Teen Talk On President’s Day

February 20, 2017

What is on the minds of our junior and senior teens these days suggests teachers have a lot to do with formulating maturing thought processes when debating issues.

“Try your best not to judge someone. A lot of factors go into someone’s position, who someone is and why they have that stance.”

“You must understand point of view in order to have a better understanding of the culture or the problems that affect other people. You need to hear them, not just yell at each other but actually listen to what they need to express, even if you disagree with it.”

“People are afraid to be wrong.  I want people to understand that it’s okay to not know everything. I feel like in this society we’re raised to always have to know.  Life is not like that. It is important to open our minds to new information. that is what life is about.”

“The only way to truly persuade somebody is to remain calm and listen to their point of view and counter it in a civil way.  When you become too loud or too argumentative, it doesn’t do anything to help your case.”

“We can change it by leading by example. If we have one person who is willing to take the time and show how a conversation should be held, then more people will follow suit.  No one wants to be the left out person who doesn’t know how to have a conversation.”

What the comics say:

Blondie:  Elmo is visiting Dagwood who stretched out on his favorite chair. Elmo says, It is probably just as well that Abraham Lincoln lived in the times he did.  Whadaya mean, Elmo?  Well, his Gettysburg address wouldn’t have been as effective if he had sent it out as a mass e-mail. Have you ever wondered about that, Mr. B?  Not often, Elmo.

The Amateur Eye -A Bit of Coffeehouse

February 17, 2017

Former World Woman Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk shows in this game from the Khanty-Mansiysk 2016 that feathers can fly with a return to what appears as for years was looked upon as “coffeehouse chess play”.  Against Bela Khotenashvili (black) the interesting somewhat rare line shows up like a rattlesnake bite –a mean venom.

l. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  4. Ba4  Nf6  5. O-O  N:e4  6. Re1!  Nc5  7. B:c6  d:c6  8. N:e5  Be6  9. Qh5!  Be7  10. N:f7!  Hey!  This is not supposed to happen like this but remember my thought about the f7 square being a weak link at the start of play.

10. … B:f7  11. Q:c5  Qd6  12. Qg5! Hey!  What gives?  This Queen has flighty feet.  A strange conflict with what we learn from the books.

12. … Kf8  13. Qg3  While this seems okay, if she wants to roam around, another idea would be 13. Qa5  b6 14. Qa4 looking at aggressive ideas on the Q-side.

13. … h5  Black avoids a Queen swap being a pawn down for the endgame.

14. d3  h4  15. Qh3  Rd8  16. Nc3  Qd7  17. Q:d7 R:d7  18. h3  Rh5  19. Ne4 c5  20. b3  White eventually converted the extra pawn to win the point.

Of course all the books say best is 6. d4 (instead of Re1) b5 7. Bb3 d5  8. d:e5  Be6 leading to most usual positions of the Open Defense.  But even here, 6. Re1  Nc5  for example gives white a pull. But a shocker comes if Black tries to return to the Open Defense idea by 6…b5  7. Bb3  d5  8. Nc3 N:c3  9. d:c3  Be6 10. a4  Na5  11. Bg5 leads to good chances.

The point is it seems to offer a sideline (6. Re1) that contains a lot of poison in the hands of attack minded players especially with home preparation and perhaps testing either with a friend or computer review.


The Amateur Eye – Turkish Upheaval

February 15, 2017

Well, American Woman Chess Champion certainly rocked the boat in more ways than one.  Suddenly the appearance of another Muslim televangelist created concerns in Turkey over  who dared to play chess. (Refer to the wearing of the hijab I reported on earlier.)

Ahlmet Mahmut Unlu raised eyebrows with his New Year message that claimed playing chess to be more sinful than gambling and eating pork.  And he added salt to the wound of what the Turkish Chess Federation has so long striven to popularize the game.  He declared that chess is a sin and that people who play chess are more prone to lying than others.

A prominent government official, Omer Celik, came to the defense of chess saying that he plays chess and finds it to be a joy of wisdom. He added that chess has attributed value by eastern culture.  The Federation is launching legal proceedings against the religious leader Unlu for defamation.

The Amateur Eye -Cartoon News

February 15, 2017

Just got my New In Chess magazine and find colorful coverage of the upcoming TV broadcast of Homer Simpson’s gang titled HOMER’S  MATE.  Famous for its guest stars, The Simpsons–the cult show from Matt Groening that puts the “FUN” in a dysfunctional family– have featured cameos from celebrities the likes of Mick Jagger and Lady Gaga to Leonard Nimoy and Dr. Stephen Hawking. Soon the first ‘chess celebrity’  will be added to that list by making his cameo appearance: World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen!  In the season 28th episode ‘The Cad and the Hat’, that will air in the USA on February 19th 2017, channel 7 at 8pm est.  Homer is something of a chess savant who enlists on line assistance of Magnus on his lap top to boost his game.  Even the regulars at Moe’s Tavern in between swigging their Duff’s beer get in on the chess fever that is set to sweep Springfield.

