Blogs Sept 2020 to Dec 2020

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WEDNESDAY, 9/30/2020


And it happens oh too often.

You draw your tiles from the bag and ‘VOILA’, you havr a bingo staring back at you from your rack. ( A-A-E-G-R-S-T ) There it is, ‘TEARGAS’

Your opponent played first and opened playing ‘SCYPHI’, horizontally, at (H,8) for 40 points. As happens so often, you don’t know the word which your opponent played, but she is an EXPERT and may very well know that word. You call ‘HOLD’ to allow yourself some time to consider if you will risk challenging the play. Your clock is running.

Your word, TEARGAS can’t play now unless SCYPHI takes an ’S’ and that seem unlikely. What should you do?

Don’t waste too much time deliberating.
Does TEARGAS have an ANAGRAM in it that plays?
If you have studies the 8-Letter-Words, look to see if TEARGAS + any of the tiles on the board creates a word.
I you can’t find a bingo, play of ‘AG’ and hopefully draw an ‘I’ to create a ‘SATIRE’ stem for your next turn.

What may you have missed seeing? If you don’t know the word/s you can’t blame yourself too harshly.

TEARGAS has an anagram, ‘GASTERA’. You could have played ‘GASTERA’, horizontally, putting the last ‘A’ over the ’S’ in SCYPHI.
There are two 8’s available:
A) From the ‘C’ there is CARTAGES.
B) Through the ‘S’ there is GASTREAS.

We don’t know, what we don’t know. There is so very much that can be learned. This is just a brief demonstration that there are many pieces to the puzzel on the game of scrabble. If you learn more of the pieces you’ll be able to drive your opponents crazy when you play SCYPHI and leave them behind you flailing in the wind.

It Hurts So Good.


A ‘comeback’ reflects a situation in which one opponent is lagging behind in the score and then the circumstances change and the player or team that is trailing comes from behind to take the lead and ultimately WINS.
EXPERTS know and believe that comebacks are possible. EXPERTS don’t give up and throw in the towel. EXPERTS have witnessed how the flow of the game can change in the blink of an eye and they proceed with the ATTITUDE and EXPECTATION that they will ultimately WIN in the end. (Does it always happen? NO! Do your expectations and the way you play make winning possible? YES!)

How far behind can you be and still be able to ‘COMEBACK’?
I was still a NOVICE player in 1992. I played every Tuesday evening at the club in Livonia, Michigan. On most Tuesdays, Chuck Armstrong, a national expert was in the mix. I had played against Chuck dozens of times and always had been blown out of the water and never won. On this evening everything was going my way; I had the perfect combination of tiles all game long. With just a few tiles remaining in the bag I played ‘PACIFIED’, vertically, through an ‘I’ at (A,5) for 107 points, building my lead to 131 points. I drew the remaining tiles from the bag and sat back waiting for my ‘sweet victory’.
I had tracked the tiles and if I was correct I knew that Chuck had the following rack: A – B – E – I – O – T – V. Chuck paused, and then played all seven of his tiles. He played ‘OBVIATE’ at (A,1), horizontally, placing the ‘O’ atop ‘PACIFIED’. Chuck counted his score, announced 137 points and out. My rack had 4 points so he received another 8 points.

I CHALLENGED. I didn’t know ‘OPACIFIED’. It turned out to be acceptable.
And I lost a heartbreaking defeat.
But that’s what EXPERTS can do to you.



Scrabble is a trademark


Forensic Science is known for the development of systems to take the smallest bits of evidence and use these small clues to tell a bigger story, to find answers.
The people who become the best forensic scientists are the people who are passionate about their jobs, ask probing questions, see the bigger picture hiding in plain sight, and build their knowledge about the tools at their disposal.

Sound familiar? Sounds like a scrabble mavin to me.

A few years ago I decided to become more proficient in regard to using many of the features and programs available on my MacBook. I cleared a morning on my calendar and drove over to the Apple Store at the mall. Prior to going, I had made a list of questions that I had about one specific program, ‘PAGES’. The staff at the Apple Store are very helpful and I quickly learned that they offered free classes related to various programs. In fact, one such session was just beginning and there was a chair available for one more participant. I found the session to be fascinating but some of the items on my list were not addressed. At the end of the session we were invited to ask questions and I was not shy. I took notes so I might remember everything when I got home. After completing my list I did one more IMPORTANT THING. I asked the teacher, “Is there anything else I overlooked to ask”. (I admitted that I might NOT KNOW some things I DIDN’T KNOW.)

The BEST forensic scientists are always probing deeper. Don’t be shy. ASK.

ALWAYS ASK AN EXPERT. Don’t settle for the answer from a nice person who wants to be helpful, but may not know the full skinny. You wouldn’t ask your banker to repair your car engine . . . or would you?

After asking my question, the teacher gave up two more suggestions that were very important and helped me immeasurably with my project.

When I created my online class, ‘SCRABBLE 101’ I began by making a list of all the pieces of the game of scrabble that I needed to know about in order to become the BEST player I could ever be. Then I set out to create a logical outline to include all the answers for future students through practical hands-on, brains-on exercises.

I begin on day one telling my students to ASK QUESTION. At times the questions I get on DAY #1 are about things that won’t come up until DAY #8, but that is okay. Some of the time a student just needs clarification. That’s important too. Sometimes I have to say things differently because we all hear things and understand things differently. And after the entire class is over there are still questions that we will have. The important thing is finding the answers, DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS.

Many tools that will assist you are already invented. Don’t spend your time reinventing the wheel. Allow me to be your guide:

Scrabble is a trademark

Have you ever been STUCK? I can rattle off a long list of reasons for why I am stuck in my easy chair. But the honest truth is . . . I’m not stuck at all. It is a choice that I’ve made over and over again throughout my lifetime. I’ve paid a handsome price for being a chair-potato. Let me count the ways.

