Father’s Day 2016

Had a first visit here at Three Bunny Farm from my eldest, her husband, and her 11-month-old boy. We’d been thinking about this day for many months, and it was everything we could have hoped. Eleven months is pretty young to form lasting impressions, though, even of baby lambs and crowing roos and flooffy bunnehs, so we hope for many more visits in the future, and the development of a new family history like the ones my kids had with their grandparents and that I had with my grandparents — histories that imbue our lives with certain values, smells, loved books and activities, associations with weather and climate, a sense of light, a glimpse of water, an exact turn in the road — Grandpa’s house! We’re almost there!

But I want to talk about family. Specifically, young family.

Life is hard. If life isn’t hard for you, it just means you’ve worked hard enough, or are privileged enough (or both, in some combination) to be provided a cushion from that reality.

I don’t mean “hard,” particularly, as “hard times.” Goodness knows, living in or on the edge of true poverty, with no family network, no resources, and especially no education or other “tools” with which to raise oneself up is a whole other class of “hardness.” But I’m referring to everyday living by the vast number of everyday folks — people like me, people like my daughter and son-in-law.

Nor is this a political-economic treatise on the decline of the middle class or any such thing.

I’m talking about the day-to-day. And it is, to my mind, an inherently difficult, complicated thing to do what rightly needs to be done, to survive, to prosper, to progress, to raise offspring, to be happy, to maintain a marriage, to maintain family and friends, to manage finances, and to figure out — and act on — what it means to be GOOD in achieving all that. Oh, also; getting through the tough spots, the accidents, the surprises, the failures, the frights.

If you were already of an age and had to do it all again, you’d have, perhaps, some stores of wisdom to aid you. Some practice at winnowing away irrelevancies and solving problems with least effort and maximal effect. But those of us 60+ are not offered that chance. The ones who have to do it are the 20- and 30-somethings, and just like we did, they face so many problems anew; and that’s not even counting the problems that are new because time has marched on — new technologies, new social trends and sects, global dynamics, new awareness. I was worried about male privilege when I was 30, because women’s lib was a thing and I was alert and aware — but my awareness of racial privilege, class privilege, hetero-privilege, cisgender-privilege, etc., lagged. And our grandchildren and great grandchildren will make their way in a further changed world.

But I watch our children and I think: it’s HARD. I want to celebrate how hard it is. To make a living. To find work that pays the bills AND is fulfilling AND doesn’t perpetuate patriarchy (or carbon footprint, or name-your-demon). To balance time. Time and space and energy to even consider, say, values. All those moving parts, as you pay down student loans, try to resist building credit card debt, insist on “the very best” for your precious baby — but how? You’re no millionaire. And one overriding value: standing on your own two feet! So you achieve within careers, within meta-careers — and it’s important to be able to say, “I did that.” That it wasn’t favoritism, nepotism, a gift from dear old dad.

You’re grateful for gifts, of course. You acknowledge the advantages life has handed you. But you still have to go back to the check register, the angry neighbor, the constraints that hem in your choices as you plot a path. And it’s not only important to be able to say “I did that.” It’s important to be able to say what’s important in the first place.

Yes — that’s the thing. Is that “values”? I guess so. Values we’re constantly evaluating. Should I smoke? Should I eat “healthier”? If so, how? Should I go for the promotion? Should I make more time for my spouse? Should I read more? Watch TV less? Keep in better touch with so-and-so? And so on and so on. For every such puzzle, a ripple effect on other questions: If I make more money, I can do X. If I take a longer commute, I can do less of Y.

And for every such puzzle, a meta-puzzle: on what grounds am I making that decision? Mere necessity? What I can afford? Something altruistic? A religious principle?

It’s HARD. I salute all working people, and especially my cherished children (and step-children).

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8,760 Hours

Happy Adventureversary, indeed.

A year after first seeing the house, almost halfway through our first winter here.

A winter that began with an evacuation — “race for the hills! no, leave the goldfish!” — our mad dash out of a camper whose metal walls had begun to radiate cold with a fierce foreboding.

Into an unfinished space — a space that we’d hammered and sculpted and wrestled into minimal near-readiness: bare sheetrock, much of it not even mudded, plywood floors, our household goods stacked about in moving boxes we hadn’t seen for months. Our wallets depleted, we flung ourselves across a kind of finish-line of our own making — knowing that there was no such thing as “finish-line.” And so it has gone.

