Sobriety and a Niche Market

“The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.”

William Butler Yeats

Sobriety is a good niche market with estimates from various US National and World agencies stating that roughly 10% of the worlds population is affected by the disease of addictive personality.

Subsequent articles to this will concentrate mostly on the alcoholism, however, the physical maladies of the brain and the emotional affect on the psyche will be similar among addicts, regardless of the substance they use. Drugs, (prescribed or street), food, sex, gambling, codependency,shopping and numerous other obsessive compulsive behaviors can be identified and treated in a similar manner as alcoholism.

As a niche market it is, however, not a lucrative money maker, because the drunk spent all his money on booze. Although the previous statement was intended to be funny, the sad but more realistic reason for the limited market is the social stigma that is still associated with one being an alcoholic Another reason insurance companies and other agencies are unwilling to spend money on qualified treatment has been the limited success rate of treatment. Claims of success in excess of 5% are usually qualified with a disclaimer. The illusion that one is spending good money on a bad person is tacitly real. Sometimes the affected family, employer, or the courts,find resources to finance treatment for the sick and suffering.

The drunk seldom suffers, until he tries to sober up.

One of the greatest travesties in the United States of America is that Insurance Companies are allowed to dictate to the treatment community how long treatment will be and what treatment will

consist of. The concept of the 28 day treatment regime has been dictated by the Insurance companies and has absolutely no relevance to the need of the individual patient. If a patient needs a longer exposure to primary treatment and possibly extended treatment, they are rarely covered for the additional expenses.

One of the more successful programs to relieve the alcoholic of his physical and mental dependency is (AA) Alcoholic Anonymous. The basis for the AA program is a belief in a spiritual condition produced by the individuals understanding of a Higher Power. As soon as the insurance companies see or hear of anything that is not a medical/drug treatment program they are adamant about providing treatment. To bring a God into the realm of personal well being is not politically correct nor does it warrant the expenditure of their monies. The concept of insurance is a very vague and mysterious market, and when it concerns a drunk you can be assured that cost of treatment is limited to doctors and drugs. However, every life has a value and unless one tries to help, no one will know who may or may not benefit from treatment. Just like the disease of diabetes an alcoholic has a brain physiology that has been altered. Once altered the brain can never be returned to what may be considered normal. The analogy that is the most common to explain this phenomenon is:” you can make a cucumber into a pickle, but once a pickle always a pickle.”

A recent TV campaign from a California rehab, owned by a man who wrote a book, are absolutely silly.

Anyone claiming a cure, is not in their right mind, nor their left mind. The man should be taken off the air for spamming. Great marketing, and sure to believe, he’ll make money. Insurance companies support his program because it is medically ascribed to. He avoids false advertising suspicion by making no claims to percentage of treatment success.

Today’s economic conditions are only going to feed the fires of abuse, and subsequent need for treatments. Stress and sudden changes in life styles can be devastating to the average person. Should that person have an addictive personality, the need to stop the depressing feelings of guilt, shame and failure will almost surely lead to substance or behavioral abuses.

If the drunk is not willing to change, someone is wasting their money.

(Please feel free to contact me, should you have a questions or suggestion.)

Happiness is helping someone help themselves.

Iris and ME (Michael Erb)

Aruba – A Romantic Paradise

A perennial favorite for honeymooners and others seeking romantic travel, Aruba is known for its year round high temperatures and its gorgeous white sandy beaches. This is the perfect destination for couples who love relaxing at the beach, shopping, gambling, a great nightlife, and water sports.

WHAT TO DO: For water lovers opportunities in Aruba abound including some of the best SCUBA diving in the entire Caribbean including wall and reef diving. Both shipwrecks and beautiful and some rare marine life exists in the always warm water. Snorkeling and a hybrid of snorkeling and scuba called snuba is offered through water sport companies as well. For those who want to see the sea without the water sports, Atlantis Submarines and Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine offer the chance to see sea life aboard a boat. Sailing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing are also popular due the constant winds.Aruba also offers the opportunity for casino gambling and a hot nightlife. All gambling is done is US dollars and many of the best resorts offer casino gambling on facility. Caribbean Stud Poker, an Aruba invention, is especially popular. L.G. Smith Boulevard in Orajestad is a popular spot for bars and nightclubs that operate from midnight to when the sunrises again.World class shopping including stores such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren are available at open air shopping malls. Local craftsmen selling their wares can easily be found in Oranjestad. Aruba’s connection to the Netherlands makes for a colorful blend of European and Caribbean goods. Personal items are duty free.

