I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. Now, it's time to take part in the Web's most unique opinion poll. As I was watching the Democratic presidential debate last night, it occured to me that half of the 2004 presidential hopefuls are complete yo-yo's. In turn, that reminded me of the field of contenders for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. Upon further contemplation, I realized that there are the same number of candidates seeking the 2004 Democratic nomination, nine, as there were in the Republican field in 2000. I began to think about which 2004 Democrat reminds me the most of which 2000 Republican.
Those crazy Klan guys are at it again. After three decades of being made a laughing stock in movies like Blazing Saddles, The Blues Brothers, and even redneck classics like Smokey & The Bandit, this latest stunt isn't likely to improve their image in the media. If the Klan is truly the one, true organized effort to preserve my white, Southern heritage, I think it would be safer to let it go. Either that, or get a helmet.
As promised, I've finally had the chance to transcribe the impressions and experiences I brought back from fabulous Las Vegas. I love the city's new tourism slogan: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Much like the city itself, the slogan conveys a sense of intimacy that is completely at odds with reality. Just as the friendly faces and grandiose designs of Vegas bely a cold and calculated plan to seperate you from every last dollar you can spare, so to does the slogan conflict with the fact that nobody can keep the grimy details of a weekend spent living the fast life in Vegas to themselves.
Here are some of my grimy details. In honor of the financial analysts conference that was the nominal reason I got to go, I will present the experiences in classic stock ticker fashion.
McCarran Airport Will the construction at the Vegas airport ever end? Also, USAirways is moving out to Terminal D effective December 3. Hello, monorail.
The Rooms at Bellagio Gigantic, comfortable and well-appointed. I don't know a better place to stay when somebody else is paying.
Gambling at Bellagio By attempting to make the casino floor a serene experience with continental charm, they've managed to suck most of the fun out of playing craps. If I want serene, I'll go to the spa.
Fat Burger A meal fit for a king.
The Golden Nugget Probably the most fun property in MGM-Mirage's Las Vegas fleet, which is a bit like being the tallest extra in the Wizard of Oz.
Craps At Binion's Horseshoe I love this place. It doesn't matter that it's old and dirty and smoky, these guys deal one of the best craps games you can find. They are super player-friendly. They even pay buy odds (19-10) on placed four and ten bets.
The Gold Coast Even though I like the place, nothing good ever happens to me here. One or two more losing trips and I may have to decide I don't like it any more.
The Hard Rock Loud and dark, high table limits and ho's, ho's, ho's.
The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings Yeah, yeah, I know. But all the Titans had to do was score one stupid touchdown to cover the second half spread.
The Barbary Coast Another great casino. It's comfortable and intimate and good things happen to me there.
Krispy Kreme Donuts They're all over Vegas now. I had breakfast at New York-New York on Sunday morning and at Treasure Island on Monday morning.
The Four Queens Not only did they give me a bunch of free stuff, but they had a great two-deck blackjack game going on. The sushi I had for lunch there resulted in no unplanned trips to the emergency room, and was fairly tasty, besides.
Fitzgerald's I didn't detect the usual stench of desperation when I walked in. It weirded me out, so I just left.
The Angry Drunk Guy Who Got Himself Arrested Sure, buddy, it's all a big conspiracy. Everyone's out to get you. Whatever.
The Lady Luck Is it any wonder Isle of Capri wanted to get rid of this dump? The whole place smells like old ashtrays and feet.
The California Hotel It was definitely my own fault for staying one shoe too long in the face of overwhelming negative momentum, but I won't soon forgive these guys for the shellacking they put on me. Where ever you are, Enrique, from the Phillippines, damn you! Damn you to hell!
$4 Large Shrimp Cocktail at The Golden Gate Excellent with a splash of tobasco added to the cocktail sauce. A nice, lite afternoon snack that sits well with five or six beers.
Craps at The Las Vegas Sports Club It's not the most expensive joint in town, to be sure. (I've never seen a place where the box man is part of the dealer crew and gets rotated around to and from the other positions!?!?!) At this point, I'd like to give a shout-out to the guy from Montana who was playing craps for the first time and kept ringing up all those hard numbers.
Bally's Las Vegas I actually managed to enjoy myself while gambling here. You gotta love a high-quality craps dealing crew. Our crew kept the game going for 20 minutes without a box man, who was myseriously absent. I still love the Big Kitchen Buffet.
The Palms They deal a pretty mean craps game here. The dealers also give you pretty good advice.
