The Gunfight at the OK IHOP Corral!!

Another amazing day Friday at Club 34 as several hard line scrabblers came to play.  One of the reasons I established a Friday version of Club 34 was to attract old and new players who might find Friday more easily accessible than Tuesday and that has proven to be the case.  Donna Dwaileebe and Debbie Bloom are two such examples.  They come from Laguna Woods in south Orange County and now have become regular Friday participants.  Debbie is a retired school teacher from Los Angeles who does some volunteer teacher assisting on Fridays.  She started to come on Fridays this summer once school was over so I asked her when she would be going back to school.  She told me that she will be changing those days to Thursdays so she can come to Club 34 on Fridays on a regular basis.  Sweet music to my ears!!!

We are finding more and more players who are committing to Fridays and that is a good thing.  I can safely say without any reservation that Club 34 is alive and well and the only Scrabble club in the universe that meets 3 times a week and does not ask for any kind of admission fee in the process.  Not a bad deal and quite an entertainment bargain!!

The Nationals have been completed and I would like to report that two of our highly respected members did quite well.  Ken Louie in Division 3 finished 19th out of 69 with a 17-14 +1006 spread.  Good job Ken.  Kudos to Paul Rickhoff who finished #8 out of 43 in Division 4 with a 19-12 +221 spread.  Coming to Club 34 every week and playing tough competition has paid off for these 2 gentlemen…

An old friend is back in town.  Come meet and greet Nancy Douglas this coming Tuesday.  She will be with us until November so be sure you take the opportunity to see her, play with her and share a lot of laughter with her for the next 3 months.

I am proud to announce that in the coming weeks with the assistance of Paul Trachtenberg I will be establishing a Club 34 Facebook page in which I hope to discuss more Club 34 events of the day, talk about strategy and rules of the game and reach out to prospective new members across the globe…

When I started playing Club Scrabble in 1996, I remember playing opponents for months and all I knew about them was that they played Scrabble.  Nothing was ever discussed about their personal lives.  All we talked about was Scrabble..  So when I established this Blog 5 years ago, I included a biographical sketch on a member every week.  I did more than 30 of them.  Once I completed the entire roster of players, I stopped.  But we have added so many new players since then.  I have approximately 20 new and old players who have not had the privilege and their 15 minutes of fame so for the next several weeks and months, I will be reaching out to these people to include their life stories.  I hope everyone participates.  If any of you have spent time in Alcatraz or love child pornography and are embarassed to talk about it, DONT tell me and I wont include that in your biographical sketches.  But I think everyone enjoys to know more about their friends and Club 34 family members, so I will take the time to do this again.  Expect a phone call from me sooner than later….

And now for some very tough love!!!  Some of the newer players are not aware of Club 34’s history or its relationship with the IHOP.  It is extremely rare for a Scrabble club to play in a restaurant, bank, recreational center or bowling alley for FREE…..Very rare indeed but that has been the case with Club 34 and IHOP for 27 years!!!!

An almost fatal situation happened Friday that I wish to share with all of you…  I was about to begin Club play and do the pairings for the first game when I heard and saw a young lady scream at the top of her lungs just outside our playroom at the entrance that is close to the bathroom facilities.  I had no idea what was happening.  But I soon found out….  That lady who will be known as Lady X was screaming at someone known as Z.  Lady X was having breakfast with her kids and apparently one of them was quite unruly, going into the woman’s bathroom, turning the lights on and off in rapid succession.  Z became quite annoyed at this and called Lady X ‘an unfit mother’.  An unfit mother because she could not control her kid….  Well needless to say, that really set Lady X off and a very loud altercation began with Lady X and Z…  I really thought that a physical altercation was about to ensue.  Oh, did I forget to tell you that Z is a member of Club 34???

As I stated earlier, Club 34 is a guest of the IHOP restaurant.  Under no circumstances must one of my members find themselves in an altercation with a paid customer of the IHOP.  That is a no-no and must never be repeated.  Fortunately Hector, restaurant manager, was on premises but in his back office, so I do not think he was made aware of the situation.  But if he had been made aware and even though we have a very good relationship, who knows what he would have done.  He could have easily told me that Club 34 was no longer welcome at the IHOP and we would have been forced to leave.

I will never do what other Club directors have done in the past.  I will not drive around Orange County looking for another place to play.  Who has the time to do that??   Not me, that is for sure.  So this situation can never happen again!!   If it does, that member will be expelled from Club 34 forever….  Just saying…


I have spent a lot of time developing this Club to what it is today.  So let us not do anything stupid to jeopardize this…  Let’s keep the train moving along….


David Poder, Director

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