To celebrate, here are some approximate before-‘n’-afters. The pictures that come first in each pair were taken January 13, 2014. The man in the second shot was the real estate agent, who seemed thoroughly non-plussed that we had even shown up, especially after having warned us off over the phone with dire accounts of how remote and rural it is here. Music to our ears, if he’d only known.

The “Wall” dividing the porch from the main house:

photo 1 (1)   photo 2

Each end of the porch:

photo 2   photo 1

Looking from porch through to the kitchen:

photo 3   photo 3

The main room on the first level (currently our bedroom, eventually to be a living room):

photo 4   photo 4

View from outside:

photo   photo 1

And finally, the shot for which there is no “before,” because by the time I got out back last January 13, my iPhone had frozen in my pocket and died. But this pano from today is pretty close to what I saw then, and what captured my imagination — the dynamism and variety of the land, the creek cutting through the low spot, the hill of bracken.

photo 2 (1)

We’re here. And the real adventure — life, with its thrills and speedbumps — continues.

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Whistle While You Work, Really: a Small Update


It should be clear by now that we are marching to our own drumbeat. We are the drummers. At a certain point, you stop worrying about whether you “should” unpack books before spackling or “should” play scrabble when there’s insulation still to do. You have to just … march.

But there are things that are done in a certain order. You can’t bake until you have the correct circuit installed. You can’t take a bath without the hot water tank being in. (You could, but ow.) For a while, we did that kind of prioritization. We had to.

That’s not where we are at this stage.

(Continue over at Listeme’s blog…)

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On the verge of a Rehabbin’ Cabin epiphany. While working on the steps from the back door, I had a distinct thought: this is not me. Meaning: as much as I’ve enjoyed the renovation — and I do particularly enjoy the rough carpentry — it’s not something I want to do forever. Not for a living. It’s not what drives me.


So what does? Yes, I love the challenge, the puzzle-solving, the lateral thinking, the doing-more-with-less, the lifelong learning — yes, yes, all that. But the MAKING. Ah, there it is. As we pivot from full-time rehabbing to that thing we loosely (and so far, very generously) refer to as “making a living,” this epiphany comes not a moment too soon.


When I was a designer in dot-com land (Career 4.0), and then in enterprise computing (Career 4.5), my energies would flag with the proliferation of MRDs, ROIs, and NAAs (“not another acronym”). My solution was to lean on my bosses for more “creative” work, which naturally translated to pixel-pushing (and a few frustrated bosses).


But no matter how “pictorial” or “creative” the work became — though I certainly had a blast with several excellent UI challenges — it was almost never a “making.” Not directly. The path from my pen to the finished feature release was long and longer. And it’s not that I craved authorship; I see now that there’s something in me that desires — nay, needs — that direct, complete experience of visualization becoming realization.


It’s critical that I get this right. We made this whole move, in part, as a way to get back to our passions, to ensure our labors fed us both literally and figuratively. When we started, in Virginia, almost exactly one year ago, we called our discussions “path.” The path brought us here, to this foundation. This launch pad. The lesson of the rehabbin’ cabin is: Makers make.


Carry on.

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Winter’s Eve

Unofficially, we’re in the house and out of the camper. Notably, we emptied the storage ‘pods’ (U-Boxes) and they’re getting picked up on Tuesday. And my dad might visit Thursday!


But one of the driving forces behind the latest moves is the weather: snow tonight and tomorrow, and temps around 20F on Monday night. It’s just not reasonable to try to stay in the camper through that — it’s a tin box that holds heat like cheesecloth holds liquid. Tomorrow or Monday we’ll tackle at least a rudimentary “winterizing” of the camper, and start to convert it over to overflow storage.

But enough boring things! How about the answer to life and everything, as seen from Nov. 1, 2014?

RIP Hazel

Rabbits are apparently surprisingly hard to keep alive? Hazel — the most aggressive and sprightly of our Angoras — seemed perfectly fine the other morning, hopping and reacting, and in the evening she was quiescent with her neck at an odd angle. Enough life left in her to set her up in the other hutch with water and food and comfort, but we were not optimistic. This morning we inaugurated our pet cemetery. We don’t know if it was illness, a virus, or a freak injury. But we have become much more vigilant over the remaining two bunnehs.

Where It’s At

One thing is clear: we’re closer to the edge of existence here, than we were in suburbia. Substantially closer? Hard to say. Drive down the roads here, and see each property arraying itself for winter, (largely) independent, individual. Vast woodpiles at the homes with stoves. Windows reinforced with plastic sheeting. Objects in yards covered with tarps. Gardens that just four months ago exploded into bloom, now turned over and mulched. Stakes erected to mark driveways for ploughs. The land is hunkering down, testing its reserves, and we are too.

