Sunday, July 26, 2009

Washington Mea Culpa

Blogger's Note: Many moons ago, I said I was going to upload a scan from the Cokesbury Party Book to supplement the post on Washington's Birthday. That is finally done. Sorry it took so long.

Week Thirteen: All-Fools' Party

Caution: You are really, really going to see Cokesbury go crazy here. Absolutely bonkers. So bonkers, in fact, Cokesbury prefaces the party with the following:

As a person who is foolish is said to be "nutty" or "a nut," the nut idea has gotten into April first. Stunts and pranks are permissible on this day. Funny situations are the vogue.

The vogue, folks. The vogue. All I can say is, get ready, in the exact fashion of the Get Ready Man from James Thurber's My Life and Hard Times. The end of the worrrrrrlllllld!

On All-Fool's Night its our intention
to gather for a rube convention,
Or Nuts with gather at the hour of eight;
We know no more, but don't be late.
Bring a dime store toy that makes a noise,
and leave behind your dignity and poise.

In the invitation, of course, more evidence that Cokesbury will do anything for a rhyme.

Ready for the first Cokesbury joke? Here goes:
The Setting for the Party. One suggestion would be to have everything backward. The hostess will meet the guests at the kitchen door and ask them to come again, and express the hope that they have enjoyed the party. The clock might strike eleven as the guests enter, and the refreshments may be served at the beginning of the party instead of at the close.

If it is not desirable to follow out the above suggestion, another idea would be to put a sign on the front door: "Wet paint; use the back door (or the side door)." Then have another sign on the back door (or the side door) which says "April Fool. Go back and use the front door."

Have some surprises. Put noise-making balloons under the chair cushions and have some jack-in-the-boxes sitting around. Have some candy made out of cotton and covered with chocolate setting on the table marked, "Have one," or perhaps not marked at all.
Gadzooks, folks. Backwards greetings! Wet paint! Farty cushions and jack-in-the-boxes! Candy made from cotton, cleverly laid out with a sign inviting the chumps who fell for the other jokes to dig in! Cokesbury is one madcap prankster. Of course, for the anal retentive guests, it would be fun to watch them bounce from back door to front door (or side door) all night until either frustration, exhaustion, or pity on the part of the other guests demonstrated in the removal of one of the signs, finally got the better of them. And pardon me for being a suspicious one, but any bowl of candy laid out with signs and arrows pointing towards it inviting me to consume sends up red flags. I don't care if it's in the White House, I'm not taking any.

On to the next game:

The Foot That Comes Off. Require all the boys, instead of shaking hands with the girls, to shake the girl's foot instead. A row of girls are seated with one leg across the other knee, and the last girl has improvised an artificial leg, which when shaken comes off. This might be made by stuffing a stocking and putting a shoe on it and arranging so that the real foot and leg will be concealed. The room should be dark, and the boys should be brought in one at a time and asked to shake the foot of the girls present. This might be arranged in another way, and the host might put up a sign that, instead of shaking the hand of the hose, it is asked that guests shake the foot, and the foot, when shaken, might be arranged to that it will come off.

So aside from Cokesbury blowing the joke with the title of the game, this is, at the fundament of it all, kinda weird. Again, great amusement may be had in watching the germophobic anal retentives attempt this game.

Now, remember those noise-makers you were supposed to bring? Here's where they come into play. They're tossed into a "grab bag," and, one at a time, guests pull something out of the bag. "These are then opened," Cokesbury says, barely containing a giggle, "and the guests will get much amusement by playing with them." Perhaps you might want to start this game during the previous one, so the guests waiting for the others to come back from shaking the girls' feet might have something to do to amuse themselves aside from re-inflating the farty cushions.

The next game, you'll find, is best suited for those who have many friends of the sweaty-palm variety.

Threading the Needle. Select three or four persons for a needle-threading contest. The leader tells them that the object is to see who can thread the needle quickest with one eye closed. The needle is easily threaded, but the fun comes when the guests see that the ones who have held their hands over one eye of the contestants have had lampblack on the, so that one eye of each is quite black.

