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Friday, January 18, 2008

Gambling and "Bad Beats"

Started reading an exhaustively researched, intensely reasoned and gracefully written academic work on compulsive gambling, though I must admit I find it disconcerting when he analyzes characters from literature and movies as part of his analytic, I mean I turn to academia for facts and theory and logical argumentation, not literary and film critiques, that's supposed to be my field; he even has things to say about Tykwer's (sp?) meta-flick Run Lola Run and Mason & Dixon, the latter a work I'll never read, I paid my Pynchon dues with Gravity's Rainbow, The Crying of Lot 49 and Vineland, don't need any more work assignments from him. A punter's adage: "In gambling, the second best thing to winning is losing," a common symptom of pathological gamblers being that they speak with greater emotion of "bad beats" (excessively unlikely losses) than they do of winning. Another adage: "Show me a gambler with a good excuse for losing and I'll show you a loser."

1 comment:

Joe Schmo said...

I agree with you, Rick. Now, I just laugh when I see a book like that in the window of the Harvard Coop right above my head where I sleep every night. That author knows all about gambling but he doesn’t know that he knows. He gets the same thrills I do. Every manuscript is going to be the ONE…the BIG ONE… WINNER TAKES ALL! This one’s gonna top the best seller list, he’s gonna hit the talk show circuit, be on Charlie Rose, make Oprah’s list, make a movie, be a celebrity, get some nice commencement speeches, a real nice place to live, LOTS of nice places to live. People are going to like him, adore him, worship him, want to be with him, want to be like him, want to BE HIM! What are the chances of that? Well, it’s a long shot. He could lose a lot along the way, might lose everything, but Hell, it’s worth it. It’s worth the risk. It’s worth the gamble. See…he knows all about gamblers and gambling and losing and never having enough and for it all to be just out of reach, just beyond his grasp, right there hanging in the air waiting for him to grab. He knows, but he doesn’t know that he knows. Want to bet on it?