CSotD: Games People Play

I wish I thought Tank McNamara (AMS) was making an off-the-wall joke here, but it seems perfectly on-the-wall to me.

My introduction to sports gambling was also my introduction to local mafia, because when I was in college, I knew a high school kid who sold betting slips and his uncle, who was connected but far from a made-man, became a friend of mine.

I bought a lot of pizza from the uncle but IIRC only one slip from the kid. I like pizza but have never been into pissing away money. And as is often said, they don’t build those elaborate casinos in Vegas by paying the bettors.

The other thing I remember from college is that the guys on the football and basketball teams were told never to talk about injuries or upcoming games because there were people listening to get an edge and they weren’t necessarily nice people.

It was a long time ago.

What wasn’t all that long ago was the 1994 World Cup, in which Colombia was eliminated after Andres Escobar scored an own-goal. Ten days later, Escobar was gunned down.

But even shy of that outcome, there have been plenty of people whose lives were ruined by an addiction to gambling, with NFL quarterback Art Schlichter only the most visible poster boy for the problem.

What makes the problem unsolvable is that sports gambling has already begun making big returns to the states that have legalized it, as well as to the leagues and to the broadcasters who have snuggled up to its teats.

There’s no more likelihood of de-legalizing sports gambling than there is of abandoning the lotteries, which also pay off for the folks who make the laws.

As for the performance enhancing drugs, stay tuned. We’ve just begun paying college athletes; it won’t be long before we begin protecting their rights to be the best they possibly can.

Yeah, I know: The college players were generating TV revenue for their schools and not getting anything back except an education if they chose to take advantage of that. Cry me a river. Better yet, cry George Gipp and Jim Thorpe a river, since they were accused of professionalism before TV existed.

Deep Throat never really said “Follow the money,” but that doesn’t make it bad advice.

Speaking of which, Christopher Weyant has a point here. He’s focused, you’ll note, on Trump’s game of infinite delay, but he’s also right about the NCAA basketball tournament, which has begun stretching on with more teams and a longer season each year.

We used to talk about “Hoosier Hysteria,” given the game’s popularity in Indiana, but “March Madness” generates money and is trademarked, just like “Olympic.”

One good thing being that they’re gonna have to start calling it the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament because it is no longer the only game in town.

Fiona Katauskas notes that the game of greed we all love is becoming real: There is a Monopoly movie in the offing, thanks to Barbie star and producer Margot Robbie.

Barbie-the-Movie was a smashing success because little girls had written countless plots over the decades, but, as Katauskas points out, the plot of Monopoly is to make as much money as you possibly can by driving everyone else into homelessness and bankruptcy.

Real life drama can be turned into good movies, but I’ll be surprised if something so dark ends up being very popular. I remember a French movie called “Life Upside Down” (La vie à l’envers) which was a first-person account of a real estate agent’s descent into madness, but nobody else remembers it because it was extremely strange and depressing.

Perhaps Margot should watch it for some tips.

I hope her movie will be as big a hit as “Battleship.”

In fact, Brewster Rockit (Tribune) could be commenting on the Monopoly movie in a very indirect but accurate way. Maybe a sort of mashup of La vie à l’envers with Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, in which the loveable lead characters don’t get any umbrellas.

Elvira Madigan starved to death, after all, and people flocked to see it.

Everything old is new again at Arlo & Janis (AMS). I was just thinking of this remake and thinking that King Kong was not just a “monster movie” but a pretty good thriller on its own, but that it’s since been lumped in with some awful drek.

Actually, I was thinking about Ray Harryhausen and wondering if he had worked on Kong. He hadn’t, but he was inspired by it and worked on Mighty Joe Young, which definitely qualified as awful drek.

Harryhausen is better remembered for sword-and-sandals work, which was okay because we all knew those movies were crap but that was what made them fun: Harryhausen’s models had better acting chops than any of the live people.

Meanwhile, in the category of “I am not making this up,” they’re also working on a remake of The Blair Witch Project, whose entire charm was based on the lack of a steadycam, of any semblance of acting and of an ending seemingly based on having run out of film.

However, to be fair, Bogart’s unforgettable 1941 film The Maltese Falcon was a remake of an utterly forgettable 1931 version. It is possible to take a mulligan.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Day by Dave — AMS

Bizarro — KFS

I’m sure that, if Piraro and Wayno knew that today was National Scrabble Day, they’d have held this one for 24 hours rather than running it on the 12th.

I know a handful of Irish phrases but would not want to even try my hand at Welsh. Both are Celtic languages, but the Irish are considerably more concise in writing, despite their well-earned reputation for verbal logorrhea.

