Spice Up Your Relationship

By Angus McPeters

Laura keeps telling me we need to spice things up at home. She leaves magazines open to articles with titles such as “How to Prevent a Mid Life Crisis” and “How to Keep Boredom At Bay.” Well, I’m not dense. Message received, dear Laura. And I agree! Fortunately, I have just the thing to keep things rocking at home. A series of Themed Game nights is just what our group of gaming friends needs!

All I have to do is set a theme such as Catan or Rails, and voilà, the bickering over which games to play ends, or is at least reduced to a manageable few minutes and not half an hour or more wasting time debating instead of playing. This is a calmer method for choosing too. I mean, seeing who can eat the most grass in 3 minutes is not a pretty sight when you have Bob shoveling in the grass and Claire trying to keep up with him. Claire really has no idea who she’s up against, because when Bob is determined, all sense of propriety goes out the window (and grass vomit stains are hard to get out of the carpet, or so I’m told, repeatedly).

Instead of pulling out one of my many Catan games, I decided to go with another popular theme: Rails. While my Rails theme went over beautifully with everyone (except for Laura who appeared a bit cranky) there was very little fighting over what games to play. Anything RAILS was fair game, which meant we only had 10 games from which to choose. Eventually we’ll hold a Rails marathon, starting with the ABCs (Australian, British, and China) of the Rails and playing though the remaining rail games on the list (Euro Rails, India Rails, Lunar Rails, Martian Rails, Nippon Rails, Russian Rails, and Settlers of America Trails to Rails). For this game night, we only had enough time for two games, so we devised a fair and honest way to choose. We blindfolded Claire and turned her around a few times, similar to Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The part that baffled me was why Laura got excited when she saw the blindfold and then dismayed when we placed it on Claire. I had no choice really. Bob said he doesn’t trust me to catch him (forget to catch a ram once and he just can’t let it go) and I get dizzy easily, so that left Claire. Laura whispered that she was hoping we’d use the blindfold in the bedroom. I thought about it for a long moment, during which time Laura looked quite excited. Then I had to break it to her… there just wasn’t enough space for everyone to play Rails in the bedroom. Laura left with a not-thrilled-with-you-Angus look on her face. I must have misunderstood. Obviously, she doesn’t like blindfolds.

We played Lunar and Nippon Rails that evening before we had to break up the fun and get some sleep. Laura went to bed – in a mood, I might add – and I found my rail games in the trash. I feel like I’m missing something important. Something’s nagging at me, and for a change it’s not Laura. Oh, now I get it. Message received, dear Laura. I’ll throw out that blindfold immediately!

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Unsung History: Blaise of Glory

By Angus McPeters

Welcome once again to Angus’s Unsung History. Here we take a long walk into the musty halls of yesteryear and I set you straight on that which has gone crooked in high school history classes all over the world. Here we recognize the contributions of the Illuminati to the Western World. Here we applaud the tireless efforts of the pterodactyl handlers who helped build the Great Pyramids of Giza. Here we thank Spanish Conquistadors for destroying the dreaded Chupacabra.

Here is the rarely told tale of how a man who couldn’t be bothered about much became the Patron Saint of Wool. His name was Blaise.

Blaise was a doctor, but he wasn’t really a very good one. Well, I’m sure he was a fine veterinarian, but somewhere along the way somebody got it wrong and called him a doctor. Lazy Blaisey didn’t correct them, and suddenly he found himself beset with sick humans and animals. People weren’t as particular in the ancient world.

Whenever somebody would come to him with an ailment, Blaise would start out by saying he didn’t care enough to cure them. Because would be patients often mispronounced Blaise’s name and he also didn’t care enough to correct them, this is where we get the word blasé.

Many of the most persistent patients would eventually receive some kind of medical treatment. “Dr.” Blaise would throw together some concoction meant to cure the ailment. Every one of these allegedly medicinal aids consisted largely of brandy, mostly because Blaise always had a lot of it on hand. Due to this primary ingredient, Blaise became somewhat famous for treating ailments of the throat.

Eventually this lackadaisical approach to physicianing caught up with Blaise when the wrong person failed to get better. History records this as a persecution of Christians, but that’s just what happens when things get out of hand.

Anyway, Blaise ran away to the countryside and lived in a cave. He didn’t like the cave much, but he brought several jugs of brandy, so things could have been worse. Naturally, because this is how things work, word got out around the local forest animals that there was a lazy vet who would ply any and all ailments with booze.

