Friday, February 29, 2008
StB is giving me some hell for not reporting on the Cincinnati dwarf who just gave birth so here's the link: Woman Gives Birth to Baby Nearly Her Own Size
Also, Chad Johnson appeared at the local PF Chang's I was eating lunch at today. I implored him not to leave Cincy. He just laughed.
And the Brandi -- Naami Hawbaker sickness continues. This just makes me sad.
But in case the post gets deleted for legal or other reasons, I gotta blog it here.
Brandi/Naami Hawbaker -Please leave me alone!
Hi All -- Adam Slutsky here from Bluff Magazine...
While I never intended to contribute my $0.67 on the Brandi/Naami drama, I simply couldn't resist.
For some time now, she's been e-mailing me ad nauseam, keeping me informed of all her wacky antics.
I admit, when I first met Brandi nearly two yrs ago in Sin City at Caesars Palace, I thought she was cute, charming and very interesting.
She told me about some of her crazy adventures and we discussed doing a story about her rather unusual life.
But as time went on, it became VERY obvious that she: a) is surrounded by drama no thespian could ever match; b) has some kind of agenda in regards to self-promotion; and c) has more issues than Marvel Comics.
I recently e-mailed her back, informed her I wouldn't be doing the story, wished her the best of luck with all her endeavors, and finished by asking her to kindly refrain from e-mailing me any more.
Well, she took that about as well as a $5 hooker takes $1 for services rendered. She fired back another insane diatribe that burned my eyes like Clorox bleach. Yeesh!
So... For your reading pleasure, here's a few of her wackier e-mails, in which she describes her bisexuality, getting her "snug" pierced, and moving to Thailand, among other interesting tidbits. Enjoy!
Sent to me on 2/8/08
It's all so ridiculous that there is no point in my stirring things up
with facts, might as well keep it on the level it's on. There's always
going to be haters out there. I'm letting it fall of my back and am not
going to worry much about it. At the end of the day, I know what's true
and what's not true. My friends know what is true and stand by me... To be
honest, that's all that really matters. The rest of it is just the turmoil
that comes with being fabulous.
But I would love to do something with you right before the WSOP...
I'm just playing online till then and working on my self and body. I'd
like to move up from an "8" to a "10". So I'm having a bit of work done...
mainly just boobs. Although I am not going too big. I thought it over and
even though I do not feel that I need them, at the end of the day it's all
about money. And if a little bit of cleavage is going to get these
slobbering fools thinking about anything other than the mathematics of
poker, then that's obviously more money for me.
So yes, if you still want to... let's do something maybe in April or May.
I still have the questions you sent me before but if you'd like to create
new ones that is fine too. And if you come to LA or Vegas, let me know.
I'm mainly in LA now but I would of course love to see you.
PS. In case even you were wondering... NO, that is NOT me in that horrible
Sent to me on 2/12/08
I won't say much about that situation other than it is a classic case of a man falling in love with a girl who doesn't reciprocate those feelings. I was never "with" him. I never slept with him. I had thought he was a friend...
I never thought anything would turn so ugly like that. And the worst part
is, after everything he has done to me, he is still texting my phone and
sending me poetry online. Sick. I have a restraining order on him and he
has violated every sanction of that.
Between you and I... I was never a prostitute but I am not claiming to be
an angel. Of course I danced, I spent 6 years backpacking around the world
and doing volunteer work, etc.... It afforded all of that. One year, when
I was I think 22, I was in 8 different countries in 3 different
continents. (I went from LA to NYC in January then off to South Beach in
Miami, the Bahamas, and Cuba. Then flew back to NYC, then Vegas, then LA,
then South Korea and Japan. Back to LA and NYC and Vegas, then to New
Zealand, and French Polynesia. Then back to the States, then back to New
Zealand, then Fiji Islands, then back to the States.)
It's not something I regret.
I did get temporarily barred from a couple casinos in my early 20s for
being like Sharon Stone in Casino. I used to sneak chips from high rollers
and pocket them. Unfortunately now that I am older, I realize that I
probably wouldn't have had a problem with it if I had given the pit bosses
huge tips. I don't think they really minded my flirting and taking
chips... only the fact that they weren't getting their cut.
Anyway, I've been doing very well in the online tourneys. I placed deep in
the FTOPS Event #9 which just took place. Then played a $70 single table
satellite for the $216 multi-table satellite for the $1,060 FTOP Event
#10. In both satellites I finished FIRST place. In the Event #10 I got
some back luck, I outlasted nearly 3/4 of the field and there were only
about 200 remaining until the start of the pay out. I had 12 times the big
blind and went all in with AK only to be called by KQ. The flop came down
KQ blank. It sucks that I didn't make the money, but at least I looked
good busting out. Pre-flop I was a 3:1 favorite. I'll take those odds any
Mostly my game online is multi-table sngs. I'm tearing those up. Out of
the past 30 or so, of them that I've played, I've had 3 first place
finishes, one 2nd place, one 3rd place, two 6 place finishes, one 7th, and
Otherwise I sometimes play HU limit. This morning I beat Dustin "Neverwin"
Wolfe out of over $800 playing HU 8-16. I think he is a scum bag, so of
course.... That felt nice!!!!
Hope your day is going great! Peace and good wishes!!!
Sent to me on 2/13/08
Personally from my own PR standpoint, I think it would be better if we
waited until right before the WSOP. Maybe sometime in April or early May.
I'm kind of just laying low until that time anyway. I would like to have my "enhancements" done by then. I will need new pictures. Is there someone from Bluff that can shoot me?
I also think it would work better for you guys to wait as well, because
things will have quieted down a little bit by then and then the fire would
start up and people would be hungry for their "brandi fix" and clamoring
to read my side of things and what I've been up to.
If that doesn't work though, I obviously don't want to lose the
opportunity to have a great story done on me. I've always respected you as a person, friend, and fellow creative mind and I know the story is going to be awesome.
I have a little game plan that I'm putting in to work right now for the
WSOP and my image. Since I'm already the "bad (or wild and crazy) girl" of
poker... Let's just say that I plan to live up to it this summer! I have
decided to come out openly on my bisexuality. I've joined an online dating
site so that I can meet some hot girls.
