|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Money Where My Mouth Is, and, Significance of Six
Good god am I excited about football season, and in the interest of, uh, interest in tonight's game, I've got money on it. In a four way parlay.
$10 to win $221...
Patriots over the Colts
Bengals over the Jets
Lions over the Bears
KC over Denver.
One home favorite (NE) and three road dogs. All straight to win.
I like the Pats tonight at home, even though they've been notoriously slow to start the last couple of years. I think there'd be two more points in the Pats' favor if there wasn't all this talk about the new contact rule for the secondaries. Screw that, Belicheck finds a way to win. Pats 31 Colts 27.
Cincy walks into the Meadowlands for the first of my upset picks. I don't think the Jets' defense is that tough, and I'm thinking the Carson Palmer era gets off to a rousing start on Sunday. Cincy 23 NYJ 20.
My Lions are due in Chicago. The Bears are down a cornerback, and that's going to hurt. Welcome to the air era in Detroit. Rogers and Williams are going to be so good in two years, it's scary. This is where it all begins. Detroit 17 Chicago 10.
Kansas City visits Denver Sunday night, and I don't see it with the Broncos. When Jake Plummer is your best player on offense, hands down, end of discussion, you've got issues. KC's offense will give Denver defenders nightmares for weeks, and the potentially pourous KC D won't be exposed. KC 34 Denver 21.
One or two quick notes before I go. First, it's "bachelor party weekend," which is taking me out of town these next few days. Hope you can find something to do in the office without me Al. Second, I'm at post #994 all time here at RTATS. Whoo hoo! Six more, and it'll be 1,000. Talk about dedication. Hoo boy.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
What Do You Think?
I got a call last night from my mom, who was in the midst of doing something creative and wanted my opinion. She emailed me what she had been working on, and asked me, “what do you think?”
Now, I’m fully aware that if a woman were to ask questions like, “I just bought these jeans, what do you think?” or “I’m ready to go to the party, how do I look?,” there is really only one appropriate answer. But if you come to me asking my opinion on just about anything else, you’ve got to understand that you’ll get anything from a sycophantic pat on the back to some nitpicking details that could improve the quality of what I was asked to evaluate.
In other words, don’t get pissed off when I tell you that you need to be consistent with your tabs and margins, and don’t be upset when I tell you it’s plain and might benefit from more color.
Either that, or don’t ask my opinion if you don’t want to hear an opinion.
I am willing to go out on a limb and offer my opinion of something here that’s really irritating to me. I’ve been searching for tickets to the Lions home opener against the Texans. My best friend is coming into town, and it’s the day after my brother’s wedding, so we’ve got nothing to do. I figured nosebleeds would probably run us $75 or so.
The cheapest tickets I can find are twice that, and decent seats are going for $300 or more each. I really hate ticket agencies. I can’t think of any excuse why a sports team or event promoter wouldn’t want to prohibit agencies from buying tickets to their events until regular people have had a week or two lead on them. Not only is there a shortage of tickets to regular people, but we get shafted on premium seats as well. Doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Scalping tickets is illegal, how is what these agencies are doing any different?
Here’s a curiosity question I’ll aim at Pauly, simply due to his fascination with Katie Holmes, but feel free to tell me what you think as well.
Let’s say a genie came out of a bottle and gave you a choice. You could have a weekend of sex with Katie Holmes once, but never see her again, or you could be gifted with amazing technique and ability, and have each sexual encounter be wholly fulfilling physically and emotionally for both of you – but you would never get a girl more beautiful than one who’s 10% uglier than the most average girl you’ve ever dated before in your life again.I think I’m taking the ugly girl route. I mean, if I’m stuck dating a girl who’s 10% below my average girl ever, I’m not exactly getting me a beauty queen. That’s OK though, as I’m no blue ribbon winner either. And if we’re talking slighty above average sex for two days, versus a lifetime of incredible knee-buckling intercourse? I’ll take the latter.
I just had the impulse to rank all the girls I’ve ever dated on a scale of worst-to-first. And guess what? I’m censoring myself.
You heard me. I’m censoring myself.
Last week in the blogiverse kinda sucked. I know for sure one person from my past found me, and I’m pretty sure you can add one more name to that list as well. At least I think so.
