Tag: Cards

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … which means it’s time to give your fellow Ricochetti the gift of something they want to see in their mail box! The exchange is simple — send me your mailing address (and real name if you don’t want to confuse your mailman) through private message or […]

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Gathering for a Quarter Century

 

Sunday marks a very important anniversary for me and the world: the 25th anniversary of the release of Magic: The Gathering. 

If somehow you don’t know, Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game. Rather than a set box, like Monopoly or Uno, which have a fixed deck of game cards, Magic: The Gathering cards come in randomized packs, like baseball cards, and then players build a deck of cards to play with. Different players can and usually do have different decks.

Magic actually originated the concept of a trading card game, but if you’ve ever seen kids with Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, it’s the same concept. I like to tell people that Magic is like Yu-Gi-Oh! for adults, but really, people of any age can play. (Basically, if someone can read and do basic math, they can play Magic.)

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It’s like getting a little holiday hug! I poured a coconut milk eggnog, with Bing and Satchmo in the background, and started writing my cards. I soon found myself a little teary-eyed looking over the names on the Ricochet Christmas Card list. I recognized them all and realized how special this site is. I thought […]

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the various Christmas markets throughout DC, so that must mean it’s time to start recruiting for the third annual Christmas Card Exchange. It’s simple — send me your mailing address (and real name if you don’t want to confuse your mailman) through private message or emailing […]

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If you’re a tabletop gamer, or even remotely interested in board games, it’s nearly impossible to have missed the phenomenon of card-judging games. The mechanics are simple: each player has a hand of answer cards. At each round, a stem card is flipped over, and each player, save one — the judge — puts their […]

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If I Published My Own Post Cards

 

I’ve been taking photos for years, starting in middle school and continuing to today. I spent years working on black-and-white photos in the darkroom and really loved the control one has over your photos’ look. The birth of digital photography has brought that joy back. With great tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, I can crop, adjust contrast, and tweak however I’d like. I can even “cheat” by removing unwanted items from a photo (although I do that sparingly: One must protect the integrity of the image unless one just calls it “art”).

At this point, I have about 9,500 pictures in my Lightroom catalog, going back about three years. I find there are some I really like. So I thought, which one of these would I want to publish as postcards or in a calendar? That is the subject of this post: To share some of my photographs that I particularly like. Selecting the photos was difficult. Even with excluding people pictures (mostly family and friends, so not internet-eligible), my original culling left me with over 30 photos. The standard I learned in the 1980s was that a National Geographic photographer would take 20,000 photos to print 15, so quantity enables quality. So, I had to get below 30.

Cards: The Original Flash Drive

 

“I’m as something as something in something!” Do you recognize the tune? Do you recognize what’s missing?

The syntax is there, but the content is blank. Welcome to my memory. The memory of someone who’ll never grow out of flash cards, for as long as I need to remember, not just structure, but the things that go in it. Whether I’m using them to organize thoughts, or to drill my recalcitrant memory, flash cards are Midge’s little helper. The original flash drive, if you will. Not because a card works like flash memory, but because, like a flash drive, cards are a small, easily-portable way to carry around bits of vital information.

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As a kid, I wanted to be Steve McQueen. But, for me, it wasn’t the McQueen who tooled around San Fran in that iconic green Mustang GT 390. It was an earlier McQueen–the one who opened in New York City on this date in 1965, alongside (take a breath) Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden, Ann-Margret, […]

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I’ll bet I’ll lose the fellas before I hit “publish” :) This is sentimental. I’m sorting through the greeting cards from family and friends and the enclosed photographs of people and pets that are no longer with us. You’re looking at maybe 1/10 of my stash. I can’t bear the thought of family having to […]

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“Grandpa, I want to learn how to play poker” – this came out of my 4 year old grandson last week. My monthly poker game had come around to the O’Shea residence two weeks ago, and he sat on my lap for the first few hands. I would have him declare the raises, or call […]

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In-laws and the Greeting Card Arms Race

 

Rosemary and I have been together for most of 43 years, and yet ours is a mixed marriage. She comes from a big, loud, boisterous family. Every Sunday they would all get together at her parents’ for dinner, watching ball games, and bragging about which daughter paid the least for her outfit. Once the nieces and nephews started coming along (she is youngest of six) there was a birthday to celebrate almost every week.

