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Posted by on Jul 16, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Personal, Rants and Raves, Travel | 0 comments

Strangers in the Night

 

 

The sexes aren’t just different biologically.  The sexes are divided by a chasm — those who live in safety versus those who do not.  Most men can walk the streets at night.  Men answer their doorbells without feeling panic.  Men step onto an elevator and don’t worry about who’s on board.  Men are free to live their lives without fear.  Women don’t have this luxury of being careless.  Women need to be on the lookout at all times.  Women must on the defensive, always, not only wherever they go, but who they talk to and what vibes they give off.  Women must be cautious, even inside their own homes.  Hence, men are free.  And, women are not.

 

One of my senior cats got loose the other day.  He ran outside, jumped over a fence, and disappeared into a neighbor’s yard.  Then, the cat jumped another fence and another.

My cat ended up in the backyard of a house around the block.  So, I went to the front door and rang the bell expecting to be greeted by a neighborly welcome.

There was no answer.  Then, a middle-aged woman looked out the front window and peered through the drapes.  She stared at me.  I looked back at her and saw something strange.  It was a look of fear, laced with confusion.

“What can I do for you,” she hollered through the window pane.

“I lost my cat.  I think he’s in your backyard.”

The woman appeared confused.  It was obvious, she didn’t know what to do.  Frankly, I was a it annoyed by the incident.  “Hey, just go into the backyard, open the door, and give me my cat,” I thought to myself.  Okay, I didn’t say that, but that’s what I was thinking.

The woman on the other side of the door had an entirely different perspective from me.  It’ a perspective I hadn’t ever contemplated before.  It’s probably a perspective oblivious to most men, including some of you who are reading.

After reflecting on the incident, I came to the realization the woman was simply protecting herself.  She was maximizing her very best chance of staying safe.  She was smart.  Opening the front door to a stranger might not seem like it poses much of a danger, but certainly comes with some element of risk.  What’s the risk exactly?   Five percent?  Or, even 1 percent?  Does it matter?  Is it worth it?  The percentages of risk are certainly higher when the potential victim is a woman and the stranger is a man.  Robbery or rape must be a serious concern for nearly every woman at some point, whether it’s in the workplace, walking across a parking lot late at night, and even when driving.  This is true especially when she’s alone.

After some verbal haggling with the lady, I ended up getting my cat.  I also learned a lesson firsthand that made me think more deeply about what I’d experienced and what precisely women have to go through almost daily, well, just because they’re women.

_____

In this country, White men are freer than all other demographic groups.  I don’t mean freer in the political or economic sense since the advantages in career and finance are obvious.  I mean the far more essential aspect of what constitutes a much broader definition of “freedom,” which means going through daily life without worrying about being harmed by someone whom we may or may not know.

Fact is, women have to make judgments about their safety every day.  Most men (including myself) cannot grasp this.  We can pretty much walk down any street day or night and not worry about being robbed or raped.  We can enter a deserted parking lot and not fear what might happen just around the next corner.  We aren’t really much concerned about our personal safety if the car fails to start or it breaks down along the road late in a so-called “bad area.”

One of the casualties of America’s increasing awareness of sexual harassment, physical assault, and abuse of power inside the workplace has been losing our focus on all the seemingly mundane interactions that take place between men and women, usually who don’t know each other, who are forced to interact together in all kinds of social and casual situations.  In virtually all such circumstances, it’s the woman who’s at risk, not the man.  Think about this.

The best example of this is the 30-second elevator ride scenario.  It goes like this:  A woman is working late at night.  She leaves her office and presses the elevator button.  The elevator opens up and a strange man is standing there on board, alone.  Does she enter?

Women must assess situations like this very quickly on an everyday basis.  Should she get on the elevator?  It depends.  Does the man’s appearance matter?  It shouldn’t.  Some rapists can appear very normal.  Ted Bundy wasn’t just normal — he was good-looking.  After killing at least 30 women, Bundy later admitted he used his appearance to gain their trust and prey on victims.  What about his age?  What about his race?  These are indeed tough questions to ponder.  For men, these questions are purely academic, and for myself — what amounts to a writing exercise.  For women, these questions may be a matter of life or death.

