Let's start with grade nationals. We'll be missing James and Justus in 8th grade; they'll be at the World Youth (good luck!!). We'll have Isaac (1980), Kenneth (1800), Maya (1700) and Mariah (1580). I don't see any other strong teams there, so I guess we're favorites. In 7th grade, Hunter is probably the slight favorite with 1879, 1688, 1580, 1428, but I like my kids there: Kevin (1719), Brian (1616), Marcus (1580, but up-to-date 1740), Jack (1394 but now 1525), and Carlos (1500).
I'm rooting for NEST-M in the 3rd and 4th grade sections. It's Matan's first year managing the program there, and he has good chances to win two national championships after 3 months.
What I'm really curious to see is if the nationwide shortage of adderal affects certain teams. I notice some usual contenders have an strangely low number of pre-entries. A flabbergasting 5% of children aged 6-12 take a stimulant (an amphetamine) to treat their ADHD. I suspect in the insanely competitive scholastic chess world it might be somewhat higher.
Katie and Brian will be there, showing Brooklyn Castle. I'm interested to see how people react to it. Release-wise, they are waiting to hear if it makes Sundance, whichh should be announced around thanksgiving.
I'm watching the republican debates avidly; they're like an ongoing reality show: exaggerated, typecast characters, scripted conversation pretending to be spontaneous (Does Perry ever respond to the question he was asked?), each episode having a character shine or crash and burn. I wish Jon Huntsman was just a little more articulate or Ron Paul was a little less crazy or Gary Johnson was invited.
Today's NPR show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" had a fun game called "Bunga Bunga Bunga or Nine Nine Nine," where you have to decide whether each quote was said by Silvio Berlusconi or Herman Cain
1. Here's what Cain or Berlusconi said when asked if he was faithful to his wife: "I am pretty often faithful."
2. Which of the two said this? "I have little hair because my brain is so big, it pushes the hair out."
3. Cain or Berlusconi says this a lot, this phrase about staying strong in hard times: "A poet once said 'life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it's never easy when there's so much on the line.'" That sounds good but what makes it a significant quote is that the poem he's quoting was, in fact, the theme song to the Japanese animated film "Pokemon: The Movie 2000."
1. CHARLIE PIERCE: The problem is the sentiment is Berlusconi but the syntax is Cain.
PIERCE: So absent the accent, I'm going to say Berlusconi.
SAGAL: Berlusconi, well done, that's who it was. He's pretty often faithful. It's a good spin. That may be where Cain got the idea for his one in a thousand defense.
2. Of Berlusconi's many problems, this is one of the few he can blame on his brain.
3. It was Herman Cain. He became the first candidate since Gerald Ford to quote Pokemon in a presidential debate.
I'm reading Murakami's 1Q84 and Aravind Adiga's Last Man in Tower, and the New York Times, obsessively.