There was an Twilight Zone episode where, the way I remember it, this Las Vegas loser dies. He’s dead but then, in the blink of an eye, is suddenly aware of things again.
He’s standing alone wearing a Tuxedo in a hotel suite. And it is quiet. He goes to the door and it opens to a loud and rowdy casino floor… he smiles… because this is his element… and he walks out into the crowd. People turn to him, nod and smile. As he walks along he sticks his hand in his pocket and pulls out $10,000 in thousand dollar chips.
He’s standing by a roulette table now, looking around. No one seems to know he’s dead or that anything out of the ordinary’s happening. He waves away buying individual roulette tokens but places one of his $1,000 chips squarely on number 27, which had no significance to him at all. The number just caught his eye and he had a chip in his hand and the bet was down. He thought about hedging his odds by slipping the chip on the line between 27 and 28 to double his chance of winning, but it decrease his winning by half again. So he went with a thousand dollars on 27.
And that’s where the ball dropped – in slot 27. The man had won, inside three minutes, $36,000.
The pit boss walked over, scanned the table, then looked up into the eye of the man. The pit boss nodded and smiled.
Man said, “let it ride,” betting the entire amount on hitting 27 again… and the ball went round and round the spinning wheel, and dropped into the 27 slot… again… and the man won more than a $1,000,000…
The people in the crowd that had collected were yelling… some pounding him on his back… as the pit boss handed the man, among other chips, two lacquered chip boards redeemable for $500,000 each.
Man walks over to the poker room and sits down at a big Texas Hold ‘um game. First hand he wins with a full house. Next with a 4 of a kind.
A casino worker helps him carry his chips to the Black jack table… where his first hand was Black Jack. He looks at the dealer and says, “Boy, this is really heaven.”
Dealer says to the gambler jerk, “Nope, it’s hell. You can never lose.”
So recently I was telling you that Bill Gates has been screwing with me by making Microsoft solitary more difficult. I’m talking about the game solitary …. that is part of my daily routine. This is a true story about my private life, so treat it with some confidence.
In the study first thing when I sit down in front of this computer I play Solitary, then if I win, on to Cribbage, and if I win on to Gin Rummy – which if I win first time, gives me enormous confidence that the unseen Gods of cognitive thought are with me this day and I start writing with a smile on my face, ‘cause the Gods have clearly signaled that it’s a blessed day.
For months now, years really, when I’ve been at home, my winning percentage of 23% in Microsoft solitary has contributed to my wordmanship work that’s been acceptable, most of the time. Jump started most mornings with my little mind-game routine, thank you very much.
Then big Bill in Seattle, with the invasive power of Microsoft in my computer-aided world, changed the basic rules of computer use. Make Solitary tougher.
And I troubled you with my anguish… remember?
But after I vented someone emailed to say that it wasn’t true. No changes to Solitary, he said.
What explains my new, minor league, 21% figure I might ask? Huh? Suddenly I’m stupid, or can’t put cards in order? And the long losing streaks? What about them, right after the Microsoft updates? Huh? Huh?
I went on line to see if there are other poor wretched souls who have had their lives turned upside down, near destroyed, due Bill Gates’ invasive flaunt of power.
Did not find the first report. But did run across the name of Wes Cherry. Another name for the history books in the development of the computer. Of course we’ve talked before about Ronald Wayne, one of the original founders of Apple Computer, the flagship of iphones everywhere. He sold his quarter interest in start-up Apple for pocket change… though if he had kept it, would now be one of the world’s richest men, not living as he does in a mobile home on the edge of the Nevada desert.
Ronald Wayne’s life story. What an iliad.
But now listen, Wes Cherry competes. He was the guy who built the Microsoft solitary game from start, and didn’t get a dime. It is the most played game in the world, has eaten billions of man hours of production from officer computer workers… and the man who made it, does not get a dime in royalties. He was an intern on the Microsoft campus at the time, and didn’t even get an honest day’s wage for this hugely popular game.
And Bill Gates of course – because even though a billionaire, is a world renowned cheapo – didn’t ever consider passing on a couple hundred buck to Mr. Cherry for the nice computer game he donated to the Microsoft empire.
‘Cause let me tell you what it takes to get a couple hundred dollar gift from Bill Gates. It is a true story not often told. Back in the 80s, when Microsoft was just starting to show its potential for enormous growth, Bill Gates was at his father’s cottage on the Hood Canal, west of Settle one cold winter day. Walked out on the pier to the cottage, out on the canal, wearing a very heavy winter coat. Because, like I said, it was cold. And windy. Got to the end and a gust of wind blew Bill Gates into the Hood Canal. A neighbor was watching and he ran out, down the Gates’ pier to the end, and there Bill was thrashing around in the water, his coat too water logged for him to swim. He was drowning, friends. But the neighbor pulled him to the pier and then helped him to his feet and steadied him on the walk back to the cottage.
The end of the following week someone called the man from Bill Gates’ office to express Bill Gates’ appreciation for saving his life. Caller wanted to know if the neighbor thought it was OK for Bill to send him a gift worth a few hundred dollars in a show of appreciation.
So if Bill Gates wasn’t going to pass around much more than what a good meal would cost at an upscale Seattle restaurant to someone for saving his life, you can understand why Wes Cherry didn’t get a dime.
Not a dime. He went to some old people’s rest home and took this card game that was nothing and made it part of the fabric of modern society…. And he don’t get no money.
But anyway, I could find no corroborating reports on the internet that Bill Gates did any recent toughening-up of Solidary.
But there was this… several entries on how to cheat at Solidary.
Yeap. You heard me right. Cheat. Mr. Cherry’s great game can be beat. Even if it’s toughened up.
Under the options window, put the game on 3 card turns (vs. 1 card) and you hold down —- But wait; don’t read any further if you don’t want to know how to do this. There is a great penalty to this knowledge —- but you hold down the Shift-Ctrl-Alt keys all at the same time, and it will turn the cards – not 3 at a time – but one by one…
And you win almost every time.
Like the main character in the Twilight story… you almost can’t lose… and it’s hell. No gamble. No contest.
What’s the reason anymore? There’s no cutesy connection with the muses.
God damn that neighbor. Should have let the nerdy sumbitch drown. Muses don’t like to be diddled.