This is obviously my personal site but my online content arsenal is vast. It includes Greater Gotham: Going Global, a blog about being out and about in New York City and what happens when you turn Gotham Girl lose on the UK; Fabulous Foodie, where food and food culture are served up a la carte. Last but not least, there is Modern Parlance -- home to my hard-working writer alter ego and headquarters in my nefarious plan to take over the world. It is also home to my work blog - Personal Parlance, where I hold forth on publishing, books, social media, communication, indexing, writing, education – and anything else content-wise that catches my eye.
I had wanted to call the whole thing Operation Empire but several of my friends suggested that might put people off. Upon consideration I decided that a) they were right (so went with Modern Parlance) and b) to effectively take over the world, I would need fewer friends and more minions. Applications being accepted now.
Scribbles & Notes
Of course, the word-smithing started long before the plan for world domination. At one time or another, my personal writing projects have included:
Take 2 Movie Reviews which proved indirectly that I once had a social life where as TV Rants & Raves suggested perhaps that I didn't. (I take comfort in the fact that I haven't updated it lately - which suggests that things are looking up.)
The only thing my ongoing Bibliomania ever suggested was that I needed more shelves and the patience to wait for paperbacks. Publishing Grunt's Bible came about because working with books isn't the thrill ride that reading or buying them is.
There were pure flights of fancy like Staving off Ennui, the Server Sees the Sights; there were answers to hypothetical questions like "what should go in a toy hall of fame and then there were the snarkathons - first site website I ever did - Alias Smith & Jones Site and the Dark Shadows Snarkathon.
Much older material is kept in the Ephemera Archives - moved to the backburner but not completely forgotten. Who knows what'll end up catching my attention next...
TOYING WITH AN IDEA
I got home a little early the other day and was listening to the radio. The afternoon drive time DJ's were discussing a recent article about toys that would be included in the "Toy Hall of Fame". Now, I don't know if that is an actual Hall of Fame or whether it was just one of those things that they use as filler on slow news days but I thought it was a fun question. The ones mentioned in the article -- Slinky, Jacks, and Monopoly. So, they tossed the question out for comments and I thought I'd throw it out to ya'll.
My choice, if I had to keep it to one -- Tinker Toys. If I could include more -- Spirograph, Candy Land, Lite Brite and Battleship. Classics. Much more entertaining than the "Tickle me, Elmo"s of today, in my opinion. And could someone tell me what is so darned amusing about "Sleep and Snore Ernie"?
What Others Have Said on the Subject.
From Abby: Legos!!! Most Assuredly, Legos. They gave me hours of fun creating whole towns and stories.... Legos are cool...The Little People garage and house and castle were very fun too. (Yes, I got grumpy when I found out they gave Little People arms. ;) Scrabble... Oh, and those el cheapo boxes of water color. You know the ones that has six colors and they all look oogy after two days...
From Anna: Easy-bake oven
*must* be part of the pantheon. Also: Trouble (and, for my money,
anything that features "pop-o-matic" technology), Battleship, Chutes and
Ladders (for the kiddies), Twister and yes, goddamn it, Barbie!
From Ashley: Etch-a-Sketch. Definitely Etch-a-Sketch. For the simple reason that all those web-page-designers probably could trace their desire to create web pages back to fiddling with the knobs on that TV-screeny-lookin' thing & coming up with a picture. Silly Putty: A Xerox machine for people with techno-fear! Fur-lined handcuffs...Oh, sorry, wrong kind of toys.
From Beth: Well, how about Silly Putty and Twister (I guess this is a "game" rather than a toy). I remember really wanting a "Lite Bright" when I was little. But, oh wow, how about Etch-a-Sketch! I'll have to think about this some more.
From Catherine: I'd have
these elaborate toys that I'd spend hours setting up and then I'd get
bored and wander away and go read a book.
From Celeste: I had a
Spirograph and Lite Brite, I guess I liked them, but they don't stand
out for me. They, like Etch-A-Sketch and Spin Art, were fun for a short
time, then seemed a bit constricting in the self-expression department.
