Monday, August 31, 2009

Hiatus Shmiatus

Our Beloved, Benevolent, Benefactor

Yes, the Summer Hiatus is over. The jerks who run Cokesbury Party Blog's international headquarters are cruel taskmasters. And the temptation with a blog is to put off for next week what could be done Monday. I want to avoid that. Back to work, getting the TPS coversheets on my reports.

Week Eighteen: Aircraft Party

Time to Dress Like an Aviatrix. Better Find Some Lace Trousers
What better way to start off a party than by identifying your guests with the type of aircraft they most resemble? That’s how Cokesbury wants you to start out your Aircraft Party:

Divide the guests into three groups, pinning on the dress or coat the name of the aircraft they represent – Balloon, Blimp, Airplane – and pinning these on so there will be an equal number of each.

Yeah, you certainly wouldn’t want an unequal number of blimps at your party. And if you get too nay airplanes, they’ll all be off to that sale at Penneys. (Note: This is the first and LAST reference to ZAZ’s Airplane! I promise.)

By the way, be careful whom you identify as a “balloon” or a “blimp.” Some people are so sensitive . . .

Back to the party. Here’s the invitation:

If you’ve never been up in the air,
You will be next Friday night;
For we’re giving a party and want you there,
And we’re going to fly all right.
For the party’s an Aircraft Party, you see,
And each one must take the stick
And fly to the land of fun and glee –
The thrills will come fast and thick.

It’ll be helpful to remind your guests that this is a costume party. It’s won’t be The Honeymooners "Man from Space" caliber of costumes, however:

Costumes. The costumes for this party will be easy – just a pair of goggles, a headgear, lace trousers, and boots. Any one of these will carry with it the thought of the aviator. The costumes should be judges, and the one having the nearest appearance to a good aviator should receive the prize.
Bad aviator costumes, I suppose, would include those resembling Amelia Earhart zombies, aviators with bits of prop embedded in their foreheads, et cetera. Probably wise to avoid those costumes anyway, just in case there are people on your guest list who are afraid to fly. Heaven forbid.

As for decorations, Cokesbury is going for verisimilitude this time:

Have a sign on the door, “Airport.” To give the idea of wind, have some electric fans with paper streamers tied to them blowing the streamers into the room. Pictures of aircraft and famous aviators like Colonel Lindbergh and Admiral Byrd may be on the wall. Crepe paper streamers may also be used.

Yes, nothing says “aviator” more than crepe paper streamers. I won’t go into an airport or choose an airline if crepe paper streamers aren’t, as Cokesbury is wont to say, “in evidence.”

Let’s move on to the games, the first of which is so lame I won’t repeat it here – but it is vital to know that in the aforementioned game, you assigned each guest the name of a part of an airplane by affixing a paper with the part written on it to their backs with pins. For the next game, it suffices to move the pins to the front, or, alternatively, to have your guests take off their outer garments and put them on backwards.

Airplane. The guests are seated in a circle, with all the chairs filled. The leader starts telling a story in which she uses different parts of the airship. As the story is told the guests having the parts rise and act them out. The propellers may throw their arms around, the motor make a noise like an engine, the wings stand with arms outstretched; and if there is nothing that can be done, merely get up and turn around. Whenever the leader says, “Airplane,” all must get up and change places, whereupon the leader tries to get in a chair; if he succeeds, the one left out must continue the story.
Remember the game that preceded this one was even more lame. So you’ve got guests you’ve labeled initially as blimps – they still must bear those labels, by the way; you’re not done with them yet – who are given plane parts like “aileron,” or “shaker stick” to emulate. The poor saps with no imagination are just to get up and turn around, so those in the circle may identify them and thus avoid being on their teams when you play Pictionary or charades. Maybe use this game to weed out unimaginative guests.

On to the next game, which will further help you weed your guest list by identifying those with weak bladders.

