Monday, November 09, 2009


It occurred to me, mainly as a result of reading Chris's annual Mindzine blog post, that I've never actually played monopoly, ever, in my life. I feel like I'm missing out on something here. Actually, I only had a vague idea of what the rules were, so I found them on the internet and read them tonight. Sounds like fun, I must have a game with someone, some time when I've got a few hours to spare.

Actually, I must confess, it's only a few years ago that I discovered that monopoly is actually an American game. Despite it not featuring in my childhood at all, I'd still managed to acquire the impression that it's an original English invention, and the London-based version was the first one. First impressions being hard to shake off, I still find it quite difficult to believe that it's a foreign game.

Oh, and the title of this blog is an old American word for 'umbrella', which many Americans inexplicably believe to be a British expression. You see, my ego can't cope with admitting that I spent the first thirty years of my life mistakenly attributing something American to Britain without compensating for it by jeering at the way those foolish transatlantic types (like the writers of one episode of Frasier, for example) are always mistakenly attributing American things to Britain. What a bunch of oafs they are over there. They all think we measure distance in kilometers, too.

Also, just to reassert how clever and knowledgeable I am (that ego of mine is terribly fragile, you know, especially in moments of stress about upcoming World Memory Championships), can I point out that although this website speculates that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is to blame for the bumbershoot confusion (understandable, seeing as so many Americans do think Dick Van Dyke is an authentic Englishman), there was in fact a character in the popular 1960s war comic "Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos", four years before Dick Van Dyke sang that song, called Percival 'Pinky' Pinkerton, who was the token English character, and who always carried his trusty bumbershoot around with him on his commando missions. Seriously, he did.

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