December 30, 2002

Happy New Year, Everyone!

We'll see y'all in Aught-Three!

Best wishes from your pals here at The Donk.

Hey, if any of my readers happen to be in the Capitol Hill section of Seattle, above Broadway, drop me a line and let me know if the sky is all red and smoky, `cause it sure looks like somebody's starting a flame war!
Hmmm...since you never know when a new Donk daily feature's gonna come at you all unawares, I present the Craigslist's Missed Connections Pathetic Poem Excerpt of the Day!
I Only Wish She Knew

This is for Julia will probably never see this...thats why i put it here.

her eyes remind me of a forbidden sunset
so beautiful, so calm, so serene
her look is beyond hypnotic
uncomparable to any dream.

her lips feel softer then satin
her kiss led me to this state
i cant help but wonder,
was it luck, or was it fate?

her voice compares to an angelic whisper
she is intelligent and smart
i wish i knew the secret
to this beautiful girls heart.
Calm down ladies; he's taken!
Direct from ShopRite: the winner of the official Golden Donkey award for the Least Enticing Supermarket Tabloid Cover Teaser goes to...The National Enquirer for Lee Majors Secretly Weds! I mean, it must have been a secret — I never heard anything about it!
Look, I'm kind of busy right now so I don't have time to follow through on this even though I know there's websites that can handle this kind of thing lickety-split should I decide to go that route, but anyway: it just seems like the name "Tilda Swinton" would make some real damn funny anagrams.
My latest daily read, Craigslist's Missed Connections, is a kind of group-particpant blog, with a mix between "You were wearing a coat, ordering a peppermint mocha" queries (hey, maybe somebody's looking for you!) and the truly bizarre cries in the dark. Among my favorites these past few days:
you were the worst boyfriend ever
You really were. i've had some pretty bad boyfriends, but you take the grand prize. if you ever want to have a girlfriend who will keep you for more than a few days, you'd better grow up!

M...reasons why I'm never talking to you again...L
Yes, I don't have my shit together. My apologies if I'm an artist and a dreamer, go eff the corpo types and be happy. I'm doing this world my way. I sound more stable now that I have a job? Wait, you were the one on Paxil. I was the one trying to give you support. I can deal with my issues myself, I've never needed anyone to lean on.

hey hey
You said you’d finally tell me
In a note you’d never write
All the feelings you have for me
But didn’t have the right

And now that its over
I reel in the delight
Of dreaming of your face
And lighting up my light

Please do not allow me to get attached to you.
I want to see you again. I haven't felt anything like this since my last boyfriend. But you have major issues that you are dealing with and sorting through. I have major issues I am also sorting through. I'm afraid to love anyone because I always get horribly hurt in the end.

Please, everyone, stop sleeping with my ex-girlfriend!
And that's only three days! Bookmark it and come and join the circus of the damned.
Helena Bonham Carter. Sir Alec Guiness. Ian McKellen. Miranda Richardson. All beware the League of British Academy Award Nominees With Their Own Action Figures!

December 28, 2002

I Kid. I'm a Kidder. Mike Whybark, whose taste in links is far superior than his taste in flicks (though only time will tell if our Adaptation argument will outlast our Big Lebowski brouhaha, which just celebrated its 4th anniversary), comments on the New York Times piece "Who Owns the Internet? You and i Do," which takes a look at the growing controversy regarding the capitalization (or non-) of tech terms like "I/internet" and "W/website" (or even "W/web site").

[Unfortunately, Mr. Whybark began experiencing technical difficulties shortly after posting the above comments, and as longtime fans of Mr. Whybark are aware, technical difficulties means weeks of voluminous posts packed with jargontastic language, not to mention paragraphs consisting of one long sentence with two separate semicolon breaks. We also get little vignettes like the following:
[O]ur Apex AD-1600 DVD player died as we switched disks while watching the extended edition DVD of The Fellowship of the Ring on Xmas just before heading out to see The Two Towers. Fortunately, we were able to play the remainder on my G4 tower...
which might just be the geekiest darn thing I've read since Mike and I were working together, answering e-mails from disgruntled anime fans.

