Lost my Queen but still prevailed

  • The intent of my last move, B1 to B7 was to move the Black King away from protecting Black Rook
  • But he had no where to go because of Pawn at E5


Fell behind but rallied to win

  • I won by advancing a Pawn to promotion
  • Black Rook captured promoted Pawn-Queen and
  • White Queen captured the Black Rook to mate

A Fast Checkmate

The key:

  • Probably the White Pawn ladder at B1, C3, D4
  • The White King nicely tucked away at A1
  • There was tit for tat exchange of pieces and then
  • A White Pawn, protected by Rook, advanced and was promoted
  • It was a race to promote a Pawn and White won 
  • And then the game!


Fell behind but managed a win!

  • The key was luring the Black King down to his end!
  • White King at E3 prevented Black Kings escape to F4
  • I lost a Knight early to a stupid mistake!
  • Note how all White Pawns are on white spaces (invalidating the Black Bishop)
  • Also note how the Black Bishop is locked in behind the scrimmage line


Sunday night checkmate

  • Nice win tonight
  • Advanced White Pawn at F8 is probably the key ... preventing Black King's move out of check


The True Cause of the California Fires

California's Devastating Fires Are Man-Caused -- But Not In The Way They Tell Us


The Sacramento Bee editorial board blamed the Carr Fire foursquare on a man-caused buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In an editorial headlined, “The Carr Fire is a terrifying glimpse into California’s future,” they write, “This is climate change, for real and in real time. We were warned that the atmospheric buildup of man-made greenhouse gas would eventually be an existential threat.”

The Bee editorial board goes on to attack President Trump for proposing to end California’s exceptional waiver from federal law regarding auto emissions—in this case, California’s push to curtail tailpipe carbon dioxide, something never envisioned when the Clean Air Act was debated in 1970. At the time, the concern was pollution that directly harmed health rather than carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring gas exhaled by every living animal.

The problem with the Bee’s editorial is that making a passionate argument is no substitute for the truth.

In 2005 while a freshman California Assemblyman, I had the chance to visit Northern California and meet with the forest product industry professionals who grew, managed, and harvested trees on private and public lands. They told me of a worrisome trend started years earlier where both federal and state regulators were making it more and more difficult for them to do their jobs. As a result, timber industry employment gradually collapsed, falling in 2017 to half of what it was 20 years earlier, with imports from Canada, China, and other nations filling domestic need.

As timber harvesting permit fees went up and environmental challenges multiplied, the people who earned a living felling and planting trees looked for other lines of work. The combustible fuel load in the forest predictably soared. No longer were forest management professionals clearing brush and thinning trees.

But, fire suppression efforts continued. The result was accurately forecast by my forest management industry hosts in Siskiyou County in 2005: larger, more devastating fires—fires so hot that they sterilized the soil, making regrowth difficult and altering the landscape. More importantly, fires that increasingly threatened lives and homes as they became hotter and more difficult to bring under control.

In 2001, George E. Gruell, a wildlife biologist with five decades of experience in California and other Western states, authored the book, “Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests: A Photographic Interpretation of Ecological Change Since 1849.” Gruell’s remarkable effort compared hundreds of landscape photographs from the dawn of photography with photos taken from the same location 100 years later or more. The difference was striking. In the 1850s and 1860s, the typical Sierra landscape was of open fields of grass punctuated by isolated pine stands and a few scattered oak trees. The first branches on the pine trees started about 20 feet up—lower branches having been burned off by low-intensity grassfires. California’s Native American population had for years shaped this landscape with fire to encourage the grasslands and boost the game animal population.

As the Gold Rush remade modern California, timber was harvested and replanted. Fires were suppressed because they threatened homes as well as burned up a valuable resource. The landscape filled in with trees, but the trees were harvested every 30 to 50 years. In the 1990s, however, that cycle began to be disrupted with increasingly burdensome regulations. The timber harvest cycle slowed, and, in some areas, stopped completely, especially on the almost 60% of California forest land owned by the federal government. Federal lands have not been managed for decades, threatening adjacent private forests, while federal funds designated for forest maintenance have been "borrowed" for fire suppression expenses. The policies frequently reduce the economic value of the forest to zero. And, with no intrinsic worth remaining, interest in maintaining the forest declined, and with it, resources to reduce the fuel load.