So tune in to see chess receiving a major pop culture hit as our game gets set for the big leap from Simpson’s (in-the-Strand) to The Simpsons!!

Don’s Comic Humor Be My Valentine

February 14, 2017

Aries:   The nature of love cannot be defined to fit into a box.  Try not to pose love as a fix it all philosophy.  Due to its intangibles and mysterious qualities it is based upon a narrow pathway.  It is a word; it is a feeling that is character to our very soul and being.

Blondie:  Honey, are you still glad you married me?  It is a question that requires a bang up answer, and Dagwood has it!  My worst day with you is a gazillion times more dazzling than what my  best time would be with anybody else!  Dag: Wow! I’ve still got it.  And Blondie says Wow! He still has it! as they hug and the valentines suggest we depart the scene.


An Angel Finds His Wings

February 14, 2017

There is something magical in the human heart that ignites that special warm feeling of doing good for others.  Such is the case of a newly ordained missioner, Father Gerard Hammond who arrived in Pusan, South Korea, in 1960.  He saw countless North Korean refugees still recovering from the effects of war.  He recalls that people were starving, the result of extreme poverty.  Hospital conditions were frightful.

Father Hammond’s first assignment saw the 26 year-old priest aiding refugees and orphans at the Maryknoll-run Korea Sacred Heart Orphanage in Cheongju.  While helpful, he realized little replaces the love of parents.  “When you are young, seeing that imprints in your whole life.  As a missionary, it is essential to devote a life — especially minds and hearts and even our physical abilities–to people we came to serve.”

After serving much of his adult life in South Korean mission work now serves through Eugene Bell, a nonprofit foundation providing humanitarian and medical aid to North Koreans.

The Korean War (Police Action!) ended in 1953. Over 5 million soldiers and civilians were killed and left Korea divided to this day. Since the war, no Catholic priest or sister has lived in the North.

For Father Hammond his visits to North Korea is a pilgrimage because the land is sacred due to the number of martyrs, including Maryknoll Bishop Patrick Byrne, Sister Agneta Chang, Korean Bishop Hong Yong-ho and many Christians who died for their faith.  He said the government would not allow to evangelize directly but to show compassion and build bridges with people who may not know what a priest is.  “Sometimes I feel like Moses; I’ll never see the promised land….But someone else someday will.”

He continues to aid the sick (tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is the biggest killer in the country.  We have cured over 70%, while world-wide the rate is only 48%.  “There is no retirement in a relationship based on love.”

“My love for the North Korean refugees is what has kept me going as a missioner. The affirmation of the Korean people and be with those suffering in both North and South Korea are sources of strength.”

(We often witness the corruption and immoral behavior of some in government and rarely come to recognize that it is often the humble and decent among us that makes life worth living and hope for all our Salvation; the Bible says that blessed are the peacemakers.  In Father Hammond along with his many brothers and sisters, the truth and justice will make us all free.  He, you, and I may not come to see it fulfilled…but someday it will be witnessed by those who come after us in all the Lord’s Glory.)

I Am Right On Time For Debate

February 5, 2017

But frankly speaking, who listens to researched analysis of today’s topic:  IMMIGRATION! It goes hand-in-hand with my article on FEAR.  Every school kid learned about our Nation being the melting pot; the Statue of Liberty given us as a present by the French in fact finds the face, not pointed out to sea but rather toward the Island.

It is an American history defunct with misrepresentations firmly embraced in the ill-logic of ignorance to our history.  Immigration is two-faced to put it plain.  That is our historic record.  Take the Irish, the Germans, the Italians, the Chinese, the Poles, the Russian Jews, Africans, –the world body congregation of time, space, purpose.  Yes, we are a “melting pot”– the wisest two-word definition ever created for a Nation.

Through it all, immigrants have been admitted to join our family as United States citizens. It has always been expected, although not always given where green cards were issued to workers demonstrating a desire to stay and to fill the needs for skilled workers from other lands and did not want to break ties with their own mother country for personal reasons.

There have been branded on folks many catchy names:  Dago, Huns, Niggers,  Whiteys, Chinks–fear and bigotry were intermixed.  Then in 1917, a law was passed by Congress requiring literary testing for immigrants to learn English.  The play by a Brit, Israel Zangwell, The Melting Pot…”The Glory of all races and nations to labour and look forward.” was the theme. Despite the ups and downs, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune through a relatively short history,  America remains for freedom loving people a lasting place to call HOME.

