Re: Slug Bug

1

I've only played that game when I got older. My sister and I used to play things like travel Connect Four or various card games, assuming we could keep the piles of cards from getting mixed up.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 7:52 PM
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God I am so sick of "slug bug." Also, the rhyme game, twenty questions, "tell me a story, mama," "ask me math questions, mama" and ALL THE REST OF IT.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 7:56 PM
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"Are we there yet?" was also a popular game. Along with "I have to go to the bathroom" and My Sibling Has Crossed the Invisible Line Dividing the Car.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:00 PM
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You know what would keep PK entertained? A sister.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:03 PM
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It occurred to me, commenting in this thread, that there's probably a divide between people who traveled with similarly-aged siblings and those who didn't (whether because they had no siblings or age differences or whatever).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:07 PM
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We used to play "let's listen to NPR". Ahh, only childhood.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:08 PM
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"Let's listen to NPR" turns into "twenty questions" really damn quick.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:11 PM
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There's an ad I remember seeing ages ago for Nintendo or somesuch, that starts with a family in a station wagon on a road trip, heartily singing some incredibly annoying endless road trip song. Everyone's singing except one kid who is leaning against the window looking out, with a look of desperation on his face. The camera pans past him and follows his gaze to the car in the next lane, where a kid his age is in the back seat with a pair of headphones on, playing his PSP or gameboy advance or whatever.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:12 PM
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We played the Alphabet Game, where we each had to find the letters of the alphabet in order, on objects outside the car. Whoever finished first won. There are no pizza places or liquor stores along the I-5 in central California, so cheating was inevitable.

My dad had an odd fondness for Mitch Miller, so we did a lot of singing along to Tzena Tzena Tzena and The Colonel Bogey March.

Other than that, we threatened to throw up and tried to kill each other without waking up my mom.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:14 PM
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We mostly read in the car, with occasional forays into "you're poking me" and twenty questions and the geography game.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:14 PM
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We did develop a cheerfully endless road trip song when I was in high school. It was called "Please Don't Say Rectum While You're In The Car".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:15 PM
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We went on car trips every spring and summer vacation. To this day, the smell of stale corn chips or Icees brings on instant carsickness.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:16 PM
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My sister and I actually used a tape recorder to pretend to create our own radio shows (we sometimes did this at home too). Years later I was going through some old tapes and came across bits and pieces of our "shows" that hadn't been recorded over. It was near Christmas; I compiled on a single tape what I could find of my sister acting like a radio host, singing, or playing piano and gave it to her as a gift, without telling her what it was.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:16 PM
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That's an awesome gift.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:17 PM
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We used to read books and eat Cheez-its. I don't remember any of these "spotting" games and never heard of slug bug until high school (this could conceivably be an culture or class thing), although My Sibling Has Crossed the Invisible Line Dividing the Car was definitely a big time favorite for us too.

A while back there was a great commercial for something (maybe tires?) that showed international family road trips. E.g., it started in the US with "are we there yet?" "No, not yet", and then showed an African family, an Asian family, etc, with the kids doing the same whines. It's possible that they didn't even subtitle the international families, but just let the context handle it.


Posted by: dance | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:19 PM
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One game we used to play on return trips was "Predict how many cars we will meet on the way home". The game would begin when we left the Interstate, and depending on which direction we were coming from, it was either 40, 25, or 60 miles from home. If it was late enough in the evening, a winning guess was typically in the range of 5-10 cars.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:24 PM
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In high school, we used to play "that's your boyfriend," but that game works better on city streets than on the freeway.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:24 PM
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We do road trips every year as our vacations are pretty much always a trip to my parent's in L.A., and summer camping trips. My daughters have iPods. Also, I hand them binoculars and a copy of Petersen's Field Guide to Western Birds.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:30 PM
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That book's got a pretty solid binding; good for hitting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:32 PM
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"Name a euphemism for masturbation" was one my friends and I developed for bus trips. It would degenerate into something resembling an Unfoggèd thread rather quickly.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:32 PM
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Before my father quit chewing tobacco, he used to always have a chaw in his jaw during road trips. If you had the misfortune to be sitting in the rear driver's side seat, you had to keep a close eye out for when he was about to spit, and then hurriedly roll up the window (this was before electric windows) before he spat the tobacco juice out the driver's window and a portion of it flew back inside through the rear window.

