Sunday, November 30, 2008

The B17 System

When I was first learning Texas Hold'em, I was pretty much winning by dumb luck. Poker players know that you need something more than that to continue successfully. So I went in search of a system and, low and behold, I ended up developing one that was simple enough for to me to understand.

I'll call it the B17 system. It's in reference to the mainstay of the U. S. bombing campaign on Germany. This old lady was pretty tough. It had four engines and it didn't need all four to fly, albeit it couldn't carry out the mission without all four being operational.

With four engines, it was in attack mode. With three, it was possible to continue but caution should be taken. With two, it was now in defensive mode and would have to return to base. With only one engine operational, it was in the "on a wing and a prayer mode."—get it home anyway you can.

So here's the parallel for poker. We'll assume you know what blinds and chip-stack mean. 

If you don't there's a ton of sites out there to check this out.

Poker terms from Pokerstars is a link to a play money site page for inquiries about poker terms. If you don't already know, .net is a play money site, .com is the cash site and you can also take part in play money games on . com. You decide which is better for you. Do not play for real money until you are ready.)

If your chip-stack is 16 -20 times the big blind, you are running on all four engines (5 times the big blind = 1 engine). You can be reckless and play most any hand. You can bully the other players into submission. It's much like you are in a big raid with fighter escort.

If your chip-stack is 11- 15 times the big blind, you are running on 3 engines. You need to be a little more cautious here. It's only wise to play with stronger hands. Where'd the fighters go.

If your chip-stack is 6-10, you're on 2 engines. Time to play it safe. Consider playing only pockets pairs and big Aces. Returning to base. Roger that...

And if it's 5 or less, you're on 1 engine and about to crash, so pick a landing site carefully. You have to decide what hand you are going to go all-in with. Mayday! Mayday!

...I usually hold on to the last possible hand unless something better comes along like pocket pairs
...not unlike getting an engine to re-fire in a B17

It's not foolproof but it's a pretty good guideline to follow. So if you learning the game, this might help you a little. hat is off to those who flew the B17 in World War II
...for me the movie Memphis Belle did a nice job of giving us an idea of what it was like to fly a mission
...(you know how to Google, look the movie up)
...but I still think it is awfully hard to depict what really took place inside those birds
...they were all just kids, and a lot of them didn't get to see what life had ahead of them

...Thank you

....losing at poker is kinda' insignificant

I Am a Two Finger Typist

Actually, I'm not. This was included in an email response from a good friend. I have the greatest respect for Pete and I was looking for some honest feedback on my blog. I'm sure Pete will recognize that some of his personality traits have rubbed off on me. And I don't need to know what he might think about my blog right now. He will find a way to tell me when he's ready.

And it's OK, we don't have to communicate on the computer. We will do it the old fashioned way. We'll go have a cup of coffee.

To me, the statement regarding the two finger typist thing is a metaphor, or maybe a polite reminder that not everybody is on the same page as you are. 

I had a bad habit of jumping ahead in people's story, completing sentences, telling the punch-line before they finished the joke—truly annoying stuff.

Bill, a coworker, snapped me out of this disgusting habit. He would come into my office to discuss a major customer's predicament. He would start at A, provide pertinent details, go to B when A was completed, and so on. I, like a bozo, would jump to M. 

Well Bill had a great way of putting me in my proper place. He would just start all over at A, provide pertinent details and continue on with B. If I jumped to G, he would start all over at A and so forth.'s kinda' like watching a dog going through its ceremony when it wants to lay down goes around around in circles until it's good and ready to lay down
...if you interrupt him, he just starts the whole procedure from the beginning

I don't jump to M anymore. In the long run, the time you were looking to save gets wasted in even bigger chunks.

So show some respect for all the two finger typists out there. Your way isn't necessarily the better way—it's just different.

...there's no need to prove to your friends that you can be a bozo
...they already know that
...that's why they love you

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grey Means You Aren't Wasting Ink

I've been using a personal computer now for at least 25 years. In the past year or so, I tripped over a very significant yet simple discovery while setting my fonts in any program.

If you set it to grey (50-60% black), your black toner cartridge lasts a lot longer. It has the added advantage of being softer on the eyes (ears if you are reading) and is certainly less formal.

...suits me just fine
...I'm hardly what you could consider as a formal kinda' guy

You will certainly have noticed that I chose grey for the main body of text in this blog. That's Taylor the Teacher speaking. He likes to think he's that cool teacher you had, back in the day, that got you to lean forward in your seat and listen to what he was sharing with you. He didn't wear ties or suits. He was a lot more like an older friend. He got you to learn stuff.

...the maroon, well that's just Bozo thinking out loud
...I guess he's kinda' colourful

But Grey Means You Aren't Wasting Ink has an even more powerful meaning for me. I'm on the other side of the century trip so greying has another meaning for me.

As we get older, we don't (or shouldn't) be tripping over our feet as much. We should be digging into our memory banks and applying that which we have experienced. But that doesn't mean I don't stumble and fall anymore.

...Bozo is alive and well's kinda' hard to kill a clown
...mostly made of rubber

Friday, November 28, 2008

From One Browser To Another

Why is that different browsers display the same page with peculiar little mutations? As a new blogger, I'm finding out through good old trial and error what works and what doesn't. still is pretty much the best way to learn need to first fail before you actually learn

I have been switching back and forth amongst Firefox, Explorer and Safari, trying to find one that works best for everything I want to do on the PC. Not gonna happen. The blogging editor that I am using (that Google has been so nice to provide for nothing) appears to be very picky as to which browser you run it in. I finally settled on Safari because everything functions and it seems to position everything in the right place. Explorer works next best but some stuff takes more than a full screen so you end up scrolling a lot. Firefox just doesn't like this program. The editor is just screwed up so it isn't a good choice for creation or editing.

Strangely, each browser displays the blog in view mode somewhat differently. This is very important to remember if you are writing your own blog. Just because it looks good on your screen, doesn't mean it will on someone else's. 

The reason I don't settle on one browser is that each has its own strengths and weaknesses. I have a particular game that I like that I play via Facebook (Mafia Wars). Some of the functions don't work in Safari and each browser displays the fonts and action buttons differently. I like the way you can customize Firefox with add ons. So I will continue to bounce back and forth.

I found setting up my blog as home page in Safari to be quite handy. Just minimize it when it's resting. You can call it up in a flash when the light goes on with that brilliant idea that you just have to write about.'s still a whole lot better than my old DOS days
...using DOS has left its scars
...I still pretty much do one thing at a time
...but then again, multitasking has its limitations (yet, another topic)

The Rambler

(With apologies to Kenny Rogers)
(Sung to the tune of the Gambler)

On a warm summer’s morning
On a green grassy fairway
Met up with a foursome
We were both too tired to speak
So we took turns a swearin’
At the golf balls and the hazards
A threesome overtook us
And we began to speak

He said men I’ve spent a lifetime
Of reading people’s backswings
Knowing where the ball goes
By the way they held their clubs
So if you don’t mind me saying
I can see you’re slicin’ badly
And I ain't no expert
But I’ll give you some advice

So I showed them a golf grip
Got to learn it from your golf pro
Teed the ball and swung away
And started hitting straight
And the play got deathly quiet
And their faces they said thank you
So if you’re gonna’ learn the game boy
You got to learn to play it right

You got to know when to shut up
Know when to play through
Know when to zip it up
Know when to leave
You never tell the punch line
In the middle of their backswing
They’ll be time enough for laughing
When the swingings done
And when he finished speaking
He turned back to the foursome
Wished them all the best of luck
And drove off down the path
And somewhere on the golf course
The rambler he got even
And in his final pass
Found a Pro-V he could keep

You got to know when to shut up
Know when to play through
Know when to zip it up
Know when to leave
You never tell the punch line
In the middle of their backswing
They’ll be time enough for laughing
When the swingings done

Mice Print

As I'm new to world of blogging, I started snooping around in other people's sites. I was sort of amazed at the number of sites that used very small fonts. People, you have to realize something. Not everybody has 20/20 vision. I stopped reading mice print a long time ago.

...needless to say, I didn't spend too much time on these sites
...I'm certainly no expert but I spent a lot of years in marketing inviting presentation gets return customers

There is nothing more annoying to me than to pick up a package in the grocery store and find that the they have jammed all the important instructions onto the end flap using mice print (like 5 or 6 points).

...Wikipedia defines a point as rounded to an even 72 points to the inch's a measure for typefaces used in desktop publishing
...if you use Word or Excel you are already familiar with this concept

Granted some of the reasoning for needing to go to a small font is some of the extra stuff that's on the package—UPC codes, warning labels, et al. Still we are getting older and not even a pair of "bang on" prescription eyeglasses is going to solve this problem.

So my message to all writers, packaging designers and young graphic design people is

Write bigger the same thing in all caps and it looks like you are shouting
...learned that in the chat window while playing on Pokerstars

...the only problem with getting older is that your arms aren't long enough
...ever notice gramps trying to read the newspaper without his reading glasses
...maybe the newspaper should use a larger font

And sometimes I'm Just a bozo. So I discovered, if you use Ctr ++ (Ctrl key and + key depressed at the same time) in any of the three browsers I tried, the text will enlarge and can be made easier to read. It actually is making the page larger on the screen so it results in chopping some of the display off. It wasn't what the author intended but it certainly makes it more readable.

Mentors - Take 2

(Maybe read Thanking Your Mentors first)

To Ken Ryder & Tom Kearns, thank you. 

...Hows' it hangin'?, Mr. Kearns?
..Hows' it hangin'?, Mr. Ryder?

These two fine gentlemen were responsible for teaching me the ropes at a major sporting goods manufacturer (they were known for hockey equipment mostly, Cooper Sporting Goods). I was working as a Customer Service Representative then. They taught me the importance of customers—both external and internal. 

They were veterans of the sales wars, going back to the day when all "travelers" wore hats, sample rooms were set up in a Trans Canada train. They earned your respect in about the first three seconds of meeting them. 

My favourite recollection of the pair in action, was when I was promoted to Junior Team Sales Representative (University, Junior A, U.S. Colleges, et al). They extended the invitation to come down to the sales reps' office and they would "teach me everything you need to know about selling."

...Bozo's tail was wagging at about 8o miles per hour at this point
...Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy! (tongue hanging out to his knees)
...he was really wet behind the ears back then

So we summoned up the courage to make the pilgrimage to a place I had never been before—the most venerable abode of the masters, the sales reps' office. The two masters cordially invited me in and got right to it. Here's the wisdom they shared with me. 

"John, make sure you add 10% to everything in your sales expenses because you will forget things you should have claimed. That's all you need to know. You already know all the rest."

...I learned about mutual respect that day you earn it you keep it

...writing about good people who are only in our thoughts now always make me teary-eyed
...respect has a long shelf life

How's It Hangin'? How's It Goin'?

If you read enough of my stuff, you will see the use of these statements when I refer to someone in an article. Both are meant to be an expression of deepest respect, a simple it's good talking to you.

The difference is really quite simple. How's It Hangin'? is used in reference to those who are sadly no longer with us in the flesh but are not forgotten. They were an important stop along the way.

How's It Goin'? is used in reference to those who are still kicking their feet in the sand (as opposed to sleeping under it).

...need to spend more time with the goers

I'd like to extend a How's It Hangin'? to Rodney Dangerfield. When I visited his website, I was touched by the respect his friends had for him and saddened by the thought that they felt he hadn't got the respect he so richly deserved. So Rodney, I'll say, "Gimme one of these™".'s probably not actually a trademark, but he made it famous
...How's It Hangin'? Rodney
...How's Dr. Vinnie? you remember Dr. Vinnie Boombotts (one of the funniest names ever!)

...yep, it is a little better to be goin' than hangin'
...way too soon to be fertilizer

Life Experiences 101

One of weakest parts of the education system, just about everywhere, is its inability to prepare students for the simple tasks in life. That was pretty much the job of parents, neighbours, friends and caring schoolteachers. Few take the time, or have it, to pass on this simple wisdom.

Here is an example of an eyebrow-lifting event in my past. I was at a party located in an apartment where the tenants had moved almost all of their belongings. It was the final celebration of this abode. At the end of the evening, there were a few of us left in the room where everybody ends up in a party – the kitchen, of course. All that was left in the cupboard was some instant coffee, a pot and a few cups. There was no kettle in site. So we boiled the water on the stove.

Little “C”, who was in her second year of university actually said this – “How do you tell when the water is boiled?” We jokingly replied, “It’s brown on the top.” Needless to say most of us were dumbfounded by the question because she was serious.

…I don’t think she actually graduated
…probably completed her MRS degree first

What I am proposing is that we need to get back to the basics in the education system – Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Home Economics, Woodworking, Grammar, Respect, etc.
Start it in grade school, through high school and on throughout higher levels.

…more topics to write about
…Stephen, in the shop, says my head is full of useless information
…I think they call that knowledge
…funny how you will come to use it again and again

Can you make a grilled cheese sandwich?

Jen, in the golf shop, described how she buttered the toast, put in the cheese and threw it in the microwave. There happened to be an older customer in the shop who expressed his opinion that, no no, that’s not how it is done. He described the time-honoured ceremony of buttering the bread on the outside; placing the cheese on the inside and cooking it in the frying pan.

…At least Jen can make a cheese sandwich.
…Jen’s version is probably a little healthier though

So let’s group the simple stuff into one course – call it Life Experiences 101. Teachers will be selected from all walks of life but the more experienced the better.

