Monday, October 8, 2007

Caroline, Sammy, Paul and Ubaldo - We're Watching

Immigration, Black Sheep and Swiss Rage -Switzerland, a seething cauldron of pent up rage, just waiting to erupt. You can read about it in the Times today or click on the MySpace link in the right hand column and play the comedy clip Failed States - we have been on top of this story for months.

Better yet - visit Caroline's on Broadway at 7PM tonight where I will perform an improved version of Failed States, and the rest of my stand up act, live.

The linked Time's story covers the Swiss People's Party of Christopher Blocher, a xenophobic right wing party that may capture a plurality in the next Swiss election. The campaign theme seems to be "immigrants are criminals, keep Switzerland safe for the Germans." A campaign poster featuring a black sheep has drawn criticism as racist. Wait until they unveil the video clip of Blocher coming to Heidi's rescue as she fends off a multicultural motorcycle gang with a Swiss Army knife.

Chess Group Officials Accused of Faking Web Posts to Hurt Rivals -Sammy Sloan, a very sore loser in the election held last July to pick the Board of the US Chess Federation is suing Susan Polgar (a former women's world chess champ and the Federation's chairwoman) and Paul Truong (Polgar's husband and a Federation board member). Using information supplied by an IT consultant to the Federation, Sloan claims that Polgar and Truong faked 2,400 web posts, including obscene material and tamer items, like "buy my wife's x-rated DVD, now on sale for $27.95, signed Samuel Sloan" to smear Sloan during the election.

The story features a cast of interesting characters. Sammy had a run in with the SEC and beat them in the Supreme Court, defending himself. He didn't do so well when he tried to kidnap his daughter, serving 18 months in prison. The IT consultants, Messrs. Mottershead and Bogner, were criticized by Polgar and Truong for the quality of their consulting work. The Times notes that Truong and Polgar might have been framed by a third party even if the fake posts apparently came from their IP address.

Chess politics getting very nasty - and Sammy Sloan and Paul Truong both seem like the kind of guys who will turn out to be more and more interesting the better we get to know them. Mr. Truong was born in South Vietnam and made a harrowing escape as a teen boat person.

The Rockies' Unlikely Juggernaut Keeps on Rolling - The Times has never given the Rockies' remarkable regular season finish the ink it deserved - 14 wins in the last 15 games, and every win was needed to avoid elimination. The first round playoff sweep got a story, but New York needs to hear more about Ubaldo Jiminez, a rookie pitcher who started and starred in the game three playoff clinching win. What kind of razzing did the young Ubaldo have to endure because of his name, what do his teammates call him, is it too late to sponsor a contest to give Ubaldo a nickname? Comments and nominations welcome

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