Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Coaches Get the Bum's Rush, Tootsie Hates the Rock Band Rush

A couple of interesting notes from the sports world recently: I learned all about them as I lay half awake most of the night and got to hear the same episode of SportsCenter four times in a row. In addition to the normal, boring stuff like more boy-buggery at Syracuse University, there was a rash of head coach firings across the sporting world. A couple of hockey coaches got it in the neck; Jack del Rio got fired from the Panthers; and over at USC Rick Neuheisel not only got fired but was informed that he was expected to coach the Pac-10 title game, at which the current line makes them 31 point underdogs.

I'm sorry, but I'm calling bullshit on that one. If you're fired, you're fired; if you're the boss, what possible reason could there be for firing someone knowing that there was still one game, and only one game, to play before the end of the season? It's a complete douchebag move. And if you're Neuheisel, what possible reason would you have to agree to coach a game (that you're a 30 point underdog in, by the way) after you've been shitcanned? It's a lose lose situation.

Elsewhere the Washington Capitals have fired their coach Bruce Boudreau. Yes, he deserved it; any team with Alexander Ovechkin on it that doesn't win more games than it actually plays deserves to have its head coach fired. And even if he were a winner, that bald puffy bastard looks too much like the bastard son of Don Zimmer and Popeye. Of course he couldn't keep his job.

Look Ma, I'm a blow-up doll

In non-sporting news, I'm trying to get Tootsie to appreciate the rock band Rush; I don't know what it is that makes women in general hate Rush like poison, but for the most part they do, and Toots is no exception. I've played her the most accessible, easily-digestible songs in their catalog (The Spirit of Radio, Entre Nous, Limelight, etc.) and the only concession that she'll make is that they're good musicians. She thinks the music is dated and, jaw-droppingly, that the lyrics are simple, even infantile. Mind you, this is a woman who, when I met her, her favorite bands were Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. And she hates Rush!

In March of 1994 I made a series of vows to her and I intend on keeping at least most of them, but hell's bells, how can you not like Rush and like that garbage Depeche Mode? It makes a brother want to cry.

Anyway, there you go. I'd normally invite your comments, but I know better: this post has no Josie content so the over-under on comments is zero. Unless this little disclaimer counts as Josie content; one never knows.

Monday, November 28, 2011


In my last post I made what I thought was a humorous aside about Josie being talkative, and talking all about her blogger friends with whom she's become quite close. I didn't think I stepped too far out of line or, as the old folks say, spoke out of turn. But someone obviously feels otherwise.

Because I woke up this morning with a mamma jamma of a cold, perhaps the worst cold I've had in years. My eyes are watering, I can't breathe through my nose, which by the way is already starting to turn raw from over Kleenex-ing, and the most strenuous activity to which I can aspire is sitting up and typing this.

I'm burning with thirst, but since I swore off sugared soda and juice some months ago, there's nothing in the house besides water, and that's upstairs. To go across the street to the convenience store to get a half gallon of juice is absolutely unthinkable.

The normal progression of a cold in my body is north to south. It starts in my head, moves into my lungs, then finishes with a spectacular flourish in points south of there. I'm in for a decidedly unpleasant few days.

In fact I think it's time to lie down again. If any of you are the Rhode Island area, a half gallon or so of orange juice would be a most welcome gift. Just leave it on the porch; it'll be a while before I can make it upstairs. I suppose I could stop halfway for a quick nap, say, in the dining room, but I wouldn't think you'd want to wait around for that.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And the Bathrooms Smell Like Stale Wee, on Top of Everything Else

Yesterday, seemingly out of the clear blue sky, I got a text from very Josie asking me if I wanted to head up to Seabrook with her to play the 6:30 tournament. I really wasn't into playing poker right then - I wasn't really myself - but I figured what the hell, the structure sounded ok. 90 bucks gives you 12,000 chips with 20 min. blinds (except for the one right after the first break, which for some reason was 40 minutes). So that, plus it being Black Friday and me not having anything special to purchase, I headed up to Casa Del Josie and off we went to Seabrook New Hampshire.

Like I said, I wasn't really myself yesterday. I confess that I didn't exactly hold up my share of the conversational responsibilities. Thankfully Josie was up to the task and what I ended up doing was listen to her talk talk talk talk talk talk talk about, if the unvarnished truth be told, you guys. If you have any doubts how Josie really feels about her new friends from the blog universe, those fears are unfounded: she loves you all and doesn't mind talking about it -- over and over again. It was 45 min. of this one is such a nice guy and that one chauffeured me everywhere and this one doesn't trust that one and this one (I think) wants to fuck me and that one is such a gentleman. It was like I was back in junior high school except I was actually speaking to a woman.

But one extremely useful thing she said to me was something I already knew yet you just can't hear enough times. Right before we went in she looked at me and said, "Now remember, these guys are all idiots so bluffing them won't work; play them straight up-and-down and that's how you win at Seabrook."

This much I already knew; I played in Seabrook enough times and been witness to enough amateur poker played to last me a lifetime. But ask anyone who's ever had a golf club in their hand and they'll tell you that it's always good to hear the standard advice: keep your head down, keep your arm straight. So I took that as good advice and more importantly I took it to heart.

You may not believe this but I developed a reputation as being an incredibly nitty player: supertight but reasonably aggressive when I was in a pot. Believe me, Josie was just as surprised (the respect she has for my game flows out of her like aggressive menses). Anyway, the guy to my immediate right (you've met him; he wears a lot of Ed Hardy, his hat sits akimbo on his head, his white tracksuit glistens under the cool fluorescent lights, is under 25 and is mindlessly aggressive) said that he hadn't seen me in Seabrook before,which was probably true enough. I said when I play I usually play at Foxwoods. In asking me what I played there, he said something that I took as quite a compliment whether or not it was intended as such. He said, "you strike me like a mixed game player." Now to be thought of as a mixed game player, or at least for a poker player to get a read on me like I was one, assumes a certain level of talent; if you can put your money down on deuce – seven lowball with the same gusto as no limit hold 'em you got to have some chops. So even though I can't legitimately lay claim to having that skill, it was a pleasant little kiss on the ass that he thought I did.

And yet, despite my own doubts in my abilities that day (I told Josie for example that I just wasn't feeling it that day; that I had a bad feeling about the outcome), once the cards were in the air I felt overtaken with a preternatural sense of calm. I was in a zone I hadn't been in in quite some time. I just didn't feel any need to to show any ass or fall prey to fancy play syndrome and bleed my chips away. I found that by playing them when they're good and throwing them away when they ain't is about as good a strategy at Seabrook as there is. And it took me a pretty fair ways down the road. But the thing is with tournaments is that to win you need at least a little bit of luck and my luck just didn't hold.

My last hand was a classic example of why I've been losing so many tournaments. I'd been playing for the better part of six hours. The blinds were 3000 – 6000; I'd played short stacked most of the tournament but after winning a couple of pots and stealing a few rounds of blinds I was up to about 29,000 in chips, which was still a below average stack but at least I wasn't low man. We were down to 12 runners, six at each table. At UTG +1 I was dealt Ace Jack, which is a really nice hand six handed. With the blinds so high there was really only one move left to me of course, so I shoved (with less than five big blinds in my stack I defy anyone to say that I should've just raised or called). I honestly would've been happy had everyone folded but I think I was just as happy with the call; there were only a handful of hands that I was vulnerable to and like I said if I was going to win this tournament I would have to trust to luck. Well I got my call - a regular there who had a voice like Tom Waits after gargling with bleach - and he flipped his A6 over before I could flip over mine. Good. He was dead to a three outer.

The flop came 23K. So far so good. I was about 70 – 25 with a 5% chance of tying on the flop; now I was about 81%. The turn came up four, which gave him four more outs; now he had three sixes and four fives to win but I was still 85% to win it. But of course the God damn five comes up on the turn, which filled my wheel but which gave the villain a straight to the six. And that, my friends, was the story of me. I finished 12th out of 63 runners, two off the final table and six off the money.

I admit it: I was absolutely heartbroken to see that five. I's one thing to lose a coin flip but it's far different to fall victim to an 85/15 at such an important point in the game. I know it happens all the time (well, 15 times out of every hundred) but does it really have to happen when the game is on the line? If the hand had gone my way I would've had one of the deeper stacks on the table, in great position to make the final table and to cash - which by the way I've never done at that flea infested cesspool whore's den that sits right over the Massachusetts border.

The worst part about it is that usually when I lose a tournament I can point to a hand (usually more than one) that I played poorly or that I misread so badly that I deserved to lose. Certainly I would never consider my play anything close to perfect but yesterday I thought I played really well; I thought I finally internalized the whole "keep your head down, keep your right arm straight" business. I felt that at a really deep level I finally understood some real fundamental truths about tournament play versus cash play, namely that it's just not as important as it is to be right 100% of the time like it is in a cash game. Like every so often it's okay to fold the best hand in tournament play, as opposed to a cash game where all you have to do if you made a bad decision is reach into your pocket. That patience, if you can find it, is one of your greatest allies in tournament play. Stuff that I always knew but finally absorbed in a fundamental way.

But Lady Poker just seems to extract too high a price for each lesson. She really makes it sting sometimes. And I don't know if she is just toying with me, still stealing every dollar from my wallet but making it seem like a good decision to go back…or if I should listen to the voices in my head who are all saying fuck that rat trap. Never darken that door again. I'm starting to think, contrary to my Hebraiety, that it'll be worth shoveling money into that place for the ability to extract out some pittance back out of it one day. Yes, it would be a pyrrhic victory, but at this point I'd take any victory at all. I'm desperate for some good news.

All in all I have to say it was a pretty miserable time. A day out with Josie is usually its own reward (he said with an evil grin, as he twirled his handlebar mustache), but I have to admit after I got out of there all I wanted to do was just drop off my passenger and go home. I was pretty monosyllabic on the trip back to Josie's house, I guess. Thankfully she shouldered the lion's share of the talking.

And what did she talk about?

You guys, of course. She loves you guys, you know.

So until next time, fuck that shithole in Seabrok, and everyone associated therewith.

(Editors note: this post was largely created using Dragon NaturallySpeaking [11.5, for you geeks in the crowd] and I'm curious if you notice any departure in my usual tone; I wonder if dictating as opposed to typing changes the way I fundamentally put sentences together. It certainly feels like it's different; I perceive my writing to be more confident when I create it from the tips of my fingers, as opposed to when I speak it to my laptop, although that might just be the confidence of familiar ground. Your opinion would be helpful: do I sound different?)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Josie's Oot...

Rivered by a three-outer.  I'll let her tell the rest of the story when she gets back.

Fuck, it's bad enough when you're playing a home game for five bucks and your opponent sucks out a good one on you.  For it to happen in the bigger games, that must be tough to bear.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A little joke for a Monday Morning

A ventriloquist decides to switch professions and become a fake spirit medium.  His first customer is a grieving widow looking to speak to her husband.  He tells her, "For twenty bucks I can locate your husband in the hereafter and have him speak to you.  For fifty bucks I can drink a glass of water while he's talking."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Ode to My Hometown, Boston

(sung to the tune of "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year")

It's the most wonderful city of all
The cabbies are smoking
The Red Sox are choking
Just like every Fall-
It's the most wonderful city of all!

It's the most wonderful town that there is
The Back Bay is sinking
The alleys are stinking
of bums and of piss...
It's the most wonderful town that there is!

Well Polaroid's gone
And the whores have moved on
Since the end of the Combat Zone...
The women are stocky
and play some good hockey
but thank god they'll leave you alone...

It's the most wonderful city of all
The drivers are mean
And the rents are obscene
But the B's are at least walking tall...
It's the most wonderful city of all!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am the love of someone's life

Longtime readers of this little chucklefest will know that I've written about this before, albeit as background to a larger tale, but there's a female in my life who loves me beyond reason, who melts at the very sight of me.

It's not her:

I love Photoshop

And it's not her (although she's on my Tootsie-sanctioned exception list):

Ah, Charlize...I could eat you up without even having to coat you in batter

And it's not her, although natural redheads make me weak in the knees and make my man-parts feel funny:

You were the only reason I ever watched Six Feet Under

And despite the rumors and whispers, mostly started by me, it's not even her (though we're thick as thieves):

Hi Auntie Jo!

It's her:

Meow meow purr purr meow. Seriously.

This is my cat Pearl.  And as much as she loves me, I must tell the reluctant truth:  she is, to everyone on this planet except for me, a fucking bitch. She doesn't like Tootsie, she doesn't like our other cat Rusty, a red/orange Persian, and she absolutely hates our new addition, a was-gonna-be-stray-unless-we-stepped-up little drink of water named Maya. She is indifferent to guests, appearing for a courtesy petting before sauntering off with a twitch of her tail and a grand attitude.

With me, it's 100% different.  It all started early on.  Toots picked her and Rusty up from the shelter, and that by the way is a whole other story - which by the way I should write about sometime (Jo - it has to do with Sassy Brassy). So she didn't know me and I didn't know her.  And at first she was a biter.  I guess shelter living will do that to you.  But the first time she bit me, I did what mama cats do with misbehaving kittens: I grabbed her by the back of the neck, pushed her down to the prone position,  and talked low, right in her ear, that we didn't do things this way in the Jacobs house. As soon as I did this she became meek and submissive: like I've said before, if you want a cat to get your message, give her the message like a cat would give it. She ran away from me as soon as I let her go but maybe an hour later she was back and had an entirely different attitude - towards me at least.  From that point forward we were inseparable, but she was still a flaming douchebag to everyone else in the house.

She's not a lap cat: she's never spent a minute on my lap, though she will traverse it to get from point A to point B.  She prefers to sit next to me, which she will do for hours at a time - she's doing it now in fact as I write this and watch the football game.  On those rare occasions when I bestir myself and actually get up off the couch, usually to piddle, she looks up at me with this look of sadness and betrayal, like there is no place on this earth that is better suited for my ass than the couch.  I happen by the way to agree.

No human being loves anyone unconditionally.  Human love is susceptible to so many obstacles, because we humans are so goddamn imperfect. Love fades, by time or circumstance or changing tastes.  But the love that a cat has for the human whom s/he has picked out as The One simply never fades.  Never ever. And through the slings and arrows of this shitty life that's a great comfort.

I love you too, Pearly girl.  Now get up so I can put my laptop down.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mutant Fruit

Every so often at my local grocery store we get food that was apparently earmarked for Sasquatch.  Look at the size of these grapes I picked up there!

I have to tell you, I have an unnatural attachment to these grapes.  I love these grapes and everything they represent. Just look at the size of 'em!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Good Red Sox Story...

...if I do say so myself.  Two long-standing stories about the Red Sox of yore, and how much bullshit they are:

It's a good read, especially for true Sox fans who love and loathe the team in equal measure.