BlathrWayne Lorentz

Showing blathrs with the tag “Nevada.”

Better late than never

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 Alive 18,830 days

A late notification from the Constellation Apartments in Las Vegas, Nevada

I just received a notice from Constellation Apartments that my service request has been completed.

It's worth noting that I haven't lived at Constellation for 16 months.

I wonder what took them so long to fix.

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Extra pickles

Friday, October 28th, 2022 Alive 18,812 days

A holy, sacred McRib sammitch

I only rarely go to McDonaldʼs; maybe three or four times a year. So I was surprised and delighted to find itʼs McRib season!

The McRib is the finest fast food sandwich there is. Better than a double Fisch Mac. Better than Starbuckʼs Thanksgiving panini. Yes, better than Chick-fil-a.

Itʼs never McRib season in Las Vegas, so for the seven years I lived there, I had to make my own — Driving three hours across the Mojave Desert to the nearest McDonaldʼs that had them, in Barstow, California. I never did find out why the McDonaldʼs franchises in Vegas donʼt carry McRibs.

Here, in Houston, McRib does exist, so I grabbed a loaf of that sweet, smokey, salty, crunchy, sesame seeded goodness.

Pro tip: Serve the sandwich on top of a pile of fries so that the sauce drips onto the fries, and you donʼt waste any of it on the plate.

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Donʼt worry, theyʼll get their money

Friday, April 15th, 2022 Alive 18,616 days

An error message on the Nevada Department of Taxation web site

Itʼs one thing for Facebook to have a hiccup every now and again. Nothing important ever happened on Facebook.

But when the Nevada Department of Taxationʼs web site upchucks on tax day, itʼs cause for concern.

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Good location, though

Saturday, September 4th, 2021 Alive 18,393 days

I went to the Church of the Annunciation today. Itʼs one of those urban core Catholic churches that churches under the radar, serving its neighborhood for hundreds of years while the nearby cathedral gets all the attention. Most large American cities have one like this. Places like Saint Joan of Arc in Las Vegas, Assumption Catholic Church in Chicago, and the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis are other examples.

Annunciation is old-school, in both style, architecture, and message. While I did the special kind of musty funk that fills old American Catholic churches, Iʼve never been able to get used to using a Communion rail. Perhaps I have weak knees. Or I donʼt like people looking at my butt.

Still, if youʼre looking for a just-barely-this-side-of-Vatican-Ⅱ experience, this could be the place for you.

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Ignorance is bliss

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 Alive 18,369 days

An ominous message from iOS

This is what happens when you move from a state with a COVID notification app to a state that lacks a COVID notification app.

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Signs of the times

Sunday, August 8th, 2021 Alive 18,366 days

Every electronic road sign in Nevada: “Keep Vegas open, get your shots now!”

Every electronic road sign in Arizona: “6.8 million doses administered so far. Get yours!”

Every electronic road sign in New Mexico: “Protect your family. Get your free COVID vaccine.”

Every electronic road sign in Texas: “Buckle up for safety!”

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Dangerous wet dogs

Friday, July 30th, 2021 Alive 18,357 days

The monsoon has been generous this year.

I never thought I would miss the smell of creosote, but I will. When the rain falls on tumbleweeds, it makes a weird wet dog smell. The outflow boundary from the thunderstorm carries the smell far and wide, and is a much more reliable indicator of rain coming than radar is.

Protip: If you're ever in a slot canyon or a dry gulch, and suddenly you smell a wet dog, run. I've lost count of the number of stories I've seen in the newspapers this year about hikers and homeless people killed in flash floods. Dozens, at least. Always under blue, unsuspecting skies. The news helicopters sometimes follow a flash flood coming off one of the mountains as it weaves through the gullies and washes. Once, KTNV showed a car speeding down the road trying to outrun the water. It didn't.

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Package deal

Saturday, July 24th, 2021 Alive 18,351 days

A list of fees at a UPS Store in Las Vegas, including $75.00 for the notary to perform a marriage ceremony

If you can get married at the UPS Store, you might be in Nevada.

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Everyone go to the window and stare

Monday, July 12th, 2021 Alive 18,339 days

A graphic from the National Weather Service celebrating one-tenth of an inch of rain

Pretty much the definition of “celebrate the little things.”