Some two decades ago, California produced so much wood waste from its timber operations, including brush and small trees from thinning efforts, that the resulting renewable biomass powered electric generating plants across the length of the state. But cheap, subsidized solar power, combined with air quality concerns (wood doesn’t burn as cleanly as natural gas) and a lack of fuel due to cutbacks in logging, led to the closure of many biomass generators. What used to be burned safely in power generators is now burned in catastrophic fires. Including the growing capture and use of landfill methane as a fuel, California’s biomass energy generation last year was 22% lower than it was 25 years before.

... Whether global climate change is a problem that can be solved by California is a dubious proposition—one year’s worth of emission growth in China is greater than California’s total emissions. But the action needed to reduce the state’s growing forest fire threat would be the same regardless of one’s belief in any problems posed by climate change: start managing our forests again.

 Comment:  The canard of "Climate Change" is always the 'political' villain


The 2020 Democratic Candidates

Hillary 4.0?


On the persistence of "radical evil"

What World War I Taught the Clergy - ‘A terrified and angry pacifism,’ C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘is one of the roads that lead to war.’


The catastrophe of World War I, which ended 100 years ago Sunday, reshaped more than geopolitics. It also transformed a generation of Western Christians from holy crusaders into antiwar activists. This shift in thinking, coinciding with the rise of European fascism, contributed to the outbreak of World War II.

Religious leaders on both sides of the conflict demonized one another and conferred divine legitimacy on their war aims. In October 1914, German theologians endorsed a letter by prominent intellectuals that declared Kaiser Wilhelm II’s war policy a defensive necessity. In turn the Allies, backed by their national churches, characterized the German leader as “the Beast of Berlin.” London’s Bishop Arthur Winnington-Ingram said churches had a duty “to mobilize the nation for a holy war.” Germany, he argued, had abandoned Christianity for paganism. “The god the German leaders worship is an idol of the earth,” intoned G.A. Studdert Kennedy, one of Britain’s best-known chaplains: “a crude and cruel monster who lives on human blood.”

Although officially secular, the French government welcomed the crusading rhetoric of the Catholic clergy and helped lead the nation into a union sacrée. American Baptist leader Samuel Batten captured the apocalyptic mood when he called the war “a continuation of Christ’s sacrificial service for the redemption of the world.”

Four years of mechanized slaughter left the righteous crusade looking like an unholy debacle. With European democracy in tatters, a profound sense of disillusionment descended. The clergy were particularly affected.
By the early 1920s, churches on both sides of the Atlantic passed hundreds of resolutions renouncing war. Membership in peace societies exploded. In 1924 the Chicago Federation of Churches, representing 15 denominations, declared itself “unalterably opposed to war.” A nationwide poll found 60% of clergymen opposed any future war and nearly half vowed not to serve as wartime military chaplains.

The pacifist outlook culminated in the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact. Signatories, including the U.S., Germany, Japan and France, agreed to abandon war as a tool of national policy. Church leaders mobilized for passage. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in 1929. The Christian Century, liberal Protestantism’s leading journal, opined: “Today international war was banished from civilization.”

Yet within a decade, a series of political crises rendered the document moot. Japan invaded Manchuria, Mussolini marched into Ethiopia, and Hitler occupied the Rhineland and annexed Austria. Meanwhile in 1933, the University of Oxford’s debating society had decided overwhelmingly “that this House will under no circumstances fight for King and country.” Neither Britain nor France was in any mood to confront international aggression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt—with enthusiastic Christian support—signed the Neutrality Acts of 1935 and 1936, banning military aid to any nation in wartime.

When Hitler orchestrated the Munich Agreement in 1938—a desperate act of democratic appeasement that dismembered Czechoslovakia for a promise of peace—church leaders rejoiced. “The peace of Munich was possible,” Jesuit priest John LaFarge Jr. wrote in the Catholic journal America, “because of the habits and methods of peacemaking learned through two decades of international intercourse in the halls of the League of Nations.” Within a year Germany invaded Poland.

