War and Peace

Friday, February 29, 2008

Once again I set off later than I had hoped. As much as I enjoy blaming Joe Bihlmeyer, it was not my workout that delayed me. Instead it was a stop at Double Visions, a club that is far enough away from West Chester that I can only visit when I'm already heading out that way. My plan was to get a couple of dances and then some food from Amefika's, but since when do my plans ever work out.

The of my desire that night called herself Breeze, and she had had the most spectacular rack (Scrabble content) of all the dancers in the joint (not that many). When she got off stage I got her attention, and she said she needed to go upstairs but would be right down. While I waited I noticed that one of the TVs (DV is more of a sports bar) was tuned to the Weather Channel (one of the few remaining privately owned channels that is still profitable), and a recurring headline was "CLIPPER STORM". Not sure what a "clipper storm" is, but the map showed an ominous looking mass of snow and ice head my way. I very much wanted to beat the snow, but I also wanted to play "sgrabble", so to speak, with Breeze.

Thirty minutes later, still no Breeze, at least inside the bar. I peeked outside, and I could see light snow blowing across the parking lot. Nuts! I was expecting to get some snow on the way to Hyde Park, but now I would be slowed down on the way to Trenton. Assuming they didn't cut out early, Amefika's would close at 11:00 PM, and the clock was fast approaching 10:00.

It was nearly 10:00 when Breeze came downstairs, but she had to go onstage first. When she finished her two songs, she apologized and explained she had forgotten about me. Say what? What the heck was she doing up in the dressing room that she would just "forget" a customer. I mean, the point of her being at the club was to make money, right? She couldn't exactly make that green hanging out upstairs. That's just weird.

So I finally got a pair of dances, and, as I expected, the were pretty tame. As a general rule, the best-looking dancers are also the most aloof, simply because they can get away with it and still get paid.

Rushed off towards Trenton, calculating just how much of a delay I could suffer on the slick surface streets before I hit the freeway. My calculations turned out moot, for when I called Amefika's I found out they were knocking off about 15 minutes early. First the stripper and now the restaurant--doesn't anybody have a work ethic anymore?

Fortunately, I had called while still on Street Road, so I was able to stop at the Suburban Diner for what you could call a very late breakfast or a very early breakfast--take your pick. While waiting for my French toast, I asked the hostess if she knew when the Starbucks down the road, Feasterville, closed. Not that was any of her business, but she asked why, and I confessed I needed orange juice. Of course she told me about the orange juice in their cooler, and she gave me a rather blank stare when I explained how much I loved the Naked Juice that Starbucks now carries. She clearly had no appreciation of quality orange juice--according to her, "they both have the same Vitamin C."

The snow did not slow me down all that much, a good thing because I was tiring out earlier than I had expected. I had to make a choice--stop at a rest area and hope that the roads would be clear in the morning so I could drive 75-80, or push on at 60-65 MPH all the way to Poughkeepsie. When I reached the NY Thruway and saw the first rest area, I decided to take my chances in the morning.

Pulling into the rest area, I was rather surprised to see the the parking area was actually a garage. That was the first rest area with a parking garage I had ever seen.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

8:02, roads clear, and just 68 miles to drive--plenty of time.

Mental note: there's a Caribbean restaurant on SR-299 just east of the Thruway. Should come in handy when heading south in the afternoon from the Albany, Saratoga Springs, or Lake George tournaments, assuming the place is open on Sunday.

At the Highland Bagel Café the manager expressed faux indignation when I asked if the eggs were fried or microwaved. When I explained that I'd found many bagel shops, especially out West, that microwave their eggs, he shook his head. He just couldn't understand why bagel shops would do that. It's that profit motive, man, that evil profit motive!

As I headed north on 9G I heard my phone ringing. I assumed it was Bihlmeyer wondering how far I was, but on the country it was he who was running late, and in fact needed directions. I gave him really good directions. I gave him FLAWLESS directions. Nevertheless, he ended up taking Highway 55 all the way east through Poughkeepsie and to the Hudson. Oh, that Bihlmeyer!

Ira Freehof played me pretty hard, hitting phony VAUNTI(E)S*, QI for 44, HARRY for 52, LEANERS, and some other decent scores. I myself had opened with FROZE, double-double rOU(N)DING two turns later followed by (A)LIENEES, and yet I was worried he would take the momentum. Glad I had that second blank for CIGArET.

Joe Bihlmeyer out-voweled me again. Despite having the blank, shortage of vowels forced me to play (BE)N for 9, (A)R(I)L for 6, and H(E)N for 10 before I finally bingoed. My post-bingo rack was EEFIOOU, and I could not win the endgame.