Airplane Ride. Take a board about six feet long and about ten or twelve inches wide and raise it from the floor by using bricks or blocks on each end. A player is blindfolded and asked to step into the plane for a ride. He is permitted to keep his hand on the shoulder of the pilot while two other players take hold of the board and raise it two or three inches from the bricks or blocks. At this time the pilot stoops down to make it appear that the one on the boards is being lifted. Someone takes a broom, and after crying out, “Look out for the ceiling,” touches the passenger on the head with it. Usually the passenger will jump at this time, and it is comical to see how he acts when he finds that he is only six or eight inches from the floor. This stunt may be done in the yard or in a separate room, and the guests brought in one at a time.
Maybe you’d better invent a game to weed out the litigious or any lawyers in on your guest list before you try this game out. But now it’s time to move on to your Blimps, Balloons and Airplanes and make their nametags worthwhile:

Airplane Race. The three groups, the Blimps, the Balloons, and the Airplanes, line up in parallel lines facing each other. Four toy airplanes are placed on a chair at the head of each line. Upon signal from the leader, the player at the head of the line picks up the first airplane and starts it down the line, then the second and third and fourth. The player at the other end of the line must lay down the planes on another chair until he has all four. Then he starts them back up the line. The relay may be lengthened and made more interesting by having the planes make two or three laps up and down. The group that gets all the planes back to the starting point first wins.

Next go on to a game that will challenge your guests’ mental acuity, fine motor skills and, perhaps, drive the weaker-minded completely insane. Try it and see. It is a good stunt.

This is a Blimp-Airplane. The players are seated in a semicircle. The player on one end has an object; it makes no difference what it is. A spool or a thimble or any kind of a wood block will do. The person on one end of the line turns to the next one in line and says, “This is an airplane.” He does not take it the first time, but says, “A what?” to which he replies “an airplane.” The second player then takes the object and turns to the third player and says, “This is an airplane.” The third player does not take it, but says, “A what?” The second player then turns to the first and hands him back, the object ans says, “A what?” He takes the object and immediately hands it back and say, “An airplane.” He then passes it to the third player and says, “An airplane,” whereupon the third player takes it and passes it to the fourth. Each time it must go all the way back to the first man. But in the meantime at the other end of the line an object has been started in a similar way, except the one who started it has said, “This is a blimp,” and the blimp is passing back and forth at the other end of the line. The fun begins to come when the airplane and the blimp cross each other. It is puzzling which way to send each object and what to say. Try it and see. It is a good stunt.
Now it’s refreshment time. Dig out the old sandwich standby, allowing your guests to drown their sorrows in coffee. If you’re out of sandwiches, use doughnuts. And then, as your guests unwind in their aviator togs, spool that old Twilight Zone classic “Nightmare at 20,000 feet,” and identify each actor in the show as a Blimp, Balloon, or Airplane. William Shatner, given his method acting ability, could be any of the objects, all of them, or none. Just try to peg him down.

That’s it for now. But get ready for next week’s party – the Shipwreck Party, which is another costume extravaganza.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer Hiatus

We here at the Cokesbury Party Blog officially decided that this weekend was too nice to be spent slaving away at an update. Instead, we decided to go to the beach this week. We got a leetle bit bloated from the heat. We'll have the Aircraft Party next week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week Seventeen: College Field Day

Come on, Fatty, We Don't Bite

Ah, to revisit the days of youre when every Man's Man and even some of the women participated in sports, wining the hearts of the community, making hell for the dorks and fat kids, assuming they were kings (and queens) of the world . . .

I'm sorry if I sound bitter. My most vivid memory of participating in a Field Day, college or otherwise, was being pulled gently away from the bleachers by a kid in my class because those on the bleachers were trying to spit on the "fat kid" below them.

So, field day. Thankfully, Cokesbury makes a hollow mockery of it all.

Let's start with the invitation:

Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah,
Fifteen rahs for college,
Fifteen rahs for fun and sport,
and forget about the knowledge.
Well, on next Friday evening, let me say,
We're having a regualr College Field Day,
and I also want to think to remark
It's going to be a sure-enough lark.

Now that the mood is set with really bad poetry and memories of fatty persecution, let's move on to the events of the day, by way of instruction:
While the contests area in progress, the other members . . . should cheer their contestants and root for them. This is an important part of the fun and should not be neglected.
Without such instruction, it's easy to imagine the rest of the group watching in stony silence as their compatriots trade blood and sweat for victory. You might want to bring cue cards.

