March 25, 2005

Blowfish Burgers, Anyone?

Hootie Commercial Screen Cap
I couldn't Photoshop anything
this strange if I tried

OK, I'll say it. This new Burger King commercial with Hootie (aka Darius Rucker) is the saddest thing I've ever seen on TV. You keep expecting it to be some kind of joke. You expect Hootie to reclaim some shred of dignity. But, alas, it doesn't happen.

Posted by Dan at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

So This Is Atlantic City. Yuck.

Our company is having a sales meeting in Atlantic City today and tomorrow. I drove down yesterday with a couple of coworkers and I've spent much of the past 16 hours exploring the area around Bally's, where we're staying. As compared to Las Vegas, I find that three words sum up the A.C. experience:

  • Old - Aside from the Borgata, all of these hotels are far past their heyday. With the possible exception of the Taj Mahal, every place I've seen would have been blown up years ago if it were on the Vegas Strip.

  • Overpriced - This isn't Las Vegas, buy, boy, howdy do they charge like it is. Last night, we paid thirty bucks a head for dinner that was basically glorified Denny's. I've also had to learn to control my gag reflex with all the $10 minimum, double-odds craps you find around here. Even a crummy can of Pepsi (Pepsi owns this town, by the way) from the vending machine next to the ice machine is a buck twenty-five.

  • Dirty - While I freely admit that few vacation destinations in the world can match the spit-and-polish of Las Vegas, Atlantic City doesn't even really try. Everywhere you go here smells at least a little like an ash tray. The men's rooms are at best like what you'd find in an airport and at worst like what you'd find in a bus station. In an apparent cost-saving maneuver, Atlantic City substitutes schizophrenic homeless guys for the Hispanic kids who hand out strip club flyers on Vegas Boulevard.

    All in all, the motif of Atlantic City makes me imagine some marketing geniuses sitting in a room, brainstorming, when one of them says, "Hey, what if we made a place that's just like New York City, right down to the insufferable people, and built casinos there."

    And in case all of that isn't enough to make you say, "WTF", may I share with you a photograph I took out on the Boardwalk this morning:
    Posted by Dan at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
  • March 06, 2005

    Fair readers, I bring

    Fair readers, I bring news. I know that many of you may find what you're about to read disquieting. Some will be angered. Others will be saddened. Some of the more melodramatic among you, heaven forbid, may even be moved to write bad poetry. Know that I am only relaying this information as a warning. I am not endorsing any particular course of action

    Last weekend, as I enjoyed a well-earned vacation in Las Vegas, I happened upon a profound new evil. A terrible plot so base, so devious that my good friend Bert was struck dumb by the mere sight of it. Our traveling companion, the good Dr. Tim, was so shaken that he nearly spilled his frosty malt beverage all over his comfortable linen shirt. Later, during a private moment, he confided in me that what he saw troubled him so much that he toyed with the notion of violating his Hypocratic Oath and doing some harm right on the spot.

    The terrible sight that confronted us was 6-5 blackjack, being dealt to actual customers in an actual Las Vegas gaming establishment. In case you have yet to fully appreciate the gravity of the situation, allow me to emphasize the two most relevant points:

    • A real, live Las Vegas casino was dealing a game of twenty-one where a winning blackjack only paid six-to-five, rather than the customary three-to-two. This was not one of those gimmicky, downtown Vegas variations where you could double down on your third card or go over twenty-one without breaking. This was the standard way this casino was dealing its five dollar tables.

    • Real, live casino patrons were putting up with this nonsense. In sufficient numbers, no less, that there was not an empty seat to be had at the table.

    As you can well imagine, we got the hell out of that place with all due haste. Unfortunately, we observed this abomination at more than one establishment as the weekend ran its course. Which leaves one to once again ponder the age-old question, "what is this world coming to?" Not to sound like your gin-addled grandfather at a family outing, but I can remember when it went without saying that you would be allowed surrender at any blackjack table with DEALER MUST HIT SOFT 17 printed on its felt. The rights to double down after a split and to re-split Aces were also sacrosanct.

    To blame the casinos for this sad state of affairs would be simplistic. I've certainly not heard of any instances of a blackjack dealer being pulled aside by the pit boss and told, "Ooo-dong, from Laos, we have to let you go. Try as we might, we just can't make any money at this game any more." No, the reason that 6-5 blackjack is popping up in casinos is that stupid people are willing to play 6-5 blackjack in casinos.

    Posted by Dan at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)