Anyway. The article's an interesting state-of-the-language look at this transitional time for a number of tech terms. Each day we move further away from the origin of our nifty online universe, making the capitalization of web-related terms an anachronism, like "Base-Ball" or "Phonograph." But while I agree with Mike and Scot Hacker that "internet and "website" are logical and probably inevitable, I worry that it's a slippery slope from those changes to things like "email" and bizarre compound words with CapitalLetters floating around in the middle somewhere.

Of course, if an increasing majority of people continue to use the familiar, lowercase terms, then those will become de facto correct, no matter what the dictionary mavens eventually decide.

Update: the comments section of Mike's post on this subject is getting some play.
Okay, I'm feeling better again. Ignore that bit below.

And Chicago is pretty damn good, and a friend of mine who normally hates musicals agrees with that assessment.

December 27, 2002

Yep, I'm starting to fall into that annual New Year's Eve what-the-hell-have-I-done-with-my-life funk...I think I'm just gonna leave work on Tuesday and start driving west, celebrate the stroke of midnight in a Pennsylvania field or something. Bleh.
Adaptation isn't really very good, in case you were wondering, but maybe that's just me.

December 26, 2002

If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all? That is so December 25! The always feisty Marc Weisblott (who was once nice enough to call me "the least grating of the NYC blog society") weighs in with the admittedly moronically named "Du-Blog-Ious Achievement Awards," his rundown of the 10 worst blogs of 2002. You can vote for your choice, but that would really only make you an accomplice in his wicked game. (Oh, and Marc, including yourself on the list won't stop people from calling you a jerkface, and it only deprives the rest of us from a potential 11% extra spleen.)
My good friend Gabe Vecchi sent along the following letter and introduction, which pretty much speaks for itself. It concerns the current situation in Venezuela, which is not getting a lot of notice here but is rapidly approaching a breaking point. The introduction follows:

As you may or may not know, Venezuela is currently in its worst political crisis in memory. The country has been in a complete national strike for the past 23 days, in an attempt to force elections in the country, and get rid of a polarizing and destructive president — whose approval rating is less than 30%. Oil output is down over 90%, as is all economic and commercial activity. Civil war seems imminent, and there have been reports of the president having brought in FARC guerrillas from Colombia and mercenaries from Cuba.

I was asked to distribute this description of why this is going on, in English, written by a friend, in an attempt to get the word out around the world of what is going on there. The person who wrote this is no radical, rather a father (and grandfather), a trained professional and a patriot.

Please read this and forward it to anyone who may be interested. There is not much the USA can do at this time, but if the American citizens are educated about what is going on, they will be less likely to support an American policy to maintain Chavez in power. All the Venezuelan citizens are asking for is to be able to determine their own fate democratically.

Oh, yeah, and happy Christmas.

Here's what my friend wrote:

Caracas, December 25th, 2002

Today Venezuela is living the worst political, economic and social crisis in its history, leading us to the greatest levels of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, violence and polarization among Venezuelans as we have never known before. To overcome this crisis democratically and pacifically, the majority of Venezuelans are asking Chavez to announce elections or simply resign. We Venezuelans are not seeking a military coup nor international interventions, nor anything else that could replace our democratic mechanisms. All we ask for is the execution of free elections.

Since 1999, Chavez unleashed a systematic attack against workers and their labor unions, political parties — including some that supported him — media and journalists, businessmen and agriculturists, the church, the government owned institutions when they declared themselves against him and other citizens. Chavez, instead of dedicating himself to solving the great problems the country is immersed in — mission for which the majority elected him — and which have worsened dramatically during his four years in term, has dedicated himself to dividing us into the good and the bad, to harass us through his offensive rhetoric and through his armed civil groups that operate with impunity with official support. By doing this he has centered all national, regional and local power on him and his followers, favoring the violation of laws and generalized corruption, ridiculing the opinions and proposals of other citizens.

