Scott's Soapbox

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Whole Country's on Sale!

This is a fun little article about our official plan to invade Canada. Seriously. Declassified now, so get prepared.

As I see it, we could take hockey, Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu, Neve Cambell, Elisha Cuthbert, Dan Aykroyd, and The Kids in The Hall. They should have to take back Celene Dion, Matthew Perry, Howie Mandel, and Tom Green. Paul Shaffer is a push. Check off your own list here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Poker Hand Like I've Never Had

This may not interest everyone but...

Sit-n-Go 10 person tournament on UltimateBet. Down to the final four when this hand came up. I flopped a straight, turned a straight flush! Never had anything like this before. If anyone is curious, I will explain in more strategic detail.

vikingman is at seat 0 with 7565.
fets63 is at seat 5 with 3455.
scottlstuart is at seat 7 with 1290.
LilAngelDot is at seat 9 with 2690.
The button is at seat 0.

fets63 posts the small blind of 150.
scottlstuart posts the big blind of 300.

vikingman: -- --
fets63: -- --
scottlstuart: 4c Ac
LilAngelDot: -- --


LilAngelDot calls. vikingman folds. fets63 folds.
scottlstuart checks.

Flop (board: 3c 5d 2c):

scottlstuart checks. LilAngelDot checks.

Turn (board: 3c 5d 2c 5c):

scottlstuart bets 300. LilAngelDot calls.

River (board: 3c 5d 2c 5c 2h):

scottlstuart goes all-in for 690. LilAngelDot calls.

Tournament all-in showdown -- players show:

scottlstuart shows 4c Ac.
LilAngelDot shows Kc Ah.


scottlstuart has 4c Ac 3c 2c 5c: straight flush, five high.
LilAngelDot has Ah 5d 2c 5c 2h: two pair, fives and deuces.

Hand #10577546-157 Summary:

No rake is taken for this hand.
scottlstuart wins 2730 with straight flush, five high.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas in New England

Blogging has been light this week as I have been busy spreading Christmas cheer via retail purchases throughout the greater Columbus area. I love picking out and giving people gifts, especially surprises. Our family Christmas rotates through a few locations- this year was Boxborough, Massachusetts and my aunt and uncle's house.

What a perfect setting! We lucked out on the weather, and had beautiful clear cold days. Bright blue skies, with snow still on the ground from a previous storm, but clean roads and runways for us travelers. Despite growing up relatively close in the DC area, I have not spent too much time in New England, but I adore it. So many interesting hills, people's houses filled in within nooks and crannies of the rocky earth. Many of the homes are bright, pastel colors- orange, salmon, baby a bowl full of after-dinner mints. I did not see too much of the countryside, but I look forward to coming back in the summer and exploring it.

Mostly, we just stayed around the house and visited as a family. And ate, of course. Boy, did we ever eat! My aunt Sue (with help from my mom) really outdid herself, and the meals were just delicious. We had wonderful food and great variety. The only problem was, it seemed like the minute we got done cleaning up they were in there cooking it up again, dirtying all our nice clean dishes! But the payoff was well-worth it and I came home with recipes for a few things.

We also played our version of the holiday get-together "Family Olympics" with Mexican Dominoes, Tripoley, and Big Boggle, and a silly-fun computer car racing game. I got two golds and a silver, although I did not medal in Dominoes, only the second time ever I have lost in that game.

I really just kicked back and enjoyed the company. I was struck by how much influence my family has on me. My inflections, my mannerisms, the things we laugh at, the things we remember. It was a very warm fuzzy feeling for me to be so close with all of them. What a great Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Words Fail Me

The headline alone makes me curious for video footage...

Drunken Santas Run Riot!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Media Bias?

I link, you decide: Fox News buries the lede.

Some context: almost all news organizations led with this part, because it was a surprise that Bush agreed to take questions, and that he answered the question so specifically. Read the AP write-up here. They backed off this number later (see article above): "White House counselor Dan Bartlett said later that Bush's estimate of the number of Iraqis killed was not an official figure but that the president was simply repeating public estimates reported in the media." Still, the fact the president mentioned it was the most newsworthy part of the speech story, and almost everyone led with it. Except Fox. And Drudge. And, surprise surprise, The Washington Times, which saves the 30,000 figure for page two.


Hopeful Sign?

I certainly think Washington could use some more of this.

I really do not understand those people who let political arguments get so out of hand they take it personally. Most of my friends do not agree with me politcally, and we discuss it often. As long as everyone is reasonable, what's the problem? I think a lot of people go on trying to convince someone of a position they hold so deeply that they just know it's correct and get more and more frustrated when they cannot convince another. Here's a solution- don't bother to try. You will not change someone's mind about a depply held conviction in one conversation, so save your breath. Be the bigger person and agree to disagree while finding common ground somewhere else. If you are arguing with someone who merely talks in rhetoric without letting the facts get in their way, stop. You cannot win. They are not listening to you to be persuaded, they are only awaiting their next opportunity to make a smart remark. Move on to someone you can help.