Meanwhile, Whamond has found a lucrative gig in illustrating National Days, which should last a while since every day seems to be the National Day of several things. And if he ever runs out, he can, as a Canadian, start slipping in National Days of Poutine or Back Bacon to keep things going.

Finally, Man Overboard riffs on the popular game of snob appeal, which reminded me of Dean Cycon’s debunking of the stuff on one of his wonderful treks to the sources:

He sells excellent fair-trade coffee, by the way.

15 thoughts on “CSotD: Games People Play

  1. I’m surprised trump hasn’t tried his own variation of kopi luwak. You know his worshippers would buy it by the ton.

    1. Talking of grifts, I would be not in the least surprised if, in the run-up to November, we see an infomercial promoting gold-painted Tr*mp-branded AR-15s, in timely prep for Civil War. “Your favorite Prez sez – Will be wild!”

      In related news, refer Clay Bennett’s latest:

    2. I’m surprised Trump worshipers aren’t actually buying his feces.
      Even more so that Trump isn’t selling it.

  2. When I was growing up, a friend’s father owned a grocery store that sold an afternoon paper. It was the only place to buy an afternoon paper within (at least) 30-40 miles. In those days before internet and non-urban cable or satellite, it was the way to keep up with football stats. It also ran different comic strips than the various morning papers. As a child I was impressed by a fan’s devotion, as an adult – I know it was More than Just a Game, but still nice to have more comic strips.

  3. Re: expansion of sports gambling

    Further proof that we live in a nation of great wealth

  4. Agreed that Monopoly sounds like a terrible basis for a movie, but I thought Barbie did, too. All depends on execution. It would be fun to see it turned into an anti-capitalist “Burn the Billionaires” screed, and ironic if it went on to earn $1 billion.

    I know one person who loved Battleship. As I understand it (did not see the movie myself), the plot is that an old, obsolete, decommissioned battleship is resurrected to limp back into service because aliens have destroyed all the more modern Navy ships. This resonated very much with my daughter, who works aboard an old, obsolete, decommissioned aircraft carrier/museum even though it could not possibly be resurrected because its engines were filled with concrete. Still, a girl can dream. Just goes to show that every movie, TV show or book is somebody’s favorite.

    1. Monopoly was actually intended to be anti-capitalist. It was invented by a woman named Lizzie Magie, and called “The Landlord’s Game.” She was a Henry Georgeist (today they would call that a
      “socialist”) and the point was to demonstrate that land ownership always created massive income inequality.

  5. Before I delve into the chaos, the National Scrabble Day cartoons were Great. Thanks, Mike.

    Mike wrote: the plot of Monopoly is to make as much money as you possibly can by driving everyone else into homelessness and bankruptcy.
    I reply: Of course, the fact is that the evil real-life game the corporate slum-lords and and banksters play is even more greedy and destructive than the board game. And, lets not forget the realtors’ greed: their cut, 6% of $450,000 for listing and showing is $27,000!

    Mike wrote: Harryhausen’s models had better acting chops than any of the live people.
    I reply: have you seen the insanity of the acting performances of the GOP house circus or the yuge orange clown lately? It’s not just the movies anymore!

    Now, I need my morning coffee (but only if the cat hasn’t pre-processed it)

  6. The 1931 Ricardo Cortez version of “The Maltese Falcon” wasn’t “utterly forgettable.” I admit it’s nowhere near as good as the 1941 version with Bogart, but the Cortez version has its charms, if, for no other reason than that because it was a pre-Code movie, it was able to keep the subtext of the Kasper Gutman/Wilmer Cook relationship as it appeared in the original novel and which had to be bleached out of the Bogart version. A bleaching that has made generations of people incorrectly think that the word gunsel means a hired gun instead of what the word actually meant.

    Now if you really want to see a utterly forgettable version of “The Maltese Falcon,” may I nominate the 1936 movie “Satan Met a Lady” with Bette Davis in the Mary Astor part and William Warren in the Humphrey Bogart part.

  7. That Arlo and Janis truly does an excellent job of capturing how I feel.

    Have I gotten old (I’m only 37!) or is it that everything really does suck?

  8. To the unwashed public, Joan Collins is a star. But to those who know her, she’s a commodity who would sell her own bowel movement.

    Anthony Newley (attrib)

  9. I posted that Tank McNamara to my Facebook account the moment I read it at 0600 that morning. It hit home for me because: 1. I’m a baseball junkie, 2. Of all the addictions in the world, gambling is the one I’ve never had, never will have, nor will ever come close to being tempted by it. If anything, I’m fairly disgusted by the habit. Yes, I’m a cheap bastard, tossing away money without getting some kind of toy in return is anathema to me.

    At this point, I believe MLB owes Pete Rose one hell of an apology, and an unbanning.

Comments are closed.