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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Irish Times
English-language Daily Not Yet Destroyed by
Conrad Black or His Colleagues in Media Ownership
Where a big flop can make you rich
In the world of online poker, men become women
and women become men. But in Dublin today,
they'll play face to face, writes Conor Pope.

Oct. 28/06


Quote:
Luck doesn't usually get you far at the poker table. Every once in a while, however, if the gods of chance are smiling broadly enough you might have a stroke of ridiculous good fortune at exactly the right card game allowing you to hit the jackpot.

For most people, that moment, if it ever comes, will come at a low-level card game with friends and might bring in enough cash to cover a meal in a restaurant or a few rounds in the pub. For journalist, novelist, TV presenter, poker star and all-round renaissance women, Victoria Coren, it came at the appositely named Victoria Casino in London four weeks ago and won her 500,000 pounds (745,392 euros).

She was taking part in the London leg of the European Poker Tour (EPT) at the invitation of the tour sponsors, online poker site www.pokerstars.com, when she hit paydirt, making history by becoming the first woman to win the event.

...The 5, 3, 4, on the table gave Coren a most unlikely straight - an unbeatable hand in the circumstances, known as "the nuts." Blissfully unaware of the terrible misfortune that was about to befall him, the cocky last man standing read her tentative betting, sensed she was vulnerable and tried to bully her out of the game by going all in - betting his entire stake. She called, he lost everything and she walked away with the top prize. "I had already thought it through and I knew he was very aggressive so I had to try and let him hang himself. I thought it might take hours but as it happened, four hands in and I flopped the nuts."

...The number of players playing poker in recent years has ballooned because of the success of online poker. Women in particular have taken to it and now make up more than a quarter of all online players - compared to around 5 per cent on the live poker circuit.

Women in society are not conditioned to be aggressive but this engendered passivity "doesn't work at the poker table," says Coren. "Online poker is great for women who like the thrill of gambling. After a day of being bullied by aggressive men, they can go home, mix a martini and, behind the safety of the poker screen let out all their pent-up fury" - often after adopting a male persona.

In the same way that an attractive blonde woman in Texas you meet in an online dating forum is actually a 45-year-old bearded trucker from Athlone, there is an inordinate amount of gender swapping in the world of online poker. Men pretend to be women so people will think that they can't bluff and women pretend to be men so people will think they can. (Weekend Review, p. 3)

Quote:
On the river: learn the lingo

Poket cards
Every player is dealt their first two cards face down and they remain hidden for the duration of the game.

All-in
When you bet everything you have on a single hand.

The Turn or 4th Street
The fourth community card.

The River
The fifth and final community card.

A bad beat
Losing a hand when you looked certain to win. You're dealt pocket aces against someone holding a pair of 2s. They win after drawing another 2 on the River.

Tilt
Players who've experienced a bad beat may go on tilt and allow anger and frustration to have a negative impact on their poker game.

The Nuts
The best possible hand in any given deal. If you draw the nuts then going all in is a pretty good idea. (Also from the Weekend Review, p. 3)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Irish Times
English-language Daily Not Yet Despoiled by
Conrad Black or His Media Baron Colleagues.
Modern Moment
Donald Clarke is always disappointed when a cult
entertainment - poker, say - gets discovered by the
undiscriminating masses. It looks as if we are the sort of
fellows who allow hotel heiresses to dictate how we
spend our evenings
.
Oct. 28/06


Quote:
Despite the banning of online gambling in the US, the advance of poker as a mainstream pastime continues largely unabated. Late last year reports began reaching us that the craze might be petering out. Gift stores were, it was said, having to move their ostentatiously packaged sets of gaming chips towards the backs of their sales floors. Idiotic celebrity sheep were growing tired of pretending they could recognize an inside straight and were returning to less cerebral pursuits, such as cramming small pink dogs into smaller pink handbags.

Then it was announced that Paris Hilton, that late adopter of voguish enthusiasms, had become addicted to the game. Her representative denied that she had, as reported on naughty websites, lost her Bentley during an aggressive session of Texas hold'em, but it was confirmed that the ever-friendly socialite did enjoy a nice hand now and then (of poker, that is). The diversion, once the preserve of men with cities for first names, remains a populist phenomenon. How upsetting.

