Be happy: love job more than your pay

Oct 1, 2002 6:39 AM

   HOW SWEET IT IS! Just when the thought of retirement was about to get consideration, along came the Life Time Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association presented by Frank Fahrenkopf. Well-wishers, who really don’t know me, have been urging me for the last couple of years to retire and take life easy. They were starting to get my attention.

   Now, without hesitation, I say: “No way, Jose!”

   I have always believed that if you love what you do more than your pay, you’ll be happy every day. The honor tells me I’m right.

   Forget the pay. Believe me when I tell you there have been plenty of lean days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that I’m getting a piece of the do re mi. But, it says here, I wouldn’t change a thing even if I weren’t.

   Publishing a gaming newspaper fits me like a glove. Gambling and journalism have made up most of my life. It seems to me that I’ve been rolling the bones under the streetlights as far back as I can remember. I spent a lot of years chasing Lady Luck. Not any more. The newspaper is a far better pastime. Don’t misunderstand. I still enjoy a round of blackjack or two. And, it doesn’t take much to get me to bet on a horse, but not like before.

   Retirement? Only when the Big Guy says it’s time to go. Until then, I’ll be banging out copy and enjoying every minute of it.


   THE FEATHERS WILL FLY! Our pal over at the Palms, George Maloof, will turn the heat up on his brothers, Joe and Gavin, in a celebrity roast on Saturday night. The older brothers own the Sacramento Kings franchise, among other things, and everyone can’t wait to hear some of the tales that surround George’s older brothers.

   Among the many celebrity and sports guests expected to turn out and take their potshots at the winsome siblings are Ahmad Rashad, John Salley, Tom Arnold, Paulie Shore, Jamie Fox, Daisy Fuentes, Reggie Theus, Reggie Jackson, Lisa Guerrera and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Hosting the event will be venerable Vegas comic Joey Villa. With such a motley group, you can be assured the feathers will fly, at least until the brothers are “well done!”


   ANOTHER LEGEND TO BE INDUCTED! The pianist who looked like Liz Taylor and played like Liberace will be inducted into the Casino Legends Hall of Fame on October 11. Mafalda, who for 30 years played virtually every major hotel in Las Vegas, will be honored along with other greats, Jack Jones, Norm Crosby, Mamie Van Doren, Nelson Sardelli and Frankie Randall.

   Over the course of her career, Mafalda earned the reputation as a True Class Artist. She began playing as a child and grew into a talented instrumentalist, composer and singer. She’s released four albums, and has had the privilege of performing for Pope John Paul at the Vatican. Not bad!


   THE WAY IT WAS! During dinner last weekend, an old-time bookmaker was reminiscing about the changes in the way Las Vegas operated before the corporate suits took over the town.

   “In those days, when we were booking out of our pockets, so to speak, when a dispute developed between the bookmaker and a customer, it wasn’t always easy to determine who was right.

   “I remember one guy. He came in claiming that we had made a mistake and that he was due three hundred more than he was paid.

   “There was no way that I could determine whether it was true or whether it was just a shakedown. So, I told the guy that I would give him the money but that he was permanently barred from the joint.

   “”˜No, no,’ he replied. ”˜Just forget the money”¦I don’t want to be barred from this place,’”

   That’s the way things were in those days. Today? Fuhgedaboudit!