Words of the day: Jo, Ka, Ki, Qi, Xi, Za!

Today’s theme is 2-letter words with emphasis on Scrabble word game. Six words, not very verbose! The words of the day are Jo, Ka, Ki, Qi, Xi, Za!

Without further ado let’s start with dictionary meaning of the words. In alphabetic order below are the words and their meaning.

Jo: sweetheart, dear. Often used in addressing a person

Ka: (in ancient Egypt) the supposed spiritual part of an individual human being or God, which survived (with the soul) after death and could reside in a statue of the person.

Ki: A term indicating intrinsic energy; usually associated with martial art – karate, judo, aikido, etc – practitioners who consider ki important to performing at the highest level.

Qi: the circulating life force whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine.

Xi: the fourteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. In astronomy the fourteenth star in a specified constellation

Za: short for pizza

No post is complete without a story though 😃

In recent times I have been playing Scrabble on my tablet with virtual opponents. Why virtual opponents? They are always ready to play and there is no risk of offending them inadvertently unlike humans who can get emotional at times and react strongly, justified or not. There is no risk of pissing off virtual opponents 😄

The advantage of using above words is that it’s easier to use high scoring Scrabble letters like J, K, Q, X, Z (due to relatively lesser # of words in the dictionary with those letters) for words on the board as they just need a supporting vowel already on the board. Also, there is less dependency on other supporting letters that may be needed generally. For example, every word other than “Qi” that I know with letter “q” needs the letter “u”. A strategically placed high score letter like Q and Z can also yield high-yielding dividends if they are placed on double or triple word or letter squares! However, it can also be a double-edged sword. Let me explain. When I first started playing, I noticed that the virtual opponents were not using the above 2-letter words much and I was getting away with high scoring words easily. After I played the virtual characters more often, I noticed lessons of previously played games were absorbed and used against me 😡 While working hard to create high scoring position for difficult letters the virtual opponent would swoop in to play words to block my high scoring opportunity. So, a square with letter ‘a’ on it and a triple-word square available above or to the left would turn into a high scoring “Za” for the virtual opponent leaving me shaking my head in frustration. 😡 Hard to imagine a slice of pizza leaving a bad taste but that’s how it feels when that happens 😭 Even in that there is a life lesson learned. In real life there are times when one does all the hard work only to find someone else take the credit. As in life, so in game! There are opportunities to learn life lessons anywhere, anytime, any occasion! 👍

Guilty Pleasures Series: #2 – Nature and wildlife documentaries

I am always filled with amazement whenever I watch nature and wildlife documentaries on TV. The majesty of huge trees in woods, the feline grace of a wild cat, the natural beauty of flowers and birds, the grandeur of high mountains and big rivers, the vastness of the oceans and the variety of marine life are all awe inspiring and humbling at the same time. They are worth traveling many a mile to catch a glimpse of. The next best thing of course is watching them in the comforts of the living room (Sorry, no TVs in my bedrooms 😃). As impressive as the sights are equally impressive is the passion, dedication, patience and effort put in by the crews working on the documentaries. It’s always a pleasure to appreciate the beauty of nature.

What do I feel guilty about? Me being me about a few things.

1) There is always a sense of sadness on seeing that flora and fauna alike are getting endangered alike due to increasing demands of human race. Forests appear to be making way for fields to grow food grains or for construction. Bodies of water are shrinking to accommodate human water needs.

2) While it’s thrilling to watch a wild cat hunting for its prey and that’s its natural instinct it’s sad to see any life getting lost. I still distinctly remember a wildlife documentary about Africa in which a pack of lions attack an elephant at night when elephants do not have good sight. During the day and when elephants are in a group the lions do not stand a chance. So, the lions gang up, isolate an elephant at night and attack from all sides.

3) With so many plants and animals thinning in numbers I wonder if we will be the last generation lucky enough to see tigers, elephants and other endangered plants and animals in person. Will posterity be content on watching how it used to be on video?

Wouldn’t it be great if humans and animals can communicate with each other in a language both can understand and speak? Humans could learn a few things from animals like being able to sense changes in weather and also learning to survive in extreme conditions without needing much. Animals could learn from humans to be more organized and harnessing natural resources for their needs. I wonder about what goes through the mind of animals that are in danger and running for their dear life. What is the thought process of all the small fish that get gobbled by bigger fish. There are insects with a life span of just a few hours. If God has created everything there has to be purpose for every living thing. Without a purpose it doesn’t make sense. I keep asking myself a basic question. What is the purpose of everything that has life? 🙏

Learning while playing!

It’s been another turbulent week for the world. Seeing people leave everything behind for safety has been distressing to watch. Such is human conflict that it affects the most vulnerable the most. Hopefully there will be a peaceful resolution soon and the damage can be limited to what it is at this time. On to something light to lift up the spirits.

It’s amazing that one can learn in the most unexpected places. I was playing scrabble online with a virtual opponent, Freya! For those interested Freya is a mythical Asgardian appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, based on the Norse deity of the same name. Within the context of the stories, Freya is the Asgardian goddess of fertility. She appears as a supporting character of Thor. The game started and Freya played the word CUE. It was a miscue as the pieces I had gave me an opportunity for a bonus. Guess what the word was that I played? OLIGARCH! Got a 50 point bonus for using all seven letters in one try. I am thinking oligarchs still have high value on a scrabble board at least. The game progressed and virtual opponent Freya pushed her luck when she snucked in a Y after OLIGARCH. Too bad for Freya because by then the bite of sanctions had started to sink in and the value of OLIGARCHY had already started depreciating 😉 Game mirrors life at times and reflects current reality. Norse character Freya/Freyja is supposed to be in charge of love, fertility, battle, and death and this is one battle she lost. The lesson: Betting on a oligarch may work once but in the long run betting on oligarchy is risky! 🙏

Not a bad life lesson to learn playing a word game, eh 😊

Pushing the envelope

Lessons of history
Ain’t no mystery;
Getting in may be easy,
Getting out will be messy.

Seen state of many a Union
Watched some State of the Union
Force don’t make an Union
Nary an accord ain’t no Union 🙏

Today it’s Ukraine. tomorrow it could be a different place. Pushing the envelope to see what one can get away with is a quality we have seen and continue to see in politics, war, sports, business, entertainment and all other walks of life. Inhuman is becoming all too common human quality 😭

Looking back, looking ahead 🙏

Today is the last day of 2021. Right time to look back, look ahead.
Put simply 2021 has been an extraordinary year!
A year in which
• Good and bad were engaged in a constant battle
• Many lives were saved, many lives were lost
• Prosperity soared and paucity increased
• The bright lights of democracy were threatened by inimical forces
• We witnessed courage and cowardice in plenty
• Truth tried to emerge while misinformation exploded
• Olympian heights were reached along with plumbing of depths
• Welcome jabs were followed by unwelcome jabbing
• Lessons were learned hard and quickly forgotten
• There was a lot gained and a lot lost
• Hope and fear seemed to be juxtaposed

It has been a year to reevaluate priorities and relationships, both personal and professional, for many including yours truly. Will be interesting to see how historians view 2021. When 2021 and 2022 meet I hope the intersection is at love. 🥰 Hey, even the number 2022 has a good feel to it! Like beautiful swans together, one followed by two! Humanity needs to transition from a world of pain, loss and grief to one that abounds in love. My optimism is tempered by reality and reality is tinged with optimism. 🙏

Sayonara 2021! Welcome 2022! 👍