Blog Archives

Back Into the Swing of Things


Regular readers may note that finally, after a considerable time off, I have restarted publishing Leaves of Grass in my “Daily Whitman” series.  I have also resumed posting music of various sorts on Fridays and a “Quote for the Week” on Sundays.  Hopefully this will keep me busy enough with the blog to inspire me to get back to more regular articles in some of the series, particularly “Legends of the Fall“.  In any case, enjoy!

Whither Hence?


I hate it when I run across an interesting blog and find it has not been updated in months, or even years.  I can’t speak for others as to whether my blog is interesting–though the traffic hasn’t been bad lately–but it has not been updated since November, with the exception of a brief note of its five-year anniversary in December.

Alas, life  has got in the way.  With no intention of whining, I have had many personal things, including health issues, that have had to take precedence.  These have caused me to slip out of regular posting; and slipping out of regular posting leads all too easily to no posting.  In any case, this post it to make it clear that I’m still around and do intend–when I don’t know–to resume at least some posting, within the parameters of some still-pressing concerns.

First, I will at some point resume the “Daily Whitman” series.  Instead of backdating it, I will probably just re-start it at whatever date it happens to be, and go from there.  The index has presented some thorny problems, and may have to be totally re-done; so I don’t expect I’ll have it updated for some time, even after I re-start posting the poems.

Second, I’m mostly satisfied with my series on universalism, but may post occasionally to it, as ideas occur or worthwhile exterior links crop up.

Third, I have a broad overview of what I want to do with my tent-pole “Legends of the Fall” series, which I still consider incomplete.  This will require several more posts–I don’t know how many–and I will try to get started back on them in the coming weeks, as I’m able to.  To me, this is the most important series on the blog, and the one I consider the linchpin; so if nothing else, I want to finish it.

Of the other series, I want to eventually resume the series on religion and role-playing, as I have some good ideas for it, and I want to finish the series on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Beyond that, we’ll just see what happens.

Many thanks to all of you who follow, read, and (I hope) enjoy the blog, especially those who have kept coming during its hiatus.  That means a lot to me, and I appreciate it very much.  Keep coming–hopefully there will be new material soon!



According to WordPress, this is the fifth anniversary of blogging.  I’ve been taking a bit of break the last couple months, but hope to get back to work soon.  Thanks to all of you who have been readers and visitors, and I wish a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and great holiday season to all!


My 2020th Post, Legends of the Fall, and Blogging: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

My 2000th blog post went up on 15 December.  Lots of things were going on, including taking care of a sick child, so I did nothing special for that occasion.  I have had in mind a post that I’ve wanted to do for some time, and since I didn’t do anything marking post 2000, I’ll make the post now as post 2020.  I used to like the old cartoon Sealab 2020 way back when, so that’s an interesting synch, anyway.  What the heck.

I had never thought to get into blogging.  Being of the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, I was well into my adulthood before the Internet started to become the phenomenon it is now.  I had had some experience with intranet BB’s and such in college, but not that much.  Even though I was a math major, at my university we still were doing things mostly the old fashioned way.  It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that I got an email address (long since defunct), and in the late 90’s that I started spending lots of time in cyberspace.

Read the rest of this entry

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks to all my visitors and readers, and I hope you continue to enjoy the Chequer-board in the coming year!



If any of you liked the Robert Service poem I had up earlier today and wonder why it vanished, fear not–it will return.

Somehow I got confused and thought I’d failed to post a “Quote for the Week” this week, so I posted the poem as a belated quote.  When I found out I’d already done this week’s quote on Sunday, as I usually do, I decided to move the Service poem to the next Sunday that I don’t already have scheduled.  Thus, you will be able to read it again on 5 January–less than a month from now.

Sorry for the confusion!

Rubá’í of the Day–and my 1000th Post!


Whoso aspires to gain a rose-cheeked fair,
Sharp pricks from fortune’s thorns must learn to bear.
See! till this comb was cleft by cruel cuts,
It never dared to touch my lady’s hair.

I decided to give the honor of being the thousandth post to the current Rubá’í of the Day, since that is my longest-running and most popular series here.  Of course, to label any post the nth post on something as ephemeral as a blog is a bit misleading.  This is the post that will go live with a current ordinal number of one thousand; that doesn’t mean it was necessarily the 1000th I actually wrote.  I schedule the “Rubá’í of the Day” posts and the weekend music and “Quote for the Week” posts months ahead of time.  In fact, counting scheduled posts and drafts, I currently have over 1100 posts floating about.  Thus, though this will be the thousandth post to appear, it certainly wasn’t the 1000th to be composed; nor are there “only” a thousand posts at the Chequer-board.  

