Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Laissez les bon temps roule!

A running diary of sorts regarding this holiday.

Hopefully, thansk to the warm weather and several thousand people coming down to the Crescent City, the city's recovery can speed up just a bit. Not just revenue for the city and for local businesses, but for the spirit of the city and the people too.

Of the krewes that have had parades, the funniest I've seen so far has been the Carrolton krewe, whose theme was "Blue Roof Blues".


Friday, February 24, 2006

Fantasy Sports Bragging Run Amok

Think that miniature bat, miniature helmet, or t-shirt isn't quite stating how dominant you were in Fantasy Football?

Then this is for you.

It's all about the rings, baby.

Wait, what is that dust doing on your head?

FAQ about Lenten traditions here.

Ashes to fasting to palms, oh my.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Newt on Newt

Newt Gingrich - in what sounds like the beginnings of a platform.

If you're looking for someone who could be the Republican nominee in 2008 and have a track record of success, without completely ticking off your base on either cultural positions (Giuliani) or economic positions (McCain) then picking someone who's already battled a Clinton might be a good idea.

Of course, I could be partial, living in his old district and all.

Don't go hunting with Dick...

A little timewaster to start the week.

H/t to Ace of Spades HQ.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

How to Win $20 Million.....

  • Step 1: Be in the top 36 of 1800 poker players on a Level 1 Freeroll Daily Satellite at Full Tilt Poker.
  • Step 2: Be in the final 9 of 1000 players on a Level 2 Weekly Satellite.
  • Step 3: Be in the top 20 of 1800 players on a Level 3 Monthly Satellite and win an entry fee to the World Series of Poker equaling $10,000.00.
  • Step 4: Go to Vegas
  • Step 5: Beat around 6600 other players to win $10 million. By playing through Full Tilt, get another $10 million for winning the WSOP, and walk out of the Rio with $20 million.

At least that's the plan.

Tried Step 1 yesterday on Full Tilt's website. They are running tournaments through July to send players to Vegas in September for the WSOP.

Had a bit of a surprise as there was an actual pro in the tourney - one of Full Tilt's designers, Chris Ferguson. Pretty cool.

Tourney started at 1:45 AM, everyone gets 1500 in chips. Good thing I got to sleep late on Saturday so I won't fall asleep. Running diary time!

1:50: Make my first push when I flop straight. I get a caller, double up, and knock someone out.

1:55-2:10: I push into a lot of pots after limping on the flop, and I get people to throw cards away, so I make some small gains.

2:11: Someone gets tired of me doing this again and again, so they go all in. Too bad I hit top pair on the flop. They're out, I have about 5000 chips. Already, 700 players are gone. Fast-moving game.

2:21: Raised with A-10 pre-flop and got a bunch of callers. I hit two pair with the flop, but played it soft and let betting go around before I go over the top. I get 2 callers. I take all their chips. This is going a lot better than I thought. I have about 7000 chips.

2:24: 1,000 people are gone. It's about this time that I notice the pro at another table. He has a lot more chips. Big shocker there.

2:39: Someone tried to make a stand with a short-stack but I flip over K-Q. King on the flop sends them packing. Up to about 10,000 now.

2:43: Right before the break, I lose a a race - my A-10 falls to wired 7's. Down to 7500.

2:46: 1st Break. I am #227 out of 545 remaining players.

3:05: After folding a bunch of hands and losing small pots, I start to roll with a LOT of good cards in a row. K-J suited, A-Q, K-7 suited which pushed everyone out, setting up...

3:11: I get an all-in, I call, and gleefully flip over my cards showing a pair of Kings. Back up to 12,000.

3:25: Antes come into play. This is always fun. Stealing antes is GREAT. You'll see a lot of pro's loosen way up when the antes start coming out because they can intimidate everyone else at the table. Normally, it doesn't work for me. But this time....

3:30: I take half of a 3-way pot with a pair of aces. The one loser in the pot goes home. Up to 160th.

3:34: K-Q suited. Q on flop, I check. Blank on river, I push, other player all in, other player going home. Up to 89th.

3:36: 10-9 offsuit in the big blind, I get a very nice flop pairing my 10. I push and win a small pot. Move to 69th.

3:40: Started hitting rough cards for about 20 minutes. Had some bad flops and I lose about 2,000.

3:54: 2nd Break. I am 93rd. Ferguson is 60th. Not too far ahead right now. I'm getting tired, though, but going downstairs for a Coke at 4 AM doesn't sound like fun either.

4:04: Dealt wired 5's, flop appears to be a mess to everyone else but me, as I get three of a kind. I push (looking like a bluff) and get several callers, winning a nice pot.

4:05: next hand, same thing - 5-5. I hit trips again and this time knock out two players.

4:07 - NEXT HAND: I have K-10 and hit two pair on the flop. Other players try to push, I go over the top and get two others all-in. They are knocked out. I am up to 22nd out of 148.

4:10: Win a small pot with A-Q. I now have 29,700 in chips. Whoa...

4:15: I trap two players with a pair of kings and win a monster pot to go to 45,000. I am now 7th of 117 players.

(I could actually make it???)

4:25: I win a 20,000 pot with A-K. I am up to 60,000 and I am 7th of 104. As long as I don't get any bad beats I can make it to the top 36.

4:28: I'm moved to another table as players are knocked out elsewhere. TOo bad - I had a run going.

4:35: Uh-oh - I lost a third of my stack when my A-10 falls to a pair of 8's. Hitting it would have pushed me over 100,000. Losing, though, brought me down to 30,000 and 37th out of 87th. Aggressiveness is not going as well here.

4:37: Ferguson knocked out in 87th place. Hey, if nothing else, I survived longer, whether I make it or not.

4:40: Lose about 8000 when I try to push for a pot, but get put all in. I fold 9's. There was an A on the flop along with a straight draw so the odds weren't there. I drop to about 23,000.

4:45: My pocket 3's get hammered by A-8 when 2 aces appear on the board. I'm down to 15,000.

4:52: Blinds are now 600/1200 and antes are 150 so I don't have much time left. I go all-in with A-6 suited. I get called by pocket queens. I am smoked and out, in 63rd place.

So, I didn't make it that time. There are other chances to qualify. Some good lessons learned:

  • This was the larget field I've ever played, and I made it to the top 3%. In most cases that would put me high in the money.
  • Great players don't win all the time either. And I was playing longer than one was in the same tourney!
  • I need to learn how to slow down my play and not push so much. If I'd stopped pushing, I probably could have made it. But, pushing too much got me into trouble that I couldn't get out off. Sticking with just playing strong hands would have been a good play.
  • I really need to be ready to focus for long periods of time. The tournament did not end until 7:00 AM - two hours after I was sent packing. I was getting tired after three hours of play.
  • I am still able to hear an alarm clock to get up at 8:15 AM after being up until 5 AM.

On that last point, perhaps there's hope yet I'll turn into an early riser.

Hopefully I can improve just a wee bit for the next freeroll. Good thing there are plenty more. This was a good first attempt so I can't feel too bad about it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Must be a heckuva APR.

Mo' money, mo' money, mo'money......

Congress needs to lift the ceiling on the government's borrowing limit soon because the Treasury is already using extraordinary means to meet its obligations, Treasury Secretary John Snow said Thursday.

As of now, the debt ceiling is 8.18 trillion dollars. Yes, that's right, $8,180,000,000,000.00.

You know, it was a big deal that the deficit had reached $1 trillion in the 80's. Compared to the GDP and the economic bull run at the time, it was a bit easier to swallow then than now. In the Reagan years, it represented 3% (sometimes less) of the national GDP. It is now approaching 5% and growing.

Think about it: that figure above represents about $32,000 for every person living in the U.S. right now.

Somehow, I don't think $40 million this year will really be enough to make a difference. Especially when it just represents a smaller increase and not an actual decrease in spending.

Maybe it's time to float that balanced-budget amendment proposal again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"He did whaaaa..?"

I'm taking Alex to daycare this morning. Because his stuffed animals were left at home (I know, bad daddy...), I've given him my cellphone, which is turned off, to keep him occupied and interested. I'm thinking there's no way he could do anything with it.


