Real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner?

A Real Italian

Real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner

This morning I started planning Thanksgiving dinner, of course, with an Italian flair. Out of curiosity, I searched to see if there was anything out there that even slightly resemble what I grew up with and heard about.  Guess what?  Not-a-one.  Let me introduce you to what a real Italian Thanksgiving dinner is like from before soup to past nuts:

1. Appetizers

  • Pepperoni, wine-cheeses and crackers
  • Prosciutto and green olives as well as black olives that are dried and then soaked in oil
  • Braided Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes and parsley gently sprinkled on it
    • And having some basil nearby is always a good thing
  • Stuffed mushrooms (these were Frankie Boy’s favorite) —

Oh in the Italian culture, sometimes junior is known as boy or sonny.  My brother (age 57) hates being called Frankie Boy now.  However, in my family, he is Francesco’s son, so from now till forever, he is Frankie Boy.  And no one, I mean no one, likes calling him that more than me.)

  • Sometimes you may also have stuffed clams
  • Sausage in the oil
  • Also, at this phase of the event, drinks include things like Rob Roys, Manhattans, Scotch, Campari or Martinis

2. First Course

  • Soupa escarole – if it has the little meatballs in it, it’s Italian Wedding Soup.
    •   Another option is pastina, escarole and shredded chicken soup.

Also on the table are Lupini beans, more olives, hard crust Italian bread, and butter as well as home-grated Parmesan cheese and dried roasted red pepper flakes. *The cheese can be sprinkled in the soup or on the bread. 

This is eaten as all the minor sides are passed around.  I’d like to tell you these are only cups of soup, but they are not.  The bowls are large and deep,

Some might have wine at this point.  For “the kids”, it’s usually a bottled water such as Pellegrino.

3. Second course

You’d think now is the time for Turkey.  Not yet!  Now it’s time for Lasagna.  With the lasagna, is sauce-soaked meatballs, bracciola, sausage and possibly egg balls.  Sauce is usually in a gravy boat, because we love it.

An antipasto is put on the table too.    Antipasto in my family, was lettuce with tomatoes, prosciutto and olives as well as homemade oil and vinegar dressing.  Some families save the salad for after all the courses.  Mine didn’t.  Here, it’s a side dish.

Now the wine comes out.  Some families have a jug wine … Carlo Rossi perhaps.  If you go with bottled wine, it’s a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.  These are hearty and pair well with the sauce.

4. Third course

Stuffed artichokes which is a mess when you have a table full of people with the artichoke dish and the leaf bowls.

5.  Fourth course — The Key course of a Real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner

Finally, turkey!

The turkey is brought to the table on a wooden dripping board.  This is where the ceremonial carving takes place.

As the patriarch of the family becomes a Samurai Warrior sharpening the knife on the honing stick, all the sides come out.

That’s right; more food.

Mashed potatoes with butter and mozzarella inside, roasted potatoes in oil, and candied yams, squash (both mashed and in the gourd), cranberry jelly, crescent rolls, stuffing, garlic green bean casserole (no funions on top) and gravy are some of what you find.

Another gravy boat for the gravy? But, heck no!  You’ll find  gravy is put in a bowl with a silver ladle spoon.

Here’s the trick, gravy is spread as a gentle drizzle while sauce is a generous pour. That’s how we roll.

Wines are on the table, same as before.  My dad also likes having peaches in his wine at this point in the meal.  Why,  because it cleanses the palate.

My dad also says Rinfreschi il palato tra una portata e l’altra.  I guess when you transition from Italian food to Italian food, you have to get your palate ready for the change. 

Drum roll, carving of the turkey begins.  Relatives call out what piece of the turkey they want.  Cousin Sal is always first to call dibs on the leg and Frankie Boy calls the other one.

6. Fifth course

Dessert?  No not yet.

Time for roasted chestnuts, almonds and hazelnuts as well as walnuts are served. These are accompanied by the demitasse coffee and black coffee with the Sambuca and Anisette.

