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As I See It

15 April 2002

Let me start with an often overused phrase: the more things change, the more they stay the same. When you do not write for a living you borrow what you can to make a point.

I am dating myself here and truly do not know the actual year this happened, but I believe it was 1971. I was at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena and the headliner was Black Sabbath, and naturally the lead singer was Ozzie Osbourne. I truly enjoyed the two hours of mayhem and music but honestly could not understand one word he would say, especially between songs.

Well, some 30 odd years later I am captivated by this riveting, meaningful and challenging new reality TV show called The Osbournes, and now just like so long ago I still cannot understand one word the "Oz" spouts out.

This morning, I was listening to John Kelly host his daily talk show and he had a guest whose name escapes me but his company I believe is called Taymar Productions. He was promoting his new idea of a show for this coming football season and setting up auditions for people to be on a syndicated radio show. He said auditions would be open to everyone except pro gamblers and people who sell selections.

I wish him well and do not wish to quibble over his definition of a pro. But too many times this "misnomer" gets thrown around as erroneously as the terms sharps and smarts. There are people who have a better chance of beating this game than most, and like it or not that's not going to change. But is it conclusive and 100% bulletproof? No need to answer that.

Point being, I have known smarts and sharps who at one time were talked about as some of the same are talked about in today's circles. But they are actually completely out of business or are scratching around just to try and stay alive in hope of better days. It is an undisputable fact of life that there is no certificate which proclaims you a pro. More to the point, there is no pension plan for your 25 years of hanging around the Stardust every morning.

Put it this way: right now there is a guy on a bulldozer somewhere who is clearing land for a new shopping center, who has a better chance of becoming a "pro" than I do on learning how to drive that dozer.

You see, in our business you are only as good as your last bet, or if you want to stretch it you might say your last full season.

People who sell picks are simply people who sell picks. Mr. Taymar Productions, there is a good chance that you bet more than some of these people who sell picks, so they truly should not be barred for that reason.

And I am not hiding under the apple tree or crying wolf. I sell selections and I play. I am not by my terms a pro. Like I said, I sell picks and I play. It is very simple. The next time you or anyone steps to the window and puts up his cash he has just lost his amateur status and has become a pro. Good luck on your show.

Stay smart,

Jimmy V.

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