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September 11, 2005
"I mean this one really hurt. National TV. The works."
- Nevada senior quarterback Jeff Rowe, recalling fond memories of the game against Wazzu.
"Football Season Is Over."
- The title of Hunter S. Thompson's suicide note and possibly a thought shared by hundreds [we'd say thousands, but that might stretch the Lounge's street cred] of Nevada football fans.
The Lounge capriciously and flagrantly embarked on our first road trip of the year, back to our old stomping grounds of Reno. Ostensibly, it was to document the Cougar football game against the Nevada Wolf Pack, but it was also a chance to visit our money we left here a few months ago during March Madness. We saw that it had been faring nicely in our absence - creating a few more decks of cards for the blackjack tables, some shiny, new silver balls for the roulette wheels and a pair of new dice for craps. Unfortunately, however, no new carpet and they haven't been able to hire faster cocktail service unless you are parked at the $25 tables - it's a good thing we left more money there for them this time to take care of those things by the time we come back in six months.
Suitably relieved for the time being, the Lounge entourage made our official unofficial [we couldn't decide which] Lounge HQ at the Silver Legacy Casino because we were told this would offer us immediate access to the big Kelly Clarkson concert that weekend. Mrs. B.H. Smegma was all psyched because she claims to have changed her diapers before she was "a big star." Most of the Lounge clientele was preparing to do battle on that "big star" assertion when it was time to check in at the hotel registration. We figured that was the reason the train coming through downtown Reno was hooting and hollering so much. It was either the 3:10 from Yuma or time to check in to our George and Weezie luxury [well, had had shower caps in cute little boxes - that is luxury by Lounge standards] suite in the sky. Lounge HQ was the 28th floor which would have given us a good view of the balloon races if high winds had not burst their bubbles on that first day. Oh well, high desert scrubland, the lovely ambulance siren songs from the nearby hospital and the I-80 freeway are just as enchanting. What's that? Ah, why it's the 5:10 from Topeka coming through with an important delivery of pork rinds for Sacramento.
The Lounge had been instructed to eat something called an Awful Awful at something called the Nugget - words that, when used in the same sentence, admittedly made the Lounge hesitate noticeably. But the Lounge dutifully went to our AA meeting and we can report that we are cured! No longer will we look at another hamburger in the same covetous manner [well, until our next trip to Cougar Country anyway]. First things first though. The Nugget is the ultimate greasy spoon. If there is a greasier spoon within a 100-mile radius swath of desert - let us be clear - we don't want to see it! Grease is everywhere at the Nugget but only partially on the AA [which stands for Awful Big and Awful Good, if you were dying to know] as it sits like Egyptian royalty on its barge of parsley-flaked fries. Did we just say parsley-flaked fries? Ay-ooga! Ay-ooga! Keyboard drool alert! 35 minutes - it was crowded that day - and one AA later, the Lounge entourage vacates the premises in the manner one must when one has just cut and pasted 15 extra pounds on one's body - we waddle out. That extra baggage in the trunk makes it difficult to hop the tracks and get out of the way of the 7:10 from Santa Fe on its way to San Francisco to deliver genuine faux pas new age trinkets and the Lounge certainly does not want to wind up on the wrong side of the tracks in Reno. We've been there before and we still shudder when we think of the life-size Ronald Reagan blow-up doll - and it wasn't even at Burning Man!
Once back on the right side of the tracks, we encountered a fellow wearing a "WAC the Pac" shirt followed shortly afterward by another fellow wearing a "WAC Pack" shirt. Since the game was awful, awful for Nevada, we can only conclude that "We've been Pac-whacked!" shirts would be the logical marriage of these two ideas. Or perhaps, "We've been slapped Pac-WACky." We mulled over our shirt sloganeering options at the Roxy Bistro in the Eldorado Casino. We were drawn like a magnet to the Roxy by the 102 martinis calling our name in unison. But we only wanted two - the Redrum and the James Bond. Well, we certainly cannot overlook the Dean Martini - but that was for another day. We wanted more - seeing as they were only $4 during the 4:30-6 p.m. Happy Hour [a loss leader promotion the Lounge could appreciate] and with Ogden Nash whispering in our ears - but the Redrum was the closest thing to crimson we could find and it virtually screamed "Heeeeere's Johnny!" to us from the menu. The James Bond was a no-brainer - literally and figuratively. The Roxy is the anti-sports bar. It takes off the edge before the edge has even had a chance to get sharp and melts what is left of your resolve. In other words, the perfect casino prep gig. Captain Morgan followed us from the Roxy over to the Rum Bullions, but we were ready to gamble our life savings, the kids' college education fund, the summer home and whatever else people hoard money away for, so we had no time to chit-chat.
