Atlantic City Observations

I was going to continue my trip report on Atlantic City, but too much time has passed and I don’t have notes. There are some observations I still want to make.

Atlantic City is not Las Vegas. With the exception of Borgata&#185, where we stayed, all the hotels looked shabby and worn. Most were decorated in a style that implied glitz thirty years ago, but no longer does.

Donald Trump’s name is held high over a number of the hotels. I doubt he’d want us to judge him by these facilities.

Most of the hotels in AC, if they stood in Las Vegas, would be scheduled for demolition!

We had a few really excellent meals. I’ve already written about Wolfgang Puck’s place (excellent pizza, half filled bowl of chowder), but we also grazed at the Borgata buffet for breakfast, Old Homstead (excellent steakhouse) and The Metropolitan, Borgata’s equivalent of a Vegas coffee shop.

At the Old Homestead, I ordered the house special – the first time I’ve ever ordered a steak I couldn’t finish!

Beautiful restaurants were very pricey. There’s no way around that.

If you’ve read the blog any length of time, you probably know I don’t drink anything alcoholic (except Bailey’s, which is spiked chocolate milk. I’ll have a Bailey’s once or twice a year). My traveling companions, Rick and Dennis, were ordering “Gray Goose Martini, dirty” at every opportunity.

Finally, I asked to take a sip – the curiosity was killing me. It was very tasty, pleasantly briny and surprisingly without the alcohol burn I expected.

I’m already up to my eyeballs in vices. We’ll keep your resume on file.

Rick and Dennis had the hotel reservation before I came on board and the room only had two beds… so Rick brought a blow-up mattress. Perfect. In fact, on the second day, the maid actually made that bed along with the two others.

You see all sorts of characters when you’re playing poker. Character is the correct characterization. Many try and take on a distinct persona by their dress and manner. Poker is, after all, a game of psyching out one’s opponent.

I sat next to a guy at one table who wore very shiny gold jewelery. It was overly shiny, if that’s possible. Imagine the kind of ‘star filters’ they put on the cameras at QVC and HSN to make everything glitter, but in real life.

On his left wrist he wore a gold Rolex, diamond encrusted. The second hand swept around the face smoothly. Fake! Real Rolex’s tick each second individually. I understood more of him than he could ever know.

In poker, it’s called a tell.

There are lots of young people in their twenties playing cards. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. When you’re in your twenties, how much discretionary income do you have? They’re not all winning.

There’s no doubt poker’s popularity is still on the rise. Borgata has a huge room. Other casinos have enlarged their poker areas too.

We came with a list (compiled by Dennis) of potential poker tournaments to play. There’s no shortage of those either.

As always seems the case, the weather was awful. It was either raining, or threatening to rain. I can’t remember the last time I saw Atlantic City framed against a blue sky. Maybe next time.

&#185 – I had referred to this hotel as The Borgata, but their own signage says, “Welcome to Borgata.” They should know.

Up On The Roof

The roofers have been working since early this morning Hawaiian time (which, though in Connecticut, is what I live on). I could make a mint if I could only figure out a way to put a silencer on a hammer.

When they first came, Helaine suggested I head to the basement. You would think roofers – basement – what could be more separate?

Like I said: hammer silencers. There’s a fortune to be made.

To add insult to injury, the phone rang. I answered and said, “Hello.”

“Hi, this is Mindy McCourtney from HSN.”

But it really wasn’t Mindy. It was a tape of Mindy… or more accurately, a file of Mindy’s voice. You can’t tell a recording to stop, so I looked at the caller ID and dialed HSN.

You would think this is easily fixed. “Hi, you woke me. Don’t do that again.”


This stems from something Helaine bought, so they claim only Helaine can stop it. Say what? She’s not here now.

What kind of screwy policy is that? They know what phone I’m calling from (because their system makes my caller ID look quaint). They hear my story. Why not err on the side of caution?

Are there really people who will feel hurt if Mindy McCourtney’s disembodied voice doesn’t call them from time-to-time? I can have my calls forwarded to them!

Post Father’s Day Wrap

In the tumult that followed Stefanie’s trip to the hospital (fine now – thanks) and my big poker tournament, I forgot to mention Father’s Day.

What a cool holiday. Who would have thought, just having a child gets you a day?

Buying a gift for my dad is our most difficult Father’s Day quandary. He’s had 80 years to accumulate everything he needs and most of what he wants.

High tech is always a good idea. If it plugs into his laptop or desktop computer, he’s up for it. This year though, we came up blank.

My mom told us how much he enjoys “24,” but had only come to the show in this last season. Why not get him the boxed DVD set?

We looked at some local stores, but decided to buy on EBay. If you look carefully at some of the better EBay deals, you see an admonition. The TV show you’re buying is in English. It’s just what you’d get in the store. Oh, there’s some Chinese writing on the packaging.

We ordered.

Sure enough, there was Chinese writing sprinkled along with what looked like the standard “24” package. Why not-the package came from China!

Yesterday, when my dad began to watch, he saw Chinese subtitles, but a click of the switch turned them off.

He’s going to enjoy this gift, which makes us feel really good.

Buying for me is much easier. Helaine and Stef got me three pairs of cuff links (all very cool) and a new pair of LL Bean slippers.

They also got me a ‘fun’ gift – a battery powered, radio controlled airplane. I had seen it on HSN and mentioned something to Helaine. I only said it looked interesting… but she connected the dots.

Yesterday afternoon Helaine and I set out for large field alongside a local elementary school (we were actually over the septic system). The sky was sunny. The breeze was nearly non-existent. The plane’s battery was charged.

Helaine went to launch the plane first. As she held the plane, I flipped the switch on the remote. The twin engines started whirring, scaring the living daylights out of her.

She reached back and threw the plane with a slightly upward angle. The plane headed toward the ground as if it were magnetic.

We tried again and again and again. A few times the plane flew a little before heading groundward. When it did fly, it was uncontrollable. Most of the time it didn’t fly at all. On one particularly vicious crash, a part of the Styrofoam nose came off.

Helaine was very disappointed. It wasn’t that she really cared about flying a model plane. She just wanted to make me happy. I was disappointed too.

Today the plane went back in its box and headed home to HSN.

Helaine offered to get me another plane, something she saw listed on EBay. I said no.

My idea is to go and hang out with some people who fly more sophisticated model planes with the thought that I’ll go once and get it out of my system… or not.