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Archive for September, 2008

So an historic day in US History – the largest one day drop for the DJIA in terms of points (+770) and still a hefty percentage-wise.  Are these companies really worth 7-10% less today than they were Friday?  No, of course not, but you’ll have people pulling the plugs on their portfolios and causing a panic.  That being said, all this couldn’t have come really at a worse time for us personally….you know, buying a house and all. 

We’re lucky we’ve been some of those rare responsible Americans and (so far – knock on wood) we’re all set on our financing for our home this Thursday.  Our ability to sell our Atlanta home on the other hand…well, who knows.  I suppose the right buyer will be lucky enough to get a good deal our on place.  Of course we’ll be flexible, but many lenders are requiring ‘at least’ 20% down now and impeccable credit.  Ah, crazy times indeed. 

The seizing up of US creditors will most assuredley keep us in our current recession for months if not years.  I don’t disagree with the House however in bailing out Americans in general.  The issue is, how will Americans adjust?

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The hope of millions, the voice of America, the posterchild for what’s wrong with this country.  Ed McMahon is now apparantly going to sell his skills as a ‘rapper’ for Freecreditreport.com which is owned by Experian and allows individuals to see all three of their credit reports.  My how the mighty have fallen. 

Mr. McMahon don’t get me wrong is smart for taking on any gig he can get.  I’m sure they’re paying him $50-100K for his personality, or more, for making a fool of himself.  Don’t get me wrong, for six figures, I’m sure I’d do some interesting things.  But here’s a guy that was most well known for two things….introducing the legendary Johnny Carson, and of course being Mr. Publishing Clearing House providing hopefuls millions of dollars.  How many people wish they won that, hoped, prayed.  Most Americans.

Mr. McMahon also cleary epitomizes all the stereotypical actions of many Americans the last 5-7 years getting himself into financial trouble, albeit at a much much higher level nearly having his multi-million dollar house foreclosed upon.  How can that be?  Multiple divorces and assuredly bad business decisions.  One Donald Trump apparantly has bailed out Mr. McMahon and I’m sure they’re working out a payment plan.

So heeeeeerrrrrrreeeeee’s Ed…..posterchild for bad American debt pawning his celebrity for a web site poking fun at himself in the process.  I suppose you do what you have to do, but perhaps he can go to Washington and help with the financial crisis too while he’s at it.    Or perhaps he can introduce both presidential candidates at Friday’s potential debate….Heeeeerrrrreeeee’s Barack…..heeeeerrrrrrreeee’s Johnny!

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Friends

I’ll be a whopping 38 in October.  I’ve lived seemingly all across this country now.  When you move somewhere you’re bound to lose touch with ‘friends’ and acquaintances.  You keep in touch with those you want to, or at least you try.  Certainly distance, although supposedly making the heart grow fonder, seemingly makes staying friends harder.  As we get older, life throws us curveballs and the occassional change-up.  Kids, work, kids, money, and simply just life.

We had a bon voyage BBQ on Sunday and everyone we invited showed.  It was really nice to see these folks and it meant a lot to us that everyone showed, got along, and wished us a fond farewell.  I moved to Atlanta in October 1995.  I have gotten to know so many people in the area and have some good acquaintances, and hopefully several friends that I’ll continue to stay in contact with long after we move, at least through Facebook, email, or my blog.  There have also been many I’ve lost touch with – many after I moved to LA – even though I was always moving back here.  It takes two to keep a relationship of any kind working and going….and it is work.  One-sided relationships are always tough.  But a move like ours when you’re only gone for 30 months really shows you who cares and who your real friends are.

I had a few folks here in town that I got along with well, a select few I considered to be very good friends — wives and kids were friendly, we’d get together for dinners, birthdays, etc., but lives grow apart.  One of the interesting things about some of these friendships is that some tended to go south, when things are takent for granted and one friend takes advantage of the other.  Friends shouldn’t use one another, they should utilize one another to bring each other up, not to hold each other back.  I’ve always been the type to give you the shirt off my back, and for my good friends, I’d do anything for them, and I mean really just about anything – loan money, drive to whereever to pick them up, get their back, provide advice, shoulder to cry/lean on.  I unfortunately drew the line at supporting some as dependents and being a crutch. Certainly friends don’t take advantage of one another, do they?  Some do unfortunately, and those aren’t friends.  Lessons learned.

I was very lucky yesterday to reconnect with an old friend with who I had not spoken to in 18-19 years.  That was almost literally a lifetime ago.  It was as if though time had never passed and we spoke for an effortless hour on the phone.  Hopefully the reconnected friendship will last and if nothing else it was nice to reminisce.  That person knows who they are and I look forward to seeing them in the next few weeks.  There have been several others I’ve reconnected with thanks to Facebook but also with the threatened move back to New York, I know I’ll be seeing many more of these individuals.  Many may not become true friends, but rather acquaintances again, which is fine.  We all have our lives to tend to.

I’m lucky that I got to know Tom, Mark, Jim, Craig and Jay here…and I believe I’ll stay friends with them, even though moving 1,000 miles away.  The quality of these individuals is high and the sincerity is there.  I’m also fortunate to be moving back north and I’ll get to see Scott, JP, Todd, Tom, etc. as well.  Again, I’m extremely fortunate to have what I call true friends.  Over time, you realize who they are…and who they ain’t.

