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Las Vegas Trip Report Part 3: Just a bunch of stuff that happened -- Pokerwise [Jan. 16th, 2015|11:45 am]
smartmeanfatkid
Okay, the promised stories...

Quads at the GN: I played quite a bit of poker at the GN this trip. It's a good room. Anyway, I was playing one early afternoon after a couple of drinks while Shae was sleeping off said drinks. Your standard 1-2 table. I call a raise with TT and am in first position post-flop. Flop comes QT8 with two spades. I check, raiser bets $25, and I call as does an old man. Turn is another T, non-spade. Gin! I check, raiser bets again, we both call. Turn is a spade that also makes a straight. I bet out since it seemed like the other guys were scared and not likely to bluff, but would make crying calls. Sure enough, old man hems and haws for a bit before calling. Raiser mucks AA face up, and I show my quads.
So I scoop the pot (obv) and also win a $250 jackpot. Which is doubled since it's before 2pm (or 4pm, I forget). I tip the dealer $50 and cash out soon afterwards, much to the sadness of my tablemates.

Loosing my shirt at the Bellagio: On New Year's Day, I made the bus ride back to Bellagio while Shae enjoyed her Xmas present of being groped by a strange woman. I played 2 hands of $20-$40 limit while waiting for mixed games -- 2-3 in the SB that flopped 332 and got paid off on all streets by 66, and 45 that I folded to a raise on the button and 367 flopped. Sheesh. Should have just stayed here.
Instead I got crushed at the $40-$80 Mixed game. Obviously, this game is too big for me. But I was way ahead for the trip and wanted to give it another shot since I basically have no chance to play these games otherwise. All of the games that are half badugi have a 3-card qualifier for the hand, which I am not personally that fond of since it seems to reduce the values of the other half, especially short-handed. Like in Badeucy -- I had an 86 with an 86 3-card badugi, which would up chopping the other guy's J or K or whatever with a slightly better badugi. Maybe that's actually a good thing, since you can get dumbasses to call you down with random shit like that.
Anyway, I lost pretty much everything I won in the GN hand above in this game before taking the bus back downtown like a schlub.
Except for the fucking bus never stopped! The LVX went by in the other direction 3 times, but never on our side of the street. And the Deuce came by twice but didn't stop because it was too full! I tried to interest some of the people at the stop in sharing a cab downtown, but no one was biting. To be fair, that does seem like an okay way to get robbed. But whatever. I took a cab back by myself.

Last Session at GN: The last session at GN was where the other end of variance hit me pretty hard. Standard stuff, set losing to flush, AQ<AJ, etc. There was a rapidly increasingly drunk guy at the table that was clearly there to GAMBOOL and I made a couple of snap hero calls against him to dig up to a small losing session, but man, this guy was all over the place. It turns out his wife of 20+ years had just died of pancreatic cancer, and everyone at the table all had the same, "Oh! I get it... Sorry" look on their faces at the same time. So yeah, that's it for poker. I supervised Shae playing a few more sessions of BJ at Freemont Street -- she's definitely got the game down now, she really just needs reminders of when to tip. Also, she finally really viscerally understands why blackjack in OK when you have to pay 25c a hand is the worst thing to happen to tables games, ever. So that's good! Food stories coming soon!
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Las Vegas Trip Report Part 2: It gets better, but then it gets worse. [Jan. 16th, 2015|11:27 am]
smartmeanfatkid
Holy cow, I can't believe I left off my trip report on Tuesday! So much stuff happened since then!

This is the part of my trip report where the narrative kind of wanders of course and breaks down into a series of anecdotes. I'll try to keep some sort of structure going, though.
The remainder of Tuesday involved Shae playing DDR in at the arcade between Main Street Station and California Casino, and I believe we went to Triple George for the first time today as well. Triple George was really good -- we got an expensive (but big and delicious) shrimp cocktail and Shae got a NY Strip and I got grilled scallops. Excellent food, great drinks, and if you check in on Yelp you get a discount. I definitely suggest going here -- it's right across (and part of) the new Downtown Grand area.

