Losing the Groove

Twelve days is the longest I’ve ever gone without posting on this blog since the day I started. It feels longer.

Nothing was/is wrong I just got out of the groove.

It started with the U.S. Open a few weeks ago which was in just the right time zone for me to be watching from 10 a.m. in the morning until late at night, some nights. I connected my laptop to the TV, and forgot how to be able to watch one screen on the TV and work on another computer screen at the same time. I used to know how – it has something to do with mirror settings, but I just couldn’t figure it out. So, for almost two weeks, there were times when, unless I dug out the old Dell, I was essentially without a computer for long periods of time.

Also during that time, I was finalizing plans to visit the states for a semi-business trip. It would have to be, because for no other reason would I go to this place.

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But at least I got there in time to watch the U.S. Open Men’s Finals from the comfort of a rather luxurious hotel room. And I got to see my favorite player, victorious over my second favorite player. It was a great match.

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, holds up the championship trophy after beating Roger Federer, of Switzerland, in the men's championship match of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, holds up the championship trophy after beating Roger Federer, of Switzerland, in the men’s championship match of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

I left the morning after a bar mitzvah in my synagogue and I returned just in time for the end of the Jewish high holidays, for which this year, I split my time between my own synagogue and “the other” Jewish group. ( They’re not actually a congregation because they have neither a regular place of worship, or more to the point, that have no Torah.)

The torah, the first five books of the hebrew bible, in a velvet cover on a cloth with a star of david motif.

This is a “dressed” Torah. The torah, the first five books of the hebrew bible, in a velvet cover on a cloth with a star of David motif.

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Open Torah, used in a service.

There was a split two years ago, before I arrived here in Mexico, and half the members of the congregation left and started their own group. The deeper involved I get in my own Synagogue, the more I understand why people left, and the more often I’ve been trying out the other group. In fact, before the bar mitzvah and last evening, erev Yom Kippur, I’ve managed to skip about two months of Shabbat and other services.

The schism seemed irreparable, but now, there’ve been some changes in my synagogue leadership ( not enough, if you ask me), and everyone is hoping that soon, the groups will be reunited. I don’t think so. Not yet. And I don’t think I’m going to very happy with my committee work until there is a further change in administrative leadership, but I’m hoping the new service leader will at least shake the services up a little.

So, for now, I’ll straddle the fence.

I’ve been following what’s happening in Armitageworld ( not much), but the hard truth is, I think I just got out of the habit of writing about this guy: c8926bed157e081a36c1b85790dbc536 (1)

Though, I’m still in the habit of thinking of him quite a bit.

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45 thoughts on “Losing the Groove

  1. It’s not just you – we’re in a major drought! We need product!!! Where are all these movies he’s shot? Hell, at this point, I’d even watch a promo for the Hobbit long-form boxed set, and we know that’s coming in time for Xmas….

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    • Agreed not much is happening. Where are these films we hear about and what is he working on now. It is a little like the invisible man. Hard to keep up interest I’m afraid.

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  2. It’s all about habit, isn’t it? I find myself very easily slipping in and out of it. Going on a trip for a few days always means I find it hard to get back to writing. And similarly, writing daily posts for half a week makes me get into a routine of blogging every day. At this point it definitely doesn’t help that Mr A seems to have gone AWOL. Well, I guess I have also gotten used to his Twitter presence…
    Hope your Vegas trip was successful.

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    • Semi-successful. Mission incomplete. I have to go back in a few months, but this time I’m going to try for something overnight or two days at the most, and keep as far away from the famous Las Vegas Strip as I can. The most successful part of the trip was shopping and even that was a bit disappointing. (Try and find a winter bathrobe in Las Vegas in September) But, I again have a good stock of U.S. lightbulbs, band-aids that actually stick, packets of anti-bacterial wipes, decent nail polish and an array of hair products that are available here, but cost twice as much as in the U.S.
      I may be lucky enough ( or perhaps even plan it that way) that I am in the states when the Extended Edition gets released. It would be great to just buy it in a store, if I can find one in the nearby vicinity. Otherwise, i will content myself with the digital version or follow our friend Summer’s advice and look for an appropriate store, called “Mix” , I think she said, in Guadalajara.
      As to blogging, there is definitely a routine involved in keeping it up. The longer I was away from it, the easier it got not to post.
      As to the silence from the man, himself, I don’t mind that too much.

