My blog gets between 250 and 14,000 hits per-post. I hope this is one of the 14,000 ones.
Overall it was fun and the food was generally good. The casinos are WAY different than I remember them – not for the better. I don't remember them being all smoked out. There is no such thing as a non-smoking section in any casino and it's hard enough to get a non-smoking room. I got stuck in a 'smoking' room the first night and couldn't sleep. But here's the thing. Everyone who is smoking is, for the most part 60+ years old – and the ones who aren't are walking around with O2 tubes in their noses. So in ten years there won't be a customer base and Vegas will tank unless they wake up. The nuvo professionals aren't going to tolerate all that second-hand smoke or the smell.
Apparently no one in Vegas has figured out that they could get a fresh crop of affluent players by the simple expedient of opening a non-smoking section in their casinos and loosening the slots a little as an opening promotion. Everyone would go in to play and outside to smoke and a new generation of players might keep the city going. Unless someone does that it's not worth going in my opinion, unless you want to hit the casinos between 3am and 8am. It's still bad, but not AS bad. When I was younger, everyone there was my age. They still are. But they are all going to die within ten years – then what, Vegas?
Let's do the bad stuff first. There isn't much of it. One night in a smoking room, the TSA nazis and the Advantage personnel and cars and automated gambling. It isn't personal anymore and it isn't fun. Here goes:
The counter-person at Advantage rent-a-car was rude and surly. It wasn't a one-off deal. I went to her FIVE times hoping to catch her in a good mood. Never happened. She clearly hates her job, although most of the work I saw her doing was reading a novel. That's probably why she doesn't work at TSA. She might have to get off her duff. Anyway, I can suggest that if you want a rental car, Advantage wouldn't be the place to get it. If anyone from Advantage reads this, and I doubt they care, my rental number was RR179166536. I'll never rent from them again anyway, and if ~you~ do, you won't be pleased.
Sam Boyd must be dead. I didn't check, but no one still breathing would allow their properties to go to hell like that. When you get too rich and don't see to your own business establishments now and then, that's what happens. I guess they don't check too closely about employee qualifications, either. One of the ARMED female security guards at the Main Street Hotel was about 5'5″ and 350 pounds. She isn't going to be giving anyone CPR or breaking up a fight. She'd probably have a heart attack from the exertion of going up the escalator. Another security guard was swaggering around the casino wearing a thigh rig. Musta thought he was Wyatt Earp.
OK, so much for Boyd's casinos. There ARE actually a couple of nice casinos in Vegas. The South Point was nice. And then there was…well, after that none of the other places were the least bit impressive. There aren't any big names off the strip except, I suppose, people that own part of the casino. David Copperfield, Louie Anderson, Penn and Teller.
In five days and four nights in seven or eight casinos – looking for one that had ANY winners and didn't smell TOO bad, I heard ONE announcement of a jackpot winner. Some lady won $3,000. That was supposed to be a freakin' HUGE event. I just rolled my eyes and walked away. That was it. No one won shit.
Want to shoot a grease gun or an M249 or a Thompson…or any of about twelve other full autos? I didn't. I've been there and done that in the Marine Corps and my department and the guys who cycle through here. But if you don't deal with special forces and get to play with their toys, let me tell you about The Gun Store at 2900 E. Tropicana in Las Vegas, 89121. (702) 454-1110.
They were nice and they give the Nevada CCW course FREE. I wanted to get the ticket, but they wouldn't let me go the half-day course, even though I had just re-certed HR-218 (439 out of 440 – I tossed one into the '9' ring, but it's still DX) and am a Utah (now expired) and Florida CCW instructor…and Hawaii County Instructor…and an NRA Instructor…and the other ten certs I have, including my federal instructor contract for special forces.
I have a police CCW for their state anyway and it should have been a simple courtesy for this reason: The course they teach ALSO COVERS UTAH AND FLORIDA. Let me repeat that I am a Utah and Florida CCW instructor. And a Hawaii County Instructor…and an NRA Instructor…and a bunch of other things including a federal instructor under contract for special forces. They shouldn't have been asses about it. A half-day course covering Nevada law would have been sufficient – considering that I live in a non-reciprocal state anyway, so it wouldn't have hurt them and it might have helped the Second Amendment Foundation with our lawsuit to require Hawaii to issue CCWs. But they wanted to be anal and they will get the same courtesy if they ever want a firearms course in Hawaii.
But if you go to Las Vegas, stop in if you want the three CCWs. Of course you already Have Utah and Florida from me, but you'll still have to sit through 8 hours of firearms 101 and then go on another day with a money order to the LVMPD for prints. I couldn't. I was leaving at 6am the next morning so I had to walk out of the class and call my friend to get it done.
It's like anything else. Cops take care of cops. Civilians cover their asses. These are civilians.
Apart from that, the people in the STORE are really nice and the ladies are prettier than show girls. Don't expect to get any discounted merchandise, though. Buy from Brownells if you want price.
Now let's get to the casinos. Don't bother. They suck. Half the dealers are computer generated screens and the rest don't deal. They put the cards in a machine which deals. They don't use coins in slots anymore. You put in a bill between $1 and $100 and you get to play and listen to bells ring until it's gone. The secret is that in every single game, the odds can be computer controlled (changed) from one hour to the next and the odds aren't posted. Further, the game is decided the second you push a button. The lights and bells are just frosting – and the slots don't actually turn. they just generate the cards or bells or whatever on a computer screen. It's not gambling. It's all show and no go except for the craps tables and I saw an idiot drop $2,000 on a crap table in the Mains Street Casino in ten minutes. The food and drinks used to be free, but no longer. Sure, SOME of it is free, but not the drinks and not MOST of the food.
Vegas used to have a feeling to it. It was fun. The machines and dealers were real, the girls brought you REAL drinks if you were playing, and it was fun enough that you didn't mind dropping some money just to be part of it – and you COULD actually win a million dollars. Now you can't. Now you can play for hours and you'll be lucky to get a watered-down drink. “Real” gamblers aren't down on the floor wandering from penny slot to penny slot. They are up in special rooms being catered to. If you are on the floor, you are a chump – and that's how you are treated.
Boyd Gaming, which owns 18 gaming properties, also owns Vacations Hawaii. They fly six round-trip flights a week to Vegas on Omni Airlines – which they also own. Their 767s fly 181 passengers and probably burn about a pound of fuel per hour for every 35 pounds of weight at optimum altitude and mach .8. A round-trip between Honolulu and Las Vegas probably costs about $82,000 in fuel. Boyd Gaming makes that run 20 times a month. Hawaiian Airlines does it twice a day. Someone is still dropping money in Vegas.
The TSA: Clowns in federal uniforms. Worse than that. They are the embodiment of the Insane Clown Posse with federal powers. They are still being trained to view every passenger as a potential terrorist and that's just how everyone is treated. Unless, of course, you own your own airplane or can bum a ride on a friend's business jet. There is no TSA for anyone except the public who have to fly commercially.
There is a difference between treating Americans like cattle or, if you prefer, prisoners preparing to board CON-Air for a trip to federal prison. They are incompetent; they aren't well educated; they aren't police officers and don't know what to look for, even though they think they do. Their field trainers are incompetent. I saw one fat, ratty looking slob who couldn't train my dog taking a group of TSA people off to a 'training' session'. I actually laughed. The TSA hierarchy of political appointments is incompetent, led by an incompetent President, and it shows.
During 'Happy Hour', when there are heavy passenger loads, any semblance of security breaks down – it's an act to begin with – and anyone can slide anything through. But they won't. Terrorists are smart enough not to go right to where someone is specifically looking for them. I and everyone I know could beat the TSA security at any airport on any day through the simple expedient of looking for a softer target. If I wanted to take down an airplane, that would be just as easy. They still make you take off your shoes and walk through a disease-laden filth-encrusted entryway to the body scanner.
It's a good thing I'm a counter-terrorist. I could ruins someone's world if I were a bad guy, simply by realizing that the TSA and now the FBI are jokes.