This summer during the events... Not only am I going to be looking hot and
sexy, but my girlfriend (or girlfriends) will be perfect 10s as well. How
distracting do you think it's going to be when one of them comes up to me
either during the an event or on my break and starts making out with me
like crazy? Ha ha. If my new enhancements as you put it, don't make those
guys go crazy and stop thinking about the mathematics of the game... Then
seeing two smoking hot lesbians all over each other surely will. (I will
send you another email with some pictures of the three girls I've been
talking to online so that you can picture things better and you know my
Embodying the full persona that has been placed upon me, my life is going
to get even more wild and crazy during the WSOP. Besides playing in a ton
of events (and a lot of new ones that I didn't do last year... like 2-7
and Omaha 8), being surrounded by my hot lesbian lovers, and partying at
clubs like TAO... you've also got my riding motorcycles, driving race
cars, and shooting machine guns in my spare time. I might even see if I
can get permission to base jump off either the Stratosphere or the Rio.
(I'm friendly with Bobby Baldwin so maybe I can see if he would help pull
some strings for me.)
On a side note ~ I just found my naked bungee jumping tape in storage and
watched it recently. It's awesome!! I really need to show it to you
sometime. I'm completely naked except for my shoes and jumping the second
highest jump in the entire world!!!
Trust me, I am going to be the talk of the WSOP. That's why doing a story
right before it all starts is best. It gives me some more time to work on
my game plan.
Hopefully putting you in my confidence with all of this is not a mistake.
I don't want any of what I just said leaked before the event. If people
are expecting it, then it's not going to be a surprise and they won't talk
as much about it when it actually happens. Instead, let's just keep this
between you, me, and Matt ONLY.
Thanks. Let me know what you think!!
Sent to me on 2/20/08
Question... Can we do the article from Thailand sometime in the upcoming
months? I'm suddenly on the fence about playing in the WSOP this year. I
need a break from the poker scene. I'm considering moving to Thailand in
two months after I get my breasts done. There is a big expat community
there and is fairly easy to relocate. Not to mention that I can live in my
own bungalow right on the beach and play online poker all day. Plus...
Thai girls are really hot!
I'll probably play the APPT events while I am living there. And I'm
definitely bringing my dog with me. Maybe you will even come to visit and
do the interview in person!!!
On another note ~ I just got my snug pierced!! (Ha ha!! I love saying
that! It sounds so kinky!!)
And my shark scope score is pretty damn good as well. I'm just playing
lower limits and building my bankroll, but at least I have a little sharky
swimming by my name. My ROI is over 40%. It used to be 67% but I took some
bad beats playing $100 SNGs so it went down a bit.
Anyway, I hope you are well. Please let me know if this can be done from
Thailand. I'll ship over some pictures when I get there if you guys agree.
Oh and P.S. ~ I'm trading poker lessons for sky diving instruction... I
need a hundred sky dives under my belt before I can base jump.
Sent to me on 2/24/08
Hey Adam ~
I can wait to start sky diving. I just found my naked bungy jumping
tape. It's pretty funny and cute. I'm completely naked except for shoes
and harness and I'm doing one of the highest jumps in the world. What
makes it even funnier is that I just got dumped. They asked me to say
something to the camera and I said "**** you Eryk!" LOL
In a way it was my "liberation" jump!
I'm converting the VHS tape to DVD. Then maybe I'll post it on Youtube or
Anyway, in other news... I heard you wrote to both BTOC and Brandon on
2+2. Don't ask how I know that. There are things I cannot tell you until
more trust is developed... I was just going to say, don't believe
everything you read/hear. Things are not what they seem sometimes. I know
this all sounds so cryptic but it's true. And certain people don't want
the world to know they are talking to me because it would make them look
If you want a real story though... you should read the front page of NWP.
That's completely true. There are email exchanges posted between creepy
Sklansky and myself. If you like, you can even write that story now. I'm
sure the whole poker world would like to know that he is too mentally
retarded to have a relationship with anyone normal or in his
age/intelligence range and can only manage to date underage runaways and
handicapped girls. The latest love of his life is inbred. Her mother bore
3 children with her own father. Basically, the "greatest mind of poker
theory" is a pretty sick dude. I no longer have anything to do with him.
Actually, I'm quite ticked off... He hasn't given me any poker lessons but
is taking all the credit for my successes. Although I've still yet to win
the flips in the later tournament stages when everyone starts moving all
in. Still, I cash in nearly 60% of the events I play. I'm definitely going
to hit one soon. Since I already make it through most of the field, there
is going to come a time when I will win those late stage flips (example:
AK suited vs. 99).
The only site I play on right now is FTP. My screen name is "Flirty B".
Although, I keep my observer chat off due to the random weird people that
rail my games so if you say hi, don't be upset when I don't respond.
In regards to my relocating to Thailand, I am super psyched! I just kind
of realized there are things I want to do and places I want to see before
I settle down and have children. I might as well do them now!! I'm just
saving up money right now and waiting for my name change and passport
stuff to be done.
Well, I am playing in a tourney right now. G2G!! Hope life finds you happy
and well. Talk to you later.
Sent to me on 2/24/08
And by the way...
Thought you might be interested in knowing a couple more tidbits bought
the Sklansky situation. The first is that not ALL the emails are posted on
NWP. There are a few more from when I did not adhere to his creepy request
and send the picture. My favorite is one that starts off "You are no
longer my favorite cup of tea." And basically says that he is going to
"quit" me. When I responded and asked him why, he sends another email
saying "I'm talking about the picture".
A couple days later, I put up the post on 2+2 titled "I love you David"
and posted the pics that are now up at NWP. I apologized for calling him a
"weird creep", said "I don't know what I was thinking!" and that I wanted
to make good on our deal. That's what made it so funny. I was being
completely sarcastic and in the pictures neither pubes nor panties were
attached to me.
That's when I got banned.
The other piece of information you might like to know is that David is now
bribing me to write a retraction statement saying that his emails were
taken out of context. He even took the time to write out exactly what I
should say in this supposed statement word for word if I want to be paid
Drama! Drama! Drama!
Sent to me on 2/25/08
Ok. Here it is... Brandon is still talking to me. In fact, he just paid my
storage bill and bought me groceries online. He even apologized to me last
night for exaggerating and lying in those posts and said that he will
write a statement telling people the same.
