Shinybass journal entry 09-06-11
Did anyone labor yesterday?
Labor day. The day to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. What started as a ‘hey we can work as a union and we’re going to take a day off to prove it’ holiday has morphed into a ‘let’s grill and drink as much as we can while watching college football and save 50% at Kohl’s while we’re at it’ gala. As is the American spirit – we generally lose focus on the original meaning of a holiday and turn it into whatever gluttonous and commercially-fleecing situation best suits the individual. (See ‘Christmas Rant ’07) Seriously – Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving – what do we do on all these days to ‘celebrate’? Pretty much take the day off and eat. (And if you are at my house on Christmas, you drink – or at least you’d better). So happy Labor Day. And hopefully you drank a toast to the American worker. 10% of which can’t find a job. Happy days, indeed.
That’s 10% across the country. In Las Vegas, the unemployment rate is 14%. Talk about trickle-down effect. No cash, then people aren’t gambling as much. Well, I say that, but the lights are still on out there (for the most part), and I donated some cash to the struggling Mandalay Bay palm tree fund, which oversees the replacement of the Asian-grown, iceberg-watered Kobe-beef-style-massaged seeds that adorn the cigarette lounge by the vending machines. Seriously – we played at the ‘beach’ on Mandalay Bay. Let me tell you what I was thinking on this fine afternoon…
So we head out to the Mandalay Beach and Wave pool. After a few minutes of savvy negotiation, we are sitting on a half-dozen lounge chairs poolside. Let me remind you that it is 112 effing degrees outside. 112, people. After getting burns on the bottom of my feet walking to the lounge chairs, I rested my arms on the metal arm rests. This purchase of 700 ‘VIP’ lounge chairs was probably applauded by the board on its low cost at the time. ‘That Riggs is a smart one. Did you see the deal he was able to secure on those pool chairs? I smell upper management!’ Science 101 – metal absorbs heat. Las Vegas was built in the middle of a desert. (Not dessert, you Kentuckians) A desert is hot. Like 112 degrees hot in the summer. As we progressed as a society, the LABOR union of welders (and a few mafiosos) decided to build Las Vegas in the middle of a desert. So to celebrate the Labor movement, let’s sit by the ‘beach’ with our self-inflicted 2nd degree burns from sub-standard lounge chairs purchased by someone who is probably now in the 14% unemployment pool. Cheers!
Now that my elbows and the bottoms of my feet are in a two-week continued treatment need of ice packs and aloe, I am sitting at my computer way after the Vegas trip to try and recount what painful memories the pool and blackjack tables hold. It was actually a lot of fun, but not for your usual ‘out all night/ The Hangover’ Vegas memories. First of all, I met Pete Rose at an autograph signing, which was pretty kick ass. He and I talked baseball for a few minutes, and he really, really should be back in baseball. I would LOVE for him to manage the Pirates. He would turn that team around. Later that day, I met Rick Dees, DJ of Weekly Top 40 and ‘Disco Duck’ fame. Nice as can be, and remembered our names as we left the room. ‘Steve! Put that back!’
That evening, the beach was turned into a concert venue, where our fearless leader Phil took the stage in a pair of swim trunks and a T-shirt. I was melting in my usual jeans and hat combo, and even worse, my bass was actually absorbing heat. Odd, indeed. Ah yes. The desert.
In case you couldn’t make it up to the 30th floor of the resort, here is a shot of the strip at night. I think my phone needs to be nominated for an award. I’ve really been impressed with the pictures. Saves me from having to wear a fanny pack to store a separate camera.
The scene up here was really nice, but my favorite Vegas is in the old section of town, and way out of town on the golf courses. Sadly, I didn’t get to play this time out. I did get to the Steel Panther show, which was great to see once. Something I can say I did, but don’t need to do again.
We have been off the road for a few days, and it has been a refreshing change. The picture on the left is what my day generally looks like – a hotel bed, laptop, and my bass. These are my companions, and this scene is played out in any number of cities anywhere in the country. Such is my lot in life, I suppose. And I am perfectly OK with that. The scene on the right is just a sad by-product of our boredom on the road.
And speaking of the road – this week are back out again, so check your local listings and come see a show. OK, only check your local listings if you are in New Jersey or Chesapeake, VA. Everyone else just walk through and pretend that you are going to come to a show.
Thanks for letting me rant a little about the state of the nation. If we spent a hair more time laboring than partying, then maybe, just maybe we would be better off. I am not suggesting that we don’t party like it’s 1999, I just wish gas prices were more like 1999. And the economy. It seems that with the invention of smart phones and ‘socialized internet’, we have found more time than ever to not do anything at all…
See you on the road!