Today, let’s talk about death.
Not that I’m an expert on death. That’s something I hope never to master.
But having witnessed death up close and then having experienced the aftermath — a deeply personal process which continues amidst chaos and confusion — I must admit it’s not at all what I expected.
Fact is, I’m not sure I knew what to expect.
Like I said, death is confusing.
The Petre Family in Bucharest, Romania, circa 1963. Ion Petre stands in the middle. Marieta is the little girl in front.
Ion Petre was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1952.
Despite growing up in a Communist country, Ion enjoyed a childhood filled with happy memories. His sister, Marieta (my wife) was born in 1961. Despite their nine-year age difference, they were inseparable for most of their lives. Wherever they lived, they talked and laughed often.
Ion was a dedicated student. He could have gone into just about any field of study. But he always enjoyed creating and building things. And so, his dream was to become an engineer.
Ion served a mandatory tour of duty in the Romanian Army. Following his discharge, he made what would become a life-changing decision. Ion decided to leave Romania and immigrate to the West.
Monday mornings epitomize new beginnings. And so it was on October 7th, 2013. A new beginning.
But this particular Monday morning — so wonderfully warm and beautifully bright as the early hours are so often this time of year — was even more splendid. We were blessed with a special guest staying in our home. This was a rare intersection in all of our lives — to be together.
Ion Petre, my beloved brother-in-law, had come to visit us in Las Vegas from his home in Eindhoven, Holland. He was to stay with us for a months time. Oh, they joy of that. We tend to be a happy family, but the house was a more cheerful place with Ion around. He always had that amazing effect on the people around him.
We had so many exciting plans. So many shows to see. So many restaurants to visit. So many new places to go. So many new people to meet. Indeed, one of the great things about living in Las Vegas is experiencing things both old and new through those you love the most. It’s a far greater joy than seeing them alone by yourself.
The day was all planned out. This Monday morning was to include a short run in the 72-degree weather, followed by a lunch together at a favorite local Italian restaurant. We also considered making a hike up Lone Mountain that afternoon, which has a magnificent view of the entire Las Vegas Valley. That same evening, I was so excited to take Ion to meet many of my friends as a Monday Night Football watching party. It would have been Ion’s first time to watch American football. What a joy that would have been.
Such a full day. We had so many plans.
Archie Karas shown at a craps table at Binion’s Horseshoe, circa 1995, during the greatest run in gambling history. (Photo courtesy of Sexton’s Corner)
If the legendary man who nearly “broke the bank at Monte Carlo” has a modern-day reincarnate, he is most certainly Archie Karas.
The Greek-born immigrant who arrived in the United States penniless as a teenager made headlines between 1993 and 1995, going on what’s been described as the greatest run ever in gambling history. A short time before Christmas Day, he arrived in Las Vegas with $50 in cash and ran it up to a figure reported as high as $45 million. The story goes, at one time during his hot streak, he possessed every single $5,000-denomination chip at Binion’s Horseshoe and very nearly ended up holding the note to the place.
But the odds inevitably caught up with Karas and just as effortlessly as he won it all, he lost it all back. Within a few years of the run of a lifetime, Karas was allegedly seen sleeping in a borrowed car during most nights out in a casino parking lot.
NOLAN DALLA: 2013 NFL SEASON RECORD
24 WINS — 27 LOSSES — 3 PUSHES
STARTING BANKROLL: $10,000.
CURRENT BANKROLL: $6,250.
NET GAIN/LOSS: minus $3,750.
BEST BETS: 2–4–1
The season is now a quarter done. Still a long way to go.
Lots of extra attention was spent this week on FIRST QUARTER BETTING. See write ups below.
So far, I’ve made 12 plays. There are four BEST BETS. I also segregated the late plays as those have been performing very well, while the early plays have performed miserably. Here are my preferred picks for NFL Week 5: