Monthly Archives: May 2016


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The other day I posted the top ten things heard in a Mah Jongg game…and it does seem as if you all not only enjoyed the posting but had lots of things to add. I received so many wonderful emails plus some comments posted on the blog site and I laughed and laughed and laughed…and then realized I had probably said all of them at one time or another!

It’s my understanding that Barney G started all of this with his original top ten listing and then, our favorite Mah Jongg Maven, Linda Fisher, collected all of the expressions that were posted as a reply to the original list and divided them up into chronological categories. She named her list “kvetch” (and sent it out with a copy of the fabulous painting by Mel Bochner at the top) and gave me permission to repost them all here. Enjoy!!!


Am I East again already?

Who’s East?

Weren’t you East last time?

Another double!

12 again?


No, one and three.

I needed these in the last hand!

Are there Jokers in this set?

No Jokers again!

Can we play Atomic?

Can we play Chinese?

More crap.

Same old s—t

Oy, it’s that kind of night.

This isn’t a hand, it’s a foot.



Oy, I have to make a decision already.

I shouldn’t do this, but I’m forced to.

Too bad it’s not last year.

You might like these tiles.


You’re going to love this pass.

Don’t tell anybody I gave you this.


I have a pretty pass for you.

Is this the first or second left?

Go slow on your second.

Can I steal on this one?

No peeking!

Sorry, I’m stopping.


Wait on your second.  Oh, that was the second.

I better break this up.

Somebody should have kept them all.

There’s a whole hand going around.

Don’t tell my mother I gave you a pass like that.

This is a gorgeous pass I’m giving you.

This pass can change your life.

I’m giving you Mah Jongg.

Same stuff going around.


Did we do a second left?

Where are we?

Is this a must?

I hate the must across.

Can I get my tile back?

You can thank me later.


Last rites. Thank goodness.

Happy birthday!

Merry Christmas!

Who passed these?



How many do you want?  I have 12.

Give me something good.

Gee, thanks a lot.

Not those three.

Pass me this one (pointing to space in rack).

Can we start over?

Just give me one, I don’t know where I’m going.

Just one.  I have two hands.

I’ve seen these tiles before.

How did I get (14, 12) tiles?


Just bet on (name).  She’s hot tonight.

I can’t find the bettor.

I got nothing.

Don’t look at me.

Pass me by, please.

This is embarrassing.

I don’t know.

Don’t ask me.


Who’s East?

Your turn to throw up.

This is the worst hand.

This isn’t a hand, it’s a foot.


Whose turn is it?

Is it your (my) turn?

Are there Jokers in this set?

May I have your Joker?

It’s always the one you throw away that comes in.

Who has all the Jokers?

You’re the Joker queen tonight.

So that’s what Jokers look like.

Woo-hoo, my first Joker.

I think I have a partner.

Hold on a sec, I have to think.


Whose wall?

My wall?

I’m getting everyone’s tiles but my own.

I knew I should have gone the other way.

This hand isn’t on the card.

I’d sell my soul for a Joker.

I’d kill for a North.

Stupid game.

Did I pick?

Count your tiles.

You’re dead.

I can’t believe I threw that!

When did that go out?

Wait!  What did you throw?


I’m calling the 9 Crak – I don’t know why.

Here you go, vultures (showing Jokers).

Time to go shopping (showing Jokers).

Call the 9 Bams…because I can.

Again with the 9 Bams?  You called that last game.

Are you dead?

I can’t figure out what she’s playing.

Can I take your Joker?

I needed that!


That was my plan!

Your wall.

Please, someone call Mah Jongg and put me out of my misery.

Wait!  Never mind.


Sorry, I already racked.

Why do I play this game?

I hate this game.

I used to love this game.

This is a cruel game.

I really miss the (X) hand.

OMG, this hand is on last year’s card.

It’s just a game.

If I only called (X) I would have been set.

S—T!  Now I have to switch.

Decision time.

It’s the last wall and I just found a hand.

I’m sitting in the no-Joker seat.

It isn’t the seat, it’s the tush.

I’m taking up bridge.

What a crappy hand!


What to do, what to do.

Do I pick from this end?

I could use those Jokers.

I’m so far away, I could use a choo-choo train.


How could you throw that?

Were you set?

I hate to do this, but I’m set.

I know I’m going to give somebody Mah Jongg.

If she can, I can. Same.

You have balls.