Oh yeah. This is where your Uncle Harvey got the old lampblack joke. And what, pray tell, is lamp black? Traditionally, it is said, lampblack is soot collected from oil lamps. That's why you need friends of the sweaty-palmed variety, so no one will suspect the eye-hider has anything on their hands but the expected bodily excretions. To make lampblack of your own, you may use soot form a fireplace -- which nowadays, in some circles, are as anachronistic as oil lamps, come to think about it. So here's some commercially-available lampblack for you. Don't worry, you Gen. Ripper folks out there; these folks promise their lampblack is of unquestionable purity, being extracted from oil furnaces. Again, a great, great game for the anal retentives in your crowd.

But that's enough of forcing guests to shake stinky feet and wash greasy soot off their faces. This is an All-Fool's Party, after all, which, according to Cokesbury, implies also forcing your guests to admire your rubbish:
The Art Museum. While some are guessing the name of [a game we skipped in this description because of its lameness], others might be taken to the museum. There they will find the following exhibits:
  • The Watch on the Rhine (Watch on an orange peeling)
  • A diamond Pin (A dime and pin)
  • A Marble Bust (A broken marble)
  • A Swimming Match (A match floating on water)
  • Peacemakers (A pair of scissors)
  • One-Eyed Monster (Sewing needle)
  • Tamed Groundhog (Links of sausage)
  • A Texas Necktie (A rope noose)
  • Paraside (A pair of dice)
  • Slippers (Banana peel)
  • A Perfect Foot, Twelve Inches (A ruler one foot long)
  • Something to Adore (A doorknob)
  • Champion American Tumblers (Three glasses)
  • Ten Carrot Ring (Ring made from ten carrots)
  • Lost Souls (Pair of old shoe souls)
  • Something Out of King Tut's Tomb (Anything not in it)
You know, the depressing part is that I just threw out a pair of old shoes. Now I may have to purposely wear out a pair just to go along with this magnificent All-Fool's game. You can probably borrow the Texas Necktie from the same fellow who knew what KKK stood for at the Try-Your-Luck Party last week.

Forget that. On to the next game, which requires your whistle!

Are You What We Suspected? Prepare sheets for each guest marked off as the one illustrated below. They are to fill in these blanks. It will require at least ten or fifteen minutes for this. The leader should explain that the idea is to use words that others will not think about. After the leader's whistle blows and all have stopped writing, grade as follows: Score ten for each person having word no one else has. If two ahve it, nine each; three, eight each; four, seven each; more than four, it counts as one. Take off five for each space that is left blank. This is a good writing game and could easily be made to consume half an hour.

So now your party is over, fun and madcap and nutty as it was. Time for refreshments, which, again, involve your rubbish:
Serve a salad in a banana skin. Carefully remove the fruit from the skin and fill with Waldorf salad, potato salad, tuna fish salad, or any other salad. Conceal two olives under the two halves of an English walnut shell. Serve this to the guests, and then later bring in a drink. Hot chocolate with whipped cream or punch.

And when someone asks you to explain the concealed olives in the English -- yes, it has to be English -- walnut shell, shrug and say you don't know, because Cokesbury doesn't explain it at all. Sorry.

Now that's over, you might think we're past the lame happenings of the first of April. Not so. Next week, it's the April-Fish Party, which promises a lot of madcap comedy and other delights. But, alas, no lampblack. But lots to do with fish.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Poisson d'Avril!

April Fools Day. Is there a better day, or a better topic, on which to throw a party?

Well, yeah. Plenty. Personally, I've never gotten all that excited about April Fool's Day. It's kind of a day where crumbs pull practical jokes on others, my kids insist on repeating the same joke they played on me last year, and a few confused souls -- at least of my acquaintance -- get confused, wear green, and go around pinching everybody. For Cokesbury, it's a time to serve refreshment salads in banana skins, boys shaking girls by the foot rather by the hand, and a time to encourage your friends to play with rubbish. So be warned.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week Twelve: Try-Your Luck Party

Are you one of those who like to try your luck?
Do you blame it on Dame Fortune when you're stuck?
If you are lucky, you will join us Friday night --
You will have a chance to try your luck all right.
Bring your rabbit's foot and be on hand at eight;
The place is Harry's and 'twill be unlucky to be late.

So, obviously, the first requirement for the Try-Your-Luck Party is that you either change your name to Harry or become close enough friends with a Harry that he'll let you throw a party as his place. This, however, is becoming increasingly difficult in this day and age, as the name -- and even the nickname -- of Harry is falling out of favor. Maybe Prince Harry will host this one?