So, here's the first event, which sets the tone for the rest of the evening:
Cross Country Run. Groups line up in paralel lines facig the leader. The leader tells them that this is the cross country run and that each one must race to a goal, about twenty-five feet in front of each line, with the legs crossed. When the first one returns, he touches off the second and takes his place at the rear of the line. The object is to see which group can finish first. Fifty points.
Cokesbury's antecedents, unclear as always, leave one to wonder: Are the goal's legs crossed, or the contestants? Just present this game as-is and cross the legs of the goal and make your guests wonder.

And pay attention to the points. They'll be critical later. Be sure to write them down.

Here's another event:
Standing Broad Grin. One is selected from each group, either man or woman. It should be announced in advance that this is the Standing Broad Grin, so that one with a large mouth will be selected. If desired, have the men contest and then the women. After they have grinned as broadly as possible the leader, using a tape measure, measures the width of the grin. The one who grins broadest winds. Give 10 points for this.
For some reason, this little girl came to mind when I read the description for this game:

If your guests area of a more timid and emotionally fragile constitution, it might be wise to begin your search for contestants by offering another descriptive phrase than "the ones with the biggest mouths." Some might take offense. Also, the germophobes in the group are going to go absolutely ape over the tape measuring part. Be sure to have lots of wipes on hand.

Here's another game, also sure to offend. Or confuse. Or cause uncomfortable out-of-closet moments.
Boxing Match. The groups line up facing the leader for instruction. The first person in the line is given a penny match box. It is better to use a wooden safety match box for this. They are told that the box must be passed down the line and back by transferring it from nose to nose without the use of the hands. Of course, if the box is dropped, it may be picked up with the hand and replaced on the nose. Use only the outer case of the box. Give 50 points to the group that finishes first.
This game presents the host a bevy of logistical challenges, only beginning with making sure that only those who wish to be outed at the party be paired together. Yes, foolish you, there are such things as penny match boxes:

They can indeed be purchased and in bulk to this day. But just how in the name of all that is holy should your guests approach transferring such a box from nose to nose? Should you select a partner with a greasier skin complexion? If you get this figured out, let me know.

Maybe it's best if we move on to another game, this one involving your favorite Cokesbury party prop: a whistle.
Relay Race: Umbrella and Bucket. Select four from each group. The first one in each group is given a folding chair, an umbrella, and a covered bucket with a whistle in it. At the sound of the whistle the contestants are to race, one at a time, to goals drawn on the floor about twenty-five feel in front of each group. They are to unfold the chair and sit in it, raise the umbrella, open the bucket and take out the whistle and blow it, put the whistle back in the bucket and close it, shut up the umbrella, fold the chair and race back and touch off the next one. The group finishing first wins 20 points.
Of all the games I've encountered in Cokesbury this year, this one actually sounds to be the most entertaining. I might even do it at a party with my friends. If I ever threw any parties. And if I had any friends.

Now, this:
High Jump. Select a lady from each group, preferably one who can sing. The one who can sing the chorus of "Old Black Joe" the highest wins 10 points for her group.
Old Black Joe. That just doesn't sound good. According to commenters on YouTube (where reason reigns supreme over raw unadulaterated emotion accented with spittle) the song is either a Stephen Fosteresque longing for good old times when one was surrounded by his or her friends of youth, or an ugly smear harking back to the good ol' days when slavery was the norm. I just know it's really trippy to hear the Von Trapp Family Singers belting it out:

Let's have another game. And as a bonus, it also involves your whistle:
Whistle. One is selected from each group, Each is given a cracker. He is told that he must eat the cracker and whistle "Yankee Doodle" or "Dixie." The one who first successfully whistles the tune wins. Give 10 points for this.
Yeah, a game that involves crackers and the tune "Dixie" will certainly take the curse off that last game. Better move on quickly before the liberals descend en masse and surround Cokesbury Party Blog International Headquarters with a seething angry mob.

It's awards time, thankfully. Tote up the number of points, subtract a few from the group that seemed to enjoy "Old Black Joe" or "Dixie" too much, then award the winningest team a "loving cup" made of two tin funnels, spouts joined, together. "Have other equally foolish and inexpensive prizes for the events," Cokesbury says. I'd not suggest anything made of cotton.

Now it's time for refreshments: popcorn balls, Cracker Jacks, soda pop, and hot dogs. There's that "cracker" word again. I'm leaving now.

