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Ft. Lauderdale

Get Your Swamp Here!

Plucky entrepreneurs arrived in Florida a long time ago and saw not just a disease infected swamp but a disease infected swamp that was warm in the winter. From this simple observation they built a vast real estate fraud machine. Later the mob moved in, followed by an even more ruthless bunch, the condo developers, who built the vast hurricane target that is Southern Florida.

People from the northeast, particularly from New York, flocked to the sunny Atlantic coast. Naturally, people from the Midwest, who moved west to get away from those people in the first place, flocked to the Gulf coast.

Walt Disney, noting that people would travel to a warm swamp with a beach bought a big swamp in the middle of the state and built a beach with cartoons and admission tickets.

I've made many trips to Florida for vacations and I was on a job assignment for 18 months at Boca Raton. I suspect I will end up there. I don't know why. I don't like the place that much. I have no plans to retire there but I suspect it is were I'll end up. 

Jai Alai


The MGM Grand in Las Vegas used to have Jai Alai

Jai Alai, a Basque game involving a fast moving ball, the pelota, a wicker hand scoop, the cesta, betting, assaination, money laudering, arson and political payoffs, is actually condoned in Florida. I like it more than the other para-mutuel betting sports, horse racing and dog racing. The games last about 20 minutes with about 5 minutes between games, which is much more action than idle time, unlike the races.

I've been to both the Dania Jai Alai Fronton and the West Palm Beach Fronton. I like the Dania one because you have to go through the old Florida town of Dania, just south of Ft. Lauderdale.

North East
There are Jai Alai frontons in the the Northeastern U.S. too. I've been to the Milford Connecticut fronton and the Newport Rhode Island one. The Newport fronton has granite block front and back walls, making it a very fast court. The world record for Jai Alai throw speed was set at Newport, 188 MPH.

On May 7, 1999 I spent the day at Newport Grand Jai Alai. The place has recently been remodeled. The food was OK and not too expensive. There was no admission charge and the seats were general admission, unlike the Florida frontons. The afternoon session was very lightly attended. I was the only win pool bettor in some games. I thought the players still played hard, better than Florida in the summer season, where they tend to slack off some. The Grand Jai Alai has electronic "lottery machines" which are just IGT slots rigged up to print out paper instead of dropping coins. There is a large simulcast room that looks like a Las Vegas sports book. I did the best betting on Miami Jai Alai.