Throughout the 1930s Christian leaders played down the differences between Western democracies and the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany. When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Charles Clayton Morrison, editor of the Christian Century, denounced a potential Anglo-American alliance as “a war for imperialism.” Harry Emerson Fosdick, the popular social-gospel minister at New York’s Riverside Church, warned that American involvement in the war against Nazism would be “a colossal and futile disaster.”
Comment:Very good read


The "unlucky tree" - the offense of the cross

Doug McLachlan's "unlucky tree" quote: "to the Romans the word 'crux' was so offensive that they referred to it euphemistically as 'suspended from the unlucky tree'"

The "unlucky tree"

From: Roman public life, A. H. J Greenidge

Cited in his message here


Win before dinner

  • Similar to previous but as far as I recollect unique
  • Note how Black Bishop was boxed in and
  • How all White Pawns (save one) are on white squares


A little different win

  • I made at least one mistake - losing a Pawn to the Black Bishop
  • Note at the end how defanged the Black Bishop is by nature of the fact that all (except one) White Pawns are on white spaces
  • I've used the White Knight post-position (F5) strategy before: protected by a Pawn
  • I boxed the King into moving to E8 ... then moved the Rock to checkmate position
  • I'm kind of proud of myself! (note at end how Black has 1 more Pawn than White)
  • Below: 2 mates in one evening


The Ordination of Uncle Zeke

Down in the deep south lived a colored man known in his county as “Uncle Zeke.” He became a Christian and began to give his testimony and fill the pulpits of some of the churches in that area. He decided that if he was going to be a preacher, he should be ordained. Accordingly the preachers were called together in a council and ordination proceeded to get under way.

One of the preachers asked the question, “Uncle Zeke, does you know de Bible?”

“Does I know de Bible! Man, I knows de Bible from lid to lid and I knows de lid too, cause it says ‘Holy Bible.’”

Another preacher asked, “What’s yo’ favorite book of de Bible?”

“Well, I likes de book of Luke de best cause it contains de parable of de good Samaritan.”

“One of the preachers said, “Suppose you tells us the story of de good Samaritan.”

“Oh, yeah, there was a man going down de road from Jerusalem to Jericho. As he went down de road, he fell amon thieves and immediately de thorns rose up and choke him a hundred fold: but the angel of the Lawd strove with him and sit him free. Now about that time the Queen Aseba, she come by and give that man 30 pieces of silver. With that 30 pieces of silver he went out and bought hisself a schariot. He got in de schariot and drove furiously until he come to Jupurant tree which he caught his hair in de branches der of and der he hung many days and many nights, and the ravens brought him food ta eat and water ta drink. Till finally, one night Delilah come cut his hair off; and when he fell, he fell on stony ground- some 30 fold, some 60 fold, and some a hundred fold. “When he looked up, he saw a cloud what wudn’t no beggah than a mustard seed. And it commenst to rainin’ forty days and forty nights. But de Lawd prepared za great fish what swallowed him up for de duration of de great tribulation. Now when de seven years was complete that fish spit him out. When de Lawd had done fed him on manna and quail, he came up out of de cave and when he looked down he saw a great big giant- yeah, it was Golia, but he passed by on de other side. “As he went down the road further there was a man what told him to come get his supper. He said, ‘Man, I can’t come git my supper. I married a wife and I can’t come.’ That man went into de highways and byways and compel him git his supper. After he had eaten sumptiously, he said, ‘Did not my heart burn within me?’ “And he perceeded down the road and came to Jercho. He seen Jezebel up in de winder. He looked around and said, ‘Who is on de Lawd’s side?’ They said, ‘We is!’ He said, ‘Fling her down boys,’ and they flang her down. He said, ‘Flang her down again, boys,’ and they flang her down again. He said, ‘Flang her down again.’ and they flang he down again. He said, ‘Flang her down again!’ They took that gal to the top of the pinnacle of the Temple, and they flang that gal down 70 times 7, and of the fragments that remained, they picked up twelve baskets full.