Chavez is not a democrat: he uses democratic scaffolding to try and impose a revolution on us which the Venezuelan people did not vote for. The world must not be fooled by all this. Chavez and the reduced group that supports him want to impose a revolution over us that is not pacific as it has done nothing other than offend, assault, and disqualify. Said revolution is not democratic but totalitarian simply because it does not see members of an opposition, but rather enemies who must be destroyed; a revolution that cannot be considered participate because it excludes us and denies us all the opportunity to participate in the resolution of this crisis.

Since 2001 through the present date, different sectors have been undertaking legitimate protest actions that have gradually concentrated an immense majority of Venezuelans, as can be seen in the various marches and concentrations that are held almost on a daily basis throughout the country. On another level, opinion polls unsuccessfully demand the government's rectification, followed by an effective dialogue among parties, to the lead towards the electoral solution of the crisis. As of more than 20 days ago the Venezuelan people lead a National Civic Strike with the purpose of demanding a democratic solution to the current state of ungovernability. Despite national and international efforts, the government continues evading the arrival of a sincere negotiation in order to arrive at an electoral agreement.

This is not about, despite what the government may want to display in demagogic manner to the rest of the world, a media conspiracy organized by elite groups against a government at the service of the poor. It is about a country's struggle against an incompetent, lying, cynic and deaf administration that has lead us towards greater poverty, unemployment, anguish and despair than we Venezuelans have ever seen before.


December 25, 2002

Sing it, Kyle. Sing it loud for all of us.

December 23, 2002

Merry Christmas (tomorrow), Everyone!

How Weebl Saved Christmas.

From producer Bill Melendez' site: "The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas."

"It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank. An old man said to me, won't see another one. And then he sang a song, The Rare Old Mountain Dew. I turned my face away, and dreamed about you." On Christmas Day, raise a glass and toast one of our finest living songwriters, Mr. Shane MacGowan, who will be celebrating his 45th birthday.

And for my fellow Members of the Tribe: Judaism 101's "What Do Jews Do on Christmas?"
Have you ever been sitting around with a bunch of guys late at night, drinking a few beers, shooting the breeze, when all of a sudden a violent argument breaks out about whether the helmets of the Jacksonville Sharks — you know, the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League, back in `74 — were silver or gold, and since you're tired of that asshole Scottie mouthing off like there ain't nothing he don't know you put up $500 — and I don't gotta tell you that's $500 you don't have — just to shut him up, only the thing is that asshole's drunker than you and ain't one to back down from a fight or a bet (plus, unlike you, he didn't blow his last three paychecks, one sweaty dollar bill at a time, on Sinnamon down at the stripclub, so he can pay up if it comes to that), so boom, you got a bet, and you better find out the answer right damn now since nobody's leaving that room until you do?

Well, The Helmet Project might be just what you're looking for. This admirably obsessive work in progress is one man's attempt to create an atlas of every single helmet worn by both professional and college football teams, current and defunct, from the Green Bay Packers to the Division III Hampden-Sydney Tigers.

Oh, the Sharks' helmet was silver, by the way.
2002: A Look Back.
An Anecdotal Top Ten for a Transitional Year.
  1. My Journey into the Heart of the American South, 4th of July Weekend. The solemn glory of Gettysburg, fireworks over the treetops of Virginia, the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway, minor league baseball and bar brawls in Tennessee, boiled peanuts — all just tame warm-ups for East Dublin, Georgia's annual Redneck Games: "Lee Surrendered, I Didn't," fried crocodile on a stick, thanking God I was driving American, and if anybody asked my last name is Smith.

  2. Best Concert. The Magnetic Fields' two-night stay at Alice Tully Hall: their wonderful 69 Love Songs in its entirety, everything I hoped it would be. Other fine concerts: Jason Loewenstein at Bennington (if you could have seen only one free show surrounded by stoned rural rich kids in a Vermont student center with dollar drafts, then this was the one!); Jason Loewenstein brings the rock at The Knitting Factory; Belle and Sebastian at The Hammerstein Ballroom (and if it wasn't for my friend Christine I'd never leave the house).

