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Monday, December 3, 2007

8 Facts/Habits Meme, Encore

Adrienne, over at Adrienne's Catholic Corner, tagged me for this meme. 8 facts/habits - I'd done this one back in the summer, but since Adrienne tagged me, I suppose I can come up with another set.

1. Fact - the first pet I ever had was a beagle called Mr. Mike. In this picture, he was barking, I was crying, and for some stupid reason or other my mom decided to take this picture rather than rescue me from the kisses of this puppy. As you can see below, I quickly secummed to his charms. I have never harbored a cat. They're okay - for *other* people.

2. Habit - When flying, I always ask for Ginger Ale. I don't know why. I might have picked up the habit on my first flight when I was 6 or so. Perhaps subconsciously I feel if I *don't* have a Ginger Ale, the plane will crash. So if I'm on a plane, and order Pepsi, which I hate, and you're sitting next to me - start saying your prayers - you may want to alert nearby passengers, depending whether or not they grabbed ALL the space in the overhead bins. You're still "safe" if I order a mixed drink with Ginger Ale.

3. Fact - My favorite president in my lifetime was Ronaldus Magnus. When I was young, I rather admired what I read about Theodore Roosevelt. I wondered "where are the larger-than-life American visionaries now?" Ronnie was *the man* as far as I'm concerned. I got to see him twice. Once the eve before he was elected president the first time. His last campaign stop was in the Fashion Valley parking lot in San Diego, a little to the east of where the trolley stop is now. The second time was at a rally at the San Diego Sports Arena prior to his second term.

4. Habit - In coin flips heads/tails - I always pick tails. Just. Because. Other. People. Always. Seem. To. Pick. Heads.

5. Fact - I've never made a cup of coffee in my life, and don't intend to! I like coffee ice cream, and coffee toffee, just not coffee. I've been known to drink a cold caramel coffee frappe, or whatever it's called, a few times a year. Given this is close to liquid caramel ice cream, I don't think it really counts as "coffee."

6. Habit - I never feel like making dinner myself after Sunday Mass. I order Chinese on my way home and pick it up.

7. Fact - I finally learned to play bridge last year from a 20 minute tutorial, whomever wrote it was a genius. I've only played against the computer so far. Bridge IS the king of card games. I've tacked on a funny bridge story* at the end of this, for you bridge fans.

8. Habit - If I'm in a church which is not my own parish, I always sit as close to the tabernacle as possible, unless some pinhead designed it so the tabernacle is somewhere you'd have to send out a search party to find. I haven't been caught out at those churches often, but sometimes when visiting a friend or relative, they have the misfortune of having had that foisted on their parish.

Generally, I end up sitting in the front row. Usually you can find "splendid isolation" up there and as a rule of thumb I refuse to hold anyone's hand at the Our Father - unless some 5 year old wants me to, in which case I do, because 5 year olds can get their feelings easily hurt. 35 year olds can too, but they should know better!

9. Fact - I prefer odds to evens, and I don't have the energy or time right now to see tag 8 given people and leave them notes (that's the longest part of the "Tag" to complete, writing is easy) So if you haven't done this meme and want to, consider yourself tagged. Oh, and Marie down in Australia, if you happen to read this, I'd have formally tagged you because I don't think you've done this one yet.

Sit NICE, or you don't get ANY!

*Murder, Mayhem, and Contract Bridge The quips just keep on coming in Jack Olsen's The Mad World of Bridge (1960). Bridge is "not so much a game as it is a psychosis." "In the 1930s, America's Bridge players spent an estimated $5 million a year on Bridge instruction, or roughly enough money to pay for 500,000 hours of psychotherapy."

But when Olsen wrote of Whist, "Take this simple game, add a dummy, the concept of no-trump, bidding, and an occasional felonious assault, and you have Contract Bridge," there was a smidgen of truth behind it.
In a chapter called "Murder at the Bridge Table," Olsen detailed the many documented accounts of felonious assaults at Bridge tables all over America in the '20s and '30s.

Most of these accounts are of husbands and wives bashing each other after particularly tragic misplays. ("Nothing spectacular. Just a typical evening of Bridge as it is played in many homes.") But there were also a number of deaths (and critics claim that television causes violence!).

The most infamous case occurred in 1929 in Kansas City when Myrtle Bennett accidentally shot her husband, John, following an argument over a Bridge game. The Bennetts were entertaining their neighbors, the Hoffmans, when the game took a turn for the worse. John misplayed the hand, leading Myrtle to remark on his apparent lack of intelligence. John slapped her, then announced he was leaving. He went to their bedroom to pack. The Hoffmans tried to calm the Bennetts down, but Myrtle and John continued to argue and eventually Myrtle pulled a gun. John ran into the bathroom to hide, but as he was closing the door, Myrtle fired twice. The bullets ripped through the door, mortally wounding John.

