Thursday, July 29, 2010

A note to financial planner Michelle Bachmann

Hi there Michelle.

Photo cred at her website

I heard you were busy yesterday during the hearing on Internet Gambling Regulation.

Your quote:

"With our economy struggling as it is and unemployment hovering around 10%, this bill rewards offshore gambling corporations at the expense of American workers," Bachmann stated. "This legislation will kill American jobs and open up another revenue source for an already reckless and bloated federal government. We should be putting forth legislation that promotes responsible behavior and sound financial planning. This bill completely misses the mark"

I'm afraid my dear YOU are the only one "missing the mark".  The bill, if you bothered to read it, is to bring regulation and most likely those offshore gambling corporation back home creating jobs in *gaps* America!  Yes, home of the Freedom Fries, Nicole Scherzinger, and people who pay your salary might play online poker.  Your babbling about the unemployment rate makes no sense because online gambling didn't just spring up yesterday.  It was there for the boom and bust of the economy, and it will be there for the next boom and the next bust.  If someone's flush draw doesn't get there, the person does not lose their job.

It is not going away.

Tell me madame representative do you understand how many people these offshore gambling sites employ?  Did you bother to try to understand there are potential jobs coming home for those who were forced to move away when the UIGEA was slipped underneath the Watergate hotel room's door?   Those jobs include many different sectors:  advertising, marketing, accounting, management, IT, and even some writing jobs for us bloggers who manage to wrest away from our crippling Red Bull and Atomic Fireballs addictions. 

Promote responsible behavior and sound financial planning?  Oh, like my 401k which took a 40% nosedive in the past two years?  Or how about my underwater mortgage that I have dilegently been paying on and improving for the past four years but the property value continues to sink despite adding a new roof, new driveway, new windows and siding, and stainless steel appliances and a rockin' hardwood floor in the kitchen that doubles as a slip and slide for my kids when they get bored.  Does this shock you that a loving husband of ten years, doting father of two for seven years, who holds two jobs and goes to school full-time might play online poker and has not resorted to knocking over the local Chuck E. Cheese for game tokens?

Kill American jobs?  Tell me Michelle Bachmann just how does this bill effect YOU.  It does not.  It effects me greatly.  With the extra income from writing about online poker I was able to return to school because my second paycheck allows me to pay the portion of the tution that federal education loans would not cover. In fact YOU are trying to kill MY job and my education in attempt to earn a bigger piece of the "American Dream" that seems to be your song-and-dance presented to rile up more vote.  Next time you think you are helping the American people and those who reside in your own state with unresearched spew like your actions and statement above, look at the toes you are stepping on to get there.  Please explain which American jobs are going to be loss when online gambling sites no longer need to flee to Isle of Man or Gibralter because of reckless politicans telling hard-working Americans how they should spend their paycheck.

I admit I have but one vote but I have a voice and if someone else reads this and agrees it becomes two votes, and so on. 


A life-long Minnesotan

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life with panoramic views

Take one minute to see.

Take one minute to encompass yourself in your current surroundings.

I am a busy person during the summer.  Much of this was my own doing as returning to school and taking on extra work for PokerStarsBlog and Bluff Magazine were a chance to continue doing something that enjoy AND get paid to write in few puns about.  Yes, sitting an sweat bath of a porch at 1am writing about poker with nothing but gray boxer briefs, a muted AVP Women's sand volleyball on the screen (seriously, they have six feet of legs, able to jam a quick set, and are wearing less than your average Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition models, HOT!), all while 80s hair bands keep it real through the Bose headsets and enjoying it seems a little mentally imbalanced.

And even with three hours of sleep into a long day at the office, I love it.  Somehow I doubt corporate America would allow such under-clothed freedoms but I'd work for half of my undersized paycheck for the chance to debug a database or balance a receipt while performing pantless accounting.  