No matter. And certainly no matter on the decorations, per Cokesbury:
Crepe paper streamers would be sufficient for decorations. As there is no particular color scheme, any kind of decorations, such as potted plants or flowers, would be suitable.
How lamentable. Of course, this is before Las Vegas -- but only just. Nevada rancher Phil Tobin -- himself no gambler -- helped push through a bill to legalize gambling int he state in 1931, the same year Las Vegas got its first paved road and first traffic light. So it goes without saying that any thought of decorating then with a Las Vegas theme would have brought blank stares. Thus the potted plants. We may be a little luckier today. Let's start that luck with a little Frank Sinatra:

But back in 1932, Frankie was just an amateurish singing snot getting kicked out of school, so Cokesbury can't even turn to him to liven things up. So what's the big Try-Your-Luck draw at Cokesbury? A Try-Your-Luck Shorthand Puzzle.
Have the following letters written on a blank sheet of paper. Guests are asked to write out common combinations of latters, as F.O.B., etc. You will not that there are seventy-seven of these latter -- that is, seven times eleven:
The following are combinations that can be made from these letters. The letters should bchecked off as used, for none can be used more than once:

Enough of these are obscure enough most everyone won't know what they stand for, but somehow I wonder if luck can really be associated with the Womens Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Baptist Young Peoples Union (BYPU) or the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). And as for luck associated with the KKK, well, I'm not even going there.

Let's move on to something a bit more sophisticated:
Try Your Luck on Ringing Rosy. Divide the group into two parts. This may be done by number off and two and letting the ones form one group and the twos another. Have a boy, perferably a slim one, to dress up in some kind of comic girl's costume and pose as Rosy. Each group is given a large barrel hoop, and from a point about ten feet away each tries to ring rosy. Give a prize of lollypops to each one of the group that rings Rosy the most times.
Fundamentally, there are several things wrong with this. Do you really want to encourage people to lob barrel hoops at a person from ten feet away? Remember, these things are lightweight, but tehy are made of metal. How many hits to the face does Rosy have to take until Rosy is allowed to retire and nurse his wounds? The winers may get lollypops, but the one who really deserves the prize is Rosy.

If you want a better game, try this one:
Brunswick Stew. Pin on the backs of guests the names of te ingredients of Brunswick stew, as beef, potatoes, turnips, carrots, salt, rice, pepper, onions, water, celery, tomatoes, aitchbone, pork, parsnips, butter. There are fifteen ingredients. The guests that gets them all written first wins. Of course this will be difficult to do, as one must try to keep others from reading what is on his back.
Now this has that good Las Vegas feel, as in there may be occasions in crowds when you wouldn't want to turn your back on people. But really, for a true Las Vegas gaming night, you might want to choose, as is my experience, from the following activities:

Guess Why Your Feet Are Black. Guests walk around barefoot on the carpet of their cheaper hotel for five minutes. Everyone sits and displays their feet, which should be black on the bottoms. Try to guess why.

Dodge the Fish Slappers. When you're walking from attraction to attraction, try to avoid eye contact with the numerous individuals passing out laminated cards on which are advertised the latest in pornographic Las Vegas offerings. They get their Fish Slapper monickers from the fact that to get your attention, they slap the bundles of cards they're holding on their legs.

I know, I know. It's not a Las Vegas party. It's a Try-Your-Luck Party. But it's just not all that lucky, because if I hadn't tied in the Las Vegas stuff, this post would be very short, because the only thing we have left to write about are the refreshments - which, Cokesbury advises, should be provided from a scrambled menu so your guests won't really know what they're getting. Once the fun is over, Cokesbury advises ice-cream and cake or hot chocolate and sandwiches. After a party like that one, I think i'd recommend booze.

That's it until next week, but next week will be, as Babbitt might put it, a "real corker!" It's an All-Fools' Party. Until then, luck be a lay-deeeee, tonight . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Watch Those Blood Vessels

The McClatchy Watch guy will blow a blood vessel over this, but note the photo here: President Obama's good luck charms. "That jackass over at the Cokesbury Party Blog can't even talk about good luck without bringing up Obama," he'll say. Well. This is the first time Cokesbury has mentioned the president, so I can't quite be accused of being obsessed with the Second Big O. But I have poked fun at Sarah Palin, so it's quite certain I'll be accused of exhibiting Palin Derangement Syndrome.

