Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I see a storm a brewing

"It could be rain or it could be me.  But I feel a storm of tickets coming on."  One of my guilty tv pleasures is a show called Parking Wars.  Originally they followed the people who ticketed and booted cars in Philly.  Now there are some areas of Philly with like 5 different signs on it, how do you decipher where to park there.  When I first started watching this show I felt sorry for the people getting tickets but after watching enough of this and seeing how STUPID some people are when they park, I think they ought to ticket and boot more cars. 

The following year they added Detroit to the mix as well.  This year they added the old home town, Providence RI to the mix.  I just can't believe the nerve of some people.  They park in a bus zone, a no stopping zone, a handicapped zone and then are shocked when they get a ticket.  "How can they ticket me, I did nothing wrong."  Oh right lady, that Bus Zone, No Parking only applies to the rest of us.  Last week I was watching and some chick double parks in the middle of the street with her flashers on and complains when she gets a ticket.  "Oh theres nowhere to park, I just ran in for one thing."  What she meant was there was no open places right in front of the store so it was ok to inconvenience everyone else so that she didn't have to walk so far.  And one thing my ass.  She was in so long that the guy she double parked next to was in his car waiting for her to move so he could go.  And some of these people see they are on camera and act up even more.  Everyone wants their 15 minutes and just can't wait to show their ass.  Today it seems any fame is good fame.

No afternoon poker today for me.  I was going to be motivated, go wash and vacuum the car, etc but Mother Nature is not cooperating today.  Cloudy and stormy all day.  Made it very easy to catch up on some DVR shows and relax with some donuts and iced coffee.  After the past 2 weeks, I could use a bit of relax time today.  Last week I had over 18 hours of OT and this week was almost 20.  Nice paycheck coming up, hopefully I'll be awake enough to spend it.  Unfortunately they are not running the same tourney today at 1 that they did last week.  I really enjoyed the tourney (winning cash seems to have that effect on me) and it was great not to be zombified on Sunday after playing most of the night.  But the only tourney at 1 today cost $435 and that is a bit out of the budget.  Especially after the money I've had to lay out recently.

Ok back from my afternoon nap.  Man what a stressful day I've had, I needed a 2 hour nap to recover.  Sucks to be me huh? 

One of the reasons I don't have as much money as I'd like is because the short sale on the home we are currently renting has been approved and I've had to lay out some cash for the paperwork involved in getting a new mortgage.  With luck and fingers crossed we should take ownership around May 7th.  I'm of 2 minds here.  I've never owned a home before, always rented.  Even as a kid, we always rented homes.  I kind of like not having to be responsible for things like roofs and air conditioners.  On the other hand, now we'll have a place of our own and even including taxes, insurance, and homeowners fees, etc, we'll be paying over $200 less per month to live there. 

Well it's time to get ready to play.  Gonna play the 8pm tourney tonight.  Hopefully I'll be able to write about a victory for me or the PQ.  Even if I don't , sucks to be me don't it??  Good luck to everyone. except my opponents. Hopefully they see a storm a brewing as well.  A storm of losing hands vs my monsters.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

" Mistakes, I've made a few but then again...

How's the weekend going everybody?  I just got home from 5.5 hours of work (yes working on a Sunday even) but upon reflection, it's been a good weekend.  Thursday night the PQ took me out for a steak dinner - she had a ribeye and I had a NY strip with grilled onions.   Most delicious.  I had the leftovers for lunch Friday, both hers and mine.  Even better. 

Friday was a long day at work but then I took her out Friday night for dinner after getting my hair cut.  I really needed one, I had been meaning to get one for the last 3 weeks or more but just kept forgetting about it (make that kept being a slug) and my hair was long.   I wasn't quite this guy but I was close.

Me before Friday

Now I have my summer cut to stay cooler in the heat so I look a bit better.  Almost like this

Me about 15 years ago

We grabbed some pizza Friday night and made a pretty early night of it.  Most nights I make an early night of it.  5:15 am comes waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too soon every day.  Saturday morning I did my usual, watched Law and Order and had a donut and some iced coffee.   The PQ went over to her sisters then had a manicure/pedicure appointment.  We decided to change things up for poker on Saturday and do the 1pm tourney rather than our usual 8pm tourney.  We found that we were such zombies on Sundays after playing till 2 or 3 (or 5) in the morning in this tourney that we wanted to play during the daylight hours instead.  It worked out pretty well as we were able to get out of there about 8:30 pm.   And here's the story about that.

