Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best of the Best: 2012 Year in Review

By Pauly
New York City

I didn't share much this year, but on the rare occasions I did post something on Tao of Pauly, I went for a less is more approach, so everything I posted was top notch...
Dope Sick DMV
The Accidental Coach
Roger in the Sky with Diamonds
Time, Clocks, Existence, and Time Wave Zero

I only posted once on Tao of Poker in 2012 in something titled Dear Ndugu. I essentially took a hiatus from poker in 2012 with the exception of maintaining a monthly column at Bluff Magazine.

 You can say that Bluff is the only place where you can exclusively read my poker content. That's where I wrote profiles of three different poker pros (Sailor Roberts, Shirley Rosario, and Brandon Schaefer), while three columns were inspired by my time in San Francisco (The Degen Market, Super Bowl, and Ice Palace Home Game) and all three are a part of a larger gambling series about gambling in the Bay Area. I got a little political (Black Friday Reprise) and even went the pop culture route (Zombies, Hollywood, and Poker and Tao of Joey Knish) As per usual, I wrote a few stories about Las Vegas (Vegas 40 and Glass Tappers), and even shared a WSOP flashback (No Country for Old Men).

Here's my columns in Bluff Magazine during 2012...
The Degen Market
Zombies, Hollywood, and Poker
The Tao of Knish
Black Friday Reprise
The Super Bowl
Vegas 40
No Country for Old Men
Brandon Schaefer: Good Guys Wear Gold
The Queen of Machu Picchu
Ice Palace Home Game
Sailor Roberts: The Life of the Party
Vegas Glass Tappers

While I took some time away from writing about poker, I delved into music writing. The one thing that ruffled the most feathers was my cheap shot at Lana Del Rey with Lana Del Rey Shitshow. Over at Coventry, I wrote recaps/reviews of 20 out of the 25 or so Phish concerts that I caught this summer...
Atlantic City #1: Satan Standing on the Beach
Atlantic City #2: Manteca-Light Sand Funk Fiesta
Atlantic City #3: Mothership Extraction
Cincy: Can You Still Have Fun?
Burgettstown: Tweakpaug
Blossom: Tweeze Away
Deer Creek #1: Heat Wave Hijinks
Deer Creek #2: Master Blaster
Alpine Valley #1: Float With the Flock
Alpine Valley #2: Gotta Get Out of This Maze
Jones Beach #2: Head Held High
SPAC #1: Light Up the Sally Ghost
SPAC #2: Blistering Sabotage
Long Beach: Wednesday Night Bieber
San Francisco #1: Touch the Magic
San Francisco #2: Lost in Space
San Francisco #3: Sunday Scorcher
Atlanta: Return to Lakewood
Charlotte: The Church of Phish
St. Louis: Turn My Brain to Mush

Over the summer, Matchbook hired me to write about sports betting. You can read all of my Matchbook columns here. If you're not familiar with Matchbook, it is a British sports betting site and I'm their American correspondent focusing on American sports. I got to write about other sports too like the Euro 2012 soccer championships and the Summer Olympics.
Euro 2012: Ode to Keira Knightly
Dream Team (1992) vs. Team USA (2012)
12 Random Sporting Events That Should Be in the Olympics
Collapse of the Yankees
NBA: East Preview
NBA: West Preview

I wrote a weekly column covering a Monday Night Football betting preview during the NFL season (click here to read those). I also wrote a preview of the gold medal round for Olympic basketballNFL Season Preview, Stanley Cups Finals Preview, MLB Playoffs Preview, ALCS/NLCS Preview and World Series Betting Preview.

 I also turned my focus to a new project and launching a new site to showcase my sports writing. In 2013, I shall write more about the day-to-day grind of investing in sports betting. I expanded upon those topics over at Ocelot Sports.

