The Cynic
A cynical spin on the news.
Friday, November 26, 2004

The Christmas Rush


Lindsay Lohan, the reason for the season.

I hope all of you had a good turkey day. And in Maese's case I hope you had a good vegetarian day.

So I needed to get out to the stores early today to buy a digital camera for my mother. One of those Canon jobbies that was like half price. To say Best Buy was a little busy is a bit of an understatement.

But thankfully, I skipped through the lines pretty good and cut my shopping time in half for it.

I also managed to pick up some other things like:

The First Season of '24' (It was $12.99 at Best Buy and I promised my friend I'd watch this show if the cost of the seasons went down)

Family Guy DVD Volume 1 (At $17.77 it's a decent little bargain)

Mean Girls DVD ($9.99 for a movie too many people seemed to like. It stars Lindsay Lohan and co-stars Lindsay Lohan's ever-expanding rack.)

ESPN College Hoops for XBox ($19.99 isn't a special but that game absolutely rules the earth)

Nifty Household Tool Box ($13.77, I needed one of those, now I must find a tool belt to complete the look)

Sony 48" Plasma TV ($1,200 but no financing until 2006....yeah right, I was just making sure I hadn't lulled you guys to sleep yet)

Anyway, since I'm still working on my Vegas post, I mentioned one special Sunday in this week's column. So enjoy it and imagine what a 12-man chest bump looks like.

As for last week's column, I got well over 200 responses from people around the globe. The response was surprisingly 50/50, which makes me think we need to continue speaking out for the rights of the people with common sense so they don't get swallowed up by the religious right.

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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Vegas: The Money...(Part 1)

There are plenty of other stories to tell about Vegas. The boxing was great, the food was terrific at times, I caught three shows (Blue Man Group, Cirque de Soleil: Zumanity, and NAS at House of Blues) and had a great time.

But you guys only want to here about the cash. So here we go.

Day starts with a smooth flight into rainy Dallas/Ft. Worth. The Dallas airport is pretty weak, they don't even have a tram. And the rain didn't give me a good view of the city. I quickly made sure the airport wasn't named after Bush I ("Oh no, that's Houston") and was relieved.

Off topic: I say to myself, if Bush II gets an airport named after him than Clinton deserves to have a whole fucking state named after him.

The flight from Dallas to McCarran Int'l wasn't as smooth but it was 35 minutes fast. Actually it was extremely bumpy, but I was already 100 pages into this book that Yoni recommended, so I wasn't bothered.

I check in to my hotel (originally Luxor, but it got switched to Mandalay Bay when they found out I had a fight credential and had a booked room open up...They didn't even upcharge me..) and sneak a solid three-hour nap.

A couple of notes. I carried about $1,000 in cash. No credit cards, no ATM cards. It's the smart way to do things. I keep track of my expenses because I have to have money for the travel home. If I leave ATMs and credit cards home it forces me to use discipline. And discipline is about the only ally you have in Vegas.

Why I like Vegas (Part I, section I), it's like an escape from reality. No politics, no newspapers, no news of any sort except for who covered in the games the night before. It's like time exists everywhere but skipped over the Vegas strip. If a new and even more senseless war broke out, the news wouldn't get to the strip for three weeks.

So it's Wednesday about 3 p.m. PDT and I'm off to the races. I go to Luxor to play some video blackjack, only about $25 because I'm an hour short of a meal comp. So I fuck around, lose a couple of bucks to get in my hour for my meal. I choose to eat some lasagne at Regale in Excalibur. BTW Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Excalibur are all owned by the Mandalay Club (which is soon to merge with MGM Grand) and they are connected, so technically my comps could've been used at any of the eateries in any of those places, but I wanted Italian.

It's 5 p.m. and I go to the hotel room to change. My friend Snowy is having his 50th birthday party at the Sahara. It's odd that I go to Vegas to leave Florida and half the people I know here were in Vegas for Snowy's party. Oh well.

I get there about 6 and the beer is flowing...I wish I hadn't eaten because he had tons of food, but that's just a mistake. Party's over at about 8:30 and we all head down to the casino. If you'll notice so far I haven't bet shit. That's my mistake, it's general folklore that the best time to hit the tables is in the daylight hours. Actually I've rarely lost gambling in the sunlight.

Anyway, Snowy and his drunken friends go to the craps table and start throwing down hundreds like they are on strong supply. It's weird too because I thought Snowy was just a bar manager, I have no clue how is he banking so much. Well whatever, I toss $150 on the felt myself.

I learned how to play craps in April and won about $600 in May during a Vegas trip, so I'm confident in my crap skills. We did $25 on the pass line and $10. The plan is to hold $55 for blackjack later.

I give Snowy's friends some credit, those fools can roll. The idea of craps is that either you get the hard 8 or you eventually lose what's on the table, the hope is that the rolls last long enough to where you make money. I made about $50 on the first set of rolls, $75 on the second and the third was so hot that the girl got the hard eight (double fours) and I left about $490 up.

So far so good right? Yeah..

I gave it all back on blackjack.

It was horrible.

I pull up to a $10 table and quickly drop $100...I mean really fast, like three minutes. A long time ago Bill Simmons had a column comparing blackjack dealers to baseball closers and I swear I drew some sort of Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman bastard child because this guy was freaky. My 10 hands all ranged from 15-17 too.

Refusing to leave the Sahara like that I go to another $10 table, throw down $100 and lose that in about 15 minutes. "She's the top relief prospect in our farm club," says the Sahara pit boss.

Confidence shot but still up around $300, I tell Snowy a final Happy Birthday and decide walk back up the strip a bit. I considered going into Casino Royale or O'Shea's (two local strip casinos), but I also saw that Gilley's was having bikini bull riding...

Decisions...Decisions...

In the end I was dead tired and decided that a cab ride to the hotel for some sleep would be my best bet.

Next up: Part II (Duh)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Back in the Saddle...

I'll talk more about Las Vegas later. It was a good time, I won a little cash too so I'm not complaining.

However, I've got a ton of stuff to do around the house because holiday season is here. So I'll leave you with my column from last week. It goes into the T.O./Nicolette Sheridan skit and my boss said I'm sure to get a few death threats from it.

And to that I say, "Corey, a job well done."

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I take the news
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Playing More Catch Up

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Workout 8/12 & 8/14

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