Monday, October 14th, 2019

I was today years old when I learned that the game where you throw beanbags at a board with a hole in it is called “cornhole.” That is not a word I have heard used in polite company before. My father sometimes used that word, not in public, to refer to an act of sexual intercourse that was not allowed by law when he was a younger man.

But I found out today that this is a fairly common name for the game I have always called “beanbag toss” or just “beanbags.” I found out from an email I got at work for an annual fundraiser called “Partners in Giving.” The email subject was “Partners in Giving cornhole tournament.”

“Partners in giving cornhole” was not a phrase I ever expected to see in an inter-office email.

All but one of my coworkers refer to the game as “cornhole” so they didn’t think it was as odd as I thought, but they got a good laugh out of the surprise I got from the email, which means I’m not wrong about the name meaning something else. And after visiting several web pages to see if I could figure out how this game went from being named something as innocent as “beanbag toss” to being referred to as “cornhole,” I learned that a beanbag left on the board is called a “woody,” while tossing a beanbag so it rolls over a blocking beanbag to go into the hole is called “going through the back door.” So it seems more than likely to me the game was renamed with a sly wink, and maybe some alcohol was involved.

beanbag | 5:53 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, games, random idiocy
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Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

After everybody got up and got showered on Sunday, we all piled into the O-mobile to make the short trip to Lake Mills, where we visited the Tyranena brewery. Their tap room opens at noon and they encourage visitors to order take-out food from any of the local restaurants and bring it in to eat while drinking beer, so B and I covered the table with 5-ounce tasters and we phoned a local pizzeria and asked for a sixteen-inch with plenty of cheese and sausage.

The tap room has plenty of board games piled up along the window ledges. I picked out a word game that we played for ten or fifteen minutes. When I guessed it was about time to pick up the pizza, I took my leave and made the short drive into town. The pizzeria was on the town square about three minutes away; all I had to do was duck in, pay the ponytailed girl at the counter and duck out. I was back at the tap room in probably ten minutes. It was like I was never gone.

B was a little concerned about how we were going to eat the pizza without plates, but the bartender solved that problem by handing us a whole stack of paper plates and napkins. He even handed over a jar of cracked red pepper in case we wanted to spice up the pizza a little bit. Now that’s a bartender who knows how to keep his customers happy. We gobbled up all the pizza while we played the word game some more and sipped our beers, which kept us there until about two-thirty. Almost all of us dozed off on the twenty-minute drive back, so we broke up to find places to nap for an hour or so after returning.

Tyranena | 7:07 am CDT
Category: beer, brewpubs, daily drivel, entertainment, food & drink, games, play | Tags:
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Thursday, November 27th, 2014

We played Bourbon Jenga last night, which is like regular Jenga but with cherry-infused bourbon. You can use regular bourbon if you like; it doesn’t have to be infused with cherries. It doesn’t have to be bourbon, either, but then it probably wouldn’t make sense to call it Bourbon Jenga. You still could call it that, I’m not going to stop you. It’s a free country, theoretically.

Anyway, Tim came over last night, thinking that he was going to have dinner with us but finding out as he came through the door that B & I were just on our way out to yoga class. Our instructor was recovering from a sinus infection that knocked her out for last Monday’s class but she was feeling well enough again to talk us through some restorative yoga exercises that mostly involved very heavy breathing and trying turn all the way around to face the same way as my butt. Couldn’t do either very well. I’m not a huffer-and-puffer kind of yoga guy; I think I get the importance of controlling my breath, but I don’t see why it’s important to make a big production out of it. Maybe that understanding will come later. And I’m not flexible enough yet to turn all the way around like an owl. I’m not sure that’ll ever come to a guy with a back as tired and crooked as mine, not that I won’t keep on trying. Our instructor can fold herself all the way over so she can stick her head between her knees, so I can see with my own eyes that it’s possible. I just can’t comprehend doing it myself yet.

By the time we got back home from yoga it was almost eight o’clock. Sean announced almost as we came through the door that they had been too hungry to wait for us, so Sean fed himself from the kitchen and Tim ordered take-out from the Indian place up the road. And kudos to him; that’s some of the best Indian take-away anywhere in the city. B & I were mighty hungry, though, so we sat down and tucked into the sloppy joes that B made earlier and left warming in the oven. When Sean caught the aroma, his face lit up and he took a seat at the table to devour a sloppy joe, too.

