|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, August 20, 2004
Since this is a sometime stop on the poker blog circuit for some of you, let me start with that game we’ve all come to know and love.
I played 25PL Omaha Hi on Tuesday, got killed, dropped $35 in two hours. Then I remembered that would-be Moneymakers don’t play Omaha Hi. I played 25NL Hold Em for two hours last night, and lost $3. Couldn’t catch a cold.
There’s your poker content. Can I move on now? Good.
Apparently, conservative groups all over the land are up in arms over Bruce Springsteen’s decision to join various artists on an anti-Bush concert series. While I can’t say I’m a fan of Springsteen’s, I can say that I don’t think it’s so much his decision to join this tour that has Republican panties in a bunch, but it’s the fact that there happens to be a 45-55 year old white guy in the top 3% income bracket who isn’t voting Bush. I think they’re just trying to stunt his record sales to hopefully slide him into the lower-middle-upper class, which is just slightly more pro-Kerry than the middle-lower-upper class and the truly middle-upper class happen to be.
Joining “the Boss” on this tour are the Dixie Chicks, REM, Pearl Jam, and the Dave Matthews Band. Can we call for a boycott on these guys too? If not for their politics, we can at least hopefully all agree on the following:
Dave Matthews Band - boycott him because he’s overrated, you can’t understand him when he’s singing, and he isn’t even from this country anyway. Who’s he to tell me how to vote? He couldn’t vote for Beverly Hills Storm Drain Commissioner. Pfft.
REM - boycott REM so we don’t have to put up with that weenie Michael Stipe anymore. I enjoy veal, think that fur is helpful to keep one warm, and if I want to kick a stray cat I come across in a dark alley, well, that’s my damn decision. By the way, when did these guys go from “Shiny Happy People” to “Everybody Hurts?” Does every album have to be an exploration of your neuroses? Sounds like someone isn’t getting his protein.
Pearl Jam - boycott them because it’s just too damn warm with this global warming crap to be wearing flannel all the time. And what’s with the brooding? Even Lou Reed wrote a song about sunshine.
Dixie Chicks - unfortunately, the fact that I have a ridiculous crush on the chubby Dixie Chick means that I can’t find a good reason to criticize them. Sorry. I thought their cover of “Landslide” was really nice, by the way.
Speaking of cover songs, what ever happened to the cover? If you went back to Sinatra or Miles Davis or Elvis, their albums were chock full of cover songs. Not everyone has Lennon/McCartney penning their lyrics, so maybe they should think about trotting out someone else’s classic great a couple times an album. Look at Fiona Apple, a girl I just want to lovingly bathe for about ninety minutes. That’s not the point. Fiona Apple’s best work besides her incoherent “life is bullshit” awards show speech was her cover of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” The most interesting song on 1994’s Def Squad album was Erick Sermon, Redman, and Keith Murray doing “Rapper’s Delight.” Joss Stone’s “Fell In Love With A Boy” was, oddly and terrifically, a White Stripes cover. And name me one Alien Ant Farm song besides “Smooth Criminal.” Thought so.
If I were a record company executive grooming young talent, I’d mandate that unless the artist really had a unique voice (say, Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill), they had to cover two songs on each album. Why wouldn’t that make sense? It would give the casual listener something familiar to grab onto when hearing the artist for the first time.
If I were a record company executive, I’d also make it my life’s work to get rid of three chord power punk-ish bands that were made up of California kids singing like Brits. I’m just saying.
I didn’t read the article, as I think I wanted to write about it, but Page3 on ESPN.com had an interesting concept. They were comparing athletes to musicians. Let me give that a shot…
Barry Sanders - Barry’s an easy one. When I think of Barry, I think of jitterbug improvisation. The type of style that left everyone confused in his wake, only to reveal his true intent after all the flashiness was through. Charlie Parker is that guy. Parker was hearing things on the bandstand that no one else was, whether harmonically, rhythmically, or melodically, and while he left nearly everyone confused at first, his genius and dexterity on his instrument became indisputable truth.
Dennis Rodman - Abstract. Brawny. Grounded in fundamentals. Angular, yet twisting. These are great descriptors of Rodman’s game, as well as the instrumental style of Eric Dolphy. Dolphy did things his own way. He was the only jazz bass clarinetist, and one of the few jazz flautists. He was deeply in debt to the blues, but still had enough free jazz sensibility in him to take things in his own direction as a bandleader and soloist. Rodman’s that type of guy. Blue collar, yet quirky. Impassioned and driven. Both guys wore their hearts on their sleeve, and were as entertaining as they were talented, if you paid close enough attention.
Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison - are Wynton and Branford Marsalis, respectively. Wynton grew up in a family of musical prodigies, under his father’s tutelage. Ellis, the father, was an established jazz pianist, and a pretty talented guy in his own right. Wynton became a child prodigy on the trumpet, and began to strike a path out on his own. Now, here’s where I make the distinction. Wynton, while extremely talented and incredibly capable, doesn’t play with any soul. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but you get the point. Branford, on the other hand, has been in Wynton’s shadow his whole life. He’s the guy between the two who can swing harder, but Wynton gets the attention, Wynton gets to lead Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Branford just gets to sit back and chuckle at Jay Leno’s jokes. As a result, Branford’s a guy who doesn’t enter the conversation – rightly or wrongly – when it comes time to talk about the greats on the tenor sax. I think Harrison’s the same way. Enormously talented, quite probably the equal or better to Peyton, but Peyton plays the glamour boy position, and Peyton gets the attention. And Marvin is the guy people always forget when they start putting together their lists of best wideouts of all time. Tell me he shouldn’t be in the discussion.
Joe Dumars - Joe Dumars is like the ultimate session player from the golden age of jazz. A guy who can swing deep and change the tone and timbre of the music around him. His defense was as, if not more important than his ability to score, and he always played the game in the shadows of some of the more celebrated players around him. And I think he was just fine with that. So Joe Dumars is Paul Chambers, the best bass player of the mid to late 1950s. Mr. PC played on everyone’s albums, cut a couple unheralded joints of his own, but was turning in quiet MVP performances on song after song throughout his career under some pretty significant leaders. He was the guy you would have started your quintet with if there was a fantasy draft for jazz musicians in 1958. He was quiet and understated, but absolutely dominant in his role.
That was fun... maybe more another time.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
$200K Saturday Qualifier Multi Report
First hand I'm in and I do something dumb.
AJo in the BB. UTG+1 makes it 30, and the next guy makes it 75 to go. Three call as it gets around to me. I call, thinking a multi-way pot would treat my AJo nicely.
Of course, UTG+1 hikes up his pants and pushes all-in when it gets back around to him. Shoulda figured and saved myself some cash. His QQ got busted by KK when no one caught.
The hand just prior? Two guys all-in preflop with 99. They both had 99. And were sitting right next to each other to boot.
I'm hoping this $10 is well spent tonight. No, not for the $200k Saturday tourney. I'm honing my multi game tonight to try to make sure I can acquit myself nicely in the Sunday Blogger Tournament.
If you haven't been over to Iggy's for sign up instructions, you really only have another day to do so. 50+ people already in. Should be fun.
So, halfway through level one, and I'm down 85 chips, all from that one trip through the blinds with my dumbass call of 75 I mentioned above.
K6o in the BB. The let me check into the flop, and it comes KJT with two spades. I bet into it, and one caller. Of course, a Q hits the turn, he bets 200, and I'm outta there. So much for betting the pot to eliminate the draws.
I'm in seat 9, by the way, which gives me the orange t-shirt/baseball cap avatar dude. Those colors are my old high school in Utah's colors. I hated my old high school in Utah. Bad karma? Well, at least I'm not the dude in four with the lavender shirt.
