Friday, February 25, 2005

Sooooooo much to blog about, so little time. Busy as hell.

My humble apologies for another news article, but it's all I've time for tonight. And hell, this is pretty interesting, imho. I'm a big fan of guerrilla marketing.

Also, I learned a new word today.

Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit! Sign up now!


Online Gambling Sites Get Creative To Beat Advertising Restrictions

In the 1980s, Alex Czajkowski penned a weekly computer column for his college newspaper at Carnegie Mellon University dubbed "Beating the System."

Today, that title neatly describes his job. As a marketing executive for an offshore Internet gambling company, he and his business rivals are drawing from an ever-expanding bag of tricks to promote online betting in the U.S. -- where the casinos and the advertising of them are considered illegal by the government.

Shut out by most mainstream media outlets, Mr. Czajkowski's company, Sportingbet PLC, which runs Sportsbook.com, has sponsored a top American bull rider, a professional women's volleyball duo and an Arena Football League team. It has also placed full-page ads in two airline frequent-flier magazines, and its racy billboard-style ads featuring Playboy model Brooke Burke are displayed on the sides of trucks parked at National Football League games.

"Why can't I advertise on ESPN? Sports Illustrated? Those are the [viewers] that care about my product," said Mr. Czajkowski, marketing director for the Americas region for London-based Sportingbet, which is publicly traded in the United Kingdom and lets people bet on sporting events and play casino games.

With online gambling booming in popularity and poker, in particular, enjoying a newfound fan base, the companies behind Internet casinos have grown increasingly creative in their efforts to promote their products. Most print and broadcast outlets refuse to accept ads explicitly for Internet gambling, citing the government's assertion that it is illegal for U.S. residents to gamble on offshore sites. But that view is based on a 40-year-old law that some legal experts say is vague and might not stand up to a court challenge, and the gambling sites argue that refusal to take their ads is a freedom of speech issue.

PartyGaming PLC, a large online gaming company based in Gibraltar, has been credited by its rivals for making shrewd end runs around the advertising restrictions in the U.S. The company runs ads on cable news channel CNBC for a Web site that teaches people how to play poker, but does not allow actual gambling. The advertised site, PartyPoker.net, makes no mention of the company's popular gambling site, PartyPoker.com, though it would be easy for someone to make a typing error and land on the betting site. PokerStars, based in Costa Rica, employs a similar strategy and has run ads on NBC and the cable game-show network GSN.

Another company, Golden Palace Ltd., based on the Caribbean island of Antigua, has used an assortment of marketing stunts to attract bettors. It recently spent $15,099 on eBay for the right to temporarily display the name of its Web site, GoldenPalace.com, on the chest of swimsuit model Shaune Bagwell. Earlier this year, it coughed up $4,050 on eBay to garner advertising space on a pregnant woman's stomach. And the company spent $28,000 on an eBay auction last year for a 10-year-old grilled-cheese sandwich that appeared to bear an image of the Virgin Mary.

Big Business

This year, revenue for the roughly 2,000 gambling Web sites will reach $9.8 billion, up from $7.5 billion last year and $5.7 billion two years ago, according to Christiansen Capital Advisors, a research firm. About half of the revenue comes from U.S. bettors, the firm said. Poker enjoys increasing popularity in the U.S., in part because of cable network ESPN's World Series of Poker coverage and Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown." On a recent weekday afternoon, more than 29,000 people were gambling on PartyPoker.com, according to PokerPulse.com, a Web site that tracks online poker activity.

Bodog.com ran a 12-page ad in Esquire magazine featuring a "gentleman's guide" to poker and screenshots of its online poker tables.

The surge in gambling comes despite the government's efforts to keep U.S. customers away. In the summer of 2003, the Justice Department sent letters to U.S. media companies warning them they might be prosecuted for running ads by online casinos, because they would be "aiding and abetting" an illegal pursuit. Federal prosecutors also began a grand jury investigation into companies doing business with online casinos. The Justice Department has not commented on its grand jury investigation, and a spokesman for the department said he would not discuss issues surrounding advertising by Internet casinos.

The government's actions had a dramatic effect on the advertising of Internet gaming companies, at least at first. In late 2003, large media firms such as Discovery Communications Inc.'s Discovery Networks, Viacom Inc.'s Infinity Broadcasting Corp. and Clear Channel Communications Inc. stopped accepting the ads. But an even bigger blow to online casinos came in April 2004, when Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. stopped accepting ads, including the sponsored search listings that casinos relied on for a big chunk of their traffic.

Some legal experts, however, question the Justice Department's contention that media companies might be violating the law when they run ads from online gaming concerns. The legality of online gambling has been a matter of some debate. The government argues that the 1961 Federal Wire Act, which outlawed sports betting over state and international lines, makes all Internet casinos illegal. But several federal courts have said that law is limited to sports betting.

John Kyl, a Republican senator from Arizona, has tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation that would formally make Internet casino operations illegal. The measures have been opposed by lawmakers questioning whether a ban could be enforced and also by some gambling lobbying groups. A spokesman for Mr. Kyl said the senator plans to introduce another bill this year. Wagering on the Internet is permitted in many other countries, including much of Europe, and the offshore sites that draw bets from Americans are legal in the jurisdictions they call home.

No major media companies have challenged the Justice Department's stance on advertising for online casinos. A small company, Casino City Inc., which operates an Internet portal for casinos, sued the department in August, asking a Louisiana federal court to issue a declaratory judgment that ads for Internet gaming companies are protected under the Constitution. But a judge last week ruled that the company did not have legal standing to bring the case, in part because it was not among companies that received a letter from the Justice Department warning that media firms might be aiding illegal activity. Casino City's chief executive, Michael Corfman, said the company plans to appeal the ruling.

Lawrence G. Walters, a Florida lawyer who represents some large offshore Internet casinos, said he expects further legal challenges of the ad restrictions. "The bottom line here is the supposed crackdown [by the Justice Department] never happened," said Mr. Walters. "There was a grand jury investigation, and no one was ever charged. It's been almost two years now."

It might be acceptable for broadcasters and other media companies to take advertising from offshore online gambling companies if the advertising is for activity other than sports betting, said I. Nelson Rose, a law professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, Calif. Three federal courts, he said, have held that the Wire Act is limited to outlawing online sports wagering. The Justice Department would have a "much weaker" argument in contending that ads for, say, poker Web sites are aiding and abetting an illegal activity. "The DOJ has taken the position that they basically don't care what the courts have said," Mr. Rose said.

In North Dakota, meanwhile, the state Senate is set to vote on a measure that has already passed the House that would help pave the way for legal online poker operations in the state. Proponents argue it could attract more businesses to the rural state.

'Educational' Sites

A spokeswoman for NBC -- which, like CNBC, is owned by General Electric Co. -- said the broadcaster is open to ads for "educational, nongambling sites" on its networks. The company fully vets any such ads to "ensure that there are no links from the accepted educational site to any online gambling sites." (Dow Jones & Co. provides news content to, and derives revenue from, CNBC.)

Despite the government's warnings, straightforward ads for the casinos have occasionally appeared on television and in magazines. The March issue of the men's magazine Esquire features a 12-page advertising campaign by Bodog.com, a gaming site based in Costa Rica. The ad includes a "gentleman's guide" to playing poker, replete with instructions on strategy, and offers this nugget of advice: "As with a fine wine or a beautiful woman, remember this … Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

Esquire declined to discuss the Bodog.com ads in particular. "Esquire has no involvement in any legal issues surrounding online gaming or the companies that offer it," said a spokesman for the magazine, which is owned by Hearst Corp. "We evaluate advertisements for our magazine on a case-by-case basis to make sure they are appropriate for our readership and will continue to do so."

Other companies are more strict: Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN cable network won't take ads from Internet casinos, a spokeswoman said. She said the network will take ads from land-based casinos, "but the content of the commercial must focus on their resorts, sports, eating and entertainment."

ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com won't accept ads from Internet gaming companies, with one exception. On its Soccernet.com, it will take ads from sports-betting concerns, but the ads are seen only by people who view that site from the United Kingdom or Canada, said a spokesman. A lot of ESPN's partners, which include major professional sports leagues, "are extremely important to us and they don't feel comfortable with" advertising by Internet gambling firms, he added.

Calvin Ayre, the founder and chief executive of Bodog, which also allows sports wagering and casino games like roulette, said there's "really no legal basis to say it is illegal" to run the ads. The multimillion-dollar campaign, he said, is turning heads in the media. "We have negotiations under way with 20 magazines," he said. He declined to name them.

He contends the Justice Department's efforts to stifle advertising have been politically motivated. Questions about the legality of Internet gambling in the U.S. should be decided in Congress, he said. "I don't think U.S. citizens think that big brother telling people what to do is good policy."

A competitor, David Carruthers, chief executive of BetOnSports PLC, which is publicly traded in London, complained that the Justice Department's actions "weren't really grounded in law" but rather the "personal feelings of John Ashcroft," who was the nation's attorney general at the time the crackdown began.

From NFL to Rodeos

Online casinos want to be connected with sports to stay close to what they see as their target demographic. Sportsbook.com's typical customer is a man in his early 30s with an annual income of more than $70,000, Mr. Czajkowski said. He has tried to reach such people by putting up posters in bars during events such as the NFL playoffs, running billboard ads during the men's college basketball tournament, and running ads in the in-flight magazines for Continental Airlines Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, the commuter carrier for AMR Corp.'s American Airlines. His company also sponsors prizefights on cable TV's Home Box Office, and he has tried to woo fans of minor sports such as rodeo, where Sportsbook.com sponsors top bull rider Dustin Elliott. Mr. Czajkowski said his annual marketing budget is more than $10 million.

Sportsbook.com made a splash last year when it signed a promotional deal with Ms. Burke, the model who has appeared in Playboy and has hosted cable TV shows. "That was something new and got a lot of attention on the posting forums [for online gamblers]," said John Vega, founder and CEO of Dimebetting.com, a rival site. But Mr. Vega, who relies primarily on e-mail marketing, search-engine directories and word-of-mouth to promote his site, said he wonders whether many of the marketing tactics used lately by Internet casino companies mostly amount to "hype" and have little impact on revenue.

However, because of the restrictions on mainstream advertising, Mr. Czajkowski said, it's hard to turn any one campaign into a smash hit. Instead, he tries to have his brand show up in so many places that it leaves an indelible mark on bettors' minds. In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, he said, sign-ups by users of Sportsbook.com doubled from a year earlier, and he credited his wide variety of strategies. "If you ask anyone … what works," he said, "the answer is that we do 100 little things. That's our mantra."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dernit, I just came home and was setting up (drinking a Guinness) to write an uber-post when Al mentions the RGP HORSE tournament starting in a few on Full Tilt Poker. How can I pass up my first chance at a HORSE tourney? Answer: I can't.

If I get knocked out right away (probable) - then I'll jump back and start writing. Weee, I just sat with Perry Friedman....odds are good that I won't last long.

The big news is from CJ over at UpforPoker. The date has been set for the next WPBT Live Event in Las Vegas! June 4th at the Aladdin Casino during the WSOP events. Go head over for the details.

For now here's a NY Times poker article. Requires an account, so I thought I
would reproduce it here in case you care to read it.


Bars Test Laws on Gambling With Moneyless Poker Games

T. CLOUD, Minn., Feb. 19 - Not 20 minutes into a No Limit Texas Hold'em
poker tournament at the Granite Bowl bar and grill here, State Senator
Mike McGinn pushed his entire pile of chips into the pot. State Senator
Dave Kleis hardly hesitated before following suit, and State
Representative Tom Hackbarth quickly joined the "all in" chorus.

"No wonder we've got budget problems at the state," cracked their
colleague, State Senator Brian LeClair, who had folded his own cards long

"Well, it's other people's money," Mr. McGinn said of the taxes that fill
state coffers. "It's kind of the same thing."

Actually, the eight lawmakers gathered around the green felt here on
Saturday afternoon, all but one Republicans, were not playing for money at
all, but for T-shirts proclaiming, "Poker is Not a Crime" - and to make a
point. Betting with chips that had been seized last summer in a police
raid on the Granite Bowl's free weekly poker tournaments, they came to
support a bill sponsored by Mr. Kleis, who represents St. Cloud, that
would explicitly legalize Texas Hold'em (but not other forms of poker) so
long as prizes do not top $200.

As televised tournaments make Hold'em ever more popular and mainstream,
Minnesota is one of at least half a dozen states grappling with a new
phenomenon: poker games with little more than bragging rights at stake.
Law enforcement agencies and liquor commissions in states with lotteries,
racetracks and even casinos have arrested bar owners and players in recent
months, threatening fines or jail time under statutes that proponents of
poker see as anachronistic.

On Wednesday, even as Mr. Kleis's bill adding Texas Hold'em to the state's
list of legal card games - cribbage, skat, sheephead, bridge, euchre,
pinochle, gin, 500, smear and whist - is considered by a Senate committee
in St. Paul, two bars in Louisiana face administrative hearings where they
could lose their liquor licenses for betting that poker would bring them a
full house.
In Illinois, the liquor commission has issued $500 citations to at least
four bars, two of which advertised tournaments but never held them. In
California, the Department of Justice has declared that even tournaments
in which no money is bet require a gaming license - and there is a
moratorium on new licenses.

In Texas, a lawyer for the state prosecutors' association contends that
playing for any prize - even points to be redeemed later for T-shirts or
trips - is illegal, and the attorney general is expected to issue an
opinion on the matter in May.

The larger question in each case is what, exactly, constitutes gambling,
and whether poker will remain ensconced in backrooms or become as
ubiquitous as bingo.

"We target people who want to have fun in life, not the people who want to
risk millions of dollars," said Shawn Riley, president of the Amateur
Poker League, which runs 500 free tournaments a week across eight states.
"To gamble you have to be risking something of value. If they outlaw this,
they should be outlawing dominoes and Monopoly."

But while Mr. Riley's organization bans entry fees or even drink minimums,
and will prohibit prizes altogether if local officials object, its 44,000
members do amass points that lead them to regional and national
tournaments where they can win a seat at the World Series of Poker, which
otherwise costs $10,000 to enter. That makes it illegal, said Brian
DeJean, a lawyer for the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
He says any game operated as a business - people being paid to deal, for
example, or bars increasing revenues from players buying drinks - is

"We're not seeing friendly games where five people show up and sit around
the table, what we're seeing is games where somebody is making some
money," Mr. DeJean said. "We would not be having the same conversation if
every Tuesday was prostitution night in these bars."
Poker, which combines the luck of the draw with strategy based on
mathematical probability and more than a little bluffing, dates back more
than 1,000 years, to China, and spread across the United States by
steamboat and wagon train in the early 19th century.

Laws against poker date back at least 100 years, though most states allow
it to be played for money in private homes, as long as games are not
advertised and organizers do not take a cut of the pot.

Texas Hold'em, a version of poker in which each player gets two cards face
down and five common cards are dealt face up between rounds of betting,
was originally called "Hold Me, Darling" when it made its debut in Las
Vegas casinos in 1963. By 1970 it had become the signature event at the
annual World Series.