He just doesn't want anyone to know because he'd have hell to pay socially
and it would make him look really stupid.
Also, I don't want it out because I knew all along that he was simply
trying to illicit a response from me...He was upset that I just cut him
out of my life like that... And at the end of the day I decided to cave in
and give him what he wanted because I want less hassles in my life.
Obviously going to court would have been a major pain in the ass. But
now, he has dropped all charges and isn't cooperating with the insurance
I trust that you will keep that information to yourself.
Yes... I was well aware that would most likely happen.
And while I like you as a person (based upon the limited time we spent
together and our exchanges) I was beginning to get the feeling that
whatever story you were to write about me would not end up flattering or
show me in the most positive light.. That is why I did what I did. I
believe the word for this is: subterfuge.
While I decided that I would indeed not be doing your story, as far as the
other sites are concerned... how do you get people to stop writing ****ty
things about you? Obviously by making a claim that you will get them to
write something. All the sudden nobody wants to give you attention.
I knew David would eventually post my exchanges... I just did not know he
would embarrass himself so badly.
I think people are starting to get the picture... I am the wrong girl to
Have a great day!!
Bottom line: Somewhere, there is a rubber room with its occupant missing!
Weee. I'm heading to Columbus to watch this weekends stacked UFC card.
Call me crazy but I'm wagering on Dan Henderson versus Anderson Silva in the title fight. Only because Dan speaks English, damnit.
Forgive me for this MMA related post, but hot damn, this is big news for us.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has inked a three-year deal with Anheuser Busch, arguably the biggest sports marketer of them all, that will go into effect at UFC 84 in May.
From todays Reuters:
"Cage fighting" slugs its way on to prime-time TV
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - CBS is bringing mixed martial arts, the bone-crunching combat sport popularly known as "cage fighting," to prime-time television this spring, the U.S. network said on Thursday.
Branded as barbaric by critics in the 1990s for its lack of rules, mixed martial arts, or MMA, has evolved into a more mainstream sport that bars biting, eye-gouging, head-butting and strikes to the groin.
But fierce punching, kicking, karate, judo and wrestling moves -- with no protective gear -- are still very much a part of the sport.
One of its biggest stars, the bald, bearded Kimbo Slice, has become a YouTube.com sensation for video clips showing him punching his adversaries into submission within 30 seconds. The sport remains unsanctioned in more than a dozen states.
Beginning in April or May, CBS plans to broadcast four MMA events each year as two-hour live specials airing on Saturday nights, a time period once reserved for such family fare as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Bob Newhart" and "The Carol Burnett Show."
Saturday nights have become a virtual dead zone for broadcast networks generally due to drastically changing viewer habits. CBS now devotes much of its Saturday prime-time lineup to movies, the news magazine "48 Hours Mystery" and reruns of its hit crime dramas.
But CBS executives are seizing on the growing popularity of mixed martial arts, especially among the young men most prized by TV advertisers, as an opportunity to build a lucrative franchise where none exists.
"It is a sport that has a very strong fan base and attracts a terrific audience," CBS Entertainment executive Kelly Kahl told Reuters. "We're putting it on Saturday nights, a night that has been underserved by all the networks for quite some time. So it's low risk and a potentially large reward."
CBS is bringing MMA fights to commercial network TV for the first time through a deal with ProElite Inc., one of the sport's leading promoters, which has produced mixed martial arts for the sibling cable channel Showtime since last year.
ProElite matches, and those of its larger competitor, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, also are big draws on pay-per-view television, and tickets to live events are often priced at more than $500 per seat.
Kahl said CBS would broadcast its MMA matches as they are already presented on Showtime, with no special rules or alterations to tone down the level of violence.
The refereed matches are conducted on circular mats enclosed in a mesh cage in a series of five-minute rounds.
"It is a sport, and it has violent elements. So does football, so does hockey," Kahl said. "If an injury does happen, we'll try to treat it as tactfully and tastefully as we can. But it's not something we're going to hype."
Douglas DeLuca, the CEO of ProElite, said most critics of MMA "have never watched the sport and certainly don't understand it."
"This is a sport of highly trained, highly talented ... world-class athletes," he said. "It is a chess match when these guys get in there and fight, when you understand exactly what they're doing. It's like a beautiful dance."
He also said the CBS events would not be limited to MMA's male stars. Some of the fights will feature the sport's female stars. One of them, Gina Carano, currently appears as Crush on the NBC reality hit "American Gladiators."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
From today's Time magazine:
By DAVID VON DREHLE
A story is often told at times like this - times when American voters are choosing among candidates richly seasoned with political experience and those who are less experienced but perhaps more exciting alternatives. Once upon a time, the torch was passed to a new generation of Americans, and a charismatic young President, gifted as a speechmaker but little tested as an executive, was finding his way through his first 100 days. On Day 85, he stumbled, and the result for John F. Kennedy was the disastrous Bay of Pigs.
For scholars of the presidency, Kennedy's failure to scuttle or fix the ill-conceived invasion of Cuba is a classic case of the insufficiency of charisma alone. No quips, grins or flights of rhetoric would do. Kennedy needed on-the-job training, as he later admitted to a friend: "Presumably, I was going to learn these lessons sometime, and maybe better sooner than later." Unfortunately, when a President gets an education, we all pay the tuition.
Barack Obama basks in comparisons to J.F.K., but this is one he'd rather avoid. In the run-up to what could be the decisive contests for the Democratic nomination, Obama's relatively light political rÉsumÉ - eight years as an Illinois legislator and three years in the U.S. Senate - continues to be the focus of his rivals' attacks. Hillary Clinton advertises her seven years in the Senate and two terms as First Lady, saying "I am ready to lead on Day One." And the message has gotten through: by clear margins, voters rate her as the more experienced of the two candidates. The fact that this hasn't stopped Obama's momentum doesn't mean he's heard the last of it - not with John McCain, who has spent 26 years on Capitol Hill, the likely Republican nominee. "I'm not the youngest candidate. But I am the most experienced," says McCain. "I know how the world works."
