OD was published in 1985. Avalon Hill trademarked it as their “metaphysical card game” and “elemental force card game”…”A unique blend of skill and chance.” What is an od? “An od is an element of theoretical force. By bringing the ods into balance, one may reach perfection in the metaphysical world. All of life is seeking after such balance. So too is this game.” I’m not exactly sure what that means. Yes, a well-balanced life sounds like a good thing, until one starts nit-picking about what exactly is being balanced. At any rate, OD is a good game, though it would have been better if published with the original components. In what were probably cost cutting moves, two standard 6-sided dice were substituted for the original 6, 8, 10 and 12 sided dice and the number of thief cards was cut down from the initial 20 to a measly 6. The cards themselves are heavy stock but definitely not standard durable playing card stock and they are much worse for wear over the years.
Way back when, my buddy Dave devised a card game…it was based on the number of cards in a Tarot deck and involved the use of polyhedral dice. He asked me to make illustrations for the face cards. Somehow, he managed to persuade the Avalon Hill Game Company of Baltimore, Maryland to publish the game, which is called OD. We were quite thrilled, since some of our favorite war games were published by Avalon Hill.
This example is an improvement in that it is grammatical English: “Time did age Madame. Gad, I demit!” It is unlikely that these sentences were ever spoken…a statement that a married woman had gotten older, followed by a declaration to resign from office…but you read it here first!
A 5×5 grid offers more challenge…ideally there would be 3 palindromic 5-letter words, of which 2 were repeated…an ABCBA pattern. And it would make some sort of sense! I haven’t worked that out yet. This one reads like the musing of a fretting mathemaniac: Never even, ever even, ever even.
Confession: While most people spent their time on useful activities, I squandered mine devising Magic Squares. Here are some easy 3×3 squares…all are palindromes of course, reading the same from top to bottom and right to left and backwards. Furthermore, they make some sort sense in English, although they are somewhat tortured: Raw as a war….Now Ono Won…Mad At Adam (or Mad at a dam).
I don’t recall when or if the situation ever arose, nonetheless, I felt if I ever claimed “artistic license” and was challenged on that point, some actual back-up might be of use. Drawing upon the under-utilized virtue of self-reliance, I made my own…and a “poetic license” as well. While I was at it, I fashioned a gang o’ them for family and friends. This whimsome, laminated photo-ID card was actually once accepted at a hospital. It has not yet gotten me through an airport check-in, but my buddy Dave claims to have had success in doing so.
I’ve recently returned from my 4th annual Katrina Relief expedition to the great city of New Orleans, for whose contributions to American and World culture we are deeply indebted. My thanks to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for their logistical work at Ground Zero. This year we again worked in New Orleans East, a middle-class, mostly African-American enclave which was inundated by Lake Ponchatrain in 2005.
Ours was a small group of six this year. Also staying at our base were 2 dozen scholars from Albion College in Michigan. Those kids spent 2 weeks of holiday break working their asses off. We took only 1 week, but kept busy building a scaffold in order to spray texture finish on the walls and ceiling of a stairwell, something we had not done before. But, our biggest task was setting ceramic tile on the first floor of “our” house. I’ve done a fair amount of this and Jean-Claude had done a little, however the ladies of our group had never, but it worked out great and everyone learned some things. We got most of it grouted and cleaned too. If we only had had a couple of more days, we could have finished the living room, too, which was full of cabinets and doors and much more. And hung the doors as well! But somebody else will get to it and with perseverence the owner, Pamela, will finally move out of the FEMA trailer (pictured above by little ol’ me) and back into her home after 4 years.
We ate very well indeed, as one would expect in NOLA…plus this is the start of King Cake season and we sampled several…our favorite is Randazzo’s…we found a pile of ’em in Chalmette. Which reminds me…Brad Pitt’s house building initiative in the Lower 9th Ward is underway….where last year we saw pink tents, we now saw visually striking unusual homes going up! And the little shotgun where most of our crew worked last year by UNO is painted purple and orange and lived in again.
I met my old friend Steve at Ernst’s where he used to party back in his college days and who should show up but a colony of NO Hornet cheerleaders, the Honeybees…from there we headed to Maspero’s for some cheap eats and onto the Napoleon House for sazaracs. My buddy Dave urged that I try the sazarac, perhaps the most ancient cocktail known to man, the ur-cocktail one might style it. I had made one at home, using the Savoy book as my guide, but that was but the scribbling of a child with crayon, compared to the sublime offering of the Napoleon House. Dave had recommended the Hotel Monteleone and our taste-testing team did sample their wares, but the Napoleon House won out hands down. Next year we hope to try a sazarac from the alleged creators of the Louisiana State Cocktail, the Fairmont Hotel, due to re-open in the spring of ’09. Until then, bon appetit!