But first I’ll press myself to look back and uncover some of the excuses I use to forgive myself and permit myself for remaining seated. I encourage you to do the same if this applies to you.
Growing up I never had a chance to VEG. Up until I was 15 my family of 5 lived in an upstairs flat with only about 600 square feet of space. I shared one small bedroom with both my brother and sister. We all shared 1 bathroom. We had very little privacy and we all vied for space on the couch. TV didn’t enter my life until I was 8 and then viewing was limited to an hour or so per day. (They said too much TV would cause premature blindness, just like masturbation.)
I was always too busy to VEG. I began working jobs by the time I was 8: mowing lawns, raking leaves, shoveling snow, and then paper routes. By the time we moved into a bigger house and I coulda vegged I was active in the Youth Group, was making friends, and holding down a number of other jobs.
My first opportunity to VEG was after I got married and lived in our apartment with double or triple the room which my family had shared. I vegged on weekends in front of the TV watching sports. I played a lot of racquetball with friends, right up to the age of 40 when I ran into a wall (playing racquetball) and injured my right elbow and shoulder. After the operation to remove boned chips from my elbow I slowed down dramatically.
I have to admit that my love of scrabble has been a culprit allowing me to ease my guilt about staying in my chair. (It’s not like I just sit in the chair and stare at the TV all day and night.)

      • While sitting I write blogs
      • I create word lists
      • I develop word study tools
      • I teach my online class ‘SCRABBLE 101’
      • BUT I’m still sitting way too much.

While writing this I know I MUST change my regimen. I pledge to take a walk this evening before I go to bed and once a day thereafter. Feel free to ask me or nag me about that going forward. All the sitting around since the pandemic was acknowledged mid-March has multiplied my CHAIR-TIME.


  • Not going to work
  • Being furloughed due to Covid-19 has contributed to my bad habit.
  • Now is the time for me to take ACTION.
  • Whether we’re dealing with scrabble, sitting in a chair, or building a ‘NAIL SCULPTURE,’ taking ACTION leads to success.
Scrabble is a trademark

There is a theory that there have been Extraterrestrial Interventions into the game of scrabble. How else can we explain the sudden creation of this game out of a spark of inspiration, channeled through a laid-off architect, Alfred Mosher Butts, of Poughkeepsie, New York? Which GENE was modified in the ‘EXPERT’ players that enable them to recall so many of the 179,000 words? The ancient aliens first tried to introduce scrabble to the Sumerians but it was near to impossible placing cuneiform writing on tiles.
Ancient Alien Theorists believe that the game itself creates energy for stimulating interaction between diversified groups of humans to advance communication and coming together, designed to break down barriers while promoting brotherhood. The element of offensive words was consciously included for use in the game to desensitize and quash the volatility of these name-calling slurs.
Could it be that the gods, with the intention of fostering inclusiveness and cooperation, intervened and guided Butts in the creation of this game which created a quantum leap in thinking? Scrabble is the catalyst that ignited countless humans to spread knowledge, both then and still, like the COVID-19 virus, first here and then around the world.
And just like a virus will mutate, scrabble has mutated in our lifetimes into all languages and other forms like ‘WORDS WITH FRIENDS’. Left to their own devices, inspired players expanded their word quest via systems like STEMS, HOOKS, and ANAGRAMS.
Scrabble opens minds to possibilities. The universe is teeming with life and a simple game has awakened some of us to challenge the way we led our lives before scrabble.

**Not all humans have been enlightened. A simplistic way to recognize those others is by listening to what they say and ask. “That’s not a real word” is one common utterance; ‘I Can’t’ is another.
Keep digging, keep exploring, keep studying. NANU-NANU.

Scrabble is a trademark

WIN A PRIZE WORTH $35. (a framed Name Word Plaque. see below)
This blog is all about the Official RULES of the GAME. There are 3 questions below. If you choose to play, write the answers to the 3 questions and send them to me in an email to All correct entries will be put into a pool and a winner will be drawn from that group on Monday, 9/28.

The deadline for entries is Midnight (PDT), Sunday, September 27, 2020.

You can get a free copy of the Official Rules from NASPA (North American Scrabble Players Association):

In the beginning, there were only a few rules printed on the inside of the box that held the scrabble game. Then over the years the list of rules grew and grew as a result of competition within clubs and tournaments. Every time when there was a dispute between players, the rule committee made a decision and wrote a rule pertaining to the incident. The more players competed, the more circumstances occurred that demanded rules. Now the Official Rules are numerous.

Here are the 3 Questions. Good luck.
Serious players must KNOW THE RULES.

  1. In the EXPERT DIVISION at a National Scrabble Tournament, a game ended with both players having negative scores. How could that have happened? In part, it was because the losing player didn’t know one of the rules.
  2. What is the correct way to complete your turn? List the steps.
  3. Is there a penalty for overdrawing tiles? If yes, what is it?

Scrabble is a trademark

Today I was thinking about EXTENSIONS. I am not exactly sure why, but maybe it was because I was thinking about needing an extension cord.
EXTENSIONS are very useful when you’re playing scrabble. They work on the front or back of so many words. Some extensions work on both the front and the back of the same word.

An EXTENSION is a set of 2 or more letters that conveniently fit in front and/or in the back of certain base words to form a different ‘legal’ word. BEWARE! ’RE’ can be added to the front of many words (BUT NOT ALL). ‘INGS’ is another tricky extension that works at the end of many words (BUT NOT ALL).
Let me open your eyes to several others. Here are some of the common FRONT EXTENSIONS that players will frequently use ( words of 4-9 letters long):

  • ‘ANTI’ (201)
  • ‘AUTO’ (89)
  • ‘DIS’ (518)
  • ‘MIS’ (618)
  • ‘MONO’ (618)
  • ‘SUB’ (463)

There are many, many more. The ( ) indicates the number in this set.

Here are some of the common BACK EXTENSIONS that players will frequently use ( words of 4-9 letters long):

  • ‘INGS’ (967)
  • ‘ING’ (1,024)
  • ‘OUT’ (133)
  • ‘WORK’ (101)
  • ‘WORT’ (43)
    bloodwort, clockwork, brownout, becomings, crossings, tryout, tinwork.

There are many, many more.
RAINOUT is acceptable; OUTRAIN is not.
PITCHOUT is acceptable; OUTPITCH is good too.
I don’t think there is a grammatical rule. I know it’s maddening.

Most players know that if you are playing first, the best scoring play other than a bingo is a 5 or 6 letter word that can reach to the DLS at (D,8). One of the best comeback plays would be adding a 3-letter Front-Extension to the TWS.


Extensions are great to find whenever you can make a word already on the board stretch to any DWS or TWS. At times when you have an extension but it doesn’t create a BIG SCORE, it is best not to play it.

