Tuesday, December 29, 2009

About Time - Police Can't Use Tasers At Will

So says Ninth US Court of Appeals.
Police need reasons to believe a suspect is dangerous before firing a Taser and can't use their stun gun simply because the person is disobeying orders or acting erratically, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Monday.
It is far past time to regard Tasers as a less lethal tool, not a less than lethal or non-lethal tool. No more giving Grandma a ride on the lightning because she wouldn't sign a speeding ticket...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FREE AT LAST! CERRATO IS GONE!

#Redskins .
Every Redskin fan just began weeping for JOY at this news:
In breaking news out of Washington Redskins VP of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato has resigned.

Whether it was of his own design or forced upon him the one thing that is certain is Redskins Fans everywhere are happy.


thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

This is a GREAT Christmas!

[UPDATE] It gets better! Reports abound that Bruce Allen has been hired as the Redskins' Executive Vice President and General Manager.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This Hurts


#Redskins .
From MSNBC:
The Redskins have been under Snyder’s thumb for a decade now, and to celebrate this anniversary in fitting fashion, they snapped the Detroit Lions’ losing streak, just hired an offensive consultant who was spending his days playing bingo, apparently overpaid for another free agent or two and certainly over-reached for a head coach. Once again, Snyder’s grand plans are fluttering about, like a Billy Kilmer pass, taking legions of hopes along for what promises to be another ridiculous ride.
Painful, but it has no real sting.

Until the writer ends with this:
Owners never sell unless they lose money or interest, and Snyder has plenty of that. He is owner for life, and chew on this, Redskins fans: He’s not even 44.
He's not even 44!

We are doomed.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A (Slim) Case For Hope

#Redskins .

The Redskins have a very slim window to have a successful season. Here are a few things that could work out to make it so:

1) The defense is still ranked #4 despite the Week Three debacle.

2) Left Tackle is Heyer's natural position. If he has any talent
perhaps this is where it will emerge.
2a) Mike Williams does have talent and size. Perhaps the technique
will also emerge here at Right Tackle.
2b) W. Montgomery has enough to be a serviceable Right Guard.
2c) Perhaps Rabach, as the ranking vet on the line, will rise to the
challenge of leadership.

3) Jason Campbell, despite not having any semblance of a professional
line in front of him, a #2 WR, support from a running game, and
handicapped by less than adequate game planning or play calling from
the sideline, is still among the best in the NFL statistically.

4) They have one more week to get well against a winless and decrepit team.

There's hope, but it is fleeting.

Zorn has two weeks to make his case to last beyond the bye. If he can
swallow his pride and put in a game plan* that maximizes the talent he
has on offense and gets the maximum support from teams and defense he
can beat the Chiefs and will have a decent shot at unending the Eagles
on MNF. Odds are against it, but he has a shot. If he makes the
shot, then he has even odds to get a run post-bye that might erase
enough of the first five weeks' for the rancor to subside.

*Shotgun/no huddle with a little wildcat mixed in!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

State of the Skins

#Redskins .
Curly R says it all...
It is said that when the end of days comes the world shall turn upside down and everything you know shall be unknown to you. After three weeks portent it came this week to the Redskins. The team hired a consultant to help with the offense, but the guy has been out of football for four years and has no charter or defined role or goals with the team. The defensive coordinator up and abandoned his duties dealing with the media, this of course being the man that represents the only part of the team that is performing, albeit not spectacularly and to make matters worse his underling and replacement was not aware it was going to happen. And then tailback Clinton Portis turns on his lead blocking full back over what Clinton said was poor blocking two games ago. It's cats and dogs, living together. Oh if only the Redskins owner were brave enough to face the fans and media and explain how the margins of bad management have gotten thinner every year to the point where the entire organization looks like a corrupt banana republic government.

The fall of the Redskins has been long and hard to watch, now the team has broken the cloud layer and the ground is in sight and rushing up to meet us. Dan Snyder you have taken the team you loved growing up and destroyed it. How does that feel?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Handgun Discharge Pilot Re-Hired

#tsa #guns .
Remember the pilot whose weapon discharged because of a faulty holster the TSA mandated all pilots with handguns use? An arbitrator has ordered US Airways to hire him back.
US Airways said Friday that Jim Langenhahn resumed training on Monday after an 18-month disciplinary suspension.

The airline said as part of the federal arbitrator's decision to reinstate Langenhahn, he will be barred from carrying a gun in the cockpit. After the 2001 terror attacks in which hijackers armed with knives seized four jetliners, pilots lobbied for the right to carry guns in the cockpit.

A 2002 federal law allowed pilots to carry handguns on board if they took part in a program run by the Transportation Security Administration, which includes a week of weapons training.

The item refers to the troubled holsters:

Langenhahn's case was strengthened when the Department of Homeland Security faulted the design of holsters used by pilots who carry their weapons on board planes. The department's inspector general said the design increased the chance of accidental discharge when pilots inserted their guns in the holsters.

The inspector general recommended that the TSA halt use of the locking holster and consider other methods for armed pilots to stow their weapons. The holsters have been in use since 2006.

TSA spokesman Nelson Minerly defended the holster design, saying they have been used "millions of times by thousands of (pilots) without incident."

"The system has been very reliable," he said.

Reliable except when it fails... Who in their right mind puts a metal bar into the trigger guard when designing a handgun holster?

Insanity.

Paul Huebl of CrimeFileNews broke the story of how this holster and weapon were made for mishap back in December 2007 and made a video of how the discharge would happen - and it did.

It's good that the pilot got his job back. It's bad that the TSA is STILL mandating use of this holster made for failure and that the pilot has been scapegoated for the holster failing.

Also See:
Previously:
TSA Holster Increases Chance for Accidental Discha...
Pilot Scapegoated
Did TSA Idiocy Cause Airline Gun Mishap?

Hey USCF, I QUIT

#chess #uscf .
iquit

Just called the USCF office and demanded that they cancel my membership. The guy I spoke with said only USCF Executive Director Bill Hall can cancel a membership and that they'll have Hall call me.

Most USCF members are aware of the several years' long idiocy that has landed in the court systems from New York to California. I was threatened by one side late last year over the chess blog I had so I simply shut it down. To be honest, I had already tired of the situation so it was an easy decision to make. I left all the posts up including those I was being threatened over, so the bullies decidedly did NOT get what they wanted.

Now another party to the litigation idiocy is threatening me with "exposure" of certain untrue allegations. They have done this before to other people in and out of chess and the USCF has allowed them to remain members. I love chess. Other than this crap, I have liked being a USCF member since my high school days in the late 70's. However, the USCF lets these folks stick around and cause regular members money and strife.

No more, at least not for me. I'm cutting my ties with the USCF for good. Why should any chess fan go through this just to play a game? Until the USCF comes up with a membership code of conduct that penalizes this sort of behaviour I'm gone - and I've heard from loads of others for whom this is true.

Adios, USCF.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taser: Avoid Chest

#taser .
(graphic as seen on Taser, International's web page)

Taser International is now advising law enforcement to NOT target the chest area.
From CTV Calgary:
"The rationale from Taser in their training bulletin is that the new medical research that is coming out is showing that the closer probe to heart distances have a likelihood, or a possibility, that they may affect the rhythm of the heart," says SSgt. Butler.
No sh!t, Sherlock. Anyone that has seen a defibrillator has understood that from the start. Want to talk to me about excited delirium, now? All these people that have died after being hit multiple times in the upper torso (and elsewhere) and just now we have this "advisory" from Taser's makers...

