Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Boy will this be a terrible post.

With the death of Vaclav Havel, I've been reading about him and his philosophies.  Talk about your well-rounded guy! Certainly someone to be listened to, if not always agreed with. One thing sticks with me - his faith that all people are generally good. Truth be told, I believe him. So, where does evil come from? Well, if you believe Havel, it comes from systems. For some background, start here:


If you believe this argument, systems are potentially the biggest evil-generator on the planet. I do believe it. The inherent flaw in most systems is that they never plan for the law of unintended consequences, nor can they. It's why a system of checks and balances is probably the best, even though ultimately doomed to fail. Why? Because of the human condition. We are programmed to want to achieve. It's why we're the dominant species. Without that drive, we'd be chimps using sticks to knock fruit off branches out of reach, not designing computers or planning for war.

How many of you have thought of ways to game the system? Any system. It's in our DNA. Did you get pulled over? How about showing some cleavage and flirting a bit. Or maybe trot out your war record and try to bond. See? It works sometimes - you win! You beat the system.

Some folks saw a flaw in the system and figured out a way to make tons of money without doing anything more than writing a computer program designed to move cash on tiny fluctuations in the market. Many have tried something similar - you could argue that they were supposed to. A few actually got it right. Was is fair? Fairness doesn't even enter the equation, actually. It's a system. It's not even a systemic flaw. The system was created by us. Others figured out how to manipulate it better and more creatively than we did. Tough. You could pout a bit if it helps. You could whine that it's not fair, but here's the thing -  you created it! Yes you, with your laws and your elected officials and your lobbyists and your banking deregulations. Greed isn't good or bad. Greed is.

If you accept even some of this as true, what are your options? You could become a great thinker and try to lead your inherently good people and give them opportunities to be good. You could try to create a new system that equals things out (see socialism, communism), or you could study systems. That's probably the best bet. Why? Well, to understand them, of course. But also so you are better positioned to see when others are taking advantage or using it to hurt people for their own gain. Or perhaps even use it to your own benefit. Since you created it, isn't that your job?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

WPBT Trip Report 2011

I'm am nearly 100% certain no one reads this drivel anymore. But, since I never wrote for you anyway, I might as well get some thoughts down before they fade to eternity.

This WPBT had all the makings of being outright terrible. By now, you all know about my divorce with the amazing and increasingly poorly named "The Wife." It was supposed to be really awkward that we were there together, especially since only a handful of people knew. There were other negatives, too. Apparently I committed to two dinners on Friday night (or was it Saturday?). Since I would have had to pay anyway if I didn't show at the Raku dinner, I chose that one. Getting my ass chewed by CK the next day was not my favorite thing. I missed some great company at Jaleo. A down-in-the-dumps Kat was also a big negative. I want everyone to have fun at WPBT. No one should feel blue, not if I can help it. I never hooked up with any incredibly sexy polyglot lawyers, dammit. And then there was Brad. What horrible news to receive right before the trip, and with his goal of running the Rock & Roll 1/2 marathon so close.

But if you know me, you know my philosophy - it all works out. Must have got that from Bammer.

Let's take it from the top. Interacting together and separately with The Wife was terrific. There was no expectation other than an friendly kiss on the cheek and we were able to enjoy being in each others company as well as being separate. I didn't even mind fixing her back right there on the casino floor. Although, that hot chick who said, "NEXT!" should have stuck around longer.

The dinner at Raku will live in memory forevery. Seriously, 15 courses?! It was an orgy of food, complimented by excellent company. And CK actually seemed to forgive me (eventually).

It took some doing, but I think I helped Kat find her smile again. And when she smiles, wow.

And Brad. What can I say? You found your smile, too. And amidst such tragedy. The fact that I played some small part in that did wonders for my soul. I am so fortunate to call this group friends.

There were other highlights, too. They each deserve their own blog post, but since I only blog once or twice a year, this is what you get:

"Hey, that looks like Jose Canseco."
"That's because it IS Jose Canseco."
"Sorry sir, this table is only for those in the 40/40 club."
"Well, then you're all gonna have to leave."

I ran the 1/2 marathon with a bunch of guys that have become such good friends - Blood, G-Rob, Brad and Dan. The fact that I came in last of our group (7 damn seconds, AYFKM?), didn't really bother me. Thanks so much to those who stuck it out to the end to see my sorry ass trot down the finish. Walking back to Aria in the rain was no fun, but it may be the only reason I'm still walking.

I sucked in the tournament, as usual. It was cool to see The-No-Longer-Wife cash. She's got skills. I also played in a cash game with the boys that is already legendary. There were the usual suspects as well as Drizz, Iggy and Dr. Pauly as well as Marty and the poker room manager with the straining blouse.

And now, it's time to go for another jog. I usually let down (or outright stop training) after an event like this, but my boys are keeping me motivated. Let's hope it sticks.