Survival was not easy.  Lawlessness prevailed with gangsters making inroads with the laxity of laws.  New names like bootleggers and speak-easies bred vices and corruption.  Professional bands were common with dances popular. It was the era of bathtub booze, of radical changes in both male and female dress codes. Finally, the FBI was given a green light to launch a period to fight criminals with equal or greater fire power.  Many crime families were rooted out and exiled back to their homelands largely due to the efforts of the IRS for tax evasion.

Fear had swept the country in growing up.  Fear saw many suspicious of Catholic ties to the Pope in Rome.  In the 1920s, it was the Red scare of the Russian revolution. The 1930s era of World War II saw fear rise its ugly head over German immigrants and communists coming out of the socialist movement and Jewish population.  Spies were not a fear but a reality.

Young people today understand artificially the movements over time, possess little care or understanding of what makes America different from any other country which speaks ill of our education system standards.  They are led to follow various “isms” and their belief that their personal actions of following the herd is somehow the American way and superior to older times.  Yet, these “isms” have been a cancer in our security as a free nation.  We have freedoms which are jealously guarded but far too often fall prey to jealous enemies who now, because of high tech, daily probe for weakness that can compromise national defense and integrity  with friendly nations.

We have somehow managed to survive the many pitfalls that sin coming from real or exaggerated fear plagued our people.  Americans are a melting pot.  We have learned that cross breeding is strong and good for character, achievement, and mostly beneficial.  Such views of old norms are slowly being changed.  Our acceptance of the unknown, while wary of newness, has lost much of the fears presented in previous times.  Our memorials, many in our nation’s Capitol ever remind those visiting of America’s compassion and thanks in preserving our freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

We emerged from Benjamin Franklin’s feverish fears of the influx by Germans in 1798 which brought about the Alien and Sedition Acts making it harder to attain citizenship and easier to deport so called undesirables.  The 1868 America welcomed the Chinese many who settled in the west and was instrumental in building our railroads and building a base of small business labor.  Later on, they were not so welcome.  Was it national sentiment or the results of ignorance and spiteful hatred toward others with whom they refused to accept or to understand?

Our fears today are based upon the influx of refugee Muslims.  In Europe they band together in conclaves wanting little or nothing to do with the country they immigrated to.  America demands that immigrants swear allegiance to our Constitution and obey laws of the United States. Some Muslims openly demand their principles over American beliefs.  In this, President Trump says that immigrants have to love America by which he means to accept as all others have done to adopt the American ideals upon which we are founded and all coming here have wholly embraced.

Comic Class Act on Stage

February 5, 2017

Aries:  You’re not here to show anyone you’re better; you’re here to be better. The impression you make matters a lot less to you than the work you’re committed to.

Blondie:  Dag says: I’m confused and conflicted about this new reality show. Honey, you cannot stand them! But this one combines two of my favorite themes.  What is it called?  Napping with the chefs!  Oh, my!  Sounds like they created it just for you.

Pickles:  Earl, I talked to my sister Pearl about being nicer to you.  Maybe you could try being friendlier to her, too.  What do you mean?  I’m always pleasant and friendly to Pearl.   How come you told her last week to talk with her doctor about getting a personality transplant? Oh, come off it; I was just being funny by offering a friendly suggestion. Give me a break!

Shoe:  Roz, I need something to release all this tension I have, and you can only offer a remedy to buy a wider and bigger belt?

For Better Or For Worse:   The power is out because wires are down and God knows for how long!  We’ll have to sleep in the living room together so everyone get some blankets and pillows. We’ll have to nap where we can on the floor carpet.  And don’t complain.  Look at it as a great adventure.  Just pretend its the olden days.  We’re in a Scottish cold stone shanty on a hillside with howling winds outside.  Just huddle together to keep warm as we hear icy winds whistling across the moor.  Hark!!  I hear Scottish bagpipes coming near.  That was my stomach–LIE DOWN!

Marmaduke:  Teeth marks on our baseball bat handle has given you away.

Ziggy:  I am going to think more about my future cartoon layouts.  After all, that is where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.

The Cheerful End:   That’s all, gang!  Adios!!

The Amateur Eye – Overcoming Fear

February 2, 2017

Our time is no different than any other.  But I do see it magnifying itself in so many detrimental ways which can be attributable to FEAR.  Americans should be reminded of what President Roosevelt warned and confided in a speech: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

I am reminded of Jim Forest’s review of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s The Root of War Is Fear  appearing in the MARYKNOLL magazine referencing Pope Francis’ address before Congress in 2015, naming Merton as one of four great American peacemakers. In reading this article, I was struck by the words, “A monk challenging the rule of fear.”

