|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Break Like The Wind
Although we did get another two or three inches of snow overnight, I did manage to actually break 50MPH for a portion of my drive to work this morning. It’s the fastest I’ve gone in over a week.
I’m hungry this morning. I’m also somewhat grumpy and awfully tired. I’ve figured out as well where I can base my proof of the theory of my pessimism. Every so often, maybe once a month, there’ll be community bagels in the break room. Instead of being surprised and pleased when they’re there (1 of 22 days a month), I’m irritated and disappointed when they’re not (the rest of the month).
If you keep up with me, it’s not like I ask a whole lot out of life, right? Community bagels every morning, an intelligent and well-executed Lions off-season strategy, winning sessions on PartyPoker, the re-stock of my coffee beans at Starbucks, and a lottery win. I don’t think my expectations are completely out of whack.
I also ask for a little comedy in my day, and I think I found it today in the James Brown mugshot photo (at least that’s what I think it was I saw). Hardest working backhand in show business. Can’t a man not control his bitch with violence?
Google News also had a photo linking to an article (again, can’t go to these sites, just Google) on the site “Intellectual Conservative” with a photo of Howard Dean superimposed on the Confederate flag. I wonder what the uproar would be if a liberal website superimposed GWB over a picture of jack booted German soldiers. The biggest frustration I have over the growth in political talk in the media is how opinion is presented as fact and shouted loudly enough so the guy in the back row will get it loud and clear. Purposeful imagery like this is not adding anything to the intelligent discourse of policy and position, and I’m a little ashamed that any political site would present a picture like this in any context.
Then again, I’m giving America too much credit sometimes. People who watch Fox News and read Ann Coulter aren’t looking for options and explanations of ideas on which to base intelligent decisions. They’re looking to be given the “proof” that will solidify their preconceptions.
Speaking of having a low opinion of Americans, I read that one of the networks is developing an American version of the hit BBC show, “The Office.” Why is there a need to Americanize this? Can’t a network just purchase the rights to show the series as it was originally produced? I think that these network executives have such a poor opinion of middle America that they feel those of us in the heartland aren’t smart or hip enough to get the joke, and will automatically tune over to some asshole eating horse rectum for $50k rather than watch British humor.
Back on the Wagon
Finally, for the first time in over two weeks, I had a winning session on PartyPoker.
What a relief.
I managed to find a pretty soft table on $1/$2 (average pot when I sat down = $17), and checked my way into the flop on the first hand and hit top two pair. They stood up, and I was never below my bank roll again.
The only true disappointments came from late position. It seemed that every time I got a solid hand on the button or close, every player acting first would fold. It happened with a down KK on the button where I did flop the set, checked through the flop to the turn, and bet out then hoping someone had hit. Neither of the blinds did however, and I won two lousy dollars with a set of kings.
It was really nice to see my hole cards rewarded on flops and turns, and it was especially nice (although momentarily gut wrenching) to watch my set of nines stand up with a flush draw on the board (see yesterday’s post – hand history).
Overall, I ended up +15BB, or +$30, in one hour of play.
So, my bankroll is now at $139.50. I’ve put $450 in, and let my brother lose $65 (money I owed him, so I don’t count that), so I’m down $245.50 since Thanksgiving. Most all of that I actually lost in the last three weeks.
This weekend will mark the second in a row where I can’t find a live game in which to play. I’m going a little stir crazy. If the weather was nicer, I’d entertain a drive up to Manistee to play $4/$8, but I’m not driving 40MPH for 95 miles through the snow if I don’t have to.
And don’t even ask what’s in that can of Spaghetti-O’s
Hormel just recalled over 100,000 cans of chili.
Because the chili is tainted. Not from mad cow beef, DDT sprayed kidney beans or genetically mutated uber-onions.
Nope. It’s tainted from “calculator parts.”
If you had asked me the question, “what's wrong with the chili,” it would have been a long time before I got to “calculator parts” as my answer.
How does this happen? I’m not really sure, but I don’t think Hormel has a Consumer Electronics division, let alone be in any position where ground beef and rubber keypad buttons would be in the same place at the same time.
You know, if I haven’t mentioned it lately, I have quite a crush on Ann Curry, the lady who reads the news on the Today Show. Also listed on my older lady fantasy list would be Nigella Lawson and Sela Ward. Sela Ward has been out of the spotlight for a couple years, but smart money says she’s still hot.
So it’s about ten degrees outside today, and what do I decide sounds good to go with lunch? A DQ Blizzard, that’s what. I got the Heath Bar flavor, and am currently chowing down big time. Maybe my body is just craving dairy. I haven’t had mozzarella cheese in over 36 hours, maybe this is just how I suffer withdrawal.
It’s almost February, after all…
Since February is Black History Month, I thought I’d relay two stories from my past. Both involved Black people, and one is a personal embarrassment for me, the other was a day of which I am quite proud.
As always with my stories, you get a little background before I get to my point. And I just want to state for the record that it was a conversation where someone mentioned Black History Month to me today that got me thinking about these two incidents in particular.
In my freshman year of college I took a long weekend up in Traverse City with a couple of friends from high school when one’s parents rented a couple of condos for the week. It was a fairly uneventful weekend until I found “Miles: An Autobiography” by Miles Davis and Quincy Troupe at the Waldenbooks in the mall. For the rest of the weekend, that book and I were inseparable.
I got back to school that Tuesday morning, and only had about 150 pages left to read in the book. As soon as I polished if off, having skipped class to do so, I walked downstairs to get the campus newspaper.
Quincy Troupe was scheduled to lecture on campus that very afternoon.
I was geeked. “Miles” was amazing, and as a fan, I devour anything Miles related that I come across.
The lecture attracted a couple hundred students, mostly black, to hear Troupe speak. I knew nothing of the man except that he had ghost written the book I had just finished and had in tow. I wasn’t aware coming in that he was a successful poet as well.
