Friday, September 14, 2018

Know How to Play 'Em

Thought for the day: Never play poker with the world's fastest animal, because he's a cheetah.


[image courtesy of morguefile]
You like to play cards? It's been far too long since I've played, but I never met a card game I didn't enjoy. Before I started school, playing poker taught me how to count. (Took me a while to stop saying jack after ten, though... HA! Just kidding. Sorta.)

Tell ya what. We're going to play a virtual game of cards today, and what's more... we're all gonna win, because I'm dealing us all the same hand. We're going to consider five different things, and I'm gonna assign a value to each one. (Hey! My blog, my rules!)

The key to success is playing the hand you were dealt like it was the hand you wanted.


[image: wikipedia]
Recognize this flower? It's a lotus blossom. Gorgeous, isn't it? Can you imagine a building designed in the image of one of these beautiful flowers?

Imagine it no more, because I'm going to show you such a thing. It's the Wujen Lotus Conference Center in China. This breathtaking building rises above a two-story subterranean municipal facility that lies beneath a man-made lake. The lotus part of the building houses part of the city's planning bureau, as well as some meeting rooms and conference centers. I declare this building to be our ACE. Rather than show you a mere static shot of our top card, how about a short video?


Now for our KING: I reckon 75-year old John Brooker, of Norfolk, England, was getting a wee bit bored with life as a retiree. So he spent thirteen years shaping a one-hundred foot dragon from his ten-foot tall privet hedge. What a guy, huh? (He can trim our hedges any ol' time... and there's no need for anything fancy, either. I'm happy if they're more or less the the same height...)






[image: wikipedia, courtesy of Schwedde66]
And now for our QUEEN.

The Golden Bridge, near DaNang, Vietnam, which opened earlier this year, is a footbridge connecting a cable car station to the gardens at Ba Na Hill resort. Two giant stone hands rise from the ground, as though Mother Nature herself were supporting it.




Our fourth card is a TEN. For a pair of SHOES, you  might wonder? Nope, for the company that makes them. In March of this year, Adidas announced that it had sold its millionth pair of Ultraboost shoes. (AKA ten to the sixth power...) Big deal, you say? After all, look at all the mediocre burgers McD's has managed to sell, right? But there's something different about these shoes. Something special. Believe it or not, they're made of salvaged ocean trash. In 2016, Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a global network of researchers seeking ways to rescue our oceans, and each pair of Ultraboost shoes is made from eleven discarded plastic bottles that were removed from our oceans, beaches, and coastal communities. One shoe at a time, one step at a time, they're making a difference.


Our last card is a...JOKER. A wild card... but we can make it a jack to complete our winning royal flush.

It's the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, and it's the tallest unfinished skyscraper in the world. Shaped like a pyramid, this 105-story, 1080-foot behemoth was begun in 1987, with much fanfare, of course, but construction came to an abrupt halt in 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Like a giant abandoned ghost, it loomed over the city without windows or any interior work until 2008, when an infusion of money from Egyptian Orascom Telecommunications enabled the construction to begin anew. The exterior was finally completed in 2011, and a partial grand opening was announced for 2013, but it never happened. Still hasn't happened. Still isn't finished. Mysteries linger over whether it will ever open, or if more than a handful of people will ever get a peek inside. It sits dark and ominous, with nothing but a single night light at its tips to alert airplane pilots to its lurking presence.

So there ya have it... our winning royal flush. Come to think of it, in a way, life is kinda like a card game. To win big, you have to stifle your fear and go all in every once in a while. Sure, there are times it'd be easier to give up, to simply fold rather than to play the hand you've been dealt, but you can't win if you don't play. Believe in yourself. Think life has been stacking the deck against you? Nah, life's no four flusher... it's not a cheetah. But when the chips are down, only you can decide if what you want is worth the effort. Maybe, instead of folding, you should up the ante and try even harder. As far as the future goes, it's full of wild cards, because we never know for sure what's coming, but we do have the power to make of it what we will. One thing for sure: as far as value goes, you guys are all blue chips. Every single one of you, and THAT... you can bet on!

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game. [Randy Pausch, professional poker player]


70 comments:

  1. Learning how to play the game takes finesse and patience (pun sort of intentional).
    Love your selection of Royalty. Particularly the Ten. Who trumps all the others in my eyes.

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    1. :) Yes, it does. The game isn't always child's play.

      Thanks. I think that ten's pretty darned fantastic, too.

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  2. So what you're saying is take it as it comes, go with the flow, roll with the punches, but always bounce back up and so it smiling?
    Right then...

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    1. HA! Yeah, something like that. And always know when your hand is worth the risk of increasing the bet.

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  3. "DO" it not 'so' it, sheesh (*~*)

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  4. That bridge is a wow! And I would love a dragon hedge if I had a hedge or a garden! I sometimes play solitaire on the computer, but apart from that, card games are not really my thing. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

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    1. Even though you don't care much for playing cards, I'm glad you like the "cards" I dealt you today. :)

      You have a super weekend, too. Hugs back atcha.