…I think I might be qualified

…BitsByBozoplay is the first stage of groupings within Facebook, now a blog, and ultimately (with any luck) paperbacks for those that prefer to do their reading in the comfort of their favourite chair, bathtub, toilet, lawn chair, park, etc,
…I think the recipes will appear in a grouping called “Pierre's Kitchen”
…I just made an egg sandwich in the microwave with egg, margarine, milk, ketchup, honey mustard, fresh chives and basil
…tasty try out

…I don’t mean to insult you by calling you a Bozo
…you see, I am Bozo (no, not a Bozo. Just Bozo to my friends)
…if I wanted to insult you I would have called you a bozo
…you may have noticed that I don’t give out names for people doing negative stuff
…that’s respect, isn’t it?

…yet another article

...I do ramble, don't I?

The Perfect Hand

What makes the perfect hand in the game of Texas Hold’em

…the Perfect Hand starts when the hole cards are dealt – the King and Queen of hearts
…husband & wife – dad & mom
…the flop is Jack, 10 & 9 of hearts, no particular order

…it represents the beginning
…your children
…they like each other and play well together, they like adventure, they’re safe and nearby
…any professional poker player will tell you that this is already a winning hand – almost impossible to beat
…the turn card can be almost anything

…it symbolizes change
…it’s only purpose, in the perfect hand, is to give the other players hope
… something to cling to for the now defeated or it may send a message that maybe, this journey should end
…now comes the river – the Ace of Hearts

…just an exclamation point
…confirmation that you were on the right track all along
…rewarding the player with the just rewards that an invincible hand deserves
…this river is sparkling and clear
…the river also serves to dash the hopes of the pretenders, the false prophets of what is important in life
…their hand was inadequate
…to them the river is dirty
…it hints of probable failure, an unpleasant outcome for the opposition
…and why hearts?

…love is all around
…yes, you can win with the same hand in clubs, diamonds and spades
…clubs represent your church, your team, your place of work, your group of friends
…diamonds represent wealth – spiritual and monetary, your health and well-being
…spades represent hard work and loyalty, strength and conviction
…most people will agree, family is the most important of them all
…I think that’s pretty close to perfect

Thanking Your Mentors - While They Are Still Here

I regret not having the opportunity to say thank you to those wonderful and inspirational individuals that made the extra effort to supply guidance and motivation. You never know where it is going to come from.

...Rob (in the shop), got me into Facebook and rekindled my desire to write.
...opened a rather large can of worms there didn't you, Roberto.
...what is writing anyway take is painting pictures with words
...kinda' simple, like me

My first recollection of an important sculptor of my skill sets, was Mr Stiver, Grade 8 teacher. He used to rub his hands together and croon with glee the following - "I just love grammar!". We, of course, would wince with pain over the thought of having to get out our note pads and actually have to pay attention to something useful. I don't even know where to start on how to thank you enough for my ability to speak and write coherently in the English language.

...what would I do without spell checker and a thesaurus, lol (actually more like lmao).
..students from this public school did way better in high school English classes (go figure)
...Thank you very much, Mr. Stiver

This is only Part One of a long list of notes on this subject.

...I have a lot of people to thank

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Butchering The American National Anthem

Today was Thanksgiving in the United States and the usual NFL games were available for viewing. Sadly, they weren't worth the price of admission. But what was even worse was the preamble to the opening kickoff—specifically, the singing (or more correctly, butchering) of the national anthem by somebody trying to make a name for themselves on national television. It was horrible. And it seems to be a regularly occurring event.

I don't know what it is, but whether it is NASCAR, the NFL, Major League Baseball or the NBA, the ceremony of singing the national anthem has become a nauseating introductory ordeal for everyone at the event and those waiting for it begin on the tube.

...I guess we're going to have to come up with a nickname for flat panel televisions now

I recall Tom & Dick Smothers on one of the nighttime talk shows passionately arguing for the performer to understand that it's not about the singer, it's about the song. Everyone seems to think they are performing for the initial American Idol audition. If they don't do something different, they think they have missed their big chance to make a name for themselves on the big stage.

Some things should stay the way they were originally intended. I think anthems are intended to inspire the gladiators about to enter the arena and boost the level of excitement in the throng that is about to watch the games begin. did it become the world's largest karaoke stage?

My Desert Island List of CD's

Everybody has their list of favourite CD's that they would take to a desert island.

You will notice mine is predominately 60's R&B (aka Soul music). I actually saw a lot of these wonderful performers live. of the most memorable was Patti Labelle (Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles then) at Maple Leaf Gardens as one of the introductory acts for the Rolling Stones.
...Floor seat, 1st 10 rows, ticket $18 (I think)
...Patti could have sung without a microphone

...and another was The Ike & Tina Turner Revue at 888 Yonge Street (really a large banquet hall - called the Masonic Temple back then)
...the energy that Tina and the Ikettes generated would have easily powered some of the neighbouring office buildings
...Ike was scary

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall
Ray Charles
Atlantic R & B
Everybody from Atlantic (8 CD’s)
Beg, Scream & Shout
R & B greats from everywhere (6 CD’s)
Blues Summit
B.B. King & friends
Captured Live At The Forum
Three Dog Night
Eagles Greatest Hits
The Eagles
Greatest Hits
Patti Labelle
Greatest Hits
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Harry Chapin Live
Harry Chapin
Her Best
Etta James
Hitsville USA
Everybody from Motown (4 CD’s)
Gladys Knight & the Pips
Joe Cocker Live
Joe Cocker
Lee Michaels
Lee Michaels
Bob Marley
Live & in Living Color
Tower of Power
Live at the Apollo II
James Brown
Oh What A Night
The Dells
Rhythm Country & Blues
Various R&B and Country greats (all duets)
Simply The Best
Tina Turner
Soul Train 25th Anniversary
Disks 1 & 2 only (3 will make a good frisbee)
Their Greatest Hits
The Eagles

...of course, the concept isn't practical place to get batteries or to plug in the charger

Sometimes You Just Have To Reboot

Working with any computer teaches you that Murphy is alive and well in in the erratic world of bits and bytes. For some reason, it just goes south.

You try and try to apply logic to the problem. You drive Customer Support batty with your numerous emails listing your latest software problems. Who really has any idea what goes on inside a computer anymore. We cross platform all kinds of stuff, port files from every where and wonder why it isn't working.

My solution for a lot of problems has been simple. If it doesn't work, reboot. It is amazing as to how many problems magically disappear using this technique.

Sadly, it doesn't always work. Right now, I don't have any formatting capability in this Post. I tried rebooting, but it didn't work.

So I'm going to Plan B. If all else fails, switch browsers. Yep, it worked. Switched from Firefox to Explorer. Now I've got formatting back. (Worked in Safari, too. I tried switching back to Firefox and nope it didn't work. It just showed HTML stuff with no ability to switch back and forth from Compose and Edit Html. Go figure.)

...How's it going Murph? my younger days we used to say it differently
..."When all else fails, punt."

Lighten Up - It's Only A Game

Here's another take on making the game more fun.

As John the Golf Course Guy, I view a lot of customers playing what should be a game but taking it way too seriously.

...especially in scramble format charity tournaments
...most people refer to this as best ball's about raising money for a worthwhile charity, enjoying the time with your golf partners and having fun

I try to make the day more fun by making selective comments after people's shots. Here's some of my favourites.

Just a 5th set of eyes. I'm not the golf course police
I'm amazed at the number of golfers that will ask what did I do wrong when I arrive at the tee. They have obviously been conditioned by their treatment by marshals at other courses. I'm there to help. Hopefully, I can add to their enjoyment. They all paid good money to play here. It doesn't hurt to thank them for that either.

...we'll talk about the golf course police in another note
...I'm a strong proponent of their immediate demise

The good news is your ball won't be lonely
This one is most often uttered on two par 3's that are hit over valleys. A conservative estimate would be 4,000 balls a year in the gully on each hole. Try not be intimidated by the gully or water. Hit the ball as if they didn't exist.
Nice UBE (pronounced you be)
It's an acronym for Ugly But Effective. This is said after a mishit that turns out be a good result. I usually comment that this is how I got most of my birdies. Nice shot.
Just a little outside (of course I stole it from Bob Uecker)
This one is right after a tee shot that ends up in another county. Try not to swing so hard. You will be amazed at how far today's golf ball will fly after a solid hit with the right tempo. There's no better way to ruin your drive than play in a lot of scramble format tournaments. Going for the fence all the time is not very effective.
There's no room on the scorecard for pictures
This one fits well with Nice UBE especially those shots that bounce off of trees and cart paths and end up on the fairway or green. The shot doesn't have to be picture perfect. The result in golf is what is scored. It still is one stroke no matter how ugly the shot.
We have a decency rule here. Were are like fisherman though. We have a minimum length requirement
This one seems to get the biggest laughs from the other 3 players in the foursome. It's only mentioned when a guy hits his tee shot and it doesn't make it to the Red tees (aka Ladies tees). Swinging too hard again? Probably.

...I'm selective with the last one
...just trying to get everybody to lighten up


Bozoplay is just one of the millions and millions of lucky people who discovered the joys of playing Texas Hold’em online for free.

