Saturday, August 4, 2007

The NYT, Newsweek and Near-Death

We're halfway through our big L.A. trip for the X Games -- I assume by now you've seen the footage of the guy who fell off his skateboard from 40 feet up and didn't die, no? -- and I figured I'd put up a quick post pointing out a couple of my pieces that came out today. (I'm on Wi-Fi in my room at the Quality Inn in Carson, Calif. I'd say it's "free" except that they force every guest to pay $2.25 a day as a "wi-fi maintenance fee" whether you use it or not. They also charge $1.75 a day for the in-room safe whether, again, you us it or not. Quite a scam, methinks, except that I'd pay $9.99 a day for wi-fi, and have done many times, so...)

Anyhow, my New York Times piece on Las Vegas security following the NY-NY shooting and Luxor bombing is found here. And my Newsweek Q-and-A with Billy Bob Thornton is here.

Of course, podcast listeners got to hear my interviews with Bill Young, Justin Lampert and Billy Bob Thornton before these stories appeared.

As most journalists do, I like to look at the blogs to see who has picked up and/or commented on my stories. The Vegas security piece got blogged quite a bit and I'm particularly proud of this comment from a Vegas-based blog called Shortwoman:

Reading the article, I could not decide whether the NYT was saying “eek beware stay away” or “hey, they have things under control.”

Wow. Could that be because we journalists don't actually have such agendas, contrary to popular misconception and the insistence of bloggers and other partisans to make simplistic sense of everything? I just wanted to look at the issue and give an airing to the various sides. That's our job, and more often than not that's how it's done. Really.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Off to L.A. for the X Games!

I'm about to leave to head to Los Angeles to take my Little Brother to ESPN's X Games, the Olympics of BMX, skateboarding and Motocross. Will post with pix if anything's interesting, otherwise I'll be back Sunday.

Peace out!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Strip is LIVE tonight with Billy Bob Thornton

Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton is tonight's guest on "The Strip" in advance of the start of his national tour to support his fourth solo record, "Beautiful Door." Thornton, who appears at Green Valley Ranch this weekend, talks about "Sling Blade," Angelina Jolie and a particularly cruel assessment in the Las Vegas Review-Journal of his new album.

Also tonight, Robin Leach joins us to talk about the saga of Britney Spears at the Wynn.

Join us for a packed hour at 7:05 pm PT at LVRocks.Com!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Strip's LIVE on WEDNESDAY This Week

Just a quick note to let everyone know we're recording the live show on Wednesday, not Tuesday, this week. The good news is that the podcast will ALSO go up late Wednesday because I'm off to L.A. for the weekend with my Little Brother to catch the X Games on Thursday.

We can't say who the guest is this week yet b/c it's between two stars, one already recorded and another which may be coming in in the next day or two. In fact, the reason we're holding out to Wednesday is to see if I land the bigger star in time for this week's program. But the lesser star said some very, very shocking things in my interview with him, so either way this week will cook.

See ya Wednesday from 7-8 pm PT on LVRocks.Com. Or see ya on your iPod.

Our Pie In The Sky

Note: Click on all pictures to enlarge

One day in December 2004, my friend Adam IMs me. He'd put his name on the list for a Panorama Tower unit and his name had come up. Did I want to go in on it with him and his father?

Panorama Towers is (for now) a pair of blue glass high-rise condos directly west of the Bellagio and CityCenter on the other side of Interstate 15. (Two more towers are planned.) This was the height of the housing boom, when everything seemed assured to turn to gold, and Panorama had the added credibility of having its first tower already peeking out of the ground. CityCenter had yet to be announced, a dozen other high-rise condo projects in Vegas had yet to collapse and all I knew was that the money I was socking away in my IRA, Roth IRA and SEP accounts each year was doing little for me in the markets.

Adam, then a Vegas-based journalist as well, seemed to know what he was doing. And he was rather surprised when I said, "Sure" with very little research. But then he ran into a problem; his dad, who controlled his savings, didn't want to do it. As the Adam dithered, the unit he was on the list for was sold to someone else.

While we were considering it, I drew my own dad into the mix. He did a thorough investigation and decided it was, in fact, a pretty great opportunity. And so, when the Panorama folks called Adam a week later to say that another unit was available, he passed along the opportunity to me and, along with my father and one of his friends, we bought in.

Thirty months later -- about eight months longer than we had expected -- our unit is done. (Above is the lobby.) And this morning, Miles and I did a thorough inspection of the gorgeous 22nd floor Strip-view 950-sq-ft unit to point out any imperfections that would need repair before we closed and actually received the keys. There were some minor things - a small dent here, a short piece of carpet there -- and all are easily fixable.

That said, it was something of a thrill to walk into what had until now been a theoretical space in a construction site we'd pass by now and then and wonder about. What was delivered was exactly what they promised -- a sensational location and a view that will only get better.

We continue to debate how to proceed, whether to sell it immediately and take our profits or to rent it. This morning, Miles and I even thought about possibly living there ourselves, a long-shot but not entirely out of the question. It is, though, a little small for us. And the neighborhood has a ways to go before it's particularly livable. But there is an In-N-Out about a half-mile down the street, so that and a 7-11 is really all Miles needs.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share these photos so that you all -- and my father and his friend, my business partners -- can see it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Newspaper Musings

Sigh. Review-Journal publisher Sherm Frederick opted to lay off the masturbation stories this week, so there's only a couple of things to point out from today's newspapers:

* Omar Sofradzija in the R-J has a terrific column looking back at the 2000 predictions by a transportation expert on the Las Vegas Monofail. The expert had every aspect of the miserable future nailed down pat and Las Vegas' Mormon Mafia rolled right over them and built the thing anyhow. Oh well.

* It's kind of funny to see a front-page "think piece" by the Las Vegas Sun's J. Patrick Coolican pondering whether Hillary Clinton's negatives may doom her presidential bid on the same day that the no fewer than THREE rock-ribbed conservative columnists (Charles Krauthammer, Rick Lowry and David Brooks) are published in the combined R-J and Sun all begrudgingly praising the senator's preparedness for the presidency in one form or another. When she's even winning over the right-wing chattering classes, it does seem that speculation about the hatred she stirs in people who would never vote Democratic anyway is last year's story.

* I got my first mainstream review for "Gay Vegas" today. It's from the Chicago Tribune. See it here.

The Funniest Thing I've Read In Ages

From Walter Scott's Personality Parade in today's Parade Magazine:

Q. In June, Lindsay Lohan signed on for extended care at Promises, a luxury rehab center in Malibu. Isn’t that really just an extended vacation?
—N.B., Washington, D.C.

A. No. Lohan, 21—who abused alcohol, pills and cocaine—seems committed to finally getting clean. “The longer people stay, the better their chances,” says Promises founder Richard Rogg. “This is a very serious 12-step program. No one should be penalized for choosing to do the hard work of recovery in a luxurious setting.”

Interestingly, if you go to Parade's website, there's this, uh, addendum:

Editor’s Note: Less than two weeks after leaving rehab--and after we went to press with the July 29 edition of “Personality Parade”--Lindsay Lohan was arrested for drunken driving and cocaine possession. Like many in Hollywood and elsewhere, we believed that Lindsay was taking her rehab seriously. This latest incident is an example of how difficult substance abuse can be.