Friday, April 22, 2016

Things I Know Nothing About: Dominoes

I am compiling a list of things I know nothing about. And dominoes is on that list. I don't understand dominoes. Never have. I have a set of dominoes somewhere. They are likely made from some kind of resin and are an ivory white with black dots. Dominoes were originally made of bone or ivory - which is why they were sometimes called "bones" or "ivories." I've played dominoes with my son when he was young. It killed time, but made no sense. We lined up numbers with each other and made patterns on the table or floor. I have found that there are rules and strategies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different domino games. * * * * * * * * * If you google search "Old Men Play Dominoes" you get lots and lots of photos of old men playing dominoes, including many Cubans. Lots of Cubans. Dominoes is the Official Game of Cuba and there are special Cuban domino varieties of games. My search also included a picture of The Dominoes - a musical group from 1951. There was the rock band Derek and the Dominoes, there was Fats Domino. And you can order a Dominoes pizza. * * * * * * * * * There was the Domino Theory. President Dwight D. Eisenhower espoused the Domino Theory during the Cold War. Countries would fall to Communism like a row of dominoes. If one toppled, then the others would necessarily topple. We spent a lot of money and lives fighting those dominoes. (One must note that two main varieties of dominoes are Chinese and Cuban -- both communist countries, two of the few remaining communist countries). There are numerous world records for another dominoes game: knocking them down. Most in a pyramid - 60,000 Most in a wall. Most ever anything - 500,000. And every year, enterprising young people set up more and more and more to knock down in a kind of Sisyphean quest up that domino mountain. * * * * * * * * * There is a mathematics of dominoes. "The number of tiles in a set of [n-n] dominoes is given by the formula ((n2 + 3n + 2)/ 2)....and they come in sets of 28, 55, 91, 136,and 190 all of which P presume comply with the formula. " Dominoes have an uncertain origin although the first written reference came from China's Yuan Dynasty (1271-1248). They appeared in Italy during the 18th century. Please note, however, that Chinese dominoes are different from European dominoes or Cuban dominoes. Chinese dominoes have very cool tile names: heaven, harmony, plum flower,and goose. * * * * * * * * For me, dominoes are a metaphor for all the things in the world/universe I don't know or understand ---- the amount of which is vast. From the simple to the complex, there are many unknowns for me. Chemistry is a mystery, how things fly is a mystery, computers are a mystery. So dominoes are just one more thing I can add to my list of things I know nothing about. In researching dominoes I listened to Fats Domino and Derek and the Dominoes. And that was fun. Some lyrics form Van Morrison's "Oh Domino" say it this way: "Oh Domino (all right)/Roll me over Romeo/There you go/Lord have mercy." I like the song, but don't understand those lyrics. And I still don't understand Dominoes.


Blogger Unknown said...

but what about donald? I kept waiting for some outrageous thing he's done. looking for a segue maybe using "donaldmoes", but alas, nothing.

1:52 PM  

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