For some years a group of friends and I have met regularly to exchange modestly sized stacks of cash while swearing, drinking, bickering and generally doing anything possible to appear less cosily middle class than we are. It's interesting how the simple act of slapping down five cards of the same suit can make a balding academic from Terenure appear, to himself at least, like a swarthy one-eyed Texan with the morals of a rattlesnake. For years poker was our thing. While contemporaries played stupid golf, or tended wretched gardens, we retained our edge by allowing a pack of cards to determine the destiny of terrifying two-figure sums.

Poker's rise in popularity has taken the edge off our pleasure. Suddenly, it looks as if we are the sort of fellows who allow intellectually unspectacular hotel heiresses to dictate how we spend our evenings. (Irish Times Magazine, p. 62)


Quote:
More of the Fighting Irish.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Reuters Canada
Bet on for fate of Heather Mills' leg
on dance show

March 12/07


Quote:
An online gambling site is taking bets on whether Heather Mills' artificial leg will fall off during her upcoming appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

Mills, 39, the estranged wife of Beatle Paul McCartney, lost her left leg below the knee in a traffic accident in 1993. She is the first contestant on the hit ABC television show to compete with an artificial limb.

A week before Mills' March 19 debut, Antigua-based gaming site http://www.bodog.com opened bets on whether her prosthetic leg would fly off during a dance routine -- and made "no" a heavy favorite.

The site added that Mills' leg "must fall off, not be purposely taken off, during a dance routine for all Yes wagers to be graded a win."

Mills, a former model, has been upfront about her unique challenge. "It's very very unlikely my leg's going to fly off even though it would be quite funny to knock one of the judges out," she told U.S. celebrity TV show EXTRA last week.

"I'm hoping to show people that even with a prosthetic leg you can dance," Mills said.

Mills will be paired with professional dancer Jonathan Roberts on the dance contest show. Other celebrities in the season starting March 19 include female boxer Laila Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus and Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno.

Free drinks for Heather the lion-heart either way!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Six Wives
The Queens of Henry VIII
Hardcover
By Tudor historian Dr. David Starkey




Quote:
On 11 December, Anne (of Cleves) arrived at the English stronghold of Calais. Lord Lisle, the Lord Deputy or Governor, had been instructed to make the town look its best to receive her. But it was hoped that her stay would be a short one. A detailed timetable of the state of the tides, starting on 12 December, was sent to Henry. And, before Anne even entered the walls, Admiral Fitzwilliam, who was in charge of the reception party, took her to look at the ship that would carry to England. It was a fine sight. Just as in the Zuiderzee map, it was decked with streamers, banners and flags. Seamen were on the tops, shrouds and yard-arms and the guns fired a salute.

But adverse winds made a quick departure impossible. In the hope that the weather would change soon, experienced captains, including Aborough and Couche, were sent 'to lie out side the walls and give immediate notice of fair weather.' They were to remain there rather a long time.

Meanwhile, Admiral Fitzwilliam, as instructed, set himself to entertain Anne, while Anne, for her part, did her best to prepare herself for her new role. On the afternoon of the 13th, for instance, she sent Olisleger, who acted as interpreter, to invite Fitzwilliam 'to go to cards [with her] at some game that [the King] used.' Fitzwilliam, who was one of Henry's oldest gaming cronies, decided that she should be taught 'cent,' which resembled piquet. 'I played with her at cent,' Fitzwilliam reported to Henry, while three others, who spoke German, 'stood by and taught her the play.' 'And I assure your Majesty,' Fitzwilliam concluded, 'she played as pleasantly and with as good a grace and countenance as ever in all my life I saw any noblewoman.' (footnotes omitted) (-- pgs. 624-625)


Not only was she an astute card player, Anne of Cleves enjoys the distinction of being the only one of Hank's wives who escaped his evil clutches with both her life and a substantial divorce settlement. To wit:

Quote:
...She would have an income of 4,000 pounds a year. She would be given Richmond and Bletchingley as her residences. And these, the King explained, were both near the Court, which she would be welcome to visit, 'as we shall repair unto you.' (footnote omitted) (-- p. 642)


Quote:
Six Wives
CD Audio
Narrated by British actor Patricia Hodge




Phyllida Erskine-Brown nee Trant, the Portia of Rumpole's chambers, gives a clear and inspired read of this terrifying chapter in British history.


Quote:
Monarchy
DVD
Tirelessly researched and clearly narrated by Dr. Starkey




Filmed on location. Footage includes famous portraits, churches, battlegrounds and actual documents translated from the Latin by Dr. Starkey, who sets out a gripping tale of British history in a slow, precise and well-modulated voice.


Quote:
More Famous Women Gamblers, including Anne's successor, young Catherine Howard.

