Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Happy Trail!

PITTSBURGH -- The Great Allegheny Passage is now a completely unobstructed hiking and biking trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland. 150 miles. For years, there was a "bump in the road," actually a fenced/railroad tracked/scrap metal yard impediment that would stop riders and hikers in their tracks. Many entities owned bits and pieces of that small slice of land, and it took years to get everyone on the same page. But now it's done, and that piece of the trail is smooth sailing.

The Great Allegheny Passage connects to the C&O Canal Towpath (at 185 miles in length, one mighty long towpath). The two trails combine for a 335-mile path from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

Two weeks ago, a group of riders came to Pittsburgh from D.C. on the path and were warmly welcomed by an ever-growing bike community (and maybe even some of those folks who really don't like bikes but like people to bring money to our region). I was working at the bike valet at the Three Rivers Arts Festival when one of those riders parked his "bike." This is the guy, Pete Hufford. He rode the entire 335 miles ON A UNICYCLE! Check out his blog, "Around the World on a Unicycle," at

Okay, I have no ambition to ride the whole 335 miles, and I don't think I could even manage a unicycle, but I did ride about 20 miles round trip on the trail yesterday. It was 90 degrees, but I had a great ride and saw and heard some interesting stuff. In addition to seeing a paramedic on a motorcycle drive slowly down the path (nice to know there's official help if needed), I saw a bald eagle:

A guy had set up a chair to watch the bald eagle nest. The guy is retired and spends his time volunteering with the National Aviary to track the eaglet fledglings that should be flying soon.

We talked about the peregrine falcons that nest around the Pittsburgh area. He told me a story.

A man saw a peregrine falcon fledgling in the back of his pickup truck in downtown Pittsburgh. He turned on the wipers, beeped the horn, tried to get the little guy to fly, but the bird just wasn't ready. It must have fallen/flapped its way down to the truck bed. So the man gave the fledgling a very slow ride over to the National Aviary on the North Side where the folks there gathered up the bird, checked it out and then drove it back into town and placed it in its nest outside of a very accommodating woman's condominium window!

This location in the trail used to be a dead end. Not any more.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Bridge to Somewhere

SHADYSIDE/EAST LIBERTY -- The pedestrian bridge that appeared in my blog entry "Half a Harvest Moon" was officially dedicated last week. It links two Pittsburgh neighborhoods, Shadyside and East Liberty. Years ago, those neighborhoods could not have been more different, but now the lines between them have faded and together they are becoming the place to be in Pittsburgh. It started when Home Depot moved into East Liberty where a Sears had been in decline for decades. Then Whole Foods built right on the border between the two neighborhoods. Now, new condos, apartments, shopping and restaurants are popping up all over.

Before the speeches, food and opera!

Pittsburgh's almost-mayor-elect, Bill Peduto was there, as were many of the construction and government folks. All kept their speeches to a minimum.

Artist and bridge designer Sheila Klein spoke about how all of the disperate organizations worked together for years to make this happen. She hopes it will be the first of many pedestrian bridges that bring art and construction together to connect Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Fountain and the Three Rivers Arts Festival

PITTSBURGH'S POINT STATE PARK -- It's time again for the Three Rivers Arts Festival. It usually rains, but yesterday was stellar, warm, partly sunny. And the place was packed, as packed as a a multi-acre outdoor space can be.

The new improved version of the Point's fountain was in full bloom (with Heinz Field in the background, across the river).

My friend Wendy and I biked to the festival and were happy to see that Bike Pittsburgh had set up bike valet service. A tremendous success.

Here's Rebecca Susman, Membership & Outreach Manager for Bike Pittsburgh. Thanks, Becca!
Lots to look at and listen to and eat and buy.

Even the trash cans were dressed up for the occasion.

A jewelry box I'd love to have. Hand made in New Hampshire by Dave Morrison (Dave's Woodcraft).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Update from the Palazzo

LAS VEGAS -- Larry played in a NL Texas Hold 'em tournament at the Palazzo yesterday. It started at noon. He lasted until just before midnight. Out of about 260 players, there were maybe 50 left when he lost to pocket Aces.