I got an email early last week from some guy’s email address asking who the person I named in an archive post was to me. I mentioned it was a girl I went to high school with, and named the school and years, and asked if it was the same name he knew. That’s when the questions got more abrupt and pointed, so I’m making a leap that this is probably this girl hiding behind (presumably) her husband’s (or boyfriend’s) email ID, and trying to figure out who I am. “How do you know her,” and “What’s the deal with your writing” were two of the questions, even after I established that it was the same person.
I’m a little disheartened by the whole thing, but I guess if I were to put myself in this person’s shoes, finding my name on a website that has a whole bunch of crap on it that makes no sense at all, well, I might be a little weirded out by it too.
But in my shoes? I’m just annoyed. In some respects, it was absolutely dumb to use real names on here for anyone that I’ve mentioned in other posts. Somewhere down the line they find themselves, and all of a sudden I can’t write about them anymore. And that is absolutely not a desirable outcome. Plus, I can also see that a knee jerk reaction would possibly include getting creeped out by anonymous postings, and the feeling that this is some sort of cyber-stalking.
Trust me, it’s not. I harbor no illusions about “getting back” with anyone I’ve mentioned here. As a matter of fact, were I to spot any of these people out of the corner of my eye in the supermarket, I’d probably do everything possible not to run into them. That’s just the sociophobe in me speaking, but it’s the truth. Hiding behind “BG” doesn’t mean I’m putting a mask on, but it does mean that I have enough detachment here to not think or worry about perception or reflection of the words that are spilled here on the daily. Even with the efforts I made to put names in the archives in a clumsy effort to contact a few people from my past, it wasn’t intended to ever go any farther than an email or two, a “How’s life treating you,” and an, “I always knew you could do it, congratulations.”
So, if I pissed you off or freaked you out Mel, my apologies. That’s not the intent.
Since I don’t know how to end this one, and there’s more elsewhere I want to get to, I’ll just leave you with this last thought: BONUS CODE: IGGY.
Letting It All Go
I don’t know much about this BlogShares stuff, but I know that America’s Wingman officially owns just under 80% of the available shares of my blog.
Which, I guess means Al owns approximately 80% of my past. Good riddance to bad rubbish I suppose. Enjoy the tortured guilt and feelings of inadequacy Al. They’re all yours.
It was interesting to see that the website listed 51 (!) different links into my blog from other blogs out there. I guess that makes me a marginal Internet celebrity, definitely no Subservient Chicken, but more of a Jim Varney doing regional dairy ads in his pre-Ernest days sort of celebrity. Uh huh…
Anyway, got me thinking a little bit about the whole idea of linking and blogging. Without naming names, there was a little battle going on within the poker blogging community regarding who’s linking who, and where on their page, and it got surprisingly bitter along the way.
I guess I can see the point to some extent, as both of these bloggers are obviously proud and protective of their work, and both of them may view blogging to some extent as a means to an end. Or rather, a means to some ends (as the brothers would say). Still, it seemed rather silly to get all up in a lather because someone filed you under “languishing,” or because someone else didn’t mention something you were trying really hard to get mentioned.
With all the legitimate reasons to dislike someone out there, why a misplaced return link is something to get worked up about is beyond me. And not to go all Mike Walker on you guys with the rumor mongering, but I heard about another issue between two other bloggers that basically killed one person’s joy in playing the Monty a couple weekends ago.
I don’t get it. This isn’t high school. As a matter of fact, very few of us even know each other. I can give you a dozen solid reasons to hate my old boss, but I don’t think I could give you one good reason to hate Sean, even if I wanted to. Scott, maybe. But only because he’s a Cowboys fan.
You get what I’m saying. Don’t make me stop this car and come back there.
I was thinking about something else today, and that’s what a great and underutilized career suffix “monger” is. You’ve got fear mongers, rumor mongers and, of course, cheese mongers, but you never see a food service supply monger, or a newspaper monger. Why is that? Is there a cooler job title for a shittier job than Cheese Monger? Who wouldn’t want to go to their 20 year class reunion and have someone ask you what you do for a living, only to reply, “I’m a Cheese Monger?” And if we want to get technical about it, monger should mean “someone who mongs.” Of course, I shouldn’t be troubled too badly because a guy that builds things out of wood and nails doesn’t exactly “carpent” his way to the top or anything.
Typing “monger” into Google gives me a favorite monger… Eddie Monger Thunder Kickboxing. Truth be told, I didn’t open the site because I’m at work (I did later, watch out for the kickass lightning effects on the main page), but I think someone needs to get me an “Eddie Monger Thunder Kickboxing” T-shirt for Xmas. Just sounds cool.