  3. Backhand Passing Shot, East Brunswick, sometime in October. Playing doubles, down 4-5, Ad-In, opponents serving to me for the set. I make a decent return, we're going back and forth, but after a few volleys I get caught leaning a little to my right and face a nice dropshot to my backhand side. I reverse course, dive back to my left, and catching the ball about two inches off the ground just push it down the line past the lunging net player who could do nothing but turn and watch as the ball landed perfectly on the back-left corner. It's hard to describe a tennis shot, but trust me, had you been there you would have rushed the court and demanded I have sex with you right there.

  4. The Sunday after Thanksgiving at Mohegan Sun. I'd like to claim that this day sticks out because due to the stunning casino or even the lovely seafood brunch I had beforehand in Mystic, but to be honest I could have been gambling in the boiler room of a condemned rendering plant and it would still make the list. Long story short: walked into the casino and put $20 on the roulette table, turned that double sawbuck into over $700 in profit (with the help of a lovely group of tourists who thought it might be fun to give poker a shot), not including the filet mignon dinner. Yes, I tipped large.

  5. Apartment D1 of Jersey City's Brunswick Towers, Overlooking the Pulaski Skyway. Because I am lucky, Ithe first apartment I looked at was perfect: large, furnished rooms, "roommates" who actually lived in New Hampshire, a fascinating view of an industrial wasteland, heated pool, exercise room, front-desk concierge, indoor parking, etc. It made me finally realize that there's more to life than mere material possessions — a place to keep those possessions is also important.

  6. The Few Bright Lights of the Idiot Box. My significant other and I almost never watch the ol' "boob tube" — we'd much rather read contemporary poetry and discuss the important issues of the day — but we do pull the black-and-white out of the closet when these three shows are on: "Insomniac with Dave Attell," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." The best guy in the world to hang out with, the worst, and a wad of meat.

  7. The Best Blogs of the Year. Of course, Girls Are Pretty, hosted by The Pretty Girl. It'll likely implode by mid-February or lay dormant when the PG overdoses on something, but for many brief shining moments it is Camelot. The consistently excellent has taught us all a little lesson on why it's important to party like a rockstar. And also of note was my discovery of Mike Whybark's creepily delightful Ken Goldstein Project; at last, a blog that speaks to me! In a related note, my own little online effort allowed me to meet lots of fine and interesting folks, including a few who I even enjoy a drink or a game of cards with now and again.

  8. Jersey Pride Labor Day with Jahna D'Lish. Sure, the weather sucked and if you watched closely you could actually see boardwalk businesses going bankrupt, but that didn't stop me and the sassiest dame on both coasts from kicking it old-school, winning piles of prizes at Seaside then chowing down on the Tropicana buffet. Having her watch me make quad aces was a nice bonus.

  9. Best Magazine of the Year. In a fairly weak year for print, The Atlantic Monthly was easily the most consistently excellent magazine I readthis year, most notably William Langewiesche's illuminating, unsentimental three-part "Unbuilding the World Trade Center," (excerpts 1, 2 & 3) now available in book form.

  10. The Rise of the Swamp Dragons. Thanks in large part to Jason Kidd , my two decades of futile support for the New Jersey "Whoop-De-Damn-Do" Nets were rewarded with months of stylish excellence culminating in a trip to the Finals. One win against the Lakers would have been nice, though.

    Honorable Mention (tie): A lovely wedding between two lovely Canada! And that time I didn't get hit by that bus.

December 22, 2002

There are times when the border between New York and New Jersey seems to disappear, when the differences we imagine to be enormous shrink down to nothing, and you feel as though you can cross the bridges and tunnels with just a few short steps.

Most of the time, however, that ain't the case.

From New York City: three fine New Yorkers — Elizabeth Spiers (who I've seen art with!), Jason Kottke, and Nick Denton — have joined forces to bring us Gawker, a fine and frequently updated Manhattan weblog magazine that's "got all of Manhattan's posh tongues wagging." It's packed with fun news and links about the greatest darn city in the world, and is definitely worth your time and effort.

