Friday, November 30, 2007

No House Like a Ho-Ho-Ho House

You'd Better Watch Out

You'd better not cry, I'm telling you why. Repo sales are coming to town. The banks are making a list and checking it twice and they'll figure out whose payments aren't nice. Then more foreclosures will make owners frown. If you bought your home on margin, and paid no money down, when lenders threw their cash around like candy from a clown. If the rate you got's adjustable the piper must be paid. The mortgage ain't combustible and your payments will not fade. So unless you're Steve Wynn or one of those guys, like Ed McMahon with a million dollar prize, you will realize that "foreclosure's" a noun.

Much media has been focused on the housing slump. Of course, that, along with the ex-cop suspected of offing a pair of wives and so-called candidate debates conspire to take our minds off the thousands who have died and tens of thousands of American soldiers who have been injured in the Middle East. It makes one wonder just how bad the housing crisis is. One thing is for sure, in my neighborhood housing asking prices have fallen up to a couple of hundred thousand dollars and the five homes for sale at the moment have been so for months, or in one case, years. However it is difficult to tell how many homes that are foreclosed upon will place owners on the street and how many are owned by investors who bought to flip.

Still the Las Vegas population seems to be growing by about 6,000 new residents each month and job growth remains above the national average. That rate of growth (more than 70,000 new residents each year) has continued for more than a decade. That rate of growth has caused the infrastructure problems that one might expect - the opening of a new school every month, roads being built, then overcrowded, torn up, and rebuilt, and shortages of water. But it has also resulted in higher density housing. Apartments and condos that rarely exceeded two stories are now being stacked higher. And for the people who lose their houses? Some will leave, but the majority will stay and move into rentals.

Times they are a changing in Las Vegas and throughout the country. The answer now is the same as it was in the previous elections, "It's the economy, stupid." But the more pressing questions are when will we start to bring our soldiers home in a one horse open sleigh instead of in caskets and how will we know when we've won the war?"

Dr. Forgot

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is The Juice Turning Sour?

Will The Juice Have Juice in Vegas?

Juice is a Vegas term. It means political connections, drag, pull, influence. But a bad choice Minute Made Orange Juice, aka Orenthal James, aka OJ Simpson the talk of the town. Many think the former knife pitcher is guilty of bringing down Miss Brown in L.A town. Was OJ guilty? Jury says "No," Mr. Man of Gold says, "Not only yes, but Hell Yes!" Seems like the away crowd knew the Juicer was a stabber but the home crowd waved off the penalty and avoided the big Hertz. But that was long ago and far away. While the country withered at a mis-justice, the Juice did anything but wither on the vine. In fact, he moved to the state that resembles a flaccid male member and added vitamin G for golf and proceeded to live happily ever after.

But a funny thing happened to him on the way to retrieve his memorabilia. He got busted. Both of his two faces showed up on the TV screen - the one in which his profanity-laced diatribe bullied memorabilia salesmen into submission, and his TV persona side which appeared in the courtroom humble and contrite as a lad whose hand was caught in the Sunday collection plate. The pony-tailed young judge, son of a seasoned veteran judge who a few years earlier had sentenced Binion murders to the gallows (they were later set free) told the Juice man that he needed to return to the Valley of the Dollars for arraignment. And so he did.

In what resembled a cocktail party, with the OJ half of the screwdriver mingling with reporters the judge met behind closed doors with his high powered attorneys. As for the old Buffalo Bill, he then mingled with others in the courtroom, regaling his son's athletic ability, discussing Thanksgiving dinner, smiling and wishing anybody who would listen, "Happy Holidays." Perhaps he is hoping it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas and hoping that despite being naughty, the Las Vegas court system will treat him nice.

Within ten minutes, the grizzled veteran of courtrooms and charges pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping and armed robbery charges of two sports goodies salesmen in a hotel room. He had set a date with destiny, or at least a trial date of April 7, 2008. As he left the courthouse one could almost hear the female voice from his old Hertz car rental ad saying, "Go OJ." Others in the crowd held up signs and suggested more specific place that he might go. How about a little dancing music to get us on our way. Maestro, do you know a tune called, "The courtroom Waltz?"

Dr. Forgot

Against the Wind Slowly

A Marathon Wait

Things happen fast in Las Vegas. I remember a cabbie once telling a couple who had come to town to get married, "I can have you wedded and bedded and back on the plane in two and a half ours." Dealers lay down hands quickly, restaurants try to turn tables as quickly as possible and slot machines spin so fast they make your head spin.

Each year for the more than a decade or so Las has hosted a marathon. Last December the race was won by Joseph Kahugu. His speed brought him winnings of $ 15,000 for a first place finish and an additional $ 50,000 for winning the male-female challenge for a total of $ 65,000. But as a wise sage once said, "Don't spend it all in one place, and Joseph didn't. In fact he didn't spend it at all because he did not receive the money in December, or January, or February, or March, or..... well, you get the idea.

Joseph's agent tried to figure why the delay? Let's see, administrative transactions could cause a delay of up to 45 days. Drug testing could add another couple of weeks to the check should have been in the hand of the male by the end of February. But no check. No mail.

Summer came and went and the temperature rose but Joseph's bank account did not. Finally in November, nearly a year after the victories, the pitter patter of the postman's feet arrived at Joseph's door with the check. And I'm sure the postman rang twice for the delivery. So why the holdup? Was it a male thing? Apparently not for the female winner of the race, Jemima Jelagat (you can call her JJ) just received her money from winning last year's race.

The year before the race a large group took over the race from its founder, Al Boka, a local man who had run it just fine, thank you very much. Locals are quick to point out that when an expert (defined by Mark Twain as somebody who lives more than 50 miles away and carries a briefcase) took over, the race had problems not previously seen. Of course, the sponsors have excuses, which don't pay the rent, but they promise things are now straighted out and a similar problem will not recur. In the meantime the runners, like Forrest Gump, continue to run everywhere they go. A little blogging music, Maestro... Do you know the Wizard of Oz reprise, "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date...."

Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Porsche and a Pizza to Go

Yummy Meal - Tummy Fill - What a Deal!

When people used to ask me how I like living in Las Vegas I would say, with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, "Wonderful place to live but I wouldn't want to visit here." Actually, the number of visitors continues to increase and those who just won't go home become permanent residents. There is so much high rise construction that the crane has become our state bird. Las Vegas is a great place to live and has been for the 40 some years I've called it home.

Where else can you go out a 3 a.m. to get a quart of milk and a loaf of bread and put your change in a slot machine? I've never done that but it is comforting to know that I could if I wanted.Where else can you see any act in the world from Celine to the Smothers Brothers? Where else can you walk up the main drag and see a pirate fighting ship, an erupting volcano, dancing waters, the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty on the same night? Where else can you walk out of Nieman Marcus, across the street on an overhead walkway, and into one of the world's most stunning hotels, complete with a casino and Ferrari dealership?

Las Vegas spoils its residents with the plethora of options for entertainment and uniqueness, and that's just on the Strip.Thirty minutes to the north you'll find snow skiing. Thirty minutes south you'll find water skiing. And in greater Las Vegas, which incoudes Henderson, you can find some most interesting sights. Take for example the Ford dealership in Henderson. Lots of dealerships have race cars on site and other gimmicks to draw in customers but that dealership has a draw that keeps nervous car buyers calm and refreshed - a cafe that is called, of course, Mustang Sally's. Ford Country owner Gary Ackerman got the idea of adding the cafe to make the dealership more homey and less threatening to the car buyer. And it worked almost too well. Some locals come into the dealership several times per week to buy - dinner! The concept has worked beyond his expectations. Gary opened a Jaguar and Porsche dealership several years ago and installed a sort of homespun version of Starbucks. I guess it worked so well he decided to expand the menu.

Across town in another venue a large furniture store installed the Courtyard Cafe. Customers, employees, and stragglers through the neighborhood drop by for soups and sandwiches, wraps, salads, and breakfast items complemented with cups of Joe, smoothies, and soft drinks.

