Monday, December 29, 2008

Flogging My Silly Bloggament 006: A Call To Flog

Backs to the wall now. Only six short days until the seismic, unconventional, unbelievable, boisterous, completely impractical Bad Bankroll Management Tourny. It's going to be hott, or maybe even hottt. You gotta be there, dahling. Everybody who is anybody will be there, and also you. And you. And you there, hiding in the corner behind the ferns, you too. No wallflowers, now. Get out on the dance floor with the literally fives of other people who are sure to be there.

Each week since announcing this thing with all the pomp and ceremony of a new royal baby, I've been dropping another fantastic reason to play in this thing. Let's recap:

1) Superstacks means you'll be up too late on a work night!

2) Because I will run it only quarterly, the pain and disgust will disapate enough that you may get suckered in again!

3) Absolutely no overlay!

4) Noted poker pro Layne Flack will not be playing!

5) Buddy Dank Radio not scheduled to broadcast!

6) Somebody will win (maybe you (but no)!)!

7) A shameless call to pointless bravery!

8) Custom BBMT Donkavatar (pictured) to the champion!


This week's reason to play? Is it the reverse leaderboard, showing those who have lost the most at the top? Is it the fact that I will be liveblogging and thus playing (even more) like a total Muggle? Is it the fact that I will make every attempt to write each of you that play your own completely slanderous bio for the liveblog? No.

This week's reason to play is simple: It's a bloggament, stupid! YOU CAN'T HELP YOURSELVES! MWA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

(However, if you sign up early, you are more likely to get a slanderous bio. Just saying.)

It's password "busto." Sweet Neddy Dingo, time is almost out! Get the word out! Climb the bell tower and warn the townfolk? Grab that image up there! Put it on your blog! It's good for a post!

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Monday, December 22, 2008

Heroes 011: Narrative Ponzi

About a week ago, I watched the finale of the third Heroes volume, "Villains." Now, finally, I'm ready to let the healing begin. The scars are deep and painful, and may never go away, but I'm ready to take a deep swim in Lake Me.

First, acceptance. Once, long ago, Heroes was a good show, or at least it seemed like a good show. Fast-paced, dynamic, with diverse and interesting characters who seemed to have consistent motivation, there was a sense of mystery unfolding that drew me in. Most of all, though, I was impressed by the show's willingness to shake up their formula, change allegiances in intriguing ways, and really move the plot forward.

Also? Cool super-power stuff.

However, as the giddy pleasures of Season 1 morphed into the nervous laughter of Season 2 and the outright scorn of Season 3 so far, it has become clear that what once seemed like a fast-moving, character-driven, sequential drama is in fact the greatest narrative Ponzi scheme in television history.

You all know about Ponzi schemes by now, of course (how could you not, given how many of our increasingly-rare dollars got sucked up by one), but if you need a refresher then I need to turn to Wikipedia, because I never paid attention, either.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors out of the money paid by subsequent investors rather than from profit. It is named after Ponzi McGillicuitty Fontenot [1]. The term "Ponzi scheme" is used primarily in the United States, while other English-speaking countries do not distinguish colloquially between this scheme and other pyramid schemes.[2]

The Ponzi scheme usually offers abnormally high short-term returns in order to entice new investors. The perpetuation of the high returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises and pays requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep the scheme going.

The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments.

[1] Not really.

[2] A pyramid scheme is a scheme to drop a pyramid on a guy by means of a thousand helicopers, and is pretty bad-ass, though frankly I'm not sure why I brought it up.


Thanks, Wikipedia!

You got that? Basically, the idea is that you (1) take all this beautiful money from people to invest in this great thing that doesn't really exist, then (2) instead of investing, you buy yourself some great stuff so you can make it rain all day and attract more clients, who give you even MORE filthy lucre, which you then (3) use to buy more stuff for yourself and pay the intial investors, who then give you even MORE money because WHOO HOO 15% IN ONE MONTH, and so it goes until finally The Law starts asking questions and people start asking for their investment back, at which point (4) they realize that there is no money and that (5) you are in a warm country with no extradition treaties, (6) with your 300 foot yacht, (7) ha ha ha.

This is the perfect metaphor for what Heroes has done. They mortgaged their future with a bunch of cool-looking stuff, but they utterly neglected the narrative foundation, hoping that if they moved quick enough, and presented us with enough cool-looking superpower stuff, we wouldn't notice that they were expecting us to forget the stuff they had already established, sometimes even within the very episode we were watching. If we tried to puzzle it all together, we realized that the whole thing was founded on nothing.

So, there's acceptance for you. Heroes is total crap. Total crap. It's not a fun commentary on the tropes of comic books, it's not a nifty mythology that we just haven't puzzled out. It's Chernobyl. It's a Ponzi scheme.



Next, understanding. In order to back up the claim immediately preceding this sentence, I'll try to take you through the whole story, as quickly as I can, slowing down a bit to rubberneck at the carnage that is the so-called backstory, and this, the first half of Season 3.

OK, strap in. This IS the story, people. I'm making up none of this, or very little of it.

Ready?

There is a cabal of super-secret super-powered people that have been around since around the sixties, though at least one of them has been around since the age of feudal Japan, because he lives for hundreds of years and can't be hurt. Their intent was to use their powers to save the world, but some or most or all of them have gone astray at some point.

