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playing poker and teaching science: May 2006

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. I also try to give back a little by volunteering for a month or so each summer at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America.

Monday, May 22, 2006

You know you’re a redneck when…

*If you’re looking for a poker post, this isn’t it*

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent man. I have a college education, teaching certification, many graduate credits to my credit, (is that redundant?) and have been a professional educator for 15 years. During my 15-year stint as an educator I have been honored on no less than a dozen occasions with grants and awards for excellence in science education.

In my field I am a success.

I am, nonetheless, a mere one generation off the farm.

Thus began the events of last Saturday when my brother and I decided to tow my son’s car from point “A” (TJ’s girlfriend’s house) to point “B” (G.W. Pierce, a wrecked-car lot). The distance between the two points is about 20 miles on back roads. The car being towed is a very old Toyota Corolla that threw a rod some three months ago. The vehicle doing the towing is a huge-ass F350 pickup truck.

I arrived at Molly’s house and immediately noticed that the car looked odd. On closer inspection and subsequent questioning I found that my loving son, who will soon be heading for college as he graduates from high school in less than two weeks, had sold BOTH FRONT TIRES to one of his buddies!

On the front of the dead car was now two emergency spare tires commonly referred to as “doughnuts,” one of which appeared to be nearly flat. Both doughnuts were held in place by a TOTAL of five lug nuts.

“It’ll be alright. We can tow it with those on.” said the fruit of my loins.

How bad could that affect the handling of the car? Tow it we shall!

We hooked up the tow strap and I climbed behind the wheel, turned the key so the steering wheel would work, and put it in “N” for neutral. Rather I attempted to put it in “N” for neutral. The lever was frozen. It wouldn’t move. It was in “P” and didn’t seem interested at all in moving to “N.”

“What now?”

“That car doesn’t weigh very much. Let’s pull it anyway,” said my brother.

What’s the worst that could happen?

We started down the road.

Investigating the mechanics of what actually occurs when you take a car that is firmly ensconced in “P” for park and compel it to move down the road is something I’ve never actually done, but apparently it’s just like anything else that isn’t supposed to be moving and yet is forcibly persuaded that it will in fact move.

It objects.

It objects very loudly.

The odd thing is that after a mile or so of forced movement, there is one loud and final sound, the sound generally associated with something being broken, and then there is a lot less noise.
Having the sound of the transmission settling down perceptively came at a very opportune time because the sound of the engine was so loud it was drowning out the sound of the right front doughnut beginning to shred. There would be a thunderous banging noise and then I would see a hunk of rubber cast skyward as piece after piece of the tire broke loose and was tossed by the side of the road.

Then the sparks started.

There actually weren’t as many sparks as one would expect from a car being drug on the rim. I have to applaud the inventor of the emergency replacement doughnut spare tire. He (or she as the case may be) did an excellent job of producing a product that would serve well in an emergency to allow you to limp on down the shoulder on the rim while looking for a place of refuge.

They do however lose a tad bit of effectiveness as one exceeds 60 miles per hour.

“Chris, there are a lot a sparks flying. Let me know if this thing catches fire!”

“They NEVER catch fire on COPS!”

You know you’re a redneck when you’re traveling down the road at 60 miles per hour in a parked car on three tires and a rim.

I pause now to ponder my college diploma :-)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A simple update

Wow! It’s been a while since I updated my blog! I’d hate to fall out of grace in the blogger community and therefore thought it prudent to toss together some poker content, but the fact is that I just haven’t been playing much lately.

I went through a bad run on Party Poker last month. Who hasn’t? That’s not a concern. In the Life-Long Poker Game, I’m still up. Numbers don’t lie and I have the spreadsheet to prove it.
The simple fact is that I’ve had a number of distractions lately and haven’t been motivated to attempt to push those distractions aside to concentrate on a playing my “A” game. If I’m not going to play my best I’m destined to toss my chips to the fish like an old man in the park feeding stale popcorn to the pidgeons.

I hate pidgeons.

As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s gotta know his limitations,” and as a member of the only species capable of introspection, having reached the point in our evolution where we are self-aware and base, animal needs are sufficiently satisfied in order to allow us to examine the inner workings of our own individual minds, I peer into my heart and know now is not the time to play.

Or maybe I’m just tired :-)

I’ll be back!