Judy Kay-Wolff

A Fan from Afar

I must confess, I am not much of a reader since my forced Required Reading days in college umpteen years ago.  The only time I am conscious of sitting still for an extended length of time is when I am North or South.   Life in Las Vegas continues to be hectic with a multitude of options (as long as they are enjoyed within the confines of an air-conditioned building).  Most of my indoor hours are spent either drafting or answering blogs.  However, in the last couple of years, I have weakened and succumbed to the other side of the coin:   reading.  I became captivated by the writings of Danny Kleinman, whose credentials are a mile long (with multi-talents in a variety of fields) but I have particularly savored his ludicrous after-game bridge analyses when playing with a student or his official complaints (which are always well founded) about either the opponents or the director.   He has a wonderfully entertaining style and I adore his cleverly reported findings.  He does not have a blog site, so I am at his mercy to forward me copies of hilarious experiences and I light up every time I see my You’ve Got Mail with Danny’s name.

Lately,  Bobby and I have come upon another extremely talented writer in cyberspace:   An Englishman named Howard Bigot Johnson.  His sense of humor is incredible and sometimes I even find myself re-reading the previous line or two as his clever plays on words often escape me if I am not concentrating.  With HBJ’s permission, I am reprinting a recent blog from him which I posted at my bridge club yesterday that was met with roars of laughter:

Saturday, 17 July 2010

WHAT IS THIS GAME OF BRIDGE THEN ?………………. ( Article by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi )

People who know so little about card games often ask this question, expecting of course to get a simple answer. So how does one go about defining bridge in a way that captures the very essence of the game ? Well, I’ve been doing a bit of Internet research and have come across quite a few useful definitions…..all of which suggest that the authors have gone about the task with a good dollop of realism and humour. Bridge therefore is simply……

  • An absurd game in which players try to analyse the significance of every card played, when in fact the person who played the card more often than not picked it out at random
  • An alternative to viagra, where male players look to jump their female partners at every opportunity, seeking out perfect fits, raising to the limit, and hoping to score big
  • A highly ritualised and sophisticated form of non-physical violence
  • A game which specialises in organised loafing
  • A card game in which a good deal depends on a good deal
  • Violence under wraps
  • A game that requires a real understanding with partner, in that if things go wrong someone has to die
  • An obvious alternative to a friendly and social game of cards
  • A weapon of mass distraction
  • A game in which a wife is always eager to do her husband’s bidding
  • A test of one’s skill against an opponent’s luck
  • A game that has been destroying marriages since 1927
  • An extreme addiction, which is only curable by death
  • A non-violent game played violently from within
  • The ultimate adventure, for if people see it as just a game then the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the desert
  • A game not at all about winning or losing, but whether you win or lose
  • A game in which winning isn’t everything, because what matters is the gloating and rubbing their noses in it
  • An institution full of crazy people, a gravy train on which psycho-analysts and therapists can climb on board to earn a lucrative living
  • Illogical, in that your partner, contrary to all expectations, proves to be more of an enemy than your opponents
  • An unfair game, where weak players are regularly hunted down like game
  • A masturbator’s paradise, given that any man with a good hand doesn’t need a partner
  • A game played in dins of inequity, where superior players constantly scream and rant at their inferior partners **

** (Though Bobby adds – even if it is unclear which partner is inferior).

If you are not already a fan of HBJ, add this to your Bridge Habits.  His site is easy to find.   Just go to http://bridgeblogging.com and scroll to the bottom, click on Howard Bigot Johnson’s Bizarre World of Bridge and presto –  you will be enamored by cleverly presented humor, outrageously absurd creativity and unique bridge tales rolled into one!

(I am posting this blog with full knowledge that THE PENDERGAFFE, because of company rules, will be dropped from Featured Bloggers to my regular site, http://judy.bridgeblogging.com).   However, stay tuned as the New Orleans NABC ACBL BOD Committee Meetings were held on Monday and Tuesday and now the fun begins – the actual Board Meetings are today and tomorrow when The Pendergraph SHOULD be one of the controversial, icky issues that needs to be discussed!  We’ll see.  JKW


John Howard GibsonJuly 21st, 2010 at 9:45 am

Tx Judy.

ReneJuly 21st, 2010 at 10:46 am

Thanks for the tout, Judy. A pretty funny collection of on-target observations. Not sure if my favorite one is about Viagara or the institution full of crazy people. Many a true word is spoken in jest!

ChuckJuly 21st, 2010 at 10:52 am

A bit risque, but the penultimate takes the cake!

