November 29, 2004

Overly smart poker players annoy me

This weekend I watched the final table episode of WSOP 2004 for maybe the third time. A particular hand caught my attention, one in which David Williams called a Josh Arieh raise pre-flop with a low pair, caught a set on the flop and took Arieh for a hefty chunk of change. Arieh wandered around muttering about how insane it was for Williams to have called his original bet with those cards.

I noticed that hand because something similar happened to me in an online tournament just this weekend. I called a modest raise after the turn; I had an inside straight draw. I knew it was a longshot, but there was a lot of money in the pot and I figured it was a good enough risk. I hit the straight and won the pot, whereafter the guy I beat asked "How could you call that on 4th? You had nine high." Well, screw you, and screw Josh Arieh too. Do I need to explain my rationale? Does David Williams? We each took a flyer and it worked out. Console yourself by telling yourself repeatedly we made the wrong play. You still lost.

I guess it goes with the "bad beat" whining that comes with losing after getting good starting cards. Yeah, it's frustrating as hell to get pocket aces only to lose to some goofball who pulls a straight out of nowhere. But when you gripe that the goofball "got lucky," don't kid yourself that your getting pocket aces was somehow the result of your superior skill.

Posted by Carl at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2004

Mascots gettin' stooooooooooopid

Awww yeah. (QT vid.)

Posted by Carl at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Linking Fool Friday (Wednesday edition)

I suppose it's possible that I could be on the computer on Friday. But I doubt it.

So, everyone's heard about Morgan Stanley's chief economist predicting economic armageddon, and the attempt to clandestinely slip a rule allowing Congressional committee chairs to pull anyone's tax return for any reason into a big ol' omnibus spending bill? OK, good. We'll get that happy news out of the way first.

My favorite post this week is Digby's Pandering to Hypocrisy, articulating something I've thought for a while. If so many Americans support Moral Values and are Good Upstanding Moral Citizens, who's into all this filth on our TVs and newsstands? When the Promise Keepers had their big rally here in DC a few years back, I thought it would be amusing to visit local strip clubs to see how many Promise Keepers were there. Quite a few, I'll bet. Sadly, though, it takes just a few offended prudes to write the FCC or threaten a boycott to ruin it for the rest of us.

How creepy is this? George W. Bush: Our Leader. Don't forget those pre-election loyalty oaths, either. Everyone on the right howls if any comparison is made to Hitler, but I think Bush is much more like Stalin. Hopefully he won't kill millions of his own people who disagree with him politically over the next for years.

Finally: Arrrrrrrr. And oops.

Posted by Carl at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2004

Let's go Gnats.

Nationals it is. Apologies to Mediocre Fred and BallWonk, who had that whole debate for nothing.

Well, whatever. If you're looking to buy me a Christmas present, I wear a 7 7/8 hat. (I have a big freakin' head.)

Posted by Carl at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)

November 19, 2004

Knicks 93, Rockets 92

  • Despite not being much of a basketball fan, this was my fourth NBA arena. (Bonus points if you can guess the other three. Only one of them is obvious.) The Toyota Center is shiny and new and devoid of character, with too much plain white on the concourses. We were at the top of the lower level behind one of the baskets; after about one quarter a few of us snuck down to 15-20 rows back.

  • The Rockets led much of the way, but as with most NBA games the first three quarters were meaningless. The Knicks finally decided to play with some intensity in the fourth; down 2 with less than three seconds on the clock they in-bounded, and Jamal Crawford nailed a 3-pointer to win it.

  • You know you're getting old when every player on the floor in an NBA game is younger than you. I'm not quite there, thanks to Dikembe Mutumbo, who the Rockets keep around to give Yao Ming a break now and then.

  • I got my mascot photo, as Clutch borrowed a move from the Moose by sticking a paw in front of my face... and whacking me on the bridge of the nose. At one point during the game he came out in a t-shirt reading "I'm a bear, not a mouse."

