Sunday, July 24, 2016

Is it real, or is it . . . Meredith?

Oh all right then, the last one was posted by a "fan". But I think it makes a point. With the exception of an extremely blurry profile picture (below), these are all the photos currently posted on Meredith McIver's Facebook page. I mean, all of them! At first the page didn't exist (she doesn't seem to have a footprint anywhere on the internet), then an empty Facebook page sat there for several days. Then, this! Many people are taking this very, very seriously and saying, "You see, folks? She DOES exist. You were being really stupid believing all those dumb conspiracy theories." From the comments, I'd say at least 3/4 of readers believe this is her real page. People don't really look at photos, and if they do, they believe what they see without questioning. Oh, there she is with Trump. . . with Michelle Obama . . . with  - Whatsisname. . . 

But I still don't buy it. She's a cardboard cutout, as convincing as the photojob you can see in these pictures. And yet, if we express any doubt of her existence, we're quickly clapped down for being one of those survivalists with guns and dried rations in his basement. 

The "proof" I'm hearing is stuff like: she co-wrote several books with Donald Trump in the 2000s. Look! It says so right on the book covers! And if it's in print, it MUST be true. My grandma used to say that (or was it my great-grandma?). She's 65 years old (though she looks more like 40 in the pictures). She went to ballet school, or someone named Meredith McIver went to ballet school, somewhere. She was born in New York and raised in New Jersey, or something like that, and that matches up with "a" Meredith McIver, so she must be real!

I still believe that her name/identity were either wholly invented so that someone could take the fall for Melania Trump's disastrous plagiarized speech, or perhaps they just pulled the name of a real person out of the files - someone now so disconnected from Trump that she's likely to keep her mouth shut (perhaps for a price).

To me, "proof" would be seeing an interview with her on network TV, or perhaps on the news. Anything at all would do, but it has to have her face on it, and it has to have her wearing something besides that dreadful polka-dot jacket. The excuse for her remaining out of sight is that she needs to keep a "low profile" to play down the embarrassment of the theft of Michelle Obama's speech (which was, of course, entirely her fault).

Someone is having us on here, of course. Michael Moore? Who knows. He's too busy predicting the end of the world as we know it (and he might just be right). There's no way in the world this is a valid Facebook page, but where IS her valid Facebook page? Why is it enough for some people to say "she co-wrote a book with Trump, therefore she must be real"? It might be a pseudonym. Such things have been known to happen. I just don't see anything that holds up. And the panicky/contemptuous tone of the articles debunking the "conspiracy theory" is suspicious to me, too. "Stupid idiots! How can you doubt Trump's integrity? He would never do a thing like this. That's as stupid as believing in Bigfoot."

As a matter of fact, I like the Sasquatch photo best, and it's just as skilfully photoshopped as all the rest of them. Her profile picture is so blurry that you really can't tell who it is, which makes me wonder. Maybe she really IS blurry, though - her identity certainly is.

Sorry. . . this is an awful game

Monopoly, Sorry, Yahtzee, Clue. Some board games are classics and have been staples of family fun time for decades. Then there are those odd games where you simply crack open a bunch of nuts, or slowly murder a large mammal with gravity. We dug through some old Sears catalogs from the 1960s to remember the forgotten board games of the decade.

Did you play any of these?


Twister is game already full of flirtation and suggestion, so it is suprising that a younger spin on the game blantantly called LOVE existed in the midcentury. "Use your hands and feet to spell L-O-V-E," the ad proclaimed. Our parents would have put the kibosh on this scenario immediately.


Here is "the game that gives you a funny feeling." Players put their hands inside a box and fondle and plastic toy, trying to guess what it is. Once you've become familiar with the 23 little objects, the game was pretty much pointless. Of course, you could also just cut a hole in a shoebox and make your own.


This glow-in-the-dark game looks pretty fun, with its little plastic snakes, bats, keys and spooky trees. Oh, and feathers! That being said, with all the tiny parts, there's no way kids weren't losing some pieces.


You wear a belt with rings attached to it. You run around. Your friends try to rip off the rings. Hours of fun!


Bucket of Fun combines all the fun of cleaning up your toys with… well, that's it. Plastic balls erupt out of a plastic bucket. You gather them up. This is like selling a deck of cards just to play "52-card pick up."


For a mind-numbingly simple game — you swat a bee — the description is rather long-winded: "Spin bee on spinning card. Watch closely where he stops. Spinner has 4 colors that correspond to Bee Launchers. If spinner stops on your color act quickly to get your bee up before he's caught on the launcher. If bee is caught before launch, catcher gets 2 points… after launch 1 point. Winner is the one with most points."


Hey, kids! Want to rupture the spine of an ungulate? Just overburden this poor Bactrian camel with wood and watch his back snap in two! Ha! Just because "the straw that broke the camel's back" is a common idiom, that doesn't mean it makes for a good game.


Feed a clown marbles.


Pick open a bunch of plastic walnuts, looking for marbles. At least with real nuts, you can eat them.


More proof that all you needed to make a game in the 1960s was some plastic food and an idiom. Though, technically, isn't the goal of the game — dumping beans into a pot — "spilling the beans"?


What more could children want than a cold, ultilitarian, multi-purpose game from "gambling expert" John Scarne. Okay, maybe on second thought we'll play with that plastic camel.


Another thing kids love: the tragedy and politics of the evening news!


"Cecil is a hand puppet that really talks… He directs the game." Obey the dragon!