Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Aces In Places

The last Sunday in May began poorly. I was at Sacramento's Capital Casino weekly Texas hold'em poker tournament and we were about 30 minutes in when I made my first mistake of the day.

I had a marginal hand, a pocket ace and an off-suit nine and made it to the flop without anyone else tossing in a significant raise. Otherwise I would have folded. The flop came and showed another ace giving me top pair with a questionable kicker. The player before me quickly tossed a fair amount of chips in the pot and I read his actions lightly, like he was playing loose aggressive. I figured he also had an ace and was wondering who might have the better kicker so I called with a quarter of my stack.

Early on in these tournaments it's a little easier to call in this position because you also have a "pink" chip in your stack that allows you one re-buy at the same price as the initial entry. This lets you get another stack of chips if you bust out on a bad beat or bad read.

The turn and river came and with that, my opponent quickly tossed in what basically amounted to the remainder of  my chip stack. I tanked for a while thinking it over and eventually called. He turned over a king and ten for two pair and I was reaching for that pink chip to re-buy. It was just a crappy read on my part and once gain shows my tendency to overplay top pair. It wasn't too bad a move to call his first big bet but I definitely screwed up calling his last one. Of course, keep in mind if he would have turned up another ace with a weaker kicker I would have been patting myself on the back for picking him off - another mistake when actually I would have been just plain lucky but "there lies the rub" as the dude from Hamlet says right?!

Note: Here I was also violating another solid hold'em rule of thumb which is to generally avoid big pots early in a tournament,  I though of that too when I was tanking and ignored it. Wrong again.

So there I was, very early in the tournament and down an entire stack of chips - not a good prospect. Toward the end of the first series of four 20 minute intervals and not long before the first break, I caught pocket Aces. I played them gently and they doubled me up on an all-in bet. This made up for my earlier mistake and took me close to my original position.

The chances of being dealt pocket Aces back-to-back are 1 in 48,841 and that is exactly what happened next. I didn't get as much action that time but added a few chips bringing me up to about even with the buy-in amount.

Things slowed until well into the next series. Between the blinds, antes and drawing dead hands, I found myself down to less than an initial stack again. For the second time in the tournament, it wasn't looking good.

Then things again took a turn. I am not sure anyone has calculated the odds of getting pocket aces five times in a single 5 hour tournament but that is what ended up happening to me on that fateful last Sunday. I caught solid action along the way and ended up hitting the final table with a healthy stack. I also caught a full house along the way and the last five of 62 of us ended up chopping (splitting) the pot five ways.

In another odds defying development, my aces were not cracked (beaten) a single time that day and, according to the pundits, a little under 20% of the time that is exactly what happens.

Equal parts of Luck, Patience, Luck and Skill - that is what it takes to win in these tournaments (yeah, yeah that equals 50% luck). Some days luck takes up more like 75%+ and as for last Sunday...well, you know.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Three Lives - Count'em...Three of Them 'Puppies

I couldn't figure whether to blog this stuff or post it as an email to those willing to tolerate my rants.  So, I will do both; that is, I will write it here and then email it to my victims.

Dr. Harvey Matlof
Dear Physician
I had a recurring appointment this morning with my cardiologist of 25 years, the good Dr. Harvey Matlof. Harvey was the one who, at my request, pulled the tubes out of my chest way back in the early 90's after I  had a quadruple bypass. His response at my bedside at the time was something like this; "Well, you look a little fresh but...okay." That was on the fourth day post surgery. ***

It was early, with great temperatures and poor parking availability at Harvey's new downtown Sacramento offices so I decided to take the HOG in.  I hit the lights green at two of our most notorious bad/crowded intersections and slid into town like a hot knife through butter.

As I approached the multi-story offices of Sutter Medical Group I saw a Porsche Cayenne right smack in front. It was taking up just 3/4 of a rather large parking space. So, we shared.

While on the way for that follow-up visit this morning, I was thinking I have had 3 lives in some respects. I made it to the CABG operation in my first life and once again mentally thanked everyone for giving me that first. Then I asked Harvey if he was thinking the procedure would give me another 20 years. That request marked the start of my second life and I got the "20 years." Now, I am beyond that point and, using my twisted logic, I am on my third run. It's all gravy and I am most fortunate.

Today, somewhere near the 25th anniversary of our meeting I got another warning from Harvey. There is work to do, but not bad work, and I am up for it.

***Note: I went home the next day and the spine tingling (heart-wrenching is probably a more fitting term) details are here: http://tclifecycles.blogspot.com/2010/01/cabbage-or-cabg-whatever.html

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Evolution of the US Air Force Medical Service Corps - A call to proverbial arms

In early 1980, United States Air Force Strategic Air Command Surgeon General, William Greendyke (RIP)  wrote a memorable first letter* to his boss on the status of the medical staff and facilities under his purview. The most controversial part of his report was submitted under the topic "MSC Commander Issue."