And from New Jersey: Severed hand, foot found in Atlantic City alley.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- A man rummaging through trash cans behind a row of stores found a human foot and hand, the prosecutor's office said.

Authorities said the limbs were from a person who died in the last week, but they declined to say whether it was an adult or child.

Okay, I'm feeling a little better.

December 16, 2002

You know...I just ain't feelin' it right now.

December 14, 2002

You know what adds a little excitement to an otherwise staid Christmas party? When about a half-dozen guest's cars get towed from a nearby parking lot.

December 11, 2002

Who says that blogs don't run first-hand reporting? Well, whoever did is gonna be right for at least one more day, since I ain't running any. I do have a fine second-hand report, however, from a longtime Friend of the Donk about her rare and envied experience riding the super-swanky new Segway Human Transporter (only $4950 plus shipping at Amazon!). I hope you enjoy it.
It was exhilarating! The trainer guides you in your first shaky steps onto the Segway. Shaky in that you find yourself needing to trust something other than yourself for balance. I began by creeping forward in my first seconds on the machine. I was not quite fully centered so couldn’t come to a complete stop.

Then the trainer simply tells you "think forward." Ha. Sounds silly, right? But sure enough, you move forward. "Think backward" the trainer calls. Yep, back you move. Leaning (rather than thinking) is the key. But they don't tell you to lean because exaggerated motions aren't needed. A simple thought of forward is enough to slightly shift your center of balance & off the Segway zooms.

The hardest lesson was to "think stop." There are no brakes!!! I have only a basic understanding of the mechanics, but the Segway will stop when you are fully upright / evenly balanced. That's a tough concept to embrace, first as I was slowly moving towards a Segway sales representative who was standing directly in my path & calmly telling me "just think 'stop', just think 'stop'." But it worked! And while my worry for the sales representative was sincere, my first real fear happened when I found myself zooming near 6mph, needing a stop before crashing into an approaching wall. Trust issues. Instinct had me stick out my butt and pull my arms back — as if I could reign in the wild beast. Nope. You gotta have faith that standing tall and proud will really stop the Segway (and thankfully I accepted that premise before hitting the wall).

Dean Kamen was in attendance, of course on a Segway, entertaining us with facts and stories while we were waiting in line. He mentioned how most first time riders flash the "Segway smile" — the brain's delight at experiencing basic balance and movement differently for the first time since you learned to walk.

My favorite moment was gracefully spinning around 360 degrees.... guided by a simple turning out motion of my right hand. From completely still to a pirouette! Sure enough, I couldn't help but break out into a huge Segway grin.
The Illuminated Donkey: bringing you the future right damn now!

December 10, 2002

You know, now that The Ken Goldstein Project is pretty much as passe as a two-liter bottle of Crystal Tab, all the hipsters are heading over to The Letter Project to check out the excitement, type in amusing words and phrases, and then send in a picture of themselves holding the first letter of their last name. It's good, clean fun.

December 09, 2002

You know, I'm getting too old for this Monday night rocking.
Not much time for anything exciting this afternoon, as I'm rushing off to Brooklyn to once again experience the pure rock of Mr. Jason Loewenstein. I don't want to leave you all with nothing, so how about a bizarre piece of trivia, perhaps that a young, rotund Richard Simmons appeared in an orgy scene in Federico Fellini's "Satyricon"? Or maybe you'd like to hear about the exciting return, after an almost-four-month hiatus, of Patchouli, the bestest darn daily web strip in all the land. You can go check out the brand-new 2003 Despair Demotivators Calendar and maybe even buy one, unless you're Mike Whybark, in which case I've already gotten you one for Christmas, or another random friend, since they had a special discount if I bought three). Okay, if you insist...cute pictures of bunnies!!!

December 07, 2002

So...enjoy yet another exciting Friday night home alone watching the Thomas Kinkade hour on QVC? Perhaps you should check out The Black Hearts Party. It inspires the heart and provides peace to the soul.

