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Archive for the ‘Scrabble (copyright til you die)’ Category

Make ready for friends, fun and foolishness.(5 August 2012) HO! A Landcruiser Approaches!

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120805 squash and lemon bread from Barbara Dixon to frankly & CB hand delivered. Criptographics. flefoto

I know how a black hole feels now. Pulled all that matter into its embrace. Never to let go. Ever. Not hair nor hide heard of seen of it ever again. No. No. No. says the black hole. Mine. Mine. Mine.

I wave it way too much to let go.

Perhaps a mite of an exaggeration, but, yes, I do feel friends should stay forever when they visit.

Otherwise, what if I never see them again in this life. Never!

Still (back to reality) I feel so blessed when friends visit me for a few minutes or hours or days.

Yesterday, for example, Barbara Dixon drove all the way down from Lafayette, Indiana, for a game and conversation and a thousand tiny exchanges of good feelings.

Barbara Dixon n fle at cbfl 120805. Criptographics. CB foto

Thank you, Barbara.

Bringing with her a delicious gift of squash and lemon bread – I don’t think it’s going to last the winter, Barbara; I have my doubts it will not crumble by taps this evening.

Barbara also brought a living gift with her: Brad Charlotte whom I haven’t seen in several years. He, too, bearing gifts…. of chow-chow…. relish I relish with my beans, be they white, pinto, black, black-eyed or crowder!

120805 Brad Charlotte and Barbara Dixon at CBFL.

Thank you, Brad.

Thence games (Brad vs CB; Barbara vs me) and extending befriending for most of the afternoon.

120805 CB demonstrating mechanical possibilities of a folding Scrabble (copy til you die) board to Barbara (left). Brad appears to be watching clandestinely. Criptographics. flefoto

It occurred to me this would probably be the last time EVER I would see Barbara and a dark sadness rose – bile – souring, it seemed, the whole of my insides. We assured the other we’d make the effort to make a lie of that fear, and so a tiny sprig of hope sprang up near the back of my beard.

Balancing act when I see one of my loved ones (kin or friend) which I don’t expect I’ll ever see again. Crying and laughing. Crybabying and giggling.

At the end of the day, however, I ALWAYS realize how very much I appreciate their presence in my life and know, regardless of anything else, they’ve ridden shotgun on many a mile of this superb ride.

Brad brought chow-chow; thank you very much. Criptographics. flefoto


Written by frankieleeee

August 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Scrabble Death: Terry Oblander (20111113 – Frankly November 13, 2011)

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I’ve known Terry Oblander for years, drawn to him by the commonality of our profession: reporter, he at newspapers and I at radio and tv stations. Truth is most times I’d rather listen to his stories than play Scrabble (copyright til you die). How he, like me, was down-sized out of jobs. Unlike me, he reared his kids basically alone and volunteered his time for a dozen programs. Last time I saw him was a month or so before I went to the hospital. Next time I heard about him was through the headline of a newspaper. I miss him

Terry Oblander was a Pulitzer-winning journalist and a Public Squares puzzle maker: news obituary

Published: Monday, November 14, 2011, 3:13 PM     Updated: Monday, November 14, 2011, 4:29 PM
Grant Segall By Grant Segall 

MEDINA, Ohio — An official once called a press conference at the Akron-Canton Airport to announce that he’d fly to Texas to promote the airport.

A small story, to be sure, but reporter Terry Oblander made it a little bigger. He learned that the official would fly out of Cleveland Hopkins International.

Oblander, a long-time area journalist and Public Squares puzzle maker, died Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Cleveland Clinic about two weeks after a heart attack. He was 64.

His life was fairly short and challenging. He nursed a dying wife in 1992, then raised their three boys, including an infant. He brought the boys to some meetings he covered and somehow attended all their ballgames.

There were triumphs, too, at Ravenna’s Record-Courier, the Akron Beacon Journal and The Plain Dealer. Among several prizes, he shared a first place from the Associated Press of Ohio for coverage of a murder and a 1987 Pulitzer for coverage of a threatened takeover of Goodyear.