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      • Oh, that kind of shopping list sounds very familiar to my ex-pat ears. I do the same, every time I am “at home” – stocking up on items that are available in Ireland but massively overpriced, buying things I cannot get here, and staying away from the bright lights of the big city 😉 Going back during EE release time is a great idea! (I am planning a home visit around Christmas, too – might coincide with that…)
        The silence of Mr A has been broken this morning, btw. He posted one of his usual cryptic tweets :-), re. Berlin Station. Oh, and he fooled me with the attached photograph, which I completely believed was his, but turned out to be a clever image search product. Micra has the story 🙂

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    • AWOL. LOL! You said it. I used to be such a diehard fan of his, but lately I’ve lost most of my respect for him since he’s made some pretty nasty choices. Hannibal was bad enough, but when he chose to be part of Pilgrimage (which portrays the Catholic Church in a bad light–made up of tyrants and superstitious, ignorant innocents) I decided to let go. As a devout Catholic myself, I can’t justify supporting an actor who chooses to be part of a production which insults my faith. He’s a great actor, but now that he seems to have gained a bit of power, his true colors as a typical Hollywood leftist are beginning to show more boldly. What also irritates me is his cowardly way of stating that his actions don’t “necessarily” reflect his personal views. Sorry, but a person’s actions ALWAYS reflect their personal views. He simply doesn’t have enough spine to take responsibility for his passive-aggressive ways. He’s entitled to his opinions for sure, but I’m very personally hurt and disappointed by some of his recent decisions.

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      • I don’t judge him by the roles he takes, except, sometimes as a business decision. He’s an actor. I don’t believe that an actor ought to make business and creative decisions based on the politics, religion, etc. of the roles he takes. I won’t get into whether Pilgrimage places the Catholic Church in a bad light – history is history, and we don’t really know enough about the story to say whether this is true about the film, except that it does involve, at least in part, a crusade that was responsible for the massacre of thousands. I guess you can deny your Church’s history if you need to. As to waffling about his personal views, I agree there has been some back-peddling and rationalization. I would prefer he just own up to taking a good role for the right creative and business reasons, instead of justifying the decision for some wonky reason. I don’t know about his case, but I also disagree that a person’s actions ALWAYS reflect their personal views.

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        • Excuse me, but I said NOTHING about history, nor am I JUDGING him. To judge someone is to decide whether or not they’re going to heaven or hell. To simply state that a person takes rotten roles is a statement, not a judgment. But perhaps I wasn’t very clear. A recent review of the film refers to the monks as having been detached from “the reality” that their religion is based on superstition and tyranny. THAT is NOT history. It’s an OPINION. I’m not denying that the Church has made some serious mistakes in its history, but to directly attack the religious beliefs of its people as “superstitious” is a plain, outright INSULT. I don’t attack the religious practices of Jews, Muslims, or any other religion. I don’t agree with them, but I would never insult them or look down my nose at them. MY POINT IS THAT: PEOPLE OF NO RELIGION, particularly in recent years, SEEM TO SEE THEMSELVES AS “ENLIGHTENED,” and enjoy creatively insulting those who don’t agree with their views. And Richard doesn’t appear to be any exception.

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            • Thank you for challenging me to refresh my memory. It actually isn’t a review, but a plot synopsis. Here’s the web address: http://xyzfilms.com/pilgrimage/

              The quote I’m referring to is towards the bottom: “The monks debatedly realize that in this wild land of ancient superstitions, the faith that binds them together may ultimately lead to their destruction.”

              The above quote is one of the most common ways leftists in the entertainment industry brainwash the public into believing that religion (particularly Christianity) is a BIG BAD TYRANT that causes all wars and ultimately tears people apart. The truth is that religion itself isn’t the “great evil and destroyer of peace” but very simply the fallen nature of man himself. My college English professor is an anti-religion “warrior” and continually hammers this stuff down our throats. I, however, have more respect for him because at least he doesn’t sugar-coat his distain for Christians, or engage in the “gorilla warfare” of the entertainment industry. I have a big problem with writers and movie-makers who inject their opinions into public entertainment in the name of “art.”

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              • I think we need to see the film before deciding how it portrays the Catholic Church as a whole. I have a feeling that the film explores the nature of true religion vs. religion used for politics, and that the end result is not going to be a bashing of the Catholics as a whole. But we shall see.
                Politics and religion are probably two subjects that ought to be left alone in entertainment blogs. I don’t think Christianity or the Catholic Church causes wars anymore – on the other hand, isn’t it true that in the name of religion today, thousands of middle easterners ( Christians among them) are being slaughtered?