“Now, they’s just one question I’d like to ask this council.”

“Uh, what that, Uncle Zeke?”

“Who’s wife she gonna be in the last days of judgment?”
Comment: I heard this for the first time this morning. Source . Image source


Same winning players but a bit different

  • Obviously I opened up columns G and H
  • White Knight posted at F5 provided cover
  • Note nice protection by the White Pawns
  • Black King was forced from his corner and into checkmate


Are Science and Faith Compatible?

  • Concept 1: Atheism is Self-Denying
    ... when an atheist reaches the conclusion that scientific naturalism is true, his conclusion has only the illusion of truth. Chemicals in the brain are responsible for the conclusion. Free will choice is an illusion according to scientific naturalism, there is no way to know what is true. According to atheism, a Christian has no choice but to believe in Christianity. It is just the specific mechanical unfolding of chemicals that created his Christian belief—a biochemical illusion. Same for any other worldview, including atheism. In any biochemical illusion of a thought conclusion, there may be programming influences from family, culture, and so forth, but they are also a part of this predetermined mechanical unfolding of chemicals ultimately resulting in the neurochemicals masquerading as the free will choice to decide upon a worldview. When we receive information that influences how we see the world, there is still no choice of how we will respond to that influence because everything, including thought and choice, is a result of a mechanical unfolding of chemicals. The influence is just another player in the illusion of volition. In the atheist’s philosophy of scientific naturalism, the processes of the physical world are chemically rigged from the beginning without any room for free will conclusions about what is or is not true. The problem for the atheist then becomes obvious: Any claim to truth must make an appeal beyond the deterministic unfolding of chemicals, posited by scientific naturalism. Otherwise, without transcendent validation, that truth conclusion is an illusion with no objective reliability, a simple result of ages of undirected chemical reactions. Scientific naturalism is logically self-denying. Atheism cannot rely upon its own conclusions because those conclusions would necessarily be only illusions of thought according to the limitations of scientific naturalism. Illusions are not reliable for suppositions of truth.
  • Concept 2: The Cosmological Conundrum
    If the universe has not always existed, then something had to bring it into existence. It is illogical to say that the universe could create itself because it was not around in the beginning. Nothing cannot make something.
  • Concept 3: The Programming Paradox
    We cannot expect such a designed program code to write itself by accident through random chemical events in nature any more than we could expect intelligent functional software to happen by accident without the intelligence of software programmers. There must be a Programmer for these biological software codes just as there must be a programmer for computer software codes. Furthermore, a designed code by definition indicates a personal designer, as does any deliberate design. Deliberation necessitates personal mind as well. Blind neo-Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain information that is necessary in every living cell from the very beginning of life, created fully operational!


Twice in one day

  • The effectiveness of the Black Bishop was neutralized by White Pawn at E3
  • Corridor column G was opened up 
  • Permitting White Rooks to trap the Black King into mate
  • Black never threatened 
  • Had Black Pawn advanced from H6 to H5, Black King could have escaped

I've seen this one before

A bit like


  • Note: I looked back at my victories and this one is unique to me.
  • Nice White Pawn defense
  • Black Bishop immobilized by having 7 Pawns on White spaces
  • Nice positioning of the Knight at F6: On a White space (immune from Bishop attack) and protected by Pawns


John Walvoord on "Sin"

  1. Thirty-Three Words for Sin in the New Testament Part 1
  2. Thirty-Three Words for Sin in the New Testament Part 2
  3. Thirty-Three Words for Sin in the New Testament Part 3

Victory before Dawn

  • I lost one Rook to Black Bishop
  • Nice Pawn defense and ...
  • Knight advance (well-protected)
  • Black Queen was rendered infective and never captured a piece
  • This game is unique for me as I almost always trade Queens early in a game


Saturday Win

  • Not my first win today - this just before dinner
  • My final move - didn't realize it would be a Checkmate move 
  • Thought I would pick up the Black Pawn at G7


Managed a Draw

  • I would have lost had I not kept Black King in Check
  • I fell behind in Pawns and then
  • Wasn't able to keep Black from Pawn promotion
  • How Draw was forced: White Rook G8-G7 and back


Kathee's Grandparents - Hoersch

John (d 1958) and Marie (d 1963)

I am pointing with my crutches

The graves are easy to find. The above statue is in a green "island" in an "eye of a needle" (see the map!). If you are in a car facing this statue ... look about 30-50' to the East. Key off the large monolith marker with the cross (3rd photo). The latitude and longitude is from the Hoersch marker. The flat stone needs some attention ... bring a whisk broom (we wish we had!)


