As a devout nightlife columnist and professional social drinker, I need to make a pilgrimage to my mecca every now and then, just to reacquaint myself with my inner-Foster Brooks and adjust my priorities (and vision) accordingly.

So last weekend, my partner and I hopped aboard Northwest Flight 777, bound for Vegas, Baby!, and got down to the business of prostrating ourselves before Caesar (Caesar’s Palace), The Great Sphinx of Giza (Luxor), and Merlin (Excalibur).

But something was off. I mean, we had fun. We were in good company, we laughed a lot, and I challenge anyone to produce a more kick-ass roller coaster than the Manhattan Express at New York-New York. Maybe I was more attuned to my circumstances than normal, or maybe I was just more sober, but while crossing the skywalk between Barbary Coast and Bally’s, admiring the Neonopolis and breathing in the stale essence of the party people around me, I had an epiphany: Take away the bright lights and the romance of Vegas, Baby!, and, honestly, you gotta ask yourself, is there much there there?

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