His report was an attempt to solidify physicians as solely suitable to command medical facilities and permanently relegate officers trained as hospital administrators to subordinate positions. It included references to physicians as the top of the "pecking order" and therefore the biggest "peckers." It also referred to Medical Service Corps officers as "young...Turks."

If anything, Brigadier General Greendyke's letter galvanized the determination of Medical Service Corps officers to lead. Previously, there were three main reasons they were focused on command:
  • They had been commissioned as Air Force officers based on leadership potential
  • They were trained in Air Force leadership programs such as Squadron Officer's School, Air Command and Staff college and Air War College
  • They were prepared for health care leadership positions in Air Force sponsored civilian graduate programs in the country's top-ranked schools.
General Greendykes' letter provided a substantial fourth reason; it pissed people off.

In any event, MSCs subsequently gained more and more command positions and, as line officers and others recognized their success, leadership positions became accessible to medical service officers from all corps. The criteria for selection moved from; "Is he a physician?" to "Is he or she capable of succeeding in a command position."  Much better eh?!  

Today, it is possible for a non-physician to even serve in a surgeon general position similar to or greater than the one the good General Greendyke once held. And that, from  my perspective is justice...of the poetic kind.

 *Note...the infamous letter could not be found on the internet.  Until now that is...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Your Lucky Stars

"And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all.  The white race believes-believes with all its heart-that is is their right to take the land.  To kill Indians.  Make war.  Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty.  Yet here we are." - The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead. - Sometime in the 1850's.

So, if you are not discriminated against because of your race, color, creed, gender, politics, appearance, class, disability (and the list goes on), count your lucky stars.

Everyone has something, even the so-called, well bred, well-to-dos often thought of as "silver spoons."  But then again, it also a matter of degree is it not?

This is not to suggest there isn't some good in all of us, even among the worst.  It's just that it is so hard to find in this day and age of instant, thoughtless communication tools most notably including cell phones, Facebook and that rapidly emerging leader, Twitter. These can arouse the emotions of an entire nation in hours, if not minutes.

You can't write sociology textbooks fast enough to stay on top of this phenomenon. The only way might be to publish an electronic version that is updated at least twice daily...and someone is probably already doing this.

Count'em!  Count them lucky stars of yours and do it quick because it is at best a fleeting thing.

Burma mf'n Shave.

And if you are interested in an entire book full of them, lucky stars that is, click here:

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The "Entitled"

"You think you have a right to eat, sleep and get health care in America? You are on Medicaid and yet you stumble into my healthcare clinic with a cell phone in one hand and a manicure on both?!"

Well, you see this person is not yet twenty, works at McDonalds and is expected to look and act presentable to the public.  Her peer group also expects her to meet certain social standards, including possession of a cell phone and good looking fingernails. If she doesn't do these things, she will likely be isolated even further from the mainstream.

So, if you were in her situation what would you do for a way out?

Some people stay that way
For lack of inspiration or hope or motivation or opportunity...whatever

Some people make their way
The best route of course but not always easy for them to see

Some people find their way
By accident

Some people are given a way
Thanks to parents with some means to spare

Some people steal a way
See"slammer" (not effective) or "Wall Street banker" (effective) or both

Some people fade a way
Hopefully, that comes later, much later

And of course there are combinations of all or some of the above right?

Yet in all these ways, people feel entitled to something do they not? What I mean to say is the word "entitled" is not reserved for the lower class or entry level citizen.  Everyone's got some of it...that feeling of entitlement.

The ones we dislike are the ones who have have stopped trying to improve their lot and rather, rest on the "entitlements" our society has established.  We have no credible system for distinguishing from those who are deserving and whose who are not.  Fortunately I believe the former far outnumber the latter so we're good right?!