But this is just a teaser, Mr. McClatchy Watch, for the Cokesbury Party Blog's upcoming party -- our twelfth -- known as the Try-Your-Luck Party, which should be a lot of fun. Or, considering Cokesbury's performance on the past eleven parties, kind a boring. No matter. Rub your rabbits' foot, cherish those coins and charms and keep your eyes open for four-leaf clovers. You're going to get lucky Sunday. But not in the Biblical sense.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Week Eleven: The Pirate Party

On Friday the fifteenth we set sail;
Be here at eight bells without fail.
We're off seeking treasure of diamond and gold;
So come dressed as a pirate most bold.
The crew is made up of buccaneers of renown;
No cleverer crew could ever be found.

Arr, matey. There. Now that that is out of the way, we can get on with The Pirate Party. And it's a pity that Cokesbury didn't continue the potentially wonderful limerick they started with their invitation poem, which they recommend should be written on a cardboard dagger in red ink (both obtainable, presumably, from you local fine-and-time store, since they stock paper hatchets as well (see the Washington's Birthday Party)) or on paper with the edges burnt off.

But before you even get this far, Cokesbury suggest you re-read (not just read, that you've read the book is assumed) Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island to "refresh [your] memory concerning this adventuresome tale." TI of course was the epitome of piratey life in 1932. Today we have so many choices. But since y'all will go with the obvious choice, I'll automatically suggest you re-watch (that you've watched it already is assumed) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Do NOT watch (or re-watch) the second installation. It's always been a rule of thumb to me if the best lines of a sequel are lifted verbatim from the original movie, the sequel isn't worth the celluloid it's printed on.) I'd much rather you based your pirate party on Cutthroat Island, than the second POTC, even exchanging Geena Davis' witty dialogue for Johnny Depp's.

But back to the party. First order of business: Costumes. Here's what Cokesbury recommends:
The boys should wear knickers and colored shirts, black being the pirate color, bandanas, faces colored with rouge, mustaches and eyebrows penciled. An improvised dagger should finish off the costume. The girls should dress much the same, with the exception, of course, of dresses, which could be patterned after a gipsy or Spanish style dress.
So, the ladies may, if they wish, bear mustaches, you heard it here from Cokesbury. Note the general absence of buxomness or zaftigness in the ladies' costumes. Watching modern pirate movies might make one consider that such attributes were standard equipment for pirate wenches. So do not be afraid to stray from the cliches. Go with the mustache.

Now, we all know that pirates perfer a certain ambience. If POTC movies are the order of the day, ensure your decorationsa re along the lines of tatty curtains, mouldy, half-rotted timber ships, lots of darkness, swamps, maelstroms (this could generally be achieved at the home of a couple who have more than three small children living with them) and other general piratey nastiness, such as a pig sty (perhaps left over from your St. Patrick's Day Party). Cokesbury, of course, goes all-out for this specacle:
Skull, cross bones, and black flags are emblematic of pirates, and these should be used in decorating for the party. A room might be arranged to resemble a ship, with an entrance in the form of a gangplank. Also a pirate's den might be arranged for, and with colored lights and long cardboard swords and daggers a weird effect might be created.
This, you've got to understand, is 1932 Cokesbury really, really, really letting its hair down. This is a book written by a Methodist for Methodists and suchlike. So to have a "weird" effect -- even if it makes your guests think a disco ball will be dropping out of the ceiling any minute -- is really taking it almost as far as one can go.

So the stage is set. The weird effect is achieved. On to the first piratey game of the evening: Bingo.
Mixing Game: Pirate Keeno. When the guests enter, they are each given a pirate name taken from Treasure Island. Of course all the characters in Treasure Island are men; so it will be necessary to put a Miss or Mrs. before these names. The following is a list of names of these pirates: Black Dog, Billy Bones, Captain Flint, Dirk, Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver, Squire Trewlawney, Dr. Livesey, Tom Morgan, Captain Smollett, Job Anderson, Barbecue, Captain Kidd, Tom, Alan, Ben Gunn, Isreal Hands, Abraham Gray, Mr. John Hunter, Dick Joyce, Thomas Redruth, O'Brien, George Merry. Other pirate names that are familiar to the group may be used, such as Gasparilla.
For added entertinament value, assign the names Mr. John Hunter and Dr. Livesey to the more anal retentive female attendees, so they have to have names like Miss Mr. John Hunter or Mrs. Dr. Livesey. That last one makes me shake in me boots in fear. And Gasparillia? Sounds like a drink made out of watered grog and soda water. But no. (I will have it noted I came up with the drink connection BEFORE I read about Gasparilla the Pirate.)

