Monday, 26 April 2010

Superman wears Scott Parker pyjamas

Once again I played very little poker this weekend – when I did play I was pretty happy with my game, although I finished down a reasonable amount after a couple of tough breaks.

West Ham somehow sealed their place in the top flight next, despite a pretty weak performance at home to Wigan. We went 1-0 down after four minutes via an own goal following a Wigan corner, Rob Green tipped a screamer from 25 yards onto the bar, we scored twice to go 2-1 up, we then conceded another goal to a Wigan corner to make it 2-2 and the Scott Parker smashed a dipping effort in from outside the box to secure our safety. All this said, the atmosphere was cracking and I got to see a win and five goals, so I shouldn’t grumble.

I’m pretty sure we will be the worst side to not get relegated since the Premiership began and the season has been pretty grim. I can only imagine that Zola and Clarke will be on their way this summer – I think there are a few reasonable candidates around to replace them, I’d be quite happy with one of the guys from the lower divisions (Paul Lambert, Sean O’Driscoll, Roberto Di Matteo) although it appears that Gold and Sullivan have their eyes on someone slightly higher profile. The exit door is unlocked and pretty much anyone is welcome to use it - I’d probably cry if Parker went, although he deserves to play for a better side.

Roberto Martinez was on Goals on Sunday the next morning. He handled himself very well; I hope he goes a long way in the game. I hope he moves soon as otherwise some of Dave Whelan’s cuntishness might rub off on him. He has some decent players in that side, although their defence needs looking at - the two wingers looked particularly dangerous.

Commiserations to Hull and Burnley. Burnley look well placed to have a shot at going back up next year, having not over-extended themselves. The same can’t be said for Hull, a club I have a lot of time for, who look to be in trouble financially, with a lot of mediocre players on big contracts.

Up at the top, the battle for the Big Cup places remains wide open. The Man City vs. Spurs game a week on Wednesday is going to be massive, I can see Redknapp twitching himself into a fit with the stress. I can only see Chelsea winning their remaining games now, I’d like to see Liverpool steal the points instead of car stereos against them and the Mancs winning the league, but it looks unlikely.

Wedding preparations are almost at an end, thank fuck. I have to write my speech, which I aim to do at work this week. I’m aiming to keep it fairly snappy as I’m keen to get the first dance over so I can get a few beers down me.

I used to read a lot of books. Now that I ride my bike to work pretty much every day, I rarely do so. I took the chance this weekend to start reading The Big Short by Michael Lewis. This is the third book I have read by this author, along with Liar's Poker and Moneyball. If you have any interest in the financial markets, or even just on how the current clusterfuck happened, I highly recommend either Liar’s Poker or The Big Short. If you like sport, then I’d go for Moneyball – I’m no baseball fan, but it is a fine book. I’m aiming to get through some serious reading on the honeymoon and catch up on some of what I have missed out on over the last year.

I will try and get one more post in prior to the wedding, after that you’ll have to go elsewhere for a month to find badly written and opinionated bullshit. The Sun website is a decent start.
Good luck at the tables.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Road Trip

FU Iceland, that’s all I can say. Not content with ruining my football club, your shitty volcano then tried to ruin my stag. The proposed group of 25 people to Amsterdam ended up being just 7, due to the cancellation of all flights. However, Jim and Kieran caught the train from Munich and Zurich respectively, and my best man did the business by booking us on a ferry from Dover to Calais and driving us to Amsterdam. We got up at 4 a.m. on the Friday, were smoking spliffs just outside over Dover by 5:30 a.m. and arrived in Amsterdam by lunchtime.

I’m actually glad we did it – it was actually a reasonably civilised weekend, with a lot of drinking, eating and pot smoking, and limited efforts to destroy me as most of the wilder elements of the group were left at home and I wasn’t forced to walk around in a gimp costume or similar. One afternoon we spent stationed in a bar in the red light district, betting on how long the next punter would take to bang one of the hookers in the doorway over the road. One fella managed a brisk and efficient nine minutes – good work Sir, no point in foreplay when you’re paying for it. There was also a fat hooker in the next doorway, who was eating a family-sized packet of crisps in the window. Surprisingly, she didn’t do much trade.