By the way, it's 7:47PM, and I don't see anyone on here tonight. No Sloejack, no Pauly, no Lord Geznikor, not even Mike T from GM. There shouldn't be 45,000 people on PartyPoker with only one of us crashing the party.
Level two, and I was moved to table 11, where I'll presumably tread water and fold for awhile. At least I'm in seat one, where I sport the snazzy silver suit with the khaki tie. That's a good look for me. I used to look like the guy in seat five, bald as the day is long. I kinda miss it.
About ten minutes ago, my character froze. Couldn't do a thing. I could see my cards, but got the "post and fold" message, and couldn't get back in the game. Freaking annoying. I had to call tech support. He had me put "annan.partypoker.com" after the path of the PartyPoker run file in the shortcut properties screen, and I was on. Nice and easy fix, but it took some effort for Venkat (that was his name, not being glib) to get that communicated to me. My fault, I'm just the slightest bit wasted tonight. Alllll riiiigghhht...
First big debatable play of the night. Of course, it costs me about 310 chips. I get dealt K7o in the BB. Get to check. KJ9 with two clubs on the flop. I take a 2/3 pot sized stab at it, and get a call. 3 on the turn helps no one, and I bet 180, about 2/3 pot again. Boom, dude calls again. Tc on the river, putting three clubs up there. I check/fold my way gracefully out of the hand.
But he put a 125 chip bet out there. About 1/5 pot sized. Tell me that wasn't enticing.
I think that's how it was supposed to look though. I had to figure I was beat, right?
Got KTs, was raised to 60 after limping for 30. KQ3 on the board. UTG goes in for 100. 340 in the pot, I've got 550 left, I push. We flip. AKo. Fucking hell. But LO AND FREAKING BEHOLD I catch the T on the river! Still alive! 1220 now.
Sitting at 815PM with 1340 is nice. I'm about 500 below chip average...
...and see JJ on the button. I make it 200, as I want the blinds and the MP better's limp. MP calls, fucking AK on the flop, but I make a pot sized stab at it like an idiot. He calls. I weakly run away when he pushes all-in on the second K on the turn. Fucking hell. 665.
I finished 138th. One hour, ten minutes in.
It wasn't my fault, really. I had 22 on the button with 50/100 blinds, and only 715 left. MP with a big chip stack raised to 475, and as it folded to me, I moused over towards the "all in" button. I was thinking about it, and thinking about folding, but then I got ham handed, and I must have clicked all-in. Versus AK, and the first card on the board gave him TPTK. Buh bye...
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
"Human Bodies Hate Sobriety"
A wise man once told me that. And this particular wise man would know from avoiding sobriety.
My body is revolting on me, storming the castle, chasing me down from behind, whatever. I feel fucking miserable. But not miserable enough to not be here at work trying to not have to take a sick day.
Here’s the chronology of the illness, just for perspective’s sake…
I get over to my mom’s to get some of my stuff out of storage in her attic, make two trips down the stairs and BOOM, fall victim to a nasty wave of nausea. I had to lie down for nearly an hour to recoup. About 3PM, I have my stuff loaded up and hop in the car to head home. Halfway there (about mile four of eight) I get this onslaught of dizziness like I’ve never had before not on a boat or carnival ride. I make it home, and spend the rest of the day prone on the couch.
I’m still feeling like I could teeter over the precipice of dizziness again at any moment. My balance is a little off, and I’m generally uncomfortable. I compare notes with my mom, who had an inner ear thing, and this sounds fundamentally similar. I call my doctor’s office, where the nurse suggests I come in, and mentions to me that she let her inner ear infection drag on until it became Bell’s Palsy. I don’t even know what that is, but unless it gives me heat vision or an ability to communicate with fish underwater, I’m pretty sure I don’t want it. I schedule an appointment and scoot out of work early.
