Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Voting Decision We Had in Illinois Yesterday

Yesterday - March 21, the state of Illinois had its primary elections. The way things work (ha!) in Illinois, if you vote in the primaries, you go to your polling place and then declare whether you want the Democrat or Republican ballot. You can only vote for the candidates of one party in the primaries.

Although there were many candidates running for the top spot -- Governor  -- there were really only five candidates who had a realistic shot at doing well enough to become our next governor in November. In this election in particular, which might be my last primary while living in Illinois, I was focused on which candidate would be in my best interests for the next four years. The candidates and my way of thinking:

Incumbent governor Bruce Rauner
* Total disaster as governor the past four years. Has caused immense damage to higher education in the state. Wants to solve pension problems by forcing costs back on the schools. I was stupid enough to vote for this rich guy (estimated net worth of  $500,000,000 - $1,000,000,000) four years ago. No way I would make that mistake again.
Primary result: Republican candidate for governor in November. Squeaked in with 51.3 % of the vote.

Jeanne Ives
* Ultra-conservative who played well to the far right members of her party. Dogged the governor on actions that appeared more moderate or (gasp!) liberal. Wants to solve the government-created pension problem by screwing over public employees who have paid into the pension system for years. No. No. Hell no.
Primary result: Gave Rauner a run for his money but fell a little short with 48.7% of the vote. We likely haven't heard the last of her.

Chris Kennedy
* Yes - he is a member of THAT Kennedy family. One of the sons of Robert Kennedy. Unfortunately, this is Illinois, not Massachusetts. He was a trustee for the University of Illinois. Viewed as lacking charisma. Would probably be okay, but frankly, he just doesn't get the juice running.
Primary result:  Came in third with 24.4%. The Kennedy name still drew a lot of votes.

Daniel Biss
* Progressive candidate that had my oldest daughter mesmerized. A legislator who appealed as being one of the people and not a governing tycoon. Made a huuuuge political mistake by sponsoring and getting passed pension legislation that would be, as he should have known, struck down by the Illinois State Supreme Court. To his credit, he owned up to his mistake. But he did try to mess with my pension. Grrrrr.
Primary result: Came in second with 26.6% of the vote. Young and on his way up.

JB Pritzker
* Rich rich rich! has a net worth of around $3,500,000,000. He makes Trump look like a pauper. He poured millions into the campaign. Association with former governor (and current federal prisoner) Rod Blagojevich hurts his reputation. Listen to some of the federally wire tapped conversations they had -- go to However, his political views are on target, and he was going to be a tough guy to beat.
Primary result: Democrat candidate for governor in November. Smashed competition with 45.1% of the vote.

So there you have it -- rich guy vs REALLY rich guy in November. How can these guys even relate to the common citizen?

I decided to base my primary voting on getting in a vote on the person who I thought would be best for me over the next four years. I guess in revealing how I voted, I am reaffirming the belief of Tony Bigcharles, who for quite some time has referred to me as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) because I do not agree with the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican party. Being what I consider a moderate Republican, I feel as if the Republican party has deserted my. Therefore, for the first time in 30 years, I crossed over and voted in the Democratic primary. Believe me, I felt slimy! Not only did I vote for a Democrat, I decided to vote for the progressive candidate, Daniel Biss, even though I despised what he tried to do to me and a half million pensioners.

In the upcoming general election, there is no doubt in my mind how I will vote:
Does this make my transformation complete?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Saturday Session at Harrah's Joliet

My wife had plans to get lunch with my daughter and see a movie afterward, making yesterday an excellent day for a poker road trip. I left in the late morning and got to Harrah's Joliet in the early afternoon. I had called in and was first on a list that stretched to about 13 names. After waiting only a few minutes,  a new table was opened, and it was away we go!

The action at my first table was okay. I lost a few hands early on when one guy flopped a straight on an Ace high board when I had A-Q and when my A-K didn't improve on the flop or turn.A few more hands like small pocket pairs that didn't connect with the flop, and quickly I was down about $100. Pretty quickly, because Harrah's has must-move tables, I was moved to one of the "main" games. I reloaded with another hundred.

I was up $250 at one point, but hit an "unfortunate" streak and ended up down $100. Included in the unfortunate streak:

* Called a $10 raise in middle/late position with A-5spades. There were more calls, and we went five to the flop. The flop: 5-5-8 with two diamonds! The original raiser raised $25 and I, guarding against the flush draw and hoping he had a 5, bumped it up to $75. Much to my surprise, he pushed all in for $185! The turn and river were bricks and I expected to scoop a nice pot. Unfortunately, he had the one hand that I was fearing: 8-8.

* I was dealt pocket Queens in late position. I raised to $8 to try to get at least one caller. The short-stacked big blind called. The flop was Q-rag-rag with two diamonds. The big blind checked, and I made a pot-sized raise. He called. the turn was a diamond and he pushed all in. I called. No help for me on the river as he turned the second nut straight.

* Woman who was fairly new to the table, short stacked and very aggressive, raised in early position to $12. I looked down to see the dreaded pocket Kings. I bumped it up to $30 and she, as expected, shoved all in. I called. The flop, turn and river were all low cards and I expected to win the pot. A yell went up as people saw that she had pushed with pocket 3's and binked a third 3 on the river.

I guess this Saturday session was an example of the frustration of $1/2 NL poker. Granted, over the course of the day I certainly did not play close to perfect poker as I am a recreational player who gets to play once a week at most, but I did play pretty well -- certainly well enough to have made a profit that session. Bah!

After getting a late dinner of comped fish tacos, I decided to end the night playing a few slots. I played my favorite game at Harrahs Joliet, Alfred Hitchcock Theater, and won. I lost a little at Tarzan and a Buffalo machine, and decided to burn the last few bucks I had allocated to one of the machines the has leprechauns and pots o' gold -- Wild Leprechauns. On the first spin I played, I hit four pots o' gold, awarding me the bonus in the picture of this post: 50 free spins! Unfortunately, the bonus was not quite what I hoped it would be -- only about $58, but still not bad on a 40 or 60 cent bet!

Side note: My eye surgery was now nine days ago. Most of the swelling has gone down and reddish/purple skin is now a mostly faded yellow. I might have an allergy to the ointment I am using, which has caused some unusual lines under my eyes, but otherwise, things look pretty good. It will still take some time to see how effective the surgery was for both eyes, but right now things are looking pretty good. Yes!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Going Under the Knife

In about 12 hours I will be in the hospital for some surgery that has been delayed a couple of years. Although I look forward to the results, I am, of course, concerned since there are always risks from surgery, especially when any anesthesia is administered.

The above pictures illustrate the major problem: a right eye that has been droopy for some time and has certainly gotten worse the past several years. Although not quite as bad, the left eye droops, too. This condition is called ptosis -- drooping upper eyelid. The special procedure that I am having done is ... never mind - it is kind of oogly. But while I am still employed and have already met my health insurance deductible, now is the right time to have this done.

I have no idea how much discomfort I will have afterward nor how much bruising and swelling I will have. I have already invested in a pair of glasses -- the first non-reading glasses I have had since Jimmy Carter was president -- since I likely wont be able to wear my contacts for several weeks.

I guess I will just kind of play things by ear (ha ha!) and see when I can go back to work and how much I can actually do or tolerate.

In the meantime, I will probably be depending on social media to distract me during some of my recovery time. Things certainly are easier when one is young!

I will report sometime after surgery. If I look gruesome enough, I might even post a picture. Until then ...

Post-surgery lightning

Okay - so I don't look anymore gruesome after the surgery than before. Some might say that even with the swelling, he is still a handsome devil. I would.

Thanks for reading!