The cafe and restaurant is a far cry from professors at the university who bring in pastries and coffee to help get the brain stimulated. But of course, in the case of the professors, it is food for thought.

Dr. Forgot

Dr. Forgot Remembers

Days of Wine and Roses
Or perhaps it was the days of runny noses. Today we have the Baby Boomer Memory Test. See how many of these items bring a picture to your mind: S&H Green Stamps were a type of currency offered by nearly every grocery store. Yellow 45 plastic inserts allowed you to play "singles" records on the spindle designed for 78s and 33s. Of course, you had to have a record player with all three speed settings.
Metal ice cube trays sometimes had handles attached that would allow for easy removal of the cubes. With a cork popgun you could shoot at your little brother but never lost the cork that was attached to your rifle with a string. Skate keys allowed for roller skates to attach to nearly any shoes. Of course we did not wear thongs for the feet or Birkenstocks so footwear was not an issue.
We did not have drive-by shootings but drive-ins could be either to get food from a gal (car hop) on roller skates or trying desperately to create your first child in the back seat of your Dad's Studebaker whole the movie was playing. The latter drive-in was also called a passion pit and the Studebaker might even have a necking knob attached to the steering wheel that allowed you to turn the wheel with one hand with the other hand around your best girl in the days before power steering.
Your mom might have been in the basement wringing her clothes through the wringer attached to the washtub and if the Fuller Brush man or Avon lady rang your doorbell and you'd have to get up from playing with your Erector Set or Lincoln Logs or tinker toys to answer the door. After he left you might hop on your Schwinn with the baseball card in the spokes and ride to the corner store to get some penny candy and a 5-cent coke in a paper cone at the fountain bar. Of course, if you ate too much candy it was Speedy Alka-Seltzer to the rescue.
Can't you just picture that scene? With your Brownie Hawkeye and flashbulbs of course. After you got home, if the test pattern was no longer on you might watch Lassie or Howdy Doody with Buffalo Bob, Clarabelle and the marionettes while you anxiously waited to see the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee commercial. As you got a little older and girls came into your life you were sure to use Brylcreem - a little dab'll do you. How about a little blogging music, maestro.... one of my favorites is the Platters, "Remember When."
Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hit Me You Stupid Machine

No Aces Up Dealers Sleeves
Old timers like to reflect about how much better the "Good old days" were. You know, back in the days when men were men and women were glad of it. Those same good old days in Las Vegas, according to many old timers, were times when the mob ran the town. It was better then, a lot of them muse. The rules were clear and violation of those rules had consequences and no appeals. In those days casinos were owned by individuals, not corporations, and if you lost your wad, the kindly owner or pit boss would put his arm around your shoulder, comp you dinner, and pick up your tab for the ride home.
Dealers dealt from a single deck and shoes were on their feet, not on the table. And when they talked of gambling on machines, of course they meant slot machines. The town was smaller, friendlier, and everybody knew everybody. Nearly every old timer has a story of a personal contact, however brief, with Ole' Blue Eyes or Sammy, or Deano, or one of the entertainers. Many can remember when two hillbillys from West Virginia with no formal musical training played downtown stages as the Newton Brothers, Wayne and Jerry, and who knew that the guy who played the Last Frontier would one day be president of the USA?
But times change. Howard Hughes started the corporate revolution in the 1960s with the purchase of the Desert Inn followed by the purchase of five other properties on and off the Strip, as well as hundreds of thousands of acres of land that would one day become Summerlin. Hank Greenspun, a newspaper editor bought some land in a not-so-desirable location on the outskirts of town and his sharp son-in-law developed it into Green Valley. Steve Wynn bought the run down Golden Nugget, rehabilitated it, sold it and opened the Mirage, Billagio, and finally the Wynn Las Vegas.
As the town changed, so did gaming itself. Dealers began using shoes that contained multiple decks, making it more difficult for card counters, slot machines changed from reel-type to video and eventually stopped spitting out coins in favor of paper receipts, and gaming spread to other states. The internet spawned online gaming and the World Series of Poker became a television hit. Technology allows corporations to hire fewer people in favor of more machines. Machines are more efficient, dealing 40 hands per hour vs. a human dealer doing 25 hands per hour.
Electronic games require no tip to the dealer, deal faster, never take a sick day, don't sue the company, rarely insult the customer, and almost never make a mistake. Casinos in Las Vegas have been slow to change to electronic poker and other table games but they will be dragged kicking and screaming into the electronic age despite the unions and other Huddites who will try to block the way. One day the old timers will talk about the days when electronic games overtook the town. A little blogging music, maestro.... do you know the Platters version of "Remember When?'
Dr. Forgot

Day People, Night People

Don't Snooze, You Lose

I think it is Mark Twain who is credited with the saying, "There are only two kinds of people day people and night people. And they always marry each other." Such is the case with almost every couple I know. One is usually a lark, up before the crack of dawn and ready and raring to go, but whose eyes drop as the sun goes down. The other one is an owl who cannot function properly in the morning regardless of the amount of caffeine but who comes alive after the sun goes down and usually is active well into the wee small. When two such people marry, they make each other miserable.

Night hawks have a worse time of it, I think. The world is designed by the early bird for the early bird. I'm not only NOT an early bird, I hate worms. Those of us who do our best work at night (and I'm not talking hanky panky, although..... but that's another story) find it most difficult to rise and shine and be at work by nine. Some of us who are lucky enough can fake it by walking through the motions in a sleepy semi stupor until a reasonable hour - such as 11 a.m. - then coming alive for the rest of the work day.

I also have the additional burden of being left handed in a right handed world. Despite jokes about lefties being the only ones in their right minds, pity the poor southpaw who has to learn to drive, write, and open cans. School desks are designed for righties, as are binders, checks, signature cards, and even pens for signing are fastened in a manner to accommodate righties.

But there are those of us who are night owls and have had to adopt a sleep-deprivation modus operandi, as well as those of you who are early birds and must go out nights for social functions and lose sleep over it. Neither group is doing themselves any favors. Researchers have for years professed that a lack of sleep leads to fatigue which leads to poor performance. But thank goodness for weekends where we can catch up on our sleep, right?

Well, not exactly. New research suggests that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to the inability to make up for lost sleep. In recent studies lab rats that were regularly deprived of sleep were unable to recover their sleep and had manual dexterity, memory, and other problems associated with sleep deprivation. Sleep loss can even lead to obesity, say the researchers (so THAT'S why I'm portly!)

So get the required 7 or 8 hours per sleep each night and tell your partner that it is for your health - that rats in studies proved it to be so. Of course, as an old psychology professor of mine was fond of saying, "Be cautious of extrapolating the behavior of lab rats to human behavior. Remember, rats aren't people, even though some people may be rats." A little blogging music maestro... do you know "California Deamin'?"

Dr. Forgot

Construction Challenge

I'm Baaaaaack

The Thanksgiving holiday took a lot out of me, or more precisely, put a lot into me. We had three different obligations to attend to that day so of course we ate three Thanksgiving dinners. If that weren't enough the third and final stop was to the home of Gail and Karl. One of the other diners is a wine connoisseur of sorts and brought an entire case of wines of various sorts. Suffice it to say that we had a bit much of the grape that day, having gone through the entire case. In my bleary-eyed stupor, I vowed to not eat or drink again until Christmas dinner.

The extended weekend that followed found me redoing a cabinet in the garage and it is all the fault of the new refrigerator. The new one displaced the old one, of course, and the old one displaced the one in the garage. The problem is that the displaced one in the garage sits beneath a hanging cabinet. The replacement fridge in the garage is four inches taller than the one it replaced so of course the cabinet had to either come down or four inches removed in order to fit the "new" garage refrigerator.

