Saturday, March 10, 2007

Happy 10th

Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired ten years ago today. Sarah and I bought seasons 2 and 3 of Angel (the interleaved spin-off) and we've been chain-smoking them for the past few weeks. These are what great television can be: deep, witty, exciting, moving, and character arcs fifty episodes long.

I read the V for Vendetta comics in one sitting yesterday. Excellent. They were different from the movie in some ways, of course, but I think Alan Moore's beef with the remake was really overblown. A lot of the movie was word for word, shot for panel. If anything, some of the cruft was edited out for the movie, like the computer and the LSD trip. The strongest part of the comic, about the twin, entwined nature of democracy and destruction, came through very strongly in the movie too. I was also surprised to find that all of the great stuff with Stephen Fry was only hinted at in the comics, but it was fleshed out really well in the movie.

Inspired by my encounter with Positively Fifth Street, I finished the original great poker memoir, The Biggest Game in Town, by A. Alvarez, a writer for the New Yorker. He wrote this in 1982, chronicling Stu Ungar's second straight win of the World Series of Poker main event.

Like Positively Fifth Street, it went beyond poker into accounts of Las Vegas and the gambling life, and it managed to capture something that I think went missing from the later book. To be a gambler, you have to stop caring about being broke. Being broke happens. You have to risk it all and lose it all to win it all. This means the gambler requires a remarkable resiliency and freedom to fail, and it's one of the many reasons I can't do this for a living. On the other hand, though, David Sklansky, game theorist and gambler extraordinaire, has never been broke...

Set forward your clocks.

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