i don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career.
i could wait to enter this post, but what happens if i am maimed or killed? bruised or batterd? severely dehydrated?

this weekend is the neighborhood "Garage Sale". they rent booth spaces and everything. i should back up; the reason we need a "neighborhood" garage sale is that i live in one of the trying-to-be pretentious master planned communities that has so many deed restrictions you actually get a binder when you buy your house to tell you about all of them. and these people are serious. such as, no more than two garage sales a year at your house. to compensate, they schedule a semi-annual neighborhood one.

now, for those who don't know me, i hate garage sales. mostly shopping at them, but even being part of one. the idea of standing around and manually sorting through people's crap that is so worthless it can't be sold on eBay makes my skin crawl. but my wife - she loves them. which was great when we lived in a little two room duplex and i rode a bike for a living. now? wtf would i want someone's used shit in my house? if i want brik-a-brak, then i know where the local Restoration Hardware is.

anyway, so my wife has a plan to get rid of all our stored up shit this weekend, which i actually like. i used to move apartments every year, not because i like to move, but because the side effect is to size your life down into an easily packable set of things to own. houses? houses suck b/c you end up with years of shit, piled high in your attic and fourteen closets. anyway, so she wants to be rid of it all (probably so she can shop for new stuff, but i digress) and i am OK with that.

but - tomorrow is the day and we have to go home and pile all the shit out. i really hate this part. left to my own devices, i would pack this crap up and take it to the local Goodwill. one-stop, good riddance. that's me.

so if i survive the garage sale, then next week i have training. so if i seem to be out of the loop, well i am.

posted @ 05:32 PM CST [link]

trust everyone, but always cut the cards.
aight, i finally finished a few books and since they all shared a common gambling theme, i thought i would give a little about each in a single post.

I'll Do My Own Damn Killin' by Gary Sleeper: i really enjoyed this book. it was a bit repetitive in the middle section, but overall, reading about the rise of Benny Binion was what i expected, which is to say, informative and exciting. i got my start in poker after reading James McManus' excellent Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker, so this book kinda completes the Binion empire's story. but Gary Sleeper's book isn't just about Binion, it is also about the Herbert Noble, the petty criminals who made up their gangs, and the battle for the gambling rackets that made Dallas (and Fort Worth) the gambling center of Texas (and the South.) the policy rackets (numbers games) were big business in central Texas during the early oil boom and some might argue that you can trace Texas' acceptance of the state lottery as an extension of this history. the book goes deep into the conflict between Binion and Noble, a fight that appears to have destroyed Noble's personal life and left Binion mostly unscathed (guess that move to Vegas with $3mil cash in the trunk of Binion's car was a smart decision.) this book's got some great photos from the times and really draws heavily from the published accounts on record (Sleeper has obvious done a ton of research, as evidenced from the bibliography.) if you found McManus' book interesting, or just like Texas crime drama, this book won't disappoint.

Jackpot Nation: Rambling and Gambling Across Our Landscape of Luck by Richard Hoffer: if the numbers rackets were popular in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, then Hoffer draws a pretty good path to the new national obsessions of gambling, from scratch-off tickets, to lotteries, Native American casinos, race tracks and parimutuel betting, etc. it certainly shows the dark side of our true national pastime, gambling, but it isn't a browbeating book; some of the objectivity might come from Hoffer's own admissions to gambling issues. either way, it is an informative read and does a good job to show how gambling is intrinsically in our nation's lifeblood. the stories of "meat raffles" made me sad, and yet was still humorous. now out in paperback, an easy book to pickup and polish off in a few sittings.

Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars by John Huddy: and we go from national pastime to Las Vegas crime wave...Huddy chronicles the exploits of a Cuban-born, Mariel Boatlift survivor who goes from cocaine kingpin to casino looter. it is an expose that highlights the violence of the Jose Vigoa's life and his struggle to become rich at any cost. while the initial chapters detailing Vigoa's childhood, Soviet Spetsnaz training, and escape from Cuba dragged for me, once Vigoa hits the U.S., the sparks fly. a decent true crime narrative that i found interesting...so i was able to polish it off in days.

Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas by Christina Binkley: the last published, Binkley's account follows the rise of modern Las Vegas, the excesses of it's new fathers and the insane money involved in making the current adult play land. of all the mega-millionaires/billionaires who are listed with their empires, it's Kerkorian who comes off as the most business-like and most shrewed. Wynn's profile is just as you might read in Vanity Fair: while obviously smart and driven, he can be self-adborbed and whiny; but then again, he's worth billions and i am not, so take that! if you are interested in the back story of how Las Vegas went from its gangster origins to corporate ownership, Binkley's book lays it out, with all the major players detail. Bobby Baldwin (The Owl!!) gets some attention; he's obviously made some serious coin in his role with the Bellagio/Mirage/Mandalay resorts. overall, an interesting read that catches us up with the current state of Vegas.

there you have it: four good gambling-related books. i was satisfied with each and can recommend each.

now i can move onto new topics to read!
posted @ 10:49 AM CST [link]i want to go for a walk!
as a guy who works a lot, there is actually some positives from the whole economy downturn dealio: i might get a vacation this year.

our last vacation was in 2005, when Rita set sights on Houston and in our ignorance we decided to flee Houston for the Hill Country of Texas; a five hour drive took 12. nice. prior to that our last vacation was in like 2002. these long gaps are pretty much the cost of owning your own business, esp. one that is service oriented. you can't just close up shop and head out and the specter of leaving some of the employees in control makes my bowels quiver. so, you just don't go.

but now, in 2008, things are somewhat better. for one, after downsizing the shop in Jan '07, my wife and i have reclaimed some control of our lives. we actually run the shop, instead of it running us. secondly, now that i work for some other company, they pay me to leave. nice action. lastly, at least we have a few employees we can trust; people who you know will open the shop on time and actually not fsck things up.

so my eyes perked up for this article in the WSJ today: Las Vegas Casinos Roll Out the Deals. next up, convincing the wife that is where we should go. unfortunately, i am doubting it is in her Top Five Vacation Destinations.

but a man can dream!
posted @ 11:16 AM CST [link]i am the egg man
jesus, i don't know what has gotten into me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 - Jay-Z & Mary J. Blige

Saturday, April 12, 2008 - Free Press Houston Westheimer Block Party

Sunday, April 13, 2008 - British Sea Power

i have single-handedly in one week satisfied my live music quota for a couple of months...but fsck am i tired. 'swhat happpens when you get old.

btw - my YouTube account will have more videos when i get done with BSP tonight.

off to SSS. ttfn!
posted @ 05:55 PM CST [link]baby i am just a fool tearing all my heart out for you
well, i could post about how i Gigli'd The Big Game on Sunday; i could write about how i fscked off in the HOY on Monday. i could bitch about the 1.5 hours i spent with DirectTV trying to get someone to understand the *real* issue with the Astros opener being blacked out (when in fact it should not have been); i could talk about several great books that i have recently finished; i might post on what i think is the best CD release of 2008 so far; i could even talk about going to get my test results tomorrow and praying for an end to the swirlies.

all of those would be great topics and they are saliently rolling around my head.

instead, let's talk about this: "Who Will Face The Issues?" run in today's WSJ, full page ad on A7.

unless this is some sick April Fool's Joke, then the timing is related to the UIGEA going to committee tomorrow.

so, who the fsck is Prime Table Games and why are they all uppity on this issue all of a sudden. i don't remember reading about these guys prior to today so it is a little shocking to see the full page ad.

well, it appears PTG is at least one guy, Derek Webb. in an article dated today on this current matter, PTG is listed as, "a Las Vegas-based casino game development company." apparently so! then there is this 2002 article on the creation of a new type of Pai Gow called 221.

digging deeper we see that Mr. Webb did well protecting his intellectual property, for which he sued and received +$24mil USD. nice action! as a reference, here is a little sheet showing what games are approved for play in Mississippi casinos by Feb. 2008. you'll notice both PTG is listed for his 2-2-1 game...and Progressive gaming is there too.

anyway, all that said, it doesn't really explain PTG's agenda. if anyone wants to email, here's Derek Webb's email addy!

we'll see how this shakes out, maybe post the UIGEA committee meeting tomorrow.

meanwhile, i am going to return to dizziness/vertigo, shitty poker play, and maybe getting to see the Astros play.

posted @ 04:55 PM CST [link]

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