Links o’ Interest

The American Gothic subjects posing with the picture.

For no good reason. I give you, man in rainbow chicken suit going over cliff on bicycle.

Dinosaurs and everything in this sand sculpture.

How to do the Moulin Rouge

“Keep fucking that chicken.”

A very inappropriate CAPTCHA for a dating site

Infinity and recursion

Needs help with Ikea furniture

Matthew McConaughey Cannot Stand Up By Himself

The world record holder for the most Guiness World Records

The world’s saddest dog

The white whale

Frustrated video dater completely loses his cool. Watch until the end.

I don’t know what this is, but I can’t turn it off

The worst cheating in sports history. “This is no run-of-the-mill piece of skulduggery… Rather, it was cheating as a potentially lethal act; as potential murder.”

The $20 millionaire

Oh Rush Limbaugh, you’ve topped yourself now. You want to bring back segregated buses!

The marshmallow test. They made it into cute montage, but it’s a very powerful test. Children who succeed (can wait a long time) do better in life in just about every way. The power to delay gratification is a enormous predictor of long-term success.

These two sides are equal

Woman threatened with $1000 fine for watching the neighbor’s children until the bus came.

Poker Update

We started the next “season”, which will run until around January 1st. We have updated our neighborhood’s game’s format. We are now using deeper stacks, slightly accelerating blind structure, and adding antes. We’ll also be experimenting with 7-2 bonus, cracked ace bonus, and bounties.

The night started poorly. On the third hand I had 9-10 of clubs. The flop was Q-9-6, with two clubs. I semi-bluffed a raise and was called. The turn was a low club, giving me my flush. Long story short – my ten-high flush lost to his jack-high flush and I lost half my stack.

40 minutes later I had pocket 9s. There had been one raiser. Playing short-stacked I needed to move all in. He decided to call. He had A-9, I was ahead 70%-30%. He got his Ace and I was knocked out. What are you going to do. I lost two big hands on unlucky cards. Not grossly unlucky though, just your everyday garden variety moderate bad luck. That’s poker.

I rebought. But one of our rule changes is that you can rebuy for only half the initial stack. I was short-stacked already. (There was never a question I would rebuy. I was the instigator behind bringing in antes, I was damn well going to last long enough to use them!)

Things looked a little better when I had A-A. I raised and got one caller. The flop was J-10-6. I checked, hoping he had a jack. He also checked. The flop was another 6. Now there was a pair on the board and two clubs, I couldn’t wait around. I went all-in. And I must say it was about the best acting I’ve ever done. I paused just the right amount, had my body language just right, I could not have communicated weakness better. He thought I was bluffing, I doubled up.

That was the spark I needed. I made it to the final four. Blinds were at 500-1000 with a 100 ante, the average stack was around 10K.

Under the gun, I had A-8. I should have raised, but I chose to limp. Small blind limped in. The flop was K-8-4. They both checked. I didn’t think anyone had a king, I pushed all-in. The small blind called with 6-4. The turn was a 6. I didn’t even notice he had gotten his second pair and had to be called out when I started raking the pot. Ugh.

The next hand I had K-10. The flop was A-K-x. I put in a raise. He went all-in. I had to call (it was 1600 more to a 8K pot). He did indeed have the Ace. But wait, the turn is another king, I have trips! And the river is… another ace!? His full house of Aces over Kings beat my full house of Kings over Aces. That was a fun way to go out. You couldn’t complain about that last ace since he had been ahead from the start.

Summary:

I had a lot of good starting hands, but mild bad luck in hitting hands with them.
You wouldn’t know it from this summary but I played aggressively the whole night. That was good. I stole blinds all over the place.
But I didn’t play aggressively in a few key hands at the end, and it cost me. Checking the A-8 was a big mistake.

Tonight: -$40

Links o’ Interest

Poker is off this week, and I wanted to get this up before the Kanye jokes got old.

Kanye, cut it out. No really! Stop it! Okay, that’s over the line. Even Obama thinks you’re a jackass.

11 interesting musical yearbook photos

How many people are in space right now?

Make a commercial in two weeks with a zero budget. You get what you pay for.

375 days of exercise.

Obama cue cards

Dickipedia

He thinks he can do better.

The rock that made men laugh

Lehman Brothers might have been saved if Warren Buffet had been able to figure out his voice mail.

The man who invented exercise. He’s 100 years old, he discovered the link between exercise and long healthy life.

Powerpoint Problem: Reading Aloud

Never read Powerpoint slides aloud. Nothing is worse than a presenter back the slides out loud to the audience.

  • It is patronizing. I can read. I’ve been doing it for a while. I don’t need your help.
  • It shows your lack of expertise.If all you can do is read aloud it says that you literally don’t know anything that isn’t on the screen already. You might not even have written the content, you may just be a hired monkey reciting words other people wrote.
  • I can read faster than you can talk. Not just me. Everyone can. You read about five times faster than you speak. By the time you’re halfway through the slide your audience has already read the whole thing and has drifted off to a better place.
  • No one is listening to you. Because they’ve already read your slide.
  • You remove some of the only good things about Powerpoint. Words are in different fonts, they can be animated, they are in lists, they are set off or indented, they are bolded or italicized, etc. All of this is lost when you read aloud.

What’s a better way?

Some people are naturally visual learners (I am one of these). Some people are naturally auditory learners. Some people are naturally tactile learners. In a presentation you are involving the first two. You want to make sure that people from both groups come away understanding what you said. But simply presenting the same words in the same order won’t do it. Ideally, your words and the presentation should complement each other. No one learns exclusively in one mode, they simply prefer one over the other. Everyone learns best by getting elements of all styles.

When you are speaking, you should speak around what is on the screen. Say it in a different way. Emphasize a different portion. Explain how the last slide led to this one. Show how this is leading to the next portion. Pick out the highlights. Go more in depth on certain items. Make a joke or two.

When this is done, all kinds of learners are engaged in your content. The visuals enhance the auditory and vice-versa. The visual learners get what they need but have it reinforced by what they are hearing. The auditory learners get what they need but have it anchored by what is on the screen. Each gives context and depth to the other.

All of this is ruined if you simply read aloud. So don’t do it!

Are You Ready for Some Football? (Part 2)

I am so glad the NFL is back. I hate baseball and golf, so my summers seem long. I am forced to be with my family playing in the pool and watching them grow up… yuck!

Tonight the Patriots season begins. Hopes are high. Expectations are high. I will settle for nothing less than getting to the Super Bowl. Anything less than that is a failure.

This is a good way to start the season. Beating the snot out of the Bills on national TV is always fun.

Are Your Ready for Some Football (Part 1)?

Fantasy Football:

Once again, it looks as though I am primed to take the league by storm. I kept my top five from last year. I still I had a lot of talent that I couldn’t hold on to (you can only keep five), but I was able to convert them into draft picks, which were converted into decent players. Pre-season projection have me sitting on top of the league, but maybe not quite as dominant as last year. Here’s my team:

Name Position Team
Drew Brees QB NO
Philip Rivers QB SD
Frank Gore RB SF
Michael Turner RB ATL
Greg Jennings WR GB
Terrell Owens WR BUF
Roy Williams WR DAL
Kerry Collins QB TEN
Brady Quinn QB CLE
Darren Sproles RB SD
Tony Gonzalez TE ATL
Dustin Keller TE NYJ
Torry Holt WR JAC
Lance Moore WR NO

I have had a bad feeling about Michael Turner. I think he’ll be okay, but not as good as last year. The Falcons have a tougher schedule and teams are ready for him. Hopefully yesterday’s game will be the exception.

Week 1 is not quite yet over, but I have the high score before Philip Rivers and Terrell Owens take the field. Go me!

Links o’ Interest

Impact of Obama’s school speech

Get educated about sweat in tennis.

I will not read your fucking script.

The real Star Trek

Just one comma off

Chuck Klosterman repeats the Beatles. “I was initially confused by EMI’s decision to release remastered versions of all 13 albums by the Liverpool pop group Beatles, a 1960s band so obscure that their music is not even available on iTunes.”