Ely Culbertson, the first great popularizer of Contract Bridge, called the affair "a lesson in the importance of precise bidding valuation." Myrtle Bennett was eventually acquitted, and the hand that led to the shooting was eventually published in newspapers nationwide, along with commentary from Bridge experts. Culbertson contributed an analysis called "How Bennett Could Have Saved His Life."

After the hubbub had died down, it was discovered that the newspapers had been hoaxed. The published hand was a fraud. Neither the Hoffmans nor Myrtle Bennett could remember a single card that had been played that night. There's a lesson in this.


Adrienne said...

I love Ronnie, too.

Someone tried to teach me Bridge but I'm way too ADD.

I'm going to go find your first meme. I tried not to tag people that had been recently tagged and, yes, the tagging part took me forever!

gemoftheocean said...

The first meme is the one I highlighted in the text! :-D

I know re: bridge -- my dad's relatives in vain, failed to be able to explain pinocle to me off and on over the years. I assumed, that, perhaps like parallel parking and knitting, it was just not something I would master [I wouldn't say I've "mastered" it yet, but that whole concept was quickly dispatched.] -- The one tutorial cleared all that up for me, and I "got it" in short order.

The tutorial I had for bridge came on the disk I got when I got "Puzzle and Board Games" put out by the kind people at Hoyle. Purple box that says "Hoyle" common as dirt at your local Fry's or where you get that sort of thing. I think I got mine at Costco. $17 bucks plus tax. IT came with a bunch of other games too, and some nice tutorials. The Chess game is okay, meaning I can clobber it if I'm paying attention - BUT it would probably be better to get one that had different levels of play so that I could "learn something" by getting my butt kicked more often. It's sometimes fun to play some off the wall opening combos and then realize "oh, THAT'S why you don't do that as an opening move" when it corners you within 7 moves into impossible positions.

It also has a really nice Mahjong[sp!] set.

And yes, Ronnie, DA MAN. I've been up to the Reagan Library twice. Sometime I'll get around to uploading the film clips I took from there. I have dial-up, and I don't always feel like hauling the 'puter down to the local bar to park outside of so I can upload a short vid. without taking all freakin' day. ["All freakin' day" defined as more than a half hour, which is bad enough.]

Adrienne said...

"The first meme is the one I highlighted in the text! :-D"

Well, fine then – make sure everyone knows for sure I’m the fool they only suspected I was.

swissmiss said...

Love the crying and dog pic. Kinda sadistic in a way! I'm a cat person.

My aunt (mom's side) sorta taught me to play bridge a few years ago. I was pretty much forced, although I did want to learn...just not from my aunt. She used to play bridge all the time and host it at her house once a month or something. A first cousin once-removed's wife (she's from da "Range," the iron range in Northern MN) is a cut throat bridge player and used to teach it. My aunt is a little weird doppleganger of herself when she plays - vicious. But, it would be my dad's brother who is a Bridge Grand Master. When I told him I was learning to play bridge, he quipped, "Don't start." That side of the family has a unique sense of humor.

I don't drink coffee either. The ONLY time I ever drank a cup was when my aunt and I went to the eldest living relative's farm out in the "German Settlement" in Wisconsin. Just out of habit, she (first cousin once removed again!) made a pot of coffee and we sat down at the kitchen table to talk genealogy. I so did not want to offend this grand dame that I choked it down. Yetch. God rest her, ne'er a better or more gentle soul did ever live! Oh, she had a dog named "Dammit."

gemoftheocean said...

:-D Relax, Adrienne, that's why the smile was there. I do wish the blog setup allowed you to specify the convention for links and gave you the option to underline or not - that's one feature I'd like. (In theory, I suppose I could underline every link, but that seems so tedious) If someone knows a way, or I've missed it on the dashboard/template thing, let me know.

gemoftheocean said...

Swiss: GREAT dog name. "Dammit, get off the couch already!"

Have to laugh about have to put a LOT of sugar in it for it not to be bitter to my liking.

My friend Jim, whose family played a lot of bridge told me in his family it was pretty informal. Dad saying "I think it's Jim's turn to be dummy" meant "Jim go mix the drinks, get me a gin and tonic."

He got pretty good, but WOULD NEVER play with the guys who played cutthroat on the train in from Westchester county into the city. Those sharks of wall street would bid, play out about 3 cards each and throw their hands in in disgust -- KNOWING the outcome of such hands, as if they were calculating the return on debentures.

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

My maternal grandparents as well as Mom were great bridge players. In fact, when my grandmother (the last to go Home) we joked that God took her because they need a 4th for bridge.

gemoftheocean said...

AA: When my dad died, I put an ace up his sleeve in the coffin. I hope he appreciated that. (He amd his mom, cousin and sister were notorious pinocle players - a regular Friday night game -- they tried, in vain to teach me. Trick? What is this trick thing? I'd throw out cards at random, they'd hate me! Overall that generation older than me were better card players. Just because "there wasn't any TV when they were growing up." Sharks. The lot of them!

Stephen said...

Don't have a blog, so I guess I'll do this here.