But only until next week when we get, thrill of thrills *blogger turns the page in the Cokesbury Party Book* an Aircraft Party. That sounds to be racially and politically correct. Aviators and aviatrixes, tune in next week.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week Sixteen: May Day Party

Comrades! It is time to tear down the crepe paper of Cokesbury parties past to erect the heavy, patriotic bunting of May, and the May Day Parade!

While we in the glorious worker's paradise do not need parties, as every day is a party in the land of Lenin and Stalin! So let us start with the imperialist Cokesbury invitation to the party, as if you really need one:

April showers bring May flowers,
And May brings sunshine and joy.
But Friday night brings a jolly time
For all our bunch -- Oh boy!
So come at eight to Bob Smith's house,
For this glorious day
We're choosin' one to reign o'er us,
And crownin' her Queen o' the May!

So, comrades, we . . . wait a minute. Okay. So it's not that kind of May Day Party. Hang on a minute.

That's a little better. Maypoles, wholesome maidens in odd hats. Ivy-covered cottages and such. Still, need to fix the ambiance just a bit. How 'bout this:

That's better, though Edvard Greig might still be a little bohemian for the Cokesbury crowd. But since you're all gathered at Bob Smith's house for a party anyway, just let it roll. This music, by the way, might be the most interesting thing you do or hear at the party, as this one is subdued, even by Cokesbury's standards.

So take down your pictures of Lenin and Stalin, and get these decorations up quick before your more Republican guests arrive:
This party is planned to be held on the lawn and, if possible, among the trees. A home with a large yard in which there are trees, to the limbs of which could be hung Japanese lanterns, would be ideal. Some of the party would be held in the house. Decorate the house with vines and flowers. There should be sufficient lanterns with electric lights in them to make the lawn light.

Erect a Maypole on the lawy by putting a pole in the ground, fastening streams of crepe paper about ten or fifteen feet long to the top of the pole. THere should be enough of these for each guest.
Now, I don't know what May is like where you live, but where I live, it's not uncommon to have torrential rain or even show showers on any given day of the month, along with winds that would rip any crepe-paper Maypole streamers to shreds. Around here, when we have Maypoles, the streamers tend to be of light canvas heavily stitched to avoid ripping and our Japanese lanterns tend to be 2 1/2 gallon buckets with holes punched in them to let the light escape, so go along with your local meteorological phenomena to create the proper, yet robust, mood.

Now, on to the first game. Hope you have lots of pencils and willing guests.
Flower Writing Contest. Give each couple a blank sheet of paper and pencil. In a given time they are to write all the names of flowers that they can think of. Give a prize to the couple that has the largest list.
Maybe we ought to reconsider Communism . . .

Forget I wrote that. Beause I picked a lame May Day-themed game, that's for sure. SUrely Cokesbury has something better for your guests to do, though it would be fun to see how many people could spell dianthus or chrysanthemum correctly. Here's another game:
Are You There? One player is blindfolded and stands in the center with a pole in his hand aobut eight feet long. Music may be played, although it is not necessary. If music is played, when the music stops, the ones in the line stop, and the one in the center points his rod toward the line. The one toward whom he points must take hold of the end of the rod. The leader says,' Are You There?" The player may answer "Yes" or "Uh-huh." The player may try to disguise his voice in any way possible. If the one in the center guesses who it is, that one must change places with him. If no music is played, the one in the center may stop the line marching around by tapping on his pole with a stick.
I don't know about you, but if I were at a party blindfolded and holding a stick, the first and only thought to enter my mind would be "Pinata!" I think those with whom I made contact with the stick would be hollering something a lot more forceful and meaningful than "Uh huh." I also have to wonder where your'e going to find guests with eight-foot-long hands. Or maybe you dont' live in Unclear Antecedent Land like the author.

So let's move on to the next party game. Good news is, it involves your whistle.
Flower Relay. Divide into two equal sides, and have them form two circles and join hands. One player in each circle is given a flower. When the leader's whistle blows, he must carry this flower in his hand and weave in and out among the players in the circle and in this way make a circuit. He then gives the flower to the next one on his right, and that one must weave in and out around the circle, and so on until all have made the circuit. When all have done this, the game is completed and the circle that finishes first wins.
Again, a popular game in Unclear Antecedent Land. I hope the leader doesn't end up swallowing his whistle as he's dashing through the circle to make one of those vaunted circuits.