Anybody who knows me knows that if my 10 fingers were unable to type I'd starve to death. If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, I'd surely go hungry and you'd still be a lady. The sensible thing to do is to call in a professional and have the cabinet raised the four inches. But noooooooo, that would not be manly. There comes a time when a man must take a stand! A simple task like cutting four inches off the bottom of a cabinet must be one I am able to handle. So I started by removing the doors of the existing cabinets. Four screws. So far so good.

Next I had to saw out the offending shelf. I have a 30 year-of electric saw that has been used only twice, and I still have all my fingers, so that was my tool of choice. Bad choice. The saw I own is for cutting sheets of plywood draped across two horses. The one I needed is available for rent at Home Depot. A quick trip to three Home Depots finally located one for rent. Saw plus blade.... cost is still about $ 20.00. I sawed out the old shelf, back to Home Depot for material for a new one (they will cut it for you... YES!) and back to install.

Got it all done, then realized that the doors were 4" too long and used my 30-year old saw to shorten them. Finally got it back together. Materials and rentals - $ 40.00. Time: 8 hours for a one-hour job. Language: very salty. It ain't pretty but I still have all my fingers.

Dr. Forgot

Friday, November 23, 2007

Only in Las Vegas?

You'd Yhink So

But You'd be wrong. Las Vegas has the reputation of being on the cutting edge of sinful. You know, "What happens in Las Vegas...." The rest of the world, especially places like Des Moines, Iowa and Lincoln, Nebraska are stereotypically staid, straight, and boring. That is what sells Las Vegas. And it has worked - some say too well. Many of the rubes who come to town end up staying. That is why the population of Las Vegas has at least doubled about every decade since it became a city.

Therefore, when some bright person decides to sell their product with a new spin on sex (assuming there is any such thing as a new spin on sex), if it happens in Pocatello, Idaho or, Heaven forbid, around the buckle of the Bible Belt, the locals shake their heads and say tsk, tsk, but the rest of the world is oblivious to such goings on - unless of course it catches the eye of Bill O'Reilly.

A Las Vegan decided to take the idea that made Starbucks famous, but add his own stars to the idea. The result is a coffee house called Sexxpresso. It is a drive through place and the baristas who serve the hot stuff might be considered hot stuff. They percolate and serve in their almighty nighties. To get a lingerie latte of beverage a la bustier, one needs only to sidle up to the shack in the middle of a Las Vegas parking lot and a scantily dressed sugar will add sugar to your piping hot pants coffee.

So is this a sign of further Las Vegas decadence? Not according to the results of a Google search. Washington offers sweet baked goods from sweet thinly veiled misses. Colorado and Nebraska as Las Vegas has salons whose little snippers will trip your top while topless, hoping for a good tip on top of the topless snip, and we've all seen movie snippets of the topless car wash.

The suggestive themes are actually quite creative. The Las Vegas version of Sexxpresso offers a concoction called the "Wet Dream," served in an "A" cup. A little blogging music maestro.... do the words to "My Gal?

Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It Could Happen Anywhere

But it Happened in Las Vegas

Today's post is a somber one. The holidays are coming up and we need to be mindful of the responsibilities we have not only to ourselves but to our families and to innocent people who can be harmed by us as the result of careless behavior. Each year more cars crowd onto our highways and city streets. Congestion causes anxiety that leads to road rage and other acts that we would probably not do in a more rational state.

In 2004 a driver in Las Vegas decided to drive her SUV after she had taken medication. It was early morning and children waited for buses alongside workers, all of whom huddled together in a bus shelter. In the blink of an eye the SUV jumped the curb and took out the bus shelter and those inside it, killing four people who could have not been more innocent. The dead included a brother and sister ages 14 and 16, another 16 year old boy and a woman of 36. The district attorney's office did not press DUI charges against the driver because they felt there was insufficient evidence to prove she was under the influence at the time of the crash.

Let's tally up the victims in this crash: the four who lost their lives, the parents who will never see their children graduate, marry, or have children, the family of the woman who was killed lost a mother, wife, aunt, and friend, and even the children of the driver of the vehicle who must live with the stigma that their mother killed four people. And lastly the driver. She must live with the burden of having taken four lives.

On the onset of this holiday season I ask my readers to not drive if you are impaired, and if you are with somebody who is impaired, take their car keys and call a cab for them. It is a small price to pay for the potential lives that can be destroyed.

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Teachers Taxes Tactics

Does Vegas Tax Structure Flunk Test?

Educators in Las Vegas are up in arms. They are ready to have a Taxing Tea Party.Those who teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, have gotten out their hickory stick and threatened to place the casino owners on detention. It is no longer enough to have Nevada's largest employers write on the board 100 times, "I will not underfund education in Nevada," teachers are preparing their lesson plans to read, "More Taxes = More Money." Apples for the teacher might taste good but they don't pay the rent.

The problem has more issues than pages in a textbook, but some of the more prominent include the fact that Nevada rates 49th among the states in funding education. The cost per pupil is thousands of dollars below the average paid among states. The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, for example, a public charter school, raises millions each year to supplement the cost per pupil to bring it on a par with the average spending per pupil. The results are that students at the AACPA have far more success than others in the local school district - and AACPA students are for the most part economically at risk.

Teachers have begged, pleaded, and cajoled the legislature to provide more funding, but for naught. In 1968 teachers actually picketed schools but little activism has occurred since until now. The pacifists have become activists. They propose that casinos that earn in excess of $ 1 million per month have a 3% tax hike from 6.75% to 9.75%. The union that represents the teachers filed the petition recently and must now gather 60,000 signatures to have the measure placed on the November 2008 ballot.

Casinos, of course, do not feel it is fair to be the object of the teacher's lectures. They've responded that funding should be spread over a broader segment of the state's businesses. They have a point. Scores of businesses operate in Nevada and take millions out of the state without paying taxes. Teachers want their share of the (apple) pie. Time and the voters will tell if any more of the casinos revenues get expelled.

Dr. Forgot

Las Vegas Another Planet

Planet Hollywood Has Landed

You hear about product placement in movies. A Coke sits subtlely on a tabletop. In "Back To The Future" Marty McFly is called Calvin because of his Calvin Klein underwear and orders a Tab. Cars, laptops, video games, ad infinitum (pun intended). Well, the mother of all ad placements took place in the former Aladdin that recently reopened as Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Some 3,000 HDTV Panasonic plasmas appear throughout the resort - and we mean throughout, not just the obligatory TV in the bedroom.

Panasonics can be seen displayed in the casinos atop banks of slots, in restaurants, and liberally sprinkled throughout the property in all shapes and sizes. Nearly three dozen 65 inch models sit above the bar. Some normal size plasmas are offered in regular room but the suites have more and larger ones including a gigantic 103 inch in a grand suite - reported to be the largest screen available.

The marketing deal between Panasonic and Planet Hollywood includes more than plasma television screens. Anything electronic that sports Panasonic's brand can be found in the hotel. Want to pop some jiffy popcorn? Use a Panasonic microwave. Do a little cleanup? Panasonic vacuum sweepers. The company even provides laptops and batteries to the hotel.

Why the branding and why Las Vegas? Duh. Branding is one of the most effective forms of advertisement and the longest lasting. Say Las Vegas and certain brand names come to mind - Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and others. When those brands are discussed by consumers it is done for free. And as they say in the advertising biz, "Free Advertising is the best advertising money can buy."

Las Vegas is known for the best nightclubs, the best restaurants, hotel casinos, and most action of anywhere else on earth. It is the scene to be seen. Conventions and sporting events bring international viewership. Las Vegas is where it all happens.

So the next time you want so see a Ferrari dealership in a hotel, think Wynn, or a volcano along a busy street think Mirage, or a live fight between pirate ships think TI (that's Treasure Island for the uninitiated), or if you want to see 3,000 Panasonic HDTVs, think not only outside the box, but out of the world - Planet Hollywood.