Let’s not forget the biscotti for dunking.

You’d think people would run out of things to talk about, but nope.  The conversation, singing and laughing is just beginning.

7. Sixth Course

Dessert?  Yes!

You have pumpkin pie, apple pie, blackberry pie, pecan pie, gelato, and whipped cream.

This course is accented with cordials such as Galliano,  Crème de cacao, Chambord, Amaretto,  Crème de menthe and Curaçao.

Shh, we also had Baily’s Irish Cream.  Don’t tell anyone.

Do you think people are drunk and ready to bust?  No, it’s just time for a short break.

8. All the men watch a few quarters of football

They may nap too, but they always unbutton their pants temporally.  It’s supposed to be a secret, but we all know.

9. Home movies

When we were young, we’d get the super 8 camera, put up a portable screen and watch the events and family reunions from the last year.  Now we are using wifi and linking the computer to the big screen TV.

I like the super 8-events better.  It feels more nostalgic.  In a storage unit, I have all the old super 8 films and slides because there also used to be slide shows.

9. More Soup

That’s right!  Now there is turkey soup with pastina, more bread and more drinks and the ability to sample anything eaten at any point during the day.

By this time we’ve gone from about noon to 10 pm.

Time for the card game to start.

The night it isn’t over until someone is practically falling asleep at the table.

Once that happens, everyone decides which kids are sleeping over and which are going home and finding out who is coming over the next day for left overs.

Because we do it in an edited version the next day too.

Conclusion

Every family has some variations here and there, but this, in essence, is a real Italian Thanksgiving Dinner.

If anyone tells you that an Italian Thanksgiving includes dishes made with saffron or any other fad spices, they are not Italian.  They are wannabes or trying to sell a cookbook.

Happy Thanksgiving week.

😛

What’s your Thanksgiving tradition?

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Watermelon Cold in The Stream – Good Thing

Watermelon Cold in the Stream – Good Thing

In the grocery store today, I passed the watermelon and then fresh basil; and a bunch of 4th of July and summer memories popped in my head.  

Some of you know, I grew up in the Adirondacks in small (I mean under 200 people) town and a small city.   It made me decide to set aside the post I had ready; and just share some things that make me think of summer.  Most of them revolve around our lake house, we called it camp. 

It was 35 minutes from our house.  That’s how we roll upstate.

We did have a fridge in camp and all other modern features, but with all the Italian and American food in it, the watermelon couldn’t fit.  Yet, still needed to be cool.  So it went in between the rocks with the cold water flowing over it for a couple days.  (no bears ever got it)

In the moving water in the Adirondacks, lake temperature ranges between 53 to 65 degrees.  Some can get up to 73.  So, the watermelon was in good care.

When it was cut into slices, it was cold, sweet and delicious.  An event worth the wait.  It’s the same level event as cutting a Thanksgiving turkey.

Hot Spring

 

 

Across from our camp was a small island.  It’s about 40 ‘ x 15’.  Somehow in the middle of it, there is a small hot spring.  We would wade through the cold, water climb the rocks and sit in the pool.  We didn’t know that years later people actually paid to do things like that.  Not sure. but I do not think it preserved my skin all that much.  Ok, not at all.  

Never occurred to us to bring watermelon over there.  Bet that would have been good.

The Rocks

Around our camp’s shoreline and in the water to the island, the floor was covered in rocks.  We used to have to wear old stringless, Keds and Converse to protect our feet.  Over the course of years our parents cleared all the rocks leaving a smooth, water floor.

When we skipped stones, it defeated the purpose, but it gave our parents something to do.

The rocks at the shoreline had some spots were they jetted out into the water.  This gave us an opportunity to scale the boulders.  And, my cousins would fish there.  However, rarely were any fish caught.  Not for a lack of trying.  The camp’s shed had at least 15 old rickety fishing rods.

