Odds and ends for November 8
Chess, rubber duck enter Hall of Fame
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — The rubber duck squeaked out a win for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame, joining the ancient game of chess in the 2013 class inducted Thursday.
The pair beat out 10 other finalists: bubbles, the board game Clue, Fisher-Price Little People, little green Army men, the Magic 8 Ball, My Little Pony, Nerf toys, the Pac-Man video game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the scooter.
Online polls had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and My Little Pony running strong, but in the end a national selection committee made up of 23 experts, including toy collectors, designers and psychologists, voted in the winners.
“The two inductees … are fantastic examples of the two extremes in the world of play,” said Christopher Bensch, vice president for collections at The Strong Museum, which houses the 15-year-old hall.
“One is so strategic. It’s rule-driven. It’s something that adults play and puzzle over,” Bensch said, “and at the other extreme is a toy that’s pure fun. It has no rules. No one wins or loses. You squeeze it. You float it. It’s so silly, so fun.”
Anyone can nominate a toy for the hall of fame, but to make it through the selection process and become a finalist a toy must have achieved icon status, survived through generations, foster learning, creativity or discovery and have profoundly changed play or toy design.
“If there is a game you can call classic, this is that game,” said curator Nicolas Ricketts as he introduced chess during an induction ceremony. that featured the unveiling of chess- and rubber duck-themed cartoons by syndicated cartoonist Leigh Rubin.
Chess can be traced back centuries to an ancient Indian war game, but evolved into the game it is today by 1475, Ricketts said.
“In 1779, Benjamin Franklin wrote that playing this game inspires habits of foresight, circumspection and caution, all important traits in human life,” he said. “Scholars today still study the effect of this game’s play on the childhood brain and development.”
The rubber duck “has been a fixture in pop culture for decades,” curator Patricia Hogan said.
Although rubber toys first appeared in the late 1880s, no one knows exactly who hatched the idea of the rubber duck, museum officials said.
They weren’t always meant for the bath — the first ones didn’t float — but Ernie on “Sesame Street” secured its place in the tub with his 1970 ode, “Rubber Duckie.” The song made it to No. 16 on the Billboard Top 40 chart.
To date, 53 toys are in the National Toy Hall of Fame, including alphabet blocks, the jump rope, playing cards, Scrabble and the stick.
Chris Brown countersues man over studio fight
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Brown has countersued a man who accused the R&B star’s entourage of attacking him outside a recording studio earlier this year.
The singer filed an assault and battery lawsuit Wednesday against Sha’keir Duarte, who claimed in an earlier suit that he was injured when a fight erupted between Brown and Frank Ocean’s entourages in January outside a West Hollywood studio.
Duarte sued Brown in August and accused the singer of being the aggressor in the fight. Brown’s countersuit however accuses Duarte of instigating the fight by pushing, kicking and punching the R&B singer and threatening to kill him.
Brown, 24, is seeking unspecified damages.
Duarte’s attorney Joseph Porter III did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
No criminal charges were filed over the fight, but Brown may face criminal penalties after he was arrested last month in Washington, D.C. for allegedly punching a man outside a hotel.
Brown remains on probation for his 2009 attack on then-girlfriend Rihanna and is due for a hearing in Los Angeles on Nov. 20, during which the new case may be addressed. Brown spent a day and a half in custody and faces a misdemeanor battery charge over the incident.
The R&B singer entered rehab for anger management issues on Oct. 29.
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