Tim Wise, writing in Medium recently, discussed the 30-second elevator ride when just such an incident in a hotel late one night triggered significant anxiety for the solo female passenger [READ THE STORY HERE].  Some men reading this are sure to dismiss women’s fears, either as irrational or an overreaction.  Perhaps some are likely to revert to an even more crude reaction.

Nonetheless, married men, and certainly all men with daughters and sisters, would be the first to say that women closest to them cannot be careful enough in these types of situations.  We don’t want our wives, daughters, or sisters walking down dark streets late at night.  We don’t want them getting on elevators alone when such a thing might be avoided.  So, on one hand, many of us refuse to accept the gender divide that men aren’t burdened with nearly as many precautions and fears in life.  Yet at the same time, we lecture our dearest loved ones and insist they can’t be too careful.

Having two different positions on the 30-second elevator question — one in general and the other for your own loved ones — is duplicitous.

_____

Gina Fiore lives here in Las Vegas.  I don’t know her well, but she’s a Facebook friend.

Yesterday, Gina posted a short story about a knock on her front door.  She peeked out and saw a man she didn’t know:

 

 

Gina’s decision was made much easier by seeing something she perceived to be unusual and dangerous.  The man was holding a brick.  That’s not a normal thing to do when knocking on someone’s door.  In fact, that’s probably a good enough reason to dial 9-1-1.  What man wouldn’t insist that his wife, daughter, or sister call the police in such a scenario?

But returning now to my earlier story about me looking for a cat, how is a woman able to make distinctions between normal everyday activities that we all encounter — versus real danger?  Is it the time of day?  Well, no.  Most robberies happen during the daytime, often in nice neighborhoods when people aren’t at home.  Should decisions be based on the appearance/gender/age/race of the person knocking on the door?  This is certainly a factor for most people.  Most of us would be quick to open our front door to an elderly lady.  Then, there’s the obvious counterexample which many won’t admit:  A young dark-skinned person probably wouldn’t be as trusted, nor extended those same courtesies.

 _____

There’s no easy answer about how to deal with situations at front doors, on elevators, an in parking lots.  One size doesn’t fit all.  Whatever the question, it almost never does.

However, given the very real risks that all men pose to women in their perceptions of situations viewed as potentially dangerous, it’s probably incumbent on us all to do what we can to make women feel more at ease.

I’d like to hear from women as to how we can do this.  I think it’s important, and so should you.

Please join the discussion either here in the comments section and/or on Facebook — CLICK HERE.

I look forward to reading and learning more.

__________

 

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Travel | 1 comment

Las Vegas is the New Mall of America

 

 

Given a national tidal wave of retailer bankruptcies and thousands of store closures, why does the Las Vegas Strip defy all odds and increasingly look like the new Mall of America?

 

Las Vegas used to be called “Sin City.”

Now, it’s “Shopping City.”

The iconic decorative fountains outside in front of Caesars Palace are now obscured by a pop-up retail store hawking Samsung smartphones.  The pirate ship at Treasure Island has been torn down and hauled away, replaced by a lousy barbecue joint with a mechanical bull.  Every casino along Las Vegas Boulevard has a shopping mall or is connected to a shopping mall.

Indeed, everywhere you look up and down The Strip, there’s a trendy retail store or chain restaurant.  Sales pests leap out of nowhere, begging to clean your jewelry or talk you into a miracle skin cream.  Shopping has become so pervasive that it’s become increasingly difficult to find the way into a casino amidst a disorienting maze of overpriced clothing stores, perfume shops, gourmet burger bars, and kiosks selling junk knick-knacks that nobody needs.  Playing cards used to symbolize the Las Vegas experience.  Now, it’s credit cards.

