Golf is so annoyingly Republican.
It’s an arrogant game played by rich people. It’s a criminal waste of precious water and land. It’s a firewall intended to preserve oligarchy. And it relies on minimum-wage making Mexicans to do all the landscaping and maintenance.
I despise golf. I hate private country clubs even worse. But this bitter resentment has nothing to do with politics. It’s because, when it comes to golf – I fucking suck.
Yesterday, I was granted a rare invite to play a luxury golf course called “Cascata.” Think of it this way. If Shadow Creek is the Maserati of golf courses in Las Vegas, then Cascata is most certainly the Lamborghini. This resort is so exclusionary that no signs are posted outside showing the way. It doesn’t advertise. It doesn’t have to. Cascata is the golf course for super high-rollers.
Carved into a rocky mountainside, the course is nestled unassumingly between Henderson and Boulder City. Walk-ins are not welcome. The greens fee is $350 per round — and that doesn’t include the cost of a mandatory caddy, which adds an extra whack to your wallet.
My misappropriated invitation came courtesy of two close friends — namely Marissa (probably best known as the tax accountant for many of the world’s top poker pros) and Matt Savage (international tournament director extraordinaire and TDA co-founder). Maryann Savage (Matt’s lovely wife) also blessed us with her presence. And of course, there was that costly caddy.
And so my story begins.
Note: Here are a few stories from my last two weeks spent in the lovely garden state paradise of Atlantic City, New Jersey….
Atlantic City Short Story #1: For Whom the (Fire) Bell Tolls
What do you do if you’re staying in a nice hotel and the fire alarm suddenly goes off in the middle of the night?
Let’s be more specific.
You’re exhausted and have just climbed into a warm cozy bed at 4:15 am. It’s 26 degrees outside. You’re slumbering in your birthday suit.
Alarms are ringing all over the place and some annoying-ass recorded voice over the hotel loudspeakers in the hallways are all blasting evacuation instructions.
This is precisely happened last Friday night here at Caesars Atlantic City.
Worse, fire engines were roaring outside.
So — what would you do?
When someone with impeccable taste in food and dining invites me to dinner, I usually accept.
However, after a recent debacle, I’ll have to re-think this policy.
This “friend” invited me to dinner at a restaurant I knew to be fantastic, but which I hadn’t visited in years. He casually mentioned to me that some his other “friends” would also be there. Fine.
I showed up on time. My next vision was right out of a horror movie. I was astounded to walk in and see twenty strangers sitting at the table. Strangers! His friends!
Aside from my host who issued the invite, I didn’t know a single soul. Worse, everyone was already sitting at the table and had jockeyed for ideal seating positions. All that were left were the shitty seats. Sort of like being last one to board the plane and having to sit in the middle seat next to the bathroom.
You can’t write thousands of poker tournament reports without making a few mistakes.
Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve made a shitload.
Fortunately, things are much easier now than they used to be. Today, there’s spellchecker software. Events like the World Series of Poker also hire more staff, which proofreads official reports before they’re released to media.
But back in the bad old days, I used to do most of the writing and sending out on my own. Since virtually all official reports were written very late a night, or even the following morning, they were often infused with errors. Some proved quite embarrassing.
Here’s what I call “the Dirty Dozen”:
(1) SPELLING THE WINNER’S NAME WRONG — You might think that winning a World Series of Poker gold bracelet and perhaps a million dollars in prize money would be enough to motivate the person responsible for writing the “official report” to spell the winner’s name right. Wrong! I’ve done this more times than I care to admit. Sometimes, no one notices — especially when Russians or Ukrainians win. But I’ve butchered even the simplest of names. To this day, I still have to re-look up Erik Seidel (it’s with a K), Carlos Mortensen (it’s with an E), Jennifer Harman (it’s with an A), and Mike Matusow (it’s with a U and an O). I’m a hurribel speller.
(2) “HE’S QUITE A PORKER PLAYER” — Some time ago, a heavy-set man finished in the top five at a final table at the U.S. Poker Championships in Atlantic City. I won’t reveal the name of the player, for obvious reasons. The big man played terrifically but just got very unlucky on the final hand. In the official report, I meant to write “(NAME) is quite a poker player.” Well, let’s just say I stuck in one extra letter (an R) — the worst letter imaginable.
Imagine the possibilities.
The script reads as follows: Cheech and Chong win a free trip to Italy. While traveling, the old Pope resigns and a new Pope gets picked. The two dope heads somehow stumble into the Vatican. When the new Pope finally gets chosen, white smoke is traditionally released to the crowd gathered outside in Saint Peter’s Square, and a billion cheering worshipers watching worldwide.
Cheech and Chong. White smoke. You can pretty much figure out the rest.
At least the plot for “Cheech and Chong Visit the Vatican” would make sense.
But nothing makes sense in Catholicism.
* * *
Catholics are in a state of denial, which is nothing new. This has been a recurring problem ever since — oh, let’s see — around the year 624.
It took centuries to finally end the senseless torturing of hundreds of thousands of innocents during the Inquisition. It took centuries to put a stop to the Crusades which sought to convert the conquered at the point of a sword. It took centuries to save so-called heretics from being burned alive at the stake. So why would anyone think the Catholic Church is now finally ready to turn over a brand new fig leaf and join the 19th Century, let alone the contemporary world of 2013? The church still conducts services in Latin, for Crissakes.