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5 Things $640 Million Will Get You in Evansville – Ryan’s List

 

Little known fact: Lottery tickets are made out of ruined hopes and dreams (look it up). (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Unless you’ve been living in a cave or some other type of naturally made hole, you know the big news around the country is that the Mega Millions jackpot for tomorrow night sits at a record breaking $640 million dollars. I don’t play the lottery very often. I could honestly count the number of times I purchased a lottery ticket in the past year one hand. With that said, I will probably purchase a Mega Millions ticket before the drawing. It only takes a dollar, right?

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, I win. In an instant I jump from being in the 99% to being in the 1% and laughing at my former brothers and sisters in the 99% while sipping expensive bourbon from a diamond-encrusted chalice and wearing house slippers made from the hides of baby seals. Ahhh, the good life.

But what would I do with all that money? Sure, I’d buy my wife a new vehicle (I just bought my new truck back in July and I like it, so I’m good), get a new house, invest, and set some aside for the kids college, but that will still leave me about more than enough to play with. So I’ve decided to put together a list of things right here in Evansville that I could get for $640 million. Ready? Here we go.

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213,333,333 Fishbowls of Beer at the Hilltop Inn

Beer & Brains for everybody! (Facebook)

I don’t know who first thought of pouring beer into a glass that a fish could literally live in, but God bless them for it! A majority of my close friends are people I went to grade school and high school with and we would spend many Friday and Saturday nights outside on the porch of Hilltop cracking jokes and talking about whatever while partaking in fishbowl after fishbowl (drink responsibly, kids!). I can’t quite pinpoint what the allure of the fishbowl is, perhaps it’s the idea that I could either spend $3.50 – $4.00 on 12 ounces of bottled or canned beer, or $2.50 – $3.00 on somewhere in the neighborhood of 16-20 ounces of beer. In this economy, it’s all about the best value and even though I’d theoretically be a multi-millionaire, I’d still want to be smart with my cash.

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18,285,714 Rounds of Golf at Eagle Valley

Where golf balls go to die. (Ryan O'Bryan)

I love playing golf even though I am admittedly terrible at it. With that saide, my favorite course in Evansville is Eagle Valley just north of the airport on Petersberg Road. It’s challenging enough for a novice like myself and it’s a long course so I feel like I’m getting my $35 worth when I play.

Early 20th Century oil tycoon, Nubar Gulbenkian once said, “It is more satisfying to be a bad player at golf. The worse you play, the better you remember the occasional good shot.” He couldn’t have hit the nail more perfectly (or the opening tee shot…however you want to look at it). I’ve only broken 100 a handful of times in the 15+ years I’ve been playing. What brings me back is that one good shot I have during every round. Whether it’s a massive, straight-as-an-arrow drive down the center of the fairway, a nice pitch shot that puts me inches away from the hole, or sinking a long putt, there’s always at least one shot per round that makes me realize I have the potential to play at least respectively. With 18 million-plus rounds I may still not qualify for the PGA, but I’d have the opportunity to give it my best shot.

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80,100,125 trips through the buffet at Charlie’s Mongolian BBQ

Makes your stomach happy! (Facebook)

Have you noticed that many of the newer Chinese buffets in the area have installed a flattop grill as part of their offering? You can thank Charlie’s Mongolian BBQ on Diamond Avenue across from Big Lots for that. As the O.G. of Mongolian barbecue joints, Charlie’s was the first of its kind in Evansville (to my knowledge anyway). There was no General Tso’s chicken, no pepper steak, no odd red-colored chicken on a stick, just fresh vegetables, raw meat, and a wide selection of sauces for you to create your own custom plate. My wife and I were turned on to Charlie’s about 9-10 years ago through a friend she worked with at the time and we instantly fell in love with the unique experience. Before our kids came along and we had more “expendable income”, it wasn’t unheard for us to go for lunch then back again for dinner in the same day. What I love about Charlie’s is there’s technically no limit to how much you can put on a plate. While they do have an all-you-can-eat option, if you do it right (like I feel I do), you can pile enough on your plate for two meals. So technically, I could get 160,200,250 meals out of $640 million dollars. And don’t think I wouldn’t enjoy each and every bite (because I totally would!).

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2.56 billion pulls on a quarter slot machine at Casino Aztar

The room reeked with the stench of cigarette smoke...and tears. (Getty Images/Joe Raedle)

Much like with the lottery, my trips to Casino Aztar are few and far between. I do enjoy gambling from time to time, but I am by no means a “high roller”. I was playing Euchre with some buddies a few weeks ago and was told they know everytime whether or not I’m going to pick up the trump card. Apparently when I decide to give it a shot, I will first scratch my cheek or rub my chin in some manner. I had no idea. That’s why I stay away from the poker tables when decide to spend some time on the boat. Chances are if you see me there, I will either be sitting at the $5.00 per hand Blackjack table or staring blankly at a one of the thousands of quarter slot machines hoping that the next pull of the lever will get my picture on the wall of winners you walk past as you enter the building. Even if I never won a penny of it back, with 2.56 billion opportunities, I’d at least have a good time trying.

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71,190,211 pounds of smoked gouda cheese

Not to be used as a substitute for deodorant. (flickr, loop_oh)

I. Love. Cheese. For most of my life it’s been the standard American, mozarella, cheddar, etc. Then on New Year’s Eve 2010, my wife and I went to a friend of her’s house for a get together and she had laid out a nice little spread of finger foods which included a small wheel of smoked gouda and some crackers. I had never tried it before so I cut off a slice, put it on a cracker, and popped it in my mouth. The instant it touched my tongue, I swear I heard angels singing. I was experiencing a cheese epiphany. It was creamy, a little salty, and had just a hint of smoke flavor to it. As the night wore on, I got to the point where I quit using the crackers and just ate the cheese straight. I probably ate half the wheel by myself.

On my next trip to the grocery store, I made a bee line straight for the specialty cheese section only to find that smoked gouda sells for around $8.99 a pound! A little steep for my taste, but I was able to find a half-pound wheel for roughly $4.50 so I splurged and picked it up. The problem is, much like that fateful New Year’s Eve, if I don’t watch myself, I’ll eat the whole wheel in one sitting so I don’t buy it very often. But if money were no object, then all bets would be off. I’d put it on everything! Smoked gouda mac ‘n’ cheese, hamburgers, melted over steamed veggies, heck, I’d bathe in it.

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That’s just a few of the things I could find right here in Evansville to spend $640 million on, but obviously there’s so much more. What do you think I needs to be on this list?

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