Make a list of possible front and back extensions.
Increase your awareness.

Scrabble is a trademark

Oh, where, Oh Where can Letterman BE?




Sending Get Well Wishes to GARY MOSS
Here are Various Ways You Can Say GET WELL

  • Wishing you a speedy recovery.
  • May you feel your usual self again in no time.
  • I pray you return to full health soon.
  • Wish you a fast recovery. can’t wait to see you back to your old self again.
  • Sending good, healthy vibes your way.
  • Just sending a little getwell sunshine your way because you are always a bright spot in my days.
  • Sending extra prayers for your recovery.

I spent a part of Sunday watching NFL Football. Football is oh so different from playing scrabble and yet there are several factors in these two vastly different games which are very much the same.
Each game has two very distinct pieces: Offense and Defense. Some teams I watched were well known for one or the other. But a select few were multidimensional. Those teams truly dominated the game and were the undisputed winners.

Many scrabble players make the mistake by thinking that the game is solely about finding words on their rack and playing them. Observers may be lulled into thinking the same thing.
Have you ever watched the movie ‘MIRACLE’ (about the US Hockey team that won GOLD in the 1980 Olympics)? Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. Offense/Defense

While you are becoming a better player and your work power is growing by leaps and bounds you will come up against opponents who are masters of defense. They’ll keep the board so shut down that it will be close to impossible to find a place to play all the great words from your rack. It will feel like all your hard studying has been for naught. Don’t give up. Learn more HOOKS and Lesser-Known Words.
Players who develop great Offensive skills, but pay little attention to defense will often unwittingly provide generous openings for opponents to find comeback plays and respond with high scoring plays of their own.

To be a frequent winner you have to know how to score while limiting the competition. Knowing words that begin and/or end with ‘C,’ ‘Q,’ and ‘V’ will be helpful. Knowing words which do not take an ’S’ at the end. Learning alternate front and end HOOKS will pay off.

’S’ + hero = SHERO; ‘A’ + cold = ACOLD;
xyst + ‘I’ = XYSTI; smaragd + ‘E’=Smaragde

Some people I meet tell me from the very beginning, “I can’t remember all that”. They are right, they CAN’T with that kind of ATTITUDE. (But they’re WRONG.) Some people I meet tell me that they’ll TRY their best. (But they are not convincing and often lack conviction.)
Then there are others who take the bull by the horns and just DO IT. They don’t necessarily learn it all, BUT they give their all and make amazing advances in their abilities.


  1. Find a good play.
  2. PAUSE!
  3. Look for and find a BETTER PLAY.

Play to WIN. Know you CAN.

Scrabble is a trademark

You walk into your home and flip a switch that turns on the lights -or- you might just say “Lights ON” and the lights magically illuminate your home.
Your place of work is 15 miles away from home. You get into your car and push a bottom or turn a key, the motor starts and you drive to work in less than 25 minutes.
A lot of different people did a lot of work years ago to enable you to get through your day with ease. On your way home you might even drive-thru a lane, by a window where you pick up dinner for you and the family. After dinner, you’ll turn on one of several devices in your home to provide you with entertainment for as long as you choose.

What a wonderful life.

And that’s not all. You can choose to lead your life as leisurely as you desire or you can build your skills in a hundred different ways increasing your knowledge and skills.

What a wonderful life.

Now if you like learning words and building your word power you should consider Scrabble as a fun way to expand your horizon. First, you’ll want to learn the game so you are clear on how the game works and what you might have to learn to become an even better player. Once you’ve accomplished that there will be a huge group of people both online and in your community who will be eager to meet you and play as your opponents.
You can prepare yourself on your own -or- you can invite me to be your mentor. There are others as well whom you can turn to.

You’ll want to secure a scrabble game, a current Official Word List, a current Dictionary, and a digital chess clock. In my opinion, the best way to get a running start is by taking the online class ‘Scrabble 101’. Call (949) 510-1673.
This website has a lot of good information that you can have for free. Check out the MENU on the left side of the screen and explore it. There are WORDS-Of-THE-DAY, and so much more. You are all welcome to call me at the number above.

YOU have the smarts, you just have to put them in gear. Most people find scrabble to be a lot of fun and you’ll quickly learn that the more you know, the more you’ll enjoy the game.

Scrabble is a trademark

Among the 100 individual tiles in a Scrabble tile bag, there are more than 170,000 combinations that make up legal words, hiding in plain sight. The average person you meet on the street knows about 8,500 words which they use in their daily lives. Competitive scrabble players work hard to learn huge portions of the 170,000 words and then use those words during play. The best players will play words that will cause you to look twice and call “HOLD” while you decide if you want to CHALLENGE that strange-looking word.

Q. Is that a word? ‘STRONGYL’ Is that a real word or did your opponent mess up and put the letters down in the wrong order?
It’s a parasitic worm.

Q. Your opponent just played ‘QWERTYS’ as their opening play with the ‘Q’ on the DLS spot, for a whopping 114 points. If you challenge and are wrong, you’ll lose a turn and probably have no chance at all in this game. Do you challenge?
That is the keyboard of a standard American typewriter and is acceptable.

The top players study efficiently. One word at a time is not their preferred way to study. So, they use proven systems that serve up sets of words with common features. Some letters are more common than others within words. The value of the letter will tell you if they appear more often. All the 1 point tiles are in more words than the others. The 2 tiles with the greatest value, but have the lowest frequency are ‘Q’and ‘Z’.

The top players study STEMS, MNEMONICS, and HOOKS. The top players use FLASHCARDS, VIDEO FLASHCARDS, and LISTS.

Becoming an EXPERT scrabble player is no different than becoming a concert pianist or an Olympic sprinter. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
Most people reading this blog are not going to become the sharpest knife in the drawer but can become a formidable opponent with a little help and guidance.

Consider my online class ‘SCRABBLE 101’.
Get a fast head start.
CALL ME NOW. (949) 510-1673


Some people enjoy the competition factor in sports and games. Other people would rather play HUG-Of-WAR than TUG-Of-WAR.

