Saturday, July 21, 2007

Can someone explain this to me?

Before Miles, I had one other significant relationship. My first partner and I met when we were 20, had a big fancy wedding at 26 and split up in a very bitter divorce at 30. That was 2002.

Since then, I have lived at three different addresses. My ex and I are no longer as bitter but we have very little contact and mainly know of one another's doings from another couple. I have Miles and my ex, who is a third-year medical resident in the Chicago area, has some guy who likes piercings and kilts. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

But, oddly, this week something weird started happening: I'm getting mail at this house for my ex-partner. It's not forwarded. It doesn't have my name anywhere near it. And, again, this is my third address since we broke up. My ex, in fact, has never had any reason to send me anything here, so I doubt he even knows my address.

Both pieces of mail so far were junk. One was some debt-consolidation service that referenced his medical-school loan debt (whew - dodged that bullet). The other offered him a low-interest credit card. I suspect, given this, that more is to come.

Could it really be that some junk-mail firm figured out that we were once involved -- although that's been over for nearly five years and was never legal in any way that would show up in the sorts of documents and services that such firms use to harvest information? It is true that if you Google his whole name, the fourth entry is a notice that appeared in 1999 in my university's alumni magazine announcing our wedding. But the first three entries aren't even him, they're other people -- other doctors, in fact -- with his whole name. And anyway, isn't that a lot of steps for them to take to put his name to my address?

Baffling, no? Anyone have any vague explanation? Or any way to stop it now that it's started?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Strip Outtakes Available!

For those of you who may not have noticed, we posted a 12-minute bonus this week containing outtakes from this week's show with Jon Lovitz. Lovitz was supposed to call in live and when he didn't, things went a little kooky.

Listen to it here or right-click here to download the file and hear whenever you want. And catch our live shows on Tuesdays, 7-8 pm PT at LVRocks.Com.

Placentamania! and Norm!

My piece in today's USA Today on the movement to ingest the placenta (yum!) is drawing a gazillion comments on the newspaper's website. Check out the piece and the reaction, mostly appalled it seems, here.

And, on another front, we made Norm! again this week for the Donny Osmond interview. Read that here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Danny Gans redux and more

Three images of interest out there from my prowl through the week's worth of papers and magazines that stacked up while I was away on account of my grandfather's illness, death and funeral:

Danny Gans appeared on the cover of Las Vegas Magazine looking closer to his real self than his new advertisements. Just wondering why they bothered to fake his ad photo if they're cool with him looking like he really looks on magazine covers. (See earlier post about Danny's new image.)

This photo appeared in the Las Vegas Sun several days after 7/7/7 with an article about how the crush of wedding interest in that "special" day left some couples unwed and unhappy. Except that his photo was taken days after, too. Why are they still in their formal wear? The caption said something about how they were still eating leftover cake, which may explain why she's looking so grave, huh?

This is a "house ad" (an ad in the newspaper for the newspaper itself, usually used as filler or to promote something new they're up to) for the Review-Journal is just baffling. They're pushing their new service offering the paper via PDA. Except that the caption shows the boss telling the folks at his meeting "Will you guys please read the R-J at home next week!" Now, you know times are bad when the daily newspaper itself doesn't expect people to read it, uh, daily. Yikes.

No Poker Face Here - But There Should Be

I was a bit amazed to read this on the official World Series of Poker website today, summing up the end of the tournament that left Jerry Yang of Temecula, Calif., as the 2007 WSOP champ (emphasis mine):

"Well, that's all folks. The crowds have come and gone, the cards have fallen, an a Champion has been crowned. Jerry Yang will make a fantastic poker ambassador. His dominance of the final table was reminiscent of Jamie Gold's performance last year, however his victory speech was the polar opposite. Jerry is naturally humble guy, with a firm faith and a deep respect of his fellow man. He pledged to donate 10 percent of his winning to charity, and said that he wanted to give something back to the community. he was very appreciative, and thanked Jeffrey Pollack and his staff for all their hard work throughout the Series. He thanked his wife, who he said worked very hard, but 'does not have to work anymore,' and said he was going to ensure that his six children received the best education. After all the cameras and bright lights subsided, we caught a glimpse of a real guy, with a solid foundation who love his family -- a true Champion."

Now, imagine the NFL summing up the Super Bowl by writing, "These guys are great, not like the &$@@#s who won last year." Inappropriate, right?

Sure, Jamie Gold was a controversial champion and he offended some sensibilities by his behavior during and after the tournament. His admission of cheating to me in The New York Times and on "The Strip" podcast were embarrassing, no doubt. But ultimately, he hurt only himself by squandering his fame.

The snarky reflections on his place in poker lore -- and how he compares to his successors and predecessors -- are best left to bloggers, columnists and fans. For the WSOP organization itself to make such a snide remark is out of bounds.

Jon Lovitz Found!

He's supposed to call at 4 pm PT. Should be, uh, interesting. I may post it later tonight instead of tomorrow. Will see how busy I am.

Is Jon Lovitz Missing?

Those of you who tuned in for the live show last night are aware that comic Jon Lovitz did not call in when he was supposed to for our live interview. Remarkably, this is the very first time in nearly two years of weekly programs that a celebrity has stood us up for "The Strip" podcast. Rather than being embarrassing, though, it ended up being a very funny show and we may, in fact, air it in its original, uncensored off-the-rails silliness at some point. Miles was so funny about Lovitz' absence that there were spots where I couldn't even speak I was so overcome by the giggles.

Still, business is business and I wanted to interview Jon Lovitz. The spokeswoman at the Orleans was horrified and is feverishly working to get him sometime today so we can put together a proper show for posting as a podcast tomorrow.

