Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Perfect Beginning

I'm not really sure why it always happens. It may be my state of mind during the activity. It is something I enjoy thoroughly. Possibly, and this may be closer to the truth, and I know some of them are going to read this, but, well, all hairdressers and people who cut hair are most likely insane.

I've written about my haircut experience before. Today, I had another. It's my belief the perfect haircut is two weeks prior to the function you are attending. After two weeks time the imperfections of any haircut will be diminished and you'll pretty much have your hair back to looking the crappy way it always does, but your comfort level will be supreme.

My yearly trip back to my hometown of Lowville NY takes place in two weeks. We will be attending a family reunion, one that I have missed for about the last twenty years. I am not proud of this fact. I have not put the effort in to attend the reunion in past years. We've always tried to plan our vacations home around fair week. I should have made time for this long ago.

Back to the hair cutterer. Yes, I received a coupon from Hair Cuttery. I used to go there because it was so close. Then, I started doing that Sportsclip thing because I like the head massages. Sportsclip has changed into something else, and the last time I was there they made it clear they were going to concentrate on women's hair, but that there male clients were still welcome. I then had the worst haircut, head massage, and neck rub that could ever be given. I didn't write about it because it would have been just bitching. They made their point though, so I am on the lookout for a hair person.

So, off I go to Hair Cuttery, and I sit right down. I nice, probably 48? year old woman puts the giant bib around my neck. Her fingers caress my neckline and I instantaneously take to this treatment like a tick to a dog.

She asks how I want my hair cut and I reply "shorter, everywhere." I don't wish to speak, and I could care less what my hair looks like when I leave this place, remember, I've got two weeks.

"Scissor cut all over?" She asks as she runs her fingers through my hair.

"yes, please, over the ears" is all I can muster.

She begins to comb my hair. It feels good too. She goes on and on combing over and over as I sit there, eyes closed, completely enjoying myself. She runs her fingers through my hair again, caressing the tops of my ears this time.

This is exactly what a haircut should be. The sexual overtones are rampant, but as long as no line is crossed it is more like star treatment. That line was far off as I settled in for a nice, slow, haircut.

I like haircuts, alright?

She began clipping. Even the sound of the scissors criss-crossing their way across my head has an almost primeval ease to it. The relaxation process is on full blast (80's reference) and I couldn't be more comfortable.

But, and you know she would, she began to speak.

"What do you do?" She asked with a smile.

"I work at the Poker room" was my dry reply.

"What do you do there?"

I knew she'd ask that. Everyone always wants to know everything about you. As if in knowing more about you they can somehow connect with you on some great level. Either that, or she's just nosy. Either way. I suppose she could been trying just to be nice, but I'm not buying it. (That is sarcasm, by the way. I'm not completely insane)

"I play poker". I may as well just tell her, although I am sure this is going to spark an entirely new direction in the conversation.

It's possible I told her because I am having a narcissistic moment. I want her to be intrigued. I want her to be interested. Wait, no. I want a silent, goddamn haircut.

Her response and following questions were NOT what I was expecting. You see, most people want to know what famous people you've met, where you travel to, what exciting things have you done, what's the most money you've ever won. Never what's the most you've ever lost (I assume because that is too personal).

"OOOhh! My brother plays poker at the poker room!!" But her face was not one of joy. She was sounding excited while not really feeling excited. I knew that look. It was one of displeasure.

"I bet there are a lot of regulars at the poker room" She queried.

"There are, but there is also a poker room in Orange Park, so you get a lot of diversity. It's a lot of fun."

I don't want to know her brother's name. I just don't want to know. I know I should ask her, but what if he loses the family farm or something due to poker? You must understand, most people lose at poker. I, personally, get very little of what any individual actually loses in total. But, I get some of it, none the less. Even if a person doesn't lose money directly to me, he loses money to someone else who will eventually lose money to me. That is the hope, anyways.

Her caresses have gone, and she roughly pulls at my hair to cut it. It's at this point she goes into some long description of some old man who goes into the quick stop to buy a hundred dollars in lottery tickets each day. The old man doesn't care what it cost and is happy and feels great if he wins just a free ticket.

I don't know what this story had to do with anything. Unless her brother is the old man and the lottery tickets are synonymous with playing poker, I can't see the connection.

"He should just bring that hundred to the poker room. He'd have a better chance."

I sincerely meant this. Playing the lottery is a futile attempt to strike it rich. The odds are stacked against you completely. You have a better chance of being struck by lighting, while pissing at the sky during a thunderstorm, than you have of hitting the lottery.

She then made some comment about old men and dementia. Now I really don't want to know her brother's name. If I had to worry about the state of minds of all of my opponents it would be very difficult to continue.

This haircut was sucking.

She finished up shortly after that. Not much more was said. She dusted off my neck, and powdered me up a bit, and took of my giant bib. As I was rising to go pay she said one last thing.

"There's still an hour left before you head off to prison". It came out like have a nice day. But, what a strange goodbye. Why does she think I would think the poker room is a prison?

I wish this lady played poker. Part of playing well is knowing what the other person thinks you have in your hand. I don't think she knows my hand at all. She has no idea I'm about to turn over pocket aces, again, and scoop a nice pot.

"yeah, but I like the color orange". I said with a smile. She had a quizzical look on her face. I paid my $5.99 for the haircut, and gave a $2 tip. Prison is calling. In one day the electric chair is powered up. A lot of people have no idea they are on the list for their date with the hot seat. I hope I'm not on that damn list.

To my hairdresser friends. As I wrote this I realized she was not crazy. But, I can't help but wonder what would have happened had she not began the twenty question thing. She probably had no idea of the mind she had in front of her. It is a fragile mass of protein that continuously wants to crawl in a dark hole and avoid the danger of the outside world. I think my distant ancestors were cave dwellers or something.

The search continues...

Codsey out.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You VC!!

I'm sitting here listening to the pundits discuss whether President Obama's firing of one general, and immediate hire of another, was brilliant or not. Well, I suppose it had to be done. I get it. This General Petreus sounds competent. Ok, I can see it all. But, something else occurred to me this evening as I daydreamed about AJ beating my AK for a hundred dollars about 20 minutes ago.

See, I listened for about 20 minutes to a joint news conference Obama and the russian president were having. Obama was asked about the war in Afghanistan, and he gave our strategy of getting things calmed down, making the gov't we support able to fight for itself, and hopefully begin pulling troops out about a year from now. He also said he and his team would be reviewing things as this year goes on to determine the probability of some troops being sent home.

The President metioned Pakistan needed to get in the game and start hunting some of the bad guys inside of their country. That makes perfect sense. But, what if they don't? Are we going into their country, in force, to try and pin the enemy down? Are we going to attack Pakistan? These are big problem questions, not little problems at all.

This all sounds like another war, in my lifetime, that I have actually read quite a bit about. Viet Nam was nearly the same. The Ho Chi Min trail wound down from North Vietnam and into Laos and Cambodia before it came back into South Viet Nam. It was the supply route for the insurgents and viet cong.

Routinely, the Viet Cong and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) would resupply, building up strength in Cambodia and Laos and then launch attacks in South Viet Nam. Once The US arrived on scene and in force we would naturally triumph in battle. Th enemy was no match, but the enemy would slip back across the border to resupply and do it all again.

Does this sound familiar? Afghanistan, Pakistan, insurgents, slipping across the border? Huh, no, are you living on the moon?

Ok, let's step back a second. Let's try to imagine how our current strategy for Afghanistan might play out, assuming each step actually goes as planned.

-Keep pressure on the enemy reducing their ability to cause trouble
-Pakistan aids us and attacks enemy camps inside of Pakistan
-Arm and train the current Afghan government so they can defend themselves
-Begin to pull our troops out as fewer attacks take place.
-Continue to support the Afghan people and government, always strengthening their armed forces.
-Hope the current Afghan government can hang on.
-When the current Afghan government loses power to the taliban, impose economic sanctions.
-When those don't work, go back in???

It is, to say the least, a tall order. I'm afraid this will end up being another "win every battle, and lose the damn war" scenario. Unless we occupy Pakistan I cannot envision the enemies arrayed against us stopping their efforts to make us leave. They will not give up and we cannot kill them all.

How much money are we spending on this war? I'm afraid to google it. I did though and the total money appropriated for both Iraq and Afghanistan is 160 B for 2011. That is a lot of creased stripper dollar bills.

So, we're also going to pay for Afghanistan to have a good, well equipped, highly trained military. How much is that going to cost? I don't want to know. I think there may still be hope. I think there is only one course of logic.

We have to pull out. It's not defeat. The Taliban may take power again, well, they probably will. They will probably aide Al Queda in trying to figure out how to destroy us. They may even launch another terrorist attack inside of US soil. But you know what? That may very well happen anyway.

Homeland Security is important. Troops on our own borders is important too. American families spending holidays and birthdays together is possibly the most important.

I still want us to kick ass though, when the time is needed. I just think there are better, certainly less expensive, and certainly more world friendly ways to do it. What I'm talking about has been made to almost sound taboo in the art of 21st century warfare. Covert operations.