Dr. Forgot

Monday, November 19, 2007

Flipping Over Fido

Love Me Love My Dog

Why are we so partial to our pets? My friend Harvey (no, he's not a six foot rabbit) travels a lot and takes his dog everywhere. He once pulled up to a hotel and was told the dog was not welcome. He said he'd pay extra for any extra work housekeeping might have to do but the answer was still "No." So he turned on his heel and split to another hotel that was more pet friendly.

I have friends who've lost family members including parents, and to a person they say that the loss of their dog was as traumatic as the loss of the family member. There has to be some psychology at work here. One writer put it this way, "He is your friend, your defender, your partner, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader." The reason a dog has so many friends, it has been said, is because he wags his tail instead of his tongue. You can learn a lot from dogs: fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before laying down.

Since people years are different than dog years most of who have had the pleasure of thinking we were it's master have also had the pain and sadness of seeing life flicker and extinguish. Just as he teaches you about life and unconditional love, so does he teach you about grief and loss. Is there a doggy heaven? Author James Thurber summed it up well when he said, "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven and very, very few persons." Or as Mark Twain summed it up, "Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit you would stay out and your dog would go in.

Andy Rooney once said that the average dog is a nicer person than the average person. No offense to any of the cats I've known, but when I come home tired, exhausted, and having just fought my way through freeway road rage, I want somebody to greet me wagging his tail and ready to lick my face.

Dr. Forgot

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Winding Up In Wine Country

Leaving Las Vegas Review
In a recent post I mentioned that we planned a trip away from Las Vegas. Where do Vegas residents go for fun and frolic? Anywhere they want. In this case we went to northern California to taste a bouquet of the grape and to visit an old high school buddy and college roommate whom I hadn't seen for 30 years. But before that trip could commence we had to find our way to the airport and through the maze of security. Code puce, I think.
McCarran airport which serves Las Vegas was our jumping off point. But before we could jump on an airplane to jump off, we had to decide how to get to the airport. In a city of 2 million people one would think that an airport shuttle would be available and if you so thought, you'd have erred. No such shuttle exists so if you don't want to search for a parking spot you can either call for a taxi and hope it arrives in time to get you to the plane on time, or a limo if you command the big bucks, or beg a neighbor or relative to drive you at 4:30 a.m. in order to assure you'll get their in time. We opted to drive and found a spot in overflow parking with little difficulty.
Navigating security was another issue. Behind the first door were the ID checkers who were either smiling or in a stupor. Then the line that snakes and refolds 8 times before you get to the B.A. TSI (B.A. is for Bad Attitude). I set out my quart ziplock clear baggie with the 3 oz. clear plastic bottles of liquid, but the baggie would not close tightly and the rookie asked the supervisor what to do. "Take items out of the baggie until it closes." So I lost my hair conditioner.

Southwest Airlines, my favorite, has joined the others in punishing the passenger. In the "old days" I'd print my boarding pass early (I usually get #A 2 or 3) and arrive early so I could board early. This time I printed my boarding pass 24 hours less one second before departure and got #A26. No matter how early I printed my pass or arrived at the airport, potentially 25 others, plus preboards were ahead of me. That could easily mean one-fourth of the seats were taken when I board. Whoever approved that one is a Ding-dong in my blog.Otherwise the trip was great, the wine fabulous, and my visit with my friend Geno was superb. I'll end this post with a little blogging music.... "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?"
Dr. Forgot

I Now Pronounce You...

Missing in Action

People tease Las Vegas and make fun of the Valley of the Dollars. They say things like "An honest judge is one who will stay bought," and "Its a cultural wasteland," and even, "Ya' seen one, ya' seen 'em both." None of those myths are true, of course - ok, maybe one is but I won't tell you which one.

One of the draws of Las Vegas is the wedding industry. Weddings happen with more regularity here than doubling down on the 21 table. Chapels conduct a huge and profitable business and competition among them is keen - so keen in fact that some owners will sometimes use questionable sales techniques to get couples to their love den, especially on Valentines day and dates such as 7/11 (for good luck). The all-time Las Vegas date, 7/7/7 saw promotions that would make the staunchest bachelor reconsider.

Stiff competition and shady marketing as well as questionable practices got the Las Vegas Garden of Love wedding chapel closed down. Seems their aggressive marketing and practice of having the owner witness weddings even when she was across the country fell into the "She loves me not" category and the county revoked the Garden's license.

But things just got curiouser and curiouser. Not only did the signature of a witness appear on marriage documents while the witness was deep in the heart of Texas but ministers who swore, dammit, that the ceremonies were legal were punched out of the pulpit. Therefore some 17 marriages that had been performed in that chapel invalid. The witness, not unlike Elvis, had left the building. Three ministers felt the wrath of the good Clark County Clerk. One minister so defrocked listed himself as the campus pastor at the Beyond Walls International Church. We're not sure where he is currently tending his flocks.

I am sure this scenario will be discussed in law school classes. Can the hooker who discovers she's been paid with a counterfeit bill sue for rape? Are the couples whose marriage licenses are signed by a phantom witness living in sin? Can a defrocked pastor reflock? How about a little blogging music... does anybody know "I'm Dancing With Tears in my Eyes 'Cause the Gal in My Arms Ain't My Wife?"

Dr. Forgot

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Agony and the Ecstacy

Mi Casa Su Casa

In Spanish "Mi casa su casa" is an expression of hospitality that literally translates as "My house is your house." Figuratively it means "Make yourself at home." But more and more people who called the house they live in their home are losing that home to the evil mortgage bankers who loaned them too much money at too attractive terms. Of course, those evil mortgage bankers weren't so evil when the slippery buyers puffed up their financial resumes and begged for a marginal loan.

Houses appreciated like a balloon getting bigger and bigger until like the weasel of children's song, it went pop. Each week those adjustable rates are, well, adjusting and folks who got the easy money are stunned to discover that the balloon that went up as though it were filled with helium is now a balloon payment. Las Vegas is a venue in which many of those loans were written and admittedly some went to hapless young folks on a limited budget whose dream of home ownership is becoming a nightmare. But many are speculators who flipped more houses than IHOP flipped pancakes during the property gold rush. I personally know of people from California and Illinois, and even some from Las Vegas who bought homes as soon as the subdivision builder put them on sale, then resold them, still unfinished for a profit in excess of $ 100,000. The new owners sometimes flipped them again for another $ 100,000 or so profit.

The carpetbagging became so outlandish that some builders put restrictions on who could buy their homes and how many homes could be purchased. I know a person who wanted to buy a second home nearer his place of work but was denied because he already owned a home in Las Vegas. It is almost impossible to know how many flippers were caught up in the scam which had all the earmarks of a Ponzi scheme except it was legal, but it is hard to feel sorry for those who made hundreds of thousands flipping their coins and are now crying the bankloan blues.

This is not the first time a housing glut in Las Vegas occurred. I bought my first Las Vegas house in 1969 with a $100 down payment. It was one of the many on the market back then that had been overbuilt. And now, nearly 40 years later another housing glut exists. And just in the early 1970s after the glut subsided, there will be a housing shortage. A report by the Nevada Homebuilders Association predicts the shortage to begin in 2009 - in less than two years. A little blogging music maestro... how about "Don't cry for me Argentina. The housing slump is temporary...."

Dr. Forgot

Why Do They All Pillory Hillary?

Dems "Debate" in Las Vegas

The world of presidential "debates" came to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ever since Dan Tanna drove his sports car up and down the Strip and James Bond had an episode in the Valley of the Dollars, Las Vegas has been the setting for movies, TV shows, and docudramas. CSI Las Vegas is a great show and I chuckle at the inaccuracies, such as the CSI team working for the "Las Vegas Police," an entity that does not exist. If you watch the reality show "Cops" you'll know that the police force is the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, aka Metro. But I guess the producers and writers, when they are not on strike, must take poetic license and be sure the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The events, people and places in the shows are all staged for maximum bang for the buck and in an effort to remain absent libel.

