She’s passed out and I am playing Friday late night chess

I knew it.  As soon as I got to her place, she passed out.  But that’s OK.  I am safely ensconced in her place with a cup of coffee in hand and my laptop logged into her Wi-Fi network.  And it is time for Friday late night chess on the Internet.

(Look out, I think I have my game with me tonight.)

She’s going to hate me in the morning when I am passed out from playing too much chess.  Being synchronized isn’t always the most important thing though.

I wonder what is.  The most important thing–that is.

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Enemies and fiction

Sometimes, I think the secret to fiction is telling a story about being our own worst enemy, then seeing if that leads to tragedy or life going on in the same old way.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm  Comments (1)  

Truth and banality

I’ll admit it.  Most ideas and propositions bore me if no subtle or elaborate argument requiring analysis for their truth or falsity accompanies them.

Most truths are banal, yet their propositions are uttered most.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

New Year’s resolution 2010

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions when the calendar new year arrives.  The prospect of a long dark chill winter in Chicago after a holiday that depresses me does not lead to positive thoughts conducive to the exercise.  However, when spring arrives and the daylight grows longer, I can look back at the previous year with some perspective and look forward to things that seem important to me.

I spent last year studying mathematics and not much else worthy of mentioning.  I learned some hyperbolic geometry and such.  I don’t regret spending an inordinate time doing it. I also finished writing the fourth draft of a novel, so my mornings were not wasted.  Yet writing is what I do in the morning by habit and deserves no honorable mention.

This year, I will stay at home more at night and read and study philosophy and the Western classics.

There you have it–my new year’s resolution.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  

A nice treaty

When we have sex, we both agree that is all we are having at the time.  We have yet to have a spat or falling out.

Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  


During this winter, I started making bacon and eggs for breakfast.  They go well with coffee and cigarettes.  Now, I am habituated to them.  When I wake each morning I have an immediate gratification with which to look forward.  (The caffeine and nicotine are not gratification; they are a necessity.)

Let’s not talk about my waistline and cholesterol count.

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 9:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Wittgenstein: the man

Was there ever a more interesting philosopher than Wittgenstein as far as his life?  He alone matches Socrates in my mind.

Then there is his philosophical legacy: philosophy scattered about in brilliant fragments.

When you read Wittgenstein, you don’t give a damn about writing books.

Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Progress in philosophy

Philosophy.  Part poetry; part ideas and arguments for them.  Of course, logic is metaphor too–just like all thinking.

Some people believe philosophy makes no progress.  I disagree.  As with any other field of knowledge, philosophy is shot completely through with metaphor.  Some philosophical metaphors are apt and they take ingenuity to be countered if countered at all.  Each new metaphor takes us to a new place where ideas defend themselves with arguments difficult to assault.  Isn’t traveling to a new place the goal of all knowledge?

Like the static position on my chessboard against a hard opponent right now, philosophy reaches those kinds of position that wait for some inspired genius to figure the next move–a new idea and argument for it that seems compelling: some new and robust metaphor.

Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

NCAA basketball tournament predictions

After the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament, my bracket sheet ranks in the 96.6 percentile.  That means I am better than almost five million other entries.


(I hope the wheels don’t fall off the Model T today.)

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 7:45 am  Comments (2)  

Iowa Hawkeye wrestling

My Iowa Hawkeyes clinched the team title last night in the NCAA wrestling championships.  They have five wrestlers competing tonight for individual championships.

Hook ‘Em Hawkeyes!  And just so you know, I’m totally stoked.  Yeh-uh!

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 7:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Bacon, egg, cheese bagels, Tolstoy’s take on history and Isaiah Berlin’s take on it

You know you are growing old when when you make bacon, egg, cheese bagels or muffins every morning, wash it down with three cups of coffee, then on that fourth cup of coffee, lace it with one shot of Bailleys.

But that’s not really what I want to talk about.  What I really want to talk about is Tolstoy’s view of history and Isaiah Berlin’s take on it.

But that will have to wait for another time until I have thought it all through.

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Fischer: when chess was cool

Bobby Fischer’s birthday was yesterday.  Even people who don’t play chess recognize his name.  People know about his notorious world championship match with Boris Spaasky.

I remember 1972 when playing chess was cool.  Even the most humble casual players, like me, could always find a game.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 9:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Ain’t it the truth?

Chess, like love, is infectious at any age.

Salo Flohr

Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just say no to draws

I’m finally learning how to win won endgames in chess instead getting slickered into draws.  Yeh-ah!