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Wholesome and surprisingly good

Sunday, July 4th, 2021 Alive 18,331 days

Goose Bumps coffee from Vesta Coffee

Todayʼs coffee is Goose Bumps from Vesta Coffee in Las Vegas.

The coffee is pretty good, considering it comes from a city that prides itself on being artificial, superficial, and doing things “good enough.” Itʼs very smooth, which might be attributed to the relentlessly mineralized water that Vegas siphons from Lake Mead, before returning it to the lake after being processed by four million kidneys. The stated notes are “chocolate, graham cracker, sweet.” I certainly get the chocolate, and a bit of the sweet. But Iʼm not sensitive enough to detect graham or any other type of cracker in my coffee. Still, this desert coffee isnʼt a dessert coffee. Itʼs a nice weekend morning coffee, or a good reward in the afternoon after accomplishing some minor, yet dreaded, task. Iʼd buy it again because I like my coffee the way I like my women: wholesome and surprisingly good.

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So… howʼs the game?

Friday, June 4th, 2021 Alive 18,301 days

A Sears Poker Plus cartridge

I got a new Atari cart today. Itʼs Poker Plus, the Sears version of Atariʼs Casino.

This is the text label version, which is what I prefer because that means its an older version, and what I would have had in my home, if my family had this cart in 1978. But we didnʼt.

The version of this game with the Sears picture label is more unusual, but not quite what one might call “rare.” Just seldom seen for sale.

Itʼs a very minor topic of discussion in the realm of Atari nerds that Sears spent a lot of time and money making its own artwork for the Atari games it licensed. There are plenty of debates over which is better. I donʼt have a preference. But I do note that the Sears imagery is often racier than the Atari version.

Here are the Atari and Sears picture labels of the same Casino/Poker Plus game.

Atariʼs Casino
Searsʼ Poker Plus, from eBay, since I donʼt have this version

The Atari one is fine, featuring a slim young woman in a strappy white evening frock engaged in severely constrained enthusiasm. The Sears one features a Vegas showgirl wearing low-rise panties, a feathered headdress, and nothing else. Sheʼs covering her breasts with her slender arms, but not out of shame, based on her smile.

As a resident of Las Vegas, I am uniquely positioned to decide which label is more accurate. And I can tell you that the Sears version is more correct.

Not because there are lots of gregarious topless showgirls roaming the casinos of Sin City. There arenʼt. Except for street buskers, the showgirls are all gone. Itʼs Miss Atari who is wrong. The notion of Vegas casinos being populated by well-dressed, glamorous, interesting people died in the late 1980ʼs. If she was done up in crop-top football jersey with a tattooed beer belly hanging over pajama bottoms and Crocs, toting a three-foot-long empty plastic beverage container and a grudge against Southwest Airlines, then she would fit right in.

But graceful white evening dress and statement jewelry? This isnʼt Monaco.

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Mr. Sandman

Friday, May 21st, 2021 Alive 18,287 days

Sandstorm weather forecast on an iPhone

Day two of the dust storm. Houston has crap air, too, but at least thatʼs just chemicals and not Mother Nature trying to bury the city.

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Hunker in the bunker

Friday, May 21st, 2021 Alive 18,287 days

A quick forecast from iOS

Today I learned that iOS has an icon for “sandstorm.”

Also, that I should say home today.

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On Dean Martin Drive

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 Alive 18,285 days

A newspaper clipping listing locations to get a COVID shot

If you get a COVID shot at a strip club, you might live in Las Vegas.

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Good day for a book

Sunday, May 16th, 2021 Alive 18,282 days

A rainy day at the market in Seattle in January, 2011

The atmosphere is having a nice little hissy fit in Las Vegas right now. A touch of rain about an hour ago, and now a windstorm. More interestingly, we had some thunder. We hardly ever get thunder here, because with the effort involved in getting over the mountains, thereʼs usually not enough energy for lightning. Itʼs the same story in Seattle.

People talk about all the rain in Seattle, but itʼs almost always a very calm, gentle rain. What the Navajos call “female rain.” I donʼt know what the Quileute in La Push, Washington call it. But when we visited, Darcie took a smooth rock home from the beach, and didnʼt find out later that youʼre not supposed to do that. We ended up having all kinds of bad luck right after that. Go figure.