But the games truly exploded in 2003 after cable television began
broadcasting high-stakes tournaments where viewers could see players'
cards. Now billions are bet online and games are sprouting on every
suburban corner.

Playing for free, a notion that offends poker purists, is an even newer
trend, quickly becoming as common as folding before the flop. In Peoria,
Ill., you can find a game any weeknight - two on Wednesdays - but expect
to go home empty-handed.

"No buy-in, no prizes, no trip to Vegas, no trophies, no ranking systems,
no free shirts, no hats, no pictures on the Internet - not even a free
beer!" the Peoria Poker League warns on its Web site, wary of the Illinois
liquor commission's crackdown.

Dave Bischoff, owner of the Granite Bowl here in St. Cloud, a city of
60,000 people about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis, started the free
games last January to increase business on slow Mondays. The 40 seats were
filled within five minutes; 30 people were turned away. Mr. Bischoff
quickly spent $1,000 on tables, cards and chips.

"It turned a dead night into one of my busiest nights of the week," Mr.
Bischoff said, noting that people come three hours early to sign up,
eating and drinking their way to the first deal. "You'd think these people
are playing for a million dollars. They're playing for a T-shirt, but they
all want to win."

Novices love the free tournaments because they can ape the pros they see
on television without risking their nest eggs. Experienced players come to
experiment with new strategies. Bar owners benefit from a ringing
register, and are usually happy to pay dealers and tournament organizers
with part of the profits.

But as quickly as the idea spread, so have efforts to shut it down. Part
of the problem is that while Mr. Bischoff's tournaments are for bragging
rights only, bars like Shenanigans in Texas City, Tex., where 83 people
were arrested on misdemeanors in a raid Dec. 5, have been accused of
charging $20 per player and paying winners with the proceeds.

"You want to play a game for fun? Perfectly legal," said Cliff Herberg,
chief of white-collar crime at the Bexar County district attorney's office
in San Antonio. "You want to start buying chips for $50 and you're playing
for a trip to Las Vegas? That's gambling, and it's illegal. People say,
'Well, we're doing it for charity.' Doesn't matter. You can't be a
charitable drug dealer, and you can't be a charitable gambler."

Lawyers for the Illinois liquor commission wrote in a recent newsletter
that "the short answer" about Hold'em is that it "is gambling." "These are
games of skill or chance," the article says. "Any poker tournament or
other card game tournament may not be held at a licensed establishment."

The Amateur Poker League is considering legal action in Illinois and
California to challenge the citations bars have received in those states,
and is determined to offer its free tournaments nationwide. Here in
Minnesota, Mr. Kleis's bill, which he says simply clarifies the existing
statute to codify free Hold'em games as legal, faces little opposition.

"I'm not a fan of gambling," noted State Senator David Hann, who had never
played Hold'em before Saturday but nonetheless finished second. "I think
this is social."

Each lawmaker was handed a stack of chips arbitrarily assigned $25, $100
and $500 values, for a total of $2,000. There were few folds, perhaps a
sign of the fake stakes.
"We're fiscally conservative," State Senator Sean Nienow joked as each
player checked rather than bet in round after round.

Assuming the law passes, Mr. Bischoff and some friends plan to expand
their "Free Poker Tour" with games across Minnesota. No charges were filed
after 20 officers, guns bared, burst into the bar last July, but the
seized chips and cards were just returned last week.

With each player's cards preserved in plastic bags, Mr. Bischoff said he
plans to pick up that day's tournament where it left off one Saturday next
month. Winner gets a T-shirt.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Lots of poker being played the last few days. Lots of excellent results. My break from the tables has (per usual) allowed me to return refreshed and focused.

Hell, last evening I played in only my second tournament this year, and made the final table, picking up a little score. Thanks to the FatGuy for sweating me while I was too drunk to pay attention.

I've also been dabbling in the 30.60, holding my own. I've been watching FastEddie in these games and he encouraged me to give it a whirl. So far, so good.

I'm also pondering another blogger's tourney. Beginning of March, perhaps?

Anyway, I'll try to write up an uber-post in the next few days, but for now, I wanted to repost the entire Losers tale in one post, for posterity's and easy linking sake. It's worth coming back to reread once every couple of months.


Part 01 - "Where the sand turns to gold."

If this were a major motion picture, it would open something like this:

[Establishing shot of Spaulding, drunk as a sailor, seated at a 5/10 Hold
'Em game at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.]

Board: As Kc 5d - 3h - 4h

Local troglodyte shows KdKh.

Spaulding studies the board through glasses thick enough to enable a
normal-sighted person to view Neil Armstrong's footprints.

Spaulding: How many more cards do I get?

Dealer: That's all sir, please turn over your cards.

Spaulding: (Flips over 7d 2s.) Eight, hit me.

Dealer: Straight is good. (Pushes Spaulding the pot).

Spaulding: This is pai-gow, right?

(He spots a cocktail waitress)

Spaulding: Sweetheart?

Waitress: Yes sir?

Spaulding: Can I get a lap dance?

Waitress: (Sigh) We've been through this before sir, I'm a waitress, WAY
- TRESS. Can I bring you something to drink? (Mumbling) Like I don't
already know the answer to that question.

Spaulding: OK, do you have any chamomile tea?

Waitress: Certainly sir.

Spaulding: I hate that shit. Tea is for pussies! Bring me a double gin
and tonic; don't go overboard with the tonic. And a beer.

[Waitress already anticipated Spaulding's seventh identical order and has
it on her tray. She serves him. He folds a dollar in half and sticks it
in her cleavage.]

[Spaulding, now narrating in voice-over]: "Listen. Here's the thing: if
you can't spot the drunk in your first 12 cocktails, then you ARE the
drunk. Hey, good for you."

p o u n d e r s

[Cue opening music: Spaulding rises and, gin and tonic in hand, dances
about the card room singing the following, to the tune of Rogers and
Hammerstein's "Favorite Things."]

"Raising on pipe dreams
then catching my one out
Lots of trash talking
and being a drunk lout
My seven-deuce offsuit
that shatters your kings
These are a few of my favorite things..."

"Getting so drunk that
I don't know what I've got
Cold calling anyway
then dragging a huge pot
Double Wild Turkeys
that the cute waitress brings
These are a few of my favorite things..."

"Beating your aces
like a rented little brother
Waitress! A bourbon!
then how 'bout another
Sucking out on you
then shouting Cha-ching!
These are a few of my favorite things..."

"When my hand bites,
When the flop stinks,
When the turn card makes me mad,
I simply rely on what the river brings,
To give you a beat that's so bad!"

But this isn't a major motion picture. So forget all about that and pay
attention to the following amalgamated trip report, such as it is.


"Brevity is the soul of wit," the immortal Bard advises us. "Vigorous
writing is concise," admonish Strunk and White. "Fuck that," I say,
editing is a pain in the ass. We prefer the view of a more modern man of
letters, who astutely observed that "repetitiveness is the cornerstone of
drunkenness." So this will be l o n g. In particular, it is filled with
lengthy, non-poker stories that form the lore of our loser culture. If
you're looking for poker content, you should killfile us now.

If you find reading strenuous, this would be a good time to step away from
the computer. Go pursue a less challenging activity, like trying to
balance your beer on your stomach without losing track of the plot on a
Facts of Life rerun.

While we're giving out warnings, I'd say you're a 27.5:1 favorite to be
grievously offended by something in here, if you haven't been already. In
fact if nothing in this report offends you, you must be some kind of
complete degenerate. Like us.

"All the World's a Stage"

In "Super/System", Mike Caro observes that people present themselves not
as they are, but as they wish to be perceived. This is true away from the
poker table as well. In life, most people present themselves as mature
and responsible adults.

Not us.

The four core members of this garbage-poker playing society -- Spaulding,
Manbeast, Snow White and myself (Variable, you may call me) -- have been
friends since early childhood. We all know each other far too well to put
on any act. So even though individually we all behave like reasonably
respectable, responsible and mature people, when you put us together a
kind of reverse synergy occurs, and our behavior plummets to a level that
Larry, Moe and Curly would describe as "totally immature."

If you can deal with childlike behavior, half-in-the-bag buffoonery, lots
of naughty words, and unbridled id, read on. If not, save yourself the

Disclaimer time is over. You have been warned. Continue at your own

--- To be continued ---

Coming in part 02 - Loser weight loss secrets

Part 02 - "They're creepy and they're kooky."

Still with us? You fool. Very well, prepare for indoctrination.

"Your days of finger-banging Mary Jane Rottencrotch, through her pretty
pink panties, are over!"
--- R. Lee Ermey, Full Metal Jacket.

Let's meet the players. [Cue music: Addams Family theme] Since you've
already had a glimpse of him, let's start with everyone's favorite waste
of protoplasm: Spaulding.


"Son; fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life."
--- Dean Vernon Wormer, National Lampoon's Animal House.

Favorite Song: "Baby's Liquored Up" - The Beat Farmers
Last Book Read: Best of Beaver Hunt
Favorite Beer: Old Peculiar (UK)
Least Favorite Beer: Any Coors product
Because: "It's for girls and pussies."
Pet Peeve: "There's not enough porn on the internet."
For a mental image: Picture the fat, nerdy kid from "The Far Side" grown
up, unshaven, and drunk.

Finest Hour: Recently won us a bundle in wagers by losing 60 pounds in 6
months to slim down to a svelte 243. We got some long odds on that
accomplishment, and the don't bettors lost their asses. How did he do it?
Well, as everyone involved predicted, he barely exercised and didn't give
up booze. But we had a secret weapon: Manbeast, the master of better
living through chemistry, put Spaulding on a daily dose of clenbuterol
throughout the contest. But don't tell anyone.

Successful idiot. Loser at all games of skill. He believes he is a
career winner because he wins more than 50% of his sessions.

If you've already figured how this can be, you're way ahead of most of our
readers, many of whom are reading this to kill time while they download
the entire contents of

Answer: He psuedo-Martingales by raising the stakes and calling ever more
random games as the night goes on, until he hits a big winner. He hasn't
had a total Martingale catastrophe, yet. One day he'll show up for a
$1/$2 home game and leave $2,000 poorer. And I plan to be there when it

Case in Point: We're at Dreamland, around 1:00am. Only Spaulding, Gary
the Bastard, Manbeast, and I are still playing. Spaulding has lost about
$100 playing 1/2 poker. Since then he's gone through roughly another $100
playing acey-deucy and guts in an effort to recoup. Now it is his deal.
He calls Indian. Yeah, that Indian. And get this: He calls $10 ante, no

I complain about the unprecedented ante, mainly to discourage future
occurrences. Everyone knows I won't sit out the game. Sitting out is, by
our standards, the unmanliest thing you can do without involving a Cub
Scout and Crisco. I donate the $10, knowing I'll be folding.

So the cards go out:

Me: ?
Manbeast: 6
Spaulding: 8
Gary the Bastard: Q

Manbeast probably sizes the game up as a heads up contest with Spaulding,
because he knows I hate these random-wealth-redistribution games, and Gary
the Bastard is too conservative to ever call a bet in no limit. Gary
wouldn't call a bet if he was playing 5 ways and saw 2,2,2,3. (Neither
would I though, as it would be pretty obvious that I was being

Manbeast bets $50. Gary the Bastard folds like a French Infantry division
on a chilly day. I would be getting decent odds on a random card, but as
I said I'm not up for the variance, so I fold. Spaulding raises back
$100. Manbeast thinks a while, then calls. At a mostly $1/$2 home game,
Spaulding drags a $340 pot playing no limit Indian, bringing him nearly
back to even.

His favorite game is "Pussy Clause Guts with the Invisible Bastard," which
can get pretty ugly. The particulars of the game are so profound, and
disgusting, that decorum prohibits listing them here.

So that's Spaulding


Hobby: Belongs to a drinking club. Really.
Last Book Read: Can't remember, if any.
Favorite Beer: Whatever you got.
Least Favorite Beer: Not applicable.
For a mental image: Picture a prehistoric Arnold Horseshack.

Built like a brick shithouse and nearly as smart. 6' 4" and at least 250.
He has never lifted weights in his life -- that would be too much effort
-- he's just a big, rawboned individual. One time we were bringing a half
(not a quarter, a half) into an apartment complex. There was a 5-foot
high concrete wall separating the parking lot from the yard space. Rather
than carry it all the way to the gate, Shithouse picks up the half and
sets it down on top of the 5' wall, then walks in and lifts it down.
That's power. We figure that he's about 2 generations out of the trees.

How smart is he? In our days in small town grade school, there was no
SpEd. Dumb kids just got sloughed through. Back then, after every test
the teacher would reseat everybody in reverse order of score. (Best
scores across the front row, etc.) Over 8 years of grade school and
literally hundreds of tests, Shithouse maintained an unblemished record of
finishing last, and therefore never left the anchor desk.

***Manbeast says***

Had they *spaced* the desks proportional to score, Shithouse's desk would
have been out in the fucking playground.

***End Manbeast***

Pretty lousy at poker, but rarely posts a net loss if you include "comps."
That is, the value of food, beverages and cigars he consumes minus his
poker losses is usually positive.

So that's Shithouse.

Gary the Bastard

Hobby: Being obnoxious.
Favorite Beer: Coors light.
For a mental image: Picture a weasel telling you that you're stupid.

No one really likes Gary the Bastard, except Spaulding. We tolerate him
occasionally, mainly because he loses with an amazing consistency. He has
a way of dealing with people that is totally obnoxious. First of all, he
will compulsively disagree with or correct anything anyone says, no matter
how simple. If you say "The sky is blue," he'll say "But clouds are white
and at night the sky is black." His idea of debating a point is to say
"Anyone who cannot see (whatever his unproven conjecture might be) is a
complete idiot." He is incapable of disagreeing with someone without
insulting them personally. Not that we don't insult each other left and
right, but we do it to try to be funny, whereas he's just mean spirited.

A measure of our disdain can be gleaned from the fact that the one and
only time he hosted the game at his place, Gary became the victim of an
unusually large and nasty upper-decker. Now that's a mean prank. Funny,
yes, but too mean to do to someone you like. The perpetrator remains
unidentified and at large.

f l a s h b a c k : h i g h s c h o o l d a y s

"All warfare is based on deception."
--- Sun Tzu.

Senior year. We're plotting a punitive prank against Spaulding when Gary
the Bastard strolls up. He wants in on the prank. Manbeast tries hard to
put him off, since we don't need any more help and figure Gary can only
fuck things up. But Gary is pretty much begging, so we let him in on it.

The plan: We would road trip 20 miles to a rival town, we'll call it
Omegaville, with which we had a history of emotionally charged, sometimes
violent, always alcohol soaked high school sports contests, and perform a
little mooning. At the time, mooning was considered hilarious. Snow
White, Spaulding and Gary the Bastard and I would strip down to our
underwear, socks and sneakers. Manbeast would drive. We would roll up to
the primary Omega hangout -- a downtown pizza place -- hop out of the car,
run over, bang on the glass and then press our butts up against the large
glass window out front, then vamoose. With the car running in the street,
we'd be long gone before anyone could pursue us. At least that's what we
told Spaulding. In reality, the super secret plan was that everyone but
Spaulding would only fake jumping out. Once Spaulding jumped out we were
going to hit the gas and take off. Ditching people was a popular gag,
fitting for a retribution operation, and we all knew Spaulding was easy
prey. This was going to be a real nail job though, leaving him that far
from home, almost naked. Especially considering we never went back for
anyone -- if you're going to be a pussy and go back, why pull the prank at
all? I actually felt bad for a few seconds, but I got over it. Everyone
knows the honor code.