Here's some of my favorite pieces from Ocelot Sports...
The Howl of a Saturday Night Duck
The Redskins Rule
Election 2012: Betting on Obama 2.0
Post-Election Mittens Blues
Bringing in the Wolf
Shaved Heads and the Non-Mush
Kobe Shoots Daggers Out of His Eyes
A Curious Case of Byron Leftwich
Fading the Bible Belt and Knicks 5-0
Hawaii Covers and the Knicks Finally Lose
The Streak, Cadillac Rainbows, and Lots of Spaghetti
Turkey Day and LOL-Jets
4th and 29 and Fireman Ed's Swan Song
The Unbearable Likeness of Joey Crawford
Over 88, Helicopter Ben, and Hillary's Ice Box
Vegas: The Feeling I Forgot
Story of the Ghost: Giovanni Carmazzi
Wastleand: The Burial of the Jets
 You can check out more stuff over at the website... Ocelot Sports. And don't forget to follow them on Twitter over at @OcelotSports.

That's it. Everything. Like a I said, I didn't write much in 2012. That should change in 2013. I'll continue to write every day about a multitude of topics. Who knows where I'll be on any given day. That's wy it's best you tune in here or follow me on Twitter at @TaoPauly. Thanks for reading.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Kindle User? Buy My Books!

By Pauly
New York City

Merry Day-After Christmas. Hope it wasn't too brutal and you survived the festivities.

If you were lucky enough to score a new Kindle Fire or an iPad or some other electronic device that let's you read e-books, then now is the time to load up on titles. The e-book version of Lost Vegas is only a few clicks away.

Click here to buy Lost Vegas for Kindle and iPads.

Click here to buy Lost Vegas for the Nook

Click here to buy a print copy of Lost Vegas on

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And if you're totally bored and looking for a trashy novel, then indulge yourself with an e-book Kindle version of Jack Tripper Stole My Dog.

I recorded a podcast with Nicky over 18 months ago. She asked me questions about the origins of Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. If you haven't heard it yet, well, here it is via SoundCloud...

JTSMD - Episode 1: The 10-Day Novel by taopauly 
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And if you like opera music, then here's the trailer...

Thanks for all of your support, kindness, tolerance, patience, understanding, and gratitude over the year. Every book you buy indirectly supports my drug habit, which in turn fuels my passion to write dark, crazy smut like e-book Kindle version of Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. Keep supporting the arts and I'll keep churning out cheese-slathered tripe.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012 and Auggie Wren's Christmas Story

By Pauly
New York City

One of my favorite NYC authors, Paul Auster, wrote something many moons ago titled "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story." I re-read it every Christmas. So should you. Luckily, I linked it up for your enjoyment.

Click here to read Auggie Wren's Christmas Story.

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You  survived the Mayan Apocalypse and you almost got through 2012 without a scratch. The good news is that 2013 is right around the corner.

Happy birthday, Jesus!

Circa 1973

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Flashback: 5 Random C64 Games

By Pauly
New York City

When I was in high school, I was rocking a Commodore 64. My friends and I traded copied games (via floppy disks). I used to hustle a few bucks selling popular games for $3!

My brother and I chatted about some of our favorites. YouTube is cluttered with nostalgic videos about games from my youth that spent endless hours wasting away playing game with horrible graphics. Well, I spent some more time looking up these games via YouTube.

Here's video of five of my favorite C64 games: Jumpman, Mission Impossible, Commando, Summer Games and Winter Games, and Dr. J vs. Larry Bird.

This is a high concept game... a simple figure named Jumpman that jumps and flies around ladders and girders trying to gobble up coin-like items...

The evil robots from Impossible Mission used to give me nightmares, but I loved the ability to do backflips and piece together puzzles...

Then there's Commando, which had a cool feature in which you could throw grenades at your enemies...

Summer Games (and Winter Games) was a popular because you could choose different nations (and listen to national anthems). Of course, we liked to play the villain and take the USSR. Platform diving was always my favorite and equestrian also tilted me....

Our favorite game? Dr J vs. Larry Bird. If you took Larry, you would never miss a three-pointer, but you could break the backboard with Dr. J and a guy with a broom would come out and sweep sway the shards of glass.

Man, I could go all night long reminiscing about some of these games, but I spent a few hours with my brother pulling up YouTube videos of some of our favorite C64 games. I'm going to have bizarre dreams that have cheesy 24-bit soundtracks. A few that just missed the cut... Bruce Lee, Ghostbusters, Aztec Challenge, Crystal Castles, Spy vs. Spy, Spyhunter and Raid Over Moscow.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Time, Clocks, Existence, and Time Wave Zero

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Time. It's one of the most invaluable resources known to mankind. I wish I had more of it. When things were going good in life, I wish time slowed down. When life was excruciating painful, I wished time sped up.

