Daniel - Poker Journal
I Dig Television outside the U.S.24 Aug 2007
U.S. television is awesome, donít get me wrong, but every time I take a trip outside of the U.S. I find myself watching way more sports on television than I do while home. For example, here in the Philippines Iíve been glued to the tube watching several tournaments unfold: you have the Asian 9-ball championship with the likes if Jian Li Bo, Chin Chan Wan, etc. Then, later at night I get to watch the semi-finals of a Snooker Championship with guys like Selby and Murphy playing a race to 17. In between that youíve got the LPGA British Open along with the FedEx playoffs for the PGA tour.
Itís not like you canít watch some of this stuff in the U.S., but for some reason when Iím home I donít. Actually thatís probably easily explained, as when Iím home Iíve got my Tivo working and rarely watch things I donít record.
Iím a big fan, though, of obscure sports that arenít all that popular in the U.S (including the NHL). I gave up on baseball in the mid-90ís and was never even remotely interested in either college basketball or football. College sports is a huge deal in the U.S., but it does absolutely nothing for me. Seriously, Iíd rather watch some random Asian dudes play 9-ball than watch the final four of March Madness or a confusing bowl game that crowns the national champion by a vote? Iím sorry, but the college bowl system, in my opinion, is the most ridiculous system in all of sports.
Iím in the Philippines helping to launch the first ever Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT). I was shocked to see over 250 entries for the first ever event and imagine that theyíll get even more in Seoul, Korea and the final in Sydney, Australia.
As much as I would have liked to do well, I was severely jetlagged and couldnít get my schedule right in time for the tournament. It was a 2:00pm start time and I found myself waking up at 3:00am! Not the best way to prepare. I found it extremely difficult to focus and pay attention, and ultimately I played some sloppy pots, thinking that it was going to be difficult for me to play well for 10 levels on day one.
Once again Iím awake at 3:00am local time and am back to watching the finals of the Asian 9-ball tournament where Ronnie Alcado is waiting in the finals. For a guy who likes to spend his leisure time golfing, playing pool, and playing Wii, I feel as though all Iím really missing is a Wii World Championship on television!
Iíll be staying here until the end of the tournament and heading to Barcelona for the launch of the EPTís season. In the meantime, Iím hoping to go golfing here, or maybe even to a driving range. If I canít manage that, at least a pool table or something, watching all this pool has me inspired.
Iíve also been watching some evangelist television which is prevalent here in the Philippines. Half the channels seem dedicated to evangelism. There was one dude in particular, I forget his name, but he seemed really cool and I liked his message. Iím really not into the whole charismatic thing, I like laid back pastors that donít give off of the vibe of a used car salesman. You know the type, ďAhhh yes, this moooooorning we had a miracle my brothers and sisters. Brother Paul has been HEEEEEEEEEALED and you can be healed too (for the low, low price of $49.95 Iíll rid you of that nasty AIDS problem you are having).
I also watched a six hour program on CNN called, ďGodís Warriors,Ē that dealt with the various Christian groups in America and their influence on politics in this country. Much of it was really disturbing, frankly, but I also saw some people whoís message just felt right to me. Of course, the Christian right call him a heretic, but theyíll label anyone who doesnít cooperate with their agenda as a heretic. Truth is, I think they are the heretics, totally missing the message of Jesus.
Too many church leaders mess with political issues and itís very damaging to the church more than anything. Itís divisive and inappropriate for a pastor to nudge people to vote one way or another.
The guy I liked was named Greg Boyd and he brought up some amazing points about how dangerous the conservative Christian rightís influence on government can be. Jimmy Carter, a true Christian, also echoed those same sentiments. Despite his personal beliefs he sees the damage that can be caused when church meddles with state.
There is this other guy, Ron Luce or something like that, who heads ďBattle CryĒ and a Christian school called, ďTeen Mania.Ē This dude gives me the heebie jeebies. Heís a former drug addict who now leads an army of teenagers and sculpts their ideas of right and wrong. The thing I donít get about his message, is how does he think being confrontational and judgmental towards homosexuals and those that are pro abortion will further his cause?
Let me explain, this guy thought it would somehow be a good idea to bring his troops to San Francisco, the most liberal city in the country, and have a rally. Of course, what you end up seeing is a shouting match between the locals and his troops singing out, ďWe have a voice and we will not be quiet.Ē I just donít see how that does any good at all. You donít win people over by shouting at them.
Anyway, back to the guy that I do like, Greg Boyd. He believes in things like this, ďRather than have heated and divisive battles over abortion and gay marriage, why not focus on things that everyone, those in the secular world and those of all religions, believe to be important. Like tackling poverty? You want to end abortion, well one of the best ways to do that would be to address poverty worldwide since the majority of abortions are a product of poverty.
He also talked about homosexuality and said something like, ďItís not the ideal God had in mind, but when Jesus talks of homosexuality he talks about it in the same breath as greed, gossip, and gluttony. In fact, homosexuality fits right in between greed and gossip, yet the Right seem to have singled out the homosexual lifestyle, somehow ranking homosexuality as more sinful, than say, gossip. Where did they get their info from? I donít remember seeing points associated with different sins in the bible? ďMurder, thatís a 45 point sin right there, Blasphemy thatís 35 points, cursing is a 10 pointer, homosexuality, thatís off the board bad, like a billion point sin right there. Judging others in the name of God? Eh, weíll let that one slide since we had good intentions.Ē
The right want to fight for the wrong things. Instead of focusing their energy on helping the poor and taking care of the Earth and itís creatures (it is written in Genesis that we need to take care of the Earth and all of the creatures in it), they instead waste too much of their energy trying to tell you who to vote for (people that will push their own agenda) and condemning homosexuality and gay marriage. Why are their priorities so out of whack? I have no clue. The bible can be interpreted in so many ways I guess, but Iím sticking with people like Greg ďThe HereticĒ Boyd and Pastor Rob Bell. They wonít tell you who to vote for. They teach love and tolerance, not politics. They teach the message of Jesus without letting political agendas cloud their judgment.
Boyd brings up another good point: In the time of Jesus politics was a huge deal, with all kinds of hot button topics. If it was important for our pastors and preachers to sway us in voting for the ďrightĒ leader, why would Jesus make no mention of it at all? Youíd think he would have said something about it?
Oops, over 1000 words now, thatís what happens when I watch too much television! Iím sure I wrote at least a few things in there that are going to get on peoples nerves (not the first time, wonít be the last), but these are just my opinions. Iím no expert on any of it at all and donít claim to be. These are just my personal thoughts and I donít want to pretend like I have to be right. I could be dead wrong in everything that Iíve said. You should all know by now that Iím not one to be afraid to share my opinion. If you disagree with me, which Iím certain many of you will, that doesnít mean we canít be friends does it? J