Friday, September 29, 2006

Paramedic: (Garbled) "Dallas Fire."
Etheredge: "Hi. Hi I need an ambulance please, immediately."
Paramedic: "OK. What's your address?"
Etheredge: (gives address, crying)
Paramedic: "What's wrong?"
Etheredge: "I think he took too many pills. Please. Now. (Garbled) What do I do if the pills are down the throat?"

Etheredge: "My meal ticket is acting loopy... He might have taken pills... If he dies, I'll have to get a real job... He might be dying... Oh, but all publicity is GOOD publicity."

T.O. didn't try to kill himself. But his publicist (aka blood-sucking whore) overreacted herself right onto the front pages. Her line about "TO has 25 million reasons to live" shows what she thinks of him. He's nothing but a slot machine to her, and she's gonna keep pulling his handle (figuratively and literally) as long as he pays out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Some quick Monday morning thoughts:

§ 49ers looked overmatched yesterday against the Iggles. The only player who didn’t look completely outclassed was Alex Smith… a good sign. He showed poise in the pocket, and good instincts and strength when he got out of it.

§ Can we stop handing the ball to Frank Gore inside the five?

§ Everyone needs to get off of Tom Lehman’s back about the Ryder Cup. When you lose by a 2-1 margin, it wasn’t the teaming for four-ball that killed you; it was LOFT. Lack of fucking talent.

§ The WSOP telecasts are highlighting some horrible poker play. It’s amazing how much it’s starting to look like the MansionPoker and UltimateBet push-fests. Even Norman Chad is spazzing out over the seemingly random all-ins. When even a know-nothing commentator complains about the level of play… that’s when you know you’ve jumped the shark,

§ Played some indifferent poker over the weekend. Remember that fifteen bucks I got from Empire a few weeks ago? That’s now over $400. I’d say that’s a good ROI.

§ E! network had an entertaining, but mis-ordered list of the most memorable moments from Saturday Night Live, first aired in 2004. They listed the top moment as the Wayne’s World sketch with Aerosmith. Hell, that wasn’t even the top Wayne’s World sketch. So here for my own edification, are the most memorable moments in SNL history.

10. Refrigerator repairman – Dan Aykroyd’s hairy butt crack in the nerd sketch fixing a Norge refrigerator. Astonishing to actually see a butt crack back in the 70’s. Groundbreaking (and unappetizing) stuff at the time.
9. Wayne’s World (tie) – Halloween and Biggest Babes of all Time – The Top Ten Halloween treats included “Hurl. No, seriously, there was this guy down the street who used to give out bags of his chunder.” Top Ten Babes of all Time included Nancy Kulp, Miss Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies, as “something to clear your palate, sort of a babe sorbet.”
8. Point/CounterPoint about Michelle Triola and Lee Marvin – “I guess what you ladies are saying is that while you’re on your backs, the meter’s running.” Dan Aykroyd’s rant should be part of every courtroom palimony case from now on.
7. Jesse Jackson reading “Green Eggs and Ham”. This showed me that Jesse is a great actor, capable of saying complete nonsense in a totally serious manner, kind of like he does every time he’s in front of a fucking camera.
6. Buckwheat is dead – Most have forgotten that this was intended to be a spoof of Nightline’s coverage of the Hinckley attempted murder of Reagan, full of repetitive video clips with Ted Koppel spouting “Let’s run that video again”. A couple of years later, they had a follow-up sketch showing that Alfalfa did it.
5. Olympic Synchronized swimming with Harry Shearer and an almost frighteningly retarded Martin Short. Seriously, watch this sketch and tell me whether you think Martin Short is a couple of chromosomes short of a full deck. Hysterical spoof of every “Up close and personal” vignette from the Olympics.
4. Joe Montana – OK, this is the one I least expect anyone else to recognize. But one of the last sketches of the show Montana hosted had Joe playing “The really nice guy”. The gist of this sketch was that he was a genuine sincere guy who really thought nice thoughts until his closing line “I think I’ll go upstairs and masturbate”. One of the hugest WTF- did-he-say? moments in my life.
3. The Sinatra Group – Phil Hartman as the Chairman sitting between Sinead O’Connor, the guy from 2LiveCrew, Steve & Eydie, and Billy Idol (played by Sting). “I got chunks of guys like you in my stool!”
2. Chippendales – Yeah, this had a high “Ugh” factor because of Chris Farley’s flapping flesh, but dammit, you remember it. And, for all his problems, Chris Farley was a spectacular physical comic, conveying pathos and slapstick at the same time.
1. The French Chef – Dan Aykroyd’s gory tribute to Julia Child takes the top prize. I was in my early teens when this originally aired, and it is one of the few times I can remember when I laughed until I was literally breathless. “Save the liver!”

Friday, September 22, 2006

“When I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a rollercoaster – Up, Down, Up, Down. Oh, what a ride! It was just so interesting that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled… all together. [pause] Some didn’t like it. They went on the Merry-Go-Round, but that just goes around… Nothing! I like the rollercoaster; you get more out of it.” – Grandma, Parenthood

This is one of my favorite movie quotes ever. People that don’t have kids don’t get it. I always related it to having a family. After all, the movie is called “Parenthood”.

But I suppose you can relate it to poker as well (ok, I’m reaching, but stay with me here). There are so many ups and downs in a single week of poker, each hand can be an adventure some days, each hand can be boring and rote on other days, but there is always the possibility of something exciting every time you pick up your virtual cards.

I’m on a mini-rush at Empire right now. I’ve won (not just cashed, WON) three of my last four $20+2 SnGs and came in second in the one I didn’t win. I’m winning the races now and not losing to suckouts. Some of it is good play, most of it is simply getting my money in while I have the best of it, a small bit of it is suckouts. Now, all of these have come on the heels of a really bad experience with back-to-back rivered four-outers (tidy little 120 to 1 odds) to take me from chip leader to bubble boy in another SnG.

I’m not big on hand histories, but this hand shows a beaut of a suckout, this time for the good guys.
***** Hand History for Game 5221965549 *****
0/0 Tourney Texas Hold'em Game Table (NL)
(Tournament 29049479) - Thu Sep 21 23:40:36 EDT 2006
Table Speed 1291295 (Real Money) -- Seat 1 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 1: chewer4u (5704)
Seat 2: NOSAL1 (780)
Seat 3: ToddCommishE (885)
Seat 4: Fitness_24 (3215)
Seat 7: dfisher19 (3512)
Seat 9: stylus777 (5904)
NOSAL1 posts small blind (300)
ToddCommishE posts big blind (600)** Dealing down cards
**Dealt to ToddCommishE [ 9c, Ah ]
Fitness_24 folds.
dfisher19 folds.
stylus777 raises (1200) to 1200
chewer4u calls (1200)
NOSAL1 folds.
ToddCommishE calls (285)
ToddCommishE is all-In.
Creating Main Pot with $2955 with ToddCommishE
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 5s, Qd, 6d ]
stylus777 bets (1100)
chewer4u raises (3100) to 3100
stylus777 raises (3604) to 4704
stylus777 is all-In.
chewer4u calls (1404)
chewer4u is all-In.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 8s ]
** Dealing River ** : [ 7s ]
Creating Side Pot 1 with $9638 with chewer4u
Creating Side Pot 2 with $200 with stylus777
** Summary **Main Pot: 2955 Side Pot 1: 9638 Side Pot 2: 200
Board: [ 5s Qd 6d 8s 7s ]
chewer4u balance 0, lost 5704 [ As 6h ] [ a pair of sixes -- As,Qd,8s,6h,6d ]
NOSAL1 balance 480, lost 300 (folded)
ToddCommishE balance 2955, bet 885, collected 2955, net +2070 [ 9c Ah ] [ a straight, five to nine -- 9c,8s,7s,6d,5s ]
Fitness_24 balance 3215, didn't bet (folded)
dfisher19 balance 3512, didn't bet (folded)
stylus777 balance 9838, bet 5904, collected 9838, net +3934 [ Ac Ad ] [ a pair of aces -- Ac,Ad,Qd,8s,7s ]

OK, so I’m the shortest of short with 1.5BB in my stack and I have to pony 2/3 of that in the big blind. With A9o, I don’t have much choice but to push. Stylus777 is a pretty decent player (he and I have been heads-up a few times for the top slot in SnGs) and chewer4u is apparently a dumbass. Stylus is content to value bet his pocket rockets on the flop with me all-in. Chewer thinks his middle pair is worth pushing (?), seemingly oblivious to the relatively empty sidepot. According to the CardPlayer calculator, I’m roughly DEAD at this point with less than a 2% chance of winning. I either need running nines or seven/eight to win. Nice to see a 49-1 shot come in for me. But I still had to capitalize on it to cash, let alone win.

Four hands later, there are four players left (bubble time) and I’m tied for third with around 2600T. I pick up the dreaded 88 middle pair in BB and the guy I’m tied with pushes. I’m practically forced to call and he turns over the expected Ace-face (AJ) for a yucky race. He rivers the nut heart flush, but the chips come my way because the hearts are conveniently numbered 4-5-6-7 giving me the nut straight flush. I was ahead the whole way, but it’s still nice to pull a big hand.

So, just by mentioning it, the streak will probably end today. No matter, another streak somewhere will start up. Maybe for me, maybe for you. For every ten players that are down, somewhere someone is up. I like the rollercoaster.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My how times have changed…

About a year or so ago, I had my hands full convincing my wife that online poker was NOT part of the slippery slope towards compulsive gambling; that it was instead a profitable avocation that paid for several home furnishings. Last night, I finished off a tidy little $20+2 SnG win by softplaying a turned second pair against an overpair. I pumped my fist and said “Yesssss!”. This brought my son over to see what happened.

Wife: “What happened now? Did he win a poker hand against some other idiot?”
Son: “He won a tournament! One hundred bucks!”
Wife: “Is that all? Why don’t you win some real money?! Why don’t you win enough for a plasma screen?!”
Me: “Do you want me to play bigger tournaments? Because I can…”
Wife: “No, just keep doing what you’re doing…”
Me: “Yesssss!”

Football News:

- Frank Gore. I told you so.

- OK, maybe I was wrong about the Panthers. And the Dolphins.

- Hmmm, Drew Brees takes over for Aaron Brooks in New Orleans. Aaron Brooks goes to Oakland. New Orleans is 2-0. Oakland is 0-2. Coincidence?

- And the Raiders deserve to be 0-6 for the way they’ve played their first two games. Bad beyond all measures of bad. Not only have they played badly, they’ve quit on their coach. In week TWO.

- Randy Moss makes TO look like Mother Theresa. At least TO tries.

- Big game this week for the 49ers. We’ll see if they’ll challenge 8-8 this year, or will be 4-12 with a bullet.

- Way to shit the bed, Golden domers. Brady Quinn, meet Ron Powlus. Ron Powlus, get back to work and change the oil filter in my car.

Other commentary

- Nothing against the people in the challenge, but you people suck at poker. Not just bad play, but stupid play.

- The Democratic Party has stooped to re-running ads that show Schwarzenegger stumping for President Bush in 2004. No policy statements, no plans for the future, basically saying “He likes Bush. If you hate Bush, you should hate him.” The only people dumber than the Democrats running the ads are the idiots who follow that logic and vote for Phil Phucking Angelides who will tax us back to the colonial days.

- I don’t know what type of voter info they provide in your state, but whenever I get the Voter Information packet prior to an election, I rarely read the propositions. Instead, I check out WHO wrote the “for” and “against” arguments and the financial impact reports and decide based on that. If it will cost ME money and it’s something I don’t care about, I’m against it. If the freakishly radical ACLU is for something, I’m pretty sure I’m against it. If Barbara Boxer is for something, again, I’m pretty sure I’m against it. And vice versa.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ack, I’m in a (temporary) luck downturn in poker, that pendulum swing backwards that always takes some of my bankroll. Odds-on favorite hands are losing. Pot odds don’t exist for me. Domination? It’s an illusion perpetrated by the poker gods who wish to mock me.

AK against AJ on the bubble? No good. Board makes two pairs and makes the kicker moot. So next hand, QQ against AQ? No good. River spikes an Ace. Very next hand, now I’m the shortstack forced all-in preflop with TT against 87s. No good. Q87 flop. Makes runner-runner flush to boot. AK, QQ, TT in consecutive hands. Split, lose, lose. IGHN.

I found myself applauding the 49ers on Sunday, despite the loss. I was almost like a little league coach rooting for his youngsters, cheering their effort rather than their results. Alex Smith looked like an NFL quarterback, something I didn’t see at all last year. Frank Gore is a stud, though he runs almost too aggressively… It’s gonna be hard to keep him healthy. Vernon Davis looked great, he looked young, he looked inexperienced, he looked like Jerry Rice in his rookie year (I hope).

The pass defense looked absolutely abysmal. If you have any fantasy receivers going against the Niners this year, play them. I don’t care if you think they’re your fourth and fifth receivers, play them. They will score against these guys.

The turning point was in the very first quarter on Arizona’s first drive. The Niners had marched down on their first possession and scored a touchdown rather authoritatively. Arizona had started to drive into 49er territory just as authoritatively when Kurt Warner threw a mistimed hook route right into the arms of Sammy Davis (some rookie DB) who had nothing but green grass between him and the endzone. He dropped the ball, leading to my “He would’ve had it if he didn’t have a glass eye” comment to my wife. If he makes the pick and runs it back, the score is 14-0 and the Arizona fans would immediately be taken out of the game. I knew right then that the Cards would score on the drive (they did), and the 49er defense would be torched (they were).

But the team showed some offensive hope, which reminds me of the 1980 team who put up some nice offensive numbers, but had a terrible defense. That team went 6-10 with a 2nd-year quarterback (some guy named Montana) and blossomed the next year after a draft of almost entirely secondary players (Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, Carlton Williamson). Of course, this team has a lonnnnnng way to go before they can approach that level, but I have more hope today than I did last week.

Which is more than Raider fans can say.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

NFC Preview 2006

Quick poker hit before we move back to the NFL Preview show… Lost FIVE straight SnGs on Empire due to inattentive (and just plain bad) play. Got back on the gravy train by winning one yesterday to keep the bankroll respectable (> $175). Making almost $200 from a cash handout is roughly like what most bloggers are doing at Mansion with the infamous Pittsburgh hedge option fund.

Anyway, moving onto my fearless NFC Predictions:

East: I’m just not seeing why others are predicting a resurgence in Dallas. They have the most mentally fragile QB in the NFL, they have the most volatile WR in the NFL, and they have the least sympathetic coach in the NFL. Not a good combination. I’m also not seeing why people aren’t giving the Giants any love. Eli is getting better. They have a solid thunder-lightning combo at RB and a decent defense. Philly has Donovan and not a whole helluva lot else. Washington has a high payroll and not a whole helluva lot else.

New York Giants (10-6), Philly (9-7), Dallas (7-9), Washington (5-11)

Central: Who the hell cares? I mean, seriously, do you think any team here really deserves to be in the playoffs? The Bears have a defense and no offense. All this Grossman/Orton/Griese crap is just a smokescreen to hide the fact that they really don’t have much of anything, aside from the shittiest division this side of the NL West. Minnesota and Detroit will fight for second with likely sub-.500 records, and the rotting corpse of Brett Favre will lead the Packers to a richly deserved last place finish.

Chicago (10-6) mainly because they’ll go 5-1 in the division, Minnesota (7-9), Detroit (7-9), Green Bay (5-11)

South: Carolina will roll. I know Foster is injury-prone which makes the D’Angelo Williams pick brilliant. Delhomme is still underrated, and the Me-shawn pickup will prove to be shrewd as well. Atlanta is still waiting for Michael Vick to morph from Kordell to Donovan, but it ain’t happening, but they are good enough to contend for a wild card. Tampa Bay will be better, but relying on Chris Simms is dicey at best. New Orleans will be more exciting to watch with Reggie Bush, but still bring up the rear.

Carolina (13-3), Atlanta (10-6), Tampa Bay (8-8), New Orleans (7-9)

West: Eww. Seattle will win the division. They have the most stable offensive group, both in talent and health. St. Louis will be in the wild card hunt with the shucking of the Martz yoke. And forget all this hype around Arizona. They’ll be .500 at best. Quick, name a person on their defense… Uh-huh, didn’t think so. The 49ers will scrape out five wins at best. Fantasy sleeper here is Frank Gore. 1200 yds, 10 tds. 4 wins.

Seattle (11-5), St. Louis (10-6), Arizona (7-9), San Francisco (4-12)


Wildcards: St. Louis and Atlanta

NFC Championship: Carolina vs. New York Giants

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

AFC Preview 2006

Well, queue up the printer because it’s time for the Commish’s NFL Preview edition! Remember, these selections are based on over 30 years of observing the NFL as a fan, and 20 years of observing the NFL as a Fantasy Football geek.

AFC Preview

East – Mark my words, Tom Brady will be injured this year. Throwing over 500 times with an ineffectual running game will expose him to more hits than ever before and the law of averages for QB injuries will catch up to him. With this injury comes a new top dog in the East, Miami. Look for Chris Chambers to put up Moss-type numbers as Culpepper’s primary target. Buffalo and the Jets will continue to poke along in mediocrity, struggling for six wins each.

Miami (11-5), New England (9-7), NY Jets (6-10), Buffalo (5-11)

Central – It all hinges on Carson’s knee. If he’s even close to 100%, the Bengals will win this conference in a breeze. Big Ben will struggle with injuries that may or may not have anything to do with this Busey-esque off-season. Baltimore will be better because McNair > Boller, but won’t contend because their defense is getting old. Cleveland might get to four wins, but don’t bet on it.

Cincinnati (11-5), Pittsburgh (10-6), Baltimore (7-9), Cleveland (3-13)

South – This division is the equivalent of the AL East. You can pretty much slot the teams for their final positions on day one. The only intrigue here will be whether Jacksonville slips into a wild card slot and whether Vince Young ends up starting more than half the season in Tennessee. Otherwise, it’s ho-hum as Peyton will lead the Colts to a stirring playoff collapse yet again.

Indy (12-4), Jacksonville (9-7), Houston (6-10), Tennessee (6-10)

West – Three-way battle in this division with the Raiders bringing up the rear... again. I think Denver pulls this one out with San Diego coming on late and Kansas City fading. Shanahan seems to have built a Jake-proof game plan that enables him to win ten games every year, albeit with smoke and mirrors. San Diego will be completely dependent on Philip Rivers’ learning curve. If he calms down early and moves the chains with LT and Antonio, they’ll be very dangerous if they make the playoffs. Kansas City has no defense. Neither do the Raiders, but the Raiders don’t have an offense either.

Denver (11-5), San Diego (10-6), Kansas City (8-8), Oakland (5-11)


Wildcards: San Diego and Pittsburgh nosing out New England and Jacksonville

AFC Championship: Indianapolis vs. San Diego

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Y’know, when you think you’ve had a bad weekend because you lost $33 in three straight SnGs, think about this… You could’ve had your chest cavity pierced by a poisonous barb.

Poker-wise, I actually played well, busting out all three times with hands when I had at least a 2-1 pre-flop odds advantage. So I’m not completely despondent over losing. One time, we were down to the final five and I ran my AKs into a deadly A7o that made a runner-runner flush after a flopped 7 and turned K. Another time, my QQ ran into another A7o that hit a nice gutshot to make a Q8645 board. Wonderful.

But better than having my heart punctured by a sting ray.

At some point, when you’re in your 40’s and you have a wife and two kids, you need to start thinking about the future and settling down a bit. Perhaps taking a job as a zoo director… or being like Marlon Perkins and sending Jim Fowler into the dangerous areas while you sit back in the Mutual of Omaha studios with a cigar and brandy. Swimming around with venomous sea creatures is contraindicated. Swimming around with venomous sea creatures without any protective gear is strongly discouraged.

My kids loved Steve Irwin. They grew up watching Animal Planet and various other nature shows with him, especially since I discouraged them from watching the animated crap that passes for cartoons these days. If they wanted to watch television, I wanted them to learn something. Now, if they’ve learned anything, they’ve learned that doing dangerous shit is, well, dangerous. Scott “Dilbert” Adams had a great blog entry (since removed, doubtlessly because of protests from the more squeamish) about the lessons that kids can take from Irwin’s death. Specifically, Adams talked about how parents can now invoke the Crocodile Hunter’s name whenever they tell their kids about dangerous animals (“You better stay away from that strange dog. You don’t want to end up like Steve Irwin.”).

It’s nice that his friends are playing the “At least he died doing what he loved” card. But what the hell does that do for his kids? They’re 8 and 3, for crying out loud. He had a responsibility to THEM. And he failed at that. Oh sure, they’re probably financially set for life, but now they don’t have a father. And that should have been his #1 priority.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sigh. More Empire goodness...

$90 - $11 SnG = $79

$79 - $11 SnG + 2nd place ($30) = $98

Now is where the fun starts

$98 - $11 SnG + 1st place ($50) = $137

$137 - $11 SnG + 1st place ($50) = $176

That's right, two straight wins and three straight cashes. I'm gonna write a book on "How to build a pathetic poker bankroll with free money". It'll be on the shelves somewhere next to "Pressure Poker". Meanwhile, Empire will probably see a cash-out very soon...

Anyway, bought the XM system last night, along with a new Sony home theater sound system. Cost me $402 at Best Buy and another $270+ for a two-year subscription. I've already decided that it's worth every penny. The entire family loves the setup and we've got some long car trips coming up where we'll be rocking along to Channel 46. Besides, it's only poker money.

Maybe I should title the book "How to use online poker to buy cool shit"...