You may know, my online chess rating hovered around 1300 for decades, “Hopelessly Mediocre Chess.” No matter which website or app I used, I was about a 1300 player, give or take. Then, a few months back, Emmons won a very long streak of games, beating me soundly time after time.

I discovered he was watching International Master Eric Rosen stream live on Twitch and watching his videos on YouTube. He was learning volumes about winning chess play, which explained why he was kicking my ass time and time again.

So, I had to start watching, too, just to keep up with Emmons’s gameplay. I quickly found Eric’s favorite opening to be solid and enjoyable, the Stafford Gambit. So, I’ve been studying it on YouTube (jump to links). These videos show some incredible chess traps and tactics.  As a result of this and some other studies, my rating has shot up, and I’m able to keep up with Emmons, at least for now. 

I got one of the most fantastic traps to work, and here it is.

 

 

Opponent Takes the Bait and Falls for the 
Evil Queen Sacrifice, Die in Eight Moves Thingy!!

I ruthlessly made the Evil Queen Sacrifice, Die in Eight Moves thingy!

 

 

However, it’s tough and rare to get the positions YouTubers show. Good chess players usually don’t fall for such traps. Yet, this 1576 rated player took the bait, hook, line, and sinker the other night.  This study is my actual game. 

Evil Queen Sacrifice, Die in Eight Moves thingy!
A crazy trap in the Stafford Gambit

Click on the arrows or click on the board and use the mouse scroll wheel to see each move.  I played black.

 

 

 

Eric Rosen’s Stafford Gambit Videos:

 

Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura showing International Master Eric Rosen what’s what.

What is your best Father’s Day Gift – Given or Received?

Please leave a comment about this gift!

My best Father’s Day Gift was when my mother gave a homily for the Salem Presbyterian Church titled A Tribute to Fathers and mentioned me. 

It was very moving, and since she called my stepfather and me out specifically, it causes me to cry every time I read it. I offer it here on my blog this year as it reminds me of what she thought a good father should be. I believe I have fallen short at times over the past 18 months or so (the pandemic has had its casualties). Her words certainly reminded me of what I should be striving for and why.

I love you, Mom; you are still teaching me what it means to be a good parent.

Here is what she said in her Tribute to Fathers:

A Tribute to Fathers
Donna S. LaFollette

I have been blessed – blessed by knowing many wonderful fathers. Today I’d like to mention three—actually four—that I’ve had the privilege of knowing.

Richard Emmons and Eddie Emmons, The girl is a family dispute whether it’s Donna or Darlene.

The first is my own father, Richard Emmons. One of the biggest regrets of my life is that I didn’t get to know my father in my independent adult life; he died when I was 22, shortly after I was graduated from college. However, I still learned much from him. He taught me that I could do whatever I set my mind to, no matter what.

I remember the time that my sister told Dad that she wanted to be a batboy for the Indianapolis Indians. This was in the fifties, but I’m sure Dad tried everything to make that wish happen. But, of course, it didn’t. When he sat my sister down to tell her she couldn’t be a batboy because she was a girl, he looked at her face and cried. We were taught that gender shouldn’t matter.

Dad also taught me the love of reading. When I was little, on Friday evenings, the whole family went out to eat and then to the library, where we all got books to read for the week. On Sunday mornings before church, I’d crawled up on Dad’s lap, and he’d read me the comics. When I got older, Dad let me read what he read even though some parts were beyond my comprehension. We always talked about what we read.

I learned a strong sense of right and wrong from my dad. 

One day when we were at my grand Parents’ Cabin on Lake Freeman in northern Indiana, Dad, Papaw, and I were fishing from the pier. I spotted a snake and cursed. I looked at Dad. Then I raced up the 72 steps to the cabin and jumped in bed. I didn’t run up those stairs because I was afraid of the snake or Dad (He didn’t believe in physical discipline.). I ran up those stairs because I had disappointed Dad. I never wanted to disappoint him, even in my rebellious teen years.

Another father I’ve had the privilege to know is my husband, Bill LaFollette. Bill is a loving Parent who basically stays in the background until he is needed. He is always the first to help any of the kids—mine as well as his—in any way he can.

Bill and Donna with Grand Children
Bill and Donna with Grand Children

Bill is always ready when one of our kids or grandkids needs him. Often, they don’t have to even ask. They might get some information in the mail or wake up to gas mysteriously pumped into their cars or clean cars or a mowed lawn or money that is needed for unexpected expenses.  

