Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week Twenty-Four: Aquatic Party

1930s Swimwear: Men Show More Leg

Folks, first of all, you have to remember that in 1932, the Depression is going full bore. It was quite common back then for any kind of ordinary daily outing to be suddenly destroyed by a dust storm, a slab of poorly-maintained beef, or an early John Ford movie. So it's with that kind of spirit in mind that Cokesbury introduces its Aquatic Party with the following statement:
Conditions under which this party is held may make impossible the using of all the things suggested.
So try to keep a stiff upper lip as the party opens, certainly with an invitation:

In the good old summer time
It's just the season prime
To get into the water cool
With your friends and mine.
So bring your suit and water wings,
For the water will be fine,
And we'll sizzle good old hot dogs
By the silvery moonshine.

Ogden Nash certainly could have helped these folks out with their poetry. But this is a conservative party, mind you; it's much more important to know that the water will be fine and there will be hot dogs present, rather than worrying about the liberality of having the iambic pentameter be strictly correct.

And, yes, those are swimsuits they're wearing in that first picture. Here's a trick of evolution: Frankly, men's suits (with the exception of that abomination Borat wore, have not evolved much, at least for common society. Sure, they get their little speedos and thongs, but they're the exception, not the rule, at least where I live. We live, to paraphrase Victor Borge, in a cold country, so we don't wear any kind of suit that might make getting what sticks out back in again difficult.

But the ladies' suits. They've evolved quite a bit. Even the modest suits of today reveal more than these. And these. And by the way, lady, second from the right in the black-and-white with the diamonds, I LOVE your hat.

The Hat Also Doubles as A Radar Reflector

But I digress. On to the party. Since this is your party, it's only kosher to ask your guests to bring everything you need:

Each person should be asked to bring something. A committee should designate someone to bring five pounds of wieners, or perhaps several will have to bring wieners if the group is large. Someone else will be asked to bring buns or rolls. Someone will be asked to bring some wood if it is not to be found where the party is held. Old wire coat hangers straightened out make good roasters for wieners. Cabbage slaw goes well with wieners.
I think they're fretting too much about the wieners, personally. Try to keep a straight face when you ask the designated guest for five pounds of wieners. They're just not sold that way today. They'll ask "How many packages is that," then wander to the store, confused, and likely not come to the party at all because commerce has changed to the point a man can't walk into a store and ask for five pounds of wieners without getting really weird looks from the butcher -- who isn't a butcher, but some idiot in a hair net or paper hat who occasionally runs the meat slicer and has to re-stock the packages of pre-fab hamburger.

Now since this is an aquatic party, it's a sure bet someone is going to have to get wet before the party is over. Cokesbury thoughtfully divides the games up into four categories, with which you may entertain your guests and subtle sort them out into three classes: Annoying Jocks, Annoying Competitive Fools, Annoying Torturers of Small Animals, and Shore Wimps, viz:

Aquatic Events:

  • Have a dash the length of the pool. Contestants may use any desired stroke. Give a prize to the winner.
  • The Plunge. Contestants plunge off the edge of the pool and the object is to see how far they can go without moving the body. Contestants try this one at a time and the distances are recorded.; The one who plunges the farthest wins. Judges should see that after the plunge there is no body movement.
  • Fancy Stroke. Have a race in which the contestants use the different fancy strokes, as the back stroke, the breast stroke, the crawl, etc.
  • Turtle Race. All contestants are placed on one side of the pool. The swim is to be the short way of the pool This is a strenuous game, and the girls should not compete against the boys, but should have a separate contest. At a signal from the leader all plunge in and swim to the other side of the pool. The five to reach there last are eliminated. If the number is large, it is better to eliminate a larger number. Then the leader's whistle is blown again and they swim back. Five more are eliminated. So they swim back and forth until there are only two left. It is a good idea to let contestants rest a minute between each try. When the boys have tried this, the girls have a try. It is better with the girls to eliminate a larger number so that no girl will have to swim the width of the pool more than four times.
Now, obviously, that last game is going to make the Annoying Female Jocks and feminists in general go absolutely ape. Be sure to be wearing your own swim trunks as you announce the rules, because it's likely you're going to be tossed into the pool by a bevy of broads convinced they can kick your sorry little rear, and with cause, because they can.