Even off The Strip, several so-called “outlet malls” packed with hundreds of retail stores cater almost exclusively to tourists.  Near downtown, there’s a giant complex called Premium Outlets (which just announced plans to start charging to park, begging the question — who pays for parking just to shop?).  South of Mandalay Bay, there’s an even bigger shopping outlet known as Town Square.  Just south of that mall is another outlet mall named Las Vegas South Premium Outlets.  Parking is still free there, at least for now.

Even the swarms of visitors who drive into Las Vegas from the west can’t escape the shopping craze.  What’s the first thing you see when crossing the California-Nevada border?  Not a casino.  Answer:  The Primm Outlet Mall.  Who in the hell drives four hours from Los Angeles across the desert to swerve into Nordstrom Rack?  Hmm, I guess there are no stores left in California.

Las Vegas doesn’t need Gamblers Anonymous.  We need Shoppers Anonymous.

What’s truly baffling is this trend defies absolutely everything that’s happening across the rest of America.  Retailers just about everywhere are in very serious trouble.  More than 10,000 stores affiliated with national chains closed down last year.  Retail bankruptcies are at an all-time high.  More than 50 retailers have gone out of business just within the last year.

Toys R Us is bankrupt.  Perfumania is bankrupt.  Rue21 is bankrupt.  Payless Shoes bankrupt. RadioShack is bankrupt.   The Limited is bankrupt.  Gymboree is bankrupt.  Vitamin World is bankrupt.  Aerosoles is bankrupt.  Styles for Less is bankrupt.  That’s the short list.  READ MORE

K-Mart is about to be bankrupt.   Sears is about to be bankrupt.  JC Penny is about to be bankrupt.  SteinMart is about to be bankrupt.   Burlington is about to be bankrupt.  Men’s Warehouse is about to be bankrupt.  Joseph A. Bank is about to be bankrupt.  That’s another short list.  READ MORE

These are even worse times for shopping malls.  They simply aren’t being built anymore.  Not with Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, and other retail giants offering far better value and easier convenience.  Who wants to visit a mall and walk three miles to grab a few things when one megastore offers the same thing at a cheaper price — plus a hot dog and drink lunch for $1.50?

Of course, the real culprit in the demise of malls and retail stores is online shopping, and more specifically the explosion of Amazon.  E-shopping has revolutionized consumer culture.  It’s far easier to find the perfect replacement part or the ideal sweater on a home laptop and then have it delivered to our doorstep.  No doubt, Amazon will continue cutting into the market share of brick and mortar retailers, which will increasingly find themselves following K-Mart into bankruptcy court.

So, given what’s happening everyplace else, why is Las Vegas such a mystifying exception?  It makes no sense.  It defies all logic.

Clearly, these retail stores on The Strip don’t offer any bargains.  The prices for goods and services are usually much higher in casino malls than back at home.  Sure, tourists will buy t-shirts and souvenirs.  That’s to be expected.  But who flies to Las Vegas on their vacation to purchase a smartphone?  Or, a bottle of perfume?  Or, a pair of pants?  Or, a pair of sneakers?  Or, any of the other millions of products for sale at a considerable markup?

One plausible theory is that most Las Vegas visitors expect to lose money.  Hence, rather than blowing $1,200 at a craps table as the tourists used to do, by splurging on an $800 iPhone and $400 handbag instead, at least there’s something left to show for the act of self-indulgence.

Still, I can’t shake the undeniable fact that at least some (albeit small) percentage of gamblers depart the casino with more money than they started with.  A very tiny number might even get rich.  But everyone who walks into a shopping mall and then buys something loses money.

Why is Las Vegas so different when it comes to retail shopping?  I can’t explain it.

Thoughts and feedback are welcome.

 

Correction / Update:  I’ve been informed the Samsung store at Caesars is now gone.   So, don’t rush there to buy the new Galaxy S9.

 

 

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Posted by on Mar 19, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Travel | 1 comment

Uber and Self-Driving Cars

 

 

We need to embrace an impartial and unemotional risk assessment as the ways we allow technology to manage our lives.  The question we should be asking is this:  Are self-driven cars more safe or less safe than human-driven vehicles? 

