Thursday, December 22, 2005

Break time!

Well, debate is at rest for a while. I feel that I've given people clues toward affs and negs for Jan-Feb, and assuming that the world doesn't end, I'll seek inspiration over the holidays for some reason to teach ID in science classes for the poor Pfffters...

I was rather taken by the fact that O'C has come down with a severe case of VBD (Venereal Baudrillard's Disease, or something like that). I was reminded of the Craven One Hundred (Big Bronx) in the warm outpouring of get-well wishes from his admiring fans—AKA the people who want him to pick them up next time out—on the PLO site. This is, of course, why we don't serve ziti at Bump. If we had had Bump, and O'C had been there, chowing down on vegan wedges with Chetan, this never would have happened. Anyhow, I was tempted to add my thoughts to that warm outpouring, but the only thing I could think of to post was the phrase "Who's Jon Cruz?" and maybe the craven horde wouldn't have appreciated the sentiment... Since O'C is one of the few people I know for a fact who read this blog (certainly my novices don't, although there is that poltroon, the legendary interloper, that's right, you!), I'm sure he'll find out soon enough that I do hope for him to get well soon. I hate to pick on somebody when they're down.

I'll be going off into the twilight for a while, Holidaying hither and zither till New Year's, so I probably won't post anything. I may not even have 'net access for a while. We're going up to Boston, where I hope to see the Star Wars exhibit. They even have a Milennium Falcon ride! So as I heard O'C say as he rode outta sight, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a—Milennium Falcon ride? Let me outta here, Nurse Ratched!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


This is most of the message I sent out to people yesterday:


Last week a few of us happened to be together and attempted to lay out next year's season way in advance, because there were some big changes brewing, and we needed to see where we were. I share this with you as tournament directors and coaches in the area.

It would make sense that we publish one main calendar for the region, which teams could consult and plan from. I'm sure we've missed some contests here (and there is no attempt to track non-regional events); please use this as an opportunity to comment and query and offer suggestions. It is not meant as any sort of fiat (as, apparently, they now like to say in LD—right before we hit them over the head with a frying pan).

We'll start with October, assuming that Yale will fight its way through the Jewish holidays one way or the other in September (it's going to be tough for them).

Oct 6-7 Monticello, same as last year. We're hoping they'll keep their TOC at semis.

Oct 13-4 Big Bronx. There was general agreement that BB should continue to operate on a normal two-day schedule, 3 rounds on Friday, finishing up on Saturday. Jon Cruz had been querying folks about going to some Sunday rounds (which, of course, had been a part of BB in the olden days). Most people really weren't ready for another lost weekend. This is varsity only, LD, policy and PF. There's hope that Bronx will have TOC bids next year in LD and policy both.

Oct 20-21 Lakeland. This looks to be a good spot for the Westchester Classic on the old Bergenfield weekend. Open divisions only. We'd also like to hold the first-timers' MHL this weekend. There should be enough space at Lakeland, although Pete Kruppenbacher figures that they could get the middle school if necessary (it's about as far from Lakeland as the Bergenfield MS used to be from their HS, but I wouldn't recommend walking it, because there's no sidewalks in this part of the world).

Oct 27-28 Manchester, TOC at quarters. I'm unclear about this, but it seems that there is hope that Manchester will offer more or different policy divisions? Varsity, presumably? Dan J can sort that out. That weekend is also the NYC CFL, a mandatory event in our league, for LD.

Nov 4 Monticello MHL

Nov 10-11 Bump at Hendrick Hudson. This would replace the NFA tournament, which will no longer be conducted. At this point I have not definitely secured the facilities for this weekend, but my request is in. I would love not to have to worry about snow anymore, and, honestly, to get the thing over with as early in the season as possible! I would assume that our cancellation this year will have no effect on our TOC bid (LD, quarters).

Nov 18 Little Lexington (novice and open divisions of LD and policy plus PF). I always go up to Lex as a fun start to training my novices to travel. We get housed Friday, run 4 rounds on Saturday, and we're home before midnight Saturday night. It's a great place to send younger folks who aren't going to Glenbrooks (or Villiger).

Dec 1-2. We're assuming that Jim Murphy will continue to carry on his new tournament at Weston. We will officially eliminate the MHL that would otherwise compete.