Thereʼs a Door Dash guy trying to deliver something soggy and greasy to my neighbor, and the wind just made off with his big red bag. Run, Dasher, run!

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That red spec is the Desert Truckster

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Death Valley, as seen from a hill in the Pahrump Valley Wilderness

My wife bought me a new lens for my camera for my birthday. Seems like a good excuse to visit Death Valley again.

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Just the tips

Friday, April 23rd, 2021 Alive 18,259 days

Screenshot from Apple Maps

If a nearby nail salon is called “Hand Job,” you might live in Las Vegas.

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Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

Darcie taking pictures at Crystal Springs in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
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Itʼs not easy being green

Sunday, April 18th, 2021 Alive 18,254 days

An unwanted frog

I like toads. I always have. But I donʼt know if Iʼm supposed to like this toad, or not.

Itʼs a California Toad, a subspecies of the Western Toad. The problem is that itʼs living on the edge of a very small spring that is the only home of the hyper-endangered Amargosa Dace, a type of pupfish.

The pupfish only live in this one little hole; nowhere else on earth. The toads live all over the West, from the Rockies to Alaska to Mexico.

In centuries past, settlers populated the isolated springs and oases of the Mojave Desert with frogs, in order to use them for food. Tiny, slimy, amphibious cattle. In doing so, they wiped out many populations of endangered fish.

Thatʼs why this toad may not belong here. He may be a descendant of hungry and industrious settlers of the 1800ʼs. Or he may have been here all along, since this is still California Toad territory.

Iʼd ask someone, but these are COVID times, so none of the nearby ranger stations are manned.

A California Toad and his mate, basking in the sun
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One bad ass

Saturday, April 17th, 2021 Alive 18,253 days

A posse of burros in Beatty, Nevada

You think youʼre a bad ass? You think youʼre hard core? You ainʼt nothinʼ compared to the burros of the American West.

The lesser-traveled parts of this nation are infested with feral burros. They were brought out here to help the miners. When the miners went away, they left their companions behind. Itʼs all very sad.

Heʼs so lonely

Today, there are far more burros than the sparse desert environment can support, and many of them suffer. The federal government spends your tax dollars doing what it can to try to keep the population down, but a burroʼs gotta burro. Every now and again, there is a roundup of feral burros, much to the howls of online environmentalist poseurs who have only seen them on the internet, have never actually studied them in person, and donʼt have a better solution.

The captured burros are offered for adoption, but just like with humans, there are never enough homes for all of those who need one. Unlike humans, some of the adopted burros end up in illegal slaughterhouses, and thence as food for people and and pets in Asia, and rumor has it — France.

These burros are in the town of Beatty, Nevada. Theyʼre so used to being around people, and not giving fuck one what anyone thinks of them that they regularly block traffic, stare in windows, and generally make a comic nuisance of themselves.

They are the unofficial mascots of Beatty, and there have been some efforts to make them a tourist attraction. But tourists generally donʼt cuddle up to attractions that take a dump wherever they like.

“None shall pass!”
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Slippery When Wet

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 Alive 18,251 days

A road through Valley of Fire State Park

This is either the Long and Winding Road, or the Yellow Brick Road, depending on your age and taste in popular entertainment.

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Ram tough

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 Alive 18,251 days

Bighorn sheep in Valley of Fire State Park

If this is what rush hour looks like, you may be in the Valley of Fire.

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Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

A day in the Valley of Fire with Darcie.

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Iʼll hold it

Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

The menʼs room at Death Valley Nut and Candy

Amazingly, the menʼs room at Death Valley Nut and Candy isnʼt the worst public restroom Iʼve ever used.

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Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

Darcie looks out over the ghost town Rhyolite, Nevada
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Bullfrog works

Saturday, April 10th, 2021 Alive 18,246 days

I think one of the reasons that people like the ghost town of Rhyolite is because it balances itself in that special state of decay where you can see that itʼs all going to be dust soon, but thereʼs enough left that you can imagine slices of what it used to be when thousands of people lived here and it was called “The Chicago of the West.”

Rhyolite used to have bars, hotels, gold mines, and several competing newspapers. Today, it only has one resident. But that may change soon. A Canadian company is doing some work to determine if itʼs worth re-opening the old gold mines again. If it happens, it would be really interesting to see if the town comes back, or if its designation as a quasi-state park will make that impossible.