Actually, I think we went to Triple George on NYE. So that means I can't remember what we had for dinner today. Was it pizza at 4 Queens again? Anyways...

Wednesday, New Year's Eve: Today we had breakfast at the buffet in Main Street Station. Quite good, and man, is this thing cheap, especially with your player's card. Plus, the food is a little different due to the heavily Hawaiian clientele, so I was able to have some miso soup with breakfast and Shae had Portuguese sausage and a salsa omelette.
It was here that I made my first major mistake of the trip, teaching Shae to play blackjack. I'm kidding, of course, but only mostly. Shae will latch onto a game(video, card, etc) and play the heck out of that thing. We're currently engaged in a long-term Chinese Poker game that we've been playing for 2+ hours a night all week so far. So yeah.
Anyway, we both wind up losing our money, Shae much more slowly than I do by playing more conservatively. Still, the virus is now careening through her bloodstream...
So now we head to Ice Bar in the GN for a drink or two, and THEN we go to Triple George. This is starting to make sense again! Except for at some point today I play poker in the GN poker room.

Look, sorry, it's been too long and now I don't have everything in order anymore. So instead I'll just finish up with some stories. That will be my next post.
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Las Vegas Trip Report Part 1: So Far, So Good [Dec. 30th, 2014|02:19 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
In which the writer has an auspicious beginning of his trip to Las Vegas.

We left for Las Vegas on a sunny Sunday morning. Flight was fine, though there was some terrifying turbulence over TX/NM. Luckily, we were right on the wing so I could see it bouncing alarmingly in the wind. In no small part to my intense concentration, the wing held together and we eventually smoothed out.
This time, we're staying at the Gold Nugget on the Gold Club floors. Holy cow, these rooms are nice! Also, we get free access to the spa, free coffee and wifi, and can cut in line at the buffet, and various other things like that. By far the best perq was getting to do VIP check-in, which meant we didn't have to wait in line. So that was sweet. Also, we have to use our room key to get the elevator to get to this floor, which tends to start conversations in the elevator, which is kind of amusing.
Our first meal was at the pizza/brew pub in Four Queens. Deep dish and IPA FTW! We also signed up for the GN player's club card and got our $5 free play each, which we haven't used yet.
Okay, time for gamble. I played poker in two rooms on Sunday: GN and Binion's. Apparently all of the NLHE games at GN are uncapped, because there was a bafflingly deep-stacked 2-5 game going. Like, there were those banded stacks of hundos that you see on TV in play. I just stuck with 1-3 with drunken Canadians. The only hand of note is when I had KsQs on the button and raised to $10 and got a couple of callers. Flop was all middle spades. Guy bets like $20, I raise to $60, and only he calls. Turn is the Ac. He checks, I go all-in and he thinks a bit and calls. Obviously I am sweating any spade since he clearly has the dry ace. River is a black card, but it's a club, and sure enough he shows the As and I scoop a big pot.
After a break to check on my wife (asleep, obv) I headed to Binion's. They had a 3-6 and a 1-3 game running, along with the ends of a tournament. I fart around in 3-6 for a while, winning $20 before I get moved to the 1-3 game. I didn't do a whole lot, but did get up a little bit by flopping a straight that held up. Then the next big hand happened. I'm in the SB with 53o. After a million limpers, I call the extra 2 and we see a flop. The flop is pretty okay, 553 with two spades. I check, and drunk guy bets $10. Drunk girl raises to $25. Solid reg guy goes all-in for $56. I tank for a little bit and then call the $56. Drunk guy agonizes and folds, and drunk lady calls. Turn is a Jc, and I shove for $175, and she snap-calls. I turn over 53, and she shows As3c. Luckily, I manage to dodge the one out (sudden brain aneurysm) on the river and win a pretty huge pot. The only other hand I played was KsKd -- I raised, got called in a couple of spots, and the flop was AcTc7c. Great. Turn is Jc. Sheesh! Finally someone bet and I folded.
Eventually, I ate some overpriced tacos and went to bed.

Monday

We got up pretty early and headed to Binion's for breakfast. Turns out I have enough comps from BARGE and whatnot that breakfast was totally free. Sweet! We explored Freemont street a bit. Shae had never seen most of the casinos, so we had a nice time walking around. I never realized how pretty Main Street Station is on the inside. We also got tricked into doing the "free spin" thing. That turned out okay, though. We got a $10 match play, and after extricating ourselves from the timeshare(or whatever) spiel, we took that to the Plaza for some blackjack. My first hand was a push, which means I got to keep the coupon. Second hand I got a 9 and doubled down on it vs the dealer's J. Yeah, I know. I spike a 10, and the dealer had a 7 down. See? I know what I'm doing. I win the next hand or two and am at $140 (bought in for $100), so I set aside the $100 and do $40 for my last bet, winning with another 19. Time to bail -- I tip the dealer $5 and color up.
The Plaza also has a promo where first-time players club members can lose up to $100 and get it back in free play over the next two days. So Shae and I both did that. I won like $60 before quitting while I was ahead, and Shae lost her $100 by hitting no bonuses or anything at all fun on her machines. So unlucky!
After a quick Chaos refill at the Ice Bar (love this place), we head to Bellagio via the bus. Shae has never been on the strip (that she can remember, anyway) and it's been a long-ass time for me, too. Seriously, the strip (especially the fancy parts) is way, way different than downtown.
Eventually, we wind up in the poker room. There's a seat at the $40-$80 mix games, so I sit down with my measly $1000 (the last $40 or so was in tens and fives, so I looked really, really balla) and try to play tight. The giant Beam on the rocks calmed my nerves, that's for sure.
We're playing Badeucy. I have a 6 Badugi from the initial deal, but my 7 hand never improves against 2 opponents and I show down 6532A (or whatever) on the river and say I have a 653A. Everyone is like, "Uh, this is Badeucy!" and is pointing at the sign that says that. So I start to think I'm getting scooped because I'm an idiot, but it turns out they just think I'm trying to call the Ace as low for my 7 hand and I get my half of the pot. The guy to my left tells me that people do that all the time, and Morris (if someone put a gun to your head and had you guess which guy at the table was named Morris, you wouldn't even be nervous for a second) actually raised, bet, and patted the whole way down with a 65432 in 2-7 the day before.
The other Badeucy hand I played was 632 rainbow (no spade) all the way down to the river and wound up with two spades(finally!) on the 3rd draw -- the 2 and the 3. Thanks.
Eventually we switched to O8. Nothing too exciting here -- I played Ah3h6hJ to a 3-bet (yeah, I know). Flop was one low, one heart, one broadway, so I feel I can call one bet to close the action with 3 people in the hand. Turn is another broadway heart card, so now I have the nut flush draw along with the broadway gutterball, so I call a bet again. River is the 9h (gin!) and I bet and get called.
The last game we played was Badaecy. I get dealt 8742A with a 7 Badugi. I call a 3-bet but then I'm not sure what to do. I know it's strong, and I can't break it, but as this is literally the first hand of Badacey that I've ever played (as opposed to folded) I wasn't sure how strong it actually was. I've definitely played enough Badeucy to know that a hand that's pretty strong both ways can get faceholed. Is an 8-7 that great in A-5 triple-draw lowball? Is a 7 Badugi that great? I just don't know.
Anyway, I obviously scoop, but leave like $160 in bets I probably could have gotten called. Whatevs.
By this point we are starving, and so we eat at the Bellagio Cafe, which is more of a "Cafe" in that it is fancy and expensive. Still quite tasty, though. We take the Deuce back to GN and crash way, way early.

