Blogs Sept 2020 to Dec 2020

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FRIDAY, 10/30/2020

WE SEE THINGS AS WE ARE, NOT AS THEY ARE

If you’re like me, while we may have different political positions, I sure we still look forward to Wednesday, November 4th when this election will hopefully be over.

One important piece that is obviously missing from most impassioned politicians is EMPATHY.

Maybe it has to be that way when your intention is to WIN at all costs and grow your ideas and values in the direction you hold to be TRUE. There go the Righteous.

I understand. When individuals are committed to some ideal, part of that includes seeing your opponent as being ‘wrong’. One does everything they can to come out on top and push all others down into the mud. That’s one of the behaviors that drives competitors toward the finish line. That’s the behavior that differentiates those who prefer to play HUG-OF-WAR to TUG-OF-WAR.

One of my dearest scrabble friends of all time was Maliha Mahmood. Maliha was a proponent of Hug-Of-War. She loved the game, but it was her love of the words that matter many times more than winning the game. Maliha lost much more that she won during competitions. And she’d applaud her opponent whenever they made strong or creative plays. And yet she knew what she knew. One game in which she beat me was when I under-estimated her by not blocking a line on the top TWS line. Maliha played ‘PHARISEE, a triple-triple, through an ‘I’ that was sitting between two TWS, for 198 points. I applauded her and felt her tempered joy in her achievement.

It is impossible to see things as others see them. It is impossible to know what our opponents know. Therefore our focus requires us to know what we ourselves know and develop regimens to grow and expand our personal word arsenal.

YOU and I have the power to mold our own style to become Killer Competitors, Hug-Of-War Players, are still welcome to compete within our circle. It is not easy to shift back and forth between styles of playing if you have desires of moving UP in the ranks. To be a TOP rated expert and maintain that status you MUST become a KILLER and always go for the jugular. The top tier of players build and maintain WINNING HABITS. Many times the EXPERTS have already won the game against their opponents, even before the first word is placed onto the board.

There’s a feeling of intimidation that settles upon the player being challenged and confusion is experienced whenever the ‘masters’ play words, setting themselves up for hooks on their next play, overwhelming opponents to lesser known words, often drawing losing challenges, and more.

Opponents can use such an experience as an opportunity to learn a few things. Some do, most don’t. When a lesser known word is played . . . write it down; learn it.

When I’m directing my Club #350, some people who show up will come to me and ask me to pair them with some of the weakest players. I rarely to-never honor that kind of a request. Pairing for the first game at Club #350 is totally random, like a lottery. After that I employ a swiss-pairing format to pair opponents. The opportunity to learn on-the-job is greater when you play higher rated players where you’ll learn things you may not have known when you walked into the room.

 


THURSDAY
10/29/2020
YOU CAN HAVE THE UPPER HAND
MALIKA and CHAYA completed middle school last June. Both were excited about the next school year when they would be entering High School and both were excited knowing that they could join the cross-country team.
CHAYA planned to spend the summer traveling with her family, reading a variety of novels for pleasure, and hanging with friends.
MALIKA planned a regimen around training for cross-country. Every morning throughout the summer she was up and dressed at the crack of dawn ready for a 5 mile morning run. Later in the day she spent time in the gym, followed by swimming.
No matter what your passion might be, you can take the initiative to pursue it at your own rate, on your own timetable. THE MORE YOU PRACTICE, THE BETTER YOU”LL BECOME. If you are a budding scrabble player, you surely know THE MORE WORDS YOU KNOW, THE LUCKIER YOU BECOME, considering that there are more than 170,000 different words in the OWL and the OSPD6.

WHAT’S ON YOUR CALENDAR?
WHAT’S YOUR TALENT?
Are you more like Chaya or Malika?
Why?

Neither way is RIGHT or WRONG. It is what it is, your choice.
John Alman was a 12-year-old boy in 2008 living in Alma, Oklahoma. John was known by friends and his teachers to be very athletic and his greatest accomplishment was being the fastest runner in the school. John’s name was on the Honor Roll Board which was proudly displayed in the school foyer with the names of students who excelled in academics and sports. During the summer of 2008, in August, John was glued to a chair in front of the TV in his home, watching the track events from the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. When school resumed in September, John eagerly took park in state-wide olympic style extravaganza, mirroring the Olympics. John signed up to run in the 100 and 220 yards dashes and the 13 mile half marathon. Many family members and friends came out to support John. As good as John was in his school and in his community, he finished in the middle of the pack in each of his events. While John was thrilled to have participated in the races, he felt defeated and saddened by not winning a single race.
REALITY is that no matter what your skill, and what your passion, there is most likely someone else who is better. No matter what you collect and have a lot of . . . somebody else out there most likely has more.
John was inspired by the other runners in his races and became determined to work at becoming better. As a result, during his high school years, John continued to run on the track team and won many ribbons and trophies. John developed an attitude that THE JOY IS IN THE DOING and was a winner every race.

Scrabble is a trademark

 


WEDNESDAY
10/28/2020
SYMPATHY IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR ACTION
If you are paying attention, while at a scrabble club or tournament, you will most likely hear and observe a particular scene. As frequently happens, one of the players in a game falls behind in the score, and then to make matters worse he/she draws an awful rack that offers little-to-no opportunity to spring back with a high-scoring play. The losing player shrinks in their chair sighs heavily and mutters phrases like: “Give me a break, I can’t seem to draw a balanced rack,” or “I haven’t had a vowel in the last three racks,” or “I haven’t seen a blank all day long”.
Even though the official rule is “DO NOT SPEAK DURING PLAY” (with the exception of calling CHALLENGE or calling DIRECTOR}, many frustrated players whine aloud, looking for SYMPATHY from their opponent. That’s foolish. I think that it emboldens an opponent and gives him/her free license to play lesser known words, inviting challenges from the whiner, frustrating him/her to an even greater extent.

What should a struggling player do?
TAKE AN ACTION!

  • Remind yourself that the SHIT HAPPENS.
  • Play through the awful racks using that which you know.
  • Stay hopeful and positive.
  • Draw tiles with your other hand.
  • Pick tiles from a different place in the bag.
  • Stand up and turn yourself around 7 times.
  • Take deep breaths being careful not to hyper-ventilate.
  • Remind yourself ‘THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE LUCKIER YOU BECOME’.
  • Make a mental note to yourself that the next time you’ll study emphasizing  – HEAVY ON VOWELS’ and ‘HEAVY ON CONSONANTS’. (AIYEE, EULOGIA, MIAOUED, LYNCH, HWYL, WYND)
  • Visualize yourself in THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE, receiving a trophy,

There is NO SYMPATHY for whiners.
SUCK IT UP.
Pull yourself UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS.

Scrabble is a trademark

 


TUESDAY
10/27/2020
ARE YOU ‘TURNING THE CORNER’ TOWARD WINNING AT SCRABBLE?
Some people believe that the key to becoming a frequent winner is simply playing more often and reading the dictionary.
EXAMPLE: A lady came into a Club #350 session and asked if she could play scrabble with us. “Of course,” I said. I asked if she had ever played at a club before wanting to teach her the things she might not know about using the clock and about the OSPD6 dictionary. She assured me that she was on top of the game. She shared that she was a professor of English at the local Community College and she’d fit right in. Apologetically she warned that she expected to sweep the field and win all her games.
Imagine that you were part of the team that invented and built the Model T. Ford.
You knew everything about the mechanics of that car. You could rebuild that engine with your eyes closed. Then you entered one of today’s auto service departments to troubleshoot an engine problem on a 2020 Chevy. Your skills would be so outdated that you’d think you were on another planet.
The lady didn’t know many of the 2’s; While she was able to identify many words on her rack . . . she was unable to hook critical words onto the board. While she had an amazing vocabulary . . . she lacked knowledge of scrabble jargon and consequently lost several challenges, She ultimately felt embarrassed, lost all 4 games, and never returned.
EXAMPLE: A pharmacist from Chicago drove more than 5 hours one-way to West Bloomfield, Michigan to play in a 7 game tournament which I was directing. He told me he belonged to the NSA (National Scrabble Association) so I assumed he knew the way we played competitive scrabble. He shared, almost apologetically, that he held a certain advantage over all the other players because of his medical vocabulary. I listened but I doubted that he had an advantage. He experienced a deflating tournament; he didn’t win a single game. Most of his medical vocabulary included many very looooong words that didn’t fit onto the board. Most of the words in his medical vocabulary included letter combinations that rarely show up together on your rack. He didn’t know the scrabble jargon and he sunk like the Titanic.
You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in order to become a good scrabble player. More important than having a degree is to have desire, passion, persistence, discipline, and an open mind to earn the game.
I can help YOU ‘turn the corner’. I can show you the pieces that will allow you to overwhelm many of the PhDs who believe their superiority stems from their own expertise.