[MORE]
Taser International Blinks
Truth Not Tasers

Friday, October 2, 2009

Inevitable

#Redskins

You knew this was coming...

Fire Jim Zorn!

Cerrato is not immune, either. There's a petition to fire our cousin Vinny.

Maybe they can both take a vacation to Six Flags.

And take Dan Snyder with them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why Zorn Should GO NOW

#Redskins .
Listen to the players...

London Fletcher: “Maybe guys tend to think that, and that you can just
show up,” Fletcher said. “That’s not the case. We’re struggling to win
ballgames. We’re going to be in tough ballgames, week-in and week-out.

“We’re not a great football team—never have been since I’ve been here—
and it hasn’t been in a long time, since, what, the ’80s? It’s been a
long time since the Redskins have had a great football team. We have
to come in here with a workmanlike attitude, with the mindset that we
must work to win.

DeAngelo Hall: “We’ve got a lot of people in here that think they’re
better than they are. You can look at it and tell. They’re not
practicing. This isn’t the preseason; this is the real deal.” -and-
It’s surprising to me that we as a team couldn’t come out and pound
and jump on these guys from start to finish,” Hall said. “It puzzles
me, too. I’m mind-boggled as well.”

You know, Hall was one of the only CBs that had a decent day after his
first two awful games.

And then read the comments of Zorn later in the item. He needs to go
now. He simply doesn't get it.

I'm not saying that it is all Zorn's fault. Indeed, it almost seems
that the Front Office is sabotaging him with $5mill in cap space available and
no action to fix Right Tackle. But the guy doesn't even know the mood of his
own locker room. The "captains" are going to fix it? Well, that was
a captain saying that maybe some of the players think they can just
show up. Someone has to get a grip on this team right now or we're
going to lose a lot of talent to malaise and it will be just that much
harder to fix.

I've heard that the players quit on Sunday. I didn't see that by and
large. Haynesworth (defying his reputation), Fletcher, and Orakpo all
came back from injuries that have kept other players on the sideline.
Horton was fighting all day, even on that interference call in the end
zone. Doughty had a heck of a game. Campbell ended up with a 92.5
QB rating despite running for his life on most plays. Not all of them
quit. A leader among the coaches must emerge or they WILL quit. So
far, that isn't Zorn, and that is why he must go now. Not for the
win-loss record, but for the survival of this team as a viable unit
for the rest of this season and next year.

Other Reaction:
Really, Coach Zorn?

Zorn: "We're Getting Better." AT WHAT?

Mentally Soft: "After a week of essentially having their collective manhood challenged by their fans and by media near and far, the Redskins went out and proved all of the critics right."
Official Blogger Spin
Pappas: "The presser bore a very strong resemblance to the final scene in the movie Animal House, where while chaos is breaking out all around and Kevin Bacon’s character calls for everyone to “remain calm, all is well."
hailRedskins.com: “You either want it or you don’t. A lot of these guys don’t want it,” Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “They want the other stuff.” - NBC Sports.com
Fire Blache
Blache's Discipline Failure, O-Line Stinks, Campbell Not The Problem
Blow It Up!
Worst. Redskins Game. Ever.

Monday, August 31, 2009

#Redskins Musings - Mason, Fincher, Defense

Why Fincher Was Cut
He is what he is. Fincher, as a veteran, and is now what he ever will be. There is no realistic expectation that he will suddenly blossom into a starter after four years as a journeyman. The youngsters do have that upside possibility. Today, the WaTimes quoted Zorn as saying the same:

"I don't want to take anything away from Fincher, because he's worked really hard and he has improved," Redskins coach Jim Zorn said. "But to us, there was kind of a ceiling there on him, compared to some of the other guys that are coming on.

"He may have been more seasoned, but sometimes with a younger guy there is a potential that you like in speed or a flash that I think coaches are looking at. You kind of give those guys a little bit longer look."

At this point in his career, Fincher had to show more separation and ability. He didn't.

Defensive Systems and Hybrids

Here's a good item from the NY Times on how defense and defensive players are evolving in NCAA. It has some echos for the NFL both in the type of players that will be coming out of NCAA and in how we've seen the NFL adjust to wide open offenses. I'm reminded of how the Skins this year are using Orakpo and Wilson, and the several hybrid formations Blache uses such as the Cobra, et al...

When the item started about getting players with speed I immediately thought of the Dallas era of the early Nineties - and presto - there's Wannstedt being interviewed. Wannstedt and Johnson used speed and athleticism better than almost any other staff to produce terrific defenses with the Hurricanes and then in the NFL at Dallas.

We've had our chances at using speed on defense. Lavar Arrington and Sean Taylor both embodied freakish speed for their body types. Orakpo and some of the other recent additions show the Skins have found a realization that this trait is essential and their experimentation with variations on their Cover Three like the Cobra and moving Orakpo/Wilson around are examples of the right course.

The Skins must be watchful for a decline in speed/athleticism in these players, though. Watching the Bears/Broncos last night I was astounded at how much Urlacher has lost from a couple years ago. Urlacher used to rule the middle of the field from the line to the end zone with his speed and prowess in the Cover Two. Now backs and receivers just blow by him.

Will Mason Make It?

In one item at Redskins Insider Offensive Co-ordinator Sherman Smith was quoted as saying:

"Might as well not be concerned about it [Portis missing time], because it is what it is," Smith said. "He hasn't gotten a lot of reps this offseason, but he usually doesn't. It's just one of those situations where you say, 'Hey, let's see how it works out.' What we're doing is we're just trying to get ready, inevitably. If he does go down, Ladell, Rock, Marcus -- those guys will be ready to play."

Now that sounds as if Smith thinks Mason will be available in the RB mix. Today the following was quoted in Insider from Special Teams coach Danny Smith:

"This is just my opinion, you guys use this as you see fit, and I love Marcus Mason," Smith said. "But Marcus Mason has never played in an NFL football game. And he's been on three teams. Let's not name him the MVP today. He's never played in an NFL football game. He's been on three teams. Okay?"

First, this is the coach of the Teams group that should have nothing to do with the word "special." Second, Mason was on the roster of those other two NFL teams last year after having been plucked from our practice squad. Third, no one is talking MVP, we're talking making the 53 man roster. Get a grip, Coach, and try getting something special from our special teams, for a change.

Look, the Redskins have shown a marked inability to get into the end zone or make the tough yards on 3rd or 4th and short over the past several years. Here comes this kid showing the ability to make the most of the slightest crack to get six points or the first down, and a fluidness and hard hitting style that gets yards when the line doesn't make much room - an ability the Skins haven't seen for a while in a backup RB. Mason brings a toughness at running back that Betts hasn't shown for almost three years. The kid is a gritty running back and we need that quality backing up and spelling Portis.

Hey, Danny Smith, that's something special. Get the point?


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reaction to Redskins-Ravens

#Redskins .
After watching a replay of the Ravens practice game last Thursday a couple (or more) things stand out...

