It has been nearly 3 months since I last wrote in my Blog but now I finally have something to talk about. It has been 6 months since our virtual club TNVSC34 was formed. What a success that has been!! 22 out of a possible 44 Club 34 members decided to take part. Im sure there are no regrets. If any of the remaining 22 non-participants wish to play with us, let me know. We also found 24 out of towners who wanted to play. They came from Los Angeles and as far away as Washington DC.

Club 34 pre-pandemic has met at the IHOP restaurant in Huntington Beach on Tuesday afternoon and evening for the past 30 years, same time, same place. Because of its rising popularity, I started a third session on Friday morning with mixed results. Once we reconvene sometime next year, I have decided to do away with the Friday session and keep TNVSC34 on that day, 4 games Friday only. It has just been too much fun playing on ISC and I would hate to lose the friendships we have seen from our faraway friends. Once we have a safe and effective vaccine, we will meet again. But there will be restrictions. We will continue to wear masks and wash our hands after every game. Hand sanitizers will run amok in our playroom. Everyone must adhere to this and everyone must clean their Scrabble equipment every week before they are allowed to play. And everyone must be vaccinated before they can play at Club 34 again.
At least that is how I feel at the present time. Until I am told differently by the CDC or Dr. Fauchi or Dr. Guypta, that is how things will be.

Before I forget, I want to mention those who have left us. Can you believe that it has been exactly one year since Pat Reed left us to travel northbound. And of course we also lost Maliha who made Superscrabble a montly enjoyment. Also Esther Kisich left us as well. These people will never be replaced and will leave a void in our lives once we return to play at Club 34.

When I last wrote to you August 8, I mentioned how my Blog was more than just a Scrabble discussion. Since I rarely use Facebook where many people voice their political or religious beliefs, I decided to use this Blog for that purpose. You wont find me talking about religion, thats for sure, but politics is a different matter. I am the most apolitical person you would ever meet, that is until 4 years ago.

People ask me all the time “how do you spend your time during the pandemic?” I still have medical consulting work and directing TNVSC34 has certainly been fulfilling and taken up alot of my free time. I have found myself watching CNN non-stop and enjoying watching Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, Don Lennon and the like…

But I guess my wife didn’t think I was busy enough so she went to Barnes and Noble and bought me some very interesting reading material. So I spend my days reading John Bolton’s “The Room Where It Happened”, Bob Woodward’s “Rage” and Michael Cohen’s “Betrayal”. Very fascinating reads, so fascinating in fact that I think all of you should read them before you cast your vote next Tuesday unless of course you have already voted. And please don’t make me forget Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough”….

I know that you have heard this before but on November 3 you will have the most important election of your lifetime. Ask yourself “are you better off now than 4 years ago?” Do you want to continue living in Trump’s world? Do you enjoy this pandemic, unemployment, racial strife and hatred, true divisiveness or do you not?

Do you want another 4 years of someone in the White House who is a malignant narcissist, a pathological liar, a tax evader, draft dodger, slum lord and just a not very nice person? Or do you want calm, empathy, togetherness brought back to the White House? The choice is yours but as far as I am concerned there is only one choice….

Vote Biden/Harris on November 3. We have to get back to how things were a few years ago. This is madness in its worst hour. Do we want a demagod in the White House or do we want reason???

David Poder, Director

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TNVSC34 is as strong as ever. We currently have 47 active members with most of us playing Monday and Friday or either Monday or Friday. We have members from all over the country as well as locally. We have new and old members. When we get new players, we usually have some growing pains. They sometimes do not show up on time and that causes some panic to those players who are waiting for them to show up on ISC. Sometimes they dont have their settings correct before they play.

I do not have phone numbers for everyone. Perhaps I should. I try to call those players who are tardy if I can. But here are some friendly reminders to ALL members of TNVSC34. Please show up by 12:55 Pacific standard time Monday and Friday and get ready to play. Be courteous to your first game opponent. And set your variables. For our club it is 20 minutes, double challenge, rated games and rankings of 0-9999. And send your results to Anthea Palmos after you finish playing….

I have never been an active member of Facebook. In fact I hardly ever go on it even though I have an account. When I do happen to visit my Facebook page, I notice others on there quite frequently. They post pictures. They may voice their religious and political beliefs. For me my Blog is my Facebook page. So my Blog is not just about Scrabble and Club 34. I may voice my political leanings from time to time. It is what I want to do and have the freedom to do so…. I may also share with you some personal experiences about myself.. I hope all of you enjoy my thoughts and experiences…

If someone makes a great play or has a great Scrabble achievement, I will be the first to talk about it. Its not about me. Its about all members of Club 34. And yesterday was no exception. I was on a nice little winning streak of 7 and had thoughts of maybe reaching 20 or 30 at some point when I ran into my good friend Bill Lapinski.

In our third game yesterday we were nearing the finish line. I had a 60 point lead and was feeling pretty confident. All I had to do was prevent a bingo and the game was mine. I knew Bill had a satire rack with a blank so preventing a bingo would take some miracle on my part. It was my turn. I had qat and oak on my rack. I knew exactly what Bill had since the bag was empty. If I played qat in this one particular spot that was very dangerous, Bill could have bingoed through the t in qat. If I play oak there would be no bingo since Bill had too many vowels and there would be no bingo through o a k so I played oak knowing that I would eat the Q but that would not cost me the game. In another part of the board on the bottom triple line, LI was in the first two spots. So what does Bill do?? He bingoes with ‘linearise’. Of course I challenged! The word was good. Bill won 446 to 411. Hats off to Bill Lapinski for the play of the day!!!!

David Poder, Director Club 34

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