Tuesday January 04, 2011 | 05:15 PM

Bingo has long been a cherished American pastime.*

* For women ages 60 and up who trust in the persuasive powers of Troll dolls.

The younger folk, on the other hand, have been slow to warm up to the number-calling, the free space or the colored daubers.

There was that bingo stint back in high school, when Señorita Glen used the game to teach sus estudiantes the Spanish terms for typical household objects. Basura, puerta, mesa, refrigerador, motosierra - BINGO!

But beyond the mandated-education years, there's little bingo to be found.

At Geno's in Portland, though, there's been a lively Bingo Night going on, where folks unabashedly mark cards, anticipate the much-need "N 37" and shout Bingo with the same fervor most people reserve for shouting at pedestrians who absentmindly step into traffic.

Sadly, the games are coming to an end. But there's still one Bingo Night remaining on Sunday, Jan. 16, starting around 9 p.m. It's free to play and there's even a chance you'll walk away with an ovulation detector, "enhanced" coloring book or other dollar store prizes.

BINGO! with The Fuge and Country Rhodes on Facebook.

For novice bingoers, here's some bingo jargon to throw around:

False Alarm - Term used when one calls bingo but is mistaken. This could be because of mishearing the caller or stamping the wrong number by mistake. If one calls a falsie, they genuinely believe they have a bingo. Also known as a social error. Another term used for this is a bongo.

Breaking the Bubble – The bubble is the minimum number of balls required to complete the Bingo pattern. This is the earliest point anyone could have a valid bingo. Example: Winning pattern is 1 hard way bingo, a straight line without the free space. The minimum number of called numbers is 5 although it is not considered Breaking the Bubble until 1 number in each column or 5 numbers in a single column have been called.

Crying Number(s) - Once a valid bingo has been claimed and the game is officially closed, the numbers that would have been drawn next are known as the crying numbers due to fact that any person who needed the next number would be crying.

About the Author

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Shannon Bryan, content producer for MaineToday Media, likes exploring Maine - from mattress races to cardboard boats, she's into the weird stuff.

Karen Beaudoin, online editor for MaineToday Media, likes knowing the important things - like who's just opened their deck for a sunny afternoon beer and what Portland's eclectic set of street performers are up to.

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