Sunday, December 30, 2007

Jerry, Where Art Thou?

It's been nearly six months since Jerry Yang won the World Series of Poker.

Since then, there's been no sign of him. Sure, he hasn't had any big tournament success since then, but Jamie Gold didn't have any major cashes in his first six months and it seems like his name and face were everywhere.

Now, of course, circumstances were a bit different. Gold was involved in a massive lawsuit involving the right to his winnings. But this did not affect the fact that Gold has appeared on numerous televised poker programs featuring celebrity pros, such as Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker, while Yang is nowhere to be seen. A Google search of Yang turns up mostly links to the guy who owns Yahoo:

Yahoo Champion----------Poker Champion

So where is Yang? Is it simply too soon? I don't think so. The word was that Yang was going to be an "Ambassador of Poker." He was going to usher in a new era of poker that would wash clean the stain of Gold's lawsuit-tainted victory.

But I think maybe people like the taint. They like their poker champions with a little edge. Either that, or maybe the poker boom is finally coming to a head. With U.S. restrictions on Internet poker and nearly five years since Chris Moneymaker's historic victory, maybe the bloom is off the poker rose.

Time will tell. In the meantime, I'm playing in a tournament next week.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Evil for Dummies

Last night, as I prepared to slip off to Slumberland with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, I suggested to my girlfriend "why don't we watch a pleasant Christmas show to fall asleep to?" Purposefully aiming the remote, she responded: "How about MOST EVIL?"
MOST EVIL is a gratuitous program on the Discovery Channel wherein Dr. Michael Stone fetishises serial killers by placing them on a scale which he has the audacity refer to as a "scientific tool," his MOST EVIL scale.

The only scientific tool anywhere near this scale is the guy who invented it. Calling a scale of evil a scientific tool is like calling One-Mississippi, Two-Mississippi a scientific time measurement. There is no conceivable diagnostic value in deciding that Charles Manson is a 15 and the Reverend Jim Jones is a 22. Stone offers no suggestions for treatment of those on the scale, and it's clear that the designations are fairly arbitrary and mostly speak to how strong the ego is of the subject (if you got other people to kill for you, you score high. If you killed for someone else, you score lower).

Will Smith, Basically a Good Person

In an atrocious example of yellow journalism, attempted to stir up some trouble last week by printing that Will Smith thought that Hitler was a good person. This is of course not what he said. He essentially said that no one with any modicum of sanity wakes up in the morning planning to do evil, or thinking they are evil. This wild, politically incorrect idea was first suggested by well-known close-minded bigot Socrates. So Will, why don't you go hang out with your own kind at any Philosophy department in the country if you love Hitler so much?
That last bit was sarcasm. The fact is, people all think what they are doing is right and good. That's why we have those terms. Does it seem more likely that Saddam Hussein woke up in the morning thinking that he was evil and George Bush was good, that he wanted the dark forces to win like he was some kind of desert Sith Lord? Or did he probably think that a white infidel was evil for threatening his and his people's way of life? If he didn't think he was evil, did this make him a good person? Obviously not.

Labeling others as evil is just a way for us to feel superior. Feeling superior is not a good starting point if you are trying to understand others who behave in a way you don't care for. This does not mean that people cannot commit horrible acts and be deserving of punishment for it. It's even okay to hate them. But calling them evil is just howling at the moon, and I think that was Will's point, and it's a good one. Take note, Dr. Stone.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The True Meaning of Christmas

At this time of year, as people rush around trying to finish off their last minute Christmas shopping, I think it's important for all of us to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas, as Sol Invictus, has been a pagan ritual for thousands of years celebrating the winter solstice. Why is the winter solstice so important? It represents the time that the Earth's orbit begins to bring the Northern hemisphere closer to the sun; in effect, the days get longer again. For ancient peoples, this represented the Sun God's reemergence, hence, the celebration of Sol Invictus: "the unconquered sun." In later years, Jesus ("the unconquered son?") fit neatly into the pantheon of gods whose rebirth was signified by the solstice.

The point being that it's okay to get psyched about Christmas because of the presents. Christmas is a celebration of new life and rebirth, "the sun will come out tomorrow," as it were. Save your whining about peace on Earth and goodwill towards men for Easter.

Christmas is also a good time for us to remember Odin. Odin, the Norse God who was All-father to folks like Thor and Baldur, also liked to fly through the air on his eight-legged horse. Did he give presents to all the good little boys and girls? One can only look to the skies and wonder.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Users are Losers

So, the Mitchell report is out, and it turns out that....wait for it....a bunch of baseball players use steroids. Hard to believe, I know, but it's true. The biggest revelation the report revealed?
No one cares.

No one I know, anyway. I mean once you get past the fact that the best player in the game, the best slugger of all time, went from looking

like this:

To like this:

What else is there? So a bunch of names came out. There are probably a bunch more that didn't, and who knows, maybe even one or two on the list are wrongly accused. The point is, America has gotten far beyond the point of being so naive about its national pasttime as to believe that its players are moral paragons. We know they cheat, we sort of hope our favorites don't, but we watch them anyway. I don't think there's a name on that list that shocked anyone, and if there is, there shouldn't be. If Major League Baseball thinks steroids are a problem that should be corrected, they should fix it, with better and more frequent tests and harsher penalties. Naming names is boring. Besides that, it's fascist.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution!

Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! is a system for beating Craps promoted by gambling authority Frank Scoblete.

I have nothing interesting to say on the subject of Craps. It's a casino table game which can be a lot of fun if you have money to burn and don't mind a lot of people around you screaming.

I just love saying "Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! Doesn't it sound like the name of a Japanese Game Show?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Show Me the Money

I signed with The Gage Group on Thursday. My agent, Josh Orenstein, is a smart guy who always seems to be hustling and has a lot of stuff going on, so I'm pretty sure we're going to make a bunch of money together once this strike ends.

If it ever ends....

Anyway if someone happens to stumble upon this blog and wants to hire me for something, contact him.

Once this wretched strike ends....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Casino Games that Sound Dirty But Are Not

1. Three Way Action

2. Around the World

3. Big Split Poker

4. Double Exposure

5. Flip It