He was remarkedly resistant to our entreaties to spit into some kind of vessel inside the car. Eventually we got a car with air conditioning, and he got one of those plastic hang-on-the-door cupholders (this was before built-in cupholders, if you youngsters can believe that such a time ever existed), and was able to keep his spit can inside the car.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:33 PM
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Botticelli, if your traveling companions are a bunch of overintellectual twenty-somethings.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:36 PM
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Cup holders are pretty darn recent.

At least he didn't chew glass, or hot coals.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:36 PM
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My sister and I once fought over the ice left in a cup that had a soft drink in it. My dad got so annoyed that he took the cup and swung it to throw the ice out of the car, at which point it was revealed that the driver's side window was clean enough to seem open.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:37 PM
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I used to avoid too much fighting with the siblings by reading, which is carsickness-inducing, so I ended up throwing up a lot. Like, a lot.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:39 PM
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I did a lot of math work in the car. Doing math on trips is probably what led me towards skipping a grade, since I got way ahead by filling in blank after blank in the textbooks.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:41 PM
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My dad made tapes off of his records. That meant Roger Miller and Henry Mancini tapes, all the time. Patsy Cline now and again.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:42 PM
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I read a lot, and tried to draw, which never worked. I also had an elaborate, ongoing, multi-year fantasy of the kickass battle corvette I was going to build.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:45 PM
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Corvette like the car, obviously.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:46 PM
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Why obviously?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:46 PM
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We sometimes played "count foreign-made cars". In Appalachia in the 1970s, this was more of a challenge than it might seem.

On church youth group trips, we would surreptitiously post signs on the rear window of the van that said "honk if like blowjobs" or something similar. I don't think the pastor driving the van ever did figure out what it was about his driving that caused so many people to honk and wave as they went past.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:47 PM
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Dude I was a little kid. Who would let me have a navy?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:48 PM
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24 is awesome.

PK does, in fact, get car sick, and dramamine is pretty good at making kids nod off, which is nice. Sometimes we'll let him watch dvds or cartoons or whatever on one of our laptops.

My sister-in-law (the one Ogged's met) had a job for a couple years that involved a lot of cross-country driving with a partner; they developed a fun game called "is this annoying yet?" Sometimes we'll play that with PK.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:50 PM
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32: same people gonna let you have a car, mebbe?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:57 PM
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We used to play "you have to hold your breath in tunnels", which led to occasional flirtation with hypoxemia in places like the James River Tunnel on I-64.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:59 PM
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My parents went out of their way to keep us up late packing for trips so that we would sleep in the car. There was also a lot of listening to Walkman-alikes and surreptitious reading (my mother claimed that the sight of an open book in her peripheral vision would make her car-sick). The concept of playing car games was something I did not encounter until road-tripping as a young adult.

My mother's sister's family, who almost always went on vacation with us, drove an RV and I was always jealous because the non-drivers would sit around the dinette table and play cards.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 8:59 PM
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I remember the "hold your breath in tunnels" game. And I think we played the alphabet game jms mentioned. Sometimes we got stuck for a long time on a rare letter. We did some 20 questions and a few two-minute mysteries, but we ran out of the latter pretty quickly once we knew the answers. There was also an out-of-state license plate game. I can't remember if there was a non-hitting version.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:03 PM
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We used to play "you have to hold your breath in tunnels"

We did it by graveyards, which impressed upon me how huge some of those Northeast graveyards are.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:04 PM
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My sister and I used to engage in a competition to compose pastiche lyrics to famililar tunes that were full of insults directed at the other, mostly playing on such sophisticated put-downs as "you stink" or "you're stupid". This would generally escalate until my parents got tired of it, or until one of us violated one of my parents' brightline boundaries for unacceptable language (which, it should be noted, included words like "fart", "booger", and "turd").


