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Frank ‘the Crank’ meets World War II hero veterans Walter O. Smith (l) and Captain Jerry Yellin (r)

Frank ‘the Crank’ meets World War II hero veterans Walter O. Smith (l) and Captain Jerry Yellin (r)

A Bucket List Day for Frank ‘the Crank’

As a lover of history, I was fortunate to have the opportunity this month to spend an afternoon speaking with two American military heroes:  Captain Jerry Yellin (WWII 79th Fighter Squadron and award-winning author of four books) and Wayne O. Smith (Hanoi Hilton Prisoner of War).

Captain Yellin, one of the last living veterans of WWII, is now 92 years old and still the national spokesman for the ‘Spirit of ‘45’. He flew the very last mission of World War II as he led his 16-man squadron of P-51’s on a bombing raid from Iwo Jima to Tokyo on August 14, 1945.  None of the pilots in his squadron knew that the war had ended a few hours after they had taken off.  The code to abort and return was ‘Ohio’ and he and his men did not receive the code word.  In those days, radar was not yet invented and to stay on course a larger plane (B-29) would fly approximately 50 miles behind and ping radio signals to help keep the P-51’s on course.  When no pings were received, you were on your own.

Another thing I learned was that when any one of the planes signaled that they were down to 90 gallons of fuel, all planes ended the bombing and turned around and headed back to Iwo Jima.  On the way back, Captain Yellin noticed that his wingman, 19-year old 2nd Lt. Phil Schlamberg, was not on his wing and he had no idea what happened to him.  According to Captain Yellin, Lt. Schlamberg had the highest IQ of any of the other 16 million people in the US military at that time.  Schlamberg went down in history as the last casualty of World War II.

Frank asked Captain Yellin, ‘What is the most important lesson from history that you can pass along?’ The Captain responded, ‘Back in my time leading up to World War II the media reported of dozens of countries where people were killing other people based on their beliefs and this is exactly the same as today.  The big difference is that these countries now have nuclear bombs, the smallest of which are more than 1000 times more powerful than the 2 bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  American lost 419,400 in WWII; the world lost 70 million, so we can only imagine how many lives will be lost in a WWIII.’

He also continued to remind us that he and his men fought for the ‘Four Freedoms’ that came from President Roosevelt’s inaugural address of Jan. 6, 1941:  Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear.


Walter O. Smith, a fighter pilot with 90 missions over Vietnam, spent 5 years – 2 months as a prisoner in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ along with John McKane and nine others.  The men had a system of communicating with the person whose cell was on the other side of the wall by tapping out time spaced knocks.  The officers had agreed that if a prisoner was ever to be released, a point system was created based on time served plus the height of their jump before they were captured.

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Obviously, John McKane was always at the top of that list as he was there the longest and jumped from 30,000 ft.  However, McKane as well as Smith, refused to be released before others, always offering their position to one of the younger men.  One of those 11 prisoners claimed he jumped only 12 feet off the deck of his ship to the water below and then swam for almost 24 hours in shark-infested waters before his was unfortunately picked up by the North Vietnamese. He knew by sticking to this report that he would be the last to ever be released.

To keep the moral high the men never used the word ‘captured’, rather the word ‘rescued’ even though they were prisoners and were tortured frequently and in ways, they preferred not to speak about.

Walter Smith received the following medals:  Legion of Merit, two Silver Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, seven Air Medals and the Purple Heart.

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World’s First Skill-Based Video Game Gambling Machines (VGM) Will Be In Atlantic City, NJ

pic01GameCo Inc., the creator of the world’s first skill-based video game gambling machines (VGM™), announced  recently that it will debut its product on casino floors by fall of this year at Caesars Entertainment resorts in Atlantic City, NJ (pending New Jersey DGE approval). Caesars Entertainment includes Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Bally’s Wild Wild West. The premier game, titled “Danger Arena” is a first-person action video game in which player skill determines the payout.

