Sunday, October 25, 2020

The magic of chess

 I rarely do reviews. This is sort of a review and sort of a look back at some of my experiences with the game of chess. 

My high school lacked a lot of things. I dearly wished we had a chess team or at least a chess club. That was a long time ago.  I mention that because I never got into the world of competitive chess playing, though the concept intrigued me. Over the years I played chess when the opportunity came along, and that opportunity became rarer and rarer.  I worked for a while at a resort in Wyoming.  One of the cooks and I used to play now and then. We were of similar skill, so our games were quite enjoyable.  You don’t have to be some nerdy guy to enjoy a nice game of chess.  Then one day this rather obnoxious guy showed up who apparently just graduated high school. I guess his high school had a chess team. At least he claimed they did.  I was in the rec room and had just finished playing my cook friend. I offered to play the newbie. He accepted and then declared to his friend, “This won’t take very long.”  He was right about that. 

He realized he was in trouble in about three minutes.  He was shocked that I had him check mated in five minutes. He literally started crying and marched out of the rec room.  I never played him again.  I hate poor a poor looser. 

That all said, I find chess stories irresistible.  I don’t mean those dreary .non fiction books and articles about chess–I mean stories that have chess in them.  There aren’t every many.  Netflix had a show set in the sixties about chess, called Queen’s Gambit.   I stopped everything. I had to watch this.  

Now, I need to backtrack a little and mention how rare it is to see girls playing chess.  I’ve played chess at the gaming table of a few cons and elsewhere and have never played a girl or even seen a female play the game.  I don’t know why so few girls play, but it’s mostly the domain of nerdy guys, regardless of age.

So, back to this show.  It starts out with a nine-year-old who’s having a rough life. Her mother committed suicide and tried to murder her and she ends up in an orphanage.  Somehow, she manages to strike up a friendship with the crusty school janitor and learns how to play chess. Anyway, she gets really good.

Keep in mind that in this era the Soviet Union had chess players who were as popular as rock stars and they totally dominated the international sport. This is a really fascinating story that also gives the viewer a look at the world of tournament chess while also letting this orphan girl grow and deal with life at the same time she’s taking the chess world by storm. One little red-haired girl and all these boys.  

Well, I really liked this show.  I admit I’m a sucker for chess stories.  But this one has a lot to it and I haven’t ever seen anything quite like it.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Make it stop

 I keep getting this horrible mail in my mailbox and there are horrible commercials on every channel. I sure wish it would stop.. It seems like it's been going on for at least 50 years.  The British can call an election and have the stupid thing over in two months. Not here.  

Thursday, October 22, 2020


 Some of my Colorado friends sent me pix of their fires.  There are a lot of fires out there.  It must be tough to be an animal when the woods you live in are burning.  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Hslloween Reading

 In past years I've put out a Halloween reading list.  I don't know that anyone really cares what I think and I'm not sure people really want to read for Halloween.  Still, these are not normal times.  There are few activities to go to and I don't know what to think of trick or treating.  So, if you are looking for something to read, obviously my new anthology Six Guns Straight From Hell 3 bears mentioning.  It's pretty new, just coming out a few weeks ago. 

If like unusual locations, then I'd suggest David Lee Summers Astronomer's Crypt.  It's set in an observatory--remote location far from help. What could possibly go wrong?  

A lot of my stuff is out of print, although still available used from many outlets including Amazon. Gunslingers and Ghost Stories is another anthology which sold better than any of my other books and it combines the western with a ghosts--all kinds of ghosts.

And, yet another anthology that's in some libraries and used outlets is Low Noon.  It didn't catch on for some reason, but has some creepy stories in it like "Realgar". by Jackson Kuhl.

If you like really wicked evil characters combined with a lot of action and gunplay, Joel Jenkins Lone Crow character has two collections of stories.  

If you favor something longer, I still think it's hard to go wrong with the original Omen

These are stories that are the sort of things I like. Try something.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


 It seems our food shortage is hardly over.  Half of the items on my shopping list were not available at the store yesterday. I was mostly just looking at empty shelves.  "There's nothing on our delivery trucks," a grocery clerk informed me.  

"Of course there isn't."  Why would we expect food at a grocery store?

Friday, October 16, 2020

Getting Away

 My brother just departed on a vacation.  That seemed strange in the Covis 19 high unemployment bonfires everywhere, not to mention food shortage world we're living in.  But off he went still the same. He didn't even ask me to water his yard.  

I didn't have the guts to take a trip.  So many places are closed.  People are still dropping dead like flies. I guess it's how you look at things.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


 Well, they say the number of folks voting by mail is huge this year, yet a few states don't allow it. In Arizona, they still have polling places but you can also vote by mail.  Or you can do in person early voting, which is what I have done.  If it was up to me, I'd go to all mail in like Oregon and Colorado. It's so much more convenient.  No matter, I actually worked as a poll worker for the primary. Alas, my doctor found out I worked as  a poll worker and told me no more of that. Basically, with my kidney problems, if I catch the Corona virus I'm pretty much dead, or at least far more likely to die than the average Joe.  So, I won't be at the local polling station this time.