First and Last Time at a Casino…Probably

I’m not much of a gambler. I only play the lottery when the Powerball gets up to like 200 million. I’ve never been to Vegas, and don’t plan to go, and until last night, had never stepped foot in a casino. I’ve always thought placing a bet on anything was nothing more than a good way to throw away money. This is also why I don’t play the stock market. I invest, but don’t play. Now, I don’t object to the gaming industry. I recognize that gambling is a form of entertainment. If people want to waste money on the small chance of winning a jackpot, (the odds really are stacked against casino patrons) that’s their business. Spending time at the tables or with the one armed bandit can be exciting and even exhilarating, especially when winning. For others, however, gambling is addictive in much the same way as drugs, alcohol and tobacco can be. In fact, casino management understands that one addiction fuels another such that smoking is permitted and drinks flow freely. A drunk patron is likely to spend more and lose more money.

I probably wouldn’t have gone to the casino had it not been for the fact that my daughter needed a ride to meet up with a friend to see Katy Perry at the Arena at Mohegan Sun. This was the excuse I needed to see what this gambling thing was all about. So my wife and I drove down to Uncasville, CT to the Mohegan Sun. As we approached, we could see the glimmering glass building of the Hotel and Casino and tour buses by the hundreds. I was relieved to learn parking was free and we got a good spot right near an entrance.

When we arrived inside the Casino, the first thing I noticed was the cigarette smoke. It was a little surprising really. I don’t think I’ve been around that many smokers since I attended a Black Oak Arkansas, Molly Hatchet concert in High School back in the 70’s. It was shocking actually. The air was thick with smoke and alcohol. We looked around for some slots to play where folks were not smoking so much, and we quickly went through 20 dollars in a matter of minutes. Next, I tried my hand at video poker, but couldn’t figure out how the game worked and lost five bucks in a matter of seconds. So, thinking we’d be out of money in less than 10 minutes, we headed for the penny slots, eventually losing all we had to spend, which was 20 a piece. During breaks from the slots, we walked around and observed some of the table games. Patrons were mostly tipsy it seemed and tossing out lots of cash and chips that the dealers with stoic faces seemed to be raking in more than dishing out. The players really did not seem to be having much fun. On the other hand, the slot players did look to be enjoying themselves, especially the elderly among them, who didn’t mind all the smoke; some, in fact, were smoking. But it was all the smoke, the flashing lights and annoying sounds of overstimulated machines making all manner of sounds effects, that nearly caused me to go into a epileptic fit, that finally got us to leave. I don’t know if they had a smoke free, quiet gambling zone somewhere in there, but I couldn’t find it.

The smoke and over stimulation notwithstanding, we had a good time. We spent just a couple of hours and 40 dollars playing slots; our limit. Now I can check another thing off my bucket list. Those one armed bandits are out our system, though we both still smell like smoke.

Coffee Drinking Supercentenarian Dies at 114

CNN reported that the oldest person in the world passed away last Tuesday at the age of 114.  Brazilian Maria Gomes Valentim was just a few weeks shy of 115.  She said the secret to her longetivity was a healthy diet of bread, fruit, coffee, milk with linseed oil and a glass of wine from time to time.  RIP Maria.

According to the CNN article, there are currently only 90 supercentenarians alive.  These are people aged 110 and over.  I wonder if there are any commonalities in their diets.  I do seem to remember that Jeanne Louise Calment, who died at age 122, favored an occasional glass of wine.  Maybe wine is a common theme.   Just once though, I’d like to read about a supercentenarian who bucked common wisdom and favored the occasional hamburger with fries, ice-cream and pizza.


Tim Hortons Drive Thru Bank

What is this place?

The Wall Street Journal reported that Don Schroeder CEO of Tim Hortons has stepped down.  The popular Canadian doughnut and coffee chain has made a clumsy effort to expand to the U.S. market.

Tim Hortons should just hire me as a consultant to guide its effort to compete with Dunkin Donuts.  They don’t need to hire a CEO and craft a clever marketing plan.  Here’s the big problem:  Americans don’t know what Tim Hortons is.  It might as well be a Jiffy Lube, even looks like one. I stopped at a Tim Hortons  in Connecticut thinking it was a drive thru bank.  Hey Tim, put up a sign with a donut or a cup of coffee or something.

Linus on NPR and a few other radio oddities

I was listening to NPR on the way to work and heard a report by Peter Overby, who sounds exactly like Linus, to the point that I think he might very well have been the original voice of Linus. I kept waiting for him to say something about the Great Pumpkin.

Here’s what else I heard:

An 83 year old tea partying Mitt Romney supporter said she likes him because he has a nice family and will try. New campaign slogan: Need job. Nice family. Will try.