That was brave.

The Mah Jongg gods have forsaken me. I shouldn’t have thrown those Jokers last game.

She can’t figure out what to do with all the Jokers.

You can’t do that at a tournament.

Please somebody Mah Jongg.

I’m so confused.

I have no hand. Oh, wait. Mahj!


That’s it!


Exchanging for Mah Jongg.

Very nice.

Oh, beautiful.

No one is happy for you.

Not again!  How many games did you win tonight?

Of course, look at all those Jokers.

Oh, thank God.  I’m out of my misery.

Who has my tiles?

Why did you hold that tile?

I’m on FIRE today.

Wait!  What hand is that?

You won the poison pot.

But I’m set!

Again it happens!

If I knew I was going to get so many Jokers I would have gone for a quint.

I knew I should have stayed home.

Not my night.

And I gave up doing laundry for this.

AFTER THE GAME (autopsy):

Look at my hand, look how close I was.

Did you pick it yourself?

How much do we owe?

Did you need this tile?  I was holding it.

Who threw it?

You can’t win second.

What time is it?

How long are we playing?

Whose house are we playing at next week?

OK, one more game.

I can’t believe I’m almost pie.



And here’s a sampling of the choice comments sent to me: 

From Karen: “No-o-o! I was just one away!”

From Diane G: “If I get enough Jokers, I can win this hand.” “I think we are in each other’s hands” “This is a diabolical game; I don’t know why I play it.” “Can I use a Joker for a pair?”. . .and when I lose, “It’s good to be a Supporting Player,,, they give Oscars for that!”

From dear Phyllis: “Last week I was only one away and I was sure I was a winner, but she called m.j. and my tile was right there, next to be picked!” And, there is always the player who wants to let you know what her hand was last week!!

Here’s the one I hear frequently from my students: “Don’t tell Ann I passed that tile to you!”

And last, but not least, the expression you can hear me saying during many a game: “Time to give up the dream.”



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All of you living in or around Orange County in Southern California…the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County in Irvine will be holding another one of their very friendly Mah Jongg tournaments on June 2nd…and there are still seats available!

The tournament includes a lovely continental breakfast and a delicious catered lunch with prizes of gift certificates for amounts ranging from $50 all the way up to $100. 

And for those of you who don’t yet play Mah Jongg or are thinking that you aren’t yet ready for tournament play, this event features a beginners table (contact Geri at 435-3400 x 303).

If you want to attend, contact:

Geri Dorman MS, LPCC, BCC

Prime Time Adult Director

Merage Jewish Community Center

949 435-3400 x 303


Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 8.06.45 PMMy guess is that if you haven’t said these things yourself, you’ve certainly heard them during your game play…

#10. I can’t pick a tile to save my life!
#9. Is this a One Bam?
#8. Worst Charleston ever!
#7. Is it my wall?
#6. Oh my God, I really hate this game!
#5. I so miss that hand from last year.
#4. Can I steal on this pass?
#3. I’ve totally gone the wrong way!
#2. The same tiles are going around and around.

And the #1 thing you’re likely to hear at your next Mah Jongg game:
Does this set have Jokers!l??!!Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 8.07.15 PM




WOW! The JCC of Southern Nevada is going all-out for my talk on Thursday, July 21st, followed by the next three days for the exciting World Championship of Mah Jongg sponsored by Destination Mah Jongg and the JCC of Southern Nevada – hope you will be there!!!Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 9.05.49 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-14 at 8.58.54 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-14 at 8.59.14 PM

Click here to register for only for the reception.

Click here to register for the reception and the World Championship.


If you are looking to learn Mah Jongg in a zen-like location, you might want to sign up for Toby Salk’s newest offering: Mah Jongg at the fabulous RANCHO LA PUERTA (located in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico). Toby is going to be teaching a class for beginners at the ranch and will also offer Mah Jongg play for all levels of players. The class will be held August 20 to August 27, 2016 and when you make a reservation at the ranch, mention the words, “Mah Jongg.” I suspect the class will be filled with very interesting people, including Gail Friedlander, Toby’s childhood friend of 50 years, Mah Jongg collector, and teacher extraordinaire.Rancho TobyHey, Toby – I like that book you are holding!!!


Don’t miss out on Destination Mah Jongg‘s World Championship tournament on July 22 – 24 at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino …and here is yet another reason for attending:Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.12.17 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.13.15 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.13.39 PM