 

You’ve probably heard by now about the self-driving Uber vehicle that killed someone.

READ:  Uber self-driving car kills pedestrian in first fatal autonomous crash

This is a double tragedy.  First, someone needlessly died.  Second, the accident is likely to dampen public enthusiasm for a new technology that could ultimately save many lives.

Self-driving vehicles are long overdue given astounding advances in telecommunications, automation, and robotics.  If we can operate sophisticated military weapons (drones) and drop deadly explosives on people on the opposite side of the world with nothing more than signals beamed from remote locations using satellites, it seems we should be able to harness a similar technology for something more humane.

Just as distressing is the widespread public misconception about safety and risk which often clouds good judgment.  We don’t always think logically.  In fact, we often overreact when we perceive danger (recall the infamous overreaches of the Patriot Act).  In the wake of this traffic death, expect a new wave of opposition to self-driving cars and trucks.  People are afraid.

What’s your first thought if you see a driverless car?  Most of us are likely to gawk at the sight.  We’re not accustomed yet to seeing an empty driver’s seat.  It’s even a bit scary.  High-tech stuff intimidates lots of people.  We’re afraid — usually of things we can’t control and don’t understand.

Instead, let’s try and be reasonable.  Let’s allow science to work for us.  What we need is an impartial and unemotional approach to the ways we allow technology to manage our lives.  The question we should be asking is this:  Are self-driven cars more safe or less safe than human-driven vehicles?  This is the only answer that matters.

Yes, a pedestrian killed by a self-driven car is a terrible incident.  Joint public-private inquiry and oversight absolutely must be implemented that will improve if, not guarantee, safeguards.  But let’s not get carried away here.  How many pedestrians would have been killed by all the self-driven vehicles currently engaged in a trial phase throughout the United States had they been driven by humans, instead?

Let’s acknowledge that accidents do happen.  To err is human.  Every time we get into a car, we risk the chance of dying.  Moreover, walking on the street even entails some risk.  It’s quite possible — even likely — that human drivers would have been responsible for more accidents had no self-driving cars been on the road.  Certainly, once this technology improves to an acceptable level, automated vehicles will be much safer than those with human drivers.

Why do I believe this?

Admittedly, my knowledge of self-driving vehicles and the associated technologies is almost zero.  Still, I’m willing to go on record with a few suppositions — that no self-driving vehicle is ever drunk, stoned on drugs, or will fall asleep at the wheel.  No self-driving vehicle will ever be distracted by a text message or a passenger.  No self-driving vehicle will ever instigate a case of road rage.  Furthermore, no self-driving vehicle will speed, run a red light, or break traffic laws.  In short, once this emerging technology improves, we will all be much safer.

There’s a valid comparison which supports the argument.  Air travel is far safer now than years ago.  This is mainly due to advances in technology similar to self-driving cars.  Flying is safer now, even though there are far more planes in the air today than at any time in history; yet airline disasters have become exceedingly rare.  This is especially true in the United States.  It’s never been safer to fly on a commercial airline.

Boeing is currently testing airplanes that fly on their own.  Unlike self-driving cars, which is a relatively new concept in the public consciousness, most commercial flying is already heavily automated.  We aren’t being chauffeured from take-off to a landing point by a pilot.  Most of the journey from gate to gate is planned and controlled by a computerized auto-pilot.

READ:  Would You Fly on an Airliner Without a Pilot?

Of course, a human pilot is always in the cockpit for at least two reasons.  First, human pilots instill confidence with fliers.  This is why crew members for major airlines continue wearing outdated military-style uniforms, even though such antiquated customs serve no purpose.  Second, a human pilot can always intervene just in case there’s an emergency.  Passengers aren’t worried their lives are tinker-toyed to a tiny microchip making all the necessary in-flight adjustments. We’re comforted by the confidence a real pilot can seize the flight controls if something goes terribly wrong.

