The Last Poker

It’s the most wonderful end of the world.
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone yelling,
“Demise is unfurled!”
It’s the most wonderful end of the world!

According to the internets, the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, and people thus think that the world will come to an end on that date.  Which is weird, because my “12 months of puppies” calendar ends on December 31, but no one thinks that the world is going to end then.  And there are a bunch of other calendars that also end on December 31.  You would think that at least some people on the internets would be interested in the fact that the vast majority of calendars give us an extra 10 days to live, but no.

So in the event that either calendar has correctly predicted the end of the world, we should probably get together to celebrate the last poker ever.  We had a good run folks.  I think some spiced wine and Christmas cookies and Christmas music and movies are a fine way to ring in whatever comes next.  Maybe we’ll actually play poker.

Let us gather at [—–] at around 8pm.  Please RSVP with ETA so I know how many Christmas cookies is too many.

And just in case you were a skeptic, thinking there was no real scientific evidence that the end of days is nigh—

Dolin is invited.

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12 Days of Christmas Poker (12/12/12)

The 12 days of Christmas – Clerk style

On the first day of Christmas my clerkship gave to meeee:
An unhelpful amicus brieeeeef!

On the .2d day of Christmas my clerkship gave to meeee:
2 conflicting doctrines and an unhelpful amicus brieeeeef!
. . .
On the 12th Day of Christmas my clerkship gave to meeeee:
12 law firm invites;
11 missing pin-cites;
10 snarky memos;
9 pro se weirdos;
8 day a-reviewing;
7 cross a-ppealing;
6 votes for en banc;
5 pooooooker emaaaaaails;
4 cases per panel;
3 co-clerks;
2 conflicting doctrines; and
An unhelpful amicus brieeeeeeeef!

Christmas Pokering has finally come to [——–]!  The tree is up, the lights are strung, and the carols have the words changed to things that make more sense.  Why would your true love even want an off-balance marching band and a bunch of poultry?  And milk…  I guess the rings make sense, but gold is so 80’s.

But I digress.  Tonight we have hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps and Christmas cookies and other festive goodies!  Start time is 8pm.  And tis the season of giving so give me a break and RSVP so I know what to expect.

The Legend of Pokerween

Halloween is an ancient Celtic tradition that falls on the last day of the pagan calendar, October 31.  As the end of the year, it is the time to bid farewell and remember the dead.  The day was called “Samhain” after the Druid god of death, or “All Allows day” in recognition of emotionally needy spirits that would rise out of their tombs to make you remember them.  People dressed in scary costumes to frighten away evil spirits seeking attention.

When the Romans invaded and kicked everyone’s asses, they incorporated Halloween into their own pagan traditions.  Roman tradition celebrated the pagan harvest on October 31st and All Saints Day or “All Hallows Day” (honoring dead saints) on November 1st, so the whole death thing worked out logistically. The colors of Halloween became orange (the Roman pagan color of harvest) and black (the Irish pagan color of death).

The fact that pumpkins are orange and bats are black had nothing to do with anything.  Pumpkin carving originated from an old Irish legend about a stingy drunkard named Jack (i.e. an Irish man named Jack) who tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree (or changing into a coin). Then Jack cut the sign of a cross into the trunk of the tree (or put the coin in his pocket with a silver cross), thereby preventing the Devil from climbing down (or escaping). Jack made the Devil relinquish all claim to his soul to be released.  When Jack died, he was not allowed into heaven because he was an asshole.  He was not allowed into Hell because of the Devil’s promise.  As the Devil turned him away from hell he threw a hellfire coal at Jack.  Jack put the coal in a hollowed-out turnip to make a lantern to light his way as he wandered the earth for eternity.  The Irish called him Jack-of-the-Lantern, i.e. Jack O’ Lantern.

That story later became associated with “All Hallows Eve” in Ireland, Scotland, and England.  The tradition arose to carve faces in turnips and put candles inside to resemble Jack O’ Lantern and put them in the window to scare away evil spirits.  The Brits used large beets instead of turnips.  Neither makes a good pie.  When those folks came to America, they brought their stories and traditions, and discovered pumpkins, a fall fruit native to America, which were even better for carving lanterns.  And pie.

Bats are associated with Halloween because they are creepy and nocturnal.  Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.  (That is true.)  Left is the “sinister” direction and is a sign of evil.  (That is false.)  Of the 4000 species of mammals on the planet, 900 are bats.  Because bats are awesome.  They live in old scary houses, and blood-licking species inspired some vampire shit that would later become the most annoying of all angsty teenage obsessions in the history of western civilization. The traditional vampire stories actually tell that Halloween is the one night of the year that vampires don’t go out, because they think it’s tacky.  And it is.  Halloween is second only to Christmas in American holiday spending.