December 05, 2002

You know, the snow no longer excites me like it did only a few hours ago. Thankfully there won't be any more of it.
Exaggerating your subject's precociousness, the New Yorker way! (from Joan Acocella's review of Terry Teachout's "The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken")
Henry Louis Mencken was born in 1880, in Baltimore, of German stock. As he told it, he had a serene childhood, digging in the back yard and reading great stacks of nineteenth-century literature.
Wow, I wonder where Mencken could have possibly acquired a taste for nineteenth-century the nineteenth freaking century?!
Snow Day!!!!!

December 04, 2002

Why do I love Meryl Yourish? Because she's lighting the Chanukah candles for those of us who can't get home by sundown. That's a public service, my friend.
Funniest Darn Show on Television. Dave Attell's Insomniac begins its third season tomorrow night at 10:30 p.m, following a special "Best of" at 9:30. I'll actually be playing tennis then, so can somebody tape it for me?

December 03, 2002

Do you believe in love? Do you believe it's true? I am pleased to announce the launching of the all-new Black Hearts Party site, to which I was fortunate enough to be allowed to contribute. It's a site dedicated to true love, soulmates, happily-ever-afters, and a whole lot more crap that ain't ever gonna happen to you.
the black hearts party manifesto

We the Black Hearts Party are waging a war of sanity. No longer shall we suffer to be the hapless prey of Cupid or the pawns of St. Valentine. Firmly we stand, against the army of fluffy white teddy bears that advance marching lock step from every convenience store and gas station. They pelt us with plastic-wrapped roses and shrill their shat-out love songs in our ears but to no avail. "Fax me" their candy hearts exclaim before they are crushed beneath our heels. Our eyes have been opened and no amount of Meg Ryan showing us her gums can close them again. We are the fed-up, the awoken, the free -- The Black Hearts Party.
My humble contributions are in the Restaurants Reviews section, specifically the "Places to Dump Someone" area, but you're gonna want to read the whole sordid site, and you'd better have a stiff drink waiting for you on the other side.
Oasis Cancels Shows After Bar Brawl. I'm shocked — shocked!! — to find that Oasis is actually still around.
WTO Memories Light the Corners of My Mind. Yesterday was the third anniversary of my only experience with tear gas thus far, a date which Mr. Whybark commemorates with an old missive. (It should be noted that I held back and Mike pressed on after things started to get a little messy, so that I managed to avoid getting shot in the ass.)

This means that it's a few days after the third anniversary of my walking past my company's warehouse on the way to work only to discover that the building had been taken over by squatters in advance of the World Trade Organization hullaballoo. Ah yes, shipping out Christmas orders by flashlight (the police, whose HQ was frigging next door by the way, had shut off the building's power), getting eyed by angry squatters, having the building constantly referred to by the media as "abandoned"...what a time it was.

December 02, 2002

Um...I just wanted to make it clear that despite what the nice folks at NYC Bloggers are implying, I am not the Pretty Girl, though I wish to the heavens above that it were true. I am merely a sponsor and an early admirer, and am not even a little pretty.

Speaking of getting credit for a blog I have nothing to do with, Rick Bruner repeatedly jumps up and down with glee regarding his accurate prediction that a certain all-American icon and her friends would have their own blogs. (Though Chelsea really needs to update her blog more often; I'm on edge wondering what happened to her after she tried the new color for her toenail polish!)
Postcards from Connecticut. As I mentioned earlier, I spent the weekend roaming around the casinos and seaports of eastern Connecticut, playing cards and breaking hearts. Though I did enjoy a fine lobster bisque in mystic, the majority of my time was spent in the casinos, and the majority of that time was spent playing poker. Though it was a big holiday weekend, most of the players at my tables seemed to be regulars. And what kind of folks were these regulars? Well, as a representative snippet, let me present my Favorite Overhead Conversation of the Weekend (between two 60ish Foxwoods poker players who looked like they had been sitting in those seats every day since the place opened):
Player #1: Ah, Joey, I can't buy a hand. I'm gonna go get some dinner.
Player #2 (apparently Joey): Okay, what are you getting?
Player #1: (incredulously) Steak.
Player #2: No, no...I mean what kind of steak?
Yes, I had entered a world where steak was implied, and that's a world that's okay in my book. My trip began with a tour around the insanely massive Foxwoods, then it was off to the poker room for the 10:00 a.m. Limit Hold `Em tournament. I did fairly well in the tournament, finishing 20th out of 88 entrants. I was far out of the money but did get to play almost three hours for a few bucks, after which I enjoyed a long lunch in the brain-numbingly excessive buffet.