The implications of inevitable advances in high-tech, including self-driving cars, trucks, trains, and planes is a debate worth having.  Millions of jobs will be at stake.  Taxi drivers, truckers, train engineers, and pilots could soon become about as relevant as blacksmiths.  Automation will continue to displace workers.  That’s a big concern that will require an adult conversation.

However, let’s not hide our heads in the sand and pretend technologies that change our lives will go away — because they won’t.  They’re here to stay.  When tragedy occurs and technologies fail, as will happen, that’s not the time to retreat.  It’s the time to work harder to make things better.

All this being said, I’ll leave you with a question:  If you ordered Uber and a driverless car showed up, would you get in and accept the ride?

ADDENDUM:  Here are results from my Twitter poll: 

 

_____

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Posted by on Mar 18, 2018 in Blog, Essays, General Poker, Las Vegas, Travel | 0 comments

What’s the Best Night of the Year to Play Poker?

 

 

St. Patricks Day and March Madness weekend combine to create the perfect storm for skilled low- to mid-stakes poker players.  It’s become the best calendar date of the year to play poker in Las Vegas.

 

I was astounded by all the craziness last night.  Call it March Poker Madness.

Las Vegas poker rooms were packed.  Every seat was taken.  Waiting lists were long.  More drinking and talking went on than usual.  Almost no headphones were seen.  Players looked to be having fun.  The pots seemed bigger.  Many games were great.

I got my ass kicked.

No, not really.  Let’s just say it was a good night.

This was my overall impression after playing at four different cardrooms over an 11-hour stretch on a long Saturday night-early Sunday morning, which just so happened to overlap into a perfect storm of citywide poker action.  My conclusion is this:

St. Patrick’s Day and the opening weekend of March Madness appear to create the best calendar date of the year to play poker, at least here in Las Vegas.

Surprisingly, I never realized this phenomenon before.  Las Vegas has been my home for 16 years.  One would think I’d have discovered this already.  But I don’t recall going out to play poker during this specific weekend.  In the past, for more than a decade I traveled frequently with the World Series of Poker Circuit, which meant I was off working, someplace else.  If I was in Las Vegas during mid-March, it’s most likely that I avoided what amounts to “amateur night” for partiers and drinkers.  Don’t misunderstand.  I love drinking.  But I don’t like drinking with drunken amateurs.  Besides, the service sucks everywhere.  It’s way too crowded.

Now, I realize the objective isn’t drinking with drunken amateurs.  It’s to play poker with them.

Aside from the financial upside, the games last night reminded me of the way poker used to be.  Players cracking jokes and laughing.  Everyone talking about the ball game on TV.  Gamblers discussing the next day’s pointspreads, while ordering another Miller Lite.  You know, having fun.

If this all sounds manipulative, even exploitive, well — it is.  In a game with tougher players and diminishing edges, every conceivable advantage must be hunted.  That’s assuming you play for money.  The formula for increasing one’s chance of winning is simple:  You have to go where games are good and play at the ideal time.  Oh, and you must play well.

Saturday nights are almost always the best nights of the year to play poker.  This is true just about anywhere, especially in Las Vegas.  Friday nights can be pretty good, too.  However, on Friday nights many less-skilled players realize there’s still a long weekend ahead of them.  They tend to remain in control of themselves and make table decisions that aren’t catastrophic.  Not yet, anyway.

By Saturday night, the emotional bolts of self-constraint have rusted away and are about to snap.  At least a few dozen beers into the weekend with a pocket full of losing sports tickets, the poker table becomes the last chance to get even.  Sometimes maxed out on ATM visits and down to their last hundred, players will simply give up out of frustration.  I saw this happen last night when an out-of-town visitor on a bad run got fed up with playing normally.  He decided to blind shove his last $120.  He lost.

Free money.

Those kinds of bizarre situations happen a lot on Saturday nights, especially in the “touristy” poker rooms on The Strip filled with frat boys.  But that’s merely the foundation for more craziness.

