Friday, May 26, 2006

If Microsoft Designed iPod Packaging

As anyone who has ever worked with the vast majority of corporate marketeers, Legal, and PR - not just Microsoft's - will tell you, the comments such as, "Can we make better use of this space," are right on.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 061


Everywhere I travel I meet people who want to write poetry but worry that what they write won't be "any good." No one can judge the worth of a poem before it's been written, and setting high standards for yourself can keep you from writing. And if you don't write you'll miss out on the pleasure of making something from words, of seeing your thoughts on a page. Here Leslie Monsour offers a concise snapshot of a self-censoring poet.

The Education of a Poet

Her pencil poised, she's ready to create,
Then listens to her mind's perverse debate
On whether what she does serves any use;
And that is all she needs for an excuse
To spend all afternoon and half the night
Enjoying poems other people write.

Leslie Monsour's newest book of poetry is "The Alarming Beauty of the Sky" (2005) published by Red Hen Press. Poem copyright (c) 2000 by Leslie Monsour and reprinted from "The Formalist," Vol. 11, by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

The Obligatory Silly Cat Moment, Yes?

about 2 minutes worth...

The State of the Dylan Address

via Slate:

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, readers of Slate, distinguished Fraysters, fellow citizens. Sixty-five years ago today, our Dylan was busy being born. He's older than that now. As he becomes a contender for the cover of AARP Magazine, it is my duty to report on the state of the Dylan.

It is true that money doesn't talk, it swears. Nevertheless, over the last six years, we have brought new economic growth by investing in our Dylan. According to the Office of Billboard and Budget, the Dylan's last CD of new material, Love and Theft, sold 754,000 copies, and the Dylan made $1 million in royalties from the book Chronicles Vol. 1. Now we move into a new age of technology: the Dylan's iTunes music store and XM Radio's Theme Time Radio Hour, hosted by the Dylan. Add to this the upcoming Twyla Tharp dance spectacle, a Todd Haynes biopic where seven different actors will play the Dylan, a new CD ready to hit stores, Michael Gray's comprehensive and up-to-date Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, and the perennial fact that he's still on the road, headin' for another joint, and it is unassailably clear: My fellow Americans, the state of the Dylan is strong. (Applause.)

30 Things to do for Bob Dylan's Birthday

a day late, but too good to pass up

via The Opinion Mill, where you can find the full list. Here's the first ten. If you need some productivity-busting time, come up with the song title for each item:

1. Kick a stone down the street while yelling, "How does it feel?"

2. Sit on your watch, so you can be on time.

3. Ask the desk clerk for a rope and a pen that will write.

4. Try to heal the sick, but first make sure you forgive them.

5. Walk upside down in handcuffs.

6. Wiggle ‘til you vomit fire.

7. Look out the window of the Saint James Hotel.

8. Sing love’s praises with sugar-coated rhymes.

9. Have one more cup of coffee

10. Find a diamond sky. Dance beneath it with one hand waving free.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's back...

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers. Registration code: 7330476

Get excited!!!

Go HoDags!

The Weekly Wheaties Report - Short Form

I skipped last week's WWdN Invitational, as I muttered, "Apres moi le deluge," and wet-vacc'd the basement in what became a near weeklong marathon of mopping. In any case, I was back with many of the regulars in last night's tournament... and quickly returned to my "top third placement" status, finishing in 26th place in another smallish field of 68.

I'm becoming increasingly convinced I do much better the less I'm moved; although I've yet to figure out why that is. Obviously in real-world games, the longer you play against the same people the easier it becomes - or at least should become - to get a read on other players, as well as establishing your own table image. Apparently there's something similar holding true for online games. All I know is the less I'm moved, the more I win.

An uncommunicative Troublecat was at my first table of the night, and I wondered whether we were going to get in a repeat playoff right at tournament start. But the Cat's cards weren't having much of a night, and he would go out early in 55th without our tangling very much. Other players from Games Past included darval, denials, and Jaxia.

Around 9:00 I was moved, with $1965 in chips - having gone up to as much as $3k in the past half-hour, and down to as little as $1100. Our Host went down just around this time, when his pair of Jacks were blown out by a pair of Kings. At 9:15, with $1215 left, and with a pair of 9s, I made a minimum raise with one caller ahead, and one behind me. A rainbow Flop of 7 4 3 hit, and, even recognizing the danger that someone was playing a connected 6 5, I went All-in with my remaining $615 when darval - who had been moved with me - raised to $400. Happily, he was playing an AJ, neither of which hit and I was back to $2730 in chips.

The next hand I'd get Big Slick, call denials $200 raise, and with a 2 3 4 Flop would call denials $300 bet. The Turn was an Ace, pairing me, and with only a 5 to worry about, I raised on denials $400 bet. He folded, I showed... and he had the termerity to call me a "chaser." :-)

23skidoo would show at the rail at this point, taunting me to save my chips for him. Fate apparently listened, as I was almost immediately moved to his table as he finished typing.

At this point, CJ would show again why he's nicknamed "luckbox," cracking 23's Aces with a soooted Big Slick that immediately turned into a flush at the Flop. 23skidoo finished in 36th place. I asked to be moved - anywhere - but the Tournament Director apparently wasn't listening.

The rest is donking away of the chips. I had too many hands in too short a time which were always second-best when I played them out or had to be folded in the face of a hard bet. With $1066 left and feeling the need to make a move, I went all-in with a sooted A 9, getting called by the original raiser - saintjack - who had a pair of 10s. The 10s held, and I was gone...

... until next week.

Happy 65th, Mr. D!

Friday, May 19, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 060


Most of us have taken at least a moment or two to reflect upon what we have learned from our mothers. Through a catalog of meaningful actions that range from spiritual to domestic, Pennsylvanian Julia Kasdorf evokes the imprint of her mother's life on her own. As the poem closes, the speaker invites us to learn these actions of compassion.

What I Learned From My Mother

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewing even if I didn't know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

Reprinted from "Sleeping Preacher," University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992, by permission of the publisher. First printed in "West Branch," Vol. 30, 1992. Copyright (c) 1992 by Julia Kasdorf. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

High Water (for Charley Patton)

High water risin' - risin' night and day
All the gold and silver are being stolen away
Big Joe Turner lookin' East and West
From the dark room of his mind
He made it to Kansas City
Twelfth Street and Vine
Nothing standing there
High water everywhere

High water risin', the shacks are slidin' down
Folks lose their possessions - folks are leaving town
Bertha Mason shook it - broke it
Then she hung it on a wall
Says, "You're dancin' with whom they tell you to
Or you don't dance at all."
It's tough out there
High water everywhere

I got a cravin' love for blazing speed
Got a hopped up Mustang Ford
Jump into the wagon, love, throw your panties overboard
I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind
I'm no pig without a wig
I hope you treat me kind
Things are breakin' up out there
High water everywhere

High water risin', six inches 'bove my head
Coffins droppin' in the street
Like balloons made out of lead
Water pourin' into Vicksburg, don't know what I'm going to do
"Don't reach out for me," she said
"Can't you see I'm drownin' too?"
It's rough out there
High water everywhere

Well, George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew
"You can't open your mind, boys
To every conceivable point of view."
They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway Five
Judge says to the High Sheriff,
"I want him dead or alive
Either one, I don't care."
High Water everywhere

The Cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies
I'm preachin' the Word of God
I'm puttin' out your eyes
I asked Fat Nancy for something to eat, she said, "Take it off the shelf -
As great as you are a man,
You'll never be greater than yourself."
I told her I didn't really care
High water everywhere

I'm getting' up in the morning - I believe I'll dust my broom
Keeping away from the women
I'm givin' 'em lots of room
Thunder rolling over Clarksdale, everything is looking blue
I just can't be happy, love
Unless you're happy too
It's bad out there
High water everywhere

by Bob Dylan, From "Love and Theft" Copyright © 2001 Special Rider Music

Saturday, May 13, 2006

11 Seconds after Midnight

The Game:

WWdN: rmgustaf Invitational

Some of the Players

A few of the (many) Railbirds








ricoM (atsa me, Boss!)




Troublecat (aka Absinthe)







My imaginary friends:



The Dream

The background and the cast changes. Sometimes I’m in Maine, sometimes in L.A., sometimes somewhere I can’t identify. The people are usually those I’m close to – parents, Peggy, other family, close friends, sometimes people I haven’t seen in years, sometimes strangers who act like I should know them. The plotline follows the same general pattern. A letter comes, the phone rings, someone asks a question. Finals are coming. Graduation is coming.

Except I can’t take the finals. I’m not going to graduate. I stopped going to classes months ago. No diploma is coming in the mail. My mind is racing as I try to figure out a way to escape being found out.

And then I wake up.

I used to have enough recurring dreams to fill a multiplex. Time and tide have softened the anxieties fueling them and they’ve mostly faded away. But the one above is an old companion, and I suspect will ride my shoulders like a hag until my ashes are finally scattered along the Maine Coast. If you’ve got a layman’s knowledge of psychology, you might recognize that recurring dream as a classic example of Imposter Syndrome, a fairly common malady among people who rely on their wits to make a living, as I do. Of course, I did graduate from high school, and then college, but the dream has nothing to do with that.

The Voice

It’s the incessant little chatter in your head – like an annoying IM popup demanding attention - that whispers, whispers, “Faker. You managed to pull it off for awhile, but you’re going to get caught.” You learn how to ignore the voice in the day, or it would cripple you, but it’s expert at creeping through night defenses. The dream was coming so frequently when I was going through a major transition from being a 9 to 5’er to freelance – that I finally read several books on lucid dreaming and regularly confronted my angst-torn dream self with the message that if he would only wake up he’d find himself happily graduated, and in bed loving and loved by a wife and cats.

That worked. The dream still comes regularly, usually when I’m under deadline stress, but I’m as likely to laugh at the scenario now as be concerned by it. It’s like a Frankenstein that terrified you as a kid but now you can see the inexpertly applied makeup, the tawdry costume, the knowledge in the monster’s eyes that he’s the one found out.

That doesn't mean that I still don't have doubts about many things, including the quality of my writing and my poker playing. I started playing online poker sometime in mid to late 2004, after reading Jim McManus’ “Fortune’s Smile.” I don’t think I had ever heard of Hold `Em until that article, but – following my usual compulsive pattern of learning as much as possible as quickly as possible about a new subject that interested me - I bought Wilson’s software; played against the computer for several months, and eventually found my way to UltimateBet. I chose UB because of a TV commercial and because it didn’t seem as, ah, sleazy as some of the other poker sites that offered free games and freeroll tournaments. In any case, I played in UB for several months, exclusively in freerolls, and was finally able to amass around $30 or $40 bucks still without ever putting any of my own cash into the stake.

By that time, I had found some friends in the poker blogger community, notably in the shrunken form of a dwarf housewife who had named herself after a fictional 30-year-old medievalist for reasons unclear. Iggy’s uberlist led me to other bloggers, including a witty writer, sometimes sharp-tongued, sometimes glum Okie, who I found I shared a lot in common with, including generational things like `60s folk and Borscht Belt comics.

One of the blogger tournaments brought me to PokerStars where I transferred about half of my UB stake and started exclusively playing for “real” money. I found I had little taste for ring games, and with my PS stake improved with an 8th place finish in one of the early blogger tournaments, I concentrated on SnG’s and tournaments. Low stakes for both - $3 to $5 tourneys; $5 SnGs, sometimes multi-table, sometimes not.

My stake was in steady state for almost a year at PS, not growing immensely, but not needing an infusion of outside cash either. Ultimately, the law decided to average itself out, and I had a 3 or 4 month period where I could not get into the money more than very occasionally. In late 2005 I finally had to transfer some money into PS. In the meantime, most of the blogger tournaments had moved on to other venues and, after trying a few other sites, I decided I was happiest playing where I had started, at UltimateBet and PokerStars.

On one of those other sites where I had played in a blogger tournament, I had left $2.38 behind in my account. Sometime earlier this year, I received an email with an offer fof a “free” token good for a $10 SnG. I parlayed that chip into a $30 win and cleared out, transferring the money back to my then empty UB account, liking the symmetry of it all. That money has happily grown, yet again, into a pretty good stake for a small beer player.

And I played, and I played, finishing on the bubble a lot; finishing in the money enough that I could indulge myself with long-shot tournaments, tries at Omaha tables, and so on. In 2006, I’ve had some good games. In January, in the first freeroll I had played in months, I finished 9th in a field over 4,000. Wil Wheaton had his “invitational” at PokerStars, and I started playing in that; playing regularly after the date and time settled into Tuesdays at 8:30. I’ve done okay in those, if you define “okay” as usually placing somewhere in the top third… but out of the money, except once when I finished 15th, and made around 40 bucks.

And, all this time, I’ve had this niggling worry about whether I was a “good” player. I mean, I’m in the money enough in 10 to 30-person SnGs that poker is a much cheaper habit than most of my other vices… you should see what I spend on booze, wine, and cigars for example. But they’re $5 SnGs… the competition ain’t all that tough. You get the few players like me who play as if it’s the family grocery money, but you more often get people learning the game; people who refuse to learn the game, and people just there to have fun. If you’re willing to play poker qua poker, you have a better than average chance of making money in the $5 SnGs.

The blogger tournaments are something else. There are some hard-nosed, very good players in those tournaments. It’s why you tend to see the same names at the final table regularly. On the other hand, some of those hard-nosed players look at tourneys such as the WWdN almost as a form as relaxation from their regular games, like I do when I play Omaha Hi-Lo, a game where I seldom know whether I’ve won or lost until the chips move to my position. I mean, this is a loosely-affiliated community that applauds fierce betting in their games when holding a 7 2 off-suit, which is not a tactic endorsed by anyone very concerned with winning.

The Problem of Fishes

And then there’s the Fish problem. Good players encourage bad players to play. You can always tell the amateurs at the $5 SnGs or the low stakes tourneys. They’re the ones bitching about other players, especially if they just lost a hand to them. Pro or not, knowledgeable players are more likely to type in “nh” after losing against some idiotic play. I once sat at a memorable table – a ring table for a change - and watched a group of players, including me on one occasion, flense a player who was either drunk, suicidal, or brand-new to Hold `Em of three rebuys totaling $50 in less than 30 minutes. When the guy busted out and his seat finally went dark, the entire table pleaded with him to come back, with many only semi-ironic “ggs” and “bad breaks” thrown in. “It was,” as someone noted mournfully, “like having your own personal bank for awhile.”

So, maybe even though I had a good time sparring with other regulars in the chat box, maybe they were just happy to see more dead money at the table to fill out the final pot. I hated the idea of being thought of as a Fish. And the little voice would shrill in my head, even after winning a SnG, a series of SnGs, winning money from tournaments, “You know the million monkeys and Shakespeare, Bals. It was your day to get lucky is all. You’re not that good, and sooner or later everyone is going to know.”

Shut up, voice.

Last Tuesday, the 9th, I took second in the WWdN Invitational, earning $156 bucks to boot. It's my highest placement in an MTT, and the most I've ever won from poker in one shot.

I had a couple of good shots at taking first; I had my opponent Troublecat backed up a couple of times. If the cards had fallen towards me, I would have won. But they didn't, and I didn't.

I'll be back - if the creek don't rise much more, which in fact it is right now in soggy New Hamster - this Tuesday to try again, and the following Tuesdays too, when I can, as long as Wil wants to sponsor the tourney. The voice tried to tell me that it was just luck - and if you looked at a couple of the hands I played, some of it was, as some of it always is in poker. And the voice tried to tell me that I would just embarrass myself playing again. But the voice sounds a little worried itself, as if it's just going through the motions. It's not very convincing at all.

I think I can play poker.


And The Game

So, about last Tuesday night. Here’s a few things for your amusement:

I was the same table from beginning to end. My table was the final table, people were moved in from the other table.

PokerStars says my stats were:

396 hands played and saw flop:

- 14 times out of 86 while in small blind (16%)

- 21 times out of 85 while in big blind (24%)

- 22 times out of 225 in other positions (9%)

- a total of 57 times out of 396 (14%)

Pots won at showdown - 20 out of 32 (62%)

Pots won without showdown – 70

- The lowest my stack dropped during the game was $785 chips, after I called a $435 all-in with an AK. ragecg had a pair of Queens that held.

- I went all-in with those chips and a suited A 8, and chopped a pot with CJ, collecting 1252 when the board’s two pair became the best hand, confusing both CJ and I about what had just happened.

- A few hands later I was all-in again and chopped another pot with Budohorseman when we both had Big Slick and both pulled full houses.

- My first suck out of the night was at 9:44. With 1027 in chips and sooted AQ, I go all-in when the flop shows an Ace. darval calls and flips Big Slick. Bad news for me till the Turn and I pair my Queen. I collect 2279.

Live by Big Slick. Die by Big Slick.

I have the rookie habit of getting Buck Fever when drawing a good hand and pulling the trigger too early rather than trying to siphon as many of the other player’s chips as I can. NL Hold `Em is a game of trapping, the saying goes, and even though the trapper is the one trapped at times, trapping is how you collect the chips to make it to the final. The hand I was proudest of playing came shortly before 10, when I found a pair of 8s in my hand. Blinds are at 100 and 200. With a middlin’ pair, I make a middlin’ raise of $400, and get one caller in the small blind, surflexus.

Flop is a rainbow 2 8 9, and I have a set of 8s. At this point my normal reaction would be to make a sizeable bet to scare off a possible straight draw, but I decide to just check it, as does surflexus. Turn is a 2 of spades, and surflexus decides to ah, flex his muscles, with a bet at the pot of a grand. I figure a) he’s either playing the board, representing a deuce set or b) he has two overcards. Either way, with a full house I’ve got him beat, unless he’s been doing the same thing and slow-playing 9s. Unlikely, I think, and go all-in. He calls, and I’m wrong; he’s been slow-playing Jacks, but they’re no help when a King hits the river and I collect $6816.

I even get some table respect for that one…

darval said, "reminder to self - don't go all-in against carmen for a while"
darval: calls 100
Budohorseman: checks
*** FLOP *** [As Ks 2c]
BrainMc [observer] said, "or rico"
CarmenSinCty said, "hehe"
darval: bets 400
ricoM said, ":-)"
CarmenSinCty said, "yeah, or rico"
darval said, "yeah"
Budohorseman: folds
CarmenSinCty said, "he's on a roll"

A few hands later I’d crack Grrr.Argghh’s pocket Aces with an off-suit QJ – my second big suck-out on a hand I shouldn’t have been in. A Jack hit the flop, and with the other two players limping I throw a sizeable raise at the pot of 1200. Grrr.Argghh goes over the top at me, I fire back - although I think I have the hand lost if he goes all-in to call me – and he does. I’m expecting AJ, but it’s a pair of Aces. Just as bad at that point… but Grrr.Argghh gets a bad beat from me when the River shows a Queen.

