Thursday, May 17, 2007

Road Rage Survey ... Plus: Some Advice On Getting Married by an Elvis Impersonator in Las Vegas

Not sure I agree with the results, but it's a Survey, so attention must be paid. That's a rule in media school.

Besides, you're likely to see this tonight or tomorrow on your local television news or in your local paper, because local papers and television stations love to publicize surveys that mention the home town (or the proverbial Tri-State Area). That way, they don't have to cover actual news, which is an expensive nuisance that clutters up the commercials.

Anyway, according to the second annual "In the Driver's Seat Road Rage Survey" commissioned by AutoVantage, an automobile club, Miami is the least courteous U.S. city to drive in, New York is second and Boston is third.

In other totally unrelated news, I am in receipt of a communication by, the Web-based concierge service for Las Vegas bookings, with the useful information that a marriage performed by an Elvis impersonator in a Vegas wedding chapel is, perforce, a legal marriage and should not be undertaken lightly. Who woulda thought? More from Vegas in a minute.

Back to road rage and general urban meanness.

With regard to the survey linked to above, there is an unrelated company that markets a convenient flip book of placards with easily read messages that can be flashed to discourteous or otherwise annoying drivers.

Each message card has a reverse image printed on the back so it can be seen in your antagonist's rear-view mirror. Some of the messages are merely harsh. Others have very provocative insults, in extremely provocative language. Wisely, the company says that "actual use" of the flip-cards in public is discouraged. A disclaimer on the flip-book says, "The road rage cards may be deemed harmful or offensive to others and may give rise to physical or verbal retaliation, which may result in injury or even death."

Uh, noted.

Anyway, to return to the survey on discourteous cities: My own experience would put Boston firmly in first place, whether driving or walking. (New Yorkers on a stroll in Boston are especially vulnerable, because New York pedestrians assume that a car will actually stop for you when you have the green light and the "Walk" sign. That assumption can be dangerous in Boston, where you will be run down by someone hurling a curse in that irritating accent.)

I myself wouldn't even put New York in the top 5 of least-courteous cities. Visitors to New York, especially foreigners always tell me they're surprised by how basically friendly a city it actually is, once one gets over the fact that it's a very big city and people are in a rush. An exception must be made for some cab drivers who seem to have learned their manners in Borat's home town.

Los Angeles, now there's a rude city.

Las Vegas, on the other hand, is not a rude city. Must be something about the desert and the Southwest, but Las Vegas to me seems like a very pleasant place.

I sometimes encounter people, often foreigners, who say they are reluctant to visit Las Vegas because they think it's tacky. Hey, I tell them. Atlantic City is tacky. Hollywood is tacky. Las Vegas is by contrast the apotheosis of over-the-top. I have told skeptical foreign friends planning a visit to the American Southwest: Yes, the Grand Canyon is magnificent. But Las Vegas is also not to be missed, even if (or perhaps especially if) you don't gamble.

Anyway, I received an amusing e-mail today from, the snappy online concierge business that does all sorts of booking for Las Vegas, including the sort of head-of-the-line nightclub reservations that you used to have to Know a Guy to obtain. Here are some useful tips offers:

--"Don’t listen to your frat brothers, pals or even crazy Uncle Lou. Prostitution is not legal anywhere in Clark County, which is located at the southern tip of Nevada and contains Las Vegas. Looking for that happy ending? Pahrump, Nevada, is only 45 minutes away. ...

-- If you’re looking to drink in Vegas then you’d better be 21 or over, with ID to prove it. ... Adults are forbidden to even sit at the bar section of a restaurant while accompanied by minor.

---Did your neighbor shoot your dog on your property? Take the law into your own hands and hang the guy. It’s considered legal in Nevada...

--...Like the laws of liquor, you must be 21 or over to gamble. Not there yet? Nevada state law also prohibits minors from loitering in casinos and gaming areas.


-- ... A legal marriage in Vegas, no matter who performed it (Elvis included), is a legal marriage anywhere.

--Most of [the] cab drivers are great. But when coming from the airport make sure your cabbie takes Swenson and doesn’t go through the airport tunnel. Not only does this act of “long-hauling” add a few bucks to the fare, but it’s illegal in Nevada.

-- While it’s legal in Vegas to walk around the strip with an open container of alcohol, drinking and driving is 100% prohibited.


-- ... touch an exotic dancer and the only action you’ll get is from Mo the bouncer. Avoid a kick in the groin and a fat lip with’s handy Strip Club Etiquette guide."


My note: Only in Las Vegas would a concierge service publish a guide to strip-club etiquette.

Here's how -- I've actually visited their offices -- describes itself:

" is the largest city destination travel website in the world with extensive, constantly updated information and a full range of travel products including hotel rooms, air-hotel packages, show tickets, tours and golf. A state-of-the-art contact center provides customer support, expert information and sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to complement the information on and, through its Casino Travel & Tours unit, operates retail and concierge desks at more than 50 locations including the Palms, Paris, MGM Grand, Bally’s, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, New York-New York, Luxor and more. The company also offers a variety of excursions including city tours, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. is a member of the Greenspun Family of Companies, a privately owned company operating in Southern Nevada for more than 60 years."


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