Posted by Wizard
Dec 05, 2011

Las Vegas Marathon

Yesterday I participated in the Las Vegas Half Marathon. Before I describe the event, here are some facts and figures from the Washington' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/peter-omae-wins-as-las-vegas-marathon-finishes-under-lights-for-first-time/2011/12/04/gIQArZHZUO_story.html]Washington Post:

  1. Entrants: 44,000 (6,000 Marathon, 38,000 Half Marathon)
  2. Winnings times: Marathon 2:28:58, Half Marathon 1:03:12
  3. Spectators: 100,000
  4. Bands: 32
  5. Marathon start time: 4 p.m.
  6. Half marathon start time: 5:30 p.m.
  7. Map: See link

Before yesterday I did the full Las Vegas marathon in 2005 and the half marathon last year, which I wrote about in another blog entry. My time last year was 2:02:12. The main difference this year was the time. Last year it started at 7 a.m. This year the half marathon didn't start until 5:30 p.m., which is already at night. This is a change I applaud.

Unlike last year I got to leave home at a reasonable hour. To say parking is difficult would be an understatement. I did the same thing I did last year. Hopefully not too many people will read this to ruin the idea. I parked at the executive airport, which is where people go for helicopter tours and those fortunate enough to travel by private jet. It would be about a 20-minute walk to the Mandalay Bay, but I did it by bicycle, locking my bike to a lamp post in the island in the middle of Las Vegas Blvd..

As usual with me, I arrived early. I can't stand people who are habitually late. In an effort not to be them, I always assume I will arrive three standard deviations more than the mean travel time. Of course I'm usually early, which gives me a little free time. I used the time to say hi to some old familiar faces from the Mandalay Bay from when I used to play there a lot. I also had the displeasure to watch the Giants lose to the Packers in the Mandalay sports book. I had a pretty big bet on the Giants on the money line.

At about 5:10 p.m. I left the Mandalay to find my corral. My bib number was 7342, which put me in corral number 7. It was not easy getting there. By the time I arrived to the right general area the course was already full of runners. So I waited with many others outside the railings for the race to start, to have room to squeeze in. There is no reason to rush, because every runner has a timing chip on their shoelaces, recording their own personal starting and ending times.

Due to the 38,000 people running the half marathon the runners were stacked up quite a ways. The organizers did a good job in avoiding a stampede by leading the corrals up one at a time. When any given corral reached the start line they got out of the way and let them run. While the official start time was 5:30 I cross the start line at 5:37.

At first the course was crowded. When signing up they ask you to estimate your time. I put 2:00. It was clear that the vast majority of people in my corral, who would have put about the same thing, were not in 2:00 shape. I was passing about ten people for every one who passed me. It was not easy passing anybody at all at first, due to overcrowding. However, I did my best to look for openings and must confess I used the marathon lane as a passing lane quite a bit.

Given the huge number of participants one has to expect a certain degree of crowding. However, what was unnecessarily contributed to the problem was groups of 3 or 4 people running side by side, and not keeping up with the general pace for where they were at. Those impeding traffic in such a way were women -- 100% of the time. Gals, how about running single file next time?

It was not until about the Stratosphere when the crowd thinned out enough to be able to run more or less straight ahead and not having to weave around people. Based on my experience I think most runners were less than truthful in putting down their estimated time. I admit that I overestimated my time. Still, I think the median time for those estimating 2:00 was probably about 2:20.

Another annoyance, although this one was justifiable, where the marathon people sharing the course, who had started earlier. They put up cones to give them a special lane, but the half marathon runners often spilled over into it. I was running amongst some fast marathon runners, with times around the 3:15 point. They were constantly yelling "Half marathon, stay to the right!" I'm sure if they were pretty livid about it.

In retrospect, I think the way they did it last year was better, where everybody started at the same time and the marathon runners added their additional 13 miles at the end. This way runners were more headed together by speed level, and you didn't mix together fast marathon runners with slow half runners.

While I complain a lot about the congestion, a big turnout also makes for a fun race. Anything seems to be more fun if others are enjoying the same thing with you. There is definitely a contact euphoria in running a race with 44,000 other people, with 100,000 watching. I'd also like to say a good word for the planning. This year there were lots of refreshment stands and bathrooms didn't seem to be an issue.

This year the course went down the Strip, turned onto Main Street by the Stratosphere, and then made lots of turns in downtown Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the course didn't go through Fremont street this year. Actually, we did run along it for a short while, but not the part with the canopy. The closest we came was running down Fremont from the El Cortez to the Western.

I was feeling good and had no aches or pains slowing me down. When we crossed the half way point downtown I felt as if I was being too conservative with my energy so ramped up my speed a bit. Through the second half I felt that I had plenty of energy but I can only run so fast. Unlike last year where I was running low on steam towards the end, I kept increasing mine.

To backtrack, I have maintained half-marathon condition since the previous half marathon. With some exceptions, I have run a half marathon on my own on a weekly basis ever since. So, I was definitely in better shape and had more energy than last time.

As I got to about the New York New York I went into almost a sprint to burn off as much energy as I could. This was the moment I had trained a whole year for, so I was going to give it my best shot. At this point it seemed the general pace of where I was at unraveled. Some people evidently ran out of steam and were walking while others like me finished off with a bang.

So, how did I do? My time was 1:49:37. I'm sure that means nothing to those who don't run, so let's put that in perspective.

