A fabulous anytime gift.

One Up!, like all of our games, is all-new, real-world fun that's not only unfair, frustrating, and physical, but also educational–you'll know who's smart and ruthless right away. Guaranteed to ruin any vacation or holiday, and to turn your family and friends into "greedy, self-serving punks" (if they all aren't already), it comes in a handy travel tin that you can give to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Perfect for dads and grads, and moms too. Or take it to your next dinner invite or birthday party instead of a bottle of wine and drop the bomb...

What are you waiting for, Christmas?


How to play.

One Up! takes a nimble mind, as everyone tries to be the first person to make a word from the tiles that are face-down in the center. Take turns flipping one tile over at a time: first an "A", then an "R" and then a "T". Shout it out, and don't be shy–"ART!" Keep turning over tiles one at a time, in turn, until another word of three or more letters can be made.

Where our hero, Johnny Mustard, takes you on a quick tour:


Wait a sec! The game has a cool, cutthroat twist: any player's words can be stolen by anyone else by simply adding a letter. If an "M" is turned over, and since you already have the word "ART", I can call out "MART" and take it from you. It's my word now, so pound sand. But anyone can snatch it back if an "S" is flipped over and they yell out "SMART" first. Damn!

Play continues, and everyone calls out new words as more letters are flipped over, and the stealing and cursing continues too. Just remember, all words are in play at all time. The player with the most words at the end wins.

Challenge yourself.

No board. No complicated rules. No mercy. Ha! Just wicked/smart cheap thrills for everyone: mind-to-hand combat that's guaranteed to completely ruin any family get together or summer vacation. Instructions can be explained in one minute, and games only take about a half hour or so, but get terrifically competitive real quick. You won't want to win as much as you'll want to show everyone who the smartest person in the room is... with impunity.

What One Up! comes with:

• 101 custom-made real-wood letter tiles

• A wild "uppity" tile that can be used as any letter

• Concise and easy-to-read instruction sheet

• Classy and perfectly-portable metal travel tin

• 1,000,000 words and worlds of fun in your pocket or purse

Don't stay home without it.

One Up! is a totally-original, fast, and effective antidote to sitting at home playing mindless video games or binge-watching Netflix, and chill. Better yet, take it anywhere you want to go: beach, mountains, grandma's, or even The Ritz in Paris and class that joint up a bit too.

Seriously, why not try some intellectual distancing for a change instead? 



Fame is fickle. And fleeting. And humbling fun.

It was an out-of-the-way town, that I actually was driving through by mistake–Waze had taken me circuitously via a logging road through some sort of land trust forest, around a reservoir, and then onto Main Street from behind a Dollar General while I was on my merry way up to visit a friend in Massachusetts.

The coffee shop on the corner was called something like "Electric" or "Buzz," and when I walked in the first thing I noticed was an arrangement of vintage tennis rackets artfully arrayed on the wall behind the counter. I was thrown for a loop at first because my favorite and only tennis racket, the "Jack Kramer Autograph" was the centerpiece, and I didn't remember growing up in a museum.

The barista's name was Abbie, and she was a sign-painter by trade, and had done all the beautiful work, including a fantastic, multi-colored frescoed chalkboard menu for the shop. I ordered a macchiato and was on my way out when I noticed two women at a corner table arguing in hushed tones, while gesticulating enthusiastically.

One whipped out her phone and after a short search, pointed it in the other woman's face and said "See? I was right." The other one shrugged, and they continued playing, intently, determined. I was just about to open the door and head out, when I noticed what they were playing. It was my game One Up!

Sic transit gloria mundi and all that, but fame, no matter how fleeting and fickle, or small and subtle, still thrills. I was going to go over and say something to them, and get the praise and pat on the back and Bravo! that I knew I would, but I thought better of it and just left that perfect scene alone.

I was a different person getting back into my Jeep, though.


Best Travel Gifts Ever

In our journey through life, both metaphorical and literal, we always try to keep in mind poet Gary Snider's simple mantra:

Stay together. Learn the flowers. Go light.

Here's our list of the best travel games and gifts you could ever give or receive, the funnest, most faithful, practical old-school compagnons de voyage in the history of the universe, whether your adventure is a local daytime jaunt over hill and dale, a well-needed holiday to the seaside sun and sand, a longer, stranger in a strange land-type quest, or a quick Caribbean cruise, these accoutrements will ensure ease and delight.

Or you could always just stay home and go on a figurative vacation of discovery deep into the heart of your own head from the comfort of your own couch.

Seriously, these gifts, for ludic and literate ladies, as well as the cultured and discerning gentleman, are uniquely portable magic:

1.) Leatherman. The "Sidekick," a personal gift to us from Tim Leatherman himself is our EDC.
 2. ) Hip flask. Ours is a slim, vintage sterling-silver 8 oz beat-up BYOB beauty we bought years ago on ebay. For water, wine or whiskey.
3.) Deck of cards. Fun and games anytime. We carry the classic Bicycle in blue we bought at Walmart for three bucks.
4.) Earplugs. Invaluable, especially when some damn cock is announcing the brand-new day right outside your window in the smeary Delhi dawn.
5.) Paperback. We would recommend Golding's Lord of the Flies, or The Stranger by Camus–both are precious, portable jewels.
6.) Local guide book. On our last trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains we brought along the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southeastern States and it made our hikes so much more eye-opening and educational.
7.) Handkerchief. Sounds kinda pretentious/dumb, but it has a million uses. We've carried a classic white cotton one from Geoffrey Beene in our back pocket for 40 years. 
8.) LED flashlight. Ours is tiny but wow!-bright, uses a AA battery, and has a handy pocket clip.
9.) Vintage film camera. We always carry our gorgeous Rollei 35 wherever we go. This German gem slows our time down, while we manually frame our life at a different speed and in a more artistic and careful, considered way. We love it.

10.) Can of Sardines. No, we're not referring to our travel-version of One Up!, and we're not being facetious. We always carry a couple of cans of actual sardines with us–you never know when you'll get peckish, and a welcome gut-punch of protein and omega-3 can be a mood/life-saver.