The PQ was running behind on Saturday as her mani/pedi ran a little long but we got down there just in time for the tourney.  We were at separate tables and when we started my table only had 2 of us sitting there though it gradually filled up from there.  We started with 10k and for $5 more you could add on 2000 more which I did.  25 minute blinds meant  you got some good play for your 105 bucks.  80 people signed up and the top prize was a bit over $2100 with the top 8 paid.  I got a couple of decent hands early and used my position to chip up a bit.  I took my 12K up to almost 14 but then just before the first break I got my first big hand, KK on the button.  Short stack across the table pushed all in.  He took a bad beat a round before that cost him all but 2500 chips.  Everyone else folded and I raised to 6k to isolate him.  We went head to head and he had A10 of diamonds to my cowboys.  I had the diamond king as well.  Flop is not good, QJ of diamonds and 6 of clubs.  turn pairs the J so I'm still good but the 4 of diamonds on the river made his flush and put me down to about 11K. 

After the break my cards stayed pretty lousy but the table was broken soon after so I got to try my luck on some other suckers card sharps at the next table over.  I was there for only a couple of rounds, didn't play anything but lost some chips for antes and blinds before that table was broken.  Sucks to have to keep moving but it's just the luck of the draw I know.  With around 10K I moved to my next table.  This one I knew wouldn't break for a while so I settled in for a a long session I hoped.  The PQ was on the table next to me.  She was struggling when I first got there but then had a big double up and the next time I looked over, she was pretty flush.  I didn't get anything for a while and the blinds and antes were starting to eat me up.  I was down to about 9500 with blinds at 400/800 with 75 antes when I looked down at 10-6 suited in the small blind.  A couple of people called including the big stack in seat 10 so I decided to pay the other half the blind to see the flop as did the guy in the big blind next to me.  He was in the process of building a good sized stack as well.  Flop come out 10-9-2.  I check to see what happens though I like the flop.  Big blind checks and big stack bets 3500.  I read that as a pure steal with maybe a pair of 2s or 9s.  The pot had about 3900 so he almost put in a pot sized bet there.  I pushed all in over the top for 9100 which made him unhappy I could see and he folded.  That took me from 9500 to over 16K when I really needed it.

I managed to keep chipping up on a couple of other hands and went past 20k when I looked down at AK off on the button.  The guy to my left had won a monster hand and was up over 65K by then but I felt good with my stack after where I had been.  A couple of people limped but I took it up to 2600.  I was hoping to take it down but the big stack calls me while everyone else folds.  The flop is near perfect with AK8.  Unfortunately 2 are clubs but I'll take my chances there.  I bet only 3K which was a bit under half the pot there.  He called me but I was fine with that.  Next card was the 10 of spades.  Ok now there is a possible straight if he called me QJ and still a flush draw on the board so I decided to stop fooling around and pushed  all in for about 15K.  I was surprised when he called.  He turned over AJ off and said "you have A10 don't you?"  Uh no.  Also why are you calling if you feel pretty sure you're beat there?  You were but AK or A10 is beside the point.  That was about  half his stack just to call me down with AJ.  

I've read a number of times that the key to winning poker is to make less mistakes than the other guy and boy I got a first hand look at that Saturday.  I had chances to make big mistakes myself.  We were getting late in the tourney.  12 people were left at 2 tables and 8 got paid.  I'm in the big blind with 5-5 and was looking to make a move and pick up a limper or 2.  Then a shorter stacked gal pushed all in one off the button.  It was folded to me and I had a decision.  She didn't have to have a big hand I thought but she had about 31K in the pot and the blinds were 1500/3000.  I started counting out the chips from my stack then while I thought.  I had built up to 80K and was in good shape.  In the end I folded.  I figured at best I was 50/50.  She could be bluffing with 10-9 and I wouldn't be much of a favorite.  And if she had 9-9 I was a big dog.  So I tossed it.  I think I avoided a mistake there, even if I ended up winning the hand.  The lady pushed in a hand or 2 later with 88 and ran into KK.  Goodnight to her. 