And that’s how the hunters found Blaise’s cave. The droves of drunken animals kind of tipped them off. They dragged Blaise back to the city where he was killed with combs that resembled the wool combs. Something kind of like this, but deadlier. (Although I can attest the ones that won’t kill you aren’t exactly comfortable.)

And by dying under combs like that, Blaise the lazy doctor became the patron saint of wool. And throat ailments, but nobody is surprised by this. A little bit of brandy goes a long way.

Years later, a new piece of clothing was invented out of wool and named for St. Blaise. That’s where we get the blazer.

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I’ll Have an Order of Humble Pie with that Super Bowl

By Angus McPeters

I walked into a diner last week and asked what type of Super Bowl they had on the menu. The waitress looked at me as if I was talking with my hoof in my mouth. I left without another word, more because I was hungry than because I wasn’t sure what to say to her. I needed to find a modern establishment if I was going to taste this Super Bowl everyone’s so excited about. I guess if I had pulled myself away from playing Settlers of Catan long enough to actually see the advertisement on TV last night, I would have caught an address.

I moved on to an upscale cafe around the corner from The Bob & Angus Show, where, when I asked for a Super Bowl of Clover, the hostess threw me out. That must have been following one of our less popular episodes. I really should have told her to air her grievances with the writers, as I’m just the face and talent of the show. You would think that would be obvious from looking at my handsome visage.

By the time I entered my third choice for lunch, a food truck, where the owner literally drove off rather than give me a Super Bowl of alfalfa sprouts. I was convinced the people in the local food industry had all lost their marbles. Either that, or this Super Bowl was such a fabulous treat, they were all conspiring to keep it a secret. It was when I was heading back to work to snag Bob’s emergency stash of hi-energy bars that he thinks is securely hidden in his dressing room closet that I realized my error. And of all places to have a revelation, but standing at a light as a bus zipped by, splashing my fine wool coat, I might add. There rested my answer in the form of a Super Bowl ad spread across the side of the bus. Imagine my confusion when I spotted no clover, alfalfa or even a super large bowl in the ad, but rather two burly men going head to head in helmets. In this culture of supersized drinks, fries and meals, how was I to know Super Bowl didn’t refer to yet another scrumptious delight? Imagine my disappointment when I realized there would be no Super-sized Bowls of clover, grass or oats in my future. The only Super Bowl I’d ever find was nothing more than a bunch of oversized behemoths trampling each other.

I returned to work, weak from my lack of food, and heated from embarrassment. Once again, the American vernacular had succeeded in midirecting me. Well, fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, shame on… well, me again. But this was the last time I was going to let something like this happen! Especially when it wasn’t my fault! If you native-born Americans would call things by their proper names, I wouldn’t look like a fool. First, a thief steals the name Football from a superior sport in which players use a football (a soccer ball in your vernacular) and their feet – which is why it’s called FOOT– BALL, people! Then, that same thief attaches the name Football to a sport that thrives on people running one another over while carrying or catching an odd-shaped ball that doesn’t even roll! At best, the daft thing wobbles!

And for those of you who may be thinking, “What does a mere Scot, a ram no less, know about Football?” do not underestimate me. I know of what I speak. After all, the world’s oldest football (once again, what you call a ‘soccer ball’) comes from the place of my birth, Scotland. Per the BBC, this football, from the 1490s, belonged to Mary, Queen of the Scots, and was made from cow leather and pig’s bladder. I’ll excuse my ancestors for their use of animals in constructing their footballs as they didn’t exactly have modern day technology to create plastic footballs. But at least they never named the game of Football, excuse me – SOCCER – after a bowl of food!

What’s next? Is someone going to steal the name Settlers of Catan and apply it to a game where players destroy entire cities, burn the land, and drive the people away? I beg of you, stop befouling time-honored traditions such as my Football and heaven forbid, Settlers of Catan! Take this Super Bowl – Ball – or whatever the heck it is, and run with it. Just leave my beloved Settlers of Catan untainted by your local traditions!

Now, it’s time to finish filming and head home. I have a long day tomorrow. While I never got my super sized bowl of clover, I will at the very least find that special brew that I hear whole groups of men fight over. Not sure where to look, but eventually I WILL find Stanley’s Cup.

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