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chess, being stoked, and REM dreams

I had a great chess day: nothing but won games or winning moves.  If you work hard at a game, you need those kind of days even if it is the game of life.

So, I’m totally stoked and will trundle off to my trundle bed to read for a spell.  I hope I have some REM sleep early in the morning.  Maybe, my dreams won’t be nightmares.

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 12:36 am  Leave a Comment  

REM sleep last night

Finally, REM sleep after many nights without it.  I feel refreshed even though the dream was a nightmare about witnessing torture and cold blooded murder.  Coffee and a bacon, egg, cheese bagel for breakfast eclipse the dream.

I read with pleasure again too as my winter melancholy dissipates.

The sun shines through a haze this afternoon.  The sky reflects my soul.

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chess and Football

Let’s face it, by common consent, from Grandmasters to fans, the chess world championship has been in disarray for almost 20 years.  First of all, the championship is not played every year as it is in other sports.  The terms of who gets to compete for the title, the format of competition, and the venues for play are always under chaotic negotiation.  It is only in the past few years that Vishy Anand has been recognized as the reigning champion.

Only the top grandmasters make a living on the chess tournament circuit.  In a global game such as chess, a game universally enjoyed by so many, that seems odd.  Chess competition should tear a page out of global football’s book.  To attract fans, thereby money, there should be plenty of top flight competition all year long with that competition ending in a championship match.  Fans should know when the top tournaments will be played that lead to the championship title.  They should know when a top match between players will happen in the playoffs.  As of right now, only the serious chess devotees can penetrate the confusing playoff system.

If the chess world wants a slice of the money to be had from world games, they need to move from their 19th century model to the current 21st century model of global football.  I know the next leg of the Champions League is next week, who plays whom, the time the games start, where games will be played, and who is broadcasting the games live.  That’s not the case with chess.

Chess World, we need an annual well regulated and communicated contest for the world championship.  Individual games should be decided within a duration that holds the fans interest and fits their time constraints.  Plus, chess fans want more live broadcasts of major events.

Think football style, Chess World.

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Football 2010–ye-ah!

ESPN, as a prelude to World Cup 2010, published a list of what they felt were the top 50 football players in the world.  Spain had nine players on the list, the most of any country.  That seems to explain why Spain is the favorite at my sports bookie.  England is the second favorite against the odds.

Messi, Ronaldo, and Rooney head the list.  Drogba, a veritable old man compared to the younger players, is ranked sixth.  I like watching Drogba best though.  If you are a goalkeeper, it must feel like a freight train is headed toward you when he has the ball unimpeded.

I’m not going to fill out my World Cup bracket sheet until right before the games, for there is still plenty of good football left to be played in Europe.  I think Barca or ManU have the best chance at this stage of winning the Champions League.

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Party of eight

My dinner party of eight: Odysseus, Cicero, St. Thomas Aquinas, Rene Descartes, David Hume, Karl Marx, Emily Dickinson, and me. We’ll dine in a private room at an exquisite restaurant. I hope they bring their thinking caps and their drinking shoes too because I plan to be dazzling even through my boozy haze.

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rock me gently

This is the way it has happened for years when I can’t fall asleep upon going to bed.  I think about waking in the morning and writing words lyrical, rhythmic, melodic, harmonious, and exquisitely complex, the complexity of the language creating new ideas through its metaphors, like a wonderful symphony.

The only thing that works as well is pretending I am on a boat, floating in a placid sea, looking up at the moon and stars, the sea rocking me gently until I fall into oblivion.

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

The 39 Steps

Masterpiece Theater does it again.  Their The 39 Steps kicks ass.  It starts out fast and just keeps going.  And there is romance too.  And who doesn’t like romance?

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 1:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Until smitten again

Sitting alone in the bar. Playing chess on the Internet. He’s addicted to that game again.

What his neuronal system tells him is fuck love, or life for that matter. Leave me alone with my addictions.

He suspects things will go that way until he is smitten again.

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  


I read Keegan’s The First World War this weekend.  That war has intrigued me since I first learned to read.  Despite all the expert explanations of its origins I have read, madness on a grand scale and an almost inexhaustible ability to bear suffering seem the key ingredients.

If humanity will be the author of its own mass extinction, I hope I die before I am part of it.

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm  Comments (2)  


I watched a video ( demonstrating the iPad.  I want one.

Orla, don’t bother to tell me. 🙂

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment