Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trip to the Borgata poker report

For those who find my poker stories boring feel free to skip this post. This is a report I made and posted (and edited for here) for the 2+2 website.

Before I start, let me first say (so that there's no confusion) that I think that the Borgata is a great place to play poker and it is of my favorite casinos. The staff is friendly and great and I have no complaints whatsoever about the establishment itself or its employees.

The Characters:

Me- a fat guy who turns 39 the next dayy and went to go play poker yesterday to celebrate

Dave- a friend of mine who went along with him.

DB1- Douchebag number one, playing at the 100 + 20 tourney, a bit milder than the others. A man in his early 30's.

DB2- Douchebag number two, playing at a 1/2 NLHE table. A young feller with spiky hair and listening to an ipod.

DB3- Douchebag number three, playing at another 1/2 NLHE table. A guy with a foreign accent, I think it might have been French Canadian.

Supporting cast-

SGG- Sun glasses guy, almost a douchebag but mostly an insecure fish

OG1- Old guy one- an old guy in good shape who wore work out clothes. His bald head and good build made me think he looked like the Spiderman villian, The Vulture

OG2- Old guy two- wore a hat that he won for getting a royal flush (or so he told me)

OG3- Old guy three- this one had a full head of white curly hair.

BBG- Black bald guy, very nice guy who was a fish

MAW- Middle aged woman, a nice woman in her 40's who was actually a fairly solid player (altho somewhat predictable)

KMLA- Kirk Morrison look alike, a guy who resembled the poker player Kirk Morrison

8am, my wife, Lynn, got home from her night job and I left her and the kids behind as I excitedly embarked on my trip. I picked up my buddy and we drove down to the turnpike to route 76. Before getting off the blue route we listened to KYW's traffic report and heard no problems other than the usual rush hour BS (why is it always backed up at Girard, is everyone going to the zoo?!). I really should know better than to trust KYW. The traffic on 76 was about the worst I've seen in a while. By the time we got on to 76 the traffic was back up for miles due to the Penn Relays, which, of course was reported by KYW when it was too late for us.

Once we got to the bridge it was smooth sailing except for the 5, count 'em, 5 speed traps that we encountered on the AC expressway. I got lucky I wasn't pulled over as I was mostly doing 80 the whole way. The cops were out a few days early for the monthly quota I guess. We eventually made it to the Borgata just in time for the 11am tourney.

My buddy, Dave, was the one who wanted to play in the tourney and since he was the only person who could also take off a day from work to come with me so I felt obliged to play in the tourney with him. It was a $100 + 20 tourney and about 80 players played. I started off rather poorly and lost a few small pots as I watched my stack shrink to about 6500 (we started with 10K). I just couldn't hit anything and I kept getting dealt playable hands like AK and suited connectors to no avail. I also admit that my heart wasn't in the tourney, I just find them so tedious these days.

I decided that my ennui could be cured by some drinking. I asked the waitress what beers I could get and Heineken was the only free beer that wasn't swill, besides I started having fun that I could ask for a Heinie and get away without getting slapped. At my first table at the other end sat SGG. He built quite the chip stack as he was hitting some big hands and even double stacked two players at once. (hitting a flush draw of all things, they all got in on the turn) A fish with a big stack started to make me drool and I probably ended calling with some questionable hands just so I could get in a pot with him.

The first of which was when he made a min raise from UTG (under the gun, first to act preflop) and I was in the big blind with A4. He seemed only capable of min raising instead of making normal 3-4X's raises and even did as such after the flop, so i couldn't gleam any info from his small raise. It was folded to the SB who also called and I defended with my suited ace. The flop came A Q 4 rainbow and the SB checked and I fired out a bet of about 3/4 of the pot. SGG min raised and I just called. The turn was another queen and my 2 pair became counterfeited. I checked to SGG who put out only the minimum!! Based on pot odds alone I had to call, I think if he put in a pot sized bet I would have to get away from the hand. The river was a third queen which gave me a full house. I figured that it was going to be a chop but I threw in a pot sized bet anyways, if he raised me I would have called and hoped he didn't have AA or a Q. He called my bet begrudgingly and tabled his KK!! I scooped in a decent pot and my stack was healthy again.

He made some comments about how I sucked out on him but honestly, why was he in the pot after the flop? I ignored his comments and let him play in his fishy way.

Shortly after I was moved to another table and saw that they had quite a few big stacks including the guy to my right- DB1, who was the table chip leader.

I sat down and noticed DB1's huge stack and figured that he must be an aggressive player to get such a big stack that early. So my first hand I get dealt AK and I'm UTG+1 and DB1 was UTG. He puts in a raise so instead of flat calling I put in a reraise. I figure that my stack won't be effective very long with the antes and blinds climbing so fast. I was prepared to go to war against the big stack with my AK suited if need be. It gets folded around to DB1 and he reluctantly mucks. He mutters that he had pocket tens.

I immediately, say, "Really? You had me beat but it was close to a coin flip." He then gets incredibly indignant at my comment. "What?! You're an idiot. Why would you reraise me with AK or AQ?!" he continued to berate me for my "poor playing skills" (based on one hand!) for a good minute and I just ignored him. Unfortunately just 3 hands later I defended my big blind (to yet another min raise!) with A9 and flopped a set of 9's on a Q99 board. The money got in on the turn and I was all but drawing dead when the villain tables his QQ. C'est la vie I thought as I got up to go to the cash games. I overheard DB1 as I was leaving, "Stupid fish got what he deserved!" I almost stopped to say a few things but I only had 3 beers in me and thought better of it.

They opened a new table of 1/2 NLHE when I put my name in, so 9 of us all sat down to play together. I continued to order more Heinies and was starting to feel a bit looser. I debated trying to play LAG (loose aggressive style) but questioned my ability when I kept getting reraised by OG1. OG1 was a crafty old bastard (The Vulture!!) and I would have taken him on more if my spider sense was working. I did however end up winning a decent 120 pot from the guy to my right. It was probably my biggest pot of the night and it was just a matter of having 2 pair to his TPTK. Right after winning that pot my buddy came over from busting out at the tourney and sat down at another 1/2 table. He soon called me over as there was an empty seat next to him. I was actually enjoying the table I was at but, alas, friendship called and I switched tables. I was up about $75 at this point.

By this point I was inebriated enough to start my silly drunk guy routine. I am bipolar so I'm apt to say weird things by nature anyways so when I get some alcohol in me I tend to be jokey and silly. Most of the players at the table didn't seem to mind and laughed at most of my jokes. (altho to Dave's chagrin and embarrassment) I also got friendly with a lot of the staff and dealers. I recall a tall black waitress with HUGE boobs that liked to sing as she delivered drinks. I felt she was a kindred spirit and I encouraged her singing and told her that and asked if she took requests. Unfortunately, she wasn't familiar with Phish or Umphrey's McGee and she continued with her R&B singing. I also remember telling every dealer that I had that they were the best dealer in the world after every pot that I won. I didn't win any big pots or stacked anyone the whole night but I did manage to win a lot of little pots.

One strange thing that did occur was that a hand got heads up to me and Dave. The flop had two spades so I remarked in a joking way that "I should check my hand for spades." and I then peeked at my hole cards again. When I looked up I saw that the turn and river were dealt. (the board was J T 8 T J) I blurted out, "What?! What happened?!" The dealer replied that I said that "we would check it down" and I guess the dealer figured out that me and my buddy were friends and thought we would soft play each other. Dave and I looked at each other and didn't know what to do. After some debate we decided to play it from the river and since I had a Jack I threw in a small bet. My friend called with a T and I guess I lost out on a big pot due to the dealer's mistake/mishearing me. I didn't mind so much since it was my friend after all but I did politely inform the dealer that I don't soft play and don't think anyone else should.

A few hands later DB2 sat down with his head phones on so loud you could hear the music from the headphones.

Some new players joined us at this point. OG2 came to the table and he was an older gentlemen that I recognized from the tourney. He was wearing what I call a cabbie/paperboy hat. The type of hat that you see in movies in the 20's where the paperboy is yelling, "Extra, Extra!! Read all about it!" or the cab drivers that say, "Where to mac?" also where them. I actually own one myself, so I complimented him on his hat and he then went on tell me that the Borgata gave it to him when he hit a royal flush. He kind of reminded me of Studs Terkel and shortly after he came to our table I noticed he was napping.

BBG was also there and was donking it up and playing most hands. I chatted him up and he was a super nice guy. Unfortunately for me he would get lucky every time we got involved in a hand together and would take my chips and then donk them off in the next hand to another player. The dynamic of the table seemed fine and dandy at this point, we had OG2 napping, BBG was creating some action and I was Mr. Chatty Fun Guy. That was until DB2 got into a hand with BBG...

I was on the button and DB2 was in middle position and it was folded or limped around to him. He raised it to $12 and my buddy and I folded and so did the SB. BBG in BB called for $10 more and then the limpers folded. The flop came:


BBG checked, DB2 threw out a pot sized bet and BBG called

J on the turn

BBG checked, DB2 threw out a pot sized bet and BBG called

river was a blank (maybe a ten?)

