The Best of Times

The Bellagio Fountains by Bari Demers

As you all know, I really love spending my vacations in Las Vegas. In fact, I consider myself as a Vegas Lover, who by definition, keeps going back on a yearly basis, if not more.

It’s without question, Las Vegas is the ‘Best of Times’ for me.

Most recently I watched the documentary, “Requiem for The American Dream” and it got me thinking about the best of times and how it relates to Las Vegas. It’s pretty clear the Fat Cats have a strong hold on what goes on in Las Vegas and it’s interesting how keeping YOU happy, leads to a thicker plot by the wealthy few.  

I’m sure most of you have heard or even read the phrase,” It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” It’s commonly quoted throughout movies, such as Star Trek, for example.   Captain Kirk is famously quoting those very words…

             It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Message Spock?


            None that I am conscious of… except, of course, Happy Birthday. Surely the best of times.
A cleverly placed dialogue, with a meaning behind it, wouldn’t you say? 

To fully understand how this relates to “The best of times in Las Vegas” it’s best I explain where this phrase comes from and why it relates to your vacation in Las Vegas.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” comes from the book, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ written by Charles Dickens in 1859. A story of two men who were both wealthy, with one as a successful lawyer and the other, a rich businessman, born with a silver spoon in his mouth* guaranteed never to be poor.

The timeline is just before the French Revolution. 

It reads, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”

ARIA Resort – Poolside by Bari Demers

A wealthy French businessman, Darnay senses extreme unrest in his homeland and begins to resent his uncle, Marquis St. Evrèmonde who’s the very reason the lower class people of France are being exploited, keeping them in extreme poverty. Furthermore, Darnay is appalled by the lack of actions by his uncle, along with his disrespecting views on the poor class. 

Not to reveal the whole story, Darnay relocates to London England and for some reason is accused of treason against the Kingdom of Great Britain. His defence lawyer, Sydney Carton (who resembles a striking resemblance of Darnay) helps Darnay to be acquitted against all charges. Unfortunately for Darnay his families criminal past actions are soon put on trail by the people of France. He’s uncle is stabbed to death during the French Revolution and Darnay is once again arrested. Even though he wasn’t responsible for his family’s actions, Darnay is made an example of the wealthy, sentenced to death by guillotine. The twist and outcome of the story, will be one to relish for a long time. And perhaps, give reflection on your own life.

It’s a good story and long one to read, when you have time. 

This story by Charles Dickens is a wake up call to the wealthy, not only during the French Revolution, but today as well. It is said there are only two classes in society, the one who gives the orders and those who follow them. The story reflects on the arrogance of the rich and how their actions can effect everyone of concern. Not caring or being aware of the needs of the poor may some day come back to haunt you.  

You could say it’s karma.

It also tells you how the wealthy flaunt their riches, having little respect for the poor. Even though this story was written way back in 1859, the gap from the rich to the poor is still evident into today’s society, as the middle class is slowly being squeezed out of existence.  

So, how does this even relate to Las Vegas? 

It’s common practice to see the very rich enjoying the lavish luxury in Vegas while the average person would be lucky to ever experience it in a lifetime. 
However – 
Fortunate for us average Vegas Lovers, Las Vegas resorts also offer a taste of luxury within our own pocketbook. 

Maybe they read the book,” A Tale of Two Cities” ?

We are incredible gifted in North America to have the opportunity to enjoy ourselves as the rich aristocrats do. Well, sort of. When in Las Vegas we can experience the best of times, allowing us to forget our worst of times for a brief period. 

Have you wondered why most folks you meet in Las Vegas are so happy? 

Of course, the obvious reasons are, they’re on holidays and at the peak of their most happiest time. Las Vegas lifts our spirits, giving us hope for a better future and at the same time, we tend to spend more, without realizing it.  

Interesting, intellect Noam Chomsky** may see Las Vegas as a way for the wealthy to control the masses. It’s the prefect opportunity for the wealthy to offer the NOT so rich a little taste of luxury Vegas has to offer, while being taxed and over charged on that beer or steak dinner. A month after your trip you soon realize by your credit card statement, you indeed spent way more then you intended to in the first place. So now you’re faced with extra bills and undoubtedly trapped in a ‘cycle of financial insecurity’. 

Maybe Noam Chomsky is right after all. 

As Vegas Lovers, can we still enjoy Las Vegas without being trapped in a financial burden? Of course we can! It’s a simple process of saving for your vacation before you go. It also means to get off that treadmill of life. Stop paying for those ridiculous interest charges on your credit card by always paying off your monthly statement. Stop being that gerbil, desperately trying to get off that spinning wheel of financial troubles. It’s the wealthy’s goal to keep you working for them. They need you more then you need them. It all comes down to where you want to be in life.  

