Pancakes In the Age of Enlightenment- Beer and Bloating in Las Vegas

Well as I have been advertising, last week I traveled to Las Vegas to take in and gamble on the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And, as promised I am back this week to tell you, the reader, all about it. As an added bonus I will present the lowlights of the trip through not only my bloodshot, glassy eyes, but through the point of view of my friends who went on the trip with me.

The first we will call BKB. This was BKB’s first trip to Vegas, and I think it is fair to say that he enjoyed his trip. BKB’s heroic intake of cocktails in this 110 hour period made Hunter S. Thompson look like Richard Ashcroft by comparison. The second is Opie, who has been to Vegas many times, including last year, when he took an absolute bath on Alabama not covering vs. S. Illinois. We will also hear from BMc, who is my archenemy and I regret forgetting to bury in the desert while out there. They will all drop in from time to time to help out and break the monotony of listening to me drone on and on. So throw another log on the fire and settle in.

Tuesday- My vacation began at approximately 2 PM, when I was dropped off at Chicago’s Midway Airport to catch a 6 o clock flight to Dallas. This left me with a hell of a lot of time to kill at the airport. I stopped at the ubiquitous Hudson News stand, and was able to obtain the latest copy of my favorite sports magazine, the Sporting News. I subscribe to the Sporting News, but unfortunately half the time the magazine never arrives, and the other half of the time it comes at least a week late. I spent a couple of hours studying up on the teams in the tournament, and learned that Vermont’s high powered offense made them a virtual lock to hit the over against Syracuse.

My flight to Dallas was comfortable and uneventful. The plane was virtually empty, and I had a whole row to myself. While on the plane I cracked open a book I had purchased earlier in the day, the Noam Chomsky Reader, and was dismayed to find it was very out of date and spoke of the Soviet Union in the present tense. However, it was good enough to hold me over until my plane landed in Dallas at about 8:30 central time. While in Dallas I scarfed down a 6 inch turkey sub at the airport Subway, which was prepared while an employee who looked like Rerun from Whats Happenin took his break behind me and picked his nose.

My flight from Dallas to Las Vegas was considerably less comfortable. I was seated next to a lady from Wichita Falls, TX, who was sweet enough but would not shut up. She was obviously unaware that my biggest pet peeve in life is listening to people who go on and on talking about things I have absolutely no interest in hearing. The way to score points with me is to leave me alone. The 2 ½ hour flight felt more like 2 ½ days, but eventually the plane did land safely.

The line to get a taxi at the airport was very very long. A couple of hours after landing I finally arrived at the Stratosphere Hotel. Which is located next to the World’s Biggest Knick Knack Shop. This prompted me to sing “It’s the World’s Biggest Knick Knack Shop, Don’t Matter Just Don’t Bite It” about 500 times over the course of the week. There I met up with my friend Opie, who had arrived a couple of hours earlier.

Opie had this to say about his goings on while I was 30,000 feet over Utah:
“Get to hotel at 8 p.m. knowing i have a couple of hours to wait until Nick gets there to check in.
Wait near the lobby with my bags for an hour…Wait in the sports book with
my bags for an hour…wait near the lobby with my bags for two hours.. Pzak arrives at midnight
Good news…gift shop sells 24 ounce cans of evry type of beer
imaginable- including Olde English 800.”

And that’s a tip for all you youngsters out there. If you want to drink in Las Vegas, don’t buy drinks at the bar, and don’t wait around waiting for a waitress to bring you a “free” drink while you gamble. Go to the gift shop and hook yourself up a 24 oz. can of beer. It’s cheap and effective like robot wives may someday be, God willing.

We checked into our room, grabbed a drink, and played some blackjack. Before I knew it I was 60 dollars down. Even the hands I won I pulled out of my ass. I either found myself busted or “polishing the turd” on a consistent basis. I played no more blackjack the rest of the trip.

BKB arrived about an hour after I did, and I will let him take you home through the end of Tuesday night.

“TUESDAY: Got drunk with Opie and Nick. Asked Albanian bartender to
removethe Scorpions live DVD from the big screen and put on an Earth Wind &
Fireon instead. Hit on two groups of women and get shot down twice.”

