Friday, January 19, 2007

Dear Friends,

I'm sorry that I have not been able to get to all of you individually, but I wanted to let you know that my brother in law, Ronnie Kraar (on the right in this photo, with his brother/my husband Marty), passed away this past Monday, Jan. 15, after enduring many years of illness and failing health. We had been to see him on Saturday at Mercy Hospital in Miami and then we flew home. His condition simply deteriorated overnight, and Marty cancelled all his business travel to fly back to Florida on Monday morning. Two hours and fifteen minutes after Marty arrived at the hospital, Ronnie peacefully passed away, surrounded by his loving wife and brother.

Around four years ago Ronnie started getting interested in Scrabble. As a birthday treat we bought him an NSA membership, a Deluxe board and some Scrabble merch. We started playing with him on ISC, where his handle was EyeDocRon. This enabled us not only to chat and "see" our brother all the time, but to also engage in our beloved pursuit.

Of all Ronnie's personal belongings that his wife was going to give us she wanted to keep the Scrabble stuff because she couldn't bear to part with it.

The bad aspect of all this is that ten months after my mum passed away, Marty's oldest brother, Louis, died. It is now ten months after that tragic event, and Marty's middle brother is gone, leaving Marty the sole survivor of his nuclear family.

The blessing in disguise is the of all the failing parts on his body that were not good enough to donate, EyeDocRon's eyes were perfect. He donated his corneas to the Eye Bank. A beautiful gift from a beautiful person. Rest well, Ronnie.

Below you will find Ronnie's obit from the Chicago Tribune. It is possible some of you had known him from his professional days.


PS -- we want to print out EyeDocRon's games that are in his history file on ISC as part of a scrapbook for our family. Can anyone let me know how this is done?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ronald S. Kraar, z"l

Ronald S. Kraar, 67, of Coconut Grove, FL, on Jan. 15. Ron, who lived in the Chicago area most of his life, owned and managed Kraar Eye Care in South Chicago for 30 years. Ron's practice was known for both his technological innovation and his rigorous, compassionate care of his patients. His generosity, avid curiosity, and irreverent sense of humor will be missed by all. Beloved husband of Jeannette; much-loved brother of Martin and his wife Lynda; loving father of Julie, Ellen and John; and stepson Russell Greenberg; proud grandfather of Ryan, Connor and Jordan. Ron completed graduate study in management and, after retiring from his optometric practice, started a consulting firm with "his buddy," Jeannette. Seven years ago, he moved to Florida. Ron is also missed by Howard, his dog. Ron, above all, loved people and devoted most of his life to helping them.

Monday, January 08, 2007

TZAREVNA: My Dream Word
and I finally got to play it!

Marty and I are getting back into the Scrabble swing a bit. He still swears that he will not be coerced by me (or anyone else on my behalf!) to come to a tournament, but there is no denying that the guy is a master strategist. I've been on a real streak -- losing every game we've played all weekend long. I exchanged tiles at least three or four times per game, re-drawing five I's or three As with nothing but vowels and clunky dross.

Early in this game Marty double doubled on me with SOCKETS for 109 points. That was just as I thought I was going to have my big comeback.
I exchanged twice after that -- once seven tiles, and then next play six, before playing ODOUR for 16, which Marty followed with MIXER for 42.

It took me no time to find TZAREVNA for 108 (always a bridesmaid!!) and I was ahead by a hair. Despite GuARDeD for 65 not long afterward I was still behind, and only came ahead when I pulled and used whatever was left in the bag, wherever opportunity presented itself. It was my only victory all weekend long.

Hey Marty, get back to the tournaments, honey! You are a monster! xoxoxoxo

A Very Hot Ticket!

My friend in the Negev metropolis of Beer-Sheva informs me that she has begun to promote a very hot vocal act. She sent me an mp3, which you will soon be able to check out on their upcoming website. These guys could seriously knock your socks off.

Signon Akher (“Singular Style”) is Beer-Sheva’s vocal jazz ensemble made up of all volunteer, highly talented and trained singers, coming from varying professions, crazy about singing and delighting audiences; under the leadership of renowned conductor/arranger Yoni Shaham from Kibbutz Gevim in the Negev. This is an upbeat, spirited ensemble – a sheer pleasure to watch and hear!!

For now, you can see Signon Akher performing on Jan. 24,, at the Mormon University in Jerusalem. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Help stop the violence in New Orleans!