Obama's credentials would be an issue in any election year. He would be sworn in at age 47, making him one of the youngest Presidents in history, and would arrive in the Oval Office with less executive experience than most of his predecessors. Depending on what your leanings are, you could compare his work history - lawyer, state legislator, Washington short-timer, orator - to Abraham Lincoln's, or to a thousand forgotten figures in politicalgraveyard.com. The question of experience takes on added bite this year, though, because the next President will inherit a troubled and menacing satchel of problems. From the Iraq tightrope to the stumbling economy, from the China challenge to the health-care mess, from loose nukes to oil dependence to (some things never change) Cuba policy - the next President will be tossed a couple dozen flaming torches at the end of the inaugural parade, and it would be helpful to know that this person has juggled before.
But if one moral of the Bay of Pigs is "Beware of charisma" or "Timeworn trumps callow," what do we make of the mistakes and miscalculations of deeply experienced leaders? Franklin D. Roosevelt's failed court-packing scheme, for example, or Woodrow Wilson's postwar foreign policy? For that matter, Kennedy would not have faced such a harsh early tutorial if the venerable warrior and statesman Dwight D. Eisenhower had not allowed the Cuba-invasion plan to be put in motion during the last of his eight years as President.
Wouldn't it be nice if time on the job and tickets punched translated neatly into superior performance? Then finding great Presidents would be a simple matter of weighing rÉsumÉs. Take a Democrat like Bill Richardson - experienced in Congress, in the Cabinet, as a diplomat and governor - and have him run against Republican Tom Ridge, a former soldier, governor and Director of Homeland Security, with the winner chosen by a blue-ribbon commission of all-purpose elders. The Danforth-Mitchell commission, perhaps, or O'Connor-Albright. But it has never worked that way, which is why Lincoln's statue occupies a marble temple on the Mall in Washington, while his far more experienced rival William Seward has a little seat on a pedestal in New York City. "Experience never exists in isolation; it is always a factor that coexists with temperament, training, background, spiritual outlook and a host of other factors," says presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. "Character is your magic word, it seems to me - not just what they've done but how they've done it and what they've learned from doing it."
There's something egglike about the concept of experience as a qualification for the highest office. At first blush, the idea appears to be something you can get your hands around. Presidential experience means a familiarity with the levers and dials of government, knowing how to cajole the Congress, understanding when to rely on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and when to call on the National Security Council - that sort of thing. But bear down even slightly, and the notion of experience is liable to crack and run all over. If knowing the system is so useful, then second-term presidencies should be more successful than first-term. Instead, many Presidents lose effectiveness as they go along. Lyndon Johnson, for example: his experience as a master legislator no doubt helped as he steered his historic civil rights and welfare agenda to passage. By the end of two years as President, however, "he was out of gas," recalls Johnson aide Harry McPherson. The longer Johnson was in the Oval Office, the more feckless his presidency became.
Was it Franklin Roosevelt's experience as governor of New York that gave him the power to inspire in some of the nation's darkest hours? Or was that gift a distillate of his dauntless battle with polio? To a keen student of human nature, all of life offers lessons in how to lead, inspire and endure. Lincoln's ability to apply useful lessons from his motley experiences was among his most striking traits. When Ulysses Grant explained his grand strategy to defeat Lee by attacking on multiple fronts, Lincoln immediately thought of a lesson in joint operations learned years earlier on the farm. "Those not skinning can hold a leg," he said approvingly. For other temperaments, no amount of schooling, no matter how specific, will do. Richard Nixon served as a Congressman, Senator and Vice President; he watched from the front row as Eisenhower assembled one of the best-organized administrations in history. When Nixon's turn came, though, his core character - insecure, insincere, conspiratorial - led him to create a White House doomed by its own dysfunction.
Experience, in other words, gets its value from the person who has it. In certain lives, a little goes a long way. Some people grow and ripen through years of government service; others spoil on the vine. At the same time, the value that voters place on rÉsumÉ is constantly shifting. James A. Baker III is an authority on this. In 1980, he managed the campaign of his well-credentialed friend George H.W. Bush, under the slogan "A President we won't have to train." But the public mood was sour on Washington, and victory went to an outsider, Ronald Reagan, who had never served in Washington. Eight years later, the mood was stay the course, and Bush's experience as Vice President was his ticket to victory. Then the atmosphere turned again, and in 1992 the public demanded someone new. Baker, a former Secretary of State, still believes that a candidate with credentials should certainly tout them, but in the end, "there's no such thing as presidential experience outside of the office itself." The quality we ought to seek "is leadership."
Countless words have been devoted to the presidency, and still its dimensions remain indescribable. Two words that recur poignantly are power and loneliness. Former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta recalls a moment in 1994 that for him expresses the intersection of these burdens and the essence of the office. Bill Clinton had called for a military dictator in Haiti to step down, and the crisis had ratcheted up to the point where "the ships were moving, the Navy SEALs were on alert." Some of the most experienced statesmen in Washington "were all standing around the desk saying to Clinton, 'You've got to make a decision.'" (After Clinton ordered the 82nd Airborne Division to start flying toward Haiti, the dictator backed down.) A President can take counsel from the most eminent advisers in the world, but in the end, only the President can make the fateful decisions. Some decisions are too hard or too weighty to be made at a lower level. "It's about that moment," Panetta says - that decisive moment.
When Americans pass over the best-credentialed candidates because their heart or their gut leads them elsewhere, they are only reflecting a visceral understanding that the presidency involves tests unlike all others. They are, perhaps, seeking the ineffable quality the writer Katherine Anne Porter had in mind when she defined experience as "the truth that finally overtakes you." An ideal President is both ruthless and compassionate, visionary and pragmatic, cunning and honest, patient and bold, combining the eloquence of a psalmist with the timing of a jungle cat. Not exactly the sort of data you can find on a resume.
I've been having some interesting conversations about this election in the office, when and where I can find it.
It's infinitely fascinating how people think. But I'm cursed with curiousness.
Anyway, I just saw this feature article on CNN written from my hometown of Cincy.
Democratic intensity showing up at the polls
By John King
CNN Chief National Correspondent
CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) -- It is a slow but steady trickle all day long at the Hamilton County Board of Elections: The Ohio presidential primary is Tuesday, but turnout is already smashing records.
In the 2000 presidential primary campaign, 10,371 absentee ballots were requested. Four years later, there were 9,600 requests.
