Tag Archives: History

From Edgar Allan Poe to Wordle – 3 Part Journey

PART ONE — Poe & A Bug

It’s not his most famous work. You may have never even heard of it. Published in 1843, it sits as just one in a collection of the great writer. During his day, it was one of his most popular works and it won an award of $100 – possibly the largest single amount paid to Poe in his lifetime. Not read as much today, Poe’s work The Gold Bug impacts us in so many ways. This story tells of a man bitten by a golden bug, thus the title, duh. When the man’s servant thinks his master is going mad, he calls a friend over for assistance.

Soon the bitten man and the friend, discover a secret message, using invisible ink and codes and letters, that leads to skull in a tree and eventually a hidden treasure buried by Captain Kidd, notorious pirate. This fiction detective story taps into a then popular hobby of cryptography – deciphering codes and secret messages.

Here … have a go at the code …


The story behind The Gold Bug, though interesting, is not the point today.  Let’s go to the next leg of our Journey

PART TWO — An Unemployed Architect

About a hundred years after the Poe’s work was published, Alfred Butts from Jackson Heights, Queens lost his job as an architect. He tried a few other ventures. Eventually he took a part-time job as a statistician. And, he decided to invent a game he could sell.  He got the idea from reading Poe’s work, The Golden Bug. Taking letters, codes, spelling, and statistics into account, it took him seven years to come up with his game. He sampled over 12,000 letters, 2,400 words and took into account a mathematical analysis of letter and word use in the New York Herald Tribune and the Saturday Evening Post. Interestingly, Butts did not like to spell.

He made tiles for letters, eventually added a board. Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley rejected his game, which he first called Lexico. So he made and sold the game himself.

Later, He began to work in cooperation with James Brunot, who expanded production … and renamed it … Scrabble. They lost money for the first few years. 

BUT … In 1952, in walks a Macy’s Store representative and ordered thousands and thousands of sets. Brunot couldn’t keep up with production. Expansion, Mass Production, Scrabble as the Christmas toy of the year, and more. The rest is history. 

Till today. Now the next leg of the journey.

PART THREE … Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

There have been plenty of people trying to modernize, add twists, digitize the original game. Especially now in the digital age. Games such as Paperback, Bananagrams, Spell Smashers, Words with Friends, Letterpress, and now Worldle have grabbed peoples attention.  

I haven’t gotten into Wordle yet, but according to my FB timeline – many of you have. But I do play the Scrabble app. I enjoy the original game, and I am grateful for the imagination and marketing of several people along the long journey of the game.

And in the end … we owe all of this to the warped thinking of a macabre author by the name of Edger Allan Poe.


Connecting this to my life journey. God created the Church (read Acts 1-2) and the original is wonderful, powerful, and life changing because of the wonderful, powerful, life changing God who protects, empowers, and provides along the Church’s journey. Many have tried to imitate it over the centuries. Some might modernize it, go digital with it, and even twist it. Getting more people involved and aware is great – possibly even noble (well, not the twisting part!) Yet, it is the original work of God that will last. And the key parts of the Church will never change.

The Mandate is still the same – Be His witness and make disciples.

The Message is the same – the Good News of Jesus Christ

And Man’s Need is still the same – Men need saving and the Church people need the Spirit’s presence and power.

Thank you Edgar Allan Poe for this reminder.

Interesting Scrabble Facts and History (much discovered from this website)


  • Three out of every five American households has a Scrabble game 
  • There are an estimated 1 million Scrabble tiles lost in the world — somewhere.
  • The North American record for high scoring tournament game is 803 points
  • Benjamin Woo discovered a way to earn 1782 points – the highest possible score — for OXYPHENBUTAZONE. He played it across the top of the board, hitting three Triple Word Score squares while making seven crosswords downward.
  • John Chew, co-president of the North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA), got death threats when he removed the two-letter word ‘da’ from the Scrabble Dictionary
  • Richard Nixon regularly played Scrabble in the White House. Other aficionados included Queen Elizabeth, John Travolta, and Mel Gibson
  • Every hour, people start at least 30,000 Scrabble games


Yom Shishi. Sexta-Féria. Paraskevi. Shukravara. Quetzalcoatonal. Kinyobi. All mean the same day of the week … Friday.

