Monday, July 31, 2006

WSOP...this is it, gang

Well, here it is- the morning of Day 1D, the fourth and final day 1 for this year's WSOP. Many of poker's legends have exited already. Phil Hellmuth and Mike "the mouth" Matusow got bounced, to the joy of players around the world and the dismay of television executives. One of my favorite players, Dan Harrington, also got booted in his first round of play, a bummer.

As I mentioned, my friend Scott "Beau" Beauregard was ousted Friday. Our fellow traveler Kort Woeller played very well for 5 1/2 hours Saturday, but made one mental error and was out. I think he played admirably, considering this year's WSOP with it's world record 9,000 players, was his first live tournament ever.

I played another tune-up tourney last night and didn't fare as well as Friday night. This guy next to me pulled these bush-league cheap moves three times. The first of which was on me, and really had me upset.

I hit a set of eights (three of a kind) on the turn and checked it, probably greedily, and the remaining two players checked. The river saw third diamond come out, but I felt safe that there were no flushes out there. This guy checks out of turn. I say, "it's my bet" and bet out 500 chips. This clown throws all in over the top of my bet. In case you don't know, this is extremely unethical and dishonest. There is nothing at all wrong with a re-raise, but I felt he deliberately checked out of turn, and if it is deliberate, it is basically cheating.

The third player folded, and after some grousing and a quiz period, I folded and showed my third eight. I really wish I called now, and if he had the flush, I would have called the poker room manager over, as inducing a bet by deliberately acting out of turn calls for his hand to be dead,

Later, he pulled similar shenanigans when he raised under the gun (first position) but raise less than the minimum bet, indicating a weak hand. This calls attention to the entire table that he has raised, but not put in enough money. This is an extremely obvious way to feign a weak hand and get free advertisement, as the delaer is going to to tell him he hasn't put in a big enough raise.

I should have kept my mouth shut, but I said, "I'm folding unless I have rockets (aces)." Basically calling this guy out for the move, and announcing that I knew he had a huge hand and had made the "mistake" deliberately.

The hand progressed, and in the end, he showed down pocket aces.I couldn't keep it to myself, as I sarcastically said, "boy... I misread that. I put him on kings." To which the table got a good chuckle.

The best part was that he slow-played the hand and then got shaft on the river...sweet justice. Then again, I always say, if you're looking for justice at a poker table, you're playing the wrong game.

So, I have been sleeping like crap, or not sleeping, I should say. I just had my 4th consecutaive night of 3-4 hours. I had really hoped I would get a good night's rest before the big day, but it didn't pan out. I am totally exhausted, so I have no idea why I can't sleep, but it is brutal. I hope against hope that when I survive today's round, I can get some shuteye tonight.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

WSOP, Day 1

Well, the World Series of Poker started today, and it was more insane than ever. 9,000 players are in, a world record by a longshot. They had planned for 8,000, but decided to allow 1,000 alternates in. I do not have the proper diction to tell you how messed up this is. There will be an extra 250 alternates waiting each of the first four days for players to "bust out", then joining the melee.

I don't play until the last of the first rounds, on Monday. My friend Scott played today and busted out about 4 hours in.

I wanted to get some of the nerves out of the way, so I decided to shoot over to Orleans and play one of the "small" tournaments. It wound up with 270 people, and 20 made the money. I got some good cards early, which helped me survive a cold streak that lasted about two hours. As the final 20 spots got closer, I needed to take a risk to get into the money.

I threw all in with KJ off suit, a marginal hand as a rule, but I was in late position and really had no choice, as the blinds had gotten out of control. At that point any playable hand starts to look like aces. The guy in the big blind also was the table chipleader, so I knew he would call regardless of his hand because the pot odds he was getting. He called and had A7. I hit a King on the turn to double my stack and slide into the money in pretty decent position.

When they moved me to the this table, I had the misfortune of sitting next to that one idiot no one wantes to sit next to. At first, I thought the kid was on cocaine, or had tripled up his Ritalin dosage. He yammered incessantly about his craps victories during the week, the fact that he was playing the WSOP Monday and how he "had a piece" of his buddy who was playing that day. He stacked his chips in this fidgety, insane manner, and when he bet all in he piled them in threes and just flicked the rest in the air... then I realized, the poor kid wasn't on drugs, he was just a complete jackass.

"Hey...hey... do you like my haircut, hey hey?"

I almost began to look forward to busting out to get away from this goon.

We finally got down to the last twenty players. With the blinds climbing so high that nearly every one was technically "short stacked". Most players consider having less than 5 times the big blind shortstacked, Dan Harrington's terrific book "Harring on Hold 'Em" considers less than five time the total pot (blinds plus antes) the "red zone"... a very dangerous area where you MUST throw your chips in at the first opportunity.

I was in early-mid position. The loonie kid fidgets, fucks with his chips, geeks out a bit, then throws all in. I look down and see AK, and call. The rest of the table folds. You already know what happens... I had the kid dominated (one form of "domination" is when you share a card with an opponent, but have a better kicker) That gave me about a 70%-30% advantage. I got by the flop and the turn, but naturally, a jack came on the river when I was about a 13:1 favorite to win the hand.

It was a bit of a bummer, as I would have been up around 50,000 chips (more than double the avg) if I had won the hand, but that's poker. You make the best move you can, try to get in with the best hand, and hope the odds bear out, but they don't always.

The best part was that I wasn't surprised or upset when that Jack of spades floated down river. I just said, "nice hand" and shook his hand. Amazingly, this was the one time the kid was quiet. I have to admit, I enjoyed hearing him say, "oh man, I'm sorry" as it was accompanied by a look of shame.

Better to to take a tough beat in a Friday night tourney after I made the money than to take it Monday at the WSOP. And if you going to play poker, you'd better get used to suck outs, bad beats and tough beats. I am trying to focus on making the right decisions and letting the results take care of themselves.

Today, my other friend, Kort, plays at noon. I know I know, it's weird that his name is Kort. I also think we are some kind of half-assed cousins by way of marriage or something.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WSOP, here I come

Well, I fly out tomorrow to take a shot at the 80 million dollar prize pool, which happens to be the largest purse in any sport (yeah, I said it- sport) in the history of the world. 10 million goes to the winner, who will be one of 8,000 would-be champions of poker.

After my debacle of an outing in Copenhagen, I am determined to play more aggressively. I don't wanna die one chip at a time. From what I heard today, pro Eric Seidel (a great player, but sadly is best known for losing to Johnny Chan in the 1988 WSOP final as shown in the movie "Rounders") but I digress... Seidel said that the pros have seen newcomers to the WSOP play with a level of aggression not previously seen, constantly coming over the top (re-raising) pros.

The notion, spread in many of today's books on Texas Hold 'em, and not a new one, is that the amateur's best chance is before the flop, and they expect to get outplayed after the flop by the pros. This is not new, but the prevalence of aggrssive play is new. Most newbies don't want to go home a second before they have to, and tend to play tight as hell, so this type of attacking game is new.

Talking up playing aggressive is one thing, but re-raising guys like Phil Ivey and Doyle Brunson when they are staring at you is another deal entirely. I give these guys credit.

I like to guage each table on its own merits, but it looks like I am going to have to play tighter than I expected. If the bulk of the players are playing one style, you need to adapt and play the opposite, within reason.

My first plan of attack is to play a couple of small tournaments prior to my Monday main event outing. I have such a dread of busting out (losing all my chips) that I need to play a couple of times and lose just to make sure the world doesn't come to an end.

Sure, I have busted out on line a million times, but in person, at the World Series... well, it's a little different.

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Roadsteamer... he's back baby

I went to see my of my favorite bands, (and certainly one of the most fun bands I've experienced in Boston) Saturday night, Robby Roadsteamer. Relief washed over me after the show. One thing was clear- the Steamer was BACK.

At the risk of getting into trouble with Steamer and some of local fans, many of whom are good friends of mine from the Boston Comedy scene, I have to say I wasn't expecting the kickass show that I got. After seeing Robby Roadsteamer for the first time in last year's "WBCN rock n roll rumble", my expectations were sky high.

I have seen Robby doing stand up around town, and he always cracked me up, but I had no idea his band could play so damn well. For those of you who don't know the band, they have a lot of silly songs with titles like "Naked Except for Socks" (a love ballad about trying to have sex with your girlfriend when you still live at home), "I'm Sorry your Cat has Ass Cancer" and the brilliant, but self-explanatory "I put a Baby in You"... a sweet ballad about clipping the wings of your girlfriend by, well, you get it.

