Thursday, September 23, 2010

Takeback, please

  I played chess about as badly as I could at last Thursday’s blitz tournament. I had a won game against 3 time Iowa Girls champion Bethany Carson (11th grader), but spoiled it by moving too quickly and stalemating her king. Then to make matters worse, I traded pieces in the wrong order against her younger sister Charity (8th grade) and lost a piece. I was so disgusted with myself that I just resigned the game instead of continuing the battle a piece down. I’d like to think my poor performance was due to my dog Tuffy passing the way the day before, but the REAL facts are that I’ve been playing poorly the last 3 weeks and not taking time to examine the consequences of my moves or just being too lazy to calculate tactics to their completion. In order to attempt a correction, I’ve been doing harder chess puzzles puzzles, and playing a lot of internet chess this week with an emphasis on completing my calculations in hopes of getting in fighting form for a tournament this Sunday. My internet play has improved all week and whether I have play well Sunday or not, I feel like I’ve recognized my problem, dealt with it, and moved on.

  I wish I could take back some of my awful moves of last week, and I have good company in the wanting to take back department based on this week’s news.

  Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this week on Meet the Press of illegal immigrants (
original article here), "They're all over my house, doing things whenever I call for repairs, and I'm sure you've seen them at your house." While Powell was arguing for some sort of legal immigration status for illegal immigrants, his comments caused such a furor that he had to quickly backtrack and said the next day that he didn’t hire illegal immigrants, but “I was referring to the many service contractors who work in my neighborhood, using mostly immigrant workers, who do good work. Some may well be 'illegal.' (article here)

  Powell is ostensibly a Republican, but holds so many liberal views (pro-abortion, endorsed Obama in the 2008 election, etc.) that he is not held to the typical Republican standard by the mainstream media. Otherwise, he would certainly been accused of being racist. How does he know these workers were immigrants and not born in this country? Does he check their birth certificates? And then he assumes that since they are immigrants, they must all be illegal. All in all, it was a pretty embarrassing situation for a man who has dedicated himself to this country. I’m sure he felt the Republican Party was going to turn to him as a vice presidential candidate at some point to capture moderate voters, only to find that his party has moved so far away from his social views that his defense expertise carries little weight.

  Joe Torre, the former Yankee manager who won 4 World Series in his first 5 years and then managed to keep his job after winning zero world series in the 7 years afterwards has served notice that he will not continue as the Los Angeles Dodgers manager after this season. When Torre was in New York this week for the unveiling of the massive monument to George Steinbrenner, Torre got on a sports talk radio station and when asked if he would take the Mets manager job said “"I have not had and nobody that I know of has had contact with anybody. I am curious. When the season is over, I hope the phone will be ringing." (
article here) Not only is Torre still managing a team, the Mets still have manager Jerry Manuel under contract. If Torre wanted to let the Mets know he was interested, he could have just called the owner instead of hoping the fans would demand that he be hired. When Manuel noted the lack of class on Torre’s part of campaigning for a job held by another man, Torre expressed sorrow for his comments and said he wouldn’t be managing the Mets, but would be curious about talking to them if they called. It was a nice backtrack, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Torre was with the Mets in some capacity next year. He has a home in the area and the Mets have enough talent to contend for the playoffs.

  Torre had a classy image as a Yankee manager because he won and he never blew up at Steinbrenner like all the other managers did, but he is also a competitor who will go through anybody to get what he wants, even if his classy image take son a bit of tarnish. Before all the Met fans beat their drums for Torre, I hope they remember that he managed the Mets to last place finishes in the 70s and in the last 7 years the closest he has gotten to the World Series is one win away in the historic 2004 collapse to the Red Sox, which is also as close as former Met manager and Yankee great Willie Randoph got in 2006. Randolph was run out of town by the same fans that now want Torre in.

  And then there is James Willie Jones, who went on a Florida school bus on September 3rd to confront some students he felt were harassing his cerebral-palsy afflicted daughter. (
Here's the video) In his rage, Jones threatened to harm both students and the bus driver in an expletive-laced tirade that was captured on YouTube.

  In apologizing this week, Jones said "my actions were definitely appalling” and that no parent should copy his behavior, but that’s where the apologizing stopped and the justification started. (
article here) At his news conference, Jones said, "If you see the tape, I feel like I was backed up against the wall as a parent. I just didn't know where else to go. We definitely don't want to promote that. We don't want vigilantes going on buses, threatening kids, because kids have rights too."

  Disturbingly, Jones has garnered a lot of public support. A Facebook group in his support has over 1300 members. I think Jones is lucky that none of the kids on the bus had a gun and they’re lucky he didn’t have one either. If my kid was on that bus, I’d be suing the school system for not having a system in place for keeping non-students off the bus.
  I have a lot of sympathy for his plight, but nobody needs angry out of control people rushing a school bus threatening kids and drivers. One time in New Jersey, I came home from work only to find this 20 year old guy named Joey (I’d call him a kid, but I wasn’t much older myself at the time) banging and screaming at the front door threatening to go get a gun and start shooting if I didn’t come out. I went over to see what was going on. There were 2 ladies parked in a car in front of the house and I asked them what was going on. I heard one of them say ‘Oh s---! That’s not him.” I went over to see Joey and the police rolled up. While the police were putting the handcuffs on Joey, he was explaining that somebody had robbed his mother at gunpoint and the 2 girls with him said somebody at a bar told him that it sounded like me. Joey said he was really, really, really sorry, but what did I expect him to do? After all, he was defending his mother! I told the cops we weren’t going to press charges and asked Joey if it would be OK for me to threaten his mom just because some girl’s drunk friend in a bar fingered him for something he didn’t do. Of course, he didn’t like that idea because we were talking about his mom, but he was still justified in his own mind. I never saw Joey again, but I feel bad for him. He was born 30 years too late. Nowadays, the police would have taped the incident and Joey would have a lot of followers on Facebook and be started on his new career as a motivational speaker on the subject of containing your rage.