Friday, November 28, 2008


Sign in work bathroom draped over broken pee recepticle:


What the fuck (fauck?) is that? Dutch?

Stupid, illiterate Dutch janitors.

As an aside, this stupid, illiterate blog turned four years old yesterday.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Stand (Dance) Corrected

I've loved the picture below since I first set eyes on it. Your intrepid coach, teaching the finer points of The Beautiful Game to his young and impressionable charges as they stand at rapt attention.

Except for the kid all the way on the left. He's doing his own thing, as he often does. That's AJ, of course. The photo is a perfect representation of all that is hilarious--and occasionally annoying--about my darling son. I have dozens of others that illustrate the same. Always in motion. He can't sit still. He's more than a bundle of energy. He's energy personified.

I wonder where he got that, since I'm such a calm and measured person. My mother frequently claims I was also excitable as a child, but I don't remember it the same way. The thing about memories, though, is that they are lies we tell ourselves.

This photo turned up on Facebook recently. It's my 5th grade class. The guy in the red jacket? The one in motion? Yep. Me.

I've got at least three more years of AJ-spasms to go, I guess. At least he's not going to be the kid flipping off the camera (Arnie Munoz, I believe).

(And for those of you who know Donny, that's him in the front left, covering his face and wearing what appears to be a Golden State Warriors t-shirt.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shark Jumping

Went to see "Bolt" with The Boy on Saturday. Unremarkable, but for multiple use of the word, "ridonkulous."

Said word is now removed from viable poker conversation. Though your children might find it funny, as mine did.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


So...America's Soccer Savior 1.0 is headed back to the Bundesliga. Landon Donovan is moving to Teutonic titans Bayern Munich at the first of the year. You remember Landy-Cakes, don't ya? Who failed twice at Leverkusen previously, a coddled homesick little bundle of douche who couldn't handle the rigors of playing in a league where he wasn't one of the top players.

And now he goes to Bayern? The same team where proven International Lukas Podolski can't even get a game? What a laugh.

Landy-Cakes is a joke. His window to prove himself, to IMPROVE himself against better competition, closed years ago. He really did have the stuff to be a world class player, his performance in the 2002 World Cup at age 20 was mercurial. But he lacks guts. He lacks drive. He lacks the mental toughness needed to overcome obstacles. Instead, he runs back to the cover of his mommy's quilt.

Can't see him making any sort of impact over there, except in training. Klinsmann likes him for some reason, so never say never, but reports out of Munich aren't exactly effusive.

"What he has shown so far is okay, he can certainly kick," said Bayern's Uli Hoeness.

Sweet! He can kick!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hooker, Cooler. Cooler, Hooker.

Taking too many bad beats? Economy got you down? Bet on the Steelers last Sunday? Life is hard, I know. But at least you're not sucking the toes of a Vegas hooker. That, friends, is Rock Bottom. Thank goodness we have The Good Dr. Pauly around to remind us there are greater cesspools than ours.

Please to enjoy Existentialist Conversations with Hookers: Maelstrom at the Hooker Bar, featuring a sage and philosophical Otis.

Oh...but that's not all! I have a dark place in my heart for Coolers. My buddy Bro is a Cooler of the first order. I once had a craps croupier ask if I wanted him "thrown out," because every time he walked within a 10 foot radius, the shooter would crap out. Memo to self, avoid Michalski at all costs.

Emmisarries From the Land of Indulgence

I think we have all, at one time or another, stared into the abyss in Sin City. Most of the time, we are there for the sheen, for escape, and there's no need to go past the surface, which, naturally, is what the city sells. We get in, get our fix, and get out. Occasionally, you go on a bad run. The cards and dice rot the sparkly paint job, corroding it to rust, and we are forced to face the darkness. Pauly knows more than most and sees the truth behind the glow. It's easy to forget after a hit-and-run weekend, what a diabolical place Vegas really is. Cibola. The mirage in the desert. Nobody wins.

Unless you're there for reasons other than the turn of the wheel. That's what I get out of these two great posts. With all the debauchery swirling around, debauchery our heroes don't necessarily disapprove of, they stick close, finding rewards in each other, surety in friendship amidst the turmoil.

