Posted by Ellen

A photo shoot at the mall in the city of Barnaul, Siberia.

Posted by Ellen

I pretty much just have to take my sister's word for it that she snapped this picture of a  food court in a shopping mall in the United Arab Emirates, in the city of Abu Dhabi, as opposed to, say, New Jersey. Abu Dhabi is 150 kilometers up the coast from Dubai; you can drive there from Dubai in a couple of hours on Sheikh Zayed Road (Highway E17).

Posted by Ellen

Last week in Atlantic City, it was too hot to stroll the boardwalk, though we did that anyway, and really too hot to sit out on the beach. I guess we were supposed to linger in the casinos, but it would take a lot more than summer heat to make that seem like fun to me. There were other entertainment options, of course, including this watershow in an air conditioned mall built on a pier out over the sea. The show ran for a few minutes every hour, to the accompaniment of patriotic music and digital covers of old bluegrass fiddle tunes.

The occasion was a gathering of Norman and his mother and both his brothers and their sister, together for the first time in a couple of years. No kids, no pets, much discussion of "the Grandpa Abe gene," which is how Norm's brothers and sister explain their interest in rolling the dice for hours and hours while they win a little money and then lose a little and then win some back and keep on betting.

Grandpa Abe, their father's father, who operated an elevator for a living, was apparently a pretty serious gambler as a young man. Grandma Sadie refused to marry him, I'm told, till he swore off the habit–and he stuck by his pledge, more or less, limiting himself to playing the horses at off-track betting establishments.

It seems that the Grandpa Abe gene skipped over Norman but expresses itself in all his siblings at the craps table. They had a lot of fun gambling, and even the non-gamblers among us enjoyed the company and look forward to the next visit.

The water was fine. As for the rest of Atlantic City, it is what it is.