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« The Da Vinci Load | Main | George W. Bush Is Not the Anti-Christ »

June 02, 2006

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Oh Danny...this post brought up such memories of the "old" Las Vegas....Just so you understand...I haven't been to Las Vegas since 1961! And I went there first in I believe 1956...and went one or two more times after that...till that very last time in '61. So, I only know the old Las Vegas...I have never seen any of these newer hotels. In fact some BIG (Not by todays standards of course), hotel that was built after my time there in '61, has already been torn down to make way for one of these Monster Hotels....The Sands was where I stayed mostly, and then the old Desert Inn...ALL of these Hotels were just two story's high or in some cases just one story high--except for The Sands, which had a High Rise...(HA!) It think it was 8 or 10 story's high...I don't remember...EVERYTHING was cheap then...Rooms and Food...! I don't think I could take LV the way it is now....It just seems like it is another place entirely...! I saw some fantastic performers there...in the days when ALL the shows were "Performers"....The Good Old Days? Well, they are to me.
Glad you had such a great time, my dear...

Danny,
The other night I was at a series of lectures for the Shavuot holiday. One of the moderators was talking about the Ten Commandments and saying that when the Torah was being given at Mount Sinai, there was a sound-and-light show (lots of noise, fire, smoke, sort of a Babel-like setting)going on...
As I read your description and had flashbacks of my own trip to Vegas (I also believe 20 years ago this summer), I couldn't help but think that casino interiors and activity must've been modeled after the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. ;)

BTW, Happy Anniversary...and many more!

Danny,

Thanks for the info about Las Vegas. Michael and I are going next week and will be staying at the Hilton. I am looking forward to checking out the interactive Star Wars experience.
Happy second anniversary!!!

Danny,

Happy Second Anniversary! May there be many more.

Yes, it's me -- your virtual pal from the Bay Area, and old acquaintance/would-be-squire of your wife's back in the day -- returning after a major domicile- and career-change that blew me out of blogdom for awhile.

Good piece on Lost Wages. I first went there in the absolute tail-end of the Mob era, a few weeks before the brothers Spilotro were literally buried alive for losing the Outfit its billion-dollar cash-cow in the desert. Back then I liked the generally sleazy and unabashedly greedy gambling-fuled ambience of the city, although I had a lot more fun buying exotic weapons at the Survival Store and scoping nekkid girls at the Palomino* than I did dropping money on the tables. I guess even then I was too aware of how the place subsidized its cheap hots n' cots, and too much of a stats/probability geek to kid myself about my chances against the house.

Fast forward to late '05. Cut adrift from my old life as an Oakland online entrepreneur, I did a southwestern getaway/head-clearing trip with an old high-school buddy that concluded in Sin City. I'd been to LV in the meantime twice to see the Grateful Dead at some early-90s gigs at the Silver Bowl, but was unprepared for how radically the place had changed in the intervening years. The sheer size and over-the-top excess of the hotels themselves was astonishing; I could have spent days just wandering through places like New York New York or the Venetia just marvelling at the ungepachkit** extravagance of it all.

The place really has become a sort of adult Disneyland: corporate, controlled and slick; but with enough naughtiness in the form of gambling, open drinking and smoking, and racy shows to give it a slight edge. Too, the mall-ification of the hotels makes perfect sense to a cynic like myself -- even if you comes out ahead at the tables, the opportunities to blow your winnings on high-ticket impulse buys are just too easy and frequent for most people to resist. I'm sure the big establishments are using legit retail to clear as much or more than they ever did by skimming gambling losses.

Which didn't affect me much, because I'm still largely resistant to the lure of the games. Give me a couple of rolls of nickels, a 5c video-draw-poker machine, and a few comped beers, and I'm happy to just stand there soaking up the atmosphere and pretending I can beat the 91% payoff average.

I suppose I'll return before too long, as there really isn't anywhere on Earth quite like Sam's Town. But if you guys are into REAL sensory overload and a more organic form of naughty hedonism, I'd recommend my personal favorite Silver State destination: the end-of-summer Burning Man Festival.

Again, a happy 2nd to you & Kendall!


*There, your Italian-American narrator and his two Jewish pals made a boozy toast to the life and memory of Benjamin Siegel, Father of Las Vegas and Martyr to American Sleaze.

**Now how many goyim do you think use THAT word?

Sammy Davis Jr. should be pope. But maybe that's just me.

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