Dec 8-9 The old Bump weekend. Assuming that I can move, it has been suggested that our region consider attending the Kings College tournament in Scranton. Michael Bacon has long been a strong advocate of connecting with the Pa folks, and this would be a good start. I've been communicating with Mike Berry from Kings.

Dec 16 NYC CFL, policy and LD, again mandatory (and usually enormous!).

Jan 5-6 Ridge invitational in Basking Ridge, NJ, with an MHL on Jan 6. We're hoping that this new tournament gets off to a good start this year and comes back again next year.

Jan12-13 Big Lexington (and getting bigger every second!)

Feb 2-3 Newark (assuming that Emory is some time in January), with MHL on 2/3. 2/3 is also the date of the Manchester lasagne event. (Note: the debaters eat lasagne, as compared to the lasagnes getting to debate.)

Feb 9-10 Scarsdale/Edgemont. Next year Edgemont will join with Scarsdale so that there will be policy and LD on the same weekend. Edgemont is the next town over.

Feb 17-20 Harvard

After this there's the various spinning down of qualifiers and finals. Please note that NFA still intends to host its Novice RR, most likely the week before NCFLs.

And so, another year passes right before our eyes...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another year bites the dust

Regis on Saturday was the last tournament of the year. And a mighty large one, with about 120 competitors in three divisions (not to mention the large Policy and Congress divisions). The freshman LDers are forced to debate in the cafeteria; I stuck my nose in down there for a minute, and regretted that Dante hadn't lived long enough to experience this particular circle of the Inferno. But somehow people managed to sort things out and make them happen. McHush even managed somehow to train a couple of our new parents. Amazing intestinal fortitude, if you ask me.

Things were jumping in the tab room. Aside from magically handling a series of disappearances (the usual rogue vomiter that every tournament seems to engender, some schmegeggie who never told his coach he was hitting the road and was never heard from again, the judge whose engine was firing on negative burners and had to have the ballots pulled directly out of her small brain—why do we bother with opening judge instructions, anyhow, when the ones most in need of listening are most likely plugged into Moby outtakes or whatever it is that's destroying the youth of America these days), we briefly went over Brother John's good response to my NYSFL letter, and talked about next year's calendar. As for the former, I'll save that for a few days until I get my response organized, but I was heartened to see that he was taking me seriously. As for the latter, I think we really managed to sort things out well. I did make the announcement that I was probably moving Bump to the NFA weekend (although I'm still waiting to get approval from the school). Then we sorted this, that and the other, I think in a good way. I'm sending out a message to the region's guiding lights shortly, and I'll also post it here, in case I miss anybody. In a word, 2006-7 is ready for primetime.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

2492 Regis LDers

Or close to that. For some reason this event is always jam-packed. This year it's more jam-packeder than ever. I've seen the list of debaters; I'll do the data entry tomorrow afternoon (I have a half day off to go "shopping," which for me is a stop at the local handmade chocolate shop, 11 minutes at Target wondering why I bothered, then a dash home for a nap--shopping at its finest!).

As usual I have put out a call for another student judge this weekend. As usual, no response. I guess everyone is recovering from all the work they did at Bump. Jeesh! What a bunch of schlubs!

Thinking about the Jan-Feb topic (and putting aside the nonsensical idea that came up at our meeting that somehow the neg, who has to affirm that ED for Private E is just, will run a K, meaning essentially that they'll be defending justice by claiming that the aff is not just on face, which is, duh, the affirmative position, which is why it is unimaginable except from debaters so lacking in true debate skills that they've given up trying), I was thinking a little about something that I don't like (the consequentiality approach) but which is nonetheless interesting. In a nutshell, the position that the neg defends is that some grandiose and complicated scheme of city planning (in this case, requiring acquisition of private land for development by other private interests) will lead to urban improvements. This calls to mind all sorts of efforts in the past to "improve" cities, resulting in the horror of Moses's urban renewal projects, the concepts of Jane Jacobs and the maintenance of varied life at street level, gentrification/enfranchisement leading to a Gap on every corner of Manhattan, the pure visionary concept of the original EPCOT which is totally contrary to the enlightened visions of today--all sorts of things of that nature, some of which are in Variations on a Theme Park, some of which are in the Moses book, some of which I've just picked up from the gutter. Hell, even Baudrillard could conceivably apply, if you think about it, on the level of the creation of the postmodern landscape as devoid of content. The point is, so many visions of urban improvement have proven false; perhaps they've improved urban economics but they've destroyed urban soul and culture. The life and deaths of cities may be best left to the market/social forces on the ground, allowing for improvements of those market and social forces but not for playing the god game of selecting new forces to replace the old ones. That is, it's okay to clean up Thompson Square Park to make it an open park again, but not okay to turn it into a WalMart.