“It’s tremendously exciting to be first-to-market in an industry effort to attract the next generation of players to the casino floor, and we’re thrilled to be launching with Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City,” said Blaine Graboyes, CEO and co-founder of GameCo. “Together with Caesars Entertainment, we’re planning an historic rollout and marketing campaign that provides gamers with the opportunity to gamble playing video games at the casino.”

GameCo and Caesars Entertainment share a vision to create a destination for the future of casino customers, combining the entertainment, engagement, and excitement of video games, e-sports, and gambling. Caesars Entertainment will feature 21 gaming positions in high traffic, prominent locations in all three properties, with three triple-unit carousels at Caesars, two at Harrah’s Resort and two at Bally’s Wild Wild West. With this launch, GameCo is expected to deliver the world’s first introduction to skill-based video game gambling when the games hit these casino floors.

GameCo’s proprietary VGM is an arcade-style video game cabinet and controller. Each VGM features a single-player game, generally 60 to 90 seconds to play, adapted from leading console, PC and mobile developers. The patented VGM gambling platform allows a player’s skill in popular video games to determine the payout and winnings while maintaining the same casino economics as slot machines. Game genres such as action, adventure, sports, racing, fighting, platformer and casual games will soon be prominent as casinos adapt to GenX and Millennial gamers who grew up playing video games.


What This Could Mean?  By the time you read this some of the new gaming machines may be on site in Atlantic City, if not, then by Christmas week.  There has been a lot of hype about how adding a little bit (and it is just a little bit according to the law) of ‘skill’ to these games is going to attract Millennials and young players like bees are attracted to honey. TRR has also covered what a new casino of the future might look like, an entertainment center packed with these new ‘some skill’ gaming machines.

For my 2 cents, all I can say is, ‘Wait and see.’  My first reaction after reading the actual laws (NJ and NV) is that the younger players will get to play a little bit longer and of course get to win a little bit more frequently than those of us elders (baby boomers).  To me winning a little bit more frequently is another way of saying ‘will have a slightly higher hit frequency.’  Bottom line:  It will take a little bit longer for the skilled players to lose their money.  The good news is that a little bit more entertainment will come with the little bit more time.  So perhaps it will all balance out.  The bad news is that us older folks may feel ‘slighted’ as we do not possess that kind of skill and if there aren’t enough of the regular gaming machines on the floor, we might as well stay home.  The good and the bad news is that us older folks will start actually dying off at a larger percentage rate of the total amount of gaming customers that frequent the casinos so in 20 years it may not matter what us older folks think or do as we will not be doing much of either.


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Face Place


Foundations University Class #40 Closes out Foundation’s 14th Year


FEU #40 Quotes from Surveys 10-21-16

Phoenix, AZ Oct 18-20, 2016

Foundations Entertainment University

3 AMOA Member Street Operators Had This to Say:

Sarah Dunn, Tom’s Amusement Company, Blue Ridge, GA

“Gaining access to so much knowledge & experience is the most valuable part of the Foundations course.”

Bob, Burnham, Paradise Pinball & Amusements, Loveland, CO

“Really enjoyed the class!  They go over everything from start to finish and everything in between.  Very nice instructors who really care about the industry and us!  Thank you.” Rating 10 out of 10.

Scott John, Amuse-o-matic, Fredrick, MD

“As a street operator this program gave me valuable information and insight into how FEC’s think and operate.”-Rating 9 out of 10.

Bob Lehmeyer, Entertain Capital, San Diego, CA

“Does not matter if you are just interested in the industry or a 20-year seasoned vet, this course will make you think about your present and future for your business.  This group of people care!” Rating 10 out of 10.

Stephanie Dunken, Slam Dunk Pizza, Ukiah, CA

“I run a very small FEC and although we are a small blip on a huge radar screen, I learned a lot for future ventures.”—Rating 10 out of 10.

What did you like least about Foundations:  “I loved it!”

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Russ Van Natta, Creative Works (Sponsor):

“Foundations is an outstanding, comprehensive event.  The wealth of information presented guarantees that every attendee leaves empowered!”  Rating 10 out of 10.