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            • Hello again Perry. I couldn’t respond to your last comment so I’ll respond here. You actually made a very good point. I agree that many people do terrible things in the name of religion, but I feel very strongly that religion itself isn’t the problem. It just seems that “artists” in general hold this opinion, rather than looking at the actual root of the problem, which is the fallen aspect of human nature itself (and which can only be overcome through the self-sacrificing love of God and of neighbor). It seems silly to me that they would pick apart religion and history so endlessly, when the God-given answers lie in every human heart. Peace and love can only be achieved in an INDIVIDUAL heart. We can’t force it on “the masses” as the left is so adamant to do. We can only try to achieve it in the way WE personally treat others and behave. Entertainers are some of the biggest, self-indulging hypocrites in existence. They enjoy trying to force their “love can be achieved without religion” agenda down everyone else’s throats, but they never pause long enough to look inside themselves and really start finding fault. I suppose that’s a bit harsh, but no matter how altruistic they like to make themselves out to be, even Richard (for example) wears $2000 leather jackets and goes to the awards shows and after parties…I don’t know him, and I can’t judge whether or not he really has a good heart, but frankly I don’t find him much less hypocritical than any other actor.

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      • I think it’s all about expectations, Ann. I can understand that you may not like his role choices (although I am not so sure that ‘Pilgrimage’ is going to be as bad as you make out – I fully expect good will win over evil, as is usual in Hollywood films, and in this case that surely means the ‘good’ monks will triumph in the end), and Hannibal was certainly a controversial choice. But tbh, I don’t expect him to always do things that appeal to me. How could he? We’re all completely different.
        Yes, actions (in this case role choices?) reflect personal views – but that includes MANY different personal views, not just one. He made it clear that he does not personally like the horror genre – but maybe his choice of the role reflected the personal view that the role would stretch his acting abilities? I didn’t particularly like that tweet you are alluding to, either, but to me it looked opportunistic rather than passive-aggressive. Or like damage control, in case his Chinese fans took exception to him following the Dalai Lama on Twitter. Whatever it was – it was human. He’s just fallible, like everyone else. APM off 😉

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        • Yes to that. He’s definitely fallible like all of us. One VERY clear example of that is his personal view that his “Hannibal” role would “stretch his acting abilities.” To me that sounds utterly ridiculous since he already has the ability to play any character he chooses. He’s already established himself as a good actor. For him to accept a pornographic, violent role like FD made absolutely NO sense at all, and merely reflected his LACK of any strong personal convictions of decency. He strikes me as someone who has very much given himself over to his career, and sort of idolized it. The conflicting ways in which he has asserted himself demonstrate that both his values and his reasoning are at the mercy of whatever filmmaker he happens to be working for at the time. He just doesn’t seem like a strong-willed person AT ALL. Some examples of this that particularly irritated me were his little expressions of embarrassment at crawling around naked in front of a crew. I believe now that he simply made those statements to pacify his more (how did he once so condescendingly put it) “delicate” fans (who apparently are too stupid to understand DeLaurentis and Fuller’s “elite” rationalizations). If he knew he were TRULY going to be embarrassed about it, (and had any real convictions at all) he wouldn’t have taken the role. He could argue that it was the whole challenge of it that attracted him, but really? COME ON!!! SERIOUSLY!? There is NO way a guy like him (who said in an interview once that he lost his virginity at 17 years old, who has had multiple sex partners since, and who was trained in acting school to get used to being naked in front of people) could ever convince me that that was embarrassing for him. I’ve just grown tired of all his nonsense of trying to get EVERYBODY to love him. He’s just going to have to get used to the fact that no matter what he does or says, there are going to be people who will decide not to like him, and he can either say, “I respect their beliefs and values, but I’m going to do whatever I’m going to do and that’s that,” or he can become one of the bitter ones who centers the world on himself and says, “Some people just like to be contrary. They’ll argue and hate just for the sake of it” and make himself into a victim in order to silence his conscience.

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          • All I’ll say in response to this is that I don’t believe he can play any role he chooses – this is evident from the roles he hasn’t had. Further, I think the role of FD did challenge and stretch his acting, especially the non-verbal movement aspects of the role. He’s established himself as good actor, yes, but still not so well known and not getting roles ( if he is seeking them) that put him the forefront all the time – to wit, he is doing independent small films, while Hannibal (FD) was one of the roles that gave him the greatest exposure next to The Hobbit. People who have careers, do give themselves over to it. He’s an actor but he’s in business, too. I do agree that he rationalized the role and his decision to take it in a way that was somewhat contrary to other statements he’s made, but again, I see this as business. If actors only took roles that comported with their personal beliefs, who would we get to play Hitler?

