Thursday, August 31, 2006

Opening up random spam

I don’t know if you ever open up a random spam message, but when Outlook strips out the bad stuff, there are a bunch of random words that are left behind that I guess the expert spammers try to use to get through the spam filters. I opened up a spam message because the subject line was “ass Roberts” and that made me laugh.. I discovered that there is was a compelling, strange and possibly disturbing story from the far off land of India, hidden in the spam.. here it is for your reading pleasure…

arrow?" 'Alas', my brother, I do not know,' said the Curator. 'Nay, if way through the press of all the races in Upper India, and the lamaa bow as none might bend. Thou knowest?' 'It is written. I have read.'-sore eyes. Ask. him that also, O thou Little Friend of all the

here alone. For five seven - eighteen - forty years it was in my mind. Shing, the Chinese bootmaker in the bazar. His eyes turned up at the vernacular by preference, and his mother-tongue in a clipped uncertain poles by the side of the road snatching up and snatching up their the miraculous birth; the death at Kusinagara, where the weak disciple shop, where a man lay. 'He drove away the bull,' said the woman in an He is quite mad, and I am tired of Lahore city. I wish new air and heavy fruit-eating bat cowers, and returned to his rosary. 'Stand sleepy clerk grunted and flung out a ticket to the next station, just intensely human, and lives to look upon life. Kim marked down a gaily I shall meet one of the pure faith in a Jain temple of that city. He Delhi he wired: 'Lutuf Ullah. Have wired two thousand rupees your at death consisted of three papers - one he called his 'ne varietur'-Kim pointed to the ticket-office - 'who will give thee a paper to a rose. 'And whom didst thou worship within?' said Kim affably, circular biz bushwhack asterisk

Except for the "circular biz bushwhack asterisk", the rest is from "Kim" by Rudyard Kipling

2 Cents Question: Have hands-free cell phones made you a safer driver?

Everyone knows that Volvo drivers are the worse drivers in the world because they feel invincible, indestructible and therefore just don't care about you and me. They don't drive crazy, they just don't pay attention because they are basically driving an M60 Tank minus the big cannon and plus airbags all around. If your car, unless it's a Hummer or a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, hits a Volvo, you car is destroyed and totaled. The Volvo might have a small dent and maybe a scratch.

About 15 years ago, I came up with this theory after seeing a Volvo TV ad. There were two women walking out of the forest and they said they had just wrapped their brand new Volvo around a giant tree, but see! Not a scratch on them. Not a care in the world, no matter how stupidly we drive. Crashing into trees - no problem!

Monday, August 28, 2006

2 Cents Question: Has online gambling caused you any grief?

I can no longer vote for Senator Feinstein. She is trying to stop online poker.

"While the advent of the Internet has clearly been beneficial to American society, the same cannot be said for Internet-based gambling activity. Internet gambling is too easily accessible to minors, too subject to fraud and criminal misuse, and too evasive of state gambling laws. For these reasons, I have supported legislation aimed at curbing Internet gambling during my tenure in the Senate. For example, in the 108th Congress I co-sponsored the “Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act” (S. 627), which was introduced by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). Unfortunately, this bill was not signed into law, however, I plan to continue to support limits on Internet gambling should any legislation be considered by the Senate in the 109th Congress.

Again, thank you for your letter. While we do not necessarily agree on the particular topic, I hope that you will continue to write on matters of importance to you. Should you have further questions or comments on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841."

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

My letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein:

Dear Senator Feinstein,
While I agree with you on most issues and have voted for you each time you ran for state or federal office, I can't vote for you in the future while you are supporting legislation banning online poker.

Poker is not gambling, it's a skill and luck game and if it was gambling, it wouldn't be legal in California and I'm sure you know there are plenty of card clubs in California where you can play poker and other skill games. Obviously, it should be regulated so that underage kids can't play online, but you and the government shouldn't not infringe on my civil liberties.

I'm not sure how you can stop it anyway, since it's all overseas unless the US sets up a ban like China or Iran does on their internet services. I'm sure you'll agree with me that it isn't in the best interest in our free country. The site where I play has it's HQ on an Indian Reservation in Canada.