Despite the hurried schedule I took two minutes.  The first was my son's bedroom.  Sitting in front of me was my son's bed decked out in Transformers dark blue motif most of it strewn about since getting poker by his father that it was time to go to nana and pa's for the day.  While on his belly and knees bent, his feet came together to form a perfect triangle while deflecting all urges to take care of business before hoping into the dented Mini-Van.  My daughter to his left, curled up perfection that could do no wrong.  Her oversized K pillow that has retained most of the original sequins over the three years she has owned it, fuzzy leopard-print slippers and a world of dreams opening up now that is becoming of school age.  The back window had my fat cat peering thru carefully, not wanting the half-asleep girl to notice its presence or face getting mauled by the overexcited four year old. 

After managing to not run over Thumper is his 14,562 brothers and sisters, the kids were dropped off at my childhood home where a second minute was taken in.  90 degrees to the right was Muffy Robbins house, my first crush with her golden curly hair and about my only boy-girl interaction innocent enough where it was fun to be around the opposite sex versus coming up with new ways to get rejected.  The basketball hoop that her one-armed father constructed above the garage still hung and looked well-maintained by the new neighbors that moved in after Muffy took for the mountains of Colorado at age seven.  After 28 years I still don't know their names, but remember Jerry the father, her brother Benji, and Muffy's real name of Sarah.  While turning from east to west in a motion like that Sony panoramic camera commerical with Taylor Swift the Cul-de-Sac where I once played football on a daily basis, scuffing myself up, grabbing some TLC from mom only to go right back out there and gain some more scars.   Further to the side of the street is my baseball card collection, dancing in the make-shift stream during a flash flood in which I was attempting to transport from Matt Spitzmuller's house to my own but tripped as Don Mattingly's rookie card moved as effortless as his swing down towards the sewer never to be traded again. 

Reality set in quickly with my wife of nearly 10 years hopped up for quick kiss and a reminder that I had a dentist appointment right after work at 5pm but asked if I could grab a new headlight for her car before I started homework and a softball game at 8pm but not to leave before getting the kids in bed.

Life was a little more simple while playing strat-o-matic baseball and ghost tag into the night versus the cluster of reality that is shoved into a 24 hour day at the present time.  But, it's a good feeling to take the time to reflect and refresh before stepping back to that life you built for yourself.  Try it sometime.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Never bet against a drunk

As noted I purchased my flight earlier in the night before getting my drink on.

I play good poker while under the influence occasionally.

Note Mr. Craig's finish in 10th, I got my first Pro bounty in four years playing at Full Tilt :)  This paid for the trip I couldn't afford easily just five hours ago.  The donkey drunk gods have provided as I start to play Rush Poker cash, and lose a flopped  straight to a rivered  boat that called all-in on the turn.

$1 to everyone and something pretty for Maigrey at Sephora.

Off to the trailer/cabin this weekend for guy's weekend and come home for a night of fun at PokerStarsBlog starting off with the Battle of the Planets, then Sunday Warm-up, and finishing with the Audi TT giveaway:  Turbo Takedown.

Peace folks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WPBT is da place to BE!

If you know about the upcoming annual blogger's attempt to drain every ounce of alcohol and donkey blood from the poker tables of Las Vegas during the WPBT Winter Classic  from the lovely April then prepare yourself to hear Wilson Phillips on Decemeber 7th of the year 2010 because I'll be there for my birthday this year!

Yeah, hopefully there's not the same results as last time that found my drunk ass in need of two wheeled transportation.  And this year I'm going early and staying at the lavish MGM Grand because those beds (should I ever go to the room) are a recharging station for the awesomeness of seeing my degenerate friends in their natural environment.

Wed 8-Dec-10

Minneapolis (MSP)
Depart 4:00 pm
Terminal 2 to Las Vegas (LAS)
Arrive 5:20 pm
Terminal 1 1,294 mi
(2,082 km)
Duration: 3hr 20mn
Flight: 103


3Economy/Coach Class ( Seat assignments upon check-in More Information ), Boeing 737-700


Total distance: 1,294 mi (2,082 km)

Total duration: 3hr 20mn

Mon 13-Dec-10

Las Vegas (LAS)

Depart 6:05 pm

Terminal 1 to Minneapolis (MSP)

Arrive 11:05 pm

Terminal 2 1,294 mi

(2,082 km)

Duration: 3hr 0mn


Flight: 104


3Economy/Coach Class ( Seat assignments upon check-in More Information ), Boeing 737-800