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  5. What a fantastic post! It isn't only interesting - it's very uplifting (at a time when I personally need it the most).

    I'm not always playing with a full deck (*smile*) but you obviously are. I love the lotus building and the two giant stone hands holding the bridge.
    Transforming a huge hedge into a dragon would require a helluva lot of work at any age - - my cowboy hat is off to that energetic 75 year-old.

    That huge building in North Korea is amazing, but a little creepy - - especially since it's empty.

    BTW, I left a reply to your recent comment on my blog, but I want to say it again in case you missed it - - many many thanks for the book review. I LOVE it!!

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    1. Thanks! Uplifting? That's what I like to hear. :)

      HA! Only you would come up with the "playing with a full deck" comment. Perfect! (But not true.)

      You're very welcome. I meant it. Your new book is a delight.

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  6. So if I'm dealt a crummy hand I have to bluff better? Check!

    Sounds like the NK building will fall over before it's ever built. Those hands are neat indeed. 13 years is a long time for a dragon hedge, wow. And that's a lot of ocean trash reused

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    1. Either bluff with what you've got or fold 'em!

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  7. I still like the look of that NK hotel even if it isn't finished. Anoher great post, Susan.

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    1. That skyscraper is definitely different. It reminds me more of a spaceship than a pyramid, though.

      Thanks. I'm glad you liked it.

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  8. I've seen pictures of that skyscraper - wonder if they will ever finish it?
    I want a dragon hedge now!

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    1. And, in light of how difficult it is for the North Korean people to even find or afford food to eat, I wonder what they think of all the money and effort that's gone into that still unopened skyscraper.

      No problem! Grab your hedge trimmers, and have at it!

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  9. So true that life is like a game of cards. You need to know how to hold them and when to fold them ! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Absolutely! And that song way playing on a continuous loop in my mind as I wrote this post. :)

      You have a wonderful weekend, too.

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  10. Have read your post with great interest, and remembering the the times I fell for the foolishness of gambling. There is always some card player better than you.

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    1. Oh, absolutely! I have no illusions about being the best player at the table and I've never played in any high stakes games. I've always done well, but I think it's more a matter of luck than skill.

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  11. What a clever post! Educational, too.

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  12. What amazing things you have shown us today, Susan. That Lotus Flower building is more than magnificent. The bush, though, caught my imagination. If only I could get my Retired Man outside chopping away at our bushes for thirteen years. I will bet you anything that it was his wife who suggested that he do such a thing.

    We are all dealt different cards, and I have learned to bluff very well. We all need a few tricks in life to get through and folding has never been an option for me. I am too stubborn and try to make sure that I have an ace up my sleeve.

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    1. I agree. That Lotus building is absolutely gorgeous.

      HA! You're probably right about the guy's wife being behind that 13-year hedge-trimming job. I can almost hear her: "Would you puh-LEEZE get out from under my feet??? Go outside and DO something!"

      Funny. I'm not very good at bluffing when it comes to cards, but I do well in real life. Laughing on the outside...

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    2. Yep. Women of a certain age, maybe...?

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  13. I may not be playing with a full duck (NOT a typo) but that Lotus Building is aces with me!!

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  14. I need a pair of those shoes! I would never step foot in the North Korean sky scraper. If they take as much care in their architecture as they do their people, that thing is a death trap!

    I agree that we need to play the best hand we're dealt. Unless we can convince the dealer of a renig and get a do over. LOL

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    1. They actually have several different sneaker styles, and they're all pretty cool-looking. Yeah, I'm not too sure I'd step foot in that skyscraper, either. Heck, who am I kidding? I wouldn't step foot in that whole country!

      Yeah, do-overs are always a good thing. :)

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  15. What a novel (no pun intended) idea for a theme! I was always a lousy card player -- both at the table and in life -- trying to deny the cards I was dealt. Well, that was then; this is NOW … I'm carpe dieming as best I can!

    I'd love to walk that footbridge!

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    1. Nah, you can't be a bad life card-player. Look at where you are now... and who you're there with. Sounds like a big win to me!

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  16. Wow. Wow. Amazing. Winning hand, for sure.

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    1. Yep, and nobody even had to ante up to get it. :)

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  17. We cannot change the cards we are dealt … really ? ... I beg to differ, friend Sue … cuz life is all about tricks up your sleeve … Much love, cat.

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    1. It depends on the game. :) Draw poker allows you to exchange some of your cards, but with most other games, you've gotta play what ya get. As for tricks up my sleeve? I'm outta luck there, because the only thing up my sleeve is an old saggy arm. :)

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  18. Amazing cards.
    Love the dragon. I have a hedge on my post today.
    Great minds think alike or with me lost mind forgets.

    cheers, parsnip and badger

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    1. opps, love the shoes so happy they are Adidas !

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    2. I prefer the "great minds think alike" line of thought. As for how much we forget these days? Let's, um, forget about that...

