November 1, 2017

Blogging from the Pacific Time Zone.

I tried not to get up too early, but I'm often up at 5 in the Central Time Zone. At least I made it to 5 in the Pacific Time Zone, but what do you think it's like at 5 a.m. on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel that the elevator designates not as "lobby" or "main" or "1" but "CASINO"?

There must be at least 10 restaurants in this hotel, and I'd like to sit in a place where a server fills your cup and asks how you want your eggs. But there's only one place open, a little snack bar that's playing disco and disco-like pop. Oh, now it's Prince, "Raspberry Beret." I love Prince, but still, it's not what I want with black coffee and blogging. I put her on the back of my bike/And we went riding/Down by old man Johnson's farm....

The casino operates around the clock, but it's mostly empty machines right now, flashing lights, eternally longing for one more ass to plunk down and feed in a few bills. I did see some gamblers as I made my way from the elevator to this nutty little snack bar. They can't be up early. They must be up late. But what difference does it make? The inner space called "CASINO" always looks the same, dark with lights.

No windows. But it's my duty as a blogger to attempt to look out on the world and have something to say about it. I'd like some windows. At home, my computer faces a wall of windows. But there's always the window that is the computer screen. It's hard to look in there though in this place that's designed to enclose you in an alternate, distorted, synthetic reality.

Talk to me! I feel like you're going to tell me that the news is an alternate, distorted, synthetic reality, so what difference does it make? But I'm feeling what I'm feeling from inside this strange place.

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46 comments:

MadisonMan said...

It's dark in Madison too -- that morning dark that you get just before the time change.

The one thing I don't like about Casinos -- they're like a tomb because you are removed from any outside stimulus. No clocks to tell the time. No visual cues of daylight.

rhhardin said...

It's native American culture: with no windows, and lights.

rhhardin said...

They'd get more traffic if they had a supermarket inside.

rhhardin said...

There were the natural days gone by when casinos had incandescent bulbs, probably.

James L. Salmon said...

Why are u and Meade in Vegas? Neither of u ever struck me as gamblers or even casual Vegas tourist types.

rhhardin said...

The backyard bird microphone is reporting rain here.

richlb said...

You gotta go out on the strip to find a decent bite to eat and some good coffee by the cup.

MayBee said...

The Pacific Time Zone is fantastic for consuming blog posts. I loved it when I lived in PST because I could wake up and there was already stuff going on in the world! But yes, I can see for blogging it's tough- especially at night I would think, because the news channels all go to repeat pretty early.

Casinos off-hours are sad to me. I remember our family trying to find something to eat- maybe around 5 on a Sunday,- at it was impossible.

Anonymous said...

I went to Vegas once, an overnight stop on a national parks road trip. I found it depressing. Especially walking through the casinos. They seemed permeated with joylessness.

Probably just a projection of my own reaction to dark, neon, noise, and windowlessness. Places like Vegas are not made for the likes of me. I was glad to get the hell out of there.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Angel-Dyne - I feel the same. I'd prefer a mountain top.

John Christopher said...

About twice a year I get to take my family on a work trip if they're timed with the school holidays. We're still all crammed into the same size hotel room I get when I'm alone, but now we all go to bed at 9:30 after a trip to the hotel pool.

Hence, I spend a lot of time at 5:00am in hotel coffee shops those weeks.

Bob Ellison said...

I enjoy the spectacle qualities of Vegas. I used to go there pretty regularly, mostly for trade shows but sometimes just for fun. Do go to see the light show on Fremont Street.

The other nice thing about Vegas is that it's far away from everything, so you can leave it where it is and not bother about it most of the time.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Angel-Dyne said...

I went to Vegas once, an overnight stop on a national parks road trip. I found it depressing. Especially walking through the casinos. They seemed permeated with joylessness.

You think Vegas is bad, you should try Atlantic City.

CJinPA said...

Find an area where there are rows and rows of unused slot machines and sit down next to the only person playing. "Don't worry, I'm a blogger" will ease any suspicion.

Carol said...

Las Vegas was the last place I wanted to go in 1969 but Nevada turned out to be a great place for musicians. Strong union, clean rest rooms, lots of camaraderie. We had great union picnic jams, and the house players put on classical concerts in the local schools. Holidays were fun because you'd work and party with the help, and no sentimentality, no sitting around feeling sad. And skiing.