  • Brian Orakpo needs to be at DE full time. He has one move - which is exciting - and needs to develop into a starting DE that will vie each year for the Pro Bowl. The kid can start now. Please forget about the SAM backer experiment. Orakpo needs to be at DE. Let Wilson continue the experiment...
  • The Skins are loaded at DE. Jarmon is everything that the Skins could have hoped. Even Skolnitski made an arguement for roster consideration. It's hard for me to find a spot for Wynn with the new guys, Carter, and Daniels on the team. That's a shame. I've liked Wynn every since we got him from the Jags in a de facto trade for Marco Coleman.
  • The Skins look to be good at TE, too, even with Davis having dropsie/fumble problems. Agnone looked good late and Yoder is solid. Cooley is the perennial All Pro. Even with Eddie Williams listed at FB one of the TEs will be cut.
  • We have some good young safeties, too. Grant, Holmes, Moore, and Doughty are going to give the coaches fits at cut down time.
  • Antonio Dixon has to have a place on the final roster.
  • Justin Tryon is not all that. At least he wasn't Thursday. Pegging him with the Toast award would be too kind.
  • Neither is Anthony Montgomery. For a guy that is 6'6" and 330lbs he sure plays soft. Between Tryon and Montgomery all the first half points can be assigned...
  • Nor is Devan Clark or D'Anthony Batiste or Will Montgomery or Scott Burley. Lord help us if we have injuries. There ain't no depth on the Offensive Line.
  • The defense has several weaknesses. The Linebackers are sub-standard even with Fletcher in the middle. MacIntosh is brittle, Blades is a solid backup, Wilson is learning, Orakpo is out of place... None of them can cover. Henson, Fincher and Thomas show promise. They can't cover, either. Without Haynesworth in the middle the Skins are soft up the middle.

Of course, this was one practise exhibition. Three more to go... As it looks now we have a wealth of talent at DE, TE, and Safety. We'll cut some players there that will play on other teams. The offensive line, however... Ah, crap. Sign a veteran OT quickly, Cerrato.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Caro Kann Over at Blunderprone

Blunderprone plays my fave Black defense and is writing about it...
This wasn’t a deep dive by any means but I felt like sharing my evolutionay study in the mainline of this relatively young opening known as the Caro-Kann. I play the main line and now am eager to play the 4…Nd7 variation in an upcoming event.

Yes, I detail my repertoire liberally here on my blog. When I play you, I expect a good game now. You’d better be prepared, I want to learn this one!
Hey, just wait until you discover the CK Gurgenidze!

ICCF-US Announces US CorrChess Championship Finals for USCCC18

Oh, great. Now I have to make sure my ICCF rating doesn't fall under 2000! Both my USCF and CCLA are under 2000, so if I have any hope... But with the way I've played so far this year a precipitous drop is likely considering I'm at 2028 currently.

From ICCF-US:

August 5, 2009

US Correspondence Chess Championship (USCCC) News

All qualifiers for USCCC18 Final have been determined (crosstables at http://www.iccf-webchess.com/Tables2.aspx under National Tournaments, USA, Semifinals). First or tied for first in each section qualified for the Final. USCF and CCLA will be invited to nominate a participant, and one or more previous Champions may be invited to complete a field of 13 or 15 players. With a number of international tournaments starting early this Fall, and several of our finalists in them, the Final will likely start late this year.

USCCC19 is planned for early 2010, again by server with seven player sections. An ICCF rating of 2000 is required, or a USCF or CCLA rating of 2000 for players without a fixed ICCF rating. With a less than perfect mailing list, please watch for an announcement here on iccfus.com.

Corky Schakel, ICCF-US Secretary




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You Could Get Tased...

...If you are mentally disabled, deaf, and spend an hour in Dollar General's restroom in Mobile, Alabama. Seems Antonio Love - a 37 year old man who has the mental capacity of a 10 year old - had severe tummy trouble and used up his allotted time in the loo. So the store clerks called Mobile's Finest* who proceeded to bust in the door with a tire iron when they received no answer to their knocks and identifying statements.

Of course, being deaf, Love couldn't hear those knocks and statements. The first he knew of anyone wanting in was when the door bashed him on the head leaving "a knot." Love pushed back on the door thinking "the devil was out there trying to get in to get him." While the door was partially open Mobile's Finest took the opportunity to douse Love with pepper spray. Love rushed to the sink and began using water to wash his face and eyes. Seeing their quarry distracted, and observing that an umbrella was in the room, Mobile's Finest then gave Love a Ride on the Lightning courtesy Mr. Taser.

Then they arrested Love for disorderly conduct - after he showed them a card in his wallet explaining his various disabilities, such as not being able to hear them knocking. Fortunately the magistrate is a person of reason and refused to issue a warrant.

Mobile Police spokesman Christopher Levy said he wishes "the confrontation had never occurred." I bet. Love's family is preparing to sue.

*I have nothing against the fine men and women of the Mobile, Alabama Police Department. As a former Alabama Constable in Mobile County I knew quite a few great people that worked in the department. But, c'mon, guys!

Monday, July 27, 2009

J. Franklin Campbell wins Silver Bertl von Massow Award

#chess . .
From ICCF-US:

July 25, 2009

Press Release -- J Franklin Campbell to Receive Silver Bertl von Massow Award

J. Franklin Campbell
von Massow Award Winner
J. Franklin Campbell

The ICCF-US would like to add our thanks to Franklin for his years of devoted service to correspondence chess. This recognition from the international chess community is richly-deserved.

Click here to read the ICCF-US press release.

Bob Rizzo, ICCF-US Titles Officer



Congrats!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Picture Suffices

My friend Terry Vibbert posted this pic in a USCF forum discussion...



And it was so to the point I still can't stop laughing...

Pic from http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/f/fd/Picard-no-facepalm.jpg

Friday, July 24, 2009

Good Idea

Taser use forbidden if flammable fuel nearby

Makes sense. You have to wonder who thought it was ok to mix sparks and gasoline... Oh, yeah, that guy. Leave it to the Aussies.

Postal Chess and the Cold War

A deputy director of MI5 and a suspected Frankfurt spy exchanged post cards that are thought to have been coded communications instead of just chess moves way back in the Fifties... Better than fiction.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Starting New ICCF Event

I missed out on USA vs. ROW due to a mail problem with AT&T's switchover to using Yahoo webmail (big mistake, guys). I used to use Yahoo Mail but their lack of spam control and outages always made life tough. It bit me here again, but ICCF-US honcho Corky Schakel says he'll make sure to I get a shot at the next one. IM Schakel was instrumental in saving ICCF-US and American Correspondence Chess players from disaster a couple years back.

In addition to starting my first CCLA event, I received notification that a new ICCF Higher Class event is starting. In WS/H/195 I'll face a couple familiar opponents in Walter Baumann of Switzerland and Vaclav Sladek of Canada. In WS/H/171 I gained a point as Black against Baumann's Dunst opening. I'm currently playing Black against Sladek's Trompowsky in WS/H/187.

I've procrastinated sending my opening moves in both eents as I am still debating what I want to play. Decisions!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

First CCLA Event

A few days ago I commented that I had submitted my first entry into a CCLA event. I received notice today that the event has formed. S90201 is a five player double round robin held on the ICCF server as part of their seasonal server series.

Time to get those repertoire questions answered.

