Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
— Peter Seeger (“Little Boxes” — 1962)
Several years ago, I gathered with a group of friends all visiting Las Vegas. At the time, each of us lived elsewhere, scattered in different parts of the country.
Someone within our group made what turned out to be an astute observation. He predicted that, give or take a few years, most of us would eventually end up settling down in Las Vegas. This made perfectly rational sense. Everyone among us enjoyed all the typical activities most commonly associated with Las Vegas — including playing poker, sports gambling, dining at good restaurants, plenty of cheap bars, relative affordability, and the around-the-clock lifestyle of the city. Hey, a man’s got to have his priorities straight.
With noted sports handicapper Teddy Sevransky, a.k.a. “Teddy Covers”
Okay, it’s not called the Las Vegas Hilton anymore.
It’s called something else.
I forgot what it is now.
Anyway, the casino that used to be known as the Las Vegas Hilton (and long before that, “The International”), hosts a football handicapping seminar every year. This annual event used to take place at the Red Rock Casino, and was held over a two-day period. Now, it’s been trimmed down to a single night, which lasts about four hours. One can’t complain, since the presentation is free. Much of the seminar is pretty good. I figure, if I learn one thing or get a tip on a team or a game, it’s probably worth my time.
Unfortunately, the sports gambling industry is a murky business, filled with liars and con men. It’s seedy image is a major strike against everyone who engages in sports gambling, making all efforts almost impossible to legalize what would be an enormously popular and successful pastime.
If the late Benny Binion’s life was ever to be made into a movie, now with Sam Peckinpah long gone, the rightful heir to what amounts to a biographical gold mine should fall to Quentin Tarentino. If and when that movie does get made, let’s hope the masterful film director bases his first script on the new book written by Doug J. Swanson about the often comical and always curious life of the legendary casino patriarch who was loathed and feared by a few, but also widely respected and loved by far more.
Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster who Created Vegas Poker doesn’t necessarily cover much new territory, especially to those who already know of Binion’s shady past. It simply tells the story far better and in much greater detail than any other available source. Moreover, it places Binion into proper context among his peers, consisting mostly of gangsters and Mafia dons. However, instead of a fedora, Binion always wore a cowboy hat.
Note: It’s July 4th. Time for my annual rant against fireworks. Parts of this article appeared in last year’s rant.
I’ve had it with fireworks. I don’t like them.
What’s the fucking point of igniting a bunch of cheap toys that whistle, crack, and pop? What sick joker creams his pants over that, other an some goofy infant? I just don’t get it.
They say some really mean things sometimes.
Take for instance when I’m out running.
When I run during the morning, that’s about the time of day when the kids are going to school. On weekdays, I mean. That means the children from a nearby elementary school are usually walking on the sidewalks. Most of the kids are between the ages of 6 and 10. While running, I often pass them by without paying much notice. But sometimes I can’t help but hear their smart-ass comments. Little shits.
You wouldn’t believe what those bastard kids say sometimes.