Thanks BKB.

A final note on Tuesday night, while getting drunk at the hands of the Albanian bartender, a guy in a cowboy hat asked BKB for a cigarette, saying “Can I bum a smoke pardner?”, BKB was in a surly mood and told the cowboy the gift shop is thatta way. I followed into the gift shop shortly after to buy a sandwich, only to find the cowboy ends up having security called on him in gift shop to review security tape as he tries to steal cigarettes. It was pretty great.

Wednesday- The day began with a walk down the Vegas Strip. A long ass walk down the strip. Me, Opie, and BKB were headed to Bally’s to attend the ShoWest convention, which I believe is some convention for the film industry, or theatre operators more specifically. The most notable part of this was meeting some guy who thought me and BKB were theatre operators, and giving us a ½ hour sales pitch on why we should by digital films and projectors.

BKB what was your take on Wednesday afternoon?

“Walked down the strip to meet up with Opie’s old boss. Told him I always sleep butt down in a room full of guys. Ate half a hot dog. Listened to spiel from some jag off. Ate at Treasure Island. Humped a
Smut box on the way back. “

By “humped a smut box”, BKB means he performed simulated sex on a newspaper box full of hooker advertisements. Why pay for the hooker when you can just hump the box containing the advertisements? The only downside to this was BKB suffered lacerations to his arms from this, but I guess that is better than contracting crab lice.

Back at the Stratosphere I decided to go NIT-picking, and the SF Dons made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, as they were 3 ½ point favorites at home against U of Denver. Of course, they won by 2 points, costing me $20 American. This was alleviated by some success at the roulette table, where I hit a couple 5-1 bets, and was paid handsomely by the croupier. This would all be a moot point by the end of the night though, as BKB and I settled into seats at the bar at the Crazy Armadillo Lounge, and all hell broke loose.

We were greeted quite rudely by a bartender that looked like Mother Superior from Trainspotting. He told us we couldn’t bring outside alcohol into the bar, which we did. He then insulted and swore at us and demanded we buy a drink. So we did. Like a true Nancy I ordered a strawberry margarita, which would be the first of what had to be close to an entire bottle of Tequila I consumed on this night.

Wednesday night is karaoke night at the Crazy Armadillo. BKB broke the ice by performing a couple of songs, I really can’t remember anymore what they were, save for a truly disturbing version of “Personal Jesus”. I then went up and did subpar renditions of “What I Got” by Sublime and “American Girl” in the style of Tom Petty. Then I got drunk.

Next thing I knew I was turning out “Funky Cold Medina” like I wrote it myself, and I’ve got very healthy looking young girls grinding on me like it was their job. Which I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Or maybe it was, who even knows. Let’s let BKB give his account:

“Watched Nick and Opie give two of the best stage shows of the week at
Karaoke. Knew Opie was good already, was previously unaware of Nick’s
mettle. He had women throwing themselves at him and brushed them off as
annoyances.”

That is right Brian, annoyances. I am more concerned with the art. This evening effectively rendered me useless for the rest of the trip. If I was hooked up to feeding tube the next day they would have removed it. Dude, I’ve got a whole phone book full of dead people homey, it’s society man.

Opie was also on hand for much of the defiling that took place on Wednesday night, and offers up this viewpoint,

“BKB hits on a black Mrs. Doubtfire at the karaoke bar and sings like
a dozen songs- each one more painful than the one before.”

I will have to go ahead and agree with that assessment.

BMc, meanwhile, had this to say about the evening:

“Dookie and I are greeted at the door of the Stratosphere by drunk BKB and crapulent Nick. BKB speaks some white jive to us while Nick “ballsacks” him. For future reference, the term ballsack has taken the place of sidling in our vocabulary. Nick is dressed in his Wednesday’s best: a white undershirt, warm-up pants, dirty sneakers and a mesh hat with his long hair hanging out. I tell Nick he looks like something straight out of the Dukes of Hazzard. They bring us up to the room and Dookie and I are greeted by sloshed Opie. The inebriated stooges decide to go down to the casino floor and Dookie and I grab a slice of pizza. The stooges disappear for two and a half hours and Dookie and I are locked out of the room. We finally run into Opie and he shows me to the Armadillo Bar where BKB and Nick are crooning.

