|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, March 05, 2004
NFL Draft Mock v1.0
We’re going to be a little football-heavy in the early going today. Not that I’m apologetic, I love the NFL, and I think they’ve created an environment with their salary cap and free agency scenarios that generates interest and excitement all year long.
Especially this year.
Before I jump into my mock draft, which I am sure I’ll be re-doing at least one more time before the actual draft happens, I want to give you a short list of things I think I think (thanks Peter King) about some of the possibilities for trades in this year’s draft:
>>I can see potential for teams to jump over others in order to draft the following players: Kenechi Udeze (DE, USC), Dunta Robinson (CB, South Carolina), Phillip Rivers (QB, NCState – I expect someone to jump Pittsburgh to get to him in the top ten), Mike Williams/Larry Fitzgerald (the top two WRs, whichever slips into the latter portion of the top ten)
So, here’s Mock Draft v1.0, assuming all teams stay in their present spots to pick:
1.San Diego Chargers select Eli Manning, QB, Ole Miss - I don’t understand the “they’re gun-shy to take a QB because of Ryan Leaf” articles I’m seeing in the press. If you need a QB, and you can get one with this talent and this pedigree, you take the franchise QB in this spot. There isn’t value to trading out of this spot at this point, but I think San Diego is doing the right thing by not making their decision on Manning too early. What if Arizona falls in love with the kid? You can maybe engineer a trade, move down two spots, grab Roethlisberger, and have a top of the second round pick from the Cards free of charge. I don’t think it’ll shake out that way, and the Chargers will get their QB for the next decade.
2.Oakland Raiders select Mike Williams, WR, USC - Yes, I realize I’m contradicting my top six mock draft of three days ago. But here’s my assumption: I assume that Williams and Fitzgerald have roughly equal workouts, and that Williams becomes the Raider pick due to playing his college ball in Southern California, and that he’s probably a better big play threat than Fitzgerald. I don’t think they can go wrong either way, but I really wish that Oakland would take a QB or OT instead. I think it’d be a smarter pick for them. Al Davis is going for a glamour pick here, and that’s why Williams is the selection.
3.Arizona Cardinals select Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (OH) - With the third pick, there are only a few players worth grabbing value-wise, and the others (Fitzgerald and Gallery) aren’t exactly at positions of need. My encouragement to Denny Green is not to fall in love with Manning, as you’re not going to be able to get him at three, and they’ve got to look to the defensive backfield at the top of round two. Keep that second rounder and be happy with Roethlisberger.
4.New York Giants select Robert Gallery, OT, Iowa - Here’s a complete no-brainer. The Giants started a late round rookie for awhile at LT last year, and he was absolutely not the answer for them. While this is a team that’s growing older and slower by the minute, this is the only position of bright glaring need.
5.Washington Redskins select Sean Taylor, S, Miami - While some would argue it’s too early to take a safety, Washington needs to put another impact player on defense with this pick, and I think that they won’t pass on Taylor to grab a badly needed defensive lineman (look for them to address that with a third rounder). While Washington could look to Kellen Winslow or even Larry Fitzgerald here, I think the additions of Brunell and Portis on offense necessitate using this pick on a defensive player. Smart money says Washington desperately tries to trade down and out of this pick, probably to someone who wants Fitzgerald, Tommie Harris, or Phillip Rivers.
6.Detroit Lions select Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh - With Taylor off the board, this pick is essentially a two-player decision. Fitzgerald or Winslow? I think the Lions’ obvious weakness in the passing game desperately needs to be addressed, and I don’t think there’s any arguing that Fitzgerald has the potential to be the best player to come out of this draft. Again, this is a spot where Detroit will be aggressive in trying to move down to acquire more picks later in the draft.
7.Cleveland Browns select Phillip Rivers, QB, NC State - Here’s a curveball. Rivers is rising quickly up the draft board, and Cleveland has got to recognize that stability at the QB position needs to be a 2004 priority. This is a team that has some talent at just about every position besides DB and LB, but it’s too early to look to those positions for help in this draft. Look for Cleveland to lose out on the Jeff Garcia sweepstakes, and make Rivers their guy, disappointing legions of fans in Pittsburgh who were obviously praying he’d be their pick.
8.Atlanta Falcons select Kellen Winslow, TE, Miami - Why would Atlanta take Winslow with a young and talented Alge Crumpler already in place at TE? Hear me out on this one. TJ Duckett is your RB. He doesn’t need a FB. You can play a base 2TE/2WR/1RB package, which is going to force defenses to keep three LBs on the field. Now you’re creating match-up nightmares. Crumpler and Winslow are talented receivers and won’t be effectively covered by LBs. If the D goes to a nickel, you pound Duckett. And with a slower LB instead of a nickel corner, that’s one less guy who’s capable of laterally containing a scrambling Michael Vick. This would be a dangerous offense with Winslow.
9.Jacksonville Jaguars select Roy Williams, WR, Texas - Here’s an obvious pick. While the Jags have plenty of needs, the glaring hole in their offense is a young receiver to take over for Jimmy Smith. You’ve got to start surrounding Leftwich with talent on that side of the ball, and Roy Williams is a heck of a consolation prize after missing out on the top two guys at that position.
10.Houston Texans select Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma - This was a tough pick to make. The free agent signing of Robaire Smith (former Spartan) makes the D-Line upgrades less of a necessity for Houston this draft. That being said, do you take one of the DBs here? No, it’s probably a bit early for that. How about a WR? Well, if I were Dom Capers I think I’d be OK with Andre Johnson and Corey Bradford for right now. The only other pick I’d consider here might be OT Shawn Andrews, but I think Harris provides better value here at #10. He could have been a top five guy.
11.Pittsburgh Steelers select Kevin Jones, RB, VaTech - Pittsburgh fans, still stinging from the Cleveland pick of Phillip Rivers, get a nice consolation prize here, albeit one that’s probably a reach at #11. Jones is the first RB off the board over Stephen Jackson because he evaluates out slightly better as a big play back than Jackson. While Pittsburgh probably should have addressed some DB needs, or perhaps picked up some O-Line help, the anemic Steeler offense is getting a much needed transfusion of youth with this pick.
12.New York Jets select Chris Gamble, CB, Ohio State - This pick is predicated on losing Antoine Winfield in the free agent hunt. As of last night, Winfield supposedly spurned the Jets’ contract offer, and is being courted by other teams. The Jets sorely need help at the corners, and Gamble has loads of potential. If Winfield signs, this pick will probably go to a WR.
13.Buffalo Bills select Kenechi Udeze, DE, USC - I think Buffalo’s in a great spot here. I think there will be one or two strong, solid defenders that will fall to them in this slot, and taking a very capable pass rusher in Udeze will be a great pickup for the Bills. He’s big, he plays the run well, and will wreak some havoc in the backfield. He’s not Julius Peppers or Dwight Freeney, but he doesn’t have to come off the field for third and short either. Great pickup for Buffalo.
14.Chicago Bears select Reggie Williams, WR, Washington - At worst, Reggie Williams will be a poor man’s Marty Booker. At best? A Terrell Owens type talent. He’s big, he’s fast, he’s seasoned. He’ll be a great weapon for Grossman in Chicago. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pick address some D-Line concerns, but I don’t feel that there’s a big, run-stuffing DT that deserves to be taken in this slot, while Williams would have been a potential top ten pick without Fitzgerald and Mike Williams in this draft.
15.Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Shawn Andrews, OT, Arkansas - You can never have enough great run-blockers on your O-Line, and Andrews has the potential to be a great one. The only hitch in this pick I could see is if Tampa can’t find a starting tailback before the draft (Duce Staley and Charlie Garner are possibilities). Then, maybe, the pick is Stephen Jackson. For now, I think Andrews would be a great anchor on that OL, and good value at #15.
16.San Francisco 49ers select Rashaun Woods, WR, Oklahoma State - The Niners have already lost Terrell Owens, and are likely to lose Tai Streets. While Brandon Lloyd is an up-and-coming talent at WR (told you so at this time last year), you can’t plug Tim Rattay in there at QB without putting a little support around him. Woods lit up the combine with a great 40 time, and has already proven he can be either a big play or possession type receiver. Whoever gets this guy gets the next Keenan McCardell, and that’s a serious compliment.