To the guy in my closet: I don’t have AIDS

You can’t touch this

See if anyone is really paying attention to your presentation

The Sarychev Peak explosion as seen from space

8-bit Weezer, 1 and 2.

Parent of the year

Nine women rescued from fake Big Brother house, tricked into believing they were reality TV show contestants and filmed naked

Poker Update: Tournament of Champions

Tom Brady

I wore my Tom Brady jersey for the big poker tournament tonight. The kids asked about it. I said, “The New England Patriots are winners. Tom Brady is a winner. Tonight, I hope wearing a winners shirt will make me a winner.” They completely understood. And the shirt delivered!

I played well. I did indeed play well. But let’s be upfront about this. I was lucky. Very lucky. I had great cards all night. Playing well meant avoiding major mistakes and bullying people around and getting yet another good flop. That’s not very hard to do right. Oh, there were so many notable hands… luckily I was taking notes!

The tournament structure was different than our usual game. For starters our initial chip stacks were dependent on how many points we had accumulated in the regular season. I was solidly middle of the pack.

Starting Chips for the Tournament of Champions

Starting Chips for the Tournament of Champions

In addition:

  • Only eight players
  • No chumps
  • No rebuys
  • Winner take all
  • Slower blind escalation in the later stages
  • Bigger stacks

This added up to a structure with deeper relative stacks. Which in turn meant that there would be more skill over luck. I’m not sure if that happened. The people I knocked out probably thought I was just lucky and they may be right. I took notes this time, so there is more detail than usual. At first they were laughing at my note taking, but the laughs dwindled as the chip stack grew.

Let’s get to the hands! Blinds are at 25-50, shuffle up and deal!