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Five weeks, half dozen showings, not bad for this market.  Now that we’re closing (hopefully next week) on the house in NY, we’ve dropped our price considerably…into the ‘we’re ready to sell category’ of $479K.  Since we’d started at $550K, it’s only a 12.9% discount – consider it a big coupon.  Now considering that the other homes in our neighborhood are all (but one) listed above $550K, ours is most definitely priced to sell.  We do have an inclined driveway, stucco exterior and smallish backyard.  But certainly a $71K discount may have mitigate these items. 

To those who have seen the home, they have really liked the interior.  Hoping it’s just a matter of time before it sells.  http://www.mlsfinder.com/kwls/kw/index.cfm?action=listing_detail&property_id=01223766474&searchkey=8f77a218-b833-55bf-a984-801585ae247d&npp=10&sr=1  for the full listing site and a couple dozen more pictures of the interior.

And to my dear friends, if you make an offer before October 6th, all the poker stuff comes with it, otherwise, it’s coming with me!

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So long Yankee Stadium

I remember being 7-years old and driving down the Saw Mill River Parkway on our way to Yankees Stadium.  We’d be in the back of the family station wagon, you know the kind with the wood paneling on the side?  We’d have our baseball cards with all the ‘great’ Yankees of the time along with the more obscure ones like George Zeber, Dick Tidrow, Carlos May, Fran Healy, Dock Ellis, and Ken Clay.  I recall vividly (as I reminisced today with a fellow Yanks fan) about the ‘hump’ – a big bump where if your parents drove it correctly, you got air.  I recall the Hebrew Nationals served and Cracker Jack (the ones with ‘real’ prizes).

Back in the day, we had sweet seats.  About a 20 rows behind the 3rd base dugout.  I’m sure they were the expensive seats, like $40 or something like that.  But we went about 10-12 games/year.  I recall the basking sun, the smell of the stadium, the largeness of the stadium, the larger than life players.  Memories that will never leave me. 

I remember a Barfield home run to win a game in the bottom of the 12th inning of a gave versus Toronto…I recall watching a certain Reggie hitting 3 home runs in a World Series game, watching Graig Nettles laying out for linedrives,….    

On this Sunday night watching the Yankees beat the Orioles…Mariano Rivera getting the last three outs and closing down the Stadium — one gets a little poignant about the closing of this historic building.  Oh, and GREAT job ESPN by staying with the broadcast and showing Rivera entering into the game (something Fox did NOT do, during the All-Star game).

I’ll miss Yankees Stadium.  Just glad I got to go to so many games there…and that Shane was able to go there just once.

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I played at an acquaintance’s card room last night taking down 2nd place out of 18 players.  This is mostly a ‘country club’ game near Alpharetta/Roswell and played as such.  There’s some fairly deep pockets and it’s certainly a good-ol’ boys game.  The players are friendly and the atmosphere was nice, clean.  They have a series of tournaments weekly for a $225 entry where the juice is $25 and they then take out essentially $50 additional for grand prizes of a WPT boot camp trip or WSOP entries for the top finishers.  It’s a nice twist if yoiu’re playing every week and are a solid tournament player.  If you’re only playing once or twice, that’s a lot of ‘overhead’ to overcome regularly ($75 out of $225).  But there seemed to be enough dead money in the room (my estimate about 1/3 of the players to exactly make up for this).

You start with 6,000 in chips and if you’re in your seat on time, you get an extra 1,000.  So, 18 players with 7,000 in chips and a decent blind structure.  4 1/2 hours later they had their winner.  I played modestly in the early stages watching a few players virtually give their chips away.  I finally woke up with two black Jacks in the 200-400 round with about 6,000 in chips and the blinds about to go up.  I raised to 1,300 and was reraised by the BB and chip leader.  Would be a tough fold with the blinds going up to 300-600 and me only have 4,700 in chips.  I literally asked him what I should do, fold/call.  And he gave no indication.  I threw my chips in and saw he had AA.  Flop, three diamonds (he had A of diamonds), turn paired the board actually giving me two out now instead of one, ad the river brought the J of diamonds for my fullhouse beating his nut flush.  Whew 

Got down to the final table and it played very modestly as people wanted to make the money.  I took advantage of this to build my stack.  We played 3-handed for about an hour.  Finally I called an AK’s all-in (about 1/3 my chips) with J,10.  Spiked a J on the flop.  Heads up and a 5:1 dog in chips, I flopped top pair with J,10 only to be outflopped by bottom two pair.  Ballgame over.  A nice $800 pay out so after tip netting a shade under $500.  Lots of juice here but if I played in this game weekly, I’m confident I’d be going on that trip they offer.

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My last game is coming up soon.  It’s been fun running my own game.  It’s also been interesting and fun playing in other games throughout Atlanta.  I’ll certainly miss the regular Friday night game with players I’ve played with for years now.  It’s not even about the money…not in the least. Some of these conversations are just hilarious.  High Five!!!  Plus to be able to witness some interesting chaps, sit down and piss away $600 in a matter of 90 minutes…well just plain sad.  I’ll likely play twice this week so I’ll do some write ups of some of the hands, but of course won’t divulge the whereabouts.  First up, tomorrow night.  $200 tourney then $5/5NL Hold’em and Omaha.

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