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Not the happiest lot.


Natural History




Language and Culture


Where are these ladies from? Hint: They're Nordic nerds.


Where is this lady from?


I want to tell her that here in Canada we don't fight and fuss with each other over politics.


Where is this lady from? more


Where is this lady from? She seems to be from here in Winnipeg.


Military / History


Food and Drink (mostly drink)


Music, film, television







How about Jacob's ladder (gif) as a stocking stuffer or present? It's worth considering. They're easy to find.

The Jacob's ladders you find in stores have those skimpy colourful bands. When I was a kid I encountered a Jacob's ladder that was a classy craft. This had, as I remember it, bigger, clunkier pieces of wood. They were rounded in the right places. The ribbons were opaque black fabric of some sort. There were domino-like dots on them. Vitally, the bands were next to each other with no space between them, kind of like this, so you would just see a uniform black, plus dots. The result was a mystery about how it works that was not easy to figure out, a fascinating magic trick.


Penguins have nothing to do with Christmas.


Dean Martin Christmas Show 1968

What words would you use to describe this production from a different time?



Yoté is a game that I quite like, but it's not really going to ring a bell with people. It's African, well West African, and it's in the shadow of mancala, which you would find on store shelves. It's like checkers, which can be a turnoff.

I think it's a simple, small, brief, action-packed game where fortunes can change. I recommend getting it for Christmas. You can find the game you see here online, made in China. The board is a nice design.

Post script
This site has a leather Yoté, made by Oak Games.



So how about we make a homemade version of this, suitable for a gift. Some rocks, a box, some paper. Neat.

We'll steal the name and the rules, with an exception. This would be true/false, not 0, 1 2.

So this would be great, doable, a conversation piece. But ...

Well, I was going to list the problems with this, but it's rapidly looking like this is a go for Christmas. It would even go to Rox(anne), although I don't feel great about making her look like a twit. I came across a $20 craft thing with rocks, and the box would be a red Christmasy thing from the dollar store. I'm not sure what to do with the concealed individual paper questions and answers.

The biggest issue is the name. One rock, or three? If you have a painted rock or, worse, rocks, wouldn't that chip off? I've been carefully curating original trivia questions, but only some of them are t/f. There are enough. A lot of the answers are unexpected, so people might come to expect this. Some questions with obvious answers should be added.

I think each question, on its own folded paper, will have a code, e.g. 1Z6, and you look it up on a single answer sheet.

Update: I got a bag of rocks, not too big and lighter colour, as well as a little white box from Michael's that does not require padding. The craft box with acrylic paints will not be used; I will just use black and red felt pens. I think I won't do the coded answers. Maybe questions will simply be numbered.
This could be a fabulous fun present, with some mild spice of controversy.


Here is a killer funny, small book called Non Campus Mentis, now known as Ignorance is Blitz. Click the image below. I think it would make an excellent gift. You are more likely to appreciate this if you know about history, language and geography.



If you are looking at getting a wire puzzle, I recommend Beetle Bug. It hits the sweet spot between pointlessly easy and pointlessly difficult.