BBG had less than the pot left but still checked, DB2 raised enough to put him all in and BBG called right away.

DB2 tabled KK, BBG tabled 62o and scooped the pot.

DB2 went quiet at first and then a moment later mumbled, "You called with that?"

BBG- "Yes I did"

DB1-"You called my preflop raise with that?!- Nice play!" He said in a sarcastic tone.

Personally I really hate this. Yes it's obvious to most of us at the table that BBG is a donk. Yes, he called with a bad hand preflop with stacks that don't warrant a call there. Yes, he got lucky and took all of your chips.


DB2 continued to insult BBG for the next 3-4 hands and I couldn't take it any more. But instead of confronting DB2, I turned to BBG and said, "Forget him, he's just angry you got his chips. You can play however you want, don't let him tell him you otherwise." BBG said, "Damn right! It's my money that's backing up my bets and I can put my money in whenever I damn well please."

And BBG couldn't be anymore correct there. I wish douchebags with thin skin would cut out the crap. IMO, you can't be that all great of player if you're going to criticize someone's play.

The mood of the table really deflated after that outburst. Plus, having not eaten all day and starting to feel the pinch of drinking on an empty stomach my buddy and I racked our chips, cashed out and went downstairs to the Panda for some orange flavored chicken. Stretched our legs and went back up to play some more.

At this point I had made up the money I lost in the tourney and I was maybe up an additional $15 on top of that.

With our bellies full, my buddy and I managed to get another table together right away. I sat down and was immediately big blind. it was limped to DB3, a mid thirties man who with a foreign accent. I'm bad at most accents but if I had to guess, I'd say he was French Canadian. He put in a raise and the SB, who looked sort of like a sickly Kirk Morrison called. I had 84o and then asked the dealer that since it's my birthday, could I take back my big blind until I get a better hand. The dealer immediately replied, "Look pal, this ain't Denny's!" Which I thought was a rather clever reply. A blond middle aged woman called the raise and off to the flop they went.

8 4 2

KMLA checked
MAW checked
DB3 put in a bet of about $15
MAW folded
KMLA called

turn A

KMLA bet $30
DB3 called

river was a blank (J?)

KMLA bet $40 and DB3 acted all indignant that he was bet into again (which told me he had a monster) and put in a min raise. KMLA called after a moment of thought and waited for DB3 to show his cards. DB3 then turned over an 8 and asked, "Ees deese gud enuff?" KMLA flipped over his AK and said, "Sorry, no." And then DB3 paused a moment and then flipped over his second card and said, "Oh? Well, then how 'bout dees wan?", his second card was another 8 which meant he had the third nuts.

KMLA's jaw hit the floor (as did most everyone at the table.)

"You slowed rolled me? Like that?!! Wow, you are incredibly rude!"

DB3 tried to defend himself, "What what? I just try to have a leetle fun wif you! Deese wan two game is soo boring!"

KMLA then retorted that he was playing poker long enough to know what a slow roll was and he then moved to another seat on the table away from the douche bag. I commiserated with KMLA and had it in my mind that I would slow roll the muther f'er back if I got the chance.

So after the slow roll Dave actually got heads up with DB3 and the reverse situation occurred where he had a set of fives and the douche had TPTK. (top pair top kicker) But, alas, Dave doesn't think of such things and didn't slow roll him. The table itself turned out to be VERY nitty. (playing cautiously) I've never seen such tight play at a 1/2 table before. We even had another old guy asleep at the table (OG3). As result I decided to try to play a LAG style and see if I could start running over the table.

Of course, the best intentions never seem to go as planned. It seemed that whenever I would start pushing my hands someone would wake up with a real hand and would push back. Considering how tight the table was I had to give the reraises their due and I started to bleed chips. Just my luck too as I soon got pocket Kings UTG and bet them preflop figuring my loose image would get a callers or reraisers.

nope, everyone folded

I start getting tilty from this, so next hand, I get 69 UTG+1 and raise. Of course I get 4 callers....


8 5 2

I throw out a bet and get 2 callers including MAW



Now I have a flush draw on top of my gut shot- woo hoo- but I still wasn't liking the fact I had 2 callers- dummy me I check. MAW bets 1/2 pot only. OG3 folds and I call.

river was a glorious 7

Now I realize that I played this hand rather poorly from the start but I got lucky and got the best card I could as there's no way she's putting me on a straight. I throw a bet of about 3/4 of the pot and MAW calls with her AKo.

I immediately tabled my straight and at first she didn't even see the straight but conceded and politely told me "nice hand".

I was now back to even for that session and the rest of the game I couldn't create any action or get any decent hands. Dave actually busted out to DB3 when his nut flush got cooled when DB3's 2 pair made a full house on the turn. I started to feel bad that Dave was just wandering around the casino while I played trying to get a decent pot. So despite being down a bit I pulled up stakes and left. Overall a loser for the day- -$35.

We stopped at White House on the way back and I scarfed down a "Special" in the car. While no cops were on the expressway, I was amazed at how many deer I saw on the side of the road. I think I saw at least 50+ deer on the way back and it made me very twitchy as you know how they just love to jump at you and destroy your car at 70mph.

It was a fun day despite the douchebags, I just don't get some people sometimes. Nevertheless I made a few new friends at the tables and got to play poker.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Response from Scott Palmer

Surprisingly, I received a reply rather quickly in regards to my recent complaint about Tom McCathy's announcing style. My email to Scott Palmer (the producer of Phillies' broadcasts) and his response are copied below. While he doesn't address my specific complaints, I am glad he took the time to say he read my letter and tried to reassure me that all would be fine. I can't say that I agree with him and I hope he took my criticism (and others since I know others sent emails yesterday) and perhaps mentioned a few things to Tom McCarthy. Once can only hope. It's not like I want the guy to be fired on the spot, I just would like to see him be more on our side.

My email to Scott and his reply:


For starters, allow me to thank you for taking the time for reading this. I am sure you
are a busy man. But, I feel I must express my displeasure with the decision to use Tom
McCarthy as the television play by play announcer. Before you dismiss my opinion as a
knee jerk reaction to Harry's passing and feeling that no one can live up to his
legendary calls, I can unequivocally say that I disliked Tom's announcing previous to
Harry's death.

I think Tom has a great deep broadcasting voice and technically does a good job with
announcing. He would actually make a fine national broadcaster, like for Fox or ESPN.
However, I just feel that he doesn't root for the Phillies and doesn't show enough
support for our team. Too many times I have felt that his calls of opposing teams' home
runs or good plays are overzealous. I don't expect him to be boring and lackadaisical
but his calls for all teams are equally excited. He also seems to go gaga over other
teams' players like Jorge Cantu and David Wright. While they are fine players and I would
like to hear more information about them I also don't want to have their accomplishments
thrown in my face over and over again.

Please understand, I don't think the Phillies' broadcast should have super fans gushing
over every thing that they do and some objectivity needs to injected into the broadcasts.
However, I find that Tom is well... too impartial. I want a guy in the booth that roots
for the Phillies. I know that Harry was once a big Senators fan just like McCarthy is a
Mets fan and he also broadcasted previously for the Astros but he came to love our team
and was part of it. I just don't think that Tom will become a fellow fan and solely
views this as a job.

What lead me to believe this is that his description of where Elijah Dukes' monster home
run last night landed was "Mike Piazza territory". While I don't think he
would be audacious enough to try and rename Ashburn Alley after a Met (whether he hailed
from Norristown or not), he showed his rooting interest by ignoring the fact that Ryan
Howard has hit several homers there as well. Sure, Mike Piazza is a future hall of fame
player who hit some monster shots in his time. But, he only hit 2 homer runs in his
career at CBP and if he hit one into the alley then it just shows that it's something
that remembers instead of the monster shots that Howard had there. His true colors
showed in that description.

I suppose I have fallen victim to hyperbole in this email. But if you can't overreact
being a fan then when can you? I think I will have to put my TV on mute from now on and
listen to Larry and Scott instead. I find their broadcast much more enjoyable.

Thanks for taking my opinion in consideration.

Hi Brian,
Thanks for taking the time to write a very detailed e-mail. I always want to know how
the fans feel. I would reply to your criticisms by recalling how Harry used to recount
how the fans reacted to him poorly after he took over for Bill Campbell. Hopefully fans
today will give Tom the same time they gave H. back then. I agree that fans have every
right to be passionate about their ball club, and the people who broadcast it. We are
lucky to have such fans here in Philly.


Scott Palmer


This past Sunday morning I had a freak out moment when I was in the shower. Like I do every shower I lathered up my hands and washed my balls. However, this time was different as I noticed what seemed to be a lump on my testicle. My balls had actually been a bit tender recently as well but I figured it was nothing as I tend to have sensitive gonads (more so than the usual person). Let me tell you, there's nothing like a good dose of fear and anxiety to make a depression cycle even worse. Being that it was the weekend I couldn't get an appointment right away to have them checked out so I began to brood and imagine the worst.