Tuesday (so far):

We get up and get ANOTHER free breakfast at Binion's (I must have played there way more than I thought!). We go to Plaza and get Shae's first $50 in free play rebate (winning $0, obv) and then hit up those small Mardi Gras casinos on Freemont. We miss the drawing at the first one, though I do win $10 in quarters. At the second one, I'm playing and winning small (but very pleasant) amounts while we wait for the next drawing. We have a couple of drinks and surprise the heck out of the waitress by tipping her. So with like 2 minutes 'til the next drawing, I play some sort of fire 7-themed penny slot. The Fireball(I love Fireball, it's like the only spell a wizard needs) bonus keeps taunting me by almost hitting. Right as the start to call the drawing, it hits and the screen starts spinning other reels and whatnot. The first bonus goes 9x multiplier...9x multiplier!... 9x multiplier!!!!!.... BLANK. So I'm like aw. And then they call Shae's number for the drawing! And then I realize that bonus was $100! Sweet. So I cash out of that machine up like $160 total as Shae gets her free cash spin and wins... $2.

I've always maintained that I'm way, way luckier than she is, in more ways than one.

More soon, I hope!
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Trip to Winstar [Dec. 9th, 2014|02:47 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
I haven't been going to Winstar lately -- usually been going to Choctaw instead. However...
I had to work on Saturday, and it was a great big dumb situation that led to me having to work early Sunday morning as well. As compensation, my boss told me I could take Monday off. So Shae and I wound up both up pretty early on Sunday, with Monday off. As luck would have it, Shae had JUST thrown away a coupon for a free night at Winstar (Sun-Thu only, obv) since we'd never be able to use it. Sigh. So I suggested that she call Winstar and just ask if we could have a free room. FYI, the reason I had her call is that since she's played slots up there a couple of times, she gets promos out the yin-yang, whereas I am a lowly poker player and get nothing, nothing!
Anyway, Winstar is more than happy to give us a free room for the night. Yay! We must be super special! So we pack and head on up. Lunch was at Appleebee's -- I have some gift cards I got from my stupid credit cards reward program, so free lunch. Shae hangs out in the Skyline bar working on our new burger restaurant concept while I grind out $165 playing $1-$3 NLHE until we can check in. Oh, yeah, while walking through the casino they announced on the PA that they had free rooms to give out, and as we were driving to the hotel (they're connected, but the poker room is more than a mile from the hotel and we had bags) there was a flashing sign outside advertising FREE ROOMS! So yeah, not so special.
Our room is pretty nice -- your standard new hotel room. We hang out and relax and drink and get room service. Shae eventually falls asleep and I hit the poker room again, this time playing $1-$2NLHE. It's a pretty relaxed table. At some point I mention my free room, as does another player at the table. So then a third guy is like, "Free rooms, sweet!" and vanishes for 45 minutes. When he gets back, he is out of breath and angry. Turns out the casino sent him on a long-ass wild goose chase, from guest services to the players club to the box office to this person to that person and so on, until he finally spoke to a floor manager in a suit who told him that all he needed to do was go to the hotel and they'd check him in and comp his room. But surprise, the hotel told him the room was $139 a night! Poor bastard.
I win about $135 in this session, and then head back to the room to give my wife gatorade and ice cream and sprite and stuff while we watch Bar Rescue. A surprising number of people are unclear on the concept of making a bar that people would actually like to go to and drink at.
Anyway, the next morning, we head down to the box office to see what our scratch-off mailer prize worth up to $500 was. It said in big letters on the card -- IF YOU SCRATCH THIS OFF ANYWHERE BUT IN FRONT OF US, YOU GET NOTHING! Presumably because 99% of the prizes were vacuum coffee mugs with the Winstar logo and most people wouldn't make the drive just for that. Spoiler alert, that's what ours was, too!
On the way out, we decided to run some money through a slot machine to hopefully stay on the comp radar. We put money in a Plants vs Zombies machine, and 4 spins in we hit some weird Gargantaur bonus for 13,500 credits, which means we profited $125. Screw comps. Let's bail.
And we did. A fun trip, and a total free-roll. Sweet!
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Dennis Prager May Be Onto Something This Time [Dec. 5th, 2014|03:13 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
Normally, I think Dennis Prager is a pompous, sexist, racist, illogical, impulsive, hypocrite. And generally wrong about everything. However, today, he came up with a pretty remarkable idea.