For the benefit of anyone not affiliated with the Krewe, I am reprinting a letter from Captain LJ of the Jieux Krewe (a historic former Jewish Mardi Gras sub-krewe, and yes, it's for real and you also may want to click here). Let us remember the victims of the new, unneccesary wave of violence in NOLA who died NEEDLESSLY. We cannot fix in the past what was humanly possible to avoid, but let's help make it right for the future. HELP STOP THE VIOLENCE IN NEW ORLEANS.

If you do not live in NOLA, please contact your local representative and demand hands-on help. Our chorus of voices can help more than we know!

Read on....


From: LJ

Dear Friends,

I am horrified to have relate to you that one of our former Krewe members, Helen Hill, was murdered this past Thursday. I am in touch with her brother Jake, and will let you know the details about the funeral service this Wednesday in South Carolina. Tonight there is a memorial at Cafe Brazil at 7:00pm. I've reprinted below all the information that I have gotten about via the Internet, and there are two or three articles on

Helen's husband Paul, and their pet pig Rosie were also members. Rosie being the first and only non-human "J.A.P." (Jieuxish American Pig) in our (and maybe all of) history.

Although Krewe du Jieux is no longer a sub-krewe of Krewe du Vieux and will not be parading with any of Krewe du Vieux's sub-krewes this year, we are currently coordinating an event the evening of their parade, and whatever that offering is. As is our custom and tradition, whatever our offering is, will be dedicated to Helen Hill and former member Cornell "Magoo" Jackson who died this past April.

I am also horrified to report that Dinerral Shavers was also murdered yesterday. He was the snare drummer for the Hot 8 Brass Band that played our "Hot 8 Days of Chanukah" second line parade just a few weeks ago, and that played for Krewe du Vieux's Krewe of K.A.O.S. last year when the Jieuxs wandered into K.A.O.S. Please read below how the community is responding to all this killing in our city in a march planned for Thursday that I encourage you to find out more about.

An hour from now, as you know, from 6pm to 9pm is 6t'9 Social Aid & Pleasure Club's 13th night Thank You Party, and those that can will be heading down to Helen's memorial at Cafe Brazil afterwards. We totally understand if you cannot attend the Thank You Party, or care to leave it at 7:00 for the memorial service.

Please save this upcoming Friday, January 12th for our annual 18th night meeting, this year to be a potluck shabbat dinner where we will discuss all this and more. Details t.b.a. when I know more.

Again, I am sorry to be the bearer of this, and please feel free to be in touch if need be for any reason.

Enough Already!
Captain L.J.,

[Here are a few things you can do:]

There is also a memorial get together Sunday night at 7:00pm at Cafe Brasil for Helen Hill. I spoke with someone who was "standing rightbeside Dr. Paul" during my phone call. Paul is extremely heartbroken, to say the least. Luckily the bullet wounds were not life threatening, and he was released from the hospital a few days ago.The most serious wound was to his hand, on which he had surgery. Hewas shot at four times, and hit in the hand, arm and face. They areheading to South Carolina; Paul, Francis (their son) and Rosie (the pet pig), with some friends.
Carl Mack


There will be acommunity meeting in response to Helen Hill's murder to also plan a Thursday march today (Sunday, January 7) at 1 pm at the Sound Cafe on Chartres at Press Street in the Marigny.


Subject: Thursday: Crime March on City Hall Thursday Noon: March on City Hall - An Important March Against CRIME!
Dear Members and Friends:
Mark your calendar for this Thursday, noon, for an important march to City Hall, sponsored by a coalition of different neighborhoods. This violence and crime is affecting all of us and it must end. If you can help organize the march, come to a planning meeting Sunday, 1 p.m., at Sound Café, 2700 Chartres.
Obviously, more details about the march will be announced after the planning meeting but mark your calendar now.
Nathan Chapman
PresidentVieux Carre
Property Owners, Residents and Associates, Inc.
Crime Rally Meeting / March
It is time for our elected officials to face up to the violence that is strangling our neighborhoods. Come march with us to City Hall to demand action Thursday, January 11 at Noon
Marigny-Bywater residents and ALL concerned New Orleanians, please come to a planning meeting this Sunday, January 7 at 1pm at Sound Cafe (2700 Chartres St.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Let's start off the new year with a few good laughs

Whadaya say? It's healthy; it's fat-free; it's less strenuous than ab crunches.

So here goes. Lemme know how you like 'em.

Horserace commentator

A Most Tragic Program!

Hey! That's Dangerous!