Friday, February 17, 2017

"Fifteen Presidential Things I Wish I Would Have Tweeted" - Donald J. Trump

...that is, instead of what I actually tweeted.
  1. It was a close race and I am happy to have won. This is my last reference to the election. Now, on with the people's business.
  2. I thought I might have had some good cabinet candidates out of Goldman-Sachs but in the end I chose none.
  3. Provisions of the Affordable Care Act will remain in full force. They will not be altered until and unless we have a thoughtful replacement.
  4. I am disappointed in the activities of General Flynn and am thankful we discovered the irregularities before they became a more serious problem.
  5. The press does the best they can given the information available to them...just like me. Together, we can hopefully share well vetted truths with the public.
  6. I have decided to avoid the use of first person references. Henceforth I will use "we" in all references to my team and to the people of the United States.
  7. I do not consider major donors and professional wrestling executives experienced cabinet candidates. They need not apply.
  8. Sure I used to be a Democrat.  Now I am Republican. Therefore, my views will be accordingly moderate. That is where the people want and need me.
  9. I know we came out of the gate with a few gaffes. We are fast studies though and it won't be long before we are functioning like a fine tuned machine.
  10. My inclination was to take full advantage of tax breaks. Now I intend to pay a fair share of my income to help our country fix it's infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
  11. It is my responsibility to set the example for all in government by avoiding any appearance of a conflict of interest. I have divested or placed in trust all of my business interests and here is proof.
  12. All my cabinet nominees will have a verifiable history of service to the public and experience in their respective positions.
  13. I will meet daily with a dozen congressional members equally divided among the parties. We will use a set agenda that promotes discussion and I will do my best to arbitrate.
  14. The living arrangements Melania and I have present significant cost for taxpayers. We will set a budget based on historical presidential expenses and we will pay for anything beyond that.
  15. "Quiet, Quiet, QUIET!  I'm really not a bad person." But yes, I am batshit crazy.

No wait!  Here's #16: Fuhgetabout #'s 1-15...its all fake news.  And its real information all right but the media coverage of it is fake.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Bitch...Is On

Nah, we are not using the gender specific form here
Rather, we are setting up a whiney soapbox
To foster ventilation as in..."bitching"
I am
Airman Third Class Thomas R. Campbell 
 I approve this message.

So let's get started

The Rest Belt got taken for a ride
But it is understandable
As their options
Were muddied at best

On the one hand, an elitist
Who said most of the right things
But whose unfortunate history and public persona
Made her seem untrustworthy - right or wrong

They just called her "Killary"
Even though the best investigative team
The Senate had to offer
Spent three years and millions
And found nothing

I suspect its existence was only to cast a shadow on her character thus a burr under her potential presidential saddle.

Turned out "Killary" was more than supported
By an antiquated party leadership that was tone-deaf
To the electorate it was supposed to serve
To the point of cheating on the Bern

On the other hand, another obvious elitist
Who claimed the anti-establishment throne
A swamp draining (read filling)
Gropenfuhrer Cheeto who offered....different

Yes Vern, "Different" has turned out to be a Goldman-Sachs cabinet, among other bizarre things.

All in all
A confused America
Threw the popular vote to her
Threw the electoral vote to him
And put itself on the precipice

A desperate public
Looking for affirmation of their beliefs
Rather than confirmation of facts
Ignored their tired, their poor, their huddled masses
Ignored their neighbors with no health insurance
Ignored a tax plan that made the wealthy...wealthier
Ignored the literal melt down of the earth
Ignored respect in favor of "locker room banter"

A confused America
A desperate public.
A desperate public..
A desperate public...

Note: I hold my fellow OWGs responsible for this entire mess - both parties. Period. Hopefully a new generation will soon cast us aside in favor of, sanity and a balanced democracy...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Fear The Aging Boomer

There are over 70 million baby boomers in the US at the moment. And we are starting to drop like flies but still...Who knows the extent of the political and economic impact on all of us before its over?

I am on the very leading edge of the gang, having been born the month before official 1946 "boomer status" kicks in.
Aging boomer (yours truly) contemplates
computer keyboard and next smart-ass, 
vitriolic, sage, humorous, dark, prophetic, 
sarcastic (can never get enough sarcastic) 
post to blog, Facebook and Twitter. 

I also don't exactly know where I am going with this point other than to sort of qualify the observations that follow here:

Also, over most of the past twenty years I have been fortunate to serve as a consultant to well over half the nation's four dozen (give or take) Quality Improvement Organizations.

For those who don't know, these are typically non-profit companies that for the past 30 to 35 years have served as government designated watchdogs over the quality of Medicare in one or more states. They have typically had a variety of functions like fielding complaints, patient and provider education, outcomes measurement, promoting adoption of electronic health care records, utilization review and a bunch more.

For those who don't care, I am going to move on by pointing out that I have had ample professional and personal reasons to reflect on the evolving characteristics of the average Medicare recipient, in addition to just flat getting sicker with age that is.  Here are two of the biggest reasons why we are getting more annoying to the general population:
  • The adoption of computers and the internet.  Boomers have been following right along with this, often at the encouragement (read teasing) of their savvy children.  The results?...more demand for medical information, for internet access to providers and complaint avenues and the ability to organize groups with common goals.  All this means more input from patients and the general population...all at risk for more and more infirmities as they age.
  • Google - yep, Google knows everything, including a lot of things that are dead wrong.  Nevertheless, boomers love to Google stuff...right from their cell phones, during parties when a subject comes up that needs an answer, right now.
I'm not going to beat this horse until its dead...I'm just pointing this out so the millions who follow this blog (okay, one or two - you know who you are) will better understand the photo here and its accompanying caption.