They control a Company. It's called The Company, maybe because they let a three-year old name it. It has as its front a Paper Company called Primatech. Also, it is controlled the guy in charge of the Mafia, whose name is Linderman. Also, it is funded and controlled by the U.S. Government. Also, it is funded and controlled by a private business. Also it is funded and controlled by a wealthy, politically connected New York family named Patreli.

The leader of this group is nominally Linderman, who had the power to heal, but in fact was Arthur Patreli, Linderman's lawyer, who has the power to take other people's powers, and who for some reason decided to create an intricate conspiracy to cause his youngest son, Peter (who was also a power sponge like the old man), to set off a thermonuclear detonation in New York City, killing millions, and to make his oldest son Nathan, a New York DA, President of the United States. When Nathan decided to oppose some of Linderman's actions toward this end, Arthur decided to have Nathan killed. Who Arthur now wanted to be president for him upon that eventuality, I'm not sure. As far as I can tell, Arthur was pretty stupid. For example, he could make people do whatever he wanted. He had that power. So why he would kill Nathan instead of just making him do what he, Arthur wanted, is unclear.

Anyway, Linderman and Arthur's wife, Angela, whose powers is probably dreaming the future or being super bitchy or something, it's not really clear . . . they opposed Arthur, realizing he'd gone mad with power. Angela poisoned him, thinking him dead but leaving him conscious but paralyzed. After disposing of Arthur, Angela and Linderman began taking steps to make sure that Arthur's plan to set off an H-bomb in downtown New York was carried through to completion. I suppose this means that they were against killing Nathan, but for blowing up New York. Maybe they realized that Nathan couldn't be president if he were dead, though Lord knows that Bob Dole tried.

Also, the leader of this group was not Arthur, but instead was that very white guy I mentioned from feudal Japan who never ages, whose name was Adam. Everybody was TOTALLY FRIGHTENED OF HIM. Oh my God, he was so dangerous and scary, you couldn't believe. His power was being very non threatening in a kind of a fraternity guy sort of way, and also not dying. The Company thwarted his plan, which was to kill the whole world using a virus, because his girlfriend dumped him 400 years ago. Yes, really. Anyway, they thwarted him, and again it cannot be stressed HOW INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS AND SCARY HE WAS, by . . . well, you know, locking him in a room.

Also, the leader of this group was not Adam, but was actually Arthur, and he actually was the one everybody was scared of. Arthur's plan wasn't to blow up New York, it seems, except that it was, but ALSO it was actually to give everybody in the world superpowers, using a secret formula and a secret catalyst, because . . . you know what? I guess just because. Anyway, he lay in his paralysis, he began plotting how to bring that to fruition. The main thing in his way was one of his partners in the group, Kaito Nakumura, a Japanese business tycoon with the superpower of appearing in tons of episodes even after his death. Kaito had the formula (which existed on paper) and the catalyst (which had his wife, another healer, as a human host). Kaito wanted nothing more than to make sure than nobody ever ever ever EVER used them to give everybody super powers. He was so committed to this, that when his wife died, he made sure that the catalyst was passed on, so that it would still be in the world and able to be used, and to keep the formula very safe and easy to read. He even laminated it. Have I mentioned that if either of these things were lost, then the other could never never ever be used?

Anyway, some of the other people in this group were: a guy played by Shaft, whose power was dying with quiet dignity and (I think) seeing time-travelers; a mind-controller/creepy guy who was loyal to Adam or to Arthur, depending on what season it is; a geneticist or a chemist, I'm not sure, she allegedly had lots of answers but got killed immediately upon her introduction. That happens all the time.

Also, there were no superpowers during any of this time period that I'm describing. All the superpowers suddenly appeared during an eclipse in 2006.

Also, there actually were superpowers before the eclipse, including a lot that had been bio-genetically engineered by the company, perhaps by using the secret formula and the secret catalyst [Note: that actually does make some sense. Huh, nice.]. The long long long pre-eclipse history of super powered beings was chronicled by a Dr. Suresh, who was discredited as a hack for his theories. Also, The Company, or at least the part of it that was working with the U.S. Government and not with organized crime or private enterprise, had been gathering up and performing tests on super-powered beings for decades.

Also, there were some other superpowers before the eclipse that were NOT bio-genetic, like a psycho named Sylar. Sylar was a twisted soul, with an urge to do anything to prove to himself that he was special, better than others, especially his parents. Sylar was a watchmaker, his power is also to sponge powers, but he can only do that by cutting open people's brains, which he seems to enjoy, being a psycho and all.

Also, Sylar wasn't a psycho, he was a sensitive soul with serious issues of insecurity and a desire to be loved by his mommy. He sponged powers by using empathy.

Also, Sylar was a total remorseless killing machine, driven only by a hunger within himself to kill and kill and kill.

Also, Sylar was so tortured by what he had done that he tried to kill himself, but The Company had intervened, sending a non-powered operative named Noah Bennett and his assistant, Elle, an electrical conduit who wasn't going to be let outside of The Company's facilities for another two years after this (I don't know, that's the story). These two created an artificial situation for Sylar, forcing him to kill again so that they could study him in his natural habitat instead of capturing him and taking him back to their prison/lab, just like they NEVER did. Then they just set him free to kill and kill and kill, so they could keep dangerous supers off the streets. They were so driven to do that, in fact, that if you were found helping ANY super stay out of the Company's clutches, no matter how benign they seemed, you would be instantly terminated. Bennett himself killed a good friend who had broken this rule. Anyway, he let Sylar go.

