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Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Blog, Essays, General Poker | 9 comments

Remembering Stanley Sludikoff (Gambling Publisher and Pioneer)

 

Screenshot 2016-03-13 at 9.11.36 PM - Edited

 

Now is a time to remember and reflect upon someone truly remarkable.  He left an indelible imprint upon the gaming industry and gambling culture.  His name was Stanley Sludikoff.  He was a pioneer, a visionary, an educator, and a giant.

Today, there are thousands of gambling-related websites in many different languages.  There are online casinos and  sportsbooks operating in more than 100 countries.  There are countless books, guides, and other periodicals, including several hundred titles on poker alone.  There’s a treasure trove of gambling information out there, both narratives and on strategy.  It’s virtually impossible to remember an earlier era when none of this existed.

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2016 in Blog, Essays, General Poker, Personal, World Series of Poker | 1 comment

Why Was Chad Holloway Not Nominated for an American Poker Award?

 

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I’ve decided to pass on attending this year’s American Poker Awards, to be held in Los Angeles this weekend.

There are a number of reasons for this, which I won’t get into at the moment.  I do want to express my support for the idea of handing out awards to those who have improved the game and for recognizing players and insiders who have made significant contributions over a certain period of time.

Are awards like this frivolous?  Perhaps they are.  But since just about every other business, sport, and art form honors its super achievers and icons, then so too should we.  Even science, mathematics, economics, and literature indulge in their very own annual awards ceremonies.  Poker, which is played by about 100 million people worldwide, rightly deserves a special night of spectacle, and the APA’s creators and organizers — Alex Dreyfus in particular — deserves our appreciation for making this happen.

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Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 14 comments

Pursuing Unfinished Thoughts

 

Head in Hands

 

Every so often, I’m afflicted with “writer’s block.”

From what I hear among other writers, this is fairly a common condition.  One cannot write consistently for several years without faithfully going to the well and occasionally coming up with an empty pail.  Sometimes, the source runs dry.

“Writer’s block” is mental state.  It’s debilitating and can even be depressing — especially to a writer!  It’s like trying to speak, only the words won’t come out.  Call it a literary stutter.

My past bouts with writer’s block were almost always sprung by a bombardment of way too many thoughts all at once.  It’s not as though there’s nothing to write about.  To the contrary — I always find there’s far too much out there that interests me — including things that make me go ballistic, or provide tremendous joy (and everything in-between).  Most writers like to share their discoveries, experiences, and emotions, and I’m no exception.

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Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 11 comments

Ten Issues Where I Agree with Conservatives

 

National Review Magazine founder William F. Buckley Jr. is seen in an undated handout photo. Writer and commentator William F. Buckley, a revered figure and intellectual force in the American conservative movement for decades, died on Wednesday at age 82, said the magazine he founded, the National Review. REUTERS/National Review (UNITED STATES). NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS..

The late conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., founder of “National Review” — worthy of both admiration and loathing

 

What troubles me most when discussing important issues is close-mindedness.  Call it a cancer on communication.  This seems to be an epidemic right now.

People who insist their minds are “already made up” and can’t be changed annoy me.  Surely, unexpected events and unforeseeable circumstances may come about that should make us re-evaluate what we think.  The acquisition of knowledge isn’t finite.  One’s personal belief system is more of an evolution.  What we believe is true today might prove demonstrably prove false tomorrow.  People and institutions we trust at this instant could violate our confidence later.  If history has taught us anything, it’s that unpredictable events can (and do) alter the way we look at ourselves and the world.  Just think of revelations in your own life which changed your perceptions about things.  Recall those you once trusted who later turned out differently than expected.  Indeed, our most profound memories are not necessarily confirmations of beliefs we think to be true.  More often, enlightenment stems from unexpected discoveries of something new.

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Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Music and Concert Reviews, Politics | 0 comments

A Marxist Interpretation of Christmas Carols

 

Karl Marx is Santa Claus

 

Capitalism has kidnapped Christmas, blindfolded it, and stuck a sock in its mouth.