Have men on the ground in all of the countries in the middle east. Clendestine operations. Seek out the training centers. Seek out the enemy. Then, bomb the shit out of them.

I know there are going to be civilian casualties. That is something that no one ever desires, but it's called collateral damage for a reason. We do not need to get anyone's permission, just get the planes airborne and bomb the enemy hard and fast.

If bombing them won't work then put small teams on the ground to take out those tough to clean stains. It's time to possibly be a little sloppier. We won't be able to save the true innocents, the people of Afghanistan, because they will still be living in turmoil ruled by the Taliban. Can you imagine being female and living under that rule?

I cannot be optimistic enough to picture that region of the world being safe and secure for decades to come, and that is whether our military remains in that country or not. Therefore, bring the troops home. Train them hard. Resupply OUR forces. Prepare for the next war, because it may be a doosie. This is turning into Viet Nam and I wish it to end.

Codsey out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Soccer's a Good Sport

I'm siting here as the USA v. Algeria World Cup game is beginning. It occurred to me that soccer is a definitely different sport than the American favorites of Football, Baseball, and Basketball.

Ours has always been a nation of "we are the best" and I think overall that has served us well. We have gone from a fledgling nation along the east coast, winning two wars against arguably the strongest nation in the world, to a global powerhouse in right about 170 years when we were instrumental in ending world war II. Plus, we had the bomb. Nobody was going to mess with us.

So, it's understandable that we would consider "our" sports better. We love the quick action and mind numbing hits of the NFL. I can think of nothing better, when I was a youngster, than seeing the NFL Today starting up and watching the slo-mo replay of a receiver just getting laid out by a defensive back. The NFL is king in America.

We love the strategy, the almost military like procedure to it all. We love how after each play the teams huddle to plan their next tactical approach to moving the ball ten yards forward. We cling to the hope of the sudden BIG play in which the ball is thrown with such precision, with that perfect spiral, as to make us all wonder what it would be like to be that good at something. We even love the punt. For although it admits losing a battle, it gives hope to the underdog that just maybe putting them back in their own end may allow something good to happen for our team, for a change.

Baseball used to be our nation's passion. Talk about strategy! Strategy and pushing minute edges of probability to be one of few teams to have even the chance of winning the whole thing. How many times do you think a manager has to decide, over the course of an entire MLB season, whether or not to bunt the runner over? Given the situation in the game, the batters and base runners, the other teams infield, the ability of the pitcher to cover first base, the manager must put that into some sort of algorithm that gives him an answer. Even if the immediate result turns out wrong the manager can feel safe in knowing, if his math is almost right, he has made the right decision.

It's no wonder so many people love poker. Poker is exactly like that. I never thought of baseball and poker being similar, but damned if it isn't. Back to the point, if there ever becomes one.

The NBA is quite arguably our second most popular sport. We have fallen in love with the speed and absolute raw power of a monstrous, thundering dunk. Traveling? No big deal as long as the payoff is something akin to watching a cirque de soleil show, with defense.

The USA just had two wonderful scoring opportunities in this soccer game. They had a goal taken away as well, the result of an erroneous off-sides call. This is a truly wonderful game. I can't believe more people don't like this sport.

This game is particularly good because both teams are playing a clean game. The whistle isn't blowing every minute. The teams are playing solid defense when a man gets the ball. There isn't a lot of kicking at the back of the heels, and arms up around the faces of opponents. It is what soccer is supposed to be.

The Algerians just played a flag ball to the left corner. The Algerian forward and American defender ran stride for stride towards the ball. Control of this ball, in this spot on the field, was vital. As the two of them, both still stride for stride, neared the ball they instinctively put their shoulders down and delivered a shoulder to shoulder blow that sounded like two sides of beef being slammed together in a slaughter house.

That is just about the most contact you are supposed to have in the game of soccer. You can't hit someone like that from behind, or from the front. This game today is very clean, and very good.

Soccer has the strategy of a war game, and the tactics of a realistic battlefield situation. The game continually changes. the pieces are in constant motion. Gain the ball in an area of the field where you have more men than the other team and you are probably going to b able to put together some sort of opportunity. That is why teams play four defenders and four midfielders while only usually starting two forwards, or strikers. They give up numerical superiority in their opponents end of the field in order to have it in their own.

Attacking the corner flags of the opponents half of the field stretches out the defense forcing them to cover more space. It also keeps the ball out of the hands of the only person who can pick it up with his/her hands, the keeper.

Three good things can happen when you get the ball to the flags, as they say. You can gain possession, earn a cross or go around a defender and create an immediate scoring opportunity. You could gain a corner kick. You can gain a throw in from deep in enemy territory. Wait make it four. You could gain a free kick if the defender fouls your striker while fighting for the ball.