Combine Saturday night with the opening weekend of March Madness, which is four exhaustive days and nights of betting and watching television and cheering, then subtract the hours of much-needed rest, and low-to mid-stakes poker games all over town become even wilder.  Then, to top things off, add in the party factor — St. Patrick’s Day.  This is one of the most popular days of the year for casual alcohol consumption, perhaps second only to New Year’s Eve.  All the scrumptious ingredients are in place:

Las Vegas + Saturday Night + March Madness + St. Patrick’s Day = Great poker games.

Admittedly, this was just one night.  Perhaps, my experience was atypical.  Maybe I’m exaggerating.  Let’s open this up to other opinions.

Eager to know if my personal experience and hypothesis about St. Patrick’s Day/March Madness is shared by other poker players, I posted a poll on Twitter.  Although the results are unscientific, these percentages show that a majority of poker players believe this is/was the best night (and weekend) of the year to play poker in Las Vegas.

Here are the results, so far (Note:  It’s now 12 hours into the 24-hour poll — so the results are incomplete).  The results do appear to be conclusive:

I don’t know what I’ll be doing tomorrow night — or the next, or the next.  But I sure do know what I’ll be doing next March 16, 2019.  I’ll definitely be playing poker.

_____

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Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Travel | 5 comments

12 Rules for Driving in Las Vegas

 

 

Every big city in America has its own peculiar set of rules for driving a car:

In Los Angeles — make sure each drive begins with a full tank of gas.  You might need it.  Sitting in traffic for hours with the engine idling away is a part of daily life.

In Philadephia — always keep one hand on the steering wheel, while maintaining the other hand in a locked position with the middle finger extended, fully prepared to engage any violators.

In Chicago — get bulletproof windows.

In Dallas — make sure your collision insurance is up-to-date.

In Miami-Ft. Lauderdale — prepare for a constant game of dodgeball, since half the population is over 85 and the rest are nuts.

In New York — don’t drive.

Las Vegas can be a really strange place, especially when it comes to driving.

Our auto insurance rates are among the highest in the nation.  Driving on freeways here can be like racing in the Daytona 500.  Everything is a competition.  Cutting off someone is traffic is personal and demands revenge.  Other cities with heavy traffic slow down when it’s bumper to bumper.  In Las Vegas, we hit the gas.  Flashing neon lights up and down the casino strip is a particularly bad influence on drivers; turn signals are used merely for ornamentation.  When it rains, which is almost never, forget about it.  You might as well pack up and leave town.  When the roads are slick, everyone drives faster.  It’s madness.

We do love to gamble.  Especially behind the wheel.

For tourists who rent a car, local residents, or god forbid pedestrians and cyclists (how are you not in a coma?), what follows are some helpful hints enabling you to survive the unique Las Vegas driving experience.

 

A Dozen Rules for Driving in Las Vegas:

.

Rule #1:  There are no rules. 

That’s right.  There are no rules for driving in Las Vegas.  Well at least, no one pays attention to them.   So, neither should you.  Ignore traffic laws relating to speed limits, school zones, and areas under constructions (which basically applies to every expressway in the city).  Do whatever you want.

Rule#2:  Keep up with the flow of traffic.

If there’s a speed limit posted, add 20 mph to it.  That’s the real speed limit.  The 20 mph “over” rule especially applies to delivery trucks and city buses, which all drive batshit crazy.  If you don’t drive at the common speed limit, you might get run off the road.  So, keep up with the flow of traffic.  Note:  In Sun City Summerlin, which is a sprawling “over 55” community, reverse everything written above.  Subtract 20 mph from the posted speed limits.  Better yet, buy a golf cart.

Rule #3:  It’s always rush hour.

In Las Vegas, there are no clocks in casinos.  Moreover, there are no clocks on the roadways.  Normal times of day don’t apply here.  9 to 5 isn’t the workday.  It’s the odds on a craps table.  This is a 24-hour city where anyone can order a steak, smoke a bowl, shoot up, or down half a dozen martinis — day and night.  You might think it’s safe to drive the streets at 10 am.  Not true.  The morning drive means the graveyard shift got off work and already had three hours to party.  Las Vegas’ rush hour is midnight until 11:59 at night.