These are interesting thoughts that this topic can lead to. Not necessarily interesting debates, again because arguing that it doesn't work or won't work or didn't work is simply a weak strategy on any topic, but just interesting meditations. Which is why we do this activity in the first place, right? Not to win debates but to expand brains?

And to judge this weekend, because if you have time to read this, you have time to judge a few rounds, you spalpeen!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Return to normalcy

I watched a whole bunch of LOST episodes over the weekend, starting at the beginning. I'm never exactly current in my TV viewing, seeing that I watch about 3 hours a week (excluding films), so I feel that I'm practically running with the herd on this one. Quite entertaining!

I cleaned up and reorganized Chez HQ, but there's still a few tables to be moved. I don't think we'll have another chez till after vacation, anyhow. The only real need is on the Pfffft topic for Nicole and D(&PF)IML at Lex, and it's not as if the subject of Intelligent Design hasn't been hashed to death in the press. We still do need demos twixt Craig, NoShow and Matt T. I'll figure out something, eventually. Maybe before the Ridge MHL, if they're all signed up. The Ridge two-dayer fell by the wayside due to lack of parent. Maybe people will start believing me when I say that, every now and then, no parent, no tournament. Maybe not.

Tomorrow night will be the last semi-normal meeting. Novices will entertain us, we'll hash over business and some cur, we'll show why the aff is right on Jan-Feb (having shown last week why the neg was right). I've already begun getting registrations for Regis Saturday. The planet does keep spinning, doesn't it.

Oh yeah. I load up RCT3 on Little Elvis, and lost myself for an entire afternoon yesterday in the sandbox mode...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Why we don't print the date on Bump trophies

It was a rough week. At the beginning, the weather report was categorically perfect. There was absolutely no chance of snow after Wednesday until sometime in Big Lex. Then, slowly and steadily, the forecast began to deteriorate. By Wednesday it was clear that if things didn't change, we'd be in for it. And it was also clear that, the sooner we shut down, the better. It was going to be bad enough that plenty of people had already bought plane tickets; they didn't need to land in a snowstorm, or get stranded at a tournamentless venue in the middle of (stormy) nowhere. We would have to salvage what we could as soon as possible. And so, with fair certitude on Thursday morning, we agreed to shut down. It was the right decision, regardless of whether the snow were to actually happen; there is no such thing as acceptable risk when you're talking about students on roads in bad weather. And that was that. (Although I do admit to waking up this morning quite pleased that it had not just merely snowed, but really most sincerely snowed. And it still is snowing, for that matter.)

But oh, the agony. Yeah, I put in a lot of work and get really stressed out, but there is enormous satisfaction to pulling off a successful tournament, and I know that, at this point, we can and we do. We have some fun aspects that make Bump unique, like crappy prizes, and we've been in business long enough now that we usually make things happen efficiently. Food. Rounds. Housing. We've got a great team of kids working hard, great parents helping wherever they can, experienced tab people I can count on while I'm running around stoking some other engines. The disappointment for everyone when, after all the preparation, it just doesn't happen, is palpable. I feel especially for the seniors. There is something special about running a major tournament, and the seniors are my generals at the ballot tables, keeping it all together, enjoying their positions of authority in their primary school activity. It sucks not to get to enjoy that experience.

When we made the final decision, I could have perhaps come up with some other arrangement, but it just didn't feel right. I couldn't imagine reorganizing 200+ housing slots, or getting people to get new plane tickets. I couldn't imagine going through all the registration hassle again. I wish I could have figured out something. It just didn't seem to be in the cards.

You know what feels the worst? There's a judge list I posted, with Hen Hud graduates going back to 1996. 1996! Saturday night we were going out after the tournament, I didn't care how late it was (if I had to, I'd have popped over to the all night A&P and bought stuff and cooked it). And I think I had made it clear that this was a dinner for present and future alumni. I wanted my core team from now in there too, Hush and McLean and Emily, people who have done the activity for 4 years and been Bump stalwarts since I had them majordomoing. And anyone else who was still with us probably at around nine o'clock Saturday night while I was pissing and moaning over neverending final rounds while playing Jack in the library...

