Decisions

I watched a movie a few nights ago about the writer Ernest Hemingway, probably the most influential writer of his time. Many of his works are considered classics of American literature. In 1964 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. But despite all his success and fame he was a troubled man. He made some awful decisions. His final one was to end his life with a shotgun.

In poker, decisions really matter. A big part of the game is inducing your opponents to make mistakes. Good and bad decisions can make the difference between sudden death or sitting behind a commanding stack of chips. It’s said, poker is a microcosim of life itself. It’s true and part of the reason I love the game so much. Still to be determined though, is whether my investment in it has been a good… or a bad decision.

I created this blog primarily to leave a little behind for my children and grandchildren… and who knows… maybe even my grandchildren’s children will get something out of this as well. It’s a big part of why I’ve been involved in documenting our family history and my interest in genealogy. It’s all part of being the designated story teller. The younger generations generally speaking  have little interest for what the older has to say. It usually isn’t until you’ve grown older yourself that you come to appreciate the wisdom and the value of the thoughts of those that came before us. Often, when we finally realize the error of our ways, it’s too late. As I grew older I learned how seemingly small decisions ended up having surprisingly enormous life-changing consequences.

There are the mundane decisions of what to wear today and what to eat, when might I do this, and when might I do that? But other decisions, like what you choose to do for a vocation, where you choose to go to school, where you eventually choose to make your home and of course — who you choose to marry — are obvious in their ramifications. But some of us fail to give even those the consideration they deserve. Bad decision!

In choosing where to live some people stay close to their roots, never venturing far from home. Me? When I joined the Air Force I wanted to get as far away as I possibly could. I can’t recall why exactly. Maybe it was the spirit of adventure and the thought of heading west to unexplored territory. I’m sure the palm trees, sunshine and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood had a little to do with my decision as well. But I did manage to go as far west as anywhere the continental U.S. allows. Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Yes I found new places and spaces, and new friends that I otherwise wouldn’t have had, but in doing that, and with other decisions that followed, there developed a large gap between my roots and my extended family. For much of my adult years, I lived in the moment. Bad decisions!

I’ve lost count the number of career opportunities that came my way as my days in the Air Force were coming to an end. Everything from firefighting to the California Highway Patrol to Air Traffic Controller were reasonable possibilities. All of which would have been dramatic life-changing decisions. But I’d long before had chosen what I thought would be my life’s vocation, I was set in my ways. That too may have been a bad decision. And that’s my thought for the day…

“You make a decision kid, make it carefully. Know what you truly want. Consider every possible consequence or you’ll wind up at 59 wondering, what the hell happened?” ~~ Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks), from the movie Papa Hemingway in Cuba

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Aces and Eights

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James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok epitomized the adventureous men of the wild west I envisioned as a boy. He was among my favorite characters I read and heard about, and made even more famous, in the television and film westerns of the 50s and 60s. Characters that included the likes of Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, the fictional Marshall Matt Dillon, Bret Maverick and Paladin from Have Gun – Will Travel. All of them good guys, ‘cept they all wore black hats, Dillon the single exception! Hickok lived a most interesting life of notoriety, some said he was the fastest gun in the west, but, as boys are apt to be, I was most intrigued by the drama and circumstances of his death. Continue reading

James Garner – Actor, Poker Player

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The Young, Dashing Bret Maverick

I’ve been distracted of late, it isn’t the first time but this blog is never far from my mind. I’m always conflicted on what to write about and how long these entries should be, not to mention finding the time to concentrate on whatever subject it is I finally choose.

Realizing I post regularly to my Facebook page on a myriad of subjects I got to thinking today: Why not just expound on some of those same things here within my blog? After all, each entry doesn’t have to be a lengthy epic of paragraph after paragraph of astounding, deep-thinking commentary. It just needs to be a sharing of a single thought or two on my interest of the day, something I hope worthy of sharing with you my regulars. Something “compelling” would be a word a friend often uses. So, here goes!

By-the-way, thanks as always for stopping by!

Continue reading

Why I Play Poker

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What mighty contests arise from trivial things. ~~ Alexander Pope

Throughout the whirlwind of my life during the last several years has been one constant, the game of poker.  I admit it, I’ve become a poker player and in a big way.  Here’s a few of the reasons why.

I liked poker professional Annie Duke when I watched her second-place finish during season 2 of the TV reality show Celebrity Apprentice.  It was the spring of 2009 and a disappointing loss to the totally classless, foul-mouthed comedienne Joan Rivers.  I knew very little about poker, not even the difference between a full house and a flush. But it was Duke’s example and how she held up to the ridicule of her profession that would influence my decision to learn more about her game.  It would turn out to be a life-changing event.

I know what some of you are thinking.  Poker?  That disreputable game of degenerate, down on their luck, addicted gamblers?  Those sad souls hoping for that one big score, playing in smoke-filled backrooms full of dog kickers and child molesters?  You’re just another gambler wasting your life in a loser’s game!  How unfortunate it is that poker in the minds of some is so misunderstood and regarded as a socially unacceptable way to pursue competition.  A game likened to visions of zombie gamblers glued to slot machines.  It’s true people are mostly down on the things they’re least up on.

You’re a poker player?  A poker player?  That’s beyond white trash.  Poker players are trash darling, trash! ~~ Joan Rivers Continue reading