The majority of his lecture was devoted to his poetry and personal anecdotes. He was a magnetic personality, using the natural rhythm and timbre in his voice to draw you into the swirling maelstrom of his words. It was an amazing hour he spent reading his work, and encouraged those of us who wished to buy his book to visit tomorrow for his book signing at a local bookstore.
I wanted to get my copy of “Miles” autographed, and also buy a book of his work, so a friend and I went down to the bookstore for the signing.
It would have went a lot better had there been a line around the block full of people wanting ten seconds of Quincy’s time. Unfortunately, it was just me walking in with Quincy sitting in the center of the bookstore (a small, Afrocentric niche bookstore) at a card table on his own.
Now, I’m easily intimidated, and in this case the babbling idiot in me bubbled to the surface when pressured to make conversation with an author and poet who HAD ACTUALLY SPENT TIME WITH MILES DAVIS.
I started out OK, telling him I had just bought the book this weekend, finished it, and told him how lucky I felt to have found it, read it, and then heard him speak about it. He signed my copy of “Miles,” and I told him I’d like to buy a copy of his poetry book as well.
Here’s where it kinda fell apart for me.
All of a sudden I’m babbling to the guy about how cool he is, and how I listen to hip hop and have read guys like Shakespeare and Sandburg and how similar but not his work was to what I was used to. I then used the “what I was used to “ angle to segway into telling him that I had “never heard anything like what he was doing” and somehow I said something about it being “new” to me.
Granted, at this point my multi-cultural experience is limited to six months of dorm living, as I’m not exactly from a part of the country that’s ethnically diverse, but you’d think a kid would have read some Langston Hughes or heard some Amiri Baraka by now, wouldn’t you?
I could see his eyes starting to roll back into his head as I’m going on and on. He’s looking to get the poetry book out of my hands, sign it, and get me out of there, and that’s just what he does.
On the way home, after decompressing from my high strung idiot babble, I opened up the book and read the inscription. The quotation marks are Quincy’s, not added by me for effect:
To BG – here’s to Miles, and to a “new” style of poetry. Quincy Troupe
This is the most embarrassed I’ve ever been in my life in front of a semi-famous person.
The other story involves a guy I, uh, used to go visit about once a week in college from the ‘hood in Lansing. I worked with Jimon at a local restaurant, he was one of the dishwashers and I was a server. I kept in touch with him outside the restaurant for purely utilitarian reasons.
I could get my hands on things in the Lansing ‘hood more easily than I could on campus, let’s just leave it at that.
Anyway, with Jimon it was never a get in/get out sort of scenario. There was always an obligatory hour or two I had to spend listening to his crappy homemade rap tape, watching a basketball game, or playing Wu-Tang discs.
Once though, I caught him on his way to visit an uncle and go play some basketball. I happened to have a gym bag in the car, and followed along.
In his uncle’s backyard there were about a dozen guys, but only a single hoop. The game then was 3 on 3. I was the only white guy out there, and I’m not exactly the greatest basketball player in the world, but I could hold my own.
Jimon, his cousin, and I finally landed a turn against the team defending the court. I was playing a very deferential style of basketball that day, not wanting to rock the boat and look like a ball hog playing with people I didn’t know very well.
On an early possession, I passed up an open fifteen footer and tossed the ball inside to Jimon who missed on his post move to the basket. Jimon’s cousin started chewing me out a little bit in front of his family and friends.
“C’mon man, you can’t pass up a look like that! If you can’t hit it, and you ain’t got no handle to get to the hole, you might as well just dump it to ‘Mon anyway, right?”
Basically, he was dressing me down in front of everyone.
Well, about two possessions later I’m at the top of the key and see the cousin breaking towards the rim from the right sideline. He’s got a half step on his defender and I can make the pass. I fake a dump left, clear my defender, and snap a bounce pass one dribble shy of the rim in the lane.
But it was too late. For some reason, a step and a half into his move to the hole, the cousin decided to stop, pivot around, and drift back out to three point land. The ball ricocheted off the fence out of bounds, and came back to a stop at my feet.
I totally laid into him.
“What the fuck was that? You’ve got a half step to the hole, you see I got you, you know I’m not missing that dime, and you want to miss the pass to hoist that crooked shot of yours from out there? What the fuck? I can pass up a fifteen footer to try to get your cousin something shorter, that’s smart basketball, but you stopping on that back door cut? That’s basketball 101 son, and you just flunked.”
Steam was coming out of his ears, but every single guy watching the game at this point was rolling on the concrete after Mr. Whiter Than White just took their little cousin to task on the court.
I actually played some pretty damn good basketball after that, and earned a lot of respect out there. That was a good day.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Now This Is What I've Been Missing
**** Hand History for Game 359532887 *****
Table Card Room Table 3762 (Real Money)
Seat 6 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 2: bdk3clash ( $88.75 )
Seat 3: RobD2112 ( $99.75 )
Seat 5: KASSR ( $81.75 )
Seat 7: allegany ( $32.75 )
Seat 8: atrocity_ ( $91.25 )
Seat 9: hapyjack ( $182 )
Seat 10: Boygza ( $77 )
Seat 4: stanthemann ( $103.25 )
Seat 6: Patc217 ( $57.25 )
Seat 1: beakmann ( $49 )
allegany posts small blind [$0.5].
atrocity_ posts big blind [$1].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Boygza [ 9h 9s ]
hapyjack calls [$1].
Boygza calls [$1].
beakmann calls [$1].
Patc217 calls [$1].
allegany calls [$0.5].
** Dealing Flop ** [ 8d, Js, 9d ]
allegany bets [$1].
hapyjack calls [$1].
Boygza raises [$2].
beakmann calls [$2].
Patc217 calls [$2].
allegany raises [$2].
hapyjack calls [$2].
Boygza raises [$2].
beakmann calls [$2].
Patc217 calls [$2].
allegany calls [$1].
hapyjack calls [$1].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 3d ]
Boygza bets [$2].
beakmann calls [$2].
Patc217 calls [$2].
allegany calls [$2].
hapyjack calls [$2].
