Saturday, March 21, 2009


Today's topic: items called after a certain dirt digging device

I've been reading Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. One of the book's chief characters, Lord Henry declares, "a man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one."

Yikes, that serves as motivation for this writer. Although, my flower beds do need work. Oh my. I'd probably be just as maligned by Lord Henry for calling the thing a shovel, huh? The witty spade quote, of course, makes a great line for writers to use in deriding one another, but Spades also happens to be the name of one of my favorite card games.

So, not only did I read that quote yesterday, but I then later played the card game, Spades (and, no it wasn't even at my suggestion). That's enough to merit a Saturday blog entry, I'm sure, which leads me to the useless information drop for the week.

I remember several years ago my grandfather telling me that while crossing the Pacific to go fight in the Philippines during WWII that he and his fellow soldiers would sit on the deck of the ship and play Spades. This made me think the game had been around long before then, but according to Joe Andrews at Mind Zine, Spades came about in Cincinnati in 1937.

Mr. Andrews further writes, "From there, it spread to other cities in the general region and eventually into the military. Spades was played extensively during World War II as it was a fast paced game, which could be interrupted at any time – especially during battle conditions!"

Even Lord Henry would have to admire that. The article goes on to say that Spades is now the most popular partner-card game in America. Though I lost playing last night, in honor of the greatness of Spades (yes, I used the word), I salute Cincinatti, Spades, and Granddad.

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