|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Was supposed to put this up on Friday, but server problems and all...
Imagine my glee when I received an email yesterday that declared today not only a “Jeans Day,” but also a “Spirit Day” for the UM/MSU game tomorrow. This, of course, means I can come to work in jeans and a jersey, which is my wardrobe of choice on most non-working days.
Big get well wishes to Molly, who is battling the wheezing snottiness that may be a precursor to the flu. Damn you George W. Bush for not doing everything you could to fight this virus!
I would really love to be on the couch just like Molly today, watching Dawson’s Creek and The Price is Right, catching a nap in the early afternoon, and maybe doing a little early YouBet thoroughbred betting in the late afternoon. I only have 5.5 vacation days remaining for the year though, and three are spoken for already with VEGAS on the horizon.
Factoring those 5.5 days in, along with the three declared holiday days* left in this calendar year, I have 37 working days remaining until the odometer rolls over to 2005. I actually took a “sticky note” pad and penciled big numbers in, so I could tear-away-a-day until 2005 hits.
*Of the three days left, one of them is Friday, 12/31, which is being deducted from 2005’s holiday bank. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Seems like I’m getting screwed somehow. That being said, just wait until 2005 when both Xmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays. Then you’ll see “screwed.” My customer isn’t giving anything outside of the shutdown week (12/26-12/30) they usually do, so they’re taking the holiday days they would have granted, and making Easter a four day weekend. Which I, technically, don’t get off. Go figure.
Of those 37 days though, there are a few “gimmes” in the bunch. I’m situated at my client’s site, and am the only employee of my company here in the area. Since my company doesn’t “shut down” for the week between Xmas and New Year’s, I’m supposed to be working. Same goes for the day after Thanksgiving. So take the four days (New Year’s Eve, Friday, is a holiday) from that week, and add the Thanksgiving Friday to the mix, and you’ve got five days where I’m going to be “working,” but will be one of maybe five people actually “working” on the entire campus.
Then, mix in the traditionally brutally slow week leading up to Xmas, and there are nine of 37 remaining days that I could basically nap under my desk and no one would notice or care.
My boss would prefer that I spent my vacation time during my client’s shutdown, but what fun is that? Not only that, but how fair is that really? We’re only talking about 2.5 days here, and to me it makes more sense to blow them before I can just sit at my desk for five straight days twiddling my thumbs.
Sadly, even though I’ll be onsite in my office with very little to do, my client’s network is not loose enough to allow me to play poker all day long. Not unless I want to do it on Hoyle Casino. Ugh. I probably will end up tackling whatever projects my boss wants me to address at my desk (trust me, there’ll be projects) while watching DVDs on my laptop. There’ll be no one to irritate with “The Godfather” blaring in the background, just me.
By the way, seeing as it’s Friday, I can declare it is an even 42 days until Vegas. As of 8AM EST today, I’ll be stepping off the plane in 1,011 hours (actually, stupid time change this weekend makes it 1,012, so that sucks). As it’s no secret anymore, I was delighted to hear that Pauly has lined up with the good people at Sam’s Town a blogger private tourney on Saturday. I figured some casino would step up, and I’m glad it’s the Manager at Sam’s, who happens to also be a blog reader. Good PR move, especially if we can talk some other popular bloggers into joining us for fun and excitement.
I’m so geeked I can hardly contain myself.
By the way, America’s Wingman Al Can’t Hang and I had the following exchange yesterday (paraphrased):
AlCantHang: You heard Pauly got us a blogger tournament for Vegas?Nothing brings Al back to earth quicker than reminding him that his wife is a better player. If you don’t believe me, go read the man’s archives yourself. She’s a shark guys, steer clear.
Handicapping the field, from the group of likely participants:
BG: I’m an admitted longshot in this group. I have very little real-world casino poker experience (probably somewhere under ten total hours), and bounce around games (Limit, SNGs, Limit Omaha, NLHE ring games and tourneys) too much to be considered a serious player – or serious threat. 15-1.
Bob: I do think that on most days I am a better player than my brother. He is probably less afraid of risk than I am though, and if he gets up early and keeps catching, he’s going to go a long ways. I’ll put him even with me, 15-1.
Al Can’t Hang: The boys (Lewey, Landow, Big Mike) have been pounding enough bad beats into this guy long enough to give him the thick skin necessary to not take a rivered two-outer personally. That being said, in his home game, J2o is a premium starter. Ouch. Dead even with Bob and I at 15-1.
Mrs. Can’t Hang: Even Al admits she’s a stronger player than he is. I’ve never played with the Mrs. before, and I have no idea what her style is, but those Borgata ring games she’s cleaned up on have got to mean something. 12-1.
Felicia: No one walks up to this (these) table(s) with more big game tournament experience. Unfortunately, we’re not playing Razz or Stud. I like her chances though, as squaring off against quality opponents for as long as she has must mean something. I’ve also seen her tight-aggressive style in play at WPBT events, and it’s a joy to watch. 7-1.
Glenn: Felicia’s husband, fellow blogger and poker player. He could be a serious threat. That is, if I knew anything about his game. I’m figuring Felicia’s rubbed off (ewww, not like that) on him somehow. 12-1.
Pauly: I’ve finished third, tenth, and tenth in three (of the many) WPBT events. I don’t know if Pauly has gotten to third before (He says his best finishes are a third and a tenth as well). What does that mean? I don’t know. What I do know is that Pauly has enough riverboat gambler blood in him to give his game the NL swagger a winner needs. Could he clean up? Sure. If the cards are lukewarm to cold though, I can see him getting impatient and playing more recklessly. He’d be a good longshot wager, but I’m putting him out there at 10-1.
Derek: I’ve played approximately six hours of NL ring game with Derek at the Boat House, and the one adjective I’d use to describe his game is tight. He saw so few flops in the early going that it was obvious and noticeable when he entered a hand. Probably a good move, considering Big Mike and Lewey’s penchants for catching with absolute junk (plus, he finished way up). Depending on the tournament structure, maybe this benefits him. Maybe not. I think he’s going to have to get the cards to win. 12-1.
Otis: What’s a two-time defending WPBT champ going to do to this field? It’ll either be a long day for the rest of us, or if he duplicates the effort from BadBlood’s a week ago, it’ll be a short night for him. Everyone in the field should know him and his reputation. That might help, that might hurt. Still, he’s the favorite unless the Blogfather comes out for a visit. 4-1.
HDub: Assuming Hank joins us on Saturday, he’s got to be considered at least as much of a favorite as Felicia. From what I see of this group, no one is as engrossed in the theory and practice of poker as much as Hank. Like Otis, though, his reputation for being a player may hurt him when he’s trying to draw a bet or call out of an opponent holding inferior cards. Still, let’s put him with Felicia at 7-1.
BadBlood: A late addition to the Vegas weekend, BadBlood certainly has enough WPBT action under his belt, but I don't think he's cashed in one yet. Until then... 15-1.
Poker Prof: I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen the Prof in action in the WPBT events. I have zero idea, therefore, what to expect. If this were horse racing, he’d be the entry in the 2YO state bred stakes race that only has one race under his belt, and hadn’t yet cracked his maiden. You never know what you’re getting out of that horse, and we don’t know what we’re getting here. Maybe watching all these tournaments and talking to players is helping his game. We’ll see. 15-1.
Film Geek: Another wildcard. I have zero idea about this guy, so we’re tossing him into the longshot pile as well. 15-1.
Can you tell I’m excited?
Sunday, October 31, 2004
I just got back from the grocery store where this book caught my eye. It's called "Why So Many Gods?" I picked it up and flipped through it for a few moments out of curiosity.
Now, this book is not just aimed at teens, but specifically at Christian teens. It offers quick capsule looks at a variety of other faiths, comparing them back to Christianity in the process.
This alone wouldn't make this a bad book. I think that teaching kids about other beliefs, even if you're using their own point of reference as a jumping off point is not a terrible thing. Where the author gets out of hand is right in the first two pages, when in less than 300 words he offers his irrefutable proof of the existence of God. A reviewer of the book on the Amazon site (linked above) gives the following opinion:
And this brings me to my second huge problem with the book. Trying to prove the existence of God in the first place. Can the author truly believe that he has proven the existence of God on two pages, when all of mankind has been struggling to do so throughout history? It is a presumptuous assumption at best. Furthermore, trying to prove God's existence (especially scientifically) destroys the purpose of having faith all together. It is faith which allows us to have choices and free will. God cannot be proven for a reason, so that we will choose to love him of our own accord, not because a scientist told us too.(sic)Couldn't agree more.
I browsed the sections on agnostics and atheists, and the assertion offered for atheists is that their "goal" is to (paraphrased) "prove beyond doubt there isn't a god," and that religion "is a waste of time."
I'm an atheist, and I don't believe either of those statements applies to me. As a matter of fact, I think the author is getting atheists confused with either Mormons or Witnesses. I'm in a minority against a vast sea of people with all sorts of other beliefs. Beliefs that are largely unable to be proven, and are therefore beyond debate. There's no mass conversion effort being organized. Basically, I know that all I am looking for is two things. First, don't marginalize my beliefs. It's not a lack of beliefs I have. Secondly, if my government really is representative of her people and their shared values and beliefs, don't legislate Christianity into public venues. That's all I want.
I don't and won't begrudge anyone their beliefs or their ability to celebrate their beliefs the way they want to. I don't find it "quaint" that people aren't "smart enough" to realize there's no god, no higher power, and turn my nose up at those people because I'm somehow "mentally superior" because I've figured this out. I think that's an all too common view of atheists from the Christian community. I can appreciate that someone can feel "saved" by Jesus. That's terrific. I just can't make that make sense in my head or in my heart. And I've looked.
I believe the path to Christianity (and Buddhism, Islam, whatever) is paved with wonderful intentions. I believe I also have good intentions in my heart to live a good life. It's disheartening to me to see books like this that are meant to be educational, but just continue to provide reasons to our youth to divide us further. I don't feel like I'm a lesser person because of what I believe. This book seems to think so.
Where I'm From
My little corner of the world here in West Michigan thinks itself a very conservative, very Christian community. As a matter of fact, the local paper has a section called "Edge" that is basically faith based articles a couple of times a week. How that's "edgy," I don't really know.
Still, I wanted to give you all a little more local flavor to add to the two letters to the editor I posted yesterday. These are from Sunday's Muskegon Chronicle, which is accessible at MLive. I'm astounded as to the tone of most of these letters, all from a special multi-page section detailing Presidential election-based letters to the editor.
Names have been withheld, but were printed in the paper. These are brief outtakes from various letters in that section. No opinion given by me, this is just a cross-section of what's being talked about in a so-called "swing state":
"A favorite device in party power politics is to present a needed bill and add greedy, self-serving amendments that no responsible person would accept - such as blank checks to Haliburton. By this unscrupulous strategy, Republican propagandists manufacture considerable ammunition: out-of-context statements and rigged bills to create a false impression of their opponent... I prefer a president who has disciplined his mind, proved his courage and does not threaten our separation of church and state whis his messianic complex..."
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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