February 27, 2007

One bomb per day: acceptable?

Laura Bush:

Many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, uh, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everyone.

Some blogger or other made this point as much as a year ago, and my apologies for not remembering where this concept came from, but it's worth repeating:

Suppose a terrorist group started a campaign in the US in which they set off a small-to-medium-size bomb somewhere in the States on a regular basis. Hell, it wouldn't have to be every day, once a week would be fine. Ten, fifteen casualties every time. One week in Miami, the next in Minot, SD, the next in El Paso, and on and on.

Would Americans shrug their shoulders and say "Eh, it's just one bomb here and there, the country as a whole is fine?"

UPDATE: Hey look, Kieran Healy says the same thing.

Posted by Carl at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2007

Poker: Donkey or Non-Donkey?

I haven't posted anything poker-related in a while, because I haven't been playing much. I've come to realization that the low-roller online games that I play, and even more so the free games at the local bar, bear little to no resemblance to the poker events we see on TV. Skill has very little to do with it; it's all about catching cards. It's hard to make people respect a bluff when they're playing for peanuts, or nothing.

But Friday night I was surfing channels and caught the televised final of Ultimate Bet's big event in Aruba, which inspired me to grab the laptop and log in. I got into a big freeroll, and did fairly well, finishing 52nd in a field of 2000 (granted, half the field was gone in less than an hour because they were playing like idiots in a freeroll, but still). Unfortunately, staying up that late didn't get me anything, as you needed to finish in the final five to actually make something of it. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable, and nice to play well for once.

Or at least I'd like to think I played well. I had one particular play that stuck out, one that I make fairly often, and usually with the same reaction. I was on the big blind (200 at that point) with 10-8 suited. Guy across the table raised to 800, and everyone folded around to me. I had something like 18K at that point, so 800 didn't strike me as a huge raise. I like suited connector hands in situations like this: call it, and if I catch something on the flop, I'll make the opponent pay. Miss the flop, and I fold at the first sign of trouble. So on this occasion I called, and flopped two pair. I checked, he bet, I called. The turn brought another ten for the boat, and I had him dead to rights. I checked, he bet, I put him all-in, and he called.

Moments later he and his pocket aces were eliminated, and via the chat he said "Can't believe you called an 800 raise with that sh!t." That's precisely why I called it: because you wouldn't expect it. If you'd raised 2000, I'd have folded pre-flop. If I hadn't hit something, I'd have folded after the flop and you'd have been happy. But I got a little lucky after calling your not-that-big raise, and now all your chips belong to me. If we all played the mathematically correct play all the time, the game would get kind of dull. But I took a quasi-calculated risk, and won. That's why they call it gambling.

So how about it? Am I, in fact, a donkey in this case? Or did I make a good play, and he's just pissy because he had a monster hand and got his ass handed to him?

Posted by Carl at 02:55 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2007

Linking Fool Friday

News flash: Pretty much all of Bush's senior advisors are bad at their jobs.

Interesting item on the omnipresence of Sysco. I'm fine with restaurants wanting affordable, consistent raw ingredients. But if I learned the chef was passing off a pre-made dish as his/her own, I'd be upset.

Teh sports: Gil Arenas all dunkin' off a trampoline, and I don't like NASCAR either. Also, goalie fight goalie fight goalie fight goalie fight. It's the most exciting play in all of sports!

And lastly, teh wacky: Oh snap! Beware of chimps!

Posted by Carl at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2007

Linking Fool Friday (Monday edition)

I ended up being AFC all day Friday. Excuuuuuuuse me.

Teh politics: You mean, like the Constitution?

I have long despised the show "24," because I believe it has gone a long way toward Americans' acceptance of torture.

Support our troops dammit! I do like this war tax idea, which would force conservatives to choose between their lovely war and their lovely tax cuts, and help people wake up to the economic case against the war.

Speaking of things that cost to much, someone attempts a breakdown on our silly health care costs.

Teh sports: A great career does not excuse managerial incompetence.

And teh wacky: Baby Calder!

Posted by Carl at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007

I love the freakin' Internet (part 108)

The Little Fool was trying to tell us about a song she learned at pre-school, but all we could make out was that it involved the words "dinky doo," and a hand motion of alternately grasping your elbow and waving. One Google search later, I had some lyrics, and one YouTube search later I had this.

Everything is on the Internet, everything. Even if you don't want to hear kids' music, you should watch after the one-minute mark to see a singing pirate operating a backhoe.

Posted by Carl at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)

February 09, 2007

Linking Fool Friday

I came into today thinking I had a boatload of stuff for LFF, but now that I look at it there really isn't that much. Strange. It doesn't help that my desktop machine totally gave up the ghost this week; I might have had some stuff bookmarked there.