More Teutonic Gamblers.

More on German gambling law at our EU forum.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Death in Belmont
Hardcover
By Sebastian Junger

View photo gallery and author interview in the story,
The perfect story, It seemed Sebastian Junger was destined to
write about the 1963 murder of Bessie Goldberg
, by David Mehegan
April 5/06 at boston.com.

See also publisher's response to claims by the daughter of victim Bessie
Goldberg that author Junger got it all wrong
.



Quote:
Chelsea was a cramped little industrial city filled with people that Europe didn't want. The Irish came during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s and established themselves by volunteering in huge numbers during the American Civil War. Every man who survived the war got a total of three hundred dollars, which many then used to start a small business in town. The Italians and the Poles came twenty years later, fleeing economic conditions that approached feudalism in their home countries. They were rough, uneducated people who were willing to work hard on the Chelsea waterfront and in the factories and freight businesses that sprang up in the postwar boom. The Jews came last, flushed out of Russia by a nationalistic frenzy instituted by Czar Alexander III in the 1880s. His ambition was to force Russia's Jews to convert, starve, or flee, and not surprisingly, many of them decided to flee. They arrived by the tens of thousands in New York and Boston and Chicago much the way blacks like Roy Smith arrived a generation or two later.

...Every wave of immigrants to Chelsea brought with them not only their particular brand of industry, but their particular brand of crime, and by (Albert) DeSalvo's time, Chelsea was awash in backroom hustles and illicit cash. It was said that the Irish ran Chelsea but that the Jews owned it. It was said that in Chelsea, a C-note would get you anything you wanted. It was said that Chelsea was the most corrupt city in America. "I can't remember a time when I wasn't learning something I was better off not knowing," DeSalvo later told investigators about growing up there. Boston gangsters oversaw high-stakes dice games in Chelsea and old ladies ran numbers from corner stores and bartenders cashed checks for bookies who walked around with thousands of dollars in their pockets. The entire enterprise was overseen by a succession of currupt mayors who financed their political campaigns by getting kickbacks from the thugs they were elected to protect. The corruption got so bad that when a fire burned much of West Chelsea in 1973, someone from the mayor's office tried to shake down a state telephone crew that had been sent to rehang the lines. The crew foreman tossed the mayor's man a hard hat from the back of a truck and told him to go back to city hall with that. (-- pgs. 165-166)


Quote:
Albert DeSalvo, Bridgewater Correctional Institution: "Well, I been riding around all day like in the middle of the world and I got to this parking lot down on Commonwealth Avenue and I left my car there and I walked to number 1940. It was awful hot and I could feel the sweat on me and smell it, too, and I don't like that because I like to keep my body very clean. I look at the names on the mailboxes and the bells inside number 1940 and pick out a couple of women's names and press the first one. I stand there waiting, feeling the image build up and not thinking anout what I'm going to say to her because I know something will come to me like it always does. Nothing happens. I press the second doorbell and in a few minutes she buzzes the door, twice, and I walk into the hallway. The stairs are curved arund an elevator and to the right and I go up them, not in a hurry or nothing, just taking them one at a time. It's funny, isn't it, how the first woman didn't answer the bell or wasn't home or something and just that little chance, you understand what I mean? (-- p. 177)


Quote:
The story about Bessie Goldberg that I heard from my parents was that a nice old lady had been killed down the street and an innocent black man went to prison for the crime. Meanwhile - unknown to anyone - a violent psychopath named Al was working alone at our house all day and probably committed the murder. In our family this story eventually acquired the tidy symbolism of a folk tale. Roy Smith was a stand-in for everything that was unjust in the world, and Bessie Goldberg was a stand-in for everything that was decent but utterly defenseless, Albert DeSalvo, of course, was a stand-in for pure random evil.

Our family's story was so perfect that I didn't question its simplicity until I was much older. Its simplicity was rooted in the fact that the tragedy on Scott Road had brushed our family but had never really affected us. That was a piece of good luck that I eventually realized could easily have been otherwise. What if, for example, my mother hadn't gone out on the day of the murder; what if she had just stayed home with me? Would Al have gotten his terrible urge and killed my mother instead of Bessie Goldberg? Would some other journalist now be interviewing me, rather than the other way around? (From September, 2005 at pgs. 245-246)


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elle Quebec
Magazine Subscription
Dossier
La Fin d'une Epoque
Françoise Sagan
par Laurence Pivot
Fevrier 2005




Quote:
A l'age de 18 ans, en 1954, Francoise Sagan connait la gloire avec son premier roman, Bonjour tristesse. Jeune bourgeoise refusant les conventions et l'ennui, elle fait scandale dans la France d'apres-guerre et brule la chandelle par les deux bouts - cocaine, casinos, boites de nuit det voitures sport...Elle voulait faire de sa vie une fete, mais c'est seule et ruinee qu'elle meurt a 69 ans. Elle nous a laisse 30 romans. (-- p. 76)


...and each a miracle of music, cocktails and everything chic and glamorous, prose that is never once vulgur or cloying. We miss her every day.