Through the ups and downs, the big, shaggy-haired Oblander told memorable stories with memorable laughter. It would start as a little wheeze. Then look out.

For the past 10 years, he tickled Plain Dealer readers six days a week with Public Squares, a puzzle of scrambled words and homegrown puns:

“Q. What did tipsy sailors say when they returned to the USS Cod from a bar?”

“A. Down the hatch.”

The generous author made a few free puzzles to help readers commemorate birthdays or anniversaries.

Over the decades, he covered politics, labor, suburban news, the Kent State shootings and much more. He was also president of the Beacon’s Local 7 for journalists and janitors.

Plain Dealer Editor Debra Adams Simmons said, “Terry Oblander was a thoughtful, dedicated journalist who spent his career chronicling the stories of Northeast Ohio. He was creative and quirky and always looking for new ways to push Public Squares to the next level.”

Steve Luttner, a former Plain Dealer reporter, said, “Terry Oblander was a pure, battle-tested newsman…. He was totally honest and unflinchingly direct.”

Oblander was born in Cleveland and raised in Olmsted Falls. He graduated from Cuyahoga Community College and attended Kent State University.

He spent 13 months with the Record-Courier, partly as religion editor and farms editor. He lived with some colleagues in a Ravenna home they called the “Lock Street Rock Festival.”

Then came 19 years at the Beacon, mostly as a reporter, but also a copy editor, assistant metro editor and assistant state editor. He also wrote a puzzle called Groaners and a column of short news items called Ideas and a citizens band radio column called CB Break.

He tried to be objective but never dull. A Republican leader once complained that Oblander had registered as a Democrat. Oblander retorted that Ohio wouldn’t register voters as Socialists.

Bob Downing, now the Beacon’s environmental reporter, teamed with Oblander for a couple of years to cover Portage County. Said Downing, “He’d come back so excited about what he’d seen at government meetings. He’d chase little stories down. His passion rubbed off on everybody.”

In 1990, Oblander wrote a folksy application to The Plain Dealer: “I like being a reporter. A lot.” He mentioned his “lousy grades” at Kent State but said, “I’m sure we could stick it to any competition.”

He warned that he’d need comprehensive health insurance for his wife, the former Mary O’Neill, who went blind from juvenile diabetes. Her father, Dan, moved in with the family in Stow to help out. In 1992, she bore her last child and died five months later.

Oblander took a leave of absence for a time. He raised the children with help from Dan. In 1996, he married the former Linda Monroe and moved the family to Medina.

He spent most of his PD career at bureaus in Summit and Medina counties. He also planned and oversaw reports of election results at the main office in Cleveland.

As a young boy, he could instantly unscramble words. He won many Scrabble tournaments over the years and organized a few. He started freelancing Public Squares in 2001.

Oblander moved to the PD’s downtown office in 2007 and left the paper in 2008. In his final years, he kept freelancing Public Squares. He also wrote features for the Beacon, babysat his grandsons, competed in a fantasy baseball league and helped start and run bookstores for Project: LEARN of Medina County, a literacy program.

He always wrote Public Squares a few weeks ahead. The last one is scheduled to run on Dec. 3.

Terence Leroy Oblander 


Survivors: Wife, the former Linda Monroe; father, Jacob Leroy of Parma Heights; sons, Terence Jacob of Montville Township, Medina, Christopher Daniel of Middleburg Heights, Nicholas Patrick of Medina and two grandsons. 

Memorial Service: 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at Waite & Son Funeral Home., 765 N. Court St., Medina, Ohio. 