Mother Knows Best


A year or two ago my parents gave us these platters, made by a student artist at Finlandia University. I think they gave similar works to my sisters, with different words on them. We opened these today, from our storage pods, and the imprinted words “LIFE” and “REALITY” hit us with fresh relevance. Back in Virginia I know we appreciated these artworks, but I don’t think the sentiments imprinted in them resonated quite as they do now.

I don’t know what we thought we were about back then; I don’t know what words we thought might have suited us better than these. But now, without a doubt, LIFE and REALITY say it all.

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Hi, Amelia!

We love you, we really do. It is such great fun to know that people near and far, connected through curious and curiouser ways, are following our travails and wishing us well.

It’s Been Two Weeks

When last we met, Mark had parachuted in to get us rolling with our vinyl siding. Well, he worked with us for three or four solid days, imparting (almost) all his tricks, and when he had to zoom off to attend to actual paying jobs we had:

  • Two whole sides of the house completely sided
  • Jaison’s pump-jack staging set up on the third side, and the work there about 1/3 done
  • All the knowledge we needed to proceed on the things we could do ourselves, which will ultimately include the fourth, southeast, wall of the house — the porch wall and the short wall above the porch, which is easily reached by standing on that shallow roof
  • The trim solution for the back door, and the faceplate under the sill in preparation for putting up a pressure-treated landing and a set of steps
  • Not insignificantly, the front of the house included remounting the electric and phone service, which we had floated off the wall — that’s all refastened and properly attached.

Here’s some of the eye-candy:







The far back:


The instant Mark departed, Tim returned!

So we got cracking on various indoor tasks that included an over-the-head component, to make the best use of Tim’s presence and ease the strain on my shoulder. So we installed the collar ties that Mark had argued for, which will also form a vaulted ceiling in the cathedral space upstairs.






As part of the collar-tie effort we also started the shimming-out of the roof joists, adding the width of a 2×4 to each one, enlarging the insulation cavity from 5-3/4″ to 9-1/4″, which will get us to R-30. Not R-49 as is usually recommended for this climate, but a good start.

After Tim left, Reid (Jaison’s assistant) called out of the blue, and worked one Sunday with us. We went back to siding, and made major headway on the complicated back with the various rooflines. We applied housewrap, insulation, adjusted ladders, put J-channel on windows, created a piece of metal flashing for one problematic area, and extended the vinyl up the main wall about as far as we could with the pump-jack staging.

This milestone meant the house was truly weather-tight in all respects for the first time!

Reid thought he might be able to return Monday, but ended up having to go to another site with Jaison — and we haven’t seen either of them again this week. But I forged ahead — with the weather clear and warm, the balancing act was how to attack key outdoor things without losing sight of the priority tasks required for moving in — most of which are inside tasks.

We had found new vinyl siding at Marden’s (at a very good price) to supplement the salvage supply we’d been using up, and I ran the new stuff up the porch wall:






The next day, more nice weather, and Marsh and I tackled the insulation under the porch. We’d had these huge bags of rock wool batts sitting under there, and it was time to put it in its place.



I used the opportunity to install a series of blocks across the floor joists to stiffen and strengthen them. When we get back to it, we’ll sheath this whole underside with plywood to keep pests and direct moisture out (say, from driving snow in a blizzard — thay have that here, I hear!).

Yesterday was to be our last in this incredible series of temperate, dry October days, and I tackled three outdoor necessities: I redid the insulation on the windows above the porch, in order to retrofit improved weatherproofing around them (no pictures); I laid out, dug, mixed, and poured the two piers for the back-door landing; and I picked through our dwindling lumber pile to start a second rabbit hutch, so Fiver is not so exposed to the weather and to relieve the cramped quarters for the other two bunnies.




Today, just before the rain started, we finished the new hutch. Here’s Fiver in her new home:


And for the rest of the day we transitioned to the long-awaited task of clearing the porch, putting a plastic vapor barrier down, and topping it with a new plywood subfloor. This completes the insulation job we began underneath with the rock wool.

The room cleared and vacuumed:


Spreading the first layer of plastic:


Splicing the remaining strip to cover the floor:


The first few pieces of plywood subflooring:



For Tomorrow

Rain overnight, and into tomorrow. I’ll finish the floor and proceed to finish the drywall in the porch. The goal is to allow Marsh to set up a rudimentary office there by lunchtime. We’re also hoping to bring in one of our larger bookshelves from the storage boxes and set it up on the new wall next to the stairs.