** Dealing River ** [ As ]
Boygza bets [$2].
beakmann calls [$2].
Patc217 calls [$2].
Boygza shows three of a kind, nines.
beakmann doesn't show.
Patc217 doesn't show.
Boygza wins $41 from the main pot with three of a kind, nines.
Dig Out Day
Seven inches of snow fell yesterday. As a result, every school district within fifty miles is closed today. I even noticed on the school closing ticker at the bottom of the screen that McGraw Hill Publishing in Kent County was on a two hour delay.
I thought I’d keep watching in case I managed to see the company for which I work’s name on there too, but I knew better. So I had to brave the 27.2 mile commute to work today, as my boss was supposed to be coming in for the day for a visit.
Again, it was a scary commute. The roads appeared to be cleared, but judging by the cars scattered in the ditch all the way to work, it was still pretty slick. As a matter of fact, I had at least a half dozen of those instant-heart-in-your-throat moments where I felt as if the back end of my car was getting away from me.
I did get one nice piece of news upon arriving at the office this morning. The corporate jet, on which my boss had secured a last minute seat yesterday, cancelled its flight this morning, which meant I didn’t have to worry about keeping the intensity level cranked up a few notches all day while he was in tow.
My boss, by the way, is a good guy and easy (generally) to work for. I always just err on the side of paranoia when it comes to a boss’ perception, so that would mean no personal emails or blog-intended writing all day today. Also, it would mean no long bathroom breaks, games of Freecell or Yahtzee, and no vacant staring at the empty cubicle wall in front of me. I wouldn’t be able to play with rubber bands stretched out from my clenched teeth, and I couldn’t do my “lottery math,” spending money on paper that I’m destined to never receive.
So, I’d have to work on getting things done more slowly than usual, rather than flying through my tasks so I can get back to writing for myself. I can turn a two minute system update into a fifteen minute task if I need to, but I’d only be doing that for my boss.
So, I get a reprieve today. No free lunch on the corporate dime, but I’ll trade that for the opportunity to write and email with my spare time all day long.
First Annual Dyslexic Scrabble Tournament
After a talk with K, who herself battles dyslexia, I think I probably have a little bit of a dyslexic problem with numbers. I never was very good at doing the long division or bulky multiplication type problems, as I’d get sloppy and lazy and start transposing numbers and such. It’s strange, as I could do a complex multiplication such as 10,346 times 422 in my head if I wanted to, but on paper I tend to struggle with it.
It was in that conversation with K, which centered around her sociobiology exam approaching Thursday, that she solved the polygamy riddle I posted Monday night. Somehow, it made sense to her. Hell, it made sense to me after I heard the explanation, I just didn’t know how to get there.
That impressed me.
I’m done gushing now, thankyouverymuch.
I just read online that Barbra Streisand is contemplating playing opposite Dustin Hoffman in the “Meet the Fockers” movie as Ben Stiller’s mother. Good god no. Is there a petition I can sign somewhere that might prevent this from happening?
I heard a good line, probably on VH1 or something this week. Remember when it was in vogue to gush over an actor’s performance when he/she played someone with disabilities? Now it seems that all a glamorous movie star has to do to get a nomination is ugly herself up. Some comedian said, “Ugly is the new retarded.”
Speaking of movies and awards, it was nice to see one of the “Mighty Wind” songs nominated for an Oscar. It’ll probably lose to whatever piece of sugar coated garbage is rolling over the closing credits of “Lord of the Rings,” but having that movie recognized at all is a minor victory. I don’t think those actors get the credit they deserve for their improvisational work in that flick, not to mention the other Christopher Guest movies.
By the way, Anna’s back, and had a post about litmus tests. It’s not only nice to see her back online and posting, but I also got to thinking a little bit about the subject, and realized that I really only had two true litmus tests for women in my life. Number one, they have to find me funny. Not necessarily rolling-on-the-floor funny, but when I make a joke about someone looking like the bastard child of Marty Feldman and Anne Ramsey, I expect a chuckle. The second test is having an opinion and being able to discuss it intelligently. Life is no fun without a good debate every so often. Since I tend not to get worked up about petty crap (i.e. yelling and screaming over pantyhose drying on the shower rod), it’s the important stuff that I like to discuss. And I don’t care what the opinion is, just have one and be prepared to talk about it.
You can’t add together a six and a nine
Bob had a post about meeting the girl from the Chaser commercial in a bar. He also knew/knows the Midwest’s representative in the Stuff (or Maxim, who knows?) Cover Girl contest. I don’t really have a great comparable story, but I did once chicken out of going up and talking to Leann Hunley at a golf outing. She was the woman who played Tamara Jacobs on “Dawson’s Creek.” Tamara was the teacher that slept with Pacey. Good looking lady. I could have went up to her, as she was by herself and waiting for a cab/limo, but I talked myself out of it.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m easily intimidated by beautiful women.
How intimidated? Well, let’s just say I totally and intentionally blew a great shot with the best looking girl who’s ever showed obvious interest in me back in high school, and halfway through college I ran into a girl from my graduating class in high school that was and still was really hot and had a great conversation for ten minutes in a store that did not end with an exchange of phone numbers because I’m a chickenshit moron.
I’m an exceedingly average looking dude. The type of average where how my personality comes across dictates whether I’m patently unattractive to a woman, or reasonably considerable in her opinion.
There have been times in my life when the stars aligned, and I’ve been in the right place, in the right conversation, with the right people, at precisely the right time. And I get that look from a woman whose mind I’ve never previously crossed. It’s that look of surprise, of interest. It’s the look I get when I know that I’ve gone from about a 5.5 to about a 7 on the 1-10 scale in her eyes.
I’ve just never known how to deal with that. Self consciously, I know that she’s out of my league, and become so convinced of failure that I basically sabotage the interest from the get-go. Sad, but true.
So to Courtney (especially Courtney), Chelsea, Jenel, and anyone who I may have missed here… Sorry. You were way too attractive for me. It was doomed before I doomed it.