We each had witty anti-Omega slogans, such as "Omega's are fags" written
in marker on our chests and backs. The whole way we excitedly talked
about how this prank would go down in history. We rode around a bit first
so we could each slam a quart or two of Miller, to help fortify our
courage. Finally, we pull off the road a mile outside of Omegaville for a
final gut-check and whiz, and to strip to our underwear. We pass the
flask around for one last swig of brown courage.

Manbeast sets the party tone. "I have a cooler of Michelobe bottles (a
real luxury at the time) on ice in the trunk. When this is over, we'll
ride around, toss some down, smoke a few stogies, and laugh all night.
This prank will become an instant legend. Can you imagine when they see
Spaulding's big hairy ass against the window?"

"Fucking yeah! Whoooooooo!" Spaulding trumpets into the crisp night air,
raising the flask, obviously well lubricated at this point.

[Cue period music: "Turn Me Loose", Loverboy]

We get back in the car, focused. Manbeast spins the tires, throwing up
dirt roostertails with the monster V8, and roars back onto the road.
Laughter and confidence fill the car. Yes, we are primed for this.

To make sure Spaulding doesn't hesitate, we chose the seating carefully.
Spaulding was behind the driver, then me (Variable) in the middle, then
Gary the Bastard. Snow White had shotgun. I told Spaulding I was going
out his side so he better haul ass. I would close his door after he
leapt. Snow White and Gary the Bastard just had to open and close their
doors to make it sound good.

Spaulding has been nipping the flask the whole way and is starting to look
a little wobbly. Gary the Bastard snickers and whispers to me, "He'll
probably get arrested." Gary is giddy as a schoolgirl to be in on this.

We roll into Omegaville. Manbeast says he's going to take some back
streets for stealth. We're going down some back alley when Spaulding
starts making funny noises. "What the fuck's wrong with you?" Manbeast
"I'm going to puke," gurgles Spaulding.
"Not in my fucking car!" Manbeast immediately stops the car and yells
"Get out of my car!"

Spaulding makes no effort to get out. He's busy writhing his stomach and
gagging when he suddenly turns and leans toward me and Gary. "Shit!" I
yell, "let me out!" I scramble toward Gary but he's already out the door.
Manbeast lights up the tires as I close the door. We all look back.
The look on Gary's face as he realizes what just happened can only be
described as 'magnificent.' That Michelobe was mighty good.

f a d e t o p r e s e n t

So that's Gary the Bastard.

--- To Be Continued ---

Coming in Part 03 - Learn a new word: callipygous

Part 03 - "We'll get to the poker eventually. Like you have anything
better to do..."

Intros continued


Role Model: Al Bundy.
Favorite Beer: Any decent lager.
Least Favorite Beer: Any light beer.
For a mental image: Picture a prematurely balding Wookie.

6'3", 240ish. Hairy enough to suggest possible lycanthropy (except for
the top of his head). Has to start shaving at the collar line. When
shirtless, near-sighted observes frequently think he's wearing a sweater,
even from the back.

***Snow White says***

*Especially* from the back. Steroids will do that to you. He could have
20 tatoos and you'd never know.

***end Snow White***

***Manbeast says***

For the record, juice was legal when we were in high school. Not that I
used it.

***End Manbeast***

An Alpha among Alphas. MUST be in charge of any situation.

Tragic Flaw: Overaggression. His testosterone imbalance drives him to be
too aggressive at everything he does.

Impetuous: First to marry, first to divorce. First to remarry. First to
have 2 ex-wives. Good poker player. Aggressive, though prone to be wild,
especially when tilted.

Soundbite - "She has the kind of fiery beauty that Dylan Thomas wrote
poems about. And tits like a couple of fucking zeppelins."

So that's Manbeast

Iron Mike

Favorite Movie: Harry Potter, we're guessing.
Favorite Beer: Budweiser, the most exotic brand he's had so far.
Least Favorite Beer: Busch, the other brand he has tried.
For a mental image: Picture the VP guy from the Bowflex commercial, but

Young pup recently added to the game. Bodybuilder. Good athlete. Wife is
a 20 year old blonde fitness athlete.

***Spaulding says***

She's a total fuck bunny.

***End Spaulding***

***Manbeast says***

As an overall package, I concur. Boobs are a
little small, but she has a flat, sexy stomach and she's very callipygous
(put your beer down and look it up, you fucking hick).

***End Manbeast***

He studies the game and is improving.

So that's Iron Mike

Todd the Attorney

Favorite Book: A movie.
Favorite Beer: Beer is for boughies.
For a mental image: Picture a handsome, brilliant young lawyer who's just
been violently struck on the forehead with a ballpeen hammer.

"reTodd." Pretty boy. Dumb as a post. Lost a game of checkers to a
labrador retriever (I'll try to tell the story later).

Despite an SAT score that would make Allen Iverson wince, reTodd got into
a prestigious school because of powerful family connections. Couldn't
find his ass with both hands and written directions. Ultimate calling

*** Manbeast says ***

One time playing stud I paired my door card, which was a King. I played
it fast, representing trips, but all I really had was the pair of Kings
and a busted flush draw. On 7th street I bet out. reTodd called. I said
"Good call, I only have the pair of kings." (which, again, were SHOWING).
Retodd says, "They're good. I didn't want to call, but the pot so big..."

*** End Manbeast ***

Quote: (Standing there, holding a 1/4 cup measuring cup.) "Dammit. I
need to measure a half a cup, and I can't find that one." I *could* tell
you his real name, but then I would definitely have to kill you. He's all

That's reTodd.

Snow White

Turn Ons: Celibacy.
Favorite Beer: O'Douls. Sometimes he'll be a madman and throw in a lime
For a mental image: Picture Doris Day with a schwantz.

The Prince of Princes. Goes to church on optional days. Doesn't smoke,
barely drinks, seldom swears.

***Manbeast says***

Seldom dates. He would find something wrong with Sandra Bullock in the
first 10 minutes. Something important, like, "she smoked a cigarette
once, I'm not into that."

*** End Manbeast ***

Tight, conservative, predictable.

***Snow White says***

Yes, you can predict my solid play will get the money.

Here's how to win at poker:

You don't need any fancy moves. Learn what constitutes solid starting
hands for your games of choice.

Pick your games well. Abdul himself says, "The best poker player is not
the most skilled. The best poker player picks the best games. The best
poker player has won before he sits down."

Always pay attention to who is winning and who is losing. In "Decision
Making Under Uncertainty," the authors observe that given a choice between
a sure $30,000 or a gamble where you'll get $40,000 eighty percent of the
time and $0 twenty percent of the time, most people will take the sure
$30,000 despite the higher EV ($32K) of the gambling scenario. But given
a choice between a sure loss of $30,000 or an eighty percent chance of
losing $40,000 and twenty percent chance of losing $0, most people will
choose the gambling scenario, once again despite the fact that it is the
lower EV alternative.

How does this apply to poker? Easy - it tells us that most people will
irrationally accept undue risk to try to dig out of a losing session, and
many will act irrationally risk averse to lock up a win, especially if
they are quitting soon.

Simply look for these people, and adjust your poker game accordingly.
E.g., raise and run your bluffs at people who are trying to get out
winners, value bet against losers. Be quicker to get away from medium
strength holdings against winners. Go all the way with medium strength
holdings against losers. Play less hands when a winner enters the pot,
etc. Easy, really. You just have to pay attention.

Also pay attention to your own image. No less than Yardley himself said,
in Education of a Poker Player, that you cannot bluff a man until you've
"cured" him of calling, by showing him a number of winning hands in a row.

Nothing has changed in the last half century. Humans still put more
weight on their most recent experiences. If you get a bluff picked off,
you better shift gears and play totally solid, and value bet, because
you're getting called down every time. And if you showed a guy nothing
but winners for two hours, and he thinks you could crush diamonds with
your sphincter you're so tight, then it's time for a little larceny.

***End SNow White***

Sound bite: (To a stripper) "Young lady, I am not your gynecologist."

That's Snow White.


Your humble host. Practically perfect in every way. You can call me
Variable, which is what the guys call me because, according to them, I
have no set personality, but rather I adapt depending on which group of
people I'm with. Probably true, but I would argue that everyone does that
to some extent. Except Manbeast.

--- To be continued ---

Coming in Part 04 - Origin of the species.

Part 04 - "Soy un perdedor, I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?"

The Genesis

High school basketball game, circa 1982.

Manbeast, Snow White, Spaulding and I are sitting in the bleachers,
ostensibly rooting for our high school basketball team. We're really
there to ride out a buzz and look up cheerleader's skirts.

[Cue music: "Loser" - Beck, chorus.]

On the visitor's bench there was a kid who was fat, laced with zits, and
greasy haired. A real mess. And he had this big, Batman-style face
shield on, to protect a broken nose. Manbeast says, "you know if someone
on that team had to wear that freak headgear it would be that kid. He was
born to lose."

Since that moment we've overused the term "loser," a trend that continues
to this day.

We all have our own idea of what constitutes a true loser. In my opinion,
it is the ability to make a normally minor mistake at the exact moment it
will cause a catastrophe. A 'catamalsynchronism' is what I'd call it, if
they asked me to invent a word, and they should.

Bill Buckner would be a good example. If you're not familiar with that
reference, here's another example:

Junior high dance. Snow White finds himself at the refreshment table,
talking to the cutest girl in class. [Fade in music: Somebody's Baby,
Jackson Browne] We were all in love with her. He's releasing nervous
energy by fidgeting, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and
pawing at food on the snack table. He can barely make eye contact. Snow
White was/is really shy around girls. Plus, we're at that awkward age
(under 92) where men are fearful of rejection and don't usually approach
women without a little advance scouting. So you can imagine our
slack-jawed amazement when he asked her to dance. She tosses her hair,
flashes that young Farrah Fawcett smile, and says OK. As they walk
hand-in-hand out onto the dance floor for a slow song, Snow White gets
something stuck in his windpipe. He starts turning colors and wheezing
like a Mexican vacuum cleaner. Everyone is watching. Finally, straining
like he's trying to shit a rusty bowling ball, he swallows the
obstruction. He looks around -- everyone is staring at him in stunned
silence -- so he sprints out the door and all the way home.

Now here's the thing: anyone can get food stuck in their throat. A loser
will do it at the absolutely most inopportune time.

I'll let Manbeast tell his version now.

*** Manbeast says ***

You want to know what a natural born loser is? I'll tell you. Picture a
guy who works his ass off all his life. He wasn't born with much talent,
but he overcame through sheer force of will. He finally thinks maybe he
has his shit together. He's in his 50s, finally has a few bucks set
aside, nice wife, a boy and a girl who are good teenagers. He's just
starting to think maybe life is OK after all. Then one day he comes home
from work early and finds his wife in bed with the gardener. Daughter
announces she's going to pursue a career as an interracial porn star. Son
gets kicked in the head by a horse, starts talking with a lisp and
arranging flowers. Guy goes to his doctor for some Prozac and finds out
he has cancer. Doesn't want to go through the whole wasting away thing,
so he finds the tallest building in town and jumps off it. He lands on
some guy who breaks his fall. The guy recovers, his cancer goes into
spontaneous remission, wife repents, daughter changes her mind at the last
minute, junior gets struck by lightning and suddenly remembers that he
likes pussy. Well, you know that guy he landed on, that died? That guy
was born to lose.

*** End Manbeast ***

--- To be continued ---

Coming in Part 05 - Trouser chili.

Part 5 - Like they say in Law 101, "Caveat Losor, pal."

Some Important Concepts:

Hunting Camp: Through a fantastic coincidence, we are all dedicated deer
hunters. Indeed, many of us took up hunting late in life, typically about
2 years into marriage. Come deer season, we spend time at a cabin we have
up north in some prime hunting ground. Some poker usually gets
incorporated into camp. We're not big-time regular casino players like
many of you, although Snow White claims to be grinding out a nice profit
online just by playing Sklansky/Malmuth starting hands. We've been to
Atlantic City maybe 4 times. Thus you may be shocked and appalled by what
passes for poker among our group. Spaulding in particular is one of those
uber-fish that you guys luck into once in a blue moon. The liquored-up
guy who plays every hand, all the way, showing down rags whether he wins
or loses (oh, except against you - against you he's got the goods).

The Honor Code: The code is simple -- none of us has any honor. Not only
should you expect no one to help you, you should assume everyone is out to
screw you over, because they are (Holden himself refers to it the
"Anti-musketeer code"). Lying for sport is accepted in our culture, and
the dissemination of misinformation is considered a hobby.

"JFB": By the smallest possible margin. It's a Manbeast quote from one of
our frequent theological discussions. We had been discussing the concept
of Hell: Whether it existed, whether an all-loving God would ever send
one of his creations there, etc. We also discussed what sort of sins
might make one eligible for eternal damnation. Manbeast pipes up with his
philosophy: "I plan to live my life in such a way so that I don't go to

"Freeway spanking drunk": The gold standard of intoxication. It is the
level of drunkenness at which you no longer care about the legality or
consequences of your actions. The term was coined based on a news item
reporting some guy (amazingly, not one of us) getting soused to the gills,
wandering on to a freeway, then standing on the roadside, dressed only in
shoes, and vigorously spanking the monkey in full view of traffic. When
he was arrested he explained the whole misunderstanding with our favorite
excuse: "I only had 2 or 3 beers."

"Th'fuck?!": Spaulding's contraction for "What the fuck?" This highly
efficient phrase is generally used to denote surprise and confusion, and
asks the intuitively obvious question. Example:

Spaulding: "I'll take nine tacos."
Apathetic Clerk: "OK."
Spaulding: "Can I get some hot sauce for those?"
Apathetic Clerk: "We don't have sauce."
Spaulding: "Th'fuck?!" (Asking, in effect, can you explain how a
place that sells tacos doesn't have taco sauce?)

"Always Play Along": Pranking, spreading misinformation, and simple
deception being the glue that holds our subculture together, we very
regularly find ourselves in strange situations where we don't know what is
going on, nor why. The code tells you to always play along - someone's
getting nailed and you'll find out about it later, just don't blow it.
Failure to play along is considered unforgivable, and immediately marks
you as a target for a punitive operation.