California has Lotto and Mega Lotto and Horse Racing and online Horse Race betting, so I'm not sure what is your point. Many other states have casino gambling as we saw when they all washed ashore in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. California has lots of citizens going to Nevada or the local Indian Casinos. So gambling is everywhere... Why ban Poker online?

I have a personal interest because I won an online poker satellite tournament that got me a $10,000 entry to the World Series of Poker and I hope to do it again next year.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

WSOP 2006 Guarantee

Before I left for the 2006 WSOP, I guaranteed that I would be on TV. Nobody would bet me because they all said that if I didn't cash or make the final table, I would make it in "The Nuts" section of the ESPN show.

Well, I didn't have to get nutty to get on TV, I just had to be sitting behind someone that wanted to get on TV by wearing a Finding Nemo hat.

Click here for all the images.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

20 Websites I can't live without

20 Websites I Can't Live Without
It rules e-tail, with 34 different product categories (including groceries; new and used cars could be next) yet stays true to its bookstore roots, with nifty features like Search Inside the Book, and the new AmazonConnect, which links you to blog posts from your favorite authors from the home page.

Apple Movie Trailers
Coming attractions for movie buffs and reason enough to finally get that broadband connection.

The place to go to create your own blog; tools are powerful and easy to use, and it's free.

Best all-around sports site, with sports news, sports videos, sports columns, fantasy sports and sports data galore.

Red Meat - Very odd & disturbing cartoons. I like them.
Brevity - Intriguing one panel cartoons that make you laugh & think
Dilbert - the classic. If you are in High Tech, sooner or later, you will be in a Dilbert cartoon.

The auction powerhouse keeps expanding its repertoire, allowing users to write blogs and create wikis (collaborative info-banks), and to "Skype" each other about individual items up for bid (i.e. use the Internet telephony service to place voice calls)
Picks apart speeches, press releases, TV ads and other public statements by politicians of all stripes to set the record straight.

What started as the Web's best search engine has become a jack-of-all-trades, offering all sorts of free applications, from Spreadsheets and Calendar to Picasa (for digital photos) and Gmail. There's Google Scholar, which lets you search for academic papers on any topic, and Google Finance (nice charts!); Google Maps has inspired countless "mash-ups" including Register for a free account and you can personalize your home page too. Click here, for a menu of features and services that have officially launched; go to Google Labs for the new stuff that's still in beta (such as Spreadsheets). The unaffiliated (but lovingly devoted) has helpful tips and advice for making the most of all things Google. Read more about some of Google's latest-greatest features in the TIME archives.

Easy-breezy explanations of how things work, from money laundering to hybrid cars, game consoles to the human kidneys

The Internet Movie Database
Encyclopedia of entertainment that covers some 800,000 films, television shows and video game titles. Users help keep the Internet Movie Database current, submitting 16 million data bits in 2005 alone

More than 60,000 DVD titles available to rent, from classics to art-house flicks to major studio releases. Digital delivery is scheduled to start early next year, but don't expect those red mailers to be phased out anytime soon

The Onion
Long before The Daily Show, long before Stephen Colbert, there was The Onion, and it's still hilarious, and now you don't need a subscription to read the fake news archives. Podcasts are also now available

Rotten Tomatoes
Gathers movie reviews from far and wide, and reports box office and other stats; flicks receive a critical average on the 100-point "tomatometer." also gets a nod for streaming episodes of "Statler & Waldorf: From the Balcony," an Ebert & Roeper spoof starring those lovable muppet-curmudgeons

New comparison shopping sites keep popping up ( isn't bad) but nothing beats Shopzilla's search tools and merchant ratings

The Borowitz Report
Daily extremely funny and satiric commentary on current events.

The Smoking Gun
Continues to document interesting news (sample headline: "Six Skulls Found in Strippers Home") and get the occasional big scoop, like outing writer James Frey

A real Web wonder: this massive, collaborative online encyclopedia is written, edited, and maintained primarily by volunteers; some 1.3 million articles in English, and millions more in 228 other languages

Arguably Google's toughest competition for top Web property. Check out the new My Web 2.0 service, which incorporates the social bookmarking activities of the recently-acquired (you get to see where other people are surfing, and share your own favorite links). offers a visual guide to gridlock situations on major roads in 20 metropolitan areas; Yahoo Photos offers new ways to share images (more advanced search features, tagging and other tools); and the new Yahoo Tech page cherry-picks from CNET's playbook.
Simply the best place to shop for shoes online, with stellar customer service and free shipping all the time

Other Tom Coates' in the news

I've set up a Google alert for any news items with Tom Coates in them. So far, it hasn't been me.

The three Tom Coates' that get in the news the most are English Cricketeer Tom Coates, World Class yachtsman Tom Coates & AIDS specialist Dr. Tom Coates.

Cricket Report from the Camb Times online
Poor batting dooms side to defeats: A POOR batting display from the Wisbech first team proved to be their undoing as they suffered defeat at Kimbolton on Saturday.

Following a string of Tucker Division One draws, Wisbech would have been searching for the points and a good performance but it was not to be.

Things looked good for the visitors when Tom Coates (41) and James Williams (64) settled in to their batting. However, their dismissals led to a collapse and Wisbech were eventually bowled out for 198 after 41.3 overs.

Yachting Report from BYM News
USA. Rolex NYYC Race Week: Tom Coates J-105 Masquerade wins 3 races on Rhode Island Sound

"We couldn't have had a better day," said Tom Coates about today's racing on Rhode Island Sound during New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. As he did at this event in 2004, Coates with his Masquerade took an early lead in the competitive J/105 class; he won all three of today's races. Known around New England as an accomplished sailor, he also is known on his home waters of San Francisco Bay for his success in the same class.

Doctor Tom Coates News from the New York Blade
HIV/AIDS researchers, service providers and activists from across the globe are gathering in Toronto for a six-day International AIDS Conference, which began Aug. 13. About 24,000 people are expected to attend, making it the largest in the now-biennial meeting’s 21-year history.

"We have committed more resources for HIV research than any other government in the world," said Tom Coates, director of the UCLA Program in Global Health. He cited as examples the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, first outlined in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address, along with the billions of dollars in AIDS funding allocated to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

"But then we get hung up on issues like promotion of abstinence-only education, or [needle exchange programs]," Coates said. "We get tripped on our own ideology, and our lack of knowing the evidence."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I made the final table

It wasn't the World Series of Poker and it didn't cost $10,000 to play and there weren't over 8,000 players and the top prize wasn't $12,000,000, but I still cashed.

I played a $55.00 tournament at the California Grand card club in Pacheco today. There were 50 players, the top prize was $1,500 and they paid the top 10. I made it to the final table of 10 and was knocked out first, so I got $75.00.

I had been down to my last 200 chips (starting with 500), but I beat the same guy 3 times in a row by going all in and I knocked him out of tournament. My buddies, Glenn, Mike & Jesus also played, but they finished out of the money.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I wish I was still playing

My mind is still in the game... I didn't really get a chance to play some poker. Seven hours is way too short. I didn't get to give anybody a bad beat. I did knock one player out, so at least I've got that going for me.

It's hard to explain, but it's not out of my system yet. I'd been thinking about it and working on it for over 2 months, so I wish I had more time at it. I guess that when the tournament is over on August 10th, I'll be able to move onto the next thing..

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Heads in plastic bags, loud noises, Capt. Crunch and tomato trucks

After I finished with poker and was awake at 4am, I decided I should end my trip with a big fun bang, so I went online and bought a ticket for the Blue Man Group.

If you don't like loud and I mean very loud music or are claustrophobic, do not see the Blue Man Group, but it is a very funny and fun show. I saw it about 3 years ago, but about half of it was new. They use Capt. Crunch in the show. I don't recommend getting a seat in the first 6 rows as those are called the Poncho seats. If you've never seen the show, they bang on drums with paint, so there is a bit of splatter.

