Reality Check

I like to listen to the public radio game show “Says You,” which features brilliant and witty panelists playing games that involve obscure words and information.

Tonight one of the games required that the panelists define a batch of two-letter words, words like “aa” (a type of volcanic rock) and “zo” (a yak hybrid) and “bo” (an exclamation, such as boo, uttered to scare someone).

And then there was “qi.”

“Wait a minute,” I shouted silently. “That’s not an obscure word! I know what that word means, so how can it be obscure? I never know what ‘Says You’ words mean!”

The brilliant and witty panelists dithered a bit and came up with a definition that was accepted but that I considered to be vague and also clear proof that, despite being brilliant and witty and enormously knowledgeable, none of them had ever heard of qigong.

Reality check….

I guess qi and qigong still aren’t household words.


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4 responses to “Reality Check

  1. Bobbie Alicen

    Hi Barbara,

    I heard that program, too, and had a similar reaction to Qi. A similar reaction, too, to another word i knew from living in Hawai’i. ‘a’a (gutteral sounds indicated by ‘) is a type of lava formed as rough crumbly looking rock because of it’s mineral make up and mostly because of it’s temperature when emitted.

    Which makes me wonder about all the definitions we hear. Still, it’s my favorite radio program. Cheers, Bobbie

    • Hi, Bobbie — Yes, I think the definitions are loose — but I love the show anyway. When I was writing the post I checked the definitions of the words online. “Zo” had been defined not only as a yak hybrid but also, in the host’s banter, as a cross between a yak and any other animal. According to the definition I found, a zo is a yak-cattle cross, which made more sense, so I stuck with what was probably written on the host’s card, “a yak hybrid.” — BB

      Barbara Brachtl, blogging at

      > Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2013 19:31:07 +0000 > To: >

  2. Hi Barbara,

    I empathize with you…not so much on the word “qi”, but rather in the area of genetics and molecular biology. Now, mind you I’m not a geneticist nor any kind of biologist but I am continually amazed at the apparent disregard (by those who are geneticists) of the significance of non-genome biochemical activities, including regulation of gene expression and epigenetic influences.

    By-the-way Barbara. let me put a bug in your ear for a potential blog topic. Charlie Rose recently interviewed Craig Venter regarding his book “Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of the Digital Age.”

    You can check it out here:


    • Indeed. I might add, for those who’ve not been to Yi Ren seminars, that qigong and a myriad of other factors in our lives can affect gene expression; we’re not lock-step governed by our genes. (I hope I said that right.) I appreciate the clip you sent but only got so far as realizing it’s 32 minutes long (it was preceded, incongruously, but an ad for some sort of program about a guy who dresses up in animal suits and performs at football games). I don’t have time this morning, but later today I will watch it. — BB

      Barbara Brachtl, blogging at

      > Date: Sat, 23 Nov 2013 03:53:47 +0000 > To: >

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