IrishSpy will be pleased to see that CCLA has apparently solved their delay problems...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pithed Off Another One

Pith in the Wind (written by Jeff Woods) didn't like the TFA's "Merchant - Please Don't Post" card (Thanks for the Pithing link, BTW).
The Tennessee Firearms Association produces handy cards to blackmail restauranters.
Uh huh. So what do YOU have against us letting merchants know we value our rights to do business with whom we please?

In the same Pithed off item Woods quotes Nikki Goeser in the BBC video we cited yesterday. It seems that Jonny's Sports Bar - the bar where Ben Goeser needlessly lost his life - has posted signs banning guns. But they are being real quiet about it...
Pith called Jonny's and asked to speak to the owner or manager. The guy who came to the phone confirmed Jonny's has banned guns but wouldn't talk about it. He said other media outlets know Jonny's has banned guns but have agreed not to report this news for reasons that escape Pith.

"We put the signs up," he said, "but I don't want to be quoted at all."
Hey, Linoge, another one for your list... As one commenter observed, "Keep listing places that are banning handguns. The gun nuts need to know where not to spend their money." Another commenter asked on Day Two under this law, "Where is the blood in the streets where is the OUTRAGE?!?!?!?! Where are the Dirty Harrys???"

That's the thing about law abiding folk, which Tennessee handgun Permit Holders are by definition... They are law abiding.

In other BREAKING NEWS - courtesy of Pithed commenters - A MAN CARRIED A HANDGUN INTO MULTIPLE FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE RESTAURANTS! No one was harmed or even alarmed, or so we are told...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"My Gun Could Have Saved My Husband"

The title is something that Nikki Goeser should never have had to think, much less say. As the owner of a Tennessee Handgun Permit Goeser was trained and licensed to carry her handgun. But when a stalker decided to kill she didn't have her gun.

And her husband died.

Back then, just a few months ago, Tennessee did not allow permit holders to carry their weapons in restaurants that served beer and alcohol. Now it does.

Too late.

On a BBC special Goeser explains why our Second Amendment rights can't end at the door of a restaurant.

Quote of the Day: Guns in Restaurants! Oh, No!

From Linoge at Walls:
This is a message to all the pants-wetting morons in Tennessee who are claiming they will not patronize a restaurant that does not post a "no guns allowed" sign: you are, of course, aware that law-abiding, handgun-carry-permit-holding citizens like myself have been frequenting McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger Kings, Pizza Huts, Buddy's, Chick-Fil-As, Pop-Eyes, Subways, Taco Bells, Firehouses, Arby's, Kentucky Fried Chickens, Dominos, Blimpies, Quiznos, Sonics, and countless other fast-food restaurants for years, right?

Right?
Yup. Pizza Hut just yesterday, as a matter of fact. That was something I commented to my wife (who was there, too, and was not traumatized or otherwise harmed by the presence of a GUN) while we were in there... When did Pizza Hut stop serving beer?

Apollo 11 Remembered

This is very cool! Check out Wechoosethemoon.org. It is a second by second recreation of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon for the 40th anniversary.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

ICCF Rating UP a Few Points

...On the new list. I was at 2020 on the last list and have gained 7 points to 2027. Expect a drop after the last couple events get scored, though. I'm getting my butt kicked. My White repertoire has stunk. If I wasn't WORKING every day of the week I'd have time to post some of the games. Can't use that excuse for playing the games, though. They started when I was having to take furlough days because the corporation that owns our local company made loads of bad money decisions. Now they've laid off so many people that when something happens, as it has, there is no one left to cover things. Except me.

But I have confirmed that at the Higher levels the London System gets picked apart quickly... Eek! Back to the Reti. I may even trot out a couple of my older favorites. Thing is, I don't like the Spanish or the Italian openings. I've been tinkering with a couple English variations and even considered bringing back the Scotch which I haven't played in years. The thing about the Scotch... e4 players only get to play their opening one out of three times as Black will usually (and I plead guilty) take them down a non e5 response instead of 1...e5.

But I do still have all those books and notes on the Scotch...

[UPDATE] And, being a glutton for punishment, I've entered another Higher event at ICCF and my first CCLA event, a Quarterly Server Series. Wheee...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

So Long Manny Acta


According to reports, Manny's last act has been seen in DC. This isn't a surprise after the firing of the pitching coach and the dismal win loss record so far this year. One has to wonder if this was all Acta's fault. The team entered the year with no bull pen, four rookie pitchers, and another pitcher that continued his bust act.

And then the hitters stopped hitting...

Acta will be by replaced bench coach Jim Riggleman, as originally reported on FOX Saturday Baseball. The only question is when. It could be a matter of days.

The Nats have an off-day on Monday before starting a series at the Yankees on Tuesday. They return home on Friday to face the Blue Jays.

Riggleman has done this sort of thing before but one has to assume that his job will be weeding out the chaff and getting the team ready to make a run next year when the bull pen is re-built and the pitching has matured. And a new manager is hired.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Redskins Release Jansen: Goodbye, Rock.

#redskins . .

One of the most beloved current players - and the longest tenured player on the roster - in the Redskin Nation has been released. Jon Jansen came to us last century from Michigan in the draft and formed one the NFL's best tackle tandems for the first half of this decade with Chris Samuels. In recent years Jansen has been dinged up and has suffered major injuries. The Skins think that his decline is steep enough to eat about $6 million of this year's cap to release him.

Rich Tandler has a very good look into why this came about at this time. JLC has Zorn's account of how he told Jansen that the days of #76 on the roster were over and then Zorn's evaluation of the candidates at Right Tackle as of now.

I tell you, this hurts. Jansen has been a favorite of mine since his first year where he grabbed the RT position and didn't look back. We knew this was coming as fans, but most of us thought we had another year of seeing Jansen wear the #76 in Burgundy and Gold. As of now, it looks like he will finish things up with the Lions.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

USCF Delegate Proposals In Search of a Delegate

#chess . .
I think the deadline for Advanced Delegate Motions is 1 June 2009. I hope these two proposals can find a delegate or delegates to champion them in Indianapolis.

1) Correspondence Chess
Posted at the USCF Issues Forum

Correspondence Chess has again fallen by the way side in the USCF. Two years ago we faced a crisis and the USCF stepped up to make sure that CC players in ICCF-US retained our representation in ICCF. IM Corky Schakel has taken over operation of ICCF-US and is doing a bang up job (see http://iccfus.com/).

Also two years ago there was one USCF CC event offered via web server on the ICCF server (WALTER MUIR E-QUADS) according to the CC web page (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/7523/393/). There is still only that same event offered via web server. CC via web server is the preferred method of most CC players by far (see http://sdo1.blogspot.com/2007/06/web-server-correspondence-chess-growth.html).

Alex Dunne's column, in addition to being taken out of Chess Life (print and online) has not been made available via syndication (RSS, Atom, etc...) and is not promoted in the print or online Chess Life. I have spoken with quite a few CC players who used to read Dunne's column with regularity but now forget about it for months at a time as there is no way to be reminded that a new column is out.

We need a delegate to propose the following:
1) That all* USCF CC events be offered via web server (our own or the ICCF server) in addition to the current practice of offering them by post or email.
2) That failing the restoration of Check/Mail to Chess Life, that it should be syndicated via RSS/Atom and promoted in at least the online Chess Life.

*I understand that some events must be postal or email. However, almost every event I see on the Events page should be offered via web server.