We got to the final table and I am a little below average at 78K.  Average stack was 96K. Usually there are 1 or 2 monster stacks and a number of shorties.  I figured I would be 4th or 5th in chips even with less than an average stack.  I was surprised to see only 1 monster stack, 1 shortie, and a bunch of us between 70K and 110K.  I'm probably 7th at that point.  Action goes slow for the most part.  The short stack doubles up and then takes down another nice pot to get himself into nice shape.  Some chips get exchanged back and forth.  Guy a couple of seats to my left loses a big pot but then takes down a good one.  I'm getting nothing and bleeding chips.  My one steal attempt got raised up by a big stack and I had to respect his raise there.  Finally one guy gets knocked out in 10th place.  Everyone pitched in $20 for the bubble so the guy going out 9th will get 160 which is more than it cost to enter.  But I'm not interested in just making my money.  8th is 260 and it goes up from there.

Two guys across the table plus the guy on my right build big stacks around 200K each.  Guy directly on my left was the shortest stack but doubles up and is in decent shape at almost 100K.  I'm down to just under 40K and me and one other guy are the shorties.  I'm trying to wait out a hand or find a spot to attack but the 2 big stacks across the table are raising a lot of hands and when they don't the guy just to my right is.  I'm getting into desperate territory when I catch AA in the big blind.  2 big stacks call and it gets to me.  I'm tempted to just play it there but I really don't want to lose by slow playing aces.  If I slow play them, I don't have the stack to get away from them and a bad flop does me in.  So I pushed in.  I was surprised they both folded.  Still I got a decent chunk of change.  I got some more on the next hand when it was folded to my small blind and I raised the big blind out.  At 4K/8K with a 700 ante I made about 40K on those 2 hands.  Then the one big stack loses a large chunk of his stack to the other biggie and to the guy 2 seats on my left.  

2 hands later fireworks break out.  Min raised preflop and by the former big stack in seat 3 and called by the maniac in seat 4 along with the guy 2 seats to my left (seat 9).   Flop is KQJ with 2 diamonds.  Guy on my left checks, seat 3 pushes all in and seat 4 does too.  Guy on my left has them both covered but not by too much.  He thinks a minute and calls.   Seat 3 has 10-9 for the flopped straight, seat 4 has K9 for top pair and a straight draw (he called a raise with this then pushed in over an all in???) and seat 9 shocks me with A2 of diamonds.  Turn is another K and the river is a low non diamond.  The ex biggie is a biggie again as he triples up to over 200K.  Seat 4 wins the side pot for about 50K and seat 9 is down to 20K.  Soon after seat 9 is out and the money bubble breaks

After that I treaded water, made a few steals and used my position to improve my stack while some of my seatmates were not able to do so.  I kept picking on the guy in seat 1 and took his blinds a number of times.  I also made some chips off the guy on my left.  He got very unlucky when he pushed in for his last 35K with pocket 10s and the one of the big stacks in the big blinds called him with J2 and flopped a jack.  I took out a shorty with 65 when I hit a 6 and his AJ did not improve.  Then I took out the maniac in seat 4 when he pushed all in with A4 and I called him with A10.  I had refused to call his earlier all in with A-10 when I felt it a little suspicious.  I may have goofed that time but with his chips at 50K and mine about 80 I didn't think it was worth that risk.  But for 30K when I had 90, I took him down.  Eventually we get down to 4 people.  3 big stacks with 300K+, 300K, 200K and me with 120K.  Wish I could say I doubled up and took it down but after a couple of rounds I pushed KQ into KK and it was good night Irene.  Still coming out with a $720 payoff was sweet.  The other 3 split the rest for about $1400 each. 

My best thing until my last hand was avoiding mistakes.  I avoided getting it in on 50/50 hands or what I perceived were 50/50 situations and I stayed patient when things were getting tough.  I found a couple of weak links and picked on them.  Got a rep for playing good hands, enough that a fairly small stack raised preflop and I reraised him enough to put him all in.  He looked at me,  looked at his cards and eventually mucked 9-9 face up.  He put me on a big pocket pair.  I showed him AQ.  I thought he had something like he did and at that point was willing to pressure him.  I was a bit surprised he dumped it at it was almost half his chips.  My reraise may have been a mistake but at that point I knew I could pressure him and even if I lose, I still have a decent stack.   And I dumped a number of good hands like AJ, A10, and A9 to all in raises (not to mention 5-5) when I felt at best I'm 50/50.  But before I pat myself on the back too much, I know I didn't take advantage of position enough and let my stack get blinded down more than I should have.  I also got lucky that some big hands got called by guys with not as big hands so I could chip up.  At the final table I was not so lucky there as the KK and AA I got were both uncalled but otherwise I could not complain at all.  It was a good time and I was home by 10.  So I wasn't a zombie today and managed to work a good bit as well.  All in all a profitable weekend all around.   Hope this week goes as well.  Happy Tax Day to all.  Stay lucky you nuts.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Its a good friday

