|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, September 05, 2003
I love this Blog universe, or "blogiverse," as I've seen it flippantly referred to. I can indulge basic voyeuristic needs without any sort of consequence. Good stuff.
So, whose blogs am I reading? Well, aside from Anna's, from which many of the tens of people who might visit me in any given week are wandering over, I have a few others that I read on a pretty regular basis. Que Sera Sera is a terrific place to start. The Neurotic Fishbowl is a website I stumbled upon while trying to confirm that Mary Lou Retton did indeed do PSA's for America's bowling fat cats back in the 80s. Thought For the Day, by a U of M grad and SE Michigan teacher is actually the first blog I can remember happening upon. I don't know Craig, but he should know his site was the inspiration for starting this one. Brightness Falls and Mimi Smartypants both amuse the shit out of me. John from Brightness Falls needs to write more. Mimi is just funny. Even if, in fact, that is not her real name.
So the above, besides being a good experiment for me to make sure I know how to make hyperlinks work properly, is a good place to start roaming the universe of blogs. Enjoy!
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Add this to my grumpiness and general malaise today...
I'm at work and the boss is gone. Not much is getting done. I can't focus today anyway, unfortunately. Anyway, out the blue earlier comes this question over my cube wall:
"Were you picked on a lot as a kid?"
Yes, thanks for reminding me.
And a little later on I was hit up with all sorts of questions about the ex-wife. Frankly, she's someone I don't even like to think about anymore, so I kinda have myself all wrenched up (greasy noodles for lunch don't help) inside frustrated by the way everything shook out in my marriage.
Yes, it still is a sore subject, thanks for asking.
I almost IM'd my now-pregnant-and-engaged ex this afternoon because I moved out of the house without pictures that we had together of me and my friends/family that I'd really like. I think I deserve to have those sent to me.
Who am I kidding? I'd just be contacting her to twist the knife even farther. I've said my goodbyes, what's the point in rehashing the rest of the bullshit?
I've pretty much resigned my afternoon to perusing the usual websites and going home shortly after 3PM. Maybe throwing the frisbee with the dog will take some of this weight off my shoulders. Either that, or I need to see if the six beers in the fridge will last me all night or not.
I've been irritable lately.
No, it's not lack of sex, I think I went through that stage quite awhile ago thankyouverymuch.
I gave up two things I really loved, and even after two months plus without either, I'm really regretting my decision. I'm talking about pop and cigarettes.
I had to give up smoking. At my peak, a few years back, I was at about a pack a day, plus pretty much all the pot I could smoke post 9PM daily. I had actually done two things to improve that habit though. First, I switched to American Spirit Organic Blend Regulars. They're not only expensive ($6.50/pack), but burn long and taste good. Then, I also cut down to about 2-4 smokes a day. I didn't feel bad when a pack was lasting me nearly two weeks. It didn't feel like a habit.
Then early this spring I did a play. And everyone smoked. So I accelerated my habit again, this time up to half a pack a day.
So I had to quit.
The pop thing was done as a "baby step" towards losing some weight. We've established here that I'm not FAT fat, but I've got liver problems (you wouldn't know unless I told you) that are caused by carrying more weight than my body was built to right in my stomach. So I need to drop about 30 lbs. That's something like 231kg to my Canadian contingent. I'm not good with conversions. Anyway, I'm 5'11", and weigh 205. So I'm not too heavy, and I carry it pretty well. Just not for my health.
So I gave up pop. I was drinking probably 3-5 cans on most days, mostly Coke and Cherry Coke. And good god do I miss it. I've replaced the pop with coffee and beer, and it's just not the same. I've been drinking A LOT of coffee, and that's not too good for you either. At least I drink it black though, no cream, no sugar.
I've quit smoking in probably early May, and I quit pop in mid July.
