March Madness is here again. A Chicago research firm calculated that the people who watch the NCAA tourney on their computer at work wil cost the nation's employers $1.2 billion in productivity. Using that formula, my blog (widely read in the workplace) will cost this country $.0000000001. Sure I feel guilty. For several years I went to Vegas for the first weekend. Here's my travelogue from one of those past trips.
Madness has arrived again -- the NCAA basketball tournament. Thus the
annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for me and three of my middle aged sports
nerd television executive buddies. Slater, the Banger, and Mr.
Syracuse. Slater brought his girlfriend (who goes by either Karen or
Valerie -- long story) thus increasing his chances of "getting lucky" by
maybe 1%. Mr. Syracuse brought his wife thus decreasing his chances. My
son, Matt flew in from Boston. He's now 21 so what better way to see
Las Vegas for the first time than with his dad and three guys who look
like the Pep Boys?
stayed this year at the Paris Hotel. The theme is French hospitality
(an oxymoron). I'm sure I would have been given a nicer room if I
registered as Himmler. The casino features a low ceiling that is painted
to look like the sky, a la the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at
Disneyland. It's an odd shade of blue however, one that suggests nuclear
winter. There are cobblestone streets and carpeting. A replica LePont
Alendre III bridge overlooks the nickel slot machines, and there is an
Eiffel Tower that is fifty stories high. Tours are offered. There is a
sign at the entrance that reads "No food, beverages, smoking, weddings"
I don't know why these hotels opt for these
elaborate themes. The truth is: NO ONE CARES. People schlepp around in
t-shirts and shorts and flip flops. If I ever put up a hotel in Las
Vegas I would use as my theme the HOME DEPOT.
Matt and I went to
Le Cafe for breakfast. They said "inside or outside?" What??? Outside of
course meant under the sky painted ceiling. We chanced that it wouldn't
rain and took the outside.
The in-house cable had a channel that
spelled out emergency exit procedures. Leave it to the French to
provide a surrender strategy.
Remember when Frank Sinatra used to
play Vegas? This weekend it was Carrot Top and (at the Riviera)
"America's Tribute to Neil Diamond". Not even the real Neil Diamond, an
impersonator. In two weeks the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (true) will be
appearing. I'd love to see Shecky Green open for them.
you could always pay a gazillion dollars to see Celine Dion screech out
five songs a night. Or is that just a Barbra Streisand impersonator??
The Paris had "Arabian Nights Spectacular", something else to make the Jews feel comfortable.
stunned me: The Mirage features "Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden
& Dolphin Habitat". The ad says: "come face to face with Royal White
Tigers". How drunk do you have to be or how much money do you have to
lose to want to do THAT?? And we all know the end result.
thing you can say about Vegas, it has the most amazingly beautiful
women in the world. And so where did we spend 90% of our time? At the
Sportsbook, the one place that none of them would ever be caught dead
in. There were 48 games in four days. At times four were going on
simultaneously. I'm betting on teams I've never heard of. The place was
packed with rowdy men and good old boys chugging long neck beers. We
ordered White Russians, Tequila Sunrises, and Rusty Nails. No one messed
One hazard: you see the same commercial seventeen thousand times.
Especially the one for "Cialis", designed to keep a man ready for 36
hours. Too bad I'm not single. One of those magic pills would be perfect
for me. 35 1/2 hours to find a woman then a half hour to perform.
The Banger bet on exhibition baseball. Even Pete Rose never did that.
was carded at the Sportsbook for ordering a Sprite. If you bet $500 a
day on horses by the way, you get a coupon for a free drink. Again,
In keeping with the French theme, accordion music came out of the urinals. Finally, the correct venue for that music.
Elegant dining = no Keno boards.
rode down the elevator with a beautiful girl who was wearing a white
top with two Chinese letters on it. I said, "Do you know what that
means?" She said, "No, I bought this because it looks good with the
pants." "So you have no idea what that says?" I repeated. "What does it
say" she asked. "Kill me!" I said and stepped out of the elevator
leaving her aghast.
Slater's girlfriend Valerie/Karen is vegan,
which means there are only six things she can eat and she's allergic to
four of them. She and Slater are the two nicest people on the planet but
I have dubbed them "America's Waiter Killer Couple". Slater switches
every table and sends back every order while Valerie/Karen has the
kitchen prepare items not on the menu every meal. I would give anything
to see these two on SURVIVOR.
Valerie/Karen's back was bothering
her so she toted around a pillow to make sitting more comfortable. But a
hot girl walking through the casino with a pillow -- she looked like a
hooker who advertised.
On Saturday night Mr. Syracuse and his
wife hosted a dinner for sixteen of us. They got a private room in the
Paris restaurant. I was sure Slater was going to walk in and ask if
there was ANOTHER private room for sixteen?
Spotted at the Paris
pool -- a guy in a ball and chain. I'm guessing (hoping) it was a
bachelor party but there he was with a bowling ball attached to a chain
handcuffed to his arm. Either that or the hotel was presenting "Les
What is Pai Gow poker???
thanks to the Banger for getting down to the Sportsbook every morning at
5 to reserve us some seats. Personally, I think he was "In-Seine".
NEVER take America West (America WORST) airlines if you can avoid it.
Truly the most inept "shitbirds" in the sky. ALWAYS late, sardine cans
for planes. And when you finally do arrive to Totie Fields Field (or
whatever the Las Vegas airport is called) it takes a good hour to get a
What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas primarily
because you can't count on an America Worst flight to ever get off the
Featured at the Paris Hotel: drinks in plastic Eiffel
Tower glasses. $12.50 (true). There was a line. I wonder how many of
those people thought they were buying the "actual" Eiffel Tower?
the end of the weekend all of us either made a little money or broke
even, Stanford and Kentucky got eliminated, and the waiters at the Paris
hotel got together and paid for Slater's cab to the airport. It was
great great fun. Go Bruins!!!
For more travelogues, I invite you to get my book, WHERE THE HELL AM I? (TRIPS I HAVE SURVIVED). Just go here. It costs less than one blackjack bet.