Culture of Paranoia - The end result of the code is that we all live in a
state of near total paranoia. Snow White has a monitored alarm system on
his house. Not for fear of burglars, but for fear of black bag jobs by
his friends. He had it installed shortly after the Christmas Card
COINTELPRO. The story there is that somebody got his hands on my address
book. Same somebody had a rather compromising photo of me and an exotic
dancer wearing an elf hat, high heels, and nothing else. All my friends
and relatives got an interesting Christmas card from me that year.
Anyway, the wise loser searches his home after friends visit, and keeps
sensitive information behind a locked door, minimum. This may not be
enough, however. One loser, nameless because he still doesn't know about
it, was the victim of a simple but devastatingly effective ELINT
operation. A portable scanner, voice activated digital recorder, and
male-to-male cable (You can get the necessary equipment used (i.e. pawned)
for about $125) were employed to eavesdrop on his cordless phone
conversations 24 x 7, with no equipment needed inside his apartment. Many
a prank was born based on that information. If you're wondering, this is
perfectly legal. Choosing a cordless means choosing to broadcast your
conversations, albeit over a limited area. If you don't want third party
listeners, don't broadcast your conversation. Or get one of the newer
phones, almost all of which are digital, encrypted, or spread spectrum (or
something) and cannot be routinely scanned. Anyway, these are the
measures that we no-life losers will resort to just to nail a fellow
loser. That's why paranoia runs rampant.

*** Snow White says ***
The burgler alarm seems extreme - and it really is more so for protection
from intruders than friends, but if it does double duty so be it. You
see, in this group we have to be paranoid like the casinos: There may be
no scam going down at this moment, but at the minimum you KNOW somebody is
thinking about it, and watching for holes in the system. The least you
can do is not make it easy for them.
*** End Snow White ***

Dreamland - Manbeast's house, which has become the nearly official venue
for the home game. His finished basement is complete with a poker table,
pool table, pinball machine, 20 foot bar, a dart board, big screen TV, and
more. It's huge. We put out a buffet table every game. Sounds pretty
sweet, yes? Well, it gets better. [Cue music: One in a Million Girl
(She's a Beauty), The Plasmatics] Manbeast lives less than 2 miles from a
small time strip joint. Used to be that we'd break around 11, hit the
club until 12 (closing time - don't know why it closes so early), then the
die-hard players would reconvene at Manbeast's house. Now we don't even
go down to the club. Before a game night Manbeast, who is very much a
regular, buys a few six-packs from the owner, and recruits one or two
girls who know us to drop by Dreamland after closing time. It's good
extra money for them. Nothing untoward goes on, as far as you know.
Anyway, Darrel Ticehurst take note, we now have absolutely no problem
filling the game, and no one leaves early. We generally have to turn
players away.

Example of the honor code in action:

Flashback to Spaulding's married days...

(All those squiggly lines are supposed to represent your screen getting
blurry, as in a TV flashback. If you don't see the effect, start drinking
and you will eventually.)

We're out for a night of libations and gentlemanly camaraderie.

***Manbeast says***
Meaning we're going to get drunk and hit some strip clubs.
***End Manbeast***

Spaulding's wife forbids him from going to strip clubs. So he told her we
were going to a poker game.

We are at one of Spaulding's favorite places in the world. It's an
unmarked, warehouse-like building containing a "private club," which is an
after hours bar on one floor, and a strip club on another. Although it is
nominlly a private club, anyone can get in if they know how. By now you
should have figured out this isn't exactly legal. They must juice the
local machine though, because the place has never been busted since we
started going there in 1989. And it's obvious something is going on,
because there's a bank across the street and everyone parks there. Two in
the morning and a closed bank has an overflowing parking lot, yet no one
asks any questions. Obviously we're dealing with OC here.

It's a long ride to visit this place, and we have much classier ones
locally, but Spaulding insists we go here because the action is decidedly
more down and dirty. Being losers, we have to take action where we can
get it. Anyway, about the place: The bar is free to get in to, but to go
upstairs is $25. There is a small stage, but unlike most clubs no one
sits near the stage. The girls each do a set on stage, and then work
their way around the room going guy-to-guy. They dance in front of, and
up against, you for a minute or so, and you give them a couple bucks. The
also offer what we came for: lap dances plus groping. A good, grinding
lap dance is $20 for two songs. A $20 tip on top of that always suffices
to allow ones hands to wander.

Spaulding is freeway spanking drunk. One dancer, "Cheyenne," is almost as
drunk as Spaulding, and she is *making out* with some guys as she works
the room. Most of us pass on the making out part, but not Spaulding. He
tips her a $50 and soon they're going at it. He is all over her and vice
versa. They're humping so hard I think there was actual
bluejeans-separated insertion. By the time they're done mauling each
other, Spaulding's got a face and neck full of lipstick, and a few stray
bite marks. Naturally, he is totally unaware of it. By the end of the
night, more than one dancer has left lipstick on him.

It's a long ride home and by the time we get to his house, Spaulding is
out cold. As we roll up I remind the team about the lipstick all over his
face. Remember Spaulding's wife? She's probably already hammering up a
cross because of the late hour. If she sees the lipstick, well, let's
just say you better hide the cutlery.

Clearly, the ONLY decent thing to do is wipe off the lipstick.
Rhetorically, I ask the group "should we wipe off the lipstick or let him
hang?" The vedict: "Let him hang." So sayeth the losers, so shall it be.

Variable: Who wants to deal with the not-so-little Mrs.?

Manbeast: There's just no way I'm going to deal with Large Marge. She
already hates me - ever since I said her bloomers were big enough to
shammy shine a 747 with.

Shithouse: Nooooohoohohoohoo.

Snow White: I would have to answer all her questions honestly. I don't
think anyone wants that.

Variable: Well, what are we going to do with him?

Snow White: Dump him on the lawn. It's the only way.
We'll just say he got out of the car under his own power;
we don't know what happened after that.

Variable: Oh, that's cold.

Manbeast: OK, no problem. You tell her. If you get caught in the
crossfire, can I have your car?

Variable: I say we dump him on the lawn. It's the only way.

[Cue music: Peter Gunn]

So we coast up in stealth mode (headlights out) and stop a good 20 yards
short of Spaulding's house. We carried him - no easy task - to the dead
center of his professionally maintained lawn. In the dim glow of the
nearby streetlights the quiet, suburban night has an eerie quality to it.

We laid him in the cool dew, on his back. Manbeast grabs an empty JD
bottle and puts it on Spaulding's chest, positioning Spaulding's hand to
clutch it. Shithouse decided that the bikini top he had lifted as a
souvenir would look good in Spaulding's pocket, so he tucked it halfway
in. Snow White pours a little beer on him, saying "Into your hands we
commend his spirit."

Manbeast: Let's get the fuck out of here.
Shithouse: Wait, I have to take a whiz.
Manbeast: Fucking hold it!
Shithouse: Fine, I'll just use an empty bottle in your back seat.
Manbeast: Go here, we'll wait!

In the still of predawn hours, every sound seems amplified ten-fold.
Shithouse taking a whiz sounds like a rainstorm to me. I'm worried that
we're going to wake someone. Just then, a shrill siren pierces the night.

My heart stops. I whirl to look for the police car that I know is there.
But there is none. Someone had leaned up against (or collapsed on top of)
Marge's new BMW, which was left parked in the driveway so that the
neighbors could admire it. It's anti-theft system functioned flawlessly.
Goddamn German efficiency. We must have looked like the 4 stooges making
our exit, scrambling into the car while this siren blared around us, our
tires screeching as bedroom lights started blinking on all around us.
Spaulding slept, baby-like, through the whole commotion.

End flashback to Spaulding's married days...

Pranks - Pranks are an extension of the honor code and an integral part of
our lives. There's a guy who believes to this day that he helped us bury
a body. It's a great story, maybe we'll get to it.

The less sophisticated members of the group pull pranks that are really
little more than petty vandalism, or weak and uncreative fizzles. For
instance, Gary the Bastard would consider it humorous to subscribe
someone to Playgirl at their office. Very funny. Like anyone's going to
believe a person would subscribe to porn - gay or otherwise - at their
office. Manbeast, by comparison, would pull the fag-jacket COINTELPRO.
That is, he'd get a really gay magazine, like "Colt," (I just know. Shut
up.) and dummy it up with shrink-wrap and a mailing label. A paper
insert would cover most of the magazine cover, but he'd leave the title
and enough of the photo visible to remove any doubt about the magazine's
orientation. He?d address it to you, as a subscriber. Then he'd put it
in your neighbor's mail box.

Manbeast bought a high quality digital camera, scanner, and printer for
the sole purpose (although he denies it) of forging documents for use in
pranks. For example, when Gary the Bastard's dog died, he took it to his
vet for burial in his pet cemetery (yeah, right - Fluffy is in a landfill
in Newark.) Anyway, Manbeast dummies up a "death certiciate," ostensibly
from the vet, and mails it to Gary the Bastard. Under "cause of death,"
he fills in "It is my professional opinion that somebody bored this dog to

One of our favorites was a non-elaborate prank was played by Spaulding,
who is generally not known for "good ones." As always, it's a rather long

[Cue music: We Got the Beat, The GoGos)

Highschool. Friday night. We're riding around the boonies in Manbeast'
car, blaring music, drinking Millers, smashing the empties off of speed
limit signs, etc. Suddenly Spaulding announces "I have to take a shit."
Manbeast offers to stop, but Spaulding thinks he can make if we head
straight for the Cineplex (2 screens! Hey, this is the early 80s). As we
go, every minute or so Spaulding is groaning as he tries to hold back the
inevitable flow. Before we get to the Cineplex, a muffled splattering
sound fills the car. "Oh fuck, I think a made some trouser chili!"

He did. A family sized serving, too.

We stop and Spaulding gingerly removes his undergarment, placing it in a
Burger King bag found on Manbeast's car floor. He won't throw them away:
"My mom counts my underwear." Somehow, I think that factors into the
person he is today. He cleans up with some leaves and carries on,
bareback. Hideous.

Sometime later we arrive at the theatre. It is the gathering place for
most of our class on weekends, so everyone who is anyone is there. On
this fateful evening, there is a very special date. The quarterback of
the football team ("Lou"), superstud and Heathers-style obnoxious jerk, is
here with his babe-of-the-week, a very cute college freshman. They were
going to see the late show together. As the movie is playing, we're
outside drinking and socializing. Spaulding mentions how richly Lou
deserves to be pranked. Manbeast, ever the instigator, says "Why don't
you spread the 'chili' on his car seat?" The door was unlocked, saving
Manbeast the trouble of employing his talents with a coat hanger.
Spaulding set the trap, while Manbeast took the bulb out of the cars
interior light. By the time the happy couple came out to the car
*everyone* was in on the, eh, joke. Lou sat down, got this lemon puss
look on his face, and peeled out of the parking lot. The following Monday
as Lou walked into homeroom, Manbeast called out the now immortal line,
"Hey Lou, your girlfriend told me she had a shitty time on Friday."

--- To be continued ---

Coming in part 6 - We mature, and take Opera classes with our wives. Ha!
Just kidding, it will be more of the same drunken stupidity, of course.

This will be a bonus segment. Go ahead and check it out. Don't cost

Losers - Part 5 and a half - "Danger is our business."

"All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers,
queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will
come and wash all this scum off the streets." -- Robert Deniro, Taxi

Before we post part 06, let's reach into the reader mailbag (don't worry,
we would never use your name or enough text to make you identifiable) and
see what people are saying about this report so far:

"Can you tell me where that after hours place is?"

"Any chance that strip place where you can touch the girls is in the NYC

"Where is that after hours place with the strippers?"

"Are the girls hot at that place? Where is it?"

"I think you guys are just a bunch of immature drunks who have no idea how
to deal with women."

*** Manbeast replys ***

What was your first clue honey? Hey, are you any good looking? What are
you wearing?

*** End Manbeast ***

There you have it, feel the love! For our inquisitive readers, I would be
happy to give you the location of the after hours joint except for one
small thing: The rumor is that the person who gets the place busted will
have his tongue removed with a reciprocating saw. I'd just as soon have
that not be me.

But since we seem to have found a demographic niche with the degenerate
crowd, we will throw you a bone. Here's the scoop on an NYC sex club we
visited 3 or 4 years ago. Things may have changed, but this is the way it

On the annual trip to the hunting cabin Spaulding insists we detour though
New York City. He claims to know of a "sex club." A place where people
go to have encounters with strangers, apparently.

Call me skeptical, but I just don't think women who want to have brief,
meaningless sex with strangers need to go anyplace special to find it.
They could stand up in any bar, restaurant, office, grocery store,
synagogue, etc. and say, "Hey, I want brief meaningless sex. Any takers?"
Being trampled to death would be the major risk.

But Spaulding is a man on a mission. He says this place is the real deal.
So we're off to the City That Never Sleeps.

Welcome to New York City: Come for the metropolitan sophistication, stay
for the sexual depravity.

We roll into the Big Apple around 2300. Manbeast is driving, Spaulding is
navigating (he's been to this place before). Unfortunately, Spaulding is
trying to use visual landmarks to navigate. It's dark, and NYC is a
rather big place. So Spaulding is peering out the van window, squinting
like a Chinese short order cook, giving directions. We immediately become
lost in a nasty looking area. Not that it matters, but the street are
littered with people, all representatives of a major race other than ours.
People seem to be staring at us. "Maybe they think we're trying to buy
crack," someone hypothesizes. Spaulding yells out the window, "Attention
negroes! We are not trying to buy crack. However, if you have a little
marahootchie, maybe we could talk busine....." Manbeast punches the gas
and we get out of there in a hurry.

So at about 0130, we're at the entrance to "The Vault," a New York city
underground sex club. There's a guy outside, on the sidewalk, a Billy
Idol clone in leather, who explains the rules. Cover is $40. This is a
safe-sex club. No oral or anal penetration without a condom. No
interrupting another act. No booze, no drugs. (Spaulding: "No booze!
What the fuck is wrong with you boyscouts?") They search us briefly,
knicking my CQC7, then we go down the steps, below NYC street level, below
the steaming man holes, the pimps, the drug dealers, and down into . . .
the Vault!

*** Snow White *** I hope the C.H.U.D.s don't get us. ***

[Cue music - chorus of "The Freaks Come Out at Night"]

Inside now. Holy crap, this is weirder than any porn movie I've ever
seen. At first, it's intimidating. It's dark and dingy, and there is
bondage equipment all over. Cages, chains hanging from the ceiling.
Weird chairs designed for weird bondage. Various clusters of freaks are
huddled around "acts" going on, watching with an incredible intensity.
The first act we see involves two oriental guys. One is humped over a
sawhorse like thing with his pants down. The other guy is holding, uh, -
this is about to get rather indelicate - holding his sphincter open with a
forceps like device, and shining a real bright flashlight up there.

*** SW *** Where are the C.H.U.D.s when you need them? ***

"Looking for your watch?" Manbeast asks. Only he and I guffaw. No one
else is amused, and several people call for our removal from the club for
interrupting a 'scene.' A bouncer comes over. You can just tell he's so
sick and tired of dealing with stupid newbies who don't know the protocol
for underground sex clubs. Sigh. We're warned not to do that again. OK,
OK, OK. Rules, rules, rules. This place is more uptight than a John
Birch Society meeting.

So we hang back and observe for a while.

There are quite a few people in here. I observe that 90 percent plus are
guys. We strike up conversations with some obvious regulars. Some guy is
explaining the secret dress code. "A plain white t-shirt means you?re a
twink looking for a bear (or something), see? A blue handkerchief in your
back right pocket means (something else, also gay), ting tang walla walla
bing bang." Manbeast: "What if you're a hetero male trawling for tuna??
Answer: "No code for that." Manbeast: "That speaks volumes."