Thanks to everyone. Thanks first and foremost to the Hen Hud Forensics Team. You guys did a great job this year. You got the housing, you showed up when I needed you, you kept at the admin to get the rooms. Thanks to the alums for remembering. Thanks to the parents for understanding. Thanks to the registrants for supporting the tournament and for supporting the difficult but inevitable decision to cancel it.

Today I am going to rearrange the command deck at Chez HQ. I'm going to figure when to plan a chez on the Intelligent Design Pffft for Nicole and DIML (and no doubt at least Horaceman, the superhero without any superpowers, whose voracious appetite for debate is a little scary). I'm going to talk to the Nostrumite, who, if 2ARGRL is any indication, has absolutely no idea what the AFF is about for Jan-Feb. I'm going to watch a movie, one of those blizzard films I've been storing up since the invention of the DVD (to tell the truth, I haven't watched one yet, but if there ever was a day, this is it). I'm going to start creating questions for Debate Jeopardy at our last meeting of the year. I'm going to print out the order for the District trophies to give to the folks tomorrow when I pick up next year's Bump trophies. Lots of stuff. After all, how often do I get an unexpected day off? Two days, if you count tomorrow.

Enjoy the free time. I'm sure you can find something productive to do too.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The future of debate

I sent out a notice this morning that I had to cancel Bump. (More about that later.) Within five minutes two coaches sent me messages offering me their schools and/or their weekend to make up for it.

The future of debate is not whether we argue CT or use the LDEP ballot. The future of debate is the commitment of young coaches to this activity.

Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Frightful weather

It's looking progressively worse weatherwise for Friday, but nothing is definitive yet. I'm assuming that we'll just have a couple of inches, and the relative annoyance therefrom. But if the school closes, we're out of business because that means that the roads are just impassable. If they're impassable for us, they're impassable for everyone. I've taken to posting updates on the Bump site, but there's nothing more to be said till tomorrow. In any case, I've got some good movies out from Netflix, so Friday night maybe I'll be sitting by the fire, smiling at a Lubitsch film, planning for Bump 2006...

Last night the team of Ben and Ewok won the election. Or Benewok. It was close, right down to the end. That's why I don't like elections. Think back to the classic Peanuts cartoon, where someone is saying how it was the end of the 4th quarter, the team was down by 5 points, then all of a sudden they intercepted, ran 99 yards and made a spectacular comeback touchdown to win the game at the last moment, at which point the fans went wild and carried the team off on its shoulders. And Charlie Brown asks, "How did the other team feel?" But, what are you going to do?

I see they're arguing CT over at EMT. Gimme a break. (Hen Hudders are reminded that there is a file about arguing against same on the group website.) I would imagine critical legal theory will pop up in January, with affs presumably critiquing that anything DWMs--or living white males, for that matter--do as judges is prejudiced, so the resolution can't be argued at all, which means that the aff has to throw out the rez, which ought to make things uniquely interesting for negs who are intereested in arguing whether ED in these Kelo-esque situations is just or not. Forget all the other aspects of CT (whether it's appropriate, legitimate, etc.). It just isn't as bloody interesting as seriously understanding the topic, the power of ED and the just use of legislative will. Oh, well...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

5 days till the day after Bump

Things have slowed down considerably. It's been at least 7 minutes since I sent out a housing change.

Tonight is election night at the old corral. Team captaincy has an interesting history at Hen Hud. When I first started out, the team was so small that pretty much all the upperclassmen claimed the brevet rank of captain, and no one really challenged it, although Dave F was the President of the whole team, whatever that meant. When Kate and Noah were around in their sequential years, they were obviously the team leaders, but not really officially recognized as such. If I remember correctly, it was with Wedro and Jared that I finally decided that we needed something ex officio, and they were Solomonically appointed co-captains. Then, the year after that, we opened it up to elections.


I mean, elections seemed like a good idea, except I hadn't reckoned with the concept of electioneering. Richard Nixon, CREEP and a certain Washington hotel were like Teletubbies by comparison. I won't go into details here, but suffice it to say that I was taken aback. Amused, but taken aback. Little had I known...

Despite the muck, or in aid of it, depending on your level of perversity, we stuck with elections for a while. Until last year when I simply didn't want to make an issue out of the obvious, and appointed McHush. End of story, just reward for years of dedication.