And this year? More than 40,000 -- just in the Cincinnati area, part of an unprecedented early and absentee voting pattern across the state.
It is in part due to aggressive pushes by both Democratic campaigns. Some Barack Obama campaign ads end with information about early voting, and to visit his Cincinnati campaign headquarters is to see an effort both to get voters to cast their ballots early and on a call-and-rides list for next Tuesday.
Ohio, it appears, will be no exception in a presidential primary season punctuated by remarkable Democratic intensity and some signs of a shrinking or changing Republican base.
"More people are telling us they are going to be voting in the Democratic primary," Eric Rademacher, associate director of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati tells CNN.
"And when we look at our polls over time, we are seeing a little bit of a dip in the number of people who are self identifying as Republicans."
By the numbers, Republicans have a serious case of what you might call turnout trouble.
Excluding caucuses, some 22 million Democratic votes have been cast in the primaries held to date. For Republicans, the number is 14.1 million.
One reason Republicans cite now is the fact that the Democratic contest is highly competitive while the Republican race is all but over. But GOP turnout has been down since the beginning of the year -- even when the Republican race was wide open.
"Every coalition and every party undergoes transition over time and I think the Republican Party is undergoing such a transition," says Republican strategist Whit Ayres.
But Republicans also see an upside: Despite the clear Democratic intensity advantage, Sen. John McCain still runs statistically even or better in most of the national polls looking ahead to the general election. The latest Ohio Poll also shows McCain very competitive in the state.
"Don't lose sight of the fact that John McCain currently defeats or is very close to the two [potential] Democratic nominees in the general election polls looking forward to November," says Ayres.
"John McCain could very well be the next president of the United States based on the current polling. So that suggests whatever transition the Republicans are going through, it may very well end up being a successful transition."
Local GOP organizers say the way to overcome the Democratic advantage in intensity is through superior targeting and organizing -- and that work is well underway here even though the November election is 250 days away.
At Hamilton County Republican headquarters in Cincinnati, for example, boosting McCain's support among conservatives involves targeting voters who are known through the party's database to be regular churchgoers. Information sent to them includes details of McCain's senate record opposing abortion rights.
Independents and moderate and conservative Democrats are another target.
Maggie Nafziger, the county GOP executive director, says the database used to target such voters includes things like applications for licenses to carry a concealed weapon.
"I can find the answers to those questions on anyone in Ohio," Nafziger tells CNN. "Then we go after them."
A little piece of me dies inside every time I see that Party Poker desktop icon.
Every fucking time.
Easing the pain right now is the fact that MMAjunkie.com was being featured on the home page of Yahoo.com today. Of course, now they wrote their own story and are just sourcing us, since we broke the story. Bastards.
Two big stories that Dann broke were the CBS television deal and also that Budweiser, the King of all Sponsors, has inked a three year deal with the UFC.
It feels like something is going mainstream here.
But I digress as I am loathe to do.
Mr. AlCanHang has posted most of the details on the upcoming poker blogger tournaments that will be awarding seven World Series of Poker seats to the lucky winners: More BBT3 information
Kudos to Al and all who helped him make this a reality.
My only hope is that someone out there has pity on us old folks and will start one of these damn things before 10pm EST. That's pretty late, especially with a decent-sized field participating.
But I'm just whining. I'm stoked to see this happen for our little community and its readers. Best of luck to everyone, and please, keep the poor-sportsmanship to a minimum.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Yes, folks, we've officially reached the point in sports history where people can win millions of dollars for watching other people watch out for fish."
Yes, I love to fish, but the only thing worse than watching people fish on TV is watching people play poker on TV.
So why am I blogging this?
Oh yeah, that David Sklansky is a Pervert thing. I want to block it from my memory forever and ever.
To think he once wrote the Theory of Poker in a universe far, far away.
The esteemed co-author of the Theory of Poker, Mason Malmuth, locked the thread down after 18 pages of WTF. It's only a matter of time before it gets deleted forever.
The purpose of my post is to demonstrate who is in charge and what I have had enough of. So this thread and this topic is finished.
Watch people fish. Win $1 million
A former Wall Street raider is about to launch the richest fantasy league ever. Ah, the American sporting life.
Tampa, Fla., native Kenny Lavallee stands under the desert sun beside former Philadelphia Eagle quarterback and current ESPN football analyst Ron Jaworski, both men smiling for photographers. After one of those stilted, ceremonial handshakes, Kenny lifts an oversize cardboard check over his head and slowly rotates it Vanna White-style for all to see -- $300,000, the first-place prize in the Las Vegas-based World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF), the richest fantasy sports league in the country.
Correction, the second richest. Thursday, Feb. 28, marks the start of a surprising new fantasy league -- in an even more surprising sport -- that will blow away all previous fantasy cash prizes and make the WCOFF look like a quaint little office pool.
Sports fans, fantasy nuts, people who love winning giant piles of money for sitting at a computer -- meet FLW Outdoors Fantasy Fishing. It's the first-ever fantasy sports league to guarantee that somebody will become an actual, totally legit in the eyes of God and the IRS, millionaire. Or even a multimillionaire. FLW is blowing away all previous fantasy leagues by giving away more than $7 million in cash and prizes. Yes, folks, we've officially reached the point in sports history where people can win millions of dollars for watching other people watch out for fish.
As a sports fan, I knew that bass fishing was getting popular. But as an urban Northeasterner, I assumed it was more like early NASCAR -- huge in states whose official flag is the Yosemite Sam "Back Off!" mudflap, but not as popular elsewhere as football, baseball or even hoops. And while this point of view is admittedly myopic, let's be completely honest: What sports fan, above or below the Mason-Dixon line, would have ever believed that a relative, red-headed sports stepchild like pro bass fishing, not über-popular football or thinking man's baseball, would crown the first real millionaire in fantasy sports?
Fantasy fishing works like any fantasy league. After signing up at Fantasy Fishing, you draft 10 real anglers (never call them "fishermen") and accumulate points based on how much bass weight they reel in. Each of six regular-season tournaments awards $100,000 to the highest-scoring participant. The most points in the seventh tournament, the Forrest L. Wood Cup -- the league's "Super Bowl" -- also wins $100,000. And the $1 million grand prize goes to the most cumulative points over all seven events, with an astounding $5 million "Top 7 Exacta Bonus" to any owner who picks the top seven finishers, in exact order, in any one event. Oh, and they're also giving away trucks and ATVs and more. Hey, fantasy leaguers, when was the last time Peyton Manning or Alex Rodriguez won you a friggin' boat?