…yes, you do have to have access to a computer so it’s not totally free
...and I do play in small stakes sit and go's now

Bozoplay is my playing name for online poker sites. I chose it because Bozoman was already taken. Pokerstars is my site of choice right now—partly because I'm a fan of Daniel Negreanu, fine young Canadian lad.

But it turned out to be kind of a blessing for me. I discovered when I played online and made a particularly dumb play I would utter the phrase to myself

“What a Bozoplay!!”

…more often than I liked, and sometimes out loud

It helped me to stop and think about what I just did wrong and I learned. I now focused on the second half and started working on keeping the first half locked away. Play and don’t be such a bozo.

I also rediscovered the clown in me—the one that just loved to have fun.

It also triggered my interest in writing. Since you have time between hands, it helped me deal with the slow players.

...the off switch in my brain seems to be broken

...and why do people sit out in play money games?

My First Computer

Sometime in the early 80's, I decided I needed to know more about computers.

...I was thirty something then.

So I walked into the local Radio Shack in Calgary and bought the deluxe Coco—the 16K version, not the basic 4K over sized calculator. I honestly don’t remember what it cost (I’m guessing over a thousand though). It was only a keyboard with the guts of a computer. You hooked it up to your colour TV which served as the monitor.

No such thing as hard disks or even floppy disks. You saved anything on a tape drive (extra, of course). The keyboard had Chiclets for keys. (Still better than today's mice keys on a Blackberry, et al)

…needless to say, you couldn’t watch TV at the same time
…no such thing as multitasking back then I forgot about computer programming in university programmed everything in Fortran using keypunch cards

If you wanted to do anything with it, you pretty much had to program what you wanted in a language called Basic. You could buy cartridges that slid into the side of the computer. I think I bought one called VisiCalc which was my first exposure to computerized spreadsheets. I used it as a glorified typewriter mostly.

...I actually used it to develop forecasts in my work
...I think this was a major reason I got a transfer back to Toronto

The tape drive only stored data sequentially. It couldn't rewrite over an existing file because it would write over anything in its path. I had to buy a supply of cassette tapes (The same kind you used to record music, but quality wasn’t as important) to save the myriad of screwed up programs that I began to write.

As far as a printer goes, I went out and got a black & white dot matrix printer (I’m not sure if you could buy colour then. It was somewhere in the neighbourhood of $800). It worked on the principal that a bunch of small pins hammered a typewriter like ribbon onto paper that had tear off edges full of holes that fed along wheels that had larger plastic pins in them.

…the paper often fell off the wheels
…ribbons didn’t last very long (cartridge format I think)
…and you had to clean the pins periodically

…couldn’t even buy a cable at the local Radio Shack
…had to get it custom built at a local computer geek store (two different connectors—proprietary Radio Shack and serial if memory serves me right. Most people used parallel to parallel in those days)

You could try to use ordinary typewriter paper, but you had to feed the sheets in one at a time and they seldom lined up properly especially if you started it off crooked.

…computers two & three weren’t much better
…that will be another story
…memory chips were a $1,000 a megabyte in number three (they're now pennies a megabyte)

…all of these items ended up in my personal garbage dump possibly before you were even born

The 4 Stages of Getting Older

While recently trying to locate an old friend who might be on Facebook, I was reminded of the joke I heard while working on the golf course sometime this summer.

What are the 4 stages of getting Older?

  1. You forget names

  2. You forget faces

  3. You forget to zip up your fly

  4. You forget to unzip your fly

...growing old sucks
...Jimmy in maintenance figures he must be dead — he does all four

...what stage do you think Jay is at?

What Musical Acts Have You Seen?

Here's a rewarding project for you to undertake.

Go back into your memory banks and try to remember all the terrific musical acts that you have found yourself present as a member of the audience. You will find this a most enriching experience. It will, no doubt, bring back all kinds of enjoyable memories. will be surprised how many you have momentarily forgotten

Even more fun, is trying to remember who was with you at the concert. might find that a little tougher

Just for interest's sake, here's Matt's list (in no particular order).

Harry Chapin
The Rolling Stones
James Brown
Wilson Pickett
Percy Sledge
Gladys Knight & the Pips
Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles
The Ike & Tina Turner Revue
Arthur Conley
Ray Charles
Chuck Mangione
The Rogues aka The Mandala
Roy Kenner & the Associates
Chaka Khan
Smokey Robinson
Natalie Cole
Sammy Davis Jr.
The Olympics
Gordon Lightfoot
Isaac Hayes
Chuck Berry
B. B. King
Shawn & Jay Jackson & the Majestics
Randy Bachman
Burton Cummings
Led Zeppelin
The Pointer Sisters
Gloria Gaynor
James & Bobby Purify
Bob Dylan
David Clayton Thomas
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee
Jon & Lee & the Checkmates
Tea Garden & Vanwinkle

...some you will recognize
...some are quite obscure

...some are local groups that I enjoyed

...they were almost all worth the price of admission

…some were free (bonus)

Left Handed Canadian Golfers - Why So Many?

