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Some notes on new Snoqualmie Casino

SEATTLE, Washington - I saw a few months ago when driving to golf at Mount Si that they were enhancing the little traffic intersection that leads to the casino. It's done - and it's a roundabout. A little traffic circle. Is this Washington in 2008 or New Jersey in 1935? I can't believe a new traffic circle has entered the world.

Only in the hills: I parked in the above-ground garage, drove up a few levels, parked, and took the elevator down. Mistake: The casino is on the top floor of the above-ground garage. The whole place seems to be a single big room with all the restaurants and shops on the perimeter i.e. there's no hallways or side areas.

I was there the day after Thanksgiving and it was not as busy as I was expecting. (The day after X-giving is a brutally busy day in Atlantic City casinos.) There were quite a few dead spread blackjack games and only two craps tables open.

I started with roulette. They made me buy nickels on a $10 game, which is odd. But good - I hit on the first two spins. On the third spin, the amateur dealer screwed up and actually hit me with the ball. Eventually we got the ball back on the wheel and I missed the third spin so I colored up with $400 profit and walked away before I got injured.

I wasn't hungry (day after X-giving) but for the sake of journalism I tried the (barely adequate for its price) $14.95 lunch buffet.

A spot finally opened on a craps table after lunch. I was looking for a weak craps dealer that I could confuse and manipulate but they all seemed competent enough for moderate action. I wanted to shoot but the shooter before me got hot and I decided to color out with $155 profit at craps without even touching the dice. There was a classic grumpy Don't bettor standing right next to the dealer (where they always stand) getting killed - the kind of bitterman who, in defiance of all mathematics, is betting the Don't Come and if a 6 or 8 rolls he tells the dealer to "just leave it."

The big new-casino goof of the night was this: When I cashed out my $855 in chips, the cashier paid me and said "congratulations". Wrong Wrong Wrong Wrong! I've gambled in the best casinos in this country and many of the dumps, and I've never been "congratulated" by the cashier. She has no way of knowing if I'm up $300 or down $5000 or whatever. That needs to stop. I didn't make a scene but sooner or later some crusty guy who's down a lot of money will blow up upon hearing that.

Overall the place seems fine - it's somewhat smaller than the Muckleshoot or Tulalip but I think its proximity to Mount Si golf will have me rolling the bones. Its poker room only has ten tables, you're better off at the Muckleshoot for poker.

P.S. their website (not linked here) is overwrought, you apparently scroll it by moving your mouse above or below the browser window and the music sounds like casino promotional tunes from fifteen years ago.


Football lock of the week

SEATTLE, Washington -

Record: 7-5

I need some Friday action:
This week's pick: Boise St. (-21) vs. Fresno St.

All Picks for This Season

UPDATE: Wow, 61-10 Boise. Being a sensitive and compassionate person, I could barely watch the second half.

My season is done! That makes me 8-5 (61.5%) this year and 27-13-1 (67.5%) over 3 years.


10 years ago this weekend - my first dose of Seattle misery

SEATTLE, Washington - In November 1998 I was living in Boise and decided to come to Seattle for the first time, to visit a friend in Redmond. I started the seven-hour drive early Thanksgiving morning, my first journey into the Pacific time zone.

Our first order of business was to find a place to eat Thanksgiving dinner. He was a vegetarian, not much more familiar with the area than I was, and the young internet of 1998 was not very helpful. We ended up at the Black Angus on 156th in Bellevue, where he ate a potato and I had a full meal. (Nowadays, I know that the way to find a bunch of open restaurants on Thanksgiving is to head to the International District).

The next day I started exploring Seattle. If you've been around you probably remember that day - a bus plunged off the Aurora Bridge after the driver was assaulted and shot. I drove across the bridge for the first time less than an hour before the incident.

My first-ever dinner in Seattle proper was at Cactus in Madison Park. I remember clawing around on the young internet for a vegetarian-friendly restaurant, and getting the primitive old 1998 internet maps to find the place.

Anyway, by early 2000 I decided Seattle would be a better place to live than Boise, and here I am.


Ribs from OK Corral West Seattle

SEATTLE, Washington - Alright I already snapped a picture of the catfish but all anyone cares about is the BBQ, so here are the ribs. I really ought to clean up the styrofoam a bit before snapping these.