Presently, there is a leather bikini wearing blond, probably the best
looking girl in the place, whipping some fat loser, both of them enclosed
in a cage.

There are maybe 2 more girls who are there with boyfriends, and they are
obvious non-regulars who came to gawk at the freaks. There is a trio of
thin asian girls in short skirts wandering around, but something about
them Just Doesn't Look Right. There's a really chubby leather-nut girl
at the 'bar.' (The bar doesn't serve booze. Somehow, Spaulding got his
flask inside, of course.) Maybe another 2 more girls are in the place,
but they're bone ugly.

*** Manbeast says ***
Manbeast's hints for the aesthetically challenged, #1: Ladies, if you've
got a belly that fails the Louisville Slugger test, DON'T wear an outfit
that exposes your mid-drift, especially in conjunction with tight pants
push your blubber up, squeezie-like, over the waistband.
*** End Manbeast ***

Next thing I know Spaulding is in the cage getting whipped. He's not a
good actor though, and the soft cat-o-nine-tails is clearly only tickling
him. The bikini girl has his shirt off. Spaulding drops his pants and
underwear, too, and asks to be lashed on a more intimate area of his body.
"Sorry peewee, I don't do that." A pile of homos swarm the cage as soon
as Spaulding exposes himself. It's like throwing a Big Mac into the
audience at the Rosie O'Donnel show.

We deduce that bikini-girl is a shill. She looks great, and will whip
anyone who asks (on the back -- no where else -- and it's a 'play' whip),
but you can't touch her and she is not interested in any private
So Spaulding has gone off trolling for sluttier girls. Manbeast, Snow
White and I are just taking it all in, sitting at the 'bar.' There's an
open bowl of popcorn on the bar. Manbeast offers me $50 to eat a handful,
but I decline.

That's when the JDLR asian chicks saunter over and start talking to us.
As they are talking to us, they keep reaching towards our crotches,
telling us what they have in mind. The Manbeast says something like,
"Even though you've trowelled on 5 pounds of Mary Kay comsmetics, I can
still tell you have to shave. Your face, that is." They take the hint
and slink away, searching for dumber pastures. Manbeast looks at me and
asks, "Do you think anyone is fucking stupid enough, drunk enough, or
horny enough to fall for that?"

"Helloooooo," says Spaulding, coming up behind us. "This place is fucking
great!" Manbeast and I explain to him that the only girl in the place who
(a) is really a girl and (b) isn't a shill and (c) is under his 222 pound
limit was the gawker who was wrapped around her boyfriend who has now
left. Spaulding doesn't care, and wants to stay. We tell him we're out
of there in 30 minutes, with or without him. "OK."

Manbeast, Snow White and I take one more lap around the place, learn what
"tea-bagging", "felching," and the dreaded "tossed salad" are (trust me,
you don't want to know), then retire to the bar for another few minutes.
We strike up a conversation with the chubby leather-nut girl, who is
reading a book and looking bored. God knows why she was there. Reading a
novel in a sex club at 0300. She was really nice and normal to talk to,
adding to the weirdness of her being there under those circumstances.

Time to go and here comes Spaulding with this big, dopey grin on his face.
He's all excited. "I got a handjob." "From who?" "Those asian girls.
They can really squeeze the weasel!"
"Uh, did they show you their tits?"
"No, but I was holding the one's ass. She wouldn't let
me touch her tits though. She said she was shy."

[Variable] "Twenty bucks if I can tell him."
[Manbeast] "Forty."
[Snow White] "Sixty."

***Manbeast says*** To summarize, 'The Vault' is where New York City
faggots go to meet and greet and spooge on the floor. Male homos, that
is. Hell, if there was any carpet chomping I'd happily pay the cover.
But there's not. If you're gay, and male, I recommend it. It's
fagtacular. If you're hetero, forget it. Save that 40 bucks for the
strip club or poker table.
***End Manbeast***

I must concur with my esteemed colleague on this one. It's shocking when
you first go in, but you quickly figure out everything is fake, including
the women. And I'm not overly enamored by the idea of having to dodge
puddles of jism.

We'll leave you with the question that has stumped scholars and wise men
for millenia: If you engage in a sex act with another man, but you
genuinely thought it was a woman, is that gay?

Now off to the cabin.

On the drive to the cabin we made up several helpful cadence call style
mnemonics for Spaulding, and sang them a few thousand times. Here are
some samples:

Adam's apple bigger than a pea?
Trust me friend just let it be.

Jutting jaw that's kind of square?
Just get your ass right out of there.

Fingers look a little thick?
That's because she's got a dick.

Sound off, one two ...

Spaulding eventually drifts off to sleep in the back seat.

d r e a m s e q u e n c e

(Spaulding, wearing a gold bracelet and flanked by two beautiful cocktail
waitresses, is being interviewed by Dick Van Patten)

DVP: The world's finest poker players showed up today, to do battle with
what's turned out to the toughest field to hit the World Series of Poker
since 1996. Hello everybody I'm Dick Van Patten, and I'd like you to meet
this young man. His name: Spaulding. And Spaulding, congratulations to
you. Spaulding, things looked kind of rough out there today.

Spaulding: Well Dick, I did battle for some humongous pots. But like I
told the guy from Pokerpages, danger is my business.

DVP: A lot of people thought that maybe Chris "Jesus" Ferguson or Johnny
"The Oriental Express" Chan would take the title.

Spaulding: Those guys are fags!

DVP: That's fantastic. Let me ask you a question, when you get out
there, do you ever get scared?

Spaulding: To me, putting all my chips in is a way of looking at my
opponent and saying, "Hey bud, let's party." Hey, where'd you get that

DVP: The network gave it to me.

e n d d r e a m s e q u e n c e

--- To be continued ---

Next time: The real Part 06

Before we start part 6, we need to dip into the reader mailbag again:

Item 1: Alert reader Mike M. points out that it was the Tubes, not the
Plasmatics, who recorded "She's A Beauty." Thanks Mike. At first I was
at a loss to explain how this grievous factual error slipped through. So
I took a walk back into our rigorous quality control department. I found
two empty bottles of Jose Cuervo Gold. Case closed.

Item 2: The lady who emailed to call us "immature drunks" took exception
to Manbeast's reply and followed up. We'll call her Mrs. Stu Pidseeword
(not her real name). Among other comments, she wrote that we "...really
are losers! Your (sic) not funny at all. Your (sic) pathetic!"

We respond:

Dear Mrs. Pidseeword,

We've puked 20, maybe 25 pages of pabulum stating that we are utter and
complete losers. Apparently our subtlety was lost on you. To clarify: We
are a bunch of boozy yobbos. We're social retards. We pronounce "retard"
as though it were spelled "retart." We grok Spock. We believe the truth
is out there. We watch Loch Ness Monster documentaries on the Discovery
channel. Nearing our 40s, we all have Playstations. We go to family
functions and drink until we sound like Ozzy fucking Osbourne, then stand
close to our cousin - the one with the big tits - hoping for a brush-up.
We fast forward through r-rated movies looking for nudity. We've passed
out in stranger's hedges. We've puked in salt water aquariums. In high
school, when the cool kids like you were dating and learning social
skills, we were playing Dungeons and Dragons and drinking lukewarm Pabst
Blue Ribbon. We were playing the Atari 2600 and sneaking bottles of
Manbeast's Dad's homemade Saki, which causes temporary blindness. We were
making prank phone calls. We were going to Star Wars 27 times. We can't
write one fucking paragraph without switching tenses. We were, are, and
always will be, losers in the truest sense of the word.

Get it? Now the only question is: will you, a real-life-having person,
waste further precious minutes of your life reading our future
installments? I think we both know the answer to that question.

The Losers

Losers 06 - "Fuckin' bird's too smart."

"Ahh alcohol, catalyst for bozotropism: That wonderful shift toward the
clownlike end of the behavioral spectrum." -- Manbeast

We'll now recount last year's hunting camp, which is about when I started
compiling this crap. I'll use the present tense because that's easier and
I'm lazy.

Time for the monthly home game. We plan to play right through Friday
night to Saturday morning, then leave for the cabin. Any pussies can get
a little sleep on the couch, if they're brave enough to be unconscious
within reach of their peers.

I drive over to Spaulding's to pick up him and Shithouse for the game.
The door is unlocked, so I walk in without knocking, naturally. Unheard,
I slink into the living room. Shithouse and Spaulding are sitting on the
couch, watching TV. Cartoons, to be specific. They're playing a drinking
game, and they're both apparently playing to lose. Before they know I'm
there, I overhear their little Mensa chat session.

Shithouse: Instead of spending all that money on slingshots and shit, why
doesn't the coyote just buy some food?

Spaulding: He'll never catch that roadrunner. Fucking bird's too smart.

Shithouse: [outraged] You see what I mean? He can afford a rocket but
he can't buy food?

Spaulding: Something is going to go wrong with that rocket.

(the rocket malfunctions, injuring the coyote)

Spaulding: Told you.

Shithouse: (Yelling at the screen) BUY SOME FUCKING FOOD, SUPER GENIUS!

So I hustle dumber and dumbest into the truck and we get to Dreamland.
After a ceremonial round of aqua vitae (you know, the water of
life...stupid in a bottle...fucking booze!) cards are in the air.

To give you a general idea of how tough the home game plays, the most
common pattern sees almost everyone in the pot, rapidly raising or
calling, until the last card is dealt. Now the game slows to a crawl.
Know why? Because only now, for the first time, are the inebriated
dumbasses trying to figure out what their hand is. They'll stare at it,
as though the cards are going to change, ask if anything was wild, then
try to decide if they can call with 2 pair in a game of baseball.
(Answer: of course you can call, got to keep them honest!) Then you have
to hear them explain their logic - "Well, I started with jack, queen, four
and I was going for the straight. Then on the fourth card I had two
diamonds, so I could make a flush too. Then I got a pair. By the end, I
had the fours and sevens and almost made a straight."

First hand - a rarity - Spaulding gets off to a winning start. Seven card
stud, low in the hole is wild, roll your own. By the end I have a
straight flush. Manbeast and Spaulding are still in, heavy action. I
mark Manbeast with at least quads. Spaulding could have as little as
trips and would play just as insanely, so no one knows where he's at. I
fear 5 of a kind from Manbeast, but with a straight flush I have to pay it
off. I call all the way as Manbeast and Spaulding whip-saw me for the
five raise maximum. Spaulding had a real hand for once - 5 of a kind -
and drags a monster. He uncorks his trademark annoying, high pitched,
wicked-witch-of-the-west, inappropriate for a fat guy laugh
"EEEEEEEEHEEEHEEEHEEEHEEHEE!" It is the finest tilt producing mechanism
known to man.

*** Snow White says ***
Idiots get dealt aces as often as everyone else.
*** End Snow White ***

Playing the rush: A few minutes later Spaulding deals hi-lo draw. A high
EV game for smart players, because home gamers are so loose that every
hand represents either a high or low draw. Not surprisingly, everyone
stays in before the draw and we cap the betting. Spaulding draws two
cards to a wheel and makes a 23456 straight. Betting is capped 4 ways
after the draw. Scoop. "EEEEEEHEEEHEEHEEHEE!" Now the trash talking
really takes off.

More abuse: A little later we're playing Homoha, a game Manbeast invented
in honor of Spaulding's aforementioned gay experience. It's Omaha high,
queens are wild, and straights don't count. I'm dealt KQJJ. Board comes
J4T94. Capped every round. Spaulding has two queens in his hand.

Fueled by excitement, everyone manages to play through to sunrise. We
load up the vehicles as Spaulding fixes us the breakfast of losers:
Orange juice and Absolut Mandrin screwdrivers. I pass, having layed off
the hootch at midnight, since I'm driving.

The plan is to spend Saturday night in Atlantic City, check out the
action, then head up to the cabin from there. It is a lot of driving, but
these are the sacrifices we're willing to make for the sporting life.

By midmorning we're ready to pull out, Spaulding has dozed off on the
couch. All attempts to wake him fail. Manbeast brings out a big wooden
plank, and we strap Spaulding to it. Then we use a dolly to cart his ass
outside. The van is pretty full, but Iron Mike's pickup is half empty.
Strapped to the plank, we load Spaulding into the pickup bed. We had
every intention of letting him make the hours-long ride just like that,
sliding around like a hockey puck, until Snow White convinced us that it
might be a tad too unsafe. So we unstrapped him and tossed him in the
back of the van, on the floor. He wakes up a few hours later, and clears
the cobwebs with a little hair of the dog.

At Spaulding's insistence, we stopped in Mt. Ephraim NJ, at a place named
"The Fantasy Show Bar." Mt. Ephraim is a little shitburg out in the
pine-barrens. We had to use the frigging GPS to get there. By the time
we get there Spaulding has had some food and is recharged and raring to go.

Variable: "How the hell did you hear about this place?"
Spaulding: "Internet."

We arrive. Spaulding "powers up" before entering by draining his flask -
hard. That it didn't implode is a tribute to modern flask engineering, as
we estimated the vacuum at around 10 microtorr. Then he sloppily refills
the flask from a fifth of Jack Black, and stashes it.

We enter, get our free welcome hug from a very acceptable looking naked
girl, a free (soft) drink, and some popcorn. The afternoon cover was low
- I think maybe $5. At first, it seemed like a real find. Did Spaulding
come through for once? Don't be stupid. The FSB is, in my opinion, a
minor clip joint. Not terrible, not as bad as the tourist traps in
Baltimore, but I wouldn't recommend it. Lap dances are overpriced and
highly tame (Manbeast tells his dancer: "Less dance, more lap."). The
dancers, even though we are tipping them well, are always asking if you
have "a little something extra" for them. You know - you tip them a few
bucks, then they hold out the right garter ("and one for here"), then the
left garter, etc. Maybe we were targeted as the desperate losers with
money (true) and on a
not-too-crowded afternoon shift they just worked us over. They're always
coming around trying to sell you an instant polaroid of you and a dancer.
Without asking first, one guy snaps a picture of me with my hand on some
dancers upper thigh - kind of brushing against the beaver - as she sits in
my lap, nude except for an elf hat. Guy tries to coerce me into buying
the polaroid, but I refuse.

Obnoxious Cameraman: "Sir, if you don't buy it I have to pay for it out
of my salary."
Me: "Please, you're going to make me fucking cry."

I would later realize they had no privacy policy.

Let me summarize this way: For the amount of cash you're going drop (if
you're not going to be a prick) you could have a far better time, and see
far better talent, at any of the upscale Philly or New Jersey spots.
Unless you insist on dirtier contact, which seems to be available here at
some price ($250, or whatever they think you're good for), look elsewhere.

Oh, I have your attention again, don't I? What dirtier contact, you ask?
You degenerate. Well, the girls allude to some unique action in the
sweetheart rooms. Manbeast asked about it and describes it thusly:

***Manbeast says*** Allegedly, for $250 (discreetly billed to any major
credit card) you pull on a condom and position yourself in what amounts to
a miniature stockade for your weenie. Then the dancer will do a lap-dance
type act, rubbing up against the little general. I said 'Honey, I can get
Greek in Atlantic City for 250, and you want to rub me with your thigh for
***End Manbeast***

Based on their other business practices, I have serious doubts about this
anyway. $250 probably covers the first song or something. I suspect
Manbeast has done it and doesn't want to admit getting ripped off. I'll
have to think of some way to extort the full story.