He was doing his weekly happiness hour bit (to combat the problem of people not caring enough about happiness). In it, he revealed his method that anyone could use to become a better, happier, more ethical and moral person. He also helpfully pointed out that a) this was brilliant and b) no one had ever suggested it before.

The method is simple. When contemplating performing any action, simply ask yourself "Will this make me happy?" If it will, then do it. Otherwise, don't.

That's it. Isn't that amazing?
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Customs [Aug. 11th, 2014|01:25 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
Travelling internationally is interesting.

Crossing into Mexico:

On the plane in, we each had to fill out a form with our personal info, where we were staying, etc. And then each household had to fill out a form saying what stuff we were bringing into the country. Once you land, you wait in line and a guy looks at these forms and your passports and then you go to another station where they make you press a button. If the light turns red, they search you and your bag. If it turns green, you are free to go get your checked bag and do stuff in Mexico.

Crossing back into the US:

On the plane, each household has to fill out a form that basically combines the two Mexican forms. Then, when you land, you wait in line for a fancy machine that you stick your passport into and then you electronically answer the same questions you already answered on the form, and then it takes a digital picture of you and prints out a form with your picture on it. So then you go get your checked bag and wait in another line so a guy can look at your hand-written form, your passport, and your computer form, and then he keeps those forms and you are free to go do stuff in America.

It seems pretty clear that "fancy machine" step in this process is just a money-making scheme for the company that makes the computer that can read your passport and take a picture and then print a thing. Because how the hell does that make anything safer, as opposed making things *seem* safer? "You can't sneak into the country because a machine reads your passport and takes a picture, and also touchscreens! It's like we're living in the future!"
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Oh, Superman -- wherefore art thou Superman? [May. 28th, 2014|04:26 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
OR, if *you* were Superman, would you be a dick?

So I've been reading some stuff lately about **SPOILER ALERT!** Superman killing everyone. Or, more accurately, it's not "Superman" killing everyone, but a very obvious Superman expy. Apparently this has already been explored a bit in actual DC Comics (Red Son, the Justice Lords universe, probably 50 that I've never heard about) but I've read a couple of them lately that were quite interesting.

The first one was Irredeemable. It's a comic book series with a relatively short run. In it, The Plutonian aka "Tony" is that world's Superman. There are a limited number of other powered individuals on the planet, but pretty much no one can match the Plutonian, who is about as powerful as Silver Age Superman (he's effectively invulnerable, can hear literally everything going on on the planet, eyebeams, can fly FTL, etc). So when he snaps (for plausible reasons, actually, though it's been building for a while) it's bad news for the planet and all of his former allies (and enemies!)

The second one was Steelheart, by Brandon Sanderson. It's a novel, first of a trilogy (apparently) and it takes place after people with abilities, called "Epics" ranging from the moderately impressive to the terrifyingly powerful, have pretty much wrecked the world. The story takes place in Chicago, which is now run by the titular Steelheart. He also has pretty much the equivalent of Superman's power-set, but instead of the heat vision, he can turn stuff around him into steel. He's one of several Epics that are effectively invulnerable, though it turns out that they all have a weakness, which drives a significant amount of the plot.

There are significant differences in the two universes. In Irredeemable, there are both good and bad super-powered individuals, along with the the other comic book trappings of aliens, demons, magic, etc. In Steelheart, there are no non-evil Epics. They both raise some interesting philosophical questions -- if you were a physical god, how long could you remain good? Would you even try?