JodyJuly 21st, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Wonderful posts, Judy. Danny K has had good articles on NT in the BB, and 1 day 20+ years ago in Pasadena, he told me when playing against him that he had written book (essay+) on the Houston team trials that I wrote him a check and he sent a copy to me, it was so fascinating. HBG is such a funny guy, have been reading him for several months thanks to u. I have a post responding to something you wrote a few months ago about experience in tourney in LV with revolting large person. Have carpal left hand but will publish soon, reminds me of player years ago in LA, Howie whom I liked but most didn’t.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 21st, 2010 at 5:42 pm


Sorry to hear you are suffering from carpal tunnel. Feel better.

Looking forward to your delayed comment. I had to think for a moment to whom you were referring. The big gorilla who picked off Bobby’s doubleton queen and then said “Thank You!” ??? Sounds familiar.

I felt like belting him but I would have gotten nabbed and put away by either the Bridge Police or Zero Tolerance — though I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been worth it! Gloaters (after cheaters) are my pet peeve.

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 21st, 2010 at 10:06 pm


You allude to bridge players as ‘crazy people.’ Being one of them myself, I can hardly take issue with your remark. No hobby or sport is free of them. It is just a question of degree — better known as Name Your Poison!

As I was leaving our local casino tonight after dinner, headed for the parking lot, it was necessary for me to navigate the entire length of this huge, noisy, brightly lit room, to reach our car. I saw it in living color with my own eyes.

Of course, I passed the Roulette Wheel, the Craps Table, a variety of Black Jack Tables of different denominations, both Poker Tables and the Live Poker Room itself. I am sure they can all lay claim to some uncontrollable, inveterate gamblers who cash their weekly paychecks and head straight for their favorite gaming site.

Whenver Norman and I would visit friends in Vegas, he would remind me that these magnificent structures were erected from monies of people like ourselves. And, living in Philadelphia (only an hour from Atlantic City), I was only too familiar with the routine. Bobby and I are residing here going on five years and the first rule we learned: Have fun but don’t check your brains!

As I meandered through the casino, I went ballistic observing hundreds of people from all walks of life, all races, nationalities and religions, all sizes and shapes, with walkers, crutches, canes and wheelchairs, several with oxygen apparatus, different sexes (however many that may be), some in jeans and others more formal attire. They never seemed to come up for air. What were they doing? You got it!!! Banging away in full force at the slot machines. Very few seats were empty. You might think they were giving a prize for attendance.

I guess hope springs eternal and one never despairs about finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — if you are one of that miniscule group to hit the big one. My aging naivete or perhaps stupidity does not allow me to understand what the challenge of a one armed bandit does for the mind or ego — only the pocketbook if you get lucky.

If you think bridge players are crazy, I think slot habitues are just as bad (or even worse) and I say it with tongue in cheek as some of my best friends (and partners) are slot addicts!

Crazy is as crazy does!

JoanJuly 22nd, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Hi Judy:

It’s a shame they aren’t numbered as there are quite a few that tickled my fancy. Are you too young to remember when the gag-writers got together, they just called out a number and either you laughed or you didn’t. I guess that was known as an “inside joke” to them.

I loved the travesty to bridge described as just a game where HBJ says: “The ultimate adventure, for if people see it as just a game then the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the desert.”

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 23rd, 2010 at 8:53 pm

No, Joan, I am not too young to recall the gag writers “in-thing” of recalling jokes by calling out their numbers. Petty clever rascals!

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 24th, 2010 at 9:05 am

Here’s a typical Danny Kleinman candid appraisal of how to handle a situation involving failure to alert or explain — in his inimitable style:

‘Directors hate your present partner because he asks them to do their job properly. Your partner’s chances of getting a proper ruling from a local director are almost nil. So relieve your partner of the burden of complaining about opponent’s infractions, and use your considerable charm to ask directors to enforce the rules.’

“By the way, under the present interpretation of the rules by local directors, your partner is not allowed to request full disclosure of the opponents’ private understandings, because of a prohibition against asking questions for the benefit of one’s partner. Local directors think they can read minds, and have chastised your partner for asking questions to which they think he already knows the answer.”

I think the above is popularly referred to as “kidding on the level!”

Judy Kay-WolffJuly 24th, 2010 at 9:59 am

Thought you would get a kick out of a portion of Bobby’s personal reply to Danny — sympathizing with the ongoing nonsense that continues to plague Danny’s duplicate site.

“Thanks for submitting your latest club ruling. Perhaps next on the agenda should be a book entitled ‘Bridge Rulings at Danny’s Club’ or ‘The Art of Making Every Bridge Ruling Horrible for the Future of Bridge’.”

That says it all!