  • I have A-J clubs. I call the pre-flop raise to 150. The flop is x-x-x. He bets 200. I call. The turn is my Jack. He bets 200, I call. The river is a blank. He bets 200, I call. He had king high. A promising start.
  • I have A-K. My pre-flop raise is called. The flop is A-K-5. I check, he bets big, and I call. The turn is another Ace. I have the nuts. I have the bloody absolute nuts! It’s been a long time since this has happened. How do I get the most money out of him? I check. He bets a lot, I call. The river is a blank. This time I bet 2,400. I am called. He has A-5, for a full house of Aces over fives. It isn’t good enough to beat my full house of Aces over kings. I get about 5,000 profit out of this hand and cripple the opponent.
  • I have A-8 clubs. The flop is x-x-7. He bets 300 into a 300 pot. I call. The turn is an Ace. He keeps betting, I keep calling. He has 6-7, and I get another 800 or so profit as the blinds go up.
  • Let’s take stock. In the first 20 minutes I have increased my chip stack from 6,800 to around 12,000. I have had one monster hand – and even better – when the other guy had a very strong second best hand. I have converted two marginal hands into big profits. I have done this without raising much. The rest of the table is scared of my checks, they don’t know if it means I’m slowplaying them.
  • I have K-K. The board eventually gets to J-8-7, x, 10. If the other guy has a 9 he has a straight. I call his big bet. He had K-A, I get another 2,500 or so.
  • I’m definitely playing loose right now. I am playing 50% of the hands. I don’t mind losing lots of blinds, but I am hoping that I will flop some big hands to take down a big pot. I am clearly inspired by Phil Helmuth’s play in last night’s WSOP broadcast and my own luck tonight. I’m playing loose. I am wondering ten minutes later if I’m playing too loose, I have given back 1,500 already. May be time to tighten up a little?
  • I have 2-2. The blinds are raised from 100 to 375. Two players in the pot, and I call. The flop is 10-10-2. Ha! Last week I caught hell for whining about not catching a set. Well lookie here! I flopped a set! In fact I flopped a full house! I got another 1,200 or so out of that. I should have gotten more, but the other guy didn’t have enough of a hand to call my last bet. As the blinds go up to 75-150 I have 15,000 in chips. That’s roughly 30% of the chips in play.
  • Q-10, I limp from the small blind. The flop is 10-x-x, I have top pair. I put in 400. He reraises to 800. I was not expecting that. Is he just trying to push back against me? I call. The turn is a blank. I bet 600. He re-raises to 1,800. I’m not sure why, but I don’t have him figured for K-10 or A-10. There are now 2 spades on the board. I’m not sure why, but I have him figured for a spade flush draw. He’s hoping to push me out of the pot, but he has outs if I stay. I do stay, calling his 1,800. The turn is the King of spades. I check and he puts in 3,000. Damnit. I’m not sure about my read, but there are too many hands that beat me now. I think about it for a long time but I fold. This hand is killing me, should I have called him or not? Should I have? I hate poker!
    (When the night was over he said he had 3-4 off suit. It was an over-the-top bluff for the sheer hell of it. “It was a really stupid play. I shouldn’t have gotten away with it.” So I was clearly wrong to fold and my read was way off.)
  • It’s blind vs blind. Small blind limps to me. I call with Q-10. The flop is K-J-10. He bets 300. I call with my middle pair and open-ended straight draw. The turn is an Ace giving me the straight. I eventually rake in another 1,000 profit. (Yes, I am counting profit throughout this blog post, not pot size. It was a 2,000 chip pot.)
  • I raise as dealer with K-8 to see if I can steal the blinds. I get two callers. The flop is 10-7-5. I call a bet of 400. The turn is another 5. He bets 400, I come over the top with 1,200. He thinks about it for a while and folds.
    I like this hand. I’m sure the other guy had the better hand. But I won it with skill. And position, and my big stack, and my table image to pull off a naked bluff. A nice 800 or so.
    I have around 17,000 in chips. The blinds are moving up to 150-300.
  • I just stole the blinds twice. But then folded after putting 800 in the pot. I guess that’s holding even. I am hovering now. The game has gotten much more aggressive. I am trying to pick my spots a little more carefully. Nothing interesting happens for the next two rounds.
  • At 300-600, there is a pre-flop raise to 2,500. I have A-Q suited. I think for a moment, but it’s an obvious call. I have the big stack and premium cards. The big blind surprises me by also calling. There is 7,500 in the pot. The flop is A-2-2. Great flop, I have highest two pair with a queen kicker. I think for a minute. What can beat me? A pair of aces, but that’s unlikely since two are accounted for. A pocket 2, but that’s unlikely with these huge pre-flop bets. A-K beats me and that’s very possible. Nevertheless, I have to push. I put 5,000 in the pot – pushing any callers all-in. I am the big stack. I don’t want to make the tough call, I want them to make the tough call. The big blind grudgingly folds. The original raiser thinks for a while. He eventually calls with A-J. My hand holds up. (Not only did he have a tough call, but he had just lost a large pot on a bad beat to a 4% river card. He was understandably frustrated at going from 2nd stack to busted in two straight hands.)
  • The next hand I have pocket Qs and quickly end up all-in against the small blind and his A-K. It’s a classic coin flip! The flop is A-x-x. I am groaning already, I don’t notice that they are all hearts. The turn gives me a flush that I don’t even notice. I sheepishly rake in all his money.
  • We are now at 3-handed. I have 50-60% of the chips. Within five minutes I knock out the short stack. As we go into heads-up play I have ~70% of the chips.
  • My luck continues in heads up. I push with K-8. I push with Q-10. I limp with 10-7 and 10-7-x comes on the flop. I get pocket 2s that hold up. With Q-Q I put his A-5 in and easily win to take the night. (He later told me that besides the Ace, he didn’t get a card over a nine during all of heads up.) Hey, I won! Holy schnikes, I did it!

Tell ’em the news Freddie!

My winnings are $390, my biggest win ever in poker. But not just money, the win itself was sweet, and it comes with a heaping load of neighborhood glory.

Could the GOP get any Worse?

Holy cow.

Michael Duvall is a conservative Republican state representative from Orange County, California. While waiting for the start of a legislative hearing in July, the 54-year-old married father of two and family values champion began describing, for the benefit of a colleague seated next to him, his ongoing affairs with two different women. In very graphic detail.

You got to read the details. It’s just awesome.