He channels the stereotypical 80s metal front man and adds a dash of pro-wrestler to the mix and the result is hilarity, amigos. And, hey, Robby ain't for everybody- just people with a sense of humor that like to laugh at life- and themselves. What blew me away was how good his band was... I mean these guys can really play.

Anyway, after seeing them a few times after the rumble, I had begun to get a little disappointed. They didn't seem as sharp, as hungry, and committed the mortal sin of not playing my two favorite songs two sows in a row. I couldn't understand it- they are the best songs... it was like going to White Stripes last year and not hearing "Fell in Love with a Girl".

I was dazed. Combing this with the departute of Kat Kina from The Charms had devastated my enjoyment of local rock. The Charms had been my favorite band, by far, but taking Kat ff the keyboards just changed them into something mediocre. I love music so much, that when stuff like this happens, I feel some sort of tragic personal loss, dorky as that may sound.

Well, long story made painfully longer- Roadsteamer just plain kicked ass Saturday night. They were absolutely terrific. Celebrating the release of ther "new" cd (which means a cd with a few new tunes on it and a lot of old classics rearranged,) they were awesome.

It was the best show I'd seen them do since they blew the roof off the Middle East at the rumble. And man, the new cd is one of the best purchases I've ever made. It includes a DVD with almost every clip Robby has ever done, including the TV spots on channel 25 with Gene Lavanchy, lots of stand up, a live show, all three music videos AND tons of the hilarious shorts that the local comedy nuts like me have wet their pants over fr the last few years.

The Paradise was packed, buoyed by new fans collected from his hysterical regular appearances on WBCN Wednesdays and Fridays. It was great to see Robby back on top, kicking ass, and most importantly, really enjoying himself on stage. When he is in his element, he is just brilliant. He is the kind of performer that performers like to watch.

Strangely, he seemed to have mellowed a bit, embracing the "nerds, fat chicks and dorks" and "thanking them for leaving the house on a Saturday night", and for the first time I've heard, including himself among them, er... us. There, I said it.

You can check him out at

Buy this cd if you haven't already.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Visit with dad

So I am in the boonies of Maine, visiting the dad. He'll be 83 this December, God bless him. Even as he drives me crazy with his particulars, I am enjoying him immensely.

My failure to follow my dad into business has always been a bit of a sore spot. He often seems confused by my life choices and is frequently "concerned" about me.

Then... he said the one of the nicest thing to me yesterday that he ever could. He told me he was rambling to one of his local friends and it went something like this:

"You know, I used to be pissed that he wasn't out earning a hundred grand, but he really seems to be happy. He helps this autistic kid, and I have never seen someone with the schedule this kid has. He flies around talking to these alcoholics, now he's playing poker tournaments half way around the world... and oh yeah, he's a comedian... now that I think of it, it sounds like he has a pretty interesting life."

I have been waiting to hear that for ten years. I know dad adores me and appreciates me, but there has always been the hint of unfulfilled potential in all of his beamings about me, the hint of "if only the kid had (fill in the blank)" in the air. He would often brag about me, yet conclude the bragging with a disclaimer about how good I could have been at this or that, but that appeared to be gone yesterday.

I thought about what to write today, and that came to mind. As he sat scribbling answers to a crossword puzzle, I asked what the nice thing he said about me yesterday was, and he said, "ah... I've accepted your life."

I know that, ya big goof, but what was all that good crap you said again?

"Oh for Christ's sake, I don't know."

Keep in mind; although my dad is ancient, we are best buddies. We see (bad) movies once a week, except in the summer, when dad is busy terrorizing Mainers at his cottage on Sebec Lake, and I visit him in Maine as often as I can, usually 4 to 5 times a summer. Still, the thought of dad "accepting me" is scary in itself.

The last time dad tried to figure out my life and "accept it"... it went something like this:

The scene: dad's house. I have stopped by for a visit. Dad asks me about someone I had been dating, and I informed him that we were no longer dating, but we were still "friends".

Dad: Boy... you've gone out with some nice girls, Korte... good looking, too.

ME: yup... that's true dad.

Dad(shaking head): Funny...

ME: Dad, things are different nowadays. You don't marry every girl you go out with.

Dad: Some guys... well, they don't like girls... and you know... that's okay. It is today, anyway.