Drew Henson apparently is going to give this NFL career of his a shot. Baseball implications aside, as I could give a shit, this could shape up to be a real interesting scenario during the next few weeks.
The Houston Texans spent a sixth round draft choice on Henson last season, and own his rights until this April’s draft. In the event that they are unable to sign Henson, he will be subject to draft all over again.
This poses an interesting dilemma for Henson. Were he to sign with Houston, he could look to control his own destiny to some extent. He could give the Texans a short list (believed to include Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Oakland at minimum) of acceptable teams, let them work out terms, then sign and be traded in one fell swoop. The decision works out to be a money problem. If he signs with Houston, it will be for better than average 6th round money, but it might be well less than what he would earn were he to have a strong series of workouts and land as a first round pick.
Why would Henson want to control where he lands rather than take a probable heftier payday? I believe that if he were to put himself in the best position to succeed, he would be better served ultimately than if he were instantly thrown to the wolves. The pressure to be an instant savior might exist with teams like Cleveland, Arizona, or San Diego. All three teams have picks in the early second round, and a QB with Henson’s talent wouldn’t get by these teams. Wouldn’t Henson, a QB that hasn’t taken a live snap in over two seasons, be better served as Brett Favre’s caddy for a year or two before taking over in Green Bay? Or learning from crafty veteran Rich Gannon in Oakland for 16 games?
I believe Henson will sign with Houston once a trade is engineered, and for the cost of a mid-second round pick, Henson will be in Packer green and gold in 2004.
On another note, I read an article on ESPN.com that listed some of the big names that may be facing the waiver wire after June 1st. While the names of Mark Brunell, Sam Adams, and even Joey Galloway weren’t surprises, I was shocked to see Jeremiah Trotter’s name on that list.
Trotter is a 27 year old, Pro Bowl caliber MLB. There’s no reason to think he couldn’t approach playing at a high level again, as the article insinuated he was misused in the Washington defense.
Right now, I’m drooling at the thought of a Green/Trotter/Bailey linebacking corps.
I believe this off-season will be crucial to the short term future of the Lions franchise. First, they’ve got a few of their own to make some tough decisions on. Do you keep a second rate backup like Mike McMahon or let him be someone else’s problem? Do you acknowledge you need more help than a rookie RB can provide, and bite the bullet and re-sign James Stewart, using draft choices to plug the gaps elsewhere? Is Barrett Green expendable?
Second, what they do in the free agent market this summer is critical. Actually, I believe that what they don’t do in free agency is most important. The critical areas of need for the Lions include WR, RB, and TE. In each of those areas, it is an historically weak free agent class. Do you overpay a Justin McCareins just to say you got one of the best available wideouts? Absolutely not. In my opinion, you do your best to put good role players in place with value contracts this off-season, and save your big dollars for when they can make a big difference.
That being said, if they don’t come up with one major signing on the offensive line, I will certainly consider this off-season a failure.
Third, there has to be a solid strategy going into the draft. I believe that the first round pick, while it might be a difficult choice between two to four players, will boil down to who drops into our lap. Beyond that, what Millen has to abandon is his “roll the dice” mentality when grabbing guys with bad knees. Yes, it worked out OK with Shaun Rogers, but guys like Andre Goodman, Victor Rogers, and Luke Staley have all seen more time on a trainer’s table than on the field. Millen needs to come up with fourth, fifth, and sixth rounders that can contribute on special teams, and hopefully grow into a role on the team otherwise.
Lastly, there really has to be a renewed focus in the organization on conditioning. The Lions have suffered three straight years of egregiously bad injuries. Player after player, starter after starter, has been shelved by knees and shoulders. It’s ridiculous to assume that a team can stay 100% healthy all year long, but when a team cannot stay together on the field long enough to generate chemistry, it can’t possibly be expected to generate an identity. Players must be rehabbed effectively, and training camp and preseason games must be full of healthy players in order for Mariucci to begin to understand what it is he has to work with.
I’ll blog by Morse Code if I have to…
Thanks to a couple years of rough finances in the world of BG (and no thanks to the ex-wife), I was denied a line of credit with Dell to finance the purchase of a new computer.
I had this vision of sitting on my couch, laptop in tow, wireless Net access from anywhere I chose, and able to play PartyPoker from a relaxed and reclined position.
Now it looks like a coconut shell-and-string “computer” is about all I can afford to purchase right now.
What good is having your own website if you don’t have your own computer?
Maybe what I’ll do is take one of those egregiously high rate cards and limit myself to $900 for the laptop total. All I really need is 15GB or more in a hard drive, open an MS Word document, get me out to blogger.com, and not seize up when I flop a full house.
Is that too much to ask?
I’m really in an unenviable position. 29, no savings, less than $1k put away for retirement (thanks to the $1139 car repair in January for that one), major debt (at least it’s current), and no ability to get further credit.
Maybe I can fashion a “keyboard” out of a shoebox, glue, and macaroni…
Subtitled: What I tell myself when I wonder if I should lose 35 pounds
- Who are you kidding? You can’t afford to buy a dozen new pairs of pants.
- Well, you haven’t really gained any weight in five years, why should you lose any?
- You know that one whiff of pepperoni pizza will kill any diet you try, so why bother?
- You gave up pop and cigarettes, what more do you think you can do?
- You’re not that fat.
- You kinda have to be in shape to exercise, and you know you’re not in shape.
- Diets suck, do you really want to drink fiber and eat kale for another month?
- Sooner or later, there’ll be a pill.
Armadillos in our trousers
Is it just me or did that UK band “The Darkness” step right out of “This is: Spinal Tap?” I may not like the music, but you’ve got to admire a band that can be that dedicated to a style that’s as corny and dated as 80s hair metal who plays it with a straight face.
I was actually thinking this morning about all the things I hated about the 80s hair metal revolution. Here’s a list:
- The Power Ballad – Nothing was worse than the power ballad. These guys weren’t talented songwriters (generally), and their odes to love were over performed and overplayed.
