I visited the girlfriend at her parents this weekend. It's about a 3-4 hour drive, which isn't bad but it gets boring. So I was re-listening to the audiobook of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, the very first James Bond novel. It's a good book - a little rough and raw, but entertaining. If you've seen the movie with Daniel Craig, it's actually quite a close rendition of the book. Take out the opening scenes with the parkour and replace Texas Hold'em with Baccarat Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque, and you get the idea. Fleming's descriptions of Baccarat, which seems to be a socially complex but technically simple game, are excellent. It made me want to head down to a casino. That, however, would be bad because 1) if I gambled more than a tiny bit, I would do so compulsively, and 2) I'm terrible at it, so I'd lose my ass. In contrast, my brother, who has none of the James Bond/Navy Seal-style personal discipline I assume you must have to be good at gambling, regularly wins large sums at blackjack and other games. The last time we were in Vegas, I retired early (at like 2AM after spending something like three hours in the Mandalay Bay's ice bar), but he and his buddy stayed out all night. When they came back into the room just after dawn, he grabbed a decorative ornament off a hotel shelf, hucked it at my nuts as I slept (to let me know he was back), and promptly passed out. He woke up the next morning having only fleeting memories of playing blackjack while belligerently drinking at O'Shea's (one of the ghetto-iest of ghetto strip casinos), and reasoned he must have lost the entire $100 stake with which he started. He checked his pockets and found $800 in chips. Go figure. FOCUS: Gambling - your wins, your losses, your hilarious stories of triumph and torment.