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            • LOL! You have a point there, but I disagree. I honestly believe that an actor can stick to his convictions and still be very successful. Look at Jim Caviezel. The man is CLEARLY opposed to the pop culture of his profession, but is even more famous than Richard. His current show (Person of Interest) gets excellent ratings and is well-known. Jim isn’t THE perfect actor, but he’s good at what he does and he sticks to what he believes in. Not a single person at either of my jobs (I’m both a private school teacher and a registered nurse) doesn’t know who Jim Caviezel is; but few of them know who Richard is. I think he should just be open about what he believes in; stick to it; forget about rationalizing and just be himself. I certainly don’t hate him or wish for his destruction, but I feel he would be more successful if he were less two-faced and more honest.

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              • Jim Caviezel, ( American in American films and TV- so not really a good comparison in terms of name recognition)) an actor I like in POI or did for awhile, but disagree with vehemently when it comes to politics against woman’s choice, against stem cell research, waving his staunch devout Catholic beliefs) , best known for playing Jesus in The Passion of Christ, a film thought by many to be anti-semitic, ( so, if I thought in the manner you do with respect to RA’s choices, I would/should despise JC for taking on the role of JC in such a film – but I don’t. It was work, and good work with good exposure. But he has a mediocre career.
                I wish much more for Richard Armitage than Jim Caviezel has achieved to date. And with that, I’m ending this discussion.

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  3. Oh you’re so right. I miss him much, i’ve been killing time with Spooks episodes 🙂 i’ve never thought that i’d end up watching that series. I’d rather prefer to drool over Chop or Raymond de Merville or any other upcoming stuff about RA

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    • Yes, they usually are. It’s missing its belt though and I don’t see the Star of David motif on the Torah, itself. I am frequently called upon to the “dress the Torah” after the reading. I think this is because it’s the only thing I really know how to do in the service.

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        • Yes, and actually I made a mistake ( wish I also make when I do it. The belt is inside, before the cover goes on, and there’s some jewelry as well. ” Instructions for Gollel (Dressing the Torah Scroll):
          Instructions:

          Assist the Hagbeah as he sits, by placing your hands on the upper rollers of the Torah to steady it. Take hold of the two upper rollers of the Torah Scroll in front, facing the person holding the Torah, and roll them together. Then take the binding sash and clip it in front, (the side facing the Magbeah). Place the Torah mantle over the Scroll with the lettering facing the person holding the Torah, and then place the silver adornments on the Torah rollers. You then shake hands with the officers and clergy on the pulpit, step down from the Bimah and return to your seat.

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          • It makes sense that a sash or belt is needed to hold the scroll closed. This causes me to wonder how they managed scrolls in antiquity. I think they inserted valuable ones into tubes or cases of some kind, but others must simply have been held together with a tie and stored in baskets or boxes, with an identifying tag. Probably the really nice ones had special rollers with silver knobs and the like. It would be interesting to see the library of someone like Herod the Great…

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            • I guess this is something that can be looked up. It is possible, even likely, that some ancient scrolls are extant. The important thing, of course, is that the Torah is housed in an Ark. Our Ark is particularly beautiful, with a definite Mexican flavor in wood and metal. These things are amazingly heavy, which is an issue as it is lifted high above the holder’s head at one point during the service. We also have a mini one in case there is no one at the service able to do a proper lifting. I have seen photos of very elaborate ones, and I am sure that there is some precious metal, probably silver, used.

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              • Ah, the ark. I had forgotten about that. I know of a private collection which contains some very old Torahs from the medieval period, but I wonder if it also includes arks? It seems as though they should not be separated.

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              • I don’t know. Usually the Ark is necessary for a temple, but I don’t know about just storing one that is not used regularly. Perhaps if they are displayed in a glass case, that would do. Don’t know.

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  4. I have used the quiet time to watch Strike Back: Origins on Direct TV on Demand. I had been trying to figure out how to watch it without buying it for the last year. I couldn’t quite get into Strike Back, but Richard was great as usual.

    It would be fun if you resuscitated something that you never posted. We probably won’t see Richard on TV again for another year. The upcoming movies will be exciting, but then they are quickly over, and we don’t know when they’ll come out.