For my age and gender group (men, age 45-49) I finished in 186th place out of 1,566. So, I beat 88.2% of men my age. The range for my group was 1:15:18-4:29:40.

For all men, I finished 1,670th out of 10,725. So, I beat 84.4% of all men. Not bad, eh?!

Overall I had a great time and am happy I did it. I could just run 13 miles on my own for free anytime, but it is just exciting and fun to do it in a huge group. I'm sure I'll do it again next year.


Ayecarumba Dec 05, 2011

Great job Wizard! If you could have started with the elites, and did not have to deal with weaving around the slow packs, what would you have estimated as your "true" time? Did the cold affect you?

thecesspit Dec 05, 2011

I've done a couple of larger runs (not as big as this one) and I wish there was some sort of lane discipline/ettitquette where if you decide to slow down/walk you move over to the left/right. But it is fun to run in a big group and it seems to drag out the best times.

As for your time... nice work.

I can't imagine being able to run 21k, and not at 5m15 pace. I can't even run 1 km at that pace. My own personal goal is to do 10k in under an hour at the big 10k race here.

Wizard Dec 05, 2011

Q: Great job Wizard! If you could have started with the elites, and did not have to deal with weaving around the slow packs, what would you have estimated as your "true" time? Did the cold affect you?

A: Thanks! Not that you suggested it, but I oppose lying too excessively to be among faster runners. I wouldn't feel badly about estimate 5-10 minutes less, which should put you in about the right pace group, due to everybody else underestimating their time. If you overdo it then YOU will get in other people's way. If I was truly unencumbered by other runners, then I could have probably shaved off another three minutes or so. Despite all my complaining, I was still going at my desired speed most of the time, I just had to weave around people and sometimes slow down around due to a slow cluster. Also, the more people, the more of a "contact high" you get, which improves speed. On my weekly practice runs my time tended to be right around 2:00.

DJTeddyBear Dec 05, 2011

Nice job. And great report.

It's weird that I never bothered to wonder how cars get around when other marathons take place (although living in northern NJ, I know enough to avoid New York City when they have theirs). But my heart is so much into Vegas, looking at the route map caused me to wonder how much of a hastle is it for cars to get around. Since you were running, I don't expect you to know....

Also, I notice on the map, two spots labeled "GU Energy Station." What's that?

Wizard Dec 05, 2011

There was signage all weekend about the Strip shutdown during the marathon. I think most people knew about it and just avoided the Strip during those hours. For those who had to get to or leave a Strip hotel, there are back entrances, like on Industrial and Audrie.

When I ran the whole marathon in 2005, which made a huge rectangle, one could overhear drivers at stop points furious about it. At that time the LV Marathon was not a regular thing, and it evidently caught a lot of drivers by surprise. Those who had to travel from or to the enclosed rectangle pretty much had to use the 95 as the only way in and out.

I think it is getting to be like New Years Eve, where Las Vegas is just expecting to not use the Strip for driving during marathon hours.

amyjoel Dec 05, 2011

The Wizard is Awesome! In spite of your very nice description of the event, I am totally floored about your stat: 10,725 men total? Does that mean there were 27, 275 women? That is wacky!! No wonder they were all clumped together, blocking your passage. (And I am female and DON'T run in a clump, that sounds really annoying.)

amyjoel Dec 05, 2011

@DJTeddyBear: Although I didn't run this race, a GU station is where they give you free GU, the electrolyte/carb/protein gel that many runners like to take during longer races. I personally am not a huge fan of the stuff, but it is very easy to digest, so it does help you keep your energy high if you are running more than 90 minutes.

Wizard Dec 06, 2011

Thanks for the kind words Amy. Good question about the number of women. I checked the results and in the half marathon 12,072 men finished and 21,051 women. So, it would seem that 4,877 people didn't show up or finish. Still, 64% of people who finished were women. Good job ladies! Thanks for not chastising me over my remark about the ones who run side by side.

I'm hoping you'll make a pledge to run next year, so we can all bet on how you'll do.

FleaStiff Dec 08, 2011

Be advised: One group of runners complained of severe cramps after ingesting event-provided drinking water, sought ambulance transport to hospital but were told to either use the portapotties or keep running. Drinking water was from the fire hydrant (routine practice at such events) into a large plastic container into which dozens of people later dipped drinking cups by hand. The large plastic container evolves a substance the first time it gets wet but this appears not to have been placarded. LVRJ does not seem to be pressing the matter or seeking identity of specific chemicals involved.

Posted by Wizard
Nov 29, 2011

Buenos Aires

I was in Buenos Aires for five days earlier this month. My report has just been posted on my new Odds site: Buenos Aires trip report. These trip reports take a long time to put together so I hope you'll have a look. I welcome all comments and questions.


teddys Nov 29, 2011

Great report, and very useful! I look forward to the Igazu Falls episode.

Argentinia calls the Falklands Islas Malvinas. Maldives are something else entirely.

Wizard Nov 29, 2011

Thanks for that spelling correction. Yes, Iguzau Falls, as well as Punta del Este (Uruguay) and a separate page on casinos are coming next. These things take a while to put together, so be patient.

Mosca Nov 29, 2011

Thanks, Wiz. My daughter is there right now with some of her friends, it gives me some idea of where she is.

teddys Nov 29, 2011

And apparently neither one of us can spell Iguazu correctly :)

Wizard Nov 29, 2011

You forgot the accent ;-). It should be Iguazú. Never mind the spelling on the Brazil side.