I will be joined by a special guest this upcoming WPBT event. When I initially invited her, I was a bit nervous. I'm not known as someone with a great deal of restraint or maturity, especially when there's ample alcohol and even more ample action to be had and was concerned about her seeing me in my typical Vegas state of glorious irresponsibility. Then I realized, these trips long ago stopped being about wagers and action. They are about hanging with some of my favorite people in the world; the best parts are always the unexpected conversations and that feeling of deep-running camaraderie. That, I know she'll enjoy. As will I.

Which doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to someone needing a wheelchair or throwing their beer in their own face.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How It Ends...

I didn't play great. Honestly, I made two big mistakes. Should have laid down my flopped top set of Kings to the flush/straight card on the turn in the first hour where everyone was playing lots of flops (he turned the straight). Worked my way back and then dropped a bunch with an over-pair against the tightest player at the table. My "Where I'm at"bet told meI was fucked. I wanted to re-raise (push) this hand, but couldn't. It was 340/170/25 and I raised to 1100 UTG. Short stack had 1200 and pushed. SB called, so BB called (as he should, with two cards). I pushed the flop when it was checked to me. And there ya go...

Que sera, sera.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Going for the Gold

First satellite tried, minimum $30 expended...giddyup.

You'll notice fellow blogger jamyhawk, finishing in fourth. I didn't play with him until the Final Table, but he was playing his typically solid game. I was one of the shorter stacks once the Final Table conveened, thanks to losing a race with JJ .v Big Slick (the King coming on the river, naturally), but stole my way back into contention. I got rid of a shorter stack with 6 left and finally got my biggest hand to that point at the Final Table (AQ. My raise was re-pumped by jamyhawk, his KQ looking pretty good 4-handed against the table maniac (though less so, I'm sure when I pushed, but he was pot committed) and my dominating hand held up, giving me a huge advantage over the rest. I got to heads-up with a 4.5-1 chip lead and soon squandered it, but by that time, I had a great read on my opponent and quickly took control again. When all the money went in, my lead was back up to 3-1. I still needed the re-suck, though.

Sunday. 3 o'clock L.A. time (6 p.m. Eastern). Come watch me get it on. The poker, I mean. Bring beer. Fifteen minute levels and 7500 starting chips.

Matt Holliday Explained

I know all of you out there have been dying for my analysis of trade between the A's and Colorado Rockies. For those of you who are still operating a Cold Winter Stove, Oakland is sending SP Greg Smith, RP Huston Street (April swoons) and OF Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies for All-Star outfielder Holliday.

Unusual because the A's are committed to rebuilding, are, by all accounts, two or three years away from their newly-stocked farm system producing at the Big League level. So why would they trade for a $13 million rent-a-player? Holliday has only 2009 left on his contract, he's a Boras client, and is not coming back to Oakland beyond next year by any stretch of the dollar or imagination. This is the same Oakland team that unloaded Dan Haren, Nick Swisher, Rich Harden and Joe Blanton in the last year. Did all that losing in 2008 affect Billy Beane that much? Is he doling out the bucks so the young team has a better chance to compete next year as a bridge to the future, bring some fans back to the ballpark?

The A's offense in recent years has been painful to watch. Young hitters prone to slumps, players like Travis Buck and Daric Barton seeming to have lost any clue they had ever possessed, the all-or-nothing Wheel of Chance that is Jack Cust, Eric Chavez's continuing injuries. Suck. A big ol' silo full of suck. Holliday helps. He's right-handed, which balances the middle of the lineup, as the A's are lefty-heavy (to put it mildly). The scuttlebutt is that Rafael Furcal is another Beane target. Add a year of seasoning to promising players like Ryan Sweeney and Kurt Suzuki and improvement is likely.

Still, the Angels are loaded in the West. These moves wouldn't seem to get the A's within striking distance of the Halos. Though the A's bullpen is in great shape, the starting pitching is raw, young and unlikely to blossom in '09. But it is precisely that young current and future staff that is the reason for the Holliday trade.

