Jokers Wild in Cribbage!

We tried out using jokers wild in cribbage yesterday. Sena won best of 3 games, even though I was dealt the joker the most times. I had the joker at least 4 or 5 times. On the last hand of the third deal, she won because she had a joker.

What do I have to do?

Playing cribbage with jokers wild might increase the chances of getting a 29 hand. It would be a quest, similar to playing Seven Card Cribbage to see if I could again make myself believe I could score 19, which is normally equal to zero in regular cribbage because 19 is impossible to score.

Impossible. I’ll tell you what’s impossible; it’s impossible to win any cribbage game with Sena. Therefore, my quest will be to win. I will be the Don Quixote of cribbage with Sena.

Fun Cribbage Variations!

We’re trying out some cribbage variations. One of them is the old 5-card variant that was probably the original version of cribbage. That makes it historically important. I think it might still be the preferred version in some regions of Britain and Australia. It’s simpler to play and is faster. You play to 6, but pegging stops every time you get a 31 or a GO. The non-dealer gets to peg 3 points at the first deal.

We also played seven card cribbage, which presents a ton of opportunities for scoring. I know that every expert says there is no way to score 19 (or 25, 26, or 27) in cribbage, but both Sena and I thought I got a hand score of 19. We counted it three times. Could one more card make that possible? The highest possible score is 46! The rules are outlined here.

Did you know there’s a song about cribbage? I didn’t either until yesterday. I hear one line in the song, “19 in the box.” I looked up “in the box” and it means generally to be in a bad situation. That makes sense because that essentially means you got zero points in your hand. Maybe I’m making a mondegreen out of it.

Announcements!

Hey, I got best 2 out of 3 cribbage games last night. Sena got skunked! That is rare.

Our Sasquatch cribbage board just shipped yesterday. It’ll arrive in a few days!

The Amaryllis Star of Holland grows by about a half inch or more a day. It’s now almost 14 inches tall!

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Stanley Museum of Art in Iowa City

We visited the Stanley Museum of Art, which opened in August. One piece impressed us even before we entered the museum. One of our favorites is “Two Lines Oblique” by George Rickey. It’s a huge mobile outside the entrance.

The mural “Surroundings” by Odila Donald Odita is striking. Odita says it’s his answer to “Mural” by Jackson Pollock. I don’t even know the question posed by Pollock’s huge work. I guess some see a dancer in motion.

Sena’s favorites were the mobile and the painting “Spring Embraces Yellow” by Alma Thomas. I initially missed the point of “Heeler III” which Sena got immediately. It’s one of those platform high heel shoes, dang! I guess the platform is back in style, according to a few recent fashion web articles. I guess I’ll wait on putting in my order.

Some pieces of art might be a little hard to say we “like” per se, because they convey a sense of violence or tragedy. I think “Red April” by Sam Gilliam is one of those, because it originated from the grief and horror after Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April of 1963.

The photos of downtown Iowa City are a kind of walk down memory lane for us. It’s been years since we’ve visited the place. In some ways, it hasn’t changed much. On the other hand, the “Writers in a Café” monument with the quote by Marvin Bell in the ped mall was new to us.

The Iowa Avenue Literary Walk has been around for ages, but Kurt Vonnegut’s quote about “What we pretend to be” was unfamiliar. It seemed like a fresh insight into human nature, but one which we probably already knew.

We don’t pretend to be art critics, but I think we can say we’re art enthusiasts. We’re not pretending that.

Ugly Juggling Tricks Now!

I’m learning juggling tricks. Uglier than ever, lucky for you! The 1 UP 2 UP is really tough to do. You have to toss up one ball and immediately toss up the other two while the one is hurtling back down like a meteor.

As usual, I’m reeling, rocking, and rolling all over the place.

The half shower is throwing one ball over the other two in one direction. That changes to jugglers’ tennis when you send one ball both ways. If you use a ball that’s a different color than the other two, it looks like tennis.

I have only one set of non-juggler balls with one yellow ball. They stick to each other and to my hands, so they’re hard to control.

But I do have a dryer ball.

The Anti-Peloton Exercise Bicycle

Sena bought me an exercise bicycle about 3 years ago. I use it nearly every day as part of my fitness routine. Yesterday, I thought it needed a little squirt of oil for a squeaking noise I thought was around the pedal crank.

We both looked it over carefully. She suggested I readjust the seat, which I did. That took care of the noise and prevented an oil spill on the carpet.

The bicycle is made by Xterra. It is the FB150 model. I call it the Anti-Peloton for obvious reasons. It cost a little over $100. It weighs about 30 pounds. The digital “computer” for monitoring my performance and fitness level never worked. I inquired about it, but I think the support agent was an extraterrestrial. He threatened to abduct me and perform various examinations involving probes if I escalated the matter to management. I didn’t return the bike.

There are a few differences between the Xterra FB150 Anti-Peloton and the Peloton. According to a recent review, the Peloton price will set you back $2,000—for the first year. After that, it’ll cost you $500 every year before you finally decide to return it because you have to hock all your possessions to keep it.

The Peloton has a Wi-Fi-enabled 21.5-inch touchscreen tablet that “live-screams” fitness classes led by instructors who are drill sergeants and scream at you and other hapless unfit persons as a side hustle.

The Anti-Peloton has a “computer” which is nonfunctional and is used just for decoration.

