Americans aren’t going to like what I’m about to say. But the French do a lot of things much better than we do.
The French are better at cooking. They make more time to celebrate life. Their culture exudes extraordinary art and architecture. Even their dogs have it much better than their American counterparts — as canines are taken everywhere including airports, restaurants, and even fancy hotels.
But one thing the French are miserable at is bathrooms.
That’s right — bathrooms.
Is it too much to ask to get a shower in a $350-a-night hotel room?
I’m currently staying at one of the best hotels on the French Riviera, located right on Promenade de la Croisette, in Cannes. This is the same hotel where all the movie stars and Hollywood people stay in during the famous Cannes Film Festival, which takes place right across the street. This luxury hotel has classic portraits hanging right outside the door of famous people who have stayed in each room. My hotel room has Woody Allen and Orson Wells’ photos out in front. So, I guess that means Woody and Orson once stayed in my room — not together, of course.
Which makes me wonder — how did Orson Wells ever fit inside this bathtub?
Photo Caption: The world’s worst taxi driver — in Bossier City, LA
Sitting here at the Shreveport Airport waiting on my flight.
Decided to post a few short stories from my two week stay in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana. There are short and sweet. Here it goes:
STORY 1 — THE ACCIDENTAL HITCHHIKER
At 3:30 am last night, I’d wrapped up my work assignment at the World Series of Poker Circuit, which took place at Horseshoe Bossier City. Hotel was about a mile walk away from the casino. It’s dark. It’s quiet. There are no cars on the street.
I’m dressed in a dark business suit, and wheeling a small suitcase behind with several items I use while on the road — computer, printer, cameras, cables, etc.
The sight of a 50-year-old bearded man rumbling down the sidewalk of Bossier City, Louisiana at 3:30 am towing a suitcase is rather uncommon. I “stood out” from the crowd, you might say.
As I walked along the poorly-lit road, a car pulled up next to me.
“Need a lift?”
I’m a bit surprised by the sound of a human voice, which seemed to come out of nowhere. I glance up and it appears to be Paul Oresnteen, from Poker News. I had just seen Paul hours earlier covering the WSOP. He even mentioned he had a rental car.
Browne’s show was scheduled to begin at 8 pm on a Saturday night inside a busy casino showroom. Tickets were priced at $42 a pop, plus tax (I got in for free — story to come later).
Prior to her performance, Browne’s devotees are lined up outside the main entrance. By the time I arrive, a few hundred people are streaming into the arena. There’s a single ticket-taker, who must have been in his 70s. I must admit, this senior took his job very seriously. The way he meticulously checked every ticket (one surely has to be on the lookout for counterfeit Sylvia Browne tickets), the way he tore each in half, and then placed them carefully inside the box — made me think he he missed his life’s calling running the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. Of course, this process slows down the line considerably, making the wait an unnecessary 15-20 minutes.
Fortunately, there’s something to keep those who are waiting occupied. Sylvia Browne has several books and jewelry items conveniently positioned right next to the line to tempt us. How nice of Mrs. Browne to think so much of her followers and their discomfort from having to stand in a long line to (coincidentally?) position her four tables right along the queue. I’m not a psychic, but I suspect Mrs. Browne picked up a few extra sales that way.
NOLAN DALLA: 2012 POSTED SEASON RECORD 17 WINS – 10 LOSSES – 0 PUSHES —– (+ 23.8 units / 1 unit = $100)
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BANKROLL: $12,380.
BEST BETS OF THE WEEK: 1-0-0
Monster result last week — posting a W-L record of 13 wins and 2 losses. Net gain of +32.6 units. This is about as strong a week as you will ever see in the NFL. Be warned — my win percentages will not stay at 66 percent.
Wagering $3,220. this week.
Note: All wagers are for amusement-purposes only. I bear no responsibility for those who may decide to follow my plays.
On the list of the world’s most hideous people, this piece of shit is very near the top.
Her name is Sylvia Browne, and for those of you fortunate enough to have never heard of her, she’s a self-described “spiritual teacher and psychic.”
And in a related news story — I’m the Pope.
This charlatan might have some mild entertainment value if some people didn’t take her so seriously. In a sort of Andy Kaufman sort of way, she could be a knee-slapping riot. If she was performing on The Gong Show, her charade would be so fucking bad, it actually might be pretty good.
Trouble is — she’s not amusing people. To the contrary, she’s hurting people. Lots of people. She’s been touring the country during the last few months, shaking down her hopeless audience members (and dare I say “fans”) who have absolutely no clue they’re little more than the latest generation of frightened townsfolk getting pitched with the snake-oil.
It’s really hard to believe we’re living in the 21st Century here — that people believe the same bullshit that’s been shoveled since the days of Pythia, the very first Sylvia Browne incarnate who did her very own Three-Card Monte act way back in ancient Greece. At least poor Pytha had the decency to commit suicide at the age of 30 — thus sparing the world’s most advanced society at the time more of her delusions. Browne couldn’t do us that favor. She’s still conning people to this day, and going strong well into her 70s.
No doubt, Browne is very good at what she does. He’s a real pro. Indeed, most con-artists are good at what they do. She’s flim-flammed her devotees — typically made up of older, poorly-educated women grappling with depression. Browne has even managed to convince some of these people that she possesses supernatural powers. And so, she does what any heartless self-promoting opportunist would do. She bilks her followers out of a few bucks. Make that 47 bucks a pop, which is the standard ticket prize for her show.
Browne spends much of her time flying around the country masquerading as some kind of 100,00-watt antenna to the grave. Her act pretty much consists of duping people who are so emotionally vulnerable and so utterly desperate for answers, that they’ll often drive hundreds of miles to witness her onstage “readings.” Many come with hopes they’ll get lucky enough to be chosen amongst hundreds with similar problems sitting in what amounts to a clusterfuck of basketcases. Most seek answers to questions which simply cannot be answered. They beg for solace. They long for inner peace. And the grand dame of duplicity, Sylvia Browne is right there on center stage to deliver on cue what they’re so desperate to hear — even if it means abandoning all sense of human decency.
Writer’s Note: The opinions expressed here are entirely those of Nolan Dalla. These views do not reflect the official position of the World Series of Poker, Poker Hall of Fame, Caesars Entertainment, or its staff.
Let me make this perfectly clear.
I am completely neutral on the question of who should be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame — Class of 2012.
I’ve already made my public pitch this year — and failed.
That said, I remain very much interested in this year’s list of nominees, put forth by votes from the general public and subsequently screened by a committee — of which I’m privileged to be a member. Each of the ten individuals on this year’s nomination list are worthy of serious consideration. I’m convinced that just making the list demonstrates an appreciable degree of respect and gratitude by people throughout our game. Indeed, there can be no greater satisfaction than knowing one’s contributions are recognized by his or her peers.
For those who missed this year’s official list of finalists, they are (listed alphabetically):
He wasn’t a player. He never coached. You rarely saw his face.
But you must certainly know his astonishing body of work which spanned more the four decades, and which left an indelible impression on the game that’s now been America’s real ‘national pastime” for two generations.
Steve Sabol was the architect of NFL Films. Together with his late father, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Ed Sabol, the first family of NFL historians made football into something far more than just a game.
They made football into art. Their productions were grand theater on the gridiron. Many of their shows were inspirational and epic. Everything they did set the bar higher, not just in sports journalism but in all media.
Their narrative often accompanied by blaring trumpets, NFL Films programming was often better than the actual games they covered. They created legends out of players and coaches most of us had never heard of. They tore down myths. Indeed, Steve Sabol wore many hats — writer, historian, filmmaker, journalist, announcer and marketer. Everything he did showed pro football in a more interesting light.
Steve Sabel’s body of work is extraordinary. Dating back to his early days as a rival-league AFL cameraman during the mid-1960s, Sabol used his natural talents and creative energies to push the bounds of sports coverage into something grander and greater. He not only helped to transform many athletes into heroes and legends. More important, he made them human.
All NFL fans everywhere owe a great debt of gratitude to the late Steve Sabol. He passed away today at the age of 69.
I wonder if this is a movie about eating hot dogs?
Writer’s Note: Today’s blog contains language some readers may find objectionable. However, if you’ve been reading my stuff regularly, this will probably seem like just another routine post.
It was an accident.
I swear. An accident.
While sitting in my hotel room alone late at night with the remote control in hand, I must have punched the wrong number.
