Saturday, October 29, 2011

McRib is Back - Ulcers All Over America Rejoice


It's important that you know this about me: I have no problem whatsoever with fast food.  Sure, there are joints I like better than others, but generally speaking, the combination of inferior beef, two slices of orange cheese and a pile of salt has always been a go-to choice in the Crafty Southpaw's cuisiney lexicon.  A cheeseburger on a sesame seed bun - hold the onion and the pickle, please - goes down nice and easy. Yes, it's a relatively unhealthy choice, but who gives a fuck? My family's genes virtually guarantee a short life for me, and I'm as cool with that as I can be.  At 43 I'm more than 10 years past what my family calls middle age.  I didn't have a grandparent who lived past 76. My Dad came within a hair's breadth of dying at 68, and only made it to 75 thanks to large doses of the best that the American medical system has to offer and, it must be said, a slight dose of hypochondriasis that shuttled him to the hospital four times a year.

In short, life is short, so enjoy your time under the golden arches.  That's what I do.

Which brings us to the object of this post: the McRib.  An unassuming sandwich, the McRib is a hunk of pork pressed into the shape of a section of a slab of ribs - boneless, of course - slathered in barbeque sauce and sprinkled with slivered onions. They trot it out every half-dozen years or so and foist it on an unsuspecting public, putting it back in the vault a few months later.  The reason they do this is that they are taking advantage of the incredibly short memory of the American people.

Because, you see, the McRib is fucking nasty. But it sounds like it might be good.  So they release it, put McRib commercials in heavy rotation, and wait for everybody to order one. And when they do, they'll take four bites and throw it away with a look on their face that suggests they smelled something bad - which of course they did.

So I'll spare you the disappointment and the waste of four bucks: don't eat one.  They're nasty.  Order yourself a quarter pounder with cheese, or maybe, god help us all, a filet-o-fish. But stay away from the McRib.  It's pressed and formed and disgusting. And just to make sure, I'll be ordering one tomorrow. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like it. But if it leaves a bad taste in my mouth I'll wash it out with a tall cool glass of McChicken.

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Open Letter to the Texas Rangers


Hi Guys - Bill Buckner here.  Listen - we're going to have to talk.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eight Jobs I Might Dig

I want to be one of these guys:

The guy who drives the driving range ball retriever

The DMV Guy

Quality Control Engineer

Urchin chimney sweep from Dickensian England

Professional Guy-Who-Sings-O-Canada-for-the-Canucks Impersonator
(would need to gain a few pounds - er, kilograms - for this one)



Blind Mouse

Anybody know anyone in any of these fields, please let me know.  But bear in mind I'll need to take next Tuesday off.  And I don't work past 5.  And don't piss-test me.  And I'll need a wet-bar in my cubicle.  And throughout the year I'll be letting you know of several dozen Jewish Holidays you might never have heard of, but that I'll need off nonetheless.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Guess Who's Back?

Besides a giant hickory tree that serves as the boundary between my next-door neighbor and me, most of the trees on my little patch of Shangri-La are oaks.  For those who've never been, which is most of you (I hope), we bought this house, Tootsie and I, because of its uniqueness: The guy who built the house did so on a triple lot and then some, and let most of the land grow free, so I have this little patch of woods, almost an acre's worth, right in the middle of suburbia - it's actually pretty cool. In the summer it fills out such that I can't see any of my neighbors from my back yard.

Anyway, one side effect of all these oak trees is a million billion acorns, many of which pelt the house as they fall, which they do this time of year by the hundreds.  And with acorns come squirrels. Oh, do I have squirrels. On my property alone there are near 100.  Different clans, too:  I have a family of black squirrels living back there among the grey ones. But they don't bother me, and I don't bother them - I kinda like the idea that I'm sharing the joint with critters who believe just as firmly that this is their property as I do. So they've long since ceased to cower at my presence, and will usually continue what they're doing with half an eye on my until I go back inside or reach my car.

Imagine my surprise, then, as I was standing outside the other day, enjoying the fair weather, when one of the furry little bastards walks right up to me, looking directly at me with neither fear nor hostility. He had an acorn in his little hands and he held it out to me.

"This is for you," he said, in perfect English.  It was a voice I'd heard before.

"A squirrel?" I asked, incredulously.  "Really?"

In the blink of an eye the squirrel disappeared and there before me stood, yet again, the Almighty.  He was dressed in a pair of blue jeans, crisply pressed, and an Oxford shirt with a thin red pinstripe.  His Italian leather loafers were completely spotless, despite the fact that He'd just been a squirrel.

"Wanted to blend in," He said, and smiled. "Besides, it's a nice day to be in the woods."

"Well, come on in," I said, trying to sound hospitable. "It's been awhile.  You find someone else to torment?"

"Been dealing a lot with the hurricane.  You children named it Irene.  What a funny habit, to name your natural disasters."

"That's what You've been doing lately?" I asked, with an edge to my voice.  "Concocting natural disasters?  What, You need to thin out the herd or something?"

He looked at me for a long second.  

"Cleanup," He said slowly. "I was helping with cleanup.  You think I like these things?  But maybe you don't want an atmosphere with moving air, so that what you breathe is fresh and clean, despite your best efforts to foul it.  Or perhaps you don't want moisture in your air, so it doesn't rain and you all perish for lack of clean water? Or is it that you don't want it to be warm ever?  Just say the word, big boy, and I can make that happen too."

"Ok, it's not Your fault, I guess, but You sure as hell allowed it to happen."

"Allowed it to happen?" He asked with eyebrows raised.  Hey, I invented the system.  Sometimes, things happen.  You know, that's so you, that attitude.  You know what your problem is?"

"No conversation ended well that began with 'Do you know what your problem is,'" I said with a half smile. "But I suppose You know that too."

"Your problem," He continued, "Is that you can't let anything go.  Ever."

Momentarily at a loss, I responded in a voice that trembled a bit, "I...I let things go..."

"Please," spat the Lord.  "Name one thing.  A member of your family wrongs you, twenty-odd years ago, and you're still harboring that. It's affected your relationship with his children, because of the walls you've put up. Your father died three and a half years ago and you're still reeling from that.  Three and a half years, child! Everybody loses their parents.  Would you have it the other way around? And you've lost other things too, some things you hold to be just as precious as losing a family member.  More so, if I read your heart correctly, which by the way we're going to have to have a chat about that some one of these days. You think that every good and true thing, everything that ever made you laugh, everyone you ever loved, every great pleasure or tiny joy, should stay with you forever.  And even considering the blink of an eye that is your time on this planet, forever is way too long a concept for you."

"So what do I do about it? I've noticed that You're pretty good telling me what's wrong with me - and by the way it's just fantastic that someone else besides the wife does that - but how do I fix it?"

His eyes softened and He motioned for me to sit.

"It has to come from within you, child. I can't help you.  Just being here I'm violating my own rules.  But you're hurting, you are hurting so badly, and you really have no reason to.  You dwell on the wrong things, to your detriment."

"You violate Your own rules?" I asked with an upturned eyebrow.  You're Your own scofflaw?"

"See?" He said with a smile. "Dwelling on the wrong things."

"Listen," I said. "These...things that I've lost.  They're - they were - precious to me.  More precious than anything else I've ever had or will have. You have no idea.  Or maybe You do. But it really doesn't matter.  Knowing what my problem is - and thanks so much for pointing it out to me - doesn't help me much."

"I know," He said sadly. "I wish I could snap my fingers and make it go away.  Actually I can do that, but I'm not going to.  This is something that you're going to have to come up with an answer to all by yourself.  And while you sit there and stew on it, your life is running away with you.

"Look," He continued. "I have to go.  But you need to hear this:  It's not critically important that you fix this today.  Things take time - I know that. I invented the whole idea of time.  I invented things. So I guess I invented the notion of things taking time. That was actually pretty clever of Me. You know, it's been awhile since I invented anything big, like time, or things, or tapioca pudding.  Yeah, that was Me.  I should get back into the lab..."

"You're digressing," I said wearily.

"Right, right.  Sorry.  Anyway, yes, it's going to take time.  But the important thing is this: You've got to start trying. What you've lost - those things are gone.  They're gone forever, and no amount of moping around playing sad songs on your guitar is going to help."

He patted me on the shoulder and stood up.

"But now I've really got to go.  It's almost winter and these acorns aren't going to gather themselves." He opened the screen door and in a flash He was a squirrel again.  "Last thing, some of the squirrels are deliberately pelting your house with acorns.  I'll try to get them to stop.  THAT won't be easy, either." With a wave He turned and scampered back into the woods.

"What do you know," I thought to myself.  "God scampers pretty well."

"Dwelling on the wrong things..." I heard from far away.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mission: $100

So for some reason a few days ago I had a yen to play poker online.  I didn't want to play poker for Monopoly money, though; that's not real poker as we all know well. I remembered that Bodog still allowed Americans access to their account so I opened it up and lo and behold I had about $132 in there. Score! So I settle in to a .50/1 NL ring game, put $130 of my stake in front of me and happily start playing.

And I was doing well, which frankly didn't surprise me; low-stakes NL cash games are daddy's bread and butter. I had built my stack up to over $200 in 45 minutes and was cruising.

As an aside, I've noticed one difference between live and on-line cash games that makes things more difficult for me. Online, people tend to come and go with much greater frequency than in person.  So every time someone stands up you lose any information or observations you've made. What's worse is that every new guy who sits down is a liability to you, because you tend to play tighter against someone you've never played before, especially the first few dozen hands. On the plus side, if they haven't bathed in some time, it doesn't bother you as much (at Foxwoods one day the same incredibly water-shy old geezer nauseated both Josie and me at different points in a tournament).

So anyway, like I said I'm feeling good, making good decisions, playing smart (tip o' the pen to what's-her-name) and generally cruising, when I look down and find two black aces in the cutoff seat. I make a standard raise, Dealer (who is big stack) re-raises, everyone else folds to me.  I three-bet heavy, he shoves. I didn't relish playing a hand for $200, even if I'm the nut favorite, but I call anyway, obviously, and he turns over queens. I knew right then and there that I was dead.  It's just a feeling I get sometimes; I think it comes from playing 100,000 hands with Josie and getting best hand cracked time after time after god damned time.  It's a sort of piss-shiver, pit of the stomach, frozen skeletal hand squeezing your balls sort of feeling - I don't recommend it.  Anyway, I knew right then I was dead, and sure enough, a queen right in the door sealed my fate.

A subtle message, but heartfelt

I now have $1.59 in my account, and if there is one thing you can count on, it's that I'm not putting another penny in there, even if I could.  So here's what I'm going to do: I'm on a mission to extend my bankroll to $100, a buck at a time.  I'm going to do $1 heads-up tourneys until I get my bankroll back up to $20 or so, then start in with $2 tourneys, etc. etc. I'll report my results as often as I can remember to do so.