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:06 PM
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We would read to each other, usually from classics (I hated Dickens) or fantasy (Ursula Le Guin and Anne McCaffrey were favorites). Either that or we'd play Inhale the Secondhand Smoke. Sometimes both. Also, 13 really is incredibly sweet.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:18 PM
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I wonder if my family was the only one to play Password.

Four years ago, we bought a van with the idea that it absolutely had to have a television to sedate our children. To this day, our kids don't realize it exists; we've never used it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:20 PM
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I don't even own a van with a hidden television.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:31 PM
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On my only memorable family road trip when I was 14, my youngest older brother and I split the earbuds for a Sony discman. However, most of my siblings are all a decade + older than me, with this youngest brother only 7 years older, and so the music tastes (and conversations) were really different on road trips together when young. Also, my brother is a 5'10 Asian hick in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, and a red-stater who believes in God and America. So I remember us listening to a lot of Garth Brooks. Also, since it was 1994, listening to Live and REM. But I still like country music because of my brother.

Nowadays we just sit in silence, talk about pop culture, politics, family, and listen to the radio. It feels grown up, but in a sad way. Like, we can't relate well as adults except more formally, and I miss the whole trying to share pop culture and making jokes and punching each other in the backseat. Now since one of us is driving and there's little babies in the back seat, you have to be all careful and shit and not punch the driver.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:48 PM
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Also, 13 was super sweet and awesome.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:49 PM
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On long road trips, my brothers and I played poker. Eh, family values.

In other news, apparently, one can sign up for Crazy Blind Date and not get matched at all. Hey! Fuck you, Crazy Blind Date!

It's okay, though, since I seem to be back together with the dirtbag I previously broke up with (twice...) Clearly, man, I have got this dating shit down!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:54 PM
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Aw, Di. I promoted CBD on Scatterplot recently, and some people thought that I was psycho. Hence, they proved my point about shifting sociological norms and acceptance-level about online dating/internet interaction.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 9:59 PM
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I am, in fact, going on a five hour car trip tomorrow with two small children. We have one portable videogame thingee, but no DVD. If we play a game, it will probably be "I spy" which I loathe. The only thing that['s worse is "guess what I'm thinking of! No, guess! No, a real guess! Come on!"

I'll let you guys know how it goes.


Posted by: Rob Helpy-Chalk | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 10:01 PM
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It's a good time to get them started on Zen mind, Rob. "Hey, let's play that game where we don't play a game."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 10:10 PM
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I did that end-to-end thing in 2003 on a train trip from Ullsteinstraße to Potsdam. Verdict: diverting!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 10:31 PM
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We never went on vacations or roadtrips.

13 was really great.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 10:38 PM
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we would add up liscence plates, the letters worth their scrabble value.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 11:11 PM
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my family would tally up the numerical value of lisc. plates, with the letters having scrabble value.


Posted by: anthony | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 11:12 PM
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I daydreamed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 11:14 PM
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Comment here.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 11:25 PM
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AWB, what was the name of the word game you taught us on the drive back from DC to New York? Or was it Bave's? That game was great.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 05-23-08 11:25 PM
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It's okay, though, since I seem to be back together with the dirtbag I previously broke up with (twice...)

Is it too obvious to say that you should, y'know, maybe not do that? Unless "dirtbag" is an affectionate pet name you guys have. In which case, mazel tov!


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:30 AM
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55: "I'm Going On a Trip"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:35 AM
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We listened to 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Les Miserables' over and over and over and over. I can still grudgingly recite the lyrics to both of them (or the broadway cast recordings, anyway) all the way through. It was the exact opposite of those ex-gay camps you hear about in Newsweek.