Now the Maypole. Nobody ever sets up a Maypole without expecting their friends to dance around it like fools.
Dancing Around the Maypole. Players tand in two circles, the girls on the inner circle facing clockwise, the bosy inthe outer circle facing counter-clockwise. When the music starts, they march in opposite directions and wind up their streamers, the boys holding their streamers over the heads of the girls as far as possible, then they face about and unwind them. The girsl then form a circle on the outside and the boys on the inside, and the girsl raise their streamers over the heads of the bosy and wind and unwinde in a similar manner.
Maypoles, of course, have their roots in Germanic paganism and may actually represent phallic symbols common in spring rites. Make sure to remember to mention this to your more Republican guests only just after they've gotten over the affrontery of your Lenin and Stalin decorations.

Now, it's time to choose the Queen of May, though Cokesbury doesn't make it clear why. I suppose there's nothing better to do. Cokesbury suggests a democratic vote, though it might be more fun to combine such a vote with speeches, electioneering, polling of the voters, caucuses, lobbying and other such truck of the American political system to take the curse off . . . wait, never mind. Once chosen, of course, you have to crown the Queen of May. Do so in this manner, going along with the aforementioned pagan traditions, of course.
Crowining the Queen. After the queen has been chosen there should be a coronation ceremony. Attendants for the queen should be chosen [see electioneering method above] by the one in charge of the party, and these should prepare the throne and the crown (which should be made in advance). Have the guests form an arch with their hands, letting the queen and her attendants pass under the arch of the throne. All then come to the throne and bow or kneel before the throne.
With all the bowing and kneeling, I recommend not using the home's traditional throne, unless the hostess has thoroughly cleaned.

Now all that's left is refreshments. Cokesbury recommends a brick ice cream and lady fingers for a "dainty" refreshment. That's probably what the Queen and all her attendants are for.

That's it until next week. But what a week next week shall be: College Field Day! Groins, get ready to be pulled.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Note on Ice Cream

I have to admit to being a provincial. Where I live, we do have a local ice cream company -- two, in fact -- but I confess to being ignorant if, at any time in their history, they offered ice cream in any shapes other than the traditional gallon brick we're all used to.

Cokesbury, however, as evident at the Easter Party, envisions ice creams in fantastical shapes. That was apparently the norm at the time, as evidenced by this passage from Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt, a near-contemporary to Cokesbury:

Vecchia was not a caterer, he was The Caterer of Zenith. Most coming-out parties were held in the white and gold ballroom of the Maison Vecchia; at all nice teas the guests recognized the five kinds of Vecchia sandwiches and the seven kinds of Vecchia cakes; and all really smart dinners ended, as on a resolving chord, in Vecchia Neapolitan ice cream in one of the three reliable molds--the melon mold, the round mold like a layer cake, and the long brick.

Vecchia's shop had pale blue woodwork, tracery of plaster roses, attendants in frilled aprons, and glass shelves of "kisses" with all the refinement that inheres in whites of eggs. Babbitt felt heavy and thick amid this professional daintiness, and as he waited for the ice cream he decided, with hot prickles at the back of his neck, that a girl customer was giggling at him. He went home in a touchy temper.
So, do ice-crema makers -- or anyone else for that matter -- still make ice cream in shapes other than bricks or barrels? There's this, of course, but are there others? I'd like to know.

Boy Is My Face Red

Okay, so I did all that bragging about this post only to discover broken YouTube links all over the place. I do apologize. I'd blame it on sloppy cut-and-paste methods, but since most all of the methods I use to put this blog together are sloppy, that seems minimalist to say the least.

Anyway, the links are fixed, proper videos are embedded, all is right with the world.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week Fifteen: Easter Party

Easter Bunny Is Watching You.

"Easter is not only the time of the resurrection of Christ," Cokesbury says, "but is also the beginning of spring, the time of the resurrection of nature. The sap begins to rise in the trees, the flowers peep through the ground, the birds sing, and the whole earth takes on the spirit of resurrected life. Easter is the time when spring fever begins to get into the blood, and the time for wholesome recreation has come."

