The Victorians are all too often written off as being an uptight bunch of moral nutjobs who lived in an age to which we must never, ever return. That is basically true. There is a whole lot of stuff that was common in the years between 1837 and 1901 that we would be better off without, forever. A whole lot of stuff. But there is one thing that should make a bold return, and that is “Victorian Parlor Games.”
Even though most of the population of the Victorian Age was impoverished and working eighteen hours a day, the middle class formed and luxurious free time started to become available to people outside of the wealthy idle elite. Back then, there weren’t televisions, video games, and apps to waste all of your time with of course, so they had to devise games to play in gentle social settings. They were still joyless and genteel, so they couldn’t just gather and get blasted on booze or the devil weed. Let’s just say that they did their best.
You can do your own research (I love it when you do your own research), or I guess you can just follow this single link I am willing to supply for you, to see for yourself just how they used to do it. Most games seemed to center around getting light-headed or not-laughing. Sometimes those two things would be combined, if they were feeling really full of jolly-beans!
Some day, you may find yourself without electricity. It seems to be a more and more common scenario, as natural disasters are ramping up in devastation, and our infrastructure steadily disintegrates. In some places, even a moderate rainfall could leave you without television channels and with an internet that is so slow that it is worse than not having a connection at all! So, I advise you to print out this article for reference on such times, because you won’t want to use your precious battery all up.
The 90’s decade was a glamorous year for any of us in the teenage bracket. Sure, Seventeen Magazine had “new clothes” that you should buy in order to be popular, but truthfully they were just expensive new versions of the attire the rest of us found in thrift stores, the closets or floors of friends and friends’ family, or, occasionally, pretty much just in the actual street.
The desire to communicate with the spirit world is not a new fad in our society. Indeed, since the very first caveman crawled from the sea, humans have been trying to find that there is more to life than running away from carnosaurs, angry herbasaurs, larger cavemen, and various stampedes. How depressed would they have been if they couldn’t believe in a spirit world, intangible to them, and yearning to share spirit secrets with the living? Cavemen begat shamans who could commune with these spirits by drinking poisonous plant mixtures and chanting a lot. Through the persuasions of these “spirits” or DEMONS, PERHAPS?!, societies were built, machines were invented, and scientific reasoning began to rule us all. I believe this is what they SHOULD teach in Sunday Schools across America, if they don’t already.
You know what ELSE is taught in Sunday Schools? That Ouija Boards are BAD. MAYBE. Do they teach that? I have actually never been to a Sunday School.
But what IS a Ouija Board? It is a game, of course, made by Parker Brothers. You basically have a board with letters, numbers, and some words on it, a planchette (which is a pointing device), and two or more friends trying to put their fingers on the planchette and decide what it will spell out, while pretending that it is a spirit force doing the directing. The word “Ouija” is owned by Parker Brothers and is entirely made up. It is French and German for “yes.” A yesboard. The idea and use of “talking boards,” as they are commonly known, has been going on for a thousand years or more, but “ouija” has become like “kleenex” or “coke” these days, and I am sure the Parker Bros are happy about this, as any company would be.
The saying “the best things in life are free” is barely true, but true nonetheless. I mean, come on. But there are indeed great things that are free, such as sunshine, stretching, cats, sneers, and freemium apps. There is also friendship. For me, one of the best things in life is Amandoll.
We have a lot of things in common, or possibly most things. Here are some things that are unique to Amandoll and also great: drawing talent, belly dancing, childhood ponies, eating healthy, exercise, ferrets, Cincinnati, buttermilk, and ME. She is the sprinkles on my donut, the sour cream on my taco. Amandoll is the scissors to my paper doll, and so I have made her one.
Very recently, I wrote an article mentioning that I have always wanted to be frighteningly good at anagrams. It has been on my mind partly because I have been struggling with cryptic crossword solving, but mostly it has to do with the fact that I have been playing Alphabear. I have been playing it a lot.
You probably have seen images from this game around, if you have friends who enjoy wiling away their time with apps that make them feel smart. And anything involving words and flexing your big vocabulary muscle counts as educational, so it can be played with zero shame. It can be bragged about in the way that only the proudly nerdy can do. “I just spelled a twenty letter word! Beat that!” OH I WILL. AND I WILL LOSE SLEEP UNTIL I DO. I will lose my friends and family until I do.
I’m a special sort of wasted brain, though. When Dollissa got me to start playing, I very quickly developed a game INSIDE the game. Of course, at this point, I hardly even play it anymore because my game is more enjoyable at the lower levels when it is easy to meet the point requirements for the board, and I also can only stay addicted to a game for about a full week. But that’s how brilliant candles that burn at both ends like me operate, babycakes. You can’t slow us down.
What’s this? The same picture. No, now it’s YOUR picture.
Color us in! Here is a classic Sneer Campaign image, featuring Dollissa and Amandoll for you to design, color, scribble on, and crumple up. Do with us what you will, then show us! If you want to see the original picture, you can find it here: Overindulgent Self-Portrait. As usual, click to make it bigger (and to download and print).
What’s that you say? You wish you had a brand new paper doll to play with? And you wish it would reflect your interests… Or, dare I say, your unhealthy obsessions? Am I talking to you or talking into the mirror? It doesn’t matter because I just wanted to let you know that we have once again cooked up an entertainment doll that the whole world didn’t realize it needed until it clicked into this post! That’s right. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. We have brought you a Secretariat Paper Doll!
Traditionally, these sorts of dolls are fun because you, the child, get to experience the joy of dressing up a human form in fancy clothes. But we are renegades on this site, not bound by convention. We see the world through the clear, almost unsettling lens of the iconoclast. Secretariat is a STAR and you will be pleased to dress him in the fine styles that we have provided. On the page that you will need to print out, you can find such dazzling items as a matching bridle and racing saddle set. The blue checkered hood and blinker bridle makes an appearance, and is there anything that screams “trendsetter” more than a whole-jockey accessory? Included, you will find glamorous flower fashion shawls by such designers as K.Y. Derby, Preakness, and Belmont. Secretariat wore them all. And he looked STUNNING.
There are also a few miscellaneous items for use when you are feeling a little silly. Secretariat was not all business all the time. He retired when he was only four years old after all, so he had decades of goofing off. The giant horse head sized novelty Groucho Glasses represent his fun-loving side. He was often seen wearing them when he had a few too many sugar lumps. Also included are his sideways cap, outrageous necklace chains, and totally funky fresh sneaker shoes: his preferred style while trotting the streets. Finally, you’ll no doubt recognize the glorious angel wings (which you are to cut up along those little white lines and sort of slide onto his back, theoretically. If that doesn’t work, just use chewing gum or something) from And Here Comes Secretariat. These should class up your shrine very nicely, as angelic beings typically bring a taste of High Quality to any event.
Click on the image to go to the real size and print it on out.