Of course, the doctor finds nothing wrong in my ears. He tells me it could be a virus, but also wants to do some blood work. I hadn’t had my liver enzymes (big problem of mine) or cholesterol (assuming it’s a problem, everything I eat has melted cheese on it) checked in ages, so it’s dual purpose. He gives me some Allegra, and I head home.
I woke up feeling like a hundred bucks. No discernable dizziness. I had to get the blood work done, but fortunately my office is in a building with another doctor’s office, and they could draw the blood for me. I scheduled a 9AM, and headed over.
I hate getting blood drawn, but I’m a big boy and can deal with it.
She drew tube one of three, and BOOM, there’s my dizziness back again. I had to lay down for fifteen minutes just to try to regain my equilibrium. The nurse working with me was an older woman, but just for my further humiliation and embarrassment, they brought a younger, cuter nurse in to assist in getting the last two tubes of blood they needed while I waited for the room to stop spinning.
The major dizziness passed, but I’ve been woozy ever since. Man, I feel like crap.
Anyway, enough about feeling ill today. The Sports Guy posed some questions to Chuck Klosterman today that I felt obligated to answer, as well as giving Al the opportunity to write his own independent take on them. So, here we go…
What’s the definitive 80s movie?
Not an easy question, as it can be approached from so many angles. The “yuppie” angle is best exemplified by “Wall Street,” which gave us that bullshit “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good” quote. The “US Techno-Cowboy World Domination” angle is obviously served up piping hot with “Top Gun.” Teen angst by “Sixteen Candles,” the high school experience by “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “The Breakfast Club,” and the college athletic experience was captured most notably in “Teen Wolf Too.”
Let me approach this from a different direction though. I believe the definitive 80s movie had to have a few things going for it. First, it’s got to be a movie that either defined a point in time, or pointed to the future with uncanny Nostradamus-esque accuracy. Second, there have to be at least two bankable 80s movie icons involved. Third, there has to be a character in the movie that is written to be so ingratiatingly hip that he ceases to be cool (see: the little brother in “Can’t Buy Me Love” or Stiles in “Teen Wolf” as examples).
“Short Circuit” is that movie.
You’ve got your two bankable stars in Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy. You’ve got the ingratiatingly “hip” jive talking robot. And then of course you’ve got the Indian robot designer played by Fisher Stevens.
What did the writers of “Short Circuit” know before the rest of us? That Indians were capable of building kick ass war machine robots for the US Government. And they’d do it for pennies on the dollar compared to their American counterparts, offering a pleasantly lilting word of gratitude in the Queen’s English in return.
While the stock market has rose and crashed since “Wall Street,” and our defense spending is down since the Reagan/”Top Gun” years, if it wasn’t for “Short Circuit” and Fisher Stevens, America’s IT Managers might not be aware that Indian technology professionals are capable of delivering technology solutions, such as robots who can dance in DeBarge videos.
Tom Cruise… Yes or No?
Can I say “yes, I enjoy his movies, but no, he’s an egotistical prick?”
See, this is part of the reason I love “Inside the Actor’s Studio” on Bravo. There are two ways to play off James Lipton. One is to do what guys like Spielberg, Hanks, and Spacey did, and that’s to humbly take the praise, and drive the open ended questions to places in your personality that most interviewers will never see. I think primarily of those Billy Bush type “Entertainment Tonight” interviews where Julia Roberts ends up cackling with glee on the 8,000th time someone asks her if she’d run away from a groom like her character did in that movie. It comes across as completely facetious. I can’t blame these celebrities from locking away their real personalities when they do interview after interview getting all the same questions all the time (Hey Will Smith, is it hard to act when there isn’t a real alien to punch in front of you?). Some of them just seem real conscious of pretending like they’re Byron Allen’s best friend from kindergarten or something. It’s irritating.