Later, Bennett was sent to capture Sylar with his new team. He was worried, because it seemed as though Sylar had targeted his adoptive daughter, Claire, who was indestructible. If only he knew something about who this killer was!! If only he could guess at his powers and his motives, at his psychology! Oh me oh my! If only he could use Molly, the little girl who can find anybody that they use.

Anyway, that's what was going on at the time of the eclipse.

After the eclipse, a bunch of people (Peter and Nathan, Claire, Isaac the time-painter, Matt the mind-reader, DL the walker through walls, Micah the computer talker, Mohinder the total idiot and son of the aforementioned Dr. Suresh, Hiro the teleporter and time stopper/traveler, and Nikki/Jessica the super strong porn assassin split personality mirror thing who didn't ever make sense), most of who turned out to be related in some way to this group we've been talking about, came together, united by their strange newish powers.

Hiro and Ando travelled into the future and saw that it was a hellish authoritarian place, where supers were captured and caged, just like, you know, in the present. But New York was blown up. That was worse.

Mohinder was manipulated by Sylar and The Company, respectively. That was literally his only effect beyond voiceovers that everybody fast-forwards through.

Peter was manipulated into nearly blowing up New York. Also his girlfriend was senselessly killed and then never mentioned again.

Hiro started as feckless and adolescent, but learned to be a true hero.

Noah sacrificed himself to save his daughter from The Company, who wanted to abduct Claire and perform horrible experiments on her. Also, they wanted to make sure that they kept the catalyst safe in her. Also, they wanted to make sure she stayed safe from the Company, who they also were. Also, they wanted to tell her that she was a Patreli.

Anyway, they thwarted Linderman's or Arthur's or Angela's plan to blow up New York, and stopped Sylar from killing people. It was pretty cool. Except for Mohinder.

After that, a major character died off camera. Yep. So long, DL.

The next season, the gang uncovered a scheme to unleash the virus that Adam had wanted to set free back when he was OH MY GOD SO SCARY YOU HAVE TO KILL HIM RIGHT AWAY. This virus was so deadly that when it had infected Mohinder's sister back when they were both kids, she died slowly and lingeringly and then nobody else caught it. The virus also apparently took away powers.

Peter went into the future and saw the virus had killed everybody.

Sylar is in South America for some reason. He doesn't have his powers, but he also doesn't seem to have the virus. OK, then. He meets Inky Sue and her brother, whose power is to waste our time and make us hate like we have never hated before, or maybe to kill people with magic ink-eye poison when she's upset. Sylar kills the brother and eventually Inky Sue winds up meeting Mohinder, creating a vortex of uselessness.

Mohinder had fallen in love with Matt and they'd moved together into the ratbag apartment where Mohinder's father was murdered by Sylar. They adopted Molly, that "see anyone" little girl, because apparently that's no sweat with Child Protective Services. The important thing is that Mohinder was manipulated by Noah and the Company. First, he found the power-draining Haitian, who had the virus, and cured him. Then, he researched to find a cure. Then he found a cure to the virus using his sister's blood or something, but there was still tension that the virus would be unleashed. Apparently, having the cure was not relevant.

Peter was manipulated into releasing Adam and then lost his memory. Also his girfriend was killed and then never mentioned again.

Hiro started as feckless and adolescent, but learned to be a true hero. He also went into feudal Japan for about seven episodes. Let's not talk about it. It means nothing.

Noah sacrificed himself to save his daughter from The Company, who wanted to abduct Claire and perform horrible experiments on her. They'd forgotten that she was a Patrelli this time, I think. Anyway, first Noah was killed by Mohinder, who was working with him, because Mohinder can't do anything right. Then he was brought back to life by Claire's blood, because just getting Claire's blood gives you Claire's power temporarily. Finally, Noah could never ever ever see his family again and would have to work for The Company again. This was never mentioned again, ever, and Noah goes on seeing his family whenever he likes.

Claire's blood saves Inky Sue, making everybody hate Claire's blood.

Nikki died to save Monica. Who? And who? Right. Moving on . . .

Mohinder's cure gives Sylar his powers back. That's really the only function Mohinder's cure ever serves. Thanks again, Mohinder! You truly are the black hole of competence!

Anyway, Matt the Mindreader and Hiro and Nathan and Peter thwarted Adam's plan, and found themselves in the Company's vault, filled with all their evil secrets and plans. So they just left that place unexplored, and went to call attention to themselves in a news conference where Nathan was shot . . .

. . . and Season 3 starts . . .

. . . by Future Peter. He'd come from a future where supers are hunted like animals and Claire is mean and Sylar is a househusband and so is Matt and Nathan is president again and Mohinder is a spider who is not dead or dying at all.

Future Peter shoots Nathan to prevent this future from occurring.

He also shoots him to prevent a future in which everybody has powers.

Then Future Peter stashes Matt with YES YET ANOTHER guy who can paint the future and abducts his present self by putting him into a bad guy's body in The Company's prison. Which is a thing, I guess. Then Future Peter poses as Present Peter. Then he does nothing. Then he goes back and gets Present Peter out of the bad guy he's in and takes him to the Future to see how bad the Future is. You may be noticing some inefficiency here. The Future looks AWESOME, with everybody flying around, but Peter somehow sees it as BAD. And sure enough, a Hiro jaunt to the future confirms that if that future comes to pass, Ando will kill him and the world will blow up. Not sure either Peter ever knew that, though. Future Peter is killed by Future Claire in a way that we've already seen would never kill Peter, leaving Present Peter to do the job that his more informed, more powerful self was unable to do.

