Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vegas Vacation

I’m out here in Las Vegas on a “guy’s trip” with a few friends from work. I really like Las Vegas. While it’s all plastic, in no way does the city pretend to be anything else. It’s an oasis of insanity in the normalcy of the desert where nothing makes sense and everything is intentionally out of place. It’s a fake city of fake cities, of New York and Paris and Luxor and Venice and Rome and Camelot. It’s a place where untold miles of dust are suddenly punctuated by the brilliant vegetation of a golf course, but where the grass itself is limited to the tee and the green because it doesn’t want to grow, and you can’t tell a sand trap from the fairway because, well, they’re both sand. It’s a place where every hotel has its’ own mall, every mall has a Tiffany’s, and every buffet serves everything just in case they can find someone to eat it. (And they do.) It’s a place where with one glance I can have my self-esteem both inflated and shattered at the same time. And I’d be untrue to myself if I didn’t insert a small man-oriented note and say that there are more exquisite breasts (and other body parts) per capita than any city in the world. (I’m told that per woman, there are actually the same requisite number of breasts, so perhaps this is a function of volume.)

I say all this about Las Vegas not to denigrate it any way. In many ways, it reminds of a grown-up version of my own Daytona Beach, another tourist mecca that simply is what it is and doesn’t lay any pretentions to being anything else. I’ve heard that Las Vegas is actually a pretty good place to riase a family, with good schools, low taxes, and a low crime rate off The Strip. But so are places like Ulysses, Kansas (a very nice town, with no disrespect whatsoever), and nobody road trips to Grant County.

(At one time I considered applying for the job of Director of the Health Department for Clark County, Nevada. I can’t recall if I sent in the application or not, and I don’t know if I would have taken the job even if asked. At the time, I was commuting two and a half hours back and forth by air from Kansas City to Tampa every other week to see The Child, and that just about killed me…no idea what a five hour commute each way and a three hour time change would have done to my biologic clock. But I would have been perfect for the job. As the former Director of the Health Department of Volusia County, I was in charge of the Sanitation of Sin for the Eastern Time Zone. Why not take the same job up for the West?)

Anyway, here’s a few “Vegas Tales” from the trip. Hope you enjoy them. Parts II and III to follow.


We all decided that a fun thing to do on Wednesday would be to go sit by a pool. The first step in this process is to figure out which pool you want to sit by. There are specific criteria one uses in this selection process. Here is a partial list:

1) The number of hours of sun the pool received in an average afternoon in order to facilitate the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to Vitamin D, promoting bone health and preventing rickets.

2) The probability of finding enough chairs for seven people to sit together to build camaraderie and gawk in unison at the more shapely passers-by.

3) The temperature of the water so as not to induce contraction, shrinkage, and possible future fertility issues.

4) The likelihood of seeing hot women with exceptional breasts (volume and/or quality) who will most likely not talk to us because we are

a. Fortyish
b. Flaccid (at least visibly)
c. Dweebs
d. Not internet kazillionaire dweebs

5) These may or may not be in order.

In order to properly inform the selection process, we had to view at least eight pools to get an appropriate panel to choose from. As it takes forever to get between the casinos on foot (“We’re sturdy! We’re men! We can WALK! ), this means that by the time we chose a pool, it was too late to get back to the hotel and get our swimsuits that afternoon. So the actual pool visit was put off until the following day.

The swimming pool at Cesaer’s Palace is a magnificent thing to behold. Nestled within the “Garden of the Gods,” there are a whole series of pools named after the Roman deities themselves. Lots of space, very decadent padded loungers and cabanas, attentive wait staff, blackjack under a waterfall, excellent scenery. There is even the “Venus Pool Club” featuring “European-style bathing.” In the name of decency, this pool is screened off from the other, more family-friendly (In Las Veags, that’s a relative term) dunks. It turns out, however, that if you have a telephoto lens on your digital camera you can see over the screens form two pool terraces up. And I’ve been led to believe that inside the Venus Pool what you will find is thirty pale bald and flabby men who are not ashamed at all to be topless, three similarly coiffed and attired women (who may equal the men in breast size, but it’s a close call), and one incredibly nice piece of plastic work whose sole job I think was to serve as bait.

What I like to do at a pool is sit. So while my compatriots were splashing around threatening to do cannonballs in four foot water (WARNING: I do not bring spinal immobilization gear nor skull tongs with me on vacation) and finding out which bartender couldn’t add well to source the cheapest drinks, I was perfectly happy to watch over our towels and tennis shoes. I had a few drinks, read my book, got some sun, and talked for some time about what I was reading to a charming young twinkie two chairs over with a budding interest in science fiction. Four and a half hours later, the shadows from the hotel had overlapped my chair. I had finished my book, my face looked tan, and I had a nice red stripe down my chest and stomach from where I kept my shirt on to avoid getting my shoulders burned, but forgot to button it up the front.

So I heartily recommend the pool at Cesaer’s Palace. Because who knew that “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein was such a chick magnet?


Here’s what medically-oriented marathon runners (clearly not me, whose exercise is confined to squinting) talk about around the pool:

Running a marathon in the desert would be tough. You’d need lots of hydration, and lots of an electrolyte replacement fluid such as Gatorade to put sodium and potassium back into you. But running to the side of the course to pick up a drink might slow you down. And what if the Gatorade has been diluted? That would be even worse, and would surely cause cramps and make you drop out of the race.

The solution, of course, is to take a frozen banana and place it in your lower GI tract. As the banana thaws, it melts, and presumably the potassium in the fruit gets absorbed into the blood stream. No need to stop for a drink, your times improve, and you finish strong.

I think they’re going to flip to see who tries this first.


  1. At least the Las Vegas strip is one of the best places in the country to code....Much better odds than Daytona Beach.

  2. Ewww to the banana. But this really made me laugh, and I pictured a certain medically oriented marathon runner having this conversation.