Ayecarumba Nov 29, 2011

Thanks for that Wizard. I enjoyed it very much. You have a great "voice" when it comes to describing your adventures and observations, that I can really relate to.

I note that there is a reference to an image of a form for refunding the VAT, but no image, nor link.

The guy in the picture at the airport looks like Argentine tennis pro Agustin Calleri. Argentina is playing in the Davis Cup. I'm not sure though, since Calleri is retired, and not on their current Davis Cup team roster.

teddys Nov 29, 2011

Good call on the tennis, AyeC. It could be Callieri, just being interviewed as he played in that final against Spain a few years ago. Maybe it could also be Chela?

odiousgambit Nov 29, 2011


I don't think many Americans make it down to Buenos Aires to cause a bad reputation

should be "I don't think many Americans make it down"

odiousgambit Nov 29, 2011


I don't think many Americans make it down to Buenos Aires to cause a bad reputation

should be "I don't think many enough Americans make it down to Buenos Aires to cause a bad reputation" ?

pacomartin Nov 29, 2011

Very entertaining article.

As to your comment about white people, Argentines are more white than Americans. Argentina had a very small indigenous population at the time of conquest. In addition, in the Argentina was second only to the US in the numbers of European immigrants received in the 19th century (mostly Italy and Spain).About 86% of Argentina's population self-identify as being of European descent while only 64% of American describe themselves as white, not hispanic. While the overwhelming majority of Mexicans think of themselves as Mestizo, only 1 in 12 Argentines are Mestizo.

My understanding is that only about 1/3 million Americans go to Argentina in a year. Since you went through Mexico City, did you fly Aeromexico?

odiousgambit Nov 29, 2011

sorry about posting before getting it right. BTW at your WoO site, I suggest that instead of a non-working search section that you have a box suggesting people use google. In the google search, simply add 'wizard of odds' to the item you are looking for. This will bring it up every time.

pacomartin Nov 29, 2011

I don't think enough Americans make it down to Buenos Aires to cause a bad reputation

I think that Americans are extremely aware of the stereotype of the "Ugly American" traveler, which actually dates back to the late '40s. Many of them go out of their way to be culturally sensitive and polite. In my experience, the Germans are the worst, followed by Russians. Of course, being from the USA in Latin America will set some people on edge. But in general, I assume that Americans are much better behaved than decades ago.

In Oaxaca I thought people were very sensitive about class and race than about nationality. A political protest picture would invariably show the white President of Mexico shaking hands with the white President of the USA or Canada. They would go out of their way to photo shop them so that they look similar.

Wizard Nov 29, 2011

Thanks for all the additional comments. Juan Ignacio Chela does seem like a good guess.

I can say that the man was tall. Argentine men I think average a bit shorter than American men, and this guy definitely towered over the reporters, some of whom were women. Wikipedia says Chela is 6'3", which sounds about right for whoever I saw.

I agree, most American travelers are well behaved. Personally, I behave better when overseas, wanting to project a good image for my country. A friend of mine said he overheard somebody telling a Montreal hostess (in French, I presume), "Please sit me away from the Americans."

aluisio Nov 29, 2011

Congratulations for the fair review on Buenos Aires! it was a pretty dense and complete one, and I must say it witt the autority of someone who lived in BsAs for almost two months! You picked up the nice spots to show everyone, that was great. I think that it might be said that Puerto Madero gathers the most famous restaurants in town, including Cabaña las Lilas that is known as the best bife de chorizo of the whole world. I am glad you also had the opportunity to go to Puerto Iguazu and Punta del Este. They both have amazing casinos, Casino Iguazu is the one that I go the most since there are no casinos in Brazil. They comp me a room and BF about three times an year. In Punta Conrad is much more upscale, but still a nice choice! I am waiting on the next part!

aluisio Nov 29, 2011

Btw, in Brazil, our border city is called Foz do Iguaçu. But I guess you guys do not have the 'ç' .

In Argentina it is Iguazú.

Posted by Wizard
Oct 14, 2011

The Joys of Retail Sales

Today I had to buy a number of things for my gambling video project next week. After choosing a video camera I asked a salesman to take it out of the locked case. Then I hold out my hand to put it in my basket. However, he gets a false apologetic look on his face and says that he handle the purchase now or can leave it up at the front for me.

Now I'm quite sure I've purchased locked items at Best Buy before and they just handed them to me. I find it very insulting to be looked over and then determined not to be trustworthy, necessitating a second round of embarrassment at the cashier as I have to announce I'm a suspected thief.

Next, the cashier can't find said camera and has to hunt down the salesman to ask where he put it. For some reason it was nowhere near the cash registers. Maybe he thought I would locate it by the registers and then make a quick jaunt to the nearby door.

So after all that I pay for my purchase in cash, $724.18. I hand the cashier $740 in twenties, which I counted out while I was waiting for the camera search. The cashier counts the money, laying in piles of $100. Then he scoops it all up and says that he needs somebody to verify the total. Say what? How hard is it to count to 740 by 20?

So he had to find somebody who wasn't already busy to count said money. More waiting. I could have counted that money at the age of 6.

This all happened at the Summerlin Best Buy, if anybody cares. That's it. Thank you for reading my rant.


NicksGamingStuff Oct 14, 2011


It is nothing personal with you, it is the company policy. The same thing happened when I bought my digital camera earlier this year and that was less than $200. They probably have a policy that cash purchases over x have to be verified by a manager. It is lousy for the customer but the company figures in the long run it is better for security. It may be a new policy.