The Peloton weighs approximately 5 tons and is assembled in your home by 5 computer technology experts who will require the use of your kitchen to prepare their gourmet luncheons using whatever is in your pantry plus the items you’ll need to purchase from specialty delicacy shops. The set up takes about 3 weeks and the technicians will need you to move into a hotel while they rebuild your house or apartment so that it will meet the exacting standards you will need to rent the product for the rest of your natural life, according to the contract you must sign in blood. This will, of course, also entail daily worship rituals involving small animal sacrifices at the cultured marble alter that is custom designed for your special Peloton. It’s a little like a wedding.

The Xterra FB150 Anti-Peloton, as noted above, weighs approximately 30 pounds, folds easily for moving it to a comfortable viewing position in front of the TV to watch your favorite shows while you munch on snack bars, cycling slowly so as not to raise blisters on your feet from the straps fitted to the pedals.

The Peloton saddle is small and is just the right size for skinny extraterrestrials who were probably involved in the manufacture of the product.

The Xterra FB150 Anti-Peloton has a very large padded oversize seat which can accommodate the butt of any creature including a bull elephant.

You can choose the Peloton or the Anti-Peloton. The choice is yours, and it depends only on whether or not you are independently wealthy enough to employ Elon Musk to replace urinal deodorant cakes in any of the bathrooms of your umpteen mansions.

You’re welcome.

Chicago Cribbage Rematch 2022!

Since it has been almost a year since we last played Chicago Cribbage, we decided it was high time to break the laws of cribbage again. Short story—I won this year. Sena won last year, so we’re even.

We played to 61 because the game can take an eternity to play using the Chicago cards: Deal Again, Cut Again, No Fifteens, Trade Hands, and Reverse Count. Each player gets 7, two each of the Deal Again and Cut Again. See the web page for the full rules.

 The Chicago Cribbage 7 is now your license to cheat. You can demand to deal again and cut again at will if you don’t like your cards. The other Chicago cards are even more brutal.

You can deal again and cut again all you want, but you’re screwed if Reverse Count is played. However, the damage you cause for your opponent by playing the Reverse Count, while cruel, be mitigated by your opponent playing the No Fifteens card. If you can’t count fifteens, you can’t count backwards. Playing the Trade Hands card can backfire in a big way, trust me. You win by being merciless.

The artwork on the cards fits the criminal theme of the gameplay. There are pictures of gangsters and gun molls.

By the way, a few words about the background picture of Crystal Gardens in the video. It is or maybe it’s more accurate to say it was at Navy Pier. When we vacationed in Chicago in 2007, we went to Navy Pier, but neither of us can recall actually going to the Crystal Gardens.

When we searched the web, we discovered that we had missed what many Chicagoans felt was a Chicago icon. Thousands signed a petition protesting the plan to close Crystal Gardens as described in a web article in 2021. The plan is to replace it with something called the “Digital Entertainment Experience.”

That sounds like something anybody who has a smartphone can get these days.

We have a lot of fun playing Chicago Cribbage—although it can be a little frustrating. Give it a try for a change of pace!

Announcements!

Attention, I have announcements!

We got a message today about our Sasquatch Cribbage Board. It is being carved!

The Amaryllis flower, Star of Holland, which will be red with white accents, is now 9 inches tall!

Deer are feasting in our back yard even as I write this!

Sena and I had a Chicago Cribbage rematch today. There will be a post tomorrow with scintillating video of the action. Don’t miss seeing the winner and champion of the galaxy!

Coffee Talk

We got a new coffee maker the other day and it’s a Black and Decker. That brand name threw me for a loop just by itself. I’m used to hearing about Black and Decker power tools. But believe it or not, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of Black and Decker coffee makers.

I looked this up on the web. In fact, the Black and Decker company didn’t start marketing coffee makers until the 1980s, I think. It was called the Spacemaker Coffee Maker because it would fit under kitchen cabinets.

Sena tells me we had a Black and Decker coffee maker a long time ago, but I don’t remember it. Then we went with Hamilton Beach, then Mr. Coffee. We also had a Keurig, but the coffee pods were really expensive. This Black and Decker replaced an old Mr. Coffee. The clock didn’t work on it, a problem that I think got started after the derecho a couple of years ago.

Anyway, the Black and Decker is a 12-cup thermal programmable. The number of cups we get out of it is 8, and I think that happens with every coffee maker we ever had which bills itself as a 12-cup. I wonder how big they think most coffee cups are?

It has a smart-looking stainless steel thermal carafe and something with an interesting name, “VortexTM Showerhead.” It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s a gadget that looks like a red showerhead that’s designed to provide even saturation of the coffee grounds for “optimal water flow for maximum flavor.”

It has a digital LCD clock, like most coffee makers have, but it’s not backlit. You can see the clock but you have to squint at it. You almost have to use a magnifying glass to see the word “STRONG” which appears when you press the button for strong coffee, which we like.

The user manual suggests (in bold face type) to fill the carafe with hot tap water and empty it before brewing. This is an extra step which is supposed to warm up the carafe and help keep coffee hot. It takes extra time and we don’t think it makes a bit of difference.

We’ve been drinking coffee a long time. It’s actually good for you. Some claim it can even reduce the risk of depression, but I would take this with a grain of salt. If you took that sentence literally, then coffee might not do much of anything for you. You can get too much caffeine, but other than that, it’s good for your health.

I guess you can use it to dye your gray hair, which is funny. You just brew some coffee, rub it into your hair, and right away your hair is much more alert.

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