Checkmate - this one looks familiar

Looks a bit like this win


Checkmate at bedtime

  • We had dinner guests who stayed until 9:15pm
  • Began playing chess at about 9:35 ... just before my 10pm bedtime
  • Nice win ... 
  • I did fail to protect my White King as well as I like but ...
  • My offense was punishing:
    • Note the Knight protecting the Pawn
    • The White Pawn protecting the Knight
    • The Rook protecting two Pawns
  • Black ahead by two Pawns ... but 
  • I just plain beat Black down!


IPhone: Save Money ... stay 1-2 years behind!

Is $1,100 too much for an iPhone? Get an older one for less


The $1,100 price tag on Apple's latest iPhone turned heads when the company announced it last week. But for less than half as much, you can still get a good camera, a decent-sized screen and other popular features.

Just buy a two-year-old iPhone 7. That phone was Apple's first to come with water resistance and its first to lose the standard headphone jack. Its 4.7-inch screen is adequate and on par with other smartphones, even though its resolution falls short of high definition. And the phone still has a fingerprint sensor and a home button, both of which have vanished in the latest iPhones.

Or, if you want to pay more for wireless charging, there's the iPhone 8. An edge-to-edge screen? You'll need the upcoming budget iPhone XR or one of its more expensive siblings. And if you want a supersized display, that's where the $1,100 iPhone XS Max comes in. That model and a smaller version start selling in the U.S. and several other countries on Friday. If you're shopping for a new phone, it pays to think hard about what you really want and what you're willing to pay for it. Improvements over the previous generation tend to be incremental, but can add up over time — and so do the sums you'll pay for them.
Comment: We are on a 3-4 year cycle for technology. Kathee's MacBook is almost 4 years old and mine is 2 years old. Our phones are IPhone SE's ... 1 year old but work great. In two years we will be buying old technology but new IPhones and saving bucks! Above is a screen snap from Apple's website today!

Bear Scare ... Have a Cash Buffer

Retiring Soon? Plan for Market Downturns


Retirees with cash buffers often react more calmly to market declines, reducing the odds that they will panic and bail out of the market completely, says Ross Levin, a financial adviser in Edina, Minn. The problem, Mr. Levin says, is that the low returns on cash often reduce a portfolio’s long-term returns. “If you have 80% in stocks and 20% in bonds with a three-year cash position, that’s a worse strategy from a returns standpoint than having 70% in stocks and 30% in bonds,” and nothing in cash, he says. A cash buffer “allows you to manage a client’s psychology during bad times, but it’s not an optimal strategy.” To solve that problem, some advisers instead use bonds as a buffer. A $1 million portfolio with 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds effectively holds eight years of living expenses in bonds, Mr. Pfau says.
Comment: This is our current strategy ... hold some in cash (using my T-Bill strategy) and if the market declines (it feels very high right now), buy on the dip

Not a Draw but a Deadlock

  • I played mistake free but couldn't force Black into a mistake
  • So back and forth! 


Strangulation by Triangulation

I have a real "kill" instinct about Chess


A program 'bug' leads to a series of weirdness!

Some narrative here:

  • WHITE Knight moved to F5 to put King in Check
  • (Here's the bug): BLACK Pawn takes WHITE Knight exposing King to Check from the WHITE Rook
  • Now what to do? We are in chess Bizarro-world!
  • I show this, incredulously, to my wife (who knows a thing or two about chess!)
  • So I capture the BLACK King! (A piece that can be mated but not captured!)
  • I keep playing just to see what will happen (below)

Somehow I mate the BLACK King ... and it's not even on the board!

Giving up for the evening - I can't wrap my brain around this!