Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On the Road... Las Vegas and Monte Carlo

A bitter chill greeted me as I walked to the Greek diner this morning. It was about 7:20am and I had five hours before my flight to Las Vegas was scheduled to depart. At least it wasn't snowing, which meant my JetBlue flight at JFK should leave on time. I had to finish up packing for two trips; a quick jaunt to Las Vegas and ten days in Monte Carlo, France, and Amsterdam. I have four nights in Las Vegas before I hop a red eye back to NYC for a ten hour layover (where I pick up my Euro luggage and pick up some cash), then it's another red eye to Madrid before I catch another flight to Nice and eventually a helicopter into Monte Carlo.

In the last five weeks, I spent time at various airports; JFK, Bob Hope (Burbank), Long Beach, LaGuardia, Ft. Lauderdale, and later today Las Vegas McCarran. I had to endure a cancellation, a couple of delays, and picking up the shit end of the luck of the draw when I was seated near or next to no less than six children on my last six flights.

There's one thing that bothers me the most is that people are completely ignorant when going through security. TSA workers are shouting instructions, there are clearly labeled signs, and everyone around you is doing weird things like taking off their shoes and using zip lock baggies for liquid items and toiletries. Yet, I always get some nimrod in front of me who insist on carrying a six pack of dipshit juice with him, while wearing a belt and watch through the metal detector. He holds up the line for fifteen minutes, while my shoeless feet are cold as I'm trying to hold up my pants with one hand and make sure no one steals the tray with my laptop, wallet, cellphone, and carefully packages toiletries.

I spent the last two days writing a few columns to put in the can for various deadlines and running errands such as going to the dry cleaners to get a suit ready for Monte Carlo. I also went to the bank to deposit a couple of pay checks and withdraw a chunk of cash for the next two weeks on the road. The teller was (insert minority here) and counted out my cash twice before handing it over to me. The first thing I did was count the money. I took out close to 10K for Europe and to gamble with in Las Vegas and carefully counted out all the bills. The teller glared at me with the evil eye with that look like, "You're only counting that money because I'm (insert minority here)."

Actually, that's not the time to drop the race card. I don't care if I get $1.28 in change from a bodega or a few grand at the bank. I always count my change and you bet your ass if I'm taking out more money than you make in two months humping a shitty teller job, then I'm gonna count it twice. Slowly.

My biggest concern was getting jumped when I left the bank. Then again, I looked like a total mook and an out-of-work writer. Who's gonna mug me as I'm walking around amidst a sea of suits?

I ate dinner at my brother's. We ordered chicken parm heros from the local pizza place and he had the NIT hoops tournament on. The announcer mentioned his name and I did a double-take because it was a guy that I went to high school with. I knew he was in the sports industry somehow, but not sure what he did. So there he was on ESPN, twenty pounds heavier and not wearing his Regis baseball hat that he sported everytime.

David Letterman caught the stomach flew and had to pull out of taping The Late Show on Tuesday. Adam Sandler was supposed to be the guest pimping his latest film. The producers asked him to step in at the last second. He had live performing chops thanks to Saturday Night Live, but had not done that medium in years. It's one thing to be a guest for two five minute segments split up by a clip while you pitch your latest flick. It's something else to be the host for an hour long program.

Sandler was obviously nervous as moved around a lot during his monologue. Paul Shafer stepped up and tossed him a few softballs to ease the load. Sandler made a lot of Letterman jokes along with his usual form of self-deprecating humor. His funniest joke was about George Bush when he said something like, "I'm not going to be doing any topical humor like politics. I guess George Bush is a good guy. After all, he told me he saw The Waterboy 28 times."

It was funny because it's probably true.

By the way, I got addicted to cricket during my month in Oz. Here's an instructional video endorsed by Aussie Garth, who is a certiifable cricket junkie.

Click here to view the bikini cricket video.

By the way, one of the blogs that I read daily is written by the authors of Freakanomics. They had an interesting piece today called Writing for Money. This passage was dead one:
The Twain book sounds especially fascinating to anyone who is interested in the twin arts of writing and money-making. I always want to sneer at people who sneer at writers who wish to actually be paid for their work. This troupe of sneerers seem to believe that writing is art and that art comes from the soul and that the fruits of the soul shall not be bought...

But this fact remains: Twain's drive for wealth drove him to produce literature. Call it an unintended consequence if you will. But, if you like the unintended consequence of good literature, it makes it a little harder to condemn the "greed" of a writer.
Greed is good.

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