Archive for July, 2018

Cheeps and Chirps for July 31, 2018

July 31, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 31, 2018

Bits and bites from ye olde Twitter stream:

• A few personal notes

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Tough tournament spot, redux: Further notes

July 30, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 30, 2018

Sunday was the final day of World Tavern Poker’s regular season at the venue where I serve as tournament director. That evening, I got caught in a surprisingly similar situation to the one I was in last week.

As on Tuesday, I started the day in the No. 2 position. In this case, the average of my top 15 scores at the pub was 60 points lower than that of the person who held the top rank. The lowest of my 15 scores was 9,450, so I’d need to record a score of more than 10,000 to catch up.

Around the two-hour mark of the early tournament, our blinds moved to 5,000–10,000. I had four chips (nominal value: 20,000), and nine players remained. As the big blind approached, I anxiously waited for a good chance to win a pot. Unfortunately, it never seemed to come.

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Notes on facing a tough tournament spot

July 27, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 27, 2018

For much of the season, I led the rankings at the World Tavern Poker venue in Cary where I regularly play on Tuesday evenings. Two Tuesdays ago, on the second-to-last night of the regular season, I was unable to record any points in either of the two tournaments; worse yet, my chief rival, H.M., won one game and finished second in the other to pass me and take hold of the No. 1 position.

Which brings me to this past Tuesday, the last night of the regular season. Since I was eliminated without gaining any points in the first game, I faced no small pressure as the second game got under way.

Unfortunately, the cards didn’t go my way for much of the contest. The good news was that I hung on and made it to the final table. The not-so-good news was that I had one of the smaller stacks when we got down to the final 10 players. The better news was that H.M. hadn’t gotten a good score in either game, meaning that I still had an opportunity to catch him if I could manage a terrific finish.

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Before me, the deluge

July 25, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 25, 2018

Author’s note: This post contains some profanity near the end. MEM

Early on the morning of Tuesday, July 24, it began raining in Durham — very hard. My car, a lightly used loaner that I’d purchased from a Raleigh dealership the day after the 2016 election, was parked in its usual spot by my house. I gave a little thought to moving it.

I ended up not acting on that impulse, but I ought to explain why it occurred to me.

About two months ago, I wrote a post about my fruitless search for a radio interview with Scott Huler, the author of the 2011 book On the Grid: A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood and the Systems that Make Our World Work. The impulse to move my car was motivated by the very same incident that prompted me to look for that (possibly imagined?) interview.

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In the executive and judicial branches, Trump appointees will advance ever more severe conservative principles

July 20, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 20, 2018

When the history of Donald Trump’s presidential administration is written, a chapter will likely be devoted to Scott Pruitt’s feckless reign over the Environmental Protection Agency.

The former Oklahoma attorney general’s 17-month tenure at EPA was a microcosm of Trump’s chaotic rule. Disdain for science, contempt for the rule of law, indifference to sound policy-making, eagerness to appease business interests, hunger for personal gain — the Pruitt era featured all the hallmarks that have come to represent Trumpist governance.

Pruitt’s replacement will be Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who once served as an aide to Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is the Senate’s most ardent climate skeptic. Wheeler will be hard-pressed to match Pruitt’s record of corruption and incompetence, which led to his resignation and distracted from his attempts to dismantle environmental regulations. It’s yet to be seen if Wheeler will be more effective at unraveling anti-pollution measures, although some pundits fear that he will surpass his former boss in this regard.

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June 2018 Scrabble tournament: Part 4 of 4

July 3, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 3, 2018

I kicked off the fourth and final session of my June Scrabble tournament with a game 13 rematch against M.K., whom I’d beaten in my third game Saturday morning. Since then, he’d taken off on a tear: His record entering our rematch was 10-2, leaving him well positioned to win the division. I knew that I’d have to play well to take him down.

Playing second, I had a narrow lead when M.K. opened the fourth turn with INSANEr/LUNES. His 69-point bingo put me in a 133-68 hole.

Two turns later, I reclaimed the lead thanks to a 70-point bingo of my own, COWIEST/EWE. Unfortunately, my foe had a comeback loaded and ready to fire: ERASION/ET 74, which left me down, 217-156.

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