Category Archives: Sports and Recreation

Farewell, best friend

Dear Hasbro, say it isn’t so. As if the discontinuation of my china, bed linens, lipstick, wallet, kitchen whisk and hair clips were not enough, my favorite Monopoly token is being tossed out like yesterday’s crossword.

The company has just announced that, among its long-lived Monopoly board pieces—the race car, the Scottie dog, the top hat, the wheelbarrow, the thimble and others—they must phase out one out to make room for another. Seriously?

Enter the new token, the cat. This crazy cat lady has no complaint against Fluffy, but it’s replacing my all-time favorite token, the iron.

The iron is a symbol of what is right and useful in the world. Perhaps its ability to smooth wrinkles and create a polished and professional look appeals to the editor within me. From our everyday khakis to our finest table linens, it’s the tool that makes it all presentable.

True confession of an ironing geek: When I was in my early 20s, every Thursday night, while my peers were noshing at the local happy hour, I stood at my ironing board in front of the television, and pressing my way through Taxi, Barney Miller and Cheers. And then I was all set for a smooth weekend.

Maybe it runs in the family. Years ago, when my mother was imparting essential life skills to her two adolescent sons, she employed one of her finest Momilies: “The tip of the iron is your best friend.”

Hasbro could have phased out the thimble and no one would have noticed.

At least they had the good sense to save the shoe.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Hearth and Home, Sports and Recreation

Survey says…

The recent passing of TV game show host Richard Dawson has me feeling a little Family-Feudish.

By the way, I know someone who knows someone who was once on Family Feud. Are you impressed?

You wouldn’t be impressed if I were playing.

You know it goes: Contestants are asked to “Name something that …” as they aim to match their answers with answers of others on their team, as well as with survey responses cast by the audience. If instructed to name something you would find your refrigerator, for example, you might say “milk,” knowing that might be a popular—and hence, high scoring—answer.

If I were to be truthful I’d say “a canister of 35-millimeter film,” or today, “a brick.” But then I’d likely win no points for a match.

Suppose I asked you to Name Something You Would Take on a Beach Vacation. Would you say, an umbrella, a good book, a Frisbee perhaps?

If I were playing Family Feud, perhaps I’d name those things too. But what if I were answering based solely on what I need to occupy a particular cottage, one that is perfectly situated on a beautiful beach, but is ill-equipped to handle my needs?

How many points would I earn I earn if I told you truthfully what will soon go into the trunk of my car?

  1. A specialty whisk, two knives and a cheese grater
  2. A pesto torte, along with the clay brick that makes it mmm-mm good
  3. A bottle of homemade ginger walnut salad dressing
  4. A jar of lemon curd (you never know when you’ll need one)
  5. Fresh mint, for making chilled cucumber soup
  6. Apples to Apples, Taboo and Boggle, three must-play beach cottage games
  7. A bathroom rug
  8. A sound machine, for playing my carefully constructed beach playlists
  9. A noise machine, in case the Atlantic isn’t white noise enough
  10. A large E-Z UP canopy, to shade our dune deck during Happy Hour (when we’re sipping cucumber soup, of course)

Say the game were reversed, you were packing for vacation, but you got points for unique answers.

Go!

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Filed under Food, Hearth and Home, Movies, Television and Radio, Music, Sports and Recreation, Travel

The whole truth

As the Super Bowl approached, someone suggested I write about the expression “the whole nine yards.” Why nine, she asked, when the football field is marked in 10-yard increments?

As with many word matters I research, there isn’t clear consensus on any one theory. Various opinion-holders each claim resolutely that the origin of “the whole nine yards” pertains to rounds of ammunition, the volume of a cement mixer, the cubic footage of a grave, the length of a bridal train or nine shipyards used during World War II. The one I’m going with referred to the Long Jump field event. So there we are; it’s not about football at all.

This got me thinking, though, about the whole ball of wax. No clear consensus on that one either. As best I can tell, “the whole ball of wax” has something to do with the way in which inherited property was once identified. Or it derives from “bailiwick.” You choose.

How about the whole enchilada? The whole shooting match? The whole shebang? What is a shebang, anyway?

I recently heard someone say, “That’s a whole different ball of wax.” Nothing like a good mixed metaphor to take us back to the ball game.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Sports and Recreation

Resolved

As we near the end first week of January, I’m proud to report that I’ve kept all of my New Year’s resolutions. Or I would have if I had made any. Perhaps I’ve kept yours.

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. Or perhaps I should say, I don’t make typical New Year’s resolutions.

Let it be noted that this week, I took a Zumba class, attended a Weight Watchers meeting, started a new book (reading, not writing), cleaned out and reorganized my refrigerator and tried to donate a pint of blood. Tried, because I apparently didn’t have enough iron for the Red Cross. I then went out and bought a gargantuan head of kale.

If I had resolved to exercise, lose weight, read more, get organized, do for humanity and buy healthful foods, I’d have aced it this week. One down, fifty-one to go.

Notice I said, “healthful,” not “healthy.” Things are healthful. People are healthy. Kale, anyone?

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Food, Health, Holidays, Sports and Recreation

Tools of the trade

A friend of mine—a Renaissance man of sorts—writes a blog about fishing.

His latest post, entitled “The Right Stuff,” examines the equipment people need for their various hobbies and professions. Also a musician, this man likened fishing rods to guitars, as far as the selection of equipment based on one’s goals and skill levels goes.

