Saturday, September 26, 2009

Point - Counter Point

Those who used to chastise America for acting alone, cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone.
- Barrack Obama at U.N. last week.

It's only a matter of time before the other guys at the bar start to think: Oh really? Who are you to say we can't?

And what are you going to do about it?
- Andrew Ferguson, Weekly Standard

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Husband's Revenge

Dedicated to all wives who don't listen . . .

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lord of the King

Go to your nearest chess tournament and experience the adventure!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Will Rogers On Republicans

An old, long-wiskered man once said to Teddy Roosevelt: "I am a Democrat, my father was a Democrat, my grandfather was a Democrat." Roosevelt then said: "Then if your father had been a horse thief and your grandfather had been a horse thief, you would be a horse thief?"

"No," the man said, "I would be a Republican."

The story is not true. All Republicans are not horse thieves. At the biggest estimate, not over 90 percent are horse thieves. Every once in a while you meet a pretty nice one.

Just want everyone to know: my grandfather was not a horse thief. He was a smuggler. Had a respectible job in Arizona working in the Post Office. That's how he got Grandma to marry him. Once they tied the knot, he got the smuggling operation going. (This was during Prohibition.) Was pretty good at it, too. Ran semi's out of Mexico. The FBI caught up with him, though. He did a stretch at MacNeil Island Federal Penitentiary. Grandma loaded up my father and the rest of the kid in the car and drove up to Seattle to wait for him to get out. That's how the family wound up in Washington State.

The foregoing is a true story.

Coulter 9/15/09

Left's Healthcare Lies - Part 3

My take on Ann Coulter's latest. Her column was published on

Summary: This time she covers Medicare, Illegal Immigration, and The Public Option. The Obama supporters are using different terminology for the same concepts. If we run health care like Medicare, then note that Medicare is already on the path to going bankrupt. As for Illegal Immigration, it is one thing to legislate that they will be excluded from the new health care plan, it is another to enforce the law. Won't Obama's policy to this mirror his policy on enforcing the present laws about illegal immigration? Public Option: they will do it under a different name.

List: The New National Health Care Plan will:
  1. Be like Medicare.
  2. Not cover illegal aliens.
  3. Not have the "Public Option".
Liberals never, ever drop a heinous idea; they just change the name. "Abortion" becomes "choice," "communist" becomes "progressive," "communist dictatorship" becomes "people's democratic republic" and "Nikita Khrushchev" becomes "Barack Obama."

My Views: Okay, she is provacative and witty at the same time. I just like this style of writing. Her strongest point is on illegal immigration. Hey! It's already illegal. If they don't want to enforce that, what makes anybody think that they would enforce an anti-illegal provision in The Health Care Bill any better?

Part 2Series SummaryPart 4

Anybody who is as hated as Ann Coulter is must be doing something right. She is very right-wing but every left-wing blogger would love to write like her. I hate rants; opinion pieces must argue from the facts. Pay attention to how she uses facts and draws politically incorrect connections among them. People would do well to think and not just be outraged.

Here's her Wiki bio. Her latest book is at the right.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some Cool News Articles

Here's some interesting stuff that I've seen on the internet.

First this by Noemie Emery on the disunity of Conservatives. I never really understood why the intremural attacks on Sarah Palin. Sure, to some extent but the over-the-top rejections of her smacked too much of pandering to the establishment elite.

Second, this is an historical ranking of America's top political dynasties. I like the objective criteria employed. This gives me confidence in the historian's conclusions.

Last, I had forgotten Bill Clinton's ringing declaration last decade that "the era of big government is over". Did you forget, too? This article by Mike Flynn pinpoints the real reason why so many people are concerned about the direction that Obama is taking the country. It is not necessarily any one issue like health care. It is the larger concerns about government not only getting bigger, but stultifying.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Going to Church

Went to church this evening. Why is it so hard to get out and go? This is like what I wrote a few days ago about how hard it is to call home. One gets in a rut, I guess.