Call me: (949) 510-1673
You can see America talking.

Scrabble is a trademark

 


MONDAY
10/26/2020
ALL ABOUT ’J’
It only makes sense that if you are going to invest your time studying words to improve your scrabble scores . . . study words that contain high-value tiles. There are only 5 different tiles with a face value of 5 or more points:
J = 8,
K = 5,
Q = 10,
X = 8,
Z = 10.
I figured that eventually, I’d get around to all of them again. But on this day I am going with ‘J’.
At a minimum, I decided that I should become familiar with all the words that contained ‘J’ from 2-Letters-Long to 5-Letters-Long. Before beginning, I knew this would take some time, longer than licking an all-day-sucker. And so I began.

  • 2’s with a ‘J’: JO
  • 3’s with a ‘J’: JAB, JAG, JAM, JAR, JAW, JAY, JEE, JET, JEU, JIB, JIG, JIN, JOB, JOE, JOG, JOT, JOW, JOY, JUG, JUN, JUS, JUT, AJI, HAJ, RAJ, TAJ
  • 4’s with a ‘J’: JABS, JACK, JADE, JAGG, JAGS, JAIL, JAKE, JAMB, JAMS, JANE, JAPE, JARL, JARS, JATO, JAUK, JAUP, JAVA, JAWS, JAYS, JAZZ, JEAN, JEED, JEEP, JEER, JEES, JEEZ, JEFE, JEHU, JELL, JEON, JERK, JESS, JEST, JETE, JETS, JEUX, JIAO, JIBB, JIBE, JIBS, JIFF, JIGS, JILL, JILT, JIMP, JINK, JINN, JINS, JINX, JIRD, JIVE, JIVY, JOBS, JOCK, JOES, JOEY, JOGS, JOHN, JOIN, JOKE, JOKY, JOLE, JOLT, JOOK, JOSH, JOSS, JOTA, JOTS JOUK, JOWL, JOWS, JOYS, JUBA, JUBE, JUCO, JUDO, JUDY, JUGA, JUGS, JUJU, JUKE, JUKU, JUMP, JUNK, JUPE, JURA, JURY, JUST, JUTE, JUTS, AJAR, AJEE, AJIS, DJIN, DOJO FUJI, GOJI, HAJI, KOJI, MOJO, PUJA, RAJA, SOJA, SOJU, HAJJ, HADJ
  • 5’s with a ‘J’: JABOT
    JACAL, JACKS, JACKY, JADED, JADES, JAGER, JAGGS +190 MORE
  • 6’s with a ‘J’ = 339 WORDS
  • 7’s with a ‘J’ = 460 WORDS

Whenever I meet up with a word I did not know, I make a flashcard and put it in the pile of cards that I review weekly. It takes more than a simple glance to plant a word into your memory.

How many of the words listed above are new to you?
©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

You are welcome.

Scrabble is a trademark

SUNDAY
10/25/2020
HAVE A SUNDAE ON SUNDAY
Some people I meet are amazed and/or surprised that after more than 30 years I can still entertain myself with words. It’s probably something in my genes that moves me. Several members of my family are/were word masters including my paternal grandfather, my dad, my brother, my sister and moi. And having been a school teacher, requiring the need to be entertaining, creative and motivating I continue to dream up things like Sundae On Sunday. Below I’m going to take the flavors in a Sundae and expand each flavor with it’s sub-anagrams.

VANILLA:
ANVIL, AVAIL, AVIAN, LANAI, LIANA, NAVAL, NIVAL, VILLA, VINAL, ALAN, ANAL, ANIL, LAIN, LAVA, NAIL, NALA, NILL, VAIL, VAIN, VIAL, VILL, VINA, AAL, AIL, AIN, ALA, ALL, ANA, ANI, AVA, ILL, LAV, LIN, NAV, NIL, VAN, VIA, VIN, AA, AI, AL, AN, IN, LA, LI, NA

CHOCOLATE:
CATECHOL, COLOCATE, OOTHECAL, CHOLATE, OOTHECA, CACHET, CAHOOT, CHALET, CHALOT, CLOCHE, CLOTHE, COOLTH, LOATHE, LOCATE, OCELOT, THECAL, ACHOO, ALTHO, CZCHE, CATCH, CECAL, CHEAT, CHELA, CLACH, CLEAT, CLOOT, CLOTH, and 153 more.

STRAWBERRY:
BARRETRY, BARRETS, BARTERS, BARYTES, BETRAYS, BEWRAYS, BRAWEST, BRAYERS, STRAYER, WASTERY, ARREST, ARTERY, BAREST, BARRET, BARTER, BARYES, BARYTE, BASTER, BAYEST, BETRAY, BEWRAY, BRAWER, BRAYER, BREAST, ESTRAY, and 319 more.

BANANA:
ANNA, NAAN, ABA, ANA, BAA, BAN, NAB, NAN, AA, AB, AN, BA, NA that’s all folks.

 

SPRINKLES:
PILSNERS, PLINKERS, SPRINKLE, INKLESS, KINLESS, LINKERS, LISPERS, PENSILS, PILSNER, PINKERS, PINLESS, PLINKER, RELINKS, RESKINS, SINKERS, SNIPERS, SPIKERS, SPINELS, SPLINES, INKERS, INKLES, KISSER, KRISES, LIKENS, LIKERS and 278 more.

 

HOT FUDGE:
HOT, THO, HO, OH, TO, FUDGE, FEUD, GUDE, DEF, DUE, DUG, FED, FUD, FUG, GED, DE, ED, EF, FE

 

YOUR TURN.
Pick a word, any word. Use only the letters within that word to create a sub-anagram list. Have fun with it.

Scrabble is a trademark

SATURDAY
10/24/2020
ARE YOU SCRABBLE-SAFE?
TESTING IS AVAILABLE.
98% of Americans have long-term systematic scrabble infections according to scrabble-health advisors at JFTSOI. You should know that testing as well as antidotes are available in two different forms: QUICK FIX & SUSTAINED REGIMENS. To make it easier for you and others. The solutions and injections are available both online and at a distance of 6+ feet apart at local sites.
TESTING is available which will provide you with results in less than 48 hours.
The tests are designed to expose your strengths and weaknesses. As you are well aware, there are more than a dozen skills used while playing scrabble. You may be weaker in just 1 or 2 parts of the game or require tutoring in a general approach to all the pieces. The online class, ‘SCRABBLE 101’ could be the solution to your needs.
During this COVID-19 Pandemic, while social distancing, we all find ourselves with pieces of time available during which we could take on the task of bolstering our scrabble skills and word power. Can you spell ZELKOVA?
Do you know a front-Hook for ‘HERO’ is ’S’ (SHERO)? Do you know that the word ‘STRONGYL’ is not a typo?
If you enjoy learning words that are NEW to YOU, all the better. I find it a lot more fun to learn more words than to watch RERUNS and endless COMMERCIALS on TV. Learning words is a great way to escape all of the endless politics that only become ‘NASTIER’.
Do you know that NASTIER has 8 ANAGRAMS? Do you know all of them?

If you’re like me and many others you keep some reading material and some puzzle books somewhere in the bathroom within reach of the throne. Most people have crossword puzzles or sudoku in the collection. Do you have any of my scrabble-skill booklets in the stack? Anagrams? Hooks? Consograms? Pyramids? Definitions? The booklets sell for $12 each + shh.

Be prepared; Stay safe.

 


FRIDAY
10/23/2020
DID YOU, MISS, THE BUS?
Having missed the bus is no excuse for being late arriving at your appointment. Be creative and imagine how you can get to where you are going in some other way.

 

“You missed the bus, Gus.
You need a new plan, Stan.
So what can you do, Sue?
Getting there is your duty, Judy.
You could put out your thumb, Chum.
You could take a first step, Lek
Whatcha gonna do, Lou
Could you ride your bike, Ike?
Fall down and start to crawl, Yawl.
The clock is ticking
Will some neighbor come to saveya, Ava?
Could you ride on a horse? Morris
Should you call ahead, Fred?
Think up a good excuse, Bruce
Do you have a phone? Joan
You coulda cab, Babs.
Do you have time to skate, Mate?
Is there time to skip, Chip?
Will anyone come to your aid, Jade?
Oops you’re late.”

