5-hand Pincochle

In my early college years, I got hooked on playing pinochle. Our version, played as a freshman in the dorms, was a simple single-deck game, and we played it nightly. I had a job working the security/front desk overnights in the dorm, and my floor mates would gather each evening, and we set up a tv in the lobby to watch Star Trek and Late Nite with David Letterman each night and played cards. They would usually stay up and play cards and watch the television until about 2 am.

My new obsession is 5-handed double deck pinochle that I hope to play when I go home for Thanksgiving this year.

5-handed pinochle
Several generations ago, my family invented a version of pinochle that allows five players to play and is won individually (not as a team). I think it speaks to our competitive nature that this is one of our favorite card games whenever we get at least five family members together.

At a family reunion this summer, I played it a bit and decided to write down the rules so I don’t forget the next time I play… one time, we tried to remember them after a long break, and we got it all wrong.

I still remember very distinctly the summer I learned to play this game. My cousin and great-aunt were visiting from the East Coast. After learning the rules and such, we started getting competitive. I remember being dealt an outstanding hand, outbidding my great-aunt (who was a legendary high bidder) with a bid of 72… and I managed to make it. It was a high point of my adolescence, for sure.

Hopefully, this version of the game is as cutthroat as it reads on the page We shall see. (Also, this seems worth a look)

The Friday Fives

1. What meals bring you back to your childhood?

Lasagne. My mom’s lasagne was my favorite dish growing up.

2. If you could describe your life with an already existing song title, what would the title be?

Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy – a classic Gemini battle.

3. What tricks does corporate America use to get us to spend more money?

Invent a problem. Invent a product to solve that “problem” and initiate a marketing blitz to ensure everyone is aware of the problem and only your product is the solution.

4. What band or artist would you buy their latest album without hearing a note of it?

Wilco and Bruce Springsteen – both sing of the sounds in my soul.

5. Who is the best sitcom character of all time?

Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show.”

The Friday Fives

Ready for the future?

1. Will you ride in a driverless car?

It is not ready for prime time so far. I think the only way that driverless cars will be successful is when all the cars are on autopilot – otherwise the AI is bound to lose in a face off versus a human driver.

2. Would you drive in full autopilot mode?


3. Would you invest in Crypto currency?

It seems like such a scam and is unregulated.. I’ll pass.

4. Will you fly in an automated plane?

To some degree we probably have with cross country autopilot and autopilot used on most landings.

5. Your next car may not be electric, but the one after it will be.

That is probably true. I think that the breakthrough will be when when the big rigs, the semis and commercial trucks go electric. That will make a difference..

The Friday Fives

1. In high school, which group of kids were you part of?

I was generally a geek – part of the speech and debate team not the jock crowd. I was the AV guy who ran the lights in the auditorium and I was the school MC for any rallies or all-school meetings.

2. What was awful when you were a kid but amazing now?

Asparagus and Brussel Sprouts. Hated them as a kid but they are kind of a staple now.

3. What’s your story about seeing a celebrity out in public?

Kind of a shared story with many of us, but stumbling upon Kurt Vonnegut at an art show of his drawings. He was in a little courtyard smoking and teaching as a crowd had gathered around him as he explained his paintings. Alos my Lou Reed show. We were in a student bar in Germany near a university and just having a few pints and the bouncer came to ask us if we were staying for the show and it was Lou Reed solo just playing the hits in a little itty bitty tavern.

4. Do you remember the first time you went to a record store?

Growing up in a very small town the record store was either the JC Penny store or the Kmart. It really wasn’t until I was at college in Bould when I got to go to Albums on the Hill – a great, classic of the genre, record store. Stacks and stacks of wax.

5. Do you remember the cassingle?

I missed that whole thing. It must have hit while I was in the army in Germany because I remember coming back to the states and doing college radio and there were these stupid one-song cassettes that made no sense to me – why not buy the whole album – that’s where the gold is.