What I'm Reading 6.26; Psychic Ocopi, no-hitter nonsense, Dracula and the World Cup

While I dredge my mind for details to the now-week old trip to Las Vegas I'll place some information down, you may or may not find interesting - but, nonetheless I've been paying attention to.

How 'bout them Reds! Back in first place after an apparent collapse in the land of baseball teams named after fishermen. I went to the game last night and despite the stale air of the ball park, it is phenomenal to feel the pulse in this city that really does live for baseball, but has been starved and sadly, atrophied into apathy from a lack of competitiveness the past decade.

Currently, I'm watching the World Cup, Uruguay has just beaten S. Korea...so, if the U.S.ers can beat Ghana (a challenge of desire for me, due to Ghana being, well, Ghana) they will play the Uruguans...or however, you say it.

Also in World Cup news, a psychic octopus has predicted each German outcome perfectly. A line from the story as it appears on BBC.com: "after correctly predicting Germany would beat Australia in their opening match, then lose to Serbia, and then beat Ghana..." Apparently, 'Paul' the octopus is a psychic, who knew it was possible?

In other news, screen-vampire Robert Pattinson is a blood relative to the 'real' dracula; Vlad the Impaler.

Turtle deaths are being blamed on shrimping, not the oil.

Dusty Baker dancin' in the dugout.

Ford is dropping the Lincoln Towncar and Crown Victoria.

The Governator WON'T... be back.

Another no-hitter...on 149 pitches and wait for it, 8 walks. Yuck.

Chihuahua takes ugliest dog prize!

A dog, driving his owner's car, ran over...his owner.

And, a list of wacky events this summer around the country. The cow-chip throw has always sounded like a blast.


Finding The Time; Vegas, GCNP, and other shhtuff

It seems like years, or weeks, since I last posted anything. And, despite my inclination to think what I think is interesting, it probably isn't and I just assume not write it down, in order to not waste my time reading it. Because, in reality I'm the only person reading it.

Last week my parents and I took a trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Sorry, my Aunt Yvonne went, as well. We started with a virgin flight for my Mom on Delta Airlines. Ok, you're saying Virgin and Delta - doesn't make sense, right? Well in actuality it was virgin with a lowercase 'v' not Virgin, as in the airline. Basically, it was my mom's first time flying. After apparently laughing in a nonsensical fashion, upon entry of the B767, one stewardess - Karen, I believe - noticed my mom's excitement and verbally acknowledged: "Ew, someone is excited!" To which my Mom said: "Yeah, it's my first time flying." To which Karen said: "Cool, we have those all the time." At which point I thought she'd pull out the little 'wing' pin-clip thing you see stewardesses, more friendly than i'm used to, place on the shirt of someone taking their first flight. However, Karen in a way I'm well familiar with stewardesses said after a pause and her statement about having first-time flyers all the time: "But, they're usually 6 (years-old)."

And, of course my Mom laughed, my Dad laughed, my Aunt laughed and I, well, laughed but we all know how much I genuinely laugh.

ANYWAY, after a brief 2 hour flight to Atlanta and the hell-hole of a airport it is, and even more brief 4 hour flight to Las Vegas, we were there! Only, our rental-car agency closed at midnight and we were there promptly at 1:45, local time. Thankfully the adjacent car rental service; Alamo, honored our rental and even upgraded us as Moe or Jim or whatever his name was with the blue vest said: "You're going to the Grand Canyon in that?!" Referring to the car my Mom had set aside, a Pontiac G5. A bit small probably, but we would have made it, I think.

Onward we go; so the guy with the blue vest from Alamo set us up with a midsize car: a Kia Rondo, brown - although listed as 'grey' on the rental agreement, with, what i found out recently as rare, a third row, although we kept it down.

We drove off into the night, well my Dad drove - all four of couldn't possibly have driven all at the same time silly!

Anyway, driving away from the joint-rental car center at McClarren airport, we headed toward Las Vegas Blvd., AKA the Strip, and toward our hotel: The Stratosphere. We ate a quick breakfast at 4 a.m. VEGAS time at, what we came to learn from our waiter, with the strange accent - perhaps lisp, was the original IHOP. WOW, I thought. How lucky am I to be privy to this information and continued rambling at now, 4:30 a.m. (really 7:30 EST), when all i want is silence, some ice water and any semblance of a place to sleep?

I won't bore you with the wait time in line at the Stratosphere, for our room, or the sense of comfort with the first whiff of pumped-in oxygen and trace of cigarette smoke, or the image of old men in visors pumping more $$$ in slot machines, only to lose them and continue on hitting the buttons, pumping more money in and so on, over and over, again...

We slept. After getting our suite, confused with our room, we slept.

We awoke, repeated the breakfast routine, only this time at Denny's across the street from the hotel and then headed back to the room, grabbed our stuff and went out to the Red Rock Canyon. What a glorious site indeed!

I love the desert. No, really I do. Despite what people say or believe about dry heat, I'm a firm believer that it exists, like Santa Clause. But really, I love it. We stopped in the state park/rec-area and took pictures; I climbed up a rock hill, a red rock hill to be exact, took more pictures and peered down at the small people below, envying them for their sure-footedness and common-perception; an envy I constantly have even in flat-as-a-pancake Muncie.

We toured for a few hours and then drove back.

That night (Saturday), we ate a delicious dinner at TGI Friday's - and really it was good. The waitress was extremely nice and the service was good. It wasn't hard-shell crabs and beer, but it was good.

After, we parked at the Flamingo and took a similar walk to the one I took months before.

Photos here, photos there and a trip to the Bellagio that resembled a visit to a rare chocolate factory - I'm still convinced exists - fancied with chocolate fountains and Gene Wilder, somewhere, I hope.

The following day we treked to Mt. Charleston, well we drove, but we made it to the snow-capped mountain adjacent to Las Vegas.

It amazes me how out west, because of drastic elevation changes, vegetation and temperatures can change within a few minutes drive. It was near 90 degrees when we began the steady ascent toward Mt. Charleston and whence we arrived, it was easily in the low 70s.

Gorgeous also, is the advent of trees as you climb...5,000, 6,000, 7,000 feet up...i feel like i'm narrating the Grinch...you know the part when he is ascending Mt. Crumpit? Anyway, I love it - the change in elevation from place-to-place.

Following our 'descent' we made our way back to town in order not to miss our show at the Mandalay Bay: Lion King.

It was a gorgeous presentation of the Broadway show I've yet to see until now. The opening to the tune of 'Circle of Life', was moving.

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