Bonjour Tristesse
DVD
Film classic featuring super-cool David Niven, ingenue
Jean Seberg, the fabulous French Riviera and
an inside view of the Monte-Carlo Casino

View a movie clip featuring the title track
at YouTube.com
.



Quote:
View a sample of this author's work at Roués resplendissants


Women Who Write
Hardcover
Edited by Stefan Bollman




Quote:
Sagan turned to literature for both the title of her novel and her pen name: Her upper-middle-class parents had insisted that she adopt a pseudonym. Princess Boson de Sagan is a character in Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, while "Bonjour tristesse: is the second line of the poem "A peine défigurée" (Barely Disfigured") by Paul Éluard (the first line is "Adieu tristesse"). Tristesse (sadness or sorrow) comes and goes; it is inscribed in the lines of the ceiling or in the eyes of the beloved, but it is not misery, and there is no despair in it. On the contrary, it draws attention away from terrible and monstrous aspects of human life, as Sagan's story illustrates, for the seventeen-year-old central figure, wrapped in her gentle pain, does actually drive someone to her death. Much to the author's surprise, however, it was not this but the premarital sex in the novel that provoked the scandal that helped make it a bestseller. Yet it would be unfair to suggest that this was the sole reason for the book's success. Rather, Sagan had captured a mood that no one could easily avoid in the years after the Second World War: the tristesse of all those who had escaped the horror and how had to live the lie that they bore none of the responsibility, but had been mere innocent bystanders. (-- p. 132)


Quote:
À peine défigurée

Adieu tristesse
Bonjour tristesse
Tu es inscrite dans les lignes du plafond
Tu es inscrite dans les yeux que j'aime
Tu n'es pas tout à fait la misère
Car les lèvres les plus pauvres te dénoncent
Par un sourire
Bonjour tristesse
Amour des corps aimables
Puissance de l'amour
Dont l'amabilité surgit
Comme un monstre sans corps
Tête désappointée
Tristesse beau visage.

Barely Disfigured

Adieu Tristesse
Bonjour Tristesse
Farewell Sadness
Hello Sadness
You are inscribed in the lines on the ceiling
You are inscribed in the eyes that I love
You are not poverty absolutely
Since the poorest of lips denounce you
Ah with a smile
Bonjour Tristesse
Love of kind bodies
Power of love
From which kindness rises
Like a bodiless monster
Unattached head
Sadness beautiful face.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Women of Mythology
Hardcover
By Kay Retzkoff




Quote:
At long last, the several gods who had advised the emperor revealed themselves to her (the empress): "We told him of the land to the west," said the first god.

"We revealed to him that it contained gold, silver, and gems that sparkle in the sunlight," said the second god.

"We promised him this country," said the third god.

"But he answered us haughtily," said the first god. "He said, 'There is no land to the west. One only has to climb a mountaintop to see that there is only ocean.'"

"He claimed that were deceivers," said the second god.

"For that sacrilege," said the third god, "we took his life."

"How can I undo the curse upon the land that my husband's sacrilege has brought about?" the empress asked.

"The land to the west is to be ruled by the child in your womb," said the first god.

"What child is in my womb?" asked the empress.

"If you go to seek the land to the west, you must make offerings to all the heavenly deities and all the earthly deities, to all the gods of the mountains, rivers and seas," said the first god.

"You must create a shrine at the top of the ship for us and put wood ashes into a gourd," said the second god.

"You must make many chopsticks and plates and cast them onto the ocean waves," said the third god.