The moving in has begun!

Other Notes

In and amongst all these major activities, the plumber finished the kitchen sink; the electricians finished the first floor wiring so we have actual working light switches and receptacles; and the gas guy installed the propane line to the stovetop.

We haven’t prepared a meal yet in that kitchen, but we could — and we can’t wait!

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Does Whatever a Siding-Man Can

Exit Tim, enter Mark…

Mark, often referred to in these pages, is a good friend of Marsh’s sister and a pro builder. He did the original inspection on this house, gave us our first prioritized direction for starting the rehab, rebuilt the load-bearing beam in the basement, and loaned us tools, ladders, and trash barrels, all of which have seen lots of use.

He was fortunately able to spare some time this week (and perhaps Sunday/Monday next week) and got us completely in gear on our vinyl siding, which has languished since Jaison last left. We hadn’t even planned on hiring Jaison for the whole job (too costly) and if we’d had a plan at all it was to “do it ourselves,” but we didn’t really know where or how to start, so we’d concentrated on things we could do, and which were also important for moving in, such as insulation and drywall…. Meanwhile it was beginning to look like we were going to enter winter with simple house-wrap exposed on the exterior — not ideal.

Jaison had suggested he could come back for a day, do some finishing touches on the eaves and weatherproofing, and give us a tutorial on the siding so we could do it ourselves. But he is MIA. Meanwhile Mark came and gave us so much more than a “tutorial”: he labored with us from noon to 6 for two days, using and moving Jaison’s heavy ladders and pump staging. We got the back of the house completely sided this afternoon — me and Mark up on the staging, Marsh below providing vinyl material — the front partly sided, and this morning on my own I started the outer porch wall.

Last night’s progress this morning.

The northwest side, pink panel insulation put up by Dakota, Mark’s helper.

The back door newly trimmed, following Mark’s advice for trim moulding.

Front of the house, partially complete.

Face of the porch with a portion of panel insulation tacked up…

…and partially sided.

The back of the house, complete. (Though there are a couple of newbie booboos that have to be fixed later.)

The view from the top of the staging.

The siding is grimy and stained from sitting around — we’re reusing as much of the original as we can, though we will almost certainly have to buy some new to fill in. It should clean up nicely with a bleach solution and a pressure washer.

Turns out vinyl is easy enough to work with, though there’s a hitlist of tricksy tips to bear in mind so it’s done right. Overall two very satisfying days.

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The Tim Dynasty

Brother-in-law Tim returned to us on Friday and is still here on Monday night. That’s devotion (or insanity). But with great gratitude I tried very hard to let him do the high stuff so I wouldn’t reinjure my shoulder. We all three worked 10-hour days and continued to make incredible progress on the interior.

Here are a series of photo diaries:

Kitchen Sink

Our orphaned corner, which will have a free-standing table-slash-counter surface for toaster and microwave, with shelving above.

The sink itself, a ‘free’ find at HFH Restore. We since found better-quality fixtures (also free), but I haven’t installed them yet. The plumber is expected this week to hook up the supply lines.

The full effect (sort of). The counter extension now has a leg under it. The left end of the under-sink cabinet will house a stack of four small drawers.

The Stairs

Original stairs — rough, pressure-treated, open-decking style.

Working for now on just the bottom half, we pulled up the treads (they’ll have a new life outside, where they are actually better than our current outdoor steps). The far right stringer is buried in the wall. We left it there — it would have been ridiculously too much trouble to try to reuse it and then have to insulate and sheetrock around the new stair treads and risers.

So after insulating and sheetrocking, we attached a new stringer on the surface — well bolted to the studs — made from some PT 2×12 I’d been saving for a different stairway project.

Another view through the new “stair wall.”

After sheetrocking the left side it was time to fit the new stair treads to the stringers.

Meanwhile, on the outside of the stair wall, we fitted a removable hatch to the under-stair storage nook. However, we plan to put a large bookcase against this wall, so that will not be active storage any time soon (or a guest room for a young wizard nephew).

And then this morning I fitted the risers to the new treads — half a finished staircase! Next — repeat the process for the upper half!

The Porch Salon Parlor Agora Sunroom

Tim single-handedly put insulation up in the entire ceiling; while Marsh continued on the walls. The walls at each end were a bit more involved than appears, since we have been “shimming” them out by the width of an additional 2×3 on every stud. The added cavity depth gives us a higher R-value throughout.