  • At most sporting events, the T-shirt toss is anti-climactic, with everyone screaming while the mascot and his handlers slingshot all of four shirts into the crowd. The Rockets did a far, far more entertaining thing: dudes came out on the floor with a boatload of t-shirts piled up in a sheet. They said there were 800 of them, and everyone--cheerleaders, their breakdancing dudes, the mascot--flung them into the crowd during a timeout. Quite the scene. My buddy Phil got one.

  • At the Toyota Center, you can sit in the Tundra Zone, meaning you can spend the game next to a truck. I kept checking up there; one guy seriously leaned on the truck the whole game. Welcome to Texas, yee hah.

  • What gets on my nerves at an NBA game is the constant stream of noise--music, sound effects, even the PA guy yelling "De-Fense!" and "Louder!" while the game is going on. Only one of the major sports to do this (maybe MLS does it, but the sound system at RFK is so bad and the crowd so noisy on its own I couldn't tell if they were playing anything over the PA). I was waiting for the PA guy to start going "MISS!" when the Knicks were taking free throws. Do all NBA teams do this?

  • Anyone want this Yao Ming picture thing with a 35mm slide embedded in it? Seriously, do you? Free to a good home. E-mail me. I'll even send it to China.

Posted by Carl at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2004

Where the Fool at?

I've been in Houston all week for a conference and had pretty much no time for the blogging thing (don't be expecting a LFF post tomorrow, either). But right now I have a rare free moment, so here's some thoughts.

  • I am currently staying at the Inn at the Ballpark. Guess what it's next to? I stayed at the Hyatt Monday night but had to check out due to a reservation mix-up, and I'm glad I found this particular hotel. I got a bigger room, free Internet access, in-room CD and DVD players, and it's much quieter than the Hyatt with its big open atrium. Baseball-themed but tastefully done, with lots of leather and wood paneling. I'll definitely stay here again if and when I'm back in town.

  • As much as I think the baseball gods are mocking me for bringing me here during the off-season, I welcomed the easy opportunity to at least walk around the outside of Minute Maid Park. I went over after checking in Tuesday night, and there were people playing softball inside. Looked like some kind of corporate function. How cool is that?! Imagine how much money you'd have to pay Peter Angelos to play at Camden Yards.

  • I am still not a fan of Houston, at least not downtown. It's like certain parts of DC in that it's busy during the day, but no one actually lives down here, so most stuff shuts down after 5 PM. Tuesday night I went by no less than four restaurants, only to find them closed. There are a few places you can actually buy dinner, but I was specifically searching for barbecue and coming up empty. Jane & Michael Stern recommend four Houston restaurants in Eat Your Way Across the USA, but none of them are downtown, so without a rental car I was SOL. I did scrounge up Texas barbecue and good Tex-Mex later in the week, though.

  • Houston has a series of tunnels linking the buildings downtown, with their own economy, just like Crystal City's Human Habitrail. Wished I had known that earlier in the week, when I was walking across downtown in crappy weather to go back to the Hyatt.

  • Going to Rockets-Knicks tonight. I'm not that big a basketball fan, but what the hell. I hear that Yao Ming fellow is tall. And hopefully I'll get a new mascot picture for the first time in way, way too long.

Posted by Carl at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2004

Linking Fool Friday

As it turns out, most of my accumulated links this week were baseball-related, so they go their own post. Back to post-election wonkery, DHinMI at Kos has a great suggestion: what if Soros or another wealthy liberal just bought Diebold and their ilk? Then maybe we'd get legislation to make sure elections are fair and secure.

Stuff no one reports: a freakin' tank was dispatched to an anti-war protest in LA. Nothing really came of it, but... WTF? A TANK? I must have missed the liberal media's intense coverage of this incident.

Ye Slacktivist has yet another great post taking down the religious right with their own weapons, this one on the selective definition of what Moral Values are. Does Jesus hate people on welfare?

