Monday, July 27, 2015

Chess vs Shogi

During our last day in Tokyo, that beautiful clean maiden of a city, I forced my better half to come with me and find a place to play shogi. I had been disappointed because no one seemed to be playing the game out on the streets. Come to figure, there were clubs, and so after looking it up we went searching. We went to a neighborhood that smelled like the usual clean Tokyo with remnants of noodle dinners, and were quickly lost, as the exact address was hidden in Japanese characters we could not discern. I walked up and down the narrow street, surprised that there wasn’t a huge sign somewhere. Dropping into a restaurant, I asked a woman sweeping up about shogi. My horrendous accent must have thrown her off, for she stared at me. Luckily, I remembered a movement, a jerk with two fingers, to indicate movement of the pieces, of the game. Ah, her eyes lit up and she dropped her broom and walked out into the street, indicating that we should follow her.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Free Speech

I wrote about free speech earlier, where I decried the crime of being offended (while still trying to look at the entire situation) should not have pushed people to silence others. In fact, I disagreed with many people who said that trying to silence someone was not the same as a free speech violation, and that, duly, we should all watch what we say. Even xkcd [1] chimed in to say you cannot offend. Right. Again, this is in line with the core of the Constitution (I'm speaking specifically of America now) while being completely against the spirit of that amendment. Yes, you're violating someone's free speech, and the very thing this nation relies upon is in danger when we try to silence people and not engage them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chess vs Go

It’s funny how, when I was younger, I used to see pictures of chess on some article and would brim with some pride at having skills in a game that was universally considered a symbol of strategy. I was, hyper-provincially speaking, decent at chess, and most people I met face to face (again, meaning weekend players, not the rated kind) I could dispatch without too much concern. Not that I didn’t know where I stood. The internet was just budding then, and online testing revealed at best a 1700 rating, though I was sure it would be much lower against those who knew what they're doing. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Algo and his notoriety

Everyone here on this blog knows about Algo and his incredible infinite story. In addition there's the story of him tattooing his own skin to create a story too great for any of us to contemplate. Oh, the trials and tribulations of those artists greater than I! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Greece, Grexit, #ThisisaCoup

As anyone who reads this blog will know, I am trying to find better ways to read the news (and perhaps always improving upon this process). So when it comes to something that's big news and seems to be a story about simple economics (and so one would hope there would be much to agree upon in terms of economic policy). Yet what I see presented is, again, something like a horrid but necessary situation.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Torture, Another look

So, dear reader, I want to revisit the whole torture debate. I originally wrote about it here. Now, being prescient can stroke one's ego, and I wrote about torture before the Senate and the CIA had their little spat. Not a hard thing to predict, not when our policy and our view on the other (and our fellow Americans) is that they deserve what they get, the law, the morals, the constitution be damned. This is nothing more than anti-Americanism at its finest. Par for course and as usual I would never remain silent on such topics. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Torture, quick notes/rant

I will have another note on the torture debate and the possibly different than an efficacy debate to be had on the matter. But first, something else. I’ve just read a short interview by James Mitchell. “Fuck you, pay me.” Isn’t this basically what James Mitchell is saying? That he’s protected says something, doesn’t it? He knows this, and that shows from what he says. And make no bones that this sort of thinking prevails in all parts of our government and that to make progress—I’m assuming this is our endpoint here—we have to take down these parasites of the power structure. And how do we do this? We march forward and remove them with facts.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The madwoman on the subway car

There are somethings about memory and what one (or one’s mind) chooses to remember that truly confuses me. For example, I have the most serious recollection of a conversation, and though I remember the words and some of the features of the woman dealing out those words, I have no idea why I remembered it. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Iraq Lessons Learned

What follows will be something about the war in Iraq. I have been asked by many to discuss ISIS [1] and what we should do about the Middle East, not to mention our foreign policy. I've been busy trying to get the latest book edited and ready for life, so here I've been remiss with getting to the topic. I've decided to divide it into several pieces, for one can never look at such matters head on. History is important. And today I will tackle, from the view of the newer generation of this Endless War on Terror, the legacy of previous wars. I think it's important which lessons are gleamed from this, and I hope to also grow as a veteran writer with respect to this.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I, Immigrant and a tale from the past

As an immigrant-child growing up here in Michigan, I was always struck by the more nativist teachers I was taught by and I especially remember one who would only allow me access to the local college library if I would listen to her anti-immigrant tirades. I was a well-behaved (if a little sensitive) student then and I thought nothing more than to listen and be with my books and not make much trouble (which is a chant of all well-behaved immigrants). In some ways I felt sorry for her—was there a touch of loneliness in that diatribe?—and this empathy of mine allowed me to take the verbal assaults and finger wagging she dished out.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Moral Courage

Recent events have me rethinking my stance, rethinking even my views on how I react to certain moods of my fellow world citizens, especially when geopolitics arises, and rethink how I view myself with regard to courage and knowledge.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Heart is a Bloody Protagonist

The average heart beats 2,869,776,000 times in a life time. Give or take. I’m aware that at least 1 billion of these heart beats are forever gone for me. The story of I, the story of any human, is one which should include this bloody protagonist and its trials and tribulations. It doesn’t. Not usually. On a daily basis, unless it troubles us, we ignore it. A lesson for life, that. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Quick note: something in the air.

One more note on something's in the air: Jade Helm. [1] And so it goes. Chomsky has spoken about similar levels of paranoia and the symptom of outlandish conspiracy theories that come about because people have a healthy distrust for the government, and yet they refuse to combine this critical analysis (or perhaps I'm being too generous, perhaps it's only a heuristic) to other forms of informations, though even I admit that it's hard to discern such matters. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thoughts on Batman movies and the world as it is.

If one reads up on the recent golden age of TV (I’m not so sure about that, but it is better than that which came before), they also hear about the handful of somewhat serious movies. Of course, the prattle in the mainstream media focuses on the big movies, trying to tie in why something not as superficial as most movies did so well. Where they err is when they make some claim that a certain movie is deep. One such series is the Batman series. Heath Ledger’s performance aside, I’m of the thought that the entire series is a little overrated. This alone is worthy of a thesis level expose, but I have neither the time nor the inclination for that. I will say that, like most Americans, I was very entertained by the movies (again, Heath’s performance must rank amongst the best performances by a villain that I have ever seen), but to stretch that into some idle talk about how deep they were, how they spoke to the war on terror (they might have, but only with a sophomoric understanding of the matter). 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Artist and the Art

In every man woman and child there lies an artist. For some it's a lifetime of obsession. For others, it's something they find when they're doing something else which they don't particularly like (if you're doing something you do like, then that usually absorbs your passions, something vital for an artist). Vonnegut says that we should all at least do something artful at some point in our lives. I agree. Perhaps when the robots take over, they will allow us this much. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Radio Silence and the Summer Solstice

Once again, radio silence has been the order of the day. There has been, on my part, a spate of editing. Not only for earlier works, but for the latest novel I’ve completed (and which is turning out to be one of the hardest books to edit, to say nothing of the journey to the first draft). In addition, there have been some shorts, many shorts, in fact, which I’ve been trying, in a departure from what I created before. My first shorts were always snapshots of some life of some story that was told in the normal narrative fashion. And my main focus were my novels. More than ten in all. No easy feat, I assure you that, even though many merely required the rearranging of countless notes and ideas. Free moments from my time in the Army turned into stories a long time coming. And of course, these longer stories were the ones that managed to pay the bills. Well, almost.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Freckles as Stars

As an atheist, I’d like to think that I’m not superstitious. There are lapses, however, that test one’s willpower. It was a woman who taught me different.