Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Stranger an a Nearby Land

We just returned from Mexico, but Las Vegas seems much more foreign to me. The airport with a casino with loud and glaring videos advertising the main casinos in town. The lobby of the hotel is a casino. I see people sitting on top of their slot machines putting money in, but nobody looks very happy. Many of the other casinos look like a larger version of something that parents would set up for a children's birthday party -- gaudy and patently phony. I have a hard time imagining what the attraction would be.

There are two other large conventions in the hotel. The National Strength and Conditioning Association and a national pawnbrokers association. I was talking to a fireman from the first convention, or just got back from Chico. Incidentally, the awful picture that was on the main page of the Washington Post was from Paradise, about 12 miles from Chico. Much of the town is under evacuation orders. Driving to the Sacramento Airport, when we got a little closer to the fire, the visibility was not much more than 100 yards.

Last I heard, Freedomfest had 1300 paid participants at almost $500 apiece. The meeting has 120 booths. Some are people making investment pitches, but most are very conservative organizations, such as Cato and Heritage Foundation. Both Ron Paul and Bob Barr have booths as well.

I know almost nobody here. I did spend a couple of afternoons with Milton Friedman's son, David, when he was younger and less famous. In later years, he showed no sign of recognition when I encountered him.

A number of sessions are devoted to debunking environmentalism. I do not know if the people are offended by the idea of environmental disruption or government programs to supposedly mitigate the problem. Gold and the dollar seem to be of major concern. People like Steve Forbes and Richard Viguerie will be talking about politics.

There is a strange feeling in being immersed in an alternative universe -- stranger still in an environment like Las Vegas.


Sandwichman said...

I see people sitting on top of their slot machines putting money in, but nobody looks very happy.

Someone should point out to them that the happier they look, the better the odds are of getting lucky. said...

Maybe you should write a sequel to Hunter S. Thompson's infamous _Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas_.

Anonymous said...

You're suffering from an episode of cognitive dissonance. You are likely to have more than a ganglionic root filling the void in your head. As a result you have the ability to observe, think about what you've observed and form logical conclusions from that process. The dissonance comes from the fact that few of the others at such a convention have those same characteristics. They haven't passed the observation phase of the cognitive process.

Anonymous said...

Vegas is over stimulation for everyone. Be prepared for Vegas is the least anyone can say about Vegas. There are casinos in the lobby like you said, most hotels have a lot of windows that bring in natural light Vegas avoids this. If people cannot see outside when gambling that don't really know what time it is. I've gambled at 5 am in the morning so don't worry about it. Most people can only spend a few days in Vegas before it drives them crazy. said...


If you are going to emulate "Dr." Hunter S. Thompson, you had better get going at ingesting all kinds of things that we should not discuss in public. If you have been doing so, at least it appears that you gotten through your formal presentation without too much embarrassment, ;-).