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Kill Your Television

Having taken the last 6 months or so off, I had plenty of daylight hours to burn, only a small portion of which I used to do anything productive. Rather, I went through a period of “high inertia”, did some great internet surfing and T.V. watching.

Somehow I managed to make it through 63 episodes of Six Feet Under, an absolutely top notch HBO series. This is some of the BEST television ever made, IMO. And I watched all of Futurama, from beginning to end, and watched the new movie. Another amazing show. House is back and better than ever.

I watched American Gladiator. Wolf. Helga. Oh. Yeah.

I watched all the new Doctor Who, and the spinoff. Not to be flaimbait, but Torchwood is better. Way better; it’s better than most American TV shows. Still not as good as Red Drawf. Speaking of space shows, I watched some old Star Trek TNG and Voyager, TNG doesn’t age well, and Voyager isn’t far behind. But 7 of 9…yeah, that was a great idea; insert lame”Assimilate me!” joke here. Borgs are so cool.

Sci Fi/Fantasy is gaining in popularity, especially shows set in the present that contain fantastical Must see TV includes Heroes, Lost, and Jericho. Good TV includes Eureka and Moonlight. Even canceled shows like Journeyman and 4400 delivered with good characters and good storytelling, just not picking up the viewers in this online age.

I just watched the new Knight Rider premier. Yet again the car is by far the most well developed and three dimensional character. There are many other new shows worth checking out. Breaking Bad is a must watch. Californication proves that Duchovny’s still got it in ‘im. Weeds isn’t new anymore, but it took a few seasons to catch on. Burn Notice is lots of fun.

As a poker player I really enjoy Poker After Dark, as it shows you a large percentage of the hands. This helps you get a feel for the gameplay, making it more nuanced and realistic instead of a final table all-in shove fest. High Stakes Poker is also lots of fun.
I saw quite a few good miniseries. The Lost Room was good creepy fun. Rome was completely outstanding, some more BEST TV. The Nova Series on Evolution is a must watch for anybody who wants to make an informed decision on Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.

I can’t highly enough recommend the Nova episodes The Mind’s Big Bang and What About God. The first covers the evolution of consciousness and memetics, the second is a intense and surprisingly non-judgmental documentary on a private Evangelical liberal arts college in Illinois. Students at Wheaton College are taught that Science and Christianity are basically not at odds with each other. This claim comes under direct fire, as many of the students here were raised to believe in Biblical inerrancy, including a 6 day creation and the historical existence of Adam and Eve. So needless to say, the topics of Evolution, Higher Criticism, and Genetics are fraught with peril.

I would add that so are are Geology, Physics, Meteorology, Astronomy, and the Scientific Method at its very basis, but that’s just me. Very interesting and educational television.


Weird Poker Hand

Posted Date: November 10, 2007 – Saturday – 12:03 PM

Heads up final table at the first PPT Bellagio No Limit Holdem tournament. Markholt has J10o, Barry Shulman has K8s.
Markholt is on the button and first to act.
Shulman: 40,000
Markholt : I think I’m first, Barry.
Shulman :  Oops!
Markholt limps in.
Shulman (to dealer):  Am I obligated to make it 40,000?
The Tournament director is called, and the rules are checked.  Since Barry’s bet was out of turn, it’s not binding…as Barry claims to already know.
But then the dealer, thinking Barry had already acted or something, rakes the chips into the center and prepares to deal the flop.
Shulman:  Wait, I haven’t acted!
Shulman : 40,000.
Markholt calls, both players miss the flop, Shulman bets, Markholt folds.

Why this is such a weird hand:
1.  Markholt calls with a semi-weak hand even though he knows Shulman is going to raise.
2.  The dealer almost throws cards down without all the players acting.  This is extremely rare in a nine handed game, much less on a major televised final table, heads up.
3.  Shulman calls for a ruling (that he already knows), and THEN proceeds to behave as if the ruling was against him and his does exactly what he announced he was going to do.

Nerves, I think.

Doyle Brunson went out in third position, leaving Markholt with a significant chip lead that he used to win the tournament.  Dolly has said that due to his age, the long hours of tournament play really wear him out.  That was obvious in this tournament, Brunson started out crisp earlier in the day at the featured table,  successfully bluffing and semi-bluffing three hands in a row.  And then (and then!), on the fourth hand; he catches pocket Aces, gets all his money in the middle, and more than doubles up. Sick.

Compare this to his later game, where he plays quite badly; weak when he should be strong, strong when he should be weak, missing opportunities and what not. It culminated in him laying down top pair decent kicker when the board pairs second rank on the turn.  And onto the next hand, in position on the flop, he bets/gets check-raised all in/calls with an open ender and two over cards.   When I say bad, I mean “bad for Doyle”…after all the man beat out THE toughest crowd around to finish in third place!  I hope he continues to play on shows like High Stakes, as his talents really shine in the no-limit Texas Holdem cash games, where he can set his own hours.

Decay and death.  What was young is now old, and then no more.  As necessary as death is for life, it’s still sad to see men slow down, eventually stop.  The Sopranos dealt with old age a lot, first with Tony’s mom, then with with his uncle. In the last scene between Tony and Junior, Junior doesn’t even recognize him.

This all reminded me to check up on Donald Crowdis, the oldest blogger in the world at 93.  Apparently he is still kicking it old school, but isn’t updating his blog anymore.  :) and :(