4th of July 1976

This was my cousin’s Sal’s 15th birthday.  You’d think after 15 years of a total of 5 fish being caught, he’d not give up the 4th festivities to fish.  

The night before, he went out and collected a bunch of nightcrawlers….ewww

He was ready.  After the traditional pancake breakfast made by my Uncle Sal,  he went out to the rocks near the middle of the lake and sunk his hook between two of the boulders. 

Doesn’t sound like a good approach; does it?

He did not fish near the watermelon … just sayin.

Well on his 15th birthday, he caught 15 Sun Fish.   When he got number 8, he was thrilled and didn’t think he’d catch anymore.  By 3 in the afternoon, he had caught the 15th one.  He tried until the dusk; and didn’t catch any more.

Thank God we never threw out (or cleaned out) the camp’s shed.

Basil Behind Dad’s Ear

The final summer memory that hit me in the grocery store, was my dad keeping basil behind his ear when he gardened.

There wasn’t much gardening that took place at camp, but at our house, we had a true garden. 

In his garden, Dad raised tomatoes, dandelion lettuce, endive, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, eggplant, onions and pumpkins.  

And, along the back side of the house, he’d grow herbs … parsley, basil, oregano, chives and I’m sure several more too.

He loved his garden.  It was his sanctuary after work and on the weekends.  He weed a little everyday.  And, he’d frequently move the dirt around the plants.  Not sure why,  Maybe move the air around it after he watered?  No idea really.

But he wore a piece of sweet basil behind his ear and a cloth, rust, baby fedora on his head.

In Italian tradition, men would wear basil behind their ears as they courted women.  Before going to meet the object of their affection, they would take a deep inhale of the basil.  And, luck would be theirs.

The scent was supposed to be sweet and enticing.  

Maybe my dad was a romantic.  Or my mom wasn’t. lol

There are tons of other summer memories that I can share, but these are the ones the grocery store brought me today.

Your Memories

Tell me about your favorite summer memory.  Or, share your last trip to the grocery store.  I’m shocked how little you get for $112. lol

If you like this post, please share it.

 

 

Rocketman – Wish I Left Singing

Rocketman - Leave Singing

Rocketman – Wish I Left Singing

After the excitement while watching Bohemian Rhapsody, we were ready to see Rocketman, the Paramount-produced Elton John story.  We thought we would leave skipping and running to the car to listen to Elton’s (born Reginald Dwight) music.  That we would carry that enthusiasm, not just that day, but for days.  Elton John was a childhood favorite.  I know the words to almost every song.  Fun awaited.

Also, a childhood crush was Bernie Taupen; Elton John’s writing partner (I go for the sensitive, creative types.  Chip, the scientist, is now cringing).  Well, Rocketman was excellent, but it was a story with many tense moments and new learnings on Elton John.  In fact the first speaking part of the movie has John in a meeting within his addict safety circle.

Give My Regards to Broadway

Before I go too far into the movie’s yays, I need to do one nay.   The movie opens with a big chorus-type ensemble singing and dancing through a carnival.  Not sure why they were at a carnival.  To me, it was contrived and didn’t add value to the story or kickoff the main idea.  As soon as I saw it, I thought, this was written to go to Broadway eventually

This movie is kicking off a marketing, merchandising and licensing effort.  Once I got passed that, I was able to enjoy the show.  However, a few points in the movie, I said Well that costume will look good on stage.

Elton John Is a Musical Prodigy

Yes, Elton John is a rock genius, but he was a child prodigy; a true musical virtuoso.  Starting from 3 years old, he could play any music he heard.  No matter how complex the song was, he could play it in seconds.  

This amazing talent won him a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music when he was 11.  You’d have thought he’d have gone complex classical music, but nope.

At 11, I was playing badminton in my backyard with my brother’s friends.  My piano teacher was not impressed in my choices over practice time.

