Who Ya Got To Win The Game?

Saturday, 2:24am
Reno, NV
If you see my little red rooster, please send him home…” (Howlin’ Wolf)


Just a quick dispatch here to let you know all is well, and I’ll be getting back to regular blogging soon.

I got waylaid by some things, including my first serious sports injury ever: A major boo-boo in my rotator cuff. Which is a marvel of biological engineering, but nevertheless prone to problems in people who insist on abusing it over a long lifetime.

So, while it doesn’t really qualify as a Shakespearean tragedy (yet), it has still consumed a lot of my time with MRIs, x-rays, doc visits, and now long painful (“Ow! Ow! Hey, that hurts, mofo! Ow, you did it again!“) physical therapy sessions.

Stuff like that can take over your brain for a few weeks. I’m not complaining — I have too many friends with more dire health problems (and I’ve been through other surgery dramas with people close to me many, many times) that puts this in perspective.

In fact, tonight — after another round with that sadistic physical therapist (the bastard) — I’m relatively pain-free, and able to type without problem.

And I’ve got several blog posts mapped out in draft form, waiting for my attentions. (With titles like “The Sociopaths Who Are Eating Your Lunch”, and “Learning How To Brag”… really fun, and essential stuff for anyone looking to live a better life and make more moolah without guilt.)

But it’s already Superbowl weekend, so you’re gonna have to wait a little longer for a real post. I’ve got an old, cherished college pal and his son (to whom I’m kinda like an uncle) coming up for what is now our rock-solid tradition: We find the sleaziest sportsbook in downtown Reno, settle in, and enjoy the chaos and pompous nonsense of the grand game amongst the weirdest set of characters this side of a Fellini movie.

God, it’s fun. And I expect Madonna’s halftime show to rile up the geezers in the crowd (and we can only hope for a few wrestling matches between blowhards and bums as people take the game personally).

This is our seventh year doing this. It’s a tradition. A day of futility, bowing to the corporate overlords on TV, sharing an American rite of bacchanalia unrivaled in other countries. For one glorious day, we get to let our classless Freak Flags fly among our fellow citizens, and stare at the same show for several hours.

It’s a little like when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. (That was a still-not-broken record crowd of 73 million, back when the nation’s population was HALF the current size. Boggles the brain.)

And I don’t even have a dog in the race. G-men, Pats, whatever. I lost interest when the 49ers got bumped. But I’ll work up a lusty howl for one of the teams anyway, and get my game on.

WARNING: Though I advise against it, I may (key word: may) post on Facebook during the melee. My rule is Don’t Drink And Post, of course… but it’s the Superbowl! C’mon, man. Loosen up a little. Life’s short.

If you’re not a “friend” on my Facebook page, then first: Shame on you.

And second: Go here to see why a few thousand people make it a regular pitstop in their day: www.facebook.com/john.carlton

I bounce between insightful business advice (the stuff you never hear about elsewhere, like the psych tricks behind great salesmanship) and casting a jaded (but usually amusing) eye on the culture at large.

I expect any posts this weekend to be in the latter category. But you never know! I might have a money-making epiphany while watching Madonna bellow at halftime.

So, okay… I’m outa here for now.

Again — I’m fine. I’ve got multiple hot posts coming up… and also some great news for entrepreneurs.

Meantime, stay frosty.


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  • John Lloyd says:

    Enjoy the game John, I used to enjoy Superbowl Sunday when I lived in the States, lived in Mass, so I suppose its got to be Go Patriots.

    Hopefully your sleezy bar in Renos does a free shot for every T.D.

    Take care.

    • John Carlton says:

      Actually, the playing of the game is an afterthought, even in a sportsbook. It truly is a bizarre collection of characters, and being there is like being in a movie running in real time. Forget GTA — real life is sometimes more exciting, and always more unpredictable…

  • Dana Houser says:

    John, May the force be with you. I think physical therapists may actually come up with some of the torture methods used during interrogations. I feel your pain, except I feel it in my knee. Glad you’re recovering well.

