Day 1:    Viva Lost Vegas !!

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Mike and Bone arrived at 11:00 PM Pacific Coast Time in the City of Lost Souls (or Sin City, you choose !!), from Chicago Midway via Grand Rapids, so they already had experienced a pretty long day. Of course the multiple beers on the Flight out didn't help !! Despite the travel weariness and the three hour time change, they rented a car and headed for the infamous Los Vegas Strip to find a place to crash and cavort ! 

As it closed in on Midnight it was still in the high 90's on the Las Vegas Strip, with crowds of people still milling about trying to find a purpose to their inconsequential lives through the endless plugging of quarters into unforgiving slot machines, all the while Bone thought, "Whatta bunch of chumps !!"

The Lost Boys in Lost Vegas

 

The Luxurious Luxor

 

A EXcellent Night's Sleep in the EXcaliber

Passing the more fashionable (and expensive) hotels, the boys decided to check in to the Hotel closest that they could find in Las Vegas to the Magic Kingdom (since Las Vegas is a  Mickey Mouse Town), the Excalibur !!  Checking into one of Excalibur's low-rent rooms, the Boys dumped their luggage and headed into the very smoky Casino for a burger and a beer.

 

Keno ? No Keno !

Casinos traditionally serve extremely cheap or even free food and drinks to incent people to spend more on gambling. Mike and Bone decided to take advantage of the just such a "deal", which turned out to be an extremely indigestible, cold hamburger platter, but was very cheap, which at 1:30 in the morning is a good deal.

While the boys were waiting for their burgers, a pretty, young Hispanic girl came up and began a conversation with the Boys. In broken English she mumbled "Keno", which Bone took for her name, unfortunately gambling-ignorant Bone was slow to realize that she was trying to "sell" Mike and Bone some Keno Gambling Game !!! Mike tactfully and gracefully told her that the boys weren't gambling, which got everyone else from paying attention to the Boys. Also, unfortunately it also included their Server !!

 

Slurping Rolling Rocks at the Hard Rock

After the cold greasy gut-busters, the Boys decided to head back to the Strip, and since they always had a great time at all the Hard Cafes they had visited, (such as the San Francisco Hard Rock on Lombard Street), they headed to the Las Vegas Hard Rock . So off to the Hard Rock they went at 1:30 in the morning !

Unfortunately by 2:00 AM, the crowd at the Hard Rock was petering down to nothing but Hard Core gamblers.  After ordering a couple of Rolling Rocks, the boys wandered around the casino for a half an hour and realized that it was far more Casino gambling, than a good-time Hard Rock Bar, so they finished their beers and headed back to the Excalibur.

 

Observing Skinners Box Phenomenon

By 3:00 PST (now 6:00 EST !!) the boys were in the Excalibur heading for their room through the Casino.  On the Casino Floor by the slot machines, Mike and Bone observed Behavioral Science at its finest in how the Skinner Box Theory is proven.

The Skinner Box Concept is the creation of Frederic Skinner, whose psychology work was influenced by Pavlovís experiments and the ideas of John Watson,  the father of behaviorism. He especially was interested in stimulus-response reactions of humans to various situations, and experimented with pigeons and rats to develop his theories. He took the notion of conditioned reflexes developed by Ivan Pavlov and applied it to the study of behavior.

One of his best known inventions is the Skinner box. It contains one or more levers which an animal can press, one or more stimulus lights and one or more places in which reinforcers like food can be delivered.

In one of Skinnersí experiments a starved rat was introduced into the box. When the lever was pressed by the rat a small pellet of food was dropped onto a tray. The rat soon learned that when he pressed the lever he would receive some food. In this experiment the lever pressing behavior is reinforced by food.

If pressing the lever is reinforced (the rat gets food) when a light is on but not when it is off, responses (pressing the lever) continue to be made in the light but seldom, if at all, in the dark. The rat has formed discrimination between light and dark. When one turns on the light, a response occurs, but that is not a Pavlovian conditioned reflex response.

In this experiment Skinner demonstrated the ideas of "operant conditioning" and "shaping behavior." Unlike Pavlov's "classical conditioning," where an existing behavior (salivating for food) is shaped by associating it with a new stimulus (ringing of a bell or a metronome), operant conditioning is the rewarding of an act that approaches a new desired behavior.

Hence, when Mike and Bone observed a octogenarian woman, all wrinkled up with a cigarette butt hanging from her lower lip, while plugging a one-eyed bandit slot machine with quarters from a big red plastic bucket, Bone said, "Gee, Skinner was right about monkeys with levers !!!"

And with that final insult to Lost Vegas, its citizens, and it's customers, the boys finally retired for the evening.