The young actor, Kit Connor, played the young Elton.  Not only was it great casting from a look-a-like perspective, but he had perfect pitch.  When he sang, you’d be in awe.  And, his voice is appropriately sweet.  You feel the youth and innocence as well as loneliness and longing.

The Royal Academy of Music

… is a UK college with Undergraduate and Graduate programs. 

The whole school only trains 700 students at a time.  Their student body is from 50 different countries. 

This is the best of the best internationally. 

Elton John was 7 years younger than their first level students.  No wonder he looked scared to death when he first arrived and was thrown immediately into his studies.

Our Rocketman Was Admittedly Gay From The Get Go

Because, he was married; I thought he realized his orientation during his marriage. Another thing I was wrong about is … I thought he was married to Kiki Dee.   He was actually married to record producer, Renate Blauel.  Throughout the movie, she is the only person who was shown in a single dimension.  A kind person, who gave only love and support to John.  

As soon as he began playing backup music around England, he was expressing his sexuality openly.  Maybe not publicly, but openly.  

I have seen many movies and shows with gay, likable characters. 

In this movie, was the first time I ever saw a gay love scene equivalent to what you may see in the HBO versions of Sex in the City. 

It was tasteful, meaningful and a needed part of the story to show the true intimacy of his relationship with Jack Reid. 

It may have been done before, but I have never seen something like it.  It was a breakthrough moment in film.   

As my relatives in Italy say, “Love is just love.” 

His Search for Love

Other than his grandmother, John’s family was disengaged and unemotional.   The whole family lived practically on top of each other in a compressed two-story home.  His mom flaunted her infidelity.  John’s dad disappeared from time to time.  When he was home he was cold, strict and stoic to the point that I wondered if he was sadistic.  His dad remarried after his parents divorced.  He had two sons and treated them with love and support.  A shock and hard for John to accept.

All little Reg wanted was a hug from his dad and some non-gratuitous attention from his mom.

However, if John wrote a song, his grandmother thought it was fantastic and encouraged for him to play it when they were in pubs or other random places where there was a piano.  John was frequently reluctant and sometimes ridiculed.  More often than not, people came around.

Bernie Taupen – A Good Guy

A record talent scout and producer put an adv out looking for song writers.  After some mixing and matching, the producer paired Taupen and John.  They met for a bit in a coffee shop.  During that long, exhilarating chat, they decided to write music together via mail.  Bernie would send lyrics and John would immediately put them to music.

However, they did struggle some making their way.  Someone suggested all the great writing pairs lived together.  So they found a flat and immersed themselves in friendship and music.

Once their work got some traction, it became wild fire.  They created a brotherhood.  One of unconditional trust.  This carried through their lives, rise to success, John’s overcoming addiction; and reuniting to write together to this day.  

Watch the movie, you’ll probably agree, Taupen was the only normal person in his life.  

Why Do Many Famous People Get Used

During the movie, John gives his trust to a man named John Reid.  They were lovers for 5 years; then, client and manager.  Reid became incredibly controlling of John.  Almost to the point of isolation.

I wish I could remember how many stories exist like this.  Someone gets famous and someone close to them isolates them and exploits them.   Then, boom, the star sees the light and kicks the manager out in an abrupt action.

The theory I have is that gaining that level of fame is overwhelming.  The star needs a buffer; space to breathe.  This person creates a false safety.

Addiction

Elton John was about every kind of addict you can be … alcoholic, drug, sex, eating,  but not gambling.

Addiction was the anchor of the movie.  All the stories bounce off his confessions in his addiction meetings.

The tongue-in-cheek part of the movie was how he would confess in a meeting something like …. Bernie and I never fought.  Then they would show scenes of them disagreeing.

The songs also bounced off these stories; in many instances, it seems as if Taupen was writing his observations of what was happening in John’s life.  Almost a passive way of giving him advice.

Although the songs are high-energy and his stage presence so elaborate, behind the glitz was a very different man with many struggles. 

