Thursday, September 21, 2006

Friday 15th September: Noda & Jaime's Fortunes Continue Contrariwisely Apace.

Jaime and I spent the early part of this evening up at the Mitaki golf practice range in preparation for Tuesdays round of golf at Forest Hills. More practice is definitely needed, and more time reading David Leadbetter's "The Golf Swing".

We met up again at Kodama jansou and were joined by Noda for the first three games. Noda won the first one outright, came top in the second with Jaime taking second place in the points. In the third game David recovered his second game losses and came top while Noda finished in the black and Jaime sunk to -70 and was stuck with his Yakitori.

By this time Kenyon, Hide and his girlfriend Yuri had arrived. We invited Yuri to play and make two tables of three players but she preferred to sit out as she is but a neophyte in the mysteries of mahjong. Rather than play with five players we have recently preferred to have one player drop out for a game, usually the second placed player in the previous game, so Noda (sitting pretty on +98) sat out of the fourth game and Hide and Kenyon slotted themselves into the table.

The fourth game went to Jaime, which halved his deficit at that stage of the evening. That was Hide's first game of the evening and he had provided most of Jaime's points. Hide warmed up in the second game and came top to bring his score back to zero. Noda crept over the bar to put his score for the evening over 100 points.

Noda stayed for one more game, and gave back a mere three points to finish the evening on exactly +100 thereby extending his score for the year to +888 as we approach the last quarter! Thus, despite Kenyon adding to his score for the evening by winning the sixth game, his ambition to "catch Noda" appears to be no more than a passing dream or, more worringly, a delusion of grandeur. Catch Noda before the year is out and I shall speak Dutch throughout 2007! (Mind you, Noda went wobbly in the last quarter of 2006 and dark rumours of Noda's having "lost it" began to circulate...)

When Noda called it a night the score sheet stood as follows:

Noda +39, +43, +16, --, +5, -3 = +100
Kenyon --, --, --, +11, --, +47 = +58
Hide --, --, --, -35, +35, -8 = -8
David -13, -52, +54, -19, -11, -- = -41
Jaime -26, +9, -70,** +43, -29, -36 = -109


As can be seen, Hide was not soley responsible for the -8 points on his part of the score sheet. Yuri played some hands in Hide's place. Hopefully she will soon feel confident enough to play under her own banner. Anyway, we are very pleased to have some fresh faces at the table.

After Noda left David staged a late and beer-sodden revival, remaining Oya long enough to force Ryanshi until Hide took 9,000 points off him on a Honitsu hand when he threw a 3-Coins. (David's choice was either 3-Coins or 3-Bamboo to go Tempai on a Chitoi hand.) This result recouped all David's losses and put him above the bar and as it was 3am he decided to cut and run and headed out into the pouring rain in search of a taxi and with the help of an abandoned umbrella...

One more hand was played after David's departure and it went to Kenyon, so the final results for the evening looked like this:

Noda +100
Kenyon +35
David + 17
Hide -25
Jaime -127

David Hurley
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wednesday 6th September: The Elder Shall Serve the Younger

In just 90 minutes we ran through virtually the whole gamut of 19th Century German Philosophy as presented by Steven Ozment in his A Mighty Fortress in a single 90 minute lesson... Obviously one could do little other than skate over the surface, but a few essential details were hammered home:

1. Kant said that what man could know was limited to practical reality. Absolute reality was unknowable.

2. Romantics and Idealists didn't thank Kant for saying that.

3. The whole bent of Hegel's philosophical work was to join back together what Kant had put asunder.

4. a.Hegel believed in a World Historical Spirit that was responsible for the Spirit of the Times (rather as a dormitive virtue is responsible for sleep - see
a previous blog).

4. b. Hegel believed that the most developed manifestation of that spirit happened to be the Prussian State wherein he resided as chief philosopher!

5. Feuerbach said that man refers back to his own writings to discover anything about God and that therefore God is nothing but a product or projection of the mind of man.

6. Nietzsche said "God is dead" largely because he despised the provincial pettiness of the German middle classes: God did not die for man but because of him.

7. a. Nietzsche believed that this situation was one to be affirmed by a new species of Supermen.

7.b. But don't blame Nietzsche for Hitler...

8. Marx turned Hegel on his head. In next week's class we will indulge ourselves in a similar razor-sharp analysis of
What Marx Thought About Feuerbach (Note to The Doc: this is your homework!)

We put away our books and prepared for an afternoon of mahjong. The side table was laden with snacks, beer and soft drinks laid on, the mechanical mahjong table prepared for action.

Mrs M. sr. led the early charge completing the first two hands in short shrift. In the third I threw out a risky 7-Coin Dora (bonus) in order to achieve Tenpai. Fortunately for me, nobody went out on it, but while everybody was recovering from the shock of such an outlandish move, Dr. M. jr. suddenly claimed it with an open Kan which put everybody into a very sticky situation indeed. Having committed such an indiscretion, and picking up a string of dodgy tiles thereafter, I decided to follow the elder player's lead and resolutely discard only safe tiles and in this manner the hand was played out.

If I remember rightly Mrs M. sr. finished ahead in the first game. Despite one or two reckless discards, I had largely avoided trouble and finished second, in negative single figures and suffering just one "batsu" (X) penalty point.

Then, in the second game, while I was Oya I completed my best hand of the afternoon. The bonus tile was 7-Bamboo and I had a set of three of them in my hand along with double White and double Red Dragon. I made an open meld of the White Dragon, collected the third Red Dragon tile and was ready to finish (Tenpai) with two pairs. Then Doctor M. jr. declared Riichi. Both parents discarded safely and then I drew a fourth 7-Bamboo, made a hidden Kan and drew a tile from the back of the wall - the 5-Coins, just what I needed to complete my hand!

Rinshan-Kaihou, Tsumo, Toitoi, Haku, Chun, 4xDora!

I collected a nice 8,000 points from each player. The result was to place me well in the black by the end of the second game, on +50,000 points with everybody else stuck in the mire.

We drew tiles to change the seating arrangement and Dr. M. jr and I changed places while the elder players stayed put, as did the luck. Dr. M. jr. now began to get the results that had eluded him in the first half of the game. I completed a few hands, but gradually sank as the consumption of beer rose. However, both the sinking and the rising went on at a moderate pace and so I finished the evening "second and in the black" with Dr. M. jr now commanding a large lead. Mrs. M. sr. had sunk deep into the red, but not so deep as Dr. M. sr. who had only showed any signs of posing a threat in the final game of the afternoon.

David Hurley
AddThis Social Bookmark Button