Just because it’s September, which makes it nearly October, which means it’s almost Xmas, which makes it almost time to start thinking about what I want for Xmas this year. So, aside from “world peace,” or a bumper sticker that says “Envision Whirled Peas,” here’s the early frontrunners in the BG Xmastravaganzza:
>> A better coffee maker than the piece of shit Mr. Coffee I’m running now, preferably one with grind-n-brew capabilities. I love anything that promises two things simultaneously, especially if the colloquial “-n-“ is involved. “Steak-n-Shake,” for instance. I love steaks, and I love shakes. What’s not to love about hooking them together?Surprisingly, “high priced call girl” and “lubricated jelly sleeve” didn’t make the list. Hey, I’ve still got nearly four whole months to decide. Merry almost Xmas.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Hammer or Bust
We had an ad hoc home game thrown together on Sunday, and six showed. I got to heads up, and appealed to the poker gods, going all-in with the hammer (yes, the hammer... Oh, the humanity) when I caught bottom pair on the flop.
Now, before you get all incredulous, and tell me what a ridiculously bad move that was, let me give you a little context.
I was a man on a mission on Sunday, and that mission was to blow off a little steam. Okay, how about a lot of steam. In the previous three games, I got down to final two or three, each time with a chip count that would only prove I was a weak-tight player capable of staying out of everyone else's way.
This time was going to be different. Boom or bust, I was going to fuck around and have some fun.
So it began. Any two cards early on. Raise me when I have junk? I'll see that flop. Two gap suited connectors? That'll be 3xBB to play gentlemen. I didn't give a shit about "correct" play pre-flop, and busted balls with and without legitimate hands early. One early preflop raise with 49o was met by four callers. 668 on the board gave me nothing, but my half pot sized bet swept it when everyone folded. Reckless? Sure. But I needed this.
One memorable hand that really pissed little brother off deserves mentioning. 38s UTG, and I call the blind (20). Two others are in before my brother in the SB makes it 100 on top (120 total) to go. I don't think about it and just call quickly. Everyone else gets out of our way.
Jackpot on the flop for me, which comes 358 rainbow. My brother makes it something like another 100 to play. I'm confident I've got him beat, and didn't want him drawing a set (assuming he had a pair down), or seeing the board pair to render my two pair useless, so I push all in for 1400.
Amazingly, he calls. I never in a million years thought he would, especially when he flips over pocket nines. "I knew you didn't have shit," was his excuse. But my "didn't have shit" caught two pair kiddo. No help on the turn or river, and I doubled up. To much consternation, might I add. My brother, knowing previously I had written that I'd be embarrassed if I sucked out on someone, didn't appreciate my attitude too much when I swept the pot. Look, it's one thing to flat-out suck out on someone, but I got my chips in there with the better hand, and he made a terrible call, regardless as to how recklessly I was or wasn't playing. What do I have to be embarrassed about? Had I missed that flop, he never would have seen that I called a pretty substantial pre-flop raise with junk, but I was prepared to lose those chips, so I feel good about my play. After the flop, that is.
Well, whatever. I continued my loose play, and took a few lumps and scraped a few pots along the way, finally getting heads up with roughly a 1000 chip deficit to MH, and the hammer in the hole. With blinds 100/200, he made it 600 to go, and I called. 25Q was the board, and I was first to act. I bet 1200 in, which was a pot-sized bet. He pushed all-in. Now, in my eyes, chances were even money that he either had me beat, or had Ace/Something in his hand, and was looking to muscle me out. He's risky like that sometimes. I was certain he didn't have a Queen.
I pushed, and appealed to the poker gods to hit my hand. I had been hitting all night. And more than anything, the $60 difference in payout was secondary to me "finding my game" again. I had fun at the table for the first time in a couple of weeks. I played at times like the five hundred pound gorilla, sometimes like a wallflower just watching from the outside, and sometimes like a ninja (because ninjas are super sweet). I didn't really care about winning. There was nothing left I needed to get out of the game, so I let it ride with the hammer, in the spirit of karma.
He had 58o, and caught his middle pair. I didn't catch the seven or deuce I needed, and that was that.
But, from a purely technical standpoint (camraderie of the game aside), it was the happiest I've been getting up from a table in quite awhile.
And I needed that.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Just Some Things...