But this year I reverted. Not that I don't have my own opinions (and I do get to vote like everyone else), but a leader is someone who, to some extent, people want to be led by. Let the followers decide, in other words. It will be interesting. Nominations were open to anyone, in any combination of one or two (i.e., capt or co-capts), and we practically have every mathematical possibility on the boards. I doubt if there will be a majority on the first ballot, so some sort of run-off will probably ensue. I understand that odds have been posted by the sports book folks in Vegas, so if you want to lay a few bucks on someone, here's your chance.

By the way, at some point I did move the executive term to match the calendar year. When Noah got sort of tired of debate in his senior year, I began to understand the true meaning of senioritis. If he could come down with a touch of it, no one was immune. So matching the calendar year got people while they were still hot to trot, and replaced them with the next hot trotters.

Of course, most people reading this will remember things entirely differently. To which I say, get your own blog, you twit!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Chip dip

Well, here's the deal. If you had ace-king unsuited, would you bet big? If the flop includes another ace and another king, would you go all-in? Here's my consolation. I lost to a royal flush. If you gotta lose, lose to a royal flush.

So there's this big stack of paper at home that is Bump. And various program files and their backups. Tonight the judge list goes live, although a number of people have apparently seen enough to know that so-and-so won't judge them, thank you very much. I did offer an option of dumping Hen Hud judges predicated on their old-time conservatism. I claimed that my old-timers would as a rule expect you to argue the resolution, and for all I know (I haven't opened any of the emails yet) that was good enough! There is still a part of me that says, you should be able to pick up ANY ballot if you're really good, but then again, 3 strikes of some stinkers who have always had it in for you doesn't really contradict this stance.

Other than that, I'm beginning to catch up on stuff. Novice cases. MHL bills. Christmas shopping. Cancelling Ridge (no adult, we're out of business). Planning Lex for us and Speech. Harvard notice (I haven't even looked yet at that db since I've created it). Exploring the new Firefox (issues here in the office, but they may be related to our font server, which often shows signs of insanity). Letting the Little Elvis battery run down (otherwise battery life runs down, and we wouldn't want that). Saturday was strange. Yeah, I was doing Bumpisms, but also it's the first Saturday I haven't been at a tournament since Monticello. I don't expect Saturdays off except during Christmas. I felt I should be reading the Sunday paper on Saturday morning. It took FOREVER to do the puzzle.

6 more days till Bump is a memory.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

No nap today...

...although I could have used one.

High point of the day: Pulling out an umpty-ump of crappy prizes from the crappy prize closet. Jeesh! Some of this stuff is worthless—I mean, priceless. Definitely priceless. And the thing is, the closet is still filled to overflowing. What a life!

Low point of the day: Sitting here inputting everything, except now, it's all done. I'm missing a couple of judges from hither and thither, but LD is 99% done. Policy is missing two schools, only one of which is dubious. So, Policy is 90% done.

And the waitlist is shut down. No way. Housing is filled, and would be happy to be less filled, the tournament is filled, and would be happy to be less filled, so as they say on the Food Channel, put a fork in me because I am done.

And now, upstairs for a nice cuppa tea. Maybe a digestive biscuit. And maybe a sit-down with the old Pipster for some Christmas menu planning.

BTW, my daughter sent me her iterinerary. She arrives home Wednesday night. She leaves New Zealand, from the looks of the flight plan, 187 hours in advance of final arrival. The bad news: she is going to be seriously jet-lagged. The good news: she'll get to read Moby Dick again. Twice.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Odds at the end of the week

Poker night tonight. Probably a tournament. I'm feelin' lucky, punk.

I didn't even log on last night. I watched House and played some stupid ATV game that came with my PS2. So much more fun than Bump.

I forgot to mention that I made an enhancement (all right, I was given an enhancement) on the team site's reading list. Now, you'll need a PC for this, more's the pity, it doesn't work yet on the Mac, but run your wee sma mousie over the link to Amazon. No! Slower! Ah. There it is. Cool, eh? But speaking of which, some of these books are PD (not to be confused with VBD, which is another thing altogether), and there's no reason why we can't just throw up a pdf. I'll get on it. Some day. Some place. (Some place where there isn't any trouble. Do you think there really is such a place?)