17.Cincinnati Bengals select Dunta Robinson, CB, South Carolina - The Bengals need a young corner in the worst way, and thanks to a deep first round pool, they only lost Chris Gamble from their list of possibilities prior to this pick. Robinson is fast and probably the most able of all the corners in the draft to step in and play immediately.
18.New Orleans Saints select DeAngelo Hall, CB, VaTech - The Saints need DB help, and DeAngelo’s athleticism is off the charts for a DB. The guy is absolutely electric with the ball, and can contribute as a returner as well as on the defensive corner. He might need a year or two to become properly seasoned as a starter, but you just can’t pass on an athlete like this. He might be one of the quickest and fastest players at this position since Deion.
19.Minnesota Vikings select Will Smith, DE, Ohio State - This is a tricky pick for Minnesota. They have some areas of the team where they need help, such as LB, but it’s probably too early to address that position here. They don’t need a WR, so they won’t grab one here either. And the other DBs on the board aren’t that appealing right now either. Therefore, adding to a young and aggressive defensive front four should be the pick here, and getting a versatile DE in Will Smith is a nice addition to the Hovan/Williams nucleus for the Vikings.
20.Miami Dolphins select Michael Jenkins, WR, Ohio State - This is a foregone conclusion type pick for Miami. They’re desperate for some talent on the outside to pair with Chris Chambers, and Jenkins gives them a guy capable of going across the middle and catching 70+ balls a year. He’s not a burner, but that’s OK because Chambers is. With Jenkins, McMichael, and Chambers, Miami has put together a nice young group of receivers for whoever it is that’ll be throwing the ball to them this year.
21.New England Patriots select Stephen Jackson, RB, Oregon - Much to the dismay of Cowboy fans across the country (ha ha, screw you Dallas), the top two RBs are now off the board. Jackson will compliment change-of-pace back Kevin Faulk nicely in this offense, and will bring speed and pass-receiving capabilities to the table that Antowain Smith didn’t have. I fully expect New England to trade up, however, to land a top three WR in this draft, so Dallas may get their guy after all. Not in my mock draft, though.
22.Dallas Cowboys select Vince Wilfork, DT, Miami - Here’s where the last remaining guy in the green room in New York dries his tears, grabs his new team’s hat, and announces to the whole world that there are 21 teams now on his revenge list for his career. Good thing two of them are in-division rivals. Yes, the Cowboys have more glaring needs, specifically at RB. But are you letting possibly the best DT in this draft slip by you at number 22? I don’t think so either.
23.Seattle Seahawks select Michael Clayton, WR, LSU - The yin to Koren Robinson’s yang is headed to Seattle. Bobby Engram is a good #3 guy, but he’s not a #2. Clayton is that guy. He’s tough, he’s rugged, he can block, and he’ll be a perfect compliment for the ‘Hawks’ version of the West Coast Offense. While Seattle does have some pressing needs on defense, it’s not as if any of their division rivals made themselves any better this off-season (so far). Clayton is a great pick for Seattle here.
24.Denver Broncos select Ben Troupe, TE, Florida - With Shannon Sharpe finally collecting his Social Security benefits, Troupe is the pick to inherit the starting TE spot for this team. He’s a fluid route runner with great hands, and an adequate blocker to boot. If Ben Troupe is still on the board, he’s the no-brainer pick for Shanahan’s offense.
25.Green Bay Packers select Derrick Strait, CB, Oklahoma - There’s been some conversation about Strait being the best “shut down” corner in this draft. Frankly, I don’t think there’s a true “shut down” corner available this year, but Strait is a talent, and they won’t find another DB in round two with coverage abilities. Look for them to bolster their D-Line later this draft, but CB is the pick here.
26.St. Louis Rams select Vernon Carey, OG, Miami - The only glaring position of need on the Rams’ roster right now is on the O-Line. They could use a corner to take over for Aeneas Williams, sure, but O-Line needs some reinforcements now. Carey is going to be a pretty good player, maybe not an all-pro type, but certainly one that can give you ten years with few mistakes. Good value at the bottom of round one for St. Louis.
27.Tennessee Titans select Antwan Odom, DE, Alabama - Well, you can’t replace Robaire Smith and Jevon Kearse with just one player, but you can certainly start with an outside speed rusher. What’s nice about bringing Odom in, is that he can play right in front of all-world LB Keith Bulluck, who can work hard to erase those rookie mistakes. The Titans will certainly go D-Line with this pick, and I’d rather roll the dice on a speed rusher than look to the interior at this spot.
28.Philadelphia Eagles select DJ Williams, LB, Miami - It’s a crapshoot to see which Miami LB comes off the board before the other, but Williams is a nice pick for the Eagles in this round. I fully anticipate that Philly will land either Darrell Jackson, Justin McCareins, or Tai Streets in the free agent market, which will reduce the need to find a #1 WR in round one here. Frankly, I think there might be a thought that Freddie Mitchell might be finally ready to break out. Donovan McNabb hopes so. Williams is a fast LB with solid skills and will add to a pretty thin group for Philly.
29.Indianapolis Colts select Will Poole, CB, USC - The Colts weren’t just burned, they were torched by opposing passing attacks in 2003. It’s easily the weakest link on an otherwise very talented team. While I think another safety makes more sense for their defense than a corner does, I don’t think there’s another safety worth grabbing this early. Poole is maybe a bit of a reach here, but definitely fills a need.
30.Kansas City Chiefs select Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin - KC brass has to be disappointed that one of the top DBs didn’t drop to them at this spot. However, Lee Evans is one of those top-ten caliber talents, who is proving to the scouts that his multiple knee injuries are in his past. He ran a scorching time at the combine, and has tremendous ball skills. For a team with a great passing attack, they finally are able to land a great receiver.
31.Carolina Panthers select Karlos Dansby, LB, Auburn - Wow, another piece to an already talented defensive front seven. Dansby will be a nice athletic compliment to Dan Morgan in the LB corps, and is a great value pick for Carolina. With all the great WR talent off the board at this point, and no significant need to upgrade the defensive line or backfield, LB is the only thing that makes sense here.
32.New England Patriots select Jake Grove, C, VaTech - What do you get for the team that has everything? Young corners? Check. Deep and versatile D-Line? Check. Depth at WR? Check. Talented LBs? Check. If I’m New England, I get the best football player left on the board. That’s Jake Grove. With the loss of Damien Woody, Grove is a nice pickup at the bottom of round one. That being said, I don’t think the Pats are the team that is going to be making this pick.
DDOS Extortion and PartyPoker
I finally was able to sit down and play a SNG on PartyPoker last night.
I’m getting rather tired of the little notification in the upper right of the PartyPoker lobby signaling that “Single Table Tournaments will be available after 10PM EST.” Bastards. That’s my bedtime.
I did, as mentioned, get into a $10/$1 SNG last night, but not until I had experienced incredible lag times just to claim a seat. I’d click the “Seat Open” button, and then I’d wait. Thirty to ninety seconds later I get the sign up box, and affirm that I want to join the table. Then I’d wait.
And three minutes later I had my seat.
I played some of the most patient and intelligent poker I’ve played in ages. Well, except for a couple of bad decisions. I’ll get to those. But in an early hand, I had 78s in early position and limped in. Five saw the flop, which came 889, two suited. Of course, if you’re doing the math, that does not put me on the flush draw. I did have a set though. First in, I tried to close out the competition and bet out reasonably big, probably 125 with 75 in the pot already. I had three (gulp) follow. I’m guessing straight and flush draws for a couple, maybe a pocket pair of something for someone else, but not 99. A Jack hits the board, and we’re still two suited with two of each now on the board. I’m a little nervous of the completed straight draw, but I have to feel good about a set, right? Plus, I’m drawing to a gutshot myself anyway, but it could be the sucker straight. I bet out pretty decently again, probably 300, trying to slam the door shut on anyone sitting on a draw. This time, only one (thankfully) follows. I am thinking he’s sitting on one of the flush draws out there, but which one? At this point, I’m down to 450 or so in chips, and when a T hits the river, putting a three-to-the-flush on the board as well, I decide to show some balls. I move all-in and wait.
And see the dude fold. Oh, that was beautiful. I probably had him beat (either drawing to the flush or had two pair or both) all the way, but I didn’t want callers on any of my bets.
After the hand, the guy to my left said, “I made the set of eights, that straight and flush draw chased me out.” Wow. I bet anything he had me out kicked on that one.
I got punched in the stomach a little later when a low stack (600 to my 1700 or so) went all in when I had made top pair on the flop. He went runner-runner to make a miracle straight (he needed exactly two of those seven cards left – I had one of them already) and robbed me down under 1000.