I never have enough time for work and play. I wish I had an extra few hours in each day to accomplish what I really want to do. My internal body clock is set for 30-32 hour days, which is why I have trouble sleeping whenever everyone else is supposed to sleep. I knew someone who was very depressed because they didn't have enough time to read all the books that they wanted to read. I thought that notion was petty and dismissed it... yet almost twenty years later... I'm starting to understand what they meant.

In my office, I'm taunted by a pile of books that I started reading but never finished. That pile is significant;y larger than my current "to read" pile. If I had more time to read, I would. Instead, if I can't get into a specific book for whatever reason, I get guilty because I'm a voracious reader and want to keep reading. So, I put the fledgling book aside and pick up a new book that I think I can read much faster because the topic seems more compelling.

Time is weird. When you're a kid you're always waiting for something big to happen while living a linear life. The older you get, the more haunted you are by memories and anxiety. You're anxious that you don't have enough time to accomplish whatever it is you're trying to accomplish. I always felt sorry for friends who were specific with their life plans because they were trying to squeeze in real-life into a linear time line. Instead of enjoying the moment, they have to stick to a rigid schedule. That might make goal-oriented people feel better about themselves, but they also do a disservice to the entire "experience" that makes life an amazing mystery.

I'm the type of person who likes to plan for almost anything, yet will throw all that out the window on a whim. It's sort of like a band creating a set list before they take the stage, then abandoning the entire game plan and playing songs based on the vibe of the crowd, or perhaps following a bit of intuition.

For most of my adult life I rarely wore a watch. This was possible because for many years I was lived the life as a beatnik on the fringe and had no need for time-keeping, but then technology swooped in and created cellphone which had its own clock synced up to the Mothership. In my 20s I never wanted to know the time, but in my 30s all I had to do was peek at my cellphone to be reminded about how little time I had... or how much time I wasted. In short, a clock/watch often ruined the zen-like moment of being in the monent.

When I lived in Seattle in the post-grunge era of the 90s, I had a friend who said he never wore a watch because you could ask anyone what time it was and they'd tell you (if they had a watch). I told him that some folks have slow watches, or A-type personalities set their watches ahead by a few minutes. I know that's what I used to do when I owned a watch... keep time five minutes faster.

When I left Wall Street the first time, I ditched my watch. It was one of those symbolic moves that represented my angst against the Establishment... because only the Man wanted you to adhere to time keeping in order to keep you down.

I bought a watch in 2000 before a trip to Japan. I lived in NYC at the time and went down to Canal Street in Chinatown, where I found a knock-off Swiss Army watch for $10. I only bought the watch because Senor and I were traveling to several cities in Japan and riding the bullet trains. Japan is a society that operates efficiently and on time. The subway and JR (train) stations broke down the arrival of the next train not by minutes, but by minutes and seconds. The watch was essential because we didn't want to miss a train, plus we didn't speak Japanese so we couldn't ask a local what time it was. During our time in Japan, we didn't miss a single train.

After that epic trip, I didn't use a watch ever again. I kept the knock-off watch with me until the battery died and then I ditched it.

When I worked on Wall Street a second time shortly after 9/11, I had a cellphone which told me what time it was. I always thought... "what would happen if the lights/satellites went out... then how would I tell the time?"

When I was a kid, there was a specific phone number that you called to get the exact time... at the beep. These days, you just have to go online and check out the atomic world clock.

I've read my fair share of "preppers" websites and other emergency preparedness that suggest you stash away an alternate wind-up watch because so many of us don't have watches anymore and rely on digital clocks, cable boxes, laptops, or cellphones to tell time.

I'm a denizen of the West Coast and you really have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I have an earthquake kit that also doubles as a bugout bag just in case the shit hits the fan. Ever since I was a little kid and saw the first Superman movie (with Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor living in a lair underneath Grand Central Station), I became cognizant about how the San Andreas fault could blow and California would sink into the ocean. Decades later, I'm an adult living in SoCal and flirting with potential disaster. Someday the big one will hit... but when?

