Friday, May 3, 1996 | 11:59 a.m.
HAVE YOU READ about the Tower of Babel?
The Genesis story is about a group of Noah's descendents who tried to build a very high tower to reach heaven "so that we may make a name for ourselves."
But, according to the Old Testament, the Lord decided to give the builders a real challenge by confusing their language.
And so the Tower of Babel evolved into a symbol for impractical and confusing schemes.
The story was in the back of my mind Monday night during the VIP grand-opening party at the Stratosphere.
As is my routine, I had decided earlier that day that I would try to attend the opening, well after all the tickets had been mailed out.
No problem, I thought. I'll just call the hotel.
No dice. Everyone was too busy to get back to me.
Finally, just before the opening, I got my hands on a ticket.
I figured it would give me a chance to pick up a little column fodder -- as well as some shrimp.
Instead, I ended up with an education about the folly of some grand openings.
I arrived promptly 2 1/2 hours late, at 8:30 p.m., and things started smoothly.
Although I had only one ticket, the woman at the front door allowed me to bring a guest.
Indeed, all the representatives of the hotel were extremely cordial.
But, as the night went on, it became apparent that they were outnumbered and outgunned by the VIP and media guests. More than 8,000 people attended the special party, all of whom appeared to speak a different language.
Some had received free tickets. Others paid $50 for the privilege; the money went to the Junior League of Las Vegas and the United Way.
After waiting more than an hour just to get into one of the two buffet lines for 8,000 people, my guest and I were told "the buffet is closed."
We went to the restaurants, but they were jammed. Finally, I walked out to Las Vegas Boulevard in an effort to spot a hamburger stand, but I couldn't find anything.
So my guest and I hung around and mingled.
We decided against enduring the two-hour wait for elevators to whisk us far above the Strip.
Some who made the trip said it was well worth the wait. I, however, heard different comments.
"It's much too crowded. Don't go up there. The rides are closed," people told me.
There were complaints about the hard floors on the mezzanine level above the escalators. "My feet are killing me," a woman in heels said.
Others seemed confused about which way to go -- and why.
In time, I'm sure Bob Stupak and his executives will make sure other gala affairs at his "Stupakular" tower will run much more smoothly.
After all, I understand Stupak speaks only one language -- the language of do it or else.