- The makeup – If you’re going to wear major eye shadow, blush, and lipstick, at least have a sense of humor about it, which leads me to…
- Taking themselves too seriously – With few exceptions, there was no smiling in hair metal. If you’re going to spend an hour teasing your hair to the ceiling, at least know that most of us find that funny and laugh along with the joke, would you?
- Def Leppard – They don’t want to be lumped in with this drama, but when you release an album like Pyromania which was aped by every big hair band after its release, you have no choice. I really, really hate when bands misspell words in their name, and there may not be a sound I hate worse in rock and roll history than the lead singer singing “me” like “meehhhhh” in the “Pour Some Sugar” song. Fuck Def Leppard. Fuck them up their stupid asses. Oh yeah, nice schtick with the one armed drummer.
- The names of some of the guys in the bands – I’m thinking specifically of either the flagrantly made up names (Nikki Sixx, Tracii Gunnz), or the ones that may have been their real names, but they dumbed up the spelling anyway (Zakk Wylde, Jon Bon Jovi).
- The “pound the genre into the ground” approach of the record companies – thanks probably are due to Journey and Van Halen for being such huge bands that anyone who could play a little power rock and slow it down for a ballad got a record contract from 84-89. We didn’t need Night Ranger (although “Sister Christian” might be the best bad song of all time), we didn’t need LA Guns, we didn’t need Ratt (more misspelled band names, for the love of god), we didn’t need Warrant (one hot chick in one hot video was all it took for them), and we didn’t need some record company executive dressing up Axl Rose as the second coming of Bret Freaking Michaels in videos for the first GNR album. They weren’t a frigging hair band, they were there to destroy hair metal.
- Poison and Motley Crue – Poison particularly always rubbed me the wrong way. I’d really like to pretend these bands just never even existed. As a matter of fact, with very few exceptions, I’d like to pretend the whole decade of music prior to the classic hip-hop year of 1989 didn’t exist. I’ll remember Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” because it’s deserving. I’ll take Van Halen’s “1984” and everything Duran Duran did in that time along for the ride too. But you can have your goddamn “Sussudio,” your stupid freaking Euro-Synth-Pop (I have a much crueler name for that genre that I’m not repeating) – especially that bullshit Howard Jones and Depeche Mode garbage, and all those one hit wonders (Dexy’s Midnight Runners get a pass here) that VH1 keeps resurrecting and shoving down America’s throat.
Here’s a question. Take the pop music of the 70s (Donna Summer, Bee Gees, James Taylor – basically disco and bad singer/songwriter schmaltz), and put it up against the hair metal and British Euro Synth pop garbage.
Which decade is more vapid? Which features the greater, bigger, more suck-u-lent giant black hole of culture?
I find it tough to reach a decision on this one. In the 70s, all the music was either designed to get you dancing on blow, or let you reflect on how wonderful the world felt when you were on blow. In the 80s, jesus… I don’t know what the point of 80s music was. Style over substance?
The first visuals attached to music changed the focus of what A&R men were promoting big time. Thanks to music videos, it was more important for the lead singer to be good looking than to write a decent song. I mean, the video did kill off Air Supply, but it also gave us horsecrap like hair metal. Style over substance.
I guess if the 80s did any single thing to enhance culture, it was to give men back their penises. I don’t know about you, but based on personal observation if I were to listen to James Taylor, the Carpenters, Bobby Goldsboro, and Loggins and Messina for more than two straight hours, I’d be digging through my drawers trying to find what’s left. At least the 80s didn’t have that problem, although the sneering bigcock whitewashed corporate bullshit pseudo punk aesthetic hair metal tried to co-opt during that time was probably just as damaging to the mulletheaded acidwashed rock t-shirt legion of its followers, right?
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Hazy Shade of Winter
I’m not really sure this winter could get any more brutal around here. It’s been cold, windy, icy, and snowy almost every day for three straight weeks, with no end in sight. My commute in to work has become a daily adventure, one which I can’t seem to time appropriately to arrive at the office on time.
Which is fine anyway, as my boss works across the state and I don’t have a time clock to punch. We’re only talking three to ten minutes late, but I’m still irked.
My boss is coming out tomorrow, crossing the state by car rather than corporate jet (!) in order to keep his fingers on the pulse of what it is I actually do here on the daily. Is it inappropriate for me to write to my blog all day long while he’s here? I’m guessing you don’t see much of a post for Wednesday, January 28th as a result.
Today we’re supposed to get five to ten inches here on the lakeshore. If this were college, I’d be in my room in a blanket playing Sega right about now.
A Passion Play
Even when biographical in nature, a movie is, by nature, an interpretation of the truth. That is, whatever truth the visionaries behind the telling of the tale wish to share. The same story told from different perspectives becomes a different story.
Why then is there such an uproar over the Mel Gibson movie, “The Passion?”
Forgetting for a moment the understandable news cycle that hit late last week when the Vatican went public to diffuse a supposed endorsement of the movie the Pontiff didn’t make, people are talking about this movie as if it’s the most controversial piece of art ever released.
From my understanding, Mel Gibson takes his personal views as a very fundamentalist type Catholic and uses his own rose colored glasses in that regard to shape the story of the final hours of Jesus on Earth. If I’m not mistaken, Gibson has the artistic license to interpret his source material any way he chooses. And it’s obvious to anyone who knows anything about history that this particular piece of source material has been interpreted with artistic license by people for centuries.
The criticism seems to center around Jews being portrayed less than sympathetically, or in fact directly responsible for the circumstances surrounding the crucifixion.
“The Passion” is not a documentary. In fact, if anyone claims to know precisely what happened during the days and hours leading up to the crucifixion, they’re flat out lying. Although considered by many to be written through divine inspiration, it is indisputable that the book that we know today as the Bible isn’t precisely the same account of history as it stood nearly 2000 years ago.