Are you the one who gives the orders or the one who follows them? 

Don’t let this stop you from having the best of times in Las Vegas. Always keep a daily tab on expenses and only spend what you can afford. Trust me, you’ll have a lot more fun in Vegas, knowing it’s all paid for in the end. 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” 

By Bari Demers – freelance storyteller  and screenwriter

See YOU in Vegas


  • Born with a silver spoon in your mouth, simply means you will go through life never experience the hardships of the poor, or shall you care to understand them. 
  • ** Noam Chomsky – Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, logician, social critic, and political activist. His views on the wealthy and how a few control the majority are a wake up call for all of us. In his documentary, he points out how the wealthy hate solidarity and try their best to put a lid on democracy. If the masses have control then the richest best interest would be at stake. So they implement mass marketing and attack public schools and senior pensions, in order to get rid of social spending.   
  • It’s also the death of the middle class, as Noam Chomsky sees it.
  • In fact the rich encourage privatization to rid themselves of more taxes. In effect, solidarity and taxes help support the poor. The wealthy’s over all goal is to eliminate the social system all together. But, at the same time, some crooked individuals purposely misuse the social system in their favour. I can see the aggravation from the middle class who have worked so hard to get where they are today. And, as far as the wealthy lucky few see it, the American Dream is open to anyone who goes for it. But, in business sense, you must have an acceptable idea or product people need. Not what you think they need. Unfortunately, it’s the very few that hit their dreams. Just like us screenwriters – our screenplay going viral and hitting the box office as a blockbuster is like winning a lottery. 
  • Today, the most wealthiest businessman, such as billionaires Warren Buffett , Bill and Melinda Gates have teamed up to give away the bulk of their wealth. Their personal goals are to help those in need. Maybe they too read, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens. 

The documentary, REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM will give you a good insight to the American Dream and how it’s bleak future is crumbling.  – Bari Demers 

The story behind “Winner,Winner,Chicken Dinner”

Photo Credit : Bari Demers

In the past week I received messages in regards to the meaning of, ” Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!”  

For the younger generation, it just dawned on me, the term, “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! ” is not necessarily understood. Unless, of course, they did a Google search.

So, let me tell you a little story :  

When I was eight years old my father would come home from his vacation in Las Vegas and would either say,” Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!” Or he would come home, saying,” Dammit! Caesars Palace and the bank owns our home again!” 

At such an impressional age of only eight, my curiosity got the best of me, so I had to ask my father why he was so happy winning a chicken dinner? 

BUT – 

Noticing the mood change from very happy to outright mad, being the happiest when he said,” Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!” I thought it best to ask him questions when he was in his happiest mood.

SO – 

One day, my father came home, “happier than a pig in mud” bellowing out those happy words,” Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!” throwing a wad of hard cold cash onto his bed. I knew the time was right to ask him my burning question, knowing all too well,”curiosity killed the cat” could end me in serious trouble. My dad’s moods were fickle, to say the least. Say the wrong think at the wrong time, could lead you to a serious swat in the head. Basically us kids were walking on thin ice when my dad was in one of his bad moods. I believe I took most of his brute force, as I would always question his authority on a regular basis. 

But, today was a good day, he was happier than a pig in mud! 

ARIA Resort & Casino. Photo Credit : Bari Demers

Playing with my favourite GI Joe toy, pretending this military Super Star was scouting ahead in the midst of all this hard cold cash, was the only time I was allowed near any of my dad’s monies. My dad was busy emptying his suitcase.

I knew the time was now or never.  

My little heart was racing, as I mustered up the courage and said,” Dad…?”
Paying little attention to me, you could see his mind was else where. I’m sure he was thinking more about what he could do with all that cash! 

So, I asked him again,”Dad…?” 

He looked at me with his cold steely eyes,”Yes! Yes! What is it?!” As if I was just bugging him. 

I took a deep breath and said,” Dad…Why are you so happy when you win a chicken dinner? I mean…after all…we have chicken dinners here every Thursday night…”  I waited patiently, as my dad thought of me as more of a nuisance, than his son.   

Suddenly he stopped.

I tensed up ready for whatever came my way, even closing my eyes.  
My dad sat on the end of the bed and told me to sit beside him. He was a mean son-a-bitch, so it took all of my will power to sit beside someone who’s temper was extremely volatile.  

Quietly, I sat beside him, unknown of his next move. 

