Gambling for Profit?

September 27, 2006

Okay…. here’s the setup.

My wife mentioned that in her past, that she and her friend Rick were in FoxFire Casino, and they won enough money to pay for their hotel bill for the entire trip through New England.

Secondly, My last trip to Atlantic City was not my best. I wasn’t feeling it, and I just threw down money at the Craps table, just to throw money down. And that’s the worst way to gamble. You gotta want it, you gotta feel it, and you gotta not care about the money.

When I leave A.C. without at least enjoying my gambling experience, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, where I wanted to cleanse it.

To top it off, a few weeks ago, Suzanne and I were kicking around the idea of going to Atlantic City. There’s some new shopping that she wants to do, and she heard that Toby Keith had a restaurant or something (we couldn’t find it if it does exist), and we could eat well, walk around a bit, and gamble. It wasn’t a good idea at the time, so we decided to push it off to out “Anniversary Weekend” when we’d be coming back from Sea Isle.

Okay, fast forward (or is it rewind, as it was earlier this week) to Monday. Suze and I are heading to A.C. I get $150 additional out for food, gambling, and shopping, with the notion that we will spend probably $120 on gambling, as she just likes to play the slots.

We wander the boardwalk. We hit the Pier at Caesars, and wander around the very elegant shops. (By the way, Tommy Bahama is a very evil store) There was a cool place where you can make your own chocolate bar, but as you had to wait 15 minutes for it, we didn’t go there. And there was a cool water fountain display, which was pretty decent, especially as it was free.

So, we head back to the Showboat Casino, which is where we parked. I’ve always liked the vibe at that casino. I never walked out with any real money there, but I just liked the Mardi Gras theme, and when I turned 21 they had free parking because they were a new casino. And as they recently added a House of Blues club, it made me gravitate there even more.

I had spotted a $5.00 crap table when we arrived at 2:30. But it was now around 4:30, it was raised to a $10.00 table. I was hemming and hawing, but my wife said, “Oh just go for it.”

I put my money down, and after a few throws of the dice, I’m up a few chips. The dice come to me, I put my money on the pass line, and hand the dice to my wife. She goes on a run. She’s rolling sevens as the coming out roll, she’s making numbers, and has at least five throws before she craps out with a seven (once the point was established.)

We stuck around, because if luck is with you, you at least make sure that it’s not offering seconds. The table was not filled, and the dice came back to Suzanne, and she crapped out on her second roll, and I figured we were done. We walked away from the table with $185, from an initial $100 bet.

So, we cash out, and I am perfectly willing to let her play the slot machines, as I’m thrilled that her lady luck, beginners luck, or whatever had me/us leave the craps table with my best day gambling ever. We go to the slots, and I give her ten bucks to start, perfectly willing to give her more after she blows this.

She plays the first one, a traditional slot machine, she is up to $22.00. We move onto some weird Pirate Video Slot machine, and she gets the bonus game immediately, though we have no idea what’s she’s doing, and she’s up to $40.00. We go back to a traditional slot, and she loses money. And finally we go over to the Powerball Video Slot Machine, and she plays that. She hits the progressive jackpot for $68.00 or so, after two plays. We stick around the machine waiting for the complimentary drinks we ordered to arrive. when we arrive, she is up over $200.00.

We are up $285.00 (or so) for the entire day. We go have dinner at the Bourbon Street Buffet or some such nonsense, and still leave A.C. with a boatload of cash.

So I left A.C. with money, which is amazing enough. But now, I know that if we go back, and I expect this to happen again, it most certainly won’t. I have to casually make a point to go back, some time in the future, when both Suze and I need a break from our kid.

A.C. baby, A.C.

Naaah, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.




Dining at Freda’s 2006

September 26, 2006

We all have our favorite restaurants, nice ones I mean, not the corner place with the cheap burgers, or the place that makes a Penne with Vodka Tomato sauce like Mom does.  I mean a really good restaurant, where you are going out to dine, not just have dinner.

My ultimate favorite restaurant is called Freda’s Cafe in Cape May, New Jersey.  Cape May is well-known for its restaurants.  Freda’s is not one of the best known, it is not the most elegant, it is not the hot spot.  But it may have the best food on the cape.

Well, let me put it this way.  If you are someone who goes to a restaurant and looks for the 16 oz Porterhouse, this isn’t the place for you, though they have it.  One review site called Freda’s modern cuisine, and that’s the best way of describing it.  The chef, Steve Howard, changes his ‘specials’ menu every week or two.  Now, every place has specials, but his are always just tremendous.

