Sunday, August 31, 2008

Other interesting stuff from Sunday's paper...

Amid the acres and acres of very, very predictable opinion pieces on the election in both Vegas papers today -- I'm just shocked, shocked! that the R-J's Erin Neff found Obama's speech on Thursday exciting and that the editorial board would be impressed by Gov. Sarah Palin's resume -- there was some actually interesting stuff.

* The R-J came through again with an extremely useful clip-n-save feature laying out at what bars and restaurants football fans can flock to watch their favorite NFL teams play. This would appear to be a lot of painstaking work and incredibly useful both to local Las Vegans, given we don't now and probably never will have a team of our own, as well as tourists who want to be amongst their brethren on Sundays. We used this feature on Aug. 17, 2007 as a Top Secret Tourist Tip of the Week for "The Strip" podcast, and I'm happy they decided to update and republish it. Check it out here and bookmark it if you are so inclined. If my New York Jets are doing well -- big if, seeing how they play with the cast-off formerly great parts of other teams and all -- I may find myself at the Bunkhouse Saloon myself. Now, R-J, how about doing a similar feature for baseball and basketball? (If you have and I missed it, I apologize.)

* The casinos in the Gulf Coast region are shutting down this weekend in advance of Hurricane Gustav. I'd love to point you to Howard Stutz's short piece in the R-J today detailing this, but I cannot locate it anywhere on their fabulous website or even indexed in Google News. Of course, everyone's hoping this storm isn't as bad as advertised. But it did make me wonder something. How is it there haven't been any punishing typhoons beating the crap out of Vegas' other significant colony, Macau? Tis the season. I recall several times when I was in Asia typhoons did intense amounts of damage. Just something that crossed my minds; look for this to happen sooner or later.

* Norm Clarke's lead item about Tom Riccio, the guy who set up the OJ-Palace Station confrontation that is forcing me to sit in a courtroom for much of September waiting to see if The Juice finally get it, is just utterly chilling. Riccio strikes me as the very worst, the most cynical and corrupt sort of being our celebrity-scandal checkbook-journalism culture has produced. He set up the incident in the first place to sell the audio tapes, which he did. And now he's selling ad space on his limo for $7,500, dinner with him the night of his testimony for $5,000 and you can pay $6,000 to wear a hat with your logo. This is just pathetic. There's a whole site devoted to what he'll do for how much money. Ick. Maybe we can scrape together the money to get him to wear a hat that reads, "I am a disgusting human being and I have no shame." It's really hard for many people to feel sympathy for O.J. Simpson, but this guy helps.

* The Travel Industry Association has been wasting its members' money for the past two weeks taking out full-page ads in certain tourism-dependent cities and presidential battleground states including Vegas demanding first Obama and now McCain offer a plan to rescue the nation's travel business in their convention acceptance speeches. This is an expensive media campaign -- spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, it would appear -- that results in precisely nothing. Do they really think that either candidate is going to lay out a plan to help one particular industry? I'm not saying that there aren't good reasons for this trade group to raise awareness of its issues, but it's ridiculous to write something to either candidate that reads: "We want to hear a real plan from Senator McCain/Obama to help make travel and tourism in the U.S. work better for travelers and millions who serve them." You can't just come out of nowhere and make such a demand on the eve of each man's most important public moment. When neither of them respond -- and neither will -- then what? Condemn them? Sure, that'll get them caring what you've got to say next time.