Getting back to my point, there’s a second method of handling the Lipton interview style, and that’s to put on your “deep thinker” cap, and pretend like the softballs he’s serving you up are those real deep probing questions that your psyche can’t help but offer a brilliant response. It was this sort of air of self-importance that really made me hate Tom Cruise. Especially that “you guys are the real artists” speech he made. Blecch. You can’t tell me he wouldn’t dress down one of these “real artists” in a parking lot if they brought his car around and left a gum wrapper in the ashtray. He’s a dick. I won’t be argued with on this one.
But America loves its Tom Cruise, specifically when he can channel that prickishness into bravado, as he did in “Top Gun” or “Mission Impossible.” That being said, I am a little annoyed that his entire career is made up of choices that never come close to pulling him out of that Cruise persona. Talk all you want about the “Magnolia” performance, but that’s still Tom Cruise. I’ve been racking my usually sharp pop-culture brain for about five minutes trying to come up with the name of the actor who was in “Beautiful Mind,” “The Insider,” and “Gladiator,” and although he’s one of the most famous dudes on the planet right now, it’s a credit to his ability to disappear inside a character that I can’t for my life think of his name.
Why does today’s music suck so much? Are we just getting old, or does it actually suck?
Actually, popular music has always sucked. Sad, but true. See, there comes a certain point where recent history becomes nostalgic, and we can look wistfully back on Howard Jones, Corey Hart, Depeche Mode, and a-ha, and smile warmly in the knowledge that we were so young back then, what crazy kids we must have been.
No one takes the pop music of the day forward with them. That’s what we’re forgetting here. Most of us would agree the music of the late 60s was the watershed era for rock, right? Well, take a look at the hot hits of 1968:
1. Beatles – Hey Jude (well, they are the Beatles)Also appearing on the list is “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell, “Harper Valley PTA” by Jeannie C. Riley, and “Valleri” by the Monkees. Point is, people are far more likely to remember and take with them some of the great music from that period (like the other dozen Beatles songs from that year), than they are to treat “Harper Valley PTA” as anything more than a kitsch hit with little weight behind it.
Today’s music does suck. But that’s only if you’re listening to Top 40 radio. Fat Joe’s “Lean Back?” My god, is this the same guy that recorded “Twinz” with Big Pun a few years back? Could have fooled me. Way to sell out. Outkast hit big with a couple of great songs, but the total of their album is arguably far greater than the sum of those two pieces in particular. We’re going to remember 2004 as the year of “The Love Below/Speakerboxx” far more than as the year of “Hey Ya/Way You Move,” I guarantee it. All those three chord pseudo punk bands will be long forgotten in five years, let alone fifteen. What’s left will be the stuff by Mos Def, Beck, and other artists who can fashion more than one hit in forty minutes of content.
You’re not just getting older, you’re carrying more great music forward with you, giving you the ability to ignore the garbage that the record companies would prefer you listen to instead. Congratulations.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Multi and More
Played the $5 multi Saturday morning with Derek, Al, Landow of Al Can't Hang's world, and Sloejack. Loads o' fun, and I outlasted the group to win blogger pride, although I do understand 330th doesn't get me my money back.
Tried to get Iggy to sit down and join us, but I guess the appeal of $17 profit after four hours - and that's in a best case scenario - wasn't that enticing.
I treated myself to CD shopping on Saturday as well, something I haven't done for myself in ages. I mean ages. Last CD I can remember buying off the shelf was Mobb Deep's album three Xmases ago.
So, the spoils of my plunder were Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials' Alligator release "Go Wild," and Van Morrison's "Astral Weeks."
I get misty every now and again about some woman from my past, and tend to wax wistfully on what might have been if not for anything and everything in my way. But one little snippet off of "Cyprus Avenue" just embarrasses me as a writer, it's so goddamn good and succinct.
And if I'm caught one more timeFreaking great album. I've heard it before, but now that I have it, I can really hear it.
The Lil' Ed pickup is one I know I'll enjoy too. I love that electric Chicago slide guitar blues, and this band bills themselves as "the world's #1 house-rocking blues band."
I'm not one to argue.
I saw these guys live years ago at a concert I took my dad to called the "Blues Picnic." Tickets were being sold at a local music store (instruments, not CDs), and I hadn't heard of any of the acts before. But, they were serving barbecue and it was the blues. So I bought us tickets.
The venue was some place I hadn't heard of before called "Don's Barn." And literally, this concert was all day in Don's Barn. Dude had a big piece of property well off the main drags, and had a huge barn in which he converted an upper floor into a pretty homey and fun bar type environment. It was my dad and I, about a dozen old black guys in suits and hats, and about five dozen Harley people. At 18 years old, and as sheltered as they come, I was spotted passing a Bushmill's bottle with toothless bikers. Go figure.
Anyway, there were a few acts there from the Alligator label, like Koko Taylor and Saffire the Uppity Blues Women (both rocked), but Lil' Ed really got the crowd going. He's this little dude with huge ears and teeth, I think his schtick is that he wears a fez,, and he plays the meanest goddamn slide guitar you've ever heard. I'm pretty excited to have this disc in my collection, and hope to catch him in my neck of the woods again at some point.
(By the way, 9/23 in NY @ Terra Blues Pauly, and I know we've got a couple of Chicago people too - he plays periodically at Buddy Guy's Legends)
I'm having an internal argument with myself, and I'm hoping you guys can help me out. Let's say you did Internet porn. As an active participant. Now, these people go to the grocery store and the mall too I'd figure, or at least I hope they're not all gimped up in some pawn shop dungeon somewhere. Regardless, if you're out and about, maybe someday you catch someone giving you that "is that...? No, couldn't be... Or is it?" sideways glance.
Now, here's my question. Ignoring for a moment the truly weird Robert John Bardo sort of stalking crap, which of these porn participants are more likely to be weirded out by being recognized: the guy who'll fuck anything strange (transsexual, midget), or the woman who fucks the goat?
I'm not sure anyone wins, least of all the civilian who spots this online celebrity.
One last thing on porn, one thing on "My Sister Sam" (linked above). I heard Pam Dawber doing a radio commercial that started out something like, "I'm Pam Dawber, and I too had problems with my..." leading in to whatever she was hustling. How many people had to be unavailable for them to get to Pam Dawber on the celebrity endorsement trickle down? I'm astounded. And on porn, I'm also astounded that pornographers can effectively grab any movie or TV show and make a knockoff porn movie about it (Star Wars = Slut Wars, or whatever). I was trying to think of a TV show or movie that would be impossible to knock off as a porno.
I think I've got it.
"Life Goes On," aka the "Corky Show." And I don't know why these two words next to each other teeter me over the top of absurd giggling, but try them out for yourself and see if they work: "Retard Porn."
Sunday was a strange day. Went out to a high falutin' wine shop called Martha's Vineyard in Grand Rapids, which is the type of place I simply can't walk out of without $50 out of pocket. They have a deli for chrissakes! A deli! Anyway, two bottles of wine, a baguette, half pound of prosciutto, pound of coffee, some baklava, some artisan imported pasta, and a pack of smokes, and I'm $65 lighter.
That's not the strange part.
Afterwards, I went over to my mom's, as I had some stuff in her attic she wanted me to get out of her house. I got two loads down the stairs and got nauseated. Horribly nauseated. Back-of-the-neck sweats and everything. Had to lay down for almost an hour to get over it. I felt a little better, then got another couple loads in the car and took off. Halfway home, the nauseating feeling returned, this time with nearly blinding dizziness. It was freaky scary. It was like feeling motion sick without being on a boat. I spent the rest of my day prone on the couch, hoping to hell I wouldn't feel this way Monday morning.
So far so good.
With the boss out of town this week, smart money says I'll have plenty of time to write. Hopefully you'll see a little something new this evening.
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