February 2009

Stunt Journalism at its Finest: Washington Generals Basketball Edition


Last week I did a fun story for Las Vegas Weekly about the team that travels the country losing to the Globetrotters. You can read the whole story on LasVegasWeekly.com, but here's the first part:

The Harlem Globetrotters are cocky bastards. They’re not whimsical, they’re not inspirational, and they’re certainly not American heroes. They’re sadistic bullies who’ll do whatever it takes to win, no matter how cruel or degrading.

I could be biased. See, last week the Globetrotters played the Washington Generals at the Orleans Arena, and I had money riding on the Generals. Like Krusty the Clown, who lost his life savings betting on the Generals, I figured the team was due.

You’d think placing a bet on a basketball team that’s three-and-a-half decades into a 10,000-game losing streak would be easy, but none of the sports books in town would take my bet. According to the manager of the Venetian sports book, “Las Vegas casinos only take bets on legitimate sporting competitions, not exhibition events. You can’t bet on the all-star game, and you can’t bet on American Idol.”

“But can’t you make an exception for the Generals? They haven’t won since 1971.”
“Call up an offshore sports book and place a bet with them,” he suggested.
I called my dad instead. He’s a lifelong Globetrotters fan, and was willing to take my bet. We agreed that I’d give him $1 if the Globetrotters won and he’d give me $1,000 if the Generals did.

Before the game, I told Generals team captain Ben Augustine (6’6”, 210 lbs.) about my bet.

“I’ll try my best out there,” he assured me, “but I have to tell you, I’ve been playing with the Generals for four years and haven’t won yet, so I can’t make you any promises.”

“But you’ll try?”

“Of course I’ll try. I always try. Everyone on the team does. Every time we take the court, we do our best to win.”
“But you never have.”

“Not yet—no. But to me, it’s not about winning or losing; it’s about how you play the game. Energy, efforts, hustle, winning loose balls, crashing the boards—that’s what’s most important to me.”

I took my seat at the press table, and the announcer introduced the Washington Generals starting lineup. Children booed. The jeers provoked the Washington Generals coach into grabbing the microphone from the announcer and giving this speech:

“I hope you kids didn’t come here today expecting to see the Globetrotters win, because if you did, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Today the Washington Generals are going to make history, right here in Las Vegas—the armpit of America.”

I know that sounds bad, but you have to remember where this guy is coming from. He’s been coaching the Generals for years and has yet to win a game. He’s frustrated with the league, and probably with himself. The Las Vegas swipe was textbook Freudian projection, and he shouldn’t be blamed for it.

The announcer cued up “Sweet Georgia Brown” and introduced the Globetrotters, who ran onto the court and into their trademark circle formation. In a desperate, transparent plea for attention, the Trotters passed basketballs behind their backs, rolled them along their arms and spun them on their heads.

How To Tie A Tie


My dad is recovering nicely. Might not even need surgery, just physical therapy. Right now he can’t tie a tie, though. So my mom is tying ‘em for him. She learned how to do it by reading the scene in Lawyer Boy in which my dad teaches me how to tie a tie. Guess things have come full circle.

Westwind Chill Drink


Leaving Nassau in 30 min. Right now I'm drinking a WestWind Chill: (Rum, Coconut Rum, Banana Rum, Apricot Brandy, Nassau Royale, Pineapple Juice, Cream of Coconut, Grenadine).

Damn this thing is strong.

Random Keywords That Lead People To RickLax.com


RickLax.com has been going strong for about a year now. My web designer (a.k.a., my mom) and I subscribe to this service that tells us the TOP 100 keywords that lead people to the website. Here are five of the more random ones. Make what you will of them.

“Stupid Instructions”
“Insecure Women”
“Rule Against Perpetuities”
“Most Disgusting Cocktails”
“Smart Monkey”

All The King's Men


Today my dad went out jogging and fell and fractured and dislocated his shoulder. The Bahamian hospital/ER we visited really had its act together, though. The doctor was great…and he even hooked my dad up with a Jewish nurse for “New York” (i.e., “Gimme a second here…your IV is all fercockt.”)



I woke up Friday at 10:30 AM, flew out of Vegas at 11:10, out of Philly at 6:30, and arrived at Bahamas at 10:00 AM. I finally went to bed at 11:00 PM the following night.

Consecutive hours awake: 36

Consecutive hours asleep: 14

Consecutive hours between showers: 50

Not to brag.


Why does there have to be a plane crash in the news the DAY before I fly? I'm not expecting to get too much sympathy from you for flying to the Bahamas for the week, but still, yeah, I'm a bit scared. And this is two crashes in a row. Not trying to jinx things, of course.

So last night I saw Sayid from LOST. In the Mirage casino. Wearing a black leather jacket and with a woman. We passed on an escalator. I said, "Big fan," and he nodded.

And then he told me the end of LOST. Anybody curious?

Most Harmless Pickup Line Ever

After months and months of exhausting research, I've discovered the cutest, most harmless pickup line in the history of the universe.

Here it is: "How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice. Hi, I'm Ricky..."

So, ladies, what do you think? Would you chat up a guy who introduced himself to you with this line?

Driving Through ONE INCH of Rainfall: A Deadly, Deadly Decision


It rained a lot yesterday. Never seen that much rain since I moved to Vegas. And when the rain hits the ground in Vegas, it sits there.

There were all sorts of advisories on the radio, and one of them said this: “Your car can float away in as little as one inch of rainwater.”

One inch? ONE inch? Bull$#!t.

Okay, if you’re driving a Hot Wheel or a McDonalds Happy Meal vehicle, then yes, one inch of water could probably ruin your drive, but other than that, I’ve got to believe you’ll be okay. I drove my mom’s SUV through five or six inches, and I got home fine.

One more. Let's do this.


I'm pleased to report the winner of the previous Photo Caption Contest is JOSH. Yes, we could do without explaining the joke in parenthesis, but still, JOSH, you are the GRAND PRIZE WINNER. FEELS GOOD, DON'T IT? Yeah it does.

Okay, let's move RIGHT into contest number two. Here's the photo. Caption away.

(This photo also comes from Cindi Reed, who you can visit at CMoonReed.com.)