Friday, February 15, 2013

Women are united in finale....NOT

Starting out the new year on the right foot, the Friends and Neighbors Hearts Club converged on founder and president Beth's house on the third Saturday of the month.  Expectations were not very high after the piss poor attendance figures were released for the December meeting but the traffic jam and valet parking gave indications that this month's meeting could break all previous attendance records.  After slipping a neighborhood kid $10 bucks to watch his car, Dan entered the arena house declaring "I didn't bring enough score sheets!" While attendance was at an impressive 15, turns out the excess number of cars that caused the parking problem was for an event at the school and not for the monthly battle to establish hearts supremacy.

Seeing there would be four tables, Mark knew that he would have to adjust his normal strategy that has led to so many past victories.  A seat at the victor's table via the tainted victory route was out and he knew it was unlikely that the stars would be aligned so that he could pull off the controversially legendary Super Taint ( ).  Who knows what type of shenanigans this club is willing to accept? There was an unconventional three handed finale last month!!!

As the contenders were separated from the pretenders in the preliminary rounds, some of the also rans started to talk about how playing with other first round casualties in a meaningless game would be more enjoyable than playing for the coveted trophy.  "Poor Dan, he has to play for the trophy while we get to play with each other" (hey now!).  Sour grapes can leave a bad taste in the mouth boys.

The trophy was all but being handed to Sue as she built what appeared to be an insurmountable lead but in an unlikely turn of events, Jan and Terri appeared to abandon the "I am Woman hear me roar!" united front and throw the victory to Dan.  Not to worry though, a champ is only a champ for 4 short weeks and then the title is back up for grabs.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Attendance down, no gift exchange...and a threesome?

We have all heard the phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder". Although there has not been an overwhelming clamor for a resumption of the blog, one little comment by Beth was enough to inspire an early morning re-cap of the annual Christmas Hearts game at the Dichter's. Proving once again that varying from the 3rd Saturday of month never pays off, the crowd was down to a dismal 10. Long entrenched regulars chose to play poker with old buddies (Steve), play Bunco with "real" friends (Toni), sing songs to old lonely people (Lisa) or assume that the game was on the third Saturday of the month (imagine that!) (John). The awkward configuration resulted in one table of four and two tables of three.

While three people at a table is not ideal or preferred, there was no need for any special accommodations since Toni was with her true friends. As you recall Toni has a lifetime exemption from playing at a table of three. Refer to this excerpt from the March 2009 entry: "One other interesting tidbit from the evening: the refusal of Toni to play at a table with anything other than 4 people. Everyone thought Dan was the psycho about playing with 4....turns out that we were so taken aback by the balls it took to even suggest this that we all accepted her terms and apparently she has a lifetime exemption."
As the prelim games progressed, a strategic play by one of her opponents prompted Cindy to quietly state "If I was Debbie I would call you a turd". Andy and Dan simultaneously chuckled at the memory and shuddered at the thought of being the target of Debbie's rage. How can anyone forget that night? Let's take another nostalgic journey through a previous blog: "Debbie, possibly feeling liberated as the hostess of the evening, silenced the room when she declared: "you are a TURD!!" Stunned, we all glanced down at our cards awkwardly praying it was not us that had spurred her to such an outburst." Author's note: Shortly after Cindy's comment, what was heard coming out of the other room? You guessed it! "You are a Turd!!!"

Thankfully we are Toni's second level friends because I can not for a moment think how she would have reacted to the decision to play a three handed championship game but that was the decision. Beth deftly dodged points and dominated the outmatched Andy and Mark to take the trophy. While no one disputed that the trophy was rightfully hers, there was some shock and disbelief at her unwillingness to "man up" and prove her true hearts superiority by putting the trophy back up for grabs in the subsequent 4 handed game that Dan joined. Sensing that the non stop, testosterone tainted comments regarding the trophy may somehow come to be, Beth excused herself from the table, grabbed the trophy and hid it in her car. As she returned with a sly smile on her face you had a feeling she was thinking "If you think I am going to be sucked into your macho "mine is bigger than yours" male mind games you got another thing coming...LOSERS!" Congratulations Beth, the trophy is yours.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hearts 101 - mastering the Super Taint

Long known for coining the phrase "tainted victory", Mark had set his goals high for the win every trophy (or as many as he could ) this year to prove to the group who really is the force to be reckoned with when the group gets together each month. There is one simple rule to winning the actually have to make it past the qualifying round and be at the championship table in order to have a chance to win. That is until Mark somehow managed to figure out how to bypass this simple rule. You must be thinking: how is that possible? Here's how he pulled it off. Combining a lackluster performance of his own in the first round with a qualifying effort by his wife, he then made a suggestion that was so outrageous that before anyone could really figure out what was actually happening it was too late: Mark replaced Debbie at the winner's table.

