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If you’re a complete debauchery amateur, Vegas is racy. Other than that it’s about as provocative as birthday cake. Considering my 20s, gambling, booze, drugs, and women are a Monday-morning stretch and yawn. The one exotic thing Vegas offers is people-watching. Downtown Las Vegas is an open-air, free-range human zoo; the ape cage is everywhere, everything.

On my last trip out there, my hotel held a clown convention. I’m not kidding, clowns swarmed downtown. You think of clowns as kid-friendly entertainers or serial-murdering antique dealers, but the truth is clowns are people — almost the same as you and me. The one thing different about clowns is that they somehow got it into their brightly wigged skulls that wearing garish makeup and overlarge shoes is cool. Everything else about them is as normal as it gets.

During that vacation, it wasn’t at all odd for me to sit down at a roulette table with four drunken clowns, throw my chips on my lucky numbers, and sit back to listen to them bitch about their boring lives.

“Vet bill cost me 500 dollars last month, damned mutt,” one stogie-puffing bozo said to his horn-honking pal. “For that kind of money you’d think that dog would get up and cook me breakfast every once in a while. Or at the very least not piss on the carpet.” He raked his chips, divvied out bets, and slid a profit onto his stack.

“You think that’s bad,” one woman in a bald cap with purple lips and a bright red foam nose said, “my step-daughter wants to be on American Idol. We got her this karaoke machine for Chanukah, now all we hear are off-key Madonna songs. ‘Ray of light! Ray of light!’ She sounds like a pack of coyotes attacking a bicycle-horn factory.”

Out in the hot midnight air, I walked down Fremont Street, passing a Bon Jovi cover band and crowds of whirling clowns, twirling up their Technicolor petticoats to “Livin’ on a Prayer,” and guzzling yard-tall glasses of margaritas. Stumbling into a nearby casino, a zany jokester begged her friends to help her remove all the stuffed ferrets, seltzer bottles, and balloons from inside her bib overalls — “Hurry up! Pull this stuff out, I’ve got to piss so bad.”

On the corner, a scruffy punk kid asked me if I wanted some cheap, powerful LSD. “Real visual,” he said. “Good hallucinations.” As if I needed help in that department.

“Thanks, man. Not this time.”

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, May 15
Happy Days
CASD4 4:00 p.m.

Ah, the happy days. When racism was institutionalized, methamphetamines were handed out with free samples of detergent, and lead paint was a food group. Oh, those hap-hap-happy days!

Arte D’Argento: The Art of Silver
QVC 4:00 p.m.

Look at you, QVC. Going all international. Ooh, “Arte.” It’s so Parisian. Go ahead, QVC, wear your “husky” leopard-print stretch pants to the Eiffel Tower and get your picture taken with that disposable camera. Don’t let any of those Frenchies tell you you’re a simple bumpkin, either. Bring me back a keychain with a 3-D Mona Lisa hologram on it. Those are so classy.

Friday, May 16
Judge Hatchett
XDTV 3:00 p.m.

I wish my last name was Hatchett. Or Slaughter. Or Explosionsofdinosaursandninjaswords. That’d be way better: Explosionsofdinosaursandninjaswords. And I’d be a doctor or a major in some military outfit. Or both! So my whole name would be Doctor Major Explosionsofdinosaursandninjaswords MD, PhQ, MAD, Esquire. Bow before my superior moniker, you lame weakling “Judge Stupid.”

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Family 7:00 p.m.

Dances with Unemployment Check.

Saturday, May 17
House (marathon)
USA 5:00 — 11:00 p.m.

Let’s play “Would You Rather...” Would you rather watch a House marathon for six hours or eat an opened pudding cup from a Dumpster. That’s a toughie. The pudding would be gone in ten seconds but might give you Hepatitis A,B,X,Q,9,4,1,L,M,N,O,P. Whereas, the premise of House is that he has flexible ethics, a cane, and a lisp — six hours of that. I think I’d roll the dice with the pudding cup. Come on, pudding cup! Papa needs a new mouth sore and a scorching case of the scoots!

The Line Up
Fox News 10:00 p.m.

On which Universe does Fox News report? Because I’ve watched it, and according to the logic and facts presented, they certainly don’t deal with the known physical plane we inhabit. I watch to see if O’Reilly will slip up and drop a hint that he’s in some other dimension by saying something like, “Red Kryptonite poisoning: Are magical unicorn farts the cure?” A-ha! I knew it!

Sunday, May 18
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
USA 7:00 p.m.

Driving last week I noticed I was doing ten miles per hour under the speed limit and a line of honking cars was following me. “SHUT UP!” I yelled. “It’s dangerous here; kids are running out in the streets and I don’t want to waste gas. OHNOI’VEBECOMEMYFATHER!”

Monday, May 19
Anderson Cooper 360
CNN 7:00 p.m.

Anderson Cooper needs to go away. Not that I dislike the guy personally or professionally. In fact, I’ve never seen his show. But there are too many damned morning-show teasers and magazine headlines with witty copy, like, “Up next: Anderson Cooper, three...sexy!” Oh, go to Osama’s cave. I’ve had enough of you. Take a toothbrush and an extra pair of underpants.

Tuesday, May 20
Reaper
CW 8:00 p.m.

Really, I’m not as clever as I think I am. I watch this show and I want to critique the clunky writing and directing and the cliché characters, but all I can think is, Man, that chick is hot! I know. I know. There’s a hot chick on every show, but really, this one is so freakin’ hot! Yep. That’s me. I’m a renaissance man.

Wednesday, May 21
National Treasure (2004)
USA 8:00 p.m.

You see, the real treasure is the time that they get to spend together. Isn’t that sweet? NO IT ISN’T! It’s stupid and crappy! I’d like to kick everyone involved in this project right in the junk. Line up! You get two swift shins to the garbage and then you can go about your normal day, albeit hunched over and gagging a little. I said, LINE UP!

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