And can anyone fathom why the last event is called a Turtle Race? Because Cokesbury does not explain it at all.

Now on to the Aquatic Games:
  • Water Basket Ball. Rig up some goals about four feet above the water. Barrels or large garbage cans or washing tubs would make good goals. These could be set on each end of the pool. The game is played just like regular basket ball and the points scored in the same way.
  • Water baseball. lay something as a marker for the home plate, first, second, and third bases on the edge of the pool. Choose nine players on a side. The game is played in the same manner as baseball, using a large paddle for a bat and a rubber ball about the size of an indoor baseball. The is game may be played on the beach or in the surf if the water is not too deep and the sand is smooth.
I'm not exactly sure when the basket met the ball in basektball, but it obviously was not before 1932. And I think it's a pity that the American drive for innovation has led to standard basketball hoops, complete with backboard and net, custom-built for pool activity, have replaced the ingenuity of wash tubs, barrels, and other anachronisms. I sure hoped they played their "basket ball" with onions tied to their belts.

No matter. Move on to the Stunts:
  • Terrapin Race. Have some of the boys look up two or more terrapins and keep them until the time of the partyl. Mark off a starting place and a finish line. Put them on the starting line and number them with chalk and see what happens. This is very funny.
  • Duck Race. Get a duck, cut off the feathers on its wings so it cannot fly, and put it in the water. Give a prize to the boy who can bring the duck to the shore. Many times by the flapping of his wings the duck will force the swimmer to release him when he is almost to the shore.
  • Three-Legged Swimming Race. Take four, six or eight boys and tie two of their legs together for this race.
Preferably, the boys tied together should be the one who really, really enjoyed cutting the poor ducks' flight feathers off. (I do not, obviously, recommend any of these games. I've seen a goose literally scare the shoes off a person who approached it, and that goose had all of its feathers. Ducks are no more gentle when cornered.)

It's time for refreshments now, thankfully. The jocks are still primping on the beach. The feminists are still trying to find and drown the idiot who suggested they not compete with "the boys." And that damn duck is seeking revenge on the morons who plucked its feathers. It must be time for refreshments. Get your wieners out.
As soon as the dark comes, move form the pool to the beach and make a fire. Roast wieners by the fire and serve with cabbage slaw and mustard on buns. It would be will also to have some marshmallows to toast. It is well to ahve sandwiches also and watermelon for dessert. Cold bottled drinks can be easily served. After the meal is over, play games by the firelight or the moonlight.
It would be well if Cokesbury had suggested guests bring marshmallows, sandwiches or watermelon, but no matter because it would be even more well if the free-loading party throwers brought their own damn refreshments rather than sponging off their guests.

If none of your guests have drowned, get them ready for a real whizz-banger of a party next week: Fourth of July Party!

Cokesbury (and YouTube) Take You There

Just as a prelude to today's Aquatic Party update, and to revel in the outfits, vehicles, games, and that really annoying projector noise, I present this:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week Twenty-Three: Bible Party

Time for a Party!!

It should be noted that I feel sorry for this guy. Or at least feel his pain. I went door-to-door like this for nearly two years in France, finding little success but having a wonderful time getting to know the people i met, including all of the Portugese and Spanish folk who live in France. But I have to admit that when my friends and I get together to play games these days, we don't necessarily get as churchy as this game is.

Here goes, first with an invitation -- something we haven't had in a while:

Come to our Bible Party,
Don't think it will be dry.
We will have a lot of fun,
Or know the reason why.
We'll have laughter games, and stunts galore,
And you'll have a better time,
Without spending a single dime,
Than you've ever had before.

Frankly, when a rhyme has to try so hard to convince you you're going to have fun at a Bible Party, you have to wonder if the invitation doth protest too much. After reading through this party, I have to say yea, verily, there are many protestations.

(I want it noted I'm not poking fun at this party because I'm one of those chic athiests. I'm not, as evidenced here. It's just a boring party, that's all. I've been to scripture-themed parties (and actually created a few myself) that blew books off the shelves from ten feet away and scared the socks off some poor librarians. And that was just when the kettle of clam chowder I was making exploded.)