As Mark steadily took the lead, he kept referring to his previous round score of 101 as some sort of a sign. After all, he shouldn't even be playing for the trophy since he had played so poorly in the first round. Yet, here he was schooling his so called "competitors" in the finer points of hearts. I believe he referred to himself as the "professor" and that he was teaching us "Hearts 101". Mark did win the game for the trophy fair and square but I find it ironic that the inventor of the term "tainted victory" could take it even a step further. Not only did he not win the first round to earn his spot at the championship table, he did not even qualify for a tainted victory, therefore earning the new title of SUPER TAINT. Next time you hear Rick James belting out his mega hit I suggest these new lyrics:
He's a super taint, super taint
He's super tainty, yow,
Super taint, super taint!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The drought is over, Cindy conquers all

Feeling the pressure of not winning the trophy in oh so long, Cindy could barely show her face, preferring to peek around other people's midsections so as not to be seen. Her last victory was the 3rd of the never before achieved 3 consecutive wins way back in 2007. Despite Lisa holding out at 98 points for 10 hands and Steve and Dan both thinking they had the prelim round won when they were tied at 15, Cindy quietly held on for the win to advance. There was some thought that her strategy involved getting up every 5 minutes and leaving the table. Dan observed that she never cut the cards for his deal once since she was never sitting down.

Andy held off a fierce twosome of Teri and Sue at the table of three to advance while Beth and John advanced to the finals to set up a match between Cindy, Andy. John and Beth. The battle raged as the 4 quality players tried to take advantage of Mark's absence knowing with his commitment to victory this year February may be the only chance to win. After 10 hands the scores were tight: Cindy and Beth at 63, Andy with 58 and John 47. Five hands later with Beth and Cindy in the 90's and John and Andy in the 70's the boys knew it would be one of them tasting the sweet nectar of victory. That was until the male ego driven "I'm not going to stop her from shooting, you do it" attitude let Cindy shoot the moon and seal the deal. Sometimes you get the cards and it is almost impossible to lose. This was not the case on this night as Cindy had to work hard in both games and finally could show her face again with pride. Congratulations.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mark wins!...I'm not making this up!

With a New Year's resolution firmly committed to, Mark went after his preliminary round opponents like a man on a mission, knowing the only way to fulfill his resolution of winning the trophy every month was to get to the finals table. If he had to read one more blog entry about DD (Doyle Domination) he was going to puke. I know in some people's world (Toni) DD stands for Double Dutch but that is not the case here. Giving Dan the queen every chance he could, Mark cruised through the first round with little resistance. Phase 1 of the goal was in place.

Having made the finals table, the question now was how would Mark handle the pressure (psychological, not water)? With Cindy, Steve K. and Beth as the others battling for the trophy he knew that on the surface it could be a challenge. As soon as Cindy started talking about the fact that the goal really is to get to the finals table but not necessarily winning the championship (i.e Buffalo Bills in the 1980's) he knew that in her mind she had already had a successful evening and he only needed to worry about BS (Beth and Steve). Much like the first round, Mark dominated the opposition and cruised to victory. One down and 11 to go Mark, congratulations.
Double click on photo for larger view (that is flooded Community Park, taken from the High School parking lot)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday Hearts, grab bag

The Dichter's hosted the annual December holiday evening filled with food, drink, cards and the annual gift exchange grab bag. The white elephant theme was retired (apparently Mary and Mike were tired of finding miscellaneous crap around the house for 2 weeks after the party) and replaced by a ornament / decoration themed grab bag. This new exchange was overwhelmingly chosen via the blog's poll last month. Wait...that wasn't even an option. Due to a poor showing at the polls (6 votes, about half by John), the hosts chose the theme and we all complied. Way to take charge.

As you can see from some of the photos, if the thought was to avoid crap being left behind, it was a failure. If the goal was to have a lot of laughs, crazy comments and a good time had by all, then it was a success. Not sure how much of the stuff stayed behind, but it was a small price to pay for the enjoyment the exchange appeared to bring to all. Nice job Mike and Mary.
As for the card playing.....we had 4 full tables. There would be no tainted trophy on this night. While two tables finished in a timely manner, there was some question whether the other tables were playing to 200 or perhaps 500 based on the time to completion. Everyone was assured that they were indeed only playing to 100 and they did actually get to that at some point after midnight (or so it felt like). The four mulit-win entrants of Mark, Cindy, Dan and Beth battled it out for bragging rights. Only somewhat distracted by Mark and Cindy arguing about who had not won the trophy in the longest period of time, Dan prevailed. This marks the 5th time of the 11 games played in 2009 that the trophy resided in the Doyle household (3 via Lisa victories).

p.s. to settle the Cindy and Mark argument...Mark 9/08 and Cindy 10/07 (the last of 3 consecutive victories)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2009 trifecta for Lisa

Four full tables of 4 came together on this beautiful day a week before Thanksgiving to battle it out for the highly sought after traveling trophy. Who would have known that this trophy was so coveted by so many and that the documentation of victory meant so much to so many? A few months of unrecorded heart's club history has left many members longing for the days of yore when the events of the monthly gathering were published promptly and accurately (with no editorial liberties!).

While the documentation has been poor lately, November would not go unrecorded (I definitely know who won that, I had to sleep in the guest room so the trophy could be by her side!!). With 4 full tables, there would be no Twaddle taint tonight. You would have to earn the right to be in the championship game...a two game wining streak would be necessary to take home the gold. Fierce battles took place in the prelims and the 4 standing were Mark, Lisa, Beth and Steve K. As she has 2 previous times this year, Lisa proved to be too strong for the competition and a final hand "shoot the moon" sealed the victory. As she grabbed Big Willie (by virtue of her numerous wins this year she felt it was her right to give it a nickname), she said (almost disgustedly): "It really is quite a simple game." Yes, it is Lisa.

Next month is the annual holiday hearts at M&M's. Please cast your vote in the poll question to the right.