Monday, June 20, 2011

Good and bad from the weekend papers

I caught up this morning on the weekend papers, and this stuff is worth your eye:

* Howard Stutz of the R-J puts together the surprising detente between Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, right down to the suggestion by Adelson that the epic rivals will soon dine together. Oh, to be a fly...

* Tom Gorman of the Sun has a most awesome Q-and-A with Sir Patrick Stewart on his plans to create a Vegas-set version of "The Merchant of Venice." It reminds me of the time I saw "Taming of the Shrew" staged as a Western starring Morgan Freeman and Tracey Ullman and put on by Joseph Papp in Central Park. (Side note: I once considered titling a podcast interview with Adelson as "The Merchant of Venice" but opted against doing so because because the play -- or at least the title character of Shylock -- is so notoriously anti-Semitic. I went with "Mr. Sands Man" instead.)

* J. Patrick Coolican, who has been refreshingly diversifying his columns from the monotony of politics that the Sun is addicted to, gives us a terrific piece on a 25-year-old kid living at Veer for $1,000 a month plus valet parker duties. Money quote to make Jim Murren, who pictured a different grade of humanity living in these units, cringe: "The amenities -- you can't beat 'em." Party on, dude!

* Adrienne Packer geeks out on data collected by an 81-year-old monorail obsessive who has empirically proven that, for the most part, it's faster and cheaper to walk from one casino to another than to ride the ill-placed transit system. What's more, the creative codger's analysis also indicates that the oft-cited panacea for the monorail's woes -- a link-up to McCarran -- won't work, either.

Of course, there are some jeers:

* Why does Sad Shermy still have a column in the newspaper he has legally imperiled and whose circulation he ruined? I'd much rather have seen them hold over ex-editor Thomas Mitchell's columns because at least they were (usually) original and smart meditations on a topic that doesn't get enough press, first amendment matters. Instead, we have Sad Shermy writing the same old predictable babble, only not as well or as thoughtfully as other conservative commentators who actually do some reporting.

* I adore the work of Adrienne Packer, so I hope she doesn't take this the wrong way, but the absence of any coverage of the passage and Sandoval signing of AB511, the bill that makes Nevada the first state to legalize DRIVERLESS CARS for road use, is simple dereliction. This is a major, major legislative and technological development. I understand why Carson City scribes would overlook it because they had the budget and everything else to cover, but transportation writers ought to be all over this. So should technology writers, but neither the R-J nor the Sun have one of any merit, a glaring problem. (I'm trying to get the link to my piece on this from the iPad-only The Daily.)

Check out this YouTube video on the driverless cars for background and some amazing visuals:

This could be real on the roads of Vegas a year from now, thanks to the law. Really.

* Steve Bornfeld of the R-J applied his typical staccato,
sentence-fragment style to his coverage of the Daytime Emmy Awards in a piece that essentially chronicled the construct of the red carpet and the backstage post-win appearances. I do understand the instinct toward media navel-gazing (see this blog post or this whole blog!) and the desire to behave above and apart from the media silliness of such events. But in this particular case, he actually missed the story, which was how offended the audience and Emmy brass were that Oprah Winfrey did not show up for her own lengthy tribute. There was noticeable hostility in the Hilton theater as well as all over Twitter, and I'm pretty surprised that Oprah didn't just snubbed this crowd but also passed up a much-much-much-needed opportunity to plug her flailing network and its unwatched offerings. Didn't Oprah quit so she could focus on that? Also, why did they lie and pretend that Celine Dion was singing live from the Colosseum during the show when Celine's part was taped four days earlier? That sort of stuff would've made an interesting, Vegas-centric wrap-up.

* I'm completely puzzled that (a) this below is front page news, (b) that the paper misspelled the name of its own reporter of 426 years (It's Przybys, not Pyzybys, as it was corrected later online) and (c) that they ran with this thoroughly misleading headline:

What "history" was made? A California woman won a beauty pageant. She's not the first. She's not the last. She's not even all that interesting a woman, except she seems to have acquired a bit of Tudor lust thanks, probably, to Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. If there was some history made -- beyond the fact that every day is technically historic -- then John Pryzyzyzbys didn't tell us what that might've been.

* Journalists really must stop bitching, especially publicly on Twitter, about the quality of the free seats they get at various events. It truly embarrasses to them to behave so openly entitled, and it distracts from the quality of their coverage. Do they think their readers are sympathetic to the complaints of a group of people who seem to expect special treatment? This came up, too, during the opening of Celine's show at the Colosseum. The whiners' lack of self-awareness is kind of unbelievable.

* Finally, where the heck was the print coverage of the Starkey Hearing Foundation's mission to provide 100 underprivileged kids in Clark County with free hearing aids on Saturday? Those hearing aids cost probably $2,500 each, so that's $500,000 in donated, customized equipment alone, but more importantly there were some amazing and heartbreaking stories there. But never fear, I volunteered and I'll be columnizing about that this week for the Las Vegas Weekly. Also, because I know someone at KSNV, they did this:


Wordchipper said...

Hey, Steve-o, where the podcast? I heard on one of your casts that Miles was leaving..but is this the end of the best Vegas podcast ever and probably ever will be? I really miss it!

Dan Short said...

Nice when you feed Miles stories. The tribute was the highlite of the Emmy's for me.

Anonymous said...

Given the recklessness behind the steering wheel that prevails on Vegas' streets and highways, driverless cars would be a quantum improvement -- at least until the driverless cars become sufficiently advanced that they start multitasking in mid-drive.

David McKee