World class chess in Dallas, November 30

November 30, 2008

Looking for something to do in Dallas today?

Go see some international, championship chess sponsored by the University of Texas – Dallas’s world-beating chess team.  The UT-Dallas Grand Master Invitational Tournament has round 9 scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn in Richardson, Texas. These are top-level matches (practice rounds for UT-D’s chess team sometimes affect international rankings), so play should continue for quite a while after the start.

Through the MonRoi site, you can watch the chess matches of the Dallas Tournament live — or at least, animations of the boards showing the moves.  You have to register, but it’s free.

Below the fold, the complete press release with all details, from UT-Dallas.

Read the rest of this entry »

Whiskey and Cigar Day 2008: Churchill and Twain

November 30, 2008

Encore Post:  From 2007; alas, things at the Texas State Board of Education have gotten no better.

Mark Twain, afloat

November 30 is the birthday of Mark Twain (1835), and Winston Churchill (1874).

Twain had a comment on recent actions at the Texas Education Agency:

In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards.

– Following the Equator; Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar

The Nobel literature committees were slow; Twain did not win a Nobel in Literature; he died in 1910. Churchill did win a Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1953.

Both men were aficionados of good whiskey and good cigars. Both men suffered from depression in old age.

Both men made a living writing, early in their careers as newspaper correspondents. One waged wars of a kind the other campaigned against. Both were sustained by their hope for the human race, against overwhelming evidence that such hope was sadly misplaced.


Both endured fantastic failures that would have killed other people, and both rebounded.

Both men are worth study.

Twain, on prisons versus education: “Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.” – Speech, November 23, 1900

Churchill on the evil men and nations do:

“No One Would Do Such Things”

“So now the Admiralty wireless whispers through the ether to the tall masts of ships, and captains pace their decks absorbed in thought. It is nothing. It is less than nothing. It is too foolish, too fantastic to be thought of in the twentieth century. Or is it fire and murder leaping out of the darkness at our throats, torpedoes ripping the bellies of half-awakened ships, a sunrise on a vanished naval supremacy, and an island well-guarded hitherto, at last defenceless? No, it is nothing. No one would do such things. Civilization has climbed above such perils. The interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, Liberal principles, the Labour Party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible. Are you quite sure? It would be a pity to be wrong. Such a mistake could only be made once—once for all.”

—1923, recalling the possibility of war between France and Germany after the Agadir Crisis of 1911, in The World Crisis,vol. 1, 1911-1914, pp. 48-49.

Image of Twain aboard ship – origin unknown. Image of Winston S. Churchill, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for 1941, copyright 1941 by Time Magazine.

More on Mark Twain

More on Winston Churchill

Orson Welles, with Dick Cavett, on Churchill, his wit, humor and grace (tip of the old scrub brush to the Churchill Centre):

Obama’s birth certificate: Astrologers bring sound reason

November 30, 2008

Texas Darlin‘ and the bevy of sites who contest the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate need to come up for air once in a while.  When astrologers start using better science, logic and reason than those obsessed with Obama’s birth certificate, it’s time for those so obsessed to change their ways, don’t you think?

See also the six ways the arguments against Obama’s birth certificate fail.

Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla

November 29, 2008

I like this photo of Mark Twain.

November 30 is the anniversary of the birth of Mark Twain, born 1835 (a year of an appearance of Halley’s Comet).  The photo was taken in the spring of 1894 in the laboratory of inventor Nikola Tesla, and originally published to illustrate an article in the legendary Century Magazine, by T.C. Martin called “Tesla’s Oscillator and Other Inventions,” in the April 1895 issue.

Mark Twain, in the laboratory of Nikola Tesla, 1894 - photo in public domain to the best of my knowledge

Mark Twain, in the laboratory of his friend, the inventor Nikola Tesla, 1894 - photo in public domain to the best of my knowledge (See Wikimedia)

Who is that to Twain’s right in the photo?  Tesla?

Molly Ivins and the argument for an immortal soul

November 29, 2008

It struck me today:  Don’t the political events of the past year make a powerful argument that there is an afterlife, and that Molly Ivins is finally taking control of some of the supernatural strings?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pamela Bumsted for sending the link to the Righteous Mothers singing the tribute to Molly Ivins:

The Righteous Mothers, \”Missing Molly Ivins\”

We’ll fight for truth and justice, and have fun.

Cover of Texas Observer Tribute to Molly Ivins edition

Cover of Texas Observer "Tribute to Molly Ivins" edition; click to purchase a copy for your library and edification.

Round-up of Thanksgiving Op-eds

November 27, 2008

Nice round-up of op-eds and other writings in newspapers and other media, on Thanksgiving, at Religion In American History.

I learned a lot.

There’s more.  This one post could be the source for a fun Documents Based Question for practice in an AP class, history or economics — maybe English, too?

Thanksgiving 2008 – Fly your flag today

November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving? Texas had it first. No kidding (unless you count the Vinlanders, who probably were grateful to be out of Greenland, but left no records that they ever actually had a feast to say so — but see the comments in the posts linked at various places).

Last year, Mrs. Bathtub was in the hospital. We sprang her before dinner, but barely.  This year, #2 son is off in the wilds of Wisconsin — the first Turkey Day he’s spent away from home and family.  We empathize with the families the first colonizers left behind.

Still, there will be dinner with the family, thanks for the endurance of storms and trials, reflections on good times past, and hopes for the future.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday, one of the 18 days designated by Congress as a “Fly the flag” day.  It’s been a historic year.  It’s a good day to fly the flag.

So, in keeping with that spirit of remembrance, it’s reprise post stuff mostly, today. If you need more, go here:

Google's Thanksgiving logo, 2007

Here’s the main reprise post, text below (there were some good comments in 2006); Margaritas and nachos do sound good, don’t they?
Patricia Burroughs has the story — you New Englanders are way, way behind.

Palo Duro Canyon in a winter inversion

Palo Duro Canyon during inversion, Winter 2001, site in 1541 of the first Thanksgiving celebration in what would become the United States. Go here:, and here:

Update, 11/27/2006: Great post here, “Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving.”


Resources for 2007:

Google's 2008 Thanksgiving logo - click here for search on "Thanksgiving"

Google's 2008 Thanksgiving logo - click for search on "Thanksgiving"

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