Total distance: 1,294 mi (2,082 km)

Total duration: 3hr 0mn

Hotel summary

Wed Dec-8-2010 (5 nights)

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

3799 Las Vegas Blvd S

Las Vegas, NV 89109

United States of America

Check in: Wed Dec-8-2010

Check out: Mon Dec-13-2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flannel Utopia Redux

While traveling along Hwy. 371 towards a group of towns in Northern Minnesota that are reknown for their rustic resort-type settings it was a chance to catch my breath for the two hour drive.  A ten-hour day at the bullseye ended with starting an overheated car thanks to the summer's blanket of humidity that produced ass sweats like I'd just finished a triatholon (which would never happen since 15 minutes on the stationary bike usually taps my lung's gas tank).  The ride was quiet thanks to the absence of kids in the car seats behind me, the road opened up once past the clog of cars in the city limits of the self-proclaimed "Halloween Captial of the World" Anoka, MN.  Not sure if that distinction is the best since Halloween has turned from innocent pillow covers stuffed with candy into skanks stuffing bras (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Becker, Big Lake, Rice (with a rather evil population of 666), the college town of St. Cloud, all past by before hitting the Baxter/Brainerd/Nisswa triage of resort towns.  Usually, since this is an even year, we would be soaking up the sun in Isle of Palms, SC while renting out two beach houses and watching my daughter chase crabs up and down the massive sandlot.  But, since "the economy" is in play we're taking in the odd years tradition of heading to my eldest uncle's house for a round of golf and pot luck spread while watersports awaited for those inclined to do so. 

The kids arrived at the hotel/waterpark before their father and were already an hour into double-tubing down the slides and getting knocked over every half-hour by this massive bucket of water.  Road weary but happy to get out of the monkey cubical suit, I would join for a bit before two poolside drinks and fatigue from a long three months of school/work/blogging took it's toll and rendered me unusable. 

Tee times at Crosswoods Golf Course for 12 of us were early enough to catch the stillness of what makes Northern Minnesota so great.  The lack of mosquitos and cars noises allow you to soak in the massive pines and oaks peppered with nature stealing those wayward Titlests into their forest homes (I donated more than a few).  My golf game mirrors my pitching "career", wild with flashes of brilliance.  The first with everyone watching the golf gods were kind enough to grant me a gentle fade, splitting the fairway 330 yards and leaving my team of four a mere 50 yards to the forward pin.  We won't recount the shanks after this because the mini-cooler of mass produced beer was emptied as quickly as we could fill it.  A 65 was carded but couldn't notch the young guns' 63 as they used Rodney Dangerfield's shotgun driver on every hole leaving themselves eagle putts when they should have been on the fairway hitting approach shots. 

After paying off the sidebets and getting most of it back for hitting a closest to pin on a Par 3, it was time for beer can chicken, off the bone ham, and desserts which fatten an ass by the chocolaty smells (I had thirds) back on Pelican Lake (pictured below).  Sadly mother nature was on the rag this afternoon and took out her fury in the form of tornado warnings and flash floods but that just gave us more time inside to catch up with my many cousins and chat about one's hockey teams as my uncle was well-known for coaching a AAA Junior team for many years and my cousin took helm shortly after to continue the tradition. 

(image from

The backroads leading towards the hotel and civilization made me wonder, in 20-25 years when that gold watch of retirement shows up and we celebrate a quick "thanks for working here, now please take your bloated salary out of here" sheet-cake party would I want to return to this blissful area or one like it just another two hours further north in Ely, MN (which I've writen before).  The sereneness of the area in the summer (don't mess with a Northern Minnesota winter unless you enjoy ice cubes for toes over six months)  could change my plans of becoming a snow bird and living half up north and half in the dry heat of Arizona or Texas. 

Then again, there's no guarantee that I'll play corporate survivor for the next 25 years and may find something else to my liking and end up down a very different path.  But, it will be fun getting there, that much I do know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

You Make the Call!