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Frogs and flies

Saturday, April 10th, 2021 Alive 18,246 days

Hereʼs a very sad picture. At least in modern times.

In centuries past, this little hole in the ground was a life-saver. For pioneers, for local indian tribes, and for many others it provided vital water in the desert wilderness. Today, though, itʼs a reminder of things gone wrong.

This is Longstreet Spring, at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Itʼs a boiling spring, which isnʼt a reference to the temperature of the water, but to the way the water forces itself up through a layer of sand at the bottom, making it look like the bottom of the pond is boiling.

This used to be the home of a thriving population of endangered fish. The fish are gone now, eaten by frogs brought by the pioneers. Today, all that live here are frogs and the insects that feed them.

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Hands!!!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 Alive 18,236 days

KNPR-HD3/Las Vegas on my radio

I think thatʼs too many exclamation points for smooth jazz.

Dixieland, maybe.

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Two kinds of gambling

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,208 days

A COVID occupancy limit sign at Caesars Palace

Having a 25% occupancy cap is not reassuring in any way when that means you still have to share the air with 11,018 other people.

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A peak performance

Friday, February 12th, 2021 Alive 18,189 days

Sunrise illuminating the Rainbow Mountains

Sunrise was a little bit different today, so I broke out the good camera. I'll have to do some processing on it to get out the grain, but it's OK for this hour of the morning.

The clouds are over California. The mountain in front is Griffith Peak (11,063 feet), and the one in its shadow is Charleston Peak (11,916 feet).

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Weʼre all damaged goods

Thursday, January 21st, 2021 Alive 18,167 days

A friend of mine is mad at me because I wouldn't go have dinner with him when he was in town last week. Too bad, the COVID positivity rate in Vegas is through the roof. Iʼm not going to just hang out in a casino like nothing is wrong.

His entire family had it and recovered, so he thinks it's OK to take everyone to Vegas for his daughter's birthday. In his mind, if he's safe, that's all that matters.

Never mind the maids, bartenders, airline staff, janitors, and everyone else that has to risk their lives so he can have a good time. He should know better, because he's a scientist. Then again, as I've learned getting older, being smart at one thing doesn't make you smart at everything.

I know a doctor in Chicago who thinks drinking his own pee will help him live forever. I know a TV anchor in Phoenix who doesn't believe in dinosaurs. Not as a religious thing. They just don't fit into the way her brain works. My old neighbor is an international airline pilot, and doesn't believe COVID is real.

I guess everyone is crazy in their own way. I wonder what my major malfunction is.

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Whispy

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,149 days

Sunrise

There were clouds in the sky this morning, so we had a nice sunrise. Iʼd forgotten that this area can have some pretty nice sunrises, but you need clouds to make them happen.

We even got what I call a "double sunrise" — the sun coming up turns the clouds over Arizona all pinky-orange, and when it starts to crest the eastern mountains, it lights up the clouds over California, too, so thereʼs a nice sunrise no matter in what direction you look.

On clear mornings, we get what I call a "false sunrise," which is when the sunʼs rays bounce off the bronze glass of the casino towers and make it look like the sun is rising in the west.

Most people here never see the sunrise, or the sunset. The houses have few windows, and people generally keep their shades drawn at all times. They might as well live in a steel shipping container.

Darcie and I enjoy the sun and the sky and let in all the light we can. Or at least all the light the windows will allow. They have several layers of coatings on them to keep the heat out, and it kills most of the color, too. This morningʼs sunrise was blood red in plain air from the balcony, orange from the dining room windows, and just a bland yellow from the library.

When I was starting on my career path in my 20ʼs, I made sure I went into a field that would keep me from spending all day locked in an office like my parents were. I guess I screwed that one up.

I predict that when we donʼt have to wear masks anymore, women will go nuts wearing bold lipstick colors just because they can. Equip your wife appropriately before the rush starts.

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Minimally moist

Friday, December 18th, 2020 Alive 18,133 days

The front page of the Las Vegas Review-Journal December 18, 2020

You know you live in the desert when the newspaperʼs big front page ballyhoo is over 0.04 inches of rain.

After 240 days, youʼd think we could do better than 0.04 inches, though.

