A Week in Vegas with 'The Accidental Tourist'

    icon Feb 17, 2022
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Vegas had it all going on this particular weekend:  Pro Bowl, NHL All-Star game, East West Shrine game, a Welterweight Championship fight & seven different Cirque shows. My wife Paulette, daughter Christine, & I left Clearwater, flew to stormy Chicago, & then west to Sin City.

To kick things off we saw the “O” Cirque performance at the Belllagio at 9:30. This was O-MY-GOD fantastic, people we’re diving off a 100-foot high platform and nailed every dive.  Esther Williams would have been envious. The synchronized swimmers were phenomenal as well as the acrobats. The lighting and acoustics were top draw. Everyone was fit, fun, and fantastic.

Now that America no longer respects its own borders, rest assured that we now know where all the Ethiopians are. They’re driving cabs in this town. I did turn on the TV once and found out that Italy won the Mixed Doubles in Curling. Years back you would see maybe two girls dressed as chorus girls with winged feathers to earn tips; now they have two every other block, some are pretty but more than not they look like they shouldn’t be doing this.

I photographed the East/West Shrine game for REVIEW inside the new $ 1.9 Billion dollar Allegiant Stadium (Home of the Las Vegas Raiders). The West won 25-24 (Once had a 17 point lead). The game’s MVP was Brown’s QB EJ Perry (13/18,241 Yards, & 3 TD’S).  Receiver Samori Toure of Nebraska caught two TD’s. I was lucky on the second to get it on film.  As always, the Shriner kids were the winners of this game. This event would draw better if they didn’t have to compete with the Senior Bowl. I enjoyed how well the players all got along together after the game. Many of the players gave away their gloves & jerseys to the fans.

After the game I tried finding a cab outside the Stadium with no luck because the Police wouldn’t let them pick people up there - STUPID. I started to walk & kept going for nearly two miles (mostly in the dark). I came upon a Motel 6 way across from the Expressway & the Casinos on Dean Martin Drive. Here you do not want to stay (If you do, it’s $60.00 a night).  I came across a one -legged drunk woman, security with a gun, a lady of the night, & two people long past being stoned. I went in and called a cab (but sent him to the wrong location). Security called me one and then two showed up at the same time. I jumped in the first one and took off.

I got back to our Hotel (The Venetian). Here I started playing the “Wheel of Fortune”. The Wheel of Miss-Fortune” or the “Wheel of Bullshit.” My advice: Play anything else but the slots. My second piece of advice: Don’t eat at the bar. We had 3 Butternut Squash soups, 6 cold shrimp, 2 Cabs, 2 Mojito’s, & 2 Club soda’s. With a tip this came to $211.00. WELCOME TO VEGAS!  The Venetian is Italy for days and well worth it. They even have gondolas floating inside. Once Chris & Paulette were gone for 20 minutes. Two well-dressed young ladies asked If I would photograph them in the gondolas and said “it would be worthwhile” - AH NO, thank you.

I went the next day to the NHL All-Star game at the T-Moblle Arena (built at a cost of $375 Million). Outside a band played “Rock of Ages” songs. The start of the game was Vegas all the way. Six  beautiful show girls, loud rock, drummers with lit drums and glasses, laser lights, 4 Elvis impersonators, 4 Michael Jacksons, and of course a Knight skating out to slay them all. Half time was a treat featuring “Machine Gun Kelly” (Colson Baker) and what a gig this guy has. He is dating Megan Fox (star of the movie  “Jennifer’s Body”), who was there to watch him. A lot of Pizzazz here, but not the best of voices.

3 on 3 hockey is some kind of fun. The goalies had zero help. The best skaters were Connor McDavid, the Hughes brothers, Jonathan Marchessault, and Claude Giroux (the 34 year-old, was the MVP).  The Tampa Lightning had 3 Players: Hedman (Hardest Shot: 103.2 MPH), Stammer (Had a goal), & Vasy (Voted the Best Goaltender along with Toronto’s Campbell). This was Paulette & my fifth All-Star game: 1980 Detroit (Gordie Howe’s last & Wayne Grektzy’s first All-Star game), 1982 at Washington, 1984 at New Jersey, 1988 at  St.Louis, and now Vegas 2022.

The Pro Bowl was played on Sunday. The AFC won again for the 5th time 41-35. The Chargers QB Justin Herbert was the Offensive Player of the game and the home town Raiders Maxx Crosby was best on defense. Tampa’s Mike Evens made a great catch. He is the best receiver I’ve seen since Calvin “Megatron” Johnson of the Lions. This game should be played with flag football rules.

My favorite T-shirt here: “MAKE FOOTBALL VIOLENT AGAIN. There was also a fight here: Keith Thurman (30-1) beat Clearwater, Florida’s Mario Barrios (26-2) to win the Welterweight Title.

Stylin’ in Vegas: Years ago, in Ybor City, Tampa, outside a Church a lady was carrying a placard that listed the worst sins: Fornication, Homosexuality, Adultery, Porn, & Yoga pants (Yoga Pants?). Now in Vegas I understand that one.  A 250- pound women in stretchy pants - Not Good. A long- legged women in black leather tight pants - Not so bad. Smoking is everywhere, including pot. I just heard Biden approved $30 Million for crack pipe users, so now Hunter doesn’t have to buy one.

Years back, Elvis did 636 shows in a row. Wayne Newton is back in Vegas at age 79 and plastic surgery has done him no favors. He has done 25,000 shows here without reading music and plays 13 instruments - YEKS.

One day we went to the N.H.L. Fan Fest, but went to the wrong entrance in the Convention Center, so we were directed to one of the Tesla cars seating outside and a man drove us through a long tunnel to get to the correct place. The town of Vegas has numerous underground tunnels. The show was great, got a photo with the Stanley Cup and the Vegas Knight’s Cheerleaders. I told them the Tampa Lightning dumped their Cheerleaders for no apparent reason.

I got to see the Ted Lindsay Trophy for the first time, It is for the best player voted on by the players. Ted is being honored for fighting for players rights when he played. I have met Ted, who in my opinion is the true heart of the Detroit Red Wings. His likeness on the trophy is right on.      

Caesars Palace has been revamped ($100 Million). It now includes every store you can’t afford. In Vegas years back I have met: Bo Schembechler, Pete Rose, Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Larry Holmes, “Sugar Ray” Leonard, Sid Caesar, Tony Bennett, Brent Burns, and Jeremy Roenick. When our son Patrick graduated from C.M.U. we took him here. I put him on the highest building in town to go Bungee Jumping. It was new to the world and it scared the hell out of both of us.

A month after my father-in-law lost his wife, he went to Vegas on his own, at age 82. Paulette said I should go and help him out. I rented a huge red Cadillac convertible with white leather seats & took him to most every big named show in town and in the front row. Raymond loved it. He never lost at 21 while I never won at anything. He bought breakfast on the return to Saginaw.


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