Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The madness begins

As March begins, apparently so does qualifying.

If you are on PokerStars or Full Tilt, enjoy the next five months trying to qualify.

H/t to Change100 and Mookie for the heads up - and because I want to put up this poster below.

And, who knows, if you happen to have free time next Wednesday, you might want to drop in.

If you scroll down on Mookie to the description of the 2nd chance tournament, you get a nice surprise regarding who won. And yes, a lot of you APO readers will recognize who won.

Back to DC?

If you're going to CPAC, have a safe trip.

If not, well, you can still go. Hotel rooms still available too.

I'm not there, but it would be interesting to hear Rudy's and Newt's speeches. Besides, I got enough of DC already.

I like my 70-degree weather and I got enough of the white stuff in the picture to last a while.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Credit Card Clarification

Mostly because my schedule is a bit on the insane side, I'm just going to post this press release regarding Bank of America's credit card pilot program in the Los Angeles area (which has inspired some e-mails and debate, mostly here and partially incorrect:


February 22, 2007

The following opinion piece by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis was published this morning in The Wall Street Journal. Its purpose is to clarify Bank of America’s position on the company’s credit card marketing pilot in Los Angeles, as well as to dispel any misunderstandings as a result of recent media coverage.

Finding oneself in the middle of a heated national debate is never pleasant. For the 200,000 associates at Bank of America, the harsh reaction by some to our pilot program marketing credit cards in Los Angeles has been deeply concerning. We are feeling the passion that surrounds America’s unresolved immigration debate.
Some of our customers have been direct about their feelings: They don’t like what we are doing. Why should anyone, they ask, who does not hold a Social Security card have access to credit?

There are two answers. First, the program is not about illegal immigrants, and never was. It is designed to help Bank of America customers build credit history. Second, we believe we have an obligation to serve all those in our country who are legally eligible to receive services. To do less would be discriminatory and unfair.

This debate arises out of the identification laws and regulations in the financial services industry, and the facts may surprise some who have criticized this pilot.

Many of the laws the financial services industry follows today were put in place to help protect America. Shortly after 9/11, Congress, in near unanimous agreement, passed, and the president signed into law, the USA Patriot Act. This law has one provision that troubles many of its critics. It allows financial institutions to accept some official identification sources issued by foreign governments, including the matricula consular, an ID issued by Mexican consulate offices to its nationals living outside Mexico, as valid.

Former Treasury Secretary John Snow wrote to Congressional leaders in 2004, “Americans are better protected if consumers of all nationalities are invited into the financial mainstream.” To do otherwise, the secretary warned, would “drive large sections of the U.S. population to underground financial services, [and] weaken the government’s ability to enforce money laundering and terrorist financing laws.”

I agree with Secretary Snow’s comments. And I observe no shortage of irony in the efforts of those whose first concern is national security, but who seek to undermine a regulatory structure that was designed in large part to thwart terrorism.

The matricula consular card has received its share of criticism, much of it because it allows for the possibility that illegal immigrants may use it to participate in our financial systems. But it also is a key tool in our efforts to ensure our financial systems are not used for illegal purposes.

Specifically, in regard to Bank of America’s marketing program, I would like to clarify some facts. Some have suggested that we directly target illegal immigrants, or that our program could undermine law enforcement. Let me be clear: Bank of America does not deliberately market financial products and services to illegal immigrants from any country. And our program complies with all our company’s efforts to work with law enforcement agencies to prevent misuse of our nation’s financial systems.

Even so, reports have stated that in some cases illegal immigrants are able to sign up for the bank’s products and services. These reports are true. They also are true for many financial institutions and businesses in our country today.

We created this pilot program in Los Angeles to help Bank of America customers with little or no credit history build a solid credit history with a leading bank, and to strengthen our relationships with individuals and families we hope will become loyal Bank of America customers in the future as their financial needs grow. As with all our products, the program meets the identification requirements of the USA Patriot Act, U.S. Treasury Department regulations and internal fraud prevention procedures.

The bank requires that all applicants provide us approved forms of ID, including an unexpired, U.S. government-issued or foreign government-issued identification card. In fact, while many people legally in our country do not possess Social Security numbers, 84% of the participants in our pilot do. The remaining 16% meet the requirements for government-issued ID as set forth above.

Secured credit cards are nothing new. They are offered at Bank of America and many other financial institutions as a way for customers to build their credit history. The L.A. pilot is simply a new promotion of a secured credit card product that has been available for years.

After a week of listening to our customers, we have made a decision. We will continue our card marketing pilot program in the Los Angeles market.

We know some will find this unacceptable. Even so, we feel we have a great obligation to live by the laws of the land, to serve our customers, and to do our part to support the security of our nation’s financial systems. Congress may choose to revisit this important issue. And as they do so, we will do what we have always done: abide by the letter and spirit of all this nation’s laws and regulations, and continue to meet the needs of all our customers and the communities we serve.

Mr. Lewis is chairman and CEO of Bank of America.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Won't Ge Fooled Again

We watch CSI: Miami on occasion, and it is too funny to watch David Caruso's terrible acting on this show.

What's even funnier?

Jim Carrey mocking David Caruso on Letterman.

h/t Ace.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Congress may be looking at a stay or a repeal of the UIGEA which started a flood of departing poker rooms (most recently, Doyle's Room) based on recent comments by Barney Frank.

Also, I think it's required of me to link to any article that has the words "Barney Frank" and "bargepole".

Ah, those quirky Brits.

The gist of this is, you now have Pelosi, Frank, and Conyers (mentioned before, but not in this post) looking at revisiting or repealing the online poker ban. All three now have positions of power since November. For millions of U.S. poker players, this is a good thing.

In related news, Bill Frist and Bob Goodlatte (VA, House sponsor of UIGEA) still have no friends and we still hate them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tough Pick

Well, Mardi Gras ended yesterday, and today is Ash Wednesday.

For the first time in several years, I actually made it to church to get ashes. All four of us received ashes at Christ the King, since they had an evening service (which was packed, standing room only, overflow into the parking lot.) Perhaps it was because Archbishop Gregory was there, or perhaps a lot of folks did a lot of sinnin' and needed to start repenting badly.

Also, for the first time in a while, I decided to actually try to give something up for Lent this year.

Not food. Or alcohol. Or poker. Or snacks.


Looking back on the just completed road trip to DC, it seemed as though I ended up swearing quite a bit, whether it was because of running late, stupid drivers, or something else. Considering how high my stress levels and blood pressure have been, and the fact that Alex is being much more of a parrot lately, I decided it was a pertinent feat to attempt that may have some good beyond only myself.

Of course, we'll see how well it holds up over the next 46 days.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

White Pellets From Hell

We spent the last few days journeying to Washington DC for a happy little wedding, which is why I haven't written anything in quite a while.

Overall, it was a fun trip, punctuated by the occasional yelling when someone didn't want to listed, pay attention, or other normal toddler behaviors.

Pictures will be up later this week as soon as I can feed them over from the camera, but for now just one bit of the story will do fine.

We left the hotel Sunday around 12:30 after a big hearty breakfast and headed for the zoo. The big points that Alex was excited about for this trip were trains, snow, and bears. He'd already ridden Metro a few times and seen the snow, so now it was time to see the panda bears.

We got to the zoo, and spent about three hours there. Around 4:00, it started to snow. We were expecting "light flurries" so no big deal, right?

Well, it started coming down harder.

And harder.

It was very heavy when we finished semi-sprinting back to the truck. We pulled out around 4:30 and headed for White Flint Mall. We got there around 5:00, and I sprinted in and out to return the tux.

In the 10 minutes that took, a 1/2 inch gathered on the ground and the temperature has now dropped low enough for it to stick.

Uh oh.

We tried to start heading out to the Beltway, but the access rd. to get on at Wisconsin Ave. was blocked. We had to keep heading south, and unfortunately, since we don't know our way around the outskirts, that was going to mean heading all the way into the district to get out.

While driving down Wisconsin, the sun went down and the snow got heavy enough to cause white-out. We skidded a couple times, but nothing too bad since we were going so slowly.

After about 90 minutes and only making it about 6 miles, I pulled off for McDonalds to keep everyone marginalyl happy. On the way out, I got to enjoy slipping and getting my wrist slammed in the car door while trying to hand everything off. Too bad there wasn't a video camera to record it and send it to win $10,000!

About another hour later, we finally make it far enough down Wisconsin to M Street. We finally turned off and went over the Key bridge to finally escape the North. We found an opening for I-66, swerved across the road to get on it, and drove about 30 mph because of the snow/ice mix on the road. We took it to the Beltway and made it onto I-95 around 8:30 where I could finally drive normally.

We stopped in Henderson, NC on the way back, at the same hotel we used on the way up, and got home last night. Today, it's back to work.

And the temperature is 64 degrees.

With no snow in sight.

Or stupid drivers.