Strictly, it isn’t even the thousandth post to appear.  Some movies that I’ve posted in the past went dead when the YouTube link was removed for various reasons;  also, there  has been a case or two where I’ve inadvertently double-posted the same thing (several incidents of this occurred when I consolidated my Caravanserai posts and put them up here).  In those cases, I’ve deleted the “dead” movies and the extras of multi-posting.  Thus, I’ve quite likely put up a thousand posts already–this is just the “official” thousandth.  If I have to delete more dead media links in the future, this won’t remain the thousandth, either.

Finally, the bulk of the content here isn’t original.  Original essays and the occasional poem make about 10% or so of the total here.  Most is movies, audiobooks, and musical performances to which I’ve linked, as well as a small number of re-blogs of things I found interesting at other places.  I still include them, since it does take some effort to find, categorize, and put up such posts.  The quotes especially often take me a long time to do.  I don’t like putting up unsourced or questionable quotations no matter how much I like them, and I sometimes need to scour the web a lot to find quotations that I really like and which I think readers may like.  Thus, this type of content may not be original, but it does take some work.

Still and all, it’s nice to mark milestones, even if they’re somewhat arbitrary.  My thanks and appreciation to the readers, and I hope you’ve got and will continue to get something out of reading the Chequer-board!

New Books!


I’ve added several books to the Library, including an article on the development of the Elvish languages by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Voynich Manuscript (subject of this documentary), The Mystical Qabalah. by Dione Fortune, The Last Ringbearer, which retells Lord of the Rings from the perspective of Mordor (!), the Kebra Nagast, a semi-mythological history of the kings of Ethiopia, the King James Bible, and more.  Have a look!

Indices, Movies, and Evanescence


As of today, I have the index at the “Movies” tab above up to date.  The process of indexing was interesting–I had unknowingly double-posted two or three movies.  In those cases, I just removed the extra and linked to what was left.  More surprising to me, there were a lot more videos which had been removed at YouTube than I’d expected.  Rather than try to re-post all of them, I just removed them.  Eventually, I may put some of them back up, but I don’t have the time to do so right now.

Of course, both YouTube videos and blogs are evanescent phenomena–so much is here today, gone tomorrow.  There is a term in Japanese aesthetic theory, wabi-sabi.  It’s hard to translate, but roughly it means the perception of beauty tinged with imperfection and impermanence.  The classic example is fading flowers or leaves in the fall–the beauty is enhanced by the transience and slight melancholy of realizing that the object of beauty will soon be gone.

I make no such grandiose claims for this blog, though if it helps me with my writing a bit and gives some pleasure to visitors, I’ve done my job.  Nevertheless, it does make one aware of transience and change.  I try to take the attitude that if something serves its purpose, it’s not my role to get too frustrated if it’s not there later.  Thus, rather than trying to be too obsessive about it, I’m going to post the movies that strike me or that I think might be of interest, and then not worry if they stay up or not.  I admit that coming to a blog and finding things gone that one likes is frustrating; but given my limited resources of time and effort, and the intrinsically ephemeral nature of cyberspace, anyway, when I find a video gone in the future, I’ll probably just delete the post.  If the video was something I really liked, I may try to find a replacement, but I’m not going to put myself out too much.  If you see that a movie you particularly liked (or wanted to view later) has vanished, contact me or post a comment, and I’ll see about re-posting it if I can.

The final interesting point is numbering.  Now and then I’ll post saying, “This is my xth post!”  Post deletions will change this, obviously–so if I say, “This is post 900!” and one were to go and count from the beginning (in which case you need therapy…), one might not get 900.  That’s OK.  The “xth post” designation is only in terms of “officially published posts”, anyway.   My “official” 1000th post is at least two or three months away, at the current posting rate; but counting drafts and posts pre-scheduled to go up later (mostly the “Rubá’í of the Day” posts), I’ve already got 1109 posts up, planned, or in the pipe.  Thus, it all works out one way or another.

Anyway, enjoy the movies, and if any disappear, remember wabi-sabi!

Poll: Future Poems for Blogging

Here’s the poll I mentioned last time.  If you haven’t read the last post, use the link to go there and do so.  Then, come back here to respond to the poll.  I look forward to hearing from you!