TGIF. It’s Friday people. Well, I am not sure when you’re reading this, but I know when I am writing it. It’s also the first day of March; but today, I am talking about Friday.

Depending on where you live, today may the first day, the fifth day, the sixth day, or even the last day of the week. In one country, Friday is the end of the weekend – not the beginning. That’s a buzzkill.

My brother’s church in UAE used to worship on Friday … they had to relocate so not sure when they Worship now. Probably should check on that. Some churches in USA are starting to offer Friday worships too. I loved going to Chase Oaks in Plano … they kick off the weekend with worship!

The name comes from old English meaning day of Frige … that’s Frige, not fridge. (But I do need to go to Kroger’s to fill my fridge … oh well). Frige is the Germanic goddess associated with Roman goddess Venus. The goddess of love.

But it’s also considered an unlucky day … sailors would not like to begin a voyage on Fridays. Also, Friday the 13th is unlucky if on a Friday. Really? Why not Monday? But a movie called Monday the 13th doesn’t sound scary, does it? Maybe because Friday was often a fast day … and fasting means no food … and no food means I get hungry … how unfortunate.

There’s Black Friday, Good Friday, casual dress Friday, and POETS day. POETS day? Yep. A British modern tradition of leaving early on Friday. It means Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday. I figure they like to get an early start on weekend partying.

What all this? Just a little trivia to get you started for weekend. I am like that guy, Cliff Clavin, from Cheers. So I hope you enjoyed this little escapade … and have a great Friday (or Tuesday, if that’s when you get around to reading this). Every day is the Lord’s. I will worship no matter what … even Monday’s.

Details from Wiki.

Appomattox – Where Grace Was Real

IMG_6331.JPGApril 9th – a very important day.

On April 9th, three years ago, Stephen Douglas Wilson wrote an insightful article on the 150th anniversary of the eventful day at Appomattox where Gen. Lee surrendered to Sen. Grant. It was a a day that set a tone for healing the wounds of division caused by years of bloodshed, heartache, and a nation being torn asunder.

Lee was surrounded, out-manned, and had very few options as he faced “Unconditional Surrender Grant.” Lee showed up to the McLean residence in Appomattox in his best uniform and Grant was a bit late as he arrived in a mud splattered field uniform. Grant had hastened to get there. They talked of their service in the Mexican War, and more. But it took Lee nudging Grant into the conversation of surrender. It was a moment of grace as Grant proposed a gentle surrender. No counts of treason with a promise of parole if they committed to lay down their arms and to never take them up against the USA again, officers could keep their weapons and horses, and eventually, the enlisted men were able to keep their horses to assist in running their farms.

They shook hands and returned to their respective lines. As Grant returned to his men, they began to cheer – but he stopped them and said, “The Confederates are now our countrymen, and we do not want to exult over their downfall.”

I visited Appomattox last year. It was beautiful, peaceful, and for a few minutes of my life, I truly was in awe at my surroundings. I will never forget that visit. What happened there, what grace was shown, and what it means for our country – it left a mark on my life.

The concept of grace is, well, amazing. Grace is something I have studied and taught, experienced and occasionally missed to show, and what I am pursuing to live my life according to. At the hotel I am working, they call me the man of grace – they intend it as a slam of the way I work with hard guests (they think I am gullible) but I take it as a compliment. In this fallen and broken world, grace is not easy to come by. It is hard to show. Most want to live by the rules Sean Connery gave in ‘The Untouchables’ – if he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue!

Me? I want to turn the other cheek, show mercy, and be a blessing – especially to those who seek to do me harm. I want to be known as full of grace. The difference – Christ. I do not think I could ever show grace if I have not experienced His grace first.

Challenging Thought – I hope you too will be known for grace and mercy. I pray grace is so evident from Christ followers that non-believers look at us and want some of what we have – or more correctly, some of Who we have – we have Jesus and that makes all the difference in the world.

Be a person of grace received and grace given.

  • Thanks for sharing in my journey – Todd

Post Script – read the article to which I referred at http://www.bpnews.net/44521