"Then may you cross the waves to the land of the west," said the first god.
(From the chapter, The Empress Jingo Kogo Conquers the Western Kingdom, at pgs. 152-153)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gamblers, Gunmen and Good-Time Gals
Living It Up in the Wild West
Paperback
By Valerie Green




Our copy was purchased at a third-rate cafeteria/tourist shop at the Saskatchewan River Crossing,
a stop along Alberta's magnificent Icefield Parkway between Jasper and Banff while aboard a cush,
air-conditioned Brewster Sightseeing Bus. The bus tour turned out to be a shimmering oasis
in an otherwise hot, dry, utterly inhospitable Alberta, which, sadly, has not yet discovered manners
or the scientific miracle of air conditioning, though they sure charge as if they had. We can't think of
even one nice thing to say about either Brewster's Mountain Lodge - not the same co. - or - ugh! -
the rough-and-tumble Inns of Banff - P.U.!


Quote:
It is hard to believe that Alice Ivers, born in Sudbury, England in 1853, the only daughter of a schoolteacher, would end her life in Sturgis, South Dakota, having lived for at least 40 of her 77 years as a tough, cigar-chomping, gun-toting gambler. In Colorado, she became one of the greatest poker players and best faro dealers in the west, despite an upbringing that had offered her the education and polish of a young woman of breeding.

Her father had sent her to a women's seminary in Sudbury and had always instilled moral values in his daughter. When Alice was 12 years old, the family immigrated to America, settling first in Virginia, where Alice attended a fashionable southern school offering the best in education. With the Civil War at its height and with gold beckoning in the west, the Ivers family moved to Lake City, Colorado.

By then Alice was a beautiful young woman of breeding and class. She attracted the attention of many young men, including Frank Duffield, a mining engineer and gambler, who became her first, and perhaps only, true love. The two were soon married and, because of Frank's work, began to move from one boom mining camp to another, finally settling back in Lake City. The Duffields became the centre of social activity wherever they partied, and Alice enjoyed all the attention she received. She also enjoyed joining Frank at the poker tables, preferring that to staying home. Frank taught her all he knew about the game of poker, and she even sat in on games while Frank was at work. She gained some notoriety, because women were not expected to be poker players - and good ones at that. Alice's education served her well. Her math skills were excellent, and she developed a keen sense of the cards. Before long, she was a far better poker player than her husband and most of his friends. (From Chatper 7, Poker Alice to Her Friends, at pgs. 100-101)


More on Poker Alice, including an excellent historical photo gallery, at True West.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Light of Evening
Hardcover
By Edna O'Brien




Quote:
Carts and sidecars had pulled up in the big courtyard of Jacksie's house, horses feeding out of oat bags and a fiddler ignoring the rain, coming out to usher us in. Jacksie was dressed as a bandit, had a patch over one eye, and ran to Cornelius to tell him that twelve tables had been taken, six players per table at five quid a head, packs of cards and grog donated by publicans far and wide, and Red River, as he whispered, in a barn miles away, because with a crowd like that and maybe a bit of jealousy, a horse could get stolen or poisoned or nobbled or anything.

"Have a tour, have a tour," Jacksie said to me and regretted the fact that since his poor dear mother died, the rooms lacked a woman's warmth, a woman's tough. In the kitchen two big women in cooks' outfits were carving legs of ham and beef for the sandwiches that would be served all through the game, then a big breakfast at dawn.

The players were mostly seated, itching to begin, impatient men shuffling the packs of cards, a center lamp on each table, and a hail of welcome as Cornelius entered. From the moment they started, everything quieted, the faces serious and concentrated, except for two men who were drunk and skittish asking if Red River had been covered by Man 'O War himself.

The players were mostly men, with only two women, a Mrs. Hynes, who kept shouting to her partner to remember more of the red and less of the black - and a Miss Gleason, who had kept her hat on, a pearled hatpin skewering the cloth, the pearling a sickly yellow.

Nobody danced but the fiddle squeaked in fits and starts and the greyhounds slipped in and out under the tables that wobbled as fists were banged in recrimination. Disputes after each round as to how many tricks this person or that person had got, and muting when Miss Gleason got flustered, first reneged on herself, then played her best card, which she needn't have, and her partner, a gruff man, jumping up, calling her a mad Irish eejit and telling everyone, "She can't count, she can't blasted count, she doesn't even know that a five is better than a knave." Poor Miss Gleason mortified, her cheeks the same vermillion as the walls, asking him in a screechy voice to take that remark back and people next to her pulling her to sit down, then Jacksie standing on a chair and in a thunderous voice declared her a liability in any game. She sat frail and sulking, her cheeks scalding, vowing that she would never darken his doorstep again, some hushing her and others sniggering at her disgrace. (From Revel, pgs. 108-110)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contemporary Irish Poetry
An Anthology
Hardcover
Edited by Anthony Bradley




Quote:
New Territory

Several things announed the fact to us:
The captain's Spanish tears
Falling like doubloons in the headstrong light,
And then of course the fuss --
The crew jostling and interspersing cheers
with wagers
. Overnight
As we went down to our cabins, nursing the last
Of the grog, talking as usual of conquest,
Land hove into sight.

