Sunday, December 28, 2008

Something new among the old

I just finished leafing through today's last-weekend-of-the-year 2008 news rehashes in the Review-Journal and Sun. Oddly, the most notable thing I spotted was this advertisement for the Silverton Hotel-Casino a little ways south on Las Vegas Boulevard:

I've never heard of Vegas casinos offering anything other than free cocktails to players. Starbucks coffee sounds like a smart move. I do recall popping in at the Fernley Nugget in Fernley, Nev., recently to check out the state's first casino to open as a non-smoking joint and noting they had a self-service soft-drink fountain. I wonder which is more effective in parting you from your money, free alcohol or free caffeine? Red Bull and vodka anyone?

On a related front, the papers were largely reiterations of old news and, given this annus horribilis, not terribly happy news at that. But in and among all that, the Las Vegas Sun's Charlotte Hsu provided a must-read, a in-depth, enlightening and wonderfully long piece on a local Iraq veteran's war experiences. Plus, of the year-end fodder, Howard Stutz gave a compact recounting of Sheldon Adelson's miserable year that reminded me that his failures were not exclusively about his company's woes. And I agree almost entirely (I still don't get the Cher thing) with Mike Weatherford's Top 10 shows of 2008, especially since he allows us to swap out "Love" or "Ka" if we're not enamored of "O," as I am not.

If I have a bone to pick this morning -- and there ought to be one, right? -- it's with R-J food critic Heidi Knapp Rinella listing the Capital Grille at the Fashion Show Mall as her sixth favorite of the eateries she reviewed in Vegas this year, exhorting us to "take in the unmatched view."

Unmatched view?!?!? Perhaps, if by "unmatched view" she meant of empty lots, stalled construction projects, a neon McD's sign and, off in the tantalizing horizon, the Naked City. (I'm feeling a future Stripper Poll coming on here, best restaurants with views. I wouldn't have even thought of putting CG on that list, though.) I like the Vegas Capital Grille, actually. But when I'm there, the view is the one thing that always seems unfortunate; if only they had gotten a perch facing south, the big windows and pretty architecture would be put to good use.

Finally, I'll be heading out shortly to pick up the Sunday New York Times. The NYT Sunday Magazine on the last weekend of each year is my favorite, a series of obituaries of highly influential individuals who died this year that always includes several non-famous names you never heard of but whose lives altered the culture in some way. One year, I discovered that the guy who invented the high-five was gay. Can't wait to find out what I didn't know this year.


ChrisR said...

Mandalay Bay has always provided Starbucks too punters... I know my friend has spent a day betting on the horses and sucking down comp'd Starbucks.

The free, self service soda fountains were everywhere across the Casinos I went to recently in Oregon and Washington. Nice idea, but I prefer having a nice young lady had me a free beer while I lose my money...

Anonymous said...

Council Bluffs Iowa also has the self-service beverage machines. Some of my friends who work there say they are wonderful because people who only want a cup of joe or a sprite typically tip very poorly as opposed to guys on their 9th bourbon.

Anonymous said...

M Resort is bringing the self-service beverage trend to Las Vegas -- which is odd only in that M is positioning itself as a somewhat upscale place.

David McKee

Anonymous said...

For pete's sake!
If you are going to be on television please take the time to wash your greasy hair!

Sandy said...

I saw that appearance. You looked great, steve. loved the exchange with the foreclosure dude.

Judy and Dagmar Jenner said...

I agree, the Sunday NYT magazine was amazing. I spent hours reading about -- like you said -- folks who have changed the world/culture/some lives and who are perhaps not that well known. I had heard of Ron Rivera's water purification system, and was delighted to know more about this great man's life. And that was only one of many great obituaries.