I also understand that the USCF has been exploring setting up our own server. However, that exploration is now at least two years old. We received a bequest that was designated, at least in part, for CC. All I have seen from that is the proposal of starting a new CC event. With the current troubles cause by the varied litigants who have sued the USCF I understand that the bequests have had to be spent on litigation. However, the cost to the USCF to accomplish the two points above should be negligible and entry fees should offset that expense.



2) Online Chess Rating
Posted at the USCF Issues Forum

We need a delegate to champion the cause of those USCF members who can not play traditional OTB chess because of geographical or economic restraints but who CAN play online on one of the various ICS systems.

The USCF should establish an OnLine rating to be used for "standard" games. "Standard" games are usually defined as 10 minutes per game or longer. These games would differentiate from currently sanctioned ICS games in that they would not have TDs attending them at each location. Currently sanctioned online play under those terms are already rated under the current rating system.

-This new rating would necessitate an addition to the current "Regular" "Quick" and "Correspondence" ratings.
-Accommodation would have to be negotiated with an ICS (WCN seems the most likely candidate though I would prefer ICC) if the USCF chooses to have the ICS TD and charge rating fees. Alternatively, the USCF could set up an area on the website for players to submit their games and fees.
-Rating fees would have to be researched to see what would be profitable and what the market would bear.

This new rating could result in more than just friendly matches. The ability to hold OnLine tournaments and other events would be available to non-traditional players just as they are for traditional OTB players.

I know many former members who would have stayed if the USCF were relevant to them. If the USCF is to grow - and meet the organizational mission of promoting chess - it must find a way to develop an affinity for the organization among those who can not play traditional OTB events. The goal of this and the CC proposal (http://main.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10193) is to develop that affinity and promote chess where the USCF is currently absent or has a very low profile.
If you are a member of the USCF and have an opinion or input about these issues, please go to the forum and get involved. If you are a delegate and agree with one or both please consider advancing an ADM on the topics.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Guns in Parks: This is NOT a Time to Celebrate

#tnguns #tcot #teaparty . .

So Obama signed the Credit Card bill with the Parks Gun amendment intact. Now our 2AM bloggers are jumping up and down with glee and throwing it into the face of the Brady Campaign for Citizen Disarmament and other folks.

So I have a question for all of you that are dizzy with perceived victory: Can we carry into parks tomorrow? The next day? The provisions take effect next February. That's right, February 2010.

Here's another question: Do you think the hoplophobes will take this laying down?

Really? What did they do when Bush opened up the parks to permit holders? They did not lay down.

There is a lot of time between now and next February.

On top of that, it was attached to legislation that further erodes the constitutional barriers between government and business. This is no cause for celebration. Sure, we just saw an amendment passed and signed that should become law nine months from now. The problem is that this law won't go into effect for nine months and that it was attached to a law that will project the federal government's tentacles even deeper into our pocket books.

Y'all go ahead and dance. I don't think you'll like the tune once Obama starts playing it with your credit. Dancing with the devil is a dangerous thing.
So what's my bottom line? Am I grousing against the Coburn amendment to allow national park gun rules to conform with applicable state laws? Would I rather see no incremental gain in the name of ideological purity? And how do I square that against my self-proclaimed "Any chair in a bar fight" slogan?

Hey, I'm just pointing out that you don't get benefits without costs, that you dance with the devil at your peril, and that he is unexcelled at making you think you're the one leading. I'm just saying that--amidst all the cheering about what a victory this portends to be--for gun owners and for credit card customers--the central government will emerge with more power than it had before.

But we all knew this, right?
Yeah, we did, and a government that "gives" us the "right" to carry in our parks is one that can take that and more away.

And that government is Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.

Y'all still dancing?

Monday, May 18, 2009

USA Correspondence Chess Team Clinches GOLD in Pan American Team 9

#chess #iccf-us . .

From ICCF-US:
USA Clinches First in Pan American Team 9

After more than two years since play began, with only four games still to be completed, Pan American Team 9 silver and bronze are still up for grabs, but the USA team has clinched first in a field of 16 teams to get the gold, either outright or by tiebreak. Here is how it stands:
USA 40.5
Peru (Rojo) 39.5 one game remaining with Brazil (Verde); USA wins the tiebreaker with more team match wins
Brazil (Amar) 39.5
Chile 39 one game remaining with Canada

The other two open games are Mex-Gua and Arg (Cel)-Nic.
Team members are:
  • SIM Ted Brandhorst
  • SIM Michael Millstone
  • SIM Michael Proof
  • IM Corky Schakel
Congratulations!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Susan Polgar: For or Against the USCF?

#chess #uscf .

She just keeps doing it, slamming the very organization she has a fiduciary responsibility to help. Not only is Susan Polgar suing the USCF for $25 million - and it is something this side of humorous that she has yet to detail exactly what the USCF is alleged to have done some nine plus months after the suit was filed - she is actively seeking to harm the USCF via her blog as evidenced by her last two entries (here and here). One has to wonder how far Polgar will go in destroying the good name she once had within the USCF and American chess.

It is sad, really.

I stopped blogging about chess politics in large part because of the dirty politics Susan Polgar seems to drag with her.

Polgar isn't the only one. Along with the USCF and current officers, other persons with whom Polgar has disputes were also sued. The USCF, in its wisdom, has taken on the costs of their defense under seperate counsel. Wick Dear has a blog where he has detailed the suits and the personages involved, including one of the non-USCF defendants here. It their zeal to counter the Polgar suit, these defendants are now sending letters - and if the bluster can be believed, subpeonas - to USCF delegates and others that they think have contact and/or correspondence with Susan Polgar. The circumstances of their latest intimidation tactics may be veiwed by USCF members on the Issues Forum here.

All of these people detract from the goal of the USCF which is to promote chess in America. To date they have caused the expediture of several hundred thousand dollars of USCF members' dues on attorneys with much more to be burnt. When will the USCF realise that they must purge those who repeatedly cause trouble in the organization? I hope it is not much longer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

C'mon, Toyota. Do This.


Honda has introduced a car made to accommodate man's best friend...
"It features easy-wash seat covers, a fitted dog bed with restraints to keep Sammy safe in the event of a crash, and a paw logo on the side. Honda said the car would go on sale across the United States from the fall of this year. Honda spokesman Sage Marie said it was designed with both safety and comfort in mind. "(It's) a car we think is of interest to many of today's dog-crazy consumers," he said."
Our Border Collie mix goes almost everywhere we do from short trips to the corner grocery to long treks across country. The Sienna shows it. Black hair everywhere. We've had something similar to Honda's idea and two dog beds are in the back waiting to be fixed in place. As of now Pepper rides in a seat covered by a bed sheet.

Hat tip: Fred Langa who also presents how someone a long time ago thought dogs should ride...



Friday, April 17, 2009

Siamese Cat Pics

I've tried for several days to get the cat in question to pose.

He won't.

Here's the only one that is somewhat decent. You'll have to imagine his lavender colored (and crossed) eyes.


Here's another where his eyes can just be seen...

He was a bit ticked off that I was trying to take a pic and not supplying him with a treat.

This is the one I wrote of before that wouldn't eat and was losing weight quickly. Turns out he had an urinary infection. The other cat is about twice his weight but is a bit afraid of him. PussTom can be an ornery cuss.