Jason Kenney, Golfland Entertainment Centers, Meza, AZ

“The Foundations University presenters have a wealth of knowledge and are entertaining.  Their information is cutting edge and will hep our company grow and improve.  Thank you for providing the slides.  It reduces stress and allows us to write down the ‘gems’ and persona ideas.  The food was great!”

Jim Kenney, Golfland Entertainment Centers, Meza, AZ

“35 years in the business and I enjoyed a great deal of new information and helped reinforce forgotten information…I am pumped!!

Frank Seninsky, Amusement Entertainment Management (Co-Regent-Presenter)

“A great and diversified class to complete Foundations University’s 14th consecutive year.  Class #40 was made up of 3 AMOA member street operators, 2 large chain trampoline park franchisors, existing and new bowling center developers, and small, medium and large family entertainment centers representing 11 different states.  Foundations is now planning its 2017 programs and putting a plan together for on-line college credit courses.  Yes, the future of Foundations looks very bright!!!!!”

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Crazy Claw New Model Ranks #5 at Well-Known Entertainment Center Chain



See Section 2 Introduction to Top Games Combined Ranking.


Alpha-Omega Amusements & Sales is Your One Stop Shop for Everything Related to Amusement Games


Ask Frank ‘the Crank’ – Service Tips

UPS also stands for ‘Uninterruptible Power Supplies’

(Dave Forlano, Sr. Technician, Alpha-Omega Amusements & Sales, East Brunswick, NJ)

With the recent barrage of storms to the east coast of the U.S., we learned more about battery backup systems, those that are purposed to ‘keep everything running until power is restored’.

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Back-up generators are there to run your electrical service during power outages. We techs use UPS for saving and backing up any current tasks that we may be in the middle of and otherwise would have to start all over again if lost by having your computer shut down without warning.  In most instances, you would only need several minutes to complete these back-ups and then properly shut down your system until the power is restored.

Most UPS now have two rows of available power outlets – One row is just for non-backed up power (just like a multi power strip), when the power suddenly quits, these plugs will lose power also. The other ‘backed up’ power outlets are those for the supply to run during an event.



Obviously, you will want to plug your computer and your monitor, router, and modem into the outlets that will not lose power.  I also recommend plugging a small printer in those backed up power spots so as to be able to print exactly what I am currently doing if the file gets lost or non-retrievable.

Think of UPS as the battery in your laptop.  It will run if your plug gets disconnected -BUT like laptop batteries, UPS have a limited life.  You need to test these systems regularly and replace these units every couple of years.

The best way to test for certain is to just unplug the UPS from the wall outlet while your computer is running.  You will probably hear an alarm indicating the UPS is activated but should have no other indication that your computer is having any issues.   If you unplug your UPS and your computer goes blank and shuts down, you probably need to replace your UPS or the battery in it.

Most home/office UPS are so inexpensive now that you can easily replace them for less than $50.

NOTE:  Those UPS are slightly different than the larger battery backup UPS for servers.  The larger systems cost more than several hundred dollars and are usually designed to provide power for several hours.  In a game room with a debit card swipe system, if the building does not have a backup generator, it really does not matter as your games are not going to be running.  However, it is important to shut the servers down properly and not just let them crash when their own backup batteries run down. Some of the more robust server backups even regulate and vary fan speeds to match processor usage and demands etc. These backups can take as much as 2- 3 days to properly recharge.

Bottom Line:  TEST all your backups before a power outage event strikes or you will have to “Start Over”.





Save Money Replacing Frozen Food When Your Refrigerator Loses Power While You Away

(Source: Sheila Pulanco Russell – Facebook Post)

A fool proof method (zero cost) that will let you know how long your refrigerator lost power while you are away can save you money by sometimes not having to throw out all of the refrozen food.  Here is how you will know if the frozen food has thawed out or not.

Items Needed:  a mug, some water, and a quarter (if you are cheap you can use a nickel or a penny).

Procedure:  Freeze a mug of water and when frozen place a quarter on top and leave the mug in your freezer.

Results:  If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup it means that all of the food defrosted and should be thrown out.  If the quarter is located in the middle or closer to the top of the mug of ice, it means that the food has not been completely defrosted and you can make a decision to keep it or not.

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