Contributions: Project: LEARN of Medina County, 105 W. Liberty St., Medina, OH 44256,

Written by frankieleeee

December 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Longtime Scrabbler Jean Carol has died (entered December 5, 2011)

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There’s a big hole in the Scrabble (copyright til you die) community of Cincinnati and the United States today. Jean Carol, who recently was forced to moved from Cincinnati to a nursing home in Rochester, NY, has died. I miss her. She was an excellent player and you could always tell (except when she was losing) that she she knew it and was proud of it. Like a lot of Scrabble (copyright til yu die) folk, Jean was proudful as was repeatedly demonstrated during her early years when she hesitated to suck up to those of us with ratings that didn’t quite meet her 1600 requirement. Well I remember the day she walked up to me giving me the once over in her shy-but-n0t-shy way. Once I passed the test, though, we were tight buddies. I’ll miss her mixing the tiles so loudly your ears were in danger …. along with her mantra “Mix Mix Mix Mix Mix Mix…..

Jean A. Carol

Carol, Jean A.

Rochester, N.Y.: November 12, 2011. Predeceased by her parents, Florence and Jonas Carol. Survived by her sister, Mary Lou Heilman (Alfred); brother, Robert W. Carol (Sakila); nieces, Shannon M. Heilman (Dominic Lazara), Katie Heilman, and Vrinda Carol; nephew, Govinda Carol (Lila); sister-in-law, Marie McGill; and great nephews, Andrew Lazara and Aaron Lazara; and great niece, Jamuna Carol.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jean was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and her Master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. Jean taught instrumental music in Montgomery County, Maryland, and then to generations of students in the Northwest School District in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. In addition to her musical talents on the French horn and with all stringed instruments, Jean had a great facility for languages and studied Russian and traveled to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, learned French at the Alliance Française in Paris, and mastered Spanish in Mexico City and at the University of Cincinnati. Ranked as the top player in the state of Ohio for many years, Jean was also a nationally ranked championship Scrabble player and inveterate traveler who especially enjoyed Scrabble cruises, including to the Galapagos Islands, through the Panama Canal, to Australia and New Zealand, to Scandinavia, and to the Greek Islands.

The Family is grateful to Jean’s loving and faithful friends, Nancy Huppertz and Lonna Smith, who worked tirelessly to support and help Jean following her strokes; companions Deborah Elliot and Susan Gentry at Cedar Village, companions Susan Farber and Kay Moskowitz and caregivers at the Jewish Home, 6NE. Jean’s warmth, generosity, wisdom, and zeal for life will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to WVXU Public Radio (, 1223 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45214, or to Heifer International (, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202.

A memorial service will be held at 12:00 pm on Saturday, December 3, 2011, at White Haven Memorial Park in All Seasons Chapel Gathering Room, 210 Marsh Road, Pittsford, NY 14534.


Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from November 15 to December 1, 2011

Written by frankieleeee

December 5, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Smelling the Roses Along I-75 through Ohio and Michigan. (June 24, 2011)

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Written by frankieleeee

July 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

Soup’s on at Song Long in Roselawn. (Lunchbunch. June 21, 2011. flebob)

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Vietnam's "Pho" (pronounced "fuh") soup. It begins with beef broth and flat rice noodles, then comes the kitchen sink: mine with tripe and a whole lot of pepper. Bob had "Bun Bo Hue" soup featuring lemongrass, beef broth and sliced beef with a whole lot of hot pepper. Both of us love spice foods. Both of our appetites for spicy were satisfied at Song Long. (Cincinnati OH. flephoto. 110621)

A good morning, some delicious hot soup and these satisfied customers can finally relax, bellying up to the bar at Song Long in Roselawn. (Cincinnati OH. flephoto 110621)


I never thought I'd see the day when the likes of this picture would strike me quicker, harder and deeper than those beloved calendar girls I used to sooo enjoy on the back walls of serve stations. Must be senility, eh, Bob? (Cincinnati OH. flephoto 110621)


If you ride your mechanical mount to Song Long's, I suggest rear door entrance and exit for blood pressure's sake. (flephoto. Cincinnati OH. 110621)



Written by frankieleeee

June 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

Mid-Michigan Reels under the awesome load of heavyweight Scrabble (copyright til you die) playing Saturday, June 2, 2011. Survivors are nursing bruises, contusions and damaged egos today!