EvenBob Oct 14, 2011

You need to get that wandering eye looked at, its gives you a shifty look..

Tiltpoul Oct 15, 2011

Don't let their advertisements fool you... Best Buy is truly one of the WORST retail stores for customer service. They rely solely on tech geeks who don't need much help and if you have any problems in the future, the dirt on the bottom of your shoe will be treated better than you.

I work retail in a very customer service oriented company, so I try not to be too demanding. About five years ago, I had problems with my laptop that were covered in warranty. When I took it to their "repair center," they had it for three days and called me and said it was fixed (initially, I was told it would take at least a week). Lo and behold, it wasn't fixed, so I asked to speak to an assistant manager. When he told me there was nothing they could do about it, I told him I wouldn't shop there again. He said "That's fine, we don't need your business anyways!"

Since then, I have bought NOTHING for myself at a Best Buy, and only made two other purchases there, both gifts that I couldn't get elsewhere.

I miss Circuit City...

odiousgambit Oct 15, 2011

>I miss Circuit City...

Wow, that really says it all!

inap Oct 15, 2011

i use a product called 'prolong' in my car which is an oil additive. after the initial treatment it is recomended that you use the booster after every oil change. the last time i went to purchase a bottle i couldn't find it on the shelf with all the other oil additives. after looking around i was surprised to find it in a locked case along with your other typical small but expensive items for your car. this is only a $16 item! and the only product of this type! i asked a clerk for help and he said he would have to take it to the cashier, just as in your case. but this is only a common $16 item! i asked why and he said that this is a popular item to steal. so it's not just price, but i guess if the item is popular too.


FleaStiff Oct 15, 2011

Makes one want to bring back department stores with smartly dressed clerks and good taste and good manners. Who knew how to add, answered questions about the neighborhood and the next election with ease and didn't show the slightest interest in your fingerprints or drivers license.

Can you even imagine using todays store clerks to buy something for your wife and for your mistress?

NicksGamingStuff Oct 15, 2011

Barneys and Bloomingdales are kind of like that, the clerks are well dressed, have good manners, and take much better care of you. The only downside is you pay through the roof for it.

Wizard Oct 15, 2011

Thanks for all the comments.

If I ran a story with a shoplifting problem of expensive items I would do like they do at Costo, where the customer grabs a voucher at the point of display. Then you bring it up to the register and they will take the voucher and get the item from someplace secure and hopefully nearby. That way nobody gets offended. When you feel like the salesman is making a judgement call about you personally it is very insulting when it doesn't go your way.

Regarding Barneys, my wife says she went to the one at the Venetian and everybody gave her the cold shoulder, evidently because she wasn't carrying an Armani purse will $100 bills fall out.

NicksGamingStuff Oct 15, 2011

The one in San Francisco didn't do that to me...

NicksGamingStuff Oct 15, 2011

The one in San Francisco didn't do that to me...

toastcmu Oct 15, 2011

I'll echo the Barney's comment - my wife and I went to the local Honda dealer in the DC metro area to look at the new Odyssey. Since I look much younger than I am, and I don't dress appropriate on the weekends (i.e. - old t-shirt and shorts), no one approached me even after 15 minutes in the dealership. Of course, in DC, only the top of the line touring models are ever in stock, at 42k a pop, so since I didn't "look" like I could afford it, I was ignored. Oh well, no more Hondas on my list to buy from now on. Retail seems to be going about who looks like they can afford things, which is what got the country in trouble financially anyhow, but that's another point to chew on later....

FleaStiff Oct 15, 2011

It is worse in Hollywood. Some of those guys wearing suits that look like they've been slept in are merely wearing very expensive fashion statements ... and some of those guys actually are bums.

Would it really have hurt the Honda salesman to approach you and at least inquire if he could help you. I'm sure every flat broke 19 year old kid wants to test drive the top of the line model, but all the salesman is doing is asking you if you have any questions.

zippyboy Oct 15, 2011

I bought a Sony surround-sound system at the same Summerlin Best Buy across from Red Rock casino, and did NOT get that treatment, probably because grabbing the multiple speakers and desktop-computer-sized woofer and running out the door was unlikely. However, when I bought a smaller JVC movie camera at a Best Buy years ago, I DID get the "we'll leave it at the front counter for you" treatment. It's just company policy, so don't be offended. I'd get more offended at their incompetence in locating my item and annoyed at the inability to count bills.

Alan Oct 17, 2011

Looks can certainly be deceiving. The wife and I went looking for a car this past Saturday. She looked good(women don't typically go out in public not looking 'right') and of course here I am in my old t-shirt, shorts, flip flops and a dirty ball cap to cover my bed head-typical Saturday attire for me. Long story short, we bought a car(I'm sure the salesman looked at the way I was dressed and thought here's a waste of time-however we weren't treated as such) cut him a check for $20k and we were on our way, go figure, right.

Posted by Wizard
Sep 19, 2011

Debate with Terry Jones

Last week I made an east-coast trip. Starting in New York, then two days in Vermont, and three days in Montreal. Just by coincidence I was in New York during the 10-year anniversary of 9-11. I really wanted to have no part in the hand wringing over the infamous day, but that was just the convenient time to be there.

On 9-9-11 I did my weekly 13-mile run before flying to New York. On 9-10-11 I walked all over midtown Manhattan, including all of the Modern Art Museum, which is pretty big. All that walking and running had taken their toll so I decided to just sit and rest a while in Times Square. As I'm about to sit on the bleachers I see a lot of police and television cameras focused on somebody with a book in his hand and talking about something. When I got closer I could see it was infamous Koran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones.

