Sunday, November 27, 2011

Counting Down to the WPBT Weekend

I can feel the excitement beginning as the annual WPBT gathering in Las Vegas is less than a week away. I will be getting into town mid-afternoon on Thursday. My brother will be getting in two hours after me. I considered staying at Bally's, but with so many of the poker bloggers staying at the Imperial Palace and with the offer of a free room there ... well ... IP it is! Although I am not sure, I think I might rent a car for the length of the trip. I have not driven in Las Vegas since the days before I got married many, many moons ago. This trip might be a little different, though, in that I might spend less time playing poker than I usually do. With a return trip to Las Vegas already scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday and with the frequent trips I had been making to various Caesars Entertainment properties, I just might spend a little time outside the Bally's poker room. If so, I have a few side trips I might take:

Pinball Hall of Fame
South Point Casino
M Casino
Red Rock Casino
In-N-Out Burger
Palm Memorial Park (cemetery where Redd Foxx and Stu Unger are buried)

I have high hopes for my WPBT team (myself, PokahDave, and Yestbay1) this year as my last two teams (with Josie & Waffles and with OhCaptain & PokerPeaker) bailed out early. Two years ago I made it as far as about 19th place before busting. Last year was a disaster as I got crap cards and got felted when my short stack push with A-10 ran into A-J. A little more favor from the poker gods at the beginning of this this tournament would be appreciated.

My recent health issues will change things a bit. I might actually be utilizing a fitness center and modifying my usual bad Las Vegas late night eating habits (double Whoppers at Burger King and the breakfast special at the Victorian Room at Bill's Gamblin' Hall). Overall though, I feel great. I have lost over 20 pounds and have been enjoying exercising. Knowing that your life is on the line does help to motivate you! I am even contemplating shaving off my beard today for a look I have not experienced for many years.

So ... approximately four days from now I will be getting ready to board my flight. Tick ... tick ... tick ...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Blues and Thanksgiving

Having grown up being a bargain hunter, I strangely enough have a tremendous disdain for Black Friday. Struggle with crowds to get $20 off something? No thanks. Not anymore.

Many years ago I used to live for this day, long before it was called Black Friday. I remember that we used to call it "The Day After Thanksgiving -- The Biggest Shopping Day of the Year." So yes, I remember going out to stores like Circuit City, Best Buy, and Walmart when it was still dark outside. I remember going to a mall toy store when the kids were little since just about everything on their Christmas lists was onsale. It opened at 5:00 a.m., which was unheard of back then. We got in the store, grabbed all the gifts, and stood -- unable to move for 45 minutes as we were crowded in that store like sardines in a can -- waiting for each customer to get checked out in an agonizingly slow fashion.

Somehow, however, things changed over the years, or at least in my perception. The day seemed to be less and less about the joy of getting a good deal, and more and more about greed and materialism. Over the years I have really come to hate crowds and am loathe to put myself in a situation where I wait ... and wait ... and wait with throngs of other people. The long lines on Black Friday also seem to bring out the worst in some people. Civility often seems to go out the door, and heck, how many stories will we hear this year about someone getting trampled to death at a Walmart Black Friday opening?

I imagine that my perception has changed as I have gotten older and become more financially secure. I just can't see waiting in line for hours at Best Buy (a store I hate, by the way) to buy that great deal on a television. In general, I also think I have lost desire for a whole lot of posessions. My family hates to buy me Christmas presents because my usual answer to "What do you want for Christmas?" is "nothing."

That kind of leads me today -- Thanksgiving. Being a recent heart attack survivor has had an effect on how I think about many things. I am very fortunate that the attack was mild and that I sought help quickly -- at least as quickly as a guy will do that sort of thing. I am luckly to live in a community with outstanding medical care.

One of my co-workers always tells me that I am a lucky person. My take on that is that I always seem to skate even when bad things happen to me. However, I do feel very fortunate to have a great, if not goofy, family and extended family. I have a great job and work with some of the nicest and best people one can imagine.  I have met many people, including poker bloggers, that I am proud to call my friends.

So, on this holiday of Thanksgiving, I will spend a leisurely day at home, have some turkey, watch some football, and just loaf around in general. Yes -- it is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Josie's Football Picks

Since it seems like I have become Joe C's new butt boy (sorry Gary, Waffles, and Wolfie -- you guys are old news), I am happy to post her picks for this week's NFL games:

Green Bay 14

New England 13

San Fran 12

Dallas 11

Detroit 10

Atlanta 9

Chicago 8

NY Giants 7

St Louis 6

Baltimore 5

Miami 4

Oakland 3

Jacksonville 2

NY Jets 1

btw -- Begin to line up to be Josie's next pawn. That means you --  Ken P, Neo, MOJO, PokahDave, and Lucki Duck. Hmmm ... did I forget anyone?

Monday, November 14, 2011

If There Was Any Question About the Atmosphere Surrounding Penn State Football and the School's Administration ...

... look at this report from ESPN's Outside the Lines from a few years ago.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Joe Paterno, Penn State, and Being a Man

Not being one to rush to judgment, I wanted to carefully read the grand jury report on the Penn State Sandusky sex abuse scandal, peruse the news reports, and see how the situation panned out over the past few days before putting anything in writing. I think that things are very clear.

I simply cannot fathom how many men did the wrong thing. From the sexual predator Sandusky to the gutless witness McQuery to the complicit Penn State administrators -- wrong, wrong, wrong.

If you see a child being sexually assaulted should you not intercede? Should you not contact the police? Should you not look out first and foremost for the victim? How can you allow a sexual predator access to children and unsupervised areas? When you know this kind of abuse is going on do you just ignore it?

How so many educated adult males could be so cowardly in the face of such a compelling moral issue is astounding. Protection of the university, the athletic and football programs, and "the brand" were all deemed more important than the safety of defenseless children. How appropriate is the quote "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

In a sense I feel some degree of sorrow for Joe Paterno. A man who has done so much good for so many people for so many years will be defined by by an unbelievable moral shortcoming. How sad. Unfortunately, sadder still is that Paterno's failure to take the proper actions allowed sexual abuse to go on for years, fostering devastating damage to innocent victims that will scar them the rest of their lives.

The reaction of a number of Penn State students is almost beyond belief. Are they so obtuse or self centered that their major concern is not the destruction of young lives but their football coach and the program? Sadly, the reputation of Penn State has suffered incalculable damage.

I have so much more that I could say. Being a professional counselor, I find this entire situation so depressing since I have experience in knowing the degree of harm that was visited on the victims. Add in the families and friends of the victims who will share in the pain and you have an enormous ripple effect that far exceeds what most people would imagine.

Finally, I am struck by something that many of my male readers will certainly understand. Part of being a man is knowing that at one, a few, or maybe even many times in your life you will be faced with making a decision that will test your moral fiber. You can make a decision that will be wrong but make things much easier for yourself or you can make the right decision, knowing there will be a high price to pay. What we choose in these instances helps define us. It is sad to see that so many men, faced with this kind of decision in the Sandusky abuse situation, made the wrong choice.

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Cast Party

My wife has been in a play in town and tonight was the night of the cast party. Faithful husband that I am, I told her that I would accompany her although, only knowing one person who would be there, I had a feeling it was not going to be the highlight of my week.
I asked my wife to pick me up after the play was over. Much to my surprise, I went downstairs only to find the daughter of She Hate Me in my house! Wonderful -- the klutzy daughter of the woman who hates my guts for no reason is now tagging along for a ride. Hmmm .. should I make small talk? "How is you biotch mother?" I thought. Baaaaaaaa.

Of course, a theatre cast party oftentimes means lot of talk about stuff I normally would not ponder. For example, would it be more difficult to put a dog in a bathtub full of water or for a guy to put his nuts up another guy's bunghole? Why did one of the play's divas drop her pants after a play? "I had underwear on," she said. Someone than mentioned "Yeah -- but it was see-through."

Unfortunately, the food at the party was all junk food, which I have been avoiding like the plague for the past seven weeks. Dang.

After being a good sport and enjoying the conversation for over an hour, I felt like it was time to go. My wife had assured me that we would be driving home ALONE. But of course, guess who tagged along for a ride home although she only lives a few blocks away? Fauck. If only I had a bomb or two in my car the night might have had a great ending. Dang.