Our greatest American generals, naval officers and others have voiced or written that they hated war most.  Going to war is sometimes necessary to avoid being run over by those who despise and have hate in their very makeup as humans.  The peacemakers have to share the history of men being of both sides of a coin.  On one side is war, the other is slavery. In either flip of the coin, freedom of thought and purpose is uprooted until the moral fiber we might call conscience and a rule of order established for sanity in governing our world.  I think here of Abraham Lincoln’s turmoil but steady hand at the helm and wonderful stories and wit of Mark Twain–the American spirit of optimistic freedom lives.

In reality, we can experience little without the belief in God.  While nations may prescribe to a particular brand, in America we find it in the Judeo-Christian ethic which uses the Bible as the link along with prayer with the Father in Heaven known as God.  It is a belief of a personal relationship with the Father regardless of the numerous sects that exist under an umbrella of belief variations.  It is not the physical building but the spirit within the heart and mind that is the personal relationship with God.  In Heaven are many mansions; so, too, are many mansions existing for faithful worship located round the world.  Blessed are those called to service.

When we resign ourselves to wallowing in fear, whatever the source or reason, our personal victory over fear comes in our spirit, adventurous nature to see the good to bind up that feeling of the bad and the ugly.  It is the hope and promise given us in some manner to survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes where calamities can be calmly and freely handled with spirited wisdom.

There are many causes that bring on fear.  Fear can ruin a perfectly planned out attack or defense in chess play by blunting and robbing a creative idea from bearing fruit during play. It can be an alarm when your clock is running out of time.  One might suffer from truth-telling for fear of reprimand by others.  How the fear for lack of funds or possible abuse might cause a woman to abort a child in her womb or more evil thoughts of losing her freedom to do what she wants–selfishness is a sad motive.  And we can look to teaching where students are encouraged to enter fields of study for financial considerations, for love of occupation, reward and personal feeling of fulfillment fearful of failure of future dreams and happiness.

In conclusion, fear is part of living.  It can be a warning post you can either physically relate to or mental sense called intuition.  The many facets that make up the word FEAR might be compared to the possible moves in chess.  The only way to see it is for man to view it as being the good, the bad, and the ugly.



The Amateur Eye – As Kindred Sees It

January 30, 2017

I direct my readers to review my article extensively covering the final years of Howard Staunton, either portrayed as the darling of British chess or a fraud.  How like it is today with the ugly politics of a society within the Democrat Party where the media then and now create false stories and boastful tirades of accusations which any close examination proves fake.  Such stories once spread, become like a boa constrictor that squeezes the life out of a truthful story exhibited to be whatever the writer or whole news media portrays it to be. SAD.  SAD.  SAD.  It invades a whole generation of youth whose need for a good education is hampered by fake reports and stories geared to dumb down the learning process.

Such was the history of the debate and bitterness seen by writers who failed to recognize good from evil.  Reporters and historians failed then and now that the printed word needs to be truth-telling, not arbitrary and spiteful lies, half-truths and fact twisting to give credence to a viewpoint of the author.

History is full of heroes and shysters. They have always existed.  It takes good journalism to know the difference that may well encompass a vast set of what we call norms.  Should we condemn some thought and program simply because it does not fit the norm as we understand it?  Sometimes i think having depended upon modern technology so much that we lose sight of originality of thought and values.  By that I mean a computer will perform only to the extent of its written program unless built in freedom to draw out a theory.  Hopefully it won’t explode and crash.

Reading my critique on Howard Stauton may find agreement, confusion, a different perspective on his life and that of young Paul Morphy which was so well documented in the novel THE CHESS PLAYERS.

A presidential election is held every four years.  It behooves us, all American citizens, to cherish our transfer of leadership and respect the election results.  The whole object of the founders of creating the electoral college was to avoid the most heavily populated states where power might forever be controlled by the same political party forever.  It was made the law to elect the President through the electoral process to even the rights of all citizens regardless of population.  We should all recognize the genius of this concept our forefathers constructed which has served our Nation well.  Anything else could easily stir sectional hatreds and lead to war.  Just look at the Civil War!  How long would people put up with tyranny? The alternative to base it upon population totals alone smacks almost of a dictatorial empire which I am sure no one really truly would want except the Democrat Party.

Lets cut out the lying crap seen on some TV commentary.  Our citizens deserve better. God bless us everyone!!  Thank you Tiny Tim.  This simple reminder puts many to shame.