I like the competition. My ex did not. Can you imagine the conflict and the impossibility of sharing various activities? Take Ping-Pong or Tennis. While I enjoy playing to WIN, she would prefer to simply volley, endlessly,
There are many people who enjoy playing Scrabble passively. They find great pleasure finding words on their racks and putting them down on the board. Competitive players like to find lesser known words to play which invite challenges from their opponents. Competitive players like to utilize the HOT SPOTS on the board to earn the highest possible scores and ultimately WINNING the game with the highest total score.
Passive players who play against Competitive players frequently become frustrated by losing game after game.
Passive players who play against Competitive players frequently become frustrated in that they have no idea if the words being played against them are real words, or not.

What would you do if your opponent played ‘ARDEB’, ‘IHRAM’, and ‘NGWEE’?
Those words are all good.
Competitive types love it when they are challenged. They will make a note on the corner of their score sheet and remember those words to play in future games when the opportunity arises.
Competitive players will also play defensively. They think ahead to the next play. They do not provide ‘JUICY SPOTS’ for their opponents to make high scores.

WARNING! If you become a great scrabble player, the casual players among your family and friends may not want to play with you any longer.



I’m a believer in PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE. I’m a believer in INSURANCE. I’m a believer in TAKING ACTION. I am a believer in YOU.
I continually write word study exercises and create a wide variety of tools to assist players to improve their knowledge and build expansive word power and memory.
I believe in SPACED REPETITION, the action of reviewing lists and flashcards, and reading the OWL. I believe that players need to have GOALS and continuously raise the bar to ensure that they keep on growing. There’s NO REST for the KING-OF-THE-HILL. There’s always someone a step behind you, waiting for you to falter.

You should have a tune-up before your engine light goes on. That action will ensure that you will most likely never break down on a lonely back road on some frigid, rainy night.
I knew a family who NEVER cleaned their gutters until after the precipitation streamed down the sides of their house causing discolored bricks and worse, the water worked its way into the ground and flooded the basement in the home.
Some people are so optimistic that they think NOTHING BAD will ever happen, therefore why bother with the expense of insurance. After the TORNADO blew through the neighborhood after the LEVY BROKE and the storm surge sent 6 feet of water down the street, after the FOREST FIRE in the next county was blown by the Santa Ana winds to their own backyard it was too late to get insurance.

Scrabble is no different. There you are sitting with a BINGO. You remember reading my blog when I pointed out the STEMS and the steps for you to lean them. You have the combination of letters I wrote about so often (A-E-E-I-N-S-T) and you can’t remember the word. You’ve always planned to learn the top 10 STEMS but you never took action. It cost you this game.
BUT in all these cases, unless you die today . . . these events will repeat themselves at some future time.


Scrabble is a trademark




It all begins with HOPE
Don’t just sit around and MOPE
When your luck is battin zero
Get your chin up off the floor
I know you can be a hero
You can open any door
It’s not easy but YOU CAN do it
Make a plan, set your mind to it.

Mother Nature and Father Trump are attacking us from all sides.

Mother Nature is giving us her severe response to Climate Change. Fires across the western states on the heels of several weeks of record high temperatures. Hurricanes across the southeastern regions in severity and numbers greater than years before. Tornados and floods to boot.

Father Trump continues lying to the American people and not fulfilling his responsibility to take actions to keep us safe by creating national solutions.


Keep yourself safe by being as prepared as you can be for what the elements throw at you.
Vote early and rally others.
And when it comes to your scrabble game . . . Don’t just sit around and MOPE.
Learn a word today and tomorrow.

Scrabble is a trademark


Solve the PUNS with legal scrabble words. See the answers below.


  1. I knew a woman who owned a taser. Man, was she _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  2.  I meant to look for my missing watch, but I could never find the _ _ _ _.
  3. Did you hear about that great new shovel? It’s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  4. Two antennas got married last Saturday. The reception was _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  5. Writing with a dull pencil is _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  7. How do you kill a circus? Go for the _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  8. What do you call an alligator in a vest? An _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  9. My fear of moving stairs is _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
  10. The dead batteries were given out free of _ _ _ _ _ _.


To learn more words or tune me out? . . . that is the question.
For more than 30 years I’ve been making, updating, and selling WHIZ CARDS. Whiz Cards are simply flashcards with a unique characteristic, they are only related to legal words, acceptable on the OWL (Official Word List). WHIZ CARDS uses all sorts to lists creating SETS. The sets with the biggest BANG for your buck are the STEM SETS.
There are two different categories of STEM SETS (6s-7s & 6s-8s). The most popular of the two is the 6s-7s. There are 100 STEMS which are ranked from #1 to #100 in order of high probability. Each set of 6s-7s contains 26 cards (A – Z).
The front side of the STEM WHIZ CARD you’ll find the STEM + a letter. On the backside of that card you’ll find the word or words created from the letters on the front. The #1 STEM, SATINE, with a variable 7th letter creates 73 BINGOS.

You can create your own cards or you can order them from JUST FOR THE SPELL OF IT at to the account of
Paypal takes Visa and other Charge Cards.

1 Set $15 All orders include shipping
3 Sets $30 Printed on card stock
5 Sets $40 We’ll send you the highest probability SETS
10 Sets $75 or you can ask for specific STEMS.

6s – 8s STEMS on WHIZ CARDS are also available. These sets contain many more cards per set (AA – ZZ), 351 cards per set.

1 Set $50 All orders include shipping
3 Sets $135 Printed on card stock
5 Sets $200 We’ll send you the highest probability SETS
10 Sets $350 or you can ask for specific STEMS.

Scrabble is a trademark


  • Pay Yourself First is a personal finance strategy of increased and consistent savings and investment while also promoting frugality. The goal is to make sure that enough income is first saved or invested before monthly expenses or discretionary purchases are made.
  • Pay Yourself First is a personal finance strategy of increased and consistent savings and investment while also promoting frugality. The goal is to make sure that enough income is first saved or invested before monthly expenses or discretionary purchases are made.
  • Pay Yourself First is not necessarily only a financial strategy, its a great scrabble strategy too.

Every day, when you begin your day, pay yourself by setting aside some specific amount of TIME during which you focus solely on learning a few words which you can use playing scrabble. It could be as little as 15 minutes per day.
It works best if the time is the same every day and written on your calendar and your daily TO DO LIST. If you’re a multi-tasker you may want to do it while taking your morning shower or preparing your breakfast. DON’T DO IT WHILE DRIVING !!
Have all the necessary materials already in place. If you are reviewing flashcards while showering, make certain that the cards are laminated, There’s nothing worse than soggy flashcards.