We depart the FSB, not before Spaulding marks his territory in their
parking lot in broad daylight.

We get back on the road, and start to talk about aging. Someone notes
that any kids currently in high school were not yet born when we were in
HS. Thanks for pointing that out.

I guess we ARE getting old, because we're starting to tell the dreaded
how-things-were-when-I-was-a-kid stories. Like this one:

Teens today have no idea have good they have it. Forget DVDs and the
Internet, in the early 1980s if you wanted to enjoy a little porn in the
privacy of your own home - and who didn't - you had to rent VHS. Movies
sold for $89.99 and up, so purchasing was out of the question when you
were earning maybe $4.00 an hour. And there were no big video chain
stores. We had to rent our porn at mom-and-pop stores where the
counter-person either looked like (and undoubtedly knew) your grandmother,
or else it was some hot high school babe who you didn't want to look like
a total jackoff in front of. At the store we frequented, the adult videos
were kept on a shelf behind the counter, so you couldn't just browse.
They had this photo-album filled with photocopies of all the box covers,
and so to rent a porno you actually had to look through the book and then
ask for the movie *by name*. And back then the smokers didn't have cutesy
titles like "Forrest Hump," or "Three Men and a Maybe," instead they were
really filthy. You felt like such a degenerate renting them. I'm sure it
caused us permanent psychological damage. For you young punks out there
reveling in the vast ocean of porn that is the internet, here's how
obtaining spanking material was When I Was Your Age:

First you stake out the video store for 15 minutes, making sure that no
one you know is inside and checking that there's no hot babe working the
counter. Then you rush in and try to make your rental as unobtrusively as
possible. You speed read through the book of filth.

You: (almost whispering) Uhm, yes, I'd like to rent 'Cocksucking Teenage
Cheerleaders' please.

Granny: You'll have to speak up, son.

You: (Turning bright red, looking around to make sure no one else is
nearby). Ahem, yes, I say I'd like to, uh, rent 'Cocksucking Teenage

Granny: Ooooh....(Granny hasn't had an impure thought since Ulysses S.
Grant was in the White House. She's obviously disgusted by your deviant
tendencies) Hold on...

[she checks on its availability. You wish there were some way to speed
her up so you can get out of there asap.]

Granny: ...seems to be out. Sorry.

You: Great. (Flipping through the smut book again) OK, how about 'Facial
Cumshot Cavalcade volume 13?'

Granny: Wait......I don't see it......let me ask my
granddaughter......(out walks the head cheerleader from your
highschool)......Heather, is, uh, Cavalcade #13 in?

Heather: No, that fat kid that they call Spaulding rented the whole Cum,
uh, that whole series.'

Granny: Oh, that spotty boy? My but he rents a lot of 'mature' videos.
I told him he's going to go blind.

Heather: Looks like he's halfway there already.

Granny: Wear gloves when you handle his money dear.

You: Can you just give me the newest release in the adult section that's
not checked out.

Granny: OK, here you go. Tell [your grandmother's name] I'll see her at

Heather: (Giggling) See you in school [your name], where I'll be sure to
tell all my hot friends about your filthy habit!

[As you slink toward the exit your pastor walks in. You accidentally drop
your video and he picks it up, hands it to you and winks. You notice the
video is titled "Gay Boys on Parade."]

Anyway, that's how it was if you were semi-normal, constantly fighting the
internal battle between community decency and raging lust. If you were
Spaulding, lecherousness superceded any sense of decency, and you actually
got a perverse pleasure out of the process:

Spaulding struts into the store, returning a half dozen adult videos in
full view of all the other customers.

Spaulding: "Whoowhee were these hot! I needed a frigging beachtowel and
mop to clean up after "Taboo II: Hop on Pop." Jesus Chri..."

Heather: "Yeah,thanksforyourbusiness.Byenow."

Spaulding: "Anything new come in?"

Heather: (Sigh) "Friday the 13th part 2..."

Spaulding: "No, no, I mean porno. Dirty stuff. You know...(he begins to
make a two-handed gesture)"

Heather: "Yes, yes I know." (She glances nervously at the decent, Ferris
Bueller renting patrons) We prefer to call them adult videos."

Spaulding: "So what's new? Tell me some titles."

Heather: "Look, they're all listed right here in the book."

Spaulding: "I know, but I just love to hear you say them. It gives me a

(Disgusted, Heather makes some excuse to leave the counter and Granny
takes over)

Spaulding: (Pointing) "What's that one, there?"

Granny: "Uhm, uh" (appalled) "Schoolgirls Who Love It Up The Ass."

Spaulding: (genuinely) "What's it about?"

--- To be continued ---

Coming in part 07 - The New Jersey Highway Patrol: Do they have a sense of

Losers - 07 "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?"

"You've got to ask yourself a question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do you,
punk?" -- Harry Callahan, "Dirty Harry"

So we leave the Fantasy Show Bar, having dropped over $100 each in an
hour, which as I've said is more money than the quality of the place
merits. We make our way to the Atlantic City expressway. Unfortunately,
we pass one of those deer crossing signs with the silhouette of a deer on
it. "I gotta get my deer!" yells Spaulding. He means he wants to fling a
beer bottle and smash it off of a deer crossing sign, a throwback to our
high school days. I figure he's goofing around, and won't really do it.

When another deer sign fails to materialize in an eighth of a mile or so,
Spaulding loses patience and decides to "sight in" in the meantime. He
fires a bottle at a large exit sign, scoring a direct hit. At least he's
good at something. We get him under control at this point, and tell him
how stupid that was. There are dozens of cars around us and I'm sure
someone is going to narc - I mean, a beer bottle hitting a sign at some
100 mph (vector addition) will get your attention. I tell the idiots to
stash their empties. I consider getting off of the expressway. Am I
being paranoid?

Apparently not - a few minutes later I spot a NJ State trooper in my rear
view, coming up pretty fast in the passing lane. OK, remain calm. It's
just a coincidence, right? Slow down slightly, and he'll pass right by.
No problem. He doesn't have his bubbles on. Well, he's passing some
people, and I'm starting to think 'whew, he's gonna slide right by.'
Then, as soon as he passes the car behind me, he tucks in right on my rear
bumper. Fudge.

Normally, I'd hardly care. After all, I'm not the one in
trouble here, right? And at most we'll get hit with a littering fine,
right? Well, there's one smallish problem: Inasmuch as we're going to a
hunting camp, we're carrying a bunch of guns. They're all stored legally,
except one. I happen to have a little 380 auto in my pocket. WHY did I
do that? Don't answer. There's no way the guy would search me, is there?

Isn't Rahway prison in NJ? Oh man, I remember seeing "Scared Straight" in
grade school. I don't want someone to take my shoes. I'm too pretty to
go to prison. Let Spaulding go to prison. The lifers would duct tape the
soap to his hand. I envision myself greeting my new roomie, a 350 pound
lifer who takes one look at me and says: "You am beautiful."

Variable's imagination

Guard: OK punk, meet your new roommate, Mike Tyson.

[He throws me into the cell with Tyson, locking the door.]

Tyson: Hewwo. Are you going to laugh at my thithy-boy voice?

Variable: I'm afraid it's unavoidable. N'heh.

Tyson: Just for that I'm making you my girlfriend. I'm glad you learned
what a tothed thalad was in part 5.5, it will thave time.

end Variable's imagination

So I'm a little nervous. Smokey stays right behind me for what seems like
an absolute eternity. Just when I think maybe it's all a coincidence, he
hits the bubbles and pulls me over.

"Papers please." Fortunately, they we're in order. I follow all the
rules. Yes sir, no sir. Hands on the steering wheel. No sir, I haven't
been drinking. "What about them?" "Damn straight!" says the helpful
Spaulding. I explain the arrangement and reiterate that I am the
designated driver.

To make a long story short, the guy puts the fear of God into us, but
ultimately tells us to get to AC, get off the road, and stay out of
trouble. He didn't even give us a littering fine. Whew.

We get to the Taj Mahal. I head right for a bar, to settle my nerves.
And I don't have to twist the guys arms to get them to come along. The
bartender is inexperienced. When I order a bourbon neat, I have to
explain what 'neat' means. He grabs a rocks tumbler and puts a meniscus
on it, charges me for a shot. Booyah. Next thing I know, everyone is
ordering a neat bourbon. We'll all be loaded in a hurry. What else is

After that belt we're ready to check out the action. But we decide to
play some cards first. Off to the poker room. I get an open seat in a
5-10 HE game. But I put my name on a list for 3-6. See, I'm pretty
convinced that with the house scarfing 100 plus dollars an hour, at least
some of these players must be much, much better than me for them to be
there regularly. They don't look wealthy, so they must be beating the
game. Manbeast says no, there are still plenty of idiots, don't worry
about it. But he tends to err on the side of overconfidence. So I plan
to jump to the 3-6 first chance I get. I can live with a hundred dollar
loss, but throwing away two hundred when I know I'm overmatched is just
plain stupid. I guess throwing away 1 hundred if I know I'm beat is
stupid also, but it's only 50% as stupid, which must be 100% smarter,
which sounds pretty good.

First interesting hand. On my small blind it gets folded around to me. I
have 32s. Suited connectors, but little. I opt to just call and take a
look at the flop. I say it is the correct play. Yes, a raise might steal
it but if I'm called I have to act first every round. My opponent raises
though. I figure I'm getting odds to call, so I do. Flop is something
like 9-7-2. He's acting strong, staring me down, so I check call him all
the way, including the river, correctly putting him on overcards. I drag
the pot, and he's somewhat irate about it. Comments? If nothing else,
the implied tilt odds were clearly there.

Shithouse comes over to sweat me. This is his first time inside a poker
room. When the cocktail waitress comes around, I order a beer for me, and
a double gin and tonic for him. When she returns, I toke her three
chips. Shithouse asks me if the drinks only cost $3. I tell him no, they
are free. Free booze? Shithouse momentarily gets a thousand-yard-stare
on his face. A thought is clearly rattling around his head, like a
ping-pong ball in NASA's Vertical Assembly Building. He was never able to
put his new found happiness into words, though he did shed a few tears of

Snow White's at the table with me. He had ordered a beer as well. He
takes a little sip and nearly spits it out, gagging. I don't know what
they serve, but it was pretty bad. And they don't give you a bottle -
just a plastic cup. I guess it's draft beer. Watery, whatever it is.

By evening, Spaulding has managed to dump over $400 playing Hold Em and 7
Card Stud. Time to recover those losses. He looks around for the
no-limit Indian game, but there's not one running at the moment. So,
nicely liquored up, he heads out to play Pai Gow. When he doesn't return
for an hour, we go looking for him. When we get to the Pai Gow room, he?s
got 8 black $100 chips. Losses 1 chip, bets 2. Loses 2 chips, bets the
remaining 5. Splits two small pair but wins anyway. Bet goes back to 1
chip. Because he is winning, Spaulding thinks he?s James Bond now. He?s
hitting on the cuter players, all of whom are asian. "Me rove you rong
time." Yeah, how could a girl resist that smooth line? Especially coming
from an obese drunk. Needless to say he doesn't get anywhere with the
girls. He does, however, crush the Pai Gow game. He works his stack up
to 15 blacks and change. Then comes the stunner: He bets all 15 blacks.
Spaulding's a gambler and all, but we're pretty surprised he's risking
$1500 on one hand. He gets dealt crap. "Don't worry about it. I feel
lucky." Dealer gets dealt worse crap. Spaulding doubles up with
something like King high / JT. We suggest he quit. He stacks the
winnings, and lets the 15 chips ride. After two ties, he wins again. He
is now ahead over $4,000 - an enormous sum by our gambling standards. We
drag him from the table.

We retire to the Hard Rock Café to ponder what to do with the money.
Spaulding's got an MPC of 1.0, so we all know he won't be saving it.
Spaulding orders up a round for everyone.

So we're at the bar, and there are two good looking girls a few feet away.
I figure they'll be getting hit on by Manbeast in about 30 seconds. Just
then, a girl in stretch pants lumbers by. She shouldn't be wearing
stretch pants in the same way as Spaulding shouldn't wear a speedo.
Someone, no need to name names here, mentions that her ass looks like two
raccoons fighting under a blanket.

One of the young good looking girls sitting next to us takes offense: "You
know, you shouldn't even be *allowed* to say something so ignorant.
That's a form of discrimination cluck cluck cluck..."

Manbeast: She's right. You're prejudiced, Variable. You make me ill,
talking like that.

At this point I figure he's just weaseling up to the hot
babe. Like Satan or Dracula, the Manbeast can be charming when he wants
to. He turns and addresses her.

Manbeast: Can you believe the ignorance of some people?

Good Looking Girl: It's so unfair. Some people have slower metabolisms.
It's not her fault she's heavy. And there's nothing wrong with being
heavy, anyway!

MB: Right! It's so nice to talk to someone who understands fairness and
equality, and wants to end discrimination.

GLG: Well, I'm just saying that, you know, if people would just not judge
one another by appearance the world would be so much better.

MB: Amen. I mean, just for example, not that you're really going to do
it, but you would certainly date my friend Spaulding over there, right?

(Spaulding gives her a big, dopey-yet-somehow-lecherous grin)

[GLG is suddenly speechless. Apparently pondering - perhaps for the first
time - the B side of egalitarianism.]

MB: I mean, just because his metabolism is a little slow, and just
because he was born a few years before you, you would never prejudge him
on that! People like you are wonderful!

Snow White: He's drunk too. Drunk as a skunk.

GLG: Uh...

MB: Is something wrong?

GLG: No, no.

MB: So you would date him, right?

GLG: You see, it's just different...

MB: Huh? You don't mean...(disgusted) oh, I should have known! You're
just like all the rest. You say the right thing...

GLG: No, it's not like that at all!

MB: You're prejudging my friend based on his appearance, aren't you?

GLG: Well, it's like this...

SW: His hygiene is substandard.

MB: Just answer the question. Are you prejudging my friend based on

GLG: Well, it's not that simple...

MB: You make me sick! You just reamed out my other friend for prejudging
that heavy girl, but you're exactly the same!

GLG: But...

MB: You conceited, prejudiced elitist! Go run off with your good looking
little friends! Go date your Ken doll boyfriends, you elitist scum!
Where do you hide your swastika? Hah? You make me want to puke!
(Mocking her) "Oh, the world would be a better place if everyone was like
me. I'm frigging wonderful." Yeah, right!

GLG: [Leaves in tears]

Variable: What'd you do that for?

MB: It passes the time.

Back to the matter at hand: the $4000. Manbeast slyly suggests we play a
private game, up in the room, to keep the money in the family. "We have a
room?" asks Spaulding.
"Yes, just one."
"Then I know what to do with the money!"
"Let's get some girls!"

Nervous, Snow White asks "Dancers, you mean?" Spaulding: "Yeah, sure,
they'll dance." "Don't worry about it," adds Manbeast.

