Bold Moves Poker

I’m not the most fashionable person when it comes to the high end of business causal for work.  For example, today I am wearing purple corduroy pants and a cotton blouse.  And flip flops that you can’t really tell are flip flops because the pants cover them.  I always have a belt and a jacket and heels in my closet I can throw on if need be, so I feel like I’m able to get presentation ready if the need arises.

Yesterday I had a meeting at which I should look presentable, but not like I’m trying too hard.  I have a pair of plaid pants that are office appropriate, but pretty bold.  I debated for a little whether they were meeting appropriate, and ultimately thought, sure.  Someone wearing plaid pants to a meeting looks confident.

I arrive at the meeting, (all men, all partners, except me) at which there is one other person from my firm.  He apparently thought my bold plaid pants choice was a good one, because he was wearing the exact same pants.  Not just similar plaid pants, but the exact same pants. I was absolutely mortified.  Why do I own the same pants as a 65-year-old man?  How would anyone take us seriously when we looked like some sort of clown brigade?  I wanted to make light of the fashion elephant in the room and say something like, “oh, I see you also shopped at the Gap in 2006…” But I just sat there in excruciating silence.

No one said anything about it.  No one even seemed to notice.  I started looking around for hidden cameras and preparing jokes for when people jumped out from behind the flexi-wall and said “Surprise! This is just hazing! We are making you partner early!”  But it never happened.  We just sat there like idiots and everyone seemed unsurprised.

So I have been thoroughly dissuaded from making any bold choices for a while, fashion or otherwise.  You should take advantage of my post-traumatic stress at the poker table, where I will certainly be making no bold bets, and will probably split any pot I call.

Poker will be hosted by the Goodmans tonight, at [——–] (upstairs).  Michael becomes Professor Goodman on Friday, so please come prepared with lots of difficult questions about patent law so that he can practice bullshitting.  Start time 8pm.  Bring booze and snacks and sage advice.  RSVP so the Goodmans know how many chairs to buy.  (They are dining set shopping right now.)  Do not wear purple pants.


National Anthem Poker

I was honored to return this year to sing the national anthem at Nats’ stadium with some members of my chorus (I sing in the Congressional Chorus).  Afterwards, as I was shoving Ben’s (vegetarian) Chili Bowl in to my sweaty face I overheard some foreign visitors to our nation’s capital remarking on how violent our national anthem was, and how it was a reflection of our violent presence in this world.

My reactions to most stimuli arbitrarily oscillate between intrigue and rage.  This time I went with intrigue.  To the Google!

Let’s play a fun game, and match the country with the content of its national anthem, based on solely on our preconceived notions about that country.  I am paraphrasing the messages, since other countries’ national anthems are long and not in English.

Challenge number one:

I live in fear of God
You are God’s instrument
God will direct you
He who tries to live piously
Must pray day and night
And return to his domain

OK, clearly this is from the Vatican, or Saudi-Arabia, or some other super-religious country, right?  Nope.  It’s The pot-smoking, whore-sexting, universal healthcare Netherlands.  Go figure.

Let’s try again:

The principles of our people
The foundation of our republic
Advance us to a state of total peace
We are diligent, honest, and brave
Heroes of every ethnic group
Many hearts united as one

A celebration of conscience and diversity?  Must be… China.  Wha?  Yep.

Here’s a nice one:

Sing songs of freedom and joy,
Justice, liberty, and prosperity will forever reign
Over this land of great abundance
United in peace and harmony.

This rosy sentiment must come from some Scandinavian or perhaps island paradise nation?  Nope. This is the anthem of the hellpit called South Sudan.  One of the worst hives of poverty, disease, chaos, and persistent violence on Earth.

Finally, how about this cheerful message:

Tyranny is coming to cut the throats of your sons and women.
The day of our glory has arrived – take arms
The blood of the infidels will water our fields
Everyone is a soldier, ready to fight
Our fallen will rise undead from the ground to fight again
Our children’s sublime pride is to follow us into the grave and share our coffins.