I sat patiently from there and took my shots.
When we got down to five, and I was the low stack, I made a ballsy pre-flop raise on next-to-nothing to try to steal some blinds. I got freaked out when I was called, but my bad move turned into a good one when I flopped the nut full house. I was able to suck out another couple hundred in chips before he folded, and all of a sudden I was back in the game.
When we were down to three, one of the others and I figured out that the third was a wussy and raised him pre-flop at every opportunity. We knocked him out quick and went heads-up.
My big bonehead move of the night was when blinds were 250/500 (if memory serves). I had 2700 in the BB.
Now, in retrospect, I’m totally kicking myself. He and I were consistently and aggressively raising each other pre-flop to try to steal. Usually, from him, it was 4x BB. Almost every non-fold on his part (when acting first) was a 4x BB raise.
So ten minutes into this, I’m holding 69o, in the BB, and he simply calls from the SB.
Shouldn’t bells have been going off in my head? Just check him to the flop, and get out if you don’t make a great hand. Weak means strong, weak means strong.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a little Mike Caro on my shoulder. I had a little riverboat gambler instead urging me to raise him and steal those blinds!
Bad move. I went up to $1200, leaving me just $1500. He went all-in, and I followed.
Thanks to the new PartyPoker updates, I saw instantly that his AQs was a big, big favorite to my 69o.
But wait! I hit the flop! 259 rainbow! No spades! I’m going to double up! I’m going to…
…see a Queen hit the turn, and a blank hit the river. I’m busted.
But hey, second place still pays, and I felt good about that.
Last poker-related topic today: Big thanks go out to HDouble, who helped my brother out with some advice on the LA area card rooms. Hopefully, he comes home with something to show for his incorrigible gambling.
Multi-colored fish wrap
I read a quick blurb in the USA Today, uh, today, from the less-than-great state of Utah. It seems that there’s a young lady who is suing the University of Utah, claiming they harbor an anti-Mormon bias.
She was/is(?) an acting student, and feels like her freedom of religion was violated when she was asked to both use profanity and take the name of her lord in vain in an in-class acting exercise.
I’m not an actor, but I play one on TV. Well, what I mean to say is that I can at least see the point of an acting exercise which might demand usage of language such as this. Utah has a very dominant culture because of the influence of that particular religion. I lived out there for quite awhile, and it’s really quite amazing how similar in mind and character most people are. Acting, by definition, is about becoming a character that isn’t you, but one that you can inhabit and begin to understand on some level.
There is such an aversion to understanding others in that religion that I can see why an acting coach or professor would ask their students to use “vulgar” or challenging language. I can understand why a professor would put an actor in a position to be in complete and utter opposition to their everyday person. Especially out there. You’ve got to assume that if someone has chosen acting as a course of study, that they would be serious in their willingness to push their own boundaries. They’d have to be focused on the craft, and their approach to it, and learn to forsake their own personal values if they are in opposition to those of their character. Unless, of course, you just want to do religious-themed direct-to-video releases with Willie Aames and Kirk Cameron for a living.
Speaking of Kirk Cameron, I’m personally embarrassed for him. I mean, it’s great that he can find something he considers meaningful and positive on which to base his entire life. Congratulations on that I suppose. But I’ve got to assume that no one reading this has seen what I’ve seen on the Christian cable channels.
Kirk Cameron went out with a mic and a camera, and did a little “man on the street” interview stuff with people. The first question out of his mouth, as it is with these types all the time was, “Have you taken the lord and savior Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”
”Will that be paper or plastic, sir?”
“I don’t know… have you accepted Jesus into your heart?”
Of course, there’s no good answer to that question with these people. You can’t just say “Yes,” as you would to the guy who shows up on your doorstep and asks if you have an up-to-date set of encyclopedias. “Yes” doesn’t make these people go away. “Uh, no…” isn’t a good answer either.
In Cameron’s case, it brought on a good ten seconds of incredulous huffing and panting and double takes to the camera. It was the “can you believe people like this exist?!?” take.
Then, he asked if these people considered themselves to be “sinners.” Again, no good answer to this one. “Sure, I’ve killed and eaten fourteen hobos, cheat on my wife with male prostitutes, and sell photo-shopped pictures of the Virgin Mary naked on my animal porn website. Want the URL?”
This leads up to his big question.
“What are you going to do when Jesus comes back down from heaven during the apocalypse? What are you going to have to say for yourself?”
I knew a dude once in high school with whom I had a two hour plus conversation (in the longest ride home from a school activity of all time in his car) about how he knew that Jesus would be back to clean up the earth during our lifetime.
I’m an avowed atheist. I don’t capitalize the word “god,” because to me, not only is he not a person, he’s not a singular theory either. I don’t believe that the Christians have any more right to the person of god than the Hindus or the Muslims or the Buddhists do.
And I don’t believe for a moment that any rational person can expect Jesus’ visit any day now. I don’t think the question of “what I’m going to do” when Jesus asks me to explain myself is ever going to come up. So, you know what Kirk Cameron? I haven’t really thought about it.
I can’t imagine there is a god, but if you were asking me to invent one up for you, it wouldn’t be one with a singular thought and vision. It wouldn’t be one that sided with only the most fervent worshippers among us. And it wouldn’t be one who rewarded people like this whose levels of self righteousness are completely off the charts. Any god I could imagine would be accepting of a pluralistic view, even one that included lack of faith and belief in the concept of god while here on Earth.
Heck, we’ve been told our whole lives that we couldn’t even begin to comprehend the concepts of god or heaven fully, so I really take that to mean that our puny little brains would be enlightened much more fully in an afterlife, were there actually one to follow this life. Any god up there couldn’t expect us to fully and tangibly understand what “god” really means down here anyway.
And I certainly don’t begrudge anyone their views on religion, until they begin to begrudge me mine. Which is exactly what Kirk Cameron was doing to these people on the street.
I was really quite embarrassed for him…
Thursday, March 04, 2004
And all that…
Just for fun, here’s my top ten list of ancillary Simpsons characters:
10) Sid and Marty from radio station KBBL
9) Lionel Hutz
7) Gil the corporate failure
6) Bumblebee Man
4) Dr. Nick Riviera
3) Fat Tony
2) Ralph Wiggum
1) Actor Troy McClure
I damn near keyed a guy’s car last night.
I pulled into a not-so-crowded grocery store parking lot last night and saw a brand new Audi A4 swoop in to the prime handicapped spot and park. A guy climbs out and walks briskly into the store right in front of me.
No handicapped insignia anywhere on his car, no tags, no plates, nothing.
It was obvious the guy didn’t want his precious Audi dinged, and didn’t want to park in the South 40 to protect it. I wish there hadn’t been another handicapped spot adjacent, as I would have purposefully squeezed my car within inches of his driver’s door and then turned an in-and-out shopping trip into the longest grocery store experience of both of our lives.
I was fuming at this guy. What balls! Especially considering there are no fewer than three “retirement communities” within a few blocks, and that those spaces are used legitimately more often than they are in most communities.*
*Statement does not apply in Arizona or Florida. Please read rules for official details. Offer ends October 23, 2004
He and I ended up in the same aisle, where he had a cart (!) and was obviously taking the opportunity to do a full-fledged grocery purchase. If he had just run in for toilet paper or lottery tickets or something, I might have let it slide a little.
Instead, I just got madder at the dude.
What’s really creepy about the experience though, is that I had my XM Radio tuned to the comedy station when I got out of the car. On my way back out of the store, with the guy’s car still there in the handicapped spot, I put the key in the ignition and fired up the car. First thing I hear out of my radio is a comedian saying, “What is it about these people who think that the more money they spend on their car, the more rights they have to be an asshole to everyone else?”
That was awfully weird.
I’m going to write a letter to the editor of the local paper and get it printed about this jerk-off. That’s why small towns rule. I can vent publicly about something really stupid, and they’ll print it in the paper.
For example, there’s been quite the debate going on in our local “Letters to the Editor” section recently. It started with a lady who was shocked and aghast that there is a club at the school that is for Yoga. She basically called Yoga a pagan black art, and ripped into the school for having this club, as well as a (nationally recognized, mind you) club that calls itself something like the “Gay/Straight Tolerance Alliance.”