Once each week, rethink your study routine and, if necessary, adjust the TIME, PLACE, or any other part of your regimen to improve the quality of the practice.
Develop and keep a chart of your progress. Take full credit for your accomplishments. Keep a notebook with entries of ‘WORDS I’VE LEARNED’. and ‘NEW WORDS I’VE PLAYED AGAINST OPPONENTS’.
If you don’t know what pieces of the scrabble genre to study, ask me via email. I’ll be happy to put you on the right track.

Watch your arsenal grow.

Scrabble is a treademark

Most people have a BLIND SPOT. Let me put it this way until very recently most vehicles had one or more blind spots which made/makes driving fairly dangerous. I live in a senior community of more than 20,000 codgers. More than half of these residents still own vehicles and drive many times each week. Many of these senior drivers have a variety of arthritic conditions that slow or limit their range of motion, necessary for safe driving. Too many of these diminished seniors have difficulty turning their heads or bodies to see the areas that are poorly seen with only the side and rearview mirrors.
Thank heavens for the new technologies that warn drivers with winking lights on side-view mirrors alerting drivers of other cars lingering in the blind spots. Thank goodness for the new technologies that apply the breaks to assist with the avoidance of collisions with other cars and trucks. Seniors also generally have slower reaction times due to the way their bodies atrophy.
One HUGE PROBLEM is that too many of my neighbors have taken great care of their older cars and generally drive less than 3,000 miles in an entire year. The problem is the older cars. These cars still look great but they do not have the new safety features that help eliminate the BLIND SPOTS.
And then there are scrabble players who have yet different kinds of BLIND SPOTS that are equally dangerous, leaving players vulnerable to LOSING and suffering BRUISED EGOS. It’s not as deadly as driving accidents but it affects players YOUNG and OLDER.
The GOOD NEWS IS that there are remedies available that are similarly effective, just like the new auto technologies. The cost for scrabble players is a whole lot less than the cost of a new car. For scrabble players, the cost is TIME, applied to learning words and systems of word structure.
You can chip away at the process on your own . . . -or- you can take my online class ‘SCRABBLE 101’ and I will help you clear up your BLIND SPOTS. In the course of just 21 days, I’ll walk you through the scrabble world, and even if you’ve been playing your whole life long, I’ll enlighten you to little tricks that will help raise your rating in the ranks. Contact me by email at or call me between 10 AM and 11 PM (PDST): 949-510-1673.


Scrabble is a trademark

There have been 22,780 bankruptcies so far in 2020. My guess is that a major portion of those has been due to the effects of the Covid-19 Virus.
I’m pretty certain that the principals of those companies have gone through their personal turmoils and sadness. But the greater majority should not take it personally. I imagine that after they have their cry and regain their composure, many of those folks will find the strength to reinvent themselves and come back stronger than before.
Life is just a circle and we’re all somewhere on the arc. At times we find ourselves upside down, hanging on by our toenails; other times we are on top of the world and can see ahead forever. Some of us have better instincts and better luck than our neighbors, riding the crest longer and avoiding the valleys in business and in life.
But one thing is as certain as the SUN will rise again tomorrow . . . and that’s YOUR BEST IS YET TO COME (if you allow it and not self-sabotage).
I learned this ATTITUDE by playing scrabble. Most people who play the game will get this rack ( A – E – E – I – N – S – T ) and play ‘SEAT’ or ‘STAIN’ or ‘SENATE’.
That’s exactly the kinda thing that I did until I decided that I wanted to WIN. That’s when I began asking more questions and one lady in the room pointed out that knowing about STEMS would lead me to higher scores by playing bingos. That’s when I learned that ‘SATINE’ + ‘E’ = ‘ETESIAN’. Duh! I didn’t even have to know that ETESIAN is an annually recurring wind; all I had to do was to memorize the ‘SATINE’ stem and I would learn 73 bingos. I put the STEMS on flashcards and learned them in the matter of a month of days.
Whether your goal is scrabble knowledge, finding an interim job, learning how to prepare healthy meals, or how to fold a flag . . .  you can do it, let go, and move forward.

Scrabble is a trademark

Happy Birthday to Martin Moss
A certain POTUS, today disparaged everyone and everything as a de-flection of his own lies, shortcomings, and avoidance of damaging truths. He has been advised by his campaign gurus that even untruths have ‘sticking’ power if they are repeated often enough. Human nature reflecting the HERD is not discerning but rather lazy when it comes to fact-checking, making large numbers of people vulnerable, keeping them misinformed, molding them to be puppets of the greedy and powerful.
Can you recount these same techniques being used by other leaders, teachers, or captains of industry? (In advertising)

I wonder if POTUS or his family and friends hold major stock positions in the companies that manufacture and sell Hydroxychloroquine?

  • What if POTUS, knowing that COVID-19 kills off a disproportionate number of minorities (who most likely vote Democratic), is willing to allow COVID deaths to soar, merely for political advantage when voting day happens?
  • What if POTUS selects the member of his inner-circle (Who run and protect and represent the US), not by their expertise and character but by their loyalty to only him, POTUS (To hell with the people).

Living in today’s AMERICA under the leadership of Donald Trump provides me a sickening taste of what it must have felt like to have been living in Adolf Hitler’s Germany or Idi Amin’s Uganda (Hopeless and Scary).
Do you share my fear that POTUS will use his money and influence to steal the November presidential election?

Just the thought of that possibility stirs the same sickening feeling in my gut that I felt upon the assassinations of JFK and MLK.
My biggest fear is that if he, POTUS, is reelected he’ll extend his legal reach to the extent where he will change some of the Official Scrabble Rules and sponsor a new abbreviated 7th Edition of the OWL. If that were to happen I’d put on my Sketchers and MARCH toward the northern border.
We are all witnesses that our constitution did not protect us from having this kind of CHA•LEER•YA (Yiddish for an imbecile,) rising to the highest office in our land. THAT’s UNACCEPTABLE. What’s equally sad is that his party has stood by his side as loyal conspirators, allowing his deadly, UNAMERICAN MISLEADERSHIP. They should all be tried as traitors, convicted, and hung in the rose garden.