I was into drawing in a major way as a kid and that's a lot freer way to
express yourself. Didn't own a Candy Land Game, but they seem pretty
engaging for a small child--visually stimulating, but simplistic enough
in the rules department so that they can play it without grownups
hanging over them. As a second kid, I confess I didn't like to play "kiddie"
games or read "kiddie" books--I was always trying to be a big girl, like
my older sister, and do what she did. If she expressed disdain for
something I was doing, calling it baby stuff, I'd be off it immediately.
Battleship sounds interesting, but I've never owned or played it, never
even saw it close up--probably that sex-discrimination thing that was so
popular in the 60's and 70's when I was a kid. Battleship = A Boy's Game
From Daren: It seems to me
that the test of a "classic" toy or game is not just that it was a great
toy/game, but that it has made its way into the (American) cultural
iconography. As such, I would also nominate:
From J.B.: Well, Dino got Legos and Boggle off...I think that your basic building blocks count, but I guess they're too generic. I'm also partial to the Big Wheel, if that counts, and Etch-a-Sketch. --J...whose toys now run along the lines of six-cylinder British-mobiles and large electronics. But who has a Pez dispenser of Darth Vader, a Slinky, a Matchbox Ferrari and a Magic 8-Ball on his desk.
From Kath: First off, Daren kills me. Second, hmm, toys, well, I'm all for Monopoly. and of course, The Game of Life. Not that I played these much as a child - but played them quite a lot in McCracken. Candy Land - a classic. I'm also big on Clue and Battleship. So Agatha Christie and Tom Clancy of me.
From Laura: Spirograph,
yeah! Etch-a-Sketch -- I have one in my desk at work. Silly Putty.
Superball. The Visible Man. Risk and Stratego. Legos. Those really
good-quality model horses that were available in the 60's and 70's. But
the camp toys are funnier -- GI Joe with the Kung-Fu Grip
From Laurie: This is a
toughie. And I think it changes, based on age. And I'm not sure that
with more thought, I might not change my answers. But, with all these
equivocations , I would say:
From Lillian: I liked Pick-Up Sticks and Operation. I used to like Mousetrap, but I realized that I only put the the thing together to get it to trap the mouse, I stopped playing the actual game. My very favorite toy was my Indian Maiden doll, who I named Kiki. She went to the happy hunting grounds after I threw up on her. My mom said she learned to buy "washable" toys after that. And yes, my little wire chewing, devil-cat is named after the doll. Of course, Kiki (the doll) would only be in my Toy Hall of Fame.
From Lisa: All excellent
toys although I can't believe someone mentioned 'Mille Bourne' -- a game
I played in 6th-7th grade French class and completely forgot about. It
really was the greatest game (even if it was French). Hmmm, for
myself...I loved those idioit spaz games like 'Don't break the ice' and
'Ants in your pants' - games which sole purpose was to illicite the
loudest, blood curdling scream.
From Nina: Darling Deborah
asks: What would you include in the Toy Hall of Fame? Spiro-graph. I
never had one but I would watch with numbing envy as other children
created these fabulous line drawings with the aid of colored pencils and
gears. Oh I tried to make my own Spiro-graph but it never worked. Never
with the neat, swift precision of those other children and their damned
plastic kits, mocking me...taunting me...forcing me to strike out on my
own for creativity! Ha! Um, skip the Spiro-graph...how about a slinky?
From Suzala: I don't think they sell it anymore but in the early 60's they had this "toy" that was a sticky firm goo that came in a small metal toothpaste like tube and with it was a white plastic straw. You squeezed out a bit of the goo on to the end of the straw, pulled down the edges of the goo a bit to create a tight seal and then you blew thru the straw to create these bubbles that could be removed from the straw . The best part of this "toy" was the way the goo smelled - right up there with memograph paper for those old enough to remember. The balloons were transparent magenta or blue much like the dipsy doodle flowers kits. Another fav which i don't see too often are wax harmonicas in orange for halloween. a musical intrument that doubled as really bad gum. Which of course sidebars me to exhault the virtures of candy corn. But that is for another site.
What do I do when not working on this site,
read a bit about
the guilty party responsible for this site or the
answers I gave to the 'about me' survey
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