Beane watched his young pitchers struggle last year and surmised that at least some of their issues had to to with the mental strain of constantly working without any run support. Smith, Dana Eveland, Gio Gonzalez, Sean Gallagher all took to the hill knowing they'd have to be nigh perfect to stand any chance of winning the game. With a clutch of even more heralded young arms waiting in the wings, Beane wanted to minimize the effect he saw last year.

Hey, if Lew Wolff's got the $13 mil laying around, might as well use it. And while the move appears on the surface to be a one-year gig, Beane is once again thinking long-term (and, naturally, there's the possiblity Holliday gets traded at the '09 deadline; if not, the A's will get draft pick compensation, which they value more highly than other teams).

As for the players given up, only Carlos Gonzalez is cause for some consternation. The centerpiece of the Dan Haren trade, Gonzalez is one of those "5 Tool" players who...well...never seem to pan out in Oakland. Trust me, we've had a few. Javier Herrera, Mario Encarnacion. The club just can't seem to develop those guys, for whatever reason. Beane said, regarding Gonzalez, that there was some "redundancy" there, by whom he meant Ryan Sweeney, who hit .286 in his rookie season and Aaron Cunningham, who is a year younger and impressed in a September call-up.

So there ya go. The A's, as presently constructed, can flirt with .500. Add Furcal or some other player with the reported $16 million Beane still has to play with and odds are 50-50 whether the A's are buyers or sellers at the deadline.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Hoy, your comments?

This was a $10+1 KO Turbo 90-person SnG. At the time, I was 3rd in chips, though I'd only collected one bounty (got most of my stack with KK via a Big Stack who pushed his flush draw and missed). The luckbox with the one-outer had just called off his entire tourney pre-flop with QJo (and was ahead!) to take the chip lead and this put him a good 13K over me and 2nd place with 4 tables left.

I finished 6th, which made it worth my while. And I didn't get beat by a one-outer.

Friday, November 07, 2008


I've been watching Season One of Mad Men on the iTunes, whilst simultaneously DVR-ing Season Two. I was not that impressed after three episodes and I will admit part of the problem was the continuous smoking put me on Tobacco Tilt. I felt like it was popular simply because of the gimmick of being set in 1960. To be certain, the design and shocking difference in societal standards provide entertainment in and of themselves. But I had yet to form a connection with any of the characters, though I'm not so obtuse I couldn't I recognize the sheer charisma of Don Draper (no homo). But I also actively hated some of the principals (beyond the ones who are purposefully odious).

Well...I'm glad I stuck it out. I stand corrected. Just four episodes later and I'm enthralled. The episode "Red in the Face" was 45-minutes of unparalleled television. Unlike a couple of my other recent favorite shows--The Wire and Deadwood--the writing is not as meaty. Where those two shows demanded you hang on every word to know what's happening, Mad Men delights in the spaces between the dialogue to set the tension. And then Draper delivers the knockout line.

"He's good with the words."

Thursday, November 06, 2008


So far I've written a blog post every day for the month of November and am but 800 words behind the pace for NaNoWriMo (with 10 hours left in the day, so no problemo there as I've been on a bit of a roll the last two days), so I suppose the two are complimenting each other quite well. So far, so good, but for the fact it's cutting into my drinking time. Not that I can't stop drinking for an extended period, because I've done that once already this year, but it's a dangerous thing to have a WPBT gathering on the horizon and going into it without establishing a proper booze foundation. That's how you end up in a wheelchair or in a public bathroom of the incorrect gender.

Is it really just five weeks away. Snuck up on me 'til now, but since I've given voice to it, the rest of the time is sure to drag. My last Vegas trip was last December, which means this is the longest time between Vegas trips for me in...10 years?...15? A substantial chunk, I assure you. I'm going to be shot out of a cannon on Dec. 11.


I am not a petty man. Sure, in small doses. But I am genetically unable to hold grudges against people. Of course, every rule has an exception. Mine is Jason Giambi.

Hell Hath No Fury like an Oakland A's fan scorned.