As I was walking through the Venetian Casino, I saw a weird sight - about 500 women dressed in black walking towards me and they all had mannequin dummy heads inside plastic bags with bad wigs. It took me awhile to figure out that they were at a Paul Mitchell hairdressers convention. Very bizarre!

The Venetian is a very beautiful place to hang out. It's got the canal with the gondolas and St. Marks Square with singers and performers.
Click on the photos for a larger image.

Finally, driving to Las Vegas was good for me because it was nice to be able to get around where I wanted and when I wanted. The only problem is coming back up Highway 5 with the super slow tomato trucks. They can only go about 55 MPH, so there is always a traffic jam around them with other trucks pass. The worst time was when one tomato truck was passing another and it was only going around 1 MPH faster, so the pass took about 2 miles.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The evil Lady Canada gets the boot

Wed Aug 02 17:59:00 PDT 2006

Monica Reeves Eliminated - Monica Reeves is all-in with K-Q against her opponent's 10-10. Neither player improves and Reeves is eliminated from the Main Event.

Actually, she was very nice and we both made the exact same amount of cash.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Final Poker roundup

Well, I'm back home in Dreamland with stories to share, hats to wear and some new refrigerator magnets (Excalibur, NY NY & WSOP 2006). This is a photo of the ESPN Featured Table. Last year's champion, Joe Hachem is on the monitors.

Here is my WSOP rundown:

  1. After 2 hours, I had about 12,000 chips after starting with 10,000
  2. After 4 hours, I had about 19,000 chips as I busted out a loser with a big unlit cigar, who mumbled all the time and had showed up about 40 minutes late. For some reason he was trying to stare me down, but I've already been stared down by the King of Stares, Jay Lakumb, so I was immune. I guess he thought I was bluffing because I had a Queen high flush and he had a pair of Jacks and there was also another Queen on the board.
  3. After 6 hours, I had about 15,000 chips and it was dinner break
  4. I goofed on dinner and got stuck in a really slow restaurant and got back late to the table and missed a couple of hand. I wasn't back in the same groove as before. I should have slowed down, looked at my rules again.
  5. Monica Reeves, the poker & blackjack pro from Canada, was sitting to my right and to her right was another pro from Australia. I just didn't realize that they both were "the Grinder" because I hadn't heard of them. They were the ones I needed to stay away from on day one. She went all in for her last 10,000 chips and was doing some big time "Hollywooding" (over-acting), but my mind was just wasn't ready to figure it out and for some reason, I thought she was trying to bluff me out of the hand and I should have realized that she knew I was playing tight (conservative), so the only way she was going to risk getting knocked out was if she knew she had the best hand, but c'est la vie, I didn't figure that out and I lost about 13,000 of my chips and only had about 2000 left, which lasted me about another 45 minutes. I wasn't pot committed and if she bluffed me out, I still would have only been a little bit under the average chips.
  6. I stole some blinds twice without getting called. Unfortunately, one time I had pocket Aces and wanted to get called, but then I went out when the pro from Oz had pocket Kings to my A-Q and didn't improve. I ended up playing about a little over 7 hours.
  7. Today would have been my second day of playing and after getting a good night's sleep in my own bed, I was still tired, so it would have been all adrenaline and power bars to get through day 2.
  8. I think that whoever wins will really deserve it and it's just as mentally & physically gruelling as the Tour de France.
  9. The final count was: Players 8,773 Prize Pool $82,512,162
  10. I was sitting right behind the guy with the Nemo hat. I guess he wanted his photo taken, so it worked
  11. paid $22 Million to have their logo on every table, so all logowear with .com was banned, hence the need for massive duct tape as seen on my hat below.
  12. I didn't get on TV, at least not that I know of, but I did get mentioned in the PokerStars blog -
  13. The third photo below is Daniel Negraneau getting interviewed - he said he thought the final table would be at least 8 out of 9 players that nobody had ever heard of.

Click on the photos for larger images.