ME: (exit, stage left)

One thing I always found funny, was that some of the stuff dad criticized me for, I got from him, and from my grandfather, whom dad worshiped. He would scratch his head when I would drive a long distance to speak to some drunks (drunks like me, and some of whom probably contributed to saving my life, I should add). "You do this for nothing???" he'd say. Yet here is a guy who spent literally hundreds of hours every year doing taxes for free for widows, elderly, former clients. His dad always showed up with a bag of groceries, helped poor families, helped exchange students with housing, and believed firmly in charitable donations.

It seems like the old man is finally coming around. Good thing, too, cuz I'm a helluva guy.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Hero of the Day 7/17/06

Is, shockingly, my roommate, Tom.

Tom takes a beating, mostly... okay, entirely, from me.

But today I want to reflect on some of the great things about this big dope.

I have gotten a lot of really cool stuff from this guy. He discovered The Charms, who was my favorite band for about a year until Farfisa organist Kat Kina departed, completely changing the band. (Sorry Ellie, but it ain't the same without Kat)

He also introduced me to some of my favorite restaurants, but the music front has been where ol' Tommy-boy has livened me up the most. He is the man when it comes to last-minute ludicrous gestures surrounding show attendance that should be reserved for college kids and drug addicts.

Tom is not above flying to L.A. to see early 90s LA punk band The Muffs, one of his three favorite bands (along with the Kinks and the Mekons). I tagged along to see them in Brooklyn a couple of years ago and there we discovered this amazingly hip group called Tight Fit, who sadly got sued and had to change their name to Tra La La, which is possibly the lamest name in the history of music behind Milli Vanilli, though they still kick ass on stage.

Tom routinely gets tickets for all the shows on the ast coast when the Mekons tour, which happens about every other year. Last night, Tom got word that Tral La La was opening for Susanna Hoffs (late of the Bangles) and Matthew Sweet. Tom's college roommie plays guitar for Sweet, so he jumped in his car after work, drove to Manhattan, caught the show, drove home, slept three hours and went to work.

Honestly, this is the kind of life I enjoy leading. Kids are terrific, but what's the point of being kid-free and single at 40, and NOT doing stuff like this?

For that, and for today, Tom Beyer... well he's my hero. Barring some nonsense at work, I would have joined him...alas, I missed the show and he adds another great show to a long, long list.

Nice work, kid.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Action-free Activism

Or, as I like to call it, activism for the sake of activism. The primary purposeof this particular activity, pun intended, is to provide the illusion that I am making a difference, really doing something out there, wherever "out there" is.

Protests are great, especially in place of some constructive effort to repair the problem, effort aside from protesting, that is.

Now, ease up...especially you wackos in Cambridge whose heads are about to explode. I'm not saying activism in and of itself is "bad"... but it not a substitute for positive constructive action, which is the way it seems to turn out a lot around here.

Recently, the word came out that The Someday Cafe (an early participant in the resurgance of Davis Sq) had lost its lease. Apparently, the landlord knew the lease was running out and needed to be renewed, but didn't notify the Someday owners (not that he has to).

Now I'm not sure if it is the bad coffee or the smell of feet that draws crowds to the Someday, but the place is adored. I admit, I kinda like the noisy, cluttered ambiance of the joint, and I dig the new decor. You also never know what kind of music you might hear there, and whether or not it will be blaring. It is different and exemplifies Davis Sq itself.

"Save the Someday" petitions are being circulated. A meeting was held there today and a good number of folks showed up to support the effort. That being said, my roommate (disappointed he could not attend due to prior plans) was up-in-arms at the mere thought of booting the beloved Someday Cafe from its locale. He was, and is, ready to fight for the Someday.

"Kick out the Someday? Bullshit!"

He isn't going to take this lying down. He will make a difference. He will... protest?

Making this situation even more amusing for me personally (and proving my point) is the fact that in the four years I have lived with this kid, four blocks from the Someday, we have been there together exactly once, and it was my idea. I can;t say that this guy has been in there more than once or twice in the last two years.

I can see why he deems this a cause clearly worth fighting for.

Any notion that "the man" is pushing someone around, or some decision is being made for business reasons sends this guy into a lather.

Lest I sound like a Republican, I will claim no political affiliation. What irks me is someone bitching about homelessness and how The Republicans are screwing them, or this group or that group, yet doing nothing.

I have been annoyed by these huge horseflies that have somehow infiltrated the house. I asked my roomate if he had seen them.

"You mean the ones in the bathroom?"

I had seen two in the bathroom myself, on separate days, one in my bedroom, and tonight- two in the livingroom.

