Nolan Dalla running in The Lakes section of Las Vegas on a perfect day
I hate running. I mean, I fucking despise it.
Running is far more painful that just about anything else I do, agonizing to the point where’s it’s now a self-inflicted ritual of torture as the worn out joints and overtaxed muscles simply can’t take the constant pounding anymore. Running post-50 is like driving a used car with the shock absorbers all shot to hell. I can’t even imagine what more serious runners go through, including marathoners, who I view as superhumans. Once time, very recently, I ran 12 brutally tough miles over an entirely flat surface in perfect 73 degree weather, and it nearly killed me. I mean, I thought my legs were going to fall off. To imagine that any human being can run twice that distance, plus two more miles on slopped terrain, is to me, incomprehensible. Then, there’s triathlons and ironman events, which makes my dinky little 12-mile run seem lame, by comparison.
Today, I’m updating readers on my running activities and what’s going on at the moment with the workout routine. Of all the things that I do and write about, surprisingly to me, aside from poker, I most often get asked “are you still running every day?”
The answer is — yes. Albeit, with a footnote.
Here’s a little history lesson for those of you who are new to the site and don’t know the bizarre story behind how I exactly came to be a dedicated runner. Here are a few facts:
Question: What does a six-year-old girl making an obscene hand gesture have to do with an obnoxious sports fan getting thrown out of a ballpark in Philadelphia? To find out, read on….
Just when I thought that perhaps, just maybe, I was being a bit too harsh in my brutal assessment of Philadelphia as the festering hemorrhoid on a rabid pit bull, earlier this week, an otherwise lovely flower of innocence plopped down in the rear seat of a family sedan, donning golden locks and pig tails, pressed her freckled nose upon the smeared window glass and proceeded to shoot me the dreaded middle finger.
My infraction? Walking on the littered sidewalk at the precise spot where her beaut of a Mommy was apparently trying to make an illegal U-turn.
Okay, I get the message. Loud and clear. When it comes to civility, they sure teach ’em young in Philly, don’t they?
Poker Night in America made a first-time visit to Philadelphia this past weekend. The ever-expanding and constantly improving Sugar House Casino hosted three fun-filled days of high-stakes poker action, which were filmed for the popular weekly show on the CBS Sports Network (tune in Monday nights). This series of shows is expected to air sometime next fall, during Season 3.
Here are some of the highlights of what happened at the poker table during our production:
Introduction: There’s been a whirlwind of media coverage recently about former poker pro Alex Jacobs, and his six-day run on the television game show, “Jeopardy.” No doubt, Jacobs put on an amazing display of intellectual prowess and challenged conventional game strategy about how “Jeopardy” should optimally be played. However, Jacobs’ success wasn’t the most impressive performance ever by a poker player. In this column, I’ll introduce you to who someone who was even more memorable. His name was Eddie Timanus, and chances are, you’ve probably never heard of him. Until now.
One does not expect to encounter someone who is truly amazing in a $5-10 Limit Omaha High-Low Split game, and certainly not in the poker room at Bally’s in Atlantic City back in 1997.
As I took my seat, I noticed another player in the game who had a friend brushed up closely behind his chair, whispering cards into his ear. Normally, this would violate the “one player to a hand” rule. However, something here was quite unusual. The player was blind.
Playing hold’em, which requires memorizing two hole cards and then connecting one’s hand to the five board cards would be challenging enough. However, the added complexity of remembering four hole cards, plus the five board cards, along with all the suits, and then figuring out if there’s an eight-low qualifier for the low hand would seem to make playing Omaha High-Low Split far more difficult, if not impossible. Try it sometime. Close your eyes and imagine.
Ireland is a country full of surprises.
What follows are ten things I learned about Ireland during my visit that surprised me most. Brace yourself. This isn’t a cheerful travelogue nor a tourist postcard:
1. Abortion is illegal.
Abortion is illegal in Ireland. The only exception to this national law is in cases which save the life of the mother. No exceptions. Severe birth defects, rape, incest — all of these deplorable circumstances require the mother to bear the child. I don’t know why I was shocked by this. After all, this is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation (although the church’s influence is clearly in decline — more on that to come). My presumption was that virtually all of Europe was intransigent when it comes down to a woman’s right to control their own bodies and make choices for themselves. It’s hard to believe this is one issue where the United States is actually ahead of places like Ireland, which continue to impose severely restrictive abortion laws.
Now, a few consequences of these restrictions. One does tend to see comparatively more public facilities around the country to care for those with the most deformities. Since many more children are born with defects, it becomes incumbent upon the state to care for them. Another consequence of the Republic of Ireland’s abortion restrictions is the booming medical market across the Irish Sea over in England, which is accessible via a few hours ferry ride. Thousands of Irish women travel to England each year to terminate pregnancies (England’s abortion laws are similar to the U.S.). Finally, Northern Ireland allows for abortion, provided certain medical criteria are met.
The bottom line is — Ireland is very much a 1950s nation on the controversial topic of a woman’s right to chose.