Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Reading

Some media musings in three acts...

I. Good stuff you ought to read

* Joe Brown's fun Weekly piece, reprinted in the Sun, about how CANDY and SWEETS are trendy these days in Vegas. You know, like that $40 box of cupcakes I bought in December.

* Corey Levitan's Review-Journal piece in which Vegas' top magicians discuss their favorite illusions.

* Liz Benston's two-fer on the impact of smoking in casinos on workers there. There's the story of Cheryl Rose, who is so honorable she doesn't even want to sue or name the casino that likely will have killed her and then a piece about those who are suing places like the Wynn.

* Norm Clarke's column, in which he credited me and this blog regarding the scoop that 74-year-old Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin's 28-year-old Ukrainian beauty queen wife is eight months pregnant.

II. Quotes I liked today

* Michael Geeser, former KLAS journalist turned AAA spokesman, on one of his favorite stories back in the day to the R-J: "Back in the mid '90s, there was a synagogue in town that didn't have enough room in its building to hold its Passover seder, so it rented a ballroom at a hotel. The hotel they rented the room at was the Luxor. I remember saying to the news staff, "Does anyone see the irony to this?" My story that night was, "Tonight, Jews around the world will celebrate Passover, but here in Las Vegas, one group is going back to Egypt." Only in Las Vegas would you ever find that story."

* Sarah Silverman to USA Weekend on marriage: "Why would anyone want government involved in their love? I think it's a disgusting club to be in where people who love people of the same sex aren't allowed."

* Amy Tarkanian, wife of GOP Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian, to the Review-Journal: "Because of the Gibbons and Ensign thing, people come up to me at every event and say, 'Can he keep it in his pants?' "

III. And about that last one

Laura Myers' nearly 4,000-word profile of Danny Tarkanian was fascinating in a perverse sort of way. It was far less gauzy than Myers' profile a few weeks ago of GOP Senate candidate Sue Lowden, to be sure, but I'm not convinced Tarkanian will actually realize that. We'll see if he ever puts it on his campaign site.

You see, Myers watched the Tarkanians -- including his very small children -- being carted all over the state like a circus troupe in the service of his as-yet repeatedly unfulfilled political ambition. Lois is his eldest daughter and, evidently, opening act. Check out this:

Lois climbs on stage and starts playing the piano. Then she stands at the microphone and begins reciting her first- grade class report on the 33rd president, Harry Truman. A Democrat. He confounded all predictions to win re-election in 1948, helped by his "Whistle Stop Tour" of rural America.
"He was born in 1884," she says as a few people trickle in, including a man in a cowboy hat.
"I'm done," Lois calls out after a few minutes, and four people present applaud her on cue.

And this:

Lois plays her part, asking to tell a joke. He lifts her up and plays the straight man.
Tarkanian: "How long does it take Harry Reid to change a light bulb?"
Lois: "It doesn't matter because he will never see the light. If he can't see the light we'll show him the door."

Is that not bizarre? Slightly heartbreaking? There are also 6-year-old twins and a 2-MONTH-OLD child in tow. I can't tell if the journalist writing this piece is as horrified as her readers inevitably will be. She does, after all, find it remarkable that the Senate candidate "pumps his own gasoline" as if maybe someone else -- say his nursing wife or one of his rugrats -- ought to do it for him. So maybe she got sucked into some notion that this is all normal.

Then again, maybe not. She does manage to extract this gem from his mother Lois, who has won four more elections than her 0-for-2 son:

Asked if she would vote for him if he wins the GOP primary, Lois Tarkanian pauses at the thought of crossing political lines. The Las Vegas city councilwoman and former school board mainstay is a leading Democrat in Nevada. Reid has contributed to her campaigns, and she has supported him.
"Harry's been good to me," she says, then tells a story about a fellow Democrat asking her how she could even consider not supporting Reid. "He said, 'How could you do this?' And I said, 'Would you vote for your son?' And he said, 'I know what you mean.' So yes, I think I would vote for my son. I believe my son would be an excellent senator. He hasn't disappointed me."

Did you catch that? His OWN MOTHER is torn! You didn't hear that from Maria Shriver or any of the Kennedys when Ah-nold ran for governator, did you?!? The best she can say is that he's NOT a disappointment?

There's just something incredibly pathetic about Danny Tarkanian's entire effort and how he shamelessly exploits his family, from his famous surname to his kiddies. One last snippet, from the candidate's mouth:

"Last campaign I went to Ely 12 times, Elko 13 times. I spent a lot of time in rural Nevada, maybe too much."

Dude, if you've been to those places that many times and you still haven't won something ever, maybe that's a sign?


Anonymous said...

Actually liked the piece. Normal guy despite the famous name. Kids as political props? Never seen that before.... I'll give him a look. He's better than sue or harry. Maybe sharron.


Kids as political props, yes. As political performers? At that age? I've covered a ridiculous number of campaigns and I've never seen a child of 6 or 7 setting up political jokes or doing the talent portions of stump events.

atdnext said...

Creepy. Just creepy. And with Krolicki out for good, I now see why Harry Reid decided to stay in the race. The GOP really can't recruit any credible challenger.

Wait until the general election attack ads start. Hell, Sue Lowden's already tearing Baby Tark to shreds in the primary!

Anonymous said...

"Lois plays her part, asking to tell a joke. He lifts her up and plays the straight man.
Tarkanian: "How long does it take Harry Reid to change a light bulb?"
Lois: "It doesn't matter because he will never see the light. If he can't see the light we'll show him the door."

I don't see where that's so strange. How many politicians tell bad jokes? You're showing your bias, Steve...