Place has changed so much, wouldn't want to go back there now. It was sad to see all the machines come to Montana, with all the machine zombies gambling their SSI.

ALP said...

What I thought so odd about Vegas is how EVERY establishment has gambling opportunities no more than a yard away. Getting a burger at White Castle and feel the urge? Just walk a few feet - slot machines. Too bad you are not getting out of town a bit. I was able to experience the atmosphere of a tiny Nevada dive bar outside of the city when we stopped for gas. People already drinking and gambling at 9 am. Every 7-11 or tiny gas station has slot machines.

I was stunned there were no slot machines on the back of the bathroom door stalls.

BTW: I loved the fake sky over the shopping plaza - saw the same sky for real the next day in Palm Springs. They nailed it!

Fandor said...

Consider that you are experiencing one of the rings of hell. Fortunately, you can leave...this time.
Resolve to be the best person (and blogger) you can be.
Leave that hellhole as soon as possible and continue to fight for...
TRUTH
JUSTICE
and
THE AMERICAN WAY

(That would be the idealized AMERICAN WAY from the mid 20th Century because we should always seek to be our "better angels").

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

The podesta-Clinton slime bags.

It's illegal to discuss Clinton-Podesta corruption.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why are u and Meade in Vegas? Neither of u ever struck me as gamblers or even casual Vegas tourist types."

1. Meade's not here.

2. I have family here.

3. I don't gamble, but there are some things I can do: There's a swimming pool. I like to walk around and take pictures of weird things, and there are some distinctive, weird things.

4. Going to see a couple shows.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I hate the casinos even though I like to play blackjack and craps. They are so depressing, but overwhelming with a sense of forced, false gaiety. Yuck!

The best of Vegas is outside. The hotels on the strip are amazing to look at. What a country!

The very best of Vegas is outside the city. Go to one of the deserts. Valley of Fire, Red Rock. What a planet!

wildswan said...

Trees, leaves, squirrels, chipmunks, woodpeckers, little brown birds, rose hips, flagstones, gutters, city hall marble, sound of highway and morning commute. Mostly leaves are off the trees and you see their form outlines against the grey sky, water running in rivers, gathered in a big lake, sunk one inch down in a marsh, drifting across the sky in clouds. Commuters, school children, dog walkers.

It's still all there. With idiot politicians defacing reason, news spin coverage, jihad bombers.

MagicalPat said...

That looks like the aquarium in the Caesars aforum Shops. Very relaxing. Unlike most of Vegas.

BillyTalley said...

Is it the LV theme park ennui that you are feeling? There's plenty of desert nearby! I went to high school in Vegas, during the nightclub lounge years, the end of an era, mid 70's. But is it so bad to spend some time inside the bubble? (Great to see the aquarium metaphor!) At least it's temporary. Now, I flash on Vonnegut's Tralfamador (sp?), "So it goes". I grew up a military brat, my dad retired at Nellis. Always loved airports, still do... they're like the Vegas theme park, especially when you have to camp out in the passenger lounge all night. I always kind of liked that, welcomed it, it was an opportunity to let the imagination soar.

wildswan said...

I got diverted to Vegas once during a snow storm and had to spend a night. I was looking forward to a chance to see gamblers in action, Ocean's 15. It chilled my soul to see what there was for people to do. Sit and pull levers under and next to weird lights. Fortunately what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Which by the way, is what happened with that mass shooting. I'm sure the hotels were perfectly clear to the government and police - the rest of us will never find out the timeline, most of the incidents, how security is handled in those hotels, who was there. My opinion, he was a nut who was offered money and a get-away plan if he murdered on a mass scale and he was crazy enough to believe that kind of people.

Lance said...

Be grateful you can't smell. The light and sound are awful, but it's the smell that turns casinos into such hells.

Bill said...

Nice to see you quoted by Jason Riley in the WSJ this morning.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

" Especially walking through the casinos. They seemed permeated with joylessness"

This. I hate Las Vegas. It's all so palpably phony, and cheaply so, that I feel repelled just walking down the street. I can find the good in some pretty unpromising places, but Las Vegas is just tacky, sad, and gross. It's neon-pink-hair culture. Why anyone would spend a minute there when you can hop in your car and, in a few hours, be in the presence of wonders, is just beyond me.

Joe Schmoe said...