Such was the case when CNN brought the Broadway production "The Democratic Presidential Debate" starring Wolf Blitzer to the Cox Pavilion at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I put "debate" in parentheses because any self-respecting debater would have had a good laugh over the format. It should have been called "The Discussion Among Democratic Presidential Candidates. And while we can't say that the participants had foreknowledge of the questions being asked, the "debates were summed up in a most interesting manner.

A 22-year old Political Science major and honor student at UNLV was given the opportunity to provide the culminating question for the "debate." Her question, directed at Senator Clinton of the "Sex Between the Bushes" Clintons, was as follows, "Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?" Hillary answered with an equally lighthearted response that she preferred both.

It did not add up. Why would an Honors Poli Sci student spew out a question that could be considered lighthearted at best and sexist at worst? Her answer to that question was almost Flip Wilsonish, "The Devil made me do it." The devil in the form of CNN. Potential interrogators were required to presubmit and get approval of all questions. The student had proposed a question about children's health care. CNN rejected it. She proposed another about Iraq. Rejected. She was told to submit two more, a serious and a fun question. She submitted one about Yucca Mountain. Rejected. And was told to ask the fun question which had been preapproved. That's her story and she's sticking to it. A little blogging music maestro... how about, "It Ain't Necessarily So?"

Dr. Forgot.

See Ya' Later Alligator

I'll See You an American and Raise You Three Foreigners

International study is a two way street. Nearly a quarter-million Americans study abroad. Despite difficulties with the language, most of those who cross the Atlantic River (it used to be an ocean, but as the world shrinks it has become a river) study in England. Italy, Spain, and France follow in that order for the countries with the most expatriate American study buddies. Nearly 10,000 American eds and coeds have opted to say "Adiós, USA" in favor of study in Mexico.

While 225,000 outbound midnight oil burners might seem like a lot the number pales in comparison with the nearly 600,000 who beat a path to the US to study. But unlike the destinations of the outgoing scholars, the most representatives of incoming hail from India, China, and Korea in that order. While most Americans prefer to walk the ivy covered paths of academia in Europe, Asians represent 59% of foreign bookworms in the US.

As Americans we have the pompous attitude that everything American is better than anything non-American so we can understand why students from other countries would like to come here to study and in many cases stay after their studies are completed. The most popular field of study for the unwashed masses of incoming is Business followed by Engineering. Most foreign students study in California, New York, or Texas. It is easy to understand that a lack of opportunities for post-secondary education in many foreign countries would encourage students to study in the US. Business and Engineering programs abound in American colleges and universities as well. And the opportunity to become more proficient in English is a side benefit for non-native English speakers.

But why do so many Americans choose to study abroad? Romance and status are certainly two reasons, and in many cases an opportunity to study a second language, although many programs abroad are taught in English. If a person who has mastered two languages is bilingual and one with three languages is tri-lingual, what is a person called who speaks only one language? American.

Many professions are difficult to enter in the US. Medicine, Pharmacy, and other areas of study which are limited in the number of seats available often send American students abroad to study. There are advantages: study abroad is often less expensive, learning includes language (those who study in Latin America and become proficient in Spanish are especially valuable upon their return), gaining an international perspective and a quality education in a highly regraded field of study are all advantages.

Disadvantages of study abroad can include health and legal issues (Americans abroad do not enjoy the same legal rights as do foreigners in the US), and becoming licensed in the field of choice after returning home with a foreign degree. On balance, however, study abroad is an experience that more Americans should try. Hasta la vista, baby.

Dr. Forgot

Friday, November 16, 2007

Smarty Pants

Baby You Can Drive My Car

On a trip to France a couple of years ago I saw many of the obligatory things that tourists see - the Eiffel Tower, the Left Bank, Cathedral Notre Dame, Louvre, and even took a day trip to Normandy. They all met or exceeded my expectations. But as in most of the European Union and many other parts of the world, cars are expensive to operate. At this writing we cry about the $ 3.00 per gallon mark but many Europeans pay double and nearly triple that amount. Of course it is called petrol and sold in liters instead of gallons so it doesn't seem so bad at the time.

I had read the Da Vinci Code, probably the most exciting and spine tingling book I'd ever read, and saw the movie with the female police officer who was tied to Tom Hank's character take him on ha harrowing ride in her little Smart car. I saw Smart cars all over Paris and thought how much sense they made as a commuter car. Of course, the fact that they made so much sense almost assured me that they'd never grace the shores of the good old U S of A. But I was wrong. Because of the perseverance and funding of forward thinking investors, it looks like we will be seeing them from the Streets of San Francisco to the land of Miami Vice. From Boston to Austin and beyond the little engines that say they could will be chugging along our byways. So I'd like to clear up a few myths about the put-put that is less than half the size of the bully boy Suburbans.

First off, while the Smart Car might be an intelligent answer to our petrol problems it is not that kind of smart. In 1989 Nicholas Hayek, the genius who founded the Swatch wristwatch line got together with the Mercedes folks and using the S from Swatch, the M from Mercedes, and the Art from the look of the thing, combined to make Smart. It is actually called the Smart ForTwo for the obvious reason.

And talk about downsizing! It looks like a souped up golf cart, can be parked head first, facing the curb in a parking space, has no hood and no trunk. It is rated at 40 mpg and manufacturers say the race-car type of bubble in which the driver and passenger sit make it safe even when tangling with your grandma's SUV. Panels can be easily switched out to give the car a different color. I can see it now - swap meets designed for Smart car owners to exchange parts and the look.

Nearly a million Smart ForTwo cars have been sold worldwide in 36 countries including Canada. Roger Penske, former racer and owner of Penske Automotive is behind putting together the network of US dealers. And the orders are overwhelming. We predict a hit. And not just with the Smart Car, but I'm sure Jan and Dean or the Beach Boys will do a song about the Smart-ty ForTwo.D

Dr. Forgot

The Curmudgeon Mode

Oh Yes, I Hate Technology Too

We own a 24" Zenith television that somebody told me was the last American TV made back about a decade and a half ago so, wanting to be a patriotic American (and this was before the administration was hijacked by those nut cases who wrap themselves in God and Country, ignore basic constitutional rights and claim anybody who does not buy their dogma is not patriotic) I bought one. It cost more than the import and seemed 50 pounds heavier but once it was in the bedroom build out, it seemed to work well. Fast forward 15 years and poor Mr. T.V. Zenith is at his nadir. He crackles and sputters and shows a picture when he can and other times loses his audio. The grandkids think Mr. Zenith is some kind of antique video game and they love to watch him.

Today he breathed his last breath. When I had a government-type job in the previous century, they tried to get as much use out of a product as possible, fixing it with wires and solder and spit and scotch tape until it could no longer be fixed and was deemed BER (Beyond Economical Repair) and was sent to the scrap heap to be auctioned off. My Zenith was BER but since I am unable to dump my garbage at a public auction I said a few words over his dust-caked body and sent him to the happy hunting ground.

I then trolled the appliance stores for a new thin, lightweight TV, the kind that all my neighbors seem to have, as well as every airline upon which to place their delayed and canceled flights, and even every sports bar. Their drunken clientèle is able to chug beer and yell at icons of athletes half their age and many times their ability. Yup, that's the kind of TV I want. And there is no shortage of selection. Prices begin at just a few hundred dollars for one about the size of the frame that holds your wedding picture, to super sized ones that cost as much as a small Toyota. I chose one with an announced screen size just a bit bigger than the Zenith (Technology rest its circuits) and came with a build-in CD player. Great! Now I don't have to have another CD player - one more thing to go to the land of the midnight scrap pile.

Got it home and carried it alone (weighed probably less than one-tenth the Zenith) and set it up, plugged it in and followed the on-screen Wizard to allow it to program itself. When the Wizard stopped waving its wand.... nothing. No picture, no sound, no snow, no static. After reciting several standard sailor oaths I phoned the cable company. It took them more than an hour to determine they could not help, but agreed to send out a technician - but not until Monday. To be continued. Will keep you posted.

