As I freshman in college, Soviet Paul and I once lost about $300 playing some game called Pflugerville to a bunch of seniors in the fraternity. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Pflugerville was a town north of Austin, Texas and the card game was an invention of a bunch of drunk fraternity brothers who had partied down there one night. I felt like an idiot. Still makes me mad. But, I don’t feel so bad anymore. Meet the man who lost $127 million at Las Vegas casinos in one year. When you consider that would be just a little under $348,000 a day for every day of the calendar year, its really a pretty tough trick. Also consider this: this one gambler’s losses resulted in 5.6% of the total revenues for the year. So, if you are the casino, do you extend him a credit line? Do you let him keep gambling? The answer is yes on both accounts. Terrance Watanabe of Omaha, Nebraska still owes $14.7 million to Harrah’s Entertainment from the credit line it extended. He’s not forking it over either..
The reason is, according to the Wall Street Journal, that the 52-year-old Watanabe has filed a lawsuit claiming that “casino staff routinely plied him with liquor and pain medication as part of a systemic plan to keep him gambling.” The advertising campaign says that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Watananbe could be the poster child for the idea that your money stays in Las Vegas too. And that’s the way the Nevada authorities wants it to stay, so the Clark County Attorney General brought 4 felony counts against the Nebraskan for intent to defraud and steal. That would mean that he ran up the credit line with the intention of not paying it back. How can you prove intent to defraud or steal and intent to use the houses money to try and win back what you lost? Sounds like a tough case. Either way, with a losing streak like that, perhaps Watanabe should use the Detroit Lions or the New Jersey Nets logo as his company’s moniker.
On This Date in History: While he is relatively anonymous, Steve Sopher was born on this date in 1961. While his friends and family think highly of him, there is no monument to commemorate his life on earth, though he might eventually construct one to himself. Now, you know that you are a pretty big dog when plans for a monument to your life are begun while you are still alive. This was true of General George Washington. Even before he was the first president, A proposal was made by Congress in 1783 that a memorial be erected. However, the obleisk may even better signify Congressional ineptitude that has been the hallmark of the institution almost since its inception.
General Washington was quite pleased with the original design, which featured the avid horseman on the back of his favorite horse. Money was short though and Congress quibbled about the best way to pay tribute to the father of the country and so the project remained dormant for a time. In 1833, patience had grown short with the upper and lower chambers and so a group of citizens decided to take charge and form the Washington National Monument Society with a mission of raising the appropriate funds and oversee construction. But, even the wheels of the citizen bandwagon turn slow sometimes and a cornerstone was not laid until July 4, 1848. The ceremony was probably the best advertising that the effort had ever received as contributions poured in from banks, organizations and individuals as well as various states. Alabama came up with a commemorative plaque for the interior. Firemen, Indian tribes, social clubs and foreign countries including the Vatican joined in the effort.
Pope Pius IX himself donated a plaque that on March 6, 1854 was stolen from the contruction grounds, allegedly by the American Party, who gained fame as the “Know-Nothings.” Americans who considered themselves as “native” Americans because they were born in the New World, had a not-so-secret oath to vote for only American-born protestants and to oppose the Catholic Church. They held disdain for the waves of immigrants moving in largely from Irish and Germany. These groups of people were mainly Roman Catholic. If they were ever asked about their politics, a member would answer like Sargeant Schultz and say “I know nothing.” In 1855, these Know-Nothings gained control of the monument society and Congress promptly cut the planned $200,000 earmarked for the project. That caused public support to dry up quickly. For the next 3 years, only 4 feet of marble was added and it was such poor quality, those four feet would have to be removed. Work stopped completely during the Civil War and the stub of marble remained as an eyesore in the middle of town.
Advance to the national centennial of 1776 and Congress authorized funds for the completion of the project. But,the US Army Corps of Engineers took a look and decided that there was no way on God’s Green Earth that the earth would support the weight of the monument. So, it took time and money to dig out nearly 3/4 of the dirt under the project so that concrete foundation footings could be poured. The proposed height of the obelisk was reduced from 600 feet to 555 feet 5 1/8 inches. Work was resumed in 1880 and the project was completed on this date in 1884 and was open to the public in 1888. Due to difficulties in delivering marble and the previous stops and starts, 3 different types of marble was used in construction of the monument, each with different colors and quality, resulting in a distinctively different look as one looks from top to bottom.
The Washington Monument is not the tallest obelisk in the world. Texans deliberately made the San Jacinto Monument 15 feet taller. Nevertheless, visitors to the Washington Monument can go inside and see 190 commemorative plaques along the staircase, including one from the Vatican. The original was never recovered….they say it rests somewhere in the Potomac River and a replacement took longer to get across the pond than it did to build the monument. The replacement Vatican Plaque took its place among the rest in 1982, 128 years after the Know-Nothings almost brought the entire project to a halt. If they had just followed the desire of General Washington, then it may have been completed long before. He just wanted a horse.
Weather Bottom Line: I took a look at the vertical profiles progs and for Monday, neither the 18Z GFS nor the 18z NAM are too enthused about snow. The GFS has some rain that turns to about a quarter inch of snow. But, for Wednesday night, it advertises an inch of snow. The NAM has no snow for Sunday or Monday but rain carrying over from Monday into Tuesday. The ECMWF and CEM models are similar with the first low keeping to our west bringing rain with perhaps some wrap around snow and then both have the more significant system on Wednesday but they aren’ t as bullish on the wrap around snow as the GFS. My guess is that we don’t see significant snow. Perhaps a little on Monday but I”m not so sure where the moisture will come from with the second system when the temperatures are below critical levels for the Wednesday/Thursday time frame. That is still several days away and I still like that systems chances for bringing us some accumulations than the first system.
We only made it to the mid to upper 30′s on Saturday and I betcha we only have some of the folks in the low 40′s for Sunday. But, if you have chores, Sunday should be the time as there are several opportunities for precipitation in the week ahead. We probably won’t get back up to seasonal temperatures until next Sunday.