And then there’s the whole thing about missing the “scrabble bus”. Any chance you missed that one? If so, no worries. There’s always another bus coming later today, tomorrow, and whenever you’re ready and wanting to hop on.
People are getting on and off the scrabble bus all the time. I know a guy who got on to the 2-Letter-Words Line near his home and rode it toward town where he transferred to the STEMS line and did a loop of the city before getting off at ANAGRAM Plaza. Then he made his way back home only to take another ride two days later.
Different routes build different skills. Which skill would help you the most?
I drive a bus. I am willing to pick you up at the bus stop on your corner whenever it is your pleasure. Just let me know the day, time, and location and I will be there on time.

Scrabble is a trademark

 


THURSDAY
10/22/2020
LEAK FREE PROTECTION
Have you ever had the awareness that there are times after you’ve learned something and really know things that after some undetermined number of days or months, if you don’t use that knowledge, . . . it sorta gets away from you?

 

Where does the knowledge go? 
What is it’s escape route? 
Out of your ears?
Out through your pores? 
Do you sweat it out?  

 
I’ve created a scrabble CAP that works wonder with slowing down a stunning percentage of knowledge evaporation.  The way it works is revolutionary.
 
  1. First, you purchase the cap, pictured below, from JFTSOI.
  2. Next, develop a habit of wearing the cap whenever possible.
  3. Third, you develop a scrabble word study regimen and wear the cap each time you study.
  4. Wear the cap each time you go out.
        • When people stop you and comment about your cap and scrabble, be an ambassador, and engage them. 
        • Tell them about local opportunities to play at club. 
        • Share something that you recently learned while studying.
        • Leave them with a written copy of the address to the Just4thespellofit web site.
  5. Always wear your cap to club.
  6. Keep a notebook for recording all the words you’ve played while wearing your cap, that you’ve learned since using the cap.
  7. Purchase a second cap, being prepared, in case your original cap is lost or stolen, or soiled.
  8. Consider getting a fast start by following the regimen ‘ZAP IN YOUR CAP.  It entails taking the online, 21-day class, ‘SCRABBLE 101’.
 
PLUG UP THE LEAKS IN YOUR GAME.

 
Scrabble is a trademark

WEDNESDAY
10/21/2020
I’M GARY MOSS AND I APPROVE THIS BLOG
“There are two different kinds of truth in this world. There’s the truth that is the unalterable bedrock of one’s life and mission. And the other malleable truth of the politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyers, and their clients, bent and molded to serve whatever purpose is at hand.” ~Michael Connelly

That dichotomy doesn’t exist in the competitive scrabble world. The games are governed by a specific set of rules and by agreed-upon lexicons. Even some of the most minor and insignificant circumstances are addressed in the official rules.

  • Things like who plays first,
  • What kind of equipment has a preference,
  • What’s the procedure if a tile is discovered on the floor, under the table, before the game has ended,
  • When is a game officially completed, can a review of the final score take place after a game is finished,
  • Can the results be amended?

Over the years, when questions arose to address events that occurred during competitive play, directors defined situation after situation, adding to the rules in a way that has established clarity. The Official Rules is a living document and remains open to any new questions about the play during eve game. It, therefore, becomes the important task of every competitor to KNOW THE RULES, play by the rules, and hold your opponents accountable to the rules.
Amidst all the effort and energy of our director and tournament producers, there still remains an element of human nature that presses some scallawags to use sleight-of-hand, like a magician saws a lady in two, to take advantage of his/her opponent in an effort to WIN at all costs. (That’s why you have to KNOW THE RULES and keep your third eye on your opponent during serious competition.)

  • CHEATERS have been known to palm tiles (especially the blanks, esses, and power tiles).
  • CHEATERS have been known to drop an unwanted tile from their rack to the floor, hiding it under their shoe, until the game is over.
  • CHEATERS have been known to not follow the steps in completing their turn to draw tiles out of turn.
  • CHEATERS have been known to count their scores incorrectly in their own favor.
  • CHEATERS have been known to undercount their score with the intention of giving their opponent a false sense of security, with the intention of asking for a recount at the end of the game and regaining the points to achieve a WIN.
  • Don’t get me wrong. There are very few CHEATERS, but when they cheat on you IT STINGS BADLY.

Beware if you ever play a game with the likes of DJT
and wear a mask!

 

 

Scrabble is a trademark

TUESDAY
10/20/2020
THE PANDEMIC IS GETTING WORSE.
What does ‘The Pandemic Is Getting Worse’ have to do with scrabble?
Just shut your eyes; clear your mind of everything; calm your thoughts and opinions.

Now, open your eyes and take a few steps back so you can see the wider, panoramic view of the situation. People view what’s happening in one of two ways.
The set of us who are educated to look at the world in terms of science and logic (doing THIS leads to THAT), listen to the scientists and doctors, and follow their lead. We follow their direction in this instance by frequently, Washing Hands, Wearing Masks, and Socially Distancing.
The other set put their actions in the hands of their Divine Intervention and Beliefs. They KNOW that their GOD will watch over them and that their leader, (POTUS), will show the way. They believe that if they get COVID-19 it is GOD’S WILL and that is just fine.
This is not NEW. The anti-vaccinating people in our society have continued to send their unvaccinated children to public schools putting the other school children at the risk of contracting Measles.

I see similarities to the game of scrabble. Just shut your eyes; clear your mind of everything; calm your thoughts and opinions related to the way you have played the game. Now, open your eyes and take a few steps back so you can see the wider, panoramic view of a scrabble board.
There is one set of people who just want to play a game. They just want to have fun. They want something simple. They don’t want to have too many rules or have to study and learn arcane words that they’ll never use in their daily lives. They want to play as they did years ago during their childhood.
The other set of people know that all ‘GOOD’ games have rules to establish order and fairness during play. They understand that all players coming to the game usually know about only 5% of the words in the dictionary. These folks embrace learning and invite scrabble jargon and rules to create the challenges to create an environment of growth.

Whenever you are taking an oppositional stance against people of faith and belief you will face frustration. People of faith follow their path blindly just because. People who come only to PLAY will rarely-to-never adopt the ways of competitive scrabble players . . . JUST BECAUSE.

 

Scrabble is a trademark

MONDAY
10/19/2020
HOW IT STARTED; HOW’S IT GOING?
It was the GREAT DEPRESSION in 1929 that started a cycle that would later lead to the creation of all the scrabble fun that you and I enjoy in our lives. An architect from Poughkeepsie,_New_York was laid off from his job due to the depression and during some of his idle time, he wasn’t so idle. That’s when Alfred Mosher Butts crafted a word game which he called Kriss-Kross. Like so many other inventions Butts tweaked the game and looked for connections to others who might help him produce and package his game. It was during the late 1930s that he met and corroborated with James Burnot. It still took more time until Kriss-Kross evolved into Scrabble and the game began to explode on the board-game market.

  • What’s your story?
  • When did you first play scrabble?
  • Who did you first play with?
  • Which dictionary did you use to adjudicate the words that you played?
  • If you have discovered competitive scrabble, how did that happen?
  • When?
  • Have you ever attended a scrabble club or tournament? Where? When?

I have memories of playing scrabble in the early 1950s around the dining room table, growing up on Northlawn in Detroit, Michigan. I think it was with my mother. Next, I think I brought a scrabble game into my classroom when I was a 5th Grade teacher at Francis Scott Key Elementary School in Oak Park, MI.
Years later in the mid 1980s I was headmaster at The Moss School when I introduced scrabble to the students and produced a competition with another private school. Then in February, 1987 I followed an ad in the Southfield Eccentric Newspaper to a scrabble event at The Presidential Inn in Allen Park, Michigan. The event blew me away. It was a mini-tournament with the top finishers qualifying to represent Michigan at the Nation Scrabble Tournament the following summer. I had never witnessed scrabble being played at that level. I even approached one of the directors and asked, “What language are they playing with?” That day I first saw the OWL (Official Word List) and I was introduced to many of the EXPERTS who then invited me to join their community. The rest is history.

My version of the GREAT DEPRESSION was going to the Livonia, Michigan Club where I played week after week without a victory for months. BUT, I was determined to learn the scrabble jargon and the tricks of the champions. I worked my way up to the bottom of the expert group. It took me a dozen years. It required persistence. But there was great fun along the way and developing many special friendships.

I invite you to join a club in your community.
You’ll love it.
If you can’t locate a club, send me a request in an email and
I will provide you with a connection.

