Lydster: beware the card shark

gin rummy, go fish, poker

card sharkAs an avid card player since my youth, I had tried but failed to interest my daughter in playing a number of games over the years. For instance, at the (almost) annual hearts game at our house, I gently tried to gently show an interest, but she had not.

But when the two of us were on one of our college excursions, she asked to play gin rummy. Basically, it involves the two players being dealt 10 cards. The players alternating drawing cards from the remaining deck, or the top card discarded by the opponents. The idea is to create three or four cards of the same rank (sevens, jacks, e.g.) or runs of three or more cards consecutively in the same suit (6, 7, 8 of hearts, e.g.).

What’s strange is that it was only this summer that she decided that she’d just learn how to play online. It was the game my grandfather, McKinley Green, and I used to play for years when I was roughly 10 to when I went to college when I was 18. So it was our “thing.”

It is my favorite two-person card game, and my daughter turns out to be quite good at it, beating me about 60% of the time. Oddly, this pleases me tremendously. The budding card shark also started wanting to play Go Fish with me, another game she did not really embrace as a child. She beats me at that too.

Poker

She wanted to learn how to play poker. I had always been of the opinion that poker wasn’t interesting unless you had 1) three, or preferably more players, and 2) wagering, even if it’s pennies from the change jar. It wasn’t a game I’ve played a lot, and there are a myriad number of ways to play.

Of course, the first thing we needed to do is teach her the relative ranks of poker hands.

From lowest to highest: High Card, One Pair, Two Pair, Three of a Kind, Straight (five cards in numerical order, but not in the same suit), Flush (five cards in the same suit, not in numerical order), Full House (three of a kind plus a pair), Four of a Kind, Straight Flush (five cards in a row, all in the same suit), Royal Flush(10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace, all of the same suit), Five of a Kind (only possible with wild cards).

After some frankly boring experiments, we came up with a game where each player got five cards face down. Then there were two common cards, face up. Each player could trade any cards in their hands. It was surprisingly engaging, trying to fill in that inside straight generated enough excitement to play any time we had some downtime.

Also…

Not exactly a card game, but my wife, my daughter, and I played a truly rousing game of Sorry. It was strange. I’d say, “I can’t get hit unless one of the others draws an 8,” not a common card in the deck. They drew an 8; ouch! I told my wife, that if I draw a 10, I’d go back one space and hit her piece, and I did. If this match had been recorded, it’d be on ESPN forever. We were all within 8 spaces of going out. My wife won, but it was truly quite exciting.

April Rambling: Buy the niece’s new album, and end Daylight Saving Time

“Your attention to detail often makes you isolated and aloof, but your heart is also deeply passionate and romantic.”

rjcoldfact
New album from Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact the debut release from San Diego-based eclectic soul/funk band. RJ is my niece, my sister Leslie’s daughter.
From NBC San Diego: “Not everything on April Fool’s Day was a joke. Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact released their self-titled debut and it’s no laughing matter. Channeling everyone from Candi Staton and Betty Davis to Morcheeba and Brightback Morning Light, these 12 tracks of soul and funk are stunners. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.”
Another review.
In this picture, she’s the one in the blue dress.

After watching this video, I’m even more convinced than I was before: Daylight Saving Time is a waste of time. Having tried to schedule a phone call from the UK at a point when the US is in DST and the UK has NOT yet moved to British Summer Time, I know of which the speaker is talking about.

Everything wrong with the US prison system in under 4 minutes.

That dreadful US Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC has made buying politicians so much easier. If the case confuses you check out this video. Definitely watch the cartoon United States of John Roberts.

There are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than atoms on Earth!

Former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville was caught Shoveling Snow While Black, at his own residence.

We are all just stories in the end. Yes, I’m the Roger mentioned therein.

Leave me alone, but not now. I’m convinced that MOST of us are like this; certainly, I am.

Dustbury pointed me to this: I didn’t willfully start out forgetting you. It was something that just happened, an occurrence that took place over time, little by little…

Melanie: People who heal. Also, Knowledge comes from what you add, wisdom from what you remove.

Two moments, one sister.

Evanier on Advocating for your family at the hospital, plus a follow-up. Plus his Tales of My Grandmother.

Animation: Johnny Cash on gospel music.

Tosy’s ranking U2 songs: 100-91.

The J.D. Salinger of Sick Songs, Tom Lehrer. More Lehrer.

Jack Nicholson’s descent into homicidal madness re-cut into uplifting family film trailer.

Microsoft released a video on the story behind their “Bliss” default desktop photo for its Windows XP operating system, for which it is no longer providing technical support.

Less interested in the comic book review that the reference to the New York World’s Fair, which I attended, though not until 1965.

cat-science
In one of those Facebook memes: “I’m Picard: Few are smarter and more reliable, but that doesn’t mean you’re bad in a fight. You surround yourself with great people, but maintain a strong devotion to the chain of command. You’re fiercely loyal to your friends and family, but never had time to start one yourself. In the minus column…you can be a touch boring.” And speaking of which: Picard’s tea. Also, Trek-lit reading order.

I’m also Led Zeppelin: “You’re an overachiever and a perfectionist. You work hard at what you do, and it shows. Your attention to detail often makes you isolated and aloof, but your heart is also deeply passionate and romantic. If you continue to refine your skills, you’ll eventually become one of the greatest ever in your chosen field.” Third sentence is almost certainly correct.

The Gandy Dancers.

An Aesop fable comes true.

Great newspaper headline, with proper grammar.