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Eleven

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020 Alive 18,109 days

We got a notice from the health department that someone in the apartment complex has COVID, but it canʼt tell us who. The next day there was an article in the newspaper that a bunch of the players for the local NHL team have it, too. Some of the players live in this apartment complex because weʼre next door to the practice arena. Which was shut down because of the ʼrona on the same day as the newspaper article.

It doesnʼt take a rocket surgeon to add 1 and 1 and get eleven.

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Saturday, November 7th, 2020 Alive 18,092 days

I saw the paperboy for the first time today. She had lots and lots of newspapers in her arms for my building, so I don’t feel like weird old Uncle Bert for getting newspapers anymore.

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Is it a boutonnière or a stick pin?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 Alive 18,067 days

A screenshot from KLAS-TV

This is why being a weatherman in Las Vegas is the easiest job in broadcasting.

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What could possibly go wrong?

Sunday, September 20th, 2020 Alive 18,044 days

The Entertainment section of the September 20, 2020 Las Vegas Review-Journal

According to todayʼs paper, you can now crush a car, operate heavy machinery, shoot a machine gun, detonate explosives, drive a monster truck, launch flaming arrows, blast flame-throwers, and drink yourself into a stupor all in one place. Because doing all those separately was too much work.

Oh, and thereʼs a brothel on the other side of the ridge.

I can only assume this started with someone from Texas saying, “Yʼknow, thereʼs just too many rules around here.”

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Gamblers all

Saturday, September 12th, 2020 Alive 18,036 days

Las Vegas is a different place since things have opened up a bit. Because the hotel rates have dropped so much, itʼs brought in the worst people. This is something that Darcie has known from day one, but itʼs only hitting the front pages of the local newspapers now.

Rooms that used to be $675 a night are now $100 or less. Itʼs gotten so bad that the head of Wynn Resorts went public saying that her regular customers are afraid to come to Las Vegas now. She says that some who have come to town have been afraid to leave their rooms, and wonʼt ever return.

Itʼs simply unprecedented for the head of a resort company to say anything bad about the industry, or its guests. But things are pretty bad out there now.

I went to the supermarket yesterday. I think itʼs the first time since April.

It looks like theyʼre skipping Halloween this year. There was just one small Halloween display. No aisle dedicated to candy and decorations and such. Pumpkins are only five bucks. I donʼt think Iʼve ever seen a pumpkin for under $15 here. Workers were putting together Thanksgiving and Christmas displays, but those, too, looked small. It seems like the supermarkets are mostly skipping all of the holidays this year.

Maybe because hardly anyone goes to the store anymore. It was almost vacant when I went there on Friday at 6pm. Still, even with no customers, there were still large gaps in the stock. The toilet paper aisle is about ⅓ full, which is an improvement. Still no cleaning supplies, though. Half the deli is empty. No salami or corned beef to be found anywhere, so I had to settle for pastrami. Pasta and soup sections were mostly empty. So were some other sections that I couldnʼt identify because they were not only devoid of product, the store didnʼt even bother to put up price tags.

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When everything is an emergency, nothing is an emergency

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020 Alive 18,025 days

An EAS alert from Clark County, Nevada

How to get people to turn off the emergency alert feature on their phones in two easy steps:

  1. Use the EAS system to tell people to get COVID tests.
  2. There is no step two.
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Nobody likes you

Sunday, August 30th, 2020 Alive 18,023 days

Morning Blend from Cowboy Joe

Todayʼs coffee is Morning Blend from Cowboy Joe up in Elko again.

I actually ordered a single Buckaroo Blend from the web site, but they ran out. Since Cowboy Joe is literally a one-person coffee shop, Joe sent me two Morning Blends as compensation.

Every roaster seems to have a “morning blend.” Iʼm not sure what it is about any of them that is supposed to evoke morning, but this is a good coffee. Basic, but nice and smooth and low-acid, the way I like it. Itʼs the sort of coffee Iʼd give to someone visiting the house if I didnʼt know what kind of coffee they liked, or if I ever had visitors.

Iʼve lived in Las Vegas for seven years now, and had exactly one visitor — a friend of Darcieʼs from Poland. This, even though pretty much every person Iʼve ever met has come to visit the city since I moved here, but then only told me after they left. Perhaps thatʼs meaningful.

