Category Archives: Travel

Comments and observations on the traveling life.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Our thanks once again to The Other McCain for the Rule Five links, and we hope you enjoyed the vacation Rule Five posts.  Las Vegas was, as usual, fine in limited doses, and much steam was blown off.  Yr. obdt. is now in much improved state of mind and ready for more work.

Which is a good thing, as I find myself back in northern Indiana this morning for another on-site stint.

But I digress.  Back to Las Vegas for a moment:

Vegas by Night.
Vegas by Night.

Las Vegas is a place that is not quite like any other place in the United States, except perhaps (and only perhaps) Atlantic City, and never having been there I can’t really compare.  But Vegas is a great place for:

  • Shows
  • Food
  • Gambling (if you’re into that)
  • Best of all – people-watching.

On shows, we went and saw , the Cirque Du Soleil show currently running at the MGM Grand.  I recommend this how if you’re ever able to take it in – like most Cirque Du Soleil shows it is magnificent in scope and execution, with amazing acrobatics and a stunning soundtrack.  We took it in on a Tuesday evening and the auditorium was only 2/3 full, making for a comfortable experience.

Food:  Vegas used to be known for cheap, high-quality meals.  The first time I went there the Strip was loaded with “Prime Rib, $3.99″ signs, the objective being to draw you in for your gambling dollars.  No longer.  Eating there is expensive; you can enjoy all manner of food from hot dogs to the ubiquitous massive buffets to elite dining, but you’ll pay for all of it.  If you’re on a budget, take a cooler and sandwich fixings to stretch your food dollar.

Gambling:  I don’t.  Mrs. Animal has a small fondness for penny slot machines, but keeps herself on a tight budget.  This time she came home about $30 ahead, a nice little bonus.

VegasAnd last but far from least:  People-watching.  I don’t just mean girls, although that’s certainly a high point.  Las Vegas is a popular destination for people from all over the world, and you can find yourself in conversation with people from such disparate places as Australia, eastern Europe, China, Japan or (as Mrs. Animal and myself did this trip) Jordan – that last being a young Christian couple from Jordan who (wisely) decided it was time for people of their religious persuasion to GTFO of that area.

Vegas is a place I can take for four or five days, then I’m ready to leave.  But in another two or three years, I’ll be ready to go back.

And now work beckons, so we now return you to your Monday, already in progress.

Goodbye Blue Monday!

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

I find myself in northern Indiana once more, for what may be my last stint in this particular gig – unless they extend the contract, which they have the option to do.

Honestly, there are worse places – although having gone through a winter here and facing a summer, I’m reminded of the two reasons I left the upper Midwest where I grew up:

  1. The summers.
  2. The winters.

But enough of Midwestern weather for now.

This tidbit in yesterday from Investor’s Business Daily:  The Dead Hand of Crony Capitalism.  Excerpt:

Earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill that more than doubled the tax credits available to film producers who come to the state. McAuliffe called it a big win for Virginia, since so many other states compete for Hollywood productions with special tax favors.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has secured a total of $1.2 billion in at least 260 special benefits over the years. Nike, Boeing, Alcoa and Intel got more than $2 billion each.

North Carolina promised Apple up to $370 million in benefits and an additional $255 million to Google to build data centers in the state.

Washington offered Boeing $8.7 billion in benefits to build the wings of its new jetliner in the state.

Ayn Rand called this “the Aristocracy of Pull:”

Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing—when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors—when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but Sad-Bearprotect them against you—when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality.

Have we come to this point?  Has Ayn Rand been proved more prescient than we ever imagined?

I’m afraid that this might be precisely the case.