You probably aren't up for driving alone, but if you can find someone to go with you, Hoover Dam is a reasonably short drive and an interesting place to see. The Grand Canyon a bit farther. I hate Vegas proper and usually force my way out whenever I can. Vegas has become the conference center of the world; all manner of corporate conferences or trade shows are occurring at all times. Some people see it as a treat to get to go to Vegas on the company dime, but it's the one city in the country I hate going to.

Sorry to go all Debbie Downer on you. Have fun!

Laslo Spatula said...

"Why anyone would spend a minute there when you can hop in your car and, in a few hours, be in the presence of wonders, is just beyond me."

The cocktail waitresses don't go out that far.

I am Laslo.

jaydub said...

Don't know what the prices are like now, but for about 10 years I held my division's semi-annual management planning meetings in either Las Vegas or Orlando because airfare and hotel rooms were cheaper than just about anywhere else in the US. Eventually dropped Vegas because the corporate green eyeshades looked askance at it, thinking we were just there to party. But we stayed near the airport and never left the hotel in either place except for dinner because we spent four 12 - 14 hour days developing the improvement road map for the next six months that would allow us to maximize our bonus opportunity. We were consistent winners in Vegas or Orlando, but I never bet a dime in either place.

William said...

They say all the lights in Vegas would make it one of the most beautiful places on earth if you didn't know the underlying purpose of those lights......I'm trying to think if the change from DST would mitigate or aggravate the PST shift, but that takes too much concentration. That's one of the reasons I don't speculate on Catalonia's drive for independence. That's why I like the Harvey Weinstein scandal. You can express an opinion without having to think too much or do any background research.

Fandor said...

On the positive side... I was in Las Vegas, almost 50 years ago, it was that unusual generational transition time, post Rat Pack and the rise of the first big MGM hotel. The strip was still the one of SINATRA's Ocean's Eleven with the exception of the Grand Hotel being built on the far end of the strip. Downtown was seedy but the Strip was glittery and exciting, The marquees were filled with the fabled names of DEAN MARTIN, ELVIS, JIMMY DURANTE, COUNT BASIE and JOE WILLIAMS, JOHNNY CARSON, VICKI CARR, LIBERACE and surprise, surprise, CONNIE STEVENS who was a big draw at the DESERT INN. The side lounges had folks like FATS DOMINO and SHECKY GREENE. And, in the casinos you could actually rub shoulders with "the stars" and engage them in conversation because they loved smoozing with their fans. Food was inexpensive and good. A show cost 15 dollars. Slip the head waiter a 20 and you got a front row table to enjoy DINO or ELVIS. No trouble anywhere. Why? The mob was in charge and your enjoyment and safety was their first prority. Vegas was not for everybody then but it was fisrt class all the way.
Today, its over the top and a retirement community. A hellhole waiting for a Sodom and Gomorrah ending because the wickedness has gotten out of hand.
Leave soon Ann. You've seen the beast in action. Leave and encourage your family to do the same.
There are so many beautiful places to live. Las Vegas is not one of them.

carrie said...

Nest time try the Trump Hotel--no Casino and on the quiet end of the strip--it was a GREAT hotel and the atmosphere was more like a Chicago or NY hotel, not a Las Vegas hotel. We stayed in LV because it was convenient for our trips to other places, not to gamble. We walked down the stip and

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I have only been in one casino, Harrah's in New Orleans. To me it looked and sounded like what Hell would be like if you really pissed of Satan. I left quickly. I really don't understand what the attraction is.

Martha said...

Have you read the WSJ today?
Jason Riley, Opinion Page, references you and your blog in his column “Upward Mobility”:


How did we get to this point? Ann Althouse, the University of Wisconsin Law School professor emerita and prolific blogger, has offered an explanation as plausible as any, and she contends that it has a lot to do with political expediency. “My hypothesis is that liberals—including nearly everyone in the entertainment business—suppressed concern about sexual harassment to help Bill Clinton, ” she wrote in an October blog post. “Giving him cover gave cover to other powerful men, and the cause of women’s equality in the workplace was set back 20 years.” She added: “Are these allegations coming out now because Hillary Clinton lost the election and the time for covering for Bill Clinton is over at long last?

Original Mike said...

"I'm trying to think if the change from DST would mitigate or aggravate the PST shift, but that takes too much concentration."

If she returns to Madison about the time of the shift, seems like it will help her readjustment back to CT, because instead of a two hour change she'd be changing only one hour.