Back in Blighty I’ve run pretty hot at the poker, which is nice. I’m up about $700 for the month after 7k hands. There’s a lot to be said for remaining calm and patient and not being tilty. My buddy Wonderflop is also back on the horse and playing again, let’s hope the lazy cunt keeps it up.

West Ham did what they always do and rolled over at Anfield for Liverpool. We play Wigan at home this weekend – it is a huge game and could, with other results going our way, possibly see us stay up if we win. We will need to put in a better showing than on Monday night however.

The wedding is now two weeks away (eek). Her indoors is nervous about everything, particularly the flight situation, which seems to have eased in recent days. I am nervous about my first bit of driving in the US being half a mile through San Francisco and then straight onto one of the busiest sections of freeway in the country.

Good luck at the tables.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Fun Times

With her indoors departing for her hen weekend on Friday, the weekend consisted largely of poker, football and some glorious sunshine. I played tournaments on Friday and didn’t manage a single cash, plus some HU on Friday and Saturday, when I ran hot to put me up a reasonable amount for the month after 4.6k hands. In other poker news, Faraz Jaka is a sick man.

It was also a huge weekend of sport – I had a series of football bets, that worked out well, and Black Apalachi came second in the Grand National, so I pretty much washed my face there. Phil Mickelson won The Masters and Tiger Woods managed to avoid fucking anyone during the four days in Augusta, if golf is your thing.

West Ham beat Sunderland 1-0 at home, a victory that we just about deserved. Despite some nervy defending, Rob Green only had one save to make. Mike “beach ball” Jones somehow failed to send off Craig Gordon, despite his best efforts, and Steve Bruce made a tit of himself by complaining about the referee, who (perfectly reasonably and in accordance with the laws of the game) delayed the restart whilst our players celebrated a goal that was ruled out in injury time. Lee Cattermole was excellent for them – I think he’s a thug but was probably the best player on the park on Saturday, along with Malbranque, who Bruce charitably substituted, despite being their major threat. I like Sunderland as a club and their fans, but I find Bruce a nauseating turd, and hope they get rid of him – he doesn’t conduct himself in a manner that the club deserves.

Elsewhere, Hull lost 4-1 at home to Burnely, leaving West Ham four points clear of the drop zone and with a far superior goal difference. The FA Cup saw Villa lose to Chelsea after a crude challenge from John Terry and some shocking refereeing from Webb. Story of the weekend was Portsmouth’s win against Spurs in extra time. Alan Wiley was (again) terrible – but credit must go to Portsmouth, who were absolutely superb and defended resiliently. I couldn’t give a shit about Spurs, but the whole event was made sweeter by the look on Redknapp’s face at the end. All that money spent by him and there will be no Cup final or Big Cup for ‘Arry. What a shame.