Thus? Peter is finally manipulated by himself. Neat.

Arthur comes back by killing Adam (who is VERY SCARY, remember) while he is completely paralyzed and taking his power. Then Arthur kills some henchmen with very little cause to show how tough he is. Then he gathers a bunch of guys together to work for him in his scheme to give everybody superpowers.

Arthur takes all of Peter's superpowers. He now can do anything and everything you can imagine. He does nothing. He sits. He sends other people with powers he no longer really needs to do things he could do in a heartbeat. He rarely emotes.

Mohinder uses Matt's absence to sell Molly into slavery or something. Anyway, he's very glad that the show has given him close proximity to a hot woman who is also brown, because that means he can have SEX with her! He gives himself powers using . . . the formula? The catalyst? No. Just Inky Sue's blood. Man! Blood can do anything! It goes wrong though, and turns him into a spider freak. The spider thing, it is clear, will kill him in a couple of weeks. Did I mention he's alive three years in the future? I did? Cool. So the serum turns him into a monster and he kills people and puts them into cocoons. Until he doesn't anymore. But his skin is pretty lousy the whole way through.

Then Mohinder is manipulated by Aurthur, and probably the Company for old time sake and if there is any difference between the two. Arthur takes Inky Sue's powers. He never uses them again, ever. But at least she leaves pretty much for good. That is seriously the best thing that happened in all 12 episodes.

Matt, in Africa, has a spirit walk into the future where he discovers himself a to be a househusband much like Future Sylar, with kids, living with Molly but not Mohinder, and in love with a speedster named I forget, let's say Lulu. Matt comes back from this with a turtle, representing the speed of his thoughts, and a total infatuation for Lulu, who is working for Arthur and is also about nineteen. He shows no curiosity or interest in a) Mohinder, and his whereabouts, b) Molly, his beloved adoptive daughter, and HER whereabouts, or c) why there are spider webs and dead people in cocoons everywhere.

Nathan is healed by Linderman. But it's not Linderman, just a mental projection from Mindcontroller Matt's dad, also a Mindcontroller. So it's never explained who or what healed him, or why a healing power, if available wouldn't be used for Arthur in a coma. Nathan gets God in a big way, believing that he was saved by Jesus, which makes a holy roller politician, who can apparently just appoint Senators willy-nilly, appoint Nathan as a Senator. Then Nathan stops talking about God entirely. Then Linderman stops appearing to him. He never wonders about any of this. He also doesn't go to Washington DC for the rest of the story arc. Vice President Biblebelt Q. Plotdevice is never seen again.

Nikki is dead but comes back as a completely different character, a lobbyist working for and sleeping with "unidentified politician who can just appoint whatever senator he wants". She discovers just now (and not during an eclipse) that she has super freezing, when she kills a journalist by accident. She's hugely siezed with remorse and discovers that she is only one of many "Nikki/Jessica/Traceys" who have been cloned to have different powers. She's so consumed with guilt that she attempts suicide and is saved by Nathan. Also, she has no guilt about anything and immediately becomes an evil double-crosser who kills using her ice powers with no qualms. She forgets all about her cloning story.

Sylar becomes a different person on an hourly basis. Angela sacrifices an innocent girl to feed him and told him that he was her son. Then Arthur confirmed this, even though he had Angela weren't sharing notes. But it was a lie. Or was it? Yes. Unless no? Yes. Or no. Perhaps. Anyway, Angela is sort of with the good guys I suppose.

Hiro starts having learned to be a true hero, but quickly acts like a ten year old. Then he's actually made into a ten year old by Arthur. There is literally no change in the character. Anyway, he immediately loses the formula that could have just been destroyed. Then he goes to work for Arthur. Forgot about that, right? So did Arthur. Hiro refuses to alter the past in order to change the present. Hiro then alters the past to change the present, taking the catalyst that was meant to be given safely to Claire and gets it himself, and promptly loses it to Arthur. Why it wasn't safe with Claire is not explained, but apparently it wasn't, nor is it clear why he couldn't have used those same time/space powers to go get Claire when SHE had the catalyst instead of sending lackeys, since he knew the catalyst was with her. I'm losing my mind here. This all does mean that Arthur has the catalyst and the formula, and so he whups up the serum. He really wants everybody to have powers, because he is a paranoid psychopath who jealously guards his own power base. Wait, huh?

There is another eclipse that is supposed to change everything. It changes nothing. Everybody loses their powers, because now the powers are caused by the sun, maybe. But not.

Nathan hates his father for faking his own death and trying to kill him and blow up New York and trying to kill everybody and paralyzing his wife and generally being evil. Then Nathan goes on a mission to stop Arthur, and is taken hostage by a Haitian warlord (brother of The Haitian) to whom Nathan was betrayed by Arthur. For some reason this makes Nathan decide to help Arthur. It also makes him retroactively have always hated Peter for some reason.