It’s been four or five weeks since her letter, and the opposing and supporting viewpoints keep trickling in. Apparently, these independent clubs at the school equate to some sort of promotion of alternative lifestyles, and the elders of this community are – again, shocked and aghast – that this world isn’t as homogenous to their conservative Christian views as perhaps they once thought.
If you think that’s bad, another local paper ran a front-page article on a drag queen show in town a couple weekends ago. They printed what I assume are only a portion of the letters they received questioning their commitment to the community and journalistic integrity. One writer said she was “glad she no longer had children in the house to protect from this,” and another wondered if the paper would be better delivered “in the protection of a brown paper bag.”
Where does this “sky is falling because you’re all corrupt and immoral” thought process come from? The word “morality” is a vague and pluralistic term. It is accepting of all connotations, from the most positive to the most negative to everything in between. And Christians who derive a singular sense of morality from the Bible are horribly misguided to me. Some of the “holiest” men on the planet can’t reach an agreement on exactly what every word of the Bible means. And the majority of the planet don’t subscribe to the same theories anyway.
I’d love it if people had more of a solid “mind your own business” outlook. But, that’s just not realistic, so keep those calls and letters rolling in people. You’re not working as much to enlighten me, as you are instead to amuse me.
I got an email yesterday from Admin@www.gamblingblues.com.
I thought, “Hmm… that’s strange. I am the admin at gamblingblues.com.”
Attached was a nice but threatening letter explaining that someone had commandeered my email account and was using it against my terms of service agreement. In other words, they were trying to tell me that someone was spamming by spoofing my email. They told me my email would be deactivated unless I followed instructions carefully. Here’s what they wanted me to do:
“Please open the attached documentation to help solve this issue.”
Of course, the “attached documentation” was a .zip file.
I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole, but I can certainly appreciate the genius behind this attempt to corrupt my computer.
While this email was laughable, I’m beginning to be less and less amused by the constant problems PartyPoker has been faced with lately.
All I want to do is pop on and play a couple of SNG tournaments every once in awhile. I don’t think I’m asking much here. I did find an apparently open table, but there was a constant stream of cut and paste chatter from a couple of people who were absolutely begging the seated players to get up from the table and leave the room, as that would somehow unlock all the SNG problems Party was having.
I went and sat at a $1/$2 table for about a half an hour yesterday instead, and was just hemorrhaging cash. I was dealt far more playable than unplayable hands, and was unfortunately missing every single flop.
Problem was, I was raising pre-flop with my KQs and my ATs and such, but I wasn’t successful at “thinning the herd,” and the flops were seemingly always opposite to what I needed to see. My JJ hole card were met with two Aces on the flop. My KQs saw TTx, with five other players in the hand. I lost a lot of my money ($25 total) pre-flop with the raises, and always (except for the JJ with the AA8 flop – winner had, unsurprisingly, A8) seemed to know when to get out.
Sure, I was getting out at the right time (normally), but it was $3 lighter here, $4 there. Raising did me no good. All I had to do was hit one multi-player flop, and I would have been in great shape. All the pre-flop raising and post-flop folding I was doing was setting up a weak-tight image that would have served me well on a free or cheap flop and a well timed check raise on the turn.
It never happened though.
I guess, though, I did my good deed for the day by helping another player extract max value out of the table on two successive hands. On the first, I was dealt AQs, he was dealt 88. I helped cap a pre-flop raise with five (!) players in. Flop hit with 48K rainbow. I got out, but three others stayed with the set of eights, with one calling him down. On the second, I had KQs, he had 66, and basically the same thing happened. On two consecutive hands, he caught his set on the flop, had a pre-flop capped multi-way pot to play with, and made $30-$40 on each hand.
You’re welcome Staylor123, whoever you are.
But anyway, these DOS attacks are really starting to wear on my nerves. Part of me doesn’t want to desert PartyPoker. They don’t deserve these extortion attempts, and by fleeing and going elsewhere, “the terrorists win.” Plus, if I went to, say, Bugsy’s Club or UB or something, the level of competition would be higher, and who wants that?
I’m sticking around, but I really hope this resolves itself soon.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
I was talking to a vendor on the phone this morning, and there’s a possibility that one of their associates might be able to get in with our client’s group. The manager isn’t sure he wants to put this guy on the agenda though.
So I said to the vendor, “Well, if we get to a point where your guy can’t arrange it anymore, we’ll let our manager know to either get him in or get him off.”
I meant to say “off the agenda.” I left it at “off.”
Give me my fries, and I promise I won’t sue
Stunned by the news that McDonald’s is “phasing out” the super-sized portion of their menu. The way the articles I’ve read on this topic read, it looks as if this decision was made in reaction to the potential lawsuits the restaurant chain will face if they don’t start offering more responsible menu choices and portions.
Let’s get one thing straight here.
If you’re walking into McDonald’s, you’ve got to know what you’re getting. Those fryers aren’t filled with really hot water. I don’t think anyone has ever poured over that menu looking for the tofu burger, vegetable plate, or fruit basket.
Burgers+McNuggets+Fries = McDonald’s core competencies
Parfaits+Salad Shakers+Fruit = reactionary ridiculousness
You want to know why McDonald’s is losing money? Because they’re not focusing on what it is they do best. McDonald’s isn’t going to capture the same crowd that shops at Whole Foods. They aren’t going to vie for the consumer dollars that Applebee’s and Olive Garden are pulling in. And aside from both being fast-food giants, they really aren’t playing in the same arena as Subway.
I can appreciate that there’s a certain segment of their consumer base that appreciates having more choice on the menu. But let’s not forget, these are the same soccer moms that are toting a car load full of kids through the McDonald’s drive thru in the first place. With all the choices out there, they pick McDonald’s. Let them eat their chicken. Just don’t think you have to go all California Vegan on us now to keep the soccer mom happy with a bus full of kids in her ear.
And the portion downsizing is a little distressing. If Mr. McDonald (whoever runs the joint) were to come right out and say, “We’re losing money hand over fist, and these huge portions are part of it,” then I’d be a little less disappointed.
But when you start to make changes to your core focus in order to please the litigation happy nutball populace out there that are looking for anyone but their own fat asses to blame for morbid obesity, well, you’ve lost me.
Why not try eating at Subway periodically there tubby. Worked for Jared.
McDonald’s is pleased to sell you food, but they aren’t stuffing it down your gullet at gunpoint.
For those of us who are happily piggish, and wish to continue to get a big damn order of the best fast food fries on the market, I believe I speak for all of us when I tell you to check your litigation at the door and let me order the biggest damn box of fries on the menu. I don’t ask much, but the ability to gorge myself on potatoes is up there.
Free Agency Day One
Disclaimer: I typed this quite a bit earlier today. Yes, I heard about Kearse...
Let’s do a little math here…
James Hall + Kalimba Edwards < Jevon Kearse
Jevon Kearse + Dan Wilkinson + Shaun Rogers + Kalimba Edwards > The starting D-Line of at least 28 other NFL teams
Is that clear? How about for RBs…
Michael Turner, Julius Jones, or Tatum Bell > Garrison Hearst
Dominic Rhodes > Michael Turner, Julius Jones, or Tatum Bell
And then you’ve got the FA WR comparison…
Justin McCareins > Tai Streets or Darrell Jackson
In regards to FA OGs available…
Ruben Brown = Damien Woody > Ron Stone or Chris Villarial
And lastly, the FA CB theorem…
Overbidding for Antoine Winfield < Ahmed Plummer or Fernando Bryant
Something Mike Golic and Sean Salisbury were talking about on the radio this morning made perfect sense in regards to my “how are they doing this” comment about Washington. Golic said, “they’d better win now, because two years from now they’re going to have to pay the piper.”
It makes much more sense to me now. If I were a free agent of any consequence, I could go to a team (let’s say Arizona) with sensible cap room and strategies and sign the same five or six year contract I could with Washington. However, Washington is a better option for a few reasons. First, I might be closer to winning with the Skins than the Cards. Second, I improve my value on the market by playing next to better players in Washington than I would in Arizona, which is important for reason number three. That third reason is that with the heap of trouble Washington will be in cap-wise in a couple of years, I can take a huge signing bonus now, escalate my base to a ludicrous level for 2007, and be assured that I’ll be a likely cap casualty, essentially giving me free agency all over again in a couple of years. Oh, and that huge signing bonus that they can’t take away from me.