Finally, thanks to WULAD for pointing out this, um, interesting music video.

Posted by Carl at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

Nope, no tickets yet

I've long said of DC baseball that I'll believe it when I'm in my seat on Opening Day and the team is taking the field. This off-season's events have gotten my hopes up, but even still the possibility of them screwing it up looms. I was discouraged to hear the WTOP piece saying Linda Cropp's proposal to build the ballpark right next to RFK to save money was threatening the deal, but then they said MLB was threatening to instead move the team to... northern Virginia. Yyyyyyyyyyyyeah! Do it, Ms. Cropp! Don't let Mayor Williams push you around!

In an effort to stick my head out of the Liberal Blogosphere Echo Chamber, I checked out a few "reasonable conservative" blogs recommended by Max, and what should catch my eye but some sports-related items. EconLong lays out the pretty standard anti-ballpark subsidy argument (and makes Michael Wilbon look like a doofus). But then Daniel Akst at Marginal Revolution points out something that economists usually overlook: people like pro sports, and thus derive quality-of-life benefits that are hard to quantify. I tend to agree that the District has little business building a ballpark that will primarily benefit the team's new owner(s). However, if they build it, I will come, because I freakin' love baseball. The bit he cites about the Pittsburgh Penguins is particularly amusing.

BallWonk and Mediocre Fred have been debating the relative merits of "Grays" and "Senators," respectively, as the new moniker for the Expos. I am probably on record somewhere in Olde Blogge Towne as saying "Senators" was the only acceptable name, but I must admit "Grays" has grown on me. Of course, now they'll go with "Nationals." In any event, read the debate and make your voice heard.

Posted by Carl at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004

Stolen again?

Bob Harris has a round-up of potential behind-the-scenes shenanigans on election day. The optical-scan ballots in Florida are particularly interesting, because the actual pieces of paper should still be around and could be counted by hand. If the Republicans have nothing to hide, then they shouldn't object to an investigation to put these allegations to rest.

Posted by Carl at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004

"not real Americans"?

Need a little help here. A meme that's been going around is that conservatives/Republicans/southerners and midwesterners don't consider liberals/Democrats/the northeast and west coast to be "Real Americans." Trouble is, I'm having trouble with attribution. I've done some googling and just about all of the links I've found are liberal blogs generally attributing this attitude to the right. Anyone have actual statements/columns/whatever from someone on the right, questioning our Americanitude?

Posted by Carl at 12:53 PM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2004

My list

As referenced in LFF below, here's something I wrote over at Cafe Utne in response to a poster who said Bush couldn't do that much damage in four years.

He wrote: "This is absolutely no different to the reaction from the right when Clinton won. Everyone said the country was in big trouble, that the sky would finally fall."

IMO, the big difference is that the right in '96 was making generalized statements that Clinton would ruin America, but there weren't a lot of specifics. But I've got a shitload of specifics as to how I expect this administration to screw things up in just four years.

  • First and foremost, the appointment of hard-right judges to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. With the GOP taking a greater majority in the Senate, filibusters get that much harder; Bush has much less incentive to submit moderates as nominees. The impact of this will continue well beyond four years.
  • Once that stage is set, out goes Roe v. Wade, and then a federal ban on abortion. Yes, federal; I don't think the Moral Values crowd will be content with two-thirds of the states passing anti-abortion laws.
  • They'll also force "Under God" on us, allow the Ten Commandments to be posted everywhere, and further break down the wall between church and state. Ultimately we could see Christianity, specifically evangelical Christianity, as the official religion.
  • Continued discrimination against gays, to the point of violence.
  • The tax cuts made permanent, deficits as far as the eye can see, and an even more regressive tax code. BushCo think deficits don't matter, but economists say they do, and that shit is going to catch up to us sooner or later.
  • Continued pointless wars. The War on Terror will lead us to Iraq and Syria. But then since the Army is so overextended, it's draft time.
  • Continued alienation of our allies and the rest of the world. Maybe you don't care, but I don't want the rest of the world to hate Americans.
  • No Child Left Behind will continue its intended mission of hamstringing the public schools, so that only the wealthy can get a good education.
  • Status quo health care policy, which leaves millions with no health insurance.
  • More "cut down the forests so they don't burn" environmentalism.
  • More policy and regulations set by the very industries that are supposed to be regulated, at their benefit and at the expense of the consumer.
  • The continued scoffing at energy conservation that gave us tax breaks for people who buy SUVs. The anti-evolutionists who helped put this administration in power think that fossil fuels didn't come from dinosaurs, but that they're a gift from God, and will be unending. The reality-based community says that global consumption of oil will soon outstrip production, and when that happens look out. The Bushies seem to be taking advice from the former.