I have been cheating a bit though. You can still count the number of smokes I've had on one (OK, two) hands since quitting, so that's not bad I suppose. But I had two last night. Mmmm... sweet tobacco goodness. The pop cheating is a little fuzzier. I haven't had a Coke. I did, purely by accident, order a frozen Coke at a Burger King. I was halfway through drinking it before I stopped to ask myself if that was, in fact, cheating. I still don't know the answer. I have also had six or seven Red Bulls over the past couple months. It's not pop, technically, I suppose. But it's fizzy and sugary. What's the difference? Thank god it costs $2 a can (why the hell is it so pricey?), or I'd be sucking them down left and right.
I know what I've done is "good for me," but if not feeding a habit makes you fucking grumpy like I've been, is that "good for society?"
Sign my guestmap!
Always good to get a mention on Anna's front page. Of course, it would have to revolve around my line "either do it, or don't."
And therein lies my problem.
I suppose the one thing I've never really been good at is being a "man of action." I'm more "man of analysis." Or rather, over-analysis. I think too much. I don't ride the emotion, I want to figure out what to do with it. Of course, by that point, it's gone.
It was actually a somewhat out-of-character move for me to ask out the girl from the play (you know, the one who brought her boyfriend to the date). I normally would have over thought it and would have decided to wait until I knew she was free.
I still want to pursue her, and even that I try to understand. Do I want her because I'm attracted to her (yes)? Do I want her because I feel she can compliment my personality and I can have fun with (yes)? Do I just not want to lose to a guy that I am pretty sure I'm better than (ding ding ding ding ding)?
Reasons aside, I'm committing to be a less analytical, less "careful" person with my feelings and emotions in the future. I've lived in virtual seclusion for so long that I don't want to miss the next wave when it comes along.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Random thoughts and thoroughbred selections
Yeah, I know the link just brings you back here. So don't click it. I'm just irritated about the banner ad at the top of the page. I mention the car driving sport by its ubiquitous acronym and a link to information and products for the sport appears in the banner. I mention off shore floating supercharged vessel competitions and there's a link to that in my ad. Can't I just get back to the horse racing and pizza ads that have been there pretty much since day one?
Of course, I could pay for this service and have no banner ad, but what good is that?
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Bill O'Reilly and the secular/moral debate
"The secularists in America have an agenda. They want total personal freedom. That means no judgments about anyone's behavior. They want legalized drugs, gay marriage, soft criminal penalties, and rehabilitation in prisons instead of punishment.
The agenda goes on and on, but the message is that the USA should be a place where all non-criminal conduct is permitted and moral judgments about right and wrong should never be made."
From the mouth of Bill O'Reilly...
Granted, dude gets paid to be opinionated, and it's helpful to his ratings to be skewed as far to one side as he can go. But a few things bother me.
First, the phrase "They want total personal freedom." Um, yeah. It's the same concept as freedom of speech. Look, there's no such thing as freedom without consequences. There's no such thing as an action without a reaction. How does the saying go? My freedom only extends as far as your inconvenience? I'm not talking about people walking the streets shooting heroin. I'm not talking about random gay porno sex in public parks. There's still a semblance of personal freedom that shouldn't extend out of "private" circumstances. But don't tell me what the fuck I can and can't do if it doesn't affect you at all.
Secondly, "They want legalized drugs, gay marriage, soft criminal penalties, and rehabilitation in prisons instead of punishment." Well, legalized drugs make some sense. If I'm not forcing them on school children (the "more for me" theorem) and am only damaging myself, what's the problem? Gay marriage we've discussed. Well, I've discussed. Who does it hurt, ultimately, to afford any two people who wish to join into a financial and legal partnership the same protection as other people get? This, frankly, is where this "secular/moral" argument misses the boat. Churches are already marrying gay people. We're not spinning into moral chaos. It's just about equal treatment by a government that is supposedly representative of its people.
One problem is lumping the rest of that into some sort of "secular agenda," which he refers to in the article. It's really too convenient to try to push anything that sounds amoral into some sort of "secular agenda."