Which brings us to POKERWEEN.  Halloween has never landed on a Wednesday since poker has been a CAFC tradition, so I’m not sure what we do about that.  I know lots of you guys have kids, and lots of you have alcoholism, and I’m not sure how it plays out.

I will be at home tonight, in costume, carving pumpkins and passing out candy to little urban children.  I actually get a lot of trick-or-treaters at my house.  You might be wondering why I am carving pumpkins tonight, when I already made a big deal of how my housemates and I carved 9 giant pumpkins in advance of poker last week.  Well some punk teenagers smashed my pumpkins last night, so I need to carve some new ones so that I can have proper jack-o-lanterns on display when those same punk teenagers bring their babies trick-or-treating at my house.

If there is interest for Halloween poker, come IN COSTUME to [———-] around 8 pm tonight.  There will be mulled wine and pumpkin curry and lots of candy.  Please RSVP so we know whether there is quorum and so I know how much candy to buy.

1996 Poker

Where were you on this day in 1996?  Where was the world?

In September of 1996 I started my freshman year in high school.  Most of the people in my home town (in New Jersey, praise be to Bruce) lived there because their parents worked for the local Ingersoll Rand plant, or the industrial park in nearby Allentown Pennsylvania.  Both are closed now.  No one I knew had a cell phone, and only a handful of people had bulky desktop computers with access to the “world wide web.”

I remember reading a newly released book by one of my Dad’s favorite authors, Carl Sagan.  In it was a passage that I never appreciated, and at the time equated to something from George Orwell’s 1984.  Until I saw it on reddit this morning, exactly 16 years later.  Reading it now, the only thing I would change about it, is that it is written in future tense.

I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United Sates is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

–Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World (1996)

Joyful, right?  When I read it, by brain automatically substitutes iPhones for crystals and Facebook for horoscopes.

I want to go back to 1996.  Help me throw back to a simpler, brighter time.  Let’s play some poker and listen to some Springsteen!  I already popped a zit on my chin this morning and then ate lunch by myself, so I’m halfway back to high school already!

Bring the booze you liked in 1996.  Bring the music you listened to in 1996.  And think up at least one story from where you were in 1996.  And RSVP so I know how many more friends I have now than I did before I got my braces off…

Jihad Poker

Contrary to the images that we typically see in news coverage and other media, a jihad does not necessarily serve a destructive or hateful agenda.  It is by definition an epic, spiritual mission.  That mission may be to destroy all infidels, or it may be some other, more harmonious journey towards self-actualization.
I am not a destructive or hateful person, but I have a jihad.  I am not a middle eastern arab, I am an Italian from New Jersey.  I do not worship Allah, I worship Bruce Springsteen.  And tonight, my god is in my Mecca:  The Meadowlands.  I must make a haaj to my Mecca and worship my god in the hopes that his geriatric body will anoint my face with his ben-gay sweat as he works the crowd.  That is my jihad.
And thus I will not be around to host poker.  Who wants to step up and take one for the team?  Either way I will see you all next week, a more spiritually fulfilled person…

Convention Poker

Some of you workaholics may not be aware, but there is an historic convention going on right now. (Did you like my gramatically appropriate use of the article “an” there?)  I am referring, of course, to the baby bunnies in tiny sweaters convention.

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As you can see the keynote squeaker is trying to rally the warren’s base in the face of tough questions like:  How will I afford to send all 153 of my offspring to buniversity?  And, what is your plan for addressing bunemployment?

The keynote squeaker hopped around those questions with an awwwwww-inspiring story about his mother rabbit, struggling to feed a family of 24 despite barely being able to reach the produce in the grocery store.

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The bunnies also got the crowd wiggling their noses by portraying their opponents, the ducklings, as a group of privileged fuzzballs who only want quacks cuts for the cutest 1% of baby animals on the internet.

Description: Description: Funny .Macro Animal Photography - Two yellow ducklings with purse and money55

If you would like to view further political coverage of this nature, with some poker going on at times, human clerks from both the bunny and duckling sides of the aisle will be convening at [——].   Bring booze and carrots.  Please RSVP so I know how many admission passes to print up.

More Pokelympics

My darling corn-fed American hotties, I am so sorry my eyes ever wandered to the Australian men’s swim team.  You see, that was before I realized what was really important.  It’s not what’s on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
I call dibs on the one second from the left.  That is not just a shadow.
Thank you American men’s crew team, for reminding me what lusting after athletes is really all about.  You may have only the bronze for your performance on the water, but you get the gold in my book.  What’s this, flowers for me?  Oh you shouldn’t have…
But I digress… So.  Poker.  I understand we have some regulars out of town today, so please RSVP so we know where we stand on quorum and timing.  I’m thinking 8pm at [———], but I’m open to suggestions from the crowd…