It wasn't that he left. It wasn't that he left for the Yankees. Though those two facts quite literally broke my heart, it was the deceitful manner of his exit which pushed me down the path to hate. There is ample evidence that Giambi never even considered re-signing with the A's, that his winter-long flirtation with the most expensive contract in team history was simply a ruse to keep public opinion on his side. Every nugget of information that was leaked pointed to his re-signing as simply a matter of dotting and crossing, but each time "something came up." And the organization bent to each and every one of those whims, which was clearly not in Giambi's plan. He needed the team to fold, to keep his Outlaw Hero status. He failed, dropping the No Trade Clause deal-breaker at the 11th Hour, because the organization didn't make it possible for him to leave any other way.

We didn't realize that at the time, of course, but public opinion swayed in a hurry when he signed quickly with the Yanks and then went on national TV and bashed Oakland, the city and the fans. He's just a dumbfuck jock, so you can kind of let some of that shit slide, but he was treated like royalty in Oakland in a way he will never be treated anywhere else. He was LOVED dammit. Do you know any Yankee fans who love him? Who would take Giambi over Tino Martinez?

One of the things he said was, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," which is such a massive pussy cop-out, considering he didn't exactly set the world on fire the two ALDSs the A's lost to the Yanks. "I'm going to the Yankees to win a World Series."


The Yanks bought out his option this week. He's certain to leave the Bronx without ever getting that ring. There is sentiment in Oakland to bring him back, bygones being bygones. Not from me.

I don't want Jason Giambi to win a ring. It used to be I didn't want him to win one with the Yanks, since it was his and his father's "dream" to play for them. You know, if he'd said that before he yanked me around for three tortuous months, I'd be long past the begrudging stage. But he did.

He got a shit-ton of cash out of Big Stein. And with his steroid admissions and health problems, that $91 million the A's offered was better spent elsewhere. It all worked out in the end. So far. I won't totally be satisfied until he retires ringless.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


For my entire adult life, I have been, politically, a conservative. By my measure, anyway. Hard to know what that really means any more and I identify not at all with the Republican Party as presently constructed. My political beliefs are rooted in fiscal responsibility, a minimum of government intervention and self-reliance. At the same time, I've supported many socially-conscious issues, with the caveat that they are efficiently run and targeted to those in need, rather than the wasteful "throwing money at a problem" ethos so popular with our leaders. I've long tired of the primary "issues" being abortion and other polarizing politics, such as gay marriage. It is my belief that, regardless of your position on either, it is not the government's business to legislate such personal choice. I mean, I'm against abortion. For me. I don't like it. It's also not my place to judge or restrict others in situations that are not my own.

There's euphoria in the country today. Mourning, as well. An historic result, to be sure. But, and forgive me for waking up on the cynical side of the bed, that's all it is.

I read some overseas papers this morning and nearly all glowed about "America's capacity for change." Interesting. As I see it, President-elect Obama did indeed tap into a simmering resentment of the direction this country is heading. The result illustrates the electorate demanded a shift in priorities.

We are in a big heap of shit right now on every front. Hell, it took the Russians less than 8 hours to put out a big raise. Under the gun. And so it begins...

My skepticism amidst the flag-waving is not an affront to Mr. Obama. When I assess his value to the country, the top vote-getter is that he has engaged the nation like no candidate in my lifetime. There's an energy among the electorate that's new. And wildly important. But it must continue. Because what will rescue this country is not altering the income tax or universal health care or peace abroad. A president working within the confines of our political system can not reverse our course unless he destroys the system from the inside out and completely changes the way our country is governed.

Yes we can?

Doubtful. Because the people we elected yesterday all have an investment in keeping the status quo. It's not a system that changes every four years, not a system that changes with a new party in power. It's a system that needs to be torn down. engaged are you?

I've read/heard a lot of sentiments along the line of, "That was invigorating but I'm glad it's over." It. Is. Not. Over. It is never over. Mr. Obama has drawn us into the discussion. And now our voices need to be heard louder than ever.

Special interests drive government policy. Not the citizens of this country. We get to speak every four (or two or six) years, our only true referendum to shout our opinions, but after the balloons pop and the streamers are swept up, we go back to satisfied malaise. Which is how they want it. During the campaign, we've been made to feel important. Seduced, aroused, infuriated. Engaged. Now we're sated. But the people with the checkbooks, the oil companies and the health care industry and the vampires on K Street are at work this morning trying to get theirs.

