Allow me to introduce you to an elite group of which I am not a member: serious gamers. Yes, I’ve been known to play the occasional game of Scrabble, and in my youth I devoted a week one summer to playing Monopoly with a cousin. Add in a few random games of Checkers, Parcheesi, and Go Fish, and that about covers it. So when I say “serious gamer,” I’m referring to someone like the extraordinary Sid Sackson.
Many of us grew up playing domino games. And once the game was over, we carefully lined the dominoes up on end, just to watch them topple in a chain reaction. With a history stretching back more than 700 years, dominoes today look the same as they did two centuries ago. Dominoes are devices, like cards and dice, which provide hundreds of different games. And like playing cards, a 2010 inductee to the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, you can find dominoes in electronic versions just about anywhere today.
What will your life look like a year from now? Most of us are intrigued—just a bit—to know what the future holds for us, curious about how our careers, relationships, or finances will go. We’re certainly not the first to wonder about such things, nor will we be the last. For centuries, people of all cultures have pondered the same questions and devised a variety of ways to predict the answers. Some scholars believe the origins of fortune telling can be traced to 14th-century gypsies, while others believe the roots of divination and prophecy run much deeper.
Watching the Emmy Awards recently turned my thoughts to the upcoming 2012 induction of new toys into the National Toy Hall of Fame on November 15. Although our induction ceremony doesn’t boast television stars, glittery evening gowns, or tearful acceptance speeches, it nevertheless offers suspense leading up to bestowing a significant honor on two (or sometimes three) deserving winners. No one goes away with an impressive trophy for their mantel, but classic toys receive their moment in the spotlight.
When I wrote my first blog for The Strong more than a year ago, I talked about nostalgia—so it seems appropriate that I should come full circle and take some time to reflect back on my time at the museum before heading off to a new job in a new city. I’ve learned a great deal in the last two years. I can safely handle artifacts and identify French fashion doll manufacturers.
Buzzwords and hot topics permeate the media as the 2012 election approaches. Watch almost any news report and you’ll likely hear phrases such as “fiscal responsibility” and “balance the budget.” As gloomy as the current political circumstances or economic conditions may seem though, history tells us that it’s nothing new. People have long persisted through tough times—and even had their fair share of fun doing it.
Consider a paradox: people who play the fastest devote great lengths of time to doing so. This presents a conundrum only slightly less challenging than a Rubik’s Cube—unless you’re the current world record holder, who solved the puzzling polyhedron in less than six seconds. If you asked champion Feliks Zemdegs, he’d probably say the goal of playing quickly is achieved slowly.
Stroll into nearly any home, school, grocery store, or gas station and, if you look around, you’ll begin to notice books everywhere. I say “if you look” because books have become so commonplace that they barely register in the mind’s eye. Through fiction or fact, verse or prose, art or photography, books exist to spark your interest, ignite your imagination, and propel you on a journey of the mind.