Out of boredom maybe more than anything, I went out shopping yesterday to the only Italian grocery remotely close to here. Spent $96, here's the inventory...
>> 1/2 lb. ProsciuttoBringing seven bottles of wine home gave me eighteen total bottles in my collection. And yes, it's just me living here. You'd think I'd be going all Al Can't Hang on those eighteen constantly, but I don't really drink much.
Hence, eighteen bottles of wine. Yeah, I know. Doesn't make sense to me either. At least if I had to throw a sudden dinner party for 54, I'd be covered on the liquor side.
Last night for dinner I had a Prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella sandwich on rosemary garlic bread. And honestly? Buffalo mozzarella doesn't taste fundamentally different from regular cow's milk fresh mozzarella. At least I can say I've tried it. Tonight is going to be pizza with Prosciutto and Pancetta with some Italian sausage I've got too. Yum.
Driving home I took the long way, as the highway home is under construction. I think I'm a decent driver, but I get white-knuckled when I've got concrete barrier eighteen inches to my left, big truck eighteen inches to my right, and am doing 65MPH. So, on the way home, I passed one of those classic car shows. I've never really understood those car buffs as much before as I did yesterday. These guys basically have poured their lives into these cars, drive them to some parking lot, pop the hood, and wait. They wait for someone with whom they can compare notes, or someone to validate their efforts on their hobby.
That sounds kinda familiar.
Isn't that what most of us are doing here? I can say with confidence that I'd be writing like I do even if no one came around to visit, but I don't discount how much I've appreciated the validation and support those who offer it have given me. Through an effort to find kindred spirits, a poker blogging community was formed, and inside that you've got a lot of people who have worked awfully hard on rebuilding their engines, and are more than happy to pop the hood and show you what they've got. Only difference is that in the end, no one's going to give me a trophy for best in show.
So I was listening to my XM radio on the way home last night (instead of the disappointing Spartans), and heard a cut from Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company from Winterland 1968. Is there a worse band in classic rock history than BB&THC? If "psychedelic" meant "completely disjointed and unable to channel blues soloing properly," then yes, BB&THC were awfully psychedelic. How great would Joplin have been with a real, honest-to-god blues band backing her up? Curiously, they played a cut from a Super Sessions date next, which featured another one of my least favorite musicians from the 60s, Al Kooper. Kooper seemed to land on everyone's dates back then, but the guy was a hack at times on the organ, and couldn't hold a candle to guys like Jimmy Smith, who had enough funk for everyone, so you'd think some would rub off. No dice.
I then flipped over to "the Groove," which was in the middle of playing something they call "SoundCheck," which was just a collection of live cuts from various people. The first one I caught was some guy (I dunno who) that was doing some improv scat stuff in the style of other various classic soul singers. Totally cool to hear him do impressions of Otis and Al Green, and the crowd was eating it up.
The second cut though... This is a topic that I'd like to get into. If you could put yourself in the head of anyone at any point in time for a couple of hours just to feel what they were feeling, and see what they were seeing, who and when would you choose?
Marvin Gaye, live 1974 launching into "Distant Lover" would have to be somewhere on my list. Holy shit, you should hear the women in that crowd scream for Marvin. What an ego boost that's gotta be, up there singing a song that every woman within a five mile radius is screaming for, and you know that at that point your voice is loosening panties all over that arena. It wouldn't be my top choice for my question, but I'd throw it in there for consideration.
Throwing out a couple from the world of sports...
>> For boxing, it's one of two for me. It's either Ali versus Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, when only Ali knew what he was up to with the rope-a-dope technique, or it's getting inside the head of Ward or Gatti in either of their first two bloody brawls. Those guys are fucking warriors, that's all there is to it.
>> In basketball the question is, do you get inside the head of a guy who's having a brilliantly dominating night, or one who's doing everything he can despite the odds to keep his team in the game? I choose the latter, and pick Isiah Thomas' "sprained ankle" game against the Lakers, the one in which he set a record for 3rd quarter points, all while being barely able to walk.
>> Tell me you wouldn't want to be inside Baltimore Ravens LB Ray Lewis' head for the couple hours before through the tail end of their Super Bowl victory over the Giants. Dude is psychotic on the field. Absolutely bonkers nuts.
What's your pick?
