Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boardwalk Empire Reborn

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

The cruise is starting to come together… and there’s already over a dozen family members ready to go. It’s going to be EPIC!!! The Big Easy had better watch out. Just over a week away from my Halloween adventure and I’m already making a mental list of the food I’m going to have while down there… and I’m probably going to gain about twenty pounds… all in crawfish & cayenne pepper I’m sure. I’m also planning on visiting the Southern Food & Beverage Museum down by the convention center. Oh yes, I’m THAT big of a nerd. I hope they give out free samples… here’s the news…

Red Celery – Though probably not going to appear in a lot of future gumbos, a Florida-based produce company is looking to titillate the eye and the taste buds by offering a new red-colored celery to give a "colorful crunch" to salads and dips. Celery producer Duda Farm Fresh Foods unveiled the celery variety, to be sold under the brand name Celery Sensations, at the U.S. Produce Marketing Association's annual Fresh Summit Trade Show in Orlando on Saturday. The company said its researchers developed the milder-tasting (milder than celery?) red salad vegetable by cross-pollinating an existing green commercial variety with an old-world heritage celery root, or celeriac variety, whose original heirloom seed could be traced back to Eastern Europe. "It has the same great crisp, fresh flavor as regular celery," Duda Farm Fresh Foods' President Dan “The Dude” Duda said in a statement. So what do you think? Are you going to clamor your local market for that red celery? I’ll admit, it’s nice for the appearance of the salad… and after watching a lot of the Food Network & Travel Channel, I can tell you it’s all about the presentation. Seriously though, a milder taste than celery? The only food you actually lose weight eating? Because it’s like 95% water and the rest is fiber? Interesting to say the least. Next stop: Green eggs & ham… which probably wouldn’t be bad with some red celery, blue cheese & crispy brown bacon. Mmm…

Russian Repo – Speaking of bacon, this little piggy went to market -- to pay off a Russian woman's overdue debt to a bank. Court officers in far eastern Russia have seized a piglet from a woman who owes a bank 13,000 roubles ($432) and put it up for sale to recuperate some of the money, the regional branch of the Federal Bailiffs Service said on Thursday. The woman had been given the seven-month-old piglet for safekeeping, but it was taken away after a court survey of her property found it to be her most valuable possession, the bailiffs service said in a statement. The piglet was seized after the woman failed to comply with a court order to pay off her debt within 10 days, it said. Consumer debt in Russia has crippled local economies in some of the country's poor rural and industrial areas, which have been hardest hit by the economic crisis that followed nearly a decade of rising living standards. A piglet could fetch around 10,000 roubles in Primorye, a Pacific Coast region whose capital is Vladivostok. "At the moment it is awaiting a buyer," the bailiff's service said. Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about them taking a few puppies to recoup payment? Yeah, it’s obviously getting pretty bad there. A piglet is your most valued possession. Think about that. Well, some other countries are looking into different ways to raise money to avoid this kind of thing.

Taiwan Tax It – California may legalize marijuana. Vices such as tobacco & alcohol are getting new taxes. Now, Taiwan's government plans to allow sex workers to set up small businesses in the latest change to laws that had once forced the huge industry underground, the interior ministry said. In a statement on its website, the ministry said it would consider brothels of three to five employees (a small stable) away from areas frequented by children. It will put plans to a cabinet committee by the end of the year. The ministry ruled out earlier proposals to set up red-light districts or allow larger businesses due to concerns among members of its committee set up to study the issue that such measures would turn the sex trade into a regular industry (instead of just underground). Prostitution was legal only in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, until 1997 when the city authorities made it a criminal offence to be a prostitute though not to patronize one. The government began debating new laws two years ago after pressure from prostitute groups over the unfairness of the law (I’m pretty sure I told you about that one too, because a pimp’s gotta keep up on his trade). In 2009 it stopped punishing sex workers (so no more S&M?). Bars and night clubs in older parts of Taipei still teem with sex workers. So just a little travel tip there, I guess. Here’s the amazing thing though. Estimates from activists (so probably completely based on a guess) put the number of people involved in sex-related jobs in Taiwan at over 600,000. That’s about 3% of the population… every man, woman & child… so you can imagine the percentage of women of consenting age in that industry. So yeah, just an update on that front.