    Maybe you can stream live video from the bar for halftime entertainment, I know it’ll be better than Madonna.

  • Drama says:

    Hey JC

    Hope you get better soon. A tasty goats head sandwich works wonders!


  • Pamela says:

    Great blog: very encouraging! Former high school English teacher and former business development exec here trying to carve out the next phase of life by combining the income of selling well with effective wordsmithing.

    (While owning and running a 35 acre rescue ranch…)

    No need to push that physical recovery…I got bounced off one of my big horses and compressed a disc. During the first week, I could barely sit up and for the first time, realized my age.

    Again, thanks for the pep talk.

    Sometimes life changes are hard tacks and you just have to duck that boom.

  • Yowser. I can only assume the dearth of get-well messages for Uncle John and his injured cuff means we copywriters would just as soon see him not write another word.

    Sort of like us all being happy if Tom Brady never gets another Super Bowl trophy. I mean who could blame us? He’s already got Gisele Bündchen on his arm. Greedy bastard.

    Well, I damn sure hope this ain’t the end of the fount of knowledge that spews forth from John’s limbs.

    Besides you only need one good arm and hand to pull it off. Right, John?

    And I got you beat … so to speak. Completely ruptured my patellar (knee) tendon three months ago and I still can’t walk. Good thing I could never type with my toes.

    Get better, you old hippie.


  • Pete says:

    I had a great day with my best travelin’ buddy in a Reno sportsbook on a trip across the States a while back – happily, I actually came away in profit (wish I could say the same for our Vegas instalment) – not bad going for a sozzled Englishman with only a passing interest in racing.

    Anyhoo, you’re right about the ‘local color’ in those joints John… entertaining and educational!

    Happy recovery,


    • John Carlton says:

      It was another Fellini movie. No fights that I saw, but plenty of drunken lout behavior, broken dreams, stunned disbelief at the final… all in all, a fabulous day of spectacle and angst. People who skip Reno for Vegas miss what old-school Nevada is all about…

  • Ken Ca|houn says:

    Hey best wishes John for a robust recovery… tough news on the RC injury, sounds like your PT is helping. That’s gotta put a dent in the copywriting (and guitar) time.

    btw thank you for turning me on to electric guitar, I’m new to it, just a few months, and now playing like 15+ hours a week now on my Ibanez, it’s incredibly fun.
    The look on my daughter’s face is priceless, she’s like “daddy you’re Old, but it’s cool you can play guitar” lol. Didn’t see that coming.

    I liked the superbowl budweiser “prohibition” commercial, and madonna’s showmanship; the game was good too. Get well soon, your words are missed around these here parts. Take care, and thanks for everything.


    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks, Ken. I’m digging through my stack of electrics, dragging out axes I’ve shamefully ignored for ages… and just in hog heaven playing the beasts again. What lovely works of art they are, and what amazing sounds we create together…

  • mark says:

    Thanks for the update John. We always look forward to your posts that help us in the
    business sense, and in our lives.


    Mark in Cold As a Bugger Canada

  • rob says:

    Hey dude…

    Sorry to read about ur injury…

    That would have to pretty high up on level of pain…so long as you got healthy supply of miller…:O)

    Speedy recovery in the meatime…

    The superbowl was all the rage here in Oz including few of the local clubs putting on event for people who are interested in NFL.

    I’ve tried to watch it and tried to understand the game…

    I’m sorry JC…just cant get my head around the game…

    …so I’m going to stick to aussie rules instead with a meat pie in one hand and cold coppers pale ale in the other…

    Take care.

    Later big dog!


  • Bob says:

    Rotator cuff…child’s play..that said, get well my friend.


    PS I love Madonna…

  • Superbowl will always remind me of those gigantic arena filled with die hard fans. A great feeling to watch your favorite teams play which is a good experience. And trying this kind of ambiance is great which is also like watching FIFA live.

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