Thursday, February 27, 2020

Viva Las Vegas

I'm in Las Vegas for the National Association of Bilingual Educators conference. I'm her at the invitation of AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn de Jesus, who's kind enough to think of me when events like these come up.

The first thing I noticed were the gaming machines. They're incredibly noisy and ubiquitous. Maybe I'm not a Vegas kind of guy, but I'm not attracted to noise all that much. Every time I go anywhere I have to navigate through 5,000 slot machines. During the day we're mostly doing PD, but at night we're free for the most part.

I haven't actually been to any shows but last night a bunch of us went to a restaurant in this huge mall
called the Venetian Resort. It looked much looked like Hogwarts, to me at least. I didn't think there were painted ceilings like this anywhere outside of the Sistine Chapel. I wonder whether someone actually painted the ceiling or if they somehow created them with a computer. I guess I'll never know.

Though the edifice itself was pretty impressive, I was surprised to find they have real gondolas serving visitors via a a man-made stream that ran right across the mall. The most progressive thing I've seen in Vegas so far is that half the gondoliers were women. They were all singing Italian songs while taking the $29 passengers merrily, merrily up and down the stream. I pooped out because I was still jetlagged from the flight here. Being on the water was not my cup of tea (or whatever they fill artificial streams with.

You don't actually have to go the big-ticket shows if you aren't so inclined. Just walking down the strip you see things like the Mirage Volcano, which I'm told is in a constant state of eruption every night.

And who says there's a water shortage?  There are fake waterfalls everywhere. Over at the Bellagio, they don't bother with fire, but water is the thing and they evidently run this show every ten minutes.

And hey, if you don't believe me, I have a bridge to sell you. They seem to have recreated both NYC
and Paris right on the strip. In fairness, I walked across the real Brooklyn bridge a few weeks ago in a March Against Hate. It was a thoughtful thing to do. A lot of right-wingers say hate has disappeared since Obama became President. In case they actually believe that, I have a bridge to sell them. I'm pretty sure I could just sell them this bridge and save the real Brooklyn Bridge to a more discerning customer.

There's nothing quite as peaceful as a fake lake. I have to say this kind of fooled me. I'm constantly walking my dog by the water near where I live, and that's about the closest thing to moments of Zen that I actually experience. I find tranquility near the water, and maybe on Monday I'll file a grievance demanding the city erect a fake lake nest to the trailer I teach in. After all, when it's icy people tend to fall. Water is not so bad. We could just swim back to the building. Joel Klein would've approved simming back to the building in a New York minute.

This, of course, is my dog Toby. He'd have enjoyed coming here. In fact, as far as I can
tell, he enjoys going anywhere. I'm not entirely sure how much he'd enjoy Vegas. He's distracted by loud noises, and often leaps in the opposite direction. I'm not sure how much he'd enjoy leaping every other minute. Behind him you can see a crate. For about a week after we got him we'd place him there so he wouldn't make a mess in the house. Now we just leave the door open all the time, and Toby seems to think it's his house. That's where you'll always find him at bath time.

Finally, I'm sharing a picture of what Toby and I actually look at from Seabreeze Park in Freeport. We walk by there every morning. On weekends, when I don't have to do the whole work thing, Toby instinctively seems to know the right moment for us to leave and watch the sunrise.

There is indeed a difference between real and fake beauty. When you're far away from home, though, you take what you can get.
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