Scrabble is a trademark

SUNDAY
10/18/2020
TOOLS VS. TALENT
Which is most important in growing your skills . . . Tools or Talent?
Can you imagine being gifted with artistic talent in a world without crayons, paints ad brushes, or super-glue? If you’re a creative caveman or cavewoman you might still figure out how to take a sharp rock and scratch out a picture on the wall in your cave. You might take the uneatable skins from the animals you’ve slaughtered for dinner and fashion it into a coat or shoes for your sweetie.

Now, consider part of a family where your seamstress/mother owns and uses a spiffy Singer Sewing Machine to create fashions, everything from shirts to suits to evening gowns. Your oldest sister is known to be a gifted auto mechanic and you’ve just purchased a used classic car, but are limited by your current knowledge of how to turn a key to start the thing. The opportunities are all around you to expand your talents with instruction on using their tools.
We all have a limitless opportunity to build upon our current talents by seeking out guidance from experts.

CAUTION! You do have to THINK SMART?

  • Don’t go to the seamstress for advice about tuning the engine on in your car.
  • Don’t go to the auto mechanic for advice about how to shorten trousers.
  • Do go to any NICE person in the scrabble club for guidance about developing skills to advance your word power and memory.
  • Choose your teachers and mentors from the pool of people who know how to teach you those skills.
  • THINK SMART.

In my opinion, you can own or have access to all the tools and they can exist unused in your workshop because you don’t know how to use them. Meanwhile, the person with talent will be more likely to explore and discover ways to express their talents.

  • Do you know people who own the finest golf clubs but have never invested in lessons from a pro? How’s that going?
  • Do you know scrabble players who own a custom board, tiles, and even travel to and play in tournaments who have never studied the STEMS? I’m sure you know who I’m talking about.

STUDY ON.
Send me an email. jftsoi.moss@gmail.com
Give me a call. 949-510-1673
I am at the ready to mentor you about scrabble, word power, and available tools.

 


SATURDAY
10/17/2020
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
Meet some of the brightest minds and become one. Now is the time to join the in-crowd of the world of words. Don’t suffer any more with a weak vocabulary and limp tongue trying to form woods, being thwarted by your foggy eye-teeth.
You’ll discover legitimate tactics from the new friends you meet and make. You’ll learn words you never knew were words. You’ll be empowered to analyze verbiage; you’ll be empowered to view technical data and KNOW the difference between RIGHT and WRONG. You’ll become a walking, wandering thesaurus simultaneously.
What are your intentions?
You may want to start a compost pile diced with lesser-known nouns and other parts of speech. As the words break down and decay over time their essence will simultaneously leave duplicate copies in the files within your mind. One recent study at the Self-Esteem Institute predicts that there is a huge tendency for such a process to multiply the output from an average mind by 46.2%.
Furthermore, there seems to be an exponential growth witnessed as the number of players in this arena grows. This is designated as the BOOMERANG EFFECT (what comes around, goes around).
The Institute predicts that while the THOUGHT of playing scrabble may appeal to the multitudes, the cream-of-the-crop may continue to be limited to only the TWO-PERCENTERS. The raw number reflecting the number of 2%ers will grow.

What does that mean?
If you want this . . . immerse yourself. Don’t hold back. Go for it. Don’t put if off for another day and another time. You need a jump-in approach. You will be celebrated and remembered. You will be an example and a blessing. THEY will tell stories about you and invent new words for YOU.
Open a thesaurus to a random page and read until you discover a word you didn’t know this morning. Write it onto a paper, say it out loud. You Got It.

Scrabble is a trademark

FRIDAY,  10/16/2020
THIS GAME TAKES A TOLL
Sometimes you can get yourself in so deep.   Are you mesmerized and hypnotized by the game of scrabble?  If you play online, how many total minutes or hours do you play in a day?
Just like all the other games online, the scrabble and words-with-friends apps are designed to addict you to come back again and again and again. How do you avoid the addiction . . . or do you just go with the flow.
Playing head-to-head is equally addictive, just not as convenient. If you live in one of the scrabble-hubs in the US you may have found yourself putting countless miles on your odometer by traveling from club to club to club, day after day after day. When I lived in Michigan (prior to November 1995) my weekly scrabble radius reached from Lansing, Michigan on the West to Flint, Michigan on the East. Other locations in between included Northville, MI, West Bloomfield, MI, Farmington Hills, MI, Livonia, MI., Southfield, MI, and Rochester Hills, MI. When it came to playing weekend tournaments the radius was much larger: west to Chicago, IL, south to Cincinnati, OH and Gatlinburg, TN., east to Cleveland, OH, Toronto, ON., and even Montreal, Canada. I’d frequently play 7 days a week; some days playing at an afternoon club and then driving to and playing in a different evening club.   AND let’s not forget the many time’s players came to my house or I drove to their homes.
In 1989, after I had played in a tournament in which I finished in 1st Place in my division, my local newspaper in Union Lake, MI. published an article highlighting a local scrabble champion (me). A few days after the article appeared, I received a telephone call from a total stranger who told me that ‘HE’ was the best scrabble player in the state; then he challenged me to a game. I was up for a challenge and asked him where and when. His name was Andrew Allie and he was a chaplain at a hospital in Pontiac, MI. only 10 miles from my home on Union Lake. He asked me to meet him the next day in the cafeteria of the hospital where he work.  I showed up promptly at 4PM, per his request. Andrew was a very likable guy and we hit it off right away.
I brought my custom scrabble board and set it up. I had to teach Andrew about using the clock. He had never played with a clock before. From the get-go Andrew never had any difficulty with his time; he played as quickly or faster than me. He was very savvy.   I was able to trip him up when I played scrabble jargon (CWM, UNHAIR, EKPWELE) but when I did so Andrew immediately learned those words instantly. I beat Andrew in our first game by a small margin of 35 points. At the end of the game Andrew insisted that we play again, then again, then again. I won game #1, #2, and #3; Andrew won game 4. He didn’t want to quit.  It was now about 7:30PM and he offered to buy us dinner there in the cafeteria.  And he wanted to continue playing while we ate.
That was okay with me. And so we continued game after game after game.  Before we knew it the clock showed it was nearly 4AM. We had played 17 games and Andrew had won 5 games. Our session ended but Andrew wanted to pin me down to agree to a future day and time for our next session. For the next 6 years Andrew and I were frequent opponents. With my prompting Andrew attended the Livonia Club and even a few local tournaments. He and I played hundreds of games over the years. Can you spell OBSESSION?

Have you ever been addicted to some activity?

After meeting Andrew and playing long, long sessions I thought that he and I were unlike other scrabble players.  Then, over the years, I discovered many other players who shared the same obsession. When I became a tournament director I produced several MARATHON TOURNAMENTS in which players played 24 games during 24 consecutive hours. I never had to beg people to play; there were always many willing players.
Recently, John Karas of New Mexico directed a tournament in which players played 100 games over 9 consecutive days.
Obviously, most people don’t have that much free time in their lives to be a binge player.  But to some, binge playing is like being in heaven.

Check out https://youtu.be/7dTgcP_cz8U



THURSDAY
10/15/2020
HARD WORK
Ask 10 people for a definition of HARD WORK and you’ll most likely get 10 different answers.

  1. Changing a flat tire on your car (on the side of the road during a winter snow blizzard).
  2. Wallpapering a small bathroom where you feel cramped and have to piece paper around mirrors, vents, fans, sink, and behind the toilet.
  3. Gathering data, writing, proofing, and creating a presentation to hand to your professor to secure your Masters’s Degree.
  4. Memorizing the 5 vowel 8-Letter-Words (about 200 words like ABOIDEAU).

I like to play with words. I like to create word puzzles, lists, and projects. I don’t like the job of proofreading. I’m not proud of it . . . but I have an annoying reputation for creating lists and flashcards, and booklets that have typos still in the final, printed copy. I do use spell-proof and grammar-proof programs to help me clean up my work. I also have used others to proofread some of my creations. Amnon Meyers, a scrabble friend and computer programmer, proofed my cherished BACKWARD DICTIONARY, and my sister, webmaster proofs my blogs!
Over the last 30+ years, I’ve created 100s to 1,000s of word lists. I created some which were ordered by scrabble friends but mostly for my own amusement and self-study regimens. I’m a proponent of 6-7 STEMS and 6-8 STEMS as tools that offer a BIG BANG for your buck. I’ve created both ‘hard copy’ and ‘video’ flashcards, 100 sets each. I produced the STEMS on BOOKMARKS (all 100 sets). I’ve produced 200 top MNEMONICS. And then there are my 50+ BOOKS. (This is not hard work for me.)
On the Donald J. Trump Success Scale, I’d show up as a SUCKER and LOSER. The reason for that is that I’ve never earned any significant profit for all my HARD WORK. There have been many times over the last 30 years when I questioned my own motives and chastised myself, almost throwing in the towel. But, each time I thought better.
I have taken GREAT PLEASURE in my scrabble work. Through scrabble I have made hundreds of priceless friends, I’ve traveled thousands of miles to clubs and tournaments and ordinary visits. I’ve organized scrabble clubs at nearly two dozen locations in Michigan and California (like a Johnny-Appleseed, I am Gary Scrabbleseed). I’ve produced and directed more than 250 sanctioned scrabble tournaments from Saratoga Springs, New York to Kaanapali Beach on Maui, Hawaii. I directed some of the first Scrabble Cruises in the Caribbean on Carnival Cruise Lines and on a Mississippi River Steamboat. I’ve built and sold Scrabble Boards and Super-Scrabble Boards; I’ve sold tiles, tile bags, clocks, and the ‘Scrabble Rug’.
I’ve had my own Scrabble Web Site since the mid-1990s promoting sales of scrabble items and have written literally 1,000s of BLOGS. Currently, I have a string of about 400 consecutive days of blogs. Last year from August 24, 2019, thru October 18, 2019, I made a cross-country road trip to 23 scrabble clubs and tournaments and I called it ’77 SUNSET TRIP’.
Through the years and along the way I’ve learned a whole lot of words, many of which I could never use in my daily life. I began with an initial scrabble rating of about 1200 back in 1987, grew it to about 1780 at its highest peak and now it has receded to about 1460. To stay at the top one must study continually.
My proudest scrabble accomplishment was when I won the year-end club championship tournament at The Killer Club, run by Alan Stern in Los Angeles.
Some of the scrabble GIANTS I’ve beaten include

  1. Chuck Armstrong
  2. Rita Norr
  3. Mark Landsberg
  4. Ira Cohen
  5. David Poder
  6. Alan Stern
  7. Bruce D’Ambrosio
  8. Gerry Greenside, and
  9. Gwen Rea.

Scrabble people are some of the nicest and hospitable people you’ll ever meet. I’ll only mention the one at the top of the pile because there are too many others to mention them all. Maliha Mahmood was the Best of the Best.

Because of all the benefits I’ve received, I have to admit it was never HARD WORK at all. I hope to see you at a club after this Covid thing blows over.

Scrabble is a trademark

WEDNESDAY
10/14/2020
ANAGRAMS
An Anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase, typically using all the original letters exactly once. … Any word or phrase that exactly reproduces the letters in another order is an anagram.
Let’s look at some words and identify any of their anagrams.

  1. ATE; EAT; ETA; TAE; TEA
  2. ART; RAT; TAR
  3. LATE; TAEL; TALE; TEAL
  4. OPTS; POST; POTS; SPOT; STOP; TOPS
  5. AMINE; ANIME; MINAE
  6. ASTER; RATES; RESAT; STARE; TARES; TEARS
  7. ANIMAL; LAMINA; MANILA
  8. ANESTRI; ANTSIER; NASTIER; RATINES, RETAINS; RETINAS; RETSINA
    STAINER; STEARIN
  9. ANGRIER EARRING; GRAINER; RANGIER; REARING

WHY LEARN ALL THE ANAGRAMS?
Frequently when playing scrabble, the words on the board will determine which words you may play nest. Your play will have to connect to some location by hooking to words previously placed. By knowing anagrams you’ll have a greater number of potential letters to connect.
Find the anagrams for the following words. The number after each word will indicate the number of anagrams available.

  • EVIL (+4)
  • CARE (+2)
  • STEAM (+5)
  • BEARS (+5)
  • SEAL (+4)
  • LEAF (+3)
Scrabble is a trademark

TUESDAY
10/13/2020
ONLY STUDY WHAT YOU NEED
No matter what you do PRIORITIZE when creating your PLAN with your focus on the pieces of the game that you need most.
Don’t make the mistake by eliminating any of the pieces because you think you’ve mastered any single skill. Think and Plan your regimen in percentages. Even a simple piece about drawing tiles and penalties for overdrawing deserves 3% of your study time.
Even when you’ve completed studying a piece of the scrabble puzzle you should never put that piece on a back shelf, never revisiting it. The one thing you should drill into your understanding is the term SPACED-REPETITION. This practice is about automatic review on some preplanned schedule. The best of the best concede that it requires precious TIME, But, when items are not reviewed, those items sometimes float away, out of our memory, and lost from our acquired knowledge.
Many of the pieces of the scrabble puzzle are very large and while studying a piece like HOOKS, some players become overwhelmed and mesmerized during the study process. A large number of those players who are plowing through the alphabet of HOOKS become numb after completing only ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C’. Stop! Don’t study when you are hypnotized and not fully alert. Study something else for a period and then return to the ‘D’ HOOKS.

Sounds simple, but human nature and our desire for completion drive us onward even when our memory is fatigued and far from alert. Revisit your determination, stay devoted to your regimen, and be honest with yourself about the quality of your study process.
Little things can become your biggest BLINDSPOT. Many people who newly discover scrabble and many who have been playing at the Novice level for many years, don’t see the WHOLE PICTURE.
Have you ever played games with an EXPERT while being a NEWBIE? How come the EXPERT always got all the good tiles? How come the EXPERT made all those high scoring plays and weird bingo words? The simple answer is that EXPERTS know the secrets that are unknown to you. It’s the same as sitting with a magician doing TRICKS right in front of you and not being able to see the sleight-of-hand moves being made right in plain sight.
My online class, ‘SCRABBLE 101,’ will slow things down so you can see the tricks of the EXPERTS.
The magician spent many years working at perfecting his/her techniques. EXPERT players spent a lot of time building their skills and knowledge too.

Call me and enroll yourself in my ’21’ Day class to get a leg up.
(949) 510-1673.

Scrabble is a trademark

MONDAY,
10/12/2020
DANGERS IN LIFE; DANGERS IN SCRABBLE
Today Dak Prescott was injured while playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He suffered a break of a bone near his ankle that pierced through the skin. Very Bad!
With all the thousands and maybe even millions of scrabble games played over the years, no player is known to have ever suffered a broken bone. Some of the negative occurrences that have occurred at scrabble venues have been, but not limited to the following:

      • verbal sparring
      • throwing scrabble boards & tiles
      • table tipping
      • spilling hot beverages
      • name-calling
      • having people in your face
      • shoving
      • falling off a chair
      • raised blood pressure
      • tired eyes and at times a headache

I’d say that’s pretty reassuring that nothing too terrible will happen to you if you stick with scrabble as your sport. During the scrabble pandemic in which we’ve learned how to curb communicable diseases by wearing face masks and social distancing, all we have to do is to continue these practices.

Some fun things to do that are potentially more dangerous than scrabble:

  • downhill skiing
  • robbing a bank
  • biking
  • taking drugs
  • roller skating
  • grecko wrestling
  • hot dog eating contests
  • going off to war
  • mumbley peg (is an old outdoor game played using pocketknives. The term “mumblety-peg” came from the practice of putting a peg of about 2 or 3 inches into the ground. The loser of the game had to take it out with his teeth.)
  • mountain climbing
  • deep-sea diving
  • auto racing
  • driving a car
  • boxing with a kangaroo
  • sky diving
  • building a bomb
  • darts
  • ax throwing
  • being a nurse in a Covid hospital
    jousting
  • living in a Trump world
Scrabble is a safe space.
Scrabble is a trademark

SUNDAY
10/11/2020
I’LL BE SPEAKING FROM MY BALCONY
I’m taking my lead from POTUS this afternoon. I’ve invited several hundred people to my event Sunday, 10/11/2020 at Noon (PST) when I will step onto my balcony and speak to the multitudes (without a mask).

  • I will be speaking about how Trump literally tried to HOOK you and anyone else who’d listen to him with Lies, Exaggeration, and False Assertions.
  • I will limit myself to the 26 different letters in the tile bag to spell out the words that reflect his lack of RESPECT for others, his unworthiness to call himself a
    ‘Christian’, his UNCARING actions of separating immigrant children from their parents, his acceptance of WHITE SUPREMACISTS, and his definition of LAW & ORDER, his BIGOTRY, and his MANIA.