"In my upcoming book, Who's Looking Out for You?, I prove that the Founding Fathers (search) wanted a spiritual presence in the public arena for a very practical reason. They understood the new government did not have the power to control behavior. They rightly figured that a God-fearing people would behave better than people with no moral boundaries."
It really pisses me off that the "god-fearing" among us can believe wholly that those of us who don't believe in god and believe in personal freedom when it brings entirely no harm to others have "no moral boundaries."
Here's what I believe...
- I believe that my government has the right to protect the public interest, but not at the cost of personal liberties.
- I believe that my government does not represent a purely christian interest, and should not reflect a moral code that is based on an antiquated book that not everyone in this country sees in the same way.
- And I believe that if I'm wrong about the existence of a god, and more importantly, an afterlife, that if I choose to live my life in a way that does not impede on the lives of others, that any "benevolent creator" won't hold some sort of bullshit grudge on me for not buying into what the preachers are preaching.
Monday, September 01, 2003
The bulk of what's new and exciting in my life from the weekend happened to me yesterday.
My dad calls and asks if I want to go have lunch with them on the deck of a beach restaurant and watch the powerboat races taking place offshore. He's buying.
Well, far be it from me to turn down free lunch, so I agree. It's my dad, his wife, her daughter (15) and her boyfriend. I found out that powerboat racing is, in fact, incredibly boring to watch. They had, apparently, five groups of boats racing, with maybe six boats in each group. The boats were obviously different in class (like trucks versus cars versus motorcycles different), and they let them onto the "course" (about a mile up, make a turn, a mile back, make a turn, repeat about fifteen times) about a minute apart. So, most of the way through the race you couldn't tell who was winning, or which boats were racing each other because they got all mixed up. Really lame.
This prompted me to come up with my IDEAS FOR IMPROVING POWERBOAT RACING
1) Mine the race course. It's not about who can do laps the fastest, but rather who doesn't blow up.
2) Depth charges on each boat that can be used against opponents.
3) Heavily armed boats (this, of course, goes without saying).
4) Pirates. Now, hear me out. Every boat gets a harpoon gun and a band of three pirates. At 60 MPH on the water they have to mount other boats and try to take them over. That would be fun.
5) Spy boats. Add smoke screens, oil slicks, submarining boats, all that shit.
6) Pari-mutuel wagering -
- which brings me to the topic -
WHY DON'T ALL SPORTS, PARTICULARLY RACES, OFFER PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING?
Yes, I go to the horse races. I go because they're fun, but they're fun because you can find something to root for in every race. And it's because you have money on it that you're personally invested. Now, take things like boat races and motorcycle races, in other words, the types of competitions where it's not mainstream entertainment (like, unfortunately, NASCAR). If you had money on an underdog, wouldn't you be whooping it up too? It would give you someone to pay attention to, at bare minimum. And because it's pari-mutuel, you're not involving bookies and organizations of ill repute. You're betting against the other bettors, not the house.
Even sports like baseball could use pari-mutuel betting. Envision a day where between innings you look at your little tablet PC with odds updating every few seconds. You bet a certain amount of credits on an over/under for number of batters in an inning, whether there might be a hit that inning, whatever. And it's a game that keeps you rooting (screaming for the hitter to stretch a single to a double if that's the bet you made).
Anyhow, I guess I'm just saying sports is more fun if you have a few bucks on it.
- Last night I played poker. I got shit for cards. I can't count how many K/3 or Q/7 hands I ended up with. Not only that, but when I'd get a K/K pair draw, the flop would be 3/4/5, and the turn would be 6. Someone would have the straight and I'd be fucked again. I was out really early - third out of the ten. I did, however, beat Sarah (well, stayed in longer at least), which made me feel better about myself.
I'm bored... so how's about some bored ramblings?
Overrated - Al Pacino - yep, he's great. His transition from wide-eyed war hero to strictly-business Godfather in the first "Godfather" movie was stunning. He didn't, however, deserve the Oscar for "Scent of a Woman," and has made some pretty bad movies in the past ten years. "Gigli," "The Recruit," "Simone," "Any Given Sunday," and "Devil's Advocate" come to mind. Great actor, but some bad, bad choices lately.
