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Daniel - Poker Journal

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The TV Blog

26 Feb 2006

I drove back from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in pretty good time, leaving the W hotel at 2:00am and finally getting back to Vegas at about 6:00am.

I woke up around 3:00pm and had little interest in doing anything productive. I am up to date on my Card Player columns, wrote a batch of newspaper columns the day before, and even did some work on my book.

Today, I planned on vegging out on the couch. The couch is my favorite place in the whole world, seriously. Unfortunately, we bought two beautiful new couches but they are designed for sitting, not lying down.

Lori and I are trying to figure out a "pillow scheme" that works for me, but nothing has worked yet and I haven't figured out a way to get comfortable yet. It's where I get most of my work done, but it is destroying my back, my neck is in constant pain, and I can't sit for more than an hour without going nuts.

So I decided to head up to the bedroom and watch some TV and maybe play some video games since I bought some new ones I wanted to try out. Unfortunately, since we got a new TV stand and mounted the TV to the wall, it made it impossible for me to get the TV to work.

The guys who came over with the new stand put all of the wires in the wrong place and I couldn't get to them because they were “in“ the wall. It was driving me mad. It was making me way more mad than it should have, but I couldn't help it- I was full of rage.

I ended up ripping the TV off the wall to try and get all the wires in right, but when I did that two of the wires broke off.

With the bedroom TV no longer a viable option, I thought I'd just move my X-BOX to the other room and play there. Of course, the wires to the X-BOX were all tucked away behind the wall, something I specifically told them not to do because I'd likely be moving the X-BOX from the bedroom.

I was losing my mind. I thought maybe I'd catch up on some reading, but then realized that the light bulb that is next to my bed is out. Also, I REALLY just wanted to play video games, it is how I have unplugged myself from the world for the last 20 years, and I really needed to unplug.

Determined to get the wires out, I pulled, and pulled, to no avail. Thoughts of smashing the TV, or taking a hammer to the wall were at the forefront of my brain. I was more angry than I've been in a really, really, long time. It's stupid I know, but you just don’t know how important "unplugging" with video games is to my overall sanity.

It wasn't going to happen, so I finally gave up and decided to play some Golden Tee... that just wasn't doing it for me though. I needed to lie down, escape the world, and play video games!

Since that wasn't going to happen, I decided to put my back and neck through more torture by watching some Tivo on the TV downstairs. We bought about a gazillion different pillows in the hopes of getting something to work, and I finally think I found something that wasn't horrible. It is still the most uncomfortable couch I've ever lied down on, but it was manageable.

The problem with the couch is that is has two arm rests that aren't conducive to lying down. They are too low, and the arm rest stops half way for some reason, which makes pillows slide off of it and gives you the feeling that you have a fist applying pressure to the back of your neck.

OK, enough complaining about the couch as I'll have a lot to "complain" about in this blog:


Survivor: Why is it, that it seems as though every time they have a black guy on the show he appears to be the laziest man on the earth? I don't know if it's the editing, or that they scout out the laziest black dudes they can find, but from Gervase sleeping all the time, to now Bobby, the show certainly doesn't help the stereotype that black people are lazy.

Growing up, virtually ALL of my friends were black, and NONE of them were lazy. Yet, almost every black dude I see on reality TV comes off like he wouldn't lift a piece of wood to help out around camp if his life depended on it!


20/20: I was catching up on all of my Tivo'ed shows when I came across one I thought would be interesting. It was a 20/20 episode called, "Stupid in America- how we are cheating the kids."

It was a full, hour long show on the education problems in the U.S. They started out by giving a test to some American students and then giving the same test to some students at a school in Belgium.

The kids in Belgium thought the test was ridiculously easy, while the American kids also thought they did really well. What did the test scores show? The kids from Belgium averaged 76% on the test while the American students averaged a whopping 47%!

The show was very informative. The big myth in the U.S. public school systems is that they don't have enough money in the system to teach the kids. That is simply bogus.

One man, I forgot his name, proved that it's not money these schools need, as he was spending only $3000 per student, while other schools were crying poor and spending $10,000 per student. His students did exceptionally well despite not having the use of computers, no janitor on staff, no cafeteria staff, and few other amenities.

While another school in Kansas, I believe, asked for more money from the government and were given a big chunk of money, only to see the district build an Olympic sized swimming pool, a state of the art gym, and a beautiful lounge for the teachers. What happened to the grades? They got worse!

It seems the biggest problem with the education system is the moronic "No Child Behind" bill that passed. With this, completely, and utterly stupid program, parents aren't given the right to choose which public school their kids can attend.

It's all according to zip code, so even if you knew that the school got was below average, your only choice would be to move, or to go to private school. That, in my opinion, is the epitome of what causes the problem countrywide.