Other "troubled" celebrities are beginning to crawl out of the dark corners of the national consciousness to come to Michael Jackson's defense. Rick James was just on CNN. To put it kindly, Rick has let himself go. The Superfreak now looks like a cross between Stevie Wonder and Jabba the Hutt.
I'll start with two that have been most relevant to you, my readers:
2) Returning from two days of vacation and walking face-first into a situation where all of the normal month-end stuff at work is getting pushed up a week because of the Thanksgiving holiday is about as rude a welcome as you can receive. Trust me on this one.
So, until I have time to do the material I brought back from Vegas up proper, here's a picture I took on the side street between Fremont Street and the Lady Luck. Vegas really does have everything. I am particularly intrigued by the hand gestures on the sign.
Found on the Internet, unattributed:
"The actions taken by the New Hampshire Episcopalians (INDUCTING A GAY BISHOP) are an affront to Christians everywhere. I am just thankful that the church's founder, Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon, and his wife Anne Boleyn, and his wife Jane Seymour, and his wife Anne of Cleves, and his wife Katherine Howard, and his wife Catherine Parr are no longer here to suffer through this assault on traditional Christian marriages."
Of course, I don't literally mean "we." I'm flying to Las Vegas on Saturday morning and you're cordially invited to read my updates from Sin City. My cell phone's mini-browser enables me to continuously add new content as I wander deleriously from casino to casino in the greatest city in the world.
I'm sure you're wondering, "How can one person be so geeky and so damn cool at the same time?" It's not easy, my friends, but I intend to persevere.
I left work a bit early today, and caught the 5:00 PM matinee of Matrix: Revolutions. Continuing where the second movie left off, Revolutions provides us with further insights into the Wachowski brothers' bizarre vision of the future of our species:
I won't spoil the ending for anyone, but let's just say that rumors of a definitive ending to the story were greatly exaggerated.
Former Eagles/Vikings/Cardinals/Browns/Packers and most notably Bears QB Jim McMahon was arrested early Sunday morning for DUI. McMahon failed a field sobriety test, then blew over three times the legal limit on the breathalyzer. According to officers on the scene, all McMahon had to say for himself was, "I'm too drunk. You got me."
McMahon's arrest is merely the latest incident in a plague of karmic comeuppance suffered by the participants in the 1986 Bears' ill-fated "Superbowl Shuffle" video. Past incidents include Willie Gault's film career, Mike Ditka's short-lived head coaching tenure in New Orleans and his subsequent role as a spokesperson for the impotency drug Viagara and the infamous "Shoney's Buffet" incident involving William "The Refrigerator" Perry, which we dare not speak of.
While I was getting dressed this morning, I decided to invest a few minutes in checking out Cold Pizza, the new early-morning news/sports/variety show on ESPN2. Or perhaps I should say, "invest a few more minutes," since I feel as though I've watched at least an hour and a half worth of promos for this show since the start of the NFL season. It took only a few minutes to be overcome by the trademark "Three C's" of bad news/sports/variety programming:
In their successful effort to defeat the indian casino measure on Maine's ballot, casino oponents were frequently heard to compare problem gambling with substance abuse, which Maine also has precious little experience with. In that spirit, I've composed a table of gambling activities and their comparable substance abuse problems:
Legalized Gambling Activity - Substance Abuse Equivalent
Scratch Tickets - One Word: Thunderbird
Keno - Four martini lunch
Slot Machines - Chasing a handful of Tylenol 3 with a glass of Almaden
High Limit Slots - Chasing a handful of Vicodan with a glass of Cristal
Three Card Poker - Hillbilly heroin
Sports Book Wagering - Smoking dope, chasing it with Gallo
Race Book Wagering - Chewing tobacco and drinking Old Milwaukee
Baccarat - Snorting cocaine through a rolled up hundred dollar bill
Money Wheel - Popping random pills you find in grandma’s medicine cabinet
Pai Gow Poker - Frequenting opium dens
Texas Hold’em - Competitive binge drinking
Blackjack - Mainlining smack
Spanish 21 - Mainlining cheap smack
Craps - Free-basing
Yes, sadly, there will be no casinos in Maine for at least another year. Maine voters defeated the ballot question to bring indian gaming to the state by about a 2 to 1 margin. I just don't understand. Opening casinos in this part of the world is like getting a license to steal from neighboring states. Massachusetts bleeds billions of dollars every year across the border to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. A casino in southern Maine would actually be nearly an hour closer to Boston.
Maine: Where morality meets poverty.
According to the county coroner, "...alcohol and speed were contributing factors." Information on whether the victim was wearing his cheesehead at the time was not immediately available.