Boardwalk Empire Reborn – So they’re making that movie “Monopoly” based on the board game based on Atlantic City, HBO has its new series “Boardwalk Empire” which I hear is incredible… and now, Resorts Atlantic City, the nation's first casino to open outside Nevada, will adopt a roaring '20s theme to capitalize on the success of "Boardwalk Empire," the HBO series about Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Dennis Gomes, who is buying the casino-hotel with developer Morris Bailey, says dealers, cocktail servers, bellhops and others will dress in 1920s-period costumes, music from that period will play, and even the drinks and casino shows will have a roaring '20s theme, so brush up on your Charleston. "A lot of people here are learning 1920s songs now," Gomes told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday morning. Gomes said the new theme is his plan to remake and save the struggling casino, which is being sold because its former owners stopped making mortgage payments due to the poor economy and cutthroat competition from slots parlors in neighboring states. The roaring '20s theme is part of the nationwide fascination with "Boardwalk Empire," but also a nod to Resorts' own history. Its main building was built in the 1920s and the decor is already faithful to that period. The 1920s were "more than just a decade in a history book. It was a decade that defined and shaped our nation," Gomes said. "Beyond that, it was fun, adventurous and exciting, a period in time where people simply let loose to give way to a lifestyle where entertainment was king. Resorts will be all of that. It will define and shape the direction Atlantic City needs to take to survive in an increasingly competitive market. It will be luxurious, it will be fun and it will be one of the leading entertainment spots in Atlantic City." So the way to move forward… is to move backwards? I gotcha. I’m with it. Resorts is based in what was originally built as the Chalfont-Haddon Hall Hotel, which has been shown as part of the skyline in "Boardwalk Empire." A recent interior renovation was done in 1920s style, eliminating the need for expensive construction. Gomes estimates the new costumes will cost about $1 million. "It seemed like such a natural. The property was built in the 1920s and the decor already was from the '20s." Among the touches being planned: a strolling violinist in a zoot suit, wandering around the casino floor and lobby, playing songs from the '20s and '30s. Drinks — heavy on the whiskey that was illegal yet plentiful during Prohibition — will be served, and casino floor shows and many singers will stay faithful to the period as well. The changes will take effect in early December, when the new owner takes over after the sale is approved by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. Gomes and Bailey, a New York developer, are paying $35 million for Resorts — by far the lowest price ever paid for a casino in New Jersey. Resorts was New Jersey's first casino, opening in 1978. In a related development, the City Council in Atlantic City dealt a posthumous diss to the real-life star of "Boardwalk Empire," whacking a plan to rename part of a street near the Boardwalk after Enoch "Nucky" Johnson. The council voted Wednesday night against a proposal to rename part of a street that runs alongside the hotel where Johnson lived and held court, mainly because of the more unsavory aspects of his life. For 30 years, until he was finally sent to prison in 1941 for tax evasion, Johnson dominated Atlantic City — then one of the nation's leading resorts. He controlled not only the Republican political machine that had a stranglehold on government, but also made sure illegal liquor, prostitution and gambling operations flourished under the protection of paid-off officials. Luckily we don’t have any thing like that going on right now. Say what you will, but I like the idea. It’s a great niche market for somebody looking to dress up in a zoot suit (like anytime), and go out on the town having a great time back when broads were dames. I’ll tell you what, if I’m in Atlantic City looking for a place to lose my money, I’ll definitely be keeping Resorts in mind. I guess I’ll just have to do that when I go to an Eagles game at the Link some time down the road.

Anyway, that’ll do it for today. Obviously getting excited for my future travels… and I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Yes, both of you reading this right now. Have a great day everybody!!!

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