Rationally, I knew that if it was cancer that my chances of survival were pretty good (well over 90% according to wikipedia) , but the notion that I would likely have a ballectomy didn't sit too well with me. I spent most the day worrying and wondered about what it would like to have one ball. Would they put in a prosthetic ball? Since it was my right testicle and my penis leans towards the left, would it shift and start leaning towards the right if I didn't have a prosthetic? Would I be less aggressive and have less testosterone? Would I turn into an even bigger wuss? Would my orgasms have less intensity? Would chemo be a good way to lose weight? Would I feel a phantom ball like amputees feel a phantom leg?
I called the doctor Monday morning and made an appointment for Tuesday afternoon. The medical assistant then asked on the phone why I wanted an appointment. Despite my ability to say all sorts of inappropriate things to my friends, I found it difficult to muster up a conversational voice and tell her that I had a lump on my testicle. I think I sounded like Peter Brady during the "Time to Change" song as my weak voice cracked several times describing my condition. I started to dread going to the doctor. Not because I was afraid of bad news (which I was), but being that I was so tender in my nether regions, I wasn't looking forward to the unpleasant exam he would have to give me.

30 hours of worrying later, I eventually made it into the doc's office. It was an unually hot day for April (90 degrees) and despite all of my real fears, I actually started to be concerned that the doctor would be grossed out by my sweaty balls. What joke, right? I could be headed to a biopsy of my nuts or looking at chemotherapy and the thing I suddenly get most concerned about is if a man who sees nasty infectious growths and smelly fungal diseases on a daily basis would be offended by my slightly moist and salty scrotum. I really wish I could understand why my brain goes haywire like that when I stress out. I actually went into the men's room at the doctor's office and gave my balls a quick once over with a handful of paper towels!
In the office my usual nervous jokey self emerged. As previously blogged, when I visit the doctor I tend to use my humor as a self defense mechanism. So, once again, for your enjoyment is the paraphrased conversation that took place (after a brief description of why I was there.)

Doc: Okay then, please stand up and remove your shorts and underwear.

Me: No dinner and a movie first?

Doc: Oh, and you'd better lock that door, the aides always seem to come in while someone has their pants down.

Me: If it's the blonde then I don't mind so much. (I lock the door, walk back over to the doctor and pull down my shorts.)

Doc: Which one was it?

Me: The right one.

Doc: (grabs the left one) Just let me know if you feel tender.

Me: eeeep! there!

Doc: (grabs the right one) where was the lump?

Me: On top and towards the back-ah-ah-ah-ah ckkkkkk!!

Doc: Really sore there, huh?

Me: (still feeling pain) Nuuuhhhoo, I'm just developing a stutter.

Doc: (snaps off glove) Okay, you can put your shorts back on.

Me: Thanks, got a smoke?

Doc: Well, I have good news, you have epididymitis.

Me: Epic Diddy Midas? Sounds awful, I thought you said it was good news.

Doc: Well, good news since I am sure you were worried it was cancer. Epididymitis, It's an infection that could last 30 days or longer and is pretty tough to get rid of it.

Me: So the lump I felt is my eppah doo dad swelling?

Doc: Yes, it where your body stores your sperm until you're ready to ejaculate and then it sends it to the vas deferens. Since you've had a vasectomy and your tubes don't connect, it's where your sperm go to die.

Me: So, it's like an elephant graveyard for gametes.

Doc: (finally laughs!) Haha, yes! We'll have to get you started on some Cipro for at least a month. I also recommend that you wear a jock strap or at least wear briefs to help with the soreness, it's best if you have support to prevent your testicles from moving around too much.

Me: Am I contagious if I have sex with my wife?

Doc: No

Me: Well, then, could you write me a script for sex at least once a day? Better yet, make it oral copulation!

Doc: (laughs) I could write one, but your story would have to be at least somewhat plausible, your wife is pretty smart after all.

Me: (sigh)

Doc: You should also buy some over the counter naprosen or Alleve to help with the pain.

Me: Okay- let me get this straight- you want me to take a few pills, wear tighty whiteys up high and have plenty of sex.

Doc: Yes

Me: You sure know how to party doc, that's why I go to you.