Now there you have it...along with this note of caution: There are more than 70 million boomers (yes, I am repeating myself, its something we do you know) right behind me, ready to wield their "mightier than sword" pens and wreak havoc among those who would overlook an important point about democracy, or about race, or about gender, or about religion, or about health care needs (yes, we like run-on sentences too). Stay tuned America.  We are just getting started. 

For a read on what led up to this, check out "Travel On."  A book for THE ages...a book for ALL ages (well most anyway).  If thou speaketh in ancient toungue..clicketh here...CLICKETH.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Shovel

I was swapping texts with son Tyler about Christmas this afternoon. We starting joking around about gifts like the old "lump of coal" thing. I recalled when I as 8 or so my Grandma gave me a robe for a gift and I thought of that as my "lump."  My Grandpa had retired from Pontiac Motor Company. From what I saw I thought they were rich and I was hungry for one thing and one thing only...toys. The bigger the better.  That sure didn't work out.

On further thought, I recalled about the same time when my brother David Claud William, our folks and I lived at 35 Taylor Street in Pontiac, Michigan for a while in the mid to late 50's.  My Uncle Everett, Dad's brother and his family lived in front of the house and we were in the back.  My Aunt Alma, Dad's sister and her family lived in the home offset behind us. Dad's other brother Earl and his family lived a couple of miles away. All the Dad's were factory workers at Pontiac Motors or General Motors. All the Moms were stay at home Moms.

(Dirt pile is where our home was.  Boarded home
in back is where Aunt Alma and her family lived)
Here is a recent picture of the set up there courtesy of Google Maps. Among the 5 kids in our three families on Taylor, three of us were boys around the same age, Alma's son Dennis, Everett's son Phillip and me.  We had recently arrived from living in Willow City, North Dakota, dirt poor with every earthly possession and the four of us piled in and on top of a '49 Pontiac.

It was blue collar all the way except for Alma's husband Joe who was a white collar something with General Motors.  Dennis happened to be their only surviving child after a couple of earlier miscarriages.  He was spoiled, Phil was doing okay and I was down the ladder somewhere, harboring all the bad feelings of the outsider.  I mean I was jealous, hyper critical and probably some other stuff I don't recall at the moment.

One day, the three of us were playing in the basement of the front house.  We had a coal furnace down there that served both families. Dennis said something whiny (at least in my recollection) and I picked up the broad based coal shovel and smacked him with the flat side it.  Of course, there was much commotion but that thoughtless act established me as an equal member of the pack and from then on, Dennis paid attention when I said something.  He also let me play with all those great toys he had.  Thanks Dennis.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Beware The Velcro Shoes

I was slipping on my sneakers to head the gym this morning.
I keep them tied loosely so they will slide on and off just like a pair of loafers.  I learned this from watching my kids do it (no idea where they learned it) some years ago and it works great, especially if your work involves a lot of air travel. You can just pop those puppies on and off in seconds at both ends of that old airport security line while others are mostly looking for places to sit and tie their laces.

Anyway, I was slipping them on and my pitiful mind briefly flashed on sneakers that close using velcro straps. When I have seen these on others over the years I have felt sorry for those wearing them.  Sort of like; "OK, I am getting so old now I will just buy these things so I won't have to spend all that time bent over trying to tie a damn lace that doesn't want to cooperate with my arthritic (enter "knees, fingers, back" or whatever here)."  I suspect other infirmities of aging apply as well.

So, if you feel this coming on, be advised you can take a pair of regular shoes or sneakers and tie them in your lap, leaving them loose enough to slip on your foot.  You might want to try a few different levels of tightness to get it just right but then you are set. You can just leave the knot in place to slide them off or on anytime you please.  That way, you won't have to wear that velcro badge that says you have some limiting infirmity.  After all, we aging boomers have enough to deal with without that too right?!

I'm sneaky that way and you can be too.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Trump TV

He has already got his fellow sexual predator, Roger Aisles and that Breitbart creep, Bannon lined up.  He also has Sean Hannity in his pocket and will likely bring him on early.

His son-in-law has made inquiries into setting up a network.

He will gladly lose the election so he can focus on his media objective.

He has won enough followers to make his own network a slam dunk.

He will launch and it will make Fox News look like the new liberal front in comparison.

His network will specialize in the spread of fear and hatred that flourishes within unverified internet posts. Fanatics feeling righteous indignation will come crawling out of the woodwork. The result will not be pretty. It will not be a "win-win," just a win and fuhgetabout the other side.

Plug "Trump TV" into your browser and you will get over 200 million hits.