Certainly the most famous
one from Canada

It has a lot to do with the fact that our season is so short. For a lot of Canadians, golf is a part time seasonal sport.'s hard to putt in a snowstorm

It has even more to do with the reality that Canadians are more likely to play ice hockey than golf. They are more likely to take up hockey first. They get comfortable with holding a hockey stick and a lot of right handed players shoot left.

...we call it hockey's hard to skate in a field

In fact, the following sequence will help explain the large number of left handed golfers in this country.
  1. Road hockey
  2. Ice hockey
  3. Baseball (usually softball before hardball)
  4. Golf
If you can recall your first attempt at swinging a golf club, it felt about as natural as walking on a tightrope blindfolded. So the hockey player will often choose what is more familiar to them.

It is not uncommon on Canadian golf courses to see 3 and sometimes 4 golfers playing left handed. John the Golf Course Guy usually does an unofficial survey upon arriving at the tee with left handed golfers. He asks, "Curiosity. What hand do you write with?" If they respond with the right one, the conversation usually continues on about how they play hockey and baseball, how they tried playing right handed and then switched never to return.

I have heard it said that one of the major golf retailers in Canada, sell more left handed clubs than right. That may be true. The selection is almost as large as the right handed section.

A lot of Americans have difficulty understanding why a large number of Canadians play left handed. I always remember the chat conversation I had with a U. S. fireman while playing on Pokerstars. He said he had a coworker from Canada that he plays golf with. I replied with, "I bet he plays left handed." He said, "Yah, what's that all about?" and I continued to explain briefly the sequence of hockey then golf. He now understands why.

People who work at U. S. golf courses immediately recognize the left handed golfer as being not from around here. They usually respond with "Oh, so you're Canadian!"

...I have the greatest respect for all the firefighters everywhere
...I remember once watching a boxcar melt in a lumberyard fire
...fires are real scary

...Thank you for what you do for us

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TV Advertising - Do You Remember The Product?

Personally, I think advertising agencies are more concerned about trying to win awards for their ad campaign than they are for developing a commercial that will help improve the sale of their client's products.

Most of my experiences at agency powwows turn out to be less than worth the price of admission, which usually is a lot more than they first quoted. Most agency creative department people have no clue when it comes to the simple business motto of "you spend money to make money".

...kinda' like "you play to win the game"
...they're both real simple

Play this game with your friends next time you get together for a couple of "brown pops". Describe in as much detail as possible, the details of a recent commercial that you have seen that you know for sure what the product is and then ask them to tell you what it is. You will be surprised to find out that most everyone will recollect the storyline within the commercial and the product type that is being promoted. But the product brand gets lost up in the agencies' inventive use of smoke and mirrors.

The last bit here attempts to share one of my more disappointing experiences with an ad agency but had an even bigger cast of characters—which included the camera crew and production personnel. You learn to appreciate the emotion that flows in great volume in the province of Quebec. They are most definitely passionate about almost everything they do. Viva la diffĂ©rence .

...I had to fly into Montreal to be the mandatory "suit" at the commercial shooting which took place in a mothballed hotel the ballroom on one of the upper floors running water

...washroom was a port-o-potty

...the French-Canadian actress was a real sweetheart

...the dog got real bored was good

...except I broke a filling on a bagel
...I found out why the Director of Marketing sent me instead of himself

...they were still shooting when I left

...pretty much a wasted day

...product didn't do too well

Reading Is For People In Jail

The title is a copy of an actual statement in a friend's Facebook profile under Favorite Books.

I was taken aback by this because she is a very bright and considerate person. It just supports the poor job our public and high schools have done in getting our youth to actually read something longer than a text message or an email.

Reading should be an escape, seen as an adventure, take you somewhere you've never been, get you thinking outside the box. It should be exercise for the brain, not punishment. Schools use the term compulsory or required reading. Where's the joy in that?

Reading should be deemed as a reward. Reading is a valuable privilege. You don't get a lot of privileges in jail.