The big political item of the week was the John Edwards blogger kerfluffle. Definitive take (pre-announcement that they'd stay) from August here. I am glad the Edwards campaign is sticking to their guns; I think the proper response from the beginning should have been "We don't care what Michelle Malkin thinks." But what's so galling is that this was clearly manufactured outrage. Malkin hates all Democratic candidates and all lefty bloggers (particularly women, apparently), and so she rummaged around the relevant blogs until she found something she could pretend to be upset about, and then brought in this Donohue character to rant and rave more. And our so-called liberal media bought it. It boggles the mind to think anyone believes Malkin is genuinely upset about these posts. And of course--OF COURSE--hateful comments by the wingnuts don't get the same level of scrutiny.

Teh sports: In my previous life as a Caps season ticket holder, I could always hear the guy we called "Loud Man" bellowing "LETS GO CAPS" from the opposite end of the arena. Dan Steinberg interviews him.

And teh wacky: Norbiz cruises YTMND so you don't have to. I particularly dig 50 Cent and 60 Minutes (which comes out to $1,000 per year).

WAIT WAIT I GOT ANOTHER ONE: In our house, we refer to the 11 o'clock news as "The Fear Show." It often sounds like this.

Posted by Carl at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2007

What about Marc Summers?

Too good to save for LFF: Anthony Bourdain runs down Food Network's cast of characters, to hilarious effect.

I largely agree with his assessments, though I'm a little surprised at his love for Mario. And I've ranted about Sandra Lee in these parts before. I have a minor confession to make about Rachael Ray, though. Like Bourdain and seemingly everyone in the comments to that post, I can't stand to watch her (though somebody must be tuning in). I hate the stupid "EVOO" convention--look, it's a worthless acronym if you then say "extra virgin olive oil" every time you refer to it, and you shouldn't be using extra-virgin to saute! I am quite capable of hearing "olive oil" and knowing what grade/pressing to use based on the recipe and the application.

OK, now where was I.... Mrs. Fool and I own a couple of her cookbooks--one given to us for Christmas, and the other received from Nabisco in their promotion (that prompted the Little Fool to ask, "Why is this girl on all the cracker boxes?"). And they're not that bad. The recipes are by no means earth-shattering, ground-breaking cuisine, and we could probably find similar recipes in the bajillion cookbooks we already own. But they're solid recipes, mostly kid-friendly, and they don't take that much time, which is critical on the weeknights. The book from Nabisco is "Express Lane Meals," in which she runs down a list of pantry items that one should always have on hand, and then each recipe includes a limited shopping list of ingredients apart from the pantry items that you'd need to pick up. For people who are trying to learn to cook, this kind of advice is probably quite useful.

Back to the Bourdain post: The underlying blog by cookbook/food writer Michael Ruhlman looks pretty promising; I've thrown it on the ol' RSS logpile. And be sure to enjoy this comment.

Posted by Carl at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2007

Stupor Bowl

Blah de blah the Super Bowl is my alternate birthday (I am now XXXVII years old) etc. Really, kind of an anti-climactic game this year. I had no particular interest in the two teams; I was lightly rooting for the Colts just so we wouldn't have to hear about Peyton Manning being a loser anymore.

The first half was interesting, but the second half was all about how lousy Rex Grossman can be. Manning was good, but not great; the Bears defense held the Colts offense to 22 points, and twice in the third quarter held them to field goals when a TD would have been a killer. A competent offense vs. the Colts D really should have been able to overcome that. The Bears had the ball and the opportunity to take the lead as late as 12 minutes to go, but Grossman kept throwing ducks.

Menu: Indiana chicken-chili stew, freshly fried tortilla chips with salsa, and oatmeal-raisin cookies. Mmmmmmmmmmm good.

Halftime show: better than usual. That Prince fellow kind of rocks. I did notice this suggestive shadow, though.

Commercials: Meh. Too many violent and stupid ones. The only thing that made me laugh aloud was Dave & Oprah.

Posted by Carl at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

February 02, 2007


I've used TurboTax the past few years and found it quite satisfactory. But this year, they decided to change their pricing model. You can buy the $20 basic edition, if you'd otherwise use a 1040EZ. If you actually want to, you know, take deductions or anything, you gotta pony up at least $40, $45 if you get it with state taxes included (more on this later).

Bad move, Intuit. TaxCut is gonna eat your lunch. $20 for federal only, $30 with state. Plus H&R Block co-branding, and it'll pull data from last year's TurboTax file. Screw you, TurboTax.

But if you live in Virginia, do NOT do not do not spring for tax software with state filing! Because Virginia has free free free online tax returns! I'm amazed at how many people around here don't know this.

Posted by Carl at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

Linking Fool Friday

Man, I've been busy lately. But I still make a point of bringing teh links every Friday, so at least there's that.

You've heard about the stupid Adult Swim/Boston thing, right? And this Sparling goofball at the war protests?

Molly Ivins, R.I.P.. Oh, but she was one of the good ones.

What could we do with $245 BILLION? How about we go kill some people and make a bunch of enemies and stuff? Yeah, that's a fucking fantastic use of all that money. Sheesh. Seriously, one should be able to build a huge anti-war coalition in this country based on the economic argument alone.

Teh music: do you have to really really ax? I'm not a huge rap fan, but I know what I like; this is one of the first hip hop jams I really got into.

And we'll combine teh sports and teh wacky into one item: Who do you like on Sunday?

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