I like that a team that wants to gamble on the cap, as it’s apparent Washington’s doing, will have to pay for it at some point. It’s not like basketball where a team uses its expiring contracts as trade fodder to help other teams get farther under the cap.
Now, the Lions are obviously looking at this year’s class of free agent DBs and licking their chops. Then again, so are a couple dozen other teams. Here’s hoping that the Lions use this money sensibly in the free agent market, as they’re not one or two players away from contention. They should do their best to agreeably land Plummer or Bryant, stay out of the crazy auction atmosphere that’s guaranteed to follow Antoine Winfield, and consider one marquee player, possibly Jevon Kearse, with another chunk of their money.
Doesn’t it make sense to see if they can find one young DB in the draft (or from Chris Kern in NFL Europe), and try to fill two more spots with Goodman, Cash, and Babers? Only Cash is coming off of a leg injury, which means that Goodman and Babers shouldn’t have their speed or agility diminished. I’d like to think that the Lions could, at minimum, make it through this season with Goodman starting with Bly, Babers and Kern as nickel and dime backs, and Cash and/or a rookie in reserve.
Then, there’s the problem at WR. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good class of free agents in which to find a good #2 guy. You’re looking at Darrell Jackson and maybe Tai Streets. I would say Justin McCareins is an exceptional #3 guy, but who’s to say he’s ready to make the leap to the starting lineup? The Lions absolutely cannot go into 2004 camp with Az Hakim starting outside of Charles Rogers. We know Anderson and Kircus aren’t answers either. I just hope Millen isn’t thinking he absolutely needs to sign a FA at this position. I don’t think that’s a necessity at all. Assuming Detroit doesn’t try to land one of the top seven at the position in round one, and assuming that they don’t have a lucky slip of Rashaun Woods or Michael Clayton to round two, maybe a guy like Keary Colbert from USC could be a good pickup.
Skill position players aside, my main hope for this off-season rests in finding one, or possibly two very solid guards for the offensive line. I think this is our absolute weakest link on the field. So weak, as a matter of fact, that I would not for a second hesitate to draft Robert Gallery from Iowa, were he to fall to Detroit in round one. Even if Larry Fitzgerald and/or Mike Williams were on the board.
Just as long as the Lions don’t overpay for anyone this off-season, I’ll be content.
Aces Cracked? Get a Rack!
For the first time ever I purchased an issue of Card Player Magazine off the shelf yesterday. Good god, it takes me longer to read an issue of Maxim than it did this periodical.
I actually picked it up because I figured (correctly) it would be full of casino ads hyping poker rooms and tournaments (true) across the nation (not-so-true).
My favorite ad was one that caught my attention right off for the promise that if you happened to lose with pocket Aces, they’d throw you a rack of chips as a bonus. They also featured $3/$6 Limit Hold ‘Em as a cheap option, and I was pretty interested until I saw where the casino was located…
You know, maybe Compton is different than what my perceptions of it are. Maybe it’s not a bunch of plaid shirt black hat Jheri curl dripping brothers packing Uzis and Nines driving dropped down classic Caddies and thumping E-40 while flipping switches and bouncing their car up and down Clawson.
Can you imagine being some Midwestern suburban white kid sitting in seat five with four Bloods to your left, five Crips to your right, and armor piercing glares shooting at you whenever your hand moved to your chips?
I’m guessing I wouldn’t be doing a lot of check-raising in these games.
I was really surprised at the sheer number of California casinos advertising in Card Player. I had no idea that gambling existed outside of Lake Tahoe and the Bicycle.
I was annoyed, however, at the lack of advertising for Midwestern casinos and their poker rooms. Outside of Canterbury (thanks Chris), Soaring Eagle, Little River (where I’ve played), and Trump in Gary (LG’s frequent haunt), I know of nowhere in the region with an established poker room, and I also know of absolutely no NL tournament action happening.
Speaking of NL tournament action, LG, help me out here. You’re the Michigan gaming law expert. Let’s say we found a charity for which we could run an independent fund-raiser (my mom is on the board of one, and heavily involved with two others). Could we put together, say, a $25+$25 poker tournament where the “+$25” part of it went towards the charity and the cost of the event, and the other $25 went to the prize pool? I can’t really see a fundamental difference between this and a 50/50 raffle. They’re both “gaming” in whatever sense you want to use it.
Let’s say we could get 100 people to play ($2500 to the charity, less costs). I think that would be fairly easy with the right advertising. Our cost would be:
Chips: assume one sleeve of Hoyle plastics per entry, cost = $2.50 (and that’s high) each ($250 total)
Room Rental: one night, and it’s for charity? I bet we could get the Elks or something for $400 or less, and all the tables/chairs would come with it ($400 total)
Advertising: this would be a charity event, I can’t figure there’d be a big expense here. Say $400 total, and I bet that’s really high ($400 total)
Incidentals: We’d need something to stand in for a dealer button at each table (times ten), we’d need posterboard and markers, we’d need Ziploc baggies for chips, we’d need volunteers to help and coffee to serve. Maybe $200 extra ($200)
Total cost: $1250, and that’s probably high. That leaves $1250 going to the charity.
And, of course, a prize pool of $2500. You could pay out top 25 places, with a top prize of $500 (limited by state law), and I guarantee you people would come.
Here’s a quick peek at what might be a problem though:
TRAXLER-MCCAULEY-LAW-BOWMAN BINGO ACT (EXCERPT)
Act 382 of 1972
432.110a Conduct of millionaire party.
All of the following apply in the conduct of a millionaire party:
(b) A wager may not be placed on a contest other than a game of chance taking place at the location and during the time period approved for the event, and in no event shall a wager be placed upon an athletic event or upon a game involving personal skill.
(d) A qualified organization shall not receive more than $15,000.00 in exchange for imitation money or chips in 1 day of a millionaire party.
(e) A person participating in a millionaire party shall not be awarded prizes having an aggregate value greater than $500.00 per day.
Pretty nifty that all this is online for the good people of this state to view. The part I worry about is the phrase “game involving personal skill.” I know that at a “Millionaire Party,” better known as a “Vegas Night,” they have blackjack, and it’s not hard to see that blackjack is partially based on personal skill.
I actually called the Charitable Gaming Division of the State, and they are generally OK with poker as a “Millionaire Party” event. It’s just a matter of putting something together.
Up for it LG?
CNN.com - Lawsuit: Fake popcorn butter caused disease - Mar. 2, 2004: "The trial is considered a landmark legal battle aimed at linking bronchiolitis obliterans, also known as popcorn packers' lung, to vapors from butter flavorings in the popcorn mixing room at the plant. The disease restricts and obstructs the functioning of the lungs.
The suit alleges the manufacturers knew, or should have known, the butter flavorings were hazardous and that they failed to warn workers of the dangers or to give instructions on safe use of the product. "
So "popcorn packers lung" is really a disease? Wow, and I thought I was just making it up every time I called in sick to school with it.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
I’m a little irritated with Amazon.com.
Anything you buy gets stuck to you as a “favorite,” and the site will personalize for you based on these past purchases.
So here is a list (non-comprehensive) of things I have purchased from Amazon over the past eighteen months or so:
Two books on thoroughbred handicapping
Lenny Bruce’s “…and Influence People”
A couple of Gregory MacDonald’s “Fletch” series
Mil Millington’s “Things My Girlfriend and I…”
“Team Toyota” – a dissertation on Japanese manufacturing techniques
Ben Stiller Show multi-set
The Pharcyde video collection
The Spike Jonze video collection
(all three above as gifts)
(yes, I’ll admit to both – Sara St. James is smoking, and Emmanuelle is the first soft core movie I’d ever seen, so it’s a collector’s type buy)
Wireless networking equipment for my laptop
A Joey Harrington Action Figure (gift)
Maxim and Stuff subscriptions
What do you think Amazon most often features on the front page for me?
That’s right, soft core porno and transplant manufacturing techniques.
And all throughout my recommendations they’ve scattered various music DVDs that I have absolutely no interest in (and have tried in vain to weed out), other sports action figures, and every mystery novel written in the past fifty years.
Nice assumptions Amazon.
It’s also doing its best to keep up with my window shopping. I’ve been looking at things like Pyrex storage ware and vacuums recently, and sure enough, next time I log on, Amazon has a half dozen things it feels the need to throw in my face.
I won’t stop shopping Amazon because of the prices and selection, but I do feel a little bit… dirty after browsing there because of the privacy I’ve obviously given up by shopping there.