"Yeah... those. How many have you killed?"

"Ah... none."

"So let me get this straight. You saw these huge horsflies that LOVE to munch on people in their sleep, they were trapped in the tiny bathroom... and you walked out and left them there?"

"Yeah." (sheepish)

Are you fucking kidding me? You can't kill a housefly right in front of you, but you can save a coffee shop you haven't been to in three years?

Of course not, the sticking point there would be the positive, constructive action.

Worried about homeless people not getting enough to eat? Don;t waste time griping about Mitt Romney, he doesn't give a shit. Go buy a pound of roast beef, a loaf of bread and make some friggin' sandwiches.

Not to come off like a goody two-shoes, but for YEARS I ranted about this government policy and that government party and never did a damn thing to really make anything change. One day I was feeling rather sorry for myself, couldn't get out of my own head, so I went to Johnnie's Foodmaster, bought some cold cuts and a 12-pack of Coke and hit Harvard Sq.

As I doled out the sandwiches, I experienceda number of things I never experienced bad-mouthing the right wing from my couch. This is my favorite.

I asked one guy if he wanted ham or turkey. He said, "Haven't you read Leviticus? I'll take the turkey."

The guy was articulate as hell, clearly on the comeback trail...yet I sat wondering how he wound up there, wondered how close I whad been to joining him at my bleakest moments.

If anyone is free Friday, a few of us are getting together to voice concerns about the flies in my bathroom. If anyone can make a few signs,it would be great. I'll take care of the coffee, and I believe someone (forgot who- OOPS!) agreed to bring cookies (sure hope the horse flies don't get 'em:(

Saturday, July 15, 2006


105.7...or, as I like to call it, all Elton John, all the time.

Can we end the Elton John era? Can we, please?

This dude is one of the unfortunate artists whose material just grows more and more and dated with each passing day. This doesn't slow down the folks at 105.7, though, not in the least. They play that annoying tripe from the Lion King soundtrack as frequently as possible, but for some reason, are still critically attached to "Crockodile Rock" like a one armed man, determined to swim across the English Channel while holding a brick is his good hand.

Barring anything ever done by Phil Collins ever, I can not think of a tune more pointless and void of entertainment value than Crockodile Rock.

I remember when rock was young too, Elton. You probably still had hair then. By the way, I hope you mentioning "rock" in this song doesn't imply that you think this song "is" rock... because tat would be hurtful, gratuitous, and unneccesary. (To quote E.B. Farnum)

Why am I listening to 105.7 WLAME, you ask? I am chronic channel-flipper. In spite of the fact that something listenable crosses 105.7 more infrequently than a bright idea crosses President Bush's mind, I keep it in the programmed channels. I guess last week's "Tainted Love" is keeping it afloat. It is almost a queer curiosity now... is 105.7 playing "Tequila Sunrise", or "Benny and the Jets"?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oblivious Cellphone Idiot

Every time I sit down to write something, I feel like I am one step closer to becoming a grumpy old man. I guess the fact that I blared a collection of Dead Kennedys classics at full bore on the highway today means that I am not yet mature, but my grumpiness and irritation and things having nothing to do with me continues to flourish.

I sat down for a crisp thin crust pizza at my new favorite restaurant (Cambridge One in Harvard Sq.) tonight and fled the joint in horror at the idiocy of the kid seated next to me. I feel like I'm seventy, but I hafta ask... what the helll was the kid thinking?

The kid with her was unable to make any decision whatsoever... what beer to drink, what pizza to get, whether or not to split a whole pizza or get two halves. About ten minutes into the date, the kid gets a cell phone call and proceeds to talk about nothing (How much his hotel is costing and various computery terms etc etc) for twenty minutes while this gorgeous girl sits there twiddling her thumbs.

Not that he should be on the phone if she was somewhat less than gorgeous, but it seems like even this twit would get that he should be grateful that someone so thick, oblivious and shallow should be graced with a date with anyone, let alone this stunning redhead... maybe it's the redhead thing that's getting me.

Sadly, the girl didn't even look surprised, just bored. Is this where we are today, where this kind of blatant self-absorption and rudeness isn't even a surprise. I couldn;t believe the chick didn;pt bolt.

I struggled to keep my big yap shut, but after the kid continued to talk for another ten minutes after their pizza arrived, while the girl sat and waited dutifully for this shmuck and a half to get off the phone, I felt compelled to make a snarky coment.

