Saturday, September 30, 2006

NFL Week 4

I'd say I'm remarkably consistant as far as picking NFL games go. I've got a decent record, but not good enough to win any money to speak of. And if I were really bad at it, the Stations Casino Great Giveaway contest would even reward me for that. Hell, if I could just go 50/50 all year, I could win the 'Fiddle in the Middle' contest. But no, I just keep chugging away winning two out of three every week and not making any progress to speak of.

The trick, I suppose, is identifying the 'two' and taking that knowledge with me when I visit my friendly sportsbook ticket writer.

Due to bye weeks, there are only 14 games to choose from this week, and because of some sort of schedule change, Station Casinos have removed the Cardinals/Falcons game from this week's contest (I'd take the Falcons anyways). That leaves 13 games for me to choose, so here they are:

Cowboys over the Titans. Vince Young gets his first start this Sunday, and this ain't no Rose Bowl. The 'Boys win ugly, regardless of T.O. popping pills like a washed-up B-movie actress. Next question!

Colts over the Jets. Chad Pennington may have been plugged into the Juvination Machine all during the offseason, but they don't have enough weapons to defeat Peyton 'Cut That Meat!' Manning and his merry band of receivers.

Dolphins over the Texans. Both are bad teams looking for an elusive win, but I'm guessing that Miami is slightly less bad and gets their first win this week. Man, it seems like only a month ago everyone had them knocking the Patriots off the throne of the AFC East. If Miami loses this game, they will be in the throne, not on it, and that flushing sound you're hearing is the Dolphin's season hopes circling the bowl.

Vikings over the Bills. I could go either way on this one, but I think the Vikings might win this game that nobody watches. Also, I love seeing the Bills get beat, just because I've got an obnoxious Bills fan who comes in to the casino every weekend, always plays at my table, and never shuts up. I'm choosing the Vikings on this one just in hopes for a week of peace and quiet.

Panthers over the Saints. Yeah, that was an emotional win last Monday night, New Orleans, but it's a short week, you're on the road, and the Panthers are better than their record. The momentum goes marching out this week.

Chargers over the Ravens. Both solid teams with good records. Both have bad coaches though. Marty, however, knows how to win in the regular season, the Ravens have played a bunch of stiffs, and McNair's passing isn't what they were hoping for. I'm riding the Bolts to the playoffs, where Schottenheimer will make sure they lose in the first round.

Chiefs over the 49ers. I like the meat-eating Arrowhead crowd much more than the wine-and-cheese tailgaters out in the city by the bay, and they provide the best home-field advantage east of Seattle. I like their running back better, too. Even Herm Edwards can't screw this one up.

Rams over the Lions. I for one love the fact that Matt Millen is still the GM of the Lions. He's like the Isiah Thomas of football execs, and as long as he holds a job in Detroit, we don't have to listen to his awful color commentary in the booth during Fox broadcasts. Now if we could just get Bill Maas, Kenny Albert, and Brian Baldinger jobs as GMs of bad teams, all would be right with the world.

Browns over the Raiders. I may crawl out of bed and go down to Jillians and watch the game just to talk smack in person to LV Terry. Somebody's got to win this game, and it's not going to be Art Shell.

Jaguars over the Redskins. Jags gave the Colts all they could handle last weekend, which I'm sure is more than the Redskins can handle. Brunell won't throw 22 in a row against this secondary.

Bengals over the Patriots. The Sports Guy Bill Simmons thinks that this is a trap game due to another run-in with the law by a Cincinnati player last week. Whatever. Cincy is a bunch of criminals--that's who they are--just like the old University of Miami teams that dominated for so many years. Brady, his rugged good looks, and unhappy body language are in for a street fight. And you always pick the thugs in a street fight. And remember my rant about the Titans 'coming one yard short of winning it all' last week? That rat bastard Simmons even said it again this week in his Wednesday Q&A chat on ESPN. Suck it, Simmons, the Patriots are done.

Bears over the Seahawks. No homefield advantage, no Steve Hutchinson blocking for no Shaun Alexander. Seahawks don't have a prayer in Soldier Field this week.

Eagles over the Packers. I could easily pick the Pack in an upset, but then I remember that I have money on the line. Take the Pack on the road? No thanks. That money would last longer in Doc Al's hands in a strip club full of surgically enhanced Asian girls. Besides, the Iggles and their battery-throwing fans look like the only team in the NFC East capable of making a run for it, the collapse against the Giants notwithstanding.


Last Week: 9-5

Season: 30-15

Winning Percentage: .667 (Back in high school, that's a D+ --good enough to pass, but not good enough for Dad to hand over the car keys).

Mama Always Said...

... that working in a casino is like a box of chocolates. You never know who you're gonna meet.

Last night was a very enjoyable evening at work, and I'm thinking we made good tokes, too. First of all, I met one of the most interesting people I've ever had the pleasure of dealing to, and he and his wife followed me from table to table for a couple of hours, making the workday just fly by.

Basically, the guy is a sniper in the Air Force, one of only about 130 or so in that entire branch of the military. He's been on four six-month tours to the sandbox already, and just an amazing person to talk to. Of course, to look at him you wouldn't know that he's a professional killer--he looks like your typical random 23-year old kid, except that he walks with purpose and doesn't wear a baseball cap askew like a complete jerkoff. While he was in the restroom, his wife told me even more stuff about him that he wasn't offering up in our conversation, like the fact that he was the #2 ranked sniper in the entire Air Force.

I was asking him about his equipment, and he said he shoots the M-24 rifle, chambered in .308 goodness, with an effective range of 800 meters or so. That's a helluva long way to put a bullet where you want it to go, and I asked him if he'd ever made a shot that long in combat.

His answer completely floored me. He told me that his longest 'effective shot' (that's mil-speak in polite company for 'killing a bad guy') was about 12oo meters--He didn't go into detail, thankfully, but it involved an enemy combatant doing something he ought not have, so he took him out--from three-quarters of a frickin mile away!

I don't know if anyone out there reading this has ever spent any time behind a rifle, either hunting or just target shooting, but a shot like that is something truly amazing. And the fact that he did it while while in the heat of combat, protecting some of our troops, makes it even more noteworthy. Hell, the longest shot I've ever made at something I've aimed at was less than 300 yards, with a scope, a comfy chair, and sandbags supporting the rifle so that I didn't flinch. And oh yeah, I didn't have anyone shooting back at me, either.

Anyhow, I could've picked his brain all night, talking about his experiences and training, but unfortunately, the cards weren't with him, and military pay ain't that great, so they had to wrap it up after a couple of hours and call it a night. On the plus side, he said that he'd be more than happy to go out to the range with me and show me a few tricks and tips to help my accuracy (I haven't mentioned this yet online, but after the holidays and such, I'm thinking of shooting in smallbore matches on weekends. It's a fairly cheap hobby and lots of fun), so hopefully we'll get together again soon.

The good news is that he's likely out of harm's way for good, although there is a slight chance he may have to go back for one more tour this December. However, it looks like the military is still smart enough not to risk it's most valuable assets, and like Ace fighter pilots back in WWII, most likely he's back in the States permanently, training the next generation of Air Force snipers. He said he finds out for sure today, and the next time they come out to the casino they'll let me know.

Here's hoping that his combat days are over.

After that, much later in the evening, I saw a very familiar looking guy playing blackjack at a hundy a hand, but I was not dealing it at the time. But then I noticed his wife playing all of the carnival games and tipping like a legendary George. Oh yeah... then I remembered. They come and visit about three or four times a year, and always stay at our hotel and casino. Anyhow, the husband was *very* succesful in the motorsports world, and has since gone on to other business ventures. But they are really nice people and are great examples of how to take care of their dealers. I noticed that the toke boxes on all of the tables they played at had lots of green checks inside, so I gotta love 'em for that.

And to make the evening even better, I got a half-hour early out. Meaning, I punched the clock at 3:20, got my full eight hours worth of tokes, and was home in bed by 3:45 in the morning.

That's a pretty good Friday night, if you ask me.


Trap Game City

Wow... just watching the college football games so far today, I'm amazed at some of the upsets. Illinois beating down Michigan State, who was a 26-point favorite--at home no less. And even though it's still in progress, Georgia Tech is running all over Virginia Tech (a team I've always thought was a bit overrated anyways), and Alabama is up 10-0 on Florida, in Gainesville, and seems to be pounding them pretty thoroughly. Unbelievable. I guess that means I won't go undefeated this week, again.

I guess I should've picked Wisconsin and LSU this weekend, instead.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Because I Love My Readers

Here is a picture of coleslaw. Discuss.


Cuba Libre!

It's a toasty warm 94 degrees here in the tropics- without- the- trees, and I've been out and about running errands most of the day. Most of the day? Who am I kidding? I didn't even get out of bed until almost noon...

Anyhow, after the business at the bank and such was taken care of, it was time for lunch. Metro Pizza is out, so I decided to drive a few more blocks east along Tropicana and stopped in a little strip mall, settling on a small restaurant called the Cuba Cafe.