Then he also single-handedly put up the strapping to hold the ceiling drywall.

And by this evening we had a single full course of ceiling drywall on that strapping…

…which in turn permitted us to start the sheetrock on the wall below it. We had had grand ambitions of completing this wall, but exhaustion and hunger overtook us. We’ll see what we get done tomorrow morning.


The refrigerator was delivered today. It is very satisfactory. We plugged it into an extension cord and it works. The full installation will wait till its wall is taped and mudded and its assigned electrical outlet is hooked up. But we can already visualize being able to stock up a bit more on foodstuffs. The camper has been great, but a fridge that can hold only a half gallon of milk, a tub of butter, a few jars of condiments, and couple of tupperwares of leftovers has cramped our culinary style. Luckily we’ve been working too hard to really notice, except on the scales (I’ve lost more than 20 lbs since May).

What I’m really looking forward to is having a full kitchen next summer and fall when it’s time to can and preserve!

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So… Where Were We?


Oh yes… when last we met, this was the imminent to-do list. It has been slaughtered. Demolished. It is an ex-to-do list. It is pining for the to-do list fjords.

  • close up all remaining gaps and fissures (mostly between main house and porch)
  • patch some tyvek and flashing that has deteriorated, letting rain in
  • rerun some electrical wires inside some walls
  • insulate everywhere we can with all insulation on-hand
  • wallboard where possible over insulation (mostly)
  • estimate and order remaining insulation and wallboard
  • get ready for final work by electrician (kitchen ovens, bathrom vent fan)
  • get ready for final work by gas installer (stovetop)
  • get ready for final work by plumber (kitchen and bathroom sinks)
  • order and install fridge
  • start demo and build-out of the wall between porch and living room

We also successfully re-homed Sagan (above) in anticipation of our new setting and having no satisfactory way to integrate our predator dogs with a house cat, or our predator cat with chickens, etc., etc. She is now being very well-loved in a new happy home and still of course we feel the pangs of missing her. But her past few months have been sub-optimal for her and it is for the best.

Aside from all that, it’s a challenge to catch up on almost three weeks’ worth of doings here at the Rehabbin’ Cabin — memo to self: update regularly! But an added difficulty is that if there’s been a “theme” at all to this period, it’s this: Winter is coming (we had a our first frost), we vitally need to get out of the uninsulated camper and into the house, we need to stop paying for our household goods in storage, we need to make those necessary steps happen on limited funds, and we both vitally need to be getting back into earning income.

It’s a recap of the conundrum that has faced us every day from the start — put 100% into the rehab, and get done sooner, or start mixing money-making with the project, at the cost of slowing it down — but thrown very much into stark relief. Our triaging of the “infinite list of infinite things” became ever more procrustean — now we are even considering the pros and cons of leaving the upstairs almost completely unfinished as a condition of moving in, though I think it’s clear that its completion — or at least its insulation — would still have to proceed apace. I don’t think winter works very long with our heat escaping through the first-floor ceiling.

But enough palaver! Here are a few of the highlights:

Jaison & co. are still missing in action, though we still have a lot of their staging. We still expect them back for 1-2 days, perhaps next week, to do some final flashing/weatherproofing and get us started with the vinyl siding.


Health issues have intervened for the first time: First I stepped on a nail (went through my galoshe and 1/4″ into a foot) and had to walk gingerly for a couple of days. Then my shoulder started acting up — diagnosis: rotator cuff something-or-other, do not do work over your head, yeah, do you realize I’M RENOVATING A HOUSE? But I have slowed down, and we’ve had several days of very welcome help from my brother-in-law and his family, help from my father-in-law (who was especially instrumental in getting the VERY heavy ovens into their cabinet — a fine case of brain over brawn), and a promise of more help next week from our builder-friend Mark, so the strenuous tasks at ceiling height are gradually getting done safely.

Overall our we’ve been healthy and accident-free for many, many months, for which I’ve been continually grateful; we have decent health insurance (thanks Obama); and our network, while far-flung, is incredibly helpful and supportive.


The livestock here at Three Bunny Farm are an ever-interesting diversion; we expanded the chickens’ range with an outdoor pen, complete with access ramp and sliding hatchway. Still no egg-laying, but the chicks are growing and one that was a hen is surely a roo. They are full of character and surprisingly fun.


This is not the real, newly installed toilet, but gives the flavor of the bathroom with more of the greenboard up. But the actual toilet is not only spiffy and stylish, but is even attached to the water supply, so it, y’know, flushes.