Frail compasses and trenchant consellations
Brought us as far as this,
And now air and water, fire and earth
Stand at their given stations
Out there, and are ready to replace
This single desperate width
Of ocean. Why do we hesitate? Water and air
And fire and earth and therefore life are here,
And therefore death.

Out of the dark man comes to life and into it
He goes and loves and dies,
(His element being the dark and not the light of day)
So the ambitious wit
Of poets and exploring ships have been his eyes -
Riding the dark for joy -
And so Isaiah of the sacred text is eagle-eyed because
By peering down the unlit centuries
He glimpsed the holy boy
.

(Eavan Boland, pgs. 343-344)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paris:
The Secret History
Hardcover
By Andrew Hussey




Quote:
The wild speculation on international markets was matched in the backstreets of Paris by an equally fevered enthusiasm for gambling. The police easily tolerated the jeux de societe popular among the aristocracy and other people de qualite. What was rather less tolerable, and a clear threat to the social order, was the proliferation of illegal gaming tables that spread across the capital through the first years of the eighteenth century, and which indeed endured well into the Napoleonic era. One of the most notorious of these places in the back alleys of the Marais was L'Enfer (Hell) and was famed for a ruthlessness that left millions of all classes destitute. Police reports of the period note also that women of a certain age ('probably former whores,' according to one sergeant) were 'unduly excited' at these tables, gambling and wasting even larger sums than men.

The political philosopher Charles de Secondat Montesquieu, ever a keen and acid-tongued observer of public morality, pointed out that many of these women took up gambling 'expressly to ruin their husbands, and that they are of all ages, from tender youth to the most decrepit old age. I have often seen nine or ten women at table, showing fear, hope and fury and seeming never to be at peace. A husband who wants to control his wife is seen as a disturber of public joy.' These same women were unrepentantly promiscuous in his view. One such woman, found by her husband in the bed of his son's valet, fired a volley of abuse at the dumbfounded spouse. 'What do you expect, sir?' she shrieked with self-righteous venom. 'When I have no knight, I take his lackey.' Gambling obviously drove women mad, Montesquieu remarked gravely, and led inevitably to murder. (footnotes omitted) (From Secret City, Shadow and Stench, pgs. 169-170)


Apparently, old Monte's liberal views on the separation of church and state did not extend to gender. How have so many of history's 'great minds' failed to take such an obvious, pedestrian step, one wonders, and at no cost to their recorded 'greatness'?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poker News Online
Judiciary Committee hears net gambling testimony
By Sarah Polson
Nov. 15/07


Quote:
More about poker legend Annie Duke.

More on the testimony of other panelists.


Quote:
The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from various witnesses today, including Annie Duke, to discuss establishing consistent enforcement policies in the context of online wagers.
...
How I Raised, Folded, Bluffed, Flirted, Cursed,
and Won Millions at The World Series of Poker

Paperback
By Annie Duke




Annie Duke, representing the Poker Players Alliance and speaking as a concerned citizen, ... pointed out that online gambling is a matter of personal freedom, and as such shouldn't be banned by the government. "Having the right to continue to pursue my profession, wherever I might choose to pursue it, is very important to me from both a financial standpoint, but also from the broader perspective of freedom, personal responsibility and civil liberties," she said. She also stated that although there are many who believe that gambling is immoral or unproductive, even though she doesn't share those beliefs, she does respect them. "What is harder to respect is the idea that just because someone disapproves of a particular activity, that they should seek to have the government prevent others from engaging in it," she said. She compared online gambling and its downfalls to [u]online shopping or day trading or even drinking water, which can all become addictive, harmful behaviors as well. The government will have to ban a lot more activities if they want to continue to protect people from themselves, she argued.

Duke also reiterated the point that regulation will provide more effective protection to keep minors from gambling than a ban does. As well, she addressed the issue of distinguishing between [color=darkred]skill games and games of pure luck in the context of the UIGEA. She was able to demonstrate the skill factor in poker when one of the panel members asked her an odds question, and she told him the percentage of times a person could make an inside straight flush on a hand of poker. It spoke to Duke's own skill that she knows those odds and can use them in her favor to come out a winning player in the game, unlike in other casino games where outcomes hinge entirely on luck.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Empire of Blue Water
Captain Morgan's Great Pirate Army, the Epic Battle for the Americas, and the Catastrophe That Ended the Outlaws' Bloody Reign

Hardcover
By Stephan Talty




Quote:
Mary (Carleton) was Port Royal personified. In the dusty towns of the Spanish New World, a person could hope to rise only one station in life, at most. The system discouraged risk taking and enterprise. Mary, on the other hand, had vaulted from the very bottom of English society straight to celebrity by imagination and hard work. Her life simply would not have been possible in the Spanish system.

It was appropriate that Mary ended up in Henry Morgan's home. It was a frontier town full of the empire's discards given one last chance at realizing their fortune. "There have been few cities in the world," wrote one historian of the place, "where the thirst of wealth and pleasure had united more oppulence and corruption." In its shops every form of currency that flowed through the Spanish Empire could be found: pieces of eight, crude cobs, piastres, golden moidores, cross money, newly minted doubloons. In fact, the haul from Portobelo was so enormous that the piece of eight was declared legal tender in Jamaica. (From Rich and Wicked, pgs. 134-135)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beaumarchais in Seville
An Intermezzo

Hardcover
By Hugh Thomas, who seems to know his Spanish onions
.

Quote:
More of Baumarchais's musical works at the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to the Opera.





Quote:
Reading between the lines of Baumarchais's letters in these months, it would seem that Madame de Croix was usually with him at that time as his companion. She was certainly with Beaumarchais when he won a fortune at brelan against the ambassador of Russia, Peter, Count of Buturlin.

* Brelan was an old simple game in which each player is dealt three cards, on which he bets. Three aces, the best hand, was known as a brelan.

In the past, gambling in Spain had been condemned, and playing for money considered heresy. But many Neapolitans came to Spain with King Charles III determined to gamble, and though the law still included such punishments for gambling as banishment to the country for five years, a fine of two hundred ducats, even a hundred strokes with the whip, secret gambling prevailed. Smart tertulias were especially arranged for the hostess to profit by gambling, pocketing her gains, for example, and avoiding paying if she lost. There was thus apparently gambling every night at the house of the Condesa-Duquesa de Benavente, one of Caron's debtors, where a secretary of the Inquisition and a ruined merchant were that winter the most frequent players.

... Early in February 1765, Beaumarchais played against the Buturlins jointly and won two thousand livres from them. They did not pay. Probably that was because they believed that it was not necessary to settle debts incurred in one's own house. Similar games continued over several weeks. Then Buturlin won one hundred louis, but he still did not pay anything back nor indeed did he speak of doing so. Beaumarchais said: "If the count lends me some money, I shall embark on a folly and take the bank." He did take the bank and lost money to Lord Rochford, the British ambassador, to the Duque de San Blas - and to Buturlin. To the latter, Beaumarchais said, "Ah, my dear count, we are quits." The count said that what he owed could not be balanced against what the bank should pay him. "That," he said, "does not really cost you anything." "That's what you could say to me," returned Beaumarchais, "if I had been a bad debtor." At that, Madame de Croix got up and told Beaumarchais to give her his arm. They left.

The next stages in the dispute were somewhat disagreeable. Beaumarchais and Madame de Croix went back to the Russian embassy, as was normal for them, in order to avoid giving the impression that they were angry. Beaumarchais lost every night about 10 or 12 louis, against a bank of 200, but before he left he developed the custom of putting all he gained on two cards, which always won. He broke the bank when it was in the hands of the Marques de Carassola. The Chevalier de Guzman put 500 louis on the table and said, "Gentlemen, don't go, I wish to bet that Monsieur de Beaumarchais will break the new bank." Beaumarchais felt obliged to accept the bet, having already made 200 louis. Everyone watched, because no one else played for such high stakes as he did. He put ten louis on each of his three cards. He was dealt three aces, a *brelan, so he doubled his winnings. He continued to win and, in two hours, he broke the bank again. He went to bed having made 500 louis, of which the next day he lost 150. Thinking then that he had played enough, he was about to go home when Buturlin came up and said to him, "Is it possible that you are not going to play against me?" "I have lost a great deal this evening," said Beaumarchais. "But yesterday you won more," said the diplomat. In the end they played, and Beaumarchais won another 200 louis. He again sought to leave. Again the Russian insisted that the game continue, though it was four in the morning. Beaumarchais insisted on giving up, and the Countess Buturlin, angry at the losses of her husband, said to him, "You are more fortunate than polite, monsieur." "Madame," he said, "you forget that eight days ago, when dining with Lord Rochford, you said quite the contrary." For at the British Embassy, the Countess Buturlin had begged him to lend her 30 louis to pay what she owed at the tables. (From Chapter Nine, At the Tables and to the Theatre, pgs. 127-131)