A “whew” moment.

BrainMc warns me I have two Atlanta players at my table and one railin’ (him). I tell him I’m actually a Southern boy… southern New Hamster, and find out one Budohorseman is Manchester-born.

10:00 - Xkm1245 – another New Hamster boy, still in the tourney but on the short stack, comes on the rail for a moment to cheer me on.

10:15 – I get my “lucky” cards, a pair of 3s, and feeling rich with $10k of chips, make it $800 to go (110/200 blinds). Darval in the BB calls me. Pair of Jacks on the flop; darval leads out with $1200. I call. Queen hits the turn. We both check. 7 on The River, we both check. Darval’s got nothing, and I collect $4,250.

10:21 – A short-stacked surflexus gets knocked out by hacker59.

23skidoo pops in to discuss the Atlanta game with the table and says Hello.

I explain to darval the rico who sucked out against his Big Slick previously was the evil Rico… and I killed him. He goes out the next hand.

10:30 – xkm comes back, out of the tournament, to wish me luck.

10:45 About this time Garthmeister goes on an all-in frenzy, raising multiple times in the space of 15 minutes.

10:46 – Our table becomes the final table and we’re all in the money. Budohorseman, who had been moved earlier, finished on the bubble in 10th:

Seat 1: hacker59 (11063 in chips)

Seat 2: CarmenSinCty (9268 in chips)

Seat 3: Garthmeister (8940 in chips)

Seat 4: Troublecat (26691 in chips)

Seat 5: bluto392 (10525 in chips)

Seat 6: Jaxia (10774 in chips)

Seat 7: Scaffidi (20850 in chips)

Seat 8: bloser2 (8213 in chips)

Seat 9: ricoM (10676 in chips)

11:00 - DuggleBogey, who visits my blog now and then, shows up to cheer Garth on.

11:00 – I find an A 10 in my hand while in the Big Blind. bloser2 in the small blind raises to $3200 (400/800 blinds) after everyone folds to him, and I figure he’s trying to buy. I call. The flop is 6c Ac 10h, pretty good for me unless bloser2 is holding two clubs. He bets $6400, and I go all-in, forcing him to commit his remaining $3,000 in chips. He has a pair of 5s, which don’t improve, and I take him out.

About this time Garth discovers you can use the word, “Ass!” in chat. The rail quickly devolves to the 5th grade.

Scaffidi, who has been sitting out a lot, gives the table too much information by informing us he’s racing between the computer and toilet with a bad case of stomach flu.

23:12 – Jaxia goes away, her set busted by Troublecat’s full house. Bloody P offers a $5 prop bet that Trouble will win. Beck2Knaves takes it. The railbirds attempt to fart on command for reasons unclear.

23:18: The Lady Maudie appears at the rail to give me a shout-out and encourages Beck2Knaves to root for me. Three minutes later, Iggy shows up. My final table is complete.

I get an early taste of the Cat’s claws with an ugly misplay. I raise to $2400 with off suit A 2. (600/1200 blinds). Trouble in the BB calls. Flop is a scary K 10 J, giving me an overcard and a straight draw. The Cat checks, giving me a freebie, and I gratefully do the same. On the Turn a 3 of spades shows and the Cat suddenly bets $4000. What the hell? Does he have a Jack or 10? I call. River is a deuce, giving me bottom pair but what the hell has he been playing? I think I should have bet out long ago, but I’ve effed up this play, and check. Cat is holding a pair of 6s, and takes the hand. I think I could have shook him up if I had gone over the top when he bet the $4000, but opportunity missed.

A few hands later I take out the pukin’, shittin’ Scaffidi when I pull a flush on the flop and bust his King pair. I’m the chip leader with $43859, which lasts exactly one hand. Troublecat busts out Carmensincity, who’s played magnificently coming back from a short, short stack to make it here, with two pair against her one pair. Three of us left now…

Seat 3: Garthmeister (7915 in chips)
Seat 4: Troublecat (67326 in chips)
Seat 9: ricoM (41759 in chips)

The railbirds start making “grass growing, paint drying” jokes as we all go tight, no one wanting to go out 3rd. But it doesn’t take all that long. Garthmeister, who’s been playing super-aggressively earlier and winning with the strategy, goes all-in preflop with Q 10. Troublecat calls with off-suit A 9 and pairs the 9, winning.

Just me and him now. It’s 11:30.

I’m not a great heads-up player; I don’t have enough practice. I know the basics… it’s essentially raise or fold, and the most aggressive player usually wins. But I can’t get any traction. Troublecat raises. I got nothing. I fold. Troublecat raises. I got nothing but re-raise. Nothing on the board, and I fold. I raise. Troublecat folds.

Bottom line is he’s winning a lot more hands than me.

My hand – a pair of 3s – finally shows up, and I just call. The Cat checks. Flop has a 3 in it and I have a set. Troublecat checks and so do I, praying that he makes a big bet at the Turn. Jack at the turn, and I’m dead if he has a A 10 or a 10 9 to make a straight. I go all-in. He calls. I was close. He has K 10, and I take $45718. Cat still has $71282 left.

The next hand I get off-suit KQ. The cat raises to 7000, and I fire back raising to 12000. He calls. Flop is 5 K J, giving me high pair and a straight draw. I check in the hopes of seeing some more moola from the Cat, but he checks too. Turn is a scary J, but I have lotsa outs, so its time to bet. I go all-in. Troublecat folds. I collect $24200.

Tie game.

Seat 4: Troublecat (59182 in chips)
Seat 9: ricoM (57818 in chips)

Next hand I have my 3s again, and feeling frisky I raise to $4000. Cat calls. Two Qs on the board, and I make a small bet of $5000, hoping Cat will interpret that as a “I want to be called” raise. He does and folds.

Seat 4: Troublecat (55082 in chips)
Seat 9: ricoM (61918 in chips)

We stay tied for several hands. I get involved in a weird flush while holding the 7 3 of diamonds. Unfortunately, TroubleCat is holding the Q 4 of diamonds and knocks me down to $47,000 in chips again.