With the election being recently announced, I have been having a think about who I would vote for, and, more importantly, what I want from a political party. So, what I want from a political party:
1) Economy - the current government has seen a massive increase in the number of civil servants. Police, doctors, the army – fine, these are people who do things and earn their keep. However, the public sector is full of rampant inefficiency. This needs to be clamped down on and costs cut.
2) Economy - an aggressive approach to tackling the enormous debt that the country has taken on. This follows on from the point above, about cost cutting – I have no objection to an increase in tax/NI for higher earners at present, but only to pay back debt – not to piss away through inefficiencies. To follow on from this, I’d like to see NI scrapped and rolled into tax (since this is effectively what it is) and serious consideration given to a flat rate tax system at some point (with a reasonably generous threshold below which people pay no income tax).
3) Economy - an attempt to restructure our economy so that we actually start to make stuff and not really entirely on imports for everything.
4) Education – University education needs to be slimmed down. Those that should be going (i.e. the brightest) should be encouraged to do so. It isn’t for everyone and we now have a ton of degree qualified people, to the point where degrees are becoming meaningless. There should be more vocational training for those aged 16-21. Also, someone needs to sort the business out with the Scottish getting tuition fees paid for where the English don’t – WTF?
5) Environment - someone needs to have a good look at the whole global warming business. I would incentivise the new building of nuclear power stations in this country, which will reduce our reliance on imported gas and coal, and also cut carbon emissions (whether they turn out to be harmful or not).
6) Anti-social behaviour etc. – it is clear to me that we have created for ourselves a large underclass in this country. I would like to see this underclass encouraged to find work (there are plenty of low paid jobs out there, people seem to think they’re above doing them) and benefits cut off if they aren’t deemed to be trying hard enough. They should also be offered training in certain areas to equip them with skills to make finding work easier. The family unit (the traditional way of looking after people in this country up until recently) should be encouraged and incentivised – people have children in this country without any thought as to who exactly is going to look after the child and pay for its upbringing, and the poor fuckers don’t stand a chance. 7) Immigration – we need to revise our policy on who is let in and what the criteria is. I would suggest only those that demonstrate a good grasp of the English language would be a reasonable start. Those seeking asylum should be capped at a certain number to ensure the UK doesn’t take more than its fair share. I have no problem with people coming here to work – people that were born here could learn a thing or two from most of them.
8) Pensions – again, something needs to be looked at here. A lot of people have paid taxes and NI all their lives, to find that there now isn’t enough to go around. Those who have paid for it and those that need and deserve it should be placed at the front of the queue.
9) Crime – knife etc. crime, violent crime and crimes against the person should be treated more seriously. The guy that got killed in Matalan in Hackney was killed by a group of people including someone on bail for a murder charge. How the fuck do you get bail for murder? A lot of the issues with crime come back to the society we have created for ourselves and poor upbringing for children, and will take years to wash through.
10) Overall, what do I want – a very different country from the way this one has gone. Socially fair, aspirational, libertarian, independent, innovative, entrepreneurial, pragmatically and efficiently run, much more power to sit more locally, and where the right behaviours (working, saving, taking responsibility for your blood relatives - young and old) are conspicuously endorsed and supported - while irresponsible, selfish behaviour isn't.

Apologies for this, I just felt I had to get it off my chest. I can’t find a party that offers me close to much of that, but the Liberal Democrats seem to have taken a better stab at convincing me that they might be able to offer some improvements than anyone else. I think I’m turning into a Daily Mail reader though, is this what happens when you get old?

I’m off on my stag to Amsterdam on Thursday, so I could well end up dead and not posting again.

If any of you cunts are still awake after reading the Hooperian manifesto, good luck at the tables.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

I had a relatively pleasant evening of donkamenting on Friday, bubbling the FT of the Party $109 and coming 7th in the FTP $109, plus a couple of other small scores. Once again I was happy with my play and spoke for a while with some of the PXF guys, who are a good bunch and made me miss the place in some ways. Her indoors is on her hen do this weekend so I should be able to tilt off a significant number of buy-ins on Friday and Saturday night.

Elsewhere it looks like the US just turned up the heat on Full Tilt’s owners, with a court case coming their way soon. For hysteria and badly informed nonsense with the occasional well-informed post, see here.

I spent the remainder of the Easter weekend doing wedding related shit in Battle. To be honest I’ve had enough of it now, even though I’ve probably done about 20% of the work involved and just want to have the day and (more importantly) go on the honeymoon. I hate being centre of attention so the day itself doesn’t excite me that much, particularly when you add to this the fact that it will make me about twenty grand poorer.

West Ham battled back from a goal down twice to salvage a 2-2 draw at Everton. A booking to Scott Parker means he misses the next two games, which is a huge blow. However the nature of the performance (despite a missed penalty and two goals conceded through poor defending) left me a good deal more optimistic than after the defeats against Wolves and Stoke. We play Sunderland at home on Saturday in a game that is massive for us, especially with Hull taking on Burnley at the same time. Carlton Cole looked a good deal more like his old self than he has for a while, which bodes well.

A severely depleted Arsenal side take on a slightly depleted Barcelona side in the second leg of their Big Cup game tonight, with Manchester United doing the same with Bayern on Wednesday. I couldn’t really give a fuck about the Mancs, but I sincerely hope Arsenal are on the receiving end of a heavy defeat, followed by a severe dose of the shits caused by some eleven day old gambas a la plancha that they get served in their post-match meal on Las Ramblas, the cunts.

It’s good to see comments from Joka and Asterix on my last post, confirming my blog readership holding firm at an impressive two. I may post pictures of naked sloots in order to recruit further readers, even if they are of a significantly lower calibre.

Good luck at the tables.