There is no fundamental difference between the story of Jesus as told by Mel Gibson and the story of Erin Brockovich as told by Steven Soderbergh. In both cases, you have a semi-fictionalized story surrounding well-known events and people. Artistic license for dramatic effect is going to be taken. And people need to live with that.
If you don’t like what Mel Gibson’s view of the crucifixion means to you and your people, don’t pay money to go see his movie.
Great Lakes Downs
I haven’t stayed as true to the “…and thoroughbred selections” title on my website as I would like, but with the discovery of poker in my life, I’ve had less face time at the track than ever before.
I saw a letter to the editor in the local newspaper this weekend that opposed the conversion of GLD into what they’ve been calling a “racino” in the newspaper. In other words, adding state-run slot machines to the track in an attempt to increase revenue for the industry. This gentleman’s points were, essentially:
· Adding slots will only encourage a small track like GLD to get snatched up by a large corporation and then our money will flow out of state instead of supporting Michigan horsemen.
· Michigan is already at the bottom of the barrel for quality of thoroughbreds bred when compared to the horses born in other states. Adding money to the purses would encourage horses from other states to join our racetrack up here and will push the Michigan breeder and trainer out of business.
First off, it may come as a surprise to this gentleman to know that GLD is already a part of MEC, which is a Canadian owned offshoot of the enormous Magna Corporation, a big player in Tier One automotive manufacturing. True “track” profits are already flowing out of state.
However, a state-run set of slot machines onsite can benefit the thoroughbred industry in this state first, the quality of racing in this state second, the state third, and the track fourth.
As they have in other states, state-run slot machines are a boon to the tracks at which they are located. A certain percentage of the profits from the slots is directly designated to enhance the purses of the races at that particular track. Another percentage is usually designated to encourage and promote state-bred horse racing outside the track, and a small percentage is guaranteed to the owners of the track. But where slot machines generally do their best work is in increasing onsite handle (total amount wagered in-house) by increasing attendance. An increased handle also will mean an increase in the size of the purses. These added purses are a tremendous benefit to the horsemen, and will help them continue to grow and thrive.
Thoroughbred racing in any state, save at the premiere tracks, is usually quite preferential to state-bred horses. There are usually a minimum of two races per card that are restricted to solely state-bred horses, and a lack of restriction certainly does not prevent an owner with a quality stable from entering races against competition from both in-state and out. Larger purses do generally lead to increased competition from out-of-state horses however. If the playing field were more level between, say, Beulah and GLD, an Indiana horseman in the Hoosier off-season would have a tougher decision to make as to where to compete in the summertime. But the increased and tougher competition has direct dollar benefits. More competition also means a greater handle. The better quality the product, the more likely people are to pay attention. If Michigan’s thoroughbred racing were able to take that step up to include horses at that $15k-$25k claiming level, plus featured better allowance and stakes races, many more people would be paying attention to the racing at GLD. And they’d be betting at the windows.
If I were a Michigan horseman, I’d be welcoming the opportunity for greater competition with open arms. I believe that more money on the table means that the Michigan horseman will spend more money to increase his chances of fielding a top stable at the home track. Better horses will be purchased for breeding, and Michigan-bred horses will no longer be bottom of the barrel in quality. There will always be a spot for a well positioned Michigan owner at a Michigan race track, and even with stiffer competition ahead, I’d be encouraged that my sport was getting more attention in the state and nationwide, and would see growth at the track as a very healthy thing for the future of the sport in Michigan.
OK, all logical arguments aside, were I in charge of the state’s thoroughbred racing and given carte blanche, here’s what I would do:
· Increase the size of the oval here, as I believe they run on a 5 furlong oval, and three turns is quite a bit when looking at mile races. I’d have something like a 7/8 to 9/8 mile oval.
· Add not only slots, but also touch screen sports betting, video poker, and a poker room to all tracks. The vast bulk of the profits will go to increase the size of the purses, and it wouldn’t cost very much (compared to profits) to keep a maintenance man and a few poker dealers on payroll.
· Increase the track’s takeout slightly, earmarking 100% of those funds towards increasing the purses.
· Guarantee a certain percentage of either races or purses, as well as a certain percentage of onsite stable space would be guaranteed to Michigan based horse owners.
· Quit doing family-friendly events at the track and concentrate on improving the quality of service to the everyday horseplayers. As it is now, these guys get nothing comped. Let them accrue “points” based on how much they push through the windows and earn drinks or programs (at least) for their wagering.
· Work with MEC to have a special day or weekend of racing like MEC sponsors currently with the “Sunshine Millions.” Pit Midwest-bred horses against each other across GLD, Hoosier, and Beulah for good prize money (I stole this idea from our local paper).
Speaking of Break Dancing for the Pope…
I saw a clip on SportsCenter this morning that featured, well, break dancing for the pope. Good stuff there. Too bad the pope isn’t hip enough to get up and do a bad robot move or two with them. That would have been priceless.
Something I have been meaning to mention for quite awhile is that I really can’t stand CBS’ coverage of sporting events, NCAA basketball and Masters’ golf excluded. Their NFL coverage is so third rate that it pains me to watch what is ostensibly superior football coming out of the AFC.
While their pre-game show is terrible (Jim Nantz should be pulled from his crypt once a year on Masters’ weekend and then embalmed and re-entombed until next April), and their production of the actual game is worse than Fox, ESPN, and ABC’s, the one thing that tips the scales irretrievably to the side of awful is GUS JOHNSON.
I freaking hate GUS JOHNSON. I’m going to continue, by the way, to type GUS JOHNSON in all capitals, because he’s so over the top he makes Dick Vitale look like Mr. Rogers on Xanax. Everything to GUS JOHNSON is the most exciting thing that could be possibly happening at that moment. Maybe that’s not a bad way to live your life if you’re as blessed as GUS JOHNSON, but the rest of us need for it to be turned down a couple of notches once in awhile.
By the way, my brother’s fiancée said that her “gaydar was going off like mad” when she saw GUS JOHNSON anchoring an in-studio CBS Sports show. I don’t know about that, but I will say he does wear an awful lot of makeup on TV.
