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Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Blog, Travel | 1 comment

My Love Affair with French Cars




There’s three things I love about France — their cooking, their wine, and their cars.  Well, maybe four things, but I don’t want to get into trouble.

Such fine memories.  In fact, I owned a Peugeot when I lived in Europe.  Day to day, that was funnest car I’ve ever driven.  Later, when I returned to the U.S., I went on to purchase two more Peugeots, including the last model that was ever imported into the United States.  Now, French cars have become quite a rarity on American shores.  This makes me sad.

About 20 years ago, Peugeot stopped exporting cars into the U.S.  Truth is, Peugeots never sold very well here.  Some of this lack of enthusiasm came from our cultural bias against the French.  Peugeot and other brands including Renault also didn’t help their cause any with shoddy craftsmanship.  They developed a terrible reputation that become impossible to shed from the early imports being problematic cars.  The cars got a lot better over the years, but as they say, one never gets a second chance to make a positive first impression.  The hint of a lemon smell stuck forever.

At the time, the American luxury car market was dominated by the Germans.  Now, Lexus and other popular brands have caught up and surpassed the Europeans, becoming the new automotive gold standard.  Meanwhile, few Americans have ever driven or even seen a French car, since most of the remaining models are now quite old, or have been restored as classics.

If Peugeot was my first love — then my tempting mistress has always been Citroen.

I’ve always wanted to own a Citroen.  But that wasn’t a widely held view.  The older Citroens looked funny.  Many people thought they were ugly.  At least let’s agree on this — they were certainly different.

You decide.

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Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 4 comments

In a North Dakota State of Mind



North Dakota Short Stories.

Until recently, five miles had been the closest that I’d ever come to being in North Dakota.

Five miles — as in 35,000 feet high.

And why would I ever go to North Dakota?  Nothing against the fine people of that proud red-state voting, red-eat meating giant walk-in outdoor freeezer, but as far as I was concerned that territory might as well be called South Saskatchewan.  Or Mongolia.

If there’s a lesson to be learned about how our perceptions often do (and should) change over time, it’s that exposure to something you know nothing about often makes you gain an appreciate for it.  Except for Anthrax and FOX News, of course.

Fulfilling this pedestrian philosophical prophesy, days ago I penned the following narrative on what it’s like to stay in Downtown Fargo for a whole week.  Read “FARGO” here.

What I didn’t reveal to you then are a few of the many things that surprised me about North Dakota.  Did you know that:

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Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 30 comments





Tell someone you’re spending a week in Fargo, and a blank stare is likely to be chaperoned by a single word.


I had no idea what to expect on this, my first trip to Fargo, North Dakota.  Well, I thought I knew what to expect — which turned out to be completely wrong.

What I knew about Fargo was pretty much limited to the wonderful 1996 movie of the same name, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, a.k.a. the Coen Brothers.  Oddly enough, practically none of Fargo was actually filmed here, nor anywhere nearby.  In fact, just about every scene was shot a few hundred miles away, in Brainerd (Minnesota) and the suburbs around Minneapolis.  The Coen Brothers know this territory well, since they were born and raised in St. Louis Park, just outside the Twin Cities.

When I asked a local resident why they decided to call the movie “Fargo,” he told me, “because it sounds a helluva’ lot better than Brainerd.”

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Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Blog, Travel | 3 comments

Airline Depot


allegiant air (600x293)


Air travel has pretty much become like riding on a city bus, only with wings.

From the moment you’re prodded and patted down by the TSA to the time your buckled into a flying tin can breathing recycled oxygen, air travel is a thoroughly hectic experience.

Fortunately, our planes are safe.  Only the finest materials and replacement parts are used.  After all, we’re talking about public safety and human lives at risk.  Right?

Yesterday, I was scheduled to fly on Allegiant Air.  This is a budget airline based in Las Vegas.  I’d never flown Allegiant Air before, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Since the round-trip flight cost $150 cheaper than Southwest, this was too good a bargain to pass up.

Then, the news broke.  The day before, an article appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  It stated that half the Allegiant fleet had been grounded due to a maintenence issue.  READ SIMILAR ARTICLE HERE

I read the article, which discussed the possibility of problems on all the jets.  Apparently, the slides were faulty on the Allegiant planes.  That’s right, slides.

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Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Blog, General Poker, Travel | 1 comment

Debut Cast of “Poker Night in America” Television Show Announced








Rush Street Productions is pleased to announce the cast of poker players who will appear on the debut show of a new television series called “Poker Night in America,” scheduled to begin filming on August 8th at the Turning State Casino in Upstate New York..  The cast is comprised largely of well-known professional poker players, but will also include additional participants who play in the Empire State Poker Classic, which runs August 9-12.

Moreover, an open casting call was announced last week for a few of the remaining open seats for the televised cash game.  The two players selected from a large pool of outstanding applicants were Kristy Arnett and Lauren Billings.  Both will join a private jet full of poker players who will embark together and fly from Las Vegas to Rome, NY, later this week.  Most players will be participating in both the televised cash game as well as the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Empire State Poker Classic Main Event.  More information about the tournament (which is expected to draw a record turnout) can be found HERE.

The roster of participants/cast members who will be flying from Las Vegas to the Turning Stone Casino includes the following poker players:

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