In both cases, I know I should.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

France's Wars

Did you ever notice that in almost every great war in history, France has been involved in some way? The military history of France is most of the military history of the world.

Here’s a list of the major French wars. Titles link to summaries of the wars. Since so much is happening this month, I’m backdating the summaries. (These also fill holes in my blog, too – grin!)

Click on the map to see a detailed topographical map of France.

Check back often as I work my way through this. ** = still unfinished.

Gaul58 – 51 BCJulius Caesar's conquest of Gaul.
Barbarian Invasions376 - 500Fall of the Roman Empire
Rise of the Franks500 - 732Including the Moslem Invasion
Charlemagne’s771 - 814Constant warfare on the frontiers of France
The Vikings **900 - 1066Including the Norman Conquest of England
The Crusades **1096 - 1270France in the Middle East
The Plantagenets **1200 - 1450When the English controlled most of France
The 100 Yrs War **1338 - 1453Joan of Arc saves France
Invasions of Italy **1495 - 1559France tries to conquer Italy
The Religious Wars **1562 - 1598The French Civil War between Catholics and Protestants
The 30 Yrs War **1618 - 1648France enters late and decides the conflict
Louis XIV's **1667 - 1714Just like Charlemagne
Frederick the Great's **1740 - 1763Frederick the Great of Prussia plunged Europe into two more great wars.
The American Revolution **1775 - 1783France was key to victory
The French Revolution **1793 - 1799France versus the world
Napoleon's **1799 - 1815Like Charlemagne & Louis XIV
The Crimean **1854 - 1856France and Britain versus Russia
Italian Independence **1859 - 1866France versus Austria and then Italy
Franco-Prussian **1870 - 1871Napoleon III, Bismark, and the Commune
World War I **1914 - 1918The Western Front almost entirely within France.
World War II **1939 - 1945France conquered early; De Gaulle defends France’s status
The Suez Affair **1956 - 1957France and Europe retreat from Great Power status

Some of these wars are more historical periods than a war. Constant warfare during a period just merge in our collective, historical memory as just one big long war. This is especially true of the Dark Ages. To be consistent, the wars against Germany (Franco-Prussian, WWI , and WWII) could be considered as one long war broken up by intermittent peace, too. Indeed, the “100 Years War” was a collection of wars, rather than just one.

I offer this scheme, as a logical way to understand the major wars of French history. Note, to what extent this list encompasses most of the major wars of human history since Caesar.

P.S. No summary of French military history could be complete without something on the storied French Foreign Legion.

Here's Wikipedia's article.

Updated 3/4/11. I'm finally getting around to doing this series. It will be done on Fridays on my history blog. I will move these entries as they are completed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remember 9-11

The website's copyright notice is here.

I hope that we can afford the relaxed measures that the new administration has done. I don't mean this faciously, either. We cannot be on a war-footing forever.

Our problem now is that when we withdraw from Afghanistan, the bad guys will have a base to operate from again. (Come on, you just know that Obama won't face down the anti-war movement like GW Bush did.) I think it is a certainty that we will withdraw from Afghanistan soon.

Bottom line: forgetting is not an option.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm taking two weeks to attend to my personal stuff. Also, get some rest. Also, to catch up on this blog. And, yes, to catch up on accounting continuing education requirements.

What fun!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm a Certified Quickbooks Advisor Now

Did I forget to tell you? Last month I got certified on Quickbooks! Now, this month I plan on passing two more courses. I'm gunning for Advanced Quickbooks Advisor.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Will 9/8/09

Withdraw From Afghanistan

My take on George Will's latest. His column was published in the Washington Post.

Summary: This is the big bomb that he dropped a week ago. He sees this developing into another Vietnam. Ingredients include: corrupt government, apathetic people, and feckless allies. Plus the enemy has North Vietnam style sanctuary in Pakistan.

Even though violence exploded across Iraq after, and partly because of, three elections, Afghanistan's recent elections were called "crucial." To what? They came, they went, they altered no fundamentals, all of which militate against American "success," whatever that might mean.