Right now any day I get off from work is a good day.  Not that I dislike my work but I am well and truly buried right now.  I mean, I like water too but staying below it too long can lead to a less than optimal outcome.  I have been averaging a bit over 11 hours a day for the past 6 weeks or so and even been putting in time on the weekends as well.  I was this close to going into work today for 4 or 5 hours.  So needless to say, as tired as I've been, I'm sure the quality of my posts have been a bit off.  I know the quantity has been as well.  Sorry, guys and gals, man's gotta make a living. 

At least the paychecks have reflected my worker bee status of late.  I'm actually earning almost as much as the PQ does.  Last year I earned about 20% more in OT pay over my regular pay during the year.  This year I am almost 3/4 of the way to that amount already.   So while I'm a tired worker bee, I am also a decently paid one too.  But man is it cutting into my free time.

I used to get up at 6:30 everymorning and arrive at work around 7:45.  I'd work till 5:15 or 5:30 and take an hour lunch.  Now I'm up at 5:15, into work between 6 and 6:15 and work till around 6 pm.  Lunch, when I take one, is a half hour at most.  I usually have 2 to 3 hours on the phones everday.  Almost every shift is one phone call after another.  I then spend an hour taking emails and logged calls into our work flow.  Except it usually takes about 2 hours to complete one hours work.  So generally 4-5 hours of my day is taken up by tasks that don't let me address my own pile of work.  And it's the same for almost everyone else in the department.  What makes it worse is that work is coming in at a higher rate than we can do it.  We have more people in the department than ever before but because of changes in the tax laws that went into effect in 2011 and the changes in our software, we are receiving more work than ever before.  We normally get a bit buried this time of year as it is and last year was busier than any other year since I started here.  This year has made last year look like a picnic. 

I checked my workflow list yesterday for fun.  I have work scheduled all the way out to May 25th already.  That's a lot to catch up on.  We are frustrated, our clients are frustrated, our financial advisors are frustrated.  The software is not doing all it was supposed to do, a lot of bugs are still being worked out still, and it slows down how we process things.  So our work is taking longer to complete as well.   I got yelled at by an FA last week.  I let it go but this guy is a bit of a jerk in the best of times.  When I explained the issues we were having he said how he didn't want to hear it.  When he said we should work overtime I was ready to come through the phone lines and choke his miserable chicken neck.  Instead I refrained from even mentioning how much OT we were already putting in and ended the call with my usual grace and tact.

Well enough of my work trials, y'all don't need to be bored by that crap.  And as I mentioned, I am making a bit of scratch out of all this so I can't complain.  It would be nice not to be ready to go to bed at 9:30 every night but that is sometime in my future.  Like August or so.    It has made it very difficult to play the 8pm tourney at Derby Lane on Saturday nights.  I'm drinking coffee at 9 to keep from getting sleepy before 10.   Not the best mindset to play poker with.  I did manage a decent score a few weeks back but the PQ has done far better.  She just missed the money last Saturday going out 7th. 

On other fronts, the stock market has been acting pretty weird lately.  Started out the year going gangbusters but in March it got pretty choppy and so far this month has been blah.  Gold has been getting hit pretty bad but I've taken the opportunity to buy some more gold mining stocks.  I really fear the market is in for a big downturn in the near to mid term.  We have pumped so much money into the economy that some bad inflation is a foregone conclusion.  So my belief is that prices for things like gold will eventually head back up and when they do they will head up quickly.  Basically anything denominated in US dollars is going to feel this pinch.  Unfortunately I also believe this country is in for some pretty hard times.  Using the government to spend our way out of all of our bad decisions does not solve the problems we have, it pushes them down the road further.  Eventually the day of reckoning must come.  Just like the recession in 2008 was the eventual day of reckoning after the tech bubble burst in 2000, the spending we have done to save us from that crash has delayed the day of reckoning from all of the excesses of the past 10 years. 

I remember those days well in late 2008 when it looked like all of the markets were imploding and the financial companies were teetering on the edge of collapse.  Even the survivors like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were this close to going under as it was a domino effect where each of the Wall St players that folded had so many links to all of the other ones that they all took a hit.  The amount of leverage these firms were using to boost their profits was enormous, and when times went bad, all of that leverage started working against them.  All of the firms that got in trouble and either went bankrupt or merged like Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch had billions in reserve.  More than enough money to tide them over through any normal downturn.  But this wasn't normal and when you're leveraged 35-1, every dollar down costs you $35 and that starts to add up to billions pretty fast when you have that much crap outstanding.  