Indeed, we’ve become hostages to crass materialism, wild shopping and spending sprees, and ultimately end up as slaves to crushing consumer debt.

So, how did we stray so far adrift from the intended spirit of the holiday tradition of earlier and much simpler times?  What happened to sharing and caring?  Whatever became of goodwill towards all?  Those noblest of virtues were trampled weeks ago, the moment all the stores opened up on Black Friday.

The single constant reminder of the true meaning of the holidays remains the enduring spirit of our most beloved Christmas carols.  Music fills our hearts with joy.  Songs bring us good cheer.  But hidden in between the Yule festivities, might there be something far more profound the songwriters and lyricists intended?

Consider some of our favorite holiday songs.  Might these lyrics have have messages that were inspired by none other than Karl Marx?  This isn’t as crazy as it sounds:

 

“Away in a Manger”

Away in a manger,
No crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens
Looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Bethlehem’s lack of affordable housing creates homeless children, including impoverished infants.

 

“All I Want for Christmas is You”

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There’s just one thing I need.
I don’t care about presents
Underneath the Christmas tree.

— What these lyrics really mean:  The proletariat is starting to revolt and is rejecting boorish materialism.

 

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
Do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know
A child, a child shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold
Let us bring him silver and gold.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Capitalism demands that we turn over our wealth to the ruling class.

 

“Frosty the Snowman”

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose,
And two eyes made out of coal.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Frosty desperately needs a single-payer health care system since he can’t afford a normal nose and eyes.  Big tobacco has also turned him into a helpless drug addict (the crack pipe is unspecified).

 

“God Rest ‘Ye Merry Gentlemen”

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our savior,
Was born on Christmas day.

— What these lyrics really mean:  There’s no mention of women “resting.”  Only gentlemen get to loaf around the house.  Women are required to do all the work around the holidays and even work overtime.  Gender discrimination is rampant.

 

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.
She didn’t see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep;
She thought that I was tucked
Up in my bedroom fast asleep.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Lack of community services and proper government oversight creates a voyeuristic child destined for adulthood perversion.

 

“I’ll be home for Christmas”

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Poor public transportation systems and lack of infrastructure create heartache around the holidays caused by the separation of family members.

 

“Jingle Bells”

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
O what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.

— What these lyrics really mean:  The evils of capitalism lead to a terrible situation — an overworked horse pulling a heavy sled in freezing temperatures — in other words, animal abuse.

 

“Little Drummer Boy”

Mary nodded
The ox and lamb kept time
I played my drum for him
I played my best for him
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Then he smiled at me
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Child labor practices are encouraged during the holidays.  Stressed-out child musician receives no compensation, other than a smile.

 

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

All of the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph,
Play in any reindeer games….

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say.
Rudolph with your nose so bright,
Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?

— What these lyrics really mean:  Within free-market economies, minorities face institutionalized mass discrimination and are often exploited for their unique talents and characteristics.

 

“Santa Baby”

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me
I’ve been an awful good girl….
Santa baby, an out-of-space convertible too, light blue….
Santa honey, I wanna yacht and really that’s
Not a lot.
I’ve been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Here’s selfish consumerism at its absolute worst.  A young girl is taught to covet a sable coat, a yacht, and blue convertible.  Moreover, she demands he bring all the gifts down the chimney, not tomorrow, but tonight!

 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

He sees you when you’re sleeping,
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

— What these lyrics really mean:  Constitutional protections and individual civil liberties have been annihilated under capitalism.

 

“The 12 Days of Christmas”

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a milking,
Seven swans a swimming,
Six geese a laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French Hens,
Two turtle doves
And a Partridge in a pear tree.

— What these lyrics really mean:   “On the 13th day of Christmas, my true love’s credit cards were all maxed out and she declared bankruptcy.”

 

“White Christmas”

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.

— What these lyrics really mean:  Racism, plain and simple.

 

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