Before I got to Las Vegas I thought I would hate it as a conference city. After a few days spent there, I now know that my premonition was correct. This has to be one of the worst places ever to hold an ALA Conference.
The only redeeming feature it has over Orlando is that there are some great restaurants in Vegas. Getting to them is always inconvenient, but then again so is getting anywhere in town.
And that’s part of the problem. If I were there to drink and gamble, or even to get massages and lie by pools, this would be perfect. Except that I was there on business.
So of course if I’m there on business and need to get from meetings to programs to meetings, I want some of them to be in hotels/casinos that are designed to keep me from getting to a specific location. That’s because I, like the group that chose this place, have a double digit IQ.
Brilliant planning, ALA committee that chose Vegas as a destination. Seriously, what bunch of idiots chose Vegas?
I was late for a few things, but on the other hand, I got to wander through various casinos, which itself was rather depressing.
Outside of cities like San Francisco where the homeless population can overwhelm you trying to get around, Vegas has to be one of the most depressing cities I’ve visited, with the casinos being the locus of that depression.
In the movies, casinos are always glamorous places. After all, if Danny Ocean likes them, how bad can they be?
Oh yeah, I forget, Danny Ocean is a disreputable thief, so he fit right in.
Instead of glamorous shininess, all I saw were the poor saps handing their money over to casinos in the guise of gambling. And since I wasn’t privy to watching the “whales” gamble, I had to settle for the burly unkempt men and the sad old women.
“What’s in the bag?” said one sad old woman to another.
“Nickels,” she said, “because it’s so hard to find penny slots.”
In that short exchange rests all the pathos of Vegas.
The sad specimens camped in front of the one-buttoned bandits were the worst sight. It’s a “game” that chimpanzees could play and still feel a little foolish.
They were like zombies staring into the glass and pressing those little buttons. When they run out of nickels and rise up, remember to go for the head.
And then there’s the smoke. In addition to having to wander though the pathos of Vegas casinos to get anywhere, I also had to wade through the cigarette smoke.
Seriously, get with the 21st century, Vegas. But I suppose a city designed to fleece suckers probably doesn’t care much about public health.
Oh, and the godawful prices. Fortunately, the huge expense accounts of librarians are designed for places like Vegas, which are designed to suck money from huge expense accounts.
Even the shows look sad. People pretending to be the Rat Pack. People pretending to be Elvis. People pretending to be Michael Jackson. Other people pretending that they haven’t ended up where musical careers go to die or to live on in farce.
Finally, there’s the heat. Perhaps the committee of fools who picked Vegas isn’t aware, but on average librarians aren’t the healthiest of professionals. Making them trudge through 110 degree heat to get to a program is just cruel.
ALA was there about 40 years ago, I heard someone saying, and supposedly it was so awful that the ALA Council passed a resolution never to return.
If that’s true, it shows just how effective ALA Council resolutions are, because there it was. And if not true, then maybe it’s something the Council should take up this time. That’s a resolution I’d definitely be behind.
When whatever flock of fools chose this place for an ALA conference dies and goes to librarian hell, for punishment they will be staked to the concrete outside the Las Vegas Convention Center to bake in the 110 degree heat while the rest of us travel over them in air conditioned monorails pointing and laughing.