Meanwhile, I’ll sneak in some tips from EXPERT scrabble players to help you separate yourself from the minions:  How to identify and use 5-Letter-Words more effectively by placing them in strategic places onto the board. I’ll instruct you as to how you can use your imagination to build your self-confidence which in turn will launch your inner abilities into more wins in the game of scrabble and the game of life.

“WHEN YOU SEE IT; YOU CAN BE IT.”

For more valuable tips scroll back through the blogs available on this website with the click on the LINKS provided on the left. Check out more than a years’ worth of Word-Of-The-Day entries. And listen to some of the informative and fun Podcasts that I’ve recorded on https://www.spreaker.com/show/jftsoi-scrabble-with-gary-moss

Stay safe. If you attend the Sunday event you’ll need to wear a mask and social distance.

 


SATURDAY
10/10/2020
WAYS TO BUILD YOUR WORD POWER
It doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to be drudgery. I find learning words to be fun, exciting, and pleasureful. I always find some way to turn learning into a game. The more you know the more confident you’ll become.
Let’s start with something easy. How many of the 2-Letter-Words do you know?
There are 107 2-Letter-Words in the OSPD6. You should work at knowing all of them. 2-Letter-Words provide you the opportunity to hook the words from your rack onto the game board.

HOW CAN ONE LEARN THE 2-Letter-Words?

  1. Create a list from AA to ZZ (AA, AB, AC, . . .). Look up each word in the OSPD6 and verify each acceptable word. Make a list of the 107 acceptable 2-Letter-Words.
  2. Put the acceptable words on flashcards.

HOW TO DESIGN A 2-Letter-Word FLASHCARD.

  1. Make a total of 26 cards.
  2. On the front, place one of the 26 letters of the alphabet, A thru Z.
  3. On the back of ‘A’ place all the acceptable 2-Letter-Words that BEGIN with ‘A’.
  4. On cards ‘C’ & ‘V’ where they have no 2-Letter-Words, write NONE.
  5. When finished, verify that you have 107 total words on the answer side of the cards.

TEST YOURSELF

  1. On a blank sheet of paper, on the left margin, write the alphabet down in 1 column (A thru Z).
  2. Set a time clock.
  3. Start the clock.
  4. After ‘A’ write all the 2-Letter-Words that begin with ‘A’, then B, then C, etc.
  5. After finishing ‘Z’ stop the clock and record the TIME.
  6. Count the number of CORRECT answers.
  7. Count the number of OMISSIONS.
  8. Count the number of WRONG answers.
  9. Test yourself 1 to 3 times every day until you achieve a minimum of 100 correct in 5 minutes or less.
  10. Afterward, review and test yourself 1 – 3 times every week.

NEXT: Learn and review the FRONT HOOKS and BACK HOOKS for the 107 2-Letter-Words.

Playing competitive scrabble is all about MEMORY.
MEMORY works best with spaced-repetition.
YOU CAN DO IT.

 


FRIDAY
10/9/2020
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Isn’t one of the most sacred values that we have and cherish in the USA that of separation of Church & State?
I’ve become so annoyed by our leaders who, like Mike Pence, put their own beliefs above others, once they attain some seat of power and influence. During last night’s (Wednesday 10/7/20) debate Pence reminded us that he is a ‘PRO-LIFE’ supporter. You could almost see him greedily rubbing his hands together and gloating that his conservative circle will soon bring one more conservative judge to our supreme court who will be sympathetic to Pro-Life advocates.
It remains to be seen how the imbalance of the supreme court will act in upholding or reversing the current laws.
I don’t know that the Christian majority, in this country, ever truly understood what separation means.

  • In a multi-ethnic society where freedom is paramount, why should we say ‘UNDER GOD’ in our pledge of allegiance?
  • In a multi-ethnic society where freedom is paramount, why is GOD on our currency?
  • In a multi-ethnic society where freedom is paramount, why do NON-Christian children have to take part in Christmas pageants and sing Christmas carols in PUBLIC schools?
  • Why should tax dollars be spent year after year on manger scenes on the lawns of Public Institutions?

Too many of our leaders have hidden behind the shield of their faith, declaring themselves to be ‘GOOD’ Christian people while they misused tax money, on favored pork projects for cronies, partied with hookers (I’m not referring to scrabble hookers), and then pardon the crooks who performed nefarious acts for the interests of POTUS.
Too many of the ‘good Christians’ (a misnomer) only invoke their Christian-ness to illicit inclusion from others for their own ends, at their own convenience. They rarely-to-ever practice CHRISTIAN teachings.
Our leadership should be selected weighing the merit of their character, not by the size of their wallets. Whereas all religions have moral codes, some inter-racial-religious committee could come up with a moral standard and then hold the feet of our leaders to that fire.
During the past 4 years, we’ve watched a revolving door at the White House as POTUS has hired and fired countless people to do his bidding, in the highest positions in this country. It seems clear to me that the dismissals primarily occurred when POTUS no longer trusted their loyalty to him.
Many of these persons served the USA and left when POTUS’s practices caused their stomachs to churn and they could no longer work in good conscience for the scoundrel who held the power and the tiller.
I can’t understand the lack of reaction from the leadership in the Republican Congress which turned their backs on the American People and permitted POTUS to both act and remain silent on so many issues. It seems to me that corruption lives within them all.
I sometimes wonder if I had as much Money, Power, and Influence as the senators could I be tempted to fall into line with POTUS even when I knew his lead was racist, misogynistic, and ineffective?
Have any other presidents been as bad as DJT? Have all the presidents lied to us?
In the past, leaders who were found to be responsible for the demise of large numbers of people had been judged by courts for their crimes against humanity. Isn’t Trump equally guilty of crimes against humanity during this COVID pandemic? With all his power and the resources at his fingertips, isn’t it clear that he could have done so much more? He should be arrested and tried too.
Can you spell ANGRY, FRUSTRATED, DISILLUSIONED, SAD?

Scrabble is a trademark

THURSDAY
10/8/2020
PROPOSITION #78

REFERENDUM ON THE PROPOSITION THAT ALL PEOPLE
ARE CREATED EQUAL BY THEIR SCRABBLE CREATOR.

 

Whereas some are tall and others are short, some are
skinny while others are zoftig, some are right-handed and others
are lefties there are distinctions.
Whereas some learn by reading while others learn by
writing, some learn by listening and others learn by touching,
some learn by smelling and others learn by tasting we are not the
same.
Whereas some take to Hooking and others prefer Anagramming,
some like front Extensions and others memorize Mnemonics,
each with their own system and style. All with an eye on Winning.
Therefore the scrabble moguls shall devise a universal system
to handicap scrabble play to even the playing field, making competition
more equitable so that even the most limited of competitors will be able to avoid humiliations heaped on by the most worthy of Mavins.

  • 80% of the difference in the game raw scores (GRS) shall be the starting score (SS) of the weaker player (WP).
  • If during the game the strongest player (SP) amasses a lead of more than 50 points, the WP shall receive an additional instant grant (AIG) of 70% of the spread at that time.
  • If the next play of the WP is greater than 40 points the WP will return 60% of the difference back to SS.
  • In the event of the need for any adjudication of the scores, the tallest player at the table on the right will serve as the score umpire (SU).
  • If there is no game on the right then defer to the game behind, the game in front, or the game on left in that sequence.
    Please Select Your Personal Choice

_____ YES

_____ NO

_____ Couldn’t give a damn

Scrabble is a trademark

WEDNESDAY
10/7/2020
WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
In the early years of my life, I was highly impressed by people who looked to be successful. I naively measured the look of success by the size of their homes, the make of their cars, the length of their cigars, and the degree of leisure-time they seemed to have.
However, most of us have no real idea of how the gears are turning in the lives of others. Appearances don’t tell the entire story. The things that we see on the surface may or may not be the true facts. Many people wear masks to project the way they want others to see them. Their homes and automobiles are cloaks that send their messages yet conceal whatsis.
I knew a man named Cy who appeared to be living a charmed life. He owned his own business that appeared to be very successful and he projected himself to be a man who had more money than god. He probably had worked very hard to achieve his success, or not. Cy was in his early 50s when suddenly while sitting at the breakfast table in his comfortable home, he suffered pains in his chest. He recognized the sign. He had friends who had shared confidences of that same kind of pain that signaled HEART ATTACK. Cy was home alone. His wife was away and too far from home to come to his aid. Cy took a deep breath and reached for the telephone to call for help. He paused, not wanting to incur any charge from an ambulance company for a short 2-mile ride to the hospital. Instead, he called his sister-in-law who lived a half-mile away and asked her to come to fetch him. She was a gem. She dropped everything and came less than 10 minutes later. She helped Cy walk to the car and then sped toward the nearest hospital. The trip took under 8 minutes. Cy sat there slumped in the passenger seat, dead. He avoided charges for an EMT.
When I heard someone recount the story, I changed my opinion of this guy who I held in high esteem. Dumb Jerk.
While playing the scrabble clubs for more than 30 years I’ve known players of all ages and sizes and colors and levels of smarts. I’ve met people who come in for the first time and play as if they have played forever. I know players who have been coming to club for more than 20 years and have the same vocabulary today as they did back then. We all play for our own reason. Those who work at becoming better usually become better. And there is a whole set of people who come for the tea and cookies and socialization.
Some people lose game after game notice the higher level of their opponents’ play and decide to learn how to play better. These players know what that they don’t know and strive to know more.
Other people lose game after game and ask the director to pair them with the players with the lowest abilities and then go refill their teacup. These players know that they don’t know and they don’t care. They are just happy being part of the group.