Underrated - Dennis Quaid - quick, name a bad Dennis Quaid movie? Didn't think so. Even his "bad" movies (like "Innerspace," "Everybody's All American," and "Great Balls of Fire") all feature good performances. Likeable dude, good in just about everything he's done.
Overrated - Sharon Stone - Total one-note actress who's still trading on a crotch shot from eleven years ago. Was great in "Casino," but hasn't had a lot of success otherwise. However, she still poses as an "A-List" actress in public. Totally overrated.
Underrated - Cameron Diaz - She's not the MOST underrated actress in Hollywood, but is definitely more than just a pretty face. Was absolutely terrific in movies like "Vanilla Sky," "Any Given Sunday," and "Being John Malkovich," all playing completely against the bubble-headed blonde type she's also really good at.
MEAT -Overrated - Beef - Steaks are good, yes. Ground beef is reasonably versatile. Beef ribs aren't too shabby. But most restaurants don't take too many chances with preparation, opting mainly for beef that's grilled or broiled (except for prime rib - slow roasted), normally with little additional to add aside from sauces, spices, and cheese. The variety isn't there.
Underrated - Lamb - You can do everything you can do with beef with lamb. Steaks, chops, roasts... but you get a meat with a slightly different flavor that lends itself well to different sauce and spice combinations than beef. Whereas a rich and spicy flavor corresponds well to beef (pepper, tomato, full flavors), more subtle and fragrant additions work well with lamb (rosemary, mint, oregano). It's a sorely underused meat as far as I'm concerned. Speaking of lamb...
TAKEOUT FOOD FOR LUNCH -
Overrated - Taco Bell - Could they grind their "meat" any finer? Plus, their tortilla shells and chips are virtually without flavor. Awful, and leaves you feeling quite bad about fifteen minutes after it's gone (SIDE NOTE - Maybe it's just me, but all three of the Tricon Global chain restaurants - Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC - all leave me feeling crappy in the same way after eating).
Underrated - Greek Gyros - I guess you can tell I love lamb. Even when it's processed past the point of recognition and topped with yogurt sauce. Yum.
WORLD CUISINE -
Overrated - Italian - The "Italian" cuisine I'm referring to is the stuff that's perpetrated on us by restaurants like Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, and most non-authentic spaghetti joints. There's a beautiful simplicity to genuine Italian cooking, which is sorely missing in America's garlic-and-an-ocean-of-sauce Italian knockoffs. It's not all about noodles and sauce, and that's what most of these restaurants are missing.
Underrated - Lebanese/Middle Eastern - Falafel, tabbouleh, hummus (as fun to say as it is to eat), spinach pie... What's there not to like? And it seems healthy as well. Stuffed grape leaves just sounds good for you. And kibbe meat pies? Yum. Very few restaurants try, because it seems very few can get it right. But those that do? A unique and tasty dining experience.
MUSIC GENRE -
Overrated - Rock - What's "rock" anymore anyways? While you have to admire the stripped-down aesthetic of The White Stripes, and the willingness to continue the tradition of metal, trends be damned, of Metallica, there's so much garbage out in the mainstream right now that would make Eric Clapton roll over in his grave, were he, in fact, dead. What happened to the guitar solo? Furthermore, when did this formula rock come into play where the singer sings slow, sings slow, screams chorus, sings slow, screams chorus, etc? Way too much stuff that sounds a lot alike out there. While there are plenty of bands that don't fall easily into "rock" that seem to have something worthwhile to say musically (Coldplay, Beck), groups like Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Linkin Park, and others don't seem to have the musical talent their forefathers in rock had.