Or ice.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Latest poll

Well, I guess from these results there are clearer wings forming for the 2008 GOP Primary (courtesy of

9183 ballots cast
First Choice:
Giuliani 3004 32.7%
Gingrich 2241 24.4%
Romney 1585 17.3%
Tancredo 597 6.5%
Hunter 458 5%
None 448 4.9%
Brownback 277 3%
McCain 230 2.5%
Huckabee 143 1.6%
Hagel 84 0.9%
Thompson 66 0.7%
Gilmore 39 0.4%
Pataki 11 0.1%

Candidate Acceptability:
Net Votes and %, + Votes , - Votes
Gingrich 4568 +49.7% 6198 1630
Romney 4032 +43.9% 5893 1861
Giuliani 3903 +42.5% 5849 1946
Hunter 949 +10.3% 3814 2865
Tancredo 147 +1.6% 3640 3493
Huckabee -545 -5.9% 3069 3614
Thompson -1145 -12.5% 2814 3959
Brownback -1269 -13.8% 2827 4096
Gilmore -2438 -26.5% 1805 4243
McCain -3225 -35.1% 2424 5649
Pataki -5135 -55.9% 1009 6144
Hagel -6275 -68.3% 540 6815

So, first choices are split between Romney, (who just officially declared), Giuliani (who hasn't officially but has an exploratory committee), and Newt who has not decided one way or another.

Interesting how far down McCain currently sits in terms of first choice and acceptability. Apparently, now no one likes him.

Aside from Newt there may not be a candidate listed that would appeal to the majority of the GOP's base - which would explain how he's got a 4:1 ratio in acceptability of all the votes cast. Romney and Giuliani appeal to the more liberal wings of the party, leaning the more conservative voters without a clear option - and why so many would find Gingrich acceptable.

Perhaps it will be Newt's "turn", and not McCain's, when all is said and done. Whether that translates into victory is an entirely different debate - and it's quite possible he could lose in the general election given his past issues.

I'd write about the Democrats, but it's still Hillary's to lose by about ten miles.

Rest in Peace

Well, today was finally the end of an era. A heartbreaker, considering it's Valentine's Day.

We received our 2007 vehicle registration in the mail last week, and realized it was time to make a final decision on the old Ford Escort (as seen above when it was all shiny and new.)

We decided once and for all to donate the vehicle. As damaged as it was, it would fetch barely anything from a salvage yard, and it would cost way too much to fix, so we picked out a charity and made arrangements with them to transfer the vehicle.

Today, I handed over the title, and updated it with the DMV and insurance company. So, with that, my first car is now gone.

We got it in November 1999 with 9538 miles. The odometer today read 201,835 miles. It lived a good life, and survived many trips to remote places - New York, San Antonio, a few dozen times to New Orleans, Key West, Charleston, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and many other places. It was a good car. And I'm feeling quite a bit maudlin today with it now being gone.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Bliss and Satisfaction

I was sad that I wouldn't be able to go to Mardi Gras this year, because a certain blogger just HAD to get married. At least he didn't pick Super Bowl weekend :)

Anyway, at our work celebration last week, we had a Mardi Gras theme. One of the other managers brought her team King Cake.

I found out that there is a Publix that makes King Cakes, 2 blocks from my office. I went and placed an order with them right away, and today, I was able to bring the sweet taste of King Cake into the office for everyone to enjoy (and get a sugar high, and then crash).

mmmmmm.....King Cake. Sweet, sugary goodness. I actually ordered two - one for the office, and one for home. I plan on giving Alex a whole bunch about two hours before a long road trip so that he'll crash and sleep for a while as I do 95 on I-95.

Braves Sold

After a year of negotiations, we have a deal. Time Warner will sell the Braves and magazine titles to Liberty Media in exchange for most of Liberty's TWX stock holdings.
Too bad it wasn't done in November, when the Braves could have signed an impact free agent. This deal's been discussed since last March.

The deal values the team at $450 million.

In other news, the Braves reached a deal with Oscar Villareal for just under $1 million.
At last, some reason to be excited about the state of the Braves - everyone's signed, the team is finally sold, and Skip Carey has been sober for almost 30 minutes.
In a related note, for any local readers' interest, here's a link to season ticket prices - thankfully far below the Mets and Yankees, without having to watch Chan Ho Park or Carl Pavano. I might be interested in one of the 20-game or 30-game packages myself, though that might be pushing it once you factor in parking and kids.
Only one week until pitchers and catchers report.....

Monday, February 12, 2007

A new voice for Online Poker?

According to and other sites, PokerStars, Full Tilt, and the Poker Players' Alliance have found someone to lobby the cause of millions of poker players.

Former NY Senator Alfonse D'Amato.

Now THAT's more like it.

I'm feeling much more optimistic than I have at any point in the last few months since that slimeball Frist snuck the UIGEA into the Safe Port Act. Between this and some Democratic members seeking alternative measures, I'm finally feeling a bit better. Not great, just better.

And really, who DOESN'T like the guy? Even when he lost to Sen. Putzhead, he was still a pretty likeable guy.

The Great American Race

This Sunday is the Daytona 500.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to watch it this year, as ironically, I will be driving. Listening to the race on the radio isn't exactly my idea of a thrill.