It can happen to anyone, right?
Instead of watching “Nazi UFO Conspiracy” a riveting one-hour documentary that I’d been anxiously staying up for most of the night, rather than hitting channel “282,” I mistakenly pressed “582.” I found it odd that The History Channel would be running a show titled, “She Can Take 13 Inches.” For some odd reason, I don’t think this show was about a ruler.
I must admit, the graphics were jaw dropping. Oops. Maybe that’s a bad visual. Never mind.
I mean seriously, who writes this stuff? Did someone actually go to college, work their ass off, earn a degree in English literature, and then end up in a career writing plot descriptions for porn movies?
Curiosity piqued, I really want to know — does the writer for Direct TV actually watch all these porno movies first, and then craft his clever narrative? I would think in this case, the writer could wing the narrative, just a little. How about a one-size-fits-all movie description, a sort of Huggie blanket for porn aficionados — “People fucking.” That would pretty much cover all the bases, wouldn’t it?
That question was posed to me in an email I received this morning from some conservative political group.
It’s a simple question.
Channeling then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s devastating quip from the 1980 Presidential Debates, 11 simple words which effectively ended Jimmy Carter’s political career, has pretty much become the It’s a Wonderful Life of every election cycle. The cozy campaign chestnut is replayed and parroted so frequently (usually by the challenger) that just as soon as the first couple of words are pronounced, a hundred million listeners can complete the sentence on their own. It’s almost like Name that Tune.
Hey, I can name that tune in three notes. All Mitt Romney has to do is cue up the intro, “Are you better…….?”
We all know the rest.
The question is effective because it’s thought provoking.
Writer’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series. This blog is contributed by someone who wishes to remain anonymous. All names of those in this story have been changed at the author’s request. Please take the time to read this. It’s beautifully written — and a wonderful inspiration to kids and adults alike.
If you’re a kid playing baseball, there is nothing that causes more disappointment than striking out.
You walk up to the plate and every eye in the stadium is focused on you. Regardless of what the statistics indicate about your potential for success, the level of expectation is still high. When a pitcher gives up a home run, it is certainly a disappointment for him. But everyone knows that in order to be effective in his role a pitcher must throw strikes. Pitches in the strike zone are, for the most part, hittable and sometimes they are hit out of the park.
When you’ve struck out however, you have either missed the pitches that were in the strike zone, or swung at pitches that were not. Sometimes both. You were given multiple opportunities and you wasted them. To make matters worse you must now take a long, lonely stroll back to the dugout, which affords you ample opportunity to contemplate your recent failure.
But you are certainly NOT a failure — for in the battle between pitcher and hitter, a significant advantage belongs to the pitcher in almost every case.
It has been said that hitting a round ball with a round bat is the hardest fundamental task in all of sports and yet each time you come up to the plate, you expect to and are expected by others to, hit the ball.
When a player makes an error, he may be given the opportunity to redeem himself on the very next pitch. A diving catch or a perfect throw results in a stadium full of cheering fans, and the dejection that was felt mere seconds ago has now been drastically reduced if not completely eliminated and replaced by a sense of joy and accomplishment. Strike out however, and several innings will likely pass before you get another chance to bat. You will carry that sense of failure with you from the batter’s box to the dugout and when you take your position on the field, that sense of failure will continue to haunt you. It will likely persist even as you take your next turn at bat. Striking out can be horrible. Indeed, the disposition of the entire town was adversely affected — their hopes gone, their dreams crushed — by one single example of missed opportunity when The Mighty Casey struck out.
Every summer there are kids on diamonds all across America striking out. They walk back to their dugouts with their heads hung low while their parents either sink in their seats trying to hide, or scream at them to keep their eye on the ball, or worse yet, telling them they suck. Right, as if that beer-bellied dad could hit a 65-mph fastball on the inside corner thrown by a 11 year old from just 45 feet away.
Pick any team, on any summer day, on any diamond in America and I guarantee you’ll see it — unless by some miraculous improbability the team you pick happens to be one that I coach.
When coaching youth sports, I believe that it’s important to be as positive as possible. Emphasize successes, not failures and look for opportunities to promote success in difficult or disappointing situations. Give the athlete something specific to focus on improving rather than dwelling on the negative result.