Game day began as it had to begin - with a trip to the infamous Little Waldorf Saloon. The Lounge had been informed that the Little Wally was the place to see and be seen on game day pre-game festivities in Reno and a bonus! - Captain Morgan offered to escort the Lounge entourage. The Little Wally [no Beaver, June or Ward] can best be soberly described as a having that hunting-lodge-gets-lost-in-the-woods-and-gets-mistakenly-shot-by-a-drunken-student motif that sells so well in the collegiate frontier of Nevada. The drunk description - it's a place that sells beer. In fact, the Little Wally is a lot like The Coug if The Coug were approximately 10 times larger, had live music, pool tables, video poker machines, trophy heads hanging over the bar, a mobile five-keg unit in the parking lot and guns on the wall [uh-oh, that might be a sign of terrorist activity - quick! somebody alert Pat Robertson!]. The whole spectacle of the place made Father Lotto get all misty-eyed wondering if they have all this at the Little Wally - what sort of amenities do they have at the Big Wally and where do they keep that hidden - Sparks?
The only problem with the Little Wally is in getting to it on foot. Directions were no problem as one only had to either go straight up Yes, Virginia, There Really Is A Santy Claus Street or follow the next 20-foot high monster truck wannabe that comes by [don't worry, you won't be waiting long]. But try not to veer off the main drag or you may find yourself in portions of neighborhoods that even meth dealers would complain about to their meth dealers' homeowners' associations. The Lounge had always wondered where broken-down 1969 AMC Ramblers went and now we know - to live among others of its ilk in broken-glass strewn vacant lots in Reno.
"That was a big double nickel the Cougs pasted on the Pack. Did you expect that kind of performance?" foolishly asks The Fisheyed Foo.
Haven't you been paying attention, Foo!? Our second cousins, twice removed [from bars] over in the Telepathic Tabernacle made that game their Gem of the Week - which we understand is a nearly unprecedented event. Then later in the week, Butch picked it over Tommy and we knew that was the double whammy stamp of approval. Isolated segments of the Lounge clientele were worried that the planets would be in misalignment or the 9:10 from Salt Lake City would be late with its shipment coffee beans for Tahoe. Then, a bad omen - the Kelly Clarkson concert was cancelled. That explained the big winds at the beginning of the game - from the rush of thousands of Clarkson groupies as they made their way to the next gig in Spokane [you knew there had to be a good reason for only 17,552 fans, right?]. Then sophomore kicker Loren Langley was struggling kicking into the wind in warm-ups. But it all turned out to be for naught as the Cougars administered a pistol-whipping on Nevada, shutting them out in the first half and leaving the military guys manning the Pack's cannon to play some riveting games of Tic-Tac-Toe. The Lounge encountered many a drunken Pack student at the half but all of them were too mentally obliterated to care about the numerals on the scoreboard - some of them were merely trying to master the T. Rex walk. For the Cougars, it was the tonic they needed to go with their gin and they are now in a prime position to go into their Pac-10 opener [against Oregon State in three weeks] undefeated - and Wazzu has won their last four conference openers.
"That's all fine and dandy but how did you do in the casinos?" taunts Salty Cheever.
Don't start with us, Salty. We're warning you.
Since the casinos will be storing some of the Lounge clientele's money for six more months [thanks for reminding us of that, Salty - no martinis for you this week] the Lounge could only afford to acknowledge the road win with a big bottle of ketchup [no, we mean a BIG bottle of ketchup] or, as they evidently like to call it out in the Midwest, the World's Largest Catsup Bottle. Strictly BYOD [Bring Your Own Dog] though - unless the casinos give some of our money back.
Finally the Lounge Scientists were in mourning as the news of Gilligan's death [actor Bob Denver] caught them off guard like the Professor without a coconut telephone. It was difficult to get them motivated this week with the Lounge off in Reno and all they could come up with was the shocking discovery that cats prefer meat to sugar. Cripes! We could have announced that "discovery" any time of the last 537 that the Lounge's feline attempted to gnaw off a portion of our appendages at feeding time while expressing open disdain for the nice cr? brulee dish on the settee. But we'll cut the Lounge Scientists some slack when they tell us that felines lack the genetic coding necessary to detect sweet taste for mammals.
"Felines have very complex amino acid taste receptors. We have no idea what meats taste like to a cat," says Lounge Scientist #77 Joseph Brand, a noted biophysical professor in Philadelphia, shortly before a cat got his tongue.
Well, isn't it obvious? It tastes like chicken.
+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++
Attention COUGAR Fans! Summer is still here, the pool is out and now you're hungry. How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for six consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small hot fudge sundae.
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