Most of my enjoyment in reading took place in soothing locales like a poolside setting in Barbados, a rolling dock in cottage country, a balcony overlooking the setting sun on the golf course in the Arizona desert, the over sized bed in an bigger than necessary condo in Whistler, in a lounge chair in a friend's backyard. And a lot of times, I woke up from the most refreshing nap I had experienced in recent months. I felt like I had actually taken a vacation.

Books took me to outer space, every continent on this planet, the open sea, the mysterious depths of the ocean. I met pirates, adventurers, beautiful damsels, people in just about every occupation there is out there. I took trips in magnificent machines, on powerful animals, in great sailing ships, on a path that I've never seen before. Saw creatures I could have never imagined existed.

...doesn't sound much like jail to me
...too bad a lot of us weren't encouraged to see it that way

...sadly I don't read as much as I used to must be something that's going around

Marty, our general manager, at least gave me hope that when I commented that young people don't read anything anymore, he quickly responded that his youngest, Kelly can't get enough of reading.

...she will never see the inside of a jail cell
...that's what good direction will do for you

As Tim Allen said on his website, READ SOMETHING. You will be rewarded for your uncharted journey into the unknown. There's nothing to be afraid of.

Treat yourself. Take a trip to never-never land. a book for a change

Here's an addendum to this story. I asked my friend to take a look at this stuff. She corrected me in that she reads a lot. It's a quote from a movie she had seen and it stuck with her. She's working hard at media studies. So you see it is true, you can't judge a book by its cover.

...time for a Gilda here—Nevermind
....old line from Saturday Night Live
...funny stuff

...How's it Hangin'?, Gilda left us too soon


Let's Call It A CC

The other day I showed up at the golf course to start my shift as starter.

…In November in Canada no less, if you can believe that – high 60’s F/18 degrees C

Like a bozo, I forgot my watch at home so I asked Rob in the shop if I could borrow his.

…Good example of a bozoplay
…Good people help you out

He wasn’t wearing one but he said I could borrow his cell phone.
He had it charging on top of the sparsely stocked pop machine.

Looking at this tiny little thing, I realized they’re not just a phone any longer.
Seems to me a camera, phone, music & video player, text messaging, personal calendar, address book, etc. yearns for a different name.

Rob and I kicked around the concept of calling it something different.
Rob asked “So what would you call it?”

Simple, a CC. (pronounced see-see)
Short for a Cellular Communicator.
Maybe it will catch on.
Rob thought that was a good idea.

…Don’t like text messaging much
…Seems to me it’s a weak attempt at communicating

…I hit multiple keys on a standard computer keyboard
…Who has those tiny little fingers required when using the keyboard on a CC anyway?

…Customers lose them on the course a lot
…One guy lost his inside the dash of his rental golf cart
…Alex had to take the cart apart to get it out
…Rob’s a good guy. So is Alex. Yes Ryan, you too
…Don’t forget to thank the good guys

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Profiles - Pierre the Chef

Pierre the Chef (fleur-de-lis denotes the presence of a recipe in the page)

Personality Traits

sometimes - sarcastic, temperamental, and sometimes - happy go lucky
Speaking Voice(s)

Riccardo, Patrick Roy, Jean Chretein (broken English with a French accent - written phonetically)
Defensive Tackle

Current Status
Introductory Blog Location
Introducing Pierre the Chef
Pierre emigrated from France and continues to threaten to return if he doesn't get the respect he feels he deserves. He is not really a chef but more of a short order cook. He specializes in simple but interesting meals. His choice of cooking utensils is heavily focused on the functional and practical. He believes a microwave should be used for cooking, not just defrosting. The stove is used to boil water for pasta and baking items in the oven. His latest passion is cooking with the slow cooker (slow cook-Air, as he calls it)

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Profiles - Bozoplay

y, aka Bozo, aka Bo

Personality Traits

childlike, clown, playful, sarcastic
Speaking Voice(s)

Goofy, Caesar (talking gorilla from later Planet of the Apes movie)

1st string Quarterback

Current Status

Active (an understatement)
Introductory Blog Location


Bozo is the guiding light behind the creation of stuff about life, BitsByBozoplay. He is the common thread that binds the team together as one unit. He likes to get in the last word.

He is not one-dimensional. He appears periodically on Fox Sports Community in his blog, Bozoplay's Blog (masthead Bozo Says). He appears with the storm avatar symbolizing his tendency to stir things up.

Bozo is hard to deter showing dependable resiliency. It's hard to kill a clown, they are mostly made of rubber.

The file name attached to the gorilla was originally called "Great Face - Evil". It was a complete misread on it's true meaning. It has become Bozo's visual signature on the Internet. It expresses how intensely he thinks about stuff. The gorilla is blind which makes it easier for him to see things more clearly in his mind's eye.

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