My Views: My first thought was the predictablity of this. For years we have been told that Afganistan was the good war and that it was Iraq that was was the bad one. (John Kerry made this the central issue in his campaign against George W. Bush in 2004.)

Now that we're withdrawing from Iraq, sure enough, right on schedule, the calls for withdrawals from Afganistan begin. For many, being for Afganistan but against Iraq was just a ruse to be able to be dovish to left wing voters and hawkish to right wing voters.

As for George Will, these reasons he cites have been known for years. So, why didn't he come out against Afganistan before now?

George Will almost didn't make it as a syndicated columnist. His style was considered too erudite for a general audience.

Whatever one thinks of his views, read his work for use of language and for how he marshals facts and uses logic.

Here's his Wiki bio.

His latest book is at the right.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Lamest Holiday

We ought to call it "End of Summer" Day but Labor Day is how we know it.

The holiday was rushed through Congress in 1882 to atone for the violence surrounding the Pullman Strike. Since then, it has been a celebration of - what? Labor Unions? - That we all have to work for a living? - That people have had to work for a living since the beginning of life on this planet? - That even the most primitive of the savages, that even the smallest mammals have to hunt or gather to eat?

Amid the proliferation of holidays, (MLK Day for example), maybe this is one that we could toss.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Calling Home

Why is it I find it so hard to call my parents and friends on holidays? I've owed them telecons for the longest time. I just hate calling them. I don't know why and I feel so bad because of it.

It ought not be an unpleasant duty but telephoning people seems to be for me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

About Susan Polgar's Chess Discussion Forum

I’ve lost interest in chess temporarily but since I am still the Moderator at Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Blog (along with Paul Truong and Susan herself), I think I ought to draw attention to this exchange.


I really can't comment on your own experiences with forum moderations. I will say that my experience with chess-discussion-moderators-not-named-Jack has occasionally been frustrating. See

Unfortunately, Chess Discussion has turned into Alt.rants.Zarathustra.silly, so I haven't had much cause to post there recently.

- From the USCF Politics Blog

Wick, I believe that you describe a problem that is all to frequent in discussion forums throughout the internet and not just chess forums, either. One, or a small group of individuals post lots of posts and give the impression that they “own” the site. Because of the frequency and ubiquitiousness of their posts, everybody else ends up dancing to their tune.

A specific problem is that you may begin a new topic on something and the next thing you know, they’ve posted a response. Due to the provocative nature of their response, you feel you must response to their response and they respond to yours and then you to their's and then you’re off.
So, what is the rest of the public to do?

Your one solution is to abandon the field. The trouble is that the quality of discussion is lowered overall and the bad elements take over choice pieces of internet real-estate.

Your other solution is to continue to post on topics that interest you and ignore the bad guys. I believe this to be a better solution to the problem.

As for moderator problems: Yes, the lawsuits have poisoned everything – and not just at Susan’s sites, either. For example, the USCF’s Moderators and their amen corner continually congratulate themselves on the great job they’re doing over there. I could offer stories about them that are every bit as bad as the one you offer above.

Unfortunately, I don’t see much improvement in this area – either at Susan’s site, the USCF’s site, or some of the rest. I have two suggestions:

  1. For USCF politics, how about people looking more towards Wick’s Blog (USCF Poltics)? Also, contact Chessvine, too.
  2. There’s more to chess that USCF politics. The main thrust of Susan’s site as well as her main interest is pure chess: things like tournament news, strategy, tactics, openings – things like that. The source of problems and complaints have been near 100% on the USCF Politics section. How about people using Susan’s site more for those other things.

Finally, don’t forget the Chess Discussion Viewer – easily the best tool for chess discussion on the internet today. You can input games, positions, puzzles, together with variations and comments thereon and have that all visible from within the site. All that is needed for people to see the moves is to click the mouse – much as they maneuver through positions in ChessBase or Chess Assistant. They can then comment on it on the forum just like they can comment on politics. - Chess over politics – what a heresy!