Rule  #4:  Never brake on yellow.

Yellow traffic lights aren’t what they mean in other cities.  Yellow does not mean — caution or slow down.  In Las Vegas, yellow means — pound the gas pedal.  Braking on yellow in this city can get you rear-ended, assaulted, or perhaps even shot.

Rule #5:  A green light does not mean “go.”

Green lights at traffic intersections do not mean “go.”  In Las Vegas, a green light means “proceed with extreme caution.”  When stopped at a traffic light, upon seeing evidence of a green light, wait at least five full seconds before accelerating.  Allow several vehicles caught in cross traffic to race through the intersection as the light changes from yellow to red.  Otherwise, you’ll probably get sideswiped by an uninsured driver with expired out-of-state plates.

Rule #6:  Handicapped parking spaces are for handicappers.

All the casinos have plenty of handicapped parking spaces.  Most of them are empty.  This is most convenient for sports gamblers caught in a time crunch.  Why risk missing the tip-off when a handicapped parking space is just a few steps away from the race and sportsbook betting window, and the game starts in 3 minutes?  The chances of a disabled person needing the space are small, anyway.  In Las Vegas, handicapped parking applies to both “the handicapped” and “handicappers.”

Rule #7:  What to do if your car breaks down.  

If your vehicle breaks down for any reason, remove it from the roadway, immediately.  Otherwise, a car thief will come along and remove it for you.  Also — don’t even think of changing a flat tire on your own.  You will be run over and end up in a coma.

Rule #8:  Learn the local language.

In Las Vegas, the three most common ways to communicate are as follows — [1] English, [2] Spanish, and [3] Texting While Driving.  If exceeding 80 mph, the ten-second rule on replying to phone text messages does not apply.  Do not text while driving more than 25 mph above the speed limit.  That’s what school zones are for.

Rule #9:  Learn how to properly use the horn.

Sometimes, honking the car horn may be necessary when driving in Las Vegas traffic.  However, one must also practice the proper discretion.  So, it’s best to follow the local customs.  Your car horn has a clear purpose and it is to be used — as a weapon.

Rule #10:  Always be prepared for the danger of a traffic stop.

Take extra special care when being pulled over by the police during a traffic stop.  Making a mistake can be very costly.  Here’s some advice:  A personal flask is much easier to hide under the front seat than either a beer can or a beer bottle, especially if the beverage is full.  No one wants to spill good liquor just because a tail light is out and you get pulled over.  So, prepare accordingly.

Rule #11:  Weaponize your car stereo sound speakers.

Young people in Las Vegas enjoy blasting their shitty music.  Worse, they make sure everyone else can hear it.  At busy intersections with extra-long red lights, be prepared for rap lyrics loud enough to sound like you’re chained next to the speakers at a DMX concert.  The optimal countermeasure to this auditory pollution is establishing a good defense, a.k.a. “amping up,” sort of like how nations stockpile nukes.  When confronted with booming rap music at a traffic light, put on your favorite music, roll down the car windows, crank up the volume, and blast the fuck away.

Rule #12:  Learn what the road signs really mean. 

In Las Vegas, traffic signs are meant as suggestions.  Sort of like your waiter reciting the nightly dinner specials.  No one pays attention.  Everyone will do their own thing.  Here’s the real road sign menu, with descriptions:

STOP = Slow down.

YIELD = Accelerate to beat other cars into the traffic circle.

DO NOT ENTER = Be sure no one is approaching, then proceed.

NO PARKING = Free parking.

DUCK CROSSING = 1 duck – 1 point; 2 ducks – 2 points; 3 ducks – 3 points; 4 ducks – we don’t believe it….post video on YouTube.

ROAD WORK AHEAD = Speed up now to make up for lost time.

MERGING TRAFFIC = Ride the tail of the car in front so no one can cut in.

SCHOOL ZONE = Check your text messages.

 

Finally, thinking of renting a car?  Here’s a one-word suggestion, instead:  Uber.

Hope you enjoyed the list.

Now, drive safe!

 

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