That time bugger comes into play again. When will the big one hit? If it does, will I have the proper supplies to be able to tell time? And if I do survive a big quake, what good is a watch if civilization breaks down? It's not like I can trade a useless watch for food, water, or medical supplies.

I watched a few videos over the summer about Terrance McKenna's theory about Time Wave Zero. McKenna noticed a pattern in the I Ching and mapped a graph (covering all 4,000 years of record human history since the dawn of civilization) over a time line that had some mind-blowing correlations. He called it Time Wave Zero, which had accurately depicted major Earth events like the fall of the Roman Empire and both world wars. A lot of people are freaked out because McKenna's time line bottomed out and stopped in December 2012.

Here's a quick video explaining Time Wave Zero...

McKenna thinks that time and space is getting condensed... and will eventually disappear. Do your own research about McKenna's theory on Time Wave Zero because it's some pretty heavy shit.

I do not believe in a Mayan doomsday, but according to McKenna's Time Wave Zero, we're entering a new era. What that era will be? I have no fucking clue. But will my "time" woes be alleviated? Or will this just usher in a new wave of problems? Or perhaps lead us onto a new path of time and space?

Friday, December 07, 2012

Dayton, Funk City USA

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm not one to dwell too much about the past and everyone knows that one of my biggest faults is living too much in the moment. With that said, if I could go back in time... or rather, if I could have one of those "Ground Hog Day" experiences, it would be fucking sensational to wake up in Dayton, Ohio on December 7th, 1997.

Wait, why 1997? And why bumble-fuck Dayton? And hey, isn't 12.7.97  exactly fifteen years today?

Yeah, today marks the anniversary of what many Phisheads consider the best live performance in 30 years of Phish. That's a bold statement considering the band spanned three decades, but that assessment is something I first heard around the millennium. As time passes, the evening in Dayton's awesomeness grows bigger and bigger. The legend has become embolden so much so that it's no longer an opinion... the majority of the community accept it as fact... Dayton 97 was the best Phish show. Ever. In Grateful Dead terms, the funk-infused Dayton 97 show is similar to a crispy copy of Barton Hall 77 tape.

Four white dudes from Vermont rolled the dice and pushed the limits of their musicianship in 1997. The result was a tsunami of funk-driven grooves and jams aka the Year of the Funk.

This version of Tube from 12.7.97 is the perfect example of how the band's heavy funk influenced affected their playing. They love their Tubified-funk groove so much, that after the song ended, they paused for a few seconds and launched back into it, but truly pulling everyone else down the rabbit hole with them.

Was it the best show ever? Hard to say, but it's up there for sure. But if there's one live show you must have in your collection, it's Phish 12.7.97.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Rolling Stones: Some Girls and Crossfire Hurricane

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

 GMoney wrote an awesome guest post on Coventry Music. He watched the Rolling Stones documentary and wrote up his thoughts on the film and the Rolling Stones.

Check out... A Review of Crossfire Hurricane... and Hopefully Some Stuff You Might Not Know About "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band".

Since we're on a Stones kick, check out Some Girls recorded live in Austin, Texas in 1978. This is the full DVD that I found on YouTube. It has a disco-funk version of Miss You and a rocking rendition of Tumbling Dice, not to mention a bunch of other classic hits from the Stones.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Around the Web: Late November and Early December

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

A big hearty fuck you to the old fart-stain who thought he was clever by calling me a lazy drug addict for not writing about poker anymore. Yep, I devoted nearly everyday for eight fucking years to one subject... writing for free mind you... and it's still not enough for some malcontents.

Yes, fuck you old man. Even jacked up on enough pills to keep Lindsay Lohan cooking for a month, I still cranked out more content in a half-baked coma than he can ever dream of in a decade.