Brothers in Battle…
There are few parts of my day I enjoy as much as browsing through my link list of fellow Poker Bloggers out there. Apparently, according to the wise and all powerful Ignatious, the Poker Blog community is going to be featured in an article somewhere (speculation was PokerSavvy) in the near future.
I think that’s pretty cool. Even for those of us who are only dubiously connected to true poker content (coughgamblingbluescough), I know that this circle of Blog serves as part support group (I’m BG, and I’m an incorrigible gambler), part soap box (goddamn vegan poker players), part PartyPoker instruction manual (that’s IGGY as your bonus code people), and part sounding board for ideas, tips, and techniques.
I appreciate the wealth of information a guppy like me can pull, and I enjoy reading the various adventures such as Pauly’s excursions to Foxwoods, Grubbie’s opening night of his play, Iggy’s huge NL tournament, and HDub’s Nevada border runs.
Just a general encouragement then to all the Bloggers fighting the good fight online… Keep writing.
Polygamy riddle solved!
The wife, who is her husband's cousin AND aunt has to be:
His mother's sister
His father's niece
His mother married her uncle (her father's brother)
Monday, January 26, 2004
BoS | BETonSPORTS.com | Online Sports Book - NFL Sports, Casino & Games
These are the reasons I love gambling...
Super Bowl Proposition Bets
Total Rounds vs. Total Points Scored
Antonio Margarito v. Hercules Kyvelos (-120) / Adam Viniatieri (-110)
Because of gambling, I can give a shit about Margarito v. Kyvelos? Yes please. Take the total rounds over the points.
How many seconds will the National Anthem last? (from 1st sound to the last sound)
Under 1 min 55 seconds (-140) / Over 1 min 59 sec (+120)
What a scam, what if it goes 1:58?
What will happen 1st for the Panthers?
Panthers FG or TD (+130) / Panthers to punt twice (-170)
Take the FG/TD. I think they'll come out firing.
The player to score the 1st TD in the game will have an:
Odd Number Jersey (-120) / Even Number Jersey (-120)
Even number, hands down. Davis, Antowain Smith, Troy Brown all likely candidates.
You could bet $10 to win $22,000 (!) that the coin flip is called tails, lands heads, and the Panthers win both the first half score and the game.
Prop bets rule. I may have to throw some dimes down on that stuff this weekend...
CNN.com - Man sentenced for marrying his 15-year-old cousin - Jan. 26, 2004: "A member of Utah's polygamous Kingston clan was sentenced Monday to a year in prison for taking a 15-year-old cousin -- who was also his aunt -- as his wife. "
I've been trying to figure out how she could have been the cousin AND the aunt at the same time. Help!
No more sleepwalking
I think it was HDub (by the way, happy anniversary to you and Mrs. Dub) who was lamenting the difficulty of keeping things fresh on the blog on the daily. Even yours truly, he of the 3500 words each weekday, has had a difficult time lately. I missed two days of updating (Mon/Fri) last week, and actually did feel a little bit guilty about it.
HDub, I’m with you on this one. Keeping up last week was difficult at best.
So, on to the weekend. Friday was an interesting day. K had an early half-shift (she teaches pre-school) at work, and left me a message from home asking me to be her 1PM wake-up call, as she needed a nap. At the given time I called and woke her up, and had a brief conversation while she still had sleep in her eyes.
It’s nice to know there’s a girl out there that wants your voice to be the first one she hears when she awakens from a dream.
We made plans for her to call around 10PM, allowing me to catch up with her, probably at a bar about forty minutes away.
I got the call around 10, and she invites me down to the TGI Friday’s in Grandville. Which, in this weather, promised to be at least an hour drive for me. I gave her the option to have just a girl’s night out, which she took, and I was off the hook.
Immediately though, I started agonizing over the decision. Do I get in the car and go? Do I just show up and surprise her? Is she going to think any less of me for not trucking my ass down there at 10PM an hour away?
It only took about ten minutes to mentally slap myself across the face and wake back up to reality.
We had both promised each other that we weren’t going to let ourselves worry about where the relationship was going. “Wherever it is that we’re going, we’ll get there. Don’t worry about it.” Those were my exact words to her almost a week earlier, and they’re words to live by.
“Don’t worry about it.”
So I didn’t. And that’s a beautiful thing.
I’ve really reached a good place with myself over these past few months, and realized that I don’t have very much to be depressed about anymore.
I didn’t reach this conclusion because of a girl, but more because I can see that my attitude towards her now is different than it would have been four or five months ago.
I don’t really know where this is going to end up, but who does in the first four weeks? That’s not important. What is important is that I’ve realized that I can let myself get hurt down the road if that’s what it takes to keep the smile on my face right now. I’m done sleepwalking through my life, and keeping everyone at arm’s length so I don’t have to deal with emotional attachment.
It’s the most honest with myself I’ve been in years. My depression didn’t have as much to do with my ex-wife as it did with not wanting to feel as bad as I did when things were crashing around me. But I know I can feel bad again, and that’s OK.
Just knowing that makes me feel… free. I want to stress that it’s not this girl that is making me feel this way, it’s knowing that I can feel this way that’s making me feel this way. Does that make sense?
The girl is just an extra added bonus to the equation.
Still not getting the cards
I played a partners cribbage tournament with the old man this weekend as part of our town’s Winterfest Celebration, which by the way is a horribly underwhelming event.
Anyway, my cold cards even carried over to cribbage. We played double elimination with best of three games to decide a match. In matches, we were 1-2, but in games we were 2-5. In our first match, game two against Ralph and Maggie, an older married couple, we had a 65-32 point lead with Maggie dealing and her crib. Between her pegging during the count (played the fourth consecutive trey for twelve, among other moves), and her magical hand and crib (16 in her hand, 24 in her crib (KKK5 with a K on the cut)), the score shifted to 90-78 in their favor. Yes, they got over fifty points on us in one lousy hand.