Today, he might play in a satellite tournament at the Rio, the top 3% receiving a free seat to the Main Event. It's a super short stack, only 2,000 chips. Kind of like a roulette wheel. Not a lot of strategy involved, just luck. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Poker at the Palazzo

LAS VEGAS -- Larry is playing in what we hope will be for him a 2-day Deep Stack No Limit Hold 'Em tournament. It started at noon, and it's downstairs in a Palazzo casino corner that has been temporarily turned into a poker room. Since so many poker players come to Las Vegas for WSOP events (and so so many of them bust out), other venues take advantage of that and add their own tournaments.

Larry's feeling good after his exciting finish last night. That particular WSOP tournament continues today. About 60 players remain out of 6,343 (that's the official total of entries). The person who busts out in 60th place will earn $17,725. This is their third day, and it could be a very, very long one.

Here's the 2013-2014 WSOP schedule:

Sunday, June 2, 2013


AMAZON ROOM AT THE RIO -- Larry is in the money! The "bubble" person was out in place 649. At that point, all of the dealers had to stand when their current hands were done. We all waited until every dealer was standing. Then the official announcement:  Congratulations! You have all moneyed!

Guess who busted out in place 648?? Yup. Larry went all in with pocket 9s. A guy called him with Ace King. A horse race, about 50/50 chance. The flop came nothing nothing nothing. The turn, nothing. Then the river. A King. Who cares. We're going to dinner.

He might play in a one-day event either tomorrow or Tuesday. We'll see.

Thanks to everyone following the craziness.


LAS VEGAS -- Larry is down to about 30,000 chips and has been pretty much card dead. But he's determined to hang in. Play started at 1:00 but was delayed by almost half an hour due to, well, nobody really knows what. I think they got so many more players than they had anticipated that it's been difficult making sure everything runs smoothly. The number of players is down to 1,300 or so. People are busting out at a pretty steady pace. Larry is in the Amazon Room.

Going to watch Daniel Negreanu in the Omaha Seven Card Hi-Lo-8 or Better tournament that started 2 days ago. There are only 16 players left. It's across the hall in the Pavilion.

WSOP Event #6, Day 2

LAS VEGAS -- Vegas sky last evening.

Larry not only survived Day 1, he's in a pretty good position to start Day 2 strong. Some stats:

There were two sections yesterday, 1A and 1B. Section 1A, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., had 3,713 registrants. Section 1B, from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. this morning had 2,630 folks entered, some of them people from 1A who had busted out and bought in again. (Buy-in was $1,500.)

Players remaining to start Day 2:  From Section 1A, 862 remain, about 23%. From Section 1B, 690 remain, about 26%. SO, out of 6,343 total entrants, 1,552 remain to begin Day 2.

Larry ended the day with 35,400 chips, and for Section 1A, that is 92nd place. Out of 862. Not bad.

The winner of this thing will make $1.2 million, but every player from place 648 to 1 will get something. The payout for place 648 is $2,740.

Pros remaining (the ones whose names I recognize):

Phil Helmuth is short-stacked with 9,600.
Erick Lindgren, 24,000.
T. J. Cloutier, 8,500.
Phil Ivey, 5,000 (I think he busted out in 1A and bought back in)
Andrew Lichtenberger, 46,500

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Larry Doubled Up!

LAS VEGAS -- Larry just doubled up, and he was already doing pretty well. He has about 23,000 chips, near the top in chip counts at the moment. There were more than 3,700 players in this part of the tournament (#6A). Don't know how many #6B will have.

Trying to watch Penguins, too!

Today's WSOP Event, #6 "Millionaire Maker"

LAS VEGAS -- Dealers preparing for the onslaught of players. Today's tournament is 10-handed Texas Hold 'Em with a guarantee of $1 million to the winner.

Players can buy in until after the second round of play (2 hours, I think that is). Until then, the number of entrants will continue to rise. It could reach 4,000 or more.

I just saw Greg Raymer, winner of the Main Event in 2004. He's not at Larry's table. Here is Larry's table, #141 in the Pavilion.