Tomorrow I clear out the waiting list (I think I can find a few more spaces for LD) and begin entering the data into TRPC. That'll be the Good TRPC. (Or Glinda, as we like to call it, the Good TRPC of the South. Glinda was the witch of the south, right? The witch of the north—not in the film—was never seen again in the books, I don't think. East and West were the Wicked ones.)

(See what I mean about Bump destroying otherwise perfectly good minds?)

Meanwhile, I've been trying to scope out the Speech tournament on Lex weekend. It looks as if it's nowhere near Lexington, plus their tournament hotel is, get this, the Ritz! Hell, most places we go to, not even the tournament crackers are the Ritz. And they tell us how wonderfully cheap it is (about $170 a room with taxes), which I guess *is* cheap for the Ritz (hotel, that is; it's pretty expensive for the crackers). And then there's Harvard, which is always bing-bang sign up fast, get the rooms, hoo-ha! I've definitely decided not to go, because I'm leaving for London bright and early the following Tuesday, and I don't want to screw that up. Plus, I have a feeling that now that Claire has that actor on call playing the part of Phantom, Old Leather will turn up everywhere during the weekend, and I simply can't afford his bar bill, much less keep up with him. Anyhow, I've put up a signup db for Harvard on both team group sites, and nudged Dave about Lex, on which we'll confab Tuesday, so planning for post Bump (or Bumplex, as I'm beginning to see the two as a continuum) goes on apace.

And just think: Post Bump is just 10 days away!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

'Nuff said

We're done. Bump Registration 2005 is now concluded. It's all over now but the gory details. We're so booked I'm not even taking any more waitlisters.


Taking my mind off of all of this last night, I heard from the Nostrumite, right in the middle of enough email to sink the Potemkin. I needed the break. Of course, he has signed some TWHS kids up for the tournament (otherwise I'd have his head), but mostly he was complaining about Blogger AKA Blogspot, to wit, the site for this, and his, blog. I had told him way back when that it was a piece of cake, easy as pie, plus a few other assorted dessert metaphors, and he took me up on it, and began typing away. If you've followed the TWHS exploits, you know that first he was trying to write things up, but got bogged down in doing his real jobs (coaching and learning Lamaze) and passed the thing along to his team, and then they seemed to give up on it, and then finally 2argrl took over right before Thanksgiving. Along the way I've been providing them some storage space on Anyhow, apparently 2argrl simply could not log on to Blogger after the first couple of times, no matter what she did. She went to the Mite for help, which is like going to the Sahara desert to see the rain forest, and he couldn't log in either. Between the two of them, they did everything they could, which according to the Mite meant mostly stomping their feet in frustration and cussing like bandits, until finally they just gave up. So, 2argrl is now on her own at a brand new site and will be carrying on with the blessing of the Nostrumite, but no longer under his broad bumpershoot. Which is probably not a terrible thing. The fewer minds we allow the Mite to corrupt, even indirectly, the better a place the world will be.

People do occasionally ask me how I even know the Nostrumite. Truth to tell, he and Jules were in my very first HH batch of alums when I took over back during the Middle Ages. My first graduates. LD was so different then. People argued not merely resolutions, but the resolutions that they were supposed to be arguing. Heady times! I was reading an article in Rostrum about the (semiannual) downfall of policy, and the writer was complaining about gamesmanship vs resolutional argumentation. Cross-apply to LD, my friend. Said writer also called for an end to judge strikes, which simply enable the gamesmanship; this is interesting to me in light of my allowing strikes at Bump. The argument against strikes is that you ought to be able to pick up any judge, especially in LD which is intended to be for an enlightened but nonetheless general audience. There's a thread now on OMFG where people complain about the caliber of their regional judges. As Mr. Rogers might put it, Can you say "Get Real"? If the judges of an entire area are roughly of a certain cast, that means you have to debate to that cast, not that they're all screwed up and you have to go somewhere else. Can you say "Judge adaptation"? Jeesh. The point of public speaking (are we in any way advocating the learning of public speaking skills in forensics these days?) is to address any audience, not just the audience primed and prepped to love you, just you and always you. Any fool can do that, you bozo! Convince a hostile audience of your point of view, on the other hand, and you've actually done something. I wonder if we've created a TOC that is not a tournament of champions but a tournament of people who are only capable of convincing a very small body of hand-picked judges that their arguments, regardless of how uunresolutional, are good ones. Mebbe.