Scrabble is a trademark

A lot of people say they’ll TRY. But . . . ‘Trying’ is a variable with a range from way over here to somewhere over there. It is noncommittal and non-quantitative. Try has little-to-no value and is simply a stop-gap measure and a time filler.
If an action has value . . . DON’T TRY; JUST DO IT!
When I first meet wannabes in the scrabble community I am guilty of pouncing on them. I think I do it in a friendly non-threatening manner. My goal is to learn what they already know about playing scrabble and offering a few unsolicited tips which will identify if this prospective player will listen critically and commit to becoming a formidable opponent.
For some, this is too forward and a turnoff. So be it. But if you and I are going to spend significant time playing the game I want you to be an opponent, not a pushover.
I ask you if you know the 2 Letter Words. I’m looking for an honest answer from you. Do you know all 107 of them? If you admit to not knowing all of them I’ll supply you with a 2 Letter Word List and some tips about HOW TO go about learning them and I’ll offer my help bringing you up to speed. I am hoping for some sign from you that you are excited about learning this information as opposed to an overwhelmed sigh of grief (WHAT AM I GETTING INTO?).
I’d rather know upfront. I am behaving like a salesman but I’m not out to earn a large commission. I see myself as a ‘Gary Scrabbleseed,’ sharing the gospel of Alfred Mosher Butts. My Goal: Bring the devoted into the circle; identify the faithful and grow the congregation.

I share and preach The FIVE COMMANDMENTS

Scrabble is a trademark

I wonder if you share any of the same memories with me of the days every fall when we were young students in grade school? For me, those memories include the annual fresh start when the school year began, a few days after Labor Day.
Part of the ritual was receiving a school supply list from my teachers and then making a pilgrimage to the local Five & Dime Store to buy the necessities that I’d need to do my work in my classes. New pencils, clean notebooks with dividers; unused erasers; an ink pen with ‘Miami Blue’ cartridges; 100 3 x 5 cards; some rubber bands; a 12-inch ruler; and a 3 ring binder with 100 sheets of lined paper.
Once home, I packed it all into the carrying bag which I had at home in my bedroom closet. I used that same bag year after year throughout my entire 8 years at Noble School. It was royal blue with the insignia of The Detroit Tigers on each side with both a handle grip and a shoulder strap.
I always liked the beginning of every school year. I’d even go overboard to keep all my work neatly organized and legible for days or weeks until I got sloppy and becoming tired and careless.

After that, I slacked off, but I was a good student and mostly earned As and Bs. I especially liked Arithmetic and Spelling. I used to earn high marks, rarely anything under 95%. I loved to play outdoor sports too. I was one of the fastest runners in my grade and when playing baseball, If I got a good pitch in my sweet spot, I could smack the ball over the fence in center field. I really wanted to play in Little League after school but my mom kept my schedule so busy that I never had the chance to do that. I also played the clarinet in the school band, took part in school plays, and was school champion in the annual Geography Bee.
I guess I was always competitive. The annual Spelling Bee was fun. Twice I made the first cut and then participated in the City-Wide runoff on the stage at the Music Hall. I can still remember how nervous I felt when it was my turn to spell. At the start of the event, there were 30 kids in the competition; I made it to the final 10 when I messed up and misspelled ‘jam·beaux’: A piece of armor for the leg below the knee. Middle English, probably from Old North French *jambeau, from Old French jambe.
I still love competition when I feel I have any chance to win. In the world of scrabble, there exists a top tier of players who really, really, really, really GOOD. Their brains are bigger or work better than the brains of the rest of us. Generally, I do not like playing those GIANTS. If you play frequently you’ll know who they are. While its fun to play them once in a while, it gets old to lose to them again and again and again. I just prefer to avoid humiliation.

I consider myself to be ranked at the bottom of the expert pile. I get it that there are players ranked below me that view me in the same way I experience the GIANTS whom I try to avoid.
Scrabble is a game of EAT or be EATEN. As players, we are all treading dangerous waters, waiting to pounce when the time and the tides are favorable. While treading water we are always busy learning new words, new skills, and new strategies. When the timing is ripe we call upon all of our prowess, instincts, and memory from way back in grade school up until yesterday, using it to slay the GIANT across the board.

Scrabble is a trademark

“The sky is falling; the sky is falling”.
It had started out like any other Monday. A rooster crowed at break of dawn, stirring the residents in the barnyard from their sleep and announcing the beginning of a new day and a new week. The sound of the yard transformed dramatically from the sound of silence to a raucous of chatter, clucking, and an occasional moo. The newly hatched ducklings snugged out from under their mother’s protective feathers as she stood proud and as tall as a fifteen-inch height can stretch and waddled out the barn door with nine offspring chasing after her on their morning walk. The farmer’s kids appeared to milk the cow and two goats then collected the freshly laid eggs from the chicken coop and took them to their mom in the kitchen of the house. A couple of farmhands were now restocking feed for all the animals and daily routines were in full swing.
But as normal as this Monday seemed, everyone was well aware that this day was to be a very special Monday, different from every other Monday that had come before. Today was to become known henceforth as Scrabble Monday.

It all began more than 3 months ago when the Farmer was sitting with the children on the front porch after dinner. They sat ‘round an old card table that he carried up from the basement and set there under a hanging light fixture. He asked Jake and Laura to each bring out a kitchen chair and he carrier one for himself. Next, he brought out a round, padded bag which he hadn’t handled in over ten years, before he came to this life that he lived on the farm. Jake and Laura peered curiously at the bag as their dad unzipped it and emptied its contents onto the tabletop. They recognized it to be a game of some kind but it was foreign to them.

Meanwhile, two free-range biddies had scampered onto the porch and were perched on the railing alongside the table where the family was sitting. The hens were chirping feverishly to one another yet the family paid them little-to-no attention at first.
Farmer John had been a renowned scrabble champion in his youth, walking away and turning his back on his board and tiles when his focus shifted to love of family and earning a living. Deep in his heart, he missed the game, the world of words, and the many friends that scrabble drew into his circle. Tonight, however, here on his front porch, he planned to rekindle that world by sharing the game with his family, no holds barred.

