Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

From our No Shit Dept.: Hotels aren’t secure

October 4, 2017

No bag limit.

Sometimes I get the impression the fake news thinks we rubes never leave our flyover-country shacks.

Of course hotels aren’t secure. Nothing is.

Look at the pile of luggage I dragged into the Luxor for Interbike last month. I could’ve had a crazed midget with a sawed-off shotgun inside that rolling suitcase, a MAC-10 and a couple dozen extra magazines in the messenger bag, a few bricks of C4 in the backpack, a couple of Glocks with spare mags’ in the camera bag, and the boiled head of Sean Spicer in the cooler.

Nobody batted an eyelash when I hustled all this crap from the self-park up to my room. Not even The New York Times.

The American nightmare

October 2, 2017

Mandalay Bay, pictured from the walkway into the neighboring Luxor.

If Charlie Manson checked into the Safari tomorrow morning, nobody would hassle him as long as he tipped big.Hunter S. Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”

If we learned anything at all from the good doctor, it’s that anyone can bring anything at any time into a Vegas hotel room.

I’ve been doing it for years. Big black rolling suitcase with a big black messenger bag strapped to its handle, a camera bag, a 25-liter backpack, even a cooler. I always thought if anything drew a floorwalker’s eye, it would be the cooler.

“Sir, you’ll need to return that to your vehicle. We have beverages for sale in the resort.”

But nope. Not a peep. Not at the Luxor, anyway. And I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and speculate that Mandalay Bay doesn’t hassle Charlie either.

Regulars here know I own firearms, but nevertheless believe the Second Amendment was in dire need of a copy editor. And I’ll leave it to another Charlie, the invaluable Mr. Pierce, to bring the heat regarding our national acceptance of blood sacrifice on the constitutional altar.

But I will note that while eyes pop at massacres like the one in Vegas, their lids droop at the day-to-day body count in places like Albuquerque, where we are on pace to exceed last year’s 61 homicides, up from 56 the previous year and the highest number in two decades.

So I’ll encourage you to pester your legislators to consider both the cascade of blood and the steady drip, drip, drip. Urge them to do more than send thoughts and prayers, which have proven remarkably ineffective against the gun lobby. Remember that elections matter (we have one here tomorrow).

And cling to hope while remembering another quote from Thompson, a man with his own firearms fetish:

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

Greatest Hits of 2016, Part 4: Bum hand

December 30, 2016

• Editor’s note: As the year winds down, I’m taking a page from the mainstream-media playbook and reprinting a handful of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. This one was published in the Nov. 1 edition.

Welcome to the Island of Dr. Mandalay.

Welcome to the Island of Dr. Mandalay.

Hold or fold?
This hand looks
more like a paw

“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” — a quote often attributed to H.G. Wells

By Patrick O’Grady

Well, now we know which island was Dr. Moreau’s.

Manhattan.

H.G. Wells called “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” published in 1896 when he was just 30 years old, “an exercise in youthful blasphemy.” Perhaps, but the tale has aged well.

Indeed, a descendant of Wells’ Hyena-swine stalks the earth today, shambling from its gilded tower in New York onto stages from coast to coast, snuffling like a greedy hog rooting for someone else’s truffles.

Like its English ancestor, it is “not afraid and not ashamed,” and regardless of its claims to the contrary it does not have America’s best interests at heart.

I suppose it’s too late to build that wall.

The original Hyena-swine got voted off the island near the end of Wells’ novel, after croaking Edward Prendick’s sidekick, the Dog-man. When the beast next came for Prendick, he cast the deciding ballot — bullet, actually — and that was that.

Fast-forward to October 2016 and it seemed that America’s Hyena-swine had likewise sustained a mortal wound. Still, reports celebrating its impending demise felt premature as the Thing thrashed madly about, snapping at friend and foe alike, driving all the other ill-made creatures into slobbering fits of rage.

And as we thumbed through the final pages in the tale of the 2016 presidential election, some doubt remained about which creature would be running the island — the Hyena-swine or the Hilldebeast — at the end of it all.

>> Click here to read the entire column.

Interbike 2016: Sucking it up

September 26, 2016
The Duke City vortex.

The Duke City vortex.

ALBUQUERQUE (MDM) — There must be something to all that vortex talk about Sedona. Something was definitely sucking there on Saturday. Mostly the drive in, down Oak Creek Canyon, on what should have been a beautiful fall afternoon.

I suppose if you have to be trapped in a traffic jam there are worse places for it. I had just left one of them, Las Vegas (“Gateway to Bankruptcy and Repossession”), and was glad of it, too.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

Still, you expect all manner of inconvenience in Sin City. Sedona bills itself as “The Most Beautiful Place On Earth In So Many Ways,” but this linear parking lot was not one of them.

Right behind me were a couple little yos in a red Kia getting their smoke on, their rap music polluting the air nearly as badly as the conga line of cars. (Pro tip: A red Kia is not “gangsta.”)