About Beaumarchais's contribution to art:

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Beaumarchais's Figaro plays comprise Le Barbier de Séville, Le Mariage de Figaro, and La Mère coupable. They were some of the most important French plays, for the trilogy spans the most turbulent period of French history. Figaro and Count Almaviva, the two characters Beaumarchais most likely conceived in his travels in Spain, were (with Rosine, later the Countess Almaviva) the only ones present in all three plays. They are indicative of the change in social attitudes before, during, and after the French Revolution. The two began in a formal master-and-servant (albeit light hearted) relationship, in Le Barbier; the two became rivals over Suzanne in Le Mariage, a personification of class struggle in pre-revolutionary France; and they finally join hands again to thwart the evil schemes of Bégearss, an attempt to call for reconciliation in La Mère. Further, Beaumarchais also dubbed La Mère "The Other Tartuffe", to pay homage to the great French playwright Molière, who wrote the original Tartuffe.

Beaumarchais's characters of Figaro and Almaviva first appeared in his Le Sacritan, which he wrote around 1765 and dubbed "an interlude, imitating the Spanish style [3]." His fame began, however, with his first dramatic play (drame bourgeois), Eugénie, which premiered at the Comédie Française in 1767. This was followed in 1770 by another drama, Les Deux amis [2].

To a lesser degree, the Figaro plays are semi-autobiographical [3]. Don Guzman Brid'oison (Le Mariage) and Bégearss (La Mère) were caricatures of two of Beaumarchais's real-life adversaries, Goezman and Bergasse. The page Chérubin (Le Mariage) resembled the youthful Beaumarchais, who did contemplate suicide when his love was to marry another. Suzanne, the heroine of Le Mariage and La Mère, was modelled after Beaumarchais's third wife, Marie-Thérèse de Willer-Mawlaz. Meanwhile, some of the Count monologues reflect on the playwright's remorse of his numerous sexual exploits.

Le Barbier premiered in 1775. Its sequel Le Mariage was initially passed by the censor in 1781, but was soon banned from performance by Louis XVI after a private reading. The King was unhappy with the play's satire on the aristocracy. Over the next three years Beaumarchais gave many private readings of the play, as well as making revisions to try to pass the censor. The King lifted the ban in 1784. The play premiered that year and was enormously popular even with aristocratic audiences. Mozart's opera premiered just two years later. Beaumarchais's final play, La mère was premiered in 1792 in Paris. All three plays enjoyed great success, and they are still frequently performed today, in theatres and opera houses. (Fully annotated at Wikipedia)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Passionate Minds
The great love affair of the Englightenment, featuring the scientist Émilie du Châtelet, the poet Voltaire, sword fights, book burnings, assorted kings, seditious verse, and the birth of the modern world
Hardcover
By David Bodanis




Quote:
She (Émilie) and the great writer Voltaire were lovers for nearly a decade, though they certainly took their time settling down, having to delay for frantic gallopings across France, sword fights in front of besieged German fortresses, a wild affair (hers) with a gallant pirate's son, and a deadly burning of books (his) by the public executioner at the base of the grand stairwell of the Palais de Justice in Paris. There was also rigging the French national lottery to guarantee a multimillion-franc payout, and investing in North African grain futures with the proceeds.

... When they ran out of money, Emilie would sometimes resort to the gambling tables at Versailles - since she was so much quicker than anyone else at mathematics, she could often be counted on to win. Voltaire wrote proudly that "the court ladies, playing cards with her in the company of the queen, were far from suspecting that they were sitting next to Newton's commentator."

Voltaire wasn't much of a scientist, but Emilie was a skilled theoretician. Once, working secretly at night at the chateau over a single intense summer month, hush ing the servants not to spoil the surprise for Voltaire, she came up with insights on the nature of light that set the stage for the future discovery of photography, as well as of infrared radiation. Her later work was even more fundamental, for she played a key role in transforming Newton's thought for the modern era. The research she did on what later became termed the conservation of energy was crucial here, and the "squared" in Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 (squared) came, in fact, directly from her work. (From the Preface, pgs. 1-2)


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