Underrated - Rap - When rap is good, it's very, very good. When rap is horrible, it is aired on MTV. Ignore for a minute the commercially successful acts such as Ludacris, Nelly, 50 Cent, and Ja Rule. When a talented rapper has something to say, it's sometimes on par with the beat poets of the 50s. Try Common or Mos Def on for size one of these days. It's shortsighted to assume that because 50 Cent talks about guns and bitches, that all rap is like that. Simply, it's not. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of room on the radio for the intelligent rappers to have their say.
PREPRODUCTION MOVIE RUMOR -
Overrated - Matt Damon offered part of "Aquaman." - Who needs to see this? A movie about a superhero whose only power is making fish do what he wants them to? How many smugglers on boats can be in one plot? And, if Aquaman is your foe and you're a villian, here's an idea... Stay out of the fucking water. Glad I could help.
Underrated - MacCauley Culkin, apparently, in considerations to play a young Hannibal Lecter - Uh... I'm not even sure what I think of this, except for the simple fact that this takes career renaissance to a whole new level if it happens. Sorry Travolta, this totally overrides you on that "Pulp Fiction" thing. We'll see where this goes.
COMIC STRIP -
Overrated - B.C. - Fucking B.C. Never, ever funny. Ever. And thanks for the heavy-handed doses of christianity with my comics. I don't come to the back page to be preached to, I come for the funnies. If I ran a paper, no way are they in my section.
Underrated - Get Fuzzy - There are strips I like better, like Foxtrot, but I can't say a strip that has spawned multiple books is underrated. Get Fuzzy is funny, features an insane cat that wants to wrestle chickens but can't come to grips with the fact that chickens can kick his ass, and, in a strip I don't remember, apparently pissed off some right wing christians in my town enough to write to the paper demanding its removal. Good.
PARTS OF A NEWSPAPER -
Overrated - Dear Abby - Let me boil this down for you. "If you want to save your marriage, get counseling." "It's better to keep your mouth shut than lose a friend." "He's married, dear, so try to find an available man." Did I miss anything? Oh, "CONFIDENTIAL TO 'LONELY IN TUCSON': You need help, please seek counseling." I think that just about covers it. At least this column is more well mannered than the Springer show.
Underrated - Letters to the Editor - We've had some doozies in our local papers recently. First, at least once a week, you'll see someone get on god's soapbox and tell everyone they better take jesuschrist into their lives or they'll burn. Also, with the gay marriage flap happening there's a lot of scared people who bring the bible into their arguments against the possibility. We also have casino possibilities locally, which means that people are spewing the same old bible crap out against gambling as well. My favorite one recently though was a little old lady who wrote to the paper to complain that her old folks home arranged a trip to a local playhouse to see the musical "Chicago." Live, not the movie. Well, she was aghast! She was 94, from Chicago, and certainly does not remember Chicago like that from her youth! She would have gotten up to leave, but the bus couldn't take just her home, so she had to sit there and endure. Well, I never!
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
About the Author
Greatest Hits [archived]
Guinness and Poker
Al Can't Hang
The Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Tao of Pauly
Scott, Texas' favorite Fat Guy
Only Built 4 Cuban Links
Up For Poker
Ugarte's Poker Grovel
JD's Cheap Thrills
Poker Stars Blog
Vegas Poker Blog
Poker in the Weeds
Nickle And Dimes
Not a Poker Blog
Dispatches From The Culture Wars
Horse Racing Links
Curb My Enthusiasm
Daily Racing Form
They Are At The Post
Tampa Bay Downs
Your Average Horseplayer
Tote Board Brad
Left At The Gate
design by maystar
powered by blogger
Syndicate this site
Online Poker : Visit Dr. Pauly at Tao of Poker for the best written journal on Poker Around. From on-line poker rooms to off-line live tournament coverage including the WSOP.
Las Vegas : The Poker Prof's Las Vegas and Poker Blog is the goto stop for people who come to Sin city to hit the tournaments and poker rooms. From the World Poker Tour to the World Series if it's big poker in Vegas it's blogged here. Home to the Prof's Las Vegas Links Directory.
Utilities Provided By