The different natures and origins of the superhumans in the two universes obviously has a some serious influences on the answer to these questions.

Anyway, both titles are in print and easily available, so if you're into this kind of stuff, check them out. I tried to not make this too detailed as I didn't want to actually give out any good spoilers, but if you have read them or don't give a shit about spoilers and just want to know more, I guess that's what comments are for, right?
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It Was His Sled -- OR American Horror Story: Coven Spoilers. Part 1. [Mar. 14th, 2014|09:32 am]
smartmeanfatkid
Okay, so the wife and I finished American Horror Story: Coven.

What follows is my disjointed ramblings/complaints about it.

First of all, I really like being able to buy a la carte seasons of stuff from Amazon Prime. I'm not going to pay for cable. But I didn't want to wait until (presumably) October to get this for free, so $25 later... Well, I have the moral victory, anyway.

Second of all, I read TV Tropes a lot, but I will try to not have this entry be completely overwhelmed with their (useful, seriously) jargon.

STOP READING HERE IF YOU GIVE A SHIT ABOUT SPOILERS. BUT YOU SHOULDN'T, SINCE NONE OF THIS MATTERS!

Everyone on this show is a dick. The character I didn't actively dislike was an axe-murdering serial killer. His nickname? The Axeman. He played jazz and killed people for not listening to jazz until some witches killed him and brought him back to life (or something?) where he began boning a (hot) old lady and only killed a few more people with an axe. And then he got killed again.

Okay, I tell a lie, I actually liked Nan, the girl with Down's Syndrome. But, to be fair, she was also kind of a dick. And of course she winds up being pointlessly murdered to save a baby's life, except then the baby wound up being taken care of (and I don't know if that's a euphemism or not, since they helpfully never showed what happened to him) by the ghost of a necrophiliac psychopath.

Also, there were two people that were just idiots (well, not *just* idiots as they obviously wound up killing people, too) but they were idiotic rather than actively malevolent.

Everyone else was extra double super loathsome.

The Kathy Bates character was a fucking psychopathic monster. Which made it really weird when they tried to play her situation for sympathy, which they did multiple times, with varying success.

The Angela Basset character had been sacrificing a baby, every year, for the past 200 years or so. But then when she got killed, she was pretty surprised to wind up in hell. NB that she had also sold her soul to some version of the devil. I mean, you're a voodoo lady. You know about the devil, right?

I can't begin to write out all of the horrible, horrible things that pretty much every character did, but lets just say that it was somewhat frustrating when people would die, because there was a greater than even chance they would come back to life in the next episode.

Speaking of that, the writing, jeez!

The dialog was bad. I mean, I get it, you're talking about witchcraft, so you have to earnestly say some very dumb things. But come on. Some of the lines were so clunky that Campbell's should put them in cans and sell them as sloup. <-- Yes, I did that. You see?

In the first or second episode, the Head Bitch Witch says to Kathy Bates, "I can't stand a RACIST!" And the audience was all, "Yeah, you may be the kind of person that kills everyone that slightly inconveniences you, but at least you know that RACISM IS BAD, and WE LIKE YOU FOR IT!"

You know how you can instantly move from one place to another? What do you call that? Transmutation, right? Oh, you don't call it that, on account of that being a completely different word that anyone who has read like, one Harry Potter book knows means something else?

Okay, I could pick nits about the show all night.

The Witches Council? DUMB. The Witch Hunters? WEAK and LAME.

The main problem was the show didn't have protagonists or antagonists. It just had a bunch of people doing a bunch of stupid things for what turned out to be no real reason, at all, while killing a shitload of people along the way. And none of the "cool" stuff even began to make up for it, and in fact just made it drag on longer and more pointlessly. Seriously, there two Stevie Nicks music videos over the course of the 14 episodes. People stood around playing the theremin while talking. A lady was blinded, had her sight restored (by someone killing two people, natch), RE-BLINDED herself, and then had her sight restored AGAIN. And then she killed someone. Almost everyone died, some of them more than once. Some of them more than twice!