God damn it!!! Two stupid mistakes could easily have cost me the game against Eric Goldstein. First, I mishooked MEALY to an E, thus losing my turn and allowing Eric the hot spot after he had just bingoed. Could have been really, really bad, but he was only able to score 26. And then, with just one bingo spot open, I played LADROOn* instead of LARDOOn*! Son of a bitch! I had just been looking at that word, too. I had been unsure of LAD(R)o(N) to go out against Joel Horn, and I later looked up the rack and saw that while both LADRON and LARDON are good, only LARDOON is acceptable. Oy, vey! What's a brother have to do to remember the correct spelling of that word. Had Eric challenged the word off, I would probably not have been able to bingo, and I surely would have lost.

Sweet. After missing the word in at least one, maybe two, previous tournament games, I finally found (A)POLOGIA. Joan Kelly challenged. I had few worries the rest of the game.

While waiting for play to resume after lunch, a discussion arose regarding my CGP post from the previous night. I was told that somebody had finally posted a complaint, and the contents of said complaint serve as a good example to illustrate an important principle, that of the harmful nature of unnecessary conflict.

Human beings, being possessed of free will, often come into conflict with one another. This is necessary. If human beings, acting as rational beings, are free to choose independent goals and pursue them in a world with limited space and resources, it is inevitable that conflict will arise. Two persons cannot both build a house on the same plot of land.

Experience tells us that conflict interferes with human progress. War is an excellent example of this. One consequence of war is to set back the progress of the losing society, and sometimes even that of the winning side. While it is true that progress can and often does result from war--computing technology is an example--it is hard to see that such progress could ever compensate for the destruction that war creates.

If we stop short of actually defining "progress", most rational humans would agree that progress is desirable. If we further accept the evidence that shows that conflict interferes with progress, we must also conclude reducing conflict is also desirable. Assuming that we wish to retain a society of free-thinking individuals, outright elimination of all conflict is not a realistic goal. A reduction of conflict, however, is eminently achievable, and one avenue for reducing conflict involves the elimination of unnecessary conflict.

To use the term "unnecessary conflict" implies that some conflict is in fact necessary. In the world of humans, some conflict very much is. For example, if a person needs his vehicle in order to accomplish his goals, and another person wishes to take that vehicle against the owner's will, it is rational for the owner to resist the theft. Conflict will thus ensue.

What, then, is unnecessary conflict? To answer this question, it is helpful to define conflict in terms of action and opposition. Conflict is the state created when one party opposes an action undertaken by another party. Understood in these terms, the question that one must ask regarding a given conflict is, "does the action being opposed necessarily threaten to do harm?"

If an action is causing harm, or would likely cause harm, then of course a rational invidual must oppose it even if it brings her into conflict. Take the example of a factory dumping toxic waste into a river. By merely allowing the dumping to continue and allowing the community to suffer the ill effects, conflict could be avoided. However, if we determine that those effects will lead to social ills, such as diseases and birth defects, that will in turn affect the course of progress, then we must rationally initiate conflict in order to stop the dumping.

Of course, many actions cannot be shown to be harmful by any logial reasoning. A great number of expressions of sexuality fall into this category, and a great number of these selfsame acts and expressions are opposed by some people for no reason other than defect of mind. It is important to realize at this point that a mental defect is any condition that interferes with rational thought. The psychiatric establishment holds a much more restrictive definition of mental defect, and thus they fail society by squandering an opportunity to raise public awareness of mental conditions that are not currently categorized as illnesses. The conditions I am most concerned with are those that arise from any form of belief, whether it be the belief in a god to a belief that one "race" of humans is inferior to another race. Many will express surprise and even indignation that faith and racism are mentioned in the same sentence, but I, with absolutely no background whatsoever in neuropsychology or other relevant fields of study, submit that faith and racism and all other forms of belief are fundamentally the same thing,

Regarding sexual expression, a great number, perhaps a majority, of people seem to suffer from the mental defect of believing that some forms of sexual expression are wrong while others are right. These beliefs lead to an immesurable degree of human suffering raging from the genital mutilation of African girls to the abuse of homosexuals to the stigmatization of prostitutes and other sex workers.

Many forms of sexual expression that are currently opposed by groups across the globe cannot be logically shown to be harmful. As such, all conflict that arises from the opposition of benign sexual expression is unnecessary conflict. Accordingly, individuals who are truly interested in promoting human progress instead of impeding it must recognize that they have a responsibility to transfer this uncessary conflict from their environement and into their own minds. And once unnecessary conflict is internalized, individuals should then alter their mental states so as to dissolve the conflict and be at peace with themselves.