"You'd better eat that while it's hot, it'll be ice cold by the time this clown gets off the horn."

"Oh no, it's okay," she smiled.

The twit apologized at his importance and hung up immediately. I know I should have minded my own business, but what the hell was this kid thinking?

The quote that comes immediately to mind, is Capt. Renault (Claude Rains) to Rick Blaine (Bogie) in Casablanca, "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that. Some day they might be scarce."

One can only hope.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Reviews for the Five Worst Movies...

...that I have never actually seen.

Okay, so maybe it seems unfair to judge a film without seeing it, but the following flicks seemed to be so lame, I dared not watch them.

I see a lot of movies, many of them bad. I take care of an autistic guy, so we often see something because of the time it is playing, or because it looks like it might make people in the audience laugh (which he likes to be around) or may have a good musical score or lots of special effects.

Another reason I frequently see poor films is that aside from the summer months when he is in Maine, I go weekly with my dad. Dad is 83 this year, so he gets to pick the movie each week.

Dad explains why this is fair in the following statement, "You can see what you want to see when I'm dead."

He has a point there.

So dad picks... dad often chooses Steven Seagal or Jackie Chan vehicles, or any movie where lots of things get blown up, or "punks get what they have coming". It's okay to blast a few rounds into someone's head, as long as he has been properly portrayed as a "really bad guy".

"Geez dad, that one had an awful lot of violence"

"Yeah... but that kid was a punk... deserved what he got... he was a really bad guy."

Point, set and match.

Bruce Willis is also a popular protagonist, though I admit, Bruce is one of my own guilty pleasures.

Ironically, many movies I pass over because of outstanding reviews from people that are just a tad too enthusiastic. This attitude kept me from seeing "The Matrix" for about two years. I just refused to believe anything with Keanu Reeves could be that good. Alas it was, and I stand corrected in that case. However, avoiding over-enthusiastic reviewer picks has been a staple of my movie-going experience, and I stand by it.

The second most popular reason I skip a movie is due to a lame trailer.

The third is when a flick is a sequel to a movie that sucked.

Here is the list. I am sure to miss many terrible selections, so feel free to add your own.

5. Satisfaction

Justine Bateman hasn't worked since she wall-papered it up in this yawner, proving that a complete lack of personality was not reserved for "Family Ties" and various talk shows. Her performance in the trailer shouted, "Yes, I really have no charisma or personality whatsoever.. there is truly nobody home."

The biggest surprise is that Julia Roberts hasn't sued to get her name removed from the credits.

4. Gigli

A lot of folks probably think this yacker should be number one, but that would be too easy. The trailer for this look horrendous, which is probably the chief reason about nine people saw it on opening weekend in spite of the overwhelming press Ben Affleck and Jenifer Lopez were receiving at the time. When the terrible reviews came out, most people were like, "...and?"

3.Die Hard With a Vengeance

Die Hard II was so lame, that any further investigation into the Die Hard franchise need not take place.

Good news... "Die Hard 4" is is in pre-production in 2007, yippee!!! It's about time Hollywood came up with some fresh ideas.

2. Malibu's Most Wanted.

The dorky white guy rapping shtick has been beaten to death. This lame shlock was already past its expiration date long before this piece of crap hit the theaters, giving teens legitimate cause to throw ten-dollar-a-bucket popcorn at screens across the nation.

1. Thelma and Louise.

I know I am going to get some guff for this one, but I hated this film more with each plea from my sister Debbie to go see it. In each instance she would describe some awful thing some man did to one of these poor girls which inevitably justified them getting shot or (the ever-popular) kicked in the groin.

This was a feminist version of the vigilante crap-ola my dad loves. The goal here is to build up the baddies to be soooo bad, that any action taken against them seems not only justified, but ordained by some higher power. "She shot him in the back of the head???" "yeah, but he (think of worst possible thing a man could do in this situation and multiply it by five)"

The flip side of this popular tactic is to make a husband/boyfriend (Titanic) or wife/girlfriend so awful, so horrific that adultery is the only course of action that makes any sense at all.

1. This is tough, but I'm going with a surprise pick here... the soon to be released "Clerks II"

Clerks was fun because it was low-budget and craftily written, different and a breath of fresh air in a time of cloned flick after cloned flick. It is now no longer "fresh and new" and it actually hurts to see Kevin Smith milk this dead horse for a few clams over a decade after it hit the screen.