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A one cow town

Friday, July 10th, 2020 Alive 17,972 days

A “Keep one cow apart” sign in the Nevada state capitol

Remember how the Navajo were advised to stay two sheep apart from one another? I guess the Nevada legislature is made up of cowboys, because this sign in the capitol was in todayʼs paper.

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Itʼs a weather balloon

Saturday, June 6th, 2020 Alive 17,938 days

A screenshot of the Flightradar24 app

I had this app when I lived in Chicago, too. But itʼs much more interesting to use it here in Nevada.

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Put it on their bills

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020 Alive 17,873 days

Las Vegas locked down is a weird place. With no humans on The Strip, the city is being taken over by waterfowl.

Local media has been showing photos and video of geese and ducks all over the casinos. The theory is that they're attracted by the people-less fountains. Last week, I saw some video of a family of ducks that have made a home in one of the revolving doors of The Bellagio.

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Crickets

Sunday, March 8th, 2020 Alive 17,848 days

The good thing about the plague is that itʼs made things quiet again.

When I first moved to this block, almost all of the homes were military households; mostly Air Force and Nevada National Security Site people (mathematicians, nuclear physicists). Couples, no kids. It was always so silent around here, and I would sit on my bench on the front stoop and read my newspapers in peace.

Then last year all of the military households were relocated en masse. New people moved in. An architect family. A massage therapist family. A guy running some kind of fleaBay business out of his garage. A family from New York via Malawi, Frankfurt, and Copenhagen. Ordinary people and many many kids.

As recently as last weekend, the block was alive after 3pm and on weekends. The guy tinkering on his car. The knot of ladies and their fashion accessory dogs. The guy flying model airplanes and home-made drones at the end of the street. Mexican polka music wafting through the palm trees. And about 20 children running, jumping, throwing things, and playing at murdering one another. Noise. Noise Noise.

Now everyone is afraid to go outside. The block is silent. Once again, the block belongs to me, my newspapers, and my coffee.

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You belong in a museum

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 Alive 17,833 days

An electronics museum exhibit at the Clark County Public Library

My local library sometimes has little museum exhibits in it. Today I noticed some new artifacts on display, including an Atari 2600 of the sort I played just last week.

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Thatʼs what happens when you use the garage as a front door

Sunday, January 5th, 2020 Alive 17,785 days

Today is January 5th. My neighbors just removed the Halloween pumpkins from their front porch.

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Wafers for lunch

Saturday, January 4th, 2020 Alive 17,784 days

Guardian Angel Cathedral dwarfed by the Encore casino

One of the things I miss about not working in the office anymore is that I canʼt squeeze in a quick lunchtime mass anymore.

I sometimes used to go to the noon mass at Guardian Angel Cathedral, but it wasnʼt exactly a contemplative atmosphere. Standing room only, and half of it tourists. Thereʼs a special Catholic church just for the tourists, paid for by the casinos, but the tourists still end up at Guardian Angel. I guess being a cathedral, itʼs got more gravity.

I see stories in the media all the time saying that church is dying, but I canʼt help but think this is just a cliché, and not based on facts. Yes, churches in Chicago are closing all the time, but thatʼs because of bad decisions made by the archdiocese in the early 1900ʼs.

Because the various immigrant groups in Chicago couldnʼt get along, instead of having a church for each neighborhood, each neighborhood was given several churches — one for each ethnicity/nationality/community. So, Bridgeport, for example, had a bunch of Catholic churches: one for Germans, one for Poles, one for Lithuanians, one for Irish. But now that everyone gets along, all those churches arenʼt needed, so theyʼre constantly consolidating. The church I went to in Chicago (Assumption) was an Italian church, formed because Italians in that area of town werenʼt welcome at what is now Old Saint Patrickʼs Church.

Here in Las Vegas, and most of the southwest, there simply arenʼt enough Catholic churches for the number of people who want to use them. I go to Saint Elizabeth either for the 4pm Saturday, or the 6am on Sunday, and both times it is absolutely packed. This is a church with a capacity of at least 750, which to me seems pretty big. Iʼve heard from a person I know in Ohio who says itʼs the same situation there.

There are Roman Catholic congregations here that meet in the lyceum of the Lutheran high school down the street, for lack of space. We had a similar situation in Seattle, where the noon mass at the cathedral was so packed that there was another Catholic mass down the street at the Unitarian church.