--- To be Continued ---

Coming in part 08 -

"Where the music stinks, and they water the drinks, ...at the nudie bar.
Where the girlies dance in their underpants, ...at the nudie bar.
Where you see their butt, and their trap stays shut, ...at the nudie bar.
Where the breasts may be fake but man do they shake, ...at the nudie bar.
Where you swear like a sailor, and wish you could nail her, ...at the
nudie bar.
Where the cops are at the door, and there's a Kennedy on the floor, ...at
the nudie bar."
-- Al Bundy, Married With Children

Losers 08 - "We have bush!" (Booger, Revenge of the Nerds)

A quick dip into the reader mailbag:

Alert reader SaintMatty (name used with permission) wrote to ask: "what
exactly is an upper decker?"

An upper decker is simply taking a dump in the tank part of the toilet, as
opposed to the bowl. Disgusting. Because it is so cruel, it should be
reserved for only the most deserving of victims. Not as easy as it sounds
to execute, especially when you're three sheets to the wind, which you
generally will be anytime taking an upper decker seems like a good idea.
Wear a crash helmet.

Another reader asked us what we thought was the best dance establishment
we've ever been to. It depends on what you're looking for. Without
beating the details to death, we'll answer it this way: If we were going
to spend the rest of our lives at one club, it would be The Cheetah in

One more note: We had the home game last week and someone showed
Spaulding the post requesting "more Spaulding" in this report. He was
frigging unbearable all night. He's full of himself enough as it is, so
please do not encourage him. Thanks.

Back to part 08...

So we're in Atlantic City. We've got a room. We've got disposable
income. We've got enough booze to host a Kennedy wedding. All we need
now is some entertainment, if you know what we mean. Options?

* Cruise the casino itself. We've seen some definite working girls here

* Cruise the local sleaze scene - bookstores, go-gos, etc.

* Shop online - Spaulding has a printout -- complete with pictures -- of
local in-call escorts. He was clearly thinking ahead.

Snow White: "Where did you get that?"

Spaulding: "Internet."

Manbeast: "What if it is some kind of sting operation?"

Spaulding: "No, it's kosher. I've done this before. I'll make the

Snow White: "No way, that's inviting disaster."

Variable: "Hey, stop foreshadowing."

Spaulding: "Fuck that, I know what I'm doing."

Manbeast: "You know your track record with hookers. Remember that time
you got your wallet and suitcase stolen? Roy Sullivan used to call a
bad luck magnet."

Variable: "Now there's an obscure reference."

Spaulding: "Don't worry. I can handle it."

It does seem like advertising would be entrapment. He makes the call.
You have to give the service your name and number, then they'll call you
back. Twenty minutes later they call back. On such short notice, they
only have a two escorts to pick from - one blonde, one brunette. Both are
described as really good looking and well built. No, they're not the
naked hardbodies in the picture, but they're just as good. Both in their
20s? that's what we like to hear. Both about five-seven, one fifteen?
Excellent. Which one do we want? Both, of course! Say, there are a
bunch of us, is that a problem? No problem whatsoever? Great! Are they,
uh-you-know, enthusiastic? Very? Great! How much? $500 for both for
the first hour, $350 for every additional? OK, send them over. When?
Three hours? OK.

Seems a little steep, but Spaulding is in windfall-fallacy delusion and
could care less. The photo looks mighty good. But ordering women off the
internet is like a box of chocolates: you never know which one will be a
factory reject, full of festering pus.

Three hours is too long for Spaulding to wait. Since we've got plenty of
windfall cash, we decide to try the local sleaze scene, to see if we can
scare up any talent in the meantime. We retrieve the van and roll onto
the dirty streets of AC.

There are plenty of things in life we don't know the first thing about.
Like how to please a woman, for example. But if there's one thing we do
know about, it's strippers. And we can tell you this: Very few of them
are interested in more intimate encounters outside the club, even for
pretty good money. So we're not really expecting much luck; perhaps we
can score a private dancer or two who'll be a little more hands-on in a
hotel room than is generally allowed in a public business. But nothing
more intimate than that. Not that we're looking for anything more
intimate, as far as you know. This should help kill the three hours.

I want to head for Delilah's, but Manbeast quickly vetoes that idea. He
says the girls there are a little too high-end to be lured into leaving
with a bunch of losers for a hotel show. No, what we need is a slightly
lower caliber dancer. She should be good looking, yes, but we're willing
to trade some amount of beauty for a certain morally casual attitude.
Quickly, we spot a sign that says in three-foot tall letters, "TOPLESS GO
GO." We're there. Turns out that in front of the three foot tall T in
TOPLESS that's a courier 8 point letter 's,' making the real name of the
place "sTOPLESS GO GO." No matter, because before we enter, we find a
totally nude joint just a few yards further down the street. Naturally,
that is our first choice.

We slip in. I assume there's a cover, but the doorman is nowhere to be
seen, so we just stroll inside. I remember it as though it was


What a place! No sooner do we grab a seat than a chorus line of gorgeous
showgirls comes out on stage, high-kicking in sync and signing a Broadway
style song, to the tune of "Be Our Guest."

"See . . . our . . . breasts!
See our breasts!
Perky C cups they're the best
Grab a bourbon and a beer, my friend
And join our naked fest
Pitch a tent
Get the hots
Come enjoy our beaver shots
Try the liquor
It's delicious
With an aroma of fresh fishes

We can tease
We can dance
We take off our underpants
And a lap dance here is never second best
Come join our nudie venue
Grab a beer and then you'll
See our breasts
See our breasts!
S e e o u r b r e a s t s !!!


*** Snow White ***
Uh, I'm afraid that never happened.
*** End SW ***

Oh, yeah. I must have been drinking. Let's try that again:

What a shithole! The whole place is really dark, even by seedy strip club
standards, but that's not necessarily a bad thing because the lone black
girl on stage has a face that could make a train take a dirt road. Boobs
like a couple of old gym socks. Ass like a hefty bag full of gummy bears.
Enough crust in the crevices to make a pie. Apparently unfamiliar with
the Lady Schick. She's about as animated as a three-toed sloth. Have I
made my point yet? We head back for the door, almost tripping over a
boozed up guy about 80 years old. "Spaulding, tell you dad to get out of
the way!" N'heh, that one never gets old.

So we try sTOPLESS GO GO. Five buck cover. Not bad talent at all. A
little overdressed for a go-go. For those of you who don't know (yeah,
right, save the lies for your wife pal) a go-go is a dance establishment
where they can sell liquor but (in New Jersey) the girls must remain
'clothed.' But the more aggressive establishments strain the limits of
what constitutes a top. We've seen almost invisible, clear sequins serve
as pasties. But in this place they all have on bikini tops. Oh well,
they're several orders of magnitude better looking than the girls next
door are.

After we indulge in a quick test tube of some glowing booze (for $5 a pop,
if I recall, but served by a hot babe) Spaulding starts recruiting,
putting his Attila the Hun Subtlety School training to good use. "How
much honey? Hey, baby, how much? (To an Asian girl) Number one boom-boom
sweetie? GI Joe pay top dollar." We have to calm him down to avoid
ejection. The rest of us take a more refined approach. I gauge the
potential of each dancer as they make their rounds by seeing how far they
let me bend the rules. When I find one who - as long as I'm tipping well
- gives me flashes down the top and doesn't object in the least to a hand
on her firm little butt (generally a real no-no) as we talk, I prepare to
discuss a little business. She beats me to the punch, asking where we're
staying and wouldn't we like a little more aggressive attention? She's
kind of small chested, but has a nice, lean body. Fairly pretty, although
the smile is a bit reptilian. She can be there in an hour. Done and done.

I will spare you the long version of what happened in the room. Suffice
it to say that the sTOPLESS girl was superb. Exactly what I, for one, was
looking for. That is, full contact dancing but still gentlemanly - no oil
checking or anything - at a very reasonable $150. We were so pleased we
kicked in for another hundred in tips. Even Snow White stayed the whole
time, but JFB.

*** Snow White ***
Above all, I wanted to know exactly what happened.
*** End SW ***

Then the internet girls showed up. Oh, the humanity! Since I'm much too
delicate, I'd better let Manbeast explain:

*** Manbeast says ***
What a fucking disaster. They were nothing like the picture. Both were
way at least 30 pounds overweight, maybe more. Packed into too-tight
dresses, like overstuffed kielbasas. I mean they weren't totally gross,
but certainly below my dating standards. Just beefy girls I wouldn't look
at twice, much less PAY to see naked.
*** End Manbeast ***

If you're in a huff, thinking that maybe we're not so lean and mean
either, you're right. But that's why we're not male strippers. Believe
me, if you went to a $500 Chippendale's show and Spaulding was what
strutted out, you'd be pissed, too.

So anyway, they waddle in, straining the straps on their high heels, and
ask us all for ID. I guess cops don't have their own driver's licenses or

Variable: Uh, not that it's a problem, but you ladies don't look like the
girls that were described to us.

Manbeast: Looks like they fucking ate the girls that were described.

Blond: (not pleased) I have no idea what they told you. We need you to
sign this.

She hands Spaulding a document stating that we are not paying for a
massage. Snow White starts giggling. Spaulding, pressing ahead, asks
them if they want to change into their lingerie. They say we have to do
business before discussing anything else. Spaulding coughs up the $500.
The leader calls into the service to say that everything is OK. She
verifies Spaulding's name and DL number with HQ.

Then they sit down.

We're all looking at them, waiting for something to happen. Anything.
Snow White can't stop giggling. They're just sitting there. About a
minute goes by, but it seems much longer. It's really awkward.

Blonde: "So, where are we going?"

(2 seconds of silence, followed by Snow White busting out laughing.)

Spaulding: "Wha..wha..wha..whaddya mean where are we going?"

Blonde: "We're escorts, we're here to escort you somewhere."

Spaulding: "What if we just wanted to stay here?"

Blonde: "Well, OK, we'll keep you company here if that's what you want.
It's a bit unusual, but it's your money..."

Spaulding: "Uhm, you're going to get naked, right?"

Blonde: "What? We're escorts! I am offended!"

Spaulding: (Still in denial) "OK, I now the drill, $500 gets you in the
door. Look, uh, we really want to tip, you know what I'm saying?"

Blonde: (mock-shocked) "Sir! We are not prostitutes! You have paid for
one hour of our company, and that is what you will get."

Snow White is literally in tears laughing.

Spaulding: "Can we even get a little dancing?"

Blonde: "Do we look like dancers?"

Manbeast: "Fuck no."

After a few moments of not speaking, Spaulding says "Well, you may as well
leave now." "OK, see ya." Manbeast: "We just paid $500 to look at two
fat girls for seven minutes." Snow White never laughed so hard. After
they left, Manbeast advised Spaulding, "Cheer up, at least they weren't
men in dresses. You're making progress!"

Thoroughly tilted, we head back to the card room.

--- To be continued ---

Next time: Drinkaway Camp, Unsober Campers

Losers - 09 The Final Chapter

"You done taken a wrong turn." -- Bill McKinney, Deliverance

Deliverance is the ultimate loser movie. You got man against nature. Not
only does man lose, but Nature sodomizes him for good measure.

So anyway, following the escort debacle we gamble and sleep on an
as-needed basis. We wind up staying through Sunday. By late Monday
morning we're on the road, heading to the hunting cabin for the week. As
we leave Atlantic City we notice a Mickey D's, so we swing by for lunch.
Spaulding says he hopes the kids who work there don't spit in his food.
Manbeast, more of a Harry Stack Sullivan behaviorist, expounds:

*** Manbeast says ***
They won't. Kids who work at the cholesterol clown's might hate their job
as much as the next guy, but they don't resent the average slack jawed,
beer bellied patron. Resentment - that's the key. Now consider the
middle class kids who work at a restaurant where a bottle of wine costs
more than they make in a week - or a month - how do you think they feel
about the clientele? You think they wouldn't hock a luger in Mrs.
Rancidcrotch's cream of broccolli soup?

So you're safe at the clown's, unless Jesse Jackson is back there
somewhere. It's the country club where you better tell them to hold the
mayo, if you know what I mean.
*** End Manbeast ***

Back to the van. As we roll down the AC Expressway, Spaulding says wants
to put in his driving shift now. I'm not so sure he has sobered up yet.

Variable: "Are you OK to drive?"

Spaulding: "Fuck yeah."

Variable: "Manbeast, administer the sobriety test."

Manbeast: "OK, let me find a good song."

[He puts in a CD and plays the song 'Lola']

Manbeast: "OK Spaulding, I'm only going to tell you once: do NOT sing
along to this song."

[Spaulding resists for a good solid minute.]

Spaulding: (Bursts out) "Well I'm not the world's most passionate man but
I know what I am and I am what I am, I am, Lola! L-O-L-A Lola!"

Manbeast: "No driving for you, Popeye."

Long ride. Good thing we have beverage cart service. We go a little out
of our way to swing by the Alpine Inn, where the girls aren't exactly 10s,
but a dollar tip buys you a cheap feel. As you must know by now, that's
the sort of thing we look for.

We stumble in. We gently remind Spaulding that we have been thrown out of
here on other occasions as a direct result of his behavior. "Don't worry.
Eeeeeheeheeheee!" Manbeast spends a half hour trying to talk the best
looking dancer into road tripping with us. She actually seemed to be
considering it, but Spaulding's antics made her (wisely) decide it was a
bad idea. Spaulding buys us all a team shot of Jack black. Now as
mentioned you can get away with a little discreet groping here -- like a
little brushing up as you're handing over the dollar -- but Spaulding is
pushing the envelope, again. We get warned. A girl comes over who is
maybe 10 pounds overweight, but not hideous or anything. Spaulding is
bemoaning the her lack of tone, right in front of her. "It looks like you
were sitting on a bunch of BBs," the portly one observes. Then the
waitress, who is not a dancer, walks by and Spaulding reaches out and
gives her a honk. Moments later we're on the road again, by request.

We finally get to the cabin. There's a rush to use the head. Spaulding
has some deep thoughts regarding this phenomenon:

*** Spaulding says ***

Ever notice that on a long drive you never need to use the bathroom until
you're almost there, and then it's an emergency? On the way to the cabin
I didn't have to go at all. Then, as we're unlocking the gate, suddenly I
have to go real bad. It takes a couple minutes to get into the cabin, and
I have to run to the hopper. I'm dropping my pants as I walk in. First
butt torpedo is launched before my ass even touches down on the seat. I
swear, if the cabin would've been another eighth of a mile down the road I
would have shit my pants on the front porch.

*** End Spaulding ***

At the cabin - we've had a half barrel of Moosehead chilling in a stream
for about a month, since the work-weekend.

Variable: How can you tell if beer is skunked?

Manbeast: If it tastes like Heinekin, it's skunked.

We retrieve it and tap it. It is absolutely frigid. In the cool, fresh
air it is the best beer I ever had. We rapidly join the game that's
already running. The players are other cabin attendees who have come from
other directions (i.e., not with us). Of course we're playing garbage
poker, and non-poker games like 3-5-7, guts, etc.

Keep in mind the motto of garbage poker:

"Value bet! Value bet!
Look at all the calls you get!"