Now, I hope you're right. I hope he doesn't do this much damage in four years. I hope he gets engulfed in scandals and is rendered ineffective. I hope the Dems in the Senate are able to hold the line. But I'm not optimisitc. People who want to pursue this agenda have a great deal of power now, and I think it's naive to suggest they won't at least try to achieve these goals. Read the Texas GOP official platform lately? That's what we're in for.

So which of the above items am I not supposed to worry about? And you'd better give me something more than "You're upset and it's clouding your judgement" or "It's only four years."

Posted by Carl at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

Linking Fool Friday

One guess as to what the bulk of today's LFF items relate to.

A round-up of quality post-election pieces, covering the whole spectrum of left-wing reaction: yelladog, Pandagon, the Left Coaster, Alterman, and galiel at Kos.

We had a discussion at Cafe Utne in which one poster told us "Bush can't do that much damage, it's only four years, what are you so worried about?" Most of us liberal coastal elitists took offense to that, and I provided a laundry list of what I think Bush can and will screw up through 2008. Then I read this post at Unfogged which goes into a bit more detail, and makes me feel a little better. I hope it's right... but I'm still keeping my guard up.

As in 2000, the nation is much closer to purple than the Republicans and the press would have you believe.

Kerry's concession isn't legally binding, and now that ballot weirdness in Ohio is starting to show up, things could potentially get really interesting really quickly. It's appalling that for all our "world's greatest democracy" blather, we really can't run an election properly.

David Neiwert is one of my most favorite bloggers, and his now wrapped-up series on American pseudo-fascism is absolutely required reading.

Fun item from the last days of the campaign: Bruce comes up for a beer.

Finally, SKB and Andy Axel channel MLK. I can't read this right now without crying.

Posted by Carl at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2004


This tale of a Bush voter just makes my freakin' head spin.

Posted by Carl at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004


Well, that sucked. Apparently a lot of people care more about preventing total strangers from having abortions or getting married to people of the same sex, than they do about any kind of sound foreign or economic policy. August refers to issue polling but doesn't provide a link, but all the anti-gay marriage state initiatives passed. I'm embarassed to be an American in that regard.

UPDATE: go here and scroll down about halfway to "Most Important Issue." "Moral Values" has a plurality; 79% of those went for Bush.

TBogg captures the despair. MB at Kos tries to put a brave face on things.

Posted by Carl at 09:12 AM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2004

A little something for your nerves

Election got your insides tied in a knot? Get big laffs at the Daily Show Election Day blog.

Posted by Carl at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

The ballot is cast

We went to vote around 8:30 and waited a little over half an hour. Not too bad. Nice to see everyone turning out, even if most of them probably are voting for Bush. Virginia goes for Kerry in my wildest dreams, but I wouldn't put money on it.

My wife and I had our daughter in her stroller; I slapped my "I Voted" sticker on her as soon as I was done. On the way out, someone in line looked at her and said somewhat contemptuously, "He didn't vote." OK, first of all, she. Just because she's wearing a little denim jacket doesn't make her a boy. Secondly, lighten up! She's cute!

Go vote today, if you haven't already. That is all.

Posted by Carl at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)