It’s just a game but the EXPERTS would beg to differ.

Scrabble is a trademark

TUESDAY
10/6/2020
WHAT WILL THIS DAY BRING?
I think that most people sit back passively and pretty much accept the cards that they are dealt. Then there is a small percentage of folks who are not satisfied unless they are playing an active role, thinking about their future, day-to-day, season-to-season, and even hour-to-hour.
Are they happier? I don’t know.
There are times when we make choices that don’t pan out as we had envisioned. There are times when we make an investment $$ and then the bottom falls out of the market. There are times when we choose a relationship that requires a lot more attention and work than we could have imagined.
There are people who work hard at NOT making choices. Some folks don’t want the responsibility that comes with choosing. Some people get lemons then moan and groan; others get lemons and make lemonade. What makes the difference in the ways we react? Is the difference learned behavior and values? Who taught us? Explain to me why siblings with the same parents are sometimes very different individuals who as adults choose very different paths.

Have you ever been inclined to attend a personal growth seminar? Have you read or listened to the lessons of motivational speakers? If so, have you ever followed their lead and faced your fears, followed a strict health regimen, gone on a retreat where you faced your inner demons?

The point is . . . almost everything is possible. I’ve been one of 40 strangers in a two-hour-long Dale Carnegie Class in which we all learned each others’ first and last names in only 120 minutes. (Sometimes I can’t remember the name of a new neighbor who I just met yesterday.)
I took a Seminar of learning the techniques of WINNING AT BLACKJACK and went on to WIN $10,000 using the techniques taught in the class.

What will tomorrow bring to me and you?
It all depends on you and me.
I KNOW that you and I have the power to choose and we have the ability to just sit back. Neither is RIGHT or WRONG.
I began playing club-style scrabble with an initial rating of 1,000. Then there was a time that I defined myself by my rating number and as a result, I worked very hard and amassed a rating of nearly 1780. And then other things became my priority and my rating then dwindled to the mid 1400s. I’m okay with that. In my mind I know that I’m much better than my rating. Its just that I no longer want to pay the price that is required to keep a rating of 1780.
The price is not money. The price is made up of the regimen one has to maintain to be 1780; weigh a certain weight; drive a luxury car; live in a certain neighborhood; have a family that gathers together, and you know all that, right?

Have a GREAT day tomorrow and be okay with whatever you do
and whoever you choose to do it with or without.

 


MONDAY
10/5/2020
PEOPLE LOVE WATCHING THE ANIMALS
It goes without saying that most people enjoy going to the zoo and watching TV shows like ‘Animal Planet’, Siegfried & Roy, and safaris. I love the books by Richard Scarry that offer page after page of pictured categories. The one that gets my undivided attention every time, especially the one filled with animals. One or all of the above inspired me to create a book of JUMBLE WORD PUZZLES with animal names. One example is A-B-E-R-Z which is ZEBRA. Can you figure out
this animal: C-E-H-I-N-O-O-R-R-S ?
If you like JUMBLE PUZZLES and you like animals you will enjoy my book. There are 50 pages filled with challenges. Each page includes 12 animal Jumbles. I promise that you’ll meet up with some critters that you’ve seen but never knew their names before.

50 x 12 = 600 That’s the number of words
that you’ll be able to add to your word arsenal.

$15 + $3shh will buy your of challenging fun with words.
Mail your check, payable to
JFTSOI, ℅ Gary Moss,
3367 Punta Alta #3B
Laguna Woods, CA. 92637

-or-
Pay with Paypal to the account of JFTSOI.MOSS@gmail.com

Scrabble is a trademark

SUNDAY
10/4/2020
INVESTMENTS (GET IT BACK JUST WHEN YOU NEED IT)
When I was six years old my mom provided me with my first lesson about saving and investing. It was just after my birthday when I had received several CA$H gifts. Mom taught me about savings and savings accounts at the bank. We walked the distance from our home to a bank on Northlawn & Grand River where I open my first savings account. I received a booklet from the teller that showed my balance. And then I enjoyed a plethora of dreams about all the things I might buy with that tiny fortune.
Years later I found club scrabble. I wanted so badly to be able to compete with all those seasoned players who had months-to-years more experience than me, playing competitive scrabble, It was about that time I recognized the similarities between building a savings account and a word bank.

It is very difficult for most NEWBIES to join an ongoing club and quickly come up to speed with seasoned players. The competitive game requires that the player looks at the entire game differently than a casual player. The competitive game requires the newbie to become a ‘ruthless’ competitor. Forget about playing HUG-OF-WAR; to WIN, you must play TUG-OF-WAR.
My best advice to all NEWBIES is to focus on building your scrabble word knowledge and don’t worry, at first, about winning. Keep a notebook and pencil with you at all times and write down every new word you discover. When your opponent plays words that are new to you . . . WRITE THEM DOWN. Every word should be seen as a new lesson, a new opportunity. Learn the new words. Write any new words onto a list; put them onto flashcards, review them, play them whenever possible.

  • Your INVESTMENT is TIME, study time,
  • Your INVESTMENT is about learning to use STUDY TOOLS and the materials necessary.
  • Your INVESTMENT is CREATING or PURCHASE the words on lists and/or flashcards.

The DIVIDENDS you receive are the new and lesser-known words that you’ll add to your word arsenal, to your knowledge, to your memory for instant recall later on during the competition.
If you don’t want to do these things, just continue to play as a casual player and enjoy your interaction with your current vocabulary. While the average person on the street knows about 5% of the words in the OWL (8,250 words), serious scrabble competitors know 20% or more of the OWL (30K+ words).

You CAN do it if you choose to do it.

Scrabble is a trademark

SATURDAY
10/3/2020
CAN YOU IMAGINE A SCRABBLE PANDEMIC?
Have you ever wondered why pandemics involve things like viruses and the flu rather than something like scrabble?
Just imagine what a Scrabble Pandemic would look like. It would possibly begin in February in Thailand, after their annual tournament. The event would have been broadcast on ESPN on a day when there weren’t any other major sporting competitions and millions of viewers would have stumbled upon the scrabble event.

Some attractive, charismatic host, like Howard Cosel, would be providing the play-by-play energy at Table #1, capturing the spirit of and the hard preparation invested by the players. The talented cameraman will zoom in on the foreheads of the opponents to focus on the words on every bead of perspiration exuding from the thinking and consideration of words from the OWL.
People at home, munching Fritos and Salsa, pause to text their friends, urging others to turn on and tune in to the frenzy. Within minutes the audience grows from a few thousand into millions. The sponsors of the event, Hasbro, provides spots of information driving views to join local scrabble clubs around the world.

One woman in Denver, who happens to be a 5th Grade school teacher, recognizes the educational value in the game. Becoming excited with her idea she posts a link on Facebook, Twitter, and Flip-Flop. Teachers begin emailing one another, expanding upon their ideas of how to incorporate the game into daily lesson plans. (Betsy DeVoss hears the chatter online but dismisses it because she doesn’t approve of playing games on school time.)
The initial spread of the pandemic overwhelmed young adults then teachers and lastly students. It becomes apparent that youngsters, under 15, are easily infected by the need to read, the speed to heed, the greed to achieve. New versions of the game are developed.  Now STEMS on Gameboy, ANAGRAMS on IPhones, EXTENSION DIMENSIONS, are plagues from Malta to Michigan.