WHERE TO STAY: Most of the resorts in Aruba are along the southwestern coast, particularly around Palm and Eagle Beaches. The large high rise resorts are mostly at Palm Beach while the smaller low rise hotels are concentrated at Eagle Beaches. Locally owned hotels and villas are located on both beaches. A few options are also available in downtown Oranjestad. A number of hotels offer an all inclusive option including the Holiday Inn Sunspree, Riu Palace, the Occidental Grand Aruba, and many others. The options for adults only resorts are limited but Bucuti Beach Resort and Renaissance Marina Hotel both offer these options. Cruises are yet another way to experience Aruba– most of the major cruise lines offer ports of call in Aruba. Please contact us for more information about all the incredible options you may have for lodging in Aruba.

DESTINATION WEDDING INFORMATION: Catholic, civil, Jewish, and Protestant weddings are available in Aruba. Same-sex commitment services are available in Aruba and the country does recognize same sex marriages. Specific resorts are very gay friendly and offer same sex commitment ceremony packages. Many hotels offer complete on site wedding packages. A boat captain is not allowed to officiate a wedding according to Dutch laws unless he is authorized under the laws of the country which the ship is registered with.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Playing Online Poker Vs Playing at a Poker Table

The differences between online poker and more traditional poker table games are sometimes not quite as obvious as they may seem.

Unlike sitting down at a poker table with friends, or even strangers, online poker has an added dimension these days. There is a lot of pressure from many quarters to make online poker illegal, particularly in the United States. You will almost always know if the table game you are playing is in an area where poker is legal, but it is getting harder to know if this is true about poker played online.

In spite of these gray areas, millions in the U. S. and around the world regularly enjoy participating in online poker games from the comfort of their own homes. Just to give this some perspective, in 2005, the revenue from online poker was reported to be in the vicinity of $200 million.

Not only is online poker generating huge amounts of revenue and creating new millionaires, among players, site owners, and affiliates of poker sites, but, due to its pervasive influence, the appeal of poker in general is growing. The public is not only gaining knowledge about poker, but is showing an interest in all things poker. From the tables to the chips at the table, to the people who play at the tables, poker is huge.

Poker players such as Chris Ferguson (Jesus), Annie Duke, and her brother Howard Lederer (The Professor), and Hoyt Corkins (The Alabama Cowboy), to name a few, had never been heard of by the public a few months ago. Now they are celebrities in their own right. Even people who have been celebrities, such as Jennifer Tilly, Ben Affleck, and Mimi Rogers have traded in the bright lights of Hollywood for the green felt of the poker table – at least on occasion.

While many of these famous people play in tournaments sitting at the table with the celebrities of poker, most mortals enter the poker arena via online poker websites such as partypoker.com, pokerstars.com, ultimatebet.com or fulltiltpoker.com.

Sitting at a poker table can be intimidating, particularly for the new player and just is not that inviting for the beginner. They are apt to feel out of their league, and, if others at the table have more experience or are strangers, they are apt to feel intimidated.

The online poker experience is quite different. There is an anonymity which protects the psyche of the “newbie”. They can watch games as long as they want before actually taking part. Additionally, most online venues will have tutorials and practice games for beginners that help ease the learning process. Sometimes the main site will actually have a completely separate site set up strictly for the beginner. Another helper for the beginner is that online games tend to have buttons labeled for the various actions and often include on-screen prompts for the appropriate action.

Internet poker sites also offer a range of limits so that the beginning player can actually start betting pennies. Not only is the betting easy, but so is the access. Unlike a table game, an online game can be found 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world that there is a computer and an Internet connection.

There are, however, two drawbacks to playing online, particularly if one’s goal is to eventually participate in the highly televised poker tournaments occupying more prime time slots on TV. First, there is the hurdle of actually sitting and playing at the table itself. No amount of online preparation can duplicate or offset the first few times you find yourself in a chair across from a Doyle Brunson, Chris Moneymaker, or Daniel Negreanu.

Second, although it IS possible, it is exceedingly difficult to bluff at an online poker game and even harder to learn how to read your opponents.

Look on the bright side, however. It IS easy to learn basic poker skills and improve your technique online, and you won’t have to worry about your poker face!