We then had a long conversation about my recent depression cycle and while I won't share this here (yet), I have to say that my doctor is a cool guy and I'm glad I go to him. He rolls with the punches and is straight forward and takes the time to explain things to me. That about the best you can ask for in a physician. Last night I proceeded to get rather drunk, as I really needed to blow off steam from the the huge amount of stress I put on myself. Unfortunately, I am hung over today and my balls seem to ache even more than yesterday but that could be psychological as I am now aware that my ball should be sore. However, it is a big relief that I don't have the big C and I don't ever want to imagine what it would be like to lose my testicles.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An apology

I just want to make a quick apology to those who read my blog regularly. Obviously, I stopped blogging for a few weeks and even before that my frequency was dwindling. To be honest it's due to a mix of writer's block, depression and being busy at work. I think I will try to force myself to write some more and maybe I can benefit from the therapeutic nature of getting my thoughts into words. I hope to have some new posts up this week, it was my 39th birthday last week and I played some poker in AC as well, so I have somethings to talk about.

Mike Piazza Terrirtory

While no one the Phillies get to be their "voice" can fill the shoes of the Legendary Harry Kalas, I certainly hope they can do better than Tom McCarthy, the current TV play by play announcer. Now before you think this is a knee jerk reaction to Harry's passing, I can unequivocally say with all honesty that I disliked Tom as an announcer for the Phillies in the short time he's been here. Does he have a good deep broadcasting voice? Well yes, and for the most part he does a fine job with everything technical and can be about as good as you can expect for an announcer. That's not the problem.

What is the problem is that Tom grew up a Mets fan and went on to work for the Mets for 3 years before getting a job with the Phillies. While that in itself may be mildly annoying (even Harry was a Senators and Astros fan before the Phillies became his true love), the truth is that he lets it show all too often and he gets too excited over opposing teams' good plays and home runs. He's too, well..., impartial to be a home team baseball announcer. It's not like he's on the national stage announcing for Fox or ESPN baseball and should call all good plays equally. He's supposed to be our guy. Yes, I believe local broadcasts should have "homerism".

Worse than Chris Wheeler's gushing over Jose Reyes, Tom McCarthy gushes over opposing teams' players like Jorge Cantu and David Wright. So, listening to him going gaga over the hated Mets or Marlins is like listening to a douche bag wearing a Cowboys' jersey in a bar screaming in your ear while you're trying to watch the Eagles game. It grates on your nerves to say the least. One of the worst offenses came last night and although, I happened to miss the call (I wasn't watching yet), I did read about at The video clip can currently been seen here.

The Washington Nats player Elijah Dukes hit a monster shot into Ashburn Alley behind center field. Playing the clip you can hear McCarthy's excitement over what a long ball it was. Granted, it was an impressive home run. But shortly after the home run, McCarthy describes the area of where it landed as Mike Piazza territory!! I can just hear Whitey rolling around in his grave as the area that was named to honor his memory was just renamed after a former New York Met.

Don't get me wrong, Mike Piazza is a future hall of fame player and hit some big shots in his day. (and only 2 of his homers were at Citizens Bank Park) But to reference a Mets player's homerun from 5 years ago when Ryan Howard has maybe hit 4 homers or more there himself is a friggin' travesty. Excuse my hyperbole, but this baseball and overreacting is what it's all about and I can't believe that I'm going to have to possibly listen to this douche bag for many more years to come. I may have to listen to the radio only while the TV is on mute because Scott Franske is a much more enjoyable person to listen to.

The next time I'm at the park I'll have to stroll down Mike Pizza territory and get a Tony Luke's cheesesteak with mayo because that's what Tom McCarthy has done to Philadelphia. He put mayo on our cheesesteak and it doesn't belong there. It's a bastardization of everything pure and good. I suggest that if you feel the same way and have the time and inclination that you send an email to the guy in charge, Scott Palmer, and express your disconent. His email is . If you need help, let me know, I can be pretty good at writing cranky old guy letters of complaint.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Death pangs

It was 3:40 AM last night and my bladder got full enough to stir me to wake up and get out of bed and off to the bathroom. (more frequent urination- yet another wonderful thing that aging has done to me...) On my way back I experienced what I call a "death pang". It's where the idea that I'm going to die no matter what I do suddenly surfaces to the forefront of my thoughts. Needless to say, speaking as Atheist, it scares the shit out of me as I suspect the most likely outcome is that I will succumb to nothingness and everything I've experienced and done becomes meaningless and pointless as I fade into oblivion.