When my daughter, Marla, had her surgery in Florida, Bill went out and bought a new van so Marla and I would be safe in our travels.  When we drove to Florida, he insisted on driving us down.  He went with us to our pre-surgery appointment.  Then he flew back to New Albany.  He flew to Jacksonville for the surgery, flew back to New Albany, and then back to Florida when it was time to drive home.

 

Donna and Bill creating a blended family, December 31, 1987.

Bill is not only a good father to our children; he also helps anyone who needs his fatherly care.  He received a Father’s Day card this year from a young man who is incarcerated.  Bill has forgiven him his mistakes and writes to him, visits him, and supports him in any way he can.  I believe that Bill has made a difference in this young man’s life just as he has made a difference in my life, his children’s and grandchildren’s lives, and my children’s and grandchildren’s lives. 

The third father I want to recognize is my son, Michael Ratliff.  It has been a privilege to watch Mike’s active, involved parenting. I remember when Emmons was born and there was some worry about complications.  Mike in his green hospital scrubs and cap came into the family waiting room calmly and told us of the problems.  He never once showed any lack of confidence that his and Penny’s baby would be all right.  When I first saw Emmons with all the wires and tubes attached, I hesitated touching him for fear I’d hurt him.  Yet, Mike was there gently with his large hands caressing the baby with all the love imaginable.  He changed Emmons’s diaper and gave him his first bath under the heat light.  Mike was an involved father from the beginning.

After the birth of Elias (He gave us no cares; thank God.).  I have watched Mike play with the boys, discipline them, bathe them, dress them, read to them, teach them.  He shares in the raising of his children with his wife, Penny.

Harry Emmons
Donna’s Grand Father

Mike recently joined the Masons at the lodge where my grandparents were members.  Through this Mike has gotten to know from the history of the lodge and from some of the elder members another loving and gentle father, my grandfather, Harry Emmons, who never was afraid to cry to show the emotion he felt for the love of his family.

In closing, with these stories of the fathers in my life, I wish to honor the fathers in all our lives.  And to all the fathers here today, an anonymous quote: “The greatest gift I ever had in my life came from God, and I call him Dad.”

 

Emmons Klein Ratliff

          ⚠️ Warning ⚠️  ⚠️ Warning ⚠️  ⚠️ Warning ⚠️

• THIS PROUD DAD MOMENT CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND BRAGGADOCIOUS MATERIAL.
• IT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL AUDIENCES!
• IT COULD CAUSE DYSPEPSIA FROM SACCHARINE GASCONADE.

 

I used to Facebook post crowing items about my sons’ stuff to help communicate what was going to my mother regarding her grandchildren. She almost demanded I do it. That way, she could get photos and stuff in one place. Yet such a post gets a little addicting to a guy who identifies mostly as a dad. So, in Nonie’s honor, I commence bragging about my son.

I’m attending Emmons’s graduation ceremony in a few hours. His class, which he will be graduating in the top 4%, is large enough to be held in Dickies Arena, the same place we saw some grand champion rodeo thingy. He’s graduating with a butt load of honors. And my pride might be sinfully bursting at the seams. This has nothing to do with parenting, and I will abjure any utterance to the contrary. He did all the work and had a natural scholar’s acumen. He received many honors and awards for his attitude and spirit throughout his education, which shows he just naturally strived for academic excellence. His grade point average was something like 104%! Well done, Emmons. Nonie would be as obnoxiously proud as I am.

Proud Dad Moment – Emmons’s Senior Awards and Honors include:

Honor Graduate – Top 10% of the class
UIL Scholar Award – Top 10% Seniors, based on participation in UIL Sponsored event
President’s Education Award – a cumulative GPA of 96 or better with two commend STARR test or two AP test scores 3 or higher
Pioneer Excellence Award for AP Physics II
NASA High School Aerospace Scholar

He also qualified for AP Scholar honors and an AP Capstone Diploma, but that happened after students’ honors were printed.

PS. I had to use a thesaurus to discover the word “gasconade.” I have never heard it before this morning—many apologies (especially to  Wayne) for the smarmy writing.

PS. PS. Wayne might have his own Proud Dad Moment as became a GRAND-DAD, which is as fantastic as mine, but he would never stoop to smarmy writing.

