The Bible:
Don’t leave home without it!

Oct 21, 2003 6:03 AM

I’ve decided on a few life choices this week.

One is to stay away from the billion dollar Borgata in Atlantic City.

Another is to stay away from Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House in Washington.

Both of them annoy me. For different reasons.

Years ago the great stuttering comic, Joe Frisco, used to hang out at the old Morrison hotel in Chicago. Besides being one of the best ”” or worst ”” horseplayers on the planet, depending on whether you were measuring from the racetrack’s point of view or Joe’s, he was a very funny man.

They knew him at the Morrison, an old Democratic hangout, and they loved to play tricks on him. One night, shortly after Joe had checked in, and with a new house detective on duty, the night manager told the house dick to go up and shake Joe up a bit.

So the rookie shamus goes up, knocks on the door, and says loudly, "Mr. Frisco, do you have a woman in the room?"

To which Joe replied, "Yea...yea...yeah, I da da do, th...th...thanks any...anyway, but...but... I...I...I sure, sure could...could...could use a Bible."

Joe’s predicament came to mind when I heard that the Borgata, the latest word in excess, has everything one’s heart might desire, from computer ports to ironing boards to soft towels and pillows, except a Bible. The Borgata barred the Atlantic City chapter of Gideons International from placing bibles in each of the 2,002 rooms in the hotel, the first time that has happened in A.C.

The Atlantic City Press, when it heard about this, asked the Borgata for an explanation. "What we’ve found," a spokesman said with a straight face, "is that there is such a diversity of gaming customers that visit Atlantic City, that by putting a one generic publication in there you’re not fulfilling the needs of everybody. You could do the Mormon Bible, the Koran, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Greek New Testament. Where we ended up is we’re not going to put anything in there."

The Gideons, out of Nashville, are now in their 104th year of Bible placement, and have distributed more than a million free Bibles a week in 176 countries and 80 languages. Diversity has not created a problem for them ”” they thrive on it ”” but it’s too much for the Borgata to tackle.

So if you wind up in a tough situation at the Borgata, whether it is a Joe Frisco predicament with ladies or 18 straight losing hands, if you want to seek divine intervention you’ll have to do it on your own, or else carry the good book with you.

And if you happen to have kids, stay away entirely. The Borgata doesn’t accept them. No dogs, no tigers, no kids. No persons under 18 are permitted in the hotel. It is an adults-only establishment. The Borgata explanation for this one is that "many other casinos in Atlantic City are experiencing problems with unattended children, and we’re going to avoid the problem."

So the old farce about being "a family oriented" environment is out, east and west, and bare boobs and bottoms are in.

I don’t know Dennis Hastert’s stance on this ”” he’s a good old solid Midwestern Chicago suburbanite ”” but I don’t like his stance on political giving.

I always thought the American way was to give to the party of your choice, but Hastert raised hell recently about the gaming industry giving to Democrats.

"The speaker is dismayed and disappointed," his communications director announced, "that the gaming industry continues to place their bets on the wrong team." All of this followed a report that 54% of the gambling industry’s contributions for the 2004 election cycle to date has gone to Democrats, with only 46% to Republicans. Park Place gave 95% of its contributions to Democrats. Station Casinos gave 75%. MGM gave 73%.

Under the Hastert-Ashcroft doctrine in Washington, that casts doubt on your patriotism.

Under my view, it qualifies you for the Congressional Medal of Honor.