14 Arcane words every freelancer should use.

50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 21 and Chapter 22 and Chapter 23. TG this ends soon…

Because Muppet Outtakes Are the Best Outtakes. Also, I remember this Jim Henson AmEx commercial.

Kids react to technology: rotary phones and Walkmans.

Judgmental city maps.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)
For Kibler [Arkansas] Police Chief Roger Green, “providing law enforcement to the Crawford County town is not much different than policing larger cities.”

I am a collector

Yes, sometimes, I would manually calculate BA and ERA, because it was fun.

Chuck Miller wrote a piece about collecting, which inspired this.

Stamps

My actual stamp collecting was only for a year or two when I was eight or nine, but I have my great aunt’s book of stamps from around the globe. It’s a fascinating tome, mostly unfilled, but it tells an interesting story of the world from the period before World War II.

There were times, particularly in the 1980s and I was doing mail order when I would keep an interesting stamp that came in, but it was in no particularly organized way, and I have no idea where they are today.

Coins

I used to collect pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars. I knew about the mints in Philadelphia (P) (generally unmarked in the day) from Denver (D) and even San Francisco (S). But the theft of the half dollar coins in my childhood soured me.

I was getting the Presidential $1 coins, but they are so unpopular with the general public, they are only available to coin dealers. So last year, and again this year, I capitulated and spent $2.95 each for a P & a D for each $1 Presidential dollar, starting with Chester A. Arthur. Ticks me off that Americans haven’t taken to the dollar coins, because I love them.

If I see a wheat penny (1909-1958), I throw it into my Mickey Mouse bank that I’ve had for decades.

Baseball cards

From about 1960 on, I was collecting baseball cards. Most of them were from a company called Topps, but I also had some that were on the back of boxes of Post cereals, e.g. I remember some gold and red cards, but no longer its provenance.

What I do remember is reading the backs of the cards to read each position player’s AB (at bats), number of H (hits), 2B (doubles), 3B (triples), HR (home runs) and the BA (batting average.) Pitchers were measured by W (wins), L (losses), K (strikeouts), BB (walks), IP (innings pitched and ERA (earned run average). Yes, sometimes, I would manually calculate BA and ERA, because it was fun.

Unfortunately, I had left my cards at my grandmother’s house when I went to college, and kept them in this olive green container, which was stolen in the great theft of 1972.

Subsequently, I bought a couple season sets of Topps cards in 1986 and 1987. Alas, they were in the damp basement of my current abode, and they’ve stuck together in a mass i just can’t bear to look at. Maybe a few are salvageable.

Hess trucks

I described this collection here. Not much more to say except it remains on my annual Christmas list. My friend Mary still has some earlier ones I’ll buy when I can afford to.

Comic books

I wrote about the origins of my collecting in this narrative for Trouble with Comics. In college, I was buying my new comics, first at an inconvenient convenience store in Highland (NY), then at the Crystal Cave, in New Paltz, one of the first true comic shops. But in addition to the store and mail order, you could buy comics at garage sales and the like.

In the 1980s, I was buying virtually all the Marvels, plus almost all the “independents”, such as Pacific, First, et al. Not so much DC, though the stories not so tied to the universe, such as Warlord, I’d get. Once I left FantaCo in 1988, and wasn’t getting a discount anymore, I cut back, getting most Marvels, but also the weirder stuff.

By the 1990s, it wasn’t that I hated comics, but I hated the comic market, with innumerable #1s and even #0s. So I sold my collection in 1994. It wasn’t until this past summer that I came across a cache of comics I bought in 1993 and 1994, unread. So maybe it WAS also that comics themselves had lost their luster for me. I also found, only this summer, a magazine box of Savage Sword of Conan, and the Hulk, and Marvel Preview, which I had meant to sell two decades ago, but somehow missed.

Almost every year the first Saturday in May, I go to Free Comics Day, and it’s like visiting a place I used to live. I pick up random items.

I do still have books of comic art: Elfquest, Groo, the original Dark Knight saga, Swamp Thing, and those Marvel Masterworks, among others.

Enough of this; next time out, books and music. A LOT of music.

Civil War cards

At least a plurality of the cards had someone dying by being impaled by something, and the pained eyes of the soon-to-be deceased I always found haunting.


In a discussion on the website of SamuraiFrog, I wrote: “Yeah, just the frickin’ trailer of [the Quentin Tarantino film] Kill Bill 1 put me on edge; I can only imagine how it actually plays out.” To which, somewhere, Mr. Frog asked if it was because of the violence. Well, yeah, but it’s more specific than that.

Of all the forms of fictionalized violence in movies, the type I hate the most involves people getting stabbed or, worse, run through with a bayonet or sword. And I know why.

There were these Civil War Trading Cards that came out in 1962 from Topps, the folks that made the baseball cards. I bought them because they were history, and I was interested in that, but I don’t know why – except for some bizarre sense of completeness – I KEPT buying them.

While there were soldiers shot and run over on some cards, I swear that at least a plurality of them had someone dying by being impaled by something, and the pained eyes of the soon-to-be deceased I always found haunting. The card above is a good, not great, example of this.

So even in PG-13 movie violence, I often instinctively turn away when swordplay is involved.

You know what comic book I found yucky? It was a Daredevil, somewhere in the #160s, I think, drawn and written by Frank Miller, in which Elektra stabs some guy through a seat in a movie theater; that guy, and the terrified guy next to him, had THAT look, too.

In my dorm in college, two guys were sword fighting once; I left right away because I was afraid that someone would accidentally spill blood.