Thursday, December 29, 2005

Farewell Las Vegas I

"Beating them three weeks in a row in Las Vegas is like going into the lion's den and coming out with meat under both arms"
- Larry Merchant
The National Football Lottery (1973)

The following story is not fiction. It is the real life account of a one time Vegas high roller, and financial risk taker who came face to face with the dark side of chance, and his own personal demons. Why should this be a part of Seasons Under The Sun? Well, ultimately it is a story of redemption, and a journey of the spirit, with a little humor thrown in. To that end, Seasons Under The Sun will present the first three chapters of this novella in progress, and a link to the novella site where the complete story will reside... Full Story

Let's get this straight. Occasional "gaming" can be fun, and harmless, but gambling is a passion that can create a lot of strife in your life. Gambling can destroy relationships, and chip away at your soul. Gambling can lay you low even if you somehow learn to win consistently. There are millions out there who don't want to hear this. Right now they're just too busy having a great time gambling, or thinking about future gambling. Why am I telling you this? I am no evangelist, and I don't enjoy preaching to people. I am telling you this because in a "former life" I enjoyed all of the perks and privileges of a Vegas high roller. I was comped for luxury suites, meals, beverages, deluxe shows, and limousine trips to and from the airport. I was invited to a private party where Stevie Wonder was the musical host (couldn't make it), to a heavy weight boxing match with Evander Holyfield (missed that), and went to see Celine Dion with my wife courtesy of Paris, Las Vegas (fantastic show). I am telling you this because despite the lavish treatment, and exciting times it was ultimately a dead end. I know what you are thinking. Another big time loser who finally packed it in after losing a small fortune. The truth is somewhat stranger. I was actually a net winner in Vegas. It must have been part of some great cosmic joke in my life, that I was destined to win in Vegas, only to discover another more sinister form of financial risk taking...

The Story continues here...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bad Santas before Christmas

I'll be the first to admit that there is a lot of commercial hype that comes with the Christmas season. Many people endure ridiculous stress, and obnoxious relatives, while over indulging in food, and alcohol. Personal problems often get magnified at Christmas being at odds with the idea of a "merry" Christmas. Various religious factions often use Christmas as a time to point out flaws in the Christian faith. A few bold parents injure themselves trying to be Santa Claus, or falling off ladders as they put up lights. Some people actually enjoy adopting a Scrooge-like mentality in protest. However, this little tidbit from New Zealand takes the cake... Full Story

Forty "Santas" went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand robbing stores, assaulting security guards, and urinating from overpasses. This story led me to a few dubious conclusions: There should be a 10 PM curfew for anyone in a Santa Claus suit. No more than two Santas should be allowed to congregate in a public place. Any Santa caught with alcohol on their person should be banned from playing Santa for life.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

A Link Exchange Scam?

What would you think of another blogger who you exchanged links with, only to discover after a few weeks that he has redirected all of his traffic from the site you initially linked with to a new porn blog he has authored without letting you know? Well, to me this individual has been dishonest, and devious, or at the very least discourteous (I'll leave it to others to throw in some juicier adjectives here)... Full Story

This person had quite a few blog links on the original site, and I assume that many of those blog owners are unaware that they now have a reciprocal link that redirects to XXX content. Of course this situation is more aggravating if you object to the content of another site, but I'm not here to debate censorship, morality, or sexual inclinations. The issue here is a breach of trust, and misrepresentation where someone can silently corrupt the integrity of your site links, and direct them to content that in no way reflects the content of your own blog. On the other side of the coin my Technorati links now indicate that this new porn blog has a link to my site. I'm hoping this is a temporary situation once Technorati updates its links. One conclusion I've reached is that the original site was cynically created to collect traffic, and links as a "proxy" blog to provide a ready made traffic base for the newer porn blog. This brings up the question of how can you block another site from linking to your blog? One lesson here for all web site owners is to regularly check the integrity of your links, and use some discretion as to who you exchange links with. On the other hand, there are probably much worse situations we can encounter on the web, so I won't stay on the soap box too long. Safe surfing everyone.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Shifting North Pole

I always thought that the North Pole was one of those earth constants, an unchanging, geographic spot on the map. One of those concepts you could have faith in, like the sun rising in the east. Do you remember playing with a compass, and watching the needle spin around to the "infallible" true north? Well it turns out that there has been a rapid movement of the Earth's North Magnetic Pole during the last century moving nearly 1,100 kilometers out into the Arctic Ocean. Apparently, as described in this post on the Science Blog this may be part of a normal oscillation. I guess Santa Claus must have some amazing navigation equipment on that big sled to cope with this, but the telecommunications up there must be hell! We can probably kiss the Northern Lights goodbye in a few years as well since they track the position of the magnetic North which at the moment is heading for Siberia.