Anyway, back to the bingo. Once guests have been given their assigned names, they are to write the names out on a bingo board (Cokesbury calls it Keeno, for some reason, probably some Methodist way of keeping the curse off it). Then the names are called out. The guest attached to that name stands, so everyone knows who to call Miss Dr. John Hunter. Once a guest has completed a bingo/keeno row, he or she shouts "Keeno!" (I suggest penalties for those who forget and shout bingo) and the game is won. If this game doesn't make your guests say "Yarr!" with feeling, then nothing will. Or perhaps the next game will: A court trial.
Victim. The leader has cars numbered from one to the number of guests in the room, These may be made from any small pieces of cardboard. Each guest is given a number and told to keep his number secret. It is explaiend that the person who holds number one is to be the "victim," number two the "criminal," number three the "prosecuting attorney," number four the "attorney for the defense," number five the "judge," numbers six to seventeen the "jury," and the rest may be summoned as witnesses.

The lights are then turned out, and the victim, number one, is supposed to play dead, number two is supposed ot act like he has killed someone, number three then shows up and begins to question him, number four to defend him, and the judge to preside over the court, and so the case continues. The jury theng et together and sentence the criminal.
So, keep the numbers secret, but as soon as the lights come back on, make sure you're acting out your roles as if you're in the next Gilbert and Sullivan. And since we're into the Treasure Island authenticity, don't make the numbers out of any old cardboard, but cut them from a Bible as Stevenson's pirates do. And sicne we're dealing with pirates, dispense with the show trial and get straight on to the hanging. Be sure to invite lots of unpopular guests, for Cokesbury suggests:
This may be done a number of times and, if carried out properly, will create a lot of good fun.
For the survivors, there is a further winnowing process, this time involving walking the plank:
No pirate party could be an orthodox party unless the victims had to walk the plank. Each person is told that he must walk the plank blindfolded and jump over a pan of water at the end of the plank. After he is blindfolded, the pan of water is removed. The unwilling victim jumping wildly in the air attempting to jump over the water will occasion much merriment. In the game of Victim suggested above, if nothing else can be thought of as a sentence for the criminal, he may be sentenced to walk the plank.
Yes! Nothing need be unorthodox at a Pirate Party. Nor orthodox, for that matter, as we all well know the Pirate Code is more guidelines than rules.

So remember, for a successful pirate party, Cokesbury recommends disco lights, bingo, melodramatic roleplay and jumping around like a cretin. With the bingo exception, that describes the second POTC installment. So I suppose you could watch (or heaven forbid, re-watch) that film in preparation.

One more thing: Refreshments. Cokesbury recommends sandwiches served with a falgon of "ginger" ale. Maggotty bread optional.

Thank'ee fer comin, me piratey crew. Next time, we be tryin' our luck with Cokesbury's Try-Your-Luck Party. Until then, yarrrr.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Piratey Preview

A Pirate Who Looks Vaguely Familiar

Finding pirate imagery on the Internet is shamefully easy. And easily shameful; even an innocent search will bring up images that require gallons of eyebleach in order to erase them from your memory.

But this illustration, culled from a site advocating, of all things, wind power, seems fitting to preview tomorrow's installation from The Cokesbury Party Book: The Pirate Party.

Yes, it almost looks like it's Lucille Ball threatening the fop with the dagger. Or dirk. I'm no pirate; I'm not up on my piratey weaponry. But it is fitting that the pirate here resemble Lucille Ball, because at Cokesbury's party, pretty much everyone would have shown up in the costume ball variety pirate uniform, looking like something stolen from the costume shop at Desilu Studios.

Today, no longer. Now every pirate will resemble, well, you know. And the costumes will look like they've been swiped from the Disney backlot. Or at least one of the rides. (Not that I don't like you-know-who, but costumes inspired by you-know-who and his cohorts have got to be the new pirate cliches, replacing those of Treasure Island.)

