Saturday, September 22, 2018

E-279: Straw Snorkeling

Random Vegas
In total, The Landmark sat empty and unused for 1/3 of her life. First from 1963-1969 then again from 1990-1995. (

Twitpic of the week

Much like a Washington DC memorial, Lucky Dragon stands as a reminder of something tragic.  Okay, maybe not as tragic as the events that inspire said monuments but you come up with a better metaphor for that property.  As if it's location wasn't a large enough hurdle to overcome, by electing to aggressively cater to Asian gamblers only, no amount of ownership confidence was going to help this concept succeed.  And odds are, it will never look any better than it does in the photo captured this week by @vegasphotograph

Saturday, September 15, 2018

E-278: 360VV7 Fall 2018

Random Vegas 
Originally in 1989, Stratosphere was only meant to be thousand foot tall neon sign for Bob Stupak's Vegas World.  The concept evolved in 1990 into an observation tower that would be the signature attraction for the property.  It wasn't until Stupak had to bring on Grand Casinos as investment partners to finish the project that the idea of rebranding was introduced.  In 1995, 3 years after construction started on the tower, Vegas World was closed for remodeling and expansion.  It would reopen in 1996 as Stratosphere. 

Twitpic of the Trip 

It comes in waves, the realization that I actually live in Las Vegas and exactly what that means.  For example, as fun and relaxing as 360 Vegas Vacations are, there was always a weighted "To-Do" list that came with them.  What's changed since I was last in Vegas?  What do I need to see and experience? How do I get it all done in the 5-6 days I'm in Vegas?  All that's gone now.  Now it's just an opportunity to hangout with my friends and meet some amazing new ones in the greatest city in the world, aka my home.  It hit me unlike ever before the 1st Saturday following #360VV7, typically more of a lachrymose time as recollections of our latest adventures are still fresh and the countdown to when I can return begins.  This time, I was back on the strip, wandering about, documenting another installment of 360 FHE.  And it hit me...this is your life now.  You never have to leave Vegas again.  You're home.  And no matter what else happens, no matter how dark the corners of your mind become or how trapped you become in them, never forget that you're a two-time life lottery winner.  You got the girl and domestic bliss in Las Vegas.  Then, while looking at the photo captured by official 360 Vegas Vacation photographer @japluto09a mischievous idea came to mind...I'm gonna wreck this fuckin town. 

360VV7 Flickr
360VV7 SmugMug
(@Japluto09 - Official 360VV Photographer)

Saturday, August 25, 2018

E-277: Shark Cancer

Random Vegas
When Excalibur opened in 1990, it was the largest hotel resort in the world. ( 

Twitpic of the week

How do you make Las Vegas even more iconic, build a state of the art, giant fucking stadium just off strip, that's how.  This week's winner, brought to you by @RickVelotta, is an aerial view of the progress at Las Vegas Raiders stadium, being built diagonally south from Mandalay Bay, on the other side of I-15. One of largest construction projects not centered around a casino in Vegas history, it promises to offer epic views of the strip for both those in attendance and watching on TV. Good luck finding parking


360VV7 Event Changes
I Love the 90's – The Vegas Show
Lego Vegas Release
Uber Express expands to Vegas
CG Technology Settlement Rejected
360 FHE

Saturday, August 18, 2018

E-276: Delicious Irony

Random Vegas
In 1984, Circus Circus co-owner Bill Pennington was in a boating accident that almost killed him.  He remained under water for over 5 minutes until an 18 year old dove in to retrieve and eventually revive him.  It’s believed the only reason he survived is because of how cold the water in Lake Tahoe was that day.  After waking from a coma, he thanked the young man by buying him a Porsche 930 turbo.  A week later, that young man died in that vehicle from a car crash. (the book - Forgotten Man. The story of Bill Bennett)

Twitpic of the week

It's a stunning metaphor for the experience so many enjoy while visiting the city of lights.  Only in Vegas can so many partake in an unforgettable adventure even if the details of it are a bit unclear.  An ever changing and modern city that simultaneously retains an iconic & classic feel to it. An oasis in the desert, paradise on earth, @vegasphotographcaptures the emotion evoked when the opportunities that lie just past this sign are contemplated.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

E-275: Downtowny

Random Vegas
The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign cost $4,000 to build in 1959.  Today, that equates to $34,000 (@vitalVegas)
Twitpic of the week

Oh, you don't also have a black pyramid with the brightest light in the world perched atop it.  Hmm, I suppose next you're going to tell me you don't have a volcano that erupts on a regular schedule and instead of running from it, it draws people towards it. Honestly, I'll never understand why people choose to live in less than acceptable standards or how they survive it. Hell even the homeless here get it. There is a better option people and it's called Las Vegas.  But, umm, unfortunately, not by where we live.  Yeah, they are...umm...sold out.  Yep, sold out of places to live.  I hear Hendertucky is nice.  You should check that out.  Then maybe you too can have a skyline with views like this one, shared by @JediLightowlerof Luxor fronting a lightening storm. Again, I felt out move to Vegas was a big deal but had no idea it would create apocalyptic weather conditions.