I'm sure those with faith, or spirituality or religion in their lives don't quite get this way so it's a hard feeling to describe. The best thing that I do to make it pass is to conveniently forget the naked truth and try to force myself to think of other things that are much more pleasant (it's usually baseball, sex or poker, half the time I think I end up masturbating to quell my fears). I recall as a teen that my death pangs were much worse and would keep me up all night at times. It eventually came to a head in college as I had a full blown panic attack where I thought I was having a heart attack one evening (granted I was high as well) and I believed I was going to die. The thought of my impending death sent me into a huge tizzy and I actually convinced my housemate, Jeff to call an ambulance. (when I was told at the hospital I was having an anxiety attack I was truly embarrassed but the Xanax pills I got were awesome...)

These days I'm old pro when it comes to anxiety attacks. So, despite the fact that my death pang last night gave me a rapid heart beat and accelerated breathing, I did manage to calm down in less than a few minutes. In some ways dealing with my bipolar nature and separating my logical self from my emotional self enables to me get through my anxiety attacks without much effort. Keeping that narrative distance is what allows me to evaluate crises much better. I simply assure myself that I am having an anxiety attack and it will pass if I distract myself. I just popped open my laptop and visited Redtube until I eventually found myself tired enough to get back to sleep.

Simple distractions of enjoyment keeps me blissfully unaware of my own mortality for only short periods of time (and writing this blog post ceratinly doesn't help me forget!). And alas, eventually I won't even have to worry about about as death will visit me like it does everyone else. Maybe I'll be lucky and science will extend my life an extra 50 years, but some day I will die and there's no sense in worrying about it. Wish I could just believe myself....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Harry Kalas 1936-2009

The Phillies will never sound the same.

I'll miss you Harry.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Time to defend the WFC

The Philles get to kick off the entire major league baseball season tonight at 8pm and defend their 2008 World "Fucking" Championship starting with the Braves. (thank you Chase Utley for coining the phrase)

Most of the team is intact from last year, the main exception is Pat Burrell is gone and replaced by his 5 year older doppelganger named Raul Ibanez. We will have some prospects that will eventually make the team this year (or get traded) that I am excited about as well. Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco and John Mayberry Jr. all have a legitimate shot of making some major contributions this year as well as rookie pitcher JA Happ who made the bullpen and could also see some starting time.

The competition looks as tough as ever in the division. The Nats may not be great but they really did make some improvements over the off season like Adam Dunn and will get Steven Strasberg in the draft who is touted as the best pitching prospect since Dwight Gooden. The Braves starting pitching is very strong and will make thing tough all year. The Marlins are good young team that may emerge and take some big strides this year. Finally the hated Mets have strengthened their bullpen with K-Rod and JJ Putz and look to challenge and then choke in the stretch again.

I'm excited to say the least, I had tickets for tonight but had to sell them since Lynn had to work tonight. Even still, I'll have some brews, and enjoy myself and my big screen HD TV watching what hopes to be the begininng of a repeat world fucking championship year.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pranks a lot part deux

Yesterday, my wife's laptop showed up at my workplace. There was a decent sale that Dell was running 2 weeks ago that we couldn't pass up, so we ordered Lynn a laptop for her future employment as a teacher. I had it shipped to my warehouse at work for security reasons as I know there's always someone present during delivery hours to sign for it. Which you have to figure is much better than to just have the UPS man leave a big cardboard box on my front porch that has "DELL" in big bold letters on the side. Just a hunch, but I'm guessing that even though I'm in a good neighborhood that the computer would be more likely to disappear that way than if I were to sign for in person.

After I received the computer, I didn't give it much more thought other than the fact that wife will be excited to get her new laptop. It wasn't until I picked up the box to put into the car did I start to think of a devious plot to get my wife good on April Fool's day. The box, although larger than you'd expect for a laptop, was rather light. I know it's just a laptop but for some reason I was expecting it to be heavier due to the size of the box. As a result I initially thought for a split second it was empty. I quickly dispelled the notion but the very thought of an empty box gave me the idea to empty out the box before I gave it to Lynn with a note inside that said "April Fools!!" But on the drive home I hatched an even better plan but it would require some skill and luck in order to pull it off sucessfully.

I got home and took the box into the garage and as originally planned I emptied out the box and left the computer with its accessories in the garage. I then took the empty box and brought it inside with me. I spotted my wife doing sit ups on the floor of our living room, her placement couldn't have been more perfect for what I had planned. I announced, "Hi honey! Look what finally arrived today!" She looked up at me and saw that I was carrying the big box with "DELL" written on the side and exclaimed with a big smile, "My computer's finally here, hooray!"

Just then, I purposely tripped and landed on top of the empty box right next to where Lynn was lying down. My resulting fall and large body frame mercilessly crushed the box flat as a pancake. I really did sell the tripping part too, it was my best acting performance since my turn as Officer Krupke in West Side Story in high school. Try to imagine Chris Farley as the "Van down by the river guy" guy on SNL falling flat onto the coffee table. I think I may have missed my calling as a slap stick artist.