Anyway, with that in mind, here's some fun video for you.

First, the largest wreck in NASCAR history, taking out 37 vehicles (with no injuries!)

Second, a tribute to Dale Earnhardt, set to Big & Rich, since Sunday would also be the six-year anniversary:

And last, a clip from the movie Cars. For the kiddies:

Krewe of Barkus

A Mardi Gras parade for the canine participants, which took place yesterday.

Video available here.

Just because I feel like posting about puppies and something happy about New Orleans.

Zoning Out

Since I didn't write anything this weekend, apologies for leaving the link to Anna Nicole at the top of the page.

It was a quiet weekend. I didn't log in once, didn't play any poker, and barely watched any TV. I spent most of my time on the floor playing with Alex or getting spit upon by a baby.

That's about it.

Nothing exciting. But, still fun.

I'd rant about the Grammys, but really, I shouldn't be surprised by the result and I'd rather not give any more print to the dixie trix. I only watched about the last 30-40 minutes, and all I know is I will never get that portion of my life back again, and that there is a reason I don't listen to new music anymore.

What's scaring me the most now is that there are only 30 days left to 30. I wasn't taking it well months ago, and I'm dreading it even more with the date drawing near.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Easy winner of the HOLY CRAP! Story of the day

Anna Nicole Smith Dies After Collapsing At Hotel

Bizarre, and sad too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Nanny State of NY Strikes Again

First trans-fats, now an iPod and cellphone ban while crossing the street.

Is there anything Mike Bloomberg and NY politicians aren't trying to legislate?

Next up: standardization of nap time, and forcing restaurants to serve only milk and cookies after 8:00 PM.

Because they know what's best for you.

What's the over/under on Paternity Suits and Bail Bonds?

With football over and baseball not yet begun, mid-February allows two other sports to have their midseason showcases.

The NHL's All-Star Game already happened, but nobody cared.

Coming up in about 10 days is the NBA's All-Star Weekend. However, the events themselves may not stand out too much. Unless, of course, you're that hyped over a dunk contest between Gerald Green, Dwight Howard, Tyrus Thomas and defending champ Nate Robinson (if you even know their teams, congratulations).

No, what is unique about this All-Star weekend is the location. They've done Miami, they've done LA, but this weekend will be different. A raising of the sakes, if you will.

Because, really, nothing could possibly go wrong with a couple hundred basketball players and their entourages in Sin City and roaming the Strip with every possible temptation within arm's reach, right?



Sportscenter may do a joint braodcast with Cops by the time it's over.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This made me laugh for a while

Just click to see.

The Donkey Manifesto.

It might be funny to only degenerate poker players like me, but, well, it kept me laughing for almost ten minutes. It might be my strange sense of humor, or it could be really funny to you too. You'll just have to click through.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cartoon for poker spouses

Took him long enough!

Run, Rudy, run.

Apparently it is finally becoming official.

I don't think Sen. Clinton is too pleased that it's official, since he seems to be running FIRST in some polls.

But can he win in South Carolina?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Trying to get hyped for the game

I can't quite do it this year.

The last few years, I think I've been lucky in who has gone to the Super Bowl. The last seven have been somewhat interesting for me and it was pretty easy to pick a team to root for in the game.

Not this year.

I don't really like the Bears - I've never liked any team from Chicago.

I don't like the Colts, mostly because of Peyton F***ing Manning going all the way back to goddamn Rocky Top (which I heard the other night in a Mexican restaurant - prompting me to throw up in my mouth.)

Anyway, I'm just not too excited about the game, because whoever wins, I won't like them.

So the following story makes sense, in a karmic sort of way:

Wednesday night, I was at home alone with the kids as there was a work conference that the spouse had to attend. It started well, as I took them both to the mall. I need to buy a couple of things, was able to do that, and shared a Smoothie with Alex.

All fun and good so far.

As we get ready to go home, things start to go wrong. Sleet begins to fall, Samantha starts crying. We get home, and everyone (including the dog) stops listening. I decide to pop in a DVD to make Alex happy while I can feed Sam.


Picture tube dies on the TV. Sound is still quite good, but the TV is D-E-A-D. And only a couple days before the Super Bowl.

So we may not even watch it. It almost sounds heretical. But I don't relish the thought of seeing a Miami or Tennessee QB win the big one, and ESPECIALLY if that someone happens to be Peyton F***ing Manning.

They finally beat the Patriots, so they got over their hump. I said I wouldn't pick them until they beat them, and they did. Besides, I'm still pissed at the Bears for beating the Saints.

Colts win, Peyton gets his goddamn ring, and I need to be rushed to the ICU because my eyes are bleeding if I have to watch it.