MGM Sues Victims
Kind Heaven Progress Report
T-Mobile Arena Tours
Pinball Hall of Fame Relocation
Grand Sahara Resort
MGM/NBA Announce Partnership
Criss Angel Announces Planet Hollywood Residency
New Downtown Signage Approved
Batalli Leaving Las Vegas

Sunday, August 5, 2018

E-274: Run a Train of Nuzzle

Random Vegas
Every pod of the High Roller observation wheel at LINQ has food & water rations as well as a portable toilet stored within them for use in the event of a passenger-stranding malfunction (@VitalVegas) 
Twitpic of the week home now.  We did it. We moved to Las Vegas.  It's a dream come true and so far, it's been everything we'd hoped it would be and more than we could have ever imagined.  And the mind fuck of it all is this isn't luck. We aren't fortunate or blessed.  We made this happen.  We came to an agreement it was something we wanted to do.  So we set it as a goal, developed a plan, worked hard, saved and when the opportunity presented itself, executed that plan with precision.  In that way, we're less winners of the lottery and more examples of the American dream when you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything.  Or maybe that was George McFly.  Regardless, who knew our arrival via lightening would be captured so eloquently by this week's winner, @vegasphotography

Saturday, July 28, 2018

360 Vegas POV: Casino E-3

In this installment of 360 Vegas POV, we continue our analysis of Martin Scorsese's movie Casino by analyzing the scene when Andy Stone asks Ace to run the Tangiers as well as the introduction of Ginger, Ace's future wife. 

    Saturday, July 14, 2018

    E-273: Totally Watching My Dick

    Random Vegas
    In 1949, Nat King Cole experienced first hand the racist duality that existed in Las Vegas at the time.  Despite being a the headliner at the Thunderbird, he was not allowed to stay or play at the property when he wasn't performing.  Instead, he was required to reside in less than adequate accommodations in a part of town known as Dustville, west of Fremont St, on the other side of I-15.  It would be another 6 years before the Moulin Rouge, the first fully integrated hotel/casino would open in Las Vegas in 1955 and another 11 years before the Moulin Rouge Agreement was signed desegregating all casinos on the strip in 1960

    Twitpic of the week

    It's a view askew of a place left of center, exuding a surrealism that doesn't fade from a distance, only contextualizes the experience.  The tradeoff of staying off strip is having an epic view of the action you are currently not amidst of...but what a view. I feel sorry for those who don't appreciate the theming of Las Vegas because the awe of views like this must be totally lost on them.  It must be what its like to lose one of your senses and not be able to enjoy the aroma of a loved one, the taste of secret pizza or views of the strip from a distance, like this one, shared by @JenniferTilly.  Yes, according to twitter, that one, aka Bonnie Swanson.


    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    E-272: Blood Content Level

    Random Vegas
    During Luxor’s grand opening in 1993, ATM machines dispense over 4m in its first 12 days. (Super Casino)

    Twitpic of the week

    For almost 25 years, THIS occupied the space currently home to the Mirage.  This is what Steve Wynn was looking at when he parked his car across the street at the Sands in the late 80s and allowed his imagination to wander, seeking inspiration for a plan for his recently acquired real estate on the strip. This would be the first ground up project on the Las Vegas strip for the owner of the Golden Nugget and the thing that would either take him to the next level or destroy him. What he came up with was an idea so huge, not only would it accomplish the former, it would revolutionize Las Vegas. The Mirage would reinvent what peoples understanding of what a hotel/casino could be, setting new records in the market in just about every category a record had been previously established.  Fun Fact: The Castaways font used on the properties marquee, not the one used on the building frontage, is the font this show uses to watermark the twitter handled of each week's "Twitpic of the Week".  This week, that handled belongs to @BinionsLV


    Friday, June 29, 2018

    360 Vegas POV: Casino E-2

    In this installment of 360 Vegas POV, we continue our analysis of Martin Scorsese's movie Casino by breaking down two scenes that will help to establish the geographic layout for the movie's version of the city of Las Vegas.  While we do that, we'll compare the films version of Vegas to the one that actually existed at the time as well as today.  

    Saturday, June 23, 2018

    E-271: Vancouver Bay

    Random Vegas
    It costs a Vegas hotel about $35 to "turn a room" (housekeeping).  So if the room is competed but you still have to pay a resort fee of at least $35 per night, the cost is recouped (VitalVegas)

    Twitpic of the week

    A motel on the strip; that's an experience I would've liked to try. The thought reminds me of childhood vacations in the south with my family and that magical feeling I got when stepping out of my room into warm air still lingering before the sun rises or after it sets.  I wouldn't dare even contemplate staying at one of the dens of STD available in modern day Vegas but back in the 60s, staying at some place like the La Concha, showcased in this week's winner, shared by @TonyIllia, would have been fun...if only it had a casino.  That single amenity is the ultimate determining factor when planning any Vegas trip for me.  Why would I stay at a place without a casino attached to it when I have options available that do?  With all the "only in Vegas" experiences available, why would you voluntarily do anything in Vegas that you could do someplace else. I even struggle with something like Delano which doesn't have its own casino but is connected to one internally so it's deemed an acceptable option, albeit not a preferred one. Vdara and Mandarin aren't even options in my head.  Idiosyncrasies aside, the La Concha will always have a special place in my heart, if only for capturing my imagination and that conch shell-esque lobby