Safe or Out? (Photo courtesy of Neal Anderson)

The thing is I was more interested that kept his eye on the ball while catching it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Couch: The Lost Time Machine

My apologies for blank space but the need to refuel writing outside of work that doesn't seem like work is very necessary.  Last night there was no hot tub, but a couch that was older than the two people sitting on it for most of the evening.  One every ten minutes or so, a four-year old would bounce up with a tired smile to curl up then take off without reason.  Besides the boarded up fireplace in the basement which shielded the nasty recent humidity front which cooled the area to be comfortable, was a large HDTV.  A relative relic now standing at six years old and weighs about 100 pounds but works well enough for the kids to have a place to watch Tom and Jerry re-runs or Monsters vs. Aliens on the dual VCR/DVD combo.  But, last night after my wife found some old VHS tapes we decided to take over the space for a short time traveling excursion.

The first was her playing in the 1990 14-year olds Minnesota State Softball tourney somewhere in northern Minnesota.  After seeing the dot matrix like white font with the year, date, and time as a constant reminder of OLD OLD OLD with every pitch during her team's defeat of 6-0, it took a quick look in the bathroom mirror with gray hairs sticking defiantly from my chin to confirm OLD OLD OLD.  As I hobbled back to the couch after pointing and laughing at its age thus tempting the structure to collpase, the second tape was put in

Mullets, fritzy hair, acne, indecision, depression, freedom, baseball, pep rallys, Grease:  The Musical, a future.  The 1994 Anoka Tornados Video Yearbook came across the screen and for the next hour finger-pointing at hair-dos, people my wife remembered included a sizable young man who was featured several times as royalty to the different dances took his life just one year after donning a faux-velvet crown and getting a stand-ovation as he walked across the basketball court floor.  The muscials shorts were well-produced, the clips of the debate team, foreign language, and every other student organization gave a short group "hello" to the camera along with the leaders nervously telling what future world problems they would solve (perhaps they could start with that BP oil spill and work their way to the US budget deficit

On a personal level I tried to remember my high school years as replays of the various dances came across the screen, and since my fawning over just two girls the entire time I walked the halls of Osseo Senior combined with the complete lack of confidence, I barely knew of all these after school dances, much less any after-school activity that didn't involve another round of advance math and science classes or baseball during the spring trimester.  The friends I shared locker space with are the same ones my kids play with their kids today.  Homely, for a guy who loves the bright lights of Vegas but I had my chance to break from my hometown if I so desired.  Being a freshman at Arizona State and holding my own academically but inside, fixing to jump off the top of one of those buildings if I didn't find something to latch onto, the decision was to return home and right the ship before I ended up like the gentleman above who took his own life despite being named a dream date by several girls wearing the school's maroon and white. 

The after the credits rolled and the couch returned us to an asleep child who needed a parent to take her upstairs to her beloved and ragged "K" pillow, and a mohawk'd one in Transformers PJs to his much faded blue lizard two kids had grown-up in different ways only to end up in a basement of a house built the year they were born to start the process again.  Will I be able to provide the push to my kids to achieve what they can instead of what is safe?  Can I help them find themselves so they do not have to endure the same painful adolescent years without a sense of direction and self-worth

For certain, they will get everything I know I can give them and perhaps things I didn't know I could get them.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

LeBron James Signs With Detroit Lions

(AP) - Detroit, Michigan

*In a stunning turn of events Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has decided to leap across professional sports and signed this morning with the Detroit Lions.  The announcement came during the third hour of the "LeBron James Nokia Open Press Conference" sponsored by McDonald's just as they were going to show that highlight of James hitting a game-winning shot for the 16th time, James approached the stage set up in an undisclosed area of Detroit for fear of potential gate crashing by people frustrated from living in Detroit.

"I have dream..."  began the 6-8 250 lbs. man who averaged nearly 30 points a game last season but managed to lose to a team that comprised of the 1978 All-Star team in the conference semifinals.  "And that dream is to draw Barry Sanders back to the Silverdome" continued James.  Quickly someone corrected He Who Thinks Too Highly Of Himself and told James that the Lions play at Ford Field the aloof All-Pro said "Ford?  Damn, I gots five of those in my fourth house's garage collecting rust, horrible pieces of *bleep*".