Dr. Forgot

Gasp, Wheeze

No Offense, I Hate You

I just returned from t trip to California's wine country - Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The trip was great, the plane was on time, the car rental agency didn't rip me off too bad, although I had reserved a sporty car and the only car they had left was a soccer-mom van. But hey, I'm too old to be so macho so I took my soccer-mom van and headed toward good wine and great weather. So if everything went so well what was my problem? I hate smokers. I don't mind spending time of the land of shakes and quakes and don't bat an eye at the fruits and nuts and even the occasional wino. But smokers offensive.

The first brush with the aroma of stale tobacco smoke came when I climbed behind the wheel of the "Non-smoking" soccer-mom van that was the only car left unless I opted to wait 2 hours for the next one. The stale smoke hung in the car like a San Francisco fog, but less inviting to inhale. Since I was anxious to hit the road and get up into wine country (I know, I'm starting to sound like I was in whine country but stay with me) I lowered all the windows and turned the fan up to maximum as I tooled up Interstates 680, 680, 880, and just plain 80 toward CA 29 and the fruit of the vine. It didn't help much and the road noise was irritating. But soon enough I approached the first winery.

As I walked into the tasting room, one addicted to the leaf and his equally addicted life partner stood outside having their last puff or two, or three, or.... well you get the idea. The aroma wafted into the tasting room and challenged the bouquet of the red and white liquids that awaited tasting.When I finally got to the hotel and into another room with the line and circle over the smoking sign, I again discovered that somebody had violated the no-smoking room policy. One's addiction is one's own business, but please do not visit it on me.

Besides the disagreeable manner in which smokers often age and smell, their insurance premiums are high. Have you applied for a term life insurance policy lately? Smokers pay higher premiums. Want to lower your insurance premiums? Forget about giving up demon rum. Stop smoking.

Once you've kicked the habit you are more than welcome to rent the same cars I do and stay in the same smoke free environment. But until then, at least show enough class to smoke somewhere else. Oh, and remember that kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray so I guess it follows that kissing a nonsmoker is like licking a clean ashtray.

Dr. Forgot

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We Got Class

Watch Out Big Apple Core

One of my favorite movies is "The New Centurions" with George C. Scott. The story is about police and how they do their duty. In one scene a group of hookers is being loaded into a paddy wagon roughly and unceremoniously by a racist, sexist, crude cop. One of the girls turns to him and says, "This ain't right the way you treat us. We is mother %*&#-en LADIES."

Although the movie is not set in Las Vegas, our town is often painted as a place of no culture or class. Over the past couple of decades the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as well as the Chamber of Commerce and many hotel owners have worked hard to overcome that image. UNLV has become a respectable institution known for more than a good basketball team. It boasts with of the top two colleges of hotel administration in the country. Hotels strive to reach top rankings and it is beginning to show.

Travel club AAA recently released its list of Five-Diamond Award winners. The Venetian hit the jackpot with its first such award, and joins Wynn LAs Vegas (second year), Skylofts at the MGM Grand (second year), Bellagio (seventh year), and Four Seasons (ninth year) for a total of five Five Diamond hotels.Restaurants that received the award include the MGM's Joel Robuchon (second year) Alex at the Wynn (third year) and Le Cirque (fifth year) and Picasso (seventh year) both at the Bellagio.

That gives Las Vegas nine Five Diamond winners, a feat equaled only by New York with four times the population. If a diamond is a girl's best friend, five of them make grown hotel and restaurant owners quiver.

Dr. Forgot

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

Lions and Tigers, Burgers With Fries

Sigfried and Roy have been icons in Las Vegas for nearly as long as I can remember. They have given so much to the tourists who traveled from all over the world to see them and they've given back to the community in countless ways. Some of the S&R stories are funny, like when their cats would occasionally be reported as prowling the golf course across from their home. Can you imagine a foursome getting ready to tee off when one spies a tiger on the course and says, "I hope you can outrun that thing."

The normal response from a fellow golfer would be, "I only need to be able to outrun you." I'm not sure if the stuff about cats on the golf course are urban legend or not, but they make a good story. And more than one extra exuberant tourist has come by the house for a closer look than is permitted. One ex-pro football player with mental problems even felt compelled to take a rifle with him to find the cats and their keepers. Fortunately he was secured and has since gotten the help needed.

Sigfried and Roy's phenomenal show ended when one of the big pussycats dragged Roy off the stage, injuring him severely. He continues to engage in physical therapy and the partners continue to donate their time to the community.

So why is this an issue? Sigfried and Roy's famous exotic animals, including a rare "Liger," which is a cross between a lion and a tiger (Leo is after all a romantic soul) and several white tigers keep a condo, if you will, at the Mirage. The habitat for felinety located on the south part of the property recently closed. Word has it that an upscale burger joint will open in its place next year. The new place will likely have Kobe (no, not the LA Laker Kobe, but the Japan kind) burgers, lamb burgers (and they're not baaaaaad), and even tuna burgers (Sorry, Charlie). But according to our spies, no puma, polecat, or bobcat burgers.

The lions will not be totally evicted from their home away from the golf course. They've had a place to stretch and sleep at the Mirage for close to 20 years. They will still be available for viewing at the Secret Garden and Dolphin habitat. Flipper charges for posing in his neighborhood whereas previous cat peeps by people had been free.

If you smell the aroma of a burger at the Mirage, follow your nose. But if you're called by a panther, don't anther.

Dr. Forgot

Leaving Las Vegas

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Las Vegas hosts millions of people each year. It may surprise many that about half of our visitors come from the left coast where it shakes rattles and rolls, a fact about which San Andreas once said, "That's not my fault." Since the lifeblood of Las Vegas is travel and tourism people have to get here. Locals need to leave and return. Many choose to partake in road rage and drive that ribbon of I-15 that runs between the Valley of the Dollars and the briny Pacific. If you're luck the construction will be minimal and closures will be absent. A few travel by bus, either the Grey Dog or the pit bull called "bus junkets." Fewer still arrive by train. The "Desert Wind" used to travel from Smog Angeles and the Windy City (Chicago for you who've never been there) but it got blown off track due to lack of use.

Most travelers arrive via the Amtrak of the skies. Some Americans fly United, Others prefer to cross U.S. Airways, Delta, or Northwest, but most come to the southwest aboard Southwest, the carrier that brings as many souls as possible. However, if you haven't flown recently, let me tell you, Mabel, things have changed. On a recent trip I opted for Southwest Airlines, anxious to try their new half-fast seating technique. It used to be that Southwest travelers lined up in groups of A, B, C, and preboards. The preboards are those who use four legs to get around - either by crawling (the younger set) or with the aid of walkers (the young at heart set). I think some of them rent a kid to get a preboard pass then the entire blended and extended family of 23 preboards with their rent-a-kid.

Except for the pre-boards, the A, B, C suited me fine. I always got my boarding pass from the internet and got to the airport early enough to be one of the first in the A line and get a seat in first class. But Southwest Airlines has changed their boarding process. A pre-printed internet boarding pass now gets you an A, B, or C with a number and boarding by the numbers occurs within each category. My plane is scheduled for takeoff at 7:00 so at 7:00 and one second on the day prior to flight, I secured my boarding pass - A 26! Gee those other 25 had faster trigger fingers than old west gunfighters.

But even before I claim my 26th boarding spot (after the preboards, of course) I need to park the car, show ID to the bored ID checker, wend my way toward the TSA person with an attitude, remove my shoes, and hope that the pen in my pocket doesn't set off alarms or I'm in for an even more intimate, more humiliating body search. Assuming the plane is on time, I'm headed for wine country. We'll let you know in the next posting the latest on air travel and what's new in wine country.

Dr. Forgot.

