In early January, I wrote about Deborah Abramson Brooks and Allison White, two Port Washington moms who had looked into the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) plans to turn over the names and records of more than two million public school students to an outfit called inBloom. This Atlanta-based company, underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is working with state governments to get data on every American student to store, crunch, and potentially share with all sorts of other companies. As I said when I introduced Deborah and Allison, inBloom wants to make our kids’ educational careers — and basically their lives — so much spreadsheet fodder.
Of all the states, New York has been the most enthusiastic about inBloom. Despite last week’s recommendation by a governor-appointed panel that we pull out of the program, it’s definitely not over. A recommendation is just that.
Men are simple. Finding satisfaction in a straightforward steak or a nondescript pub, guys don’t need drink specials or restaurant promotions to entice them into a night with friends. All it takes to create the need for a guys’ night out is a working man’s week overrun with demanding bosses, strict deadlines and a seemingly never-ending parade of daily grinds designed to break his will to live.
Luckily, Long Island is bursting with options when the need to recharge the battery arises. There are innumerable pubs offering rib-sticking food and always comforting beer taps. Meanwhile, activities like bowling provide moments of competition without requiring too much energy — in fact, one barely has to put their beer down in order to toss a weighted ball at a bunch of wooden pins.
Some good causes have bake sales and raffles. Others have Bill O’Reilly. And that’s a far more potent fundraiser than even the best chocolate-chip cookie. The TV host, commentator and author is well-known for his Nassau County connections — raised in Levittown and living in Manhasset — as well as for his penchant for giving back.
“The people on Long Island are good folk,” he told me recently. “If I can do something to help, I will.”
Everyone loves to win. No one more so than gamblers. Anyone who has ever been on the plus side of a bet or game of chance will tell you there’s nothing like the pure adrenaline rush that comes from knowing money is going to find its way into your hands. Throw in the allure and glamor infused into the proceedings by films like Hard Eight, Oceans 11 or Casino. All of a sudden the idea of chucking the straight life and going all in for the life of a professional gambler sounds like the way to go.
According to Frank Scoblete, one of the world’s foremost authorities on gaming and casinos and the author of 30 books including Confessions of a Wayward Catholic and the forthcoming I Am a Card Counter: The Inside World of Advanced Blackjack, there’s far more to becoming a professional gambler than meets the eye. If you’re really serious about becoming a professional gambler, Scoblete says this is what you need to know.
When you go to a casino, although the idea is to have a great time (and ideally win some coin), the idea is that you are in someone’s place of business. And as a host, casinos can be generous by way of comping players anything from drinks and meals all the way up to overnight accommodations in a luxury suite. That said, there is a degree of etiquette involved that if not followed, can wind up in your being tossed out on your duff. The good folks over at Resorts World Casino were kind enough to offer advice regarding getting comped as well as knowing how to conduct yourself.
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