Soliciting Game App Recommendations

I’ve been doing some business travel recently, and more is on the horizon. Typically I prefer to read, but it’s hard to enjoy a book when you are reading it in the ten-minute increments that exist between, say, getting to the gate and having to board your flight. Those little snippets of time seem much more suited to game playing on an iPhone or tablet.

IMG_5914I’ve got only a few games on my iPhone and tablet: solitaire, spider solitaire, Sudoku, and Tetris. As those choices reflect, I’m not much for games where I have to rescue adorable animals or fight barbarians or outwit wizards. I’m more of a puzzle person. I feel they help to keep me mentally sharp, and they also appeal to my stubborn vanity. Give me a spider solitaire deal that seems impossible, and I’ll try again and again until I figure it out.

I feel overwhelmed and hopeless when I go to the app store and try to sift through the thousands of game app options that are there, which is why I’ve stuck with old, tried-and-true selections. Hence, my question — are there good apps out there that I should add to my phone and tablet? Any good crossword or Scrabble apps, or other puzzle options that I haven’t found? So far, I’ve stuck to free games and endured the ads, but I’d be willing to pay for a few good games that would help pass the time while I’m cooling my heels at Gate B 31. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Pondering Duluth

In Columbus we are feeling sorry for ourselves, because this winter has been terrible, with multiple days of sub-zero temperatures and lots of snow. (Of course, it’s snowing, again, as I write this.) People try to maintain a positive attitude about it, and the weather is a frequent topic of conversation and gallows humor, but you can tell it’s having an impact. Psychologists say the harsh winter across much of the country has caused an increase in the number of people dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

All of which raises a question: how in the world do people live in Duluth, Minnesota?

Duluth is a port city at the western edge of Lake Superior and is home to more than 80,000 hardy souls. This year, Duluth set a record for the most consecutive days in which the temperature fell below zero. For 23 consecutive days — from January 19 until at least February 11 — Duluthers had to deal with day after frigid day of sub-zero conditions. What’s more, Duluth is likely to set the record for the most days of below-zero temperatures in a winter. As of February 11, the temperature in Duluth had fallen below zero on 56 days, and the all-time record is 59 days. Oh yes . . . and the lake on which Duluth sits is almost completely frozen over.

How do the 80,000+ residents of Duluth do it? How do they steel themselves to deal with day after day of brutal, invasive cold, skin scorched raw by frigid air, and frozen scarves, stocking caps, and balaclavas. How do they face the mass amounts of snowfall, constant use of snow blowers and snow shovels, and looking out over a gray, frozen lake? What tricks or secrets could Duluthers teach the rest of us to help us maintain a positive outlook in the face of winter’s onslaught?

They must really like ice fishing.