But the unprecedented riches aren't surprising considering the man behind FLW: Irwin L. Jacobs. Jacobs, 67, was one of the 1980s' most famous (or infamous) Wall Street corporate raiders, a member of the Forbes 400 richest Americans from 1986 to 1988. In 1996, as founder of Minneapolis-based boat maker Genmar Holdings, and fishing event marketer FLW Outdoors, he bought airtime for his FLW tournaments on then fledgling ESPN2. Soon he signed Wal-Mart as the league's original sponsor and dramatically increased event purses. As the rival B.A.S.S. (Bass Angler Sportsmen Society) tour was offering a $50,000 top prize, Jacobs upped his to $150,000, then $250,000, then $500,000, culminating with last year's FLW Cup, where angler Scott Suggs won pro fishing's first-ever $1 million prize.
And Jacobs isn't finished. "I pride myself on not getting paid until I risk the money to make a venture successful," he says. "And once this league -- and fishing -- gets to where I want it to be, my goal is to see the first $10 million fantasy winner."
That said, he's not pretending to be a rod-and-reel Robin Hood. While he does have a) optimism that fantasy fishing will grow the sport's base beyond the 55 million currently licensed anglers, and b) unprecedented financial altruism toward fantasy geeks, he's driven by another "ism": capitalism.
"I want to sell boats," Jacobs candidly admits. "We offer a $500,000 cash bonus to pros who win events on Ranger boats. If I can showcase anglers using our watercraft to win tournaments -- while fantasy anglers win the same amount of money as the pros -- then the average fishing enthusiast might be more inclined to make his next boat a Ranger."
As Jacobs' fellow (albeit fictional) corporate raider Gordon Gekko once said, "Greed ... is good." But it isn't his sole motive. First, the league is free. Second, Jacobs' approach is basic corporate "endors-o-nomics," much like Phil Knight wanting golfers to see Tiger Woods winning events using Nike gear. So everyone wins -- the fantasy player, Jacobs and the folks helping foot the bill. Namely, the FLW sponsors.
The FLW's corporate America who's who of sponsors like Wal-Mart, Proctor & Gamble, Kellogg's, the National Guard and more can now reach a new, broad, diverse consumer base. Tracy King, global operations manager for Castrol, who's kicking in $1.6 million this season, sees fantasy fishing as a new form of nontraditional advertising.
"Every time one of our anglers stops for gas on tour, people see our trucks towing our wrapped boats. This is tremendous grass-roots advertising," says King, who's also a fantasy football fanatic. "With TiVo and the Internet making TV commercials not what they used to be, we had to explore new marketing opportunities, and fishing is a new type of marketing that reaches a diverse, wholesome, family-oriented base of millions of licensed anglers." So family-oriented that the FLW doesn't accept tobacco or alcohol sponsors, a bold stance for a sport whose participants, let's face it, have been known to do some chewing and drinking from time to time.
Not everyone in the fantasy sports world is embracing the "high stakes" business plan, however. ESPN, which runs the B.A.S.S. fantasy fishing games and broadcasts the BASSmaster Classic, won't try to keep up with the Jacobses. "While the FLW is great for the overall market and helps solidify fantasy sports as part of the cultural mainstream, and our bass fishing fans are just as passionate and competitive, we focus more on the community approach," says Raphael Poplock, vice president of games at ESPN. "We serve our fan base through community building and giving fans a place where they can have fun with their competitive nature, talk smack and keep in touch with their friends and family through fantasy leagues. Giving away lots of money isn't our biggest concern."
Fantasy fishing could take some time to lure the casual fantasy fan the way football has. Maybe it's the act of fishing itself? Unlike, say, football players -- powerful, fine-tuned athletes -- the stereotypical fisherman is a sedentary creature dozing off on a dock with a six-pack in his cooler, not his abdomen. But according to the pros, fishing is indeed a physical sport.
"I've got a gym membership specifically to build up my core strength for standing on a boat 12 hours per day," says Brisbane, Australia, native Kim Bain, 28, one of three women on the FLW tour and one of its rising young stars. "I don't sit down. I don't eat. I don't drink. I don't go to the bathroom. I'm dealing with bad weather, rain, sleet, hail, wind.
"Come to think of it," she jokes, "it's not fair that fantasy anglers will win the same amount of money that we will. They're sitting in a comfy lounger in front of their computers at home."
Luke Clausen, 29, another FLW star -- the handsome Spokane, Wash., native has won two $500,000 tournaments and is often called the FLW's Tom Brady -- agrees. "We make about 2,500 casts per tournament day. I missed half the season last year because I had elbow surgery, which is a common problem, along with back and shoulder injuries from the repetitive motion."
And then there's the mental toughness. After four days of practice fishing on a tourney lake (like a PGA golfer playing practice rounds at Augusta leading up to the Masters), an angler devises a strategy to outsmart that lake's gilled residents. But the inability to change strategy on the fly -- think football coach making halftime adjustments -- is deadly. "How the fish are moving, their spawning cycles, or weather and barometric pressure, anything can throw off your practice strategy," Clausen says. "And if you can't 'call an audible' in the real event, so to speak, you could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars."
I'm one of the biggest fantasy football geeks I know. I once even quit a perfectly good job in advertising to concentrate on my fantasy football team full time in a pathetic quest to win my league's paltry cash prize. But for a million bucks or more? I don't care if it's fantasy camel racing, you can sign me up. And whether you think pro bass fishing is the new NASCAR or not a sport, there's no arguing that with a shot at millions for sitting in front of a computer and, well, not fishing, Jacobs is certain to net a massive school of new fantasy sports fans.
So I'm creeped out on like ten levels here.
Just WTF is going on with Mr. Sklansky??? How have things gotten so pervy, David? Is this really real - you certainly can't be making this up, can you?
Say it ain't so.