John was more than a little rusty, having been out of the scrabble loop for such a long time. You could tell right away if you had noticed that the Official Word List pulled from his bag was the Fourth Edition. These days players used the Sixth Edition. But John went on without a second thought. He showed the kids the board and the tiles, the tile racks, the clock, and then dove into explaining the basics of the game.
About this time John placed 5 tiles from a tile rack onto the board and positioned them at (E8-I8). That’s the point when something very strange and incredible occurred.
One of the birdies resting on the railing leaped onto the scrabble board and repositioned the tiles, moving them to (D8-H8). John raised his hand, shooing the hen away and putting the tiles back where he originally had placed them. Now the other birdie hopped onto the board and repositioned the tiles where the first hen had moved the tiles and let out an assertive peep. John looked down at the board and couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed.  “HOLY UNDERWEAR”, John yelled.  The birdies had placed the tiles back in the position that earned the highest possible score for that play.  John experimented again by placing a different set of tiles on the board and the hens obliged him once more by repositioning the tiles for the optimum score. John’s jaw dropped. He had no way of accounting for what was happening.
John together with the birdies went on to teach the scrabble basics, that very evening to Jake and Laura. From that evening forward, the game on the porch became a daily ritual. After a few months of evenings on the porch, Jake and Laura were becoming pretty good at playing scrabble, and yet the birdies were even better. The farmer’s wife, Jean, happened to be an amateur photographer. She recorded much of the scrabble progress on both still photos and videos. Upon being prompted by neighbors, Jean sent her videos to News networks and to the folks at HASBRO. Of course, no one initially believed them and their claims about the birdies. And yet, seeing was believing. John’s farm became a tourist attraction where thousands of tourists began stopping every evening just to witness the two birdies move scrabble tiles.
Other farmers put scrabble boards into their henhouses across the country in the hopes of finding other scrabble-playing birdies. None of the others had any luck. Scientists at the leading Agricultural Universities tried but could not explain the phenomenon.

At the end of the following school year, John’s entire family and the two birdies went on tour from coast to coast appearing at both State Fairs and Scrabble Tournaments. The touring was very tiring and as a result, the hens laid fewer eggs. Each scrabble exhibition produced higher and higher scrabble scores and the tours produced admission, photos, videos, scrabble sales, and more, making Farmer John and his family very wealthy. Studies were initiated related to the link between chickens and scrabble. None could be found and the two birdies were labeled as ‘freaks of nature’.
It was a few weeks later that the unimaginable happened. On a cold, dark, rainy November night a FOX got into the henhouse. The world was shocked and saddened. Flags were lowered to half-staff. The birdies lay in State at the Department of Agriculture before a 21 gun salute and a burial at Walden Pond. A local trapper was commissioned to hunt down the vicious murderer. Authorities knew they had the right fox because when hunted down he had the letter ‘Q’ still stuck in his bloody teeth.

(The unbearable heat has strange effects on me.
Somewhere north of 106 as I wrote this piece.)

Scrabble is a trademark

Believe it or not . . . some of the kindest, most caring, and empathetic people I know are scrabble players (when they are not being your opponent in a scrabble game).
You wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?
When I WIN, I want to know it was due to my SKILL, STRATEGY, and LUCK, not to having my opponent just roll over, allowing me to win.
I’ve even known many scrabble players to being helpful and instructive to one another over lunch or after a hard-fought game at the 19th Hole.
Personally, I’m frequently supplying players with learning tools and providing suggestions that will promote learning to raise players in the ranks and create a higher, more challenging, level to the game, infusing lesser-known words.
Kindness, caring and empathy come in many forms. It’s not always about the game itself. Competitors will frequently become dear friends and often feel closer than family. We spend endless hours hunched over our scrabble boards across from our scrabble friends and opponents, often many more hours than we spend with our own family members. At times one scrabble friend can simply say some arcane word like ‘ABOITEAU’ which jolts a memory from some game last year and the two of us break into hilarious laughter. I’ve never laughed like that with my wife or my cousins.
Want a good laugh? Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting down to a game with Trump. (I’m assuming that he can spell.) I wonder if he follows the rules when playing a game? Does he make up his own rules? If I were to play a word that is unknown to him would he break out in a chorus of “FAKE WORDS, FAKE WORDS”? And then if he was losing, would he ‘FIRE ME’ or call in ‘THE NATIONAL GUARD’? What if he were playing against Oprah? Would he say something outrageous like “BLACK WORDS DON’T MATTER”?
The idea of Trump playing anyone is ludicrous. Cancel that. Unless he was playing against Barr who would surrender unconditionally, declaring it justice.

Scrabble is a trademark


When a NEW DRUG is tested it is used first on animals. Then if the animal data looks okay, it’s tried on human volunteers. All of that usually takes several years. But at the end of human trials, when everything about the drug may appear to be fine, it has still been used by only a few hundred to a few thousand people. And none of those people may have suffered any ill effects. When the drug is on the market millions of people take the drug and sometimes unforeseen reactions are found evident.
The current coronavirus has already killed 180,000+ people in the US due in large part by the mismanagement of POTUS and his cronies. Now they are about to add insult to injury by rushing some ‘potential life-saving drugs’ into use, just before the election. Science doesn’t work this way.
Meanwhile, the way advertising works causes a large number of people to believe messages which are repeated and heard over and over again, in spite of them being true and valid. We are all at risk because of this lying, foolish, and deceitful man in power.
*As a result of his touting of hydroxychloroquine, it was reported today that there has been a major increase in prescriptions and use of that drug in the last several months.” (A Jim Jones mentality is, unfortunately, alive and well.)

I still remember that first time I walked into a room filled with serious, cutthroat, scrabble maven. I can vividly recall looking down at their boards and wondering which language they were using. I remember asking another onlooker about the language that was being used. I recall her telling me that they were playing in English. I FELT Soooooo STUPID. I was an educator with a BS and an MA in Education and I knew hardly any of the scrabble jargon on the board.

  • I felt overwhelmed but enticed.
  • I felt mystified but curious.
  • I felt dumbfounded but challenged.

I decided right there that I wasn’t going to simply turn my back and walk away. Rather, I would step off the proverbial cliff and dive deeply into the abyss of scrabble; I would learn the ‘secrets of scrabble mavins’. I would use my talents and academic knowledge to achieve the same skills that I imparted to the little boys and girls I had taught over the last 3 decades.


