Playing Games With Memory

New technology makes it less urgent that we commit facts to memory.

Storming on Bastille Day

Sometimes, we learn most when things go haywire.

Aliens and Monsters

Science fiction authors always mean to open readers’ eyes wider, intending to broaden their perspective.

Play Foul and Fair

Rule breakers come in three varieties: the cheater, the spoilsport, and the game changer. We despise the first, we puzzle over the second, and usually, we admire the third.

Trump Tag

Playing politics on the playground

Alone Together and Going Downhill

Skiers who tune in tune out of the social side of skiing; insulated and cocooned this way, they miss attunement itself—a vital communal component of play.

Risk, Reality, and Croquet in the Age of Alarm

...we do, in fact, now live in a healthier, wealthier, more tolerant, less violent, and more secure world than ever.

Jokes Endangered

Many years ago, with a minivan load of restive kids aboard who needed distracting, I asked them all to tell a joke. In the midst of the silence, my young daughter piped up with a knock-knock riddle I’d made up: “Knock, knock!” she said. “Who’s there?” the rest of them replied, “Margaret Thatcher!” she said. “Margaret Thatcher who?” they wanted to know.

How Charlie Got His Groove Back

Charlie the Dog or The Dood—our undersized, but athletic Goldendoodle—spent his first four-and-a-half years enthralled by squirrels and hooked on the game of chasing them.

Want to Know What Constitutes Play?

Play is a moving target. We may know it when we see it, but pinning play down is quite another thing.

Enough Already!

This winter is one for the books. The usually jovial Al Roker has become a regular on the nightly news, frowning with grave tidings of clippers bearing down from Alberta and screamers screaming south from Saskatchewan. Here at home the snowpack is the deepest in 15 years. We built a snowman (really a snow moose) in the back yard during Winter Storm Neptune.

The Intelligence of the Feet

We play instinctively but not without instruction: nurture informs nature.

In Praise of the Wandering Mind

Daydreaming as play

Zombies for Halloween

Play at the edge of the uncanny valley.

Dreams Amaze and Bemuse Us

Playing games with dreams

Selling Robin Williams Short

The World is Open for Play

Begging An Answer But Not The Question

What’s up with funny words?

Cheaters, Spoil-Sports, Magic, and the Fallen Hero

Fan Psychology and the Tour de France

My Least Favorite Things

Parody as Release

Competition Without Competition

Can games grant us peace?

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?

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