There are probably more benefits, but any one of these can produce an IMMEDIATE scoring opportunity. Wait, there are more benefits. The ball that deep in your opponents territory keeps them from having a scoring chance. That is, they cannot counter-attack from that spot on the field very easily. The opponents will also have their faces to their own goal which is a rough spot to defend from.

Wait, more.. the ball, if gained in the corner, is crossed from a point where your team would have a harder time being off-sides. It is similar to a corner kick because it is near the end-line. A corner kick has to be one of the best scoring chances in soccer. Your team is facing the others goal while the ball approaches from the corner kick...HUGE advantage.

Bad things that can happen on a flag ball are few and far between. The other team can gain a throw in deep in their own end (not really a bad thing). Or, they clear the ball back out (not all that bad noting your team is facing their goal, and their defenders are doing the same). Or, they get a goal kick, which against a good team is giving them possession. But it's not horrible.

Anyway, I babbled there for a bit. Soccer is awesome. This game is incredible. The skill level of some of these players is astounding, but a good team will normally beat a one person show. Employing the correct strategy, winning the small battles, and getting more opportunities than your opponent, is usually the key to winning.

I know what American HATE with a passion that makes me cringe that it is even involved in sport at all. Faking injury to draw attention and hopefully a call from the referee. It happens far too much watching international play, and I wish it would go away.

Dempsey just hit the post for the US on a fairly wide-open shot. Jesus man, finish it one time, will you? OH MY GOD, I just saw the first dive taken in this game. And the US player charged with the foul was given a yellow card. Now that player has to play tentatively for the rest of the game, and he has been dominating that defender creating many scoring opportunities.

Use the replays for yellow cards, please. Jesus, he barely touched the guy, and you would have thought the defender broke his leg or something on the play. The defender should have been the guy getting the yellow card for faking injury. The replay makes it look obvious.

See, Americans are never gonna put up with crap like that. Your average football fan is going to call that guy a pussy and probably some other politically incorrect names. It's too bad too, because this is one helluva a great game.

Maybe the rest of the world doesn't want the US to be interested in soccer... if we were more of our best athletes would play soccer and eventually we would dominate the mother. Maybe that's why the refs appear to be biased. I hope they are not, biased I mean, but I can understand in a way. If we were to give soccer our full attention, just like most things, the United States of America would DOMINATE!

US just missed two more scoring chances... good lord. Come on! great game though.

Codsey out.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Implosion Imminent?

My head is about to explode, or rather implode, due to the extreme outside pressure I am currently experiencing. I feel like if I were to spring a leak in my noggin it would resemble the bottom of the gulf as robots arms raced in to place the Top kill, and my brains slowly gushed to the floor. Thankfully, it would be a quick end noting the lack of cerebral matter in the grey goo.

It's funny how quickly you forget about the oil in the gulf when you realize you are losing touch with the two most important people in your life. My kids are growing, and along with that growth comes the realization for me that I am not go to agree with many of their decisions.

Some are cut and dry, like my son egging a person vehicle because the man told him to stay off from a trampoline. Obviously, no matter what your reasoning, egging someone's property is tantamount to vandalism. Some reactions to a situation are just not okay no matter the wrong you feel was done to you.

Take terrorism, for instance. I have a friend who believes the terrorists are justified in killing innocent people because they have no other way to fight back against the grave injustices currently being thrust upon them by the west. I say that is bullshit.

I think a lot of people in this country feel guilty about America being so very powerful, as though this power we have would somehow be put to better use if Middle Eastern countries possessed it. Could you imagine a world in which Iran and Iraq had the nuclear weapons and the rest of us had to succumb to their will?

Do you honestly believe those countries would ensure we had food and medicine? Do you think they'd ensure our individual rights were preserved if they had all of the guns? Jesus, this world is on full blown, chip spewing, pocket digging TILT!

Don't forget this basic truth. We are ambivalent, they are tyrannical.

I can't believe I got off on that tangent. Wow, how the mid wanders when you don't want to face facts.

My son, yes, my son. My son, the egg thrower. I wanted to beat him so badly, I was very angry with him, but thankfully I did not. I am still angry with him, but I'm trying to understand. I'm petrified that I am failing as a parent, that my son does not understand the difference between right and wrong. That very thought woke me up in the middle of the night.

He's grounded right now, no computer, no friends, up in his room hopefully thinking about his actions. I've done a lot of yelling since last night, and I'm sure it is ineffectual as a deterrent to anti social behavior. SO, I'll let him stew for a while in his room, essentially locking him in. I hope he hates it up there.