Scrabble is a trademark

EGOs can be fragile and delicate. To discover any discipline that is completely foreign and choose to pursue it is like the first archeologist seeing the hieroglyphics on the pyramids without the benefit of the ‘ROSETTA STONE’. It is baffling, to say the least.
The question most frequently stuttered by newies who wander into a scrabble club is “IS THAT A REAL WORD?” That’s because as scrabble players we want to stump our opponents by playing lesser-known words. We want to draw a challenge from our opponents by displaying our word power and superiority, We love earning the 50 point bonus from playing bingos. We love it when an opponent wrongfully challenges an acceptable scrabble word, then loses a turn.

  1. Bruised EGO?
  2. Hell, CRUSHED Ego;
  3. SWAMPED Ego;
  4. TRAMPLED Ego;
  5. MANGLED Ego;
  6. RAPED Ego.
  7. Need I go on?

If you play this game, created by the mild-mannered, unemployed engineer, Alfred Butts, in the 1930s, you’ll want to put some starch in your backbone, some grit in your teeth, some ammo in your six-shooter and enter the playing room like a T-REX and take no prisoners.

  • Prepare yourself;
  • breathe fire;
  • don’t back down,
  • show your teeth.
  • Show no sympathy.
    This is an arena where you EAT or BE EATEN. The only compensation for bruised egos around here is the lessons learned which you in turn can inflict upon others.

Scrabble is a trademark

Before computers and GPS, if I was planning a road trip, I’d head over to the AAA office and get myself a TRIPTIK travel planner. The agent behind the counter usually began by pulling out a regional map beginning with my starting point and with a yellow or orange marker draw a line on the map of the route I was being told to follow. If it was a long trip from Detroit, Michigan to Miami, Florida, the agent might require 2 or 3 regional maps to get me from here to there. Then came the TRIPTIK. It was a booklet made up of smaller maps with greater detail of shorter distances of about 100 miles each. A typical TRIPTIK from Detroit to Miami might include as many as 20+ pages. And then in addition to all of that, there were other booklets available that focused on tourist attractions and amenities along the way.
In today’s world, you simply enter starting and ending addresses into your GPS and you are home free. The GPS will tell you where to find your favorite meals and provide you the choice of where to stay and what to see along the way. Some systems will even warn you about delays due to road construction or accidents.
We knew how to find specific spots on the map by using a system of coordinates. That same system is used by scrabble players when they communicate with others and refer to a location of a word on the scrabble board. The 15 columns from left to right are designated as ‘A’ thru ‘O’. The 15 rows from top to bottom are designated as ‘1’ thru ’15’. Therefore, the center STAR is located at (H,8) and the TWS on the top/left is (A,1).

Understanding the system of coordinates is very valuable for communicating the positions on the scrabble board.

Another basic skill that seems to be falling away from some players is simple arithmetic. I note more and more players who rightfully use hand-held devices to compute their scores. I guess it’s better to use a device than declare the wrong score. But really? Some grown people who play scrabble don’t have the ability to add and multiply?
Coming soon to a clinic in your neighborhood: Chip implants with calculators and the lexicon of your choosing. When this occurs will it take the fun out of scrabble -or- will it just require a totally different skill set?

Scrabble is a trademark

If you’ve ever experienced what is frequently referred to as ‘WRITERS’ BLOCK’ you know the dread and isolation which accompanies this painful condition.
There you sit with your pen, limply in-hand; there you sit idle in front of your Smith-Corona or laptop computer with arthritic-like fingers, ready at the mark and set to go without a single motivating thought or idea to excite your engine.
The longer you just sit there the more difficult it becomes to begin. It’s like the dead of winter in northern Michigan or Minnesota trying to start your frozen car engine. You turn your key and the starter groans, the motor sputs, and coughs. The more you try, the more you rundown and weaken your battery.
You pause a few seconds and try again, hoping your engine will purr.

You pause a few seconds at your desk. You stand up and walk around the room. You refill your coffee cup and take another piece of coffee cake. You close your eyes, hoping for inspiration from that place deep within your subconscious, your soul, The light hides in the darkness. You search the nooks and crannies.
When I face constipation, one sure way to get things flowing again is by returning to the basics. In the past, I have used many, many tools to advance my learning. Whiz Cards with the 2s, Hooks for every letter in the alphabet, all 100 Stems with 7s and 8s. It really doesn’t matter where I begin again. There isn’t anyone specific place that is THE RIGHT PLACE.
JUST WRITE SOMETHING, SIMPLY MOVE, TAKE AN ACTION. It’s as simple as that. Unclog the drain. Most times, the doing will stimulate an idea, be it an old idea or a new aha. The action will promote openings for movement which in turn will allow the logjam to break up. Write about something that you know very well. Expand on these ideas and your genius will surprise yourself with deeper insights appearing at first, and then taking on new directions.
Clogged gutters unattended will cause widespread damage and cost you dearly in the bigger picture.
Stay tuned in to your surrounding; be diligent.


Scrabble is a trademark

Today is not the beginning of a new calendar year; today is not the first day of a new fiscal year. But for me, September 1, 2019, was when I began in earnest building a collection of BLOGS that have accumulated to 365 as of yesterday. So join me and raise a symbolic toast with me today, to this milestone.
We find ourselves living in a very unique period of history where so much of our lives are suspended by the uncertainty of our tomorrow. And yet we each have the capacity to reinvent the way we view and live these days so that we can enrich our lives and build our skills in anticipation of our futures.
Don’t get stuck, looking at the things you cannot do. Re-imagine your life and routines, adding activities and experiences that will empower you. Take a class online, read a book, write that business plan that is in the back of your consciousness, sketch that invention from your dreams.
I’ve spent the greater part of the last 365 days creating different ways to convey knowledge related to building scrabble skills and word power. I hope to do the same in the coming year. We all learn differently and hear things differently but in scrabble, the goals we desire are the same: build our memory, word power, vision, and strategies that lead to VICTORY.

  • I invite you to travel with me in the coming days and months, building upon your abilities and becoming even BETTER.
  • I invite you to bring a friend to the party. We all learn things at a deeper level when we share and teach others.

Avail yourself of the many learning tools, word lists, video flashcards, study guides, puzzle books, my Backward dictionary, and more to challenge yourself to be the best you can be. Remember, there is no end to learning; there’s always another level, another dimension.

There is no dishonor in Not Knowing; simply ASK and EXPLORE.

Scrabble is a trademark