Tag Archives: John Tyler

He Plays a Mean Game of Ring Taw

I used to play a pretty mean game of Ring Taw back in the third grade.  In fact I placed second in my age group at the one and only marble tournament in which I competed.  Now that I think about it, it’s the one and only marble tournament I ever remember them having at Linden Elementary.  Maybe I just lost interest in the game after being beat so easily in the final match by Alan Case.  Alan, if you’re out there, I still remember your name and I have mental scars.  Alan got the trophy, I got a bag of marbles.  It was a big bag of marbles though.

We played marbles on the playground every day during recess and before and after school.  We were always carrying around our marble bags and showing off a new acquisition or two.  I can’t remember how I got into the tournament thing that Saturday, but I remember I had to miss catechism in the morning so I could play, and that didn’t go over well with my mother.  She sent my sister over to the school grounds, twice, to tell me I had to go, right in the middle of tournament play.  When I finally sent word back that I was going to be playing for all the marbles, that I had made it through the brackets to the final game, she amazingly let me stay.

The most common method of shooting a marble is called “fulking”.  We kids would have had fun with that term, but I don’t think any of us called it that.  You place the knuckle of your forefinger on the ground forming a “V” and place a marble in the bent forefinger.  Behind the marble you put your bent thumb.  You release the thumb forward with as much force as needed for the shot.  There is another more accurate way of shooting the marble by rolling the hand over to the first knuckle, but in third grade everybody was pretty much “fulking” whether we knew it or not.

The game is played by drawing a one foot circle inside a 10 foot circle.  Then drawing a cross in the middle of the smaller circle.  You put one marble in the middle of the cross and three along each arm for a total of 13.  The idea of the game is to accurately knock the marbles out of the big circle.  If you were playing “keepsie” as opposed to “funsie” you got to keep whatever marbles you knocked out whether you won the game or not.  Each marble knocked out of the circle gains one point.  If you hit the other player’s shooter while its inside the big circle you get a point, and if you hit a marble, a shooter, or knock one out, you continue to play until you miss.

Your “shooter” was a marble slightly bigger than the game marbles.  You had aggies, and cat eyes, and steelys, spinners, blackies, whities, puries, rainbow reds, marine crystals, just to name a few.  Some of these names were given by the marble manufacturers and some were passed down.  The game marbles are about 1/2″ in size.   


Can you see this man on his knees playing a mean game of Ring Taw?

The game goes back to our Paleolithic ancestors.  They played the game in Rome too.  Adults played the game well into the 19th century.  In fact, John Tyler found out he was president while playing marbles.  William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia one month into his term on April 6, 1841.  John was found deep into a game of aggies (marbles) when he was given the news that he was now president.  Anyway, adults probably played it because they figured out a way to bet money on it. 

 President John Tyler must have lost a lot of  “keepsie” over the years.  By 1861 he appeared to have lost all his marbles, renouncing his citizenship and joining the confederacy.  WTF

I never see kids playing marbles anymore. I’m sure its been replaced by something else.

Top photo by Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Commons.


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“He Lied, He Lied, He Lied, Cokayne”

Well, it was probably only a matter of time before a guy with this last name would get arrested for dealing drugs.  It happened last Tuesday when Fairfax County Sheriffs arrested Kevin Lee Cokayne in Herndon ,VA.  Herndon is a town in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area of the United States.

I always worry about those three-namer guys, Billy Bob, Bobby Joe, Kevin Lee.  They have a tendency to turn up in police blotters for some reason.  Like Bobby Joe Long a notorious serial killer.  Probably because a lot of people in that area of the country have a Bob, or a Billy, or a Joe, or a Lee as a middle moniker.  Add Cokayne to that, and you can’t lose.

What really got me about the story was when the sheriffs asked if they could search his apartment, he said no.  Said it would be a waste of their time since all he had was an eighth of an ounce of marijuana and that wasn’t nothing but a misdemeanor.  Turns out he lied.

What police found was a safe with marijuana, a wooden box with marijuana, two jars containing marijuana, a smoking device with marijuana, a digital scale, (which must be broken since he said he only had an eighth of an ounce) and  “records and documents for Kevin Cocaine [sic],”  a search inventory revealed.  He left out the “Lee”?  Lesson learned anyway, drug dealers shouldn’t keep records.  So 24-year old, Kevin Lee Cokayne, was arrested for dealing marijuana, but not cocaine.

Which immediately made me think of Eric Clapton and his famous tune “Cocaine.”  “She lied, she lied, she lied, cocaine.”  So my apologies to Eric.  Yeah, we’re on a first-name basis.  Here’s a video. 


Looks like a marble player doesn't he?

In other news, Vice President John Tyler was on his knees when he was informed that President William Henry Harrison had died and he was now President.  He wasn’t praying at the time, he was playing marbles.  The kid’s game was very popular with adults back in the 1840s.

I always thought the Battle of Bunker Hill was at Bunker Hill and the colonists won, but it wasn’t and they didn’t.  The battle was fought on nearby Breed’s Hill and the British won, not the Revolutionary Army.    


Eggs Benedict. Photo by Paul Goyette, Flickr.

And did you know that no one knows who created Eggs Benedict?  They really don’t know.  There’s a lot of guesses out there, but I’m thinking I might apply for a government grant to investigate the origin of the half-English Muffin, topped with ham or bacon, and hollandaise sauce.  Never had it myself.  Hollandaise doesn’t sound or look good to me.  What do you think?




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