When asked what position James would play his manager Quincy Cuzo took the mic and explained his client "will be required to touch the ball 85% of the time while on offense and Matt Stafford would just have to suck it up".  No word if James has ever played football as researchers are hitting the phones of all Pop Warner and other junior league coaches from the Akron, Ohio area for the past 20 years.

Local Lions fan Rusty "Mad Dogg" Knutz who neighbors describe as "nails are as tough as him" had this to say:  "As long as I gets my McGriddle in the morning LeBob James can be mayor for all I care".  A mixed Knutz was asked to clarify his statement:  "Oh, he's gonna play for the Lions and he's not a wide reciever?!? hell it's time to show my Lions PRIDE" as he ripped open his unknown brownish substance t-shirt revealing a Lions logo which took up his entire chest.  The writer of this story refused Mr. Knutz's offer to show myself where the southernly pointing tail ended.

James is expected to sign for the deed to half of Detroit and "whatever cars have not been broken into" within that area.  No word on Brett Favre's reaction to this story.

*if you think any of this is true I suggest falling down three flights of stairs for clarity

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Return to the land of the living

The ending was a beautiful half-painted orange-reddish ball on my right with that light reflecting off the glass of my workplace on the left as I crested over the final bridge and back to work after five days of being unplugged.

Relaxing?  As relaxing as a short family vacation can be, but sleep was made in bunches as having my laptop disconnected for five days certainly relieved me of stress as more important things like getting the kids up for a round of mini-putt or helping them on with their life-vests in the morning for the uncrowded pool.  When you're a parent you take your stress relief in bunches and try to enjoy them to the fullest.  Golf was rainy, but calm despite my ability to miss every five foot putt due to the crisp way a few drives came off my old set which is stored at the trailer/cabin.  There's very little that compares to watching the perfect flight of a golf ball or baseball when struck, if you don't play and think those athletes on TV are posing for the cameras, you'd be right about two percent of the time because I guarantee you if you're ever taken in the panoramic view of that floating sphere being lifted it's much like a decent sunrise to view.

Rest happened, plates with spare ribs touched by Jack Daniels were demolished, and I'm back to a crazy schedule while my friends in Vegas are in the home stretch as the World Series of Poker rages on with Day 1C starting up today.  Good luck in the trenches folks, may you wash off that donkey blood off before hitting up the Gold Coast Pai Gow tables for the next weeks.

As my present to myself for some sloth well-done, I snagged Red Dead Redemption after picking up my son's birthday present yesterday.  Hooked. 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Saying No Is Hard To Do

When I pulled into the open company parking lot this morning with just eight cars that would soon become over 500 and used a turn signal with nary another automobile running and had to back track to retrieve my awful picture badge after reaching the revolving door of the building it was another reminder.  A hint of the wear-and-tear that my eyes tell and body laboring a bit after a good stretch of work and school has left me in need of a disconnect.

It killed me to turn down someone who I doubt I've no to in two years, as I had to tell both gigs this was planned a month and a half ago.  No PokerStarsBlog, no Bluff Magazine, no laptop, only a cell phone with a number that only a few know will be open for texting me to share a drink or give me a conversation topic for the late night bonfires.  My black Toshiba Satellite will rest on top of the $2.99 beige foam support on the couch where my ass imprint is quite profound after two months while covering SCOOP, extra PokerStars Sunday Majors reporting, school. and the World Series of Poker.  No working thru the night and into this dark cubical where the lights haven't been lit as the parking lot mentioned above remains relatively bare.  General ledger analysis and highlighting text will need until next week when school starts up again.

This weekend was cleared to give my wife a husband for a solid five days since our real 10th year anniversary in a few months is surrounded by family obligations, work, and school.  Being off-the-grid will give no excuses to miss out on the Saturday four-man best-ball tourney or taking four kids in my golf cart up to the clubhouse for the best $1 swirled ice cream waffle cone you can find within 15 minutes of the Wisconsin border.  While it killed me to say no to work projects that I love, my son gave me a little perspective of how much I've been heads-down on my 15" monitor this summer.  He asked "daddy, do you have to go home early to work again?". 

"Not this time buddy". 

I'll see you Tuesday, and with any luck, I'll be rested but hungover.