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22 of us headed for the Delhi Township Library Saturday and 7 games of Scrabble. Chuck (Armstrong) went undefeated in the elitist group; his feat hardly touched the ground as he bounded lightly and gaily to his waiting car. Elaine Glowniak barely beat out CB for 1st in 2nd group. She was just plain happy to be there and to beat up on all of us pretenders (including a plus-500 game against me). I don’t know who landed on top of division 3; I do know that Joanne Grow, who was forced to play when Janet Gray had to withdraw, finished 2nd.

Miki Sutherland cleaned my clock first game - so much for my plans for an undefeated day (Well, I HAD done it on Thursday at Lunchbunch).

Who says you can't have fun and play Scrabble (copyright til you die) at the same time? Certainly, not Linda Hoggatt.

Jim Peters protege Jan Stuart, Grand Rapids, was most cordial and a delight to play.

CB and Elaine Glowniak trading hair (har?) secrets during the lunch break which was long enough for 3 generations of bedbugs to be born, live and die of old age.

Joanne Grow made the Lansing tournament happen. She and I have been playing each other for 26 years.

Tom, the library guy, seemed to be a tad insane: he likes Scrabble (copyright til you die) players.

Carolyn Kribs, another member of the old "gang" from the Lansing Club of two decades ago.

Doris Munro and Carolyn Kribs fighting tooth and nails, dripping sweat all over the Scrabbleboard between them. Doris was in the backseat behind (the late) Sara Lackey and me years ago on the way to her very first tournament in Atlantic City NJ, when the old blue bomb skidded off the ice-covered freeway in Pennsylvania, causing us to land in a ditch! She also used to direct the Lansing tournament.

Jeff Clark & Carol Ravichandran, both Scrabble (copyright til you die) tournament directors, occasionally get a chance to throw razor-sharp words at each other.

Players gather around Chuck Armstrong and Jeff Fizsbein's table after the last game of the day to discuss triumphs and screw ups of the day.

Cheryl Melvin, CB, Danny and I went out for some of the very best Mexican pork mole verdie I've ever eaten after the tournament.

Danny Schey beat me by the skin of his teeth and crushed my spirit for five long minutes for so. At Los Three Amigos we refreshed our Scrabble (copyright til you die) buttons.

For CB, it's always one more thing before the sandman strikes, to make it possible for me to go where I can bark and complain and enjoy hell out of my life sometimes.

Lansing is always a fun tournament. Gier Recreation Center was the site of my very first tournament in November of 1985! Dang dang dang! Doesn’t seem like that long ago!

Ready now to party with the kids today before the homeward jaunt.

Written by frankieleeee

June 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Willie makes it two skunks in a row! 3-0 Scrabble – Lunchbunch Afterwords! Yea, Willie! But, first, A Taste of the Ragin’ Cajun country right here in Cincinnati, folks. J. Gumbo on the Rise. (Lunchbunch. May 26, 2011. White Oak, OH. wilflebobcee)

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In the middle of a mishmosh of foreign cultures lies a haven of serenity and quietude that spreads wisdom and hope through the western suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, and it is also where Tranq the trusty van who delights in balking and talking back to any who dare claim ownership, esp. CB and me, begins his trek to meet up with friendlies (code-named Willie and Bob) for a weekly celebration/observance/wake we call (the) Lunchbunch!

6023 Cheviot Road., Cincinnati, Ohio 45247

Like one of those pillboxes you see American G-Is overrunning in WW II movies. See how Shelly's car seems to snuggle so close to Tranq. Mmmmm! Meanwhile, CB marches into the restaurant to check out whether the tables also have parking space for Junior, Jr.

I see someone has rediscovered the trick of using a mirror behind the bar to give the illusion of much more space.

