World’s First: Guy Who Used Castling in Chess

honorc3a9_daumier_032

Castling is a special move in chess where you simultaneously move your king, and one of your rooks.  The king moves two squares towards a rook, and that rook moves to the square at the other side of the king. It started to be used prominently in the 17th Century.  We join Pascal and Fredrik’s game in the Prussian city of Stettin in 1701.

Pascal: Are you sure you’d like to move your Knight there, my friend?

Fredrik: I suppose.

Pascal: Haha.  My Bishop takes your Pawn and you are in check mate!  You fool!

Fredrik: No.  I’m not in checkmate.

Pascal: Yes you are, you buffoon.  Can you not see that?  You’ve left your king exposed and he has no where to go.

Fredrik castles his King and Rook.

Fredrik: I’m not in check now.

Pascal: You can’t do that!  That’s illegal.  You can’t move your king more than two spaces.  Plus you were in check.  Are you some type of imbecile that can’t understand the rules of the game?

Fredrik pulls out a small pistol and points it at Pascal.

Fredrik: It’s called Castling.  And it’s a chess move now.

Pascal: Ok, ok, jeez.  I’ll just castle my King too.

Fredrik cocks the pistol.

Fredrik: Only people named Fredrik are allowed to do it.

I Think Marcus Aurelius is Telling Me to Shut-up

“See how soon everything is forgotten, and look at the chaos of infinite time on each side of the present and the emptiness of applause, and the changeableness and want of judgement in those who pretend to give praise, and the narrowness of space within which it is circumscribed, and be quiet at last.”

Not really as excited about my new bit on wine coolers as I was before…

If Terence McKenna Worked at a Cici’s Pizza Franchise…

Ed. Note – Terence McKenna was an American writer, lecturer and noted-whack job.  His arguments and ideas follow flawless logic, impeccable research and possess a deep resonance with the pulsating heart of the human soul.  However, he would be a really crappy shift manager if he worked at Cici’s.

It was 11:45 and the droves of worker bees from the Aquinas building were still pulling into the parking lot.  Their cars wove a haphazard pattern or colors and logos.  Grey Chevy Impalas, red Hyundai Elantras, and Blue Subaru Foresters  all framed in the asphalt parking lot.

“I can’t believe there’s more,” Sarah the cashier said as she snapped her bubble gum.  “Can someone go get Terry?  I’m going to need more nickles in a few minutes.”

Kendrick the busboy perked up.  “I’ll get him, Sarah.”  He put his spray bottle down on the laminate counter and walked through the corridor to the manager’s office.  The bright red door was closed.  He rapped quickly.

“Terry?  You in there?  Sarah said she needs change.”

There was a dull rustling of papers that could be heard through the hollow aluminum door.

“Be out in a minute,” a voice called back.  The rustling stopped and the door handle turned.  Into the neon light of the corridor emerged Terry.  Looking disheveled  as always, he causally crept toward Kendrick with a bag that contained a few rolls of assorted coins.

“Here you go,” he handed the sack over.   “Has the lunch rush finally subsided into some sort of manageable conglomerate of carnivores?” he asked.

“They’re still coming in,” Kendrick replied.  “Dom said we’re running low on mushroom pizza and he’s doing like twelve things right now.  You might need to jump back there and make a mushroom pie.”

“I would be glad to.  After all, we are an ape with a symbiotic relationship to a mushroom,” Terry lectured.  “And that has given us self-reflection, religion and all the spectrum of events that flow from these things.”

Kendrick was about to turn around and return to his task of spraying down the tables vacated by the “conglomerate of carnivores.”  He had started the job in February and wasn’t really sure if he was doing a good job.  Kendrick took pride in his work, even if it was just a lousy pizza shop.  “Hey Terry?  Am I doing ok?”

Terry looked shocked.  “Kenny, you are a divine being. You matter, you count. You come from realms of unimaginable power and light, and you will return to those realms.”

Kendrick looked confused.  “I meant more like are the tables clean and stuff?”

“Oh yes.  They look fine.  You’ve managed to make them mirrors of introspection.”

Just then a voice called out over the PA system. It was Sarah.  “MANAGER TO THE FRONT!  CUSTOMER COMPLAINT!”

Terry took a brief sigh.  He hated direct confrontation.  The prospect of a half-satiated bi-ped barking at him over the symmetry of the carrots in their Caesar salad or the fact that their sugar-water wasn’t bubbly enough.  It was all so pedestrian.  He meandered around the back for a bit more, hoping the problem would go away.

“MANAGER TO THE FRONT!  CUSTOMER COMPLAINT!”