David Sklansky just wrote (hoist of the Guinness to my man, MeanGene) this insane post at 2+2. Here's the thread: The Post You Were Waiting For
But just in case he deletes it, I gotta stick the entire post up here:
The Post You Were Waiting For
For the last 2 1/2 years I have been living with a handicapped 23 year old girl named Sue. She is blind in one eye and partially blind in the other. She is slightly disfigured, slightly autistic, and has frequent seizures. She can't drive and can't distinguish left from right. The cause of these things is that she is the product of incest. But she has an IQ of 125, is very artistic and loves everybody. She especially loved Brandi and was also attracted to her.
My relationship with her is unusual and private but is by no means a dark secret. Dozens of people know the details including of course Mat and Mason. Her mother loves me.
She is very attuned to appearances and having people like her. She is very internet saavy and has her own website regarding expensive collectible dolls. She doesn't quite realize that she looks strange to most people and someone making fun of her would hurt her badly. If it was someone who she thought was her friend it would totally devastate her.
When Brandi became upset over her post being deleted she threatened me. I told her I had no power to get it undeleted and would she at least leave making fun of Sue out of her threats. Her reply was:
" You have only two options...
1. Put my thread back up and I will say nothing more.
2. Do not put my thread back up and I will create five million different
accounts all trashing you. If you think that doesn't include Sue, then
guess again. It's not about Sue... I know it's your biggest fear and the
best way to hurt you. I like Sue... But sometimes innocent bystanders
become collateral damage in a war. And that is exactly what you are
So if my thread is not put back up... this will become a war. You need to
ask yourself if you really want this hassle. And if you really want to
deal with the wrath of my anger.
You have until the end of the day to decide."
If she was only threatening me I would have laughed it off. But because of Sue I tried to placate her. She wrote this:
David, Please forward this to Mason...
If my thread is not put back up ~ OR if you EVER delete another post or
thread of mine again (and ban me) ~ I will make sure that same post is on
every single other poker forum out there. Do not use your power of
authority against me again. Whatever I will say will still be said, the
only thing is that it will drive people to read about it on other sites.
So.. you might as well be smart about this and make the money off of it.
That is all.
Oh wait.... I should just tell you now... I'm going to do an interview
with Wicked Chops and Raw Vegas Tv and NWP and Bankroll Boost and Pocket
5s on Monday IF my thread is not posted back on the forum. Also, Bluff
magazine is doing a feature on me too. If you think you are protecting
David in this, guess again. I will make sure to spill the beans on
everything I can. Including his relationship with a 21-year old inbred..
Seeing as his is too mentally retarded to have a normal relationship with
anyone in his age range or intelligence and can only coexist with underage
runaways and handicapped girls. I will also talk about his deviant
behavior towards me.
I hope Mason will forgive me for not forwarding it. He would have probably made the ban permanent and I was hoping I could still calm Brandi down, at least regarding Sue. I wasn't quite sure what she had in mind. But then I get a mind blowing PM from Brandon telling me that Brandi is trying to reestablish contact with him if he will find an unattractive picture of Sue that she can spread around.
From that point on every action I took was soley to prevent that. Friendly emails to Brandi. Shipping her money. Not defending myself on the thread about me. Every other goal paled in comparison. Although I have never bothered to read the emails Brandi posted, I am assuming some came after I made this decision.
As to the emails written before all this happened. (I am assuming they are not made up). The truth is far less creepy than most assume. And I am about to tell you the real story. I didn't till now because it was far more important not to set Brandi off. A lessor reason was that even the most negative spin you could put on them wouldn't bother me. I had fallen for Brandi but couldn't express it? I was a sucker for pussy pictures? A guy who wanted some action for poker lessons? All false but who cares anyway? She wasn't saying I was disloyal to my friends or that The Theory of Poker contains major errors.
But with her blackmail weapon now gone I can now explain. From the moment I met Brandi I let her know that if I was available I would hit on her. Just like TF. She replied that the only thing about him that bothered her was that he was sneaky. Had he asked to be a sugar daddy she would go for it. I took that to be an offer which I reluctantly refused. But we did occasionaly get flirtatious and slightly naughty. I once grabbed a vibrator out of my glove compartment and put it between her legs. If that disgusted her she never mentioned it. When I would visit her she often lay down in my lap.
And she was flirtatious to Sue also. Sue hoped I would bring her home to her.
But that was only a small part of our relationship. I was mainly trying to mentor her and help both of us benefit from her notoriety.
After a six month seperation for no good reason, the blowup with Brandon allowed me to try to resume where we had left off. I was well aware that in pursuing that path it was incumbant on me to try to get her to make amends with those she had wronged. So I lectured her a lot. When I got to LA last month I had some phone conversations with Brandi. In one of them I mentioned that I hate it when girls shave completely. She surprised me by saying she was just the opposite. And volunteered to come to my room and prove it in bikini panties. We didn't get around to that. The next day I met her for dinner with two friends. And she acted like a bitch toward me. Trivial stuff but completely uncalled for. Given the help I had recently given her. It was part of the reason I cut my trip short. But we still remained somewhat friendly.
When I got back to Vegas she went on a tear. 4K in a week. My two contributions were recognizing that 90 player $24 SitnGos were right up her alley and helping her with the more technical aspects. She did the rest herself. Then the one day I'm gone she blows it all. Half spent, half on $500 Satellites. I was furious that she did that but offered her one more chance. $260 for ten buy ins but she has to promise not to play higher. A piddling amount that could still reap great benefits. And as a token of appreciation how bout a picture of what you had offered to model for me? No problem she says.
Next day she is playing in a $100 tourney and there is no picture. She claims she got a small infusion of extra money. Not an acceptable excuse but forgivable. But what about the picture? Had she said that it made her feel uncomfortable, or that she didn't have time, or some such thing it would have been OK. Instead she wrote "I told you that I would send it but I didn't say when". What? She is treating me like a sucker. What did I do to deserve that? That set me off to write the other emails that you might have read. (And when I used the expressions "please me" or "be nice to me" it wasn't a euphemism for sex whether you believe me or not.)
The last few paragraph could contain some minor innacuracies but who cares? Like I said I wouldn't even care if you believed everything she implied.
The blackmail about Sue was another story though. Not the implication that I am too abnormal to have a relationship with a typical 40 year old. I can get plenty of testimonials to disprove that. It was the devastation of Sue that Brandi was holding over her head. (Any post making fun of Sue will be deleted by the way). Nipping it in the bud will hopefully ameliorate that.