I’m not going to further lament over bad cards in PartyPoker, but the suckout I posted earlier (with the A5o staying in through multiple raises, and rivering his straight over my pocket QQ) was more the rule and not the exception.
I’m not hitting a goddamn thing online lately. Even when I land a playable starter, I’m either hitting nothing, or my AJ that pairs the A on the flop sees KK on the turn and river.
I’m down to $109 in my account, from $450 that I’ve anted up since just before Thanksgiving. Yes, I know there’s always going to be a swing, and there’ll always be cold spells, but this is my first one of considerable magnitude. I haven’t had a winning session in weeks.
I just need one session to restore my faith in humanity.
I’m doing less fishy things, not chasing as much, not seeing flops with nothing if I can help it, folding when I know I’m beaten (mostly, still a flaw), and betting out when I’ve got it. I just haven’t had enough luck hit me on the boards.
One lousy session, that’s all I ask.
I talked via email with my friend D out in California for the first time in nearly two years the other day. It’s good to know that even though I’ve been a relative hermit for the past few years, it’s not being held against me too much by my friends.
I’ve got some unique friends, but D is right up there. Besides being one of the smartest people - well, on IQ points alone, we’ll leave it at that for right now – I know, he has to be the most musically talented person I know. Plus, he does things like reading Proust in the original French for fun. How many people who aren’t complete poseurs do something like that?
I do have to mention that D has a couple of serious faults however. First, he should never be behind the wheel of a car. Ever. Maybe he’s gotten better since high school, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Secondly, he would never let me sing the Jack Bruce part when we’d duet in the car on “Sunshine of Your Love.” I still hold a grudge on that. Third, he runs on his own clock, and would never get anywhere on time unless you lied to him and told him to be there as much as an hour early.
That being said, I miss the guy, and feel badly that I let things go as long as I have with him and others. I’m a schmuck.
It’s a travesty…
I’ll admit, I did watch a few minutes of the Golden Globes telecast last night. I’m not going to get on my usual soap box to vent about the unspeakable outrage that is “entertainment reporting” on TV in this country, but I do have a bone to pick with this awards show and the Oscars.
Best song from a motion picture. They always nominate some sort of bullshit schmaltz that isn’t integrated into the movie but is instead playing while the credits scroll. You can’t go a year without nominating Sting, Elton John, Bono, and a couple of wild cards.
What about great songs that were actually integral to the plot of the movie?
I was thrilled when they nominated “Blame Canada” from “South Park” that one year, but that was a musical, the only one produced that year, and was going to get a nomination just because it was so smart. They really got it wrong this year with the lack of nominations for the songs from “A Mighty Wind.” Every single one of those songs was uniquely created for the movie, and was convincing enough that someone who didn’t know any better could assume they were stolen out of that era. Why don’t efforts like this get the recognition they deserve?
I saw Bill Murray win for “Lost in Translation,” and mentioned he was currently in Rome filming “A Life Aquatic,” which I eagerly await from the mind of Wes Anderson. I’m a “Rushmore” junkie, and believe that if Wes keeps making great movies, he’ll join Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola as the pre-eminent filmmakers of my generation.
Speaking of my generation, I’m depressed to think that well over half of the NFL’s starting QBs are younger than I am. At least I still probably have a couple years on average against the kickers.
I’ve always asserted that the most beautiful Hispanic women are the most beautiful women on the planet. I’ve decided that women from India are in some sort of all-or-nothing deal. They either are remarkably beautiful, or they’re really just not attractive at all whatsoever. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of in between. Must have been hell on the ugly girls at Mumbai High.
I knew a guy (D’s friend) that was of direct Indian descent here in my hometown whose parents were really quite traditional. I believe they both were direct Indian immigrants, but had been in the US for nearly 20 years. They had an arranged marriage lined up for their son. I remember teasing him a little about it (he joked about it too). Well, at least until I saw her picture.
I would have married this girl. She was an absolute knockout. Unfortunately, just because he didn’t want her didn’t mean I had a claim.
So, that raises a curiosity question… Assuming it was traditional, and assuming we didn’t have the casual relationship with divorce we do in this country, would I have fought an arranged marriage tooth and nail if I knew the girl was a stunner? Let’s even say I couldn’t meet her or talk to her first. All I knew was her name and all I saw was her picture.
That’s a tough one. I’ll say no, but I know that were she unbelievably hot and out of my league, I’d at least think about it.
I’m a Winner
Ten things I have won in my life, not counting gambling…
1. A buffalo nickel bank, courtesy of Baas’ clothing store when I was six
2. A contest sponsored by Nickelodeon in 10th grade
3. “Best Comedic Actor” in 9th grade drama class
4. “Best Supporting Actor” in 9th grade drama class
5. 3rd place in “Humorous Interpretation” at a drama competition in 10th grade
6. The regional Quiz Bowl trophy, after single-handedly beating the opposing team in the finals.
7. A duck down comforter after selling the most duck in a month at the restaurant
8. Recruiter of the month, twice at my old job
9. Last place trophy at a golf outing (I’m bad, but I played with three first-timers)
10. A free dinner for two from the Frequent Diner’s Club from Unique Restaurants in Detroit
The New Real World...
Now, I can't claim to have seen more than ten total minutes of the new San Diego season, but I've seen enough to know that it's gotta be good TV.
First, you have the girl that's scared of boats. Scared like "there's a boat out there in the harbor, so I'm going to have a nervous breakdown" scared.
Then you've got the musclehead who apparently has "never" gone five months without sex. Ever? Either a lucky kid or an abusive household, you figure it out.
Then there's the boobs. They always seem to find one spectacular set of boobs for the show, and they really didn't disappoint this time. She's not that hot, talks like she's a guest on Ricki Lake, and is probably as good looking now as she's ever going to be, but damn if those boobs aren't spectacular. Makes me question my belief that Amaya's breasts just couldn't be beaten.
Have I mentioned that boobs make me happy?
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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