A favorite pastime both at SuperCool Local Video Store (the Fella’s workplace) and here at home is a freeform multi-player game called Premise!. To play, you choose:

– an actor worthy of a tepid mass-market vehicle: Samuel L. Jackson, Jack Nicholson, and Sandra Bullock all come to mind. Of course, the perennial favorite “actor” for a game of Premise! is the plucky little Brussels-born kickmeister, Jean-Claude Van Damme.
– a premise! This usually employs one or more of the great movie-trailer conventions intoned with gravelly-voiced intent: “Morgan Freeman is a man pushed too far in…” or “Meg Ryan is a hardworking teacher with an edge in…”

The game: pitch titles for the film! Here, a familiarity with genre titles comes in handy, as does a shameless ability to pun.

Example? Why, sure! Here’s an entry from Videoport Jones: “Jean-Claude Van Damme is a baker pushed too far in…” (I proudly contributed Eclair and Present Danger, Choux to Kill, Bloodtorte, and a few others.

Here are my recent titles from a round of Premise!:

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a romantic comedy lead pushed too far in…
Must Like Cyborgs
While You Were Streetfighting
Heart Target
The Forty Year Old Belgian
The Timecop Around the Corner
Bringing Up Belgy
The Philabelgia Story
Prelude to a Kick
Sleeperhold in Seattle
Knocked Out
P.S. – I Kick You


update: Incidentally, I know you’re all frantic to submit your own Premise! titles in the comments. Sorry, y’all: comments are still broken. I’ve re-opened them just so Elli can check out the glitch and see what’s going on. Don’t work yourself into a sweat trying to submit your comment, though.

You can always email it to me! Look in the upper right columns and see my email? Yippie!

love is a battlefield

Over the past year or so, D and I accidentally developed a favorite sport that could readily go by the name Stump The Sweetheart. The game can start anytime, any place, when one partner lobs the first pitch: “I love you” followed by a nonsense nickname. The second player answers with “I love you” followed by an unrelated nonsense nickname.

The volleys continue until a player bursts out laughing, falters, or delivers an inaudible. “I love you, [mumblety-peg]” would be a losing stroke. Oddly enough, “I love you, Mumblety-Peg!” would not.

The faltering, when one of us is simply unable to concoct a nonsense endearment, occurs with surprising regularity. It’s harder than you’d think to keep tossing out absurd cooing endearments without pause. You try it sometime. “I love you, Rosencrantz,” suits the game down to the ground, but a return of “I love you, Guildenstern,” gets the buzzer.

A sufficiently hilarious salvo from the instigator gets the (significant) other cracking up, resulting in an ace: the schmoopie equivalent of a hole in one. “I love you, Fry and Laurie” was a recent inexplicable example.

Some contenders for the No-You’re-The-Schmoopie doorprize around these parts:

I love you, Bruce Lee
I love you, perfessor
I love you, cuttlefish
I love you, Dr. Beardface
I love you, guv’ner
I love you, rambling rose
I love you, Tipsy McDrunkerton
I love you, sans serif
I love you, Iron Chef
I love you, Harper Lee
I love you, Señor Biggles
I love you, moon pie
I love you, wifi
I love you, bagel face
I love you, Mister Bingley
I love you, Spiderpig
I love you, Chief Shoot ’em Up

Honorable mention goes to “I love you, monkey,” a phrase disallowed in the game, as it’s the standard endearment chez nous.

Right hand red, left foot green

Introducing the Twister deviant duvet cover. How do you know when it’s your turn to spin?

I suggest a novelty duvet that more accurately reflects the strategems and scheming many people bring to the art of seduction.

And then, inevitably, someone will bring out the Connect Four headboard. “Pretty sneaky, sis!”

And let’s not even start speculating about Clue. Ooooh, Professor Plum!

Least-loved children’s games

In my Renaissance art history class, the professor has trained us to play Council of Trent, extrapolating from existing records of the Council’s condemnation of certain artworks to make our own Trentian statements about other works. Not surprisingly, I am very good at being strictly doctrinaire and judgmental.

I spent a happy few days thinking this was was probably the least popular children’s game ever… until I found in one of my research texts a Renaissance account of a little Florentine girl and her friends, whose adorable form of play was to imagine themselves members of a flagellant confraternity.

They’re so cute when they’re that age.