So I just sat on the bleachers until eventually the media apparently got bored and left. Suddenly Terry was all alone. To be honest, I was feeling a bit lonely too, so decided to engage him a little debate. Here is more or less how it went:

Wiz: You're that guy who was threatening to burn the Koran, aren't you? (I already knew the answer, but was just making small talk)
TJ: Yup.
Wiz: Did you ever go through with it? (I had heard he did)
TJ: Yes, back in March (I could be wrong about the month)
Wiz: Why didn't I hear about it in the media?
TJ: I did a lot of interviews about it, but the media decided to do a black out about it (I applaud the media for this)
Wiz: Why did you go ahead with it after all? (He previously cancelled a burning)
TJ: At this point he went on a rant, including a long list of lack of freedoms in various Arab countries, which we enjoy in the US. At one point he said not all Muslims were bad people, and that his fight was against Sharia Law, which I understand to be a strict interpretation of the Koran regarding in part the oppression of women.
Wiz: I'm all for the first amendment, women's rights, and freedom of speech too. However, if your beef is with the extremists only, then why are you burning the Koran? Aren't most Muslims more moderate in their interpretation of it?
TJ: The Koran itself justifies killing non-Muslims.
Wiz: Can you quote me something to back that up?
TJ: Not off the top of my head.
Wiz: Don't you think you should be able to? This would seem to be your calling.
TJ: My assistant can give you a quote.
Wiz: (turning to assistant) I'm all ears.
Assistant: He quotes a verse. I don't remember the words but it sounded like one of hundreds of verses in the Old Testament.
Wiz: I don't see how you get from that to justifying burning the whole Koran. That sounded like something out of the Psalms to me.
TJ: The Koran was put on trial and found guilty of encouraging acts, such as those on 9-11.
Wiz: What trial? What was the verdict?
TJ: I don't know, but my assistant can answer that question.
Assistant: I don't know either, but let me make a call. (assistant calls somebody on cell phone). Then he recites the results of said trail. I don't recall the details, but basically that the Koran was guilty of encouraging the killing of non-Muslims.
Wiz: Isn't the Bible guilty of the same thing? For example, didn't god kill almost everybody on earth in the story of Noah's Ark, because they were so evil and wicked, the same motives of the 9-11 hijackers?
TJ: That god did that directly, he didn't ask anybody else to do it.
Wiz: Don't you think one could read that story, and misinterpret it as a justification to kill others that god would deem to be sinful?
TJ: My voice is getting hoarse, I have to save it for tomorrow.
Wiz: Okay, thanks for your time.

A media crew from Ganesville Florida was taping this exchange. Afterward the cameraman said I looked familiar. I explained who I was, but he didn't make the connection. Nobody has ever remarked to me about seeing this debate on the news. Too bad, I would have been proud to be one of only two people in Times Square to stand up to him. The other was a very cute brunette, who took over after I left.


ikilledjerrylogan Sep 19, 2011

It is true that there are similar verses in the Old Testament, however, we don't have a problem with Jews oppressing women and blowing themselves up in the name of Moses, Abraham or King David. Jews also dont mass migrate to new countries and insist that they be governed by only the laws that exist in the books of Torah (sharia law in islams case). The argument about there being two different muslims (moderate and extreme) doesn't make sense when you look at the leaders of religions. True Christians (followers of Jesus Christ) strive to be like Jesus, Mormons strive to follow the teachings of their prophet Joseph Smith etc. etc. Applying this to muslims one can only assume that a true Muslim would strive to be like God's only prophet, Muhammed. Muhammed's life was characterized by holy war and oppression of minorities and women.

"Having said that" - Larry David. I in NO WAY condone the actions of this so-called pastor. I would question his "calling" considering he has no proof that Jesus destroyed other religions' texts.

odiousgambit Sep 20, 2011

Influenced by Sun Tzu's Art of War I would never debate anyone in these circumstances; it's the thing about choosing the time and place of your battles. I also would have been concerned about being in the presence of someone on someone else's Jihad list.

If in a conversation with that Pastor, though, I would be happy if he seemed to seek out my opinion, which would have been that he needed to ''drop it" once the military had made it clear that he was endangering the troops. If he was still listening I would have continued on, to tell him that he diminished himself in my eyes by clearly craving the publicity, and that I felt that was all this was, a publicity stunt.

But I would not fail to also say that the people most in the wrong were the Moslems who went beyond simple censure and threatened or carried out actual violence on the matter; and that as a matter of fact he was entitled to burn a bonfire of Korans, Bibles, US Constitutions and Flags, Crucifixes, Effigies of Mohammed or Jesus, or anything else, daily, if he wished to do so.

pacomartin Sep 20, 2011

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) responded to another sign [of Terry Jones] which read, "Koran 9:5 Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them." saying that it was taken out of context {from Wikipedia}.

A similar sentiment is found in Leviticus 24:16 (King James translation), "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death."


Thank you Wizard for posting this blurb. You paint a picture of a truly ignorant person who can't seem to be bothered to memorize a few verses that support his claim to fame.

Wizard Sep 20, 2011

I probably should have made this a forum post. If this goes much longer, I will. I looked up that verse to see the context:

Quote: Koran 9:5-6

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

This seems like any of hundreds of passages in the Old Testament. To summarize, if you don't bother us, we won't bother us. If you do bother us, we'll kill every last one of you. Since Christianity has never repudiated the Old Testament, I find any criticism from them of the violence in the Koran to be hypocritical.

