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Daniel - Poker Journal

TV Blog and the ABC Pro-Am

25 Sep 2006


Generally when I fly home after a long trip I spend most of my time catching up on Tivo'd shows that I missed. On the slate I had several good shows from Amazing Race, Survivor, 60 Minutes, 20/20, HBO Real Sports, Mad TV (a great first episode), and several poker shows. Let's get right to Survivor:

I just loved the concept of dividing the tribes my race. I thought it would make for an interesting social experiment, and done right, could actually bring people from different cultures together.

When I saw the cast, though, I was very disappointed. I realize that CBS had to be really careful not to make the cast too stereotypical, but my goodness, they went so far out of their way to avoid stereotypes that they ended up with a cast that hardly represents their "people."

I'm mostly referring to the Asian team and the Hispanic team. Aside from one elder Vietnamese guy named Cai Bo, the rest of the Asian team all seemed to be born in the U.S. and have virtually no connection to their heritage. In fact, they mock and ridicule Cai Bo, the one guy who happily refers to himself as a "boat person."

They look at him with such disdain. At one point, he uses an old Vietnamese massage technique to relieve one of his tribe mates headache. When he's done, the guy has a red mark on his forehead that looks a little silly... but you know what? The headache was gone! They laughed about the red dot, hurt Cai Bo's feelings, and seem to neglect the fact that his knowledge of ancient medicine and traditions will be a huge asset to the team. Frankly, I get the strangest feeling that the other Asians in the group are ashamed of who they are. That bothered me.

The Hispanic team could have been the white team for all I knew. If there was ever a stereotype in your head about what a Hispanic person acted like or looked like, none of the cast members display any of those traits.

I dunno, I just think they played it way too safe and that's a shame. MadTV? Now that's a show that didn't play it safe! They did a few skits mocking the show and had names for each tribe: Burrito, White Bread, Soy Sauce, and I forget the last one.

In the beginning, each tribe is given a chore: make fire. To the Hispanic team, they game them Flint. To the Asian team, they game them one match. To the African-American team (I hate the term African-American, but don't get me started on that), they game them a bottle of water. The white team was given a generator, a lighter with extra lighter fluid, as well as a how to DVD on how to make a fire, lol.

On second thought, do get me started on that whole African-American thing. Are they not just American? Do we say Greek-American or Polish-American? No, they just become Americans. What do you call a black person that lives in Italy? Is he African-American? Or no, maybe African-Italian? No, he's a black dude, plain and simple. I actually think African-American is pretty insulting.

Anyway, back to MadTV. The Jeff Probst character announces a challenge. Swim across the lake, get something from under water, this, that, etc. A very complex challenge. Then, he announces the pirze... a bucket of Fried Chicken. Within seconds, one of the black contestants who is dripping wet says, "Here you go, here is the flag." Winning the challenge in like, six seconds.

Wait, there's more. Later in the challenge the teams are down to three each. Except the Hispanic team that's now at 18.... oh, wait, make that 19 as baby Maria just joined us.

Each group is given some wood to build a shelter. The black tribe builds... a porch. Then Probst checks out the Hispanic tribe and it's literally, a hotel room. He's like, "Wow, great job guys you did well with your shelter."

"Oh, this is not ours," replied one of the Hispanic tribesman, "We built this one for the white people in exchange for three coconuts."

All jokes. All stupid, silly, jokes. If they are offensive to some I honestly feel bad. Otherwise, I think they are just funny and we need to be able to poke fun at ourselves. Comedy and laughter is one way in which we, as a society will stop taking ourselves so seriously and celebrate our differences.
MadTV was way better.

Next, was 60 Minutes. I watched several episodes, but the one that was most intriguing to me was the one where Mike Wallace interviewed Iran's president Ahmadinejad.

Frankly, the guy kind of blew me away. He came off as extremely intelligent and friendly. It was easy to understand why the people of Iran seem to be so supportive of him as a leader.

Anyway, he brought up some solid points condemning president Bush. The whole interview was very powerful. In the end, he even spoke directly to Bush, telling him that he needs to change the way in which he talks to the people of other countries. Stuff like, "Bring it On," in reference to the terrorists a while back, aren't the words of a man who knows how to make peace.

He also shared his theory as to why President Bush is so reluctant to allow other countries to have nuclear power. If you still have it on your Tivo, it's definitely worth the watch.

Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, or just vote for the best candidate, I can't imagine anyone feeling good about what the current administration has done since being re-elected. In my opinion, Bush has made some of the biggest and most damaging mistakes a leader could make. He's absolutely hated by those outside the U.S., but even worse, based on his dropping approval rating, most Americans don't like him either.

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Today, me and Boston Rob headed over to E-DOG's house to sweat the football games. His pad is perfectly set up for it, with six plasmas on one wall, a big screen, and a projector screen over the pool table and air hockey table. His house is like a sports bar, frankly, with a basketball in the back to boot.

The early games annoyed me. I've been a Bills fan for many years, and they just needed to beat the Jets today. The whole AFC East sucks now, and there defense and running game is so good that I feel like they have a shot at the division.

The Dolphins annoy me too. Not the Dolphins, actually, more so Daunte "You stink so bad" Culpepper. He is getting worse, and worse each week it seems.

In the end, I had a solid fantasy day and despite playing a team that also scored a ton was able to pull out a win to go 1-2 thanks to Brian Westbrook and Anquin Boldin.

After the New England game, I came home and quickly pounded out a column for Card Player as well as a column for my syndicated newspaper column... and a blog! Boo ya.

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Tomorrow, I'll actually be playing some poker and I'm excited. Tomorrow, we'll be filming a poker show for ABC called the Equalizer Pro-Am, or something like that. Basically, it will pit 24 pros versus 24 celebrity players.

Each heat will consist of four pros and two celebs. The catch, is that the celebs will start with 300,000 while the pros will only get 200,000. My heat is absolutely ridiculous. Insane actually. Now, this was a random draw, but you wouldn't believe who I drew in my heat:

Phil Ivey
John Juanda
Erick Lindgren
Daniel Negreanu
Jose Canseco
Cheryl Hines (I love Cheryl Hines!)

Talk about a tough group, wow. The winner of this heat will go directly to the final heat.

I've always said that I love a challenge, well, this crew of pro players is the same crew as my Monopoly crew! Creepy, weird, and bizarre. Needless to say, I think I drew the toughest group.

We'll be playing at the Southcoast early tomorrow morning, but unfortunately, I will not be able to share the results with you all until the show airs. On a bright note, the structure appears to give us a little more play than some of the other made for TV tables:

25 minute levels
3000-6000
4000-8000
6000-12000
8000-16000
12000-24000
15000-30000
20000-40000
30000-60000
50000-100000

It's still a fast structure, mind you, but it will allow for some good poker for sure. On that note... time for bed.

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