One day Manual Greenberg showed the game to his Baubee after going with her to Shabat services at the senior center.   Consuelo Greenberg talked about it with the activity director at the center and scrabble spread like the California wildfires throughout the 65+ population. In less than a month of days, the scrabble pandemic had infected more than 785,462,994 players globally.

AND NOT A SINGLE PERSON DIED. (Some of the losers were mildly depressed)

Scrabble is a trademark

 


FRIDAY
10/2/2020
OPPORTUNITY
It’s sitting right there; can you see it? Opportunity is there, in front of me and you, for the taking. I know that the truth is that some folks just can’t see it. They have blinders or diminished eyesight.
But even eyesight is not required to see opportunity. Many blind people can see it, find it, and use it,

 

  • Opportunity can be used by the young and old, the tall and short, the skinny and full-figured, the rich and the poor.
  • Opportunity can be employed by Blacks and Whites and Browns and Reds and Yellows and Greens.
  • Opportunity can be recognized by Muslims and Catholics, Jews and Buddhists, Protestants, and Atheists.
  • Opportunity can be claimed by Socialists and Republicans, Democrats and Communists, White Supremacists, and Freedom Fighters.

OPPORTUNITY is an equal-opportunity kind of tool but it frequently left untouched and unemployed by some of the people who could use it most to lift themselves up to the next level.

Illegitimate belief systems beat back people with notions that

  • YOU don’t deserve the opportunity.
  • YOU’RE not smart enough to use the opportunity.
  • YOU’RE a loser and a sucker and have always been one.

Messages have been planted within the minds of many that are self-defeating and hard-to-impossible to shake. Feelings of helplessness shame us and hinder us by camouflaging the opportunities that are all around us.

Opportunity is not for the WEAK or the SLACKER. Even if you once fit into one of those categories, YOU CAN CHOOSE to be something different right NOW or any time you desire. Opportunity may require some hard work, some help from others, creating a plan, becoming persistent and resilient. The road that opportunity will take you on may feel strange or scary, it may feel unnatural at first, it may fork to the left and the right, it may lead you to a dead-end and require you to double back.

Some people are too frightened to go with opportunity.
BUT . . . ‘IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE,  YOU’LL ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU’VE ALWAYS GOT.’

Scrabble is a trademark

 


THURSDAY
10/1/2020
PAY IT BACK
The greatest gifts are the ones you GIVE.
Receiving gifts is a lot of fun. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza are very special. And then there’s finding the Afeekomin on Passover.
But nothing is greater than the ones you give and that warm feeling you’ll get within when the recipient unleashes that beaming smile, or not, that alerts you of their pleasure.

When I first moved to southern California from Michigan it was the month before Christmas, November 1995. In all the visits to LA, prior to moving here. I never gave any attention to the vast numbers of people living on the streets and panhandling. It made me sad and I felt more than a bit guilty. I was not wealthy by any means but I wanted to do a small part to help in the short term. Making a stop at the bank I withdrew a few hundred dollars in two-dollar-bills. The next weekend I drove down to Santa Monica near the famous pier. When I was approached by these folks seeking a handout I happily stopped and rewarded them with a small token. It felt very good. I wished I could have given more.

That same kind of feeling is available from the mitzvah (blessing) of sharing information and teaching the basic principles of scrabble. Once you know that you know ‘HOW TO,’ your gift of sharing and/or instructing others does several important things. 

  1. It helps a specific person.
  2. It grows the scrabble community.
  3. You sharpen your own understanding when you teach. 
  4. You receive a feel-good feeling.

Over the years I’ve gone out of my way to be a part of scrabble groups working with The Braille Institute bringing scrabble to the blind; I’ve been part of a group bringing scrabble to the inmates at Jackson Prison in Michigan; I provided talks and scrabble exhibitions in schools and book stores; I’ve run scrabble fundraising events for Jerry’s Kids (MDA), Ronald McDonald House, The Braille Institute, California Firefighters, and more.
While you don’t need a holiday in order to Pay It Back, the holidays will be upon us again in a matter of weeks. Make your plan now. It doesn’t have to be a huge project, anything can make a difference. Put it on your calendar and JUST DO IT.

Scrabble is a trademark

WEDNESDAY
9/30/2020
YOU KNOW WHAT HURTS?
And it happens oh too often.
You draw your tiles from the bag and ‘VOILA’, you have 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 seems 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.  If 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 puzzle 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.

 

Scrabble is a trademark

 


TUESDAY
9/29/2020
COMEBACKS
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

 

MONDAY
9/28/2020
A FORENSIC SCIENCE APPROACH TO SCRABBLE
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: JFTSOI.MOSS@gmail.com

Scrabble is a trademark

SUNDAY
9/27/2020
STUCK IN THE CHAIR
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

SATURDAY
9/26/2020
CHARIOTS OF THE TILE GODS
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

FRIDAY
9/25/2020
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 JFTSOI.MOSS@gmail.com. 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):
http://www.scrabbleplayers.org/w/Official_Tournament_Rules

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

THURSDAY
9/24/2020
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING
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.

  • QUOTE to MISQUOTE
  • ARGUE to OUTARGUE
  • INDEX to SUBINDEX

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

Wednesday
9/23/20
WHERE IS GARY – DID NURSE RATCHET DO HIM IN?
Oh, where, Oh Where can Letterman BE?

 

 


 

TUESDAY
9/22/20
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.

MONDAY
9/21/2020
THE PLAYMAKERS
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.

Suggestion

  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

SUNDAY
9/20/2020
PUT SMART TO WORK
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.
You can READ or PAINT or PLANT or BUILD or EXERCISE or COMPUTE or TRAVEL or WATCH FILMS or WRITE or COLLECT or SAIL or COOK or KNIT or VOLUNTEER or VEG on the couch.

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

SATURDAY
9/19/2020
CLUES CAN HELP YOU UNLOCK SECRETS ON YOUR RACK
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

 


FRIDAY
9/18/2020
CONTAINMENT
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.

 


THURSDAY
9/17/2020
IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL REPAIRS ARE NEEDED.
Your CAR. Your GUTTERS. Your TOILET; Your SCRABBLE.

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.

WILL YOU BE READY THEN???

Scrabble is a trademark

 


WEDNESDAY
9/16/2020
HOPE GIVES US THE COURAGE TO KEEP ON DOING AND LEARNING.

 

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

 


TUESDAY
9/15/2020
‘PUNFORGETABLE’
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 _ _ _ _ _ _.

 


MONDAY
9/14/2020
WHIZ CARDS
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 Paypal.com to the account of JFTSOI.MOSS@gmail.com
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

SUNDAY
9/13/2020
PAY YOURSELF FIRST

  • 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

SATURDAY
9/12/2020
BLINDSPOTS
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 JFTSOI.MOSS@gmail.com or call me between 10 AM and 11 PM (PDST): 949-510-1673.

CAN YOU SEE ME NOW? BLIND-SPOTS MATTER.

Scrabble is a trademark

FRIDAY
9/11/2020
YOUR BEST IS YET TO COME
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

THURSDAY
9/10/2020
Happy Birthday to Martin Moss
KING OF DISPARAGEMENT
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

WEDNESDAY
9/9/2020
DOING ALL YOU CAN
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

  1. SCRABBLE IS THE WORD
  2. DO ALL YOU CAN DO TO BECOME THE BEST YOU CAN BE
  3. DON’T JUST PLAY THE GAME; BE THE GAME
  4. BE A DISCIPLE
  5. NEVER TRY, SIMPLY DO
Scrabble is a trademark

TUESDAY
9/8/2020
EAGER EXPECTATIONS
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

MONDAY
9/7/2020
A TALE OF TWO ‘BIDDIES’
“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

SUNDAY
9/6/2020
KINDNESS, CARING & EMPATHY
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

 


SATURDAY
9/5/2020
RISK vs BENEFIT
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.)


FRIDAY
9/4/2020
IF YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONES HAVE EVER SUFFERED A BRUISED EGO AS A RESULT OF LOSING AT SCRABBLE, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR FEEL GOOD COMPENSATION.
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.

AND THAT’S WHERE I BEGAN.

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

THURSDAY
9/3/2020
AUTOMATION AND SKILLS, LOST AND FORGOTTEN
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

WEDNESDAY
9/2/2020
CLOGGED GUTTERS ARE BAD FOR YOUR HOME;
CLOGGED THINKING WILL CONSTIPATE YOUR FLOW OF THOUGHT.
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

TUESDAY
9/1/2020
TODAY IS A NEW DAY
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