The chips go bad. I’m down to $37,000 quickly, then $32,000. I finally put a hard whack on TroubleCat when I have K 10 and go all-in preflop. He calls with Big Slick. The Poker Gods smile and I pair my 10.

For the first time I have the Cat in trouble.

Seat 4: Troublecat (46064 in chips)
Seat 9: ricoM (70936 in chips)

The Cat comes back quickly. I get sooooted A 9 and raise to $12,000. Cat goes all-in with A 10, and his one card higher wins. I’m in serious hurt.

Seat 4: Troublecat (83128 in chips)
Seat 9: ricoM (33872 in chips)

I win with a pair of Kings and take the lead again. Troublecat wins with a pair of 9s and takes the lead again.

With $8,888 chips left I go all-in with AJ and beat Troublecat’s A10.

The next hand I get the Hammer, and what-the-hell. I raise. Troublecat folds, I show and bow.

At hand 396, with only $6,000 in chips left, I go all-in with K 5. And it’s over. Troublecat wins when his Jacks pair the board.

It’s 11 seconds after midnight.

Road signs we'd like to see more often

"He gestured northward, towards the location of my first electronic victim, and shook his head. 'It's saying something really weird. It's like, in another language or something. I think it must be broken.' All the while, he continued jogging in place, rotating slightly as though reacting to counter-torque from the earth's rotation."

Link via Boingboing

Coming soon - The Donald Duck Anti-Radiation Suit

On January 7th, 1942, one month after Pearl Harbor, T.W. Smith, Jr., the owner of the Sun Rubber Company, and his designer, Dietrich Rempel, with Walt Disney’s approval introduced a protective mask for children. This design of the Mickey Mouse Gas Mask for children was presented to Major General William N. Porter, Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service. After approval of the CWS, Sun Rubber Products Company produced sample masks for review. Other comic book character designs were to follow, depending on the success of the Mickey Mouse mask.

The mask was designed so children would carry it and wear it as part of a game. This would reduce the fear associated with wearing a gas mask and hopefully, improve their wear time and, hence, survivability. Link. via The Disney Blog

I'm leaving home `cause you're not so sweet to me

One of my favorite Betty Boop's below. Kvetching parents (did you know that Betty was Jewish?), Cab Calloway, a ghost walrus, and more...

If you like this one, check out Betty and the Old Man of the Mountain


Where bloggers get their content

via Constant Correspondent and blog feeder Roberta

Friday, May 12, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 059


Contrary to the glamorized accounts we often read about the lives of single women, Amy Fleury, a native of Kansas, presents us with a realistic, affirmative picture. Her poem playfully presents her life as serendipitous, yet she doesn't shy away from acknowledging loneliness.

At Twenty-Eight

It seems I get by on more luck than sense,
not the kind brought on by knuckle to wood,
breath on dice, or pennies found in the mud.
I shimmy and slip by on pure fool chance.
At turns charmed and cursed, a girl knows romance
as coffee, red wine, and books; solitude
she counts as daylight virtue and muted
evenings, the inventory of absence.
But this is no sorry spinster story,
just the way days string together a life.
Sometimes I eat soup right out of the pan.
Sometimes I don't care if I will marry.
I dance in my kitchen on Friday nights,
singing like only a lucky girl can.

"At Twenty-Eight" by Amy Fleury is reprinted from "Beautiful Trouble," Southern Illinois University Press, 2004, by permission of the author. The poem was originally published in Southern Poetry Review, Volume 41:2, Fall/Winter 2002. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

When You're #2

PokerStars Tournament #24099272, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $10.00/$1.00
78 players
Total Prize Pool: $780.00
Tournament started - 2006/05/09 - 20:30:00 (ET)

Dear ricoM,

You finished the tournament in 2nd place.
A $156.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Thank you for participating.

A full report when I'm less tired and more coherent. Thanks to all who railbirded the final table last night, and a special thanks to my pals Maudie and Iggy, both of whom made cameo appearances to cheer me on.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dining with the enemy

fhb has become something of the Ultimate Frisbee blog destination of choice thanks to Matt's tireless game and Roberta's even more tireless reportage. I'm getting hits from around the country - most from colleges - and probably confounding the visitors who arrive as they're confronted with a melange of Dylan, poetry, poker and what-all, and try to find some UPA content.

Well, here's some: Muffin, you remember Muffin, provides on exhaustive report on the Central Regionals that the Hodags would, no pun intended, ultimately win.

We showered up and decided to go to “The Mill” which apparently has really good pasta type food. With many of our parents with us, several who came as a surprise, we had a large group of 34 people. As we order our drinks and find our seats, guess who wanders in the door? Carleton?!? Oh… hey guys. They sit on the other side of the open room with a small stage in between us. Two examples for how much we loathe Carleton: 1) Rodrigo and Dan are in the bathroom and in walks Ben Hahn from Carleton. They immediately recognize each other and don’t say a word. No smile, no sign of friendliness, it was an uneasy silence. 2) There is some joking around because how on earth did the Hodags and CUT get into the same dinner room?? So Ted Tripoli stands up, walks around the booths to the other side. As Tripoli moves the room murmurs, and everybody was watching, thinking Ted was going to strut over and talk to those guys. However, he turns sharply and grabs the blinds and loudly pulls it over, taking CUT out of view and saying, “I don’t even want to look at those guys.” Carleton laughed and even bought us 3 pitchers of beer which was pretty amusing.

Chelsea Hotel No. 2

The Coverville #202 podcast had a nice version of Leonard Cohen's bittersweet paen to Janis Joplin and their one-night stand at The Chelsea (pictured to the left) by a Laura Burhenn. I'm not a huge Cohen fan... a little of him goes a long way, but I had forgotten how much I like this song. I suspect Janis' lines are verbatim.

I always wondered why the original version - which has identical lyrics - on "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" was simply named "Chelsea Hotel," while the version on 1975's "Best of" was titled "Chelsea Hotel No. 2." According to this site, here's the reason:

"Ron Cornelius is a guitarist who played on sessions with many artists, including Johnny Cash, Loudon Wainwright III and Bob Dylan. Before branching out into production and music publishing, he served as Leonard Cohen's band leader for 4 albums. Ron gave us this response regarding his role in writing this song:
'He claims that I helped him with a chord change in writing an earlier version of this song. The truth is that I co-wrote the song with him on an airplane (8hrs) from New York to Shannon, Ireland. The reason it has a No.2 behind it is that he tried to cheat me out of my share by recopyrighting it that way (he changed nothing) - - it was just "Chelsea Hotel." Anyone can check out the writer credits by contacting BMI to get the truthful writer credits. I ran his band for a long time (worldwide), played on his records, and have nothing but honest input to look back on - Leonard can't say that!!!'"