Our government is ineffectual, a sloppy morass of competing goals, backroom winks and dissemblance. Partisan politics, polarization of the electorate and laser focus on fringe issues allows our leaders to slip curveballs by us with frightening consistency, keeps monied interests wiping their asses with hundred dollar bills while you and I sweat out an unexpected expense. Many of us have faithfully pursued the American Dream, only to find ourselves awash in difficulty and confusion. You may have placed 20 years--and your faith--in your employer and watched them cut your benefits and pension to maintain the appearance of profitability for their investors. You may have moved to a neighborhood to give your children a better life only to see fiscal irresponsibility cause debilitating cutbacks in local services and schools, teachers to be fired, out-dated learning materials. You may have carefully adopted a retirement strategy, only to watch your nest egg plummet thanks to wild mis-management in the finance industry, knowing you can't rely on Social Security. You may wonder what it is you can do?

No single man can not turn this ship around. Three-hundred million men women and children might have a shot.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Congratulations Election Winners

Now get to work.

Tax legislation in the last 30 years has consistently and overwhelmingly switched the tax burden from monied interests to the average citizen.

Start by fixing that.

Monday, November 03, 2008


AJ scored his first goal this Saturday. It was a monumental moment. He'd not really come close before, but the last three weeks, he's been playing with some new-found confidence. Like it finally clicked that he could play this game.

Naturally, it's coaching.

He'd had a couple chances prior, one which he hit with his handbag right at the 'keeper and the second that required a nice save. We were overrunning the other team and I'm prety sure that helped him. After our first goal, he got into a jawing match with one of the opposing players. That happens. Someone says something to AJ, he's forced by genetics to respond. Proud as I was, I'm also the even-keeled coach, so I yelled at him to "Zip it."

We're up 2-0 when it happens. Our star, who's scored both, goes streaking down the wing and sends a lovely ball into the center. AJ takes it well, deft first touch, and slots it home.

He's missing three teeth in the front of his face and a fourth is all askew and ready to go at any point. I'll never forget that big-ass gap-toothed grin he flashed at me. All the blood rushed to his face and, for the first time in his life, he was speechless. He just gaped. I gave him a fist pump as my eyes watered and then, still coaching, complimented the superstar on his pass. By the time AJ got to the midfield stripe, he'd found his voice. "Yes!" he shouted. "I scored a goal."

At the half, I scooped him up on his way off the field. Gave him a couple kisses and told him how proud I was.

He as over the moon all day. I let him choose somewhere to eat lunch and over fish tacos I asked him what was up with his tete a tete with the other kid early on. Apparently, the kid suggested his team was going to win, even after going down 1-nil. AJ begged to differ. I had noticed later that this same kid behaved in a rather spastic manner during the rest of the match. I mentioned this to my boy and he said, "Yeah, he was kind of," and he paused for the right word.


Jesus. The perfect word. Maybe my boy's a writer. Nah. Striker. Definitely a striker.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sex on Fire

No, not the Kings of Leon song. Here's what happened:

The jalapenos on the nachos were exceptionally hot. Not pickled. Freshly cut. I only ate two, and warned others as to their eye-watering potency. Then I went to the toilet and didn't wash the spicy residue from my fingers know...handling myself.

The burn brought back memories of that time in Bangkok.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

And Away I Go...

387 words before breakfast. Go me.

Carmen was different. Dark as the irrigated earth. She had this unruly tangle of black hair that she would absently push off her forehead as it swirled about her in the desert wind. Eyes as black as olives and just as round that she’d shade with her long eyelashes, rarely looking straight at me, but rather from underneath, like a spy, and that shy smile, which said all the words she’d never say. Like my father in that respect. Communication around the ranch was mystery, unspoken possibilities with room enough for wide interpretation.

“You stay away from that girl,” my Dad said one afternoon as we loaded broken chunks of rock into the flatbed. “She’s not for you.” I moved to protest and he stifled me with one look. The ground out here was unforgiving, hard beneath its dirt veneer, unyielding as my father. Granite pounded and left behind when the mountains rose. I remember Carmen jumping rope across the field, my eyes on her even as Dad warned me away from her. Hoping she was watching me, shirtless and straining as I moved the earth.