PS. PS. PS. Photos to follow
a mosh pit at a Joan Baez concert

My 2020 One-Liners

I’ve been writing a joke a day for over 2 years now.  It’s been an antidepression skill.  So, I thought to share some of my better one-liners from the past year.  I had a nice explanation and introduction planned about humor and treating depression, but that was a buzz kill.  We can talk about that at another time.  Here are my one-liners:

Visual 2020 One-Liners:

— An interpretive display of emoji in the form of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words:

?, ??, ??, ???, ??, ?‍?‍???, & ?  Do better!

 

That really needs to go on a T-shirt!


Standard 2020 One-Liners:

— My memory so good I remember things that didn’t even happen.

— In the immortal words of George W. Bush, “That was some weird shit.”

— You know, ABBA’s song Fernando really holds up. It sucks as much today as it did in 1976.

— I remember my junior year at Purdue, I was so upset that I couldn’t attend my Psychology 403 final, went to the bar, and got blotto drunk because my mom had told me the truth about Santa.

— Saying “we need to think outside the box” is a very in-the-box type of thinking.

— I was very fond of the music in the ‘80s. I especially like it when Madonna left the Beatles and formed Wheezer with Willie Nelson and Dean Martin.

— Hello, welcome to the poetry hotline; examples of onomatopoeia are Aaaaaaa, ohuuuuu, and Thrupppppp. 

— My hypnagogic audio hallucinations have a broader vocabulary than I do. Man; that’s really weird.

— You know it’s going to be a good day when after the morning constitutional your bidet is straight on target?

— Tonight I grilled some steaks, it was rare enough that a good Purdue veterinarian could have it back on its feet in 15 minutes


Elias’ 2020 One-Liners

— if our velocity stays at 0 miles an hour, we will arrive in an infinite number of hours.


Pandemic 2020 One-Liners

— I just looked in the mirror and my soul shuddered like an epileptic experiencing a piss shiver.

— The pandemic’s treating me like it caught me sleeping with his wife.

— Don’t hurt yourself, I don’t want to have to put on pants and a mask just to go to the ER.

— Do you ever think we’re living in some satanic version of Matryoshka dolls with disasters and crises nested inside disasters and crises?


Rock and Roll Advice 2020 One-Liners

— I did listen to John Mellencamp… partially. I forgot all about that macho shit, but I forgot to learn how to play guitar.

— I also didn’t really heed the Rolling Stones. I know I can’t always get what I want. Yet, I didn’t really try as Mick suggested, so I have also not gotten what I need.

— I just out and out ignored Kenny Rogers. I have never known when to hold ’em, never known when to fold ’em, never known when to walk away, and never known when to run. And somehow, I’ve always counted my money when I sat at the table.

— And for Christ’s Sake, do not tell Aerosmith that I have not dreamt until my dreams came true.

— Alas, Idina Mendel told me to, “Let It Go.” I didn’t.

— Finally, 2020 made me Stop Believin’, even though Journey told me not to.

— Is Bobby Sue from Take The Money and Run the same person as Bobby McGee? I have never seen Steve Miller and Kris Kristofferson; they might be the same person.


Simile 2020 One-Liners

— My ears buzz more than a tipsy bumblebee ? trying to hump his reflection on the tip of y’all’s grand momma’s stainless-steel “massager.” (I have wicked Tinnitus)

— … like the self-righteousness of a small-town cop pulling over a tie-dye clad driver of a VW bus.

 


Lalochezia Producing 2020 One-Liners

(Coming soon to a Subscribers only content)

Okay, a Lalochezia inducing teaser:

— In the Lalochezia reboot of I Love Lucy, the twin beds are replaced by a king-sized waterbed and I would LOVE Lucy.


Political One-Liners

—What this country needs is just for Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Ted Cruz to sit down to have dinner together and a good heart to -heart attack.

— I am starting to view my political perspective as an anarchist. Not the type of anarchy proposed by punk rockers with studded leather and military surplus boots, but the classical form of anarchy espoused by Ronald Reagan.

— Anyone else gets RuPaul and Rand Paul mixed up?

~ Uh… No more; we don’t know each other well enough yet.

 

 

 

 

Note: I really wanted to have some kind of voting or rating for each joke.  Does anyone know of a WordPress Plugin for that?

 

Now, Your Turn in the Comments!