When I walk into the bar, I am blinded by a terrible sight; BKB flirting with a 51-year old, fat, black woman. I nearly lost the pizza I ate, so I decide to drink and hope to blackout and not remember a
thing. I look over to measure up this specimen again and catch her drinking crushed cans of Red Bull off the bar.”

Thanks for checking in BMc.

Thursday- I sleep it off all day. I was more vegetable than man on this day. My depression was compounded by the fact that my girlfriend told me on the phone that the doctor called and said I have high cholesterol, so if the alcohol poisoning didn’t kill me, that would. So I felt pretty much screwed all around. The only thing I felt like doing on this day was putting on a top hat and voodoo paint on my face, laying in a bathtub and listening to “Down In a Hole” by Alice in Chains over in over again, and I didn’t even get to do that. So we will let BKB give his account of Thursday.

“THURSDAY: Had a beer and a gin and tonic with breakfast with Opie. At
Like 10:30 AM. Could tell it was going to be one of those days. I called a
waitress”sweet cheeks”. Her real name was Donna, I think. She replied, “Are you talkin to me or are you talking to may ass?” Began to receive lewd text messages from back home. Collected on a game and trash talked the guy at the book. Quickly tried to apologize. Walked down the strip again to
Slots o’ Fun. Blew .15 on a Playboy slot machine. Sort of paced myself at various times. Met a hooker who was celebrating her birthday and a Black dude from Oslo named Abraham. Bmac and Dookie become my caretakers as dawn looms. Almost ended up face up in a Belgian waffle.”

Thanks again BKB, nothing like a nice tall Gin n Tonic to wash down your scramby eggs in the morning.
I also did not know that they had blood alcohol testers built into slot machines, what a country.

In regards to the sultry text message from back home, Opie elaborates on some of BKB’s correspondence:

“BKB starts to get text messages from back home- calls his girlfriend up and tells her when he gets back she “is going to hit jackpot on the dick machine”.

Jackpot on the dick machine. If that ain’t gold I don’t know what is.

BMc offers this account of St. Patty’s Day:
“Thursday (St. Patrick’s Day) – Dookie and I grab some eggs for breakfast,
while Bleakley grabs a Gin and Tonic plus a beer. This is the
beginning of BKB’s escape from sobriety for 18 hours. In a nutshell: BKB calls a cocktail waitress sweet cheeks, loses fifteen cents to the Playboy slot machine, sexually assaults a smut box on the strip and cuts his
hand (V.D. test results are pending), shows the crew his sexual calisthenics, has vulgar conversations with his girlfriend where he refers to himself as the dick machine, loses money playing blackjack and roulette (he doesn’t remember this I gather from his recounting the evening), meets a prostitute and a black Norwegian and ends his evening passed out with his head resting an inch over his Belgian waffle.

Nick spends the day napping and on the phone speaking baby talk with his chick. He enjoys telling her about all the food he is eating, the bets he is winning (but not the ones he loses) and how high his cholesterol levels are.”

Since this is a sports column, I will give you the rundown of my action on that day.
– Arizona won me $20 covering a 5 ½ spread over Utah St. This was the proverbial candy from a baby.

– W. Virginia won me another $20 covering 1 ½ by beating Creighton by 2.

2-0 on Thursday for me, not too bad, considering I was bedridden and in need of a colostomy bag.

I would be remiss if at this point I did not mention the entertaining Latin review put on by club singer Michaelina in the Sahara’s Casbar Lounge. Tight pants, bird noises, Shakira songs, this show had it all and we took in 2 nights in a row. Opie offers this review:

“Thursday night Michaelina takes us away with her Latin rythms and big
Jubblies.”

Friday- I woke up on Friday feeling like a new man. The alcohol from Wednesday had calcified in my liver, and I had a new lease on life. There is a spring in my step as I emerged from the wall of stink that hit you like a hammer when you entered our 5 man room, and I headed down to the book to place my action for the day.

