by Pa Rock
Sad news in Vegas: Marie Osmond's 18-year-old son, Michael Blosil, committed suicide Friday night by jumping to his death from his apartment building in Los Angeles. The young man apparently suffered from depression. She has my deepest condolences. As a parent, I can imagine no crueler fate than outliving one of my children.
I drove Reed out to the airport late last night to pick up his Mom and Tiffany. Their plane landed safely, and on time, but it had to sit at the far end of the runway for an hour or so waiting to be towed to the gate. The plane had lost all of its hydraulic fluid! Gail said that the flight attendants said something cheery to each passenger as they finally deplaned, but most were so pissed they wouldn't respond!
I had a couple of exciting things happen while we were waiting for the passengers to finally get inside of the terminal. First, we sat down at slot machines which are everywhere at McCarran Airport. I had several twenties and a one dollar bill. I decided to invest the one dollar bill just for grins - into the quarter slot. About two minutes later I had turned it into thirty dollars and fifty cents! Needless to say, I cashed it in and smiled all the way back to the motel! Reed has a theory that the slots at the airport pay better than the others in Vegas so that tourists win on their way out of town and are thus encouraged to return. It does seem to be the best place in town to challenge the one-armed bandits.
The second incident of note at the airport occurred when Reed and I stepped into a bar to get a couple of diet cokes. (Two small glasses of diet coke on ice cost a pricey $7.11!) When I placed the order, the bar tender told me that he would need to see I.D.'s on both of us! Seriously! I gave him my military ID which doesn't have a date of birth, and he handed it back and asked for my driver's license. I guess all of that time at the gym must really be paying off! Either that, or they have an upper age limit on who can drink diet coke!
Tiffany and I spent the day on the Strip walking and gawking. Vegas is a very interesting place, and it seems to be coming out of the recession. (Thank you, President Obama!) The crowds on the street this year were approximately twice the size that they were when I was here last February. I observed lots of people (mostly young) walking along the Strip with tall drinks in plastic containers - some three feet in length! Two guys walked by me on the street carrying a total of five twelve-packs of beer between them - there was a party waiting to happen someplace! And then there were the two overweight fellows who were wearing matching blue tee shirts - the shirts each featured a dachshund along with the saying, "Have You Seen My Weiner?"
There were also platoons of "clickers" along the sidewalks - those men and women who hand out business cards for prostitutes. The cards feature photos of naked women along with a phone number. They click them as the tourists walk by, and try to hand them out. Most were wearing tee shirts that promised that a woman could be provided within twenty minutes. On one level the enterprise is somewhat comical, until you stop to realize that the young people who actually perform the service are the daughters (and sons) who were welcomed into the world just a few years ago with love and much happiness - and thoughts of so much promise. How quickly life can turn ugly and tragic!
Branson brings in millions of tourists each year without gambling or whoring. Could Vegas survive if it dropped the "sin" elements of its economy and just focused on the world class entertainment and nice winters? Probably not - the city profits from giving the public what it wants!