Las Vegas Odds And Ends

Here are a few Las Vegas tidbits too short for a blog entry individually, but worthy of note.


Here are a few Las Vegas tidbits too short for a blog entry individually, but worthy of note. I saw Elvis yesterday. Creepy.

Helaine saw Michael Jackson. Extremely creepy.

“Which nose stage,” I asked?

“The last one,” she replied. “He was carrying a shopping bag.”

Maybe extremely creepy isn’t creepy enough?



There’s a building just off the strip in City Center. It’s never been occupied. Its windows are gone. Workmen are demolishing it where it stands!

It is under deconstruction.

During the original construction major deficiencies were noticed. Architects redesigned the building with fewer floors. Then more problems. It’s too weak to survive an earthquake Vegas is easily capable of.





antonio and helainePoker has celebrities. Really. Helaine had her picture taken with Antonio Esfandiari.

I said hello to Greg Raymer.

“That’s Jennifer Tilly,” Helaine said as we left a registration area. Sure enough she was on her cellphone sitting on-the-floor behind a large sign at the very corner of a hallway. Unless you came out the door we used she was invisible.

Outside a roped off area with a few tables dozens of gawkers stood and watched Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Vanessa Selbst, Erick Lindgren and others play in a very high stakes tournament.

There’s live Internet coverage of the action every day and ESPN will broadcast a boatload of highlights.

I currently recognize more poker players than Phillies players!


We’re across from Bellagio. In Fenway terms, we have a partially obstructed view of the fountain show.

Last night about 1:00 AM I was at the room’s desk, typing. I heard some pop, pop, pop and thought it was the fountains.

Then more pops.

I turned to see fireworks going off from the roof of the Cromwell Boutique Hotel. It’s not quite a block away.

No clicky on this trip, so I picked up my point-and-shoot, braced myself and fired off a few shots.

I have no idea why fireworks went off at 1:00 AM on the nose, but they did. Thank you. Two minutes well spent.

Into The Alley

Stef’s ball curves ever so slightly left. Helaine’s goes straight. I try and aim a light right from the center to hit the pocket. I seldom do.

forest lanesSunday. Memorial Day weekend. We went bowling with the other Irvine Foxes. Six Foxes. Two lanes. Ninety minutes.

The last time we bowled was in Wallingford, CT. It’s been a while.

Everyone bowls differently. We all share lack of control!

Irvine Lanes first. We arrived at eight. They close at nine.

What kind of bowling alley closes at nine?

Next stop Forest Lanes in Lake Forest, just south of us. They’re open to 11:00 PM.

Michael, Melissa and Max bowled on 13. We were on 14.

Stef’s ball curves ever so slightly left. Helaine’s goes straight. I try and aim a light right from the center to hit the pocket. I seldom do.

Stef bowled a 135! That was tops for all of us and an all-time best for her.

In the car on the way home she discussed strategy for next time. She’s going with a heavier ball. My daughter is very competitive. That will serve her well.

Good times. Great seeing the cousins. It’s been a while since we lived near family.

Hey Hasbro. Don’t Change Monopoly… Or Scrabble



Stef and Roxie joined us from H’wood today. Having Stef nearby is really wonderful. It’s been a long time since we’ve been so convenient for each other.

There was shopping to be done. We headed out.

Roxie is reasonably hyper. She stayed home.

Destination Target… with Doppler.

There are rules or law we’re violating. I know that. Fine. Come and get me.

Doppler is so well behaved no one could possibly mind. She sits in the cart while we walk around. No barking. No fidgeting. She sits quietly and takes it all in.

If a kid wants to pet her, fine. Doppler is 100% docile.

While Helaine and Stef shopped, I headed to the back where the TVs and electronics live, then wandered around.

It didn’t take long to run into two old favorite games–Monopoly and Scrabble. They’ve been changed!

A pox on your house Hasbro!

Back in the seventies I fell in with a crowd of cutthroat Monopoly players. We read strategy books and fought hard, but the truth is buying everything you land on is the only way to go.

Monopoly has been sped up with the “Speed Die.” It’s a third die that picks up the action.


Scrabble is a very serious game. There are well established ratings and tournaments. You take risks when you screw with the game.

In Philly, I lived above Neal Axe. We played Scrabble nearly every day and he won nearly every day.

Now Scrabble’s got “Power Tiles” to “Boost your score.”


Would these folks put arms on Venus de Milo?

There are certain traditions which should remain untouched, like Monopoly and Scrabble.





Why Am I a Philadelphia Eagles Fan?

They were all professionals. They were all grown-ups. Many already had the responsibility of a family. I paused a moment.

There was a little chatter over on Facebook after the Eagles victory in Dallas. One commenter asked, “How are you an Eagle fan? A kid from NY and live in CT. Shame on you. Lol!” Good question.

I lived in Philadelphia from 1975-80. This was a very important period of my life because it was during those years in Philadelphia I realized I was a grown-up!

Is that how it normally works? Probably not. Most people ease into being grown-ups. Not me.

I had my cathartic moment at a poker table full of friends. We were at Louie and Gloria Wuhl’s house in Cherry Hill playing our usual Thursday night game. It was just a bunch of guys having fun. Poker was necessary, but secondary. It was an incredibly good time.

Anyway, one Thursday I looked around at the other people at the table. They were all professionals. They were all grown-ups. Many already had the responsibility of a family.

I paused a moment.

They were treating me as an equal. Therefore I was an equal. If they were adults… holy crap I was too!

Seriously, it all came to me at the poker table at Lou and Gloria’s house.

Since that moment Philadelphia has taken on more importance than just the nearly five years I spent there would imply.

During my time in Philadelphia I was invited to attend an Eagles game. My friend Marlene’s father Frank had a bunch of seasons tickets. He didn’t want to lose them, but the Eagles sucked and not many people wanted go.

Marlene and I drove to the Vet in my little Triumph Spitfire. It was one of those days that still felt like summer though the calendar showed fall. The Sun was shining. I remember puffy clouds overhead.

We climbed the ramps at Veterans Stadium to Section 614 (around the 30 yard line, but on the shady side of the field). As we passed from the concession area to the seats I looked down. An American Flag was being held aloft by a small army of people. It covered the entire field! A chill went up my spine.

Though the Eagles went on to lose that game I became hooked!

Frank sold me two of his seats and I began to attend religiously, staying the entire game no matter what the weather or score. Trust me, both were often ugly.

Here’s the funny thing. Today a stadium is probably the last place I’d want to go to see a game. The view is better at home. The bathroom is closer. The food is more reasonably priced. Helaine can turn the sound down if things aren’t going right.

I’m still an Eagles fan!