They never showed anyone learning, or teaching magic, despite the show taking place at a school for witches. Just being there, I guess, meant you learned pyrokinesis, telekinesis, oculmancy, whatever. Hell, they never even *mentioned* anyone teaching or learning magic. Once in a while, a witch would manifest new powers, but when she did, she immediately knew how to use them.

Sigh.
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Madness has its Place [Feb. 20th, 2014|04:29 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
Confession to make: I enjoy reading Renew America and World Net Daily. Because man.
WND is probably the craziest of the two (just saw a link to a video explaining a conspiracy that could kill 280 million Americans in the next 6 months, for example) but sometimes RA really steps it up. The thing about Renew America is, it seems like anyone with a headshot can have their own column. So you'll see stuff by the stars of the right-wing pantheon next to Joan Smith of Turtle Pond Junction, MS. Most of the writing is pretty unsurprising, but there is the occasional flash of genius? Madness? Both?

So I present to you Linda Kimball as the finest example of this.

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/kimball

This lady has it all. The headshot clearly taken in her kitchen. The extremely vague biography. And man, her column titles are amazing!

"Why evolutionary materialism leads to the unreality of your existence"

"In a world without God, fixed meaning, higher purpose and accountability, why not lie, cheat, wed 'gay' couples, plunder and kill?"

And, of course, her latest:

"Hobbit Truth -- warriors in Sauron's American Mirkwood"

The best part is that all of these articles are extensively and exhaustively sourced, with many, many footnotes and citations. Also, THEY ARE CRAZY. Like, seriously, seriously crazy.

Check it out!
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Maverick -- More clever than I thought! [Feb. 7th, 2014|01:29 pm]
smartmeanfatkid
[Tags|]

Okay, so this is a) a (mild) spoiler and b) stolen from tvtropes.com. But still, I thought it was interesting as it's poker-related. The spoiler is that Maverick wins the poker game, but duh, he's the main guy. Other, more interesting spoilers are left unspoilt.

So when it comes down to the final hand of the poker tournament, there's 2 bad guys and 1 good guy (Maverick). Maverick has demonstrated during the movie that he is a very observant poker player, so he definitely notices that they cold-deck everyone for the final hand. One bad guy has two pairs (8s, and 8s, get it? That's actually quads, not two pairs of 8s!). One bad guy has a low straight flush in diamonds. And Maverick has TJQK of spades, plus a blank. So he knows that he needs to pull a 9s or As to win the hand (of 5-card draw, btw). However, rather than let the obviously crooked dealer give him a card, he insists on a new deck, and that someone other than the dealer give him his card, and for some reason they agree to do this. So the dealer gets a new deck, shuffles, and Mav has Bad Guy 2 peel the top card of the deck had throw it to him. Maverick visibly wills the card to be the card he wants (something he had been practicing, without success, throughout the movie), turns it over, and sure enough it's the ace of spades! Mav wins! Mav wins!

So obviously, that was dumb movie magic, right? WRONG!

When they brought the new deck to the table, the dealer opened it, removed the top and bottom cards (the jokers) and started to riffle. By using his keen observational skills, Maverick was able to determine that the top card of the deck never got shuffled in. And, what is the top card of a new deck from the factory? The ace of spades! Again, he was clever in not letting the dealer bottom-deal him a random card, and not letting anyone cut it, and finally, having the other guy just give him "one off the top." The one he knew it was.

I had always enjoyed that movie, but was irritated by the obvious stupid magic ending that wouldn't have worked in real life. "Karl turns over the final card and it's... the SEVEN OF CLUBS!" But hey, turns out they knew what they were doing all along. Well-played, Maverick.
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