Nareed Sep 20, 2011

Wizard, you should turn this to the forum.

BTW I fail to see how you interpret the passage you quoted as "if you don't bother us we won't bother you." It calls for slaying, converting or lording it over the pagans wherever you find them, even to lie in wait for them. That's pretty agressive and as far removed from a live and let live attitude.

You're right, though, that other religions can be just as bad. However, that doesn't make the Koran any less wrong.

Now, as to the Koran-burning guy, while he has a right to burn a book of his proeprty, whatever book it may be, there's no need to provoke the crazies with a petty gesture. They do fine all by themselves finding things to be provoked about, such as the Muhammed cartoons in Denmark a few years back.

Wizard Sep 20, 2011

I had a typo in my last comment; I meant to say "If you don't bother us, we won't bother YOU." To back that up, I would need to go back further and look at the passage in historical context. To be honest, I was going by a commentary I read on another site about the passage.

This would be worth for a forum post, but why open up a discussion about the Koran when the number of us who have read the whole thing is zero. Also, I think the person who starts a post has an obligation to moderate it, and I just don't want to. I don't want to give the impression that I talk more about religion that gambling. If anyone else wants to bring up the topic, be my guest.

Wizard Sep 20, 2011

Here is a link to the commentary on that passage: theamericanmuslim.org.

Nareed Sep 20, 2011

I read the link, but I don't buy it. the passage indicates something else and makes no mention of a cease fire or truce or anything like that.

FrGamble Sep 20, 2011

I am a little worn out on forum posts about religion as well and it seems there is less action here on your blog, that might be a good thing for discussion. I am still waiting for a kind blog or post about Catholicism you mentioned a while ago. A few related suggestions to this topic could be:

- The Catholic Church has always had a rich tradition that helps interpret the Bible using different methodologies. Sometimes literal, other times figurative or allegorical, spiritual, etc. This saves us from being fundamentalists when reading the different genres of Biblical literature. The Bible is a book of faith, nor a history book or science textbook. The truths to be gleaned from the Bible often come from a deeper reading than the surface.

- While the Catholic Church does not repudiate the Old Testament, in fact sees the Jewish Scriptures as essential to understanding Christ, it also makes it clear that God's revelation is not complete until Jesus Christ and the New Testament. God is teaching humanity and must teach slowly over decades or centuries certain truths. It is a long climb up to the culminating message on the summit of Mt. Calvary where violence and death are finally destroyed. The first steps are discovering monotheism, intrinsic moral laws, establishing a community (later to extend to the whole world), recognizing God's forgiveness and love, etc., etc... A Christian would not be hypocritical in speaking out against violence just because of the OT, especially when it is shown that the NT is the completion of the Old.

- The Catholic Church has a Pope. This is someone who can say what is in-bounds and what is out of bounds when it comes to Catholicism. This is huge! You can't call yourself a Catholic Priest and go around saying something different than the universal Church. I wish there was someone in Islam who had that authority and voice for Muslims, who could clarify clearly how to interpret those difficult passages of the Koran and what practices would be condoned or condemned in Islam.

ikilledjerrylogan Sep 21, 2011

Completely agree with the first sentence of FrGamble's comment. Frequently visit this site because of the blackjack survey, articles and your great hotel reviews which haven't been updated in a while. Instead lately you've been bashing an entire religion based on a few outspoken minorities (you reference the "god hates fags" sign and now Terry Jones as if those two examples reprsent the majority of Christianity) within that religion.......buuuut isn't that the same thing you fault Terry Jones for doing? You argue that there are moderate muslims and he is bashing the entire religion based on a few outspoken minorities within that religion.

Wizard Sep 21, 2011

Thanks Father, those are all good points. Yes, I do owe you the post saying something nice about Catholicism. I will attempt to do that next, if I don't get distracted by something else, which has been known to happen.

I never said that Terry Jones and those carrying "God Hates Fags" signs represent mainstream Christianity. You don't find average Christians speaking in Times Square to whoever will listen very often, so I wrote about whoever happened to be there. My remark about "God Hates Fags" Christians was to draw a comparison to the Mormon faith, where you never seem to see that at all.

By the way, I think if more moderate Christians don't like the extremists getting all the attention they should be out there more preaching their own message to the public, as Jesus did. Yes, I'm you could recite the names of missionaries in the Congo doing that, but I never seem to see it HERE.

Agreed, I know it seems I talk more about religion than gambling lately. However, to be honest, I'm running low on new things to say about gambling. I promised the Father a post, and I will deliver on that. After that, I'll tone it down.

Scotty71 Sep 22, 2011

I would like to think Jesus would slap that idiot.

EvenBob Sep 22, 2011

Did you tell him most of America thinks

he's a lunatic? Why not?

ikilledjerrylogan Sep 22, 2011

Bob, he would probably take that as a compliment.

Posted by Wizard
Sep 08, 2011


One of the things that I find very annoying are people who are habitually late. I have said before that people never realize their own faults. Those who are never on time seem to think it is no big deal and you can get off with an insincere apology. Let me tell you something -- if you're always late, it is a fault, and it is very annoying to people that try hard to get places on time, like me.

Through the years I have found that once you accept apologies for lateness, the other party keeps getting worse and worse. As the victim, I eventually I get pushed too far and either break off a friendship over it, or give the other party the cold shoulder for a while.

