Polo is fine if you happen to own a pony, but give me a mallet and some wickets any day and I’ll be happy. Even the most unathletic in the crowd (that’s me) can pick up a croquet mallet and smack it against a ball through a hoop without making a complete idiot out of himself (and what a great way to get rid of frustration). Any croquet set will do if you’re a novice, but this set from Abercrombie & Fitch is for serious players. According to A&F, the game of jeu de mail began in 1856 when a man named John Jaques designed the first complete croquet set. This British Association Tournament Croquet Set is still made by the John Jaques Co. and is fashioned after the equipment used by the original All England Croquet and I.awn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. The set includes four cord-bound ash mallets, eclipse balls, tournament wickets, winning tags, smasher, clips, rules and wooden storage box. It’s $1,000 at Abercrombie & Fitch, Caruth Plaza, 9100 N. Central Expwy. Mon-Sat 10-5:30. 696-1116.
What I remember most about the Murphy bed is that Larry, Curly and Mo created a lot of havoc whenever they were around one. I have this vivid childhood image of a poor hideaway bed doomed to bob up and down indefinitely. Now, after decades of virtual slumber, the Murphy bed (or at least a distant relative) is back, It’s called the SICO Room Makers Modular Wall and Bed System (hotels have been using SICO disappearing wallbeds for years). The wallbed is available in twin to king sizes, and the modular bed systems can be custom-designed to include bookcases, desk space, cabinets, drawers and lighted display areas. They’re available in several wood finishes and in either traditional or contemporary styling. Prices start at $1,500. Hidden Space, 13617 Inwood. Mon-Fri 10-5:30. Sat 10-5. 960-1315.
Their slogan is “powerful, smooth and rich,” and they aren’t kidding. Thanks to three guys who “just like ice cream,” Dallas has yet another entry in the international ice cream hall of fame, and this one’s definitely in the running. It’s Gelare, (pronounced roughly je-lar-ay), which is Italian for “to freeze”; and already “Gelare” is becoming a familiar word around town. According to Gelare’s owners, Rice R. Jackson, Robert R. Kendall and Jeff Reeder, their ice cream is better than most commercial ice cream because they’ve taken out the air (some ice creams are as much as 50 percent air), which makes Gelare denser and richer. In fact, they say, if Gelare were served at the same temperature as most ice creams, it would be too solid to scoop. And Gelare is as natural as ice cream can be-no artificial flavors, colors, fillers, stabilizers or emulsifiers. And although Jackson, Kendall and Reeder don’t envision any instant Gelare empire (they make all the ice cream in a special machine in Dallas), they are planning to install some Gelare ice cream carts downtown soon. Gelare, 4322 Lemmon. Mon-Sat 11:30-10:30, Sun 1-10:30. 521-5728.
Serve up a little style with this great Italian slate tray. Or if you’re short on paper and long on imagination, use it as a chalkboard. Don’t worry about its durability-the permanent inlaid polyester striping won’t peel off or fade away. It’s $75 and comes with white, red, blue, pink, yellow or black striping. Also available are matching coasters ($9), place mats (S45) and runners ($45). Via Condotti, Sakowitz Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line, Suite 824. Mon-Sat 10-6, Thur 10-9. 239-3832.
Frankly, I’m getting a little nervous. Five years ago, when a friend suggested that 1 take a class in computer programming, I turned my nose up at the whole idea-who needs all that technical mumbo jumbo? Then came Asteroids, Ms. Pac-Man, Vic 20 and Apple II, and I began to see the error of my ways. These guys are here to stay. Now I’m really beginning to sweat. HVC Corp. (a Dallas-based Videotex Systems operator offering a computer network for home, business and corporate use) recently installed “computerized concierges” in several hotels across the city (is no job sacred?). These new video marvels, also known as public-access terminals, can provide volumes of knowledge ranging from specific hotel information to complete restaurant rundowns (including exact locations, type of food, maps-even menus), as well as lists of area shopping centers, museums and the like. A national data base option also available to subscribers includes the Dow Jones report, NewsNet (which offers general business information that is available before it has been published), BRS (Bibliographical Retrieval Services, which offers business news and physical, social and life science information) and Remote Computing Corp. (which lists securities, options and commodities). What’s more, information stored in the terminal can be updated instantly through a local host computer. Ron Ayres, HVC’s vice president of marketing figures, expects that one million people will have used the terminals by the end of 12 months’ time, and he hopes to have more than 1,000 terminals installed by 1984 (terminals already have been installed in Houston and Orlando). You can find the terminals at the LBJ Hilton, The Addison Rodeway Inn, the Summit and the Granada Royale to name a few, plus the Dallas Living Center. HVC hopes to have a terminal designed for home use by this fall. For more information, call 960-2050.
Whoever invented the Chinese carryout box was a design whiz but a functional failure- no food containing any amount of liquid can stay in it for long without turning the box (not to mention the food) to mush. At last, we have a perfect solution: plastic carryout boxes that are great for more than just takeout. Use them for any leftovers, or better still as a gift box, a doodad keeper or-for the daring woman-a purse. The boxes come in three sizes (which cost $2, $3 and $4) and two color combinations: black with red handle or red with black handle. Arresta, 3900 Cedar Springs. Mon-Sat 10-10, Sun noon-6. 528-3380.