Monday, July 06, 2009

6 JUL 09: The Dating Games

The idea sounded original, yet old-fashioned - a monthly Saturday night series in Birmingham where you pay a ten-dollar cover charge, then play games all evening long. It sounds like something I did years ago, in Atlanta and other places. Except you brought your own games, and the church singles group might not even ask for a donation.

The public radio program "Marketplace" had a Friday evening report ten days ago on the game nights in Birmingham. Grown-ups were getting their kicks playing children's games such as "Operation" - you know, "the goofy game where you're the doctor." The only thing missing in that game is the malpractice attorney....

This report made me wonder - if the organizers can put on a game night in Birmingham to make money, why can't I? If no one else did it, I'd win my own real-life version of "Monopoly."

But hesitation wound up costing me, as apparently other people listen to "Marketplace" as well. This past week, I received two e-mails promoting this sort of night in Columbus. Take this one...

What is Play Date?

It's an alternative to the typical night out.

PlayDate provides a fun and exciting atmosphere where you can enjoy good food & cocktails, listen to a variety of music, socialize, and meet great people all while playing games. ALL KINDS OF GAMES- from Poker to Chess, Twister to UNO, Monopoly to Taboo, Hungry Hungry Hippos to Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, and EVERYTHING in between! We even feature nostalgic favorites like Pac-Man and PlayDate Signature games like Musical Chairs, Simon Says, and Hula Hoops.

It turns out PlayDate is a franchise, which started five years ago in Atlanta. But there's nothing wrong with that. It's an organized way to earn Play-Dough.

The PlayDate Columbus invitation is for all adults, but the name and promotion seems to emphasize singles. And if too many guys (ahem) make a "play" for the same gal, they can always fight it out fair and square -- with those robots, of course.

This is the sort of date night where I probably could do well, because I was a big game player when I was young. In fact, some would say I still am -- but I'll let you follow the link to that poker blog....

Long before I took up poker, other games had my interest. The biggest rivalry with my older brother was at the Monopoly board. He always seemed to beat me. I always seemed to whine about it. And that may explain why I never take my tennis racquet, when I go on vacation to see him.

Open my bedroom closet door, and along with hanging clothes you'll find a PlayDate simply waiting to happen. Along with a Monopoly game, you'll find among other things....

+ Take 12 - a Parker Brothers dice game which was adapted into the old TV game show "High Rollers." Except you don't have to answer questions to gain control of the dice, and Ruta Lee doesn't always roll them for you.

+ Pente. An Oklahoman invented this strategy board game during the years when I lived in that state. While it's still online, the board version seems to be Pente-gone.

+ Scrabble. Those of you with Facebook accounts may remember this one -- along with how many combined workdays you wasted, while playing people in other cubicles.

+ Gil Hodges' Pennant Fever - a table baseball game from about 1971, when Hodges managed the New York Mets. For those of you under 30: this is all baseball fans had before Internet fantasy leagues, and you didn't have to pay transaction fees.

There's only one potential problem for me with a PlayDate night. While I have fun playing games, make no mistake - I play to win. This may have cost me some friends in a church singles group years ago, when we played hearts. I collected all of them twice in a row, and the game suddenly was suspended.

PlayDate Columbus plans to make its local premiere 24 July at the Doubletree Hotel. But I noticed the hotel address is misspelled as "Sidney SIMMONS Boulevard" -- so be prepared to win a door prize, if they hold an on-the-spot spelling bee.

While PlayDate Columbus will be on the wrong night of the week for me, I think this idea is ingenious. Lots of people play online games, but this will be an opportunity to play people face-to-face and interact. Of course, the challenge for some people will be chatting without text abbreviations....

E-MAIL UPDATE: Now to another popular game - politics. A reader sent an item with this title....

FYI Sessions gives to Specter

That was followed by an entry from the Center for Responsive Politics. It shows a $5,000 donation to Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions's "Tallatchee Creek" political action committee. Tallatchee Creek is located southwest of Montgomery - in an area where you'd think that much money is only around after the cotton crop is in.

The Tallatchee Creek PAC made its $5,000 donation to Sen. Arlen Specter during the first quarter of this year. At the time, both Jeff Sessions and Specter were Republicans. But in April, Specter switched to the Democrats. I don't know if Sessions asked for his money back - or if he's waiting for another Pennsylvania Republican who will get a personal campaign visit with his check.

A closer look at the PAC report shows Tallatchee Creek received $2,500 during the first quarter of this year from Aflac. But then, Aflac divides its political donations fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. After all, ducks can ride donkeys just as easily as elephants.

And from our postal mail comes a scrawled message, which we believe is from former Hurtsboro Constable Robert Schweiger. We're admittedly leaving out a personal section of it:

There is going to be lots of news in AL soon.

But you were naughty - so you won't get any of it....

Huh?! Since when has my daily count of chocolate chip cookies made a difference in getting news tips?

Now let's wrap up other interesting items from the Independence Day weekend:

+ A day-night Sunday doubleheader of thundershowers dropped more than a half-inch of rain on Columbus. It also cooled off the temperature enough that I used floor fans without running an air conditioner. That's remarkable for early July - but I didn't celebrate by dancing, because that would have worked up enough of a sweat to require the air conditioner.

+ The weekly Saturday midday test of Columbus storm sirens occurred about 75 minutes late. It's not clear why the siren didn't sound at 12:00 noon. I assumed the Jehovah's Witnesses in convention at the Civic Center were deep in prayer at that moment.

+ A holiday "Columbus Tea Party" rally was held outside the Government Center, protesting President Obama's national energy bill. Since the proposal is tied to climate change, hopefully the protesters dumped jars of sun tea.

(One big issue for the Tea Party protesters is a "cap and trade" emissions policy. I don't quite understand the fuss about this. Pro basketball teams have traded players for years, to stay under the salary cap.)

+ The Miss Georgia pageant staged an event at the Columbus State University Cunningham Center, to officially crown "Miss Georgia 2009.2" Emily Cook. The pageant probably is being very careful, to avoid going to the second runner-up. For instance, I wouldn't expect Cook to appear on "Deal or No Deal."

+ An attorney for Richard Scrushy denied the convicted HealthSouth chief executive has stashed about $600 million in overseas bank accounts. He called such talk "ridiculous" - but you'll notice he has yet to prove that, by releasing his checks for legal fees.

+ Columbus native Edwin Jackson was named to the American League All-Star team. Jackson plays for Detroit, and is one of 13 pitchers on the roster. So instead of "three strikes, you're out," he may be under the rule of "three outs, you're stricken."

+ Instant Message to the Columbus Woodbats: I've finally figured out why your team logo looks familiar. That "bat" with the mustache really is a refugee from Milwaukee....

The number of unique visitors to our blog in the first half of 2009 was up 11.1 percent! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 568 (- 31, 5.2%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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