Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Today is my dear friend Cardgrrl's birthday. I'm actually writing this on August 1, but if all goes as planned, I will be in D.C. for a visit as you're reading this. It's hard to imagine, I know, but she seems to like having this old grump around once in a while. I may never understand why, but I'm pleased and humbled that it is so.
The photo above is one I snapped casually, mostly out of boredom, while waiting for our food to be delivered at the Harrah's cafe in March. When I looked at it on the computer later, it quickly became one of my favorites. She doesn't think much of the shot, but I think she looks beautiful. I love how it captures her mysterious little smile and askance look (which I have been on the receiving end of countless times). There is both kindness and intelligence in those eyes, don't you think?
Please go visit her blogs, Raise or Fold and Something Beautiful, and leave a note either there or here joining me in wishing her much joy on this day.
Happy birthday, my sweet.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
In about an hour I'm leaving for the swampland which our Founding Fathers saw fit to designate as the nation's
armpit capitol. The lovely Cardgrrl asked me to pay her a visit for her birthday, and it seemed like a good idea. After all, a girl turns 29 only once. I'll be there through next Wednesday.
Last night I finished reading Pauly's Lost Vegas. It's a great read, but for personal reasons it has left me with a bunch of very weird feelings that I think will take some time and rumination to sort out, put labels on, and figure out how to describe. I smell a long, rambling post to come out of that process around the time I return home.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Yesterday while I was playing at Binion's, there was a guy across the table from me reading a book when he wasn't in a hand. The book was Check-Raising the Devil, nominally by Mike Matusow, but with more than a little help from Amy Calistri and Tim Lavalli.
I have not read this book and do not own a copy. But I have, naturally, seen plenty of reviews of it in my poker reading, in blogs and in magazines. The reviews almost always include a picture of the front cover, so I was familiar with what it looks like:
I was, therefore, surprised when I saw the book yesterday, because it was plain black, with the title in simple lettering across the front. No photo of Matusow with a satanic 6-6-6 flop in front of him.
At first I thought maybe this was a translation into another language and, hence, with a different cover for some foreign market, because the guy reading it was clearly not a native speaker of English. But no, when he tipped it down to watch a hand, I determined that it was in English. Could it be some sort of special book-club edition? I've had book club memberships, and sometimes the covers differ from the publisher's usual output of a title. I doubted it, though, because I recognized the logo of Cardoza, the publisher, on the spine.
I finally decided that what I was looking at was most likely some sort of pirated, black-market copy, probably produced dirt-cheap in a sleazy third-world country back alley and sold at a price to undercut the legitimate publisher. Even as I settled on that as the most likely explanation, however, I was aware that it did seem a little weird. After all, the book sells to a niche market of poker enthusiasts--not exactly the kind of runaway bestseller that you'd tend to think would attract rogue printers itching to cash in on the frenzy of some girly fictional romance that Oprah had gushed about. I dismissed it as a minor mystery that I would probably never get the answer to, turned my attention back to the poker game, and had forgotten about it by the time I got home.
Today I was reading Lavalli's most recent blog post, and the question of the strangely undecorated book came to mind again, because there's a little ad for it in the margin of the page. It occurred to me that I could pretty easily contact Lavalli and ask him if he knew of any pirating of his work, since I know that he at least periodically stops by here for a read, and has left at least one comment that I remember.
I started composing a note to him. Then, fortunately, I was saved from the embarrassment that would have resulted. I don't know how it happened, but in some sort of weird deus ex machina moment, the answer to the riddle just dawned on me from out of nowhere. In retrospect, it is so blindingly obvious that I am now seriously questioning my sanity:
The man was simply reading a copy of the book with the dust jacket removed.