That was actually the highlight of Saturday for me, as I became a reverse Midas, with everything I touched turning to crap. My double-down blackjack bets drew deuces, the ball avoided my numbers in roulette like it owed them money, and if a player needed a card to beat me, then by God, that card was gonna come. I fought back late into the night to avoid a total disaster, but headed to my overpriced hotel room a nearly broken man.

Well, tomorrow is another day. I woke up late, grabbed a cup of coffee in a rundown luncheonette (where the proprietor spent ten minutes of my life extolling the virtues of soy milk and stevia, only to then ask if I wanted an apple fritter roughly the size of a puppy. I headed to the Mystic Seaport, which ain't exactly hopping in the bitter cold of early December. I picked up a pressed penny for my sister, grabbed a fine lunch of lobster bisque and a crab melt, then went for Round Two, this time at Mohegan Sun.

Now, if Foxwoods makes the Atlantic City casinos look like some low-rent stripmall out on the edge of town, then Mohegan Sun makes it look like the alley behind the stripmall, perhaps with a pack of mangy dogs rooting through the dumpster. The place is truly incredible: gigantic, stunning, and as I was soon to find out, the luckiest place on Earth. I had planned to just play for an hour or two, but events soon conspired to keep me in Connecticut until nightfall. I spent an hour walking around before I finally decided to try some more roulette. I figured I'd put a $20 down and see what happened. Well, on the first spin I hit a little something, enough to keep me going. Well, I hit something on the next spin and the few after that, and after about 15 minutes I had taken that $20 up to around $250. I figured that it was a good time to leave the table and check out the poker room.

With my $250 in hand I sat down at a $5-$10 Hold `Em table with a kill (meaning that if a pot is over $90, the winner of that pot has to put up $10 and the next hand is played at $10-$20. As I said, I had only planned to stay for a couple of hours, but the player to my right, an annoying know-it-all who had apparently accumulated so many comp points at craps so that he'd never have to pay for another meal as long as he lived, told me that I'd be an idiot to leave before 9:00, since I'd just end up sitting in traffic on I-95.

Well, I have to admit that I was in a mood to be convinced, so I stayed at that table for another five hours and proceeded to kick everybody's ass. It helped that three of players were casino poker rookies with deep pockets, but I was just getting the cards and/or getting lucky. One big pot came when my King-Jack in a kill pot was greeted with a 9-10-Queen flop, giving me a straight with callers all the way down. I also eked out some lucky ones when a Queen hit the flop as I was taking my King-Queen up against pocket Jacks and Ace-King, and when my pocket 9's backed into a straight on the river. Basically, there was an hour when I could do no wrong, and when the table finally broke I found myself with almost $700 in front of me. That original $20 had gotten me all the way back from the previous day's hole, paid for all the trip expenses, and put me well into the black for the trip.

On my way to dinner I played a little craps (not really my game, but I wanted to throw the dice and ended up making five points before sevening out), then had my first ever filet mignon. It tasted like victory.

December 01, 2002

Connecticut: Our Friendly Neighbor to the North. Those of you who had been following my increasingly whiny attempts to get the hell out of town for the holiday weekend will be happy to know that I did, in fact, get the hell out of town, to the abovementioned Connecticut. I spent the last few days in the Mystic/Casinoville area, enjoying bisque at the Seaport and hours of gaming excitement at the superfabulous Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun ("Making Atlantic City look like the sewers where they had that crap game in 'Guys and Dolls' since 1992!"), and while I need to get to sleep and can't get into too many details until later, suffice it to say that the tale involves a desperate search for lodging, various games of chance and skill, tragedy followed by triumph, and filet mignon. God, I love being me.

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