A local Boston announcer pronounced Red Sox Marco Scutaro’s name, with the accent on the second syllable, like Japanese musician Kitaro. For the record, Marco Scutaro is from San Felipe, Venezuela in the state of Yaracuy, a place I have actually visited.

Sky Mall deals

I took one of those Sky Mall magazines from the seat pocket of the Brazilian made Embraer ERJ-140 plane on a recent American Airlines flight. Incidentally, I heard on the news that Embraer recently hired some laid-off NASA engineers. Maybe the Brazilians will be the first to Pluto.

Why did I take the Sky Mall magazine, aside from the fact that the cover said, Free Copy – Take It? The thing is full of blogging material. Exhibit A: A Dell desktop computer for $164.00 U.S. Sounds like a great deal, no? Ships fast too. But what’s wrong with it. Surely something. Sure enough, it’s been refurbished. Here’s the thing, it’s relatively new; too new to be refurbished. When I think of refurbish, something antique comes to mind, not a late model computer. In my humble opinion, this means something was wrong with it to begin with. A customer was evidently not satisfied with it and sent it back, for what reasons, only Dell knows. But this got me thinking: what happened to this refurbed model now being sold on Sky Mall? Here are some thoughts on what might have happened:

The family dog lifted his leg and peed on it, and not to be outdone by the dog, the cat of the house marked it as his territory.

The thing was dropped a few times causing odd groaning sounds on start up. The owner pried open the shell and fiddled around with the insides until nothing worked at all.

Ignoring the warning to protect against static electricity charges, owner shocks the computer to death while forcing a memory chip the wrong way into an expansion slot.

Spoiled child shakes soda bottle and spews into the back vents of the office computer when told to go to bed.

So ridden with viruses due to owners refusal to buy anti-virus software, the computer finally flatlines.

Now does $164 sound like such a good deal?

Weiner Should Call It Quits

I hate to say it, because I liked Rep. Weiner’s progressive politics, but he probably should resign.  I know there are a few Republicans still in office who committed adultery, who the GOP never asked to step down now calling for Weiner to resign, but that’s pure politics. And while it is true, as far as we know, that he did not have a physical affair, with the phone calls and inappropriate photo sharing on Twitter with younger women, it seemed to be heading in that direction.

Maybe Rep. Weiner could weather the storm and be reelected, but it will further stain the House if he is, and the Dems will draw heat, not something they need heading into the 2012 election.

After resigning and sorting out his issues, it would not surprise me if Rep. Weiner lands his own show. There is certainly a presidence for this.  Eliot Spitzer, disgraced former Governor of NY now has his own program on CNN.

There have been a lot of people hurt and let down by Rep. Weiner’s actions and he appears to be truly sorry. I hope all affected can heal and move on. His resignation will enable that to happen more quickly.

Vacuuming the Lawn

Vacuuming is very much like mowing the lawn. It is. I’d like to sick my LG bagless on my front lawn. I’d put it on the deep rug setting and see what happens. I could use the attachments to suck up ant hills, twigs and those tiny pine combs that litter our sidewalk.

I may be onto something: the first vacuum/lawn mower. Oh, I just thought of some other functionality to add to the machine. A blow dryer, and hair trimmer attachment. I think the thing could work as a snow and leaf blower too. It could.

Mitt Romney Scott Brown Ticket in 2012

Former MA governor Mitt Romney, who announced his intention to run for the Presidency, may be the Republicans’ only hope of defeating the Democratic candidate, likely to be President Obama, in the 2012 election.  My prediction is that Romney will win the nomination and chose Senator Scott Brown, also of MA, as his running mate.  This would be a formidable team and one of the only examples I can think of in recent history anyway where running mates hailed from the same state.

Notwithstanding the strength of this ticket for the Republicans, it is potentially a losing formula and here’s why:  the Tea Party – which is not a party, but rather a fringe movement, if you can call it that, of fiercely independent conservative ideologues with a significant libertarian strain, who believe mainstream is a dirty word.  The Tea Party may not back  a Romney ticket and advance one of their ideologues as an Independent or write-in candidate.  Who that would be I don’t know.  Ron Paul could have been the spoiler were he not running as a Republican, virtually guaranteeing an Obama victory.  Sara Palin could also fill that role too.  Maybe she will run as an Independent or a write-in candidate and take away some Republican support.

Spoilers really can have an impact on elections.  As a Green candidate, Ralph Nader helped the Republicans gain control of the White House in 2000; Ross Perot running as an Independent helped Clinton defeat  Bush the elder in 1992.

So, who would Palin’s running mate be?  How about Christine O’Donnell, Palin’s look alike?  Now that would be a hoot.  I can’t wait for the 2012 election to get into high gear – it will be be the best reality show of the season.