Here's the first game: Bible Pi.
Slips of paper with a typewritten list of the following names of books of the Bible jumbled are given to the guests. Theya re to write the name of the book by unjumbling the letters:

(1) Karm
(2) Cats
(3) Jonaj
(4) Hajsou
(5) Nessige
(6) Napsehies
(7) Loje
(8) Lemonphi
(9) Kule
(10) Soam
(11) Sutti
(12) Medlai
(13) Numah
(14) Smalps
(15) Whettam
(16) Hacim
(17) Hertes
(18) Morans
(19) Levantoire
(20) Rubmens
(21) Reza
Reading this list helps you realize two things: You now know where Christopher Paolini went to find names for his sundry characters, and you realize that you've just witnessed the birth of a common Internet meme a full fifty years before the Internet was a reality. Bonus points for the first person to identify that meme in the comments section. That is if I had any readers.

Here's another game that's likely to incite stony silence from those in the room. For added fun, take your guests to a public place like a library or courthouse, then watch as the athiests, agnostics and others around you try to prevent their heads from exploding as you play.
Identifying Bible Pictures. Get a series of Bible pictures from one of the teachers of small children of the Sunday School. Hang these from the window curtains and draperies, and lay them on the tables or piano, or hang them on the wall. Have these numbered and give each guest or couple a sheet of paper and ask them to number the paper with as many numbers as there are pictures. Let them guess what the picture represents by number. Give a prize the the one having the largest number correct. New Testaments or small Bibles make good prizes. Other suggestions would be small storybooks like the stories written by Van Dyke, or the Greatest Thing in the World, by Henry Drummond.
Uh-oh. I think I just heard something explode, and I'm not even on public property.

If -- and, given the state of our world these days, this is a big if -- your guests find this game too easy, I'd suggest finding (or drawing) photos or pictures of a few of the more obscure events in the Bible for this game, including when Elisha gets all cranky over some kids calling him baldy. (For lots of athiest angst, I recommend typing "go up thou bald-head" into any search engine. Hours of laughter.)

Here's the next game, lest you think Bible-thumpers never let their hair down, like this guy:

(That's Billy Sunday, by the way, someone Sinclair Lewis detested. Pick up any of his books to find out. Eventually he ambles around to denigrating him, which is is right.)
Bible Character Race. Print the names of the following Bible characters on large squares of cardboard: Adam, Boaz, Caleb, Daniel, Esther, Festus, Goliath, Herod, Isaac, Jonah, Kish, Luke. This is a relay race, so have the party divided into two groups. This may be done by counting off one and two and having all the ones form one group and the twos the other. They form two lines facing each other. The first one in each line is given the twelve cards so that the letters do not come alphabetically. They must be passed down each line one at a time, and the last man must lay them on the floor and arrange them alphabetically. When this is accomplished, he must start passing them one at a time back, passing back Adam first, Boaz next, etc. The first group to have all the cards back alphabetically arranged wins. This could be prolonged by making a race out of it and having the cards go down and back two or three times and then have them arranged the last time.
Your guests will be out of breath after this one, rest assured. And there's always the chance that during the passing of the cards, you'll get a glimpse of a lady's ankle under all the gussets.

Now it's time for even more Bible fun and brings up that anachronism once again: The typewriter. How quaint.

Bible Riddles. Have the following riddles written on slips of paper with a typewriter. The guests are asked to write the answers. Give a prize to the one having the largest number correct:

(1) When is baseball first mentioned in the Bible? Genesis 1:1, in the beginning (the big inning).
(6) In what order did Noah come from the ark? He came forth.
(9) When was paper money first used? When the dove brought the green back to Noah.
(19) Who was the first great financier? Noah. He floated a company when the whole world was in liquidation.
(23) How do we know that there will be no women in heaven? The Bible says that there was silence in heaven for one minute.

You know, these are so good, I don't even wait for a Bible Party to come along before I tell them.

Now it's time for refreshments. No manna, sorry, but you do get cake and ice-cream or cake and iced tea, or, if it's cold, hot chocolate or coffee and sandwiches.

Please tune in next week for the Aquatic Party, which is Out of Doors. Get ready for lots of photos of people in full-length swimming suits, complete with lapels.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

We've Got the Ick

We here at the International Headquarters for the Cokesbury Party Blog are under the weather. Nothing as dangerous as H1N1, mind you, but enough to keep us out of commission for the weekend. Alas, Cokesbury's vast audience will have to wait until next week for a party. So sorry.