He managed to turn on the phone, unlock it, set the time to 11:30 AM (this is at 8:15 this morning), set the date to November 10, 2084 (???) and punch in numbers to call someone (and it was a real number!)

Not even two and he's trying to use a cellphone. I'm trying to figure out if I should be proud, worried, or both.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Top Gun 2: Brokeback Squadron

You might have already seen this, but if not, well, here it is.

Courtesy of iFilm (which will soon be on the links.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Braves Preview, Part 2 of 2

Continuing the earlier post...


Smoltz and Hudson still look to be good anchors for a starting rotation. Both got 14 wins last year, and despite nagging injuries should each be good for 15 wins this year. Jorge Sosa had an amazing year last year, going 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA, but he needs to cut down on his walks (64 BB in 134 IP) if he wants to have another good year. Still, considering he did not join the rotation until June, he did very well. With a full season as a starter, there’s no reason not to legitimately expect 15-17 wins and an ERA in the low 3’s if he can keep the walks under control.

If only the back end of the rotation were in decent shape. John Thomson and Horacio Ramirez didn’t bring much to the table last year. Thomson missed almost three months of last season, and didn’t really impress once he returned in mid-August, Why the Braves picked him up for another year at almost $5 MILLION, I’m not really sure, especially since Kyle Davies seems ready to take that spot for about a tenth of the cost – Davies started out on fire but slipped as the season wore on – hopefully a year of growing up and getting stronger will allow him to avoid a late-season fade again, if he ends up getting 20 starts. Ramirez was hurt for most of 2004 and was a mediocre pitcher last year who never seemed to get past the sixth inning. But, he is signed for very little money, so he’s a serviceable #5.


The main objective of the offseason was to go out and get additional help in the bullpen after a horrific 2005. No one could close, no one could set up. A complete mess.

So the Braves let Furcal go, to free up money to sign such help. He made $8 million last year. That can be used for something. Right?


Kyle Farnsworth is gone to the Yankees - considering the choke job in the playoffs last year, that’s probably a good thing.

Danny Kolb is back in Milwaukee. Again, good riddance. They didn’t get much back, though.

The Estrada trade brought two decent relievers, Lance Cormier and Oscar Villareal, who aren’t too much of an upgrade from last year’s motley crew of John Foster, Joey Devine, Macay McBride, and Chris Reitsma.

Not one free-agent signing of a reliever. The Braves go into camp with Chris Reitsma as the closer. Yes, the same Reitsma who posted a 3-6 record, a 3.93 ERA, 15 saves, 9 blown saves, and more cursing than Braves fans care to remember.

This outstanding performance was rewarded with a $2.75 million contract for 2006.


For the last 15 years the core has not changed. Now, Leo Mazzone is gone, and Roger McDowell is the new pitching coach. He comes to Atlanta after a terrific job with the Dodgers.

Of course, by terrific, I am referring to the major injuries to Odalis Perez, Eric Gagne, and Darren Dreifort among other pitchers over several years and a 90-loss season last year. But I’m sure the pitching deficiency couldn't be due to the pitching coach, could it?

Major downgrade from Leo. He will be missed.


Between sitting on their hands this offseason and letting the most valuable member of their coaching staff go, things don’t look as bright as past seasons.

Combine the Braves’ inaction with the Mets picking up Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, Jorge Julio, and Paul LoDuca, and this is probably the year the streak ends.

PREDICTION: 86-76, 2nd Place, NL East.

Braves Preview, Part 1 of 2

Pitchers and catchers report on 9 days, so now is as good a time as any to look at the Braves’ 2006 prospects.


Last year’s lineup sometimes featured Andruw Jones and 7 rookies. I still think Andruw should have gotten the MVP, as there were no other established forces in the lineup last year. That being said, Andruw will not hit 50 HR again. No way.

Chipper Jones is another year older. He missed 50 games last year. He now is guaranteed $37 million dollars over the next three years, whereas he was only guaranteed $11 million for this year with two option years before. Given his injury history and his diminishing offensive skills, it wouldn’t be unlikely to see another position change – this time, a permanent change – so that Wilson Betemit can crack the starting lineup at 3B.