Here's a quick list of some non-freelance things I worked on (for free for the pure love of the subject matter) in the last week or so, and I wasn't even trying...
Coventry Music:
Lana Del Rey Shit Show
Turbo Review: Phil Lesh & Friends 11/30/12 
Turbo Review: Phil Lesh & Friends 12/1/12
Turbo Review: Phil Lesh & Friends 12/2/12
RIP Dave Brubeck
Tao of Fear:
Why Has NASA Never Returned to the Moon?
Stop the Revolution, Start the Evolution
Les Stroud (a.k.a. Survivor-man) on Joe Rogan

Ocelot Sports:
Over 88, Helicopter Ben, and Hillary's Ice Box
Muting the Talking Heads, Melo ISO, and Sanchez Benched
Not mentioned is the random shit I post on my Tumblr page like cartoon dogs eating magic mushrooms.

Anyway, I know the best way to get rid of a troll is to ignore them, but every once in a while, it feels good to kick them in the nutsack and tell them to piss off.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Sanchize: Same Shit, Different Day

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Guess what? Same old shit for the LOL-Jets. First pass play for Mark Sanchize?

Yes, poor Sanchize must be afflicted with color-blindness again. It's tough to distinguish red uniforms from green. It's going to be a very long day. Hey at least it wasn't an ass fumble, right?

Follow @OcelotSports for more in-game snark.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

30 Days of Depravity

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Thanks for my dear friend Katitude from the Great White North for encouraging me to get off my ass, shake off the rust, and returning to "everyday blogging" during the month of November. If she wasn't doing NaBloMo... then I would have blown off a web-based project that I always wanted to do, but never had the time to do it.

Yes, I puked up over 35,000 words in the last four weeks on Ocelot Sports and let everyone inside the twisted and half-baked mind of a sports gambler.

After taking almost a year off, November 2012 was really a crazy month. I was swamped with a couple of new work projects (poker and sports betting), then I got hired by a French company to build a website, and the usual freelance magazine work plus spending a couple of hours every day handicapping games in multiple sports. Oh, how could I forget the podcast with Jesse and then toss in the Turkey Day holidays and a quick trip to Seattle. All that jam packed into 30 days. Yeah, I barely had time to sleep.

Now that November is over... should I keep on blogging about sports (betting)? The bad news is... I probably won't post something every day. The good news is... that I'm going to keep up Ocelot Sports for at least the rest of the year and then make a decision about keeping it up in 2013. My gut is telling me to keep writing about sports and continue a blogging hiatus on poker. I have enough time to do one, but not both. After dedicating 8+ years to one genre on Tao of Poker, I've feeling more inclined to allocate time and energy into a new genre.

Anyway... in case you missed what I've been doing with myself in November, here's a link to the Ocelot Sports archives.

Here's a quick link to every single post over the last 30 days about football, basketball, winning streaks, losing streaks, backup QBs, fired head coaches, Tim Tebow, Kim Kardashian's hubby getting into a cat fight, show-off zebras, craptacular commissioners, how we made a shit-ton of cash betting on the Election, and more GIFs that will make your head spin...
Halloween: Tricks, Treats, and Fear the Beard
Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines
Top Billing for the Clippers
The Howl of a Saturday Night Duck 
The Redskins Rule
Post-Election Mittens Blues and Knicks 3-0
Bringing the Wolf
Shaved Heads and the Non-Mush
Kobe Shoots Daggers Out of His Eyes
Ugly Guts and Bama Busts
Seachickens, Bowling Alleys, and Pai Gow
A Curious Case of Byron Leftwich
Fading the Bible Belt and Knicks 5-0
The Bobkittens Nevermore
Eurotrash Dildos and Knicks 6-0
Hawaii Covers and the Knicks Finally Lose
Sometimes It Rains
The Streak, Cadillac Rainbows, and Lots of Spaghetti
Safety Dance
Melo Elbows
Eating the Bar and Stealing Patrick Ewing's TV
Turkey Day and LOL-Jets
Black-Hearted Friday
Turn a Deeper Blue
4th and 29 and Fireman Ed's Swan Song
Philly Brown Bags, the Winless Wiz, and Bobkittens Blowout
The Unbearable Likeness of Joey Crawford
Cat Scratch Fever: Rondo-Kardashian Claw Fight
Brees Grounded and Pop's Sleep Plan
Soggy Fields, the Orlando Tragic, and Aussie Soccer

Visit Ocelot Sports for more sublime degeneracy. It also has its own Twitter feed: @OcelotSports. That's where you'll find our daily plays.