A Tale of Two Cities

Where Do Las Vegans Go For Fun?
I grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Clairton in the 1950s was a bucolic village of 20,000 hard working should, many of whom were immigrants - Italians, Slavs, Greeks - mostly Eastern Europeans. The lifeblood of the city was U.S. Steel's Clairton Works which produced the coke to make the steel. Individual taxes were low and the mills paid most of the taxes for Clairton High School, one of the few in the area to have a swimming pool. Clairton Park also had a large community pool, a fishing pond, tennis course, a baseball diamond, dozens of shelters for picnicking, and even lodge that could be reserved for large parties. It also had a memorial drive to honor the World War II veterans.

The place was pure Midwestern naiveté and conservative thinking. To his dying day my grandfather did not believe that a man had actually walked on the moon.When I moved to Las Vegas in the late 1960s Clairtonians were fascinated to know somebody who actually lived here. On each visit I would get the usual questions: Do people live there? Are there schools in Las Vegas? If so, what do they teach, dealing? Some actually believed me when I told them children were taught their numbers as 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, jack, queen, king. But the most frequent question I'd get was, "Where do people from Las Vegas go on vacation?" To which I would answer, "Clairton."Times have changed in both towns. Clairton suffered the same cancer as so many rust belt villages that depended on their regular fiscal doses of steel-enriched plasma. The immigrants, most of whom arrived in the first decade of the 1900s could not believe the mills would ever go away. They did and Clairton's population shrunk to fewer than 10,000 souls who fell into one of two categories - either elderly who refused or were unable to leave their homes, or relative newcomers many of whom have, as they say in court cases, "no visible means of support."

Las Vegas has changed as well but its changes lie on the opposite end of the continuum. When I first arrived some 250,000 folks populated the community. As the immigrants began to arrive they were immigrants from other states for the most part rather than from other countries. The Las Vegas population boom mimicked that of Phoenix and Los Angeles. And although people cried, "Don't Californicate Las Vegas," they kept on coming and coming and coming. Today the population has topped the 2,000,000 mark. That has kept the economy booming. Las Vegas is to cities what Southwest Airlines is to the travel industry. So where do Las Vegas residents go for vacations? Anywhere they want. In my next post I'll tell you about "Leaving Las Vegas" and how that experience has changed.

Dr. Forgot

Friday, November 9, 2007

More Stock Market Geniuses

What Goes Up Must Come Down
Well the stock market did another slip and slide and one brilliant analyst told us exactly the reason - it is because Cisco soured investors on tech stocks by warning that spending by financial giants and other US firms was floundering! And we didn't know this before? We needed Cisco to tell us that things were bad so the market could fall? I didn't know Cisco cared about all this stuff. I thought he spent his time trying to rescue damsels in distress and keeping Pancho out of trouble.
Wall Street is an interesting place. It is made up of so many Chicken Littles either running around telling the rest of the world that the sky is falling or in times of prosperity warning us that the good times aren't going to last forever. They take themselves WAY too seriously. The New York and D.C. crowds write so many press releases that they read them and start believing them. It is never good when you start to believe your own press releases.
Then there is Mayor Rudy. He wants to be an ex- New Yorker living in D.C. He even got an endorsement from Pat Robertson, the guy who told us that whatever bad happens to America is God's punishment for certain lifestyles. Isn't that the same message we got from some Middle-Eastern Imam?
Memo to the myopic pundits who live in the Big Apple and the Little District of Columbia: People in Mudsock, Oklahoma, Coalville, West Virginia, and Cochise County, Arizona couldn't give a hoot and a holler about you. You are out of touch with everybody except your fellow paranoid pundits who ride the Subway and Metro. The sky is not falling. We are not doomed, and ABC, NBC, and CBS news does not only happen at 5:30 Eastern Standard Time.
The rest of the country is so fed up with your pompouos attitudes and spending us into oblivion that you will be out of a job in a year, so start planning for a real job. That's all for now. As Cisco's sidekick Pancho would say, "Let's went."
Dr. Forgot

Thursday, November 8, 2007

More Glitter and Tinsel

That's Why I Live in Las Vegas
The book "Valley of the Dolls" by Jaqueline Susanne was published in 1966 and the movie version came out in 1967. With apologies to the late author of the book I like to think of Las Vegas as the Valley of the Dollars. Signs that say "Keep Las Vegas Green" are more appropriate for the casinos than the hotel grounds. When people ask me what it is like to live in Las Vegas I often answer, "You can fo to a food store 0pen at 3 a.m. and pick up a quart of milk." Of course, in my nearly 40 years of living Las Vegas, I have never felt the need to get a quart of milk at 3 a.m. and probably never will. But there are things in Las Vegas that even boggle my mind.
When Steve Wynn opned the hotel with the same last name (What are the chances of owning a hotel which you were named after?) I was not awestruck. I'd watched properties be built, demolished, built, demolished, built.... well, you get the idea. But I did turn my head when I saw the Ferrari dealership inside the Wynn hotel. Although I probably should not have been. This is a man who bought the rundown downtown Golden Nugget, personally knocked down part of it, and rebuilt it to a must see. He sold that and with the help of junk bonds (in those days banks would not loan money to casino builders) built the Mirage, complete with volcano, and then took a chunk of the Mirage parking lot to site his Treasure Island. Not done yet, he sold the stuff he owned and built the Bellagio complete with dancing fountains on the outside and a season-changing arboretum on the inside.
Many men of vision and some women have left their marks on the city that has reinvented itself every decade or so. Benny Binion got into trouble for gambling in Texas so he came to Vegas and built the Horseshoe, complete with a cool million dollars in $ 10,000 bills on display. Tourists and locals could get a free photo standing in front of it. (Who's picture is on the $ 10,000 bill? Mr. Chase. Of course legendary Ben Segal built the Flamingo and Howard Hughes bought the Desert Inn, Castaways, Silver Slipper, Sands, Frontier, and Landmark. None of them are still standing except the Frontier which is scheduled for demolition soon. Such is progress.
I love this city. I've lived almost half it's history. Saw vestiges of the mob (many locals say it was a better town back then) and watched penny slots, once the darling of frugal gamblers, fall out of favor and disappear for decades only to return to become some of the biggest money makers in the house. A group of prominent citizens once all dressed up as Elvis and became the skydiving team called, "The Flying Elvi." I saw two hillbilly brothers sing downtown. Wayne and Jerry Newton. Watched Sammy Davis, Jr. cheer on the Runnin' Rebels in the glory days. Las Vegas has a rich history. On your next visit you should seek it out.
Dr. Forgot.

Sports of All Sorts

Who's Your Daddy?
This year's college football season has been one of the best in recent memory for fans. Unless, of course you're a fan of Notre Gosh Dang. (Dang me, dang me, they oughta take a rope and hang me), University of Michigan (Hail to the Division II Victors), or USC (in the words of the great philosopher Francis Albert Sinatra, "The higher the top the longer the drop"), or any of the others in the gaggle of top ten teams that were upset. I nearly always cheer for the underdog or one of the 80 year old head coaches so it has been a most enjoyable season for me to watch. In fact, I am reluctant to see the basketball season creeping into the college gameday scoreboard. The powerhouses always start thier season with what some reporters like to call "cupcakes." That is why I don't want the football season and all the upsets to end. But we can't stop either progress or the changing of the seasons of play.
Kicking off the basketball season little Findley College of Findley Ohio had perennial powerhouse The Ohio State University scheduled to kick off the season. In football those kinds of games are called body bag games because the smaller schools' players are but cannon fodder for the giants across the line. So it was that little Findley College not unlike Appalacian State vs. Michigan failed to stick to the script and upended THE Ohio State University.
What a shocker! But it couldn't happen again against another giant. That is until little Gardner-Webb went into Lexington and spanked the University of Kentucky. Of course, Kentucky had a better excuse for losing than did Ohio State. They had to play against all the bullies from Gardner- as well as the slick shooters from Webb. Could we be seeing the beginnings of a basketball season that will mirror the upsets of college football?
A little traveling music, Amos. Can you hum a few bars of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame?"
Dr. Forgot