Chelsea Hotel No. 2

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.

Ah but you got away, didn't you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don't need you,
I need you, I don't need you
and all of that jiving around.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend.
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, "Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music."

And then you got away, didn't you babe...

I don't mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can't keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that's all, I don't even think of you that often.


This self-descriptive and perfectly correct, "Best exam answer ever! (gif)" made me lol.

via reddit

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Now, if I could just turn off the TV, I think I could finally get started.

Once upon a time, which indeed is now a long time ago, I wrote a novelette entitled Once in A Lullaby, which - very unusual in the biz - was published by the first market I submitted it to, the first Bantam Full Spectrum anthology; the first in what would become a continuing series. I think they hit "Full Spectrum 5" before shutting down shop.

The first FS was pretty successful, including that year's Nebula short story winner, James Morrow's "Bible Stories for Adults, No. 17: The Deluge", as well as two stories which were nominated for both a Nebula and a Hugo, Norman Spinrad's novella "Journals of the Plague Years" and Jack McDevitt's short story "The Fort Moxie Branch".

even placed fairly high in Nebula Awards voting, again unusual for an unknown writer's first published story. As an aside, if you locate a first edition of FS, - which you can usually find on-line for a couple of bucks - you'll find the title of McDevitt's story missprinted as "The Fourth Moxie Branch." Both Jack and I - and probably others - pointed the typo out when we read the galleys; and it still made it into publication, which is an instructive lesson about how much the average writer influences the publication process. As another aside, Spinrad's novella was actually a reworking of a novel proposal he had submitted to Bantam and had turned down. With Norman's usual "fuck you" 'tude, he reworked it as a novella, submitted it to FS, and had it accepted where it became the showcase piece of the anthology. Almost a decade later he'd finally publish the full version.

But I digress.

Anyway, in the course of things, Lou Aronica, who was the frontspiece editor of FS and Bantam's then sf publisher, asked me if I had a novel manuscript he could read. That was one of those quantum moments that punctuates everyone's life... you open the box and maybe the cat is still alive - or maybe not. In my case, the cat didn't make it. I had no novel, and while I had a lot of ideas for novels, I didn't have anything on paper.

This all brings me, in a roundabout way, to Sarah Hepola's Slate article, Why I shut down my blog, which is instructive reading for anyone who thinks that blogging will somehow, magically, mystically lead them into a new career as an, ahem, Author. That's not to say its not possible, but as Ms. Hepola notes,

"Actually, agents and editors had contacted me before, based on my blog as well as the writing I did for an online magazine called At the time, I was living in Dallas, and to be e-mailed by an actual New York agent felt like the 21st-century equivalent of being discovered at the mall. The e-mails were flattering, but, ultimately, they all asked the same annoying question: Have you written a book? Apparently, this was a requirement. When I told them I hadn't, they moved on to the next blogger with potential, and I was left back in the mall where they'd found me, riffling through the sale at Hot Topic."
As with me. You want to get published? First thing to do is to write something - a short story, a poem, a novel. Not a blog entry. Publishers are packagers. If they can package your product and think they can make a profit, they will. But no product, no packaging. And the only writers who collect advances for ideas are the ones who have proved that their product already sells... the Steve Kings, the Dan Browns, the whoever is on the bestseller charts.

The recent debacle over Kaavya Viswanathan's "internalizing" is probably another example. I'm personally convinced that when Viswanathan submitted her original draft - which apparently was far different from the book that got published - someone at Alloy Entertainment, the "book packager" she shared copyright with, realized that they had a pretty, bright, ethnic young woman who was Harvard-bound and who could sell a certain number of copies of a certain type of book with the right promotion machine behind her. What happened after that is anyone's guess... but I have my suspicions.

End of free advice. And in case you're feeling sorry for me and lost chances or whatever... I made my choice. Most days I'm pretty happy about it. The life of your average writer ain't beer and skittles; most keep a day job because most earn far below the poverty level from their writing alone. I'm not motivated enough to work at more than one job... and I make my living writing now, albeit nothing you'll ever find on a B&N shelf, but a pretty good living it is, thank you.

And I'm not down yet, either. Listen, I have this idea for a book, see...

via the Iggster

American Life in Poetry: Column 058


A worm in an apple, a maggot in a bone, a person in the world. What might seem an odd assortment of creatures is beautifully interrelated by the Massachusetts poet Pat Schneider. Her poem suggests that each living thing is richly awake to its own particular, limited world.

There Is Another Way

There is another way to enter an apple:
a worm's way.
The small, round door
closes behind her. The world
and all its necessities
ripen around her like a room.

In the sweet marrow of a bone,
the maggot does not remember
the wingspread
of the mother, the green
shine of her body, nor even
the last breath of the dying deer.

I, too, have forgotten
how I came here, breathing
this sweet wind, drinking rain,
encased by the limits
of what I can imagine
and by a husk of stars.

Reprinted from "Another River: New and Selected Poems," Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2005, by permission of the author. First printed in "Kalliope", Vol. XII, No. 1, 1989. Copyright (c) 2004 by Pat Schneider. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Weekly Wheaties Report

It was on a fine summer's morning,
When the birds sweetly tuned on each bough;
I heard a fair maid sing most charming
As she sat a-milking her cow;
Her voice, it was chanting melodious,
She left me scarce able to go;
My heart it is soothed in solace,
My Cailín deas crúite na mbó.

With courtesy I did salute her,
"Good-morrow, most amiable maid,
I'm your captive slave for the future."
"Kind sir, do not banter," she said,
"I'm not such a precious rare jewel,
That I should enamour you so;
I am but a plain country girl,"
Says Cailín deas crúite na mbó.

"The Indies afford no such jewel,
So precious and transparently fair,
Oh! do not to my flame add fuel,
But consent for to love me, my dear;
Take pity and grant my desire,
And leave me no longer in woe;
Oh! love me or else I'll expire,
Sweet Cailín deas crúite na mbó."