Darkness

As the movie works it’s way through John’s young life to the present, you see this sadness and not a celebration of his success.

The Magic Ending

Because there was so much darkness in the Rocketman story, I couldn’t decide if I really liked Rocketman or not.  It was a good story and I learned a lot about different lifestyles; music and loves.

However, all of a sudden you see a moment building and it happens.  I won’t tell you what it was, but the whole story comes together in this one moment and event.

Then, I loved the movie; was touched by the story, felt sad that any human had to go through his challenges.

Usually, I have no problem telling the key moment of a movie, but this one is an experience.   You have to see and feel it yourself.  

Time to Sing

Rocketman is a surprise.  But I don’t think it’s “going to be a long long time” until it goes to Broadway.

https://youtu.be/AW5EKDMElig

 

Oh … One Last Thing

When I was in junior high, I got the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album for my birthday.  My brother took it and gave it to a girl he liked.  I ran into her a few years ago; she still has it and offered it to me.  I said thank you but she should keep it.   That’s also been a long. long time.

If you like this post, please share it.  Or, tell us what your favorite Elton John song is.

 

 

Panda Penny Slot Love?! Is it Possible?

Panda Penny Slot Love Without a Fanny Pack

Is it possible to develop a love for penny slots when you don’t mean to?  The answer is, Yes.  Well if you like Pandas.  During my recent, first, casino-gambling experience, I learned the Panda penny slot machine has a simple magic to it.  Spoiler alert … there is penny slot love without a fanny pack.   

Hopefully Not Budding Gamblers

Chip and I are not gamblers.  We have only been to a casino to hear music.  But, last week, we were looking for someplace new for dinner and ended up at the local casino.  After dinner, we split $20 and thought we’d try penny slots. 

Criteria and Utopia

Our criterion (mostly mine) was complex.  It had to have a cute picture on top, bright colors and have fun music.  Then we found the utopia of penny slot machines —  Panda China Shores (made and distributed by Konami).  Do you hear the angels singing?

We said we’d play until we lost the money and go. 

Chip played and bid 30 cents a game.  I played 1 or 5 cents a game.  A man next to me gently said, “You need to play at least 30 cents to break even.”  My naivety glowing, I smiled and said, “I will most likely be here playing and you will already be home and in bed.”  We laughed.

Over the night, the gentleman kept coming over and checking.  He couldn’t believe we were still there. 

Apparently, he didn’t go to bed that early.

The Winnings 

I made my $10 last 6 hours and we left with $175.  So, it covered dinner, drinks, slot costs and parking with $60 left over.

The Magic of Sights and Sounds

If you have never played slots, it’s actually kind of fun.  The hardest part is trying to figure out how you win. 

You see the lights go crazy and your bank fill with anywhere from 2 cents to 30 cents.  Then you look at the screen and there are turtles, bears and yin yang signs with arrows pointing from one end of the screen to the other. 

Then it happens.  A crazy pattern occurs and confetti flies across the screen with this music that sounds as if from a peppy, sophisticated circus. 

Your eyes open wide and you think. “I must have completed an amazing fete no one has ever completed.”   A ton of coins go into your bank.  

So, you keep pressing the little button to go on.  Then another unexplainable pattern happens and you hear a loud gong. Then another one, and another.  The machine takes over; because you have won free spins.  

You sit there watching the machine work on your behalf.  Now you’re watching more closely trying to figure out patterns and watching the bank fill even more.  Chip believes turtles are the lucky character.  He chants for them.  I really can’t figure it out.

But, at some point, you have to say when.

People Around You

If you watch TV shows, they show people with fanny packs, ready to swoop if you move a muscle or go near their machine.  We had the exact opposite experience.  Everyone near us, were sweet as pie.  And, no one had a fanny pack.

Since we were there for 6 hours, we had plenty of people rotate through the machines near us.

People told us different approaches to play; the best ways to rub the machine for luck; and, touching the screen when you see icons you like in hopes the machine will stop them where you like. 