      I'm psyched about those shoes, too.

      Cheers back atcha.

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  19. Wow, the Wujen Lotus Conference Center is unbelievably stunning!

    And had no idea that Adidas made shoes from ocean trash like that. Very cool and impressive!

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    1. Isn't that Lotus building gorgeous? I'm in awe of the people who designed it and the builders who executed the plans. They pulled it off beautifully.

      Me, too. My next pair of sneakers are gonna have to be Adidas.

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  20. Really enjoyed reading this post, Susan. I'm going to do my very best to find a pair of those awesome shoes! Leather days no more! Even if they are from the Goodwill store!

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked it, Dylan. I'd love to have a pair of those shoes, too, but they're pretty pricey. (Maybe we can find a pair at Goodwill?)

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  21. Yep, ten gets my vote for best but I do love that lotus building! Wow!

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    1. Those shoes are amazing. It's even more amazing that Adidas doesn't make a big advertising deal about what they've been doing.

      And yeah, I LOVE that building. :)

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  22. Those shoes look awesome (almost as awesome as the idea behind them). I'll have to look for them!

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    1. Aren't they cool? The idea of making shoes from ocean garbage made me love them from the get-go, but they LOOK good, too!

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  23. Wow, that lotus! Its so awesome.

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    1. Isn't it? No wonder it's such a huge tourist attraction.

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  24. I too now require a dragon hedge... Might happen! My hands are full of wild cards :-)

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    1. HA! You go for it, girl! If anyone can make a dragon hedge, YOU can!

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  25. I want a dragon hedge! Almost enough to make me want to move back on land :-)

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  26. I think we tend to dismiss non-western design too easily. Thank for redressing the balance!
    I too enjoy most card games but I won't play poker for anything more than matchsticks as I am a poor bluffer.
    My favourite games are Nomination Whist and Hearts.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s criticasterous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Indeed. We too often tend to think of Western design as being "superior," much like we pretended native cultures didn't already exist in the lands we "discovered," renamed, and claimed as our own.

      I love hearts! And spades, and pinochle, and all kinds of poker, bridge... you name it. Whist is one game I never learned, though.

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    2. All whist-based games are enjoyable. They aren't hard to learn - just hard to play well! Like Bridge, for example.

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    3. Alas, the biggest challenge would be finding anyone who lives in our area who plays whist.

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  27. I am back from a short trip and happy to say hello and now Happy Monday. Nifty post. That dragon yard sculpture makes me ashamed. I just try to get our hedges half straight - not as if a drunk trimmed them. Ha! I cannot keep a poker face - no card gambling for me. Have a great week

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    1. Hi-ya! Welcome back! I hope you had a fantabulous time.

      Hey! Nothing to be ashamed of. Those darned hedges are darned lucky to get trimmed at all. :)

      You have a super week, too.

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  28. Great hand. I love the tennis shoes! And those hands holding that bridge, genius! I don't have any words of wisdom today, I think you covered it all!

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    1. Aren't those shoes great?

      I'm sure you've got plenty words of wisdom, kiddo. :)

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  29. Cool pics! I've seen that bridge on the internet. It's garnering a lot of attention. Can't imagine having to prune that dragon hedge. Too much work for me!

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    1. Thanks! That bridge is so cool, it deserve to get a lot of attention. Pruning a hedge like that would definitely be too much work in Georgia's heat. As least, London is (usually) a lot cooler.

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  30. Hey Susan:

    I'm really worried about Jon? What can we do to help?

    - Dylan

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    1. Hi-ya.

      Unfortunately, I don't think there's much we can do other than encourage him as best we can and be there for him. Thank goodness for his cousin!

      Delete
  31. Hi Susan -late but here ... don't play poker and couldn't learn fast enough - so must comment instead!! Love, love the lotus building ... can't resist that one! The others are fun ... and people with their hedges or trees are just so clever ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. I almost missed your comment! Not sure why, but Blogger no longer sends the comments to me via email, so comments made on any earlier than the most recent posting stand a good chance of falling through the cracks. I'm glad I caught this one.

      That Lotus building must be amazing to see in person! Maybe some day...

      Cheers back atcha. Have a super weekend.

      Delete
    2. Here's how ...written up by someone else:
      How to get comments made on your blog go to your email again: HERE ...

      Go into your design wall and on left hand side go into your settings and then click on email and then where you have your email address in the comment notification box, delete it and then save and then re enter your email address and save again.

      Then you will get an email from blogger with a invitation to receive comment notification and then click on SUBSCRIBE and then your emails will start coming through to your email address.

      ps- Make SURE you hit SAVE when you delete your old email address and then re-enter the address and save it again. Fingers crossed it works!
      I hope---I hope---I hope!

      UPDATED TO ADD:
      You will get an "invitation" in your email to
      subscribe to the comments.
      As soon as you hit accept you are
      IN LIKE FLYNN!

      Delete
  32. Great post! Such amazing art/architecture. I love the lotus flower conference center.

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