrow humor known for its lack of booger jokes
cuban: Takin’ to the third (world) power
debate: What to put in de trap
deliver: A step in autopsies
egest: Joke of the day by RSS feed
farce: The Irani state news agency
flourished: A drunken rose peddler
forgo: Why intersections need stop signs
gold: Scored in hockey or soccer
hard: Faked a laugh
intestine: Not yet ready for release
isolate: The White Rabbit’s refrain
jiggle: A wee dance
lantern: Sysadmin rotation
liability: The capacity to defeat a polygraph
magistrate: Judicial bribery pricing system
midrash: Spot-on interpretation of well-red markings; abdomiletics
pretense: The anxiety prior to a camping trip
progesterone: Skilled stand-up artist with masterly use of pregnant pauses
proposition: Stagehand’s job between scenes
reverse: Write another draft of the avant-garde poem, maybe backwards this time
rude: Off-color ancient graffiti
ruminate: The guy who shares your accommodations, but his habits make you think he lives in a barn
screed: Made an excited, high-pitched sound, probably in reaction to something cute
sequence: A row of shiny things
servitude: What one gets from the waiter bitter over being trapped in a dead-end job
truculent: The buildup on a big vehicle’s air filter
upstage: Waking hours
wiggle: A small toupée