Up front, a sign proclaimed “Speed Reduced Ahead.” Not possible, I thought, glancing at my speedometer, which was flirting with zero. This made driving through Taos on Memorial Weekend look like barreling down I-25 between Raton and Wagon Mound at 3 in the morning. At least nobody was hollering or honking.

I hadn’t been to Sedona in years, and I wouldn’t see much of the new-and-improved version this trip. After inching through town to my hotel, I slouched over to the inevitable Whole Paycheck, bought a mess of juice, salami, cheese and crackers, and slouched back. Thusly fortified, I reclined on a chaise lounge at poolside and set about enjoying the comparative peace and quiet of the bubbling hot tub after the clangor and din of the Luxor-Mandalay Bay Dante Alighieri Memorial Circles of Hell (Two Through Four Inclusive).

Rub-a-dub in the hot tub! Or right next to it, anyway (yes, I eventually got in).

Rub-a-dub in the hot tub! Or right next to it, anyway (yes, I eventually got in).

Just about then a couple wanders in and of course they are in a mood to chat, having just come from the annual Sedona Winefest. He was a copper miner from Globe-Miami, and she was a phys-ed teacher and coach … who just happened to have cycled with a trailer from Canada to Mexico and was a member of the Adventure Cycling Association.

(“Cue “It’s a Small World After All.” Everybody sing!)

Anyway, they told me that on any given weekend Sedona was pretty much as I had already seen it, and so bright and early the next morning I arose, loaded the Subaru and got the hell out of Dodge. Vortex. Whatever. I took the back door through the hamlet of Oak Creek, which allowed me to use fifth gear and my inside voice.

I made it back to Duke City and El Rancho Pendejo in time for a light dinner and a short walk with Herself and Mister Boo. Turkish and Mia bestirred themselves, albeit briefly. (“Oh, you were gone? We hadn’t noticed.”) We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and an early bedtime.

All this peace and quiet will be shattered by tonight’s debate and the subsequent spinning of same, of course. Some vortexes suck more than others.

 

Interbike 2016: Pain in the. …

September 21, 2016
GoPro's crew and the sporting media, brandishing technology at each other. Sort of like the hominids waving bones around in "2001," only without all that Stanley Kubrick going on.

GoPro’s crew and the sporting media, brandishing technology at each other. Sort of like the hominids waving bones around in “2001,” only without all that Stanley Kubrick going on.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — The stabbing pain in my right calf let me know that it was time to rise and shine, if by “rise and shine” you mean “vigorously rub a cramping leg muscle while employing language you didn’t learn from your momma.”

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

It was way too early for a massage that doesn’t have a happy ending. Happily, the Starbucks just around the corner from the East Tower elevators is a 24-hour deal, and after I limped down there for a flagon of the black I was at least able to swear in English and without repeating myself much.

(Yes, I know, Starbucks bad. Starbucks evil. Starbucks also everywhere. We go to Interbike with the coffee we have, not the coffee we wish we had.)

Last night I connected with some of the Adventure Cyclist and Bicycle Retailer mobs for a media preview of a few brands’ offerings and a bite of dinner at Border Grill.

REI announced that it was dropping its Novara label for house-brand bikes, which henceforth will be called “Co-op Cycles.” And GoPro was showing its brand-new HERO 5 camera and Karma drone. That booth was the hottest spot in the room (apologies for the crappy iPhone shot).

I thought briefly about wedging myself into the crush to get the details, and then I thought again. The show hasn’t even opened yet. One cramp at a time, please.

• Deep Thought of the Day: Why do people involved in the collection and distribution of information gather in noisy bistros where they can’t hear each other speak? No wonder everyone stares at their devices all the doo-dah day. “Siri, tell Ray to message me, I can’t hear a damn’ thing he’s saying. What? Can you hear me now? How about now? NOW?”

 

Interbike 2016: Hold the phone

September 20, 2016
Vegas, baby. What happens here stays here, until they tear it down and build some other here here.

Vegas, baby. What happens here stays here, until they tear it down and build some other here here.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (MDM) — Whenever I see an exterminator’s van in Las Vegas the temptation is to shout, “You’re targeting the wrong species!”

Maybe it’s because I don’t get out much, but still, damn.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

As I lurched in first gear over to the Mandalay Bay-Luxor casinoplex to set up the Mad Dog Media Interbike Hindquarters (the headquarters is someone else’s problem), I heard someone yell, “Pull up more, bitch!”

A fellow motorist one lane over had carelessly left a few feet of empty space between her vehicle and the one in front, and the gentleman behind appeared to be in something of a rush. Probably shouldn’t have been piloting a shitbox sedan on Tropicana come noontime, then, it being more of a parking lot than a thoroughfare. Bring your flying car next time, Ace.

Show credentials safely in hand after no wait at all, I dropped by Starbucks for a $5 cup of the black and was startled to see a well-dressed gent conversing at some volume with a person who was not there.