Then came the Jenga. I’ve wanted to play Jenga for weeks now. Can’t say where I got the hankering, but it’s been there long enough that I mentioned it to B a week or two ago and she put in an order with Amazon last week. I think it came in the mail the next morning. Same thing happened to the cook book I ordered and wanted to give to B for Christmas. I thought it would come maybe a couple days later and I would be able to fish it out of the mail before B would see it, but no, it came the very next day and was in a big bag with all the other stuff that she ordered from Amazon, so naturally she opened it. I didn’t even know it was in there until I heard her say, “What the hell?” and turned around to see her holding the cook book with a look on her face that went from puzzled to shocked realization to Oh Shit I’ve Opened My Christmas Present Early. I kissed her and wished her a Merry Christmas.

Okay, so back to Jenga, which became Bourbon Jenga when B got out the jar of infused bourbon and ladled out a shot for everybody while I set up the Jenga tower. We didn’t make it a drinking game; there weren’t forty-two overly-complicated rules about when you had to drink, it was just Jenga with drinks. Play the game, enjoy the bourbon, have a good time. Those were the only rules. We had a little trouble with the first one because I just wanted to play the game but B wanted to follow the instructions. Who reads the instructions for Jenga? But eventually we sorted that out and the game was played, the bourbon was enjoyed and I think everybody had a good time.

bourbon jenga | 9:53 am CDT
Category: booze, entertainment, food & drink, games, My Darling B, O'Folks, play, Seanster, T-Dawg, yoga | Tags: , , ,
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Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Remember the board game Trivial Pursuit? More to the point: Remember board games? Big, cartoon playing field printed on cardboard? Plastic game tokens? (Did you have a favorite?) Goofy rules? (You made up your own as the game became familiar, right?)

We’ve still got every board game we’ve played over the years, even the ones we’ve all agreed are the dumbest board games ever. They’re at the bottom of the pile, looking forlorn and weirdly brand-new at the same time. Old favorites that we still play from time to time, like Monopoly and Risk, are at or near the top of the pile.

The O-Folk play a game of Risk every time we’re all together. Traditionally, the game takes place around Christmas time and, as it turns out, once a year is probably about as many times as adults should play Risk, a board game that lasts four to six hours and starts with grand strategies and dreams but nearly always ends in crushed hopes and tears. That seems to hold true for Monopoly as well.

Scrabble’s a favorite that’s much more fun to play, in spite of the fact that our copy of the game has been around so long that several tiles are missing, the board is stained and peeling, and the box is falling apart. We have so much fun playing Scrabble that I have no doubt we’ll hang on to our ragged copy and keep playing on it for years to come, I suspect because we’re all equally bad at it. In the game as we play it, three-letter words are the norm, and adding ‘s’ to someone else’s word after mulling over all other options for ten or fifteen minutes is likewise typical. When one of us gets a five-letter word, there’s lots of whooping and a victory dance. If anyone should ever lay a seven-letter word on the board, I’m confident the celebrations will last into the wee hours, many champagne corks will be popped and the toasts will end only after much of the furniture has been broken.

And then there’s Trivial Pursuit, a game we had so much fun playing right after we bought it that we used to sit down for a game every week. That went on for what seemed like ever and ever, but really lasted only until we began to experience the frustration of knowing we’d heard the answer to a question before. What’s worse than feeling the answer is right on the tip of your tongue but your memory can’t be bothered to recall it because it’s, well, trivial?

We thought we’d be saved from this torment when we started buying additional cards for the game. If memory serves (it doesn’t, but let’s pretend it does), the first set we bought was the silver screen edition, thinking that might be fun because we occasionally watched movies, but the cards turned out to have questions that only someone with a PhD in film studies would be able to answer. When we bought the book-lover’s edition, we ran up against the same problem, and so we gradually lost interest.

Until a couple years ago when we were all sitting around, probably on Christmas afternoon, gorged on turkey or ham or whatever, and somebody asked, “Whatcha wanna do now?” It was too early to play Risk (Risk is traditionally played after dark, like all other nefarious activities) and nobody wanted to play Monopoly, so we were stuck for ideas until somebody said, “Y’know what game I really used to like playing? Trivial Pursuit. Whatever happened to that game?”

And so it came to pass that Trivial Pursuit came out of board-game purgatory. Not just the original game, but every one of the cards that we’d collected over the years. We figured, why not try playing the game with all of them? Each player could decide which game cards he wanted, except for the final question. We kept the rule that the other players got to decide the final question. It turned out to be a great idea. My Darling B even went on-line to find cards from four more games. We must have a million trivia questions to choose from now.

trivial | 8:52 pm CDT
Category: entertainment, games, play
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