Category Archives: Creativity

The Realm of Truth

The Realm of Truth, a Map by Craig H CollinsThe Realm of Truth © MMXIX by Craig H Collins
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In spite of what my title suggests, this post is not another tired whine about how ZEN is not a valid Scrabble word even though JEEP is.  (ZEN is a proper noun, hence unplayable, whereas JEEP… well, you figure that out.)  Instead, this post presents an assortment of should-be-words, complete with definitions, that have popped up in my seven-letter tray during Scrabble games.  I encourage fellow Scrabblers to try playing these words against friendly opponents, especially after a second bottle of wine has been opened — who knows, these words sound so good they just might go unchallenged.

All of these come directly from my letter tray to you:

POTIFTO (n): a tuberous vegetable unsure of whether it is a yam or a sweet potato

EARKITE (n): Barack Obama on a parasail

EFFOTEL (n): worst hotel you ever stayed in

ITOILET (n): the last place a person drops her iPhone before buying a new one

AOUEIII (int): universal bungee-jumping cry

TOETURE (n): the act of tickling a person’s pedal extremities to make them talk

RETOPIA (n): an idyllic place where enlightened Buddhists live their second lives

PREGOLD (adj): pertaining to the year prior to becoming eligible for Medicare

RAMENZA (n): drug approved in 2003 for treating allergic reactions to Japanese noodles

BEGTIME (n): the several-minutes-long period when one’s child, after being tucked in for the night, pleads for one more story to be read

TRAMPUI (n): honey-flavored liqueur favored by hobos

RAILODE (n): boxcar-themed poetry favored by hobos

SHPUZKA (n): loose outergarment worn in anticipation of drama, as in, “You cad!  I’ve never been so insulted!  Waiter, bring me my shpuzka and get me a taxi!”

QINEDAY (n): day of the week (in the European Union, between Monday and Tuesday) when U need not follow Q

ASSIBOU (n): the rude offspring of a donkey and a reindeer

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I bring to your attention recently-published findings from the Center for Higher Learning at the University of Newer New Mexico.   A team of UNNM researchers believe they have discovered the basis of the phenomenon that most of us call “vibes” — the human ability to transmit positive (and often negative) thoughts in order to influence another’s emotions and/or behavior and/or the outcome of an upcoming event.

Vibes (with apologies to Eugene Delacroix)Vibes are most likely to be detected in sports bars and hospital waiting rooms, said UNNM neurophysicist Lionel Trane.  “Wherever there are strong emotions or intense longing is a good place to find vibes,” Dr. Trane explained between his studied sips of white zinfandel.  “Take singles bars.  Our team observed that people who frequent singles bars are finely attuned to good and bad vibes given off from other patrons.  We ventured that the transmission, reception and interpretation of vibes leads to fewer false moves and rejections and more satisfying encounters.  We thought that some interesting physics might be behind this.”

So Dr. Trane and a cooperative cadre of graduate students dedicated themselves (thanks to a grant from the Templeton Foundation) to attend singles bars three nights a week for an entire semester in order to better study this phenomenon.

To detect vibes, the students used a device designed by Dr. Trane and his fellow research associate Wes Crusher.  The detector is essentially a small parabolic dish that fits on top of a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap worn by the student.  When the student entered a venue, signals from the dish would be transmitted to a van parked outside, where Dr. Trane and Mr. Crusher recorded and monitored the data stream while fending off the suspicions of the bouncer.

Performing a study in this setting was not without its difficulties, according to Dr. Trane. As he explained, many of the vibes they picked up were of the variety, “Who is that guy with the dish on his head?”  Trane and Crusher spent an entire hunker-down weekend filtering out such spurious signals, along with the static generated whenever the receiver was splashed with beer or was jostled by angry subjects who discovered their vibes were being intercepted.

After the research team eliminated the bad data — along with all the other data that did not support their hypothesis — they submitted the remaining signals to spectrum analysis. “It was full spectrum,” said Mr. Crusher.  “None of that phasers-on-stun stuff — this was serious business.”  Crusher shared with us their analysis of the vibe diagrams (below):


“Vibes have chracteristic colors.  Green means hope,” Crusher said.  “Red means red.  This is the most convincing evidence of vibes ever.”  But Trane objected.  “Sorry, Mr. Crusher.  Red means wolf.  We discussed this at the campfire last night and you agreed with me.”

We watched as Trane and Crusher then grappled with each other on the dirt floor.  On an impulse, I asked Trane whether Carlos Castaneda’s experiences were real or imagined.  Trane looked at me with hardened eyes and then suddenly grasped Crusher’s midsection, entwining himself into its glowing emanations and hurling himself into the nether.

I asked Crusher one last question.  “It’s the thought that counts,” he answered cryptically,  then he turned and walked into the desert night, leaving us with only the vibe diagrams and our fragile memories.

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