The sap rises, indeed. Be prepared for lots of egg-related puns and enough bunny and chick-themed decorations to make your local holiday-anticipating merchant drool. And for you agnostics and atheists out there, relax. Cokesbury's Easter party is as secular as a car wash. Or, for that matter, Charles Schulz' It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. Witness:

Here's the invitation. Those who hate puns best skip it:
On Thursday evening, we are planning and egg-cellent Easter party. If this invitation is egg-cepted, we are egg-specting you to be there eggs-actly at eight. No eggs-cuses will be eggs-cepted. The girsla re eggs-pected to bring a chick had that was chick long ago, the one bringing the oldest and most ridiculous will win a chick prize. 414 Fern Street.
And, in case you didn't get enough: eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs. eggs. And chick. Don't bother moving to Fern Street; everyone will be too nauseated by the puns to notice you've given the incorrect address. And those who make it that far will egg 414 Fern Street, not your abode, so you're better of not revealing where you live.

Now, for the decorations, which will carry a certain motif even further:
Use yellow and green crepe paper streamers. Pictures of rabbits and chickens should be in evidence. Baskets of Easter eggs should be on the table and the piano. Use flowers, especially lilies in vases or pots.
Don't have a piano? Too bad. Better go get one, now. And if you're going that far, may as well move to Fern Street.

Now of course it's time to get your friends organized, because there's nothing worse than having a bunch of disaorganized friends at a party. Note this organization will make the next two activities, in which you'll encourage your friends to make articles of clothing out of garbage, go that much better.
Partners: Mutt and Jeff. The girls are taken into one room, and the boys remain in the other. The girls are arranged according to height, the shortest in front. The boys are arranged according to height, the tallest in front. The are then asked to number, beginning from the front. When all come together, the boy, the tall one who was in front and number one, will find the girl who is number one and the short one who was at the front, and they will be partners, and so on until all numbers are matched.
Remember, nothing says Easter more than pairing up your oparty guests to resemble characters from a comic strip created at the turn of the 20th century. This is, of course, keeping with the secular theme of your Easter Party (Bonus: Jeff was a resident of an insane asylum, until Mutt recognized his spylike qualities). If your guests need more illustration of the comic hijinx of Mutt and Jeff to get them in the proper Easter spirit, have them watch this:

Now, on to the Easter hats and frocks. Men, this is what Cokesbury wants you to do:
Provide each boy with crepe paper or tissue paper in various colors, and scissors, pins, and paste. Each boy is to make a hat for his partner, using these materials. After all have finished, a prize is given to the one producing the best hat in the estimation of the judges.

In lieu of making the hat, newspaper may be provided with which to fashion Easter frocks. A stack of old newspapers, among them some comic sheets to lend color. Instead of comic sheets, colored crepe paper may be supplied to decorate the dresses with, to make sashes, or collars, ties, etc.
Okay Internet Age, just try doing this activity without a newspaper. Just try. See what your wicked, information-wants-to-be-free attitude is doing? In ten years' time, NO ONE will be able to make a mock Easter dress out of newsprint. NO ONE will go home from an Easter party smudged with printers ink or with a tattoo of Alley Oop or Beetle Bailey on the thigh of their white pants. NO ONE. Is this the kind of world you really want?
You've got me in a fighting mood now. On to the next game:
Fighting Easter Eggs. Give each guest three hard-boiled eggs which have been colored. These can be the same eggs that are used for decorations. They are to fight eggs -- that is, they are to try to break the eggs of opponents by hitting them with their own egg. If they succeed in cracking the shell of the opponent's egg, they are to get the egg. The cracked egg thus acquired may be used to fight with, and it is possible to break a good egg with the other end that is not cracked. Whoever succeeds in winning the largest number of eggs wins a prize.
A prize like a few dozen shattered hard-boiled eggs. Or perhaps they'll be handed back in and use for the refreshments later on. Hope they haven't been out of the cold too long! It might also be a good idea to play a good battlin' song, like Battle of the Banjos or Barry Manilow's Copacabana, during the fighting to keep people in the proper frame of mind.
Note: You would NOT believe how hard it was to find a good rendition of this song on YouTube. Stop that laughing. Of COURSE there are good renditions of this song. And another note: How does one merengue? Ah, once again the Magic of YouTube.) Once your guests are all riled up, it's best to move into the next activity without letting them cool down:
Rabbit Relay Race. Get a number of Easter rabbits from the five-and-ten-cent store. There should be ten of these, although a smaller number will do, even four. In the relay the couples with the even numbers are matched against the couples with the odd numbers. The evens and the odds stand in two lines of equal number facing each other. Five rabbits are placed on a chair at the head of each line. Upon a signal from the leader, the first person in line picks up a rabbit and starts passing it down the line, then another and another until all ahve gone down the line. When they reach the other end of the line, the must be laid on a chair until all the rabbits have passed down. The one on the other end of the line must then start passing them back one at a time. This game may be lengthened by having the rabbits make to laps -- that is, to go down and back twice.
If you do this game, I recommend keeping Copacabana on a recurring loop until everyone is exhausted. Or at least until everyone has stuffed hard-boiled egg remnants into their ears.

