Archive for August, 2008


A fascinating pair of birthdays

It’s always interesting to see who shares a birthday with you. Your might share your special day with a friend, fiend, felon, or flibbertigibbet. It’s part of what makes life more interesting.

As an example of this, today we wish happy birthday to an interesting pair of people — Senator John McCain turns 72 today, while pop singer Michael Jackson turns — brace yourself for this one — 50.

Wow. Just wow.


Guiness Book of World Records first published

After weeks of binge drinking in their local pub, creators of the “Guinness Book of World Records” finally agree on a name for their book and publish their first edition on this day in 1955.

(Okay, so I’m making up the part about the pub. But the name still makes you wonder…)


Lego celebrates 30 years of miniman magic

It’s the Lego miniman’s 30th birthday! To celebrate, Lego launched a blog and website dedicated to the past, present, and future of minimen (minimans? minipeople?) everywhere. The site opened on August 25.

Enjoy a really fun miniman-inspired take on great events in the last 30 years, see vintage photographs, and share your own creations.

(Let’s all hope that nobody submits “minimen gone wild”…)


Mother Teresa born in 1910

Today we celebrate Mother Teresea’s (born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) birthday. She was born this day in 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia.

I thought that today felt a little nicer for some reason!


Anniversary of the first parachute wedding

On this day in 1940, the first parachute wedding took place. It happened at the parachute drop ride in the New York City World’s Fair’s “Amusement Zone.” The happy couple, the best man, the maid of honor, the minister, and four musicians were all held aloft until the newlyweds finished their vows and descended.


But will the kids get the Clue?

This story really makes me sad. I’ll tell you why in just a moment…

Hasbro recently announced that, as part of its on-going campaign of rebranding and redesigning classic games in hopes of making them more relevant to today’s kids and families, the company is releasing a new, culture-current version of Clue.

They added a spa, theater, and guest house to Mr. Boddy’s mansion, ditched the lead pipe, revolver, and wrench as weapons, and updated the characters with more relevant lives (like football player Jack Mustard and billionaire video game designer Victor Plum).

In addition to being generally out of style, the game also apparently took too long to play (or required too much critical thinking), so the characters in the new Clue all have special powers to help players find clues easier faster.

So, why does Hasbro’s update leave me glum? No, it’s not because I’m some kind of “Clue purist” (okay, mabye just a little bit), but what really gets me down is how these changes reflect the state of American families and kids.

The basic Clue game takes 45 minutes to play. Even if you add five minutes of setup, that’s still less time than it takes to watch a single prime time TV episode. But Hasbro thinks that 45 minutes is too long for families or kids to focus on an activity?

Are families so busy that they can’t carve out one hour each week to focus on each other across a board game or in some other activity? Have parents forgotten how to make family time happen?

As you can tell, this story touched on passion of mine — creating and enjoying family time between parents and kids (or even just among friends). I’m a book on that topic right now,, and I’m getting ready to launch a blog to accompany it. I’ll post an update here when the blog and book site launch.

But for now, please promise me something: For one night in the next seven days, pick an an hour to spend with your family. Turn off the TV, unplug the video games, put down the magazines, and do something with the ones you love. For our family, that often means playing a board game or taking a walk. For you, it might mean something completely different.

Precisely what you do isn’t the point — taking the time to do something is what matters.

Go forth and conquer. Aroo! Aroooo!


Dang! I thought it *was* funny.

How much do people hate bad jokes? Apparently, quite a lot.

According to the Associated Press, a Washington State University professor who studies “failed humor” found that when people tell a bad joke among their friends, they risk everything from malevolent glares to a punch on the arm. Surprisingly, the better the audience knows the joke teller, the more risk the joke teller runs.

The article includes the joke that the researched used as a test. Oddly, I thought the joke was a riot. I don’t know precisely what this means, but it could explain a lot of things in my life. I must think on this.