Vilifying Opponents

Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin are again in the news. One just turned upon her tormenters with a lawsuit; the other was driven out of office. One women ran for Miss USA; the other ran for Vice-President. For both women, it was not enough that they were defeated in their respective contests; they had to be humiliated, ruined, and stigmatized for all time. Both are part of a disturbing phenomenon in American culture.

Let’s take the two cases one by one.

CP was a beauty contest winner – and looser. As Miss California she lost the contest for Miss USA. She was ambushed with a gay-marriage question in the final moments and answered against it. The judge bragged afterwards how he used that answer to defeat her.

But that was not enough.

The pageant officials denounced her. An investigation targeted her – just her, not any of the other beauty contestants – and found some bad things. Not anything very bad, mind you, but bad stuff, nevertheless. This was the excuse for a new round of denunciations.

They even went after her Miss California title! A straight-up attempt to remove her from that failed. (The firestorm from the left triggered a backlash of negative publicity on the pageant.) Trump caved. (Donald Trump owns the beauty pageant.)

But as many of may know from much experience, there’s more than one way to get rid of someone. After a length of time, the officials who had denounced CP so vociferously, announced their excuse: she had failed to make 75 appearances. So they fired her and Trump okayed it. Now she’s suing.

Sarah Palin underwent a similar ordeal. Her family was targeted, the parentage of her children was questioned, and worst of all, so many ethics complaints were filed against her that she ran up $500,000 in legal fees just to defend herself. Then the newspapers announced she was getting divorced (false).

Both women did not handle the onslaught very well. Thrown into minefields, they stepped on a few. But did that justify the vilification that they both endured?

- And remember: Carrie Prejean was only a beauty contestant!

In the end, it was not these two women that were hurt the most; it was our culture. Whatever happened to the kinder, gentler America?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Note to Mark Weeks

I sent this message to Mark Weeks on Facebook tonight and I thought I would share it here.

Mark, thanks for connecting to me. I really like your blog. You should put a link to it here. I am just sick about what happened at the USCF Delegate's meeting last month. I don't think that Paul and Susan were treated right at all. I ...especially dislike not being able to talk about it. - And poor Gregory Alexander! I just don't know what to think about that! I bet when the facts come out - and someday they will - history will take a dim view about what happened.

Even though I've become active in blogging again, is difficult for me to think of chess. It will take time for me to get over this.
Of course, Mark has nothing to do with the events I'm complaining about. I'm sharing this venting, because it summarizes my feelings and may help explain why I'm not so active in chess as before.

Mark is one of the premier chess bloggers out there. You should check out his blog, Chess for All Ages. Tell him Jack sent you!

P.S. Yes, that's the guy who is pictured under followers to the right.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mafia Wars: Banking

As a CPA, I’m already familiar with pre-tax and after-tax money. In this game, there’s pre-bank and after-banked money. The difference is 10%. Pay you hospital bills and buy things with pre-bank money.

The strategy guides on the net and even the official forum recommends putting all your skill points into energy. They emphasize the rapid increase of levels by using energy points to do jobs. The trade-off here is that your skill points aren’t going into the fighting skills – Attack and Defense. If you do this, you must bank your money and especially before you end each gaming session. The fighters will go after you. The name of the game is “Mafia Wars”, after all.

I invested skill points in fighting. This game is a social game, so many participants aren’t really players. They accumulate money and then when I attacked them, I collected huge hauls. All power-leveling meant to them was that there was more money for me to steal at higher levels.

Though this strategy does work as this screen I got of the Blogger's Picasa site proves. At 390 Energy, this guy's fighting skills couldn't be very much. What if a same-level mobster attacked him at this point?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sexy Name Decoder

I just learned that JACK stands for

Jock Adeptly Conferring Kisses.

If "jock" can be taken to include chess players, at least. - A loose expansion of the word.