But that is not why this is being posted. It was because in spite of the fact that Sue is vaguely aware that Brandi was up to no good she begged me to.
She wanted to save Brandi's life.
Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit!
So, last night on TV was an incredibly important debate between Hillary and Obama AND American Idol.
Guess what I watched?
That's right. I watched the important shit - pretty kids singing.
Here's this morning's reading:
Begrudging His Bedazzling by Maureen Dowd in the NY Times.
Washington Times: Defeating Obama
From Newsweek: Hillary Should Get Out Now
But here's the most important link of the day: Hot for Teacher: Top 18 Sexiest Sex Offenders with mugshots. It's getting hammered so you may need to reload it a few times.
And hell, here's a poker link from Arizona: Retired judge betting that his poker room is legal
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Superlatives fail me.
Fifty-five freaking poker blogger tournaments over the next few months.
Seven seats to the World Series of Poker!
A huge hoist of the Guinness to AlCan'tHang and all the others who are helping make this happen. The specifics are still rolling in, but for now, go read the announcement over at Al's place: BBT3 information.
Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit!
I don't know what to think about this but the author sure got attacked in the comments.
From Salon: It's OK to vote for Obama because he's black
Bonus Code IGGY on Party Poker, damnit!
So many sweet opinion pieces to choose from for today.
But first, I found this goofy little site: Guess My Crime. I guessed every one wrong.
Weel hell, I'm gonna pick this The Weekly Standard column for today's fodder:
Some people think cults are creepy. But as a child in the seventies, I rather enjoyed them. Whether Jonestowners, the Children of God, or the Symbionese Liberation Army, I always waited for the inevitable plot twist, when whatever had attracted the crazy cultists to each other in the first place--the organic vegetables, the neo-Maoist teaching, the group sex--would devolve into the inevitable Kool-Aid suicide/abduction/bank heist debacle. I came to consider these welcome entertainments. Back then, we didn't have cable.
Many are now charging that there is a new creepy cult leader on the loose, Barack Obama. On the strength of what? Well, a lot actually. Perhaps it's that he refers to his supporters--Obamabots, Baracktards, Obamaphiliacs, whatever we're supposed to call them--as "believers." Perhaps it's that other creepy cult leaders, like Oprah Winfrey, have taken up their crosses and followed him.
His legions of moonie-eyed idolaters do have a knack for embarrassing themselves, and the rest of us. They wait in line for hours to pack agriplexes in the Midwest, acting like squealing tweens whose parents have dropped them off at a Hannah Montana concert. They clap when he blows his nose. They shoot celebrity-studded music videos, whose lyrics are direct lifts from Obama speeches. They sing his gauzy nostrums--Yes we can!--as though the words carried the weight of scripture, when they really sound less like a coherent political philosophy than something Jenny Craig affinity-groupers would chant before the weekly weigh-in.
Obama inspires people to say embarrassing things, such as actress Halle Berry's statement, "I'll do whatever he says to do. I'll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear." He causes video vixens, like Obama Girl, to writhe around in Obama panties, cooing lyrics like You're into border security / Let's break this border between you and me. Sometimes, the sex isn't even subtext, as when MSNBC's Chris Matthews said after hearing an Obama speech, "My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean I don't have that too often."
Obama's name has now achieved such ubiquity, it has caused the online magazine Slate to start its own Encyclopedia Baracktannica, minting new Barackisms like "Barackturne" ("a sleepy, elegant song consisting of Barack Obama's voice accompanied by strings") and "Baracklea" ("a spiral-shaped cavity in the internal ear that registers only Barack Obama's voice"). Personally, I'm now suffering from Obamaversion (avoiding people who endlessly make cutesy plays off Obama's name).
As if the Barackcess (think excess) hadn't gone far enough, now comes "Barackula"--a 10-minute vampire musical in which a young Harvard Law School-attending Obama routs the undead, pulling off snappy dance numbers while singing lines like will be fine I'll be back to normal / keep runnin' cause those suckers won't make me immortal. I believe the vampires are supposed to represent the special interests, politics as usual, and the Clintons. I'm no Pauline Kael, but I get symbolism.
While the inevitable Baracklash (think backlash) is now in full effect, even among fickle media supporters, I'd like to be among the first to fuel the backlash against the backlash. I'm no Baracktard, though I do like the guy. He has excellent posture, a Colgate smile, and in his trim black suits always looks like he's off to some place cooler than a political rally, like to sit in with Cannonball Adderley.
I don't carry Chris Matthews-like reservoirs of affection. If Obama and I were at the drive-in, I'd probably stop him short of second base, letting him snap my bra through my poodle sweater before I pushed him away so as not to ruin our friendship. But I wouldn't make him pay for my popcorn. We'd go Dutch. I'm a tease, not a monster.
I've always regarded Obama as a bit slight for the hype, a garnish in search of an entrée, a moment in search of momentousness. But attacking him for the slavish support his charisma inspires seems a bit unfair. It would be like faulting Hillary Clinton for her best qualities--like her rapier wit, slender ankles, and personal warmth.
Plus, I do support Obama on the issue. Not issues, mind you. I'm against almost everything he stands for, including hope and change (I'm for despair and preserving the status quo). But he's for standing over the rotting carcass of Hillary's political ambitions, and so am I! Some might call it venal small-mindedness. But Obama and I call it "post-partisanship." For Hillary is the one we've been waiting for. To go away.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
A few links tonight.
First off, I'm kinda sad for myself that I never published my raving drunken Absolute Poker cheating post. It's just a fucking travesty that no one gives a tinkers damn.
But one of my favorite poker writers, Shamus, stuck up a comprehensive post (just like I used to do, damnit) entitled: Reporting on Absolute Poker; or, If a Tree Falls.
Quick political note: being as I live in Ohio and am a registered voter, our phone is getting hammered by all three candidates with the pre-recorded-message bullshit.
Do they really think that works?
Anyway, in response to the NY Times article about Mr. McCain that caused all the controversy, they put up a two features:
The Public Editor Weighs In
Editors and reporters answered questions about an article on John McCain.
Information on this site is intended for news and entertainment purposes only.
100% Signup Bonus at PokerStars.com up to $50