How do they do it?
For the past two or three off-seasons in the NFL, it’s been the same story. Every free agent of any stature at all has been tied to the Washington Redskins.
Well, maybe not every free agent, but some of the bigger names nonetheless.
Anyway, I’m really curious to see how Washington can pull off all these acquisitions. They signed Laverneus Coles and Randy Thomas to pretty decent deals last off-season, along with a few other players. Then they re-sign LaVar Arrington to a monster deal, overpay Mark Brunell, land Clinton Portis with a contract that is presumably higher than what they were looking to pay Champ Bailey, and are still somehow in the running for Warren Sapp and Shawn Springs?
Are they playing with the same salary cap everyone else is?
I mean, isn’t there going to come a point with the Redskins that this fiscal freedom they’ve been operating under will boil over and cause major, major cap damage? Won’t there be a day of reckoning in the near future?
Better yet, why is it that free agents seem so eager to sign with the Skins when there are other teams in better cap shape that probably provide better short or long term opportunities for championships (like Philly)?
I guess my major complaint is that it seems like the premium free agents aren’t even bothering to look towards Arizona and Detroit, both of which have plenty of cap room and nice cores of young players around which to build.
If I were a difference making DT or LB, I’d look at Arizona as an opportunity to be “the man” on what might be a pretty good team in a year or two. They’ve got a terrific OL, a talented and young group of WRs, and a young and aggressive group in the defensive backfield. They’re fewer pieces away from contention than people think. Plus, you’d get Denny Green as your coach, which would have to be a huge benefit. If I were Warren Sapp or Edgerton Hartwell, I’d be on the phone to the Bidwells right now arranging my plane flight for tomorrow.
If I were Darrell Jackson, Justin McCareins, or Ruben Brown, I’d be looking seriously at Detroit. As inept as they looked on the field at times last year, this is a team that is two drafts and two free agent classes away from serious playoff contention, especially when the contracts of players like Robert Porcher and Luther Elliss are fully off the books by 2006. In Detroit, you have a chance to be coached by one of the best offensive minds in the game (Mariucci), you have state-of-the-art facilities in Allen Park, and a great stadium and fan base.
This is why I’m not a sports agent. I’d get really annoyed really quickly with the money grubbing (don’t get me started on Ty Law, read Peter King’s MMQB column this week on CNNSI) when it’s obvious and apparent in many cases that these supporting players who are finally ready to find the spotlight (like McCareins or Hartwell) should be given a chance to “be the man” and contribute to the growth and success of another good organization.
Latest Gut Feeling…
Here’s my latest gut feeling about the first six picks (that’s all that matters right now anyway) of the NFL Draft:
1)San Diego – will trade the pick, possibly to Pittsburgh, who might give up 1st, 2nd, and next year’s 1st picks for the rights to draft QB Eli Manning.
2)Oakland – for all the talk about taking Larry Fitzgerald or Mike Williams, I don’t know that Al Davis doesn’t feel awfully shaky about his QB position. Oakland is always the wildcard in the draft, and picking this high might yield the first truly surprising pick of the draft. Unfortunately, I think Oakland stays at two, and addresses what is really only a perceived “need” at WR with Larry Fitzgerald.
3)Arizona – forget the Josh McCown smokescreen. This pick is Ben Roethlisberger all the way. Why? Because there are only a handful of other players worthy of consideration this high, and OT and WR aren’t exactly positions of need for the Cardinals. As a matter of fact, after having landed three WRs in early rounds of last year’s draft, Arizona might lust after Mike Williams, but they won’t commit more money to that spot. This is Roethlisberger’s spot. Anyone who says different is misinformed.
4)New York Giants – This is probably the pick that is the “lock of the draft.” If New York doesn’t take huge and talented OT Robert Gallery with this pick, expect rioting in the streets. You know who would be an incredibly interesting pick in this spot though? Kellen Winslow Jr. How dangerous would this offense be? Two pretty decent WRs on the outside, and two extremely talented TEs in a one back (Tiki Barber) set. How do you match up against Shockey and Winslow? If I were the Giants, I’d be giving Winslow some serious thought. They would be giving defensive coordinators nightmares for the next decade.
5)Washington – Well, here’s what Washington won’t take. They won’t take a QB, even if Roethlisberger or even Manning are on the board. They won’t take a RB or probably even a WR, seeing as they have talent at those skill positions already. If I’m Washington, I gladly trade down to New England. I take their two firsts, and a second next year. Why? Well, for a team with some talent, they certainly have some holes, with one of those holes being at DB. You’re not picking up Chris Gamble at #5, but you might down in the early 20s. In that spot, you’re at least getting DeAngelo Hall. Plus, by trading down, they get two players for the price of one on the cap. And as they have a couple of monster contracts (Portis, Arrington) now, and a monster contract (Samuels) looming, this is their year to take what they can get and move down. New England gladly takes WR Mike Williams off the board. If they keep the pick, which I’ll deem highly unlikely, it’ll be S Shawn Taylor.
6)Detroit – As Matt Millen, I’m now disappointed for two reasons. First, the only trading partner worth talking to just made a deal to pick above me. Second, he took the last most exciting player in the draft off the board. This leaves only two selections at this point, both former Miami Hurricanes. Either Shawn Taylor or Kellen Winslow Jr. goes in this spot, but for the Lions this should be a no-brainer. Shawn Taylor is the pick, and pairs with Terrence Holt to form the safety tandem for Detroit for the next decade.
Hopeful second round considerations: Vernon Carey, G, Miami / Rashaun Woods, WR, Oklahoma State / DeAngelo Hall, CB, Virginia Tech / Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech / Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin / Michael Jenkins, WR, Ohio State / Michael Clayton, WR, LSU (one of those WRs has to fall, right?)
More likely second round considerations: Carey / Chris Perry, RB, Michigan / Ricardo Colcalaugh, DB, some small school / Ben Troupe, TE, Florida / Tatum Bell, RB, Oklahoma State / Teddy Lehman, LB, Oklahoma
Weird medical ailments revealed
I just noticed today that I’ve got this strange spot that hugs the side of the fingernail on the same thumb I took a chunk out of with the cheese grater. It runs up and down the length of the side of the nail, is about as wide as a small paperclip, and is somewhat puffy white-ish with a dull brownish type border. But it’s not that puffy, and it’s not that tender.
I thought it might be a bruise or something, but it wasn’t black and blue. I was puzzled. So I did what anyone might do to investigate.
I bit into it.
Nothing came out, thank god, but it was definitely puffy. The skin was raw underneath, and it was obvious that the white stuff was pulling away from whatever was irritated on the surface.
And it wasn’t really bothering me until I opened it up.
Every time I see something like this I start to wonder what’s going on. Maybe it’s scurvy. I mean, I haven’t had an orange in ages, and I pretty much live on only pizza. Pepperoni has no vitamin C, so it could be scurvy, right? Maybe it’s some sort of ringworm I caught from my dog. Well, it couldn’t be ringworm, because that would be intestinal, or am I confusing ringworm with something else?
Am I going to lose the thumb?
I know for a fact it couldn’t be an STD, because the “S” in STD happens to be a pre-requisite to catching those. And who gets an STD on their thumb?
Wait… don’t answer that.
I’m wondering if this puffy thumb thing is a simple precursor to something far more insidious. Something horrible and life-threatening.
Chances are, a puffy thumb is just a puffy thumb.
As if anyone besides Bob gives a rats ass
As Liquid Swords is aware, I’m a pretty big Wu-Tang Clan fan.
Or rather, I like their early work. Before it got too commercial. Heh heh heh…
Actually, I haven’t bought a CD in a couple of years. It’s not that I’m burning them, it’s just that I haven’t wanted to spend my money on music, and I normally just listen to XM in the car anyway. I probably spend less than two hours a month listening to discs. Even then, I’m falling back on the old familiar Miles and Trane CDs.
Back to the topic. Bob sent me the following email:
Hey I just read that U-God has changed his name to Zilla and is breaking away from the Wu. He called out Meth, Rae, and Ghost saying their "spoon fed" and that he has problems with the Wu that all stem from money.
Amen to that. “Problems with the Wu that all stem from money…” How about “problems with releasing about the shittiest debut solo album that anyone’s ever heard,” and “not being able to buy a platinum diamond studded necklace because not even your mom bought your ridiculous excuse for a major label debut.”