Hell even my conservative company was worried and when the government bailout was proposed, our CEO was one of the big backers of the plan.   Though we aren't a Wall St firm, we are a pretty big regional player.  And based on what was happening, the Fed backstopping all of these idiot firms kept things from going completely in the crapper.  But maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad thing.  The following US firms would have definitely gone bankrupt:  Merrill Lynch, (bought out by Bank of America before it could go under), Bear Stearns (bought out by JP Morgan as it was about to go under), Lehman Brothers who did go bankrupt, AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wachovia Financial, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the very least.  We might also have lost JP Morgan, Regions Financial and BB&T as well.  The first TARP bailouts prevented wholesale bankruptcies of most of the large commercial and investment banking institutions.  The only large banks that were in good enough shape to weather this were Wells Fargo and US Bancorp and Wells might not have been in serioud trouble as well.  

In my opinion, the problems with the bailouts go to the following ones.  The feds pitched more money into AIG, Citigroup, and then GM, Chrysler, etc.  Instead of letting these firms fold and others that do business with them take a haircut (Goldman would have taken a nice beat down as they had a lot of business tied in with AIG, if AIG declared bankruptcy after the initial crisis passed, Goldman takes a major bath - WHICH THEY RICHLY DESERVED.   They knew the risks they were involved in and ignored them.  If they all go bankrupt in September or October 2008, who knows how far the damage to the financial system goes.  That is what truly scared everyone.  But if they stop at the single backstop, they know Goldman, Morgan Stanley, etc are not going under while AIG and Citigroup are gonzo.  GM would also have gone under.  Hell they still declared bankruptcy even with government help.  Now the taxpayers own a big chunk of GM and I tell you what, I don't want a piece of that company.  These bankruptcies would have allowed the system to wash out toxic assets, a number of poeple would have had to eat a lot of crow, and some people would have gone to prison as they should have.  And bankruptcies, while bad for the people working for those companies, open things up for other companies to come in.  Ford is being penalized because they saw the future and took major risks to clean themselves up before the recession.  They got healthy at just the right time because they didn't keep going business as usual back in 2005 -2008.  Now they have to compete with GM who did everything wrong and yet gets government backing to come back.  Is that fair to Ford and all of their employees and stockholders?  

Anyway, to wrap up, I feel these chickens are going to come home to roost and I fear it will be sooner rather than later.  The way the economies of the world are now interlocked almost makes it a foregone conclusion that the next crisis will be even worse for the unprepared.  And though you may think you have time to plan for this, these crises seem to spring up very quickly.  My preparations have involved selling off some good winners and raising cash.  I've also used some of that cash to buy more gold/silver mining stocks over the past few weeks.  I am really looking at the miners who are increasing reserves and are low cost producers.  Both Goldcorp (GG) and Yamana Gold (AUY) are among the lowest cost producers in the world.  Even if the price of gold fell under $1000 an ounce (and if it does, you really ought to think of buying some) these 2 companies will make money as their cost of production is only around $250 an ounce or less.  Others I like are companies that are increasing both their reserves and production.  Brigus Gold (BRD) and Paramount Gold & Silver (PZG) are doing this quite well and are really cheap.  Another I took a flyer on is Aurcana Corp.  They are a silver miner who is opening up a new mine that goes into production this year.  They will be tripling their production this year and next as this new mine has great deposits but won't last for long.  As long as the price of silver remains where it is, they should show some terrific profits over the next 2 years. 

I've also taken on some oil stocks.  Deepwater driller Seadrill (SDRL) is a bit risky but pays a great dividend and deepwater is where the profits are for drillers right now.  Norway's Statoil (STO) is really doing well and has some major new discoveries they are bringing to market.  They pay a solid dividend as well.  Also, as a Norwegian company, they are unimpacted by the fall of the dollar or Euro as the Norwegian Kroner is a very very strong currency. 

I feel I've taken a bit of a risky position with my portfolio though going to 30% or more in cash does give me a backstop and lets me buy good stocks at great prices should the market tank again.  I just think a major market downturn is in the works and I'm putting my money that way.  I may be way too early for it and be ruining my chances of making good money over the next couple of years, but I'm willing to wait it out until then.  Based on what I'm seeing, the markets are just too jittery and there are too many things that can go wrong for everything to keep going up like they did in the beginning of the year. 

