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March 30, 2014
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Publisher’s Notebook: Walk reveals bare truth about Las Vegas Strip

A guy who couldn’t speak English handed me a card with a picture of a naked lady on it before I’d gotten 100 feet outside my Las Vegas hotel Tuesday morning.

I was on my way down the Strip to pick up some show tickets I’d purchased online in preparation for my three-day Vegas getaway and thought I’d run down from the Monte Carlo to the Mirage and back in time to get my wife some coffee.

The guy who handed me the naked lady card was wearing a T-shirt that read: “Orgasm Clinics” and a phone number you could call in the event you wanted to attend an orgasm clinic during your vacation stay.

The guy who couldn’t speak English probably didn’t know what his T-shirt said, which is probably why his bosses thought he’d be the perfect guy to stand on the street corner handing out cards.

By the time I got back to the hotel room, almost two hours later, I’d turned down at least 100 other offers for naked lady picture cards from the other mostly Hispanic workers who were also wearing “Orgasm Clinic” T-shirts.

The thing to remember about the Las Vegas Strip is this: Things appear closer than they are. I now know why they called it the Mirage. No matter how fast I walked, I never seemed to get any closer.

By the time I got back to the hotel room, it was lunchtime and an orgasm was the farthest thing from my mind.

“Where have you been?” my wife asked.

“I just walked to the Mirage to get the tickets.”

“For almost two hours?”

“Yes.”

“What’s that in your hand?”

“A card with a picture of a naked lady.”

“Where did you get that?”

“From a guy promoting free orgasm clinics.”

There is a point when you are having a conversation like that when you should just stop talking because it just gets worse.

“Did you go to the orgasm clinic?”

“No. I kept walking and got the tickets.”

“Where are they?”

“Right here.”

That’s when I pulled four more naked lady cards out of the pocket where I’d stuck the Cirque du Soleil tickets.

“Same place I got the other one, except a different guy. Let’s go swimming.”

So began my first morning of a three-day Las Vegas getaway.

And, for the record, Las Vegas isn’t the Vegas I remember. It’s dirtier, with real zombies walking the streets, and if you stay there long enough they will pick your bones clean.

Yes, the dancing water fountains are still dancing (when it’s not windy) and you can still see a good show and eat some good food if you sold a gold tooth or robbed a bank.

But for the most part you will bleed more money than you thought possible. When your pockets are empty, they will wheel you onto your plane and send you on your way.

You could just mail them a check and save air fare, but then you would miss an orgasm clinic, or a homeless guy dressed as a Minion from Despicable Me.

That’s right. Las Vegas has turned its homeless population into cartoon characters, which is really kind of clever. If you are going to stand there holding a cup out, you may as well do it dressed as Donald Duck.

My wife gave the Minion $5 so I could take a picture of the two of them so she could post it on Facebook. We’d given a Buddhist monk $20 earlier in the day, and he gave us some beads that had been blessed. He looked like a monk, but what do I know. The other guy looked like a Minion, and I’m pretty sure they don’t exist.

The beads didn’t help my gambling, so I’m not sure when the blessing will actually kick in.

The pool was fun. I bought a can of beer for $10 and a bottle of water for $6, but the $13 onion rings came with free ranch dressing. We walked down the Lazy River because we were too cheap to rent inner tubes for $10 each.

Cirque du Soleil was amazing and you have several shows as options. We went to see “Love,” a tribute to The Beatles. and sat in the front row, close enough to see the muscular outline of a performer who could do one-handed pushups all night if he wanted to. My guess is that he doesn’t spend much time on the Strip eating $13 onion rings.

It is noteworthy that the guys handing out the naked lady cards don’t care if you are walking with your wife, or girlfriend. It finally occurred to me that there must be good money in printing naked lady cards, because the sidewalks and gutters were filled with them by nightfall.

I don’t think my press is capable of printing naked lady cards, or I would have offered a bid.

We landed in Medford Thursday afternoon and it was a nice change of pace. We could actually breathe again and enjoy the green hillsides on the way home.

Not sure what will happen to Vegas when Lake Mead finally runs dry. Tough to imagine what that place would be like without a shower.

• News-Review Publisher Jeff Ackerman can be reached at 541-957-4263 or jackerman@nrtoday.com.


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The News-Review Updated Mar 30, 2014 02:25PM Published Mar 30, 2014 12:04AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.