*** Snow White says ***

You can enjoy some fantastic EV with these garbage games. For example,
Acey Deucy can be played perfectly with no effort. Yet I constantly see
otherwise smart people making suboptimal bets. It's just this easy:

On every bet you can know your exact outs, ignoring card counting. Every
bet has either +EV or -EV depending on the spread of the cards and your
'goal post' rule. Just figure out your outs. For example, with no
double-for-hitting-the-goalpost rule if you get deal a 2 and a Jack, you
know that 32 cards help you (4 each of 3s, 4s, ... 10s) and the remaining
18 unseen cards hurt you. You're a 32:18 favorite, so bet the pot or as
much action as you can take. Don't go bust though (unless you can play on
credit), remember opportunity cost: a better bet might present itself
next time around.

When you have +EV, bet the pot or at least as much action as your Kelly
Criterion allow for. When you have -EV, however slight, bet the minimum.

Shithouse: "What's Kelly Criterion?"

Snow White: "It means you can't spend expectation."

If you play pay double for hitting the goalpost, figure it out the same
way but then add 6 to the number of cards that hurt you. E.g., a 2 - Jack
would now be 32:24, still a +EV bet but not as good.

*** End Snow White ***

Some of the most interesting conversations happen when you put Spaulding
and Manbeast and beer together at a poker table. Like this one:

[It started regarding the crop circle movie with Mel Gibson, now it
regards whether a Plesiosaur lives in Loch Ness, Scotland. Spaulding is
on the Pro side, Manbeast on the Con.]

Spaulding: I guess the hundreds of people who have seen it are fucking
liars then. Hundreds!

Manbeast: Some of them. But most are just bad observers. And we're
talking Scotland, so you know everyone who thinks they saw something was

Spaulding: I guess everyone who sees the pictures is drunk too?

Manbeast: Well, we can't disprove that by exception without leaving the

Spaulding: If people are seeing things, why only that lake? It just
doesn't make sense.

Manbeast: Let me ask you this: Do you think the Loch Ness monster is one
supernatural animal that never dies?

Spaulding: No, that's stupid.

Manbeast: So you think it is a real dinosaur. How big of a breeding
population do you think is needed for the species to survive the 200
million years since the Mesozoic? I'd think at the bare minimum, 150

Spaulding: Fine. So what?

Manbeast: So what you are saying is that modern science, which can split
the atom; which can put men on other celestial bodies and return them;
which can transplant hearts; which can take the smallest boobs and
transform them into double D sweater monsters - that modern science -

Spaulding: Fuckin' sauruses are too smart.

Next topic to pop up is tipping poker dealers. This must be a natural
conversation topic for people who have just been to a casino. Manbeast
tokes, but is against it in principle.

*** Manbeast says ***

The tipping concept preys on the windfall fallacy. When the dealer pushes
you a $135 and you throw back a buck it seems harmless - just pretend the
pot had been $134 instead of $135. So it's painless to toke when you're
dragging a pot - that's why it is done at that time. The GDP really has
no clue as to how much they're toking away. I suggest you try this, even
though we both know you fucking won't, you lazy sack of shit: For the
next six months play on Paradise Poker or another online site. Keep a
little notepad handy and place a hash mark on it every time you drag a
pot. After 6 months, look at your bankroll. Now count the hashmarks.
Fucking lot of them, aren't there? Where would your bankroll be if you'd
toked off $1 for every pot your dragged?

If we were really toking for service, wouldn't everyone toke, not just the
winners? And wouldn't the end of a down be the time? Yes and yes, but
that won't happen because the windfall mechanism is so ruthlessly

*** End Manbeast ***

So that night we decide to visit the nearby Deliverance Bar and Grill (not
its real name). The DBG caters to bikers, ATVers, snowmobilers, inbred
locals and other dirtbags. When we want to go there, we take the Sped
Bus. What is the Sped Bus, you ask?

The Sped Bus a huge van which has long since ceased to be street legal.
Shithouse knows his way around motor vehicles and has kept this thing
alive Frankenstein-style, by incorporating parts from other cars, trucks,
tractors, and various and sundry other machines. The net result is this
massive, smoke bellowing behemoth that looks like it was built from
Guatemalan factory seconds by a bunch of besotted incompetents whose only
tool was a sledgehammer ? which is pretty much the case. It has "SPED
BUS" painted in huge sloppy letters on both sides, because we figured
chicks would dig that. We primarily use it for hauling stuff around our
square mile of private property. The van is missing, among other
amenities, any and all fixed seating. The driver sits on a swiveling bar
stool which is not fixed to the floor. Passengers sit on the bare metal
floor, and try not to fall through the rust spots. If, at this point, you
feel an urge to point out how unsafe this is, let me just say, "no shit."

When we go to the DGB, we take the Sped Bus because we can get there via
99% dirt roads. There are no laws governing driving an unregistered,
uninspected deathtrap on dirt roads, as far as we know. It's not like
we've never driven it on blacktop anyway - the only local police presence
is the sheriff, who nominally covers 1000 square miles, and is generally
face down on a bar somewhere by 6:00 p.m. The only real problem with the
Sped Bus is that you have to keep reassuring people that it's not on fire.

"Now let's you just drop them pants." -- Bill McKinney

So we hit the DGB with the mission of getting ourselves so tranquilized
that Marlin fucking Perkins will come out of the bushes and clamp tags on
our ears. We succeed famously. To show you what a shithole the DGB is,
Spaulding got naked and streaked through the place and we did NOT get
thrown out. The owner thought it was hilarious. The locals played
Dueling Banjos on the jukebox and told Spaulding he had a real pretty
mouth. Around 0100 we head back to the cabin.

[Cue music: I Want You to Want Me, Cheap Trick]

So there we are, returning from the bar a little worse for wear, bouncing
down the back roads, Shithouse at the helm, 8 or 9 guys in the back. At
it's very quietest -- like, during the 3-5 minutes after the screwdriver
has been removed that it takes for the motor to stop running -- the Sped
Bus sounds like a dumpster full of frying pans and ball bearings tumbling
down the steps of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuican. Well, it's worse
now, with Cheap Trick blaring on the piece-of-shit cassette player and 6
guys watching by flashlight and cheering as Spaulding tries to convince
Snow White that professional wrestling is real through the subtle tactic
of slapping the Camel Clutch on him to demonstrate that "it really hurts."

So with all the noise, no one remembers hearing anything unusual prior to
Manbeast's calm, considering the circumstances, inquiry into who was
driving the fucking van. "Shithouse?" Snow White queried, as though
Shithouse might have been somewhere else about the vehicle, temporarily
shunning his responsibilities as driver -- a possibility which those who
know Shithouse would not too quickly dismiss. A brief moment of total
silence followed, followed by a period of cartoon style panic.
Maintaining his composure, Manbeast made a lovely dive to apply the
brakes with his hand, but was a little over zealous in doing so. Eight
guys simultaneously slid forward and lodged under the dashboard. God, in
keeping with His policy of watching over drunks and fools, allowed us to
escape unharmed - perhaps because we're double dippers in the drunk/fool
department, though more likely because the van had probably been coasting
forward at about 6 mph.

We found Shithouse a short way back down the road. He was sitting on the
stool, in the middle of the road, drinking his beer. He said that while
rounding a turn the stool tipped, he hit the door which unexpectedly
opened, leading to his impromptu departure. Notice despite tumbling out
of a moving vehicle onto a hard road, he saved his beer. He vows to
replace the stool with something that's a little harder to impart
rotational inertia on to, such as a Barcalounger.

The rest of the night was typical, which is to say we had the usual
drunken quad rally at 3 a.m., played poker, smoked cigars, and so on.

The next night we hit the FAG club. That's FAG as in Fish And Game, so
don't get any ideas, Liberace. Membership is $22 / year, so even though
we're only there for two or so weekends a year, it's well worth joining.
The place is entirely self supporting. For a bunch of rubes in the
sticks, you'd be absolutely amazed at the clubhouse. Huge, full bar (this
is, of course, where all the income comes from). Two pool tables, a few
pinball machines, three dart boards side-by-side-by-side for tournaments
action, juke box, lots of seating, full length table-shuffleboard (or
whatever you call it), a pair of 60 inch TVs, and an indoor pistol range.
Amazon.com should hire whoever is managing this place, 'cause the guy runs
a tight ship.

Any night in or near hunting season will feature a poker game, often two.
Just because we're out in the middle of bumfuck county doesn't mean these
guys are all hicks though. Quite a few are like us - only in the area for
hunting season - and are really white collar workers. I'm sure a number
of them play casino poker more than us. What I mean is, you can't just
assume all these guys are total fish.

So we get there. A few new faces, a few familiar faces. Everyone knows
you belong, because you need a keycard to get in the main gate and again
to get in the clubhouse. There's already a game running, but people are
willing to join us right away to form a second table. We start to
negotiate game and stakes. We settle on 3-6. We'll play a rotation of a
draw and hi/lo stud. Don?t know why those games, but that's the deal.
Our plea for some hold em is shot down. You can't beat the rake: $5 to
sit down and that's it for the night.

I'm not up on draw, so this might be -EV for me, but it sure will be fun.

I blow off some chips on the first draw round with a fifty cent ante.
Second hand I have 9s and 6s and I raise an early position opener. Two
callers behind me as well. Opener and another guy draw 3, me and one
other draw one. I don't improve and quickly realize I can't even bet
after the draw. When there's a bet behind me I wind up paying off trips.
I realize what a bad play I made. Shortly thereafter I open with Aces. A
guy calls behind and draws one. I catch another pair. So I have aces up.
I bet out -- probably a mistake. He only calls, but shows me trips.
Hmmm. There's a little more to this game than I thought.

Some woman passerby suggests that we have gambling problems. "It's not a
problem if you're winning," Snow White observes.

Spaulding is building up a great image, as always. He's taking 2 card
draws to flushes, then calling down the opener with his pair of 4s. He
cooks off a $100 buy-in BEFORE he can polish off a pitcher. Speed indeed.

Now it's time for hi/lo. At least I'm a little familiar with this game.
Manbeast and I split up a nice one. We'd been jamming two guys in with
Manbeast showing XX364 and me showing XXKJJ. In five cards I had jacks
full, Manbeast had the 6 low, and two guys went all the way with us
jamming up the river.

No Limit Fiasco

Later on I got duped into playing a small no limit hold em game, driven
largely by Spaulding. $100 buy in, blinds of 1 and 3, which seemed odd to
me, but what do I know. The titular adjective gives it away, so I won't
try for any suspense: I got busted twice, in short order. I don't think
my play was that bad. Of course, 99% of the time people say they don't
think their play was bad, and that can't be right. But anyway, check it

Hand 1: I had bought in for $100, paid one set of blinds, and had $96 or
so in front of me. I was dealt JJ in middle-late position. Two limpers
in front of me, who had seemed rather tentative. So with $10 in the pot I
made it $20 to go. Small blind calls, everyone else folds. He has me
outstacked. Flop comes K93 rainbow. He checks, I decide to take one shot
at it and bet $30. Guy calls. I check the raggedy turn behind him. At
this point I figure he can't have AK, or AA or KK. Maybe he has QQ, that
might figure. But I doubt it. AQ or maybe an A9 or something seems more
likely. So when the river rags off and he bets me all-in, I decide he's
trying to move me off my hand. I call. KT. Unreal.


Moments later I get dealt AdKd in late position. I make it $10 to go and
get two takers, one behind me and one of the blinds. Flop comes off
Jd6d6h. Blind bets the pot and I call. Guy behind me raises and I feel
pot committed so I call. No diamond comes and I lose to JTo.

Busted twice in 10 minutes. I limp away to the bar and wait to get back
in the limit game.

That is basically the highlights of last years hunting camp. Real soon it
will be time to do it all over again. We made the long ride home, and the
core members stopped over at Spaulding's for a bit. A few interesting
stories from there:

Manbeast is paging through Spaulding?s vintage Playboy collection.
Spaulding has every issue from the past 25 or so years. Snow White even
checks out a back issue.

Snow White: "This cracks me up. Look at this ad.
'What kind of man reads Playboy?' Then there's this picture of Steve
Garvey in this big cozy sweater, sitting in a
leather recliner in front of a roaring fire, a snifter of brandy in one
hand, thoughtfully perusing the college pigskin preview. Yeah, right.
What kind of man reads Playboy? It should be a picture of Spaulding,
fully grown but still has worse acne than a nervous 15 year old on a
pepperoni diet, scurrying into the bathroom with a little tent in his
skid-mark riddled Hanes, his disgusting gut hanging over the waistband
which has long since been stretched past the failure point of elasticity,
Playboy in his left hand and a palmful of Lady Prell conditioner in his
right hand, and that stupid grin on his face. That's 98% of your readers
right there. The other 2% are left handed."

A little later we're in Spaulding's garage to see his new compound miter
saw. There's an accident waiting to happen. Anyway, Manbeast is
rummaging through Spauldings other junk, as is his wont. He pulls out
some old model rocketry kits. We all remember how 'into' rocketry we were
in junior high school (we're losers, OF COURSE we were in to model
rocketry). Snow White pulls out a model with crooked fins and a hideous,
sloppy orange and black paint job. We're all cracking up at the pathetic
job Spaulding did on this rocket.

We're heaping abuse on Spaulding over this deformed rocket when Snow White
finds this diploma-like paper in the kit. It's the Estes safety pledge.
It says things like "I will always practice rocketry in a safe place, I
will never attach a warhead to my rockets", etc. etc. And get this:
signed it. What a loser, signing the Estes saftey pledge! We goof on him
for 15 minutes straight over this, including mock recitations of the
pledge. It really is hard to believe we're middle aged adults.

Next thing you know, we're out in his yard, trying to fire off model
rockets and engines. Generally speaking, you should have a large empty
space for this sort of thing. We're doing it in a suburban neighborhood.
Also, you really ought to launch them vertically. Manbeast fires the
franken-rocket right down the street. I had forgotten how fast these
things travel. (Answer: Fast enough to dent a car door). Spaulding
duct tapes a big engine to a beer bottle, inserts an igniter, stands it up
on a beer case tries to launch it. Of course, it is totally unstable and
it skips off the grass and loudly collides with something out of view.
Oops. We hightail it back inside. A minute later the phone rings. Snow
White answers it. "It's
Vern Estes. And he's fucking pissed." We later find out that a neighbor
reported "beer bottle throwing vandals" to the police. Another unsolved


Well, that's about all we felt belonged in the 2001 report. We'd like to
thank you readers who hung in there and waded through all 10 parts. You
stuck with us through reams of vulgar language, countless acts of behavior
unbecoming grown men, gay sex, drunken buffoonery, wiretapping, and cheap
Fast Times dream sequence rip-offs. You sick bastards. Thank you.

Parting shots anyone?

*** Spaulding says ***
Yeah alright, you made me look like a total dick in this queer internet
thing you're doing. Well let me tell you one thing -- when we played that
no limit indian? I turned my head and saw my card in the Budweiser mirror
behind the bar. WHO'S THE DUMBASS NOW? HUH?
*** End Spaulding

*** Manbeast says ***
Laugh now mister, you'll pay for that in the sequel.
*** End MB ***

The end.

All Content Copyright Iggy 2003-2007
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.

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