Volume 94, Issue 90

Tuesday, March 13, 2001


Know when to hold and know when to fold - When fun turns to addiction

The brighter side of gambling

A historical habit

A historical habit

By Chris Lackner
News Editor

I love to gamble. When you combine my gambling problem with my alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, coffee, and junk food addictions, I suppose I've got just about all the major vices covered.

Pro-Line football has become the mortal enemy of my personal savings account; I thank God it's a short NFL season. Every Sunday, from September to the end of January, I'm bound to lose a bare minimum of $25 each week. If it looks like I'm losing on all my afternoon game tickets, gambling's magical spell carries my feet to the variety store to waste another $25 on the 4 p.m. games. I'm an idiot in the truest sense of the word.

Gambling itself has a long history; it goes back to when Eve ate an apple from that crazy "tree of knowledge." Bold move at the time, but it came back to bite her and Adam in the ass, not to mention permanently smearing the good name of snakes everywhere.

C'mon kids! The journey has begun; let's make a little trip through some of the biggest gambles in human and pop culture history.

Napoleon: He was short, he was French, but he was a cocky little bastard. The whole Russian invasion thing was a pretty lofty undertaking. "Let's invade the Ruskies" sounds like a great idea in theory, but when they can retreat across gazillions of miles, you really have to reconsider your battle plan. Instead, Napoleon and his army ended up freezing to death in Moscow, with their supply lines cut off by geography and the merciless Russian winter. Ironically, Hitler took the same gamble centuries later, and also got beaten by a combination of good ol' Jack Frostinoff, bad planning and the fact that he was insane.

Big time television gamble: When they switched the actress who played the "Aunt Vivian" character on Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Did they think we wouldn't notice? Did they think Uncle Phil wouldn't realize he was sleeping with a different woman? Crazy NBC, what will their crack- smoking executives do next?

Ultimate film scene: The Deer Hunter's "Russian-roulette" scene. Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro playing roulette with a loaded gun in the seedy criminal underworld of Saigon. One bullet, spin the chamber and pull the trigger – it's the ultimate game of chance. The scene ironically reminds me of my first long-term relationship.

Second best cinematic moment: Star Wars, when they make their final attack on the evil Death Star, and the rebel pilots need to get a direct hit on a tiny panel in order to make the metal monstrosity explode. Without "the force" Luke would have been screwed. Thanks Obi-Wan.

Romance: Lyle Lovett marrying Julia Roberts. Are you kidding me? I don't consider myself a superficial person, but did that puffy-haired, dog-faced, guitar playing weirdo think he could make that relationship last?

The Clinton presidential pardons: One of the worst gambles in political history. Did he honestly think he wouldn't get crucified for pardoning Mark Rich? The media has a fascination with any dirt they can get on ol' Bill, and there is certainly no shortage to be found. You gotta love him.

The ultimate gamble: Me getting hired as an editor. I have to hand it to this year's front office. They hired an illiterate air-head, whose writing looks like that of a three-year-old, and have yet to fire me.

Eds note: We didn't hire this guy. He just won't leave the office.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000