Intimate is a good word to describe the dining room, with about a dozen small tables covered in black tablecloths and lots of pictures of Cuba adorning the walls. Not wanting to get too extravagant and ordering off the dinner menu, I stuck with the basics and ordered a Cuban sandwich, fries, and a Coke.

It was excellent, and while still not as over-the-top awesome as Kahunaville's interpretation, I'd have to admit that it was a smidge better than the Cuban sandy from the much-ballyhoo'd Florida Cafe down on The Boulevard. Piping hot, smashed flat, with pork, Swiss, mustard, and pickles. Hard to beat that for a good lunch. I'm not a huge fan of French fries, but these weren't bad, although they serve way too many. They weren't fries so much as they were huge potato planks, kind of like the kind you'd get in a steakhouse if you didn't want your taters baked.

But with a couple of cans of Coke, the tab came to about twelve bucks--well worth it. My only beef was that there wasn't an outdoor patio to sit on and enjoy the day--it was a beautiful warm sunny day out, and I think it'd be a good time go pull out the ol' Guayabera shirt, a fine cigar, and pretend I'm watching the world go by on Calle Ocho while sipping on a tiny cup of strong coffee.

Oh well.

The next best thing is the rum and coke sitting here slowly putting a glass ring on my new desk.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another Slow News Day

I think I've got to go back to having the Food Network set as my background noise during the day instead of ESPN.

First of all, earlier this week, it was a constant barrage of the oh-so-serious coverage from New Orleans. It was just a damn football game fer Chrissakes, but they had about 48 hours of continuous coverage searching for Deeper Meaning. Yeah, New Orleans is a wreck. If Mother Nature decides that she wants to completely destroy a city that was poorly designed in the first place, it may take awhile to bring it back up to speed, especially when a good portion of the population doesn't want to get off it's damn ass and do anything about it except squawk that it needs more of my money.

That's just my opinion, but it seems painfully obvious.

Also, they may have mentioned something about a story about some football player in Dallas 'accidentally' overdosing on pain medication this week.


It seems like the only people that like that guy are the sports media, and it's not that they like him as a person, it's just that he's such an asshat that it makes their job easy. They really don't have to do much as the stories just write themselves.

But watching Mike Greenberg keep repeating that the Dallas police have closed the book on the investigation is like watching that SNL parody of the Reagan assassination attempt with Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat getting shot. It's a never-ending parade of uninteresting non-information. I think I've been reminded of this non-story about 37 times already today.

I guess it could be worse. I could be sitting here listening to Rachel Ray moan as she takes a bite out of the cheapest thing on the menu...


Week Five College Picks

Well, last week, I had a less-than-stellar performance, going 4-3, and getting a cheap win when Ohio State got a lucky interception-for-touchdown to cover in the closing minutes of it's game. And that 'laugher' I predicted in Georgia almost became an Upset of the Week, but at least they salvaged a win. But the only team that truly disappointed me was my beloved Sun Devils, getting their asses handed to them by those dirty hippies from Cal.

And even though I only went 4-3, I still picked up two places on the field, and now I'm in seventh place in my pool. Let's see if I can pick up a couple more spots with the following picks:

1) Georgia -18 over Ole Miss. Yeah, I know they barely beat a bad Colorado team by only a point in the closing seconds last weekend, but now we've found that our third string quarterback is pretty damn good. No messing around in this SEC matchup, Georgia should cover. But a game like this almost makes me wish I were back in Nashville working at my old job trading equities. Almost. Both my boss and the obnoxious bond trader at the desk next to mine were Ole Miss alums, and I think the opportunity to go back and talk some smack on Monday morning would be a lot of fun. But all things being equal, I'd rather just be here in Vegas.

2) Nebraska -21 over Kansas. *Pick of the Week* Not that Nebraska is that good, but nobody in college football, and I mean nobody, can run up the score on a weaker conference opponent like the Huskers. Cornholers win big, and this one is likely over by halftime.

3) Miami -16 over Houston. I should've made this my POTW, since I probably would've taken Miami even if they were giving up another ten points. Look for the Hurricanes to go Phi Slamma Jamma and unleash the perfect storm on New Orleans West in an attempt to regains some lost credibility.

4) Vanderbilt -34 over Temple. Yes folks, you read that correctly. That SEC powerhouse, the Mighty Commodores of Vanderbilt University are favored by 30+ points this week! Of course, they're playing a hapless Temple team that couldn't conjure up a winning record in Division III, and word around the campfire is that after this weekend, the books in Vegas will no longer take any action on Temple. Get in on the party before it's over!

5) Florida -13 over the Crimson Laundry Soap. Just off the top of my head, I don't think that Alabama has covered the spread yet this year (except for last weekend). I could be wrong, but I know they've played ugly in every game. And playing in The Swamp is probably going to be too big a task for them. I think the Gators will probably run it up.

6) Tennessee -16 over Memphis. This game rounds out my week of going against my code and picking all favorites to cover. Outsiders might think that this matchup should have the flavor of a 'rivalry' game but since the schools are so far apart geographically, it's more like the Hillbilly version of University of Texas-El Paso versus Houston. In other words, nobody but the locals care. And the two schools couldn't be more different. If you've ever met anyone from Knoxville, Chattanooga, or anywhere along the I-75 corridor, they have something of a superiority complex and will, without fail, tell you that they are from East Tennessee. Not a specific city, not just 'Tennesee', but always East Tennessee. Ever meet anyone from Memphis? Of course not--nobody from there will admit it in polite company. If they are from the Memphis area, they will always tell you what bedroom community they live in. I'm not from Memphis, I'm from Germantown... It's like saying that you're from Detroit. Once that's out in the open, people tend to give you a wide berth.

Anyhow, those are my five star picks of the week. And you didn't have to call a $20-per-minute 900-number to get 'em, either.


Last Week: 4-3

Season: 17-11

Winning percentage versus the spread: .607

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Changing Tastes

Regular readers know of my fondness for Metro Pizza. I would normally eat there a couple times a month, and I'd always get the same thing--a small pepperoni and sausage pizza. Once in a great while, I'd change it up, maybe try a ham and pineapple (good) or add mushrooms (not so good).

Also, since I just recently discovered that they offer delivery, I've tried to call a couple of times to take advantage of it, but unfortunately, every time I've called, they said that wait times were in the neighborhood of two hours. So I've had carryout a couple of times, and most recently last weekend while enjoying a day of football. And while I can't speak for delivery, the carryout pizzas held up very well in the 8-minute drive from store to home.

As much as I love Metro's pies, their large pizzas have a totally different crust than their smaller 9-inch counterparts. Yes, I'm aware that you can request a thinner crust, but they've always been inconsistent. The only true large NY-style slices I've had were at the Ellis Island outlet.

So large pizzas are out. It's not that they're not good, it's just that they're not as good as I know they can be. And while the small pizzas are excellent, I've figured out that I don't like their toppings as much as I thought I did. First of all, the pepperoni and sausage seem too salty. And the mushrooms--oh my god--they were so salty that I thought they were cured in brine like olives. They were almost inedible.

I guess I'm saying that as good as I thought Metro was, and it's still very good, it's just not as good as say, NY Pizza & Pasta (which I reviewed earlier this past summer). So I suppose that means that if I want to enjoy a Metro Pizza, I'm going to stick with a plain old cheese pizza, and it's hard to get excited about a cheese pizza.

I guess if I want really great pizza, I'm either going to have to drive over to the West Side, or get back down to Phoenix for a slice or two of Brooklyn Family from NYPD.


Time to Find a New House

Yeah, I'm thinking that this story is the stuff that nightmares are made of... Idaho is bad enough, but if it were down in Arizona, Nevada, or Texas, it'd be a lot worse, what with rattlesnakes and all.

It reminds me of the time several years ago that Reverend Dave found a snake in his bedroom. I think he jumped up and threw the covers off of his bed three or four times a night for the next few months every time he thought he felt something move.

Or one time a couple of buddies and I went camping early one summer in Montana. We were out shooting, riding ATVs, and just goofing off one day when we found a huge pit on the edge of a meadow. We thought it was a perfect place to blast away with the guns, except after a few dozen shots, a bunch of damn rattlesnakes started crawling out of all the holes along the side (we thought the holes were for mice or prairie dogs or something, not a load of frickin' rattlesnakes), mightily pissed off at us.

You never saw Mikey move so fast. It was like something I once heard from a cop--Nobody runs faster than a scared white man!

If we'd had some shotguns, it might've been different--but you have no idea how hard it is to hit a target as small as a snake with a rifle when you're jumpy and nervous. So we decided to just run, instead.

But nothing gives me the willies like a story my buddy Ed related to me recently. He had to travel to India for several weeks on business, and told me that they found a live cobra in one of the offices in the building he was working in.

Could you even imagine?

I mean, I've been living in the desert for the better part of the last 15 years, and I think I've seen three rattlesnakes the entire time. And none of them were in my office! I mean, I guess it's cool that cobras keep the rats and mice away, but wouldn't it be more prudent to spend that money on an exterminator instead of a snake wrangler?

When I was a kid in Tennessee, we saw plenty of snakes. We lived way the hell out in the woods, miles from civilization at the time, but most of the snakes we saw were after our German Shepherd, Rebel, had gotten hold of them. Wasn't much left by then. But we still saw plenty of Black Racers and the like, and even the occasional Cottonmouth while swimming in the 'big creek'. (I can't even imagine doing that today...)

But if I ever pulled on (what I thought to be) a lightswitch cord and it turned out to be a snake, I swear I'd shiat myself faster than the old codgers at a retirement home after gorging themselves on prune ice cream.

I don't mind snakes, per se, but not if they're being sneaky. I want to see them coming, or not see them at all.


The Lost Weekend

Hey Gang!

Sorry that I haven't posted any bloggy goodness since early Monday morning--usually I try to say something interesting on my day off, but I spent most of it in bed nursing a bit of a hangover, and just wasn't feeling up to sitting in my chair and staring at the intense glow of the monitor. A man's got to know his limitations, and apparently I'd forgotten mine.

Monday was a lot of fun--Eddie B and his wife Regina were in town for a quick visit, and we got together for lunch at one of my favorite spots, the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Venetian. They'd never been there before, and were suitably impressed. And of course I had the Asian Nachos for lunch. They're so damn good that I just can't help ordering them every time I go there.

After lunch, Eddie doubled the tab by feeding sixty bucks into a dollar WOF slot, where we got a grand total of one spin (using my forehead, of course) for 25 credits. Lame.

Since they had never ridden in my new truck or visited the Wynn, after that we headed off to the valet to kill two birds with one stone.

The Wynn is still as nice as ever, and lurking around there on a Monday afternoon was quite enjoyable. Eddie's first amusing understated comment was It's a little different than the Desert Inn, don't you think?

We visited all of the restaurants on site, perusing the posted menus, and decided that on their next visit we'd have to have dinner at Daniel Boulud Brasseire.

We also enjoyed the view of the lake and the waterfall, and were intrigued by the statues of naked people frolicking in the water. That led to Eddie asking the inevitable hypothetical question asked of How much would it take to get Mikey out there to pretend he's a statue? Suprisingly, the answer was 'a lot less than you'd think...'

After wandering a bit, we decided to chill out and enjoy the afternoon sipping cocktails in the Parasol Up bar, which is always a great time. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten to bring any good cigars, but it was still fun to sit in there and reminisce about old times and all the fun we had in Vegas Back In The Day.

We stayed for two rounds and lots of good conversation, but Eddie wanted to give the tables a try. So we found a $10 single-deck game and sat down. Eddie changed up a hundy, but I just pulled the lone twenty out of my wallet, slapped it down on the felt and told the dealer Money plays!

My Ace/Eight looked good against her seven, and it was nice to win the first couple of bets. Of course, I should've walked once I had $55 in checks, but no, she went on a streak and took it all back, including the original twenty-spot. Of course it didn't help that we had a guy there at the table playing that oh-so-original 'never bust' strategy, which of course led to more than one person at the table asking if he was on Steve's payroll.

I didn't get angry or berate the guy, after all, it was only twenty bucks. I just wish I was wearing my t-shirt that says Yeah, We Already Know You Have A Small Wiener, You Don't Have To Keep Reminding Us By Standing On 16.

Oh yeah, it exists, but I'd opted for a more subtle Captain Morgan t-shirt that day instead.

We stuck around long enough to see Eddie's hundred disappear into the rack, but after that we headed out. They were going to a show that night, and I had to work, so I dropped them off back at the Luxor before heading home and getting ready for my evening.

Monday was actually a pretty fun night at work--it was mellow, none of the usual stiffs found my table, and the plan was to go out and get silly afterwards because it was somebody's last night before going on maternity leave.

One of the best things about working in a casino is watching the human drama unfold before me. Getting paid to see people make complete fools of themselves is just a perk of the job. It's like I'm the poor man's Simon Cowell, and sometimes I even get away with making smart-assed remarks, too.

But my last table of the night was just a priceless experience. I was dealing a $10 shoe game, with only three players. One of them was a pretty attractive (the beer goggles needed a very mild prescription) 40-something lady, obviously playing for the free drinks and the attention. At third base was a serious old dude with a bankroll, and sitting next to the milf was an out-of-town conventioneer who was definitely on the prowl and wearing his newest "I'm going to Vegas" Hawaiian shirt.

Mr. Hawaiian shirt immediately got on my bad side with his dumbass comments, and it took me about three minutes to realize that he was putting the hard sell on Old Hotness, pretending he was an expert on all things Vegas and gambling-related, while Grandpa just sat at third base smoking his cigarette and shaking his head at the asshattery on display.

A few minutes later I dealt the lady a blackjack, but I had an Ace showing. As I waved over the table asking for insurance, the wannabe Ladies Man started hopping around in his chair and insisting that she take even money.

Seriously! You have to take even money here! Tell him you want even money! Do it! and so on...

She gave me that What should I do? look, so I told the guy Chill out bro, let her play her own hand, and then told her Only guys with no sack take even money. It's a sucker bet and you've only got ten bucks at risk. Always go for the payoff.

Grandpa started laughing at my answer, and when I checked the mirror there was no ten in the hole.


Yeah, good advice there, dude... I said as I paid the lady her fifteen bucks.

That kind of put him on tilt, and he'd already lost a few hands, so he wanted to show off and started betting big. And man oh man, was it ever fun to turn over a bunch of four card twenties and twenty-ones over the next few minutes.

At one point, he put $250 out in the circle, and the gal just looked at him and said You're crazy!

Only about you... was his cheeseball response that caused the old guy at third base to almost choke on his cigarette. I couldn't help but laugh at that and just as I turned over another king to make my 20, I said to him, Man, that was a great line, mind if I use it sometime? as I took his chips down.

He was already in about $800 to me by then, and pulled out another $300 asking for change. By that time, even the old guy at third base couldn't help bagging on him and threw out a gem. Hey man, I know you're just trying to close the deal here, but there's a place down the road where you could get two Asian girls for three hours for the same price...

I was chuckling at that line when I got tapped out, and my week of work was over.

I got the twenty minute early push, so I changed, clocked out, and ran for the door, heading home to change clothes, grab a cigar, and head back to the bar in time for the party to get started.

It was a good time--the Usual Suspects were there, plus a bunch of other dealers that normally don't go out with us every weekend. Hell, it was the first time I'd been out in almost a month, too. But many shots were poured, toasts were made, and we laughed our asses off for several hours. And everyone must've been feeling a little frisky that night, because I woke up yesterday afternoon with bruised nipples.

Oh. Too much information. Sorry 'bout that...

I must be losing my touch, but I want to offer a piece of advice to all you youngsters out there who may be reading this. When the hottest girl in the bar offers you a ride home--you should never, and I mean NEVER, turn it down.

*Homer Simpson voice* Damn alcohol-induced bad judgement... Why must you mock me?

Anyhow. I had a great time.

I woke up yesterday, alone, just in time to catch Wilbon and Old Man Kornheiser on PTI. I then spent the afternoon lying in bed, drinking bottled water, and watching all the stuff I'd Tivo'd over the previous few days.

I also watched the final two hours of the WSOP final table on ESPN, and one thing strikes me as peculiar. Yes, Jamie Gold absolutely dominated the field, but he would've won a lot sooner if he would just shut the hell up and quit talking every time he made a big bet. It was almost cringe-inducing watching him give away too much info and letting his opponents fold instead of calling. He could've easily knocked out Allen Cunningham earlier if he would've just kept his damn yap shut.

Clearly he's never read The Art of War, or if so, he didn't remember that part about never interrupting your enemy when he's making a mistake.

I'm guessing that if he wouldn't have had such a monster chip stack, he couldn't have gotten away with some of the stuff he did.

Another thing--I'm no pro, but Hey-Zeus Farking Christo, if I have the absolute nuts of a hand, why in the hell would I ever go All In? That's about the dumbest fricking move you could make! Either check or put out a 'he must not want me to call' raise and let your opponent hang himself.

Good lord--this is professional poker?

Oh well, I guess you can't argue with results.

I don't know why it's got me so worked up into such a lather, but with moves like that, I can't see the value-added from having Johnnie Chan as a coach. Not once did Johnnie say "Damn Jamie, just shut the hell up and raise!" which would probably be the best advice he could give.

But it warmed my heart to hear, after all was said and done, that Jamie Gold only gets $6 million of his $12 million in winnings because the toolbag left a voicemail telling one of his business associates that he could have half of his WSOP winnings before the thing even started.

What a dumbass.

The only reason I'm down on the guy, and all nine of those losers at the final table, is because word travels fast in this town, and according to the guys that put out The Dealers News, not a single one of the guys at the final table left one thin dime as a tip for the dealers. Not a frickin' dollar.

I mean, seriously--every one of those guys became instant millionaires and they totally stiffed the guys providing the service. This is the first time that's ever happened. Of course, that's one lesson from Chan that stuck--he's a legendary stiff.

Now that I'm here, living on tips, I believe that there's a special corner of hell reserved for child molesters, people who create and spread computer viruses, and casino stiffs. They can all rot there as far as I'm concerned.

Once the World Series of Poker coverage ended and I calmed down from my bile-inducing wrath, I was feeling a bit hungry. A late-night trip to Del Taco for a Macho Burrito and two Big Fat Steak Tacos certainly took the edge off, and I spent the balance of the evening watching cool features on the History Channel, like the story of the Atlantic Intra-Coastal Waterway, and the efforts to dredge sand up and rebuild the beaches in Pensacola. Very interesting stuff to this armchair sailor.

Anyhow, that's pretty much the story of my whereabouts the past couple of days. I'm suffering through one of those 'I can't think of anything to write about' periods right now, but you all know that eventually enough stuff builds up in my brain and I unleash a monster. Not that I'm promising anything like that, just letting you know that I haven't felt particularly inspired to write anything lately.

Peace out and have a great day.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Killing Me Softly...

Happy Monday, everyone. I just got home from work a few minutes ago and thought I'd post about something besides the weekend's football games for a change. Eddie B is here in town, and although we're not up to our usual Vegas buffoonery, we'll be getting together for lunch later today. Can't wait to see him, although it's only been a few weeks since I was in Phoenix.

Work was interesting this weekend. First of all, whoever books our 'talent' to provide music in the casino on weekends must be either going deaf, or scraping the bottom of the barrel. We have had the worst, most god-awful duet performing for the last couple of weeks. They don't have a very good song selection--they play the exact same stuff every night, and listening to them warble around is like listening to a beginning music student trying to play an out-of-tune banjo. There are some recognizable tunes every now and then, but overall, it's just not pleasing to the ear.

I mean, seriously, if you have to play that horrible How Far is Heaven? song twice within the same hour, you really need to get back into basement and practice your craft. Trust me, they weren't playing it twice because people requested it. And I swear if I hear that damn A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That song one more time, I'm likely to get up from the table, walk up to the bar, snatch the microphone away from the singer, and use it to beat the ever-living shit out of her.

Honestly. I just can't believe the crap these people get away with playing in public and actually charging money for. Is the talent in Vegas just spread that thin? Of course, if I were the entertainment director, somebody would be complaining that there was too much old Van Halen and Guns & Roses being played in the bar, and that they really don't like that hot girl in the red dress singing I Touch Myself every night...

But as bad as it was on Friday and Saturday night, nothing could compare to the horror that awaited me when I arrived last night. Somebody thought it would be a brilliant idea to set up Karaoke in the bar (which, incidentally, is surrounded by all the table games in the casino, so we dealers get the full effect).

Oh. Dear. God.

Darling readers, mere words cannot describe the ear-bleeding pain I had to endure for the first two hours of my shift. It was sooooo bad. I was so embarrassed for some of these people and I couldn't wait for it to end. It's like I wanted to crawl in a hole and whimper Make the bad man stop! over and over again.

One guy even showed up with a fiddle, just so he could play along with some country song he was going to sing. If you ask me, that's just being a little too prepared for karaoke night. There was one highlight, however--some guy got up and sang What a Wonderful World and did a spot-on impersonation of Louis Armstrong that earned him a standing ovation from everyone in the bar and half the people outside at the tables. It was amazing.

But the worst was some gal trying to sing one of my personal favorites, Dancing Queen by Abba. It was so bad that my game came to a complete halt so everyone could turn around to see who was subjecting themselves to such ridicule.

Of course it was a surgically enhanced smokin' hot Asian girl stuffed into a mini-dress that was two sizes too small. We all agreed that although she probably didn't have much of a musical career ahead of her, she definitely belonged onstage.

One that had a brass pole standing in the middle of it...

Luckily for the rest of us, at the end of the show they announced that next week's karaoke would be taking place in the nightclub instead of in the bar, and for the most part we won't be able to hear it out in the pit.

Unfortunately, the karaoke is only offered on Sunday nights. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to go in on my night off, do a few shots, and then get up onstage and lead the crowd in a group sing along of My Ding-a-Ling. It ain't Cradle Will Rock, but I'm sure Diamond Dave would approve.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday NFL Picks

I had another respectable showing last week, but I have to admit, this was the first time in recent memory where there was no money-line action on five of the games. Vegas knows how bad some of these teams suck this year, and I have to say that I'm quite disappointed in whoever did the scheduling this year and gave the Raiders a bye this week.

I could really use the money right now.

Oh well, maybe I can bet against the Browns. Hey... now there's an idea.

Anyhow, on to the picks:

Panthers over the Buccaneers -- That Simms kid looks just plain awful at QB, and the Cadillac is running like an old Nova.

Vikings over the Bears -- This is one of those pick 'em games that I could go either way on. The Vikings can run the ball, Brad Johnson seems to be finding receivers when they need them, and they're playing at home. I think it'll be a tough divisional game for the Bears, and since they won't go undefeated anyways, I chose the Vikings to hand the Bears their first loss this week.

Bengals over the Steelers -- Big Ben struggles, and the Steelers don't have much of a running game. And I'm guessing the score will be higher than 9-0 this week. Carsen Palmer gets his revenge.

Packers over the Lions -- Moral victory last week for the Pack. This time they get one that counts.

Colts over the Jaguars -- As much as I'd love to pick the Jags here, I'm just afraid that they're going to blitz Peyton Manning too much, and there is no better quarterback in the league than Manning in picking up blitzes and making the defense pay. They've got no running game though, so look for the Indy receivers to have a big day.

Jets over the Bills -- Jets showed a little grit last week and made the Patriots work pretty hard for that win. I think they'll be just a touch better this year than everyone predicted.

Dolphins over the Titans -- Even though both are 0-2, I've got to give the edge to the team that actually has some talent. And home field.

Redskins over the Texans -- Somebody finally wins a game, although the over/under on number of times Clinton Portis' shoulder is mentioned is higher than the over/under for total score.

Ravens over the Browns -- Another gimme. Although, I'm afraid of this one having 'Upset' written all over it.

Giants over the Seahawks -- Sean Alexander can't run this year.

Eagles over the 49ers -- Niners are still celebrating their victory over the Rams last week, while the Eagles are looking to whoop some ass.

Cardinals over the Rams -- After such a disappointing loss last week, I'm picking against the Rams, but it'll be close. Cards are well on their way to another 7-9 season.

Patriots over the Broncos -- Who would you rather have leading your team this week? Tom Brady or Jake Plummer? 'nuff said.

Falcons over the Saints -- yeah, the Saints will be riding high on emotion all through the first half, but in the second half, the Falcons pour it on.

Last week: 11-5

Season: 21-10

Winning Percentage: .677


Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Longest Yard

Enough already!

Man, I have just about had it. I've been listening to this shit for almost six years and it's time to set the record straight.

I'm talking about Super Bowl XXXIV, where the RAMS defeated the Flaming Thumbtacks of Tennessee, 23-16. That's a seven point deficit, for the math-impaired out there, and the game ended when Mike Jones tackled Kevin Dyson on the one-yard line as time expired. The Titans came up one yard short.


But what irritates the hell out of me is that all of these sportscasters for the past six years keep saying that the Titans 'fell one yard short of winning the whole thing'. The clowns on ESPN are especially guilty.

And that is complete and utter bullshit.

They came one yard short of being one point behind with 0:00 left on the clock. Touchdowns are only worth six points, folks, and do think for a moment that Coach Porn 'Stache, Jeff Fisher, would've gone for two with the Lombardi trophy on the line? Hell no, he doesn't have the sack for that.

There would've been an extra-point kicked, the game would've gone into overtime, and who the hell knows what would've happened then. The whole thing could've been decided on a coin-flip.

So please, knock it off with the whole myth of the Titans falling one yard short of winning the Super Bowl. It's even been perpetuated by Helen Hunt in that movie Castaway. And since the Titans are all over the news this week because Billy Volek had the good sense to get the hell off of such a losing team, everyone keeps bringing up their almost win failure in the Super Bowl.

Deal with it, Titans fans. You lost. And even if Dyson would've gotten his skinny ass in the end zone, it doesn't mean jack shit.

You were much further than one yard away from winning. I mean, Kurt Warner sold his soul to the Devil for that season. The Devil had to deliver.

The next person that says otherwise in my presence gets a free cockpunch.


PS. That photo at the top of the post, to long-suffering Rams fans, says 'Victory' almost as much as the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima.

Week Four College Picks

Ok, the NFL continues to befuddle me, with the exception of a couple of truly bad teams, but I seem to have found a bit of success in picking the college games.

Unfortunately, in my pool (winner takes $1100), I stumbled out of the gate--going 1-for-7 the first week, and everyone else seems to be doing well, so right now I'm just in 9th place out of 23 players. But I can climb a couple of more spots with the following picks:

1) Georgia -27 over Colorado between the hedges down in Athens. I have to pick this game as a 'homie' pick, and I can't see a bad Colorado team doing anything to reverse their fortunes. Georgia wins in a laugher.

2) Nebraska -20.5 over Troy State. After their Trojan beat down last week, the Huskers take it out on the NCAA's perennial homecoming opponent. This is my Pick Of The Week, so it's worth two games.

3) Virginia Tech -26 over Cincinnati. They might hang 40 on the Bearcats.

4) Ohio State -16.5 over Joe 'Reverend Jim' Paterno and the Nittany Lions of Penn State. I don't understand the lines sometimes. Penn State got absolutely crushed by an overrated Notre Dame team two weeks ago, while Ohio State beat the stuffing out of the defending National Champs. Yet the Buckeyes are only giving 17 at home? I thought the spread would've been at least 24 points. This has potential to be another ugly beating.

5) Arizona State +7 over Cal. I gotta go with my Sun Devils over them dirty hippies from Berkeley. Besides, ASU seems to be somewhat underrated so far this year.

6) Louisville -14 over Kansas State. I still think Louisville is the best team in the country, and that makes them better than two touchdowns over K-State.

Last week: 6-1

Season : 13-8

Winning Percentage: .619


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Many Thanks

Hey guys, just a quick pop-in to say Thanks to those who have hit the tip jar recently. It's a very lean month, so any donations over the next few weeks will go to paying the essentials like mayonnaise, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and jumper cables.

All that and a few bucks, and a guy could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas!

But in all seriousness, this weekend I'm probably not going to make any bets except for my five-dollar eight-teamer. Feeling so confident in my NFL parlay last weekend, I mailed off a fairly sizeable check on Saturday to pay down another old debt, so when the Rams tripped over their own d*ck, it created a minor cash flow hiccup. So I'm holding on to this hundred bucks in my wallet like it's gold. Well, I can't blame it all on the Rams, because I planned on writing that check anyways. But dammit, losing to the Niners? Come on.

Eddie B is coming to town this weekend, and I have to work the whole time, so all we can do is get together for lunch. That'll be my only indulgence I get to treat myself with until I collect another paycheck or our tokes start going up again.

But I also wanted to say a special thank-you to the devilish comedian who donated $6.66 the other day. That gave me a chuckle.


Cigar Weather

How nice is it that summer is finally behind us? I know that you folks who live in the cold states just love you some summertime weather. But out here in the desert, it pretty much sucks. Not that it makes me miserable or I can't handle the heat--hell, I've spent the better part of the last 15 years living in the desert--but out of the four seasons, summer is my least favorite, and autumn is far and away the best, as far as I'm concerned.

Lately, it's been in the eighties during the day, and with no humidity and a slight breeze, well, you just can't ask for much more. And at night, it cools down into the low seventies, putting a chill into us thin-blooded desert dwellers and forcing us to sleep under the covers. I love it.

And on these temperate evenings, with a clear sky and the lights of this fabulous city seen from a distance, there is no better way to enjoy life than to relax outside in the back yard with an adult beverage and a fine cigar. It's even better than free porn during preview weekend on Cinemax!

Truly, I can think of no better way to clear the mind, lower the blood pressure, and decompress than enjoying the simple pleasures of fine tobacco and premium rum. If only we had lightning bugs out here in Nevada--it would be perfect. That's one thing I really miss about living down South, having no lightning bugs and crickets setting the early evening ambiance.

I gave the humidor a 'tune-up' last week, cleaning out the tobacco scraps that have fallen from a few stray unwrapped cigars, conditioning the cedar lining with a distilled-water rubdown, and soaking the humidifying element in distilled water for several hours to make sure than it couldn't harden up and would work like it was supposed to. And I took a little inventory while I was poking around in there, and it seems that I may be running a tad low on Black Labels. I should probably buy another box, but that'll have to wait until sometime next month.

In the meantime, I've started reading And A Bottle of Rum--The History of the New World in Ten Cocktails. I'm only about fifty pages into it, but enjoying it thoroughly. It's definitely my kind of book, or from the author's point of view, I'm definitely part of the audience he was looking for. Learning a bit of history is always interesting to me, but seeing it through the prism of a rum bottle is especially enjoyable.

That's about all for now. It's my day off, and I'm going to spend it doing the usual chores. If I feel particularly inspired, I'll sit down at the keyboard again later this afternoon. But right now, I just want some toast with peanut butter.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why Is All the Rum Gone?

Word around the campfire is that today is national Talk Like a Pirate Day, although for me, it began as national Sleep Like a Lazy Cat day.

But eventually I woke up, and fortunately it's my day off, so folks playing at my table will be spared my poor Jack Sparrow imitation. But if only Forrest Gump were a pirate--then they'd be experiencing some pure comedy gold!

Even so, days like today give me a chance to tell me favorite pirate joke.

A pirate walks into a bar, but he's got a steering wheel attached to the front of his pants. He walks up and orders a tot of rum from the bartender. The bartender says Sure thing, mate--but did you know you have a steering wheel attached to the front of your pants?

And the pirate said Yarrr--it drives me nuts!

There ya go.

Long before I'd ever heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I got to experience a little pirate-style buffoonery on the high seas. One day, down in St. Thomas, my sisters and I were on a daysail out to the reef at Buck Island. There were about six or eight of us on a forty-foot sailboat, and we'd spent the day enjoying the sun, tropical seas, and a little bit of the grog, if you get my drift. Well, we were racing another sailboat back to the marina, and doing a fair job of catching up.

As we pulled alongside upwind of them, stealing their breeze and slowing them down, one of the guys on our boat stood up on deck, one hand on the spreaders, one foot on the lifelines like Captain Morgan, waving an imaginary cutlass. He yelled out to the other boat, in his best pirate voice, Avast! Prepare to be boarded--we demand your women and your rum!

Without the slightest hesitation, a male voice with an imitation British accent yelled back from the other boat, You may have our women, sir--but our rum, NEVER!

That got a huge laugh, but then a couple of the women on the other boat stood up, turned around and waved to us. Attractive is not the word we'd use to describe them.

Without missing a beat, our new buccaneer friend turned to the rest of us, and still in character, put his hand on his hip and said Arrr, mates, lets leave these lads be, for they be far worse off than we...

Funniest pirate ever.

After returning to the marina, we did our fair share of pillagin' at the duty-free shops, where we made an afternoon of hitting up about a half-dozen liquor stores for their free rum tastings.

T'was no buried treasure lads, but a darn sight better than the bosun's lash...


Monday, September 18, 2006

A Tour of the Estate

It's time for today's episode of What the Hell is This, and What is it Doing in My House?

Living here with these old guys in this huge house is always an adventure. Angy, my favorite person ever to score a senior-rate room discount, also loves this place with all of it's kitschy thowback goodness. Me, I prefer a little more modern accomodations, but I can't beat the price. And if you get four of five bachelors living together without a woman's touch, sometimes you see interesting things scattered about the Mansion. It's a lot like Graceland, but not nearly as cool.

So with that in mind, I went on a little photo safari around the house today.

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This is *not* the ammo box that has been attacking my feet lately. If it were, I'd be driving a wheelchair to work instead of a pickup truck, and I'd be parking a helluva lot closer to the elevator. It makes a nice doorstop, however.

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My roommate has a few of these 1960's-era 'Air Purifiers' that he plugs in around the house at regular intervals. Clearly he was into goofy electronics long before Sharper Image came along. But these things are more than useless, because as far as I can tell, all they do is make noise and give the air a noticeable metallic taste. Just like the last flavor the firefighters at Chernobyl experienced before their faces melted.

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This calendar is hanging on the wall between the two living rooms. If you look closely, it is displaying the month of November 2001. I pity the next person who wakes up in our house with amnesia. Looking at the carpet and panelling, they'd think they were back in 1975. Of course then they'd see this calendar here and happily only be about five years off.

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I think my roommate picked up this state-of-the-art entertainment center at Red Forman's estate sale. And although I haven't seen it yet, word is that he also got one of those vibrating belt thingies that jiggles the fat away as part of the deal, too. Notice the red shag carpet too. Sadly, it's been almost a year, and I still haven't been able to talk a chick into getting nekkid on that carpet. It gives me something to shoot for in 2007.

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None of these dusty bottles have moved since I've lived here. I don't know if everyone else here just stopped drinking, or they just forgot about that bar in the second living room. Nobody goes in there anyways--I think it's haunted.

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I opened the door to one of the refrigerators that I don't use, and noticed that my roommate had no food in it. At first glance, one would think he lived on shampoo and contact solution.

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This is a box of Q-tips I keep in my bathroom. If you read the text closely, there is a stern warning *not* to insert in your ear canal. Ok... Um, isn't that what they're used for? So if not the ear canal, where is one *supposed* to insert them? It makes almost as much sense as every set of car keys ever sold to come with a warning not to insert them in the ignition, because a couple of guys in Jersey had their cars blow up when they did...

That's about all for now. My camera is acting up, and I was about three days too late to capture a photo of the underwear hanging on the gate next to the carport--that was classy. I don't know if that was a Blair Witch-type of thing going on, or somebody just hung them there to dry and forgot about them.

Maybe next time, we'll take a tour of the grounds.


Back to the Future

My god, it was so slow at work last night. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that last night will be in the 'top' five of worst toke nights ever. We'll be damn lucky to crack a hundred bucks. It was awful. I spent my first two hours at completely dead tables, staring off in the distance, trying to keep from falling asleep. It was so bad that I left three hours early, pretty sure that I only missed out on like forty bucks.

I had one table that was busy, and longtime reader (Mike in KC, I think?) joined me for awhile. It was fun, except for the jerkoff on first base who was easily the most annoying player I'd had to deal with in over a week. Just a pain in the ass. Otherwise it would've been a great time all-around. Even the floor boss was getting fed up with him. But I smacked him down for a couple hundred bucks, so there was a little bit of satisfaction involved.

However, I'd put my name on the early-out list, and they were sending people home as early as 11. I made it to almost 1 am before pulling the rip cord.

It was an interesting weekend though.

Some of you readers might know that I was sort of dating a gal last summer--I met her at dealing school when I first got to town, we hit it off, and started hanging out all the time. When things went south there at the Stripper house with all of the utilities getting turned off and such, she was the one that led to getting a room right away with her ex-husband at his house.

At the time, for obvious reasons, I never mentioned her very much in my bloggings. But we hung out together all summer long, and I will admit that it was a little strange sometimes there at the house when I'd wake up in the morning with my roommate knocking on my bedroom door so he could talk to his ex-wife to work out some issue like who was dropping the kid off at school that day. I mean, she used to be married to the guy and live in that same house.

Yes, it was an odd situation, but nobody had any problems at the time.

However, later in the summer I began to suspect that not all was right. I had a feeling that she was doing drugs again. She was a former stripper and when we started seeing each other, she was upfront about all the silliness in her past--lots of drama and such, but every week she was down at the courthouse taking care of some other issue on her record, and seemed to be making progress in getting her shiat together.

Anyhow, after a couple of months I could that she was back on the downward spiral. She refused to get a job and things just didn't seem right. It pretty much ended between us when she totally left me hanging one day while the ghetto sled was in the repair shop, and she had no excuse as to her whereabouts, although she was obviously all messed up when I caught up to her later in the afternoon.

And the roomie/ex husband was always in a painkiller induced fog, stumbling around like Ozzie Osbourne, oblivious to the fact that his house was crumbling into dust around him. Eventually I figured out that they were sharing some of the same medications, and decided that it would be better to just cut the ties and move along.

At the time, she was living in a trailer park out on Boulder Highway, but was hardly ever there. It seemed to me that she was on the verge of getting evicted and needed a place to live, so she started putting the pressure on her ex's (my roommate's) dad, telling him that she needed to move back in to the house on a permanent basis--he actually owned the house. Well, I was looking to get out and move on, anyways, so it didn't bother me at all--but we were on the outs and she wanted back in the house where I was living. So I had to go.

So we didn't end on the best of terms, and by that time, I was pretty much convinced that she was a crack whore anyways. I moved out, deleted her number from my cellphone, got a blood test, and pretty much forgot all about her.

However, a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in traffic a few blocks from the house and stopped short of the car in front of me to let someone pull in who was trying to turn onto the road from a gas station. I waved them in, and there she was, waving a thank you. Of course, she couldn't see me, the sun was shining directly on my windshield making it impossible to see who was driving, and she wouldn't have known it was me anyways--she doesn't know that my fortunes have improved and am now driving a brand-new truck instead of the old Ghetto Sled.

But she looked pretty bad, and I had one of those brief moments of smug satisfaction that you get when you run into an ex who looks much worse than the last time you saw them.

Then I saw her again this past Friday night. She was stumbling through the casino, obviously cracked out, wearing a skanky dress with her big fake boobs hanging out and looking like a lap dancer who'd been breaking the rules for far too many years. She walked right by my table and was oblivious to my presence. She was with a dude who was clearly her supplier, and seeing her wander by was like watching a train wreck unfold in slow motion.

One of my buddies was working the floor that night, standing behind me, and whispered Hey, check out the crack whore--Nice! as she passed by.

I was too embarrassed to tell him that she used to be my crack whore...

I still shudder when I think about it. A part of me says I told you so, but part of me also feels bad for her. I tried to help her out back in the day, but that line from Rounders always came to mind, especially near the end--You have to know when to fold a losing hand.

And she was a losing hand. Apparently, still is, too.


Speaking of mixed emotions, I also got a couple of interesting emails this weekend. One was from a headhunter I signed up with four years ago when I first moved back to Nashville. It seems that my old job at Schwab is available and they are looking for experienced brokers and bullshiat artists, and apparently, I fit the bill.

The second email was from a Schwab recruiter directly, telling me of the same position.

Sorry guys. Should've hit me up two years ago. Or better yet, not laid me off in the first place, dickheads. As much as I'd enjoy living in Phoenix again and working with my buddies, I think my opportunities here in Las Vegas heavily outweigh the benefits of going back to that life I used to know. And it would be a pay cut anyways (these past few weeks notwithstanding).

If I went back, it would be like the last nine years never happened. Why wake up in 1997 when 2006 seems to be much better? Of course, if I had Biff Tannen's sports almanac, maybe it'd be worth going back in time.

This time, though, I'd go short on Enron and avoid hooking up with cracked-out former strippers.

And I probably wouldn't bet on Notre Dame, either.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Real Genius

It's official, I'm a genius.

Well, except when it comes to picking football games.

I came so close today. My four-team NFL parlay was a perfect 3-0 going into the afternoon games, when all I needed was the Rams to beat the 49ers by 3 points--the one game I felt most confident about. Of course they fumbled deep in their own territory late in the fourth quarter, San Francisco capitalized, and that's all she wrote. So instead of being up over $300 for the weekend, I took it in the shorts for over a hundred bucks. I should just bet straight up--I'd be doing much better. I would've gone 3-for-4 on the NFL today, and yesterday in my college pool I went 6-for-7 again. But I was greedy and did parlays instead. So instead of cash, all I have is a decent win-loss record.

Perhaps there is a lesson in there somewhere.

On the other hand, I have to toot my own horn for a bit. I finally got the results this weekend from a lengthy IQ test I took sometime back, and I found out, believe it or not, that I have an IQ of 138.

Included in the results was chart that was good for the ego, which has taken a few bruises lately:

Descriptive Classifications of Intelligence Quotients

IQ Description% of Population
130+Very superior2.2%
110-119High average16.1%
80-89Low average16.1%
Below 70Extremely low2.2%

And I found this interesting notation at the end of the results:

Your Intellectual Type is Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others — and at anticipating and predicting patterns.
That makes perfect sense, and it jives with my earlier days teaching options trading classes, and today when helping folks figure out the right way to play not-so-simple games like Craps or even Pai Gow.

Of course, a higher-than-average IQ has nothing to do with common sense, and some days I worry that I'll leave the house without wearing any pants. But it's nice to know that I've got a few more marbles rolling around upstairs than say, Forrest Gump or your average Howard Stern fan. And it goes a long way towards explaining my extreme lack of patience with people who Just Don't Get It, and why I was so damn bored all the way through school.

But it comes with it's own burdens--by all accounts, I should be a damn good poker player. I can easily figure pot odds and all that, but I just don't have the patience to sit in a poker room and grind it out, especially now that televised poker has created a generation of asshat players. So while I remain bracelet-less and broke, I can take pride in the fact that ESPN hasn't documented me being a complete farking moron at the World Series of Poker, either.

But some days I'd rather just have the money. Like today, for instance.

Oh, and speaking of genius, remember that ammunition box I mentioned earlier that caused my gimpy foot? Well, it's still taunting me. Like a schoolyard bully using my lunch money to buy candy for the prettiest girl in class...

The other day, I mentioned how breezy it was here in Vegas. Well, it was still pretty warm outside, but we'd turned off the air conditioner here at the house and opened up all the windows. I purchased a box fan a couple weeks ago, and it sits on the window sill above my bed cranked up on 'High', recirculating the air in my bedroom. So I was snoozing on my bed with the tv on that afternoon, enjoying the breeze.

I was dozing pretty well when a huge gust of wind blew the fan out of the window and it landed squarely on my head, not only scaring the shiat out of me, but it hurt like a sumbitch because it fell from three feet above my bed and landed right on my cheekbone. And that blade was whirring around at full speed, so for a moment I panicked, thinking I'd end up all disfigured like the Phantom of the Opera, except with no musical talent to fall back on.

I jumped up, threw the fan off of me, and went to look in the mirror to make sure I wasn't bruised or bleeding. No major damage, just a little redness and my eyes were watering from the impact, but I was ok. And I wanted to go finish my nap.

The wind was still howling, but instead of just leaving the fan on the floor, I figured that it just needed to be weighted down, and then a gust of wind couldn't knock it off of the window sill again. So standing in my room trying to figure out how to weight down the fan, I remembered that I had a bunch of ammunition stored in the closet.

Here comes further evidence of that whole 'genius' thing...

So I took out a couple of boxes of 50 full-metal-jacketed .45 ACP rounds that tried to cripple me a few weeks ago, put the fan back up in the window, and then set the ammunition on top, adding several pounds of weight to the fan. Not wanting to tempt fate, I got back in bed, but this time put my head at the other end, just in case.

About a half hour later, I was sound asleep when another monster gust of wind came along, blowing the whole thing out of the window again. And I'll be damned if that same box of ammunition didn't land directly on that same gimpy foot!

I woke up spouting a stream of expletives unheard of since the last time I hooked up my surround system, my foot throbbing, the wind howling, and that unbreakable fan happily spinning at full speed, askew at the end of the bed and delighting my ears with a wonderful new sound as it tried to consume one of my socks.

Yep, I'm a genius I tell you. Me and Einstein . I'm sure he'd be proud that I'm doing my part to carry the torch for us geniuses, even if I sometimes forget to wear pants while doing so...


Saturday, September 16, 2006


Damn I hate Notre Dame.

Luckily I was smart enough not to pick them in my college pool, and I'm 4-0 at this very moment, with three games yet to be played. But since I had the Domers in both of my parlays, they are now ruined. Nice going, morons, getting crushed by 26 points at home by a team that hasn't beaten you in your house in twelve years.

Last week, betting against Notre Dame kept me from a perfect record, as they beat the crap out of Penn State. So it was an easy call that they'd pound on a soft Michigan team at home, right? Nope. They put on a display of ineptness unmatched since Mike Martz was tasked with managing a game clock. So I lost when betting against them last week, and this week I bet with them and they let me down. I guess I've learned my leasson. I've never been much of a Fighting Irish fan, and I should've known better than to make any bets where I'd have to root for a team that I don't like.

I guess that settles it--they get no more of my action for the rest of the season, either for or against, and now I'm firmly aboard the anti-Irish bandwagon. I hope Charlie Weiss and his man-boobs lose another couple games before it's all said and done and end up basking in the obscurity of a third-tier bowl game, getting beat down by somebody like Fresno State on the smurf-turf of Boise.

Worthless bastards.

Maybe the hype machine will now focus on a truly talented team, like Louisville.

Oh, and speaking of Saturday disappointments, I called Metro Pizza earlier this afternoon to try and get a pizza delivered to enjoy while watching the games. But I was told that their delivery time was running at two hours or more today. So I guess they 'offer' delivery, but they made it clear on the phone that they really didn't want to. I can't imagine it getting any better tomorrow during all of the NFL games, either. I suppose that if I really want one, I can call it in and go pick it up myself.

Instead of pizza, I just made some nachos out of Hint-of-Lime Tostitos, cheese, salsa, and jalapenos. Better than a ham sandy, but again, a small pepperoni pizza would've been much better.


Better Than March Madness

This weekend's games are soon to be upon us, and I can't wait. There are so many great games on the agenda, for both college and pro, that I'll probably wear out my remote control sometime in the next 48 hours. And the great thing about working in a casino is that I have a sportsbook available to me every time I take a break--no more trying out overseas books, hoping they're legit, and no worrying that the heavy jackboot of the justice department is gonna come raid my house and take my computer away as 'evidence', because we all know what a scourge to society laying a twenty spot against the Raider Nation is.

Anyhow, with that in mind, this is the action I've got going so far this weekend. First of all, let me say how surprised I am with how few moneylines there are for the NFL this week. There are so many double-digit underdogs that you can hardly make a decent bet, but I think I may have found a few.

As far as today's college games go, my buddy Todd and I have done our usual $10 eight-team jackpot parlay, that will net us $1600 if we ever get lucky enough to hit it. He's from Nashville, too, and a huge Titans fan, and is taking a vacation this weekend to go out to San Diego to see them get whacked by the Chargers. Poor guy. Maybe we can win this weekly sucker bet while he's gone and it'll help soothe the pain.

This is what we went with:

Boise State -7.5 over Wyoming

Florida -3.5 over Tennessee

Notre Dame -6.5 over Michigan

Louisville -4.5 over Miami

Fresno State -3.5 over Washington

Kentucky -3.5 over Ole Miss

Vanderbilt +5.5 over Arkansas

Southern Cal -18.5 over Nebraska

Coleslaw -4.5 over Ice Cream

Yep--That's eight hundred bucks each if we've guessed all eight games correctly. I can smell those crispy new Benjamins now...

Of course, we know it's a ridiculous longshot to cash an eight teamer, so I've made a couple of other parlays. Yesterday the book offered Friday-only 'Happy Hour' lines, where they sometimes shave off a half point here and there or raise the money lines a bit to induce early action. And since I make my college bets on Friday anyways, I went that route.

With college, there are never a lot of great moneylines out there, but I did find a few, so I did a three-team moneyline parlay for $25.

If Notre Dame, Florida, and Louisville all win their games straight up today, (no point spread), my $25 bet turns into $90.30. Not too bad, I think.

I also did a $20 four-team parlay for tomorrow's NFL games. Here's what I went with:

Ravens -11.5 over the Raiders

Colts -13.5 over the Texans

Bengals -10.5 over the Browns

Rams -3 over the 49ers

If I catch all four, that's a $280 payoff.

Yeah, I know that a lot of you savvy sports bettors out there think that I'm doing a bunch of sucker bets, but the truth is, every year I manage to catch three or four of these four-teamers out of 17 tries. That's somewhere north of $800 for a $340 investment. And it's a lot of fun, too. Even more fun than buying Powerball tickets and hoping that your number comes up. At least with sports betting, you have a shot of winning every now and then. And I get a helluva lot more entertainment out of that $20 than I would if I went to a movie and then bought popcorn and a large Coke.

But yeah, straight up bets are a much better deal, and of course I do my fair share of those too. But we'll see how today's games go before I wager anything else on Sunday's action.

I just realized that I've probably made more sports bets this month than I did during the past two March Madness tournaments combined. College basketball is fun and all, but football is America's Game.

And gambling is it's true pastime.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Afternoon

It's a beautiful sunny and (very) breezy late-summer day here in Vegas, so breezy in fact that I keep having to pick up my box fan off the floor that keeps getting blown out of my window.

I was out doing my usual Friday running around--it was payday again, and again our tokes were kind of bad. It didn't help that last weekend I went home sick after an hour either... But there was enough to meet the necessities, so I guess I can't complain. Last year at this time I was getting one day of work per week and starving for a month. This time I'm bummed that there is only $500 left after the bills are paid.

Anyhow, while I was out running around, I saw a few interesting things. While sitting at the stoplight on Flamingo and Swenson, this typical Vegas street person was crossing the street, except he had what looked like a pigeon on his shoulder. And I said to myself Hey, that dude's got a pigeon on his shoulder. But the bird must've read my thoughts and turned towards me giving me an evil glare, and I realized that it was no pigeon, but some scary looking bird of prey with a pointed beak that could rip the flesh from my bones and also had some real live talons on the end of his legs. And then I realized that the guy had a huge piece of leather on his shoulder that the bird was sitting on.

A bit different, I suppose, but the longer I live here, the less surprising I find things. I mean, it is a nice day out. Might as well take your pet hawk out for a stroll.

I'm also happy to report that I only paid $2.79 a gallon for mid-grade today. It's getting better, but I'll be happier once it gets down to about two and a quarter.

I also was driving by one of my favorite spots, Metro Pizza, and noticed the new sign out front that said they deliver all over the valley. Oh hell yeah. I'm only about three miles, maybe less, from there, so if they can deliver I'll be a happy boy. I'm wondering if it applies to hotels on the Strip, too. If so, that would be a huge bonus for tourists and visitors, because Metro Pizza makes a damn fine pie. I was going to stop and have lunch, but being budget-conscious this month, I decided to just come home and eat a ham and cheese samminch.

It was good, but it was no 9-inch pepperoni.


Money Picks

Hey gang... I would've posted this earlier, but when I got home from work this morning, I went straight to bed. So much for good intentions. But I'm awake now, and have to get up and run some errands, so before I get all caught up in that, I figured I should make a post or two.

As far as the entire schedule NFL schedule for my Stations contest goes, this is what I'm going with:

Dolphins over the Bills. Time for Saban and the gang to step up. All bets are off, however, if Culpepper has to carry the entire load. He's shown that he's not much of a quarterback when the pressure is on.

Vikings over the Panthers. Wow--how about old man Johnson unplugging himself from the juvenation machine and picking apart the Redskins last week? And oh yeah, their running game is very good, coming at the expense of the Seahawks. Gotta pay the big ugly guys up front, Seattle. I think the Vikings are gonna make some noise this year.

Bengals over the Browns. I think this will be closer than most people expect, but I'm sure the Bengals players have seen their upcoming schedule and know they *need* this game.

Bears over the Lions. I hope somebody scores an offensive touchdown in this game. Take the under.

Colts over the Texans. Peyton is 8-0 versus the Texans, and I don't see that trend reversing itself anytime soon. Maybe the Texans should bring in Danny Wuerffel. Or at least the ol' ball coach.

Eagles over the Giants. This is a tossup game, but I'm giving it to the homeys. And I just don't think the Giants players really care for coach Coughlin, so they'll be mailing it in if they start to struggle. And with their tough schedule and high expectations, I see him heading the list of the NFL Coaches Death Watch.

Saints over the Packers. When will somebody in Green Bay break the news to Brett that the party is over? Everyone has suspected it for quite some time, but getting shut out at home is about as bad as it gets.

Ravens over the Raiders. Man, the Raiders are pathetic. And the gambling gods smile upon us. Let us take advantage of their generousity.

Falcons over the Buccaneers. That Simms kid, besides looking like a complete dork with his helmet on, doesn't seem to be a very good quarterback, either. I don't see the NFL being good to young QBs from Texas this year. And Atlanta has a dominant running game, too.

Cardinals over the Seahawks. What did I tell you about Alexander's inability to run last week? And that was against the Lions, fer cryin' out loud. The loss of Hutchinson is going to bite them in so many ways this year. Cards need to find some pass defense though, although I like them in a shootout.

Rams over the 49ers. Behold Jeff Wilkins, the fantasy god of NFL kickers. I'm thinking that the Rams actually make it to the end zone this week.

Broncos over the Chefs. Great googily moogily, Herm Edwards is in over his head. He has no offensive line and a quarterback with a bruised melon. If Jake struggles again, this one is probably going to be ugly.

Patriots over the Jets. I *almost* picked the Jets in an upset, but I see the Patriots winning eleven games this year by a total of like thirty points. Great coaches always win the close ones, and Mangini has a ways to go before he measures up to Belichick.

Chargers over the Titans. Three words--Bet the Mortgage.

Redskins over the Cowboys. These are two teams that are not nearly as pretty as everyone said they were in the preseason. And I think the Vegas line on Bledsoe's fourth quarter interceptions is hovering around 2.5.

Jaguars over the Steelers on Monday night. I believe that Cowher is 0-2 against the Jags on Monday night. At least I think I remember reading that somewhere. But I needed an upset and I'm still on the Jags bandwagon, so here ya go.

I went 10-5 during week one, but this week seems a lot tougher. I still don't think I've picked enough upsets though.

Todd and I also have our $10 eight-team college parlay we're doing, but I'll write about that one later this afternoon once I get home, along with any straight-up NFL bets I'm thinking about.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Beer and Ice Cream

I know it may sound like blasphemy, and my sister Amy will probably call upon whatever Hippie God she worships to smite me down like Lee Corso's rental car, but I've decided--after much research--that Ben & Jerry don't make the best ice cream.

Oh, it's pretty damn good, to be sure, but it's not the best.

I liken it to Guinness beer--a quality product that can justify it's premium price, with legions of loyal fans. But just like Guinness, Ben & Jerry's can sometimes be much too heavy and rich, and it even shares that dark beer side-effect of giving you gas. (Some would say that's a bad thing, but the jury is still out on that one, especially if Eddie B. is on the jury).

So for the most part, Guinness is a special occasion beer for me. I'll drink the Irish Car Bombs on St. Paddy's day, and if I sometimes find myself in an Irish pub, I'll gladly drink a Dublin Milkshake (A pint o' Guiness with a shot of Stoli Vanilla--tastes just like chocolate milk), but you won't find any Guinness in my fridge on a regular basis. It's good, but sometimes it's just a bit much. It's way too heavy for the desert climate in which I live.

So what is my favorite everyday beer?

I love me some Mexican beers with lime, and I dig the occasional microbrew, but I'll have to go with Michelob Light if I'm picking a favorite. It goes with pretty much any kind of food, which a lot of beers don't--no matter how much they'd like you to believe otherwise-- the price is right, and after downing a few of them you don't feel like you just got up from the Thanksgiving table.

If you were to serve a search warrant on my refrigerator, a less-than-six pack of Michelob Light is probably one of the first things you'd find. It tastes damn good, and no matter how many other beers I experiment with, I always come back to it. It's a grocery list staple, just like milk, butter, eggs, tortillas, and bread.

So what do I consider the Michelob Light of ice cream?

I've tried dozens of varieties over the years, and just like my search for good pizza, even the bad ones aren't that bad, but finding a standout has been tough. But I think I finally settled on one--I'm going to have to go with Breyer's, specifically their Mint Chocolate Chip.

The label says all-natural, so I guess that's a good thing, it tastes damn good, it doesn't fill me up, and most importantly, it's the only ice cream I've ever had that doesn't make me thirsty after I eat it. And oh yeah, it only costs about half as much as the hippies charge for their stuff. Of course I don't keep ice cream on hand like I do with beer, but if I were to have an everyday frozen treat, Breyer's mint chip would be it.

I guess that means that I'm pretty much done with Ben and Jerry's. Not that I won't eat it again, but like a bottle of Guinness, I'll likely wait until the next hippie holiday to do so. Maybe next April I'll pick up a pint to celebrate Earth Day Industrial Revolution Day.

In the meantime, I'll treat myself to the occasional bowl of mint chip or an icy cold bottle of light beer. But probably not at the same time.



Damn that Al Gore guy and his silly internet invention. Here it is two o'clock in the morning and half of the frickin' web isn't available. Seriously--was there a huge electromagnetic pulse bomb detonated somewhere, or are half of the servers in the world just offline at the same time?

In the past hour, I've been unsuccesful at trying to access over a dozen sites, including

and the list goes on and on.

Seriously, wtf is going on? My mail works fine, and the fact that I can post this tells me that my internet connection is working at my end. But it's a pretty strange coincidence when so many major sites are down at the same time.

I hope all my favorite p*rn sites still work, or I'm gonna have nothing to do for the next hour until Mike and Mike come on at 3 am on ESPN 2.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Week Three of College

Nope, this isn't a post about how long it took me to get my hands on some boobies during my freshman year, it's the long-awaited post of my football picks for Saturday. And after going 6-1 last weekend, I feel like I've got to prove that it wasn't a fluke.

When I first saw the lines on Monday afternoon, I figured that this was going to be a very hard week. Tennessee is inconsistent. LSU/Auburn? Coin flip, as far as I'm concerned. Is Notre Dame riding high on their Penn State beat-down, or did they set themselves up for their own letdown? And oh by the way, besides the Golden Domers and Ohio State, there's that team out in L.A. that everyone else seems to have forgotten about.

Yep, it's gonna be tough.

I doubt I'll repeat last week's success, but this is the best I can come up with:

1) Georgia -18 over U.A.B. Quarterback? We don't need no stinkin' quarterback!

2) Louisville -5 over Miami. Miami isn't the Miami of old--no more swagger, and Louisville, even without Michael Bush, looks amazing. They may be BCS bound. By the way, this is my double-counting Pick of the Week.

3) Texas -31 over Rice. Yep, they're mad about the ass-whooping they took from the Buckeyes, and believe that if they want a shot at a BCS bowl, they're going to have to win the rest of their games by 50+ points. Pity the hapless Owls.

4) Vanderbilt +6 over Arkansas. The Commies are 2-0 against the spread so far, and always seem to play SEC opponents tough (See last weeks game vs. Alabama). Running the table against the spread will land them a berth in the Degenerate Gamblers Bowl out here in Vegas this December. And that paragon of virtue, ESPN, won't say a word about it. In fact, you never heard about it. Let's just move along.

5) Florida State -4 over Clemson. Isn't this another Bowden bowl? I'm going with the old man.

6) Arizona State -10 over Colorado. And checking with the Department of Statistics That I Pulled Out Of My Ass, I see that the Sun Devils are 17-0 against the spread versus teams whose mascots can take a dump on the field during pregame warmups. (And I'm also counting that 1997 game against the Huskers, since most Nebraska fans aren't familiar with indoor plumbing).

Those are the official picks I submitted to my pool, but the more I think about it, the more I want to take my winnings from last weekend and bet on USC to cover the -18.5 pts against Nebraska. And not that I would put money on it, but if I had to, I'd pick Auburn to cover against LSU.