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Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Bring Back the Mob"- And Other Fresh Ideas From Las Vegas

I am working out a couple of new blog ideas. Just trying to decide if I want to stay with Blogger or go to Wordpress. I thought I'd fill you in on the big Vegas trip this past week.

The trip from Boise to Las Vegas is 610 miles. It can be accomplished in 9 hours thanks to a new 80 MPH Idaho speed limit and a forgiving Nevada Highway Patrol- which will let you do 9 over the speed limit before personally greeting you. I passed 5 or 6 cops while doing 79 in a 70- and I hardly rated a glance. That's pretty decent.

I travel to Vegas 3 or 4 times a year. I lived there once for a little over a year. Nothing will get you over your addictions like living in Las Vegas. People are still smoking in casinos, the strip clubs rarely change and are as busy as ever, the hookers still work the bars, and the bell desk at any hotel can tell you where to get your smoke. People were walking around Fremont Street drinking giant drinks out of ridiculously sized glasses, a few of them very drunk. Fremont Street has become the place to hustle. There were probably ten costumed men or women, most of them nearly naked, hustling people for photos and tips. I watched as a pair of men, dressed as a cowboy and an Indian Chief with their chests and butt cheeks fully exposed, hustled women for photos. It's so gaudy and decadent that you can't help but feel a little sick as you watch all of it. It's a sad commentary. Bourbon Street in New Orleans, except for Fat Tuesday, looks absolutely civilized compared to Fremont Street in Vegas.

My brother and I played golf in Boulder City (for 21 bucks with a cart!) and we did some bowling. The weather was mid 60's but it rained a lot.

On Tuesday night, I had a hooker hit me up (looking for a date, sweetheart?) at the Horseshoe as I walked past the bar. Nice clothes always screams "tourist with money" and the hookers zoom in on that look. They generally work in pairs although this particular configuration was comprised of 3 black women in their early 30's. I cannot tell you how many thefts and robberies are related to hookers. In New Orleans, I once had a friend who was picked up by two women and taken to a hotel where their boyfriends robbed him. He had not reported it to the police of course- not because he was married but because of his occupation. There is nobody more vulnerable than a married man or a man with lots to lose- and hookers can be an unmerciful class of people. They know which "clients" or marks will never report the crime.

I spent most of my time lounging around the sports and race book where I like to bet on horse racing. I get to know people where ever I go. I like to chat people up. At the Fremont, I met a gal about the same age as me who has been writing sports and racing tickets for 32 years. I am always in awe of people who can land a job and tolerate it for 30 or 40 years. So...I just had to interrogate this gal a little bit.

I was complaining to her about a breakfast I had paid 16 bucks for at the Horseshoe which wasn't even fit for human consumption. A couple of very skinny and burnt pieces of bacon, burnt hash browns, and a couple of scrambled eggs with some toast on a plastic plate. This was 8.95. Coffee and tax was another 3.50 or so and after a 3 dollar tip- I was out the door for 16 bucks. In the old days, gamblers never paid for meals because they were always given away complimentary (comped) by the casino which looked at meals and hotel rooms as a form of overhead in exchange for a gamblers money. They weren't horrible, chintzy meals with subpar ingredients either.

I told her that I hated the "new" Las Vegas. I hate corporate Vegas. I hate tracking cards. I hate having to pay top dollar for a dog shit breakfast and getting gouged 125 bucks for a crappy hotel room at the Fremont just because it's Friday on Super Bowl weekend. In the old days, they took care of us. The rooms were free, the meals were free, and the bosses knew exactly how long we spent playing and how much money we spent. They didn't need tracking cards to do their jobs. I hate "corporate" Las Vegas and I blame Steve Wynn and the rest of these elite corporate bastards and bean counters who have stolen every last penny that they can get their greedy little hands on.

At this point in the conversation, she let out a giant laugh. She says, "Give me the mob any day over this bunch." The mob took care of people and employees. We had it good back then. The mob was skimming but so what? These fuckers have robbed more people and far worse- than the mob ever did. "Bring back the mob" she said.

That's when it hit me. She was right. I grew up in a mob run Las Vegas. They were gentlemen compared to this bunch. It was so much better back before the corporatist Steve Wynn and his giant ideas turned Vegas into some family playground which was nothing but bullshit; bullshit designed to get into the pockets of parents while introducing their children to a new, future playground. We had good hotel rooms that were free, good meals that were free, and we didn't have a street full of naked hustlers. Metro cops would have taken care of that. No self respecting, decent family anywhere, should ever bring their kids to Las Vegas unless it's to show them what not to do with their lives.

On Friday night I watched three comedians and the headliner, Joe Rogan. Rogan thinks like I do. I say that because I've been on this rock longer than Rogan- in essence- I was here first. Just before the show started, a couple in front of me heard me mention that I was from Boise. They said they had come down specifically for this show because they loved Rogan. Me too. I asked them if they had driven or if they had flown in. They had flown. Doing the quick 600 buck airline math in my head- I said I had driven there for about 30 bucks worth of gas. That leaves 570 bucks spread over 12 hours- the time it takes me to drive there and back rather than wasting my time submitting to searches and hoping flights aren't delayed or cancelled. It's an easy trade for me. I pay myself something on the order of 46 bucks an hour to listen to the guitar god, Eric Clapton on full blast. I actually blew a speaker this trip.

Rogan was good. I think I liked the first comedian better but I'll be damned if I can remember his name. The trip home yesterday was uneventful- 9 MPH over the limit and I passed 5 bored cops, two on traffic stops.

Maybe I will just change the name of this blog rather than go through all of that other BS of setting a new one up... I'll keep you posted.