Friends vs. Texas Friends

Although I think this is true of Southern Friends, not just Texas Friends. 'Cause I know people who are like this in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee... I even know some transplanted Yankees like this. I know, that's hard to believe.

Received from TexasFred.

Friends vs TEXAS FRIENDS

FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Always bring the food.

FRIENDS: Will say ‘hello’.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Will give you a big hug and a kiss.

FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Call your parents Mom and Dad.

FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Cry with you.

FRIENDS: Will eat at your dinner table and leave..
TEXAS FRIENDS: Will spend hours there, talking, laughing, playing dominoes or cards and just being together.

FRIENDS: Know a few things about you..
TEXAS FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that’s what the crowd is doing..
TEXAS FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds’ back-ends that left you.

FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, ‘I’m home!’.

FRIENDS: will visit you in the hospital when you’re sick
TEXAS FRIENDS: will cut your grass and clean your house then come spend the night with you in the hospital and cook for you when you come home.

FRIENDS: have you on speed dial
TEXAS FRIENDS: have your number memorized.

FRIENDS: Are for a while.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Are for life.

FRIENDS: Might ignore this.
TEXAS FRIENDS: Will forward this to all their Texas Friends and those who once lived in Texas

Proudly stolen from: Old Soldier

Friday, April 10, 2009

When Seconds Matter, Sometimes a 911 Operator Doesn't Give a Sh*t

...As this YouTube video demonstrates.
This was an operator in my town of Nashville. Lady, get yourself to a gun shop and an instructor ASAP. NewsChannel5 covered the story last year... Sheila, faced with an ex-boyfriend that had broken into her house and was threatening her with a knife, called 911.
When seconds matter, help from 911 is minutes away... You are the first responder!

The police didn't come.

Sheila called back, several times, and was told that the police were "en route." "I got one call that said they were en route to you and a more important call came up so they diverted to that call," Sheila remembered. Then, NewsChannel5 discovered that the officer eventually dispatched was diverted by a traffic stop.

That's right. A woman is being threatened - in her home - and the officer dispatched to help her is diverted to a traffic stop. Come to think of it, Nashvillians familiar with Police Chief Ron Serpas won't be that surprised. Many of us have observed Serpas' zeal regarding traffic control...

And at the end, when Metro PD showed up three hours after the first call, the operator says he doesn't give a shit.

"You know, right now I'm scared as hell because if anything happened to me now, I can't even depend upon them. Who do I... who do I... what do I do?"

Get a gun, Sheila. Find an instructor to teach you how to carry and use it. And when the bastard shows up next time, do the rest of us a favor and put us out of his misery. That may sound calloused, but...

Sheila: "Nobody's coming out here?"
911: "Yes, ma'am. As soon as the sergeant gets an officer available, he's gonna send somebody out there."
Sheila: "What, do y'all want him to kill me - so you can put yellow tape around me and say we got there just for the death? Is that it? I don't understand."


We want the yellow tape to be for him, not you.

Other 911 travesties in the Cracked story are the Memphis 911 operator that fell asleep during a call from a woman who heard someone tapping on her window, or hanging up on the woman caller who is actually being beaten during the call (YouTube HERE) with her scared children around her and in danger... "Call me back when you can talk to me." Yeah, as soon as she is done getting the crap kicked out of her and her kids kidnapped, she'll call you right back - if she and her kids aren't dead.

Women should be armed and knowledgeable about how to use the weapon(s). 911 is NOT reliable. Shoot the thug and let the police pick up the trash and write the report. You're doing us all a favor - and we'll all be grateful.

Hat Tip Cracked.com Via Arms and the Law. Graphics from Cracked.com.

Previously:
Stop! I Have a Restraining Order!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pearson and the Caro-Kann

I'm stunned at the realization that one of the bloggers I follow had written an item on the Caro Kann and I had not mentioned it. Robert Pearson writes back on March 8 of this year, "After a brief period it occurred to me (I'm sure this is hardly an original insight) that the Caro-Kann is just an improved Center-Counter! WOW! I don't know why I never noticed it as a dedicated Center-Counter practitioner, but after 1. e4 c6 Black can play d5 on move two against anything, and maintain his full and fair share of the center."

Hey, maybe the Center-Counter is just an inferior version of the Caro-Kann...

I was reminded of his item by his latest entry about ChessVine.

Anyway, about playing 2...d5 no matter what White does on the 2nd move, that is true. Or you could play 2...g6 and make White's brain dissolve. Look, the Caro-Kann is a weapon and I'm happy to continue in the minority that realize the defense's potential. Welcome aboard, Robert!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Siamese Follow Up

Took the Siamese back to the vet (see previous post) and it seems all he had was a urinary infection. The anti-biotics are working and he's re-gained at least half a pound to his weight.

I was going to try to take a pic of him but the Blackberry battery is suddenly low... Maybe later.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Easy Friday

We took two of the four legged members of the family to the vet today. Pepper (the 6 year old Border Collie - Lab mix) had a rash on her back and needed annual vaccinations as did Puss Tom (an 11 year old Lilac Siamese). The vet said that Pepper's rash is a simple bacterial infection most likely from a bug bite and will be simple to cure. Of concern is Puss Tom's weight which has dropped to 6 pounds from a high of just over 8 pounds about four years ago. The vet is concerned that he may have diabetes or a kidney problem.

And today is our 10th wedding anniversary! WooHoo... We celebrated a bit early with a meal at Red Lobster the other night. My step mother had sent us a gift certificate for Christmas for Red Lobster and Cracker Barrel.

Officially we had purchased each other Ruger 10/22 carbines for use at a future Appleseed event. The family that shoots together... Shoots together. Or something.

I finally upgraded from the Pocket PC that I've had for the past three years. I picked up a Blackberry Bold from the AT&T store and have spent the last several hours learning some of the ins and outs. My first impressions are very favorable after having struggled with the Pocket PC for so long. For one thing... No More Touch Screen!

Oh, and one of my games as White in ICCF WS/H/171 ended in a draw (my first result in this event). I played very uninspired chess against a fellow about 100 points my better. To be honest my last several Retis as White have been a bit dreary. Perhaps it is time to try something different.

I used to play the Scotch...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009 US Championship

...has a strong top of the field with Kamsky, Nakamura, Onischuk, and Robson slated to compete. I hope ICC does live Chess.FM coverage.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Breaking 2000 at ICCF


The latest rating list from ICCF has me rated 2020 after 30 games. As I am competing in the Higher Class now I expect that to drop back under 2000. I'm not doing well at all in WS/H/171. I'm holding my own in half of the games but I fear I may be coming up short in the others.

All games are past the 20 move mark and are in the middle game.

In my games as Black, I think I have a small advantage against a Veresov (1.Nc3). I played 1...c5 in the other two of my Black games. One is a Scheveningen where I am at least equal. The other is a Wing Gambit that is nip and tuck and could go in any direction. I have been able to liquidate some of the forces while hanging on to the extra pawn, but White still has potent chances in the middle and Queenside.

As White I played the Reti in two games and a King's Indian Attack in another. The KIA and one Reti are fairly well drawn. One Reti is very imbalanced with gobs of chances on both sides.

So, two out of the six games are very exciting!