While I know as little about casting a rod and reel as I do about playing the guitar, I found his post thought provoking. He discusses why a beginner shouldn’t begin with the most advanced—and often, most expensive—equipment and what considerations go into proper selection.

I know a fair number of golfers and have overheard my share of debate over the need for expensive equipment. My husband, a marathon runner, spends what he considers a lot of money to buy shoes and enter races and participate in running clubs. A cyclist friend pours his spare change into bikes and flying to Hawaii to watch the Ironman triathlon up close.

My friend’s blog got me thinking about my own hobbies.

In 1977 I got into crocheting. I spent about half of the $2.35 an hour I earned at the yarn store on acrylic yarn. Once I spent an exorbitant sum of $6.99 on a complete set of crochet hooks, which I still have but no longer use.

That’s it. Except for a couple of style guides, I don’t spend anything on my hobby. Perhaps it shows.

I suppose I could take up more hobbies, and then I could blog about those. Golf is out, as plaid does not become me. We’ve already established I lack musical and athletic talent, so neither a violin nor a tennis racket is an option.

I don’t care much for stamp collecting (sorry, Dad) or bird watching or scrapbooking.

As I look back on some of my most popular blog posts, I notice (and WordPress confirms) that the best stories came from travel experiences and mishaps.

Therefore, would it be reasonable to conclude that I’d be a better blogger if I had a bigger travel budget?

As I see it, my choice is either to buy more style guides (and new bookends!) or a plane ticket.

With any luck, things will go terribly wrong.

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Filed under Sports and Recreation, Technology and Social Media, Travel

Chat it up

There’s a new blog I’ve started reading; I thought you might like it too. It’s a football blog.

I know, I’m not much of a sports fan, and I know next to nothing about football.

I do enjoy good writing, though, and I’m learning that sports writing is different from regular writing. Style guidelines are different—numerals are permitted within text and there’s a whole field of vernacular out there with which I’m unfamiliar.

Word Nymph is going into a busy work period these next few weeks, and could do with a lighter writing schedule. So today, I’ll point you to another blog. Chat Sports covers professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey. The San Francisco-based company encourages sports audience interaction through social networking and news on team-specific websites.

A couple of weeks ago, my son, an avid sports fan and recent college graduate, signed on part time with Chat Sports as a writer covering the Baltimore Ravens. He has written three columns to date which, if I understood the content, I’d find entertaining and insightful.

Check out his writer page, get to know him, read his posts, drop him a comment. Or jump into the chat on the ChatRavens page.

Yes, we’re still a Redskins family. But it’s fun to have another team to follow. Now if I could just understand what they’re doing out there on the field.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Sports and Recreation, Technology and Social Media

Lame that tune

I’m back from the beach, where my husband and I enjoyed a few days with some long-time friends. We came home with sand in our shoes, color on our cheeks, some soft ice cream stains and a terrific new game.

Our friends made up this game, which was great fun. I encourage you to play it, but one of the creators is a prominent intellectual property lawyer, so you’d best not steal the idea.

The homespun dinner table game offers the best in musical entertainment, laughter and profound humiliation.

Each person staying in the house was asked to bring his or her MP3 player to the table and hand it over to the leader. We had 10 players. One by one, each person’s song list was set on Shuffle and three songs were played—at random; for the benefit of the Podless, that’s what “shuffle” means.

I believe, anthropologically speaking, that our iPods are telling relics, revealing much about our true selves. And admit it, don’t we all have one or two songs in our libraries that we’d rather not have anyone discover?

Well, that’s the point of the game, and somehow the Shuffle function can bore right through to that one song that reveals to your loved ones—and the fellow dinner guests you’ve just met—your inner pathetic dweeb.

So here’s how it works. The first player, who happened to be I the other night, surrenders her iPod to the leader, who pops it into the speaker system. When a song comes on, the rest of the group gives it a thumbs up, thumbs down or some sort of gesture that in essence means, make it stop—now. It’s a little like Pandora Radio. We all decided that the make-it-stop option should be limited to three per voter, as some people are natural-born critics.

My first song was a little lame. It was Chris Isaak’s version of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” As uncoolness goes, I’d hoped Chris Isaak and Neil Diamond would cancel each other out. Turns out, in a group where half the members were over 50 and the other half under 27, I wasn’t so lucky. Thumbs down. Shuffle stopped at my second song, Heart’s “Crazy on You,” which nearly everyone agreed is one of the best songs ever. Saved. Number three killed me. It was Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.”*  ‘Nuf said. (Don’t look, Ethel!)

A few other players were almost as exposed and embarrassed. The hostess blushed as her device found “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The group agreed that my husband took the prize with Claudine Longet’s “Lazy Summer Night.” Who remembers Claudine Longet? The elder half of our group remembered Ms. Longet–her having been married to Andy Williams and having been convicted of fatally shooting her Olympic skier boyfriend and having been with the family at Robert Kennedy’s assassination and funeral.

The younger half of the table was busy banging out a drum chorus of “Make it stop.”

Try the game at your next dinner party and let me know how it goes.

*In the meantime, who’s old enough remember “The Streak?” Who’d like to hear a real life story about 1973’s fleeting pastime?

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Filed under Family and Friends, Foibles and Faux Pas, Movies, Television and Radio, Music, Sports and Recreation, Travel