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…

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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.

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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.