Silly me. I always forget that Very Important People use Bluetooth to chat up their invisible friends when they’re not busy hollering at other motorists.

Checking into the Luxor took a bit longer, that line being about like the one on Tropicana, only with less honking. Once upon a time people standing in queues used to speak to one another, mostly small talk like, “Standing in queues sucks, huh?” Now they all clutch the handles of their rolling suitcases like sword hilts and stare at their devices as though they were grails. Today’s champ: a guy herding three rolling suitcases while working a full-size laptop. Mad skillz, yo.

I cranked up the Fitness app on the old iPod for all of this wandering about and discovered that I’d walked 3.3 miles, burning 383 calories. Naturally I felt compelled to balance that ledger with a platter of fish and chips at Rí Rá, enjoyed while watching footy, a pastime which I understand not at all (Chelsea spanked Leicester City, 4-2).

Industry titans seen so far: Ray Keener, Chris Zigmont, Brian “Quadzilla” Sidwell and David Thom. Only Ray was too busy for a chat, and that’s because he’s Ray Fuckin’ Keener. OK, so he was on the phone. A proper phone, without the Bluetooth, so you could tell he was on the fuckin’ phone.

• Observation of the Day: When did every hotel chain in America start serving what they allege is “breakfast?” They only feed you this horrible crap because they know what you’re doing up there in their rooms, you nasty little people, and they hope you die.

Interbike 2016: An Ash Fork in the road

September 20, 2016

Long-term parking

March 1, 2016
Jeez, another dude merging without using his turn signal.

Jeez, another dude merging without using his turn signal.

Interesting read here, and a “big idea” indeed.

The author opines that removing vehicles from the nation’s streets “would make urban life cheaper, safer, quieter and more pleasant,” and that good public transportation “coupled with fast, safe, pleasant walking and bicycling can easily meet the need for movement within our cities.”

As a bicyclist who just drove a couple thousand miles to the Phoenix clusterplex and back, and as a resident of the Duke City, where driving like a deranged asshole is the official city sport, I can dig it. The recent trend toward cheap gas has not made motoring any happier, either, unless you’re one of the overpowered, underbrained sociopaths who thinks “Max Max: Fury Road” was a documentary.

But I’d sure like to see some numbers on the up-front cost of shifting urban hellholes like Phoenix, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas to auto-free — or even auto-limited — human-friendly habitats. Somehow the word “cheaper” is not the first descriptive to leap to mind.

Send in the clones

December 15, 2015
It doesn't look that cold out there, but it is. Can't you see the tree shivering?

It doesn’t look that cold out there, but it is. Can’t you see the tree shivering?

All right, which one of you wisenheimers swiped my sun-splashed Southwestern desert?

It never got over freezing today — the average for the day is supposedly in the mid-40s — and I was very much not interested in logging miles on any of the review bikes in the stable.

Instead, I made soup. That’s exercise, right? All that washing, peeling, chopping and stirring?

Sure it is.

The candidates for the GOP pestilential nomination will be making something else entirely in Vegas this evening, something not unlike a shit soufflé, but I will not be watching. Life is already far too short for that sort of cookery, even with the media trying to whip up an MMA steel-cage death match out of what amounts to a clone army of your drunk Uncle Buster carpet-bombing Christmas dinner.

Speaking of bombing, Los Angeles collectively soiled itself today over what is now believed to be a hoax involving attacks on school districts in large cities.

Thank God Al Gore hadn’t invented the Innertubez when I was a malchick. If my droogies and I had had smartphones back in the day, school would have been in session like, never, dude, sir.

“OK, hold the bong for a second and check this out. Hey, how do you spell ‘Klingon bird of prey?'”

Putting on the Dog

September 15, 2015
For today at least, Sin City is not a scorching hellhole.

For today at least, Sin City is not a scorching hellhole.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Early rising makes me disagreeable, even more so than usual. So rather than make my usual pilgrimage to Late for the Train, I fled Flagstaff for Vegas, where one more bad attitude is the equivalent of a mouse fart at a sewage treatment plant.

interbike-bugOddly, my arrival was completely incident-free. I checked in at the Luxor, picked up my show badge, and settled into my spacious Cycling Journalist’s Suite at the Luxor, awaiting the first of what I hope will be many meals at someone else’s expense.

The kickoff is always dinner with the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News mob. Then Adventure Cyclist takes a pounding for the duration.

That's Smirnoff, but not of the Yakov variety.

That’s Smirnoff, but not of the Yakov variety.

Throwing a few meaty bones to the old Dog is a small price to pay to keep me out of the office, and indeed across state lines. More than one of them, too, BRAIN being a California concern while Adventure Cyclist is based up Montana way.

On the way over to score my badge I noticed that someone had already had his dinner. Well, like they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Specifically, in and around the toilet at the Luxor.

Next: It’s showtime!