Before I was told this was a luck thing, I thought they were touch-screens and I just wasn’t fast enough.   

Some told us about why they like the slots and which machines to try. 

The casino has a smoking area and non-smoking.  A woman next to me just had her hair done and asked me to smell it to see if walking through the smoking area was a bad idea. 

It was a bad idea.

And, really, no one had a fanny pack.

You Lose Track of Time

The way the casino environment works is they manage the environment: lights, drinks passed around, non-alcoholic stations around (they want you hydrated) and happy music from the machines, it’s easy to see how there is no reason to leave.

When we left’ we had no idea; we had been playing for 6 hours.  Think about it, we sat, put money in an opening and pressed a button.  And, that occupied us for 6 hours.  6 hours!!

Are we Gambling Addicts?

As we were leaving, we said, “Hey, that was fun, maybe we will do that again.”

So, of course, I was now concerned we were gambling addicts.

But how could a cute little Panda with gongs and confetti harm us?

The iPhone Was, Again, My Friend

Driving home, I wanted to know the patterns that win on the Panda China Shores penny slots.  

First thing I learned is that, this is a power slot machine.  I guess that means something. 

And, it is fun for the whole family.  Don’t you have to be at least 18 to gamble?  Maybe they mean a family of people 18+.

Quick summary:

  • Bunch of Yin Yangs in certain patterns get you free games and confetti rain.
  • Enough of them can get you a super layer of thousands of dollars or 500+ free spins.  
  • Panda is the wild card
  • The Chinese Symbol is the biggest payout (we had none of those)
  • There is also a Hi Lo Jack, sub game.  These can win by matches or sequence in a play line.
  • There is also something about the number of lines you play and how icons connect.  That’s above my pay grade for now.

Seven Surprises of Slot Machines

An MIT professor, Susan K Perry Ph.D., came up with a list of 7 things about slot machines you didn’t know.  

She believes in this concept called, “Machine Zone.” 

Not sure if being in the Machine Zone is different than being in the zone when playing basketball or Battle Ship, but she may.  

Here are the 7 Surprises:

  1. For the player, slots gaming is not about the money. Some players admit winning a jackpot interrupts “the machine zone.”
  2. Penny slots are now the largest source of income for most casinos.  
    •  Low risk, just fun 
  3. Machines with buttons and credits, instead of pull handles and coins, allow hundreds of games, rather than a few games, to be played in a minute.
  4. Addiction can happen in a year with video gambling devices rather than three or more with other forms of gambling.
  5. When multiple lines are played, say 25 nickels at a time, you may win a few nickels back with each button push. That positive reinforcement hides the fact that you’re losing.
    •  Ahhh … it doesn’t.
  6. The video game penny slots  are now legal in 40 states, and under consideration by others.
  7. Modern slot machines are designed precisely to do what they do: take your money by putting you into a glassy-eyed trance so you won’t walk away while you have a single dollar or credit left.

Dr. Perry’s work is serious.  She spent 15 years researching her topics, sub topics, data and analyses.  The summary doesn’t present it as a longitudinal study.

With respect to all that … the first thing that popped into my mind when I read this summery was … she spent 15 years in Vegas studying penny slot players? 

I know people who would think it’s a great way to get a tax write-off.  Hmmm.  

Quick Thought on Brain Dopamine Rewards

Dopamine is the “Kim Kardashian” of brain chemistry/molecules.  Really just read this

Since it is designed to make and meet what your perceived or presented needs are, you get a thrill when you come across it. 

Parents stop your kids from reading this next part.

The easiest way to describe the Dopamine effect is the exhilaration you feel with an orgasm.

Soooo, it’s more than gaming that creates dopamine rushes.  Exercise, Facebook, Pinterest, getting a tattoo can all boost your Dopamine level.

Dopamine takes something you like and develops triggers to set it off and makes a reward.  It can be a sight, smell, touch or other activity.  