My question for those reading this is how to you handle people are you always late? Assume they always apologize, but you know it is just lip service. Do you:

A) Just take it, what is the big deal?
B) Be honest and tell them gently each time that you're a little mad about it.
C) Falsely say that you accept the apology each time, and silently stew until your pot boils over and you explode.

I'm not saying it is the best option, but I'm a C person. Probably the half German in me.


Scotty71 Sep 08, 2011

B. Its rude to be late for appointment. Some people thinks its funny that they are always late like it is just part of their DNA. I am way too OCD to be late and move all my clocks forward by 5-10 minutes.

It's also rude to be real early too, I hate that guy almost as much!

ikilledjerrylogan Sep 08, 2011

Going through this right now with one of my best friends who is out of work. I am also half German so maybe thats why I'm doing the C thing right now. B is definitely the best option though and probably the most healthy. Easier said than done though.

rdw4potus Sep 08, 2011

If I can do something else while waiting, then i'm annoyed but not angry. If I'm forced to just sit around waiting for someone, then I quickly reach the latter part of C.

buzzpaff Sep 08, 2011

I usually just do A if I know the person can't help it. Really some people just can't. I mean I will probably be late tomorrow for the

2009 Procrastinator's annual meeting.

FleaStiff Sep 08, 2011

"Sorry I'm late ..."

"That's okay, you usually are."

Ever notice how young attractive women simply do not tolerate a man being late.

NicksGamingStuff Sep 09, 2011

Are you mad my article is delayed?

Wizard Sep 09, 2011

"Are you mad my article is delayed?"

No. You're good with me Nick. What brought this is on has nothing to do with the forum.

odiousgambit Sep 09, 2011

I go with 'A' for the most part, with some exceptions.

I find there are people who assume that one party will be late, and that it is a matter of a game with them to make sure that they aren't the one made to wait. If both play the game, it escalates. With one friend to keep it from getting worse I try to be 10 minutes late when I know he will be aim for 15 minutes late. Blowing off the friendship is not an option in this case.

NicksGamingStuff Sep 09, 2011

Do what I do for tardy people if I want to meet at 2 I tell them to meet at 1:30

DJTeddyBear Sep 09, 2011

Quote: Nick

Do what I do for tardy people if I want to meet at 2 I tell them to meet at 1:30

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner.

Actually I was going to say that I tell them the time is an HOUR before the real time.

Tiltpoul Sep 09, 2011

HABITUAL TARDINESS... I don't have much tolerance for people like that. To be honest, I ended friendships because of that. In that case D), terminate all contact with the person would be the only answer.

For people who are late once or twice, not habitually, I don't make a big deal of it.

Nareed Sep 09, 2011

Shouldn't this have been posted on the forum?

Anyway, I'm obsessively punctual. If a movie doesn't start at the appointed time (plus/minus 2 minutes to allow for minor time-setting differences), I get very annoyed. If my flight doesn't leave on time, I get really very annoyed. This ahs actuallys erved me well in my current job, because many things ahve to be done by X:XX time on the dot at the latest, or you get disqualified. I've never been late to any of them. Also I've never missed a flight, a dcotor's appointment or even a hotel or restaurant reservation.

One thing I do is set a waiting period and then leave. Then I explain to the tardy person "I waited 30 minutes and you didn't arrive, so I thought you weren't going to show up." If I'm feeling particualrly mean, I'll add "Please forgive me for being ON TIME"

Wizard Sep 09, 2011

"Shouldn't this have been posted on the forum?"

I thought about it. However, with my latest ranting about religion and the blog entry about doing business with friends, I'm worried about coming off too negative and mean. My forum is more of a place for me to vent -- my own free speech zone. I've been going through some tough times and have been rather irritable lately. I didn't want to broadcast yet another rant to a wide audience, so I put it here. Thanks for listening.

Nareed Sep 09, 2011

If clocks had been common in Roman times, tardiness would have been one fo the mortal sins. Or it should be.

Rant away if you want. I assume as a fellow puncual person you find tardiness worse than any number of other social offenses. And I think we'd all understand letting off some steam from time to time. We can even have a section "Wizardly Rants" jus for the purpose, so poeple would know what they're in for.

In any case, I usurped your prerogative for the Spanish word of the day based on this post. I hope you like it.

FleaStiff Sep 09, 2011

Practices vary. In Los Angeles, one arrives anywhere from twenty minutes to a few hours late for a party. In Scandinavia, if you are 15 minutes late for a dinner invitation you apologize to the hosetess. I knew one young lady who returned to the UK where people were more punctual because she simply was not used to the Los Angeles practices wherein people accepted invitations but either did not show or showed up quite terribly late. She just was not used to guests showing up two hours late.

Now for less formal social engagements its often still annoying but we don't get too upset about mild tardiness but that is often because it simply is too annoying to us to get upset over it.

Face Sep 09, 2011

I'm closest to "C". Native and German, I'm either stoic or irate. There's not much middle ground. If you're late here and there, or late to an outting when I have all day, I usually won't mind. But I'm a working man with a 2 year old and a wife, my "free time" is few and far between, and precious indeed. I won't suffer the wasting of my time because you can't be responisble. I might extend leniency to "new friends" but old friends know, if they're not on time, I'll have already started without them. Dinner, fishing, golfing...you snooze you lose. I've ended 1 friendship due to habitual tardiness. I don't have time for it.

tsmith Sep 09, 2011

Habitual tardiness borders on the passive-aggressive as far as I'm concerned, and will continue as long as it's tolerated. You can forgive it once, but when it happens over and over without any good reason, don't pander to that person.

