Nice try, Tony

Tony’s “Goodness by the Slice”

You almost have to give Tony’s credit for trying to convince us that their frozen pizzas are healthy (this was not a product I’d planned on purchasing, so they just got $2.04 from this guy for their bad advertising).

Are the Knicks an embarrassment? Yes, they are.

New York Knicks

Last night, I was idly running through the six channels I might watch when this third quarter basketball score grabbed my attention: Celtics 56, Knicks 31.

Normally, I hate blowouts, but, well, it’s the Knicks and Isiah. Who doesn’t enjoy laughing at them? (Unfortunately, I believe we are watching the end of an era. But that’s but many people’s belief for the past few years.) When it got to 82-37, I had to call one of my basketball-watching friends to let him know what was going on. Fortunately for him, he lives in the Dallas area, so he was watching the Cowboys-Packers game.

Celtics demolish Knicks by 45, 104-59

Creepily prescient

The Miami Dolphins have managed to accumulate 11 straight losses this season, the latest a 3-0 loss on Monday Night Football. Blue Devil Knight keeps insisting the Patriots and Dolphins are linked and will end up having parallel, but opposite fates. Right now, the Dolphins are 0-11 and the Patriots are 11-0.

Last week’s games only served to confirm his hypothesis: the Patriots won by 3 at home in a game between teams of disparate strengths. The Dolphins lost by 3 on the road in a game between teams of disparate strengths.

Adam Schein of Fox Sports gave the Steelers an A- on his November report card despite losing to the 2-9 Jets and beating the Dolphins only by 3. He was impressed they beat up the Ravens, a team that’s lost 5 in a row. WHAT???

The Mascot and Chess

Mascot: You know, I thought chess was just some boring game played by a bunch of fat white guys. But I wanna learn it now!

Donnie: Really? That’s cool…I guess. So why the change of heart?

Mascot: I was wondering why I’d see some spouses at tournaments. But this comment revealed everything!

Donnie: Let’s see what you were–OH, MAN! You pervert! That doesn’t stand for–he was referring to the Smith-Morra Gambit!

Mascot: What, is that just some set of moves? You mean there’s no…

Donnie: NO!

Mascot: Well, that’s no fun! Never mind, then.

Modifying Chess Publisher

I’ve had a couple questions regarding the handy PGN viewer Chess Publisher. A bit of code can be used to change the default formatting; here are the steps:

1. The move list should be prefaced by: <div style='height:270px;overflow:auto;'> and end with: </div>. This causes the moves not to wrap under the board.

2. If you want a move to start on its own line, preface it with <br>.

3. (optional) Do #3 only if you don’t want the scroll bar! You’ll need to change the height so it contains the whole move list. This also means you need to change the height in the “iframe” code Chess Publisher has you paste on your site. The iframe height should be 70 more than the div height specified in step 1.

That’s it!

It’s possible to use HTML tags in the move list as well (<b>1. e4</b> bold, etc.) However, using HTML formatting in the bracketed comments may interfere with the play button functionality. I don’t remember which tag triggered that problem.

11 years late

Remember the “All your base are belong to us” meme? That came to my attention 6 years after it started making the rounds.

Well, yesterday I discovered another meme in which I’m 11 years late to the party…enjoy, and don’t dance too hard…

Psychology test

Considering the following statement: “If you rip it off fast, it goes easier.”

1. What is the first meaning or situation that you associate with that statement?

2. What is the first meaning or situation not having to do with sex that you associate with that statement?

What I’ve been cooking

For a pot-luck doggie party, I made a fake chicken pot pie (had to be vegetarian due to at least one vegetarian being there). The Asian restaurants have fake meats you can buy, and I must say the pot pie with fake chicken was better than with real chicken.

Thrice, have attempted tempura and I am still not very good at it. They turn out good enough to want to eat, but bad enough to be ashamed to show other people.

Spaghetti is simple. It’s wonderful with freshly cooked spinach, mushrooms, and grated sharp cheddar cheese. It works well without meat, but I’ve also used sausage or snail meat. [The Mascot says: Snail meat in spaghetti? That’s weird, man.]

This past Sunday, I baked three stuffed quail. It’s the first time I’ve stuffed and baked poultry. [The Mascot says: You finally experienced sticking your finger in an animal’s anus. Congrats!] Quail tastes too similar to chicken to want to buy it again, but it was fine. I’m going to do fried quail today, because I accidentally left the other three quail out overnight. Call it defrosting.

You know how they say you end up becoming like your parents? Growing up, my dad liked sardines, and while I tolerated them as a kid, they always seemed kinda weird. But on Saturday? Bought 4 mini-cans of sardines and have already eaten 3 of them.

Falafel with plain yogurt is wonderful, but plain yogurt occupies a very small section in most supermarkets. If it’s there at all.

Today, I have to use up the bananas that were overripe from not finishing them before Thanksgiving weekend. Banana bread sounds just like the way to go.

Somewhat unusual/exotic foods left to use: red rice, frog legs, more snail meat, chicken feet, octopus, plum wine (this stuff is better than grape wines, I think).

Bad to middling chess

Three games over the weekend before last. One to be semi-satisfied with, with two stinkbombs.

Game 1: The best of the lot. I managed to extract a disadvantageous position from a winning one, but my opponent then managed to give away his advantage (which I don’t think either of us realized that he had). Even on time, we eventually agreed on a draw in a Rook endgame.

Game 2: My hair-brained novelty on move 4 is a fraud, and my opponent sacrifices material for a crushing attack. To give you an idea how badly I played the opening, from moves 5 to 14, Fritz gave me ?’s or ??’s on 5 moves. Now, if that was the end of the story, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But I had multiple opportunities to halt his attack and convert on my material plus, which I failed to notice. That’s what made this loss so irritating.

Game 3: Got paired up with someone rated 600 points lower. Don’t know how most of you feel when that happens, but these games make me really nervous. Mainly because I know I should win, and even a draw would be devastating. Plus, there’s no benefit ratings-wise for a victory, so it’s a lose-lose situation. I have no problem with playing an occasional game like this; it reinforces that I need keep my head in the game regardless of the situation. (Being nervous about playing lower-rated players seems to have done wonders; I only have two losses to anyone below 1500: a 1400 and 1497.)

In this game, I run around headless for the first 2/3rds of the game, but I wasn’t too worried, expecting my inexperienced opponent to start making blatant mistakes. Which he does, eventually. (In reality, I had no clue how to play the position.) But he was pretty solid for a good chunk of the game.

Despite it all, I (unofficially) earned +8 rating points.

Big black book

Does anyone else have that tome “Chess” by László Polgár? 95% of it is problems to find checkmate in 1, 2, or 3 moves. It’s wonderful to have so many problems, but here’s an example of something that annoys me about the format of a lot of them:

Position 3726 from László Polgár’s Chess tome

This is a White to mate in 3. In this position, like a lot of the problems, Black has a way to give check or even checkmate. So you know right off the top of the bat you have to give check every single move, but this is rarely like a usual game.

To me, it seems a bit artificial. Maybe it’s more important for training to be able to see the pattern? What do y’all think?