Thank This!

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On the auspicious day of 11-11-11, beneath cloudy 8:11 a.m. skies, a flock of showgirls wearing pink and orange feather headdresses and silver pumps unveiled the world’s largest pair of fuzzy dice under the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

The dice were also hot pink and orange, 4 feet tall, and were delivered by convertible pink Cadillac. A representative from the Guinness World Book of Records was there, in a suit, with a certificate, to confirm the honor. A gaggle of media took pictures. Morning traffic hustled by. The driver of a white delivery van slowed and honked four times at the leggy showgirls, and one of several Metro officers assigned to the event yelled at him, “C’mon, c’mon, move it along.” Nothing to see here.

I love this city. Never mind the never-ending recession and the blah-blah-blah of bad news; ’tis the season to be thankful. I’m thankful I’m a Las Vegan this morning. I’m thankful to wake up and see snow on Mount Charleston. I’m thankful for that billboard on Interstate 15 that says “GOD” and has an arrow pointing upward, and for the split second when you drive under it when that arrow points directly to the word “TRUMP” on the mammoth gold hotel behind it. I suspect from another angle, it points to the cursive “Wynn.” I’m thankful for the odd interstate-shoulder placement of iron bighorn sheep—because there was nothing else to distract drivers passing the Strip?—and for longtime local lawyer Ed Bernstein’s shrewd and prolific marketing: two accident billboards in two miles here. This all makes sense in some beautifully Vegas way—nature, God, Wynn, accidents, trial lawyers, showgirls, fuzzy dice, world records, gawkers, cops … Egypt.

Yes, Egypt. I’m thankful that there’s a sphinx and pyramid on the Strip. On 11-11-11 in Egypt, the real Egypt, they had to close the largest pyramid because a religious group wanted to do some invasive spiritual hugging there. In Vegas, there was a giant Heineken ad on the Luxor pyramid. Not closed. Open for hugging.

I’m thankful for fight night. For the devil-girl statue on Diablo’s. For the Guardian Angel Cathedral, forgiving sins on the Las Vegas Strip since 1963. I’m thankful that one of KNPR’s sponsors is SuperPawn. I’m thankful for the couple, in wedding attire, standing outside the Little White Wedding Chapel at 8:30 a.m., while Elvis’ legs dance on a motor-operated sign overhead. I’m thankful for the veterans, in crisp uniforms, making their way across the Boulevard to the downtown Veterans Day parade. For the Las Vegas Fire engine with a massive U.S. flag flying off the back. For the determined tourists lined up to get into the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, home of reality TV’s Pawn Stars.

It’s not even 9 a.m. yet. I haven’t even gotten to the part of my list that includes good people doing good things (principal Sherrie Gahn at Whitney Elementary School, soliciting Hollywood donations for poor Valley kids) and hints of rebound (The Smith Center, Fremont East). So much to be thankful for. But this morning, I’m all about the lasting wonder of the Vegas spirit.