To begin with, Clerks was good because it was unique, period. The acting was horrendous, especially that of lead actor Brian O"Halloran (Dante). This guy hasn't worked since, barring a couple of bones tossed to him by Director Kevin Smith.

There will a couiple of amusing observations by the first film's saving grace, Randall (played by Jeff Anderson) but they will be obvious and contrived.

Skip it.


"Freddie Versus Jason" Inane meets ridiculous and conspires to rob you of ten bucks.

"Look Whos Talking Too" A sequel to a one joke movie. No thanks.

"Lake House" As if a reunion of Keanu and Sandra Bullock wasn't enough to remedy the affects of Cialis, this implausible gem comes along and prods me toward the third rail. I think I actualy began to menstruate during the trailer.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Massachusetts Drivers... we are not good

I think we need to just come out of the closet and admit it- we are not good drivers.

You might be saying, "yes, this is true, Korte, this we know, this we have already admitted openly."

Alas, I say we have NOT admitted anything. The best we will do, we Massachusetts folk, is admit that everyone else in the state is horrific, but we can't come clean and face our own operational deficiencies.

We aren't all the same, there are some acts behind the wheel so egregious that the motorist could be justifiably shot. Example- yesterday I am puttering along in the travel lane (i.e. the "slow lane") going a comfortable 60-65. At some point, a swath of cars begins to bail out of the slow lane and rotate back in. This generally means someone is going way too slow, but in Massachusetts, you never know. When I finally get behind the turtle, the operator has her hazard light on and is traveling about 40-45 miles an hour on the turnpike. I assume she has one of those lame small spares on her car and doesn't want to risk driving 65 on the donut... but I am wrong.

She is on a cell phone, possibly thinking...

"Well, I can't drive the speed limit and talk on the phone, that might be dangerous... but if I flick on my hazards, I can chat guilt and risk- free! Yay, yay for me, (and let's forget about the other drivers I am endangering and inconveniencing.) After they aren't important, because they aren't, well... ME!!!

To me, this is far worse than speeding, driving wrecklessly and yammering away on a cell phone, primarily because the fact that the lady put on her flashers and slowed down shows that she's aware she is doing something dangerous. At least the wreckless driver is seemingly ignorant of the danger they are outting others and themselves in.

My friend Barry, a 6'3" goof that could probably absorb a direct hit from an SUV without breaking the skin, routinely flinches when I am at the wheel. Fortunately, he wears a seat belt and is cemented in place. I asked him why the hell he is so jumpy, and he said, "because you drive everywhere like you're taking a pregnant woman to the hospital"

"Really," I said. "Really?" I honestly hadn't been aware of this.

For years I have proclaimed myself a competent driver, in spite of occasionally chatting on my cell phone (while lambasting anyone else that does the same.) I guess the truth is that I am probably as bad as the next guy, (though I am an excellent parallel parker.)

After requesting explaination of his assessment, Barry described how I take onramps, cutting to the inside (well that lane moves faster) and using the road like a race track, and I couldn't deny it.

I'll admit it- I stink, there, I said it.

But the characteristic that defines Massachusetts drivers is not radical exploits behind the wheel, but a complete inability to look at our own driving while simultaneously obsessing over every minute detail of the rest of the driving public.

The best example of this that comes to mind is a friend of mine who happens to be a transplant from Long Island, which proves that bad Massachusetts driving is learned, and not genetic.

This guy is like a hall monitor run wild, chirping out the window at not only drivers that fail to meet his approval, but errant pedestrians as well.

Last week, he accelerated (a great Massachusetts trick is accelerating so that people inconvencience you by "causing" you to break when they "cut" in front of you) then yu are justified in yelling out the window, or beeping if you prefer) but I digress... he accelerated into some people crossing the street ahead of us, then had to break and yells out the window, "That's NOT helping... that's REALLY NOT HELPING."

It's as though we look for reasons to be irritated.

Yesterday, I am riding shotgun with the same hall monitor and he indiscriminately stops in the middle of the street (with cars behind him). No signal, no nothing. I ask him what he's doing, and he says, "looking for a spot."

He continues to accelerate, slow down, accelerate, slow down... still no signal.

I say, "what about the guy behind you?"

"So what?" he says, almost confused by the question.

Than again, what was I thinking, the driver behind him wasn't him.

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