Friday, December 29, 2006


Usually roadtripping from LA to LV is easy, but driving back is a bitch. Except, apparently, the day after Xmas, when it's the other way around. This is due to people in their SUVs heading east after their holidays, making the journey into Nevada twice as long as normal, because they have to slow down and rubberneck... at absolutely nothing.

Once you arrive, the hotel may decide it was optional to provide you the amenities you specifically asked for, reserved and paid for a month in advance. Be patiently obstinant and they'll magically find that elusive non-smoking room with a king-size bed.

Vegas is great for little kids, nicotine addicts, and slow-walking tourists. We adults who are quick to just go and friggin' gamble already, and who also have clean lungs and dirty minds, might find America's Playground a bit frustrating.

None of the above will bother you very much if you're with your cute girlfriend who's taking in Sin City for the first time and makes everything fun.

Also, there's free drinks.

Never gamble scared. Therefore, the high minimum craps tables at the popular casinos may be too rich for your blood. You could venture off the Strip, but if your girlfriend wants to stay, you could reluctantly take her suggestion and try the boring ol' 25-cent video poker machines.

When you win a few hundred bucks on a straight flush, be sure to kiss her before going to the expensive craps tables with that hole burning through your pocket.

The Liberace Museum is good tacky fun. The tour guide talks about Mr. Showmanship with a great deal of knowledge and a thick accent. You might correctly identify her as being from near you and your girlfriend's former hometowns on Long Island. Also, from the tour guide, you may learn that the museum was "foist opened in da mid-seventies in dem Hollywood Hills". Since this is near your girlfriend's present hometown, she might announce her plan to follow Liberace's idea and open a museum dedicated to herself.

Which could cause you to wonder what the attraction for tourists would be. Liberace collected million-dollar rhinestone-studded outfits and fancy pianos from Europe. Your girlfriend seems to collect bobby pins and cheap wine from Trader Joe's.

Still, don't underestimate self-promotion. No one in Vegas apparently did.

A good example of that is the way a casino touts its headlining comedian. If you're like me, not only would you never spend money to catch this certain schmo's act, you'd really rather not have to see his steroided mug advertised everywhere in the damn place, including on the "Do Not Disturb" sign.

Back to gambling: When you've pissed away your video poker profits on craps, blackjack, roulette and even the slots, be happy you broke even. If you have to stop at Primm on the Nevada border to get gas and use the bathroom, maybe you should listen to your girlfriend again and not step into Whiskey Pete's casino. As she points out: you got in a little gambling entertainment which cost you nothing. So far. Time to go home, not into debt...

Then again, these smaller casinos are much more low stress. You can play calmly at the cheap craps tables without the crowds breathing down your neck, just your girlfriend reluctantly cheering you on... and win back a hundred bucks. Oh yeah, baby.

Listen to your girlfriend most of the time, just not all the time.


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