Before we took up pen and paper to score, I see we all acted like we were enjoying ourselves, leading me to believe we were either good eaters or excellent actors, sacrificing for the greater good. 'Twas indeed a good time. See the little bitty cups provided by Shelly for sample tasting?

While we are usually (not to be confused with “normal-ly”) four straight-talking, discerning, intelligent-if-not gentle, warm fuzzballs, on occasion our collective cone of silence that protects us from the outside, is torn open by negative forces which sometimes insinuates itself in the inner workings of our little group. On the subject of food, e.g. It happened again last week in the parking lot of J. Gumbo’s. What resulted was not pretty and not the stuff of tall tales you’d like to collect for your babies and grandbabies to lull them to sleep of a night. Oh, my god! It was culinary chaos, folks. Depending on who among us you ask, lunch at J Gumbos Cajun place over by our house, it was either food to die for or food to kill for (in retribution for crimes against the palate).

Willie: “It was perfect. The food. And the service.”

My favorite: voodoo nachoes!

Bob: “It was awful: all of it. How dare they insult my palate. Didn’t enjoy one bit of one bite, not even that bread”

Whatever the weather!

fle: “All of it, except two, were grand and good and called for reprise. Interestingly, the two I ordered (beans and rice & (?)) were the least interesting to eat …. Yet both were very good “warmed over.”

But was that pie good!!!!! Yepper!

CB: “Give it a 2 and a half. ”

Guess who was stuck with the bill, she said, as she shoved the revealing slip of paper toward the photographer while Shelly the server raced over to refill our pop classes and resupply our napkin supply and reassure herself that all was well with us in our relationship to her.

I wonder which of our enemies’ forces broke through the barrier to plant this one in our midst.

Why, you may ask, is Bob proudly showing off a crisp, almost like new, 100-dollar bill at J. Gumbo's over on Cheviot Road? Mmmmmmmm. Willie almost got by with "that's the smallest bill I've got!" She was, however, outsmarted by the ever-vigilant, ever-helpful Shelly.

It couldn’t have been Shelly the server, she was almost awesome. She was! From the moment CB and I spotted her bending into the open trunk of her car in the parking lot, she sent signals of bonhomie to us all.  Even Bob! She gaily brought tasting samples of practically every dish on the menu. Questions answered. Every one. Even offered (with our dollar) to fetch ice cream for our peach pie at the gas station/party store next door.

Building small, built in the middle of a lot. Looked a lot like the bier gardens my dad and stepmom used to frequent back in the day in the backwoods of Tennessee. A made-over Italian place (notice how many restaurants are located at the sites of former restaurants?)

Apparently they don’t cook on-site! Either Willie or Bob or both told me all the food is cooked at the J. Gumbo’s commissary in Louisville. Which I suppose could explain why they don’t have hamburgers or sausage sandwiches or oyster po’ boys.

Bob did point out he thinks J.Gumbo’s uses an awful lot of salt. Probably. And not unusual. Even the top chefs in the world proclaim that salt is the single most important ingredient to improve the taste of food.

Then back to our place for an afternoon of Scrabble. Afterwords.

Not this time, Bob. Nosir. No you don't, big boy. Not this time, sir!

All Hail Wee Willie the Wonder Woman.


Sooooo. I'm collecting bets on my games, folks. Hope you all came prepared. Fle, you owe me $5.00 and no credit, either; this is too fine a victory to celebrate with a chit. CB, looks like $5.00 from you, too. Bob, aren't you glad we doubled down? Ten biguns from you, my friend. Ten of 'em: one, two three, four, five, six, etcetera, TEN.


All hail the new Bobslayer!

Willie beat us all (3-1). CB beat all but one of us (2-1). I beat all but two of us (1-2). Bob beat all but 3 of us (0-3).

Pretty soon none of us can spar with her without additional protective gear to preserve our heads as permanent extensions of our bodies.

Written by frankieleeee

May 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm