Monthly Archives: February 2006

Old Stu Poker

About a month ago I was playing a game of poker with some good friends of mine. It was about an hour into the game when I looked at my rapidly shrinking stack of chips and had what you might call a “brick to my head”.

Looking at the stacks of the others at the table, I realized I was the short stack, and had been for nearly the entire game. What had happened to me? I’d been playing like a scared little pissant for several months now, and was barely keeping my head above water as far as my poker winnings.

This wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t. For a guy that used to be able to read other players so well, and based my play on my reads… at some point I started playing my cards instead of the cards of my opponents. And I had started judging their hands based exclusively on their betting patterns.

After playing poker for 19 some-odd years, I had turned into some idiot amateur that had no idea what was going on!

I mentally smacked myself in the face. Where was the old Stu that wasn’t afraid to reraise the guy that was trying to steal the pot? Where was the Stu that played his opponent’s cards instead of his own? I looked at myself and realized, I make myself sick!

Time to get back to old-Stu (as opposed to old-school) poker!

Boy, let me tell you, after beating myself up it didn’t take me long before I was the chip leader again. In the end, I built a near insurmountable lead which allowed me to bully the other players into submission and win the game.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Two weeks later I was able to become the chip leader early on, which allowed me to take more risks (giving me the opportunity to get lucky more often as well) and lose quite a bit of chips without it hurting my position.

I made one high-risk move that cut my stack in half. After calming down, I got back in the game with some great plays, coming back to chop down the chip leader’s stack and eventually win the game.

These last two games have helped me remember why I play poker. It’s a game of psychology, and I love out-playing my opponents! Chalk another two wins up for the bandit!

I’ll take this opportunity to show off my new chips:

Is This How Islam Honors the Great Muhammed?

In order to avoid becoming the target of Islamic terrorists, I’ve avoided posting anything regarding the caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammed. But man, I just can’t take it anymore! This cartoon (one of many), in response to what I consider to be an absolutely psychotic, crazy, and incredibly hypocritical reaction by many in the Middle East, pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter:

Here’s another good one:

Now some might say that we in “the west” are hypocritical expecting Islamic extremists to be tolerant of other’s cultures. Well, normally I’d say… maybe. But let’s take a look at the next cartoon:

Okay now… that is far from being the first time that the religious figures depicted in that cartoon have been poked at in a less than respectful manner. And yet you won’t find members representing the faiths that follow the characters in the above cartoon pulling out their AK-47′s, rioting in the streets, burning down foreign embassies, and acting in an incredibly hateful manner.

An Iranian newspaper held a contest to see who could come up with the best cartoon poking fun at the Jewish Holocaust. Outrageous by all accounts. But was the response hatred and violence against Muslims? Hardly. Somebody went on TV and stated very matter of factly how distasteful and upsetting it was to him. (check the comments for a really great response by Israeli cartoonists)

Furthermore, if depicting the prophets in images is considered idolatry, and poking fun of Islamic prophets is blasephemy worthy of death, then why has there been no uproar at the centuries of disrespetful depictions of Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus, all of whom are considered prophets of Islam? What makes Muhammed so special? I mean, this is a guy who spent a large part of his career as prophet raiding caravans and in warfare killing and beheading people. Despite his violent history, Muhammed preached tolerance of other faiths.

From reading Muhammed’s history, I see nothing that he has done that is nearly as great as what Noah, Moses, and Jesus had done. But apparently it’s perfectly acceptable to blaspheme against those prophets. Or at least, the Muslim world doesn’t freak out about it.

Okay, one last cartoon for you. I think you’ll really like this one:

Remember that South Park episode with the Super Best Friends? The Super Best Friends were a collection of super hero religious figures which included Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tsu, Moses, Jesus, and even Joseph Smith. Oh yeah, and Muhammed too. I guess they don’t get South Park in the Middle East. But even in America, not a single Jew, Taoist, Hindu, Christian, or Mormon went on any kind of violent rampage much less cause an international uproar. And this was an episode that depicted Jesus as a fraud… Christian blasphemy if ever I saw it.

Anyway, just my two cents. If I end up riddled with bullets from an AK-47, you’ll know what happened to me.

…Edit: Oh, I forgot. If you want to see more cartoons on the same subject, check out the following:
http://cagle.com/news/Muhammad/

I don’t know how long that page will stay active, so don’t come sreaming at me if it’s gone when you try to visit it. Just wait awhile and my Islamic Extremist friends will pay me a visit anyway.

Pharmacies Forced to Carry “Morning After Pill”

Until recently, Wal Mart pharmacies had chosen not to carry the so called “morning after” emergency contraceptive. That changed recently in Massachusetts when a group of women successfully sued Wal Mart to carry the morning-after pill.

There are two sides of the argument here. First, pharmacies are regulated. They are required to carry certain medications. This makes sense. If you go to the emergency room and are prescribed medicine that is necessary for treatment, you expect a pharmacy to carry the medication.

Imagine being diabetic to discover that none of the pharmacies in your town carry insulin. Thankfully, diabetics don’t need to worry about that because insulin is one of the medications pharmacies are required to carry. It makes sense to require a pharmacy to carry such a medication, doesn’t it?

And this is the argument that is being used by those who support the new Massachussetts policy that forces pharmacies to carry the morning-after pill.

Now, I agree that the morning-after pill should be available to women who need them. But I believe those women are of a very narrow set.

You see, sex is generally a voluntary act (rape being the obvious exception). There happens to be a very well known “side effect” of sex for women, and that is pregnancy. I hate to call the miracle that is the creation of new life a side effect, but it gets the point across. Now I understand that the sex drive is a very strong thing, and asking people today to just “abstain from having sex if you don’t want to get pregnant” is a pretty tall order. Good thing there are so many preventative steps one can take to keep from getting pregnant.

If you’re going to have sex, take preventative steps. Heck, take them all if you can and be totally redundant.

The morning-after pill is a preventative, not life saving, measure. Pharmacies shouldn’t be required to carry it anymore than they should be required to carry sinus sprays.

Requiring hospitals to carry the morning-after pill for rape victims makes sense to me. But pharmacies? I tend to disagree with the State of Massachussetts on this one.

I was in a motorcycle accident a little over 10 years ago. I needed treatment. Some of it was required to save my life, some of it was not. But a woman broke the law and pulled her car out in front of me, thus causing my accident and resulting injuries. It would be a different story if I refused to wear any protective gear and purposely slammed my motorcycle into a brick wall.

If a woman is a rape victim, by all means administer the morning-after pill. If a woman voluntarily has sex without taking preventative measures, well that’s something else. We shouldn’t force private companies to carry what too often is essentially an afterthought for people that are sleeping around.

Life at the Stratosphere

For our 10 year anniversary, my wife and I took a trip to the Stratosphere in Vegas. I took my wife to see the Blue Man Group at the Venetian while we were there.

I won about $180 or so at the blackjack table. I had quite a bit of luck there. I didn’t play any poker (casino poker tournaments don’t do much for me), though I find myself wishing that I had.

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment:

Stratosphere Tower
This is the view of the tower from my parents’ room. It’s a free ride to the top if you happen to be staying at the Stratosphere hotel, $10 otherwise. $10 for a 15 second elevator ride? hmmm… I’m just glad I had a free ticket.

Top of Stratosphere Tower
A view of the hotel from the top of the tower.

Stratosphere Swings
One of the four rides at the top of the tower.

Stratosphere X-Treme
Just watching this ride gave my wife the willies. It sure looked like fun!

topoftower
Me at the top, with the strip behind.

There’s a good possibility of my returning to Vegas (this time for business) in June for the eBay Live event taking place at Mandalay Bay. I’ll probably room with my mortal enemy, Ryan, aka Buck. If Ryan doesn’t kill me, I’ll post some pics of that trip as well.

Why don’t you go eat a decroted piece of crap?

Just checking to see if anyone is paying attention.

So I had this incredibly weird dream last night. I don’t know why, but ever since I arrived in Las Vegas, I started to remember my dreams, which are getting stranger to say the least.

Oh yeah, I went to Vegas recently. I’ll post pictures of that later.

The dream I had last night was of an Iraqi invasion into the U.S. And I’m not sure, but I may have had some involvement in assisting with the invasion, which is weird because in the end I was running from the Iraqi military as they invaded my home.

The last thing I recall is opening a bedroom window, climbing out and hanging from the window sill (it was about 10 ft. off the ground), then reaching up and closing the window just as some Iraqis came in the room. I hoped that they wouldn’t see my fingers gripping the window sill as I hung there.

For some reason I was running away rather than grabbing my sidearm and fighting back. There must be some kind of deep meaning to it all. What do you think.

Pics of Vegas coming soon!