Being a parent is difficult, at best. I can see why people just check out. Parents give in, and the kids very often fall into a pattern of bad behavior often times ending in prison or death. Am I sounding a tad dramatic? Well, this is serious drama to me.

I'm scared I am failing, once again, at an undertaking that seemed easily attainable when I began it. Professional golfer, failed. Life insurance underwriter, unhappy, quit, failed. Mortgage salesman, failed. Professional poker player, slowly failing. Father, as of today, failing.

My daughter wants nothing to do with sports in school. She is a talented soccer player. I have no clue of how to get her to understand how much fun playing on a sports team can be. I've told her many times, but she cares more about friends and her ability to text them at any time, from any place.

I suppose I have to threaten to take her phone away and force her to play soccer? I have told her if she doesn't play soccer she has to do something else. She must be doing some sort of extra-curricular while in high school. I know, from experience, that extra-curricular activities were the only thing that kept me out of trouble during my high school years.

I'm clueless here. Seriously. I have no answers that I can say are absolute. This is not math. If this were math we'd be able to come to an exact conclusion on how to handle the situation. Or, at least be able to realize the best course of action given any situation. It's not math.

I can see why some parents just give up. They allow their kids to do what they want, when they want, with whomever they want. All control is lost. It is the easiest path. That is failure in my book.

I'm not giving up. There is no way I'm quitting on these two kids. I think they are basically good, and that is at least something.

"I want, I want, I want" had better start to sound like "May I please" pretty damn quick. I ain't raising no terrorists.

I'm out.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

So Sleepy

I'm tired.

I'm tired of complaining about the government. I'm tired of bitching about bad beats. I'm tired of my kids demanding THINGS. I'm tired of schoolteachers thinking more money will somehow allow them to teach better.

I'm tired of supposed objective journalists actually having a leftist agenda. I'm tired of oil.

I'm tired of listening to how much money is spent on a political race. I'm tired of no one listening to their constituents.

I'm tired of people being offended by words. I'm tired of the lack of leadership our leader actually shows.

I'm tired of talking about how a poker hand SHOULD have been played. I'm tired of second guessing. I'm tired of monopolies.

I'm tired of having to scratch my way through life. I'm tired of knowing that the amount of money I make today will not be enough come Jan 1st.

I'm tired of not being able to control my emotions without the aid of narcotics. I'm tired of being weak.

I'm tired of feeling powerless.

I'm tired of the hatred this country receives from people we try to help. I'm tired of those same people always wanting a hand-out.

I'm tired of the stupidity I witness. I'm tired of sticking my head in the sand, hoping it will all go away.

I'm tired of the heat in Florida this time of the year. I'm tired of my electric bill each month.

I'm tired hearing people believing they are entitled to things. I'm tired of no one wanting to give more than they receive.

I'm tired of the green movement. I'm tired the the Dept of Energy spending 30 billion dollars a year since 1977 and accomplishing almost nothing.

I'm tired of my poker room not carrying the golf channel. I'm tired of their tightness when they take 600k per month off the tables.

I'm tired of gas prices going up and down based on the speculation of investors. I'm tired of passing three police cars on my five mile drive to the poker room each day.

I'm tired of speed traps. I'm tired of the crime they do not prevent.

I'm tired the federal government thinking they know what is best for an individual state. I'm tired of Nancy Pelosi.

I'm tired of the belief that we can spend our way out of any problem. I'm tired of the government creating a new cabinet position every time a new crisis arises.

I'm tired of unemployment going down only because of the census takers that were hired. I'm tired of buying THINGS that are made outside of this country.

I'm tired of Illegal immigrants. I'm tired of the left not seeing this as a problem.

I'm tired of ponzii schemes. I'm tired of the rich making their buck and waiting for the next disaster for them to exploit.

I'm tired of Keith Olberman telling me that GW Bush is a criminal. I'm tired of Sestak being ignored.

I'm tired of Rachel Maddow being upset because she has breasts. I'm tired of the left painting the tea partiers as RADICAL when it is the left who blew things up back in the 70's.

I'm tired of being labeled a racist or uncaring because I don't believe this country can afford a national health care system right now. I'm tired of the handouts.

I'm tired of bailouts. I'm tired of "too big to fail".

I'm tired of increased taxes without decreased spending. I'm tired of Tony Hayward and his commercials.

I'm tired of our fear of nuclear power. I'm tired of giving billions to OPEC.

I'm tired of unwed mothers (who can't support the child). I'm tired of cradle to grave public assistance.

I'm tired of feeling like no one speaks for me in congress. I'm tired of elected leaders being led around by the nose by their political parties.

I'm tired of this blog entry. I think I'll take a nap.

Codsey out.