"Or had I the wealth of great Damer,
Or all on the African shore,
Or had I great Devonshire treasure,
Or had I ten thousand times more,
Or had I the lamp of Alladin,
Or had I his genie also,
I'd rather live poor on a mountain,
With Cailín deas crúite na mbó."

"I beg you'll withdraw and don't tease me;
I cannot consent unto thee.
I like to live single and airy,
Till more of the world I do see.
New cares they would me embarrass,
Besides, sir, my fortune is low,
Until I get rich I'll not marry,"
Says Cailín deas crúite na mbó.

"An old maid is like an old almanack,
Quite useless when once out of date;
If her ware is not sold in the morning
At noon it must fall to low rate.
The fragrance of May is soon over,
The rose loses its beauty, you know;
All bloom is consumed in October,
Sweet Cailín deas crúite na mbó."

"A young maid is like a ship sailing,
There's no knowing how long she may steer,
For with every blast she's in danger;
Oh! consent, love, and banish all care.
For riches I care not a farthing,
Your affection I want and no more;
In comfort I'd wish to enjoy you,
My Cailín deas crúite na mbó.."

One of those poker truisms that you quickly tire of hearing is that it's seldom the last hand that knocks you out of a tournament, but rather the one played at some point earlier. That was true for ricoM last night at the WWdN Invitational, as I left in 36 position in a small field of 65.

The Turbo Texas Hold `Em advisor claims my limit game is too loose/aggressive; and it may well be right for NL too. I may have shifted the pendulum too far to the other side after I became convinced that my tight/passive play was losing more games for me than winning. So I now need to figure out how to mix it up and come up with a tight/aggressive strategy.

In any case, it was one of those nights where the cards in my hand were good, but not good enough to consistently take pots, and I think I played - and played out - way too many hands. I foolishly played out a hammer early in the game against 23skidoo, who simply ignored my increasing raises and paired a 10 at the river to take $1595 away from me. I recovered from that, as I recovered from several other blows, until a colleen with the pretty name of cailin deas put the serious hurt on me, whacking my Ace high straight with a full house and taking almost $2k of my chips in the process.

After that crash it was just a matter of time till the coroner's wagon came for me. About 20 minutes later, short-stacked, my Big Slick wouldn't improve against what started as a pair of 7s and would turn into a straight at the river and I was left with $25 in the small blind. I did help Sir Waffles, still smarting from the spanking I gave him in an earlier tourney, fulfill his quest of busting me out, though. An ill wind, silver linings and all that...

Let's see: the famous GRob would take 1st. Several people who were at my first and only table placed up in the pack, including Gracie, slipping into the moola once again and 23skidoo in 8th. The pretty maid who brought me down finished in 13th.

Until next week.

American Life in Poetry: Column 057


Midwestern poet Richard Newman traces the imaginary life of coins as a connection between people. The coins--seemingly of little value--become a ceremonial and communal currency.


My change: a nickel caked with finger grime;
two nicked quarters not long for this life, worth
more for keeping dead eyes shut than bus fare;
a dime, shining in sunshine like a new dime;
grubby pennies, one stamped the year of my birth,
no brighter than I from 40 years of wear.

What purses, piggy banks, and window sills
have these coins known, their presidential heads
pinched into what beggar's chalky palm--
they circulate like tarnished red blood cells,
all of us exchanging the merest film
of our lives, and the lives of those long dead.

And now my turn in the convenience store,
I hand over my fist of change, still warm,
to the bored, lip-pierced check-out girl, once more
to be spun down cigarette machines, hurled
in fountains, flipped for luck--these dirty charms
chiming in the dark pockets of the world.

Reprinted from "Borrowed Towns," World Press, 2005, by permission of the author. First printed in "Crab Orchard Review," Volume 10, No. 1, 2005. Copyright (c) 2005 by Richard Newman. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit

Two stories on the coming National ID Card

I've started using as my mega-filter to interesting stories on the Web, although it has the real potential of becoming a major productivity buster. Here's one of the reasons I like it, an "opposing viewpoint" editorial from the Manchester Union Leader -- "New Hampshire can stop the coming federal police state." An excerpt here:

THE NEW HAMPSHIRE Senate will soon vote on what might be the most important bill to protect our freedoms in many years. House Bill 1582, which the House overwhelmingly passed last month, would preclude New Hampshire from participating in the REAL ID Act, a federal law passed last year establishing a de facto national ID card.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as a part of a "must-pass" military appropriations bill, though it had nothing whatsoever to do with the military. It requires that all states comply with certain federal requirements in the creation of driver's licenses, and would likely include a microchip containing information such as a digital photo, Social Security number and digital biometric information like the fingerprint or retinal scan of the license holder. It would force the repeal of several important privacy protections currently in New Hampshire law.
and an article from the U.K. Guardian Unlimited, Q. What could a boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much, with an excerpt here:
If the expert was right, this stub would enable me to access Broer's personal information, including his passport number, date of birth and nationality. It would provide the building blocks for stealing his identity, ruining his future travel plans - and even allow me to fake his passport.

It would also serve as the perfect tool for demonstrating the chaotic collection, storage and security of personal information gathered as a result of America's near-fanatical desire to collect data on travellers flying to the US - and raise serious questions about the sort of problems we can expect when ID cards are introduced in 2008.

I'll leave it to Constant Reader to draw his/her own conclusions.

Last telegram sent back in January STOP Passing goes virtually unnoticed STOP

I used to play a game when I was a kid; making exactly 10 word sentences punctuated by STOPS.

Telegram, we called it. I was listening to the weekly TWiT podcast yesterday and heard Leo Laporte mention in passing that the last telegram was delivered, "a couple of months ago." A quick Google this morning confirmed that it was true. Western Union delivered its last telegram on Friday, January 27, 2006. The last 10 telegrams included birthday wishes, condolences on the death of a loved one, notification of an emergency and several people trying to be the last to send a telegram.

As one of the TWiT commentators noted, the most interesting thing about the story may be that it was virtually ignored by the public.

I think I sent one telegram in my life -- to my parents while I was in the Army. I don't remember ever receiving one.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cat-like typing detected

Like most cat people who spend a lot of their time at the computer, I have to put up with the occasional feline expedition across the keyboard. Personally, its more an amusement than annoyance to me, but I'm so compulsive that I save anything I'm working on every few minutes anyway. More worrisome is Bear's tendency to nestle against the back of the laptop in cold weather, smothering the fan in the process. I'm convinced that one chip failure and possibly a hard drive replacement have been the damage to date.