Peter goes to kill Arthur along with the Haitian, where he's opposed by Nathan, and assisted by Sylar, who kills Arthur in a way that it is already established would not kill Arthur, and leaves. He's chased by the Haitian, but then he's suddenly in Texas (can he teleport? No), having clearly watched the Saw movies. He's tormenting Claire and Noah and Meredith (oh never mind) and Angela by setting up deadly moral quandaries for them. Finally, Claire kills Sylar, or actually incapacitates him, because we already know that he has Claire's invulnerability, and so NOTHING KILLS HIM EXCEPT DECAPITATION OR MAYBE TOTAL DISINTIGRATIONS. Naturally, they just leave him there, because of course. Then they leave him in the collapsing Primatech, where surely that will be the end of him, right? Meredith, who is immune to fire, dies in a fire rather than letting Claire, who is immune to EVERYTHING, risk absolutely nothing to save her.

Powerless Peter then destroys the serum with the help of the guys who were helping Arthur give everybody super powers, on account of they suddenly realized that giving everybody super powers would mean that everybody had super powers.

Peter uses the serum to get his sponge powers back, or at least the power to fly. We'll see. Nathan expresses his sentiment that he'd love to kill Peter.

Mohinder is cured by the serum, and is no longer a spider who is either doomed to die in a few hours or to be alive in three years, who either has freakish strength and uncontrollable rage, or else is meek and can be beat up by just about anybody.

Hiro decides to destroy the formula way back in the past where he is now stuck (Arthur stole his powers). He has to ask his ten year old self to help him find his father's safe. Think about that one. I'm waiting. Got it? So then Ando uses the serum to make himself a superpower supercharger (kind of cool), and then Ando and Speedy go back in time to rescue Hiro by taking a long stinky dump over the theory of relativity. Hiro and Matt and Speedy and Ando then celebrate by watching Hiro destroy the formula. Oh wait, no. Not destroy it. Just tear it up into about eight pieces. But it doesn't matter, because it is useless without the catalyst. That's established. So the entire Hiro sequence is effectively pointless. Also, Tracey and Nathan intended to start the program all over again, using just the formula. Did they know about the catalyst? Yes.

Nathan, who believed until a few minutes ago that the answer to the world's powers was to give everybody superpowers, decides to sell all the supers out to the President, convincing him to hunt and capture super heroes, which is certainly not something that we KNOW the U.S. government has been doing through The Company for decades now. But everybody isn't going to have powers. So the planet won't explode, I think. Also, no idea why Future Ando would have to kill Future Hiro.

And that's where we are.

Seriously. Feast your eyes on that carnage.


Finally, forgiveness. I forgive you Heroes. But I am done thinking this much about you. Or, probably, watching you. You suck so hard it is silly.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Flogging My Silly Bloggament 005

And then there were two. Weeks left, that is, until the BBmT launches its bankroll-shedding self upon the waters of online pokery.

And, in keeping with a promotion of a totally silly tournament, I present you with yet another totally silly reason to toss fifty smackers into the shredder.

This week's reason to play? Your own custom BBMT champion Donkavatar. This can be all yours is you win:

A poorly-imaged ripoff of the FTOPS jersey, visible to you and the literally fives of people who download and view avatars through the BayneGoat production Donkavatar?

That's right, Peggy Sue. Imagine (if you dare) the bragging rights this baby will fetch you in blogger tournies.

It's password "busto", and OMG!!!! THERE ARE ONLY ABOUT 384 HOURS LEFT TO SIGN IN! IS THAT EVEN ENOUGH TIME TO TYPE IN THE PASSWORD?

Get going already!

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rail Chat: One Word

One of the more interesting (that is to say useless) tools in any poker player's aresenal is the chatbox. Many successful players avoid it entirely as a useless distraction or a pointless leak in the information pipeline; however, it cannot be underestimated as a conduit for that most efficacious lubricant of profitability: tilt. Get the villain sputtering mad and he'll break his neck to get his chips in bad.

I hope to unpack some secrets that I've picked up along the way that I think will help you become effective, or at least I would assume so if I were a skillful player. Anyway, they are fun.

One fine chatbox tilt technique, deployed whenever you have somebody who is spouting off at you for calling his preflop min-raise from the button with JT and cracking his Aces, is the use of a single word. Not just any word, but a particular one. This is the magic word. It's the auto-tilter.

Nonsense.

Whatever they say, just answer with "nonsense."

Just try it (and for crying out loud, have the discipline to use just this word) for a while. I promise good results or you can write me for a full refund.


* * * * *

Julius_Goat shows a straight, 7 to J and wins 7,855

Malarkybuns23: donk
Malarkybuns23: u call and win??
Malarkybuns23: donk
Julius_Goat: nonsense
Malarkybuns23: I had you cruhsed
Julius_Goat: nonsense
Malarkybuns23: lol whatever man, most hands ahead of JT
Julius_Goat: nonsense
Malarkybuns23: u just keep calling skill beats luck
Julius_Goat: nonsense
Malarkybuns23: idiot
Julius_Goat: nonsense
Malarkybuns23: I had AA u had JT
Julius_Goat: nonsense, nonsense
Malarkybuns23: Check hand history
Julius_Goat: nonsense
Malarkybuns23: your an idiot!!!!!!!!!

* * * * *


Nonsense.

Little. Infuriating. Different.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Breaking News: TARP to Bailout Donkeys

WASHINGTON DC (Reuters) – A new bailout for online poker donks has been initiated today by Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. President Bush is expected to approve the $11 billion package by noon today.

The $11 billion will be distributed to millions of poker players who have been identified as being total fish tourist badonkadonks. It is not clear at this time which measure has been used to determine the fishy status of the players. Sharkscope is rumored to be a favored Paulson metric, but neither Treasury nor Sharkscope have made comment.