Speaking of Treasure Island, Cokesbury seems to think Squire Trewlawney was a pirate. But more on that tomorrow.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Week Ten: The St. Patrick's Day Party

There are many, many difficulties presented by Cokesbury to those wishing to host its St. Patrick’s Day Party at their home, the first of which being you can’t host it at your home unless you happen to live on Dixie Avenue, in the 800 block, or so says the invitation:

On St. Patrick’s Day at eight o’clock,
At Dixie Avenue, in the eight hundred block,
We’re giving a party honoring St. Pat.
We’ll have a pig time, we assure you of that.
At the appointed time, be on the scene,
With an Irish smile and “wearing of the green.”

Of course, the implication here is that you substitute your own two-syllable street name in the rhyme, and that you figure out how to make it work. That’s the assumption with the party, too. I’m not sure the author knows much more about Ireland than the old clichés – but that’s what your friends will be expecting, won’t they? On to the party’s introduction:

In the month of March comes St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish motif affords an excellent opportunity to plan for an enjoyable party.
Of course, if the motif were Andalusian, Cokesbury would also insist it affords an excellent opportunity to plan for an enjoyable party. To say otherwise would be counterproductive to the book’s entire premise. But we continue:

St. Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. The setting and decorations and the atmosphere should be as typically Irish as possible. The pipe, the shilalah, the shamrock, pigs, and snakes should be in evidence, as St. Patrick is supposed to have chased the snakes out of Ireland.
Presumably he did it while smoking a pipe, wielding a shilalah and being trailed by pigs feasting on shamrocks. And yes, before you get too far, remember this is a costume gala. Your guests will arrive clad as typical Irish lads and lasses:

The boys may wear green ties and shamrocks, while the girls may wear aprons and shamrock in their hair.
Good luck finding fresh shamrocks to wear in your hair, ladies. Best plan ahead and plant a crop of shamrocks indoors so you’re ready when March 17 rolls around.

Cokesbury realizes, of course, that some of your guests may not be able to come up with an authentic Irish costume, shamrocks and all. Nor should a hostess take it for granted that her guests want to dress up in the first place. Fortunately, Cokesbury has a solution for both contingencies:

If it is not thought desirable to have the guests wear costumes or any nature, the hostess may have them make costumes on arrival. Provide green and white paper with some cut-out shamrocks, snakes, and pipes, and have the boys make an apron out of the paper, decorating it with the snakes, shamrock, and pipes; while the girls make a cap for the boys, decorating them in the same fashion.

Note by the way this is written it’s implied that if costumes are made, only the boys shall wear them; nowhere does it say the aprons are to be made for the ladies, and some of the men may insist on wearing cap and apron, especially if they follow Cokesbury’s hostess admonition that, throughout the evening, “all talk with an Irish brogue.” Which, if my dictionary is right, is a kind of shoe. Oh, wait. That’s a brogan. Never mind.

Enough of the costumes and Irish patter, however. It’s on to the games. This one is especially appropriate for any guests wearing fragile paper costumes:

Greased Pig Relay. Divide the group into two equal parts. This may be done by counting off one and two, the “ones” forming one group and the “twos” the other. Have them line up on opposite sides of the room facing each other. At a signal from the leader the ones at the head of the line start weaving in and through the players in his line. He must go all the way to the foot and back in this way. The second player must then start, being careful to first go around the person at the head of the line and go all the way down to the foot and back to his place. This continues until every player has traveled the full length of his line and back, and concludes when the last player, the one at the foot, makes the run. The side that finishes first wins.
Whooo! And, hopefully, everyone’s winded and dizzy not. And note Cokesbury assumes you’re too dumb to know that once the ones and twos have counted off, they naturally should form opposing teams. Without their direction, they fear, your party would lie in disarray with your guests wondering if the One-Two game was the extent of your creativity. Never you mind. Cokesbury has more memorable games for you. On to something to confuse the more puritanical amongst your guests.

Circle Blarney. The girls form a circle in the center and the boys on the outside. Music is played as they march around, the boys clockwise and the girls counter-clockwise. When the music stops, the boy and girl in front of him must blarney until the music starts again.
This is where I learned that blarney is not only a noun referring to the blarney stone, but also a verb referring to, well, overall blarniness, or the ability to babble on incessantly about nothing at all, or to tell tall tales and such like. Nothing like it sounds, of course.