The ribs have a very smoke-dominant flavor, so that has to be how you roll for you to like 'em. I roll like that, not all people roll like that. It's a decent amount of food for $13 - four big meaty ribs and the other stuff.

Otis seems to like the ribs - he was wolfing one down like it was the first rib he had tasted in his life, exclaiming "man, this is good!"

Again there's a big parking lot right behind this building - I can walk there but it might seem a daunting affair for many drivers without knowing there's parking.


A great idea from Obama? Oh... wait... nope

SEATTLE, Washington - It looked for a minute like Barack Obama had stopped preening for the cameras and cooking up ill-conceived "jobs" and "stimulus" plans long enough to have a genuinely great idea - getting rid of Daylight Saving Time. So read the headline on a BoingBoing post - "Obama might get rid of daylight saving time".

The BoingBoing story links to this Green Daily story, headlined "Obama Looks to Axe Daylight Time -- NYT Explains Why".

Problem is, when you read the New York Times op-ed, it doesn't say that Obama proposed or endorsed anything. It simply says that getting rid of DST might save energy, and Obama has endorsed reduced energy/resource consumption.

There's so many things to note here. One, it's been evident for years now that DST is not saving energy, and shifting DST might have made things worse. Count on the New York Times to get to this news years after everyone else.

Second, seeing people automatically and uncritically attributing this to the Man from Change is not surprising.

Third, note the great Green Daily double-whammy headline that invokes both Obama and the New York Times - the two great pillars of our civilization. I can imagine the twinkle in the eye of the typical Green Daily reader as they read that headline. Hey, Green Daily, the sun rose today - perhaps you can run a headline on how the New York Times reported that the sun rose, and how Barack Obama was in favor of the sun rising.


Football lock of the week

SEATTLE, Washington -

Record: 7-4

This week's pick: Stanford (+8.5) @ Cal

All Picks for This Season

UPDATE oops - Cal wins 37-16. Record: 7-5


OK Corral BBQ in West Seattle

SEATTLE, Washington - I stopped by the new OK Corral location on Fauntleroy about 2pm this afternoon, chatted up Otis a bit and got the fried catfish dinner. Good crispy catfish.

I think that I (like others) am a bit nervous about the prospects for Otis's success in this location (odd Fauntleroy spot, not West Seattle per se). There's a big parking lot in back.

Why is it that business always start somewhere else and then eventually come to West Seattle? First it was Ballard (Matator, Cupcake Royale) and Queen Anne (Uptown Espresso) and now even humble Greenwood is exporting their charms here. Has West Seattle ever started any citywide phenomenon? Burglaries and STDs don't count.

UPDATE: I also had the ribs.


Fast food retro chic continues unabated

SEATTLE, Washington - First the Burger King Italian Chicken sandwich crept back into my life, and now McDonald's has brought the McRib back for another run! Chomp!

What next? Maybe Wendy's will roll out the Superbar again? I'm feeling the need to find and eat at a Roy Rogers next time I'm back east.


OH NO - karaoke in West Seattle

SEATTLE, Washington - Talarico's is offering karaoke. I don't know how long this has been here, but I know how long I hope it lasts - not long. Maybe if we all just ignore the karaoke, the karaoke will go away.


Disgraceful General Motors propaganda video

SEATTLE, Washington - General Motors has released a video documenting why we should be writing our lawmakers and demanding that they fork over a $25 billion bailout (or as the video calls it, a "loan") to the auto industry.

There's a lot of hot air here, but the main bone in my throat is that most of the video assumes a complete "collapse" of the domestic auto industry - that it completely ceases operations. They did everything but show a picture of auto workers at a plant and then ghost out the workers, leaving an empty factory.

Have they never heard of bankruptcy? Do they think we've never heard of bankruptcy? You declare bankruptcy, which shields you from creditors for a time while you do what you have to do - sell yourself off for parts, restructure your debt, resize, whatever. Often, businesses keep operating during bankruptcy, and this would certainly happen in the case of the big automakers.

But that is insufficiently apocalyptic.

One of the first and most powerful criticisms during the original "bailout" debates for the financial sector was that it would cause many other industries to show up in Washington, hat in hand. Now everyone from Ford Motor Company to the mayor of Phoenix is showing up for some cash.