Why I Don't Give The Salvation Army My Change

It occurred to me to write about this over the weekend when I saw an ad asking folks to donate their change this holiday season to The Salvation Army. I was only half paying attention until I heard the voice, and thought...that sounds is! Antonio Banderas! Antonio Banderas, who gained critical acclaim for his role as Miguel Alvarez, the live-in boyfriend of Tom Hanks' character, AIDS-stricken lawyer Andrew Beckett Philadelphia. I can remember him (and Tom Hanks) being thought of as "brave" to take on such a role and people questioning whether they could ever be seen as leading romantic men again. (Tom seems to have done okay following his Oscar win for Best Actor). I remember scenes with the two of them together, Banderas watching Hanks tenderly as Beckett got worse and worse, finally succumbing to the disease. I remember being a little weirded out, and being ashamed that I was, watching them kiss, hug, hold hands. I remember the affect that movie had on me, and no doubt many others. How it was the first big mainstream movie to deal with AIDS and homosexuality in such a prominent way. And then I felt sick.

Because, you see, The Salvation Army does not care too much for homosexuality. What exactly is their position? Well, it depends on which one of their website's you go on. The position on their American website reads in part:
Scripture forbids sexual intimacy between members of the same sex. The Salvation Army believes, therefore, that Christians whose sexual orientation is primarily or exclusively same-sex are called upon to embrace celibacy as a way of life.
However, it does go on to say that:
Likewise, there is no scriptural support for demeaning or mistreating anyone for reason of his or her sexual orientation. The Salvation Army opposes any such abuse.
In keeping with these convictions, the services of The Salvation Army are available to all who qualify, without regard to sexual orientation.
So something of a mixed bag. Sounds like "don't ask, don't tell" to me. Let's keep looking.

For the UK and Ireland,
The Salvation Army recognizes that same-sex friendships can be enriching, Christ-honouring relationships, bringing joy through mutual companionship and sharing. However, same-sex relationships which are genitally expressed are unacceptable according to the teaching of scripture. Attempts to establish or promote such relationships as viable alternatives to a heterosexually-based family life do not conform to God's will for society...For this reason such practices, if unrenounced, render a person ineligible for Salvation Army soldiership.
Sorry, homosexuals, you cannot be in the Army (at least not over there.)

For the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga website, a position is not even up:
This positional statement is currently under review and will be re-published soon in its updated form.

Obviously, they are still wrestling worldwide with a position on this divisive issue. But I make my decision right at the front of my local grocery store. While The Salvation Army does a lot of good work and helps many in need over the holiday season and throughout the year, but there are better places to put your money than in those kettles if you care about equal rights. I can do better than an organization which chooses to discriminate in hiring. I can do better than giving to The Salvation Army, and I do.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Snowy Day

It was simply a beautiful Christmas-y day here today, light snow gently falling, cold but not too terrible, the whole world a warm, welcoming white. After shopping until I dropped (literally) yesterday and getting almost all my shopping done, today was a day of rest.

I relaxed at the computer for a while, watched a little football, went for a nice long walk in the snow. I saw people walking their dogs, shoveling their driveways, playing with their children...and I saw the life I want. Simple domestication. A house, a wife, some children, a dog, a home. The holidays always makes me want that, I guess. I wanted to come home, shovel my own driveway, have hot chocolate with my family and build a fire to gather around. It's a simple dream, but it's mine.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Super Mario Lemieux- Fellow A-Fib Patient

Yep, the NHL's 7th all-time leading scorer and one of the most dangerous players ever to lace on a pair of skates has been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Lemieux called Wednesday's practice-day episode in which he became lightheaded and his heart began racing "scary," and he was relieved to learn his problem is fairly common.

I've played hockey many times with my heart "out" of rythym, and it is sometimes very tough. When your heart is out, trying to skate, trying to have any stamina is so difficult...just playing in my recreational roller hockey league caused me once to just collapse on the bench. I cannot imagine what it would be like trying to play the game at Mario's level. Lemieux has so much talent, but his career has always been dogged by medical problems- Hodgin's disease, back surgeries, broken wrist, now this. I wish him the best of luck, a speedy recovery, and success against everyone but the Capitals- he's broken their dreams too many times before!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

New Hockey Team

So I have joined onto a new hockey team this session after sitting out the past few seasons. I was so busy with work (hard to make games which are sometimes as early as 6:00!) and so tired from the internal tensions on my old team that I felt I had to leave. But then as the NHL came back and hockey was on television I decided I really missed playing.

Our league is just recreational, we play 4-on-4 (plus goalies) roller hockey. Although it is a "no checking" league, of course there is still contact with other players, sticks, and a puck flying around. It's still hockey, after all!

Anyway, I joined this team not knowing anyone on it, but we have come together quite nicely as the season has progressed. A very nice group of guys, although I do wish we socialized after the games. It's just not the same sans going out for a beer or three after a win. But still, a win, or even a tie can be just as satisfying.

I realized again how much I value the tie in hockey. Our game last week, we ended up tied 3-3. To a lot of people that sounds boring, unsatisfying. Instead, this game ended in an exhilerating fashion, with one team (okay, MY team...okay, ME scoring) to tie the game, goalie pulled, with 8.8 seconds left on the clock. We left feeling like we won, they left feeling like they lost. Yet both teams get a well deserved point in the standings.

To have a game like that settled with a shootout, just an exhibition of breakaways seems wrong. Why should a team sport come down to just that? A solid defensive defenseman can be a hugely important part of a team, but now...we're taking the puck away, thanks for playing, we won't need you anymore this game! It's really just a skills competition? It would be like deciding a football game by having the quarterbacks throwing balls through a tire, or just having a field-goal kicking contest. While it is exciting for fans (and that is all that matters in this new NHL comeback season) having considered it now as a player, I'm against it.

See you at the rink!