Silicon Valley is exploiting this to find ways to bind you to their products. 

There is now startups called Dopamine Labs and another called Boundless.  Their goals are to find pathways to increase the speed you bond to a product or technology. 

They use artificial intelligence creating behavioral pathways to boost Dopamine more quickly.  

If it does what it is trying to do, its tech customers will build loyalty from consumers; and block out competitors who aren’t using this approach.  

All I want to do is have fun.  Why is everything so complicated?

The Science Behind Slot Machines

Everything electronic now is about algorithms.  

The word on the street is that slot machines are run by a “Random Number Generator” implying that it’s a game of chance.  There are no patterns.

But as it turns out, Random Number Generators are algorithms based on triggers.  

According to . “

“A Russian mathematician from St. Petersburg named Alex has quite the talent: he reverse engineers the pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs) that govern how slot machines behave. His team of field agents roams casinos around the world and “milk” the machines whose algorithms they’ve cracked.”  

After interviewing Alex on the record, Koerner, a writer for Wired Magazine,  tells the story of this programmer-turned-hacker and what he views as his Robin Hood-like crusade against the global gambling industry.

He does this by taking an initial number, known as a seed, and then mashing it together with various hidden and shifting inputs—the time from a machine’s internal clock, for example. Writing such algorithms requires tremendous mathematical skill, since they’re supposed to produce an output that defies human comprehension; ideally, a PRNG should approximate the utter unpredictability of radioactive decay.”

Whoops, it isn’t random. 

If you know how to understand the penny-slot patterns, playing a few hours a day at a casino, you can win $250,000 per week.

The patterns are highly complex.  I don’t want to underplay that.

Gambling Addiction is a Real Thing

The Oaks Treatment Center keeps statistics on addictions.  They report that 2.6% of the US population (~10 million people) have some form of gambling issue.  And, 750,000 are between the ages of 14-21.  Eeks!

If you have any of the tendencies below, you can call for help.  National Council on Problem Gambling helpline is open 24-hours-a- day … 800 522 4700.

  1. Feel the need to be secretive about your gambling. Your feeling others won’t understand or that you will surprise them with a big win.
  2. Have trouble controlling your gambling. Once you start gambling, you can’t walk away.  You may even up bets looking for the big payout.
  3. Gamble even when you don’t have the money.   Willing to not pay bills, pay for your kids activities and miss them, miss work, etc.  Maybe even commit a crime to get more money to gamble.
  4. Have family and friends worried about you.

Gambling changes your brain’s behavior and chemical balance.  This can create other problems or build on existing problems such as depressions, obsessive compulsive disorder, PSTD,  anxiety and other addictions.  All these conditions have a relationship with Dopamine.

Quick Confession

When I was 17 (in the 80s), my dad took my cousin/friend Julie and I to look for Bruce Springsteen in NJ.  (We were on vacation at the Jersey shore and he was a great dad)

Passing Atlantic City at 2 pm on a Wednesday, my dad decided to take us to a casino.  He gave us both $20 (and the casino boss 20 to let us in).  Had us get a cup full of coins and said we will leave as soon as the money was gone.  Twenty minutes later we were back on our way to Asbury Park.  As we left the casino, my dad said, “let that be a lesson, gambling doesn’t pay.”

And, no, we didn’t find Bruce.

Back to Our Panda Penny Slot Machine

Pandas are known for how they are independent and territorial.  The moms watch their young and nurture them and little by little set them free even though they keep a watchful eye on them.

So, the Panda Penny Slot Machine lives in a, sometimes, territorial environment that isn’t always hostile.  The machines are nurtured and eventually set free.  

https://youtu.be/wAEzpwvrveg

The name makes a lot more sense now.  And, just saw we can play online for free.  Yay!

If you have never tried the penny slots, it can be fun.  Just have set criteria for machine type, be able to walk away and think of it as pure entertainment.

If you have a favorite slot machine or game, tell us about it.

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