I’ve had to step away from PartyPoker temporarily, as my attitude towards poker has been more about gambling, and far less about making an effort to play solid poker. As a result, I’ve made some dumb plays lately (mathematically) which, in the name of gambling, basically tells everyone at the table, “I don’t give a shit, come on over here and take my chips.”
Not smart. And not healthy for my already dwindling bankroll.
I really dig gambling. I really don’t dig losing. Thankfully, I’m the type of guy who gets so irritated with losing that I get pissed off and walk away. I don’t get the mentality of some gamblers, who continue to throw money at their losing streak until they bust out. To me, that makes zero sense.
I want poker to stay fresh for me. That’s why it’s likely that I’m keeping my online poker to a minimum, just short of calling this a hiatus, so I can at least continue to play in our semi-weekly home games.
Of course, the blog doesn’t go on hiatus too. I’m still enjoying this too much to put it away.
In the interest of keeping my gambling going, even as I put PartyPoker to the side for a bit, America’s Wingman has challenged me to ESPN’s Pick Six Challenge. Horse Racing? You’re coming to me about horse racing? Well, alrighty then. Let’s ride.
The races this week on the card include three at Saratoga (the second, a stakes in the eighth, and what might be a maiden in the ninth), and one each at Delaware, Arlington, and Del Mar. Al has promised he’s just going to pick based on names, and I’m going to try to do some legitimate (cough) handicapping on these to divine the winners. You can pick fifteen horses across the six races, so there’s some flexibility.
Drop Al or I a line if you want to get in on the action.
Also encouraging my bad habits, I’ve just joined a couple of NFL pick ‘em and salary cap fantasy games. Cripes, I’m going to be rooting for a lot of teams other than the Lions, aren’t I…
Add two fantasy teams to the mix, and away we go.
I’m That Type Of Guy
If you want a window into my personality, take this for an example…
My brother is getting hitched on September 18th. His fiancée produced a newsletter for the bridal party about two months ago to detail events and responsibilities over the weekend. Everyone got a copy.
Why don’t I get mailed a newsletter? His fiancée is concerned I’m going to make fun of her, or look down on her for getting “cutesy” with it.
If she wants to truly be part of the family, she’s going to have to take her lumps. Insults are the glue that holds my family together for chrissakes.
Valid concern on her part? Yeah, probably. But I don’t think any less of anyone for getting cutesy with a wedding newsletter.
The button on my khakis fell off yesterday while I was at work. First, let me state for the record, I’m not gaining weight. Not losing any, but not gaining it either. The threads got loosened, and I’m sticking by that story. This, of course, means I have to put my tailor skills to good use and sew on a button. There are things I can do, things I can’t do, and things I can only do badly. Here’s a sample:
Things I Can Do
>> Cook complicated dishes without screwing them up
>> Identify and purchase extraordinarily comfortable furniture
>> Get a laugh
>> Identify some sidemen on 50s and 60s jazz songs by ear
>> Whup ass in Trivial Pursuit
Things I Can’t Do
>> Ski or skate
>> Poker chip tricks
>> Drink hard alcohol anymore
>> Understand “Yugi-Oh” cartoons
Things I Can Only Do Badly
>> Build “ready-to-assemble” furniture
>> Deliver a compliment
>> Rationalize my marriage
>> Describe how I’d like my hair cut to the stylist
“Mending clothing” falls into that last category. The last time I tried to sew on a button, the thread on the backside looked more like an abstract painting than it did like a little knot holding the button in place. And it was mounted too high by about half an inch, even though I was trying to be careful about placement.
At least I can fix that without screwing it up too badly. In what some believe to be a completely apocryphal story, I once fought with my power screwdriver for nearly twenty minutes attempting to drive a screw into a piece of IKEA furniture. I beat the shit out of the screwdriver, screw, hole, and panel trying to get it in...
...until my ex-wife grabbed the power screwdriver and pushed the button to change the direction, driving the screw into the chewed up hole with little effort.
I mention that I can't ski or skate at all whatsoever. I'm not a natural athlete, but I can throw a ball properly, and not embarrass myself too badly on the basketball court. Put something under my feet though? All bets are off. I learned how to ski in Utah, and have been dozens of times, but it's not fun because I feel horribly out of control. We're not even going to talk about water skiing, that was a mess, but even roller skating/blading has been pointless, as I just can't make a go of it properly.
My dad likes to blame that inability of mine on the spinal meningits I had as a tot. He doesn't want to admit to having sired unathletic children.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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