Freakonomics

Why do I find it outrageous when hotels charge $10 for wireless internet access but nothing extra for a cat, but I’m fine when hotels charge $10 for the cat but have free wireless internet access?

Stop The Carnival

Well, I’m gonna to go then. And I’m excited about this. I don’t need this stuff, and I don’t need this Dorm Room. I don’t need anything except this cat. And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this cat. Because I’m excited. I don’t know what I’m most excited about. Maybe the barbecues. And the apartment in Chicago, the barbecues and the apartment in Chicago and that’s what I’m most excited about. And getting our stuff out of storage. The barbecues, the apartment in Chicago, and getting our stuff out of storage, and that’s what I’m most excited about. And the new niece or nephew in November. The barbecues, and the new niece or nephew, and getting our stuff out of storage and the apartment in Chicago. And some fucking quality time with everybody I’ve missed. The barbecues, getting our stuff out of storage and the apartment in Chicago and some fucking quality time with everybody I’ve missed and that’s what I’m most excited about. And meeting Luke and Margaret and Alexander. I’m not excited about one other thing, not one – I’m excited about playing Waveland. The apartment in Chicago, and Waveland, and the new kids, and the niece or nephew in November, for sure. And the farmer’s market. And that’s what I’m most excited about. The barbecues, getting our stuff out of storage, some fucking quality time with everybody I’ve missed, and a real kitchen, and the apartment in Chicago.

And I don’t have to pack one other thing, except this cat.

I don’t need the cat.

Rude Awakening

Last night I had a lengthy and vivid dream in which my brother and I were making homemade ravioli in his kitchen while fighting off warrior droids bent on our destruction.

I may have to stop sleeping so close to Luna. The weird-dream queen is beginning to transmit.

T-8

He stared at the raptors, ranged along the beach in a rigid formation, silently watching the boat. And he suddenly understood what he was looking at.

“Those animals,” Gennaro said, shaking his head, “they sure are desperate to escape from here.”

“No,” Grant said, “they don’t want to escape at all.”

“They don’t?”

“No,” Grant said. “They want to migrate.”

– Michael Crichton, “Jurassic Park”

We arrive home for the summer on May 26th.

If You Want To Do A Job, You Do A Job

In just about a week, we will be loading most everything into either our Southernmost storage locker or the increasingly bedraggled Tundra and heading north for the summer. After a short but surprisingly competetive luggage vs. storage debate, we have decided that the big orange cat will be joining us in the truck. This brought an unwelcome new complexity: How the hell do we transport this guy? Getting him to the vet is like transporting a hostile running chainsaw that has free will and feet.

My first impulse was to work out something like the setup they used to move Steve Buscemi’s character in Con Air, or maybe a Dr. Lecter-style dolly-and-mask combination. Home Depot, however, does not stock 1:20-scale furniture dollies, plus I’d have to get him into the mask. The used armored car lot was less helpful than Home Depot.

Idea #2: Just putting him in the back of the truck (it’s capped) with a couple days’ food and water, and dealing with the extraction when we get to Chicago. I thought about doing this way longer than I should have. But contents may shift during flight, as the saying goes, and I would feel bad. He’s generally a passable example of the species, when not travelling.

Idea #3: Use the back of the Tundra for the stuff, and set up El Grande Gato Anaranjado in the back seat. This seemed the most viable plan, until I began to consider what kind of support equipment would be required:

* The Cat Briefcase, stuffing him into which is bad enough when I only have to do it once a month. Doing it five times a day…egad.
* Chicken wire, to keep him from meandering about the cab.
* Food and water bowls
* The deucing box
* A harness and leash. (I’ll let you know how putting those on goes once I get out of the hospital.)
* Extra window and door locks
* A gallon of bourbon whiskey

Idea #4: Fly him up. But I know of no one who I want to continue liking me that has the mad cat skills to meet him at the airport, plus I can’t imagine he’d make it past the weapon screening.

So we were at a total loss. Until I realized we had overlooked a moderately expensive but completely worthwhile option: I ran up to Miami yesterday and had him encased in frozen carbonite:

As I understand it, once we get to Chicago, he’ll have vision problems for a couple of days, but otherwise, no drawbacks.

Do You Believe In Miracles?

In a stunning upset, after seven plates plus a three-dessert round, I have scored as the winner, and NEW buffet champion of the world, the Wynn.

You read that correctly: Down goes Bellagio! Down goes Bellagio!

The scoring:

1) Pizza: Wynn provided a quality quattro formaggio and faster turnover of pizzas. Bellagio has two pies of type up at a time, and the one eaten second cools too fast. Wynn also uses their pizza oven for pizza bianca and focaccia. Round to the Wynn.

2) Cold Seafood Plate: Bellagio had high quality cold-smoked fish. Wynn had five kinds of ceviche. Round to the Wynn.

3) Shrimp: I don’t know where they get their shrimp, but the Bellagio is unstoppable on this plate, especially with the addition, this year, of high-quality mixing-in horseradish proximate to the otherwise bland house cocktail sauce. Wynn was average. Round to the Bellagio.

4) Hot Plate: Wynn: Kobe meatballs, fried chicken, a variety of pastas, and fish. Bellagio: Duck legs, omelet station, french toast, waffles. Bellagio placed too much emphasis on breakfast. Round to the Wynn.

5) Notable carvings: Bellagio: Beef, Chicken Wellington, turkey breast. Wynn: Flank steak, lamb. Based on unfulfilled expectations that had been raised to the skies by last year’s devastating deployment of a bacon-carving station at the Wynn, round scored a draw.

6) Bread: Draw. Both bland and pointless. Bread of this quality is, as Notorious is fond of saying, truly just useless filler. Guys…bread isn’t a toughie. Stop phoning it in. Round scored a draw.

7) Intangibles: Service to the Wynn, atmosphere to the Wynn, history to the Bellagio, seating location to the Bellagio, busing was a draw (neither was fast enough). Wynn had a variety of soups and more sushi. Bellagio had a greater variety of bland, pointless bread and cheap sparkling wine. Neither had remarkable coffee. Round scored a draw.

8) Desserts: The pastries on the Bellagio buffet, which are made by the same place that supplies my new favorite en-route-to-the-airport stop in Las Vegas, Jean-Philippe Patisserie, are spectacular. The Wynn simply cannot compete with Jean-Philippe’s desserts at the Bellagio head-to-head. This year, they didn’t try, going with cookies, a small selection of excellent desserts, and a genius marketing move of labeling the same thing “Flan” on one side of the room and “Creme Caramel” on the other. Pushing them over the top was Wynn’s gelato station, which completely outshone the Bellagio’s cheap-seeming soft-serve machine. Round to the Wynn.

Wynn shocks the world and takes the title from the Bellagio by TKO, 4-1-3