In For a Quickie

Monday, October 11th, 2004, 1:21 pm

Quick little post. Quite a few blogs have mentioned a column written by Gene Collier in my hometown paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Collier says watching televised poker is a waste of time, he wonders if we’ll soon be seeing events like the “Stanley Cup of Parcheesi”, and pretty much disses and pokes fun at those who enjoy watching such events. Some bloggers have taken offense, some more so than others, and I just want to tell everyone to chill out a bit. Collier left the sports pages awhile back to write hard news, and then he shifted to features and columns, mostly of a humorous strip. He’s actually hilarious, and though I think he actually thinks watching TV poker is a waste of time, I think he finds the subject more as grist for his comedic mill than penetrating social commentary. My friends handed me the paper with his column the day it came out, and they all agreed with Collier. The fact that they, and Collier, are wrong doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to enjoy the piece.

Also, a few months ago I went to see a play Collier co-wrote called, “The Chief”, about Art Rooney, and it was excellent. So my first-namesake is not a demon to be vilified, and though I disagree with him, I would defend with my life his right to write such piffle. Well, not with my life. Your life, maybe.

Thanks to the anonymous poster who mentioned that Bill Simmons from ESPN wrote a column about what hand KGB held during that last hand of Rounders. I’d link to it, but I’m writing this during lunch at work and this computer won’t allow me such fancy moves; I’ll fix it when I get home. I read Simmons religiously, and I actually now remember reading the column in question, so I guess it was there in my subconsious.

So far as what Mike McD’s fate would be if he hadn’t come up with the money, well, that’s rather an important question, isn’t it? I mean, that’s where all the drama comes from, yes? When Mike and Worm are getting shaves at the barber shop, and Mike says he feels like he’s about to get whacked, Worm says something along the lines that that might be their fate if they don’t come up with the money. Why the hell would KGB have Mike killed? What does it get him, other than a body to dispose of? It doesn’t get him any money, that’s for sure. Grama doesn’t hate Mike’s guts like he hates Worm, so where’s the fun? Beat the stuffing out of Mike? Well, OK, but he already got busted up by the cops the previous night. So that threat loses much of its narrative sting. Force Mike to play poker and take about 99% of his winnings until the debt is paid in full, 20 years down the line? OK, but that’s hardly eluciadated in the story, and I don’t think the audience would understand it. So…I dunno.

As I’ve promised, I’m going to write a big post about Rounders very soon. I have it on tape, watched it a few weeks ago, but I’ll have to go back to it and do a line-by-line viewing. Coincidentally, I taped Rounders right after I taped parts of a movie called “Grace of My Heart”, which is a movie about a female singer/songwriter (played by Illeana Douglas) who tries to make a career for herself in front of the microphone instead of just writing songs for other people. I taped it mostly because Elvis Costello wrote a couple of songs for the flick, and it’s not a bad movie, though it gets bogged down in all her failed relationships. I bring all this up because John Turturro is in both movies, and, my God. I’ve written before about the role hair plays in poker, and in my own psychosocial developement, and I want to assure you that I don’t have some sort of complex about it, but when you see Turturro in Rounders, with Joey Knish’s Brillo pad, and then the manager role he plays in Grace of My Heart”, with this sort of…I can’t even describe it, it’s sort of this long, parted on the side, light brown peltish sort of covering. How this man has never won an Oscar just for the hairdos he sports in his movies is beyond me. Brilliant stuff.

OK, need to marshal my forces for my Rounders post. Oh, wanna ask me how happy I am that the Steelers didn’t trade up for Philip Rivers and “settled” for Ben Roethlesberger?

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3 Responses to “In For a Quickie”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Rationally, I know I shouldn’t like Rounder as much as I do. It’s not THAT good a movie. And yet I was so excited when the new DVD came out – there are a few scenes I will never get tired of.

    My favorite is when Mike explains to Jo that poker is indeed a game of skill and “why does she insist on calling in gambling.” It’s been said a thousand times in a thousand ways, but it’s an argument I’m still having with my wife.

    I also love watching the hapless tourists get eaten alive by the rounders at the Taj, just because it is so fucking true.

    But I always skip the scene where Mike reads everyone’s hand perfectly. I’m happy to suspend my disbelief, but only so far.

    I’d love to see an entire post dedicated to the movie!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Of course KGB would have Mike killed. You act as if that gets him nothing. Haven’t you ever watched a mob movie??? (I suspect you have.) The point of killing someone that owes you money is that the next person who owes you money will try harder to repay you. True, killing Mike doesn’t get KGB his money, but if Mike ain’t payin’, then there’s no loss anyway.

  3. Charles Star Says:

    Anonymous: That’s why I think Worm eats a bullet after a beatdown and Mike gets a pounding that makes him wistful for the kind treatment he got from the cops.

    And then ends up working off his debt to KGB as a grinder. Mostly from Lenny Clarke, I would imagine.

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