And the latest advance into civilization — as of yesterday, basically — is a real, working, latching, locking bathroom door. No more alerting the neighborhood to clear the premises when someone needs to go to the loo!



THE wall! Yes, the wall between the porch and living room. (By the way, we need another name for the porch. It’s not a porch, and it’s more than an entryway.) We finished gutting the old wall, tore out selected studs, erected load-bearing spans, and built out the openings that will be a pair of pass-throughs and a central doorway. We’re loving how the space is shaping up.


We argued tensely over the layout of the kitchen — bound as we are to certain constraints: the cabinets we bought at the consignment shop, the positioning of the window, sink plumbing, and outlets, etc. But once we got some wallboard up, we were able to shuffle the cabinets around in real-time and figure out some answers.


We ended up cutting one cabinet way down to the minimum supportable size for the stovetop.


And the stovetop in place (sans burner grilles).



In general, we’ve proceeded with drywall around the room as insulation or other details were finalized, There’s some electrical wiring to resolve around “the wall,” and then we’ll be able to finish the living room and kitchen entirely. Oh, and the ceiling. Help is on the way.


We had the storage U-Boxes delivered, though they are still sitting in the driveway full of our stuff. But oh my! What a psychic difference to have direct access and control over “our stuff.” We’re not acquisitive (except books), but it’s an effort of will in some ways to force ourselves out of this surreal half-existence back into something like a “normal” life of routine. We’re not able to live it yet, but walking into a sunny kitchen with open floor where boxed applicances used to sit, and knowing that our bed and chairs and clothes and rugs are right out there, are small, barely tangible, but seismic shifts in that direction.

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SCRABBLE® Players To Start Paying ‘Per Word’

[Image: A typical SCRABBLE® game. Copyright HASBRO.]

September 22, 2014

DALLAS, TX — In an exciting new development, the Colonial SCRABBLE® Players Association (CSPA) has released an update to their tournament rulebook providing for royalty micro-payments to Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) for every word played in a sanctioned tournament. The funds would transfer automatically from accounts set up by each player, backed by a credit card provided at time of registration.

In CSPA’s announcement, Executive President For Life Jeanette Madison wrote, “In our ongoing effort to serve members, CSPA has deepened and hardened our mutually beneficial and completely unantagonistic relationship with Hasbro. Just the fact that Hasbro is showing an interest in such things as ‘words’ is an indication of SCRABBLE®’s rising stock in the toy industry.”

CSPA Co-Executive President Rod Molma, reached on vacation in Bora Bora, explained:

One of Hasbro’s not insignificant business activities is the monetization of the SCRABBLE® brand in North America. In order to do so, it sells licences for specific uses of the brand. One such licence is currently owned by Merriam-Webster, for the word list and the dictionary. The value of the licence in turn depends on how well the licensee is able to monetize it. If Hasbro permits people to obtain for free a word that it is trying to sell a licence for, it will reduce the value of the licence, due to supply and demand.

Players around the US and Canada are thrilled. “This will really raise the profile of SCRABBLE® in the colonies,” said Browne Knowles, of Ontario, Ontario. “We’ve struggled a bit, as you may know, since we only play with half the words. I don’t think they can call us SCRABBLE®-Lite any more, now that each game is going to be worth real money!”

Former elite player and professional gambler Jeremy Saga of Phoenix, AZ, said the change might bring him back to the game. “Paying per word raises some intriguing scenarios. Will you pay for phonies? What if you’re playing someone known to be cash-poor? You could bluff with openings that they couldn’t afford to capitalize on.”

Zinca Loy of Rose Park, Alberta, agreed, “Some people may not like it — who wants more expenses? — but they should really question their loyalty to the game and its owners. I mean, asking to play words for free is basically the same as asking S&P 500 executives and shareholders to beg on street corners. Hasbro people have to eat, too!”

Monetization Czar Seymour Butts, reached at his office in Hasbro headquarters, confirmed the news and hinted broadly at more changes to come. “We’re looking of course at ways to make sure SCRABBLE® players pay their fair share even away from tournaments. The so-called kitchen table game will not be exempt. I hear there’s a good deal of antagonism now among players of Mattel SCRABBLE® in the rest of the world. They don’t want to be left behind and Mattel will be forced to follow our lead.

“And down the road, who knows? When you own the words, I think we’ll find ways to recoup our investment everywhere words are used — books, blogs — are you going to quote me? That’ll cost. It’s an exciting time for SCRABBLE®!”


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