Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gotta love those Putative Orthologous Groups!!

Orthologs and Paralogs are two types of homologous sequences. The Putative Orthologous Groups, also known as POGs, are the...wait a minute...are we talking about gene sequences this week?!! Those were never trendy!

My apologies, I misread my notes! This week we're actually talking about POGs as in stack the caps, whack the stack, score and restack! Legend has it that this game first became popular in Hawaii during the 1920's. A brand of juice made from passionfruit, orange, and guava (with the initials spelling out POG) came packaged in glass bottles with a round, cardboard lid that was used to play this game when it first started. Or so the story goes!

Truth is, the POG tropical juice drink didn't exist until 1971 and this urban legend was started by a publicity marketer for the POG company.
Either way, during the 1990's, the whole country had a case of "Milkcap Mania" and the game that started out using plain looking, boring cardboard caps soon had playing pieces as diverse and plentiful as the ways to prepare shrimp Bubba was talking about in Forest Gump! Thousands of POGs were developed using pictures of celebrities, movies, TV shows, and comic books. Some were even holographic! And before you knew it, ridiculous commericals like these were made!

The trend started when a Hawaiian school teacher used bottle caps as a fun way to teach her school children math. Ironically, POGs were eventually banned from schools because they were considered gambling, distracted kids during school hours, and caused playground arguments, but they still have use today! During Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Army Air Force Exhange Service, more commonly reffered to as AAFES, starting issuing POGs instead of actual money, because the lightweight cardboard was cheaper to ship to the warzone than change!
Aaron's Thoughts: I was always more into collecting POGs than playing. My favorite ones were these holographic ones that would show a very normal situation like a man cutting up fruit with a knife or a kid's face with acne. Then you would move it slightly, and the image would change to the man with the knife cutting off his finger and the kid popping his zits full of green pus at you. Brilliant!

Daniel's Thoughts: I remember collecting the Apollo 11 Pogs from Hardees! I had 23/24 dad gum it! My favorite pogs were actually the slug ones. They showed slugs getting killed in all manner of creative and inventive ways! The one thing I'll never forget about POGs is the time I competed in a POG tournament!

It was at the Knoxville Center, during the hot, humid summer. We went to the mall to compete against the greatest POG champions East Tennessee had to offer. We were running a little late, so I was the last kid to sign up. I don't remember all the rules, but I do remember that each kid had two turns. We cycled through and sure enough I lost my first turn! It wasn't looking good for me! After about an hour, the kids cycled through again. I remember seeing kids who would beat 20 people in a row. But alas, because I had been the last to sign up, I was up for my second turn last. That meant that suddenly the championship was only one match away!

I flipped my slammer so we could figure out who went first. He called heads and sure enough...heads! It wasn't looking good at all! He went first and, thankfully, flipped less than half the stack over. It was my turn! The entire mall, perhaps the entire universe, went silent. It was my time to show the world what I was made of. Although I had been playing with the same slammer for a long time, on a hunch I swapped at slammers at the last minute. I grabbed a clear, plastic one. It had a nice heavy feel in my hand. I wiped the sweat off my brown and gave that slam my everything! I was afraid to watch as the stack was hit by the slammer. Slowly...slowly...the stack flew up a few inches and began to descend back to the ground. But as it did, the entire stack flipped! I won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A three foot trophy, $500 in mall gift certificates, and a lifetime of fame and glory were mine!

The Bottom Line: As far as trends, POGs were slamin'! (You know, because of the slammers used to play). You may have banned them from our schools, but you can never ban them from our hearts! Even though it was fun while it lasted, I don't think POGs will make a comeback anytime soon. If this doesn't make sense to you, then I guess you had to be there!

1 comment:

  1. LOL Wow, Daniel...I didn't realize there were actually competitions for POGS! You're so...a DORK! lol Although I must admit I did collect these...can't remember any specific ones, other than I had a whole collection of pool balls (flaming, with skulls, etc.). We never really played them, just collected and traded them. Guess I missed out, huh?