Al Queda, right?  ISIS? Nope.  France.  And seriously, WTF France?

So if you ever get attitude about the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air, just say, shut up Canuck.  Your anthem is boring.  Just like Canada.

But there is more fun to be had!  There are hundreds of countries on this Earth, and they all have national anthems that are completely divorced from any identifiable connection to that country’s culture, people, or role on the world stage.  Let’s muse over a few more in between hands of poker tonight at [——–].  Start time 8 pm.  The big polar bear dog got adopted so it’s safe for nerds again.  We have plenty booze, but you should RSVP so I know what kinds of snacks to stock up on.

Anorexic Polar Bear Poker

As many of you know, I periodically foster sick and unruly dogs for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, and they are often very large.  Remember when one of them tried to eat Jen’s shitpadoodle or whatever kind of dog Madison (Place) is?  Though, in fairness, the little dog does look kind of like a snack.

Right now we have a very tall Great Pyrenees.  He is Name is Thor.  He looks like a polar bear.  And although he should weigh well over 100 pounds, he is only 85 because is anorexic.  Seriously, that is actually a thing.  It is not the same disorder as anorexia nervosa in humans, although both involve being too skinny and not eating and clumps of your hair falling out.

So I have spent the past three days sitting on my kitchen floor trying to spoon-feed cans of puppy food into Thor’s giant head, and stuff bacon into his jowls.  A dog that won’t eat bacon just does not want to live.

So I would appreciate blowing off some steam playing poker.  Thor is friendly, come say hi to him!  Aside from his anorexia, he is a pleasant and well-mannered behemoth.  He will probably be outside or in his crate for most of the evening.  [———].  Start time 8pm.


I think one of the milestones of a marriage is catching your spouse in the act of doing something that they used to get away with when they were single and had some semblance of privacy.  The Supreme Court can’t describe the content of pornography, but they know it when they see it.  I agree that it is hard to define pornographic material by its content alone, but perhaps the more accurate measure of whether something appeals to the prurient interest is what someone does when you catch them with it…

I walked into my marital bedroom last night to just in time to see Imaginary Husband quickly hide some sort of reading material behind the bed and try to look like he had been casually watching Family Guy before I walked in.

“What, uh… whacha got there behind the bed?”  I asked nonjudgmentally.

“Who?  I mean, huh?  Uh, nuthin,” he responded lamely.

He didn’t try to stop me from discovering his secret stash, but he should have.  Magazines.  Nine in total. One dedicated entirely to leather.  That’s a thing?  And, P.S., magazines?  What is this, 1985?  Isn’t all this done on the internet now?  But fine, I don’t mind him looking.  As long as it stops there.

“Ian,” I said, “you know these magazines don’t reflect reality, right? I mean, real people don’t live in houses like these.  Real people can’t afford this stuff.  Restoration Hardware warps impressionable young homeowners’ concepts of materiality.  And most insidiously, they send their 9-volume tour of fetishes—unsolicited—right to your door.”

“I know,” he replied.  “I just like to pretend.  It’s harmless, I promise.”

So I decided to look at the furniture volume.  Just to see what the fuss was all about.  The centerfold just knocked my socks off.  A 7-foot mahogany faux-antique armoire with wrought iron studding and hand-carved vertical inlays oh God YES mama liiiiiike!  A pharmacy cabinet?  I’ve never even heard of that before but now I can’t live without it!  So how much does it… $5,000!?!?  We could refurnish the entire house from Ikea—twice—for that much.  Obscenity!  I am going to burn this abomination and from now on mister you are just going to ogle degrading pictures of naked women.  It’s healthier and better for our relationship.

So while Imaginary Husband measures various windows for hand-woven Persian linen curtains that we will never get, I will be gambling away our home decor budget at poker.  Chris and Sarah will be hosting at [——–].  Start time 8pm.  $10 buy-in (so it’s our Ikea decor budget I’ll be gambling) and bring booze or a snack to share.  The first 9 people to RSVP get their choice of a 2014 Restoration Hardware catalogue.