Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Learning from Las Vegas

Whatever people say about the economy, our country is frothy enough to make the check-in line at Ceasars on a Sunday a twenty minute affair.

Certain things are cut back, like the hours of the Diamond Club, and games dip into the $10 prices, but people are still there. Vegas in the winter was shoulder to shoulder urban on the strip, unlike any part of Columbus, Ohio, say, downtown.

10¢ apples aren't for sale anywhere that's for sure. There's an Apple Store in Caesar's Forum Shops though. It was actually the least trafficked store I have witnessed. In a sea of completely hedonist luxury gifts and games, buying a computer to do work, even among other things, doesn't make sense.

That said, it was abuzz with e-mail-checkers, and iPod Touch/iPhone toddlers, flubbing out some perfunctory text in an early stumble around the eventually-ingenious keyboard. (I can touch type on my iPhone now, a dubious achievement.)

Vegas is truly a cataclysmic nightmare outgrowth of culture in its loosest definition, but the experience of being under the mathematical gun. Dodging fate alone hitting on 16, but tabled and roomed and fed together, sharing a common goal with easily stoked fervor. Elevators, slots, tables, triple-split hands that all hit 18 when a dealer hits 19, all performative acts of the set of the "tourist."

And nothing besides employee and player can be found, rendering only residents outsiders, outnumbered, bored with the neon cancer bauble called the Strip. Imagine New York with every tourist attraction, from Tad's Steakhouse to the Empire State Building, the Bronx Zoo with all of museum mile and a short walk to the NY Aquarium, stretched along the shuttle to Grand Central. Then make planes land on 86th st. instead of at the rims of outer boroughs. Finally, ensure those who visit New York are unaware of anything beyond this impossibly unwalkable, train-laced district. Nothing would be, besides New Yorkers and adequate civil services, so go for it.

Poker tourneys are hard. Blackjack is not as hard. I had my mind blown when someone tipped a dealer a $1000 chip.

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