March 15, 2015 |
Cheri Cutler and her 6-year-old son, Jacob Weisgold, have a routine: Every morning, Jacob gleefully tells his mom by how many points he's beating her friends in Words With Friends. Jacob, a kindergartner at St. Peter's School, started playing Words With Friends, a digital adaptation of Scrabble, when he was 5, looking over Cutler's shoulder and taking her phone. At first, Cutler didn't think much of it - he was just a little boy who wanted to spend time with his mom. "Then he started taking my phone and making words bigger than I could make," she said.
November 11, 2012 |
As night fell on the eve of the return to Eastern Standard Time, the power was restored in lower Manhattan to thousands of apartments, including mine. Neighborhood by neighborhood, streetlamp by streetlamp, amid cheers and hallelujahs, a sense of relief began to ensue as the blinding blackness lifted, and the unseasonably chilly autumnal air that filled our homes these last days was replaced by a familiar warmth and comfort. Just as quickly as I had become one of the "have-nots," the unfortunates living below 40th Street post-Sandy, I was thrust back into my former status as one of the "haves," those once more living with the basics: heat, water, flushing toilets, electricity.
November 1, 2012 |
Once again, I awoke under the table. When you buy a gardener's cottage that sits deep in the woods on a purling creek, you don't fast-forward 24 years and think what that house would be like during a hurricane for the ages. Those shady trees become howling missiles. Small appliances jet by in that whitewater creek. So after the electricity went out the second time Monday - after the Scrabble by candlelight, the gas-cooked spaghetti alla carbonara and the growler of South Philly IPA - we staked places to sleep on the first floor as Sandy's unblinking eye headed our way. One son made his bunk in the den. The other flopped on a nearby couch.
October 31, 2012 |
Once again I awoke under the table. When you buy a gardener's cottage that sits deep in the woods on a purling creek, you don't fast-forward 24 years and think what that house would be like during a hurricane for the ages. Those shady trees become howling missiles. Small appliances jet by in that white-water creek. So after the electricity went out the second time Monday, after the Scrabble by candlelight and the growler of South Philly IPA, we staked places to sleep on the first floor as Sandy's unblinking eye headed our way. One son made his bunk in the den. The other flopped on a nearby couch.
August 15, 2012 |
ORLANDO, FLA. - One of the top young Scrabble players in the country has been kicked out of the game's national championship tournament in Florida after being caught hiding blank letter tiles, organizers said Tuesday. John D. Williams, Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association, said that a male player was ejected from the 350-player event in Round 24 of the 28-round event. The cheating was spotted by a player at a nearby table, who noticed the ejected player conceal a pair of blank tiles by dropping them on the floor, organizers said.
March 18, 2012 |
John Green was in prison when he got the word - eight letters spelling S-c-r-a-b-b-l-e that he says helped him turn his life around. "Robbery, burglary, I was no good as a kid," said Green, who spent 24 of his 51 years behind bars. But prison changed all that. While incarcerated, the Philadelphia native learned how to play Scrabble and how to dominate other players in the game. He spent so much time playing it that when he left prison, his family encouraged him to join the National Scrabble Association.
January 25, 2012
Cheating to win is fun in video and social games. Many smartphone applications offer "cheats" for solving word games and the like. Your fake prowess will amaze friends - or enrage them. There's no better way to prove the grudging acceptability of a little cheating than to see the profusion of "cheats" apps in the Android Market and App Store. Cheats for The Sims, for Call of Duty, for Farmville. An app called Ultimate Cheats , by Digital Hot Sauce, is $1.99 for iPhone in the App Store.
January 6, 2012
TELL ME, which Rick Santorum do you hate? The one who compared sodomy to bestiality, thereby insulting the type of people who engage in either - or both? (Not to mention the folks at PETA.) Or the one who believes that the unborn are more than just disposable masses of protoplasm and deserve the same respect that you'd give to any other creature of God? Or, speaking of God, the one who thinks that purging any vestige of religion from the public square is an intentional misreading of the Establishment Clause, one that wouldn't even pass muster with the Warren Court?
April 21, 2011
WHEN JOHN GREEN was hired to be a photographer for Fan Foto in 2007, he had never held a camera in his hands. Zoom forward four years, and he's among the best in the firm, which contracts to take photographs of fans at sporting venues such as Citizens Bank Park. Fan Foto is owned by SharpShooter Imaging. Advance to two weeks ago, and the 50-year-old Green is fired just after the start of the baseball season because a background check showed he's an ex-con. Green, stunned and hurt, says he disclosed his status during his job interview with Fan Foto.
December 28, 2010
IF YOUR FAMILY is anything like mine, they could be found the day after Christmas working their thumbs. That is, they probably spent the day hunched over a five-inch screen on the latest electronic game or gadget in their collection of virtual realities. I almost sat on my youngest granddaughter, who was on the sofa curled up under a blanket. She was blotting out the light around her to create a sharper contrast for her digital screen. Fortunately, her parents insist that she spend an hour or so reading every day. So she keeps her e-reader just outside the blanket in case her mother or father get medieval on her and enforce their reading rule.