Sandwich Nation

Every day, half of America eats one or more sandwiches, mostly for lunch. That computes into 300 million a day. They’re easy, they’re filling, no muss, no fuss. And you don’t even have to know how to cook. The varieties are endless, so where do we start? The short list includes the BLT, Grilled Cheese, Club, Dagwood, French Dip, Monte Cristo, Muffuletta, Pastrami or Corned Beef on rye, PB&J, Cheesesteak, Po’ boy, Reuben, Sloppy Joe, Submarine, Fried Egg. It’s endless.

The British first referred to “bits of cold meat” as a “sandwich,” named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was an eighteenth-century aristocrat. Legend has it that he instructed his servant to bring him some meat between two pieces of bread while he was playing cards with his cronies. Apparently he could play uninterrupted, as the bread acted as a napkin (rather than his sleeve) and kept the card table tidy. His cronies caught on and followed his lead. What was in them we’ll never know, but what a beginning (the Earl will never know).

Let’s check out these favorites:

1) Elvis immortalized the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, although there’s not a big call for the.

2) Dagwood, named after comic strip Blondie’s husband, stacks up fillings and bread, impossible to eat except in sections, but somehow Dagwood Bumstead managed.

3) The French originated this sinful sandwich in a Parisian cafe in 1910; there is no one named Monte Cristo but simply a French term (Croque Monsieur) to describe a fried sandwich of ham and cheese, not on any weight loss program to be sure.

4) Sloppy Joe: kids grew up on these tangy and messy sandwiches. Its origin dates back to the 1930s and was created by a short order cook named Joe in Sioux City, Iowa. Originally called a “loose meat sandwich” it seems Joe added tomato sauce which cranked it up a notch; as its popularity grew, Joe wanted to get credit and renamed it after himself. Folks in Key West Florida insist it was dreamed up at a local bar called Sloppy Joe’s. Some historians want to give Cuba the credit, but let’s just give it to Iowa, okay?

5) Submarine: sub sandwich shops seem to multiply daily with no end in sight; also known as hoagies, heroes or grinders in the U.S. with a multitude of fillings, they come in foot long and smaller sizes, perfect for Sunday afternoon TV sports or a quick lunch.

6) Club: undeniably the grande dame of sandwiches. Historians track its creation to the Saratoga Club House, an exclusive gambling joint in Saratoga Springs, New York. Since its inception in 1894, the standard ingredients haven’t changed: toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, sliced turkey or chicken, bacon,and mayonnaise, and don’t forget the toothpicks. The BLT is a first cousin to its predecessor, without the turkey/chicken or third slice of toast. The Club has stood the test of time. Its only controversy is the turkey/chicken debate. (World-class chef James Beard insists on chicken.)

7) If you’re a New Orleans resident, the sandwich of choice is the Muffuletta, whose popularity is claimed by the Central Grocery where it got its start. A large round loaf of Sicilian sesame bread is loaded with Italian sliced meats and a spicy Creole olive salad. (If you don’t live in New Orleans, you’re on your own.)

8) Peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese, both beloved no-brainers. ‘Nuff said.

9) Reubens and pastrami or corned beef on rye take top billing at any self-respecting deli, especially Jewish. Slather on some mustard, add a few Kosher dill pickles and you’re in business. For a Reuben, throw in some sauerkraut and thousand island

dressing.

10) Those Louisiana folk sure love their originals. The Po’ Boy is basically a sub filled with meat or fried seafood, similar to the Northeast’s lobster roll.

11) Oh boy, don’t ask anyone from Philadelphia about Philly cheesesteaks, because they are fanatical about them. Be prepared for a long-winded answer. The same goes for Chicago’s most popular sandwich, the Italian Beef: Italian bread loaded with thinly sliced beef, topped with peppers and dripping with jus, hold the cheese; all-American French dip (in spite of its name) is a take-off, but rather bland by comparison.

12) Can’t leave out those wonderful “bound” fillings: egg salad, ham salad, chicken salad and tuna salad; we corner the market on those, whether they’re daintily served at teas and parties or just a big old scoop on whole wheat.

12) Pita sandwiches crammed full of turkey, cheese, avocado, hummus or falafel; a trendy ethnic take on the basics.

13) Hamburgers and chicken fast food sandwiches are a whole other subject.

Sandwich sales in the U.S. topped $27.7 billion and that’s not counting the sandwiches made at home. Wow, that’s a lotta bread, literally. Apparently, the U.S. is not the only country that likes their sandwiches. In 2017, the pre-made sandwich industry in the UK made and sold 11 billion in U.S. dollars, and that’s not counting freshly made.

We’re not even going to get started on sandwich cookies (Oreos) and ice cream sandwiches. It’s too exhausting. So many sandwiches, so little time.