Well, it has been a few weeks since the last mailbag, and you know what that means: Gentlemen, start your printers! This one's checking in at a cool 4,700 words ... and I don't even feel remotely guilty. As always, these are actual questions from actual readers:
Q: Do you think it is time for a moratorium on all poker metaphors? Not just in your column, but in all columns in all the magazines and sites? As the co-writer of both "Rounders" and "Tilt," I feel some responsibility for the poker language bludgeoning we are all taking and I want to be the first to address it. Thanks.
-- Brian Koppleman, NYC
SG: No problem, Koppleman -- as long as you agree that "Rounders 2" can't happen without Damon and Norton, then I agree to banish all poker metaphors from my column. But if I read that "Rounders 2" is happening with someone like Wilmer Valderrama or Johnny Knoxville taking over as Mike McD, all bets are off.
While we're here, let's make two other poker pacts ...
1. Now that Jackpot Jay has retired, nobody can write any more poker columns. Stop writing them, stop reading them, just stop. We all know how to play at this point. We know that you can get screwed over on the river ... it happens. We know that you can get lucky on the river ... it happens. But if I have to read one more column about how the writer had three jacks, and he thought they would hold up, but then somebody else was going for a straight, and then when he saw that 7 of hearts, he knew it was trouble ... for the love of God, who cares??? It's poker! When you're at a table where everyone knows how to play -- and by the way, just about everyone knows how to play now -- it's 90 percent luck! You might as well write columns giving the play-by-play of a scratch card you scratched off outside a convenience store. Enough. Please stop. I would rather read 200 holier-than-thou columns about Rafael Palmeiro over another poker column.
(And if you're going to keep writing them, at least make fun of everyone else at your table. Your average poker player looks like he should be holding a squeegee at a stoplight in Manhattan, scalping tickets outside of Edison Field, pushing a hot dog truck in Hartford or chain-smoking outside of a VD clinic waiting for his granddaughter to come out. This needs to be mentioned at all times. Repeat: All times.)
2. No more glorifying poker players. For instance, one of the more famous players has the nickname "Jesus," as you might have heard Norm Chad mention 65,234 times on that World Series show (when the guy really looks like Waingro from "Heat"). Should a guy who devotes his life to deceiving other human beings with cards really be called "Jesus"? Shouldn't poker players only be allowed to have nicknames like "Fish Eye" and "Scumball"? Also, how hard can it be to play poker for a living when Jennifer Tilly, Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck have won major tournaments? Even in a sport like golf, when the celebrities play with the pros, they're clearly inferior (just watch HBO's excellent show about Ray Romano and Kevin James trying to make the cut at Pebble Beach). In poker, anyone can become a pro -- you just need enough cash to get started and a ton of time on your hands. I mean, have you seen Jennifer Tilly on a talk show? Not a Mensa threat.
Q: Is there a worse feeling than not being able to find the remote when you're watching a dirty movie and you can hear your wife coming?
-- The Ted, Austin, Texas
SG: Yes. There's probably one worse feeling.
Q: How long will it be before Joe Torre pulls Giambi aside after another home run and just stares straight into his eyes, just like James Caan did to Lattimer in "The Program," and then we will see Giambi hysterically crying in the dugout?
-- Evan Lupion, NY, NY