Teachers, have absolutely no incentive to care at all! Since there is no competition, there is little incentive to make the schools better.

They went back to Belgium, and there they explained that parents have the right to choose ANY public school they deem suitable for their child. What does that do? Well, it creates HEALTHY competition amongst schools to improve the programs they offer.

The public school system is the only "business" in the country where you just don't have a choice where to shop. They showed examples of when the telephone company was a monopoly. People paid more for phone calls and got crappy service.

Today, you have all kinds of choices and companies competing to get your business. That's good for the customer, or in this case, for the parents and the students.

There are more problems, and the biggest one is the teacher's union. As long as that is a strong group, education in this country is doomed. It's virtually impossible to fire a teacher, even if they are totally inept.

Also, there is simply NO FINANCIAL INCENTIVE for teacher's to do a good job. The best teacher in the school, will get paid the same amount of money as the teacher who shows up to school with alcohol on their breath and lets the kids do whatever they want.

It was an excellent piece, and they rounded it out by showing what happens at schools that go charter, meaning that they are not playing by union rules. At those schools, you CAN get fired if you aren't doing a good job, and the students at these schools fare much better than at the regular public schools.

Competition is necessary, and it's healthy. The lack thereof, only promotes complacency in the workplace.

I could go on and on about this topic. One of my in-laws is actually a teacher in the Michigan school system and is a guy who REALLY cares. Sometimes, after talking to him, I can sense the hopelessness and frustration that he must endure while trying to make a real difference.


60 Minutes: I had a chance to get through a couple episodes of 60 Minutes and there were a few highlights of note:

1) Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada. Apparently, there is potentially more oil in Alberta than in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact, the U.S., over the next hundred years will probably look to Alberta as it's primary source for oil.

People have known about the oil sands there for years now, but no one ever thought it would be feasible to use it as an oil source because the process of separating the oil from the dirt would be too expensive and they didn‘t yet have the technology to do it.

Well, with oil prices so high now, it's actually cheaper by comparison. That is a huge boost for the Canadian economy. The Canadian dollar has already made up significant ground on the U.S. Dollar recently and I expect that to continue.

Canada has always needed the U.S more than the other way around. With this oil find in Alberta, though, the U.S. will likely look at Canada as an even more valuable ally than ever before . It's a huge bargaining chip in so many ways for Canada.

2) Kinky Friedman. This dude, is actually running for Governor of Texas! He was a cocaine using, rock star in the 70's that offended people as a hobby. He actually wrote a song called, "They Just don't Make Jews Like Jesus No More." He is Jewish himself, and has done a good job offending Jews and Christians alike.

However, there is something strangely endearing about this guy! He tells it like it is, and experts think he has a legitimate shot at becoming Governor. He said this which I thought was pretty interesting, "I'm for prayer in school, but I'm also for Gay Marriage. Why not let them be as miserable as the rest of us. That's something you won't hear from a Republican or a Democrat. What this country needs is free thinkers that can think for themselves."

This Jewish Texan is one charismatic dude. I can't say that I think he would make a good Governor or not, but I truly admire his confidence and fresh look on the world. You just don't hear politicians take risks like that.

I also think at the core he is a really good man, who I WOULD trust to give me his word. His views on the world I might not agree with 100%, but it would be so much fun watching this guy in a political debate!

3) Fatal1ty- I have seen this kid on MTV before, he is apparently the best video gamer in the world. He's made about $300,000 over the past six years playing video games for a living.

I was watching that, thinking about all the parallels between a "cyber athlete" and a poker player. In fact, a better comparison would be the online poker world and the cyber world that these kids enter.

There was a 7 year old on the show, named Lil' Poison. The kid already has an agent! Wow, and here I thought poker was getting big.

It made me wonder how much poker is going to change over the next 10 years. In 10 years from now, virtually EVERY new poker "star" will come from the online world. That's not a bad thing, but it's something to worry about for other reasons that I've mentioned in a previous blog.

I wonder if the new kids will truly understand, or even have any connection to what people like Doyle Brunson did to make all this happen? Or even Mike Sexton, who envisioned all of this when literally everyone was looking at him like he was crazy.


OK, I'll officially get off of my soapbox right now. If you made it this far, these are just my humble opinions on things that touch me personally. I don't claim to be an expert on politics, religion, education, or what have you, and I don't expect to change anyone's opinion either.

I've just never been afraid to talk about things that people say you shouldn't talk about. Why not? Free country, right? Personally, I think civil discussion about heated topics, whether it be in an online poker forum or over dinner with friends, makes for worthwhile conversation.

So, flame away people! :-) BlogForum


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