Yahtzee; more specifically, Word Yahtzee. It was an off-shoot of the original Yahtzee game. The idea was to roll a set of dice with letters on them, and “gather” a set of words ranging from 1 to 6 letters. I loved that game, and for a period of my adult life, we played a lot. At the same time, we also played Boggle; another world game. “Oh, you poor, pitiful people; no cell phone, no internet, no VCR/DVD player. How did you make it through the “Modern Dark Ages?” Very, very well I can tell you.
Meanwhile, back at this blog, like many times, I went to Wikipedia for a little research, and like many times, I was met with more information, fascinating facts, and ideas to further distract me, and in a split second, my mental state was “off to the races!”
Start Here; the Yahtzee game was owned by Milton Bradley (makers of the games LIFE and BATTLESHIP among others), which was later bought out by Rhode Island’s own Hasbro Incorporated. I barely restrained myself from further research about Hasbro, but I HAD to read more about Milton Bradley. Somewhere deep in my mind, I was thinking many of the toy companies such as MB were formed in the 1950’s, only to find I was way off the mark. The company started in 1860! When World War II came along, besides making compact games for servicemen like checkers, backgammon, and chess, the company began to manufacture a “universal joint” for landing gear used on fighter jets. This got me to thinking about a conversation I had with a neighbor yesterday and a book I once read. The book was by Tom Watson Jr. about his life at IBM. He stated in the book that during the war, IBM like many companies, made or built something completely different from their original core product. As far as the government was concerned, any place with a built-up work force, and manufacturing facility could build items needed for the war effort. Yesterday, I had a conversation with my neighbor. He was rebuilding an old air compressor originally built in 1942. Our conversation turned to the lost skills of repairing things. I was commenting that in the disposal society we have become, even if “we” want to repair more things, the parts are not available. Planned obsolescence, “swap-tronics,” and cheap goods have taken over our lives.
Oh……..the insanity doesn’t’ stop there. I was thinking about ALL these ideas when I abandoned the effort to finish writing this blog last night, and went to bed. OH BOY!
Sure enough, most of the night was spent dreaming of being transported to a Top Secret manufacturing facility where old “parts” from WW II were found and then “reversed engineered,” documented, and reproduced to be used in the modern world to replace all the cheap junk produced these days. Add in a dose of producing backgammon games for military guys, and when I woke up this morning I was still a little tired from the night’s mental work out!
I will say that during my Navy days, out of boredom floating around the ocean, I finally stopped resisting learning to play backgammon, and came to enjoy the game. Playing turned out a lot more fun than upsetting the game board as a snot-nose college freshman; just ask Wendy and Debbie.
One major development from playing backgammon during my time on a ship was an expression we made up, that’s still fun to use today. There was the initial “challenge” of a match, and then there was “the match for the Championship Of The Free World……..Or What’s Left Of It!” This expression will work with any game; especially lawn croquet which Milton Bradley was the first American company to begin making in the 1870’s.
I just stopped writing this blog, and went to look for that old Yahtzee game I had hidden around the house. I took a picture of it for this blog post.
That “Championship Of The Free World” is sounding like more fun all the time.