I immediately turned to look at Lynn and she had a huge look of shock on her face, it was truly priceless and worth the bruise I am now sporting on my chest. I let the shock sink for a few seconds and then let her off the hook when I bellowed, "April fools!!" Her look of shock and worry immediately turned to anger and she started to hit me. She knew then that I had gotten her good. It ain't easy pulling off a prank on April 1st as everyone is expecting it. I think you have to go for the quick shock factor before they can think things through.

I'm sure I added fuel to the fire by the very fact that I couldn't stop giggling and smiling about what I had done the rest of the evening. I know I can get rather annoying at times and especially so when I get smug and satisfied like that. Nonetheless, whatever pain I got from the fall or resulting ire I may experience from the wife, that look on her face is something I'll savor for quite some time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pranks a lot!

As promised months ago, since today is April Fool's Day, I'd recount a prank I pulled on a fellow dorm mate in college.

It was the second semester of my freshman year. Two new guys had just moved into the empty room down the hall from where I roomed. Apparently, they were already good friends from high school and they requested that they room together. As most of us know now, there are two things that can ruin a good friendship- the first is living together and not then getting along. The second is when one gets a new girlfriend. At this period in their lives, Jason and Craig had to suddenly contend with both.

Jason was dating a girl named Reenie and his finally living away from his parent's house was a dream come true in the fact that he could have sex with her without fear of his parents walking in on them. Imagine his chagrin when Reenie got extremely mad and embarrassed when Craig walked in on them while she was half naked. After she stormed out of his room, Jason and Craig went into a loud screaming match in the hallway.

Jason basically argued that Craig should have to knock on the door before unlocking and entering the room. Craig rebuffed that he shouldn't have to knock on his own door and he should be able to come and go as he pleases. Their loud spat started to draw a crowd, including my attention as well. As I listened to them debate and observed Jason's face turn red I felt a twinge in the of my brain. It was telling me to do something awful as I was presented with the best set up.

Having briefly met Jason a week ago (we had walked to the local comic book shop together), I approached them and made a suggestion.

"Listen, you're both going all about this all wrong..." I sagely presented my advice, "You're both right, of course, Jason deserves privacy and Craig shouldn't have to knock on his own door every time he wants to get in. What you guys need is some sort of signal. I don't know....put something on the door rubber band!!"

I walked into their room and grabbed a rubber band from Craig's desk and placed it around the door knob.

"Look! See, now once Craig goes to unlock the door, he'll see the rubber band and then know to either knock if he really has to come in or go away and come back in half hour. All you have to do, Jason, is once you and Reenie go into the room to fool around is put the rubber band on the knob."

Both of them started to calm down and then immediately agreed it was a good compromise. Now, while my deed was seemingly altruistic I was actually setting Jason up. As I mentioned before, my dad was a rubber band salesman and I had in my possession a 4 foot rubber band. It was 4 feet long and about 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. I believe my father sold them to be used to help seal barrel slats together during their creation but I'm not certain. I can tell you we sell something similar in my business for a completely different use. Their presence in my warehouse still reminds me of my devious prank to this day.

The next day I waited for Jason to take Reenie into his room. I left my door open so I could spot them walking past. Sure enough, at the same time as the day before, they walked hand in hand down the hall and then into Jason's room. Several minutes later I saw Jason (with his shirt off) peek his head out of the room and place the rubber band on the knob. I scurried down the hallway with my enormous rubber and pulled the old switcheroo.

Soon, (because of my telling everyone) a crowd of guys stood outside snickering and waiting to see what the reaction would be. Luckily, Craig was among the witnesses as he was visiting someone in another room. About 10 minutes later, Reenie emerged from the room (to go to the bathroom?) and saw the rubber band hitting the floor and going down the hall about 2 feet. She gave a perplexed look as guys from every room started to erupt with laughter. Realizing that she was now the center of attention for just having had sex, poor Reenie turned bright red, screamed at Jason that she was never coming back to his room and ran down the hall back towards the elevator. Jason came running out after her and was yelling what was the problem and then his peripheral vision caught the large rubber band.

His ire went immediately towards Craig, thinking that he had switched the bands out. Craig tried to send me up the river right away but I had already hid in my room with my door shut. I did have to fess up, however, in order to get my rubber band back. Jason did eventually become a friend of mine, as did Craig.

I try little pranks here and there, but none with such success as that rubber band provided for me. It was a flash of genius that hopefully someday will return.