Hello from the Mojave Desert, and Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas! Las Vegas is an immense entertainment resort in the middle of an immense desert. A blinking mirage painted on a blank, dry canvas. Surrounded by a ring of ancient mountains, the Strip sits dead center in a valley, its skyline resembling a cluster of obstinate buildings daring visitors to approach. The casinos and hotels appear as a huddled hodgepodge of unrestrained architecture and artifice. At night seen from afar, the lights of the strip pique curiosity: “What is that? Who goes there? And when will the grid fail?”. Up close the lofty scale is unnerving, yet beckoning. All designed to lure in human beings and their treasure, and to separate the two. For most of the year the extreme heat and sun work to shuttle people indoors, then at sunset the lights and sheer movement of bodies muscle people to the intended shiny stuff. Gambling, imbibing, eating, splurging and spectating all rolled into one big action. It is tempting to anoint Las Vegas as a “last resort”, but that remains to be seen. Please join me as I hold up a magnifying glass to scrutinize the culture of Sin City, without frying the anthill.

-Mary Beth

Just so you know, I’m a lifelong Chicagoan and staunch Midwesterner who was recently and unceremoniously moved here on the wings of a spousal job change. Culture shock city. Fun facts: there is no black soil here, no majestic Great Lake, minimal green and maximum beige, and the odds of winning are slim: the house always has the edge. Other than that, I’m all in. Sort of.  

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  • Reply Daphna June 16, 2018 at 6:28 am

    My Dear Mary Beth —
    Reading your juicy, “zaftig” prose is enough to resuscitate even the dryest desert dweller! What a delightful oasis of sardonic wit! I’ll stop by this watering hole anytime! Thank you for sending me this link, and for the ENORMOUSLY appreciated bag of cheetos. The kids went nuts when they saw it. The accompanying note wouldn’t come off of the bag, but I needed it for my scrapbook. Thus, I dumped the contents of the bag into my mouth, so that I could save the bag for posterity’s sake. It was an emergency. I love you, and hope to stay in touch this way! Fondly, and with gratitude for your continued charitable donations — DAPHNA!

    • Reply mudle June 17, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Dearest Daphna,
      Thank you kindly for reading the blog! And for sharing the story of the kids going nuts for the Cheetos delivery! You, my fine friend, are a funny one. Again, seeing you and the kids on the blacktop was a peak moment which I shall treasure. Sheer joy.
      ENJOY every moment of your summer!
      Love you and your creative mind,

  • Reply Daphna May 5, 2020 at 6:02 am

    Hello Dear Mary Beth,
    I’ve been thinking of you during this horrible time…. noticed you haven’t posted any of your fabulously witty posts since January, and hoping you are doing o.k. I pray everyone is healthy?

    • Reply mudle May 8, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      Dear Daphna,
      Hello! Thank you for reaching out, I appreciate your kindness, and moreover, the fact that you have read my blog. We are well and proceeding with caution in the desert. The economy of southern Nevada has been decimated by the virus. The engine of Las Vegas is powered by hospitality/gaming/conventions/entertainment, all of which require masses of people in close proximity. A recipe for a massive pause. Hoping for the best for everybody near and far. I trust you and your family are perfectly AOK. The abrupt end of school has probably been a rocky road. Your students must miss you dearly. Be well, and again, thank you for writing! 🙂

  • Reply Daphna November 12, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Hello Dear Mary Beth,

    Just alighted on your fabulous, witty-beyond-belief blog again, and notice you haven’t posted in a while. Hope all is well. Life is strange and a bit hard, what with Sears insistently staying open during the Great Pandemic. I’m on Day 6 of quarantine after some little 11 year old student came down with “it.” Losing my mind trapped in our little basement room, but hopefully will be declared free and clear soon. You O.K.?

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