Well enough for now.  My Friday was pretty good, relaxing and being a slug much of the day.  I went out to dinner with the PQ, our daughter, and one of our nieces then hit the wine store.  I gave up wine for Lent this year so I stocked up for Easter as I plan on having a bit of wine that day.  Then we hit the Twistee Treat for some ice cream (I'll take a chocolate dipped cone please) on the way back.  It was quite a good Friday.  I hope everyone else had a good Friday as well.  Have a great weekend folks. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

25 Things - The Belated Edition

While it is a bit late, I also decided to do a list of 25 things about me.  some of these things I may have mentioned while blogging but I'm too lazy to go back and check. 

1.  Though born and raised in Rhode Island, I have lived in the South far longer than in New England

2.  I went off to college in Texas sight unseen outside of a few brochures.  Never visited or saw the place until I got there.

3.  I am a cancer survivor for 28 years now.  My older brother is also a long time cancer survivor.

4.  I've been married to my wife for 27 years.  When I met her I thought she was part Asian.  Much to my dismay she was not.  I eventually got over it.

5.  Kate Jackson was always my favorite Charley's Angel.

6.  As I get older I find I forget common things, from names of ballplayers to steet names.  I am bothered by this

7.  Alzheimers scares the shit out of me.  I saw early onset with both my grandmother (on my mom's side) and my mother in law right now.  If I cannot identify my own child, someone please use my S&W on me.

8.  I have 2 brothers and one sister.   When I am with them we are pretty close but we don't see each other very much with one in DC, me in FL and the other 2 in RI.  When we are apart it's almost out of sight, out of mind.

9.  When I was young I wanted to be an air traffic controller.  Not long after I moved to FL they were recruiting and I did well on their tests and was invited to Oklahoma for training.  I turned it down as I didn't want to move from FL and after training it was likely I would be somewhere like Tenn. 

10.  I am not very patient and can have a quick temper, especially while driving.  I've been working on it for the last 30 years.  Not particularly successfully.

11.  Perhaps it was best I didn't become an ATC

12.  I let most stuff go pretty quickly but have been known to hold a few grudges a long time.  I do not like that about myself. 

13.  I'm an avid reader and when not distracted by things like work and poker and life I've been known to read big books - think seven or eight hundred pages - in a couple of days.  Smaller 300 page books in a day or less.

14.  I never played soccer when I was young but since my high school didn't have a football team I learned to play then.  I was the back up goalie for 3 years.

15.  My college didn't have football either so I also played soccer there.  I was the starting goalie for two and a half years.

16.  I have 2 messed up knees and one bad ankle from those days

17.  I started working in restaurants at 15 and did everything from wash dishes to manage a burger joint.  I'm no chef but I am a pretty good short order cook.  My father always said if you learned how to cook you'll never lack for a job and he was right.   The local diners always need cooks.

18.  The best thing I cook are omelets followed by meat loaf.  Emeril I am not.

19.  Growing up in Rhode Island I never ate the following foods until I went off to college in Texas:  Tacos (or any Mexican food), Corn dogs, Okra, Biscuits and Gravy, and Chicken Fried Steak. 

20.  My favorite foods include Mexican food, Corn Dogs, Biscuits & Gravy, Chicken Fried Steak, Shrimp, Italian food, Corned Beef Hash and Tuna fish.  I do not eat Okra however.

21.  When I first went to Texas people looked at me crazy when I told them I didn't drink iced tea.  They really thought I was nuts when I said I liked Iced Coffee.  Now there's a McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks on every corner where you can get Iced Coffee.  Even in Texas.

22.  I enjoy singing and will sing about any song from Simon and Garfunkle, Jim Croce, Restless Heart, or George Strait.  The PQ loves the way I sing but I have no range.

23.  I can't dance to save my life.  I have no sense of timing or rhythm. 

24.  Cultured I am not.  It would be a waste of money for me to buy tickets to the opera.  Most modern art is completely lost on me.  I don't care for musicals either.  Though not born in the south, I appear to be well on my way to becoming a redneck

25.  The trend today to get tattoos everywhere just grosses me out.  Guys with tattoos down their arms, neck, back, etc is just too over the top for me.  Women with tattoos??  OMG.  And don't get me started on facial piercings  (or anywhere else for that matter).  I guess I am just too damned old.