Two quick notes while I have a light day at work.
First, I went to New Orleans two weeks ago for business and met Oyster from Your Right Hand Thief, our so-called liberal "ombudsman". You'll see his name pop up in the comments every so often. We hung out at the New Orleans dining institution, Mother's, then grabbed drinks. Nice guy with cute baby girl who thankfully resembles the momma.
Second, Monkette2B and I went to Las Vegas last weekend -- what a freak show that place is. Vegas is simply not a normal human habitation outpost. There is wasteland and wasteland, tract houses, McMansions, a business district of some sort and then there' THE STRIP. I'd not been to Vegas in decades, so this was all new to me. But the hotels there are f-ing HUGE. Of the 20 largest hotels in the world (by # of rooms), 17 are on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotels are so large that the 2100+ room New York, New York hotel doesn't even rank. We stayed in the world's #3, the Luxor -- the freaky pyramid shaped monstrosity.
Vegas is a playground for adults: gambling, shows, more gambling, booze, and various entertainments in each hotel on the Strip (each of which is the size of a mini-mall) ranging from Great Cats at the Mirage (home of Siegfried and Roy) to a rollercoaster at NYNY to art museums at the Luxor, Venetian (Guggenheim) and Bellagio (MFA Boston outpost). Everything is overpriced and the food is substandard such that the price/quality ratio is decidedly worse than even your usual tourist traps like the various Caribbean destinations. All that said, it's certainly interesting -- like an interactive museum of American excesses. The Monk took it easy on everything but the booze and only lost about $60, and we also saw the Blue Man Group show. It's great if you've not seen one before, but it's VERY similar to the various other Blue Man Group shows throughout the country (we expected sizeable differences, not so).