February 19, 2002
FROM: COL.NURU ABABE (RTD), DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO.Now, normally I wouldn’t hesitate to get involved in a no-lose plan that manages to combine an overseas money-laundering scheme with an assassination in a violent, war-ravaged nation, but unfortunately all my available cash is tied up in various Costa Rican business opportunities.
SEEKING FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE.
It is my pleasure to request your assistance on this business proposal which if pursued to its conclusion, will be of immense benefit to both of us. This request may seem strange but I will crave your indulgence and pray that you view it seriously. My name is COL. NURU ABEBE (RTD) of the Democratic Republic of Congo and one of the close aides to the former President of the Democratic Republic of Congo LAURENT KABILA of blessed memory, may his soul rest in peace.
Due to the military campaign of LAURENT KABILA to force out the rebels in my country, I was instructed by Late President Kabila to go abroad to purchase arms and ammunition worth of Twenty Five Million United States Dollars only (US$25,000,000.00) to fight the rebel group. But when President Kabila was killed in a bloody shootout by one of his aide a day before I was scheduled to travel out of Congo, I immediately decided to divert the fund into a private security company here in Congo for safe keeping… [Click here for another version of this letter.]
Let’s see, what else is going on? Here’s an overdue article: Vegas Finally Admits "Family Friendly" Focus Was Pretty Stupid.
[S]tarting in the early '90s, Las Vegas began to downplay its wilder side in an effort to broaden its appeal to mainstream America. Topless shows along the Strip disappeared, in favor of more wholesome offerings such as magic and circus shows. Eyeing the success of family-friendly Orlando, some casinos even built theme-park rides.It seemed pretty obvious to me, back when Vegas started pretending to be the new Orlando, that this was a strategy that could only backfire, alienating both intended target audiences rather than creating a middle ground. At your true family tourist center like the Disney theme parks, the key is that the parents can generally tolerate most of the kid-oriented activities like the rides (or at least use the time to rest on a nearby bench), and the kids can generally tolerate, at least for a few minutes, most of the adult-oriented shows and events.
''We pretended to be a family destination,'' says Gamal Aziz, the president of MGM Grand, which opened an entire theme park next to its casino in 1993. ''The (core) gambling market had gotten to a point of stagnation, and it was just another way to expand.'' Alas, the family-friendly rhetoric ''really backfired,'' he says.
Sitting in his modest office, one level above the world's largest casino floor, Aziz explains that the town's die-hard gambling customers and other fun seekers who saw Las Vegas as a place to cut loose ''definitely did not want to compete with the strollers.'' Families, meanwhile, were lukewarm to the idea of visiting a town where a walk down the main boulevard means running a gauntlet of hawkers passing out brochures for hookers (despite the fact that prostitution is illegal).
So now, MGM, which closed its failing theme park last year, and its neighbors on the Strip are returning to what Curtis calls the ''tried and true'' formula: gambling, drinking and sex.
In Vegas, there simply is no room for compromise. I’ve gone to Vegas with non-gamblers, and a too-high percentage of my day was spent wondering when I could sneak off and play some cards. As a family vacation spot it’s pretty much a nightmare: everything’s incredibly spread out, children are simply not allowed in the adult "gambling, drinking, and sex" areas (and I believe one of the definitions of neglect is a parent who would leave a young child somewhere while they gambled and drank), there’s porn handouts everywhere, and the all-ages stuff is generally lame and only distracting for a few minutes. So it’s no surprise that the post-September-11 travel slump has led Vegas to refocus on their true target audience: besotted degenerates.
Oh, and apparently the Olympics are still going on. See this fine site for regular updates from an Olympics on-site worker, though I hope to hear from my sister again real soon.
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