I hate shopping for clothes. I'd rather do nearly anything else. I put off shopping for clothes for as long as possible, and I tend to buy the same thing over and over again. I own a ridiculous number of charcoal grey T-shirts.

I drink way too much Diet Coke. I can't stand Pepsi, and I don't like sugar in any drink. I can't bear "real" Coke.

I've never learned to drive. So far it hasn't been necessary, although the day is coming. Living in London, I couldn't have had a car - nowhere to park either at home or at work, and I lived on a Red Route so I couldn't even park on the street outside my flat - and living in Toronto it was quicker and easier to use the subway than to have a car (I did have a parking space at my last two apartments in Toronto, though).

I almost never drink alcohol. If someone puts a glass of wine or a beer into my hand at a party I'll drink it, but it's very rare that I'll order it for myself. Everybody else in my family drinks like a fish, and they find this strange.

I'm allergic to most brands of laundry detergent, and also to most deodorants and colognes and scented soaps. All my laundry has to be rinsed at least twice, and I shower a lot. I've been known to carry a year's supply of a particular brand of hypoallergenic shower gel back to Canada with me after visiting the UK.

I smoke a pipe. I don't drink; everyone needs at least one vice.

When I identify myself as British, I more or less *always* qualify it by saying I'm from the north, or from Lancashire. I identify with the north-west, where I grew up, far more closely than I identify with the country as a whole. And people who make fun of northern accents piss me off.

I'm a news junkie. My day is not complete unless I've read at least one newspaper, preferably two, watched at least one TV news bulletin (usually the BBC), and (when I'm in the UK) scanned the news pages on BBCi. I check Google News regularly, and get headlines from four different newspapers plus the BBC sent to my email.

gemoftheocean said...

Hey, I didn't know you couldn't drive! I thought you just didn't living where you were. Neutral grey/gray goes with EVERYTHING. Lately I've been buy more reds. I tend to guy shopping for clothing a couple times a year, when I get bunch of shirts or whatever items is starting to get ratty. No cigars? You're right. Everyone gets one vice. OTherwise he'd be insufferable.

LOL on the news junkie. I go in cycles. I know everything that's going on....OR I missed the fact that Botswana is now "missing." I was having a miserable Friday, and when I got home the one silver lining was "Madame's" "flare boy" if you get my drift. Especially because no one was hurt.

I also HATE PEpsi...I don't particularly know why. It's just... "wrong."

Stephen said...

Re: learning to drive - you can pay for a *lot* of cabs with what it would cost to buy, insure and run a car, and in a big city if you need to buy something bulky it's generally easy to get it delivered.

The clothes shopping thing was in my head because I've just had to do rather a lot of it - there's a big family do coming up in a couple of weeks that I'll need to dress fairly formally for, and I'm going on the job market soon so I needed interview clothes, so I've spent more on clothes in the past week than I have in about the past two years (my last major bout of clothes shopping was emergency purchases - I went to New Orleans for a conference, and my checked bag went astray en route, so I had to hit Target on my way from the airport to the hotel, otherwise I'd have been presenting my paper naked the next morning, which wouldn't have improved the presentation).

No, no cigars. Or at least, not often - I like *good* cigars, and they're not in the budget, at least not regularly. I hate cigarettes, and have never smoked them.

gemoftheocean said...

I can see people native to London and New York getting a driving license later rather than ASAP like most people. But I'd hate to haul the groceries home every day. [Or is it "Take away City?"] Since you were from "up north" I always assumed you knew how but just didn't!. At least you guys have it easier at a formal event. You can always rent and look swellegant.

Stephen said...

It most certainly is NOT "take-away city"! I'm actually quite a good cook (and I'm too cheap to pay for take-aways - not to mention that I can usually make a better dinner for less money in the time it would take for a delivery to arrive). Not having a car does affect the groceries I buy, though - I very rarely buy potatoes because it's a pain in the bum to lug them home on foot, and I use online grocery stores.

gemoftheocean said...

Ah, online grocery stores. That'll do her. Is it much more expensive, or is there enough competition to keep the added costs within reason.

Stephen said...

In Toronto they're slightly more expensive than regular grocery stores. In the UK, at least a couple of the biggest supermarket chains (Tesco and Sainsbury's) let you order online; prices are exactly the same as in their regular stores, the same special offers apply, and there's a delivery charge, which where my Mum is tends to equate roughly to the cost of a taxi home from the store.

Tesco, incidentally, is heading your way, branded as "Fresh and Easy". Be afraid. As a corporation, they are *evil*. Their Machiavellian shenanigans with the planning laws in the UK alone make Wal-Mart look like a bunch of amateurs (Tesco is the 3rd largest retailer in the world, Wal-Mart is 1st, Tesco is catching up. Tesco now takes one pound out of every eight spent in retailers in Britain).

gemoftheocean said...

Holy Toledo. Didn't know Tesco was headed this way. They don't do the Walmart thing where they sell tires next to the enchiladas? Other than soda, I wouldn't buy food from a Walmart.

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