Friday, May 02, 2008

Game's On, Shuffling the iPod and Those High Gas Prices (Friday Roundup)

Parlor Games & Weekend Plans ... If you are hard up for something to do this weekend, we have come across a delightful little Q&A starter, perfect for the couple who has been together more than 18 years, is too unimaginative to go out and too exhausted to care.

You can imagine my glee when I saw these two books on the kitchen counter still inside the bag. A new conversation game! I'm just competitive enough to see the pair of quiz books as a challenge. In fact, all I could think was, "I'm going to kick his #@% in this game." I don't forget ANYthing. He can't remember what he had for dinner.

But kudos to the man for finding this gem, which I have realized is simply a kinder, gentler version of several games I have tried to initiate, like:

• Name my friends who you think are hot.

This request received a swift and firm "absolutely not." And then this, shouted over his shoulder as he left the room: "I might have fallen for that a couple of years ago, but not now." Which begs the question: So exactly who DOES he think is hot?

• List all the things (character flaws, bad habits, etc.) that drive each other crazy.

I once had the idea that we should host a candid exchange of "Here's What I Think Is Wrong With You," with each player having equal time to offer an honest assessment of how the other person could shed his/her bad habits and in effect become more enjoyable to live with and bring more to the table at a dinner party. Apparently, I was the only one who thought this idea had any merit. I still do. None of us is perfect. Everyone could stand some degree of improvement.

What I lost by not being able to employ MY games, these books deliver! We've unearthed all sorts of vital pieces of information, like whether he can raise one eyebrow at a time. (Yes, he can.) We know each others' least favorite relatives on opposing sides. (If my paranoid mother is reading this, she is asking, "Was it me? He wouldn't have said it's me, would he? Where's that phone?") I know that he doesn't remember the phone number I had when we first started dating. (But I do.) In fact, on the answer sheet, he made up a number that is partly our current fax number, partly some number in another state.

But he hit a homerun when he answered the following fill-in-the-blank correctly: If you want to make her unhappy, serve her ________ for dinner. Correct answer: Corndogs!

Bingo! Well played, sir.

These books retail for $5.95 each and are available at Target. And lots of other places, too.

The Most Cliché Comment Made in the Entire Month of April ... In one of The Today Show's more self-serving Moments of the Week (last week), First Lady Laura Bush sat on the lovely couch surrounded by The Today Show anchors, who were sitting on their hands, waiting to ask poignant questions, like "What's on your iPod?" Laura Bush looked startled, as if she wanted to say, "I don't know what you're talking about," or, "I beg your pardon, but that's really none of your business." Instead, she answered, "Oldies ... and Motown." Yawn ...
Loosen UP, Laura! It's not like your husband is running for election! Say what you WISH you could upload on your iPod, for Pete's sake, if you only knew how. For example, I haven't updated mine since Christmas break because it's such a pain in the rear, and that's why I'm typing away to Chaka Khan this very minute. I do love Chaka Khan, but sometimes I'm just not in a Chaka Khan frame of mind. When Leona Lewis is uploaded, she will make a fine neighbor to Chaka Khan, because you must know that mine is a DIVERSE iPod neighborhood—Mary J. Blige, Paul Simon, Sara Bareilles, Stevie Wonder, Elizabeth Mitchell, Feist and, of course, Andy Gibb. Ray Charles, Elvis and Rod Stewart roam the block from time to time, just to keep everyone in line.

Four Dollars a Gallon? Who CARES? ... By my calculations, summer vacation begins in exactly 14 days. For us, it will last approximately 99 days. If gas prices and a sluggish economy are going to keep you home more than you'd like, let me share the following tale with you: During one spring break, when I was essentially the only person who stayed in town and was therefore responsible for feeding every animal and double-checking the locks on storefronts, I took the only two children I had at the time to a church playground with their bikes. And there they played for about four hours, in the dirt, on the slides and swings, until they were sweaty and limp. I told them we were at the beach.

It's the weekend ... Go play games, listen to some music, lie to your kids ...