Pawsense is a software utility that helps protect your computer from cats. It quickly detects and blocks cat typing, and also helps train your cat to stay off the computer keyboard.

If a cat gets on the keyboard, PawSense makes a sound that annoys cats.*

*Note Bene: I played both "annoying sounds" to Bear and Kittenish. Bear slept through the hiss and stretched, turned, and went back to sleep at the harmonica. Kittenish "wahh!" to be fed at both sounds.

via Federated Media

Mr. Dylan's Playlists for Theme Time

via the NY Times, which maintains the charming journalistic conceit of using the honorific...

The playlist for the premiere of "Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host Bob Dylan" airing Wednesday, May 3 on XM Satellite Radio channel 40. The theme is weather.

Blow, Wind Blow — Muddy Waters
You Are my Sunshine — Jimmy Davis
California Sun — Joe Jones
Just Walking in the Rain — The Prisonaires
After the Clouds Roll Away — The Consolers
Let the 4 Winds Blow — Fats Domino
Raining in my Heart — Slim Harpo
Summer Wind — Frank Sinatra
The Wind Cries Mary — Jimi Hendrix
Come Rain or Come Shine — Judy Garland
It's Raining — Irma Thomas
Stormy Weather — The Spaniels
Jamaica Hurricane — Lord Beginer
A Place in the Sun — Stevie Wonder
Uncloudy Day — The Staple Singers
I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine — Dean Martin w/Paul Weston and his Dixieland 8
Keep on the Sunny Side — The Carter Family

The playlist for the second episode of "Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host Bob Dylan" airing Wednesday, May 10 on XM Satellite Radio channel 40. The theme is mothers in honor of Mother's Day.

Mama Don't Allow — Julia Lee
Daddy Loves Mommy—O — Tommy Duncan
Mama Didn't Lie — Jan Bradley
I'll Go to Church with Mama — Buck Owens
Mama Told Me Not to Come — Randy Newman
Mama Get the Hammer — Bobby Peterson Quintet
Mama Talk to Your Daughter — JB Lanoir
A Mother's Love — Earl King
Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean — Ruth Brown
Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way — Carl Smith
Mother Earth — Memphis Slim
Mother in Law — Ernie K Doe
Mother in Law Blues — Junior Parker
Mama Tried — Merle Haggard
Gonna Tell Your Mother — Jimmy McCracklin
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby Standing in the Shadows — Rolling Stones
Mother Fuyer — Dirty Red
Mama Said Knock You Out — LL Cool J
I'll Always Love My Mama — The Intruders

The playlist for a forthcoming unscheduled episode of "Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host Bob Dylan" on XM Satellite Radio channel 40. The theme is drinking.

Ain't Got no Money to Pay for this Drink — George Zimmerman and the Thrills
Wine, Wine, Wine — Electric Flag
Don't Come Home A Drinkin' — Loretta Lynn
Daddy and the Wine — Porter Waggoner
I Drink — Mary Gauthier
Sloppy Drunk — Jimmy Rogers
I Ain't Drunk — Lonnnie The Cat
It Ain't Far to the Bar — Johny Tyler and His Riders of the Rio Grande
Rum and Coca — Cola
— Andrew Sisters
1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, 1 Beer — John Lee Hooker
Bad Bad Whiskey — Amos Milburn
Who Will Buy the Wine — Charlie Walker
Buddy Stay off the Wine — Betty Hall Jones
Whiskey You're the Devil — Clancy Bros and Tommy Makem

The playlist for a forthcoming unscheduled episode of "Theme Time Radio Hour With Your Host Bob Dylan" on XM Satellite Radio channel 40. The theme is cars.

Rocket 88
— Nelson Riddle
Cadillac Ranch — Bruce Springsteen
Me and My Chauffeur Blues — Memphis Minnie
My Automobile — Parliament
Christian Automobile — Dixie Hummingbirds
Car on a Hill — Joni Mitchell
Pontiac Blues — Sonny Boy Williamson (II)
No Money Down — Chuck Berry
Little Red Corevette — Prince
Too Many Drivers — Smiley Lewsi
Chevrolet Car — Sam McGee
Get out of the Car — Richard Berry

A genius of the imagination

Forty years and two days ago, April 30th, 1966. Dick Fariña dies in a motorcycle crash in Monterey, CA, after a booksigning for his just-published novel, "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me."

The day was also his wife - Mimi's - 21st birthday. Mimi would later remember that she had been irritated with Dick because he had apparently completely forgotten the day; too excited about his booksigning later that afternoon. After the accident, Mimi spent several days at her sister, Joan's house. When she finally returned to the small cabin where she and Dick had lived she found that he had secretly decorated it with flowers for her, and had a private birthday celebration meal prepared.

The Monterey County Herald has a retrospective on Fariña here, with quotes from several people who knew him. As in Hadju's, "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña and Richard Fariña," he comes across as a more-or-less charming rogue, the "more-or-less" dependent on how you feel about rogues.

It would have been interesting to see the person - the artist - Fariña might have evolved into if he had survived: a Dylan or a Phil Ochs? Would he have abandoned music as the folkie boom faded, or would he have built on the electric base he had already sampled? What would his next book have been like?

But he's frozen in time, and maybe that's the way he would have wanted it; the curly-haired child of darkness, forever young.

The Hodags are going to Nationals!!

Go up the coast for a few days, and what do you get? Blogging backlog, that's what. But we're back now, and we got hair on our knuckles, veins in our teeth, and lots of posts to make up for.

Here's the first, from our sports correspondent and second-time guest blogger, Roberta...

(Pictured to left: The Hodags' namesake at bay in a picture taken in the early 1930s)

Our own Ultimatt called a little while ago to share the news the Wisconsin Hodags beat the Carleton CUT 15-12 and will be representing the Central Region in the National Championship tournament Memorial Day Weekend in Columbus.

Wisconsin may have been slightly favored, but the horrible weather conditions (rain and 30 mph winds) evened things out. It bolstered immeasurably the boys in baby blue that the sidelines were full of alumnae to cheer them on.

This was the first time since 1997 the Hodags have beaten CUT. Everyone agrees something is wrong with the system that allows only one slot for central region at Nationals - we're just happy it's our team is the one going.