"All I will say is that top priority will be given to individuals possessing web logs, or 'blogs' dedicated to playing online poker," Paulson said in a brief press conference this morning.

Libertarian groups and fiscal conservatives rushed to decry the latest in a long string of government bailouts. "This is how we spend our TARP money?" moaned one prominant Manhattan attorney. "These players chose to chase inside straight draws and went to the felt with fifth pair, and they just get HANDED this money? Recockulous! A lot of them are Euros anyway!"

The measure has been greeted with jubilation among online pros, however. "Ever since UIGEA, it's been harder for bad players to reload," said pro Pearljammed, who estimates his ROI to be down 38% this year. "We need to keep these horrible players in the game, for the sake of everybody else. I know that it doesn't seem exactly fair, but we have to look at the bigger picture. The fact of the matter is that these players are just too bad to be allowed to fail."

The money will be shipped over the next three months via Stars and Full Tilt. There will be no oversight.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Flogging My Silly Bloggament 004

The Bad Bankroll-Management Tournament is only three weeks away. I know, it's hard to believe that we're that close, isn't it? When I first announced this thing back in the spring of 1994, it seemed like the day would never come. Now, it's breathing down our necks: the only blogger tournament that is almost certainly a bad bankroll decision, with no overlay, no prizes, no BDR scheduled, really no reason at all to play.

How can you resist?

This week's reason to play? Honor. Bravery. That's right, think of all the stories that inspire you. Are they about characters that make the sensible decision and grind away every day at safe levels? No! They're about blue-faced crazy people who attack thousands of trained soldiers with a knife in their teeth and the skinned fur of a rabbit on their head. Sure, they wind up with their intestines yanked out and wrapped around a maypole, but at least they went for the gusto, baby.

Because your opponents can take your bankroll . . . but they can never take . . . YOUR DONKEYNESS!!!!!!

So sign up now! Before it's too late! There are only about 552 hours left to make a really bad decision for your online roll.

Now watch this clip to get a full dose of total inspiration, and then use password "busto" to lock in your seat. You know you wanna.



Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Heroes 010: Let Them Eat Cake

OK, let me just get it out of the way right now: I liked this episode of Heroes. By which I mean to say, it didn't suck out loud. It was all right; almost reminiscent of the sort of thing they used to do back when they were kind of good.

I should also say that I have no expectation that this will continue. I've been burned before.

But I'm feeling charitable, so I'll just mention my quibbles in passing. Haitian and Peter getting back from their stranding in what seems like 3 hours, the relative pointlessness of the Parkman/Ando/Speedylou segment, the Cal Ripkin-esque streak of unabated idiocy from Mohinder, and especially Sylar's lack of interest in harvesting Pa-treli's powers. OK.

Now to the more problematic question of why this episode worked when so many other failed.

1) Sylar's a psycho again. Sylar can -- maybe even should -- be given greater depth, but it needs to spring from what we know of him. And let's face it, what we know of him is that he likes to saw people's heads off and poke around in there. What is the point, really, of putting him in an apron and having him find some kind of sudden cheapened redemption, when clearly what that character was meant to do was brain-pokey? Was it just me, or did Zachary Quinto seem to relish being let off the leash? Also, I see he's stolen a muppet's eyebrows. Good for him.

2) Humor. I mean real humor, not embarrassing stuff like Hiro doing a pee-pee dance. Most of this sprang this episode from Sylar. Quinto really was having fun. Cake!

3) Death matters again. Elle actually was killed. Now, you could argue the wisdom of this in the larger picture, since we were just starting to get to know the character, and now what on earth was the point of all that time we spent in ham-fisted development of Elle? It's the cherry on the "we wasted the last four episodes" sundae. But at least we were shown a major character's death that actually resulted in death. None of this Claire's blood transfusion nonsense. And Pa-trelli appears to actually have taken the dirt-nap, though of course he has regeneration so that makes very little sense once the Hatian leaves.

4) Emotional resonance. This really is the big one. We've seen the funeral of Hiro's mother, and seen his character react to that loss, so when his mother unexpectedly appears, it means something based on what we know of the character. And, even though Claire changing her own diaper is odd (at least), we got an insightful look at a younger, more career driven, and much more wary Bennett. And -- dare I say it -- an actual understated moment when Bennett realized that he was looking at his adoptive daughter all grown up. They didn't beat us over the head with it. They just showed it. It added depth to the relationship in a way that another seven in the endless iteration of I LOVE YOU CLAIRE BEAR / I NEED TO LEAVE NOW TO TAKE CARE OF SOME BUSINESS CLAIRE BEAR just doesn't. Well played, Heroes. Now don't get cocky. Another 17 or so of these in a row, and I'll forgive you for crapping over one of the better starts in serialized TV drama history.


Here's the thing. My issue with this show is not that I can't believe it. Time travel? Fine. Flying guy? Cool. Super heroes? Great. Suspension of disbelief is par for the course in any fictional story, and you'll never hear me whingeing that people can't REALLY shoot fire out of their hands.

My problem is with a story that doesn't believe in itself, which is exactly what's happening here. See, if the story bothers to spend time setting up a plot point and a situation, and then either abandons it or flatly contradicts it -- if a character is given an arc and development, and then that development is ignored in favor of moving plot item A from point D to point Q (or, even better, if character simply behave very, very, very transparently stupidly in order to move that plot item), then what you have is a story foul. It mocks the audience for having suspended it's belief in the first place. "Ho ho ho! None of this really matters! Silly you for having allowed yourself to be invested in these people and what happens to them."