The funniest part of Larry’s re-negotiation is that the Braves trumpeted saving $8 million in future years from this deal, where in reality they’re now on the hook for a guaranteed $26 million more, regardless of whether he is healthy and effective or not. I’m siding with “not”. The Braves will soon regret being on the hook for that much guaranteed money with Chipper's first extended DL trip.

What about the aforementioned rookies?

Jeff Francoeur had a great rookie year, and if he had been called up earlier would surely have won ROY. There’s no reason he can’t have a .300/25/85 season. The same goes for Adam LaRoche, now that 208-year old Julio Franco is finally gone and taking away 200+ AB's.

Edgar Renteria can provide some desperately needed speed with Giles at the top of the lineup. However, both of them need to find ways to make it to first base, after sub-par seasons last year. Hopefully they're figured out that you have to actually hit the ball and put it in play to get on abse regularly.

Brian McCann (C) and Ryan Langerhans (LF) are serviceable at the bottom of the order. McCann had some big hits last year, enabling the Braves to ship Johnny Estrada out of town.

Essentially, they’re replacing Rafael Furcal with Edgar Renteria, the rookies are a year older, but so is Chipper. Overall, probably a wash from last year.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


First, Herman Edwards is let go in a "trade" to the Cheifs for only a fourth-round pick.

Now, the GM responsible for that and other questionable moves is now history.

Considering the house-cleaning is under way in earnest, and management has now turned over with fresh faces barely older than I am, there can be no doubt that the rebuilding has begun.

One can only hope that it will not be long before certain folks retire gracefully and certain folks are shown the door.

After that, time to look to signing casualties of March 1 and the draft. Hopefully, getting rid of Pennington and the string cheese known as his shoulder will allow the Jets to give his #10 immediately to someone else.

UPDATE 2/8 11:00 AM: I'm not sure why the full links didn't come over when I published this originally, but it should be fixed now.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Adventures of Being a Klutz

I was meaning to make this the first post, but better late than never.

A couple of weeks ago, we are putting away Christmas Decorations and moving them up to the attic. Considering we started before the Super Bowl that's progress.

I'm bringing a couple of heavy boxes into the attic during halftime of the NFC playoff game. I open up the attic doors and begin to walk inside with the boxes.

While MOST of the attic floor is hardwood flooring, the very front of it was not completed by the previous owners, who decided to just lay down particle board. This isn't so bad if it is just a person walking on it - but when that person is carrying 80 pounds of Christmas items, it's not very good.

I take a step into the attic, thinking my food is landing on the hardwood part of the floor. Nope. It lands on the particle board - for about half a second, before it BREAKS the particle board, goes thr0ugh the insulation, and through the plaster known as the living room ceiling.

Thankfully, my other leg decided not to follow through down to the living room - but instead went out at a 90-degree angle.

Thankfully, there are no incriminating pictures of my leg sticking through the living room with a dog underneath, furiously barking at the intruder. I'd probably bark too if weird thing like body parts started falling through the roof too.

We've got a temporary fix up with some hardwood covering the hole. For now. Hopefully we can plaster it up this week. I'm just glad we've had a run of 60-degree plus days so that we haven't had to run the heat very much, with a 1.5 ft by 1.5 ft hole in the ceiling.

Thankfully, no other injuries - except my pride.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bauer for SCOTUS?

Click here for the next Supreme Court Nominee.

Hat tip to Red State.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ready for some football....ah, nope

I just haven't been able to get excited about the Super Bowl yet. Maybe it's because the last few have been great games, maybe it's because the last few have had better pregame hype, but this one just feels so...bland.

The few angles that get trotted out get beaten to death. Heck, even making fun of beating the storylines themselves is getting....beaten to death. A two week layoff instead of one week doesn't help either.

As for the game itself, I still can't take the Seahawks....Matt Hasselbeck in a big game is still, to me, a scary proposition. With the Steelers being on the roll they were on, it's hard to pick against them. Steelers 27, Seahawks 13, in a game more interesting for the commercials than the play on the field.