Get PJ Media on your Apple

Faster, Please!

The Obits: Denton, Schlesinger, Walsh and Davis

March 29th, 2014 - 12:29 am

Now for Wendy Davis, who dropped dead in a bridge tournament in Great Britain while holding a really big hand.  The obituary in the New York Daily News was clearly written by a non-player, since much of the description of her cards is incoherent.  It says she held 29 points, but a) the graphic shows a hand with 21 points, b) it says she had a “pat hand” for 6 Notrump but the hand is not suitable for that contract, and, worst of all, c) it ascribes her death to the excitement she presumably experienced when she saw her terrific hand.

But a “pat hand” isn’t exciting, really, and Ms Davis knew that, having played tournament bridge for half a century, and having achieved the high status of highest-ranking player in Cornwall.  Excitement in bridge comes from highly competitive deals, or from very difficult problems in playing the hand or defending against opponents.  The sort of hand she held was not exciting, it did not put her under any pressure, she had only to add to thirteen to see what she should do.

Such stories get written by people who don’t know much, if anything, about the game, which is in decline.  It’s a hard game to learn, let alone master, and it takes a lot of concentration and a lot of time.  Most of our young game-players prefer faster, noisier and more colorful competition, which is a pity, since bridge is the game that best encapsulates the varieties of life.  It requires lying, for example…and deception, as Obama is seeing, is an essential part of the real world.

The only case of a fatal bridge hand in my experience came a long time ago in St. Louis.  I was playing in a minor tournament, and a woman at the next table made some bid.  Her opponent yelled “DOUBLE!” in a suitably vicious tone.  The poor woman died on the spot.  There are many doubles in bridge, and I couldn’t help pointing out that that one was truly a penalty double.

Nobody doubled Wendy.  Denton would have done it quietly, but firmly.  Schlesinger would have done it with a slight sneer and good humor.  Walsh would have doubled ex cathedra.

<- Prev  Page 2 of 2   View as Single Page

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
the best obits i ever read were in the old London "Times," and the other leading British papers are also very good. maybe we should start an obit section at PJM and put our best writers to work on it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh.

It wasn't that Wendy Davis.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Menschen like you, Michael, carry on the best of those who have passed on.

It's good to have you around, if for no other reason, than to show those who are still "wet behind the ears", the advantages of actually thinking, as opposed to swallowing, "hook, line & sinker" the meanderings of those who want to think for others.

16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"since bridge is the game that best encapsulates the varieties of life. It requires lying, for example…and deception, as Obama is seeing, is an essential part of the real world."

Yes, in the rules of the political game, frauds often succeeded. It's well to keep good faith, honesty, mercy, integrity, humane and the like, but this does not mean that man will overreach others by their cunning if he seeks to accomplish great things. As the Great Machiavelli said in the Prince "the prince must follow the fox manner to discern toils that lie in wait for him, because the princes who have followed the manner of the foxes and known how to overreach men by their cunning have had the best success, in the end they got the better of those who trusted to honest dealing." But president Obama, unfortunately, follows the manner of ostrich.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
May their souls rest in peace!
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Lawrence Walsh’s ... once dropped off a briefcase of highly classified documents at curbside at Los Angeles airport, a violation of security regulations. It was never found, nor was Walsh ever charged with anything".

Sandy Berger received similar "consideration". I would love to see the DOJ memo wherein they decline to prosecute.

Interesting how (based on what I've read in the papers) Larry Franklin got nailed for a lesser violation in his W. Va. home.

I guess it depends for which team one plays.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Lawrence Walsh bit is still quite pertinent, underlying as it does that corruption is never found under Democrat rocks. And naturally he was a "moderate".
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
The trick with lying is to do it convincingly when your opponent is not inclined to believe you.

Obama lies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but he does it to people who want to believe him, which is why he gets away with it domestically. When he gets out in the world and tries it, the result is quite embarrassing, because the people he is trying to fool make their living telling whoppers to others who are quite mistrustful.

Obama also seems to have fallen into the trap of believing his own lies, which doubly hampers him on the domestic and international stages, since he appears no longer capable of separating reality from his own clumsy fantasies.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh.

It wasn't that Wendy Davis.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Usually, I enjoy and agree with what Michael Ledeen says, but he omits one fact that puts James Schlesinger in the Jerk category as much as the current Veep or SoS.

The night Nixon resigned, Schlesinger, in his then-capacity as Secretary of Defense, had the brilliant idea of placing tanks at various strategic locations throughout Washington to forestall any possibility of a military coup, said possibility being obvious to no one but him.

Gerry Ford immediately fired him and he deservedly passed from public life forever. It was a while before I could see the wisdom of the Nixon pardon, but firing Schlesinger was right on the money IMO, then and since.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
You are wrong. As armchair states below Schlesinger was SecDef until November 1975, confirmed by both Wikipedia and the DoD website.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Incidentally, I found the DoD link only through Bing, it was impossible to find from the DoD home page. However you can find links to "Women's History Month", "National Hispanic Heritage Day" and the like. There is a menu of "Top Issues" and the second one listed after Afghanistan is "Sexual Assault Prevention", ahead of "Warrior Care", "Cyber Security" and "Defense Strategic Guidance".
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe Schlesinger stayed in the Ford administration until November 1975; and left at that time over differences with Ford on policy...He served his country honorably and with competence and for "love of country"; reasonable people can and do disagree! If he thought tanks were needed, I bet he had good reason; a man (like him) does not do "things" without "reason"!
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Writing a good obituary is a skill few seem to have today. How does one write a short biographical piece that encompasses the life of a person who has many highs and lows? Many friends and many enemies? What should be recorded in memory of those who precede us in death? Perhaps remembrance at all is sufficient. I remember Denton, Schlesinger, and Walsch. I've played tournament bridge which is a way I suppose to connect with Ms. Davis in her passing. Thanks for sharing Michael. Tempus Fugit, Memento Mori.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Russel Baker got his start writing obituaries. And while I disagreed with his politics it was always a pleasure to read his columns, especially in the NYTimes Sunday magazine right before drifting off to sleep on Sunday nights. Baker and Safire were quite a contrast and a pair.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
the best obits i ever read were in the old London "Times," and the other leading British papers are also very good. maybe we should start an obit section at PJM and put our best writers to work on it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
View All