[UPDATE] It seems I can not even count to three... Instead of two games, that should be THREE games that fall into the exciting category. The Veresov, the Sicilian Wing Gambit, and the one Reti are all three riveting in their own way. Fifty percent exhilaration in Correspondence Chess is nothing to sneeze at! I'll count it a moral victory to score half a point in any of them...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Obamiconned


You can be Obamiconned, too.

Reading Horowitz's Chess Traps, Pitfalls, and Swindles

I've had this book for a while. I have one of the early editions in Library hard back which means going back to Descriptive Notation. I'm not enjoying this one quite as much as other Horowitz-Reinfeld books but I'm only on the third chapter. I see on the Amazon box at the right that an updated copy with Algebraic notation can be had for less than a nickel...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Three Things the Redskins Should do NOW...

Since they have shown that this is a "win now" year and that the cap means practically nothing... Make no mistake, with the signings of the Big Three this team must win this year.

1) Sign either Ray Willis or Khalif Barnes to play RT.

From LT to RG the Skins are set for this year. They have no starting RT. Heyer and Jansen are NOT it for a team that is a contender. Willis would be the answer to the RT position for years. Barnes would fit nicely at RT this year and until Samuels retires... Which should be in a year or two. Along with a move for Willis or Barnes (Can I have both, Daddy?) are plans Zorn and Co. have announced about trying to get Kendall back in a reserve role.

This would give us a line of Samuels - Dockery - Raback - Thomas - Willis/Barnes with Kendall (or another C/G free agent), Heyer, and Rinehart in reserve.

2) Sign Igor Olshansky to play LE/LT. Right now he is a 3-4 DE, but at 6'6" 309 Lbs he would be a run stopping DE that would shift to DT on passing downs. This would work great with the way the Skins have stated they want to move Haynesworth around. As an example, look at how the Giants have killed QB's by moving and mix-matching big DLs and quick Ends. Forget about running by the left end. Olshansky will absorb and destroy most of the blocking in that direction.

This would give us a d-line of Carter - Haynesworth - Griffin - Olshansky with reserves of Golston, Alexander, Wilson, and Jackson. There's a drop off there at DE, but I think #13 is a great place to pick up a DE this April.

3) Sign LBs Kevin Burnett and Khary Campbell. Khary needs to come back as he is a great fit for this team as a back-up and teams player. Burnett is on the rise as a LB in Dallas and would be a great fit at the SAM. Plus, he's an SEC alum, albeit from the East side of things. And the Skins have a desperate need for LBs. They're gonna have to sign at least three.

Starting LBs would be (W-M-S) McIntosh - Fletcher - Burnett with Campbell and Blades (and who else?) in reserve. I have to say that the LB situation scares the crud out of me. McIntosh has a very suspect injury history in college and the NFL, Fletcher showed his age at the end of the year in 2008, and there is no starting SAM on the roster at the moment.

Will the Skins be able to do all three, or even two of these things? Maybe only in fantasy. But they should be able to accomplish at least one of them and in the process go a long ways to ensuring that Zorn has a decent shot at success in his second year.

Eighteen Taser Hits Equals $3 Million

From the Austin Statesman:
A Harris County jury Monday awarded $3 million to the mother of a mentally ill man who died after he was hogtied and shocked 18 times with a Taser gun during an arrest four years ago. (...) Casey's death was ruled a homicide. An autopsy concluded that he died of psychotic delirium with physical restraint associated with heart disease.
There's that psychotic delirium again that Taser says has nothing to do with their product's use... Even when EIGHTEEN Taser hits are administered. The way Taser keeps denying that their device is a lethal weapon makes one think THEY suffer from some sort of delirium...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why Gun Owners Should Patronize Gun Shops and NOT "Big Box" and "Discount" Stores

As I wrote previously, the Pax Wife and I went out and purchased some additions to the Pax Armory. In our travels during this endeavor we stopped in two national chain stores, Wal Mart and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Not good decisions.

At Wal Mart we found that they have deleted all firearms from their inventory (at least at THIS particular store). While looking around the sporting goods area I noticed "James" standing at the counter in front of the (mostly empty) ammo cabinet staring off into space. I approached "James" and asked, simply and nicely, "Have you stopped selling firearms?"

You would have thought I had called his mother a vile name.

James responded, "Are you looking for handguns? We NEVER sold those!" Understand, he didn't just SAY this, his tone and demeanor were those of someone who might have been asked if they would trade their female relatives for cattle. I was a bit shocked and was about to explain that I had looked at a Remington 700 and a Ruger 10/22 there last fall when "James" went on in a quite apoplectic manner that this Wal Mart had not sold rifles or shot guns for at least two years. I replied that it had not been two years, but thanks, and that I'd go elsewhere.

That wasn't good enough for James of Wal Mart. He literally chased me down and began yelling that he would call a manager if I didn't believe him. At that point I challenged him to do so if he so wished with the warning that I would file a compliant about his attitude and mannerisms should he so wish. The guy finally stopped and found his way back underneath his rock.

After our Wal Mart adventure we found our way to Dick's Sporting Goods. I had been eyeing a Remington 700 in .308 with an OD synthetic stock and scope combo in there for several months. A young man soon approached us at the firearms counter. I told him what we wanted to look at and he went in search of someone with a key. Seconds later a young woman appeared, the key holder in question according to the young man from before, and asked how she could help. I told her what I was looking for, the Remington 700 in .308, and the young woman sarcastically bobbed her head and said, "Yeah, ok. And?"

I answered, "Yeah, ok, and what?"

"We don't have one."

Now, when a customer comes in your store and asks for a specific item that is out of stock it is generally accepted custom to inform the customer when it might be in stock or how the customer might obtain one from the store.

Except for this young lady. Nope, scorn was the order of the day for her. Being a bit tired of dealing with store representatives that didn't want my money I simply said thanks and walked away.

Not the Pax Wife. While I went out to the Pax Motor Unit she proceeded to the Customer Service desk and complained. A manager apologized to her about the young lady's attitude and stated that coaching would be in order. The manager also explained details about Dick's ordering and stocking process about which I have no interest and for which one would have to ask the Pax Wife. Bottom line: They don't have what I want and their sales person lost the opportunity to get it in return for my cash.

When I went into the small gun shop down the road from these "Big Box" department stores the guy behind the counter listened to what I wanted, showed me what he had, and explained to me why he didn't have some of the things I wanted and told me how he could get them for me.

Imagine that. Customer Service from a merchant that wants my business and is glad to have it.

If you are on the west side of Nashville and want or need firearms related merchandise stop and see Nashville Sporting Arms.

Forget the box stores. They are often staffed by liberal know nothings who don't share our belief in or our desire to exercise our Second Amendment rights. As happened today, law abiding gun owners are the targets of disdain by the representatives of these merchants that benefit from the commerce we bring them. By contrast, gun shops like Nashville Sporting Arms are staffed by the people that own them and people they trust who share our dedication to Second Amendment liberties and who are knowledgeable about the products they sell.

I've often stopped in at Wal Mart in various locations when on the way to a range to quickly pick up a box of "cheap" ammo. As we learned today, there is another cost associated with buying firearms and related products from the Big Box stores. That is the cost of enabling those Big Box stores to inhibit our access to the products that are essential to the exercise of our Liberty while at the same time denying commerce that would help like minded, Second Amedment supporting merchants.

Does it add up to Lexington Green?

Ammo shortage plus arms shortage plus Tea parties may equal Lexington Green says Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee.