Now, as it is wise once the children are riled up to calm them down with a quieter game, I recommend this one. Note to athiests and agnostics: I know this game involved the concept of Sunday. Simply think of it as just another day of the week, which, obviously, you already do.)
Making the Most of Easter Sunday. Give to each guest a sheet of paper with the words "Easter Sunday" written at the top. Allow them five or six minutes to make words from the letters in Easter Sunday. The guest making the longest list of words wins and hsould be given a prize.
Here are a few words I came up with:

saunaed tyres
assay denture
neauseates dry
undersea stay
sauteed yarns
unready asset
unsteady ears

Which is probably what you'll get before this post is over because I'm not done with Barry Manilow yet.

Anal retentives out ther are still wondering, of course, when we'll get to the reason for asking the chicks (remember, never call chicks broads) to bring their "chick" hats. Here you go; you can start breathing again:
Easter Bonnet Contest. The girls have been asked in the invitation to bring an old hat. The older the hat, the better and the funnier. Have them don these hats and parade before the group and the judges. The judges may decide the winner by holding his hand over the contestants and judging by the amount of applause. The one who has the oldest and funniest hat should receive a prize.
Maybe more broken eggs from the previous game, or, perhaps, a requirement to sing Copacabana karaoke style.

That's it, except for the refreshments, which again show off your cutting-sandwiches-into-impossible shapes ability:

Serve sandwiches cut in the shape of chicken or rabbit. A smal souffle cup of candy eggs. Ice-cream modlded as chicken, rabbit, or lily. Hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Truly, I'd love to have the marshmallow concession in a truly Cokesbury neighborhood. And that's it until next week's May-Day Party, except for this. And you know you want to sing along:

Her name was Lola,
she was a showgirl
with yellow feathers in her hair
and a dress cut down to there.
She would merengue
and do the cha-cha . . .

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week Fourteen: April Fish Party

Blogger's Note: I'm probably going overboard (no pun intended) by starting this entry off with a French pun that I have to explain. But it's such a good joke, I'll forge ahead. The sign below this poor crossed-out fish means, for fishermen, that the only fishing allowed in the pond here is if you're standing on the shore. No rowboats and such. The pun here is that "laisse," which means shore in this context, can also mean "leash" in other contexts. So one could read the sign that fish are not allowed unless they're leashed. So laugh through your nose like a good Frenchman and get on with the April Fish Party. Voici:

Simple Simon went a-fishin'
For to catch a whale,
but all the water he could find
was in his mother's pail.

We're going fishin' Friday night
for to catch a sucker
at eight bells come to Paul's house
in your best bib and tucker.

Cokesbury, right off, lets you know this is a down-home, ripely American party, where you won't be forced to associate with anything effeminate beyond ladies squirming at the thought of baiting a hook or anything French whatsoever. Come in your bib and tucker, they advise. This could mean just about anything. People intent on a fishing expedition might come in their waders and flannels. Others might come in top-coats and such. A few of the more effeminate might come in the Jane Austen version of bib-and-tucker as well. Make sure to write their names down and remember not to invite them to the next party.

Oh yeah. Make sure you hold this at Paul's house.