I am the younger of two, and by the time Rosemary and I started dating, my older sister was already away at college. So dinner was a quieter and more refined affair at the Erickson’s. My dad, extrovert and classical music and nature lover, was always trying to get Rosemary to sit and listen to his newest recording. Some were … an acquired taste. We will forever laugh about the Easter dinner when he insisted on playing his recording of rare bird calls.

Full Contact Pinochle with My Family

 

The Coveted Double Pinochle

Growing up, games were always a part of family life. I think Sorry and Trouble caused more fights between us siblings than just about any other point of contention. I don’t specifically recall any fistfights over Candyland, but that doesn’t mean they never happened. If they did they were never started by me, that’s for sure.Of course, when it came to getting the whole family at the table, from kids to grandparents, card games were the go-to entertainment and, yes, they caused just about as many fights and probably even more laughter, and the occasional sullen sulk. There were no fistfights, though.

A Perfect Hand

 

Have you ever had or seen a perfect hand dealt in a game of cards? In Euchre it’s called a “Lay-Down Loner,” as you have such a powerful hand that you can not only have your partner sit that round out, but just drop your cards right on the table and take the entire hand.

But Euchre plays with a short deck, with only the nines and above, you only get five cards per hand (with four discarded) and the trump suit changes from hand to hand. It’s a quick game, and the rapid turn of the cards means that you will likely see a perfect Loner in any best-of-three evening (usually when you’re holding the right cards for the wrong trump). The more cards in play for any given game, the less likely you will ever see that perfect hand.

Take Hearts, as that plays with a full deck, dealt out in its entirety to the four players. The best hand in Hearts is the one that lets you Shoot the Moon. Normally in Hearts your goal is to avoid taking tricks where hearts have been played, and to also avoid taking the Queen Of Spades.

A Child’s Future Is in the Cards

 

My family and I were enjoying a memorable dinner in the restored dining room of Montana’s historic Many Glacier Hotel. There were white linens, glittering chandeliers, and live piano music. I imagined what it must have looked like at this spot 100 years ago–the same, except all the men and ladies dressed up sumptuously for dinner instead of arrayed in their pricey, earth-toned hiking togs. My four-year-old niece at the head of table contributed to the steady conversation. We talked about my incomparable roast chicken, and my sister decided she’d go for the prime rib next time. My mother and I were persuaded to take a little wine.

Partway through the meal, my brother-in-law subtly directed our attention to a table behind us. There an elderly couple sat, like us, enjoying the food and pleasing atmosphere. They had a small child with them, too. Except there was a significant difference. The napkin-swathed child, enthroned on her booster chair, was engrossed in her electronic tablet, a tiny, self-absorbed, earphone-wearing island.

We were gobsmacked. Most of us, along with our children, would admit to having our own problems with today’s ubiquitous entertainment technologies. But what these grandparents were allowing deprived the child of having to sit politely at the table, of talking with her elders, and of simply having to live real life. Before I bring the full weight of judgement to bear, though, I do understand there could have been extenuating circumstances. But I see children’s public indulgence elsewhere, too–little kids with their heads down, absorbed in their devices even while in the act of walking into an establishment. I see on Facebook that tablets are commonly presented to children as Christmas gifts–even though it strikes me that a little child doesn’t have the capacity to appreciate that he or she is receiving the most sophisticated toy in the history of the world. Adults can make far more advantageous selections as gifts for the children in their lives.

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My nana and grandpa lived a short bus ride away for most of my childhood. The two of them loved to play cards, and taught us to play poker at an early age. We mostly used pennies as our chips, so it was low-stakes play but still fun. My nana also loved gin rummy, a […]

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Group Writing: The Cards

 

I heard Tommy arguing with Dad in the den. Tommy was shouting. Dad’s voice was flat and sad.

“It’s not fair,” blurted Tommy. “Everyone else has Whack-o-Man cards. If I don’t have some all the kids will think I am a nerd.”