This is not, of course, the last time your guests will be called on to blarney. Next comes a game involving the actual Blarney Stone:

Kissing the Blarney Stone. Place a stone or something to represent a stone on the floor. Players line up for a relay in two or more equal groups [see the One-Two Game, but with the Tree or More Variant mentioned above]. At the sound of the leader’s whistle the first one runs to the stone, gets down on his knees, kisses the stone, and runs back, touching the person at the front of the line and taking his place at the back of the line. He group that finishes first wins.
This game is especially popular among households who love that coconutty sound of skulls colliding as people from different teams go for the Blarney Stone at the same time. Make sure to have the emergency response numbers preprogrammed into your telephone and be able to spell everyone’s names correctly for the newspaper reporter.

While various players are in various stages of consciousness, dizziness and coherency from the last game, it would be wise to have the rest cool off with the following activity:

Singing Irish Songs. Many of the fine Irish songs are familiar . . . Have these songs mimeographed and give a copy to each guest. Have someone play who has been notified in advance and gotten the music necessary, and this will be a very enjoyable part of the evening. Almost anyone can sing a song when they know the tune and have the words on a song sheet.

Well. Lieutenant Kevin Thomas Riley of the Starship Enterprise blows that “anyone can sing with the tune and a song sheet” theory right out of the water. And wish an Irish song to boot. Start the video at 4:23 for the start of his lunacy, to 5:50 for his tuney goodness. Or badness. Of course, there is no evidence of a song sheet in this episode, so maybe Cokesbury has a point . . . Nah.

We’re better off moving on to the one Irish Cliché Cokesbury hasn’t mentioned yet. And you thought they’d forgotten all about the potato.

Potato Roll. No St. Patrick’s party would be complete without a Potato Relay. Have this in a little different way. Give each person on the front a table knife, and with this he must roll the potato. Mark out on the floor a circle about four inches in diameter, and the potato must roll into this circle and stop. Then the potato is to be rolled back into a circle of similar size near the head of the line. Have each one roll the potato and take his place at the back of the line. The leader will have to insist that the potato actually be rolled into the circle each time. At the beginning the potato must be in the circle each time. This is a game with plenty of life in it.
Life, that’s it. That’s what your stooped and concussed guests will remember about this party. The survivors, anyway.

Oh yes. The survivors. Time for a game to really make them regret coming. Especially the ladies.

Green Pig. Place a mirror in the bottom of a box and cover the sides of the box with green paper. Use a green light over the box and have in an otherwise darkened room. Let the players go see it one at a time. When they look into the box, they will see their picture in green, the Green Pig.

There! They feel a lot better having come to your smashing St. Patrick’s Day Party. Only one thing could top the Green Pig Game:

Irish Jokes. Have ach guest tell a Pat and Mike joke. If this is thought impractical, select some of the guests and have them tell stories. Other will in all probability take part spontaneously.

Ah yes, the era when the United States of America was a great country, uninhibited by political correctness. Everyone knows a Pat and Mike joke, or will see their inhibitions drop in preparation of dropping an hilarious bombshell on the rest of the crowd as story after story is told. Try this kind of thing nowadays and you pretty much get the same kinds of awkward silences you get in The Goode Family when Gerald has the gall to point out that the lady in the purple suit is a lesbian.

Now it’s time for the food. A Cokesbury first – your guests actually get a decent meal out of it, perhaps to make up for being concussed and bruised and insulted during the preceding activities. Serve sliced ham and potato salad with coffee or tea, Cokesbury suggests. For an “amusing stunt,” insist your guests pay for the food, with the cost of the ham being one smile each, the potato salad being four kind words, and so on. And then resign yourself to your guests never, ever coming to a party at your house again, unless they’re wearing protective headgear.

And come they will, especially those who enjoyed broguing in Irish all evening long – for the next party by Cokesbury be filled with piratey goodness. A Pirate Party! With costumes. Arr, matey!

WARNING: Bad Irish Accent Ahead

Truly I be beggin' yer pardon, but we here at Cokesbury are a wee bit behind schedule on te updates. But sure an' begorrah we'll be gettin' a St. Patrick's Day Party to ye before too long, complete with t'admonition t'force yer guests t'speak in an Irish brogue troughout te entire evenin'. God willin' we'll have that update by the end o' t'day. Until ten, enjoy more Irish cliches and an accent nearly as bad as me own tanks to t'folks at YouTube.