My favorite meal I ever had there was a southwestern style pasta dish, with chicken, scallops, shimp in a black bean and tomato salsa.   I had Paella there last year, which was wonderful.  My mother always gets the rack of lamb crusted with pine nuts, feta, spinach, rosemary, and black pepper and some other spices.   My wife had a tremendous steak this past time, topped with grilled shrimp.  (She loves crabmeat and shrimp, but the ob/gyn said to stay away from the shellfish)

This past time was a truly wonderful dish.  I had crispy cuban pork tenderloin (two of them), in a black bean sauce (no, not a theme), topped with crabmeat and banana.  I know…  but the banana worked with the creaminess of the crab meat.  Tremendous.  The type of meal where your mouth thanks your legs for bringing you into the restaurant.

It’s my favorite place to eat.  Just tremendous.  It is a BYOB, so you cut the cost of having a $50.00 liquor bill on the menu.  The only drawback is that you have to go outside the restaurant to use the bathroom, as I said it’s not very elegant, but WELL WELL worth it.

If anyone reading this blog, who I don’t know, ever has a chance to go to Cape May, New Jersey.   I highly, highly recommend it.  Best restaurant that I know of, bar none.



P.S.  The primary purpose for this entry is to remember what I ate at Freda’s cause I always forget.

In Search of… Perfection

September 20, 2006

I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of movies that are perfect, and trying to determine the rules of perfection.

(and as all things are, these rules are mine and mine alone)

Now, by a perfect movie, I don’t mean the best movies. I am fully unqualified to determine which movies are the best. First off, there are hundreds of ‘great’ movies that I haven’t seen: Gone with the Wind, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s News.

Plus, and more importantly, a movie doesn’t have to be the best in order to be perfect.

Let me give you an analogy. In a perfect baseball game, one team plays a flawless 9 innings of baseball, where they allow no men from the opposing team to reach a base. It is considered perfect, but I daresay that it doesn’t make it a great game. A great game can be a 3-2 game between division rivals with lots of mistakes and flaws. It is the context that makes it great.

So a perfect movie need not be a great movie. It can be. But it need not be.

My rules for a perfect movie:

1. The movie must be re-watchable.

There are plenty of great movies, that due to the subject matter, don’t really make you want to rewatch it. Also several comedies lose something once you know the jokes already, and other comedies shine through rewatching.

2. The movie must be out for at least five years, be accessible, and known to most people.

There are great and wonderful movies that you can only see by going to film festivals, art houses, and special interest DVD catalogs. I would never suggest that these films are not wonderful forms of cinematic art. But I can’t really call them perfect, sorry.

3. You must be able to watch the movie from beginning to end, without wanting to fast-forward through a single scene. So we are talking not one wasted scene, one wasted moment in the entire movie. The entire movie fits together like a perfect puzzle, each moment is worth watching

Probably the key ingredient to a perfect film. There are plenty of great films, that when watching it, you just want to skip over a certain scene, because it just annoys you.

My favorite movie is The Sting. I love it, and I love watching it once a year. But when Johnny Hooker has his scenes with the love interest, Loretta, I want to skip them entirely. For many, any scenes in the Rocky movies that have Adrian in them, cause the same reaction.

4. There are no details or facts or plot lines that make you shout out, “Oh no way would that happen”.

Now, there is some leeway with this rule, as most movies have at least one part of the plot that doesn’t make sense, but due to only having 120 minutes to tell a story, it’s fine. My rule is if you’re crying “No Way” during the movie, not when thinking about it afterwards, that’s a sign.

5. Scenario: You’re coming back from somewhere, it’s late-night, on a weekend. There’s nothing on but informercials, unfunny comedy sketch shows, and syndicated television. While channel surfing, you see the movie on basic cable. It’s edited for television. Half of the movie is over. You’ve seen it dozens of times…. And yet, you MUST watch it.

You know the movies like this. You just giggle or wait in anticipation because the good stuff is coming.

Here’s where many great movies fail to become perfect. I love The Godfather. It’s a great movie. But if I don’t see the first 30 minutes of the movie, with the Wedding, and where Michael begins his descent into the world of the family, I don’t want to watch the rest.

There are probably a few other rules, but those are up to individual preferences and tastes.

10 Perfect Movies (in my opinion)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Silence of the Lambs
Pulp Fiction
North By Northwest
The Producers (original)
Groundhog Day
The Shawshank Redemption
The Lion King
The Princess Bride

What does everyone think on this one.