I feel bad for the people who live in small towns around here. Amargosa Valley and Pioche are 250 miles apart, and have to share a priest, so they only get a single mass every other week. Other towns only get mass once a month. Because of this, we have special dispensation from the Archdiocese of San Francisco to watch mass on TV. The church I go to records a mass on Thursdays that is broadcast state-wide Sunday morning. Thereʼs no communion, naturally, but it still counts somehow.

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Nice pad

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 Alive 17,745 days

The emergency helipad at Red Rock Canyon

This is where I go sometimes after work to just sit and think. Thereʼs nothing here except a picnic bench, some tumbleweeds, and the occasional wild horse. The helipad is used to remove the bodies of the injured and dead tourists who donʼt take the desert seriously.

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Should have listened to the Fiat GPS

Monday, October 21st, 2019 Alive 17,709 days

A dirt road across the Nevada desert

Dear Apple Maps,

This is not State Highway 87.

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Darkeness is next

Friday, July 26th, 2019 Alive 17,622 days

A grasshopper munching on a cactus in front of my house

Every once in a while Las Vegas is invaded by locusts.

There were 37 on the door when I got to work yesterday. Plus eleven more in the lunch room and nine in the hall.

Imagine that. A plague of locusts descending on a city of sinners in the desert. Sounds appropriately Biblical.

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Very very Vegas

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019 Alive 17,449 days

A Louis Vuitton-themed house in Las Vegas

I came across this house on my way home from church this morning.

At first I thought it was over the top. But the Chinese dog statue and Bart Simpson really tone it down.

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Robotic leverage

Sunday, January 6th, 2019 Alive 17,421 days

A self-driving car on The Strip

Protip: Always get behind the self-driving cars. Computers know which lane is the fastest.

Protip: Self-driving cars in Nevada have special license plates that start with “AU.”

A sample autonomous license plate from the Nevada DMV web site. For some reason it shows “AD,” when it should read “AU.”
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Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 Alive 17,315 days

A lady watching stripper videos in line at the Apple Store

If the lady ahead of you in line at the Apple Store to pick up a new iPhone is watching stripper videos on Instagram, you might be in Las Vegas.

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Saturday, August 11th, 2018 Alive 17,273 days

A map of a portion of Las Vegas, Nevada

This is what happens when real estate developers run out of names.

“Yeah, hello, Pizza Hut guy? Yeah, take a left on Spiced Butter Rum, then a right on Macadamia Nut, then a left on Frapuccino… *click* Hello?”

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Saturday, July 7th, 2018 Alive 17,238 days

A yard care truck

If you see yard care trucks with the phrase “We speak English” on them, you might live in Nevada.

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Sunday, July 1st, 2018 Alive 17,232 days

There are only two occasions in life when you get to use the word "bevy." Quails and bathing beauties.

Guess which one ran in front of my car today.

Since I live in Las Vegas, the answer may not be as easy as it seems.

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Sunday, June 24th, 2018 Alive 17,225 days

An abandoned gas station

This service station is just a shell of its former self.

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Sunday, June 24th, 2018 Alive 17,225 days

An overdone art car

Not all artists understand thereʼs a difference between an art car, and a barnacle-encrusted Spanish galleon.

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Sunday, June 24th, 2018 Alive 17,225 days

An old west cemetery

The last burial in this cemetery was in 1911.

So the lesson we learn today is to forget fancy Italian marble. If you want your grave marker to last 107 years, have it made out of railroad ties and punched metal.

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Sunday, June 24th, 2018 Alive 17,225 days

Expensive emergency gas

When the nearest gas station is 94 miles away, you can charge $12 for two gallons of gas.

I found an ever pricier place down the road, commanding $20 a pop.

You call the number on the sign, give the person who answers your credit card number, and they give you the combination to the gas locker.

I can't believe I didn't think of this first.

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Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 Alive 17,224 days

Mutant cacti

It doesn't matter where I move my plants in the house, they still do this crazy shit in the direction of Area 51.

Freaking UFOʼs.

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Saturday, June 16th, 2018 Alive 17,217 days

Mutant cacti

If your house plants start doing this, you might live too close to Area 51.

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Saturday, June 16th, 2018 Alive 17,217 days

A lovely day at the Southern Nevada Railroad.

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