First things first:
Trading fish. Cut out some small paper fisha nd give each guest ten. ANy time during the evening that one guest can April Fool any other guest, that one must give him a fish. Any time during the evening that anyone says or does something funny that makes other laugh, those who laugh must give him a fish.
This is a very important part of the party, as these fish will loom large throughout the rest of the evening and prove that those ninnies who invented Linden Dollars are not the first ones to conceive of a stupid way to monetize useless activity. Or so Cokesbury intimates. But they're never mentioned again. Better hope your guests understood your explanation the first time, or they'll go home with all these paper fish in their pockets wondering what the hell is wrong with you.

Now, for the first game. Oh, this is a good one:
Parts of a fish. Give each guest the following parts of a fish scrambled on a sheet of paper. These should either be mimeographed or done on the typewriter with carbon copies:

1. Ahde. Head.
2. Lait. Tail.
3. Ifsn. Fins.
4. Kocnabeb. Backbone.
5. Isbr. Ribs.
6. Lacecs. Scales.
7. Ehtet. Teeth.
8. Syee. Eyes.
9. Ligsl. Gills.
10. Umtoh. Mouth.
11. Miks. Skin.

A booby prize of a toy fish might be given to the one who gets done last, or a real prize to the one who finishes first, or it might be better to have all the others give one of their fish to the one who finishes first.
I thought of a really fun way to liven this up. Get a real fish and, Operation-like, require that those who unscramble the words also put the appropriate fish part back in place. That would make this party manly American and take the French curse completely off it.

If that's not fun enough, here's one that's bound to entertain:
Kinds of fish. Give guests a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, and tell them they have five minutes in which to write the names of fish. Give a prize to the one who has the largest fish. Ther are about eight hundred kids of fish. It is easy to write the names of forty or fifty in ten minutes time.
Don't worry if youre circle of friends isn't populate with icthyologists. Cokesbury has a boffo twist to this game that will drive the anal-retentives (you have their names from past parties; make sure to invite them in abundance) absolutely bonkers:
You will find that there will be a lot of variation in this. One player in a party we attended, in playin this game, wrote Kingfish, Queenfish, Princefish, Bluefish, Redfish, Blackfish, Brownfish, et cetera. ANother player whote all the names of the fish he could think of, and then he wrote Papa Fish, Mamma FIsh, Baby Fish, Fried Fish, Boiled FIsh, Baked Fish, et cetera. When these lists were read they caused much merriment.
That's a screamer, right! Right? Well, beats Pictionary, at least.

Now, remember how at the past April Fools-themed party, you got a lot of mileage out of making your guests play with your rubbish. Hope they're prepared for a second round of the Garbage Can Tango:
April Fish Menu. Have the following menu printed on slips of paper and passed out to the guests. They are allowed to select any three of the articles on the menu for their refreshments. Of course this is only an April Fool refreshment menu, and after this has been served the regular refreshments will be served. Bring in the three articles selected on small plates. It will e necessary for each guest to write his name on the menu after he has underscored what he wishes, so those in charge will know to hwom to return the menu and whoa re to be served the different articles.

Regular Chicken Dinner (Mixed cracked grain, a chicken dinner)
Bell of the garden (bell pepper, a slice of it)
Girl's Delight (a date)
Fruit of the Vine (cucumber, a slice of it)
Vital Prop (slice of bread
Nude Colonel (shelled nut)
A Chip of the Old Block (toothpick)
Life Preserver (salt)
Good Impudence (chili sauce)
Porcelain Delight (tea)
Salted Nuts (nuts off of bolts, salted)
Spring's Offering (water)

This party kind of reminds me of that MASH episode where Klinger tries to eat the Jeep. He chews on a windshield wiper blade like it were a bit of licorice and uses motor oil to help the nuts and bolts go down more smoothly. If you've got a MASH afficionado among your party guests, I'd suggest bringing that episode and spooling it while your guests attempt to eat their "dinner." Good times, Hawkins. Good times.

The real refreshments, of course, will make up for the rubbish. At least until you trot out the old Cokesbury standbys: sandwiches (at least, this time, cut into the shapes of fish), and fruit punch. Or, for variation, ice cream and angel food cake. Whoopee.

You will say whoopee next week, however, when Cokesbury celebrates Easter with eggs, bunnies, baskets, chickens, and a promising game entitled "Making the Most of Easter Sunday," which, I'm saddened to report, does not involve napping. Come for the Easter Party, stay for the oddities.