But an increasing number of people are openly expressing that the reason they are stocking up on ammunition is that they fear the actions of our federal government. These are people who have never been radicals, most could generally care less about politics, and many have never even dreamed of owning guns until now.

And while it will no doubt come as a surprise to those who would like to perpetrate the stereotype of gun owners as rural and uneducated—the kind that bitterly cling to their guns and Bibles as someone once scornfully said—anecdotal evidence suggests many new gun owners are minorities, and all social classes are purchasing firearms and ammunition.

While we seem to have a tea party movement growing nationwide as people voice their dissatisfaction with our power-mad, spending-crazed government by calling on the symbolism of the acts of Patriots in Boston Harbor more than two hundred years ago, I suspect those protests are hiding a deeper resentment and fears about the competency and goals of our federal leaders.

If our government continues to make citizens feel abused, and makes an over-aggressive miscalculation in asserting their power—certainly possible with our fumbling Attorney General who was part of the Clintonian Justice Dept management nightmare under Reno—tea parties will be the least of their worries.

They should be more concerned they are convincing many Americans to prepare for Lexington Green.

Stock up and get survivalist, folks...
[UPDATE] 2 March 2009 1730 The shortages are real, folks. The Pax Wife and I went out this afternoon looking for a few things to celebrate our upcoming 10th anniversary. One was a Remington 700 in .308. Uh, nope. There isn't one on this side of the town.
We did find a couple Ruger 10/22 Carbines. They have a new home. The guy at the gun shop had just put them out.

It wasn't just rifles. Handgun cases show plenty of empty spots where they were filled to over flowing previously. There seem to be plenty shot guns, but I seem to remember a lot more of those in racks than now.
Ammo? I saw two boxes of .308 in all the places we visited. Most of the shelves in most shops are half or less full. A year ago they would have been almost full. When I asked about getting a thousand or so rounds from the sales guy for the 10/22's he actually laughed.
I think the Pax Wife is a bit disappointed with the 10/22 as a gift. She said something about wishing it was a SKS...
Luckily I have plenty 10/22 accessories and ammo. Project Appleseed, here we come!

More:

GunPundit: Click!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rest Day - No Kamsky Topalov Championship Semis

Today is a rest day in the match to see who will face Vishy Anand for the World Chess Championship later this year or in 2010. Yesterday's game six was a boring affair in the Caro Kann where Kamsky missed what winning chances he had on 15. Qc1. 15. Rc1 had at least the possibility of pressure on Black's position.

Yesterday's game was simply a waste of time and effort on the part of the players and the spectators. I am an avid Caro Kann player and am especially fond of the Gurgenidze ideas of g6 and King side fiancetto. Kamsky had to know this was in Topa's repertoire and should have had a better line prepared against it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kamsky Bluders Away Game Five

Kamsky Blunders Away the d pawn with 35...Nb4
Image captured from Chessgames.com

Gata Kamsky again surprised Veselin Topalov with his selection of opening by playing the French for the first time in his career in Game Five with the Tarrasch Variation. Topalov chose what Nigel Short called a "primitive" line and was adamant that Kamsky had secured a draw - until the blunder on move 35.

Kamsky was visibly shaken that he had missed the 36.Nxb4 axb4 37.Rxb4 line that loses the d pawn after the tremendous defense he had played to that point. Kamsky then assured the negative result by bludering the b pawn.

Kamsky has two more games with the white pieces.

Nigel Short also had an instructive point about the Bishops during the game. Short took Kamsky to task over trading them during the middle game (moves 19-22), "...exchanging bishops was an imprecision on Kamsky's part. Not only has he freed up the White position, but he has loosened the defence of the e7 knight, which has been doing a fine job of protecting d5."

Important note: When playing with a passed pawn do not simplify by trade. That is also a principle detailed by Nimzovich in My System in his chapter on Isolated Queen Pawns. The Iso is a force in the middle game, capable of battering the opponent's defenses. In the end game it becomes a liability that will drain a defender's resources. Kamsky fulfilled the passed pawn's "lust to expand" aided by less then correct play by Topalov, but blundered his drawing chances away.

[UPDATE] I forgot about the "controversy" that started the game today. In all the material and announcements preceding the match it had been announced that, following convention, Kamsky would have the White pieces today so that one player would not have the Whites following consecutive rest days. Topalov had the Whites following the last rest day.

However, the game started with Topalov behind the White pieces and commenters across the blogosphere and in chess chats were agog with talk about another FIDE manipulation. However, it was disclosed about 30 minutes in that the players had decided during the Dresden negotiations in November 2008 that this particular convention would not be observed since the match was to be a short eight games. FIDE and the organizers simply decided the rest of the chess world didn't need to know until the game had started and observers had been properly scandalized, I would guess.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kamsky Wins Game Four!

Kamsky gambits another pawn with 26.b3!
Image captured from Chessgames.com coverage


Gata Kamsky showed the tremendous reserve of steady wits that he had on display in the World Cup by simply outplaying Topalov today. Instead of heading for an Open Spanish, Topalov chose to play into Kamsky's strength in a Closed Ruy Lopez. On move 26 Kamsky gambitted the c pawn to activate his Bishops and loads of pressure on Topalov's game. Topa had to accept - not taking would allow an eventual Ba3 and then he would be in a bad position without even the pawn to show for it.

Topalov blundered a pawn with 30...b4 and Kamsky went on to squeeze Topa for the full point in 73 moves.

Way to go, Gata!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Kamsky Topalov Game Two - Gata DOES Know They Use Clocks, Right?

Kamsky would play 22.c4?! instead of winning a piece and taking his chances with 22.Nxc8
Image captured from Chessgames.com coverage

I ponied up the money and re-joined ICC to observe Game Two of the World Chess Challenge Sofia 2009 between Gata Kamsky and Veselin Topalov. Usually Topa's play is as a shark searching for blood, and with a willingness to spill his own blood to create havoc. Kamsky usually plays with the patience of a Zen master waiting for his opponent to make a mistake, any mistake, and then use it to strangle the opposition as a constrictor crushes a meal.

Not today. Today Kamsky was the shark, and it was Kamsky shedding his blood in the attack.

Kamsky came out early on with a Spanish e4 and eschewed the sterile shake and bake endgame that the Berlin Topa offered usually induces. Spending 21 minutes on 5.Nxe5 Kamsky stated at the outset that he was the one looking for blood. He also refused to recoup his gambitted pawn and continued seeking the attack. The time time spent on move 5 also presaged the time troubles that would doom Kamsky's dangerous attack... Troubles that had him flagging on move 32. Those time troubles had cost him the game well before then, however. By move 10 Kamsky had used well over an hour of his two hours to reach 40 moves when he played Qh5. And then he kept on using time at an alarming rate to reach 15.f4 and finally 17.Bf5. He now had less than ten minutes to make 23 moves. That 17.Bf5 was seen by Kamsky to be a better move than most observers could see is beside the point - How could he make use of his strength with such little time? He couldn't. By move 22 Kamsky was out of time and his 22.c4 just allowed Topalov to run him off the board.

Chessgames.com has a replay of the game here.

Losing with White in Game Two greatly diminishes the American's chances in this eight game match. Using so much time so early indicates that Kamsky doesn't trust his preparation or his instincts, and that may spell the end of his chances to contend for the title.