Oso Negro said...

Sitting in a casino in Las Vegas seems to be about the least Althousian thing you could possibly do. Make the most of the time outside yourself. You are visiting a foreign world.

David Baker said...

Ann, get a few photos of your Vegas "work-space," be it snack-bar or "Denny's." We would enjoy the contrast vs. home-sweet-home.

And for all you youngsters out there, one of the quickest and best ways to meet beautiful Vegas showgirls is in the all-night supermarket - say, between 2am and 4am. I "shopped" there myself, and it was like going to a women's prison with a fist full of pardons.

reader said...

I have fun going to Vegas. We used to go a few times a year for my son's golf tournaments when he was in middle and high school.

Husband and son would get up early for golf. I'd have an early spa appointment and lay by the pool reading before it got too raucous. Then we'd have an early dinner and go see a show, typically magic or mentalist. My son and I would then go to bed and my husband would play poker.

My husband used to point out things to my son as we'd walk through the casinos. Drunk girl slapping boyfriend. Sober girlfriend disgusted by drunk boyfriend. Broke guy leaning up against the wall in shock that he lost his money. He'd constantly tell my son - pay attention to your choices if you don't want to be that person.

It's funny what kids pick up. So far he seems to making smart decisions about partying.....but he loves to play poker.

Anonymous said...

I was in Arizona Charlie's on Decatur this past Friday night. We had just landed four (4) hockey parlays (18-1 with total pay-out of $2300 with the Vegas Golden Knights at the top of all 4 tix: moneyline, puckline, and/or over) and it was time to celebrate. My bride and I were there for 6 hours and we drank and ate for free. The place was full of locals (and/or creatures of Vegas) and everybody was having a good time. From 9-1Am they had a good funk band (Chyna) in the lounge. We actually broke even on video poker and Keno. I love this town.

Oh yeah, I do like to take a hike and my favorite is Mt. Charleston less than an hour northwest on 95. More like Colorado than Nevada and you can see its 12000 foot summit from the valley if you know what you are looking for.

The sports book is the coolest place in any casino, if you ask me. If you love football, treat yourself and attend one on College Game Day. All your games are on large screens and the place rocks with every big play. Good luck trying to beat a spread.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here in Ca. I regularly get up at 5am or even a bit before. By the time our coffee is ready much of the news and blogs are already active and being posted.

The casinos don't have many windows because they don't want you to become aware of time passing. Keep you inside where you can gamble and drink. The better to take your money.

Christy said...

I haven't been for a couple of decades now, but I was surprised at how much I loved Vegas the first time I went. My business was at the Nevada Test Site but I stayed at the Dessert Inn so perhaps my enthusiasm was due to my limited time in the Vegas experience. Between conferences in Vegas and skiing in Tahoe over the years I found evenings at magic shows or playing blackjack tons of fun. The sadness of watching old ladies rotely, unemotionally, continuously pulling the levers on slot machines (Do slots still have levers or is it all buttons now?) kept me grounded and aware that I was in some playground, unconnected to my real life.

Bruce said...

"There are so many beautiful places to live. Las Vegas is not one of them."

To each their own. I chose to move to Las Vegas several years ago, and I love living here. So much to do and see; so much more affordable than Northern California where I lived before. It can be a very pleasant town to live in, especially when you know the right places to go.

That said, as is true of most locals, I don't spend much time in casinos or on the Strip. I do like to play poker, so that gets me into casinos occasionally. The Strip is expensive and usually crowded, so even when I do go to a casino, it's usually a locals casino off the Strip.

Just offering a counterpoint to the prevailing comments: We love living here!!

David said...

"I'd like to sit in a place where a server fills your cup and asks how you want your eggs."

Meade is with you, right? Next time get a place with a kitchenette.

Michael K said...

" So much to do and see; so much more affordable than Northern California where I lived before."

Not fair. Anything but California is outstanding.

I love Tucson except when it is 115 in June. Next year we are going to rent a motorhome for a month.

Anonymous said...

"The Strip is expensive and usually crowded, so even when I do go to a casino, it's usually a locals casino off the Strip."

Mega dittos to that : I went to the Wynn a few weeks ago to see John Fogerty (good show) and afterwards played dollar minimum video poker in the sports book and was charged $18 for a CrownRoyal on-the-rocks! Needless to say, I only had one and was out of there, lighter $38. Nice place, though.