It's a control issue; if they know you'll wait for them they have control over you and the situation. But you don't have to say anything to let them know how you feel and you don't have to hold in your anger either and make yourself sick.

If you tell everyone that dinner starts at 7pm and all but the one person is there, serve the dinner. The people who are on time should not be punished for being punctual. If the person who is late ends up eating cold leftovers, so be it. And if next time that person is late again, let him eat cold leftovers again.

I once worked with a man who was 30 minutes late every single day. His boss got tired of it so he changed the man's hours to start a half-hour later. Guess what? He was still 30 minutes late every single day.

toastcmu Sep 09, 2011

I'd have to go with B initially, but progress to C as it keeps happening. I tend to run as an early person when I have meetings or appointments, so I think that has something to do with me getting fed up about late people. Unfortunately, as one who has to run meetings at work, all that means is I have about 10 minutes of dead time,while I make small talk and deal with those who show up 5-10 minutes late. I'm 25% German, but 25% Swedish and 50% Japanese, so what does that tell you....


Toes14 Sep 10, 2011

I'm about 50-50 between B & C. We have some friends who are always late. One couple were finally chewed out after we missed 2-3 innings of the Cardinals game waiting on them (they had the tickets). That actually corrected their behavior for the most part.

One of my wife's best friends is always very late. She always had an excuse, usually a lame one. Now she uses her son as the excuse. How can a 5 year old make you 2 hours late to a birthday party? (And why couldn't you at least call & let us know?) Talking to her has had no impact, so now we invite her an hour earlier than everyone else. That more or less gets her there reasonably close to everyone else.

AZDuffman Sep 11, 2011

I have found habitual lateness comes from of two things:

1. The person is scatterbrained and generally disorganized in life

2. The person is an arrogant attention-whore.

Ross Johnson of RJR-Nabisco freely admitted he was the second type and would always be late to "make an entrance." They said when George W Bush took over one thing holdovers from Clinton had to get used to was when Bush said a meeting started at 1:00 it started at 1:00 and if he said it was 30 minutes it was not a minute longer. I swear if it was not for my grandparents, who got to Church an hour early I kid you not, it would have been in 1st grade at Catholic school before I would have known how Mass started. I *hate* being late. I hate people who are always late. What is so hard about being somewhere when you are supposed to?

Ayecarumba Sep 12, 2011

But time is relative. We all experience it differently. For some it moves quickly, for others slowly. I think this may be why some folks are constantly running late. Try this experiment: Using the stopwatch on your phone, or even a wristwatch with a second hand, see if you can accurately predict when two minutes have passed without watching the time. Were you early, late or dead on? How does that match with your feeling regarding promptness?

JohnnyQ Sep 19, 2011

I feel your pain. And I don't know the answer. I married one. I guess I put up

with it, we're still married.

Now, if I may vent a moment. We go to the outlet mall. I'm going to walk around for

exercise, so I say "I don't care how much time you want to spend here, just tell

me when you want to meet, and if you get hung up, call me and let me know".

Guess what. When I get a call, it's about 10 minutes AFTER we were supposed

to meet. What's so hard about calling ! Besides that, she's a good wife.

So, definitely not "A". It is a big deal, it's rude, it's disrespectful, it's annoying,


JohnnyQ Sep 19, 2011


re - "I've been going through some tough times and have been rather irritable lately".

I hope things are looking up by now. If not, hang in there.

EvenBob Sep 20, 2011

I was in an accident 15 years ago and as a result,

my attorney said I should see a shrink as part of

'adjusting' to my injuries. The shrink was always

late for every appointment and had a stupid excuse

every time. I was always his first appointment after

lunch, he was never less than 20min late. One time

he was 30min late, so I left. There's a coffee shop

in the same building on the ground floor and I saw

him in there, sitting in a booth drinking coffee and

and reading a book. I was instantly furious and went

in and told him off. He said he got so involved in the

book he lost track of the time. I told him an appointment

was a verbal contract, and he constantly broke it. The

truth was, he didn't give a shit about anybody but him

it made him feel important to keep people waiting. I

found out later its a lifelong problem for him, having

his head shoved up his ass...

JohnnyQ Sep 23, 2011


Well it must not have been easy for the shrink

either, trying to listen with his head shoved up his

ass. I'm not sure what an ideal career would

be for someone with that particular condition.

Politician ?

EvenBob Sep 24, 2011

I had a girlfriend before I got married that was always

late for everything. If we had reservations for dinner,

we were always an hour late because she was never

ready. We lived together for awhile and I saw first hand

how these people operate. She was never aware of what

time it was or how long it took to do anything. This was

because she rarely thought about what she was doing

while she was doing it. Her mind was in laalaaland all

the time, just like the shrink. If she had three things

to do before it was time to leave, she'd start all three and

never have any of them finished by tee time. It drove me

nuts to be around her and I got away from the relationship

before she had me crazy like her.

hook3670 Sep 27, 2011

My wife is always late. It is really her only one major flaw. I occasionally ignore it but sometimes just lose my mind and it seems to get better. Of course she is never late for work or for a plane or for any "have to be on time" events. She just gets lazy and is late. I figure I am sure I have crap I do that bothers her or my friends so I can put up a flaw of hers or others. Now if that was combined with 2 or 3 other major flaws or I what I regard as major flaws, then its time to move on.