After that my friends and I congregated around the swimming pool. They had a basketball hoop set up at poolside, so BKB, Opie and I engaged in 2 fierce games of 21. I had not played basketball in about 8 years, but found my ability level had not changed much. My game is still the same. Lots of driving the lane, low to the ground dribbling, and running one handed floaters. With my mighty head of hair, shirtless torso, and bare feet I must have looked from afar like an old Manu Ginobili fluttering about the basketball court.

The next order of business was to get some lunch, so Dookie and I took a cab over to Treasure Island. Which for my money has the best food in town, at the most reasonable prices at a place called Kahunaville. I decided to get my Jesus Juice on and had a couple of glasses of Merlot. This later proved to be a wise move because the walk back was cold as hell. The weather was not good in Vegas this week, and it was cold and windy and more like October in Chicago than Spring in Vegas. The drunkenness kept me warm though.

When we returned to the hotel we decided that since we were in the Stratosphere it would behoove us to visit the top of the tower there and see Vegas from way up in the sky. I do not like heights, so at first I was a little skittish up there. However, a couple more glasses of vino later I felt good and enjoyed the view very much.

From there we headed out to a sushi place located in the fashion mall on the strip. It was absofrigginlutely delicious. I had baked green mussels on a bed of wasabi potatoes, and then some sort of seafood noodle dish that was just as good. All this was made better a couple of hours later as results from that evenings games started to come in. Bucknell and Kansas just made my over by 1 point, giving me 20 bucks, and Georgia Tech pulled away from GW to win me 40 bucks. This made up for a couple of losses earlier in the day. To summarize Friday’s betting results:

– Bucknell and Kansas combined for 127 points to nip the over under of 126 and win me 20 bucks.

– Vermont and Syracuse came nowhere close to the 138 I needed to win my over bet. My first loss of the NCAA tournament cost me 20 dollars.

– Miss State hammered Stanford and cost me another 20

– The big one, Georgia Tech took care of business against GW to win me 40 bucks and put me ahead for the day and the trip.

Satiated by the happy results of the evening games, BKB, BMac and I decided to take in a show. The show was called Bite and was an erotic review featuring vampires, acrobats, fire, coffins, and boobs. It was so much like my dreams it was chilling. For me it was a good capper to an overall good trip. BKB had this to say about the show:

“Made plans for sushi and a vampire smut show called ‘Bite’. Saw some amazingly beautiful women at both places. Met two girls from the Bite show and some dude. The dude was from Brussels, so me and BMac called him Goldmember. Hit on more women later and watched the sun come up for the second time. Realize how much I’ve been drunk.”

Funny how one night you are face down in a Belgian waffle, and the next you are almost face down in a Belgian man. Truly a box of chocolates.

Opie’s evening was a little more sedate:
“Friday:
Me and Dookie watch four hours of Law and Order.”

Rock on bro.

Saturday- I woke up at 5:45 AM to catch my flight home. This would have been difficult except BKB was just getting in at that same time, so his knock on the door woke me up. While vacation was over for me, the others still had one day to hold down the fort, and here is what happened in the words of BKB:

“Nick is gone and Opie is leaving. Ate at a buffet and took last hike down the strip with Bmac and Dookie. End up sober. At long last. Really feel like Nick Cage. Ended up losing a total of 22.50 gambling.”

So in summary, I leave you with these 3 pieces of advice,

1. Watch out for Gonzaga!! They are a real sleeper team! i think this is the year they get to the final 4!!!
Hi I work for ESPN!!
Mehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

2. Wake Forest is battle tested! They’re my pick to win it all! Who cares they don’t play a lick of defense! My name is Andy Katz and I look like a silly bastard!

3. Be sure to watch SportsCenter when Fred Hickman is hosting. His delivery is as smooth as 50 year old cognac. I’m dead serious here. It’s about time they hired somebody that doesn’t require me to watch the show with the mute button hit, making the hosts look like some Marcel Marceau wannabe.

Well that is it for this week. Hope you enjoyed the recap. Next week we will take a look at what’s went on in the NFL Free Agency season thus far, and see what’s on tap for the opening week of the MLB season. Till then, you Dukakis Hugging Moon Maidens.

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