He grabbed his cigarettes from his front pocket, pulled out one and lite it. 
Took a deep breath and said,” Son…Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner simply means I won the Jackpot… My God! Where have you been all your life? Don’t they teach you anything in school?!”

I cast my eyes low to the ground, as if respecting the primal anarchy, waiting for whatever was going to happen next.  

My dad took another puff of his cigarette. He could see I was asking a perfectly reasonable question. Giving a deep sign, he said,” Ok, listen…because I won’t repeat myself!”

I nodded.

My dad proceeded to tell me the reason for,” Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!” He told me, in Las Vegas a chicken dinner would cost around $2 dollars. In Vegas, you could place a minimum bet of $2 dollar. So, when you won $2 you were sure to win a $2 Chicken Dinner!

The Shards of Color Photo Credit: Bari Demers

[Read more about the Shards of Color at CityCenter, Las Vegas ]

In my family, I’ve heard so many times of my uncle betting on the horse races, so I had an idea what betting was all about. It was also clear my dad won a lot more then two dollars, so I quickly understood it’s more of a saying then anything. 

My dad concluded, ” Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner simply means I won the jackpot. It also means there’s more food in the house this month. Do you get it?! ” 

I nodded. 

My little imagination took off like wildfire. I could see this wizzical magic place called,” Las Vegas” ! At such a young age, I could only refer it to the famous, ” Wizard of Oz” But, it was a real place for everyone including my dad and uncle. I knew when I was old enough, I had to see this Wizard of Oz place called LAS VEGAS! 

Wish YOU were here in Las Vegas ! Photo by Bari Demers
Join us Vegas Lovers 

Years later…

A few years after my third visit to Las Vegas, you can imagine how surprised I was to see the actual theme of the brand new resort, the MGM Grand, displaying the Wizard of Oz !   I grinned ear to ear, realizing this was some sort of “good” karma.  

MGM Grand Las Vegas – Theme “Wizard of Oz”

[Read more about the good old days...]

In all, Las Vegas not only has good memories, but I quickly understood from past experiences with my dad, how Vegas could be your friend or how it could end up being a problem. The very fact, Caesars Palace could own your house through betting up a lean against your home stuck in my head since I was eight years old. It was a clear reminder to play poker, blackjack or the slot machines within your financial budget. This is why I always hold fast to my budget.  

I believe Mr Steve Wynn had a similar experience with his dad. 

Just realize in the end, winnings in Las Vegas are left to the experts and when you do win in Vegas, just remember it, as nothing more than a form of FUN entertainment. Unless of course you so happen to win millions of dollars, only then can you call it a lucky lottery.  

So, I hope your vacation in Vegas is a FUN and LUCKY experience and may you one day yell out,”Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! 

See YOU in Vegas !  

Come on by and join us Vegas Lovers in the “just for fun” Facebook Page geared for Vegas Lovers and newcomers heading for their very first vacation in the adult version of The Wizard of Oz land known as Las Vegas. 

By Bari Demers –freelance writer and scifi screenwriter 

The Heroes and the Courage

Photo coutesy of Fort McMurry Resident

The Heroes, The Courage, The Frustration – We are Canadians, We Stand Strong together.  

As these courageous Fire Fighters  battle this monstrous wildfire, the winds have picked up considerably, making this fire even more dangerous then ever before. It has taken on its own entity, a living creature consuming everything in its path. 

It’s now over 150,000 hectares and heading over the Saskatchewan border.

The towering flames are now 30 feet high as the high velocity winds keep feeding this ferocious uncontrollably wildfire.  I can hear the winds outside my door, howling like a wolf at night, knowing all too well, this wildfire is impossible to control. 

It may be the largest wildfire in Canadian history and quite possibly in North America. 

Photo Courtesy of The Canadian Armed Forces

Over 80,000 Fort McMurray residence were forced to flee as this fire consumed the city in the past week.   With very little notice, a gridlock of vehicles tried to head south, as the heat and flames towered the only road.  Some even resorted to riding out of the wildfire with their horses in tow.  

Unknown Photographer

After over ten gruelling hours on the road to Edmonton and neighbouring communities, Fort McMurray residence are now safe.   A Fort McMurray kindergarten evacuee joined up with a classroom in Edmonton, she said,”Hi! My name is Hanna and My World is on Fire!”Just heartbreaking to hear from our children.
Canadians throughout Canada are offering their homes, food and comfort as are the communities and cities.

Be safe to the Fire Fighters, the RCMP and those daring pilots, who are all taking their lives at risk to battle natures deadliest wildfire. 

#AlbertaStrong – See the latest changes.

by Bari Demers – Canadian screenwriter and freelance writer