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Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves, Video 1 | 4 comments

A Most Unusual Reunion




We long for things we’ve lost.

No treasure is as valuable as that which has become unattainable.  Nothing is more elusive than the embraces we remember.  Nothing seems more illusory than distant memories only we are able to recall.  Nothing appears more fleeting than recollections of how our lives once were, but which are no more.

What would we give and what sacrifices would we make for a last embrace, for another personal sentiment, or for the opportunity to live just one more day with a departed loved one.

Fortunately, reunions of a sort can and do happen, and sometimes they take the most unexpected turn manifested in ways we least expect.

The following two-minute video is a public service announcement from Argentina.  Please watch it.  I promise it’s well worth your time and will melt your heart.  It melted mine.  The purpose of the ad campaign to create greater awareness comes as a surprise and is revealed at the conclusion:



Wasn’t this video both wonderful and powerful?

Most of us ponder the possibilities of an afterlife, especially as we continue to age, and begin to approach what for many is the most dreaded of all human destinies.

Whatever your spiritual views, organ donation does ensure that life goes on ad infinitum.

Two years ago, Marieta and I lost someone very dear to us, who died quite unexpectedly and way too early in his life.  As funeral arrangements were being made, we came to realize firsthand the precious gift of life that organ donation can be for everyone, particularly in a time when we’re most in need of hope.

Someone once wrote, “Don’t think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive.  It’s really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive.”

I think that perfectly sums up the selfless act of organ donation.  It’s also okay to acknowledge the most basic human instinct which is to survive and continue on living as long as possible.

Indeed, organ donation is not just the best gift we can give to a complete stranger; it’s actually the best gift we give to ourselves.


“The purpose of life is not to be happy — but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. “

— Leo Rosten



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Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 3 comments

Why Ross Leitz is an Inspiration




If every journey begins with a single step forward, then Ross Leitz has run an incontrovertible marathon.

That’s not an easy thing to do when you’re a 6-foot, 4-inch grizzly bear of a man who once weighed nearly 500 pounds and currently resides in the foodie and drinkie capital of America, that great city of all temptation — New Orleans.

Since it’s unlikely many of you know Ross, I’d like to introduce him to you, and then explain why I think he’s such an inspiration on so many different levels.  He’s certainly an inspiration to me, and might be to you also — particularly if you’re struggling with any kind of serious problem and want to take back full control of your life.

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Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Blog, Personal | 5 comments

This Visit to the Chiropractor Lacks a Happy Ending




My back flares up occasionally, so I recently went to a chiropractor.

I’d read mixed reviews on the legitimacy of so-called “chiropractic medicine.”  To me, it seems like one of those bogus New Age money grabs.  Sure, a session might provide some temporary short-term relief for back pain, but inasmuch as addressing root problems, visiting a chiropractor is really nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Just call it a sinking feeling that I had.

The “clinic” here in Las Vegas basically consisted of a storefront in a strip mall, with a young lady strategically positioned out in front who handled all the billing and medical forms, flanked by two big black suede sofas where the “patients” wait.  I fucking hate suede, so I’m growing more pessimistic by the minute.  Suede make me nervous.  It’s one of my phobias.  Like spiders.

From what I can tell this young lady doesn’t appear to have much in the way of medical training, other than some razor sharp pressure tactics designed to sell packages of repeat visits to clients, meticulously explained each time the phone rang.  There was a dividing wall, more like a giant screen really, hiding the “physical therapy” sessions that went on in the back room.  While waiting for the specialist, the soft sound of faint conversation could be heard, interspersed with an occasional “ohhh” and “ahhh.”


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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Blog, Personal | 4 comments

The Pain and Joy and Pain of Running



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:

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Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in Blog, General Poker | 5 comments

Brain Games: Does Playing Poker Help to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?




Yesterday, at the annual iGaming North America Conference currently taking place in Las Vegas, Rich Muny from the Poker Players Alliance led a most enlightening panel discussion which included two of the game’s experts — David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth.  Aside from being longtime players, both are perhaps best known as prolific authors via their association with the poker and strategy website

As the panel discussion neared a conclusion, I asked Sklansky what factors might contribute towards igniting another poker boom similar to what we experienced during 2003-2007.  I also inquired as to whether a repeat of those golden years was even a remote possibility given the perfect storm of circumstances which must align in order to create a new popular phenomenon.

Sklansky, true to his reputation for thinking way beyond the usual parameters of expectation, noted that if scientific research could somehow prove a direct link between playing poker and preventing Alzheimer’s (and other diseases of dementia and mental deterioration), such news might trigger another tidal wave of enthusiasm for the game.  Naturally, if a link was indeed established, such news would not just bring new people into poker rooms and cardrooms, and particularly more older players, it might even change the way we manage senior care.  Such news would certainly have an impact on the study of geriatrics.

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