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:43 AM
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For those of you who weren't in the car with us, "I'm Going On a Trip" begins with someone saying, "I'm going on a trip, and I'm bringing [word that begins with A]." The next person says "I'm going on a trip, and I'm bringing [previous person's A-word, word that begins with B]," etc. By the end, someone has to recite the whole 26-word series. It's not hard, actually, for grown-ups, but one can challenge the group to come up with themes (sex toys, abstract concepts, names, etc.) that can make the recitation delightful. We had a good time with it on the way back from UnfoggedConII.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:45 AM
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58: I did that too, Rottin'! My family often distracted me from my boredom by making me sing all of Jesus Christ Superstar from memory, without music. Good times. I developed a lovely baritone that way.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:46 AM
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We also played "Ghost," which was really hard. That was the one where someone says a letter, and the next person has to add another letter that does not, with the previous letter[s], spell a word, but suggests the possibility of a real word. The person who is forced to finish spelling a word is out. I think that was Tia's game. Very frustrating but fun!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:49 AM
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it will surprise none of you to know that my mom would split a 5 or 10mg valium in half and give one piece each to me and my brother. we had some peaceful-ass road trips. leaning with my head against the window, watching the verge slide past: good times.

bad times, on the other hand, involved riding from the city to east hampton in my uncle's car; four kids in the back of the station wagon, and uncle jon smoking cigars the whole motherfucking way.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 12:56 AM
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a really good game like this is one person thinks of a 5-letter word, and the other people take it in turns to say a 5-letter word, and the word-setter answers with the number of letters that the word being asked has in common with the secret word. you have to carefully devise 5 letter words that use every letter of the alphabet in turn, and remember what the answers to all the previous matches were, and whoever eventually figures out the word wins. it's wicked hard, actually, if you play it without writing anything down; much easier if you can record the answers (I think it was a mass-produced game called jotto in the written version). leonard bernstein kind of befriended a friend of mine who as a choir boy sang in a production of bernstein's mass, and he learned to play it at bernstein's place where it was a family favorite.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 1:04 AM
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58: I developed homosexuality and atheism. Your car must have had better speakers or something...


Posted by: Rottin' in Denmark | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 1:17 AM
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We're a game playing people: Hearts or Charades in place, Alphabet or 20 Questions on the move. It's easy to forget just how hard Charades is for someone who didn't grow up playing it, or didn't grow up with the same cultrual milestones.

(My siblings remember the signals for Tuxedo Junction, Martin Chuzzlewit, and The X Bar X Boys And The Sage Brush Mystery -- the first of which was developed by my parents' neighbor in Newark in 1954).


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 5:43 AM
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61: Randall Munroe (of xkcd) has worked out a winning strategy for ghost.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 5:45 AM
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not the road trip games, coz our parents like always split us in the summer, one would go to the grandma's place, one would go to the pioneer camp one would stay home and all in rotation etc, maybe that way it was easier to handle kids during the long summer break
so we had similar experiences but not the same memories, we played a lot ouside with other kids though
i recalled the word game called name the movie, for example NCFOM - no country for old men, or there was another game one would whisper a word into the ear of the kid who sits next, and the word is transmitted through the chain, it comes out very distorted then all say what they heard and the person who misheard the word and transmitted it wrongly first gets some kind of punishment, there were other games i don't recall all the rules


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 5:50 AM
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read, that whispering game is usually called "telephone"


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 5:56 AM
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we don't call it that though, or maybe it was called that, i forget
another, not a word game, people in two teams hold their hands forming a chain, then one from the team runs with all speed into the other chain tries to break it, if breaks returns with a captured gamer
the longest chain team wins
how it is called in english? we call it 'let's break the chain'


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:03 AM
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I think that's Red Rover -- along with the call-out. And so it is. WRT Telephone, you'll frequently see the game offered as analogy.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:12 AM
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As here.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:19 AM
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69: Sounds like Red Rover or bulldog.

Hard to play in the car though. "I spy with my little eye" was always a favourite, or if it was dark, "I imagine with my little brain".


Posted by: buttersideup | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:21 AM
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I'm very prone to carsickness, or I'd have cheerfully read. We tried a lot of the games mentioned here, sometimes successfully. But mostly a lot of relatively idle chatter or long stretches of silence. Compared with today's, the cars of the fifties and sixties were very noisy at speed. Particularly when the side vents—always called "no-drafts" by my dad—were open, you couldn't hear much conversation or radio w/o them being quite loud.

