Planet of the Abes

Mashups and Combinatory Play

Chasing Squirrels

Play, sport, or predation?

Seeing Things: Mysterious Faces in the Night Sky?

Intelligent Design or Your Brain at Play?

Cursive for Your Brain?

Drilling in penmanship v. literary play

Putting the Wrong Foot Forward in Florence

How playful travel keeps you on your toes

Giving It a Whirl in the Love Tub

There’s a last time for everything.

Playing It by Ear

I enjoy playing the piano every day. It’s not playing like the kind of playing that people who really know how to play will play. In fact, playing piano is my version of singing in the shower.

Real Guns Are Not Playthings

Can a civil, responsible society allow or endorse manufacturing, selling, and sanctioning use of a deadly weapon made to look like a toy?

Is it Crazy to Talk to Your Dog?

Bedtime stories for your canine friend?

Golf Under Pressure

Golf Under Pressure. Thoughts on the psychology of swearing.

What Do You See When You Turn Out the Light?

In the “hypnagogic state” you may discover your own brain at play.

April Fools!

Some practical jokes and harmless pranks require elaborate conniving, but all depend upon an element of surprise.

“I Love the Gay Eastertide”

In Springtime play varies as much from time to time as from place to place.

The Art of Loving and the Spirit of Play

Remembering Erich Fromm this Valentine’s Day

Top 10 Greatest Sequels Never Filmed

The discipline-straddling British polymath, Margaret Boden, argues that recombination fuels much creativity. I decided to put the combinatory theory of creativity to the test by inventing and playing a simple game with film scenarios.

Is Retail Therapy? Is Shopping Play?

What does myopic misery have to do with seasonal shopping and play?

The Day After Halloween

Putting fear in its place with harmless fun.

The 7 Habits of Highly Playful People

If you’re good-humored, it’s likely you’ll employ these seven habits.

10 Aggravating Things That Keep You From Playing

We’re often faced with situations that bore us stiff and deprive us of play. Here’s my preliminary list of annoying situations—along with an array of antidotes.

What Big Bird Means to the Presidential Debate

Sesame Street has come to be seen as part of the larger approach of the remedial Great Society programs and the War on Poverty launched in the 1960s under President Lyndon Johnson.

The Real Puzzle in Citizen Kane

This lost piece proves to be precisely the puzzle’s most important one.

The Stick: The (Second) Greatest Toy Never Sold

Free play with a stick is truly free.

Mirror Neurons Firing at the House of Blues

It’s Friday night and in dozens of American cities fans make their way to a blues dive. It could be Chicago, or St. Louis, or Austin, but in this case for me it’s Buffalo, where the guitarist is as brilliant and soulful as Clapton and arguably as skilled.

The Ouija Board Explained

At the twilight of the Victorian Age, hypnotists entertained audiences with their mysterious arts, seemingly severing the connection between will and mind in hapless volunteers.