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    • I loved Strike Back. But then, I finally got it at a time when I had not seen anything new for a long time. It was just so good to see something new at the time. I have some drafts, and then, when I look at them, I wonder if the content is stale. But there has been one, requiring a bit more writing than usual, that ought to be published. It’s based on one RA answer in a Twitter Q & A.

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  5. I’ve found the time to read a lot of blogs and go back and immerse myself in some of the writing – and comment – you’re all such excellent and creative writers.

    When there’s a lot of info about what Richard’s doing, I don’t always have the time to take it all in. It may sound odd, but I’ve welcomed these past 10+ days of “draught”. It’s okay it’s over, I’m just saying I’ve not been idle 😉

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  6. ah shopping sounds good, at least some success in the trip 😉 and yes the longer i stay away sometimes the harder it gets to write, so hoping to get back to it myself next week 🙂
    Nailpolish… uuf i always envy people who have nice impeccable nails, i never know which polish to use so that it dries well enough and lasts through washing dishes! I welcome any recommendations 🙂
    And i thought R was enjoying his break from twitter, maybe he too likes some peace between flurries of activity 🙂

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  7. There is no nail polish that will hold up to much dishwashing or housework, unless one gets a gel manicure, which I don’t. Gloves is the answer, which I rarely bother with.I am a fan of Chanel, but I also like plain and simple Esse. The top coat is the trick. Here, where I go, in Mexico, they do not have drying machines. My experience is that polish takes a full 20 minutes to dry in dry weather. Having my own polish allows me to touch up when necessary between manicures.

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    • Totally backing you on Chanel, Perry! I don’t varnish my fingernails, only my toenails, and Chanel’s Rouge Noir is the one that lasts longest, for several weeks, in fact. It definitely pays to pay a bit more on varnish.

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  8. Glad you’re back! I just returned from a 2-week trip to drop daughter off for junior year abroad. Wasn’t on the internet all that time and expected to spend a day catching up with Mr. A. Agonistes. No Perry! I was just about to lodge an official welfare and whereabouts inquiry when you finally posted. Whew!

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  9. I checked nearly every day for your posts, was sad to see your absence! Then, as disappointment turned into concern, you came back! Glad you had a good trip, enjoyed the tennis and were mildly successful in your endeavors. I’m ready to read when you’re ready to write. Thanks!

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    • What a nice comment to read. I did try to answer some comments and comment on other blogs. I feel the same way when favorite bloggers or tweeters are silent for a while. I thought about it, but just didn’t want to write about this trip. On the one hand, I had a positive feeling to be going back to the states for a while; on the other, I was annoyed that it was to Las Vegas and not home to New York. New York will have to wait, as I have to go back to Vegas in about 6 or 7 weeks. I could write 2000 words about that trip to Vegas, which had some humor and comical aspects to it, but mostly – well, it’s not the city for me ( and that comes from someone who has plenty of time in Times Square, which is awful in its own way)

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      • I don’t like Las Vegas at all either. There is a vibe of desperation that surrounds the city because so many people are compulsively gambling money they may not have. Also, the glitz is too fake for my tastes. I’ve lived nearby for most of my adult life, and lots of my friends go to Las Vegas and have a good time gambling recreationally, eating wonderful food and going to shows, so it is probably just me. I try to steer clear of the casinos when I’m there.

        Meanwhile, in the Richard drought, I decided to watch Manhunter and Red Dragon movies, so that is on tap for the next two weekends.

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        • When I lived in New York, twice a year friends and I used to go to Atlantic City for a two day spree of hotel luxuries, gambling, and good meals. All of it was “comped” because two of the friends lived close to AC and gambled several times a week. The more you gamble, the more “comps” or free credits you get, and there was always enough from the two of them for my friend and I to go along without paying a cent for room, services, or meals or the occasional show. But as with LV, I wouldn’t want to be in AC for any other reason. I know, though, that far outside the strip and downtown tourist area, there are some beautiful areas with desert or mountain side homes and apartments, and a typical or country suburban vibe. I imagine that locals like you feel the same way about the strip area as I did in NYC about Times Square. You go when you have to, (i.e. theater) otherwise, it’s a good neighborhood to avoid. The other issue I had with LV is that cabs are not allowed to pic you up on the street – no hailing a cab – you have to go to a hotel or a taxi stand,( which I never found) so this made things difficult for me when I was away from the main drag and needed to find a cab back. Well, one more short trip there ( I’ll stay away from the Strip) and that’s it for me.

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