For example, in the case of an individual who opposes homosexuality, that individual has a responsiblity to society to first cease externalizing that conflict, to cease antagonizing other people, for that conflict impedes human progress. Secondly, that individual must learn to eliminate those negative feelings towards homosexuality in order that her consciousness can be fully dedicated to some positive goal.

Of course we cannot assume that all individuals, if thinking rationally, would necessarily desire to reduce conflict. Some people might actually try to create conflict to satisfy their own desires and goals. On a larger scale, organizations may seek to increase conflict. One such example would be elements involved in the struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It has been reported that some parties actively oppose peace because an end to the conflict would result in a lessening of their own power.

Individuals and organzations with such selfish motives would not be persuaded by arguments in favor of reducing conflict, and they are not my intended audience. Frankly, I have at present no ideas for how to deal with such individuals other than to eliminate them. But I do have hope that the vast majority of people do care about human progress and can somehow be persuaded to take steps to evolve their minds into a state in which they no longer create conflict that is not necessary.

Continuous lack of balance against Marjorie killed me. First too few vowels, which seemed to be the theme of the tournament, and then too many vowels, which would be my bane against Koenig.

Against Frank Tangredi ARO(Y)NTED took the lead. Frank took it back with DIL(A)TiNG, but my sweeter bingo, VINIF(E)RA, put me back in the game. The board tightened, and that was that for poor Frank.

I probably would have lost anyway, but drawing WWC to ERNS after playing SAX really killed my game against David Koenig, and then losing my S to an overdraw when I exchanged again pounded the nail into my coffin of ratings loss.

I tried to run up the spread against Eric Goldstein in case David beat Marjorie by a small margin, but he ended up walloping her by over 300 points!!! Oh, well, second place is still a pretty good prize at Cornelia's tournaments.

Once again, like in an earlier Bayside, the top 4 seeds all lost ratings points. Wackness.



#1 - Freehof    
0 FA(S)  
7.5 rOU(N)DING (C)lOUDING (saw one double-double spot but missed other)
1.9 AEON wrong play
12.4 (L)IKED  
9 EURO  
0 T(O)GS  
#2 - Bihlmeyer    
0 XI  
5.3 (D)A(R)K  
1.4 PULE  
4 (BE)N  
8.8 (A)R(I)L (E)RN/(PULE)R
30.4 H(E)N uNSHORN
0 FEE  
0 N(OO)  
38* (O)I miss Joe's other out play
#3 - Goldstein    
0 DITZ  
0 QI  
0 RAX  
49.8 lose turn ((E)Y*)  
14 CA(Y)  
0 EAU  
0 VINO  
0 LADROOn*  
24.5 R(A)P(T) M(U)R(I)D/M(I)/R(E)
15 DONG  
0 M(E)N  
#4 - Kelly    
0 NUBI(A)  
10.5 AREAE  
0 XI  
1.4 IVY  
3.9 (C)H(I)RK  
42.3 A(K)EE miss S(PANNED) hook,(I)DEALISE
0 SEI  
0 (R)ALLY  
5.9 M(I)B  
4.9* DURA  
0 JEWE(D)  
2 (W)RISTs  
#5 - Schoneboom    
2.1 HANG  
19.6 XI MINX
7.1 (HE)MP  
2.1* IOTA  
0* (F)ACIAE  
0 JI(A)O  
0* OF  
7.9 (I)VY YUGA
7 (JO)Y  
#6 - Tangredi    
2.1 NUMB 8E 8G
2.9 ARO(Y)NTED NO(N)RATED (unsure)
0 QI  
0 (N)UBILE  
0 JU(T)E  
2.5 ERA  
0 PA  
13.6 MA(D) EDEMA(T)A
1.9 A(R)ECA  
13.5 ESNE critical block
0* (A)X disregard DEW(A)X and W(A)X b/c know Frank rack
8 OW(E)  
#7 - Koenig    
1 -AIUUV (ER)  
1.7 AE  
0 VETO  
0.9 (V)OILA thought (V)OILA but inverted tiles anyway
0 IOTA  
0 PO(L)IO  
1.3 DHUTI  
8.6 SAX S(A)X (for 9 pts less but keep AENRS)
11.2 -CWW disregard plays tha open board
#8 - Goldstein    
0.1 DOLT  
0 (s)HRINE  
0 QUI(N)  
0 IN  
0 PARLO(R)  
4.6 OX  
9.3 (Z)ITI  
8 SEW  

1 - W - 8.2 (98.1)
2 - L - 6.9 (104)
3 - W - 11.4 (159.7)
4 - W - 5.6 (78.7)
5 - L - 3.7 (46.4)
6 - W - 3.2 (44.5)
7 - L - 5.9 (76.7)
8 - W - 3.6 (39.6)

Avg: 6.1

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