Toiletries with an attitude

SEATTLE, Washington - All the toiletries at my hotel in New York last week used the imperative form, which sometimes led to contradictory instructions:


Football Lock of the Week

NEW YORK, New York -

Record: 6-4

This week's pick: Oregon St. (-3.5) vs. Cal

All Picks for This Season

UPDATEOSU wins, 34-21. Record: 7-4


Hayden Planetarium at night

NEW YORK CITY, New York - just across from my hotel this week


A bit of carnage with "synergized" Sirius XM channel selection

NEW YORK CITY, New York - I was wondering why I couldn't log into my streaming Sirius account yesterday afternoon - SIRI/XM was in the middle of their big channel synergization.

As far as the music channels:

In many cases, channels will now be simulcast on both satellite systems. This was a no-brainer in the case of many channels (like decade-specific channels) where SIRI/XM seems to have taken the best of the best as far as DJs, etc.

My first fear was that Outlaw Country (SIRI 63) would be lost in the merger, but it's still there. Willie Nelson's channel has come over from XM and both of these channels are now on both systems.

Area 38 is now just called Area (presumably it's not channel 38 on XM).

One of the best grabs for SIRI is the '40s on 4 channel. Sirius used to have a channel Swing Street that played a lot of old big band stuff that I used to listen to a bit; this channel got canceled a few years ago but it's essentially back now.

There are casualties, like the Punk channel and the Disco channel. Most surprisingly, both systems have deleted the old-skool hip hop channel (this was Backspin on Sirius, The Rhyme on XM). I'm sure SIRI/XM did their homework on this, their demographic data must have indicated they could drop this music, but I know a lot of people who are upset with this. It seemed to be the kind of offering that satellite radio is made for. There's already some whining and complaining on the blogs about this move.

The loss of Backspin probably means that Kurtis Blow is looking for work, if you need him.

The full lineup diff is here.


we have a new champion - Internet Bikini Ass Photo division

NEW YORK CITY, New York - Move over Mena Suvari, because you've just been blasted off the stage by the fleshy flawlessness of this picture of Vida Guerra, whoever she is.

Hollywood Tuna isn't a fan of Guerra (Tuna seems to prefer the skinny fake-boob types) but count me among the disciples.

The Gideon Bible isn't good enough any more?

NEW YORK CITY, New York - My hotel room in New York came with two books on the end table - an autobiography by British television personality Richard Hammond and an issue of Alaska Quarterly Review from 1998.

Both books still have the price tag on them.


Involuntary Servitude We Can Believe In

SEATTLE, Washington - I think all the Obama voters are so busy patting themselves on the back for being so Cool and Hip and Progressive and Tolerant and Not-An-Evil-Republican that they're failing to notice the garbage appearing on the official President-elect web site.

After all, what better way to celebrate a black man becoming President than introducing a broad new suite of involuntary servitude programs?

President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.

Found at Little Green Footballs

UPDATE 11/9 10pm: LGF is chronicling the backpedaling on the requirement of involuntary servitude. Hopefully, while they're at it, they delete all the other nonsense on

Football Lock of the Week

SEATTLE, Washington -

Record: 6-3

This week's pick: Oklahoma State (+3.5) @ Texas Tech

Enjoy your one week ranked #2, Tech!

All Picks for This Season

UPDATE: my previous losses were all just 1-4 points so I was due to take a thrashing, TTU won big here. Record: 6-4


This painting was not done by me, it was done through me

SEATTLE, Washington - After I finished reading Gravity's Rainbow, I decided to paint one of the opening scenes. (I considered doing this for every book I read but realized, as I like to buy books cheap, that this might quadruple the cost of every book I read.) After completing it, I started running into a bunch of stuff that reminded me of the painting. This is the painting:

After completing it, I ran into this cover image of one of the editions (it's not the edition I read, nor is it the image on my Goodreads entry for the book):

I also noticed after the fact that my painting bears a resemblance to this photo of Atlanta that I have on the wall of my home office. (The painting is an image of London):

Finally we have the image below from Zak Smith, an artist who created one image for each page of Gravity's Rainbow. Like me, Smith included a smokestack and the rocket with vapor trails. I put a hat on Prentice because I was dissatisfied with how I had painted his head.

Mr Smith saved the bananas until the next page's image.

I recommend viewing all the Smith images if you've read the book, and maybe even if you haven't read the book.