Friday, July 06, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

We’ve been broadcasting live from Las Vegas the past two days. FreedomFest is in full-swing at the Bally’s Hotel Convention Center, in the middle of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, at Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo Drive.

The Big Story in Las Vegas is the heat.
Record-setting 116-degree temps yesterday and Wednesday…forget those frying an egg on the pavement stunts to demonstrate how hot it is. In Vegas, they bake pot roasts on the pavement. It’s that hot.

Most Las Vegans drive with just two fingers on the wheel…and the bicyclists’ biggest fear is that if they get knocked off their bikes by a car, they’ll cook to death on the pavement before help arrives.

I still can’t get over the fact that there are people up, slugging slot machines at 4am here (6am Houston time). Actually it’s a little pathetic—you see these little old men and women who can barely hobble from one electronic game to the next on their walkers, puffing on a coffin nail, slammin’ coins into the slots. And they look so…hopeless. I don’t get it.

Apologists for the Gaming Industry will tell you this is their choice, and people are going to do it anyway, so the Casinos are providing a “service” in setting up their games so folks can play. I’m not sure I buy that.

Obviously, there's lots of money in play. You think the casino operators are building these fabulous facilities and giving away boatloads of money? I don't think so, Tim.

It’s a moral conundrum I’ll tackle when the temperature’s not quite as torrid, in which it’s an effort to think or blink your eyes.

Vista of the Day: Next door is the Bally’s Paris Hotel, replete with an Old World hot air balloon, and a scale model of the Eiffel Tower.

Along the blistering sidewalk was an iron rail fence, with misters billowing their cooling fogs into the faces of passersby. And up through the trees, a view of the Tower that’s a little out of place in the Nevada desert.

Meyer Lansky would be proud, though.

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