See, either Hiro has turned into a hero worthy of his father's trust, or he's a spoiled prat who can't accept real responsibility for even a second. If he's both, it's fine, but then there has to be tension to dramatize the disonance. It can't just happen, and then Hiro goes on being a great hero who has saved the world. He just can't. Otherwise, it is a story foul.

Either the Company is a shadow government operation (as it appears to be when Bennett is involved) or it is a front for organized crime (as it appears to be when Linderman is running the show), or it is a private concern (as it seemed to be when Ned Ryerson was in charge), or it is a completely abandoned prison/warehouse with only Bennett and the Hatian working there (as seems to be the case this season). In any case, if it is all those things or neither, some sense has to be made of it, or it becomes clear that it's all nonsense. It's a story foul.

Either the powers are given by an eclipse (as we were recently told), or they weren't (they weren't if you have a longer memory than a lab rat, or Matt Parkman).

Either Sylar is on the path to redemption or he's not. If he's in conflict about that, that's fine, but you need to see the conflict. You don't do this by having one episode where he is good and another where he is a psychopath again. It's bad chess. It's not sporting.

I could go on. The point is this. You as audience member can suspend your disbelief in the material -- any material, whether it is a JLA comic or Moby Dick -- only to the extent to which the artist involved has suspended their own disbelief and committed themselves to their own material. When nothing adds up to anything but contrivance, then you can either notice or start making up your own convoluted reasons why such-and-so might make sense if this and this and this and this were the case, and happened off screen somewhere. This is know as "fan-wanking."

If Moby Dick has set up a story that is all about the clash of two forces of nature (the hatred and lust for revenge of Ahab vs. the horrific majesty of the white whale), and then suddenly Ahab says, "You know what? I hate the sea. Let's all start a vegan farm in Norway", and they all go do that, and then Queequeg turns out to be a ballet impressario and they all put on a universally lauded version of Swan Lake, then Herman Melville is a hack, and the story has lost all meaning, and pointing it out does not mean that the critic is incapable of enjoying densely written 19th century seafaring novels, but rather that the critic is incapable of enjoying poorly-told stories. Poorly told, not because there is no such thing as a white whale the size of a mountain, and one is incapable of suspending belief in one, but because that suspension of belief has been made, and then betrayed. Ahab is not what we've been told he was, and thus Moby doesn't mean Dick.

So, in summation, Mohinder is an idiot. And so are the Heroes writers. But they've somehow managed to turn their ship, however briefly, away from the Norwegian vegans. Here's hoping they can hold that course. I'd enjoy enjoying the show again.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hockey Content Within

OK, I'll take a break from TV screeds and poker content to make a sad confession:

I belong to a fantasy NHL league.

I know, I know. I'm getting help. I have excuses, too, but you don't want to hear my excuses. You want to hear . . . my hockey bad beat stories. That's right: Fantasy hockey bad beat stories. I know I have you hooked now.

Now, this isn't so much a tale of woe as it is an open request for a moral ruling. I did something, that I'm not so much proud of as I am VERY proud of.

It breaks down like this. The league is a goalie stats league, one which basically sets half of the categories to goalie stats such as saves, shutouts, win percentage, etc. All the rest of the team carries the other half of the stats. Obviously, it goes without saying that the goalie is disproportionately important in this endeavor. This means that 1) if you have a great starting goalie, you're really hard to beat, 2) if you have a terrible goalie situation, you pretty much can't win, and 3) starting goalies are pretty much impossible to pick up in a trade situation unless you are offering a TON.

I got to pick first in the draft -- whoo hoo me -- and I picked Martin Brodeur, the longtime stud between the pipes for the New Jersey Devils. The guy is a total machine.

Unfortunately, machines sometimes break. So it was with Brodeur. Out for most of the season, perhaps the whole season. Bad luck me. I don't really care at all, but my team was essentially not going to win.

In situations like this, I decide what to do based on the following criteria:

1) What would be funny?


So, with those principles firmly in mind, I decided to bench my team. My WHOLE team. Well . . . not everybody. I kept a single player, a defenseman for the Oilers named Lubamir Visnovsky. I renamed my team "Lubomir" and then started using the "talk smack" text field to write various messages from a suddenly lonely and confused Lubomir. Basically, this was my commentary on a team that was totally screwed. It was basically like a Twitter feed from a Russian who was having to take on entire fantasy squads solo. I was getting DESTROYED, and I was having fun with it. Why wallow, you know?

So today the commish locked me out of the league, with a really shirty comment about how I was ruining the league and trying to screw things up. I can't even post messages on the common board. I'm out. No soup for me.

The kicker is that the guy, in the interest of fairness, reinstated all of my starters. So now basically, instead of EVERYBODY getting a free ride on the Lubomir bus, only a few will. Smart.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I was planning on picking just one week to bring the whole squad back, just as a kind of prank. April 1 week came to mind as a good candidate. So then, maybe he'd have a case. As it stands, he just created an unfair situation in his reaction to what he claims is me creating an unfair situation.

So here's the moral dilema: What kind of animal poo should I mail to this guy? (You know, hypothetically. I don't actually condone the mailing of poo. Kind of gorss.) I mean, I don't know his name or his address, but this shouldn't be hard, right? Go ahead and weigh in in the comments. Your vote counts.