Except that nobody's quite sure where he's at. She says that his agent has left messages for him all over the place and reminded him twice yesterday of our interview. So it's a mystery.

Perhaps Andy Dick abducted him for beating him up last week? I sure hope nothing serious has happened or none of this will be even a little bit amusing...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Most Churches Per Capita? God, No.

There are some cannards that journalists like to employ to show something ironic about Las Vegas, and the most frequently used one is the notion that Las Vegas has "more churches per capita than anywhere else in the country."

It popped up again in a Q-and-A by Jerry Fink of the Las Vegas Sun conducted with comic Lewis Black. He asks Black for a thought on this apparent paradox, and the comedian gave a standard-issue response about Sodom and Gomorrah hedging its bets.

Except it's not true. This 1997 piece from the Review-Journal takes us through some of the numbers, figuring that at best we had, at that time, a ratio of 1 church/synagogue to 1,700 people. Memphis, Tenn., by contrast, had about 875-to-1. And that was a decade ago, so add another half-million Las Vegans which would have necessitated about 300 new Houses of Worship just to keep at that old pace. I can assure you that if Vegas was opening 2.5 new churches every month, somebody would've noticed.

What's more, do a simple Google search and you'll find countless American cities wishing to, without any further statistical backup, claim to be the most pious city in these United States. Among those is Nashville, Grand Rapids, Mich., Waco, Texas, Wheaton, Ill., and Berkeley, Calif.

Interestingly, there's no such bragging-rights war going on in cities overseas. But either way, Vegas doesn't win this title. And thank God for that.

"The Strip" is LIVE tonight with Jon Lovitz

For the first time in quite a while, we're having a live interview on "The Strip" tonight with comic Jon Lovitz. Join us at 7:05-8 pm PT on LVRocks.Com, right after Papa Joe Chevalier.

Click on Cam/Chat and just other listeners as they hear us mess up, cuss and bicker! Plus, ask Jon Lovitz your questions through us!

See you all later!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Daddy, She'll Ask, What's A Phonebook?

New phonebooks were delivered this morning. In Vegas, we get two a year because the city is changing so fast. Mine went directly into the recycle bin (see left) and the bag it came in was used to pick up dog poo on our walk. (Be thankful I'm not providing a pic of that.)

Question: Does anyone use these 7-pound booster seats anymore? Couldn't they lower our phone bills by making phone book delivery optional? Uh, wait, scratch that. This is the phone company. They charge me to NOT be listed.

But really -- am I the only one who never even looks at the phone book anymore in the Google Age?

Oh Danny, You Kidder You

Danny Gans has a new photo for his billboards and taxi ads. Danny Gans is at least 45 years old, based on his Web bio, which claims he spent 15 years on the road before he settled in Vegas in 1995. Danny Gans does not presently look like the photo to your left. Danny Gans presently looks like the photo to your right, which was taken in February by Ethan Miller of Getty Images.

See, they're different. But I won't go so far as to say it's a lack of truth in advertising. If anything, it shows that Danny Gans' image, just like his act, is obviously stuck in the '90s.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday At The Trop Pool With Jamie

It was much too hot Sunday to do anything other than swim, but where to go? My 16-y/o Little Brother Jamie and I weren't in the mood to rub elbows with the neighbors in the unremarkable pools at either of our complexes, what with the Las Vegas Strip just up the way. And thanks to one of our most celebrated past journalistic collaborations, we know the ins and outs of every pool of any importance in Vegas, and the Tropicana is the best unguarded option. The Flamingo is also pretty good and usually easy to enter, but they do occasionally have guards asking for ID and we just weren't in the mood, the high being 108 and all, to do battle.

Amusingly (see pic above right), the Trop now has a sign we hadn't ever noticed before warning us to "be prepared to show Hotel I.D." We never saw a suspicious soul again. What's more, they provided towels!

Tropicana, why do we love thee? Well, for starters, unlike most pools on the Strip, it's more than three feet deep. The crowds tend to be lighter, especially on hot Sunday afternoons, and that pounding 20-foot waterfall (see beyond Jamie's shoulder) always feels so nice. The Trop also seemed to have a fair mix of young hotties and unappealing oldsters rather than one or the other, which always makes people like us feel out of place. (...since crashing the pool of a hotel we're not staying at never bothers us much for some reason.) I will say, however, that the guy to Jamie's left in the waterfall shot had piercings in both nipples and a colorful Speedo, both inappropriate for someone on the far side of his flabby forties.

I was a little surprised by one thing: The swim-up blackjack tables indicated you can't play unless you're a hotel guest. That seemed to fly in the face of recent information we'd heard that the very presence of gaming means that the pool must be in some way open to at least the gambling public. On the other hand, I wonder how they could handle people's money in the pool, so I wonder if I had gone inside the casino and gotten some chips, would that have covered me? But what is the policy, that's what I need to find out.

OK. I was surprised by two things, actually. Wi-Fi at the pool is a good idea. Wi-Fi for $14.95 is extortionist. I wonder if this is a separate fee from what a hotel guest would be charged in the rooms. Or maybe there isn't any Wi-Fi in the rooms at the Trop? Entirely possible. But still. That's probably the highest Wi-Fi fee I've ever seen anywhere.

Also, why does it look like an egg? And read that sign carefully, please. Check E-Mail! Chat With Friends! Keep In Touch With Associates! Does anyone who would possibly wish to be online by a pool really need an explanation of the thrilling benefits of the Internet! I'm a little stunned it doesn't also say, "Find a sex partner for tonight!"