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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Once in a while

So much of my working life is spent reading and editing, and so much of my leisure time is spent on the internet, that I don't get a chance to read books for pleasure as much as I would like. But occasionally I squeeze one in, as I just did with James McManus's Positively Fifth Street.

As a former newspaper reporter and an aspiring card shark, I greatly enjoyed McManus's acount of his 2000 visit to Las Vegas, wherein (a) playing as a rookie, he reached the finals of the World Series of Poker and (b) he covered the trial of the couple accused of murdering Las Vegas gambling magnate Ted Binion. If you're part of the current craze of watching poker tournaments on television (I'm told more people now catch poker on the tube than hockey), or if you like a good yarn, you'd like this book, too.

Comments (11)

just in case that wasn't a joke:

more people watch Curling than hockey. there is no hockey on TV

Professional hockey doesn't even realize that it is dead yet. When the strike ends, Hockey will not be bargaining with the networks from a position of power.

TV Poker is the new golf. Nearly anyone can figure out how to play it so we all relate.

Plus, there is the luck factor. Every once in a while (when the wind is blowing just right) a golfing hack gets a hole-in-one with his brother-in-law's borrowed clubs. Afterward he can convince himself that at that very moment he played the hole as well or better than anyone in the world and it connects him to a sport where the pro's play that way consistently.

Similarly, a dead money amateur can win a poker tournament with solid play and a decent run of luck.

Speaking of wagering, anyone want to lay 5 bones on this race?

Christine Gregoire Democrat 1367886 48.87%
Dino Rossi Republican 1368019 48.87%
Ruth Bennett Libertarian 63121 2.25%


Don't they have to call it -- notwithstanding recounts virtually guaranteed & automatic -- today, Jud? "Sounds like" odds are on Gregoire at this point, based on counties left, population # and leaning.

Drat. I voted against the old empire & for the new.

I don't think hockey is dead, it's just that it's a regional sport, unlike the NFL or MLB (or hell, the NHL in Canada). Spend some time out East and you will see some serious hockey fans - it just never caught in the NW.

Sally, I believe the deadline is (was) 4pm today. I tried to guesstimate the results based on the leftover counties but just couldn't do it.

As for 4:49 pm today, Gregoire is the "winner" by 28 votes.
Christine Gregoire Democrat 1369608 48.87%
Dino Rossi Republican 1369580 48.87%
Ruth Bennett Libertarian 63253 2.25%

Anyone care to use this against all those "my vote doesn't count" people?


"Anyone care to use this against all those 'my vote doesn't count' people?"

Ain't it beautiful, Jud. My vote counted in a few places in Washington State this year. I always have argued for participation in state & local races & issues. Who knew a gubernatorial race could slice this fine, in a state this large?!

Um, I voted in the State of Washington this year. And while the newspapers this morning report that Rossi won by 261 votes, my vote didn't affect the result. If I had not voted, the margin would be 260 votes or 262 votes (you'll have to guess which). Either way, there would be a recount.

The point is, people, no one individual's vote counts in any statewide (and usually every local) election. This doesn't mean one should not vote. But calm down on the propaganda that my vote makes a difference. I voted because I like to participate in the process and feel a connection. Sometimes the masses agree with me, other times they're ignorant. But my vote does not count.

Arguably, my vote MATTERS (in some psychological or civic sense), but it does not COUNT (in terms of making a difference in the result of any given race). Never has. Never will. But that's okay--I'll still do it.

"If everyone thought that way," you cry, "we'd be a screwed-up country." Please. If everyone DID think that way, then it would be true that one person's vote would matter. But not everyone does. Most drink the Kool-Aid and think that the future hinges on what they do behind a curtain. And as long as the voting population reaches a critical mass (which it almost always does), one measly vote won't make a difference.

And don't bother replying with the "one vote burned Andrew Johnson" or "one vote allowed Hitler to rise to power" sap. In those examples, the voting population was even smaller than Rossi's pre-recount lead over Gregoire.

One final point: some scholars argue that low voter turnout is a sign of stability. In nations where chaos reigns, voter turnout is often far in excess of what we just experienced a few weeks ago. The very high turnout in this election might suggest that America feels a little less stable than it did a short time ago.

No one's vote counts because everyone's vote counts. Whatever. And I thought I had some lonely conversations sometimes.

Not really that lonely.

I completely agree with Count Me In. I look at voting as the opportunity to officially register my opinion in a giant public poll.

Putting up a lawn sign or writing a letter to the editor or simply talking to friends about my political opinions will have a much greater chance of influencing an election than my one measley vote.

Do the math Sally.

I have never compared voting to other available political activity with any favoritism. The math I do says in any presidential election, it isn't worth getting off a couch or going to a mailbox. In a local or tight election it is. If you convince a whole lotta people of that, will "your vote" count less -- or more?

Do the philosophy with the math.

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