* * * *

By the way, I read in Card Player magazine about Sky Poker, who are offering a cool 600 bonus this month. You might want to check that out.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Flogging My Silly Bloggament 003

Wow, I almost forgot to do this. Once again, I'm hosting a $50 + 5 tournament on the first Sunday of the year. If all goes well, this will be a quarterly event, and thus the first of many, many chances to make a really stupid bankroll decision. I mean, seriously, unless you are rolled over a thousand dollars, why are you even thinking about this? It's just hard-earned profit flushed down the john, really, when you could make a much more +EV decision to grind 10 five-dollar SNG. Think of how much more fun THAT would be. Take your time thinking about it.

I'll wait.

OK, done?

Here's the next un-reason to play:

Somebody has to win. Maybe it will be you.

That's right, there is a 100% chance of somebody winning. Who knows? It might be you (Note: It won't be you, but it might be (it won't - but MAYBE (no))) that takes down the big money.

So sign on up and take your chances! For maximum bad bankroll management, sign up NOW and tie that money up for no good reason. Good? Good.


Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's Light This Candle

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This PokerStars tournament is a No Limit Texas Hold’em event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 999974

It's Going To Be OK

A couple thoughts:

1) Perhaps your job isn't that bad.

2) Anything is possible.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Heroes 009: You Must Remember This, Eclipse Is Just Eclipse

"I hate Heroes."
-Sylar

Right on, Sylar. Me too.

Remember when the police DID factor in to the storyline? Remember when Parkman was a cop? Remember when he did cop things with his man-faced cop partner? Remember when he wanted to be a detective instead of (face it) a teenaged girl with cerebral palsey's stalker?

Remember when Hiro was actually on a mission to do something instead of just bumbling around the world? Remember when the powers were caused by genetics (remember Papa Suresh's book)? Remember when they'd been around before the eclipse? Remember when eclipses only lasted 5 minutes instead of seven hours? Remember when eclipses could just be predicted by almanacs instead of precogs? Remember when this show sort of seemed to take place in something resembling the real world?

Remember when Sylar was conflicted, yet consistent in his motivation for longer than seven minutes? That guy has the attention span of a border collie whose owner put Red Bull in his dish. In this season alone, he has gone from psycho killer redux, to Ma-trelli's lapdog, to Pa-Trelli's lapdog, to Elle's lapdog, back to psycho killer again. Remember when he already had Elle's powers, so he wouldn't need to steal them again this week?

(The reasoning for this Sylar-back-and-forth was alway vague, and in story terms it accomplished . . . hmmmmmm. Actually, what the hell has been accomplished in story terms? Big zero. Seriously. What's the overall arc? There's a formula that will give everybody powers and that will blow up the world. Remember that? That's the premise. If you forgot that, you are forgiven, because it hasn't really had any forward motion at all in the past six or seven episodes. We've been watching Sylar do the motivational shuffle, and listening to boring conversations about scarecrows.)

Remember when Nathan thought God healed him and was speaking in tongues? Does he still believe in God, or was it the most half-assed conversion ever? Do you think we'll find out who healed him? Do you think he misses Linderman's ghost, or even briefly wonders where Linderman's ghost went? Do you think he'll ever actually go to Washington to be confirmed as a Senator? Do you think that the other Senators are going to give him a hard time for never even showing up to work, which is perhaps understandable if you've been hired as a dishwasher in a Waffle House fifty miles outside of Topeka, but less so if you are one of only 100 citizens who is responsible from legislating from the United States Senate? Has he even been sworn in yet? Has he been impeached for no-call-no-show? What about that shady guy who appointed him, the guy with the Southern accent, who, since he had the power to appoint a Senator from New York, must be first Southern governor of New York -- what about him? Is he wondering where his new Senator and his consultant with benefits Tracy have gotten to? DO YOU SEE HOW LAZY THIS IS?

Remember when Bennett was smart enough not to hide his daughter from Sylar by taking her back to the abandoned house that is one of the few places that all three of them (Noah, Claire, Sylar) had recently all been together? Remember when he was smart enough to not get the bad guys in his sniper crosshairs, and then let them make out, have sex, cuddle, and notice his unneccessary aiming laser, before taking the shot?

Remember when Inky Sue left town? SHE LEFT TOWN DAMMIT!!!! DO NOT!!!! BRING HER!!!! BACK!!!!

Remember when a character could die on the operating table (how does cracking the chest solve systemic infection?) and another could get their throat cut, and there would be maybe a little bit of tension?

Remember when Mohinder wasn't a total idiot? OK, I made that one up.


It is official. Season three is even worse than season two, by the same factor that season two was worse than season one.

Oh, the Haitian resolved the long-standing issues with his brother. Cool. We just heard about those a week ago. Powerful moment, Heroes. Oh, Bennett is a morally conflicted psuedo government spook again. Oh, Claire hates her dad she loves her dad she hates her dad she loves her dad she hates her dad she loves her dad she hates her dad YAWN.

It's like they just reach into the Character cookie jar, and then the Motivation cookie jar, and then the Plot Point cookie jar, and that's it for each episode.

Here, I found the Heroes writers Mad Libs plot form for the next two episodes and have scanned it in. Click to make big.

Allow me to paint the future for you . . .



I really can't take much more of this. It's a really, really, really bad show. It isn't even funny anymore. I feel like I am making fun of a retarded kid now.