Is It Child Abuse?


Is it child abuse to tell children that there is a Santa Claus?

Is it child abuse to tell children there is a Tooth Fairy?

Is it child abuse to tell children there are ghosts?

Is it child abuse to circumcise a girl? (A clitorectomy removes the clitoris.)

Is it child abuse to force a child to be in classrooms with kids who make it difficult or almost impossible for the teacher to teach?

Is it child abuse to force a child into a school where violence occurs on a daily basis?

Is it child abuse to circumcise a boy?

Is it child abuse to spank a child for wrong-doing?

Is it child abuse to slap a child’s face for wrong-doing?

Is it child abuse to not get your child vaccinated?

Is it child abuse to not allow your child to ever see a doctor because you think God will cure him or her?

Is it child abuse not to allow a child to get a blood transfusion?

Is it child abuse to allow a child to read the Harry Potter books?

Is it child abuse to teach a child how to hunt?

Is it child abuse to pierce a child’s ears?

Is it child abuse to pierce a child’s nose?

Is it child abuse to take a child under 10 to an R-rated movie?

Is it child abuse to tell a child there is a devil?

Is it child abuse to tell a child there are angels?

Is it child abuse to teach a child that the earth is only a few thousand years old?

Is it child abuse to teach a child about evolution?

Is it child abuse to raise a child who spends more than four hours a day on the iPad?

Is it child abuse to raise a child who watches television more than six hours a day?

Fearless Money Management


The late Captain of Craps, the legendary Atlantic City player I have written about in many of my books, once explained to me his theory on how much a person should bet at whatever game he wishes to play in order to experience a high degree of thrill with a low chance of having a heart attack and an even lower chance of being totally bored.

Casino gambling for the recreational player should be a “manageable thrill.” The Captain stated that a typical casino blackjack player playing for matchsticks or pennies would get bored rather quickly, since no hand really meant that much to him – losing had no sting; winning had no adrenaline jolt. But, if he bet $500 a hand, he might find himself sweating profusely as he saw his rent money or food money going out the window on a sustained series of losses. He might, quite literally, drop dead from anxiety. In the case of the $500 better, the emotions would range from dread at losing to relief at not losing. Where’s the fun in that?

The Captain’s theory of a “manageable thrill” came down to a simple formula: The bets you make have to be large enough to make it worth wanting to win, but small enough to make losing them not cause you to think of all the things you could have bought had you not lost. That was your “thrill zone” – the range of betting that had meaning, win or lose, but was not really hurtful to your emotional or economic life.

Often players will bet a certain amount when they first start a game, but gradually increase their bets until they hit the “sweat zone” as the Captain called it. The sweat zone is the place where the bet becomes uncomfortable to think about. Many craps players hit the sweat zone after several presses of their bets. Worse, a controlled shooter who is having a good roll will sometimes start to think more about the money at risk than about shooting the dice in a relaxed and careful manner. This makes shooting the dice no longer a thrilling exercise for the player but an agony. What if I roll a seven? What if I lose? Look at all that money!

There’s no doubt the average casino player is a thrill seeker. Going up against Lady Luck is a roller coaster ride where your money and your emotions go up and down, up and down. For many people, going on roller coasters is a delight – but it isn’t a delight if you’ve had a big meal and become sick to your stomach. Betting too much at a casino game is the equivalent of going on a roller coaster with a full gurgling belly. It could become a sickening experience for you and for others watching you. Then again, going on the kiddie boats that go around and around, with those little kids ringing the bells, might not be thrilling enough for you.

Interestingly enough, I have also noticed similar phenomena among some card counters. They may start their betting at $25 but when the count calls for it, they have to move that bet up, sometimes by a lot. At a certain point, and even with that edge over the casino to boot, these card counters will begin to sweat their action.

The escalation of their bets has gotten their hearts pounding and they are now entering the sweat zone. Losing such large amounts, amounts actually measured in emotions and not cash, has made what up to that point had been a pleasant pastime into an emotionally wrenching moment.