So I have a very clear memory of the countryside of the NEastern US and Eastern Canada from those days, especially what's changed, like the heavy pall of smoke over and around cities like Cleveland, Akron, Erie, Buffalo and Rochester. Also Pittsburgh, and much of NJ. To be even-handed, also St. Catherines and Hamilton.

When my kids were small about a dozen years ago, we drove a rented car from Portland over the mountains to Bend, and on another day down to Crater Lake. We had charming tapes of good singers singing for children, which I still remember pretty fondly.

But the relative quiet of a modern car creates a very different environment.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:44 AM
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My Crazy Aunt Kim

"My crazy Aunt Kim went to the store and bought an apple."

The next person repeats that an adds something with a b, and so on.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:44 AM
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I just scrolled up and saw that my cousin AWB played a similar game.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:47 AM
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We used to play "let's listen to NPR". Ahh, only childhood.

Ha! That is what I make my son and daughter play.
Although sometimes we play Spanish cds in a half-hearted effort to learn spanish.

And sometimes we play, "How to convince my daughter not to beat the crap out of everyone in the car!"


But not this week, she got A++s on Weds, Thurs, and friday. I am so proud. Plus, she kept talking in this funny, high soft, cutesy voice.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 6:50 AM
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i like that my explanation comes across as an identifiable game
have a nice trip, Becks
summer in the city
nice lyrics, though the bride is redundant imo


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:20 AM
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I'm very prone to carsickness

I always thought I was prone to carsickness, too. Turns out, I mostly just get nauseous if I'm in a car in which, say, a parent is smoking with all of the windows up.

In addition to poker tournaments, we played some fierce games of, "Stop touching me!" and "Mom, he's not staying on his side of the line!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:28 AM
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leonard bernstein kind of befriended a friend of mine who as a choir boy

Discreet.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 10:31 AM
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We listened to a lot of old-time radio shows on cassette. Jack Benny, the Bickersons, stuff like that. No summer trip to grandma's house (a full day's drive) was complete without listening to the Orson Welles radio production of War of the Worlds, which still holds up pretty well.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 11:42 AM
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End-to-end works great if you can maneuver someone wh ois not familiar with the geography of Mexico into playing something which ends with 'h', because then "Halifax".


Posted by: Anthony | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 5:00 PM
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We didn't have a car growing up, but our favourite travelling game was imaginary Noddy books. For example, NCOUWHSBW.

read, we call the whispering game Chinese Whispers. For some reason this has not become un-pc yet.

These days, DSs and MP3 players make journeys easy. And singing - show tunes are always great, and my kids are currently completely obsessed with Weird Al Yankovic so we get a LOT of his stuff.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 5:47 PM
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In my family we played "sing along with Simon and Garfunkel" and "get tired of Neil Diamond and make fun of mom for repeatedly singing 'you don't sing me flowers.'" The Simon and Garfunkel resulted in a sudden realization, years later as I was driving home for a weekend in college, that the words to "Cecilia" had meaning my seven-year-old self (who knew them, and all other Simon and Garfunkel lyrics, by heart) couldn't comprehend, and that the message of the song was not one my parents are the sorts of people to endorse.

To some degree I still believe all road trips should start with "Mrs. Robinson."


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:18 PM
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Simon and Garfunkel was indeed great roadtrip music, as was the Big Chill soundtrack.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:25 PM
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Ghost is a fabulous game.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:26 PM
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Thick as a Brick amd Trout Mask Replica are good driving music.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:37 PM
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We sang a lot, but had a very specific repertoire of "songs my dad knew" that I mostly hadn't heard anywhere but from Dad singing them. Led to a number of moments in adult life where I'd find out "Huh. 'Autumn leaves are falling' is a Hank Williams song. Who knew?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:45 PM
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87: I was shocked when I learned "Ghost Riders In The Sky" and "Spirit of New Orleans" were not, in fact, obscure folk songs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-24-08 7:47 PM
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