Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Vegas Vacation Part II

Well, it's good thing that there are so many things to do and see in Vegas, because walking will do you a bit of good after the buffets. I went in a fairly decent in-shape middle aged man and came out looking five and half months pregnant.

Avast, ye blog readers, heave to! A lot has changed in the fifteen years since The Missus and meself set foot in Vegas. The last time we were here, fifty mile an hour winds prevented the pirate show from going on at Treasure Island...

...needless to say, this isn't your parent's pirate show. Gone are the days where they had sword fights, muskets and one ship rammed into the other. Or at least that was the way the old show was described to me. I realize that everything has to change to attract a new audience, though the show I had described was not the show that my thirteen year-old saw.

The wind cries...who? The statue (is that what it's called? on the prow of The Siren's ship should be your first clue that once again, this is not your parent's pirate show.

This is your other clue that the show has changed. The major casinos had custom chopper with a theme to it. This one is for the "Sirens of Treasure Island," which is what the new show is called.

None of the custom choppers are street-legal. If you rode on one, at the first pothole or speed bump, the drive chain would rips the seat of your pants off...along with your seat and maybe your spine.

Sorry, my cell phone camera doesn't have zoom and this is the one time I wish it had a telephoto lens. Yet I guess their "siren song" can't be too effective, if they need those costumes. I didn't bother taking a picture of the pirates, though you could have had a good laugh at the one that was done up like parrot. Everyone lip-syncs their routine, which is understandable because you don't want to mike people with water and explosions involved. What I really, really could have done without was the dancing pirates.

So much for the "S.S. Dancing Pirate." The Sirens song that they used to sink it, was a combination "Don't Pay The Ferryman" and "The Immigrant Song." It not only sunk the pirate ship, it sunk my stomach too with its mediocrity.

Don't get me wrong, the women were pretty. I just prefer my pron...hardcore and with no dancing in it. I'm not a fan of soft-core reviews, though I understand they are Nevada's bread and butter. Yet I am not a fan of mixed genres and this was as mixed-up as tourist ralphing up his buffet after three too many drinks.

Either run a competent soft-core review or have a real action show, but don't make us stand around for thirty minutes, for a bad Britney Spears' video.

The rear view of the Sirens' ship and, uh, a pearl in a scallop shell?

This shot was from a pedestrian bridge, though you can't tell. The traffic around the strip was horrid.

This part of a monster mall that they have there, is it called "Fashion Island?" Hell if I can remember, I just like this pancake umbrella dome. Ah, the pic says "Fashion Show," let's go with that.

Looking out from The Pancake Umbrella Dome.

The vid screens there.

The next post will feature Downtown and "The Fremont Street Experience."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Vegas Vacation Part I

And so it begins, "they're going to Lost Wages, Lost Wages." We flew Virgin America to Las Vegas and to borrow the slogan of a defunct airline, it's "the only way to fly!"

How do you guarantee a smooth flight?

With Le Tourment Vert, my first foray with absinthe. Even though I've seen "Bram Stoker's Dracula" at least three times, I forgot to add sugar to this stuff (you're supposed to filter it through a sugar cube and no, not Bjork. An actual sugar cube).

Still, the resulting buzz was outstanding and I recommend you try this when you fly, as it will make all but the worst turbulence a wonderful experience. You might need it, as the ride into Vegas can get bumpy. It wasn't the worst for me, yet a couple of people looked a little pale.

I had some unintentional fun when I remarked to The Missus "throw this away, Grumpy Bunny," just as the flight attendant walked by. Not that I call The Missus that odd term of endearment at all, I just said that to get a rise out of her, and I wound up getting rise out of the stewardess instead.

The outside of the Luxor hasn't changed at all and unfortunately, the interior has changed for the worse in one aspect; gone is the underground canal and barge, which was the basically the reason we came there in the first place.

Mind you, The Luxor is still's just that the canal made it better. I believe that when they opened The Venetian, that Vegas decided there was room for only one canal.

Do you remember cars in front of Ellis Island, because I sure don't.

A roller coaster winds all the way around the grounds of New York, New York. The Sahara has one that goes around the property too.

No, this picture is slightly different from the one two pictures above it.

Here is the bridge to New York, New York. The two advantages of the casino over the real version is the cleanliness versus the real thing, and cars/taxis can't run you over. Over course, it doesn't have the soul of the city, the affordable restaurants, the diversity of the various cuisines, and you can't go to dinner with Becky at the casino.

No Francis Albert, this lady blows on her own dice.

Above is the casino's version of Times Square.

This version of Greenwich Village is anywhere from one-third to one-half scale.

The door behind the table should give you an idea of the scale of this section. If you stood up, the door is about six feet tall, tops. The Missus said it best when she called the whole thing "ersatz" and that's what it is, it is just a version of the real thing that is alluring enough to draw you in. No more, no less, and it is devoid of the character and soul of the actual thing.

Have you ever seen the Greenwich Village this clean? This sterile?

As hard as you try, you will never be able to take a picture in any lighted area of Las Vegas without someone stepping into the shot, even at 4 AM.

Da Brooklyn Bridge.

This statue and the namesake of The Diabla Cantina, seems to be Coop-inspired.

The Cantina had Steely Dan going and the Monte Carlo Casino that the Cantina is adjacent to, was playing noxious disposable pop. When you walk between the two, it feels as if your brain is on fire.

A side entrance to the Monte Carlo Casino and this angle of the statue on the left seems more saucy than it is.

Don't you love Paris in the springtime? Well Jacques, this is Paris Casino in August and it's hot as b--ls, so, I'd imagine not!

Note the mini-Arc De Triomphe on the right.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Anthony Bourdain Survives Sandra Lee

Let me preface this by saying I don't find Sandra Lee to be evil and that I have a semi-crush on her that keeps me from completely hating her for just reheating food on TV (for the most part). Yet, I'm not a serious chef nor do I play one on TV or on the Internet, and Anthony Bourdain certainly fits that description.

He had the misfortune/fortune to be ambushed by Sandra Lee and unlike his encounter with Emeril and his semi-homemade encounter with Rachel Ray, this left him slightly traumatized-

I'm paralyzed, wondering what the statute of limitations is on various things I may or may not have done twenty years ago. Sandra is talking. I know this cause her lips are moving and she's saying--overtly anyway, nice things. Like "You're a very naughty man," and she's chatting amiably with my wife... [I'm] frozen by the bizarreness of the moment which seems to go on forever as Sandra's hand wanders upward, tugs an ear lobe and asks if my ears are red yet. (They were.) Having had her way with me, she leaves the emptied husk of my carcass teetering at the table and moves on.

The rest is here at, which should be your first stop every day for the best food blogging.