Friday, May 27, 2005

The Art of Deception

Recently I've been in several situations where I knew that at least one of the parties involved was lying or exaggerating the truth. I can read faces at least as well as the next guy and my Poker past has enabled me to spot "tells" with reasonable frequency, but nobody is perfect. The situation is often complicated by the fact that many people have deceived themselves so well that they just simply don't believe that they are lying. To quote a phrase that I've used many times before, "They start believing their own bullshit."

Some of these people are pure sociopaths, others are just deluded.

Again, the Web offers tips for both sides. If you want to do a better job of detecting lies, there are plenty of opinions, techniques, stories and guides available at the click of a mouse. On the other side of the equation, there is no shortage of discussions, viewpoints, books and articles dedicated to the art of lying persuasively. There are even online books that analyze the psychology of deception.

Will any of this make you any more likely to spot a lie (or turn you into a better liar?) Perhaps. Just don't forget that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. If you get overconfident in your abilities as a liar (or lie detector) you can bet that some wiseguy is going to clip you quickly and deeply.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Now I've seen everything. Someone claims that they have successfully trademarked the name Titanic Thompson. The only products they offer under that "brand" name are golf balls, caps and golf towels. It just doesn't seem right.

Next thing you know someone will trademark Bet-a-Million Gates and Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein.

Maybe I'll bring out a line of Chevalier de Mere dice... or T-shirts with his picture on the front and "Il est tres bon ├ęsprit, mais quel dommage, il n'est pas geometre." on the back.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

An Infinite Number of Monkeys

It amazes me what some people will put up on the Web. Even the venerable Pigeon Drop has its own home page. Then again, it amazes me that people still fall for it.

The whole 419 thing has gotten out of hand, too. Apparently people still make a living doing it, but you'd think that the general public would get a clue (ok, so I'm kidding about that last part.) Advance Fee Fraud has always sounded like a hard sell to me, but with the Nigerians sending out 23987239872349873 email messages a day I guess a few suckers are likely to surface.

Personally, I'm planning to join the Holy Church of the Painted Breast. I've got my induction photo all ready to go.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Passage of Time

It's funny how perspectives change. I remember how I used to look at the old-timers and wonder about the places they'd been and the things they'd done. Now there only a few of the dinosaurs left, with most of them having succumbed to the ravages of time.

A while back I noticed that Mitchel Schwartz from New Orleans finally folded for good. You had to give the guy credit for longevity, if nothing else. I watched him run the Razzle on Bourbon St. many years ago when that sort of thing was much more visible than it is now. During that same trip I learned what a jam auction is all about at the now-defunct Bourbon St. Sales Theatre. The show only cost me a measley five bucks... a bargain at twice the price!

These days about the only game you'll see run in the French Quarter is the tired old "Betcha I can tell you where you got them shoes!" gag. Apparently people still fall for it or else the gutter rats would quit running it. I'd love to see the Razzle or the Jam Auction or someone tossing the broad on Boubon or Royal, but I guess those days are done. Too bad, really... to me those old hustles were an important part of the Quarter, as were the people who ran them.

Speaking of old hustlers, apparently our old friend Harry Anderson has a place in the French Quarter called Sideshow. I'm not sure if Spade and Archer is still a going concern, though.

All this talk has me itching for a road trip to the Big Easy. Don't be surprised if I show up sometime soon.

Also, get a load of this idiot. He's a fish with a capital "F."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Quix Ten is Back In the Thick

Anyone miss me? You kids know how it is... sometimes you just have to lay low, even if it ends up being for 15 years.

If any of you old-timers find this, drop me a line and let me know what you are up to.