    Saturday, June 16, 2018

    E-270: The Howard Hughes of Podcasting

    Random Vegas
    When it first opened, one of the selling points for the Desert Inn was individual thermostats in all guest rooms (Vital Vegas)
    Twitpic of the week

    Thanks to the unbreakable rules I've made up in my head to govern the "Twitpic of the Week" selection process, I've known who this week's winner was going to be for about two weeks.  Even though I could break one of said rules and almost no one would know, considering I'm the only one who's knows what the rules are, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that doing such a thing would be unthinkable.  Let me explain.  The 1st Twitpic of the week awarded after a 360 Vegas Vacation is actually the "Twitpic of the TRIP".  A photo, usually taken by me, that best encapsulates the spirit of that 360 Vegas Vacation & inspired a monolog.  After the trip report, all candidates nominated since the last "Twitpic of the WEEK" was awarded are reviewed.  That means a photo has to stand out 2-3 times longer than usual to earn, and in some cases retain, the right to the designation, which in some cases reaffirms the reason it is eventually awarded the honor.  This week's winner was one that was able to pretty easily hold off potential usurpers.  Captured in the air, on approach to McCarran, official 360 Vegas Vacation photographer @japluto09’s photo of the strip over the wing of a plane creates a coastal beach illusion causing those familiar with the desert landscape surrounding the strip to do a double take to comprehend what they're seeing. As if the view wasn’t ethereal enough, placing the strip in the distance over said wing inspires correlations to stories of afterlife accession. This shot embodies peace and tranquility amidst chaos and disorder,wrapped in mathematical probability. An equation that most certainly always equals an epic adventure on the horizon.

    Saturday, June 9, 2018

    E-269: 360 Vegas Vacation 6 Summer 2018

    Official 360 Vegas Vacation Photographer

    Random Vegas

    In the (6) 360 Vegas Vacations we've had to date, planned events have had to be aborted at the last minute 4 times, 2 of them have happened at Tropicana, at 360VV2, 3 and 6. The other two events were the meet and greet at Bellagio's Baccarat Bar and the Spa @Aria, both at 360VV4.

    Twitpic of the week

    360 Vegas Vacation 6 Summer 2018

    It's one of the most commonly shared, stunning views of Las Vegas, unarguably one of the best in the city.  If you've never experienced it in person, as we had not before VV6, I state my regret.  It is truly mesmerizing.  For me, an awe-inspiring view of a city that changed my life in ways I could have never imagined, brought to you via the bucket list of one 360 Vegas Tony.  If you've never visited the Skyfall Lounge at Mandalay Bay, Delano to be specific, make a point to change that on your next visit.  I submit that you will NOT state regret.  You're Welcome!

    Friday, May 25, 2018

    360 Vegas POV: Casino E-1


    Casino is the story of Sam "Ace" Rothstein and the events that occurred while he ran the Tangiers hotel and casino in Las Vegas.  The movie is based on the real life of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and what happened while he was running the Stardust.   

    What's fun about this movie are the choices Scorsese makes, how often his story accurately mirrors the real events that inspired it and where they deviate from one another.  Not only the differences in the narrative but in the movie version of the city of Las Vegas.  Both are set in the 1970s through the early 80s.  However since the movie was filmed in 1994, without the use of modern CGI, differences between how the landscape looked during the time the story is set in and what it looked like during filming were unavoidable.  Despite that challenge, Scorsese made the conscious effort to represent the city as it existed during that time when he could, changing it when it benefited the story. 

    In that spirit, lets play a game.  We want to see how close the movie storyline matches what really happenedWhile doing that, we'll compare the landscape in Scorsese's version of Vegas to the real one.   

    We'll start by assuming both are exactly the same and analyze the movie to either confirm this or establish that they're different As we encounter moments that conflict with the chronological events, we'll acknowledge them, then remove them from the equation so we can move on connecting the moments in time that still match up.  We'll continue doing this until we're finally shown something that breaks the last connection we have, to the continuity of the real events. 

    Regarding the landscape, we will allow it to help us progress in the timeline but not to establish a break in it.  Conflicts will simply be documented differences between the movie landscape and the real one.  That being said, one rule we will make is you can't make things up.  The Tangiers will be the only fictional landmark.  The rest of the landscape can only be reconfigured, either in location or in its evolution.  The moment something can't simply be reconfigured to explain what you are seeing, the game is over.  That includes making changes to the infrastructure.  IE, things like roads and landmarks exist exactly as they are, or were, in the Las Vegas until something is shown to force us to relocate them.  So if we are driving along the strip and after the Flamingo we see the Golden Nugget, then that's where the Golden Nugget exists in films version of Las Vegas.  It doesn't become a problem until we see the Golden Nugget shown again but located in a different geographical location 

    Also, understand that an argument can be made to challenge any of this.  This is just a chance to over analyze a movie and talk about Vegas while doing it.