U-God was one of those guys that spread major flavor over thirty to forty second intervals. Give the man eight bars. Hell, give him sixteen. Just don’t expect him to carry a full cut. “Black Jesus” and “Knuckleheadz” easily rank as two of my favorite Wu cuts of all time, and he’s a major reason why.
Not everyone’s a captain though. Someone has to be the private.
Yeah, good luck there ‘Zilla. By the way, nice name.
Monday, March 01, 2004
I’m in a better mood today.
The frustrations of Sunday have past, and despite the heavy rains this morning, it’s been shaping up to be a pretty good day.
I think part of my weekend malaise was due to work issues on Friday. I spent all day on Friday playing “bad cop,” basically put into a position where everything I had to communicate to anyone all day long was bad news. I felt dirty walking out of here Friday afternoon. Really dirty.
And then, to top it off, I took a nice round chunk out of my thumb with a cheese grater that night.
There were some positive things that happened this weekend that I haven’t mentioned to this point:
>>Golfer Davis Love III got a bit too bothered by a heckler in his match with Tiger Woods and demanded (and got) the guy’s removal from the gallery. I’m constantly amused by golfers that are swinging a club to hit a stationary ball and can’t seem to do it if someone blinks in the crowd in their peripheral vision. Why are these guys so thin-skinned? Love should have had to deal with the heckler, as he wasn’t trying to goof up the guy’s swing, everything he said (apparently) was during down times. Jackass.
>>I think I remember another one of the dubbed Sam Jack “MF” replacements from FX’s version of “Jackie Brown.” “Mister Laker.” You know, I remember a video store out in Utah that got into copyright trouble for selling cleaned/edited versions of movies (i.e. “Titanic” with the naked drawing part cut right out). Why don’t they add an additional feature to DVDs that feature the “for TV” version of the movie? You could have the dubbed audio, and you could code the DVD to skip over certain “objectionable” scenes. Well, it’s an idea. Frankly, this ill-advised attempt to drive America back to Puritan days might take care of this problem for us, sanitizing everything before it hits the big screen. MisterLakers.
>>Although it was a lousy gambling weekend, I didn’t see K, so I think the dinner I would have ended up paying for, along with the movie tickets that would have come out of my pocket, more than cover the low stakes gambling I took part in this weekend. Well, mostly cover.
>>My shopping trip for a table and chairs was a complete failure on Sunday. The tables I had seen on sale for $350 were back up in the $500 neighborhood. There were two good things about my trip to World Market though. First, I grabbed a six pack of Bell’s Cherry Stout, a personal favorite beer. Second, the cashier was definitely flirting with me. If she was about 10% more attractive, and maybe two or three years older, I probably would have asked her out. Still, it’s nice to be wanted, even if it’s just the counter girl at World Market. Oh, and the Cherry Stout is really good. In my refrigerator currently, I have a few bottles of Coors’ Light (American cheap beer of choice), three bottles of Guinness pub draught, and four bottles left of the Cherry Stout. Decisions, decisions…
I’m way past due for a haircut. As a result, I look like crap today.
I’ve got these cowlicks (god, I hate seeing that word in print, so ugly) up front that would pretty much guarantee that if I had more hair on my head, the only option I’d have would be the same haircut Conan O’Brien wears.
So I’m in an awkward stage on my head where the hair up front is too short to sit down, but too long to push over. Hence, the rooster look. Actually, it’s less a rooster’s tail than it is the rooster’s comb that I’m currently sporting.
I know I’ve actually had hair on my head for just shy of a year now (after about eight years of shaving it), but I still have a hard time with it. I miss being able to wear baseball caps everywhere with no fear of hat head. I miss not having to see tufts of hair spilling out of the sides and back of those caps. I miss the comfortable aerated feeling my head had with a nice cool breeze whipping by.
So I look like crap today.
Here’s something I don’t understand. Why is it that old people buy big powerful cars? If I were a V8 engine, I’d be miserable if I were never driven over 45MPH. Ever.
I got behind a Crown Victoria today. Only two types of people drive the Crown Victoria. Cops and the elderly. And a burgundy Crown Victoria is a clear sign that someone is late for Bingo.
This guy was going 20MPH on a 40MPH road looking for the driveway into the grocery store. The huge Meijer store. Two blocks further on up the road. Did I mention the road had a left turn lane?
Cars are passing me furiously on the right. I’m right up against this guy’s bumper. If he chokes on a piece of rock candy and jabs the brake a little bit, I’m going to hit him.
I don’t care. I keep looking for a way around, even toying with the idea of using the left turn lane as a passing lane (but thinking better of it). There’s just enough traffic that the cars behind me get to pull one of my least favorite traffic moves to be a victim of.
It’s the one where they fly up fast on your bumper when you’re already looking to pass, throw their blinker on, and give you no room to find a spot in the next lane. They manage to squeeze in just tight enough to close the door on any hopes that you’d be passing the eighteen wheeler going uphill anytime soon.
Dude drove 20MPH with my Buick right behind for about half a mile before he found his left turn. Of course, he took his sweet time getting over, almost making a complete stop on the way through to that lane.
Eh, whatever. I just hope he shops fast enough to get off the roads before I start my drive home. What am I talking about? At 5PM, he’ll be too busy trying to have a post dinner bowel movement to be driving.
Off the Beaten Path
If you’ve been checking up with me for awhile, you probably already know my favorite piece of punctuation is the ellipse. If you don’t know how best to close a thought or a paragraph, just use the ellipse. Very effective…
They put up a poster here at work with a picture of all the First Ladies in US History. Now, taking Jackie O out of the equation, because she was just hot and there’s no two ways about that, the best looking First Ladies of all time might surprise you. In reverse order, here are my top five:
5) Laura Bush – Laura makes the list for a variety of reasons. First, she’s the one with the most modern styled photo on the chart. Compared with, say, Franklin Pierce’s wife, who was shot in profile wearing some sort of hooded veil thing that may as well have been a burka, Laura’s haircut and power suit are the least dated things on the poster, outside of US Grant’s wife (as Owen Meany might say, SHE GIVES ME THE SHIVERS). Plus, she’s a librarian with hot daughters that probably is a little minx in the sack.
4) Rosalynn Carter – I bet she was quite the looker in her day. Unfortunately, that day was somewhere in the mid 1900s. That being said, Rosalynn has that Southern Belle thing going for her, which is a big plus. Actually, if it wasn’t for the Southern Belles, and maybe the N’awlins Cajuns, I don’t think you could find me a Southern stereotype I’d consider a big plus. It certainly isn’t the “proud to be a redneck” guys who fly the Confederate flag and grow mullets. It isn’t the good ol’ boy cracker in his white Hal-Holbrook-Is-Mark-Twain getup with that not-quite-a-tie thing going on around his neck. And it definitely isn’t the Southern trailer trash that have become a staple, or rather a stable, of daytime TV talk show guests. Rosalynn was a pretty classy dame.
3) Martha Jefferson – Oh, you know Thomas Jefferson wasn’t marrying some oak barrel shaped battle ax (see: Mrs. Herbert (Lou) Hoover). Without photographic evidence, all we can go on is the portrait on the poster, but I guarantee you Martha was giving it up like it’s nobody’s business. I picture her as that shy demure girl with the ballet body that was what they would today call a starf*cker. I mean, look. There was no equivalent to Tom Cruise or Russell Crowe in those days. There wasn’t even a Jackie Collins type to write those sappy romance novels to give them some sort of Fabio fantasy. Nope, the starf*ckers had to go with statesmen and orators if they wanted to chase celebrity. And at the time, who was bigger than Thomas Jefferson? I’d bet you money right now that I’d bang Martha Jefferson if you dropped me back into the late 1700s/early 1800s. I bet she was pretty hot for her day.
2) Hannah Van Buren – Have you seen Martin Van Buren? How did he get this woman? Seriously, we’re talking Martin Van Buren. What did he ever do? Well, I don’t know much about his presidency, but he managed to land himself a pretty young wife. I’d say she maybe looks a little bit like a young Andie MacDowell without the gums. Which, by the way, is the worst feature on MacDowell. If she didn’t have the freckles, didn’t smile so damn much, and didn’t a mouth full of pink when she did, she might go from pleasant looking to hot. I think it was “The Sports Guy” who wrote that you can’t win the fight you’re eventually going to have with your significant other when she asks you “Isn’t Andie MacDowell beautiful?” That’s because there’s only one answer to that. “She’s pretty I guess, but she’s not hot.” Which is an answer, of course, no good can come of, as she’s bound to start digging further, and when you say “Jenna Jameson or Carmen Electra, now they’re sexy,” well my friend, that’s when honesty makes you a lonely man.