Terry plodded up to the cash wrap.  A moderately obese woman with a Micky Mouse denim jacket stood tapping her press-on fingernails on the register.   The Aqua-net cemented her hair skyward, perhaps in some ill-conceived homage to a god she has never experienced.

“Yes Ma’am,” he asked.  “How can I help?”

“Yeah, I had paid for a large pizza.  And y’all gave me a small or something,” she snapped.  “Are you guys for real with that?”

Terry looked at Sarah, who stood there snapping her bubble gum on some infinite loop.  He looked at the woman.  “The syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.”

“Does that mean you’ll take fifty percent off my bill?” the woman asked.

“I suppose,” he replied.

Living with Kierkegaard

Ed note – I didn’t really even know who Kierkegaard was before this writing this article.  He just seemed like one of those people who you’re supposed to know. 

“The Rent” is a construct created by man. And I do not abide.

Soren Kierkegaard lives in a small studio apartment with Paul, a salesman at a local carpet manufacturer.  They got hooked up on Craigslist. We join the two as Paul is returning home to find his unemployed roommate on the couch.  The Danish philosopher’s heady thoughts and constant ponderings make living with him a bit of a chore. 

Paul: Hi Soren.  What have you been doing all day?

Kierkegaard:  Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself. 

Paul: Ok.  I guess that’s code for drinking Mountain Dew and playing NHL ‘13 all day.  Well that’s just great.  Hey, could you help me with the groceries?  I’ve got two more bags down in the car.

Kierkegaard: I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations.  One can either do this or that.  My honest and my friendly advice is this: do it or do it not – you will regret both. 

Paul: (Sigh) You know, referring to yourself as “oneself” is really annoying. 

PAUL opens the refrigerator to put away some greek yogurt he bought at the store.

Paul: Hey.  Where’s my thing of Apple Cider?  Did you drink that?

Kierkegaard: Perhaps.

Paul: Well what the “F” Soren?!?  I put a label on it that said, “Paul’s – Do NOT Drink.”  Didn’t you see it?

Kierkegaard: The cider lived by my rule: once you label me, you negate me.

Paul: I don’t really think the carton of cider had a problem.  I think you have a problem.  This is exactly like the time you ate that pasta salad that my mom gave me on the Fourth of July.  She made it without onions specifically for me.  Why can’t you believe that sometimes you shouldn’t touch other people’s food?

Kierkegaard: It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.

Paul: That’s it.  I can’t deal with this.  I’m taking a bath and I don’t want to be disturbed.

PAUL walks out of the room and slams the bathroom door shut.

Kierkegaard: Don’t forget to love yourself!

Paul (muffled): Shut UP!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (As told by Ayn Rand)

Ayn Rand – Novelist, Philosopher, and Perrenial Wet-Blanket for the Soul

Christmas, as we know it, is ostensibly centered on the birth of a Savior.  A mystical being sent down from high in order to sacrifice himself for the dregs of society.  This construct has and always will be illogical to me, and therefore is not relevant.  However, there is one Christmas legend that espouses the tenants of my philosophy of Objectivism.  It is Rudolph the Exceptionally-Nosed Reindeer.  

Rudolph was born into a system of indentured servitude in the North Pole.  Each Reindeer had little choice but to become a factory cog in the machine that is Santa Claus’ fascist operation.  This tyrannical dictator wanted all of his pieces to fall in line because it was their duty.  Elves, reindeer, even Mrs. Claus all were subjected to the myth of “duty.”   They felt a moral obligation to perform certain actions for no other reason than obedience to some higher authority, without regard to any personal goal, motive desire, or interest.  So it went with Rudolph.

However, Rudolph was born with an exceptional talent that the rest of his peers did not recognize.  He had a shiny nose.  As soon as this nose was revealed to be an asset, he was ostracized and outcast.  All of the other reindeer feared that they would become obsolete with the development of his particular skill set.  Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He too was probably burned at the stake.  He had taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived of: he lifted darkness off the earth.  Rudolph was about to do the same. 

Then one Christmas Eve came when the weather was decidedly inclimate.  Clouds descended upon the world like the vapors of time.  When Santa Claus knew that he could not make his deliveries without Rudolph skills, he approached the alienated reindeer and begged him to help.  It seems to me that Rudolph could have abstained.  He would be granting mercy to a man who showed him none in the past.  However, Rudolph’s hatred for the man in the red suit was outweighed by his love of performing his work.  He knew that he was born to lead sleigh teams on Christmas Eve.

The blinking red nose shone brightly in the fog and the presents were delivered on time, overcoming unthinkable odds.  Rudolph lived happily ever after because happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.

This legend has fueled the part of Christmas which is perhaps the most beneficial, namely the commercialization.  The gift-buying stimulates an enormous output of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give mankind pleasure.