Gaming writers love to talk about strategies, house edges, and bankroll requirements but rarely do we discuss the emotional bankroll that a person must have to bet at this or that level. A red chip player might wish he could play at the green level, might even be able to objectively afford to, but he just can’t bring himself to do it. His hands start to tremble as he pushes out the chips. If this happens to you at a certain betting level, don’t make the bet! If you know this fact then be content to bet within your thrill zone and don’t attempt to push the envelope. It isn’t worth the consternation, second-guessing, and self-flagellation such an action would cause you.

The Captain had, from years of experience, learned that some bets just aren’t worth making, even bets where you might have an edge, if the fear of loss becomes so overwhelming that the act of making the bet becomes an act of anguish.

Some philosophers have speculated that man is composed of three parts: mind, body and spirit. To enjoy casino gambling, all three of those components should be utilized. Your mind should tell you which are the best bets to make; your spirit should enjoy the contest; and your body will let you know when you’ve gone overboard because it will start sweating!

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Visit Frank’s web site at Frank’s books are available at, Barnes and Noble, kindle, e-books and at bookstores.

They Fly

The South Shore Audubon Society’s lovable bird walk expert Joe was swabbing some stuff over his face and in and around his ears. Our bird walk was to take place at Jones Beach West End #2. We’d tramp through the underbrush as word had gotten out that migrating birds were in the area in full force. It’s spring; here come the birds!

We were in the parking field, the size of several football fields, waiting for everyone to show up. As Joe was smearing his face, I was engaged in a conversation that would probably make me a couple of enemies in the club. I seem to have that ability.

I had mentioned to some of the people around me that I watched La La Land the night before and that I disliked it. Well, perhaps I used the word awful a number of times and perhaps my wife was about to introduce me as her husband, Archie Bunker.  I did not enjoy the poor singing (except for the one strong singer Johnny Legend), the even worse dancing and the story. Two men who loved the movie were crushed and dismayed by my criticism and strongly disagreed. I attributed that to the fact that we rarely see musicals anymore and that people have been hungering for such and La La Land filled the bill. For some reason, the two men didn’t speak to me for the rest of the bird walk. Hmmm.

Then Joe called us to attention. “Folks, there are a lot of mosquitoes in this area. I suggest you use mosquito repellent. They are out there in force.”

Mosquitoes! My sworn enemies! Even as I write this my face is itchy from a half dozen bites; my neck has even more such bites. My wife and I didn’t even think that in this early spring those monsters would be out, flying about, looking for a meal. And I am one of their favorite meals.

I kid you not. If I decide to take the garbage to the curb, I will return inside with a few new bites that swell and set me off a-scratching. My wife has no trouble with mosquito bites. The only upside to this is that my wife has to take out the garbage.

I wanted to find out why some people are the buffet of choice for mosquitoes and why some people are not.

I did a little research on the topic a few years ago. It seems that all humans have various kinds of bacteria on our skin – maybe a hundred different types. But some of us have a kind of bacteria that drives mosquitoes crazy with the munchies. As I stood next to my wife, I never saw one mosquito land on her. I was swamped with the buggers. It seems that I have the buffet bacteria and she doesn’t. Life is so unfair! But then again, there is the taking out of the garbage to balance things out.

We were in the dunes by the ocean, looking for beautiful birds (and we found many) but the flying mosquito monsters were buzzing around even more than the birds. I had a hoodie and I had it zipped to my chin but still my face and neck were there for a feeding. And those monsters were feasting. Every time I smacked my forehead I’d kill a couple, bloody mosquito carcasses were squashed on my fingers.

I learned a valuable lesson over the years; not all creatures that fly are wonderful and beautiful. Some are disgusting. Thus, the mosquito.

[Read Frank Scoblete’s books I Am a Card Counter: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Blackjack, I Am a Dice Controller: Inside the World of Advantage-Play Craps and Confessions of a Wayward Catholic! All available from, on Kindle and electronic media, at Barnes and Noble, and at bookstores.]