1) Ellen Arthur – Good ol’ Chester A. Now, I’m really not sure if Ellen counts, as although she’s on the poster, I just saw a website that said she died before Chester A took office. But man oh man is she a good looking woman. She has quite a bit of that Juliette Binoche thing going on, maybe mixed with a little Julia Ormond for good measure. Oh yeah. Looks like Chester A may have robbed the cradle by a couple dozen years perhaps. On a side note, take a look at the picture of the woman he married after Ellen. Looks like he took a page from GHW Bush and married his mom. I’d totally bang her. Ellen Arthur, not Bush’s mom.
CNN.com - Passion tickets bear 'mark of the beast' - Mar. 1, 2004
Nilla please. Repeat after me. "It's only a movie. It's only a movie."
Sunday, February 29, 2004
random thoughts and thoroughbred selections
Stupid horse Boy Genius finished in third in his race. No word on the payout yet, I'm sure I made about $5 back on my $15 bet. Grr....
Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort: Live Racing Schedule
Mostly for Bob, but I just found out I'm about six hours away from Mountaineer. Six hours! That's super close. Add that to the vacation list!
Just some things
I just came back from the track, there to watch the big handicap race (GII) between Seattle Fitz, Funny Cide, Ten Most Wanted, and Peace Rules.
In the first turn, Peace Rules had cleared the 4, Saint Liam, and moved to the inside. Saint Liam jerked violently to the outside, taking Sir Cherokee and another horse at least six wide. Somehow, Saint Liam survived the burst, and vied neck and neck with Peace Rules to finish second. Funny Cide and Seattle Fitz finished third and fourth.
I had Peace Rules over a combo in place/show that included Funny Cide and Seattle Fitz.
So when the Inquiry AND Objection lamps were lit, and the replay of Saint Liam's jump into two other horses was shown, I was confident they'd bump Saint Liam out, and I'd cash my first ticket of the day.
Somehow, some way, they didn't see a foul. Saint Liam maintained second place.
In other horse racing news, at about 930PM tonight, my thoroughbred namesake, Boy Genius, is the morning line favorite at 3/1. I have $5 WPS on BG under DeShawn Parker's ride.
This horse goes both for as well as against major betting principles for me.
You should always bet on horses that have your name or the names of people you know. Online pseudonyms count, as far as I'm concerned.
However, the Glenmore Mayhew corrollary also comes into play here. I don't mean this to sound racist, because it's not, but I never bet on black jockeys. Actually, it's because aside from DeShawn, who rides at Mountaineer where I rarely bet, the only black jockey I know of is Glenmore Mayhew, and he's given mounts some of the worst trips I've ever seen.
So, if BG pulls a victory tonight, I'll have to amend that last rule to except DeShawn from the list.
"Jackie Brown" was on FX today. This is only notable for the sheer variety of voiceover words used in substitute for the word "motherfucker." My favorite? "Motor Scooter." Hearing an angry Sam Jackson call someone a "motor scooter" is pretty damned funny.
I didn't get to write to the blog on Thursday, as I was flown across state on the corporate jet (!) to attend a big meeting for our program. The flight was interesting both on the way there, and on the way back.
On the way there, I was served a delicious and well-prepared grilled chicken sandwich box lunch. Oh yeah, it was free, as were the beverages (no liquor, of course).
On the way back, I caught a glimpse of the co-pilot, who happened to be an extremely cute early 20-something girl. One of those grey skinned, plump-lipped, could-be-Polynesian types.
Is it wrong that it makes me hot that she is co-in-charge of a multi-million dollar piece of machinery?
I did some shopping for my apartment this weekend. I got a couple of picture frames for my vintage horse racing photo collection, a $39 vacuum, and a few pieces of Le Creuset bakeware that I found on the cheap ($12 marked down from $36+) at TJ Maxx. Among other things.
The two things I'm really distressed about purchasing due to the price are rugs and a dining table. As it stands right now, I've got no place to sit besides couches, chairs, and a bed. And I've got no rugs to cover the god-awful "carpeting" cloth the apartment is flush with. I can't see spending $500 on a table, just to spend $139 each on chairs.
$139 for a chair? $500 for a table? It's just freaking wood. Please.
If I'm spending $500 on a table, it better be covered in high quality felt and have a cushioned bumper around the perimeter.
Everything and Nothing...
Disclaimer: Sometimes I tend to write in a hyperbolic fashion. Assuming I used that word correctly, I'm trying to say that I exaggerate. I'm not really that messed up, upon re-read of what I'm putting below. I'm not necessarily the happiest kid on the block, but I'm not as bothered and affected as perhaps the words below convey. I just was typing, and this was what came out. Thanks.
I lost $36 on PartyPoker yesterday. I played in a $10+1 Multi, and lost $25 on a NL ring game when my all-in with pocket tens on a 334 flop was met with someone's pocket 34 suited.
I'm not hitting my flops lately.
Look, let's get one thing out in the open up front about this post. I'm in one of those delirious moods where I feel anchored to my position in life, with everything around me spinning faster and faster out of my control.
The flops thing is a microcosm of everything and nothing.
I'm not one of those people that have been holding pocket Aces since birth. Maybe a better analogy might be that my station in life has dealt me a solid medium pair, but there are a lot of other people in for the flop, and I've yet to improve.
You know why I think I am a difficult read at the poker tables? Because I've perfected the art of keeping a consistent external image while I feel as if my world inside is about to either explode or collapse. I've spent a good portion of my life to this point in a serious state of sleepwalking, just expecting that life will naturally improve itself, all on its own. I'm impassive. Whether losing a job, a wife, whatever, I've been the model of the uncrackable facade.
It's just that, a facade. I really envy those who can remain blissfully unaware of what's going on around them. I'm constantly dissecting every last piece of conversation, every nuance, every event to determine its likely or unlikely impact on my present and future.
In other words, I think too much. I always believe the worst is looming, and I live with the expectation that failure hides right around the corner.
Yesterday, if I was sitting on pocket Jacks, I'd see two Kings or Aces hit the flop. If I were holding A/Ts, I invariably would see two of another suit, with a third hitting the turn.
And even though I would have played it right, with solid pre-flop raising from late position to thin the herd, I rarely could get two steps into a hand without feeling or knowing that I was beat.
Fold em before you piss away any more of your money.
Is this the poker equivalent to sleepwalking through life? I know I'm already beat, why put myself further out on the line?
The funny thing is, there's really nothing fundamentally wrong with my life at this point. I've got a job that I like (most of the time), even though my sense of doom sometimes sends me home with that feeling like my boss is going to drive over first thing next morning to supervise me clearing out my desk. I've got a pretty good girl I'm seeing, even though I have a sinking feeling that I'm not getting anywhere fast. I'm moving into a really cool apartment in two weeks, but there's a nagging voice that is telling me I've made a bad decision and that this move won't work out from me?
Where do these pessimistic thoughts come from?
It's the part of me that I like the least. It lives right alongside that part of me that gets uptight, upset, and nervous whenever someone is shopping in the same aisle as I am in a store, or is walking just a little too close to me on the street. It's in the same disturbed area of my mind that sees a courteous smile from a reasonably attractive woman in passing not as a courtesy, but rather as an insult. It's the part of me that assumes you're not going to get the joke, so why tell it? The part of me that assumes you'll say no, so why ask? The part of me that figures that no matter what I do, I'm going to lose.
So why try?
Ultimately, I know it's a mistake to think of life in these terms. Life isn't one hand, it's a whole bunch of them. There'll always be big winners and huge losers at the same table, but most of us will play pretty close to even. We'll rake a huge pot every now and again, and we'll get fleeced either by a dumb move or someone else's slowplayed monster. But in the long run, we'll be up or down only a couple of BB, and that's just acceptable variance.
I'm not looking for a pep talk, or an “it's not that bad” sort of thing in response. I'm a reasonably smart guy, and deep down I know it's not that bad. I know that this pessimism lives inside my head and really isn't affected by the reality surrounding me.
Just getting this down on paper (er, blog) is therapeutic enough.
Remember, I'm impassive. I'm unaffected. You'll never see this written all over my face. It really isn't all that bad anyway.
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