April 12, 1998

Baseball, Cooking, and Lotto Fever

So many things to write about this week!

I was at one hell of a Dodger game Sunday night. The Dodgers fought back to come within one run of the Houston Astros, but were still a buck short, down 5-4, two outs, man on second, bottom of the ninth, and two strikes to wily veteran Mike Devereaux. He then strokes a sinking liner to left which handcuffs Moises Alou, allowing the tying run to score. In the top of the 10th, Moises makes good, rocketing an Antonio Osuna pitch for a homer. 6-5 Astros. Bottom of the tenth, Mike Piazza walks, his pinch runner is sacrificed to second base, but Todd Zeile canít bring him home. Two outs for Raul Mondesi Ö who sends us home happy, blasting a deep homer to left-center. 7-6 Dodgers win a 10 inning thriller.

I love baseball.

I also love cooking. I had a couple of friends over after work the other night for a chicken and waffle dinner. Well, long story short, the waffles got lost in the shuffle, but we did have fresh tortilla chips (made from fresh tortillas), fresh guacamole dip, and some damn good chicken. Oh, and my buddy Larisa had a bacon quesadilla. She just really loves bacon quesadillas, and one of our usual joints stopped serving them.

The cooking is quite a challenge. Of course, as a guy, Iím a bit more challenged than most, I suppose. Itís tough trying to mix and match the right utensil with the right non-stick surface! As a side result of an unpleasant experiment gone horribly wrong during the preparation of the aforementioned tortilla chips, I now have a slightly melted plastic slotted spoon. Iím pretty sure none of the residual plastic melted onto the deep frying chips. Fairly sure. Okay, I have no idea. But I pulled the spoon out the moment I noticed the effect the hot oil was having on it.

Well, California has survived another outbreak of lotto fever. Yes, with a jackpot topping $100 million, people lined up for hours at "lucky" liquor stores to take their shot a becoming instant millionaires.

Three winning tickets were bought. One belonged to a group of 22 people. If you were in this group, and you all voted to take the early, lump-sum payout, and paid all the taxes, youíd end up with about $385,000. If you took the yearly payouts, youíd get about $38,000 a year for the next 20 years. Certainly not bad, but hardly the $100 million youíd been dreaming about.

Lotto fever! Catch it! And, if I remember the sales pitch, this is helping Californiaís schools, right? We must have the best school system in the nation with this kind of money floating around! (Well, in theory.)

Iím not a big fan of the Lotto game. I think itís a suckerís bet. Iím not a big fan of suckerís bets. (This is why I stopped going to the horse racing track after three visits earlier this year.)

Speaking of suckerís bets, a friend who recently visited New Orleans spoke with legitimate amazement at the tourists who repeatedly were snookered by Three Card Monte hustlers. This seems as good a time as any to quote Harry "The Hat" Anderson, who may never have written wiser words than these, found in his incredibly helpful book, "Games You Canít Lose: A Guide for Suckers":


When you see somebody win some easy money at the monte, keep in mind that itís a shill, an employee of the game. Lots of folks chase the lady but nobody catches her.

If you believe that card tossers allow you to win one to get you hooked, youíre already hooked and half-way to the boat.

If you believe that another spectator, who exposes the queen when the tosser isnít looking, is trying to help you, youíre beyond help.

And if anybody says they beat the monte, theyíre either a liar or theyíre tougher than the five or six guys that comprise a monte gang.

Nobody, I mean NOBODY, beats the monte!"

Copyright Harry Anderson and Turk Pipkin, 1989.

Sound advice, Harry. Sound advice.

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Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net
Last updated May 24, 1998