Tag: Choice

Day 994: The Game Of Milton Bradley’s Life

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I confess: I am but one week away from commemorating my 40th year on this planet, and I have yet to ever play The Game of Life. This is not due to some ethical or existential objection to simulating the course of one’s existence upon a square slab of cardboard, but rather due to my friends and I having spent our youthful recreation time with Star Wars toys and kindly ol’ Super Mario. I never got around to playing Candyland either.

As beloved as this board game may be, with its plastic minivans, its cruel cash-drains and generous paydays, buried deep within its roots is a transformative story. The original version of the game, concocted by Mr. Milton Bradley himself, elevated the concept of gaming from prescriptive quests for moral elevation to a more practical and modernized measure of success. More importantly, it came packaged with choice.

The Game of Life as we know it (well, as you probably know it, since I’ve never played the thing) features one early decision: go to school or get a job. After that, each soul is subjected to the whim of the spiteful spinner, suggesting that life is but a cavalcade of random collisions, and that we are always at the mercy of the fickle flick of fate. Mr. Bradley’s outlook on destiny was far more empowering.

Milton Bradley, 1860s

Tracing the Bradley lineage would suggest that a rather dreary definition of “life” could have taken center-stage in his outlook. The family tree was planted in America in 1635, and since then its bark shows the hatchet-marks of murder, Indian attack, kidnapping, and at one point hot embers being poured into an infant’s mouth. When Milton finally squeezed his way onto the planet in 1836, the Bradleys were a little less prone to being butchered, but far from being economic titans. Read more…

Day 439: Thirst Is A Battlefield

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You walk into your local convenience store, peruse through the salty offerings of starch-based stoner food to accompany your quiet night of magic mushrooms and Nicholas Spark movies, when you decide you’d best grab a beverage. Little do you know, behind the double-pane glass of the store’s cooler lies a battlefield. An unrelenting, unforgiving, and unflinching war for the back of your throat. Whichever icy beverage gets to plant its flag in your uvula may win because of its flavor, it may win because of your mood this evening, or maybe its victory will be a triumph of someone’s marketing department.

Such is the condition of the Cola Wars.

Choose your side. Just stay away from the Miller Lite - that stuff will rot your insides.

Choose your side. Just stay away from the Miller Lite – that stuff will rot your insides.

Ever since the mid-1980s, soda companies have been upping the competition for your thirst-quenching dollar. Coke pried Bill Cosby away from his Jell-O Pudding Pops, so Pepsi slapped a can of their product into Ray Charles’ hand. Coke stuck a computerized head in front of some line-art graphics and somehow talked us into caring about Max Headroom, so Pepsi lit Michael Jackson’s hair on fire. Coke changed their classic formula, and Pepsi… well, they never did anything quite that offensive. Read more…