Xark began as a group blog in June 2005 but continues today as founder Dan Conover's primary blog-home. Posts by longtime Xark authors Janet Edens and John Sloop may also appear alongside Dan's here from time to time, depending on whatever.
Last weekend, my Bonnie and I were playing Taboo with another couple and their nine year old son.For those who haven’t played it, Taboo works like this:one member of a team draws a card and on that card, there is a word you’re trying to make your teammates say out loud plus five words that you cannot use to help them.For example, if the word is “James Bond,” you couldn’t use clues like “007”, “Sean Connery” “Roger Moore,” and so forth.
During one round, we had all the males on one team, and I was drawing cards, attempting to get my friend Trey and his nine year old son to guess.When I drew the word “Steroids,” I immediately said, “Barry Bonds.”Within a half second, both Trey and his son shouted their first guesses. Trey was wrong with his guess of “home runs.”But his nine year old son, who will be thinking about Barry Bonds long after Trey and I are put out to pasture . . . well. . . he guessed the word correctly.
Think about it:a nine year old kid hears “Barry Bonds,” and the word that immediately comes to his mind is “Steroids.”
Marion Jones has fallen from grace. I’m sure we’ve all read the reports about how, after years of being one of the most vocal athletes to defend herself against the armada of allegations assailing her, this record holder and Olympic medalist confirmed everyone’s worst suspicions. Marion Jones cheated. She was doped up. She not only admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs, but of knowing that she was taking such drugs even while she continued to compete, while she knowingly beat multiple drug tests, and while she knowingly denied every suspicion. Sadly, such stories have become familiar this year, which has had many terrible sports stories. She’s just another athlete who did something they shouldn’t have done, denied and lied, and then apologized in disgrace.
I really liked Marion Jones. Witty, easy to listen to, confident, and, of course, an amazing athlete who seemed to find exuberance in every powerful lunge toward the finish line. And I admit to feeling disappointment and anger over her cheating. I’m not willing yet to give in to cynics who can only say, “I told you so.” I still want to believe in athletes and the amazing things they can do. But I also can see the traces of writing on the wall. This cascade of athlete betrayals is making it increasingly difficult to maintain optimism. Nevertheless, there is a spark of difference in Marion Jones’s cheating story that has rekindled some of my belief in athletics and those who compete.
As an undergraduate at Appalachian State University, I learned to play video games—or at least one video game--with my friends Robert Huffman and Tim Lesch.After more than a few pocketfuls of quarters, I became a fairly good Ms. Pacman player, the type of guy who played long enough to annoy you if you were waiting to put a quarter in yourself. While I was not one of those players who wanted to move on to other games (indeed, I was disappointed when Robert and Tim moved on to Donkey Kong and other games), I understood what it was like to become slightly obsessed with a game and to have it slightly alter the way I saw the world.
As evidence:one evening, after a full day of Ms. Pacman, I went to see a play—The Prime of Ms. Jean Brodie, it was—performed by ASU’s Theatre.In the first act, I watched one of the characters exit stage left.My immediate impulse?I looked to stage right to watch her reenter, just the way Ms. Pacman would have done had I been controlling her with a joystick.After the third or fourth time this happened, I remember thinking, “I’m obsessed.I need to lay off Ms. Pacman.”The next day, I loved telling that story to whoever was around watching me play another game.
Vizu is handy in that it's a free polling app that generates an embed code. It's also buggy, in that it will sometimes refuse to serve up the button at the bottom of the poll that lets you register your choice. I suspect this has to do with the way it reads information about the beginning and ending dates, but I can't prove it, and careful editing doesn't seem to make a difference.
So here's this week's caption contest, which "began" last night but tallied no votes because of the problem I outlined. This morning's edit of the poll simply put no end date on the voting, and now it "works."
Please help me out today by voting for your favorite reader-submitted caption -- without at least 25 votes I don't really trust the outcome.