The Scorching Eye of Ra The Sun God - 6/14/04
I met my brother Mark in Vegas Sunday night for one last hurrah before the new graduate goes off to work for Corporate America and I go back to work for, well, America. Some might call it strange to leave for Vegas on a Sunday night instead of coming back then, but thatís what you do when youíre not working.

Iíll take Vegas in small chunks, since it happened over a couple days, and Iím lazy. Getting there was smooth minus a freeway fender-bender I was involved in thanks to the parking-lot-slow-down from another accident further up the road. How ironic. Mark flew in from Minneapolis and managed to avoid the airport slot machines to get picked up by me and the God-Accursed Buick LeSabre.

The Luxor. One of the Stripís unique and more gimmicky casino/hotels (built back in the early '90's phase when "unique and gimmicky" meant "cool" and not "tacky"). The Luxor is Egyptian-themed, and as you can see is shaped like a giant pyramid. One cool part is that the inside is hollow (forgive the blurry picture), so except for the balconies of rooms that get closer together the higher you go, you can stand in the middle and look straight up 30 stories. You can also throw a half-eaten Egg McMuffin off your balcony and hit a slot machine.

But perhaps the most interesting thing about Luxor is its creative compliance with the Las Vegas Lightbulb Law. The Las Vegas Lightbulb Law dictates that every hotel on the strip must have at least sixteen thousand lighbulbs, or the equivalent electricity usage thereof (not unlike the Times Square Wattage Rule). However, the general design of the Luxor seems to call for it looking like a giant black pyramid with no lights at all, so where are they using all their required bulbs?

LUXOR OWNER: So we want to build a casino shaped like a giant pyramidÖ but we want to make it black so we wonít need a lot of lightbulbs.
VEGAS GAMBLING COMMISSIONER: I donít think that will work with our wattage regulations.
LUXOR OWNER: OKÖ What if we combined all the lights together and made one super-powered light and just shot it up into space?
VEGAS GAMBLING COMMISSIONER: That might work.

About the equivalent of 8 searchlights all aimed in the same direction, the Luxorís light is the first thing you can see when you get within 50 miles of Vegas. Or Nevada for that matter. Apparently you can see it from the moon.

My question is what would happen if the light wasnít pointed straight up but rather moved around the Strip, scorching people and lighting stuff on fire? Imagine having your hotel room lit up by a spotlight brighter than the center of the sun, as youíre trying to enjoy and innocent stripper-and-cocaine-bender. Imagine crowds of people running away in horror as the Wrathful Eye of Ra the Sun God burns a streak of charred sidewalk down the center of the strip.

The Luxor is cool, but I think that would be even cooler.

6/18/04

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