Further DOWn

To Market To Market Jiggedy Jog
The stock market was down again today and of course the pundits know exactly why. Did the bad news cause the drop or did the market drop cause the bad news. I remember Jerry Tarkanian when he coached all those years at UNLV. For years he was one of the winningest active coaches in the country. Well, maybe suits in Shawnee Mission, Kansas didn't view him as a winner but say what you will, he knew how to chalk up victories. So what doas a retired basketball coach have to do with the stock market? Nothing directly, but after a game that would see-saw as the market has of late, some sporstwriter would inevitably ask him about momentum. "Did the momentum swing cause your team to win the game?"
Jerry had a pat answer. The game did not follow the momentum swings, the momentum was in the hands of who was winning, or making a run, or doing their think on the court. Coach Tark, as the guys called him had some of the wisest and sensible philosophies ever.
Meanwhile, back at the market Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been subpoenaed in a collusion investigation. The dollar dropped to a new low against the Euro (Save your Confederate money, boys). Consumer borrowing has slowed dramatically (is that such a bad thing?). Mortgages are difficult to obtain even for people with good credit, and gas pump prices are over $ 3.00 per gallon. Those are today's headlines in nearly every business section of every paper in the US.
Some of the topics that aren't as easy to find in the Daily Grind include 95% of the Super Bowl ads have been sold, gold has surged to a high of more than $ 837 per ounce (aren't you glad you kept that wedding ring after the divorce?), US stocks made a strong comeback from their day's low, Nvidia (whoever they are) doubled their earnings, and there are hints that interest rates might be dropping.
It just makes a guy wonder. I remember the textbook used in my college statistics class back in the late 1800s. The title was, "How to Lie With Statistics.
Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Where in the World Was My Uncle?

Chasing the Genealogy Trail
Genealogy has always fascinated me. I have been able to track down records including ship manifests of three of four of my grandparents. They arrived in the good old US of A between 92 and 100 years ago. Then I looked for military records of uncles and was pretty successful except for one uncle who had served in World War II. His records are purported to be in St. Louis but they've not come a long way from St. Louis, in fact they've been unattainable in the decade or so since I've been sleuthing.
Today's USA Today had a great article on the 6 million personnel files in St. Louis, many of which were destroyed or nearly so in a devastating 1973 fire. The article described how employees and volunteers are restoring some of the records with modern technology (scanning records that are invisible to the naked eye) and ancient techniques (mending charred and brittle paper by using a special glue and rice paper). The hope is to have as many records as possible available by Veteran's day.
I was so inspired by the article that I went to the website: and discovered my uncle's enlistment records in the archives - something I'd not had previously. What a find! If you'd rather phone to see whether records you seek are in tact, the number is 314.801.0850.
Happy hunting but realize that if you shake the tree hard enough some nuts are bound to fall at your feet.
Dr. Forgot

Hello - Is This The Party to Whom I Am Speaking?

"Call For Phillip Mor-ris"
Ah, the good old days. Not sure if they were the days of wine and roses or the days of runny noses. Perhaps both. Remember when the paging system at a hotel was a man, usually a short one, dressed in a red uniform carting a pole with a chalkboard atop it and a chime. The name of the person being paged would be printed in chalk on the board and the short man in the red uniform and silly round hat would chime then call out, "Call for.... (whomever was being paged)." Those days are long gone. Today we can probably be most easily reached on our cell phones during business trips and on our home phones while at home.
It did not take long to realize that the door-to-door salesman could be replaced by a more efficient telephone call. It was a novelty at first, but my mother, even into her 90s saw the telephone as an object to be conversed on regardless of who the caller might have been. It was not unusual for her to spend up to a half hour on the phone talking to a wrong number or an unsolicited phone salesman. Her generation had a gentility about them that required civil behavior even to those who were intrusive.
The Baby Boom generation changed all that. Hurry, hurry, scurry, scurry, life is full of work and worry. "Do not intrude on my time. Stay away unless invited. I worked all day, put up with the bosses ranting and my co-worker's raving, met the deadlines, wrote the reports and skipped lunch to get it all done. Now I'm home and I want to relax."
But the unsolicited phone salesperson changed that. They invaded your space. They are too honey-dripping sweet and you're not in the mood. And worse, many of the phone calls are not even from humans, they're recordings or computer generated messages. "Hi! I'm Bob. Let me clean your carpets. I'll do the entire house plus your kid's treehouse, your car's floormats, and the basement all for $ 29.95." Well , Bob got us so irate that something called the "Do Not Call Registry" was developed and signed into law June, 2003.
Of course that does not guarantee that your dinner will not be interrupted by unsolicited callers. There are exceptions such as political organizations (what a surprise! the guys who wrote the law exempted themselves), charities, surveys, business with whom you've done business within the past 18 months, and of course, bill collecters. Then there are the telemarketers who call despite the law. Most get away with it and some have decided that the fines for violating the law are just the cost of doing business. So what can you do? There are no guarantees, but these are some safeguards: 1. You must re-enroll every five years. That can be done at 2. Check caller ID. Do not answer out of area calls, private, unknown, or those with odd phone numbers such as 999-999-9999. 3. Complain about unsolicited calls. You may do so at the same link cited above.
Midnight example: Telephone rings Caller, "Hello, is this 555.1212?" Resident: "No, this is 555.twelve.twelve." Caller: "Oh, sorry I woke you." Resident: "No problem. I had to get up to answer the phone anyway."
PS: The email "warning" about cell phone numbers being listed soon is a myth. Relax.
Dr. Forgot.

Is The Economy Conning Me?

Who Put the Owwww in the DOW?
The stock market is down again today. Have you ever noticed that the pundits who analyze the goings on that occur on Wall Street always know exactly what happened AFTER it happened? I call it the John Madden syndrome, the paralysis of analysis. If the pundits are so smart why can't they tell us what is going to happen BEFORE it happens. Madden tells us when a quarterback is sacked that the linebacker was able to get to him. Wall Street analysts tell us that when the stock market drops it is because the price of oil is too high and GM announced a loss. Does it take a Phi Beta Kappa Harvard School of Business grad to provide us with that information? Reminds me of the old quote regarding the weather, "Everybody complains about it but nobody does anything about it."
The price of oil either has or will soon break the $ 100 per barrel mark. I'm not sure exactly what that means. I've never purchased a barrel of oil, I usually get mine by the quart and it comes with a change of filter. Nobody ever quotes the price of oil without the barrel, maybe that's the answer. Perhaps it is the barrel that is the culprit, not the oil.
General Motors, the company that brings you Cadillacs, Pontiacs, Buicks, and Chevrolets apparently has not brought you enough of them - or if they have, you preferred some other make because they just announced a $ 39 Billion loss. Can you imagine a $ 39 billion loss? That is about $ 130 for every man, woman, and child in America, not counting those who are here illegally. Or put it another way, if there is $ 3,900 profit in every Cadillac car sold, they'd have to sell another million just to break even. Of course, if gasoline prices continue to rise - the average just passed $ 3.00 per gallon in the US which is still less than half what they pay in other countries - maybe some of those Cadillacs can be used as planters. Then our houses will look pretty while we shiver.
The war in Iraq has cost us trillions, and I have never figured out how we will know when we've won, the economy is in the tank, and the once proud dollar has fallen in value against nearly every other currency including the Euro and Canadian dollar. I'm not sure if the politicians are the cause of all our ills - some seem to think so. Just in case they're right, I say throw the bums out and cut off their mainlining of dollars into the money pits.
Even if we do throw all the "ins" out next election we will still have their legacy of the best retirement plan in the world for them and their families. Still it is a starting point. My new mantra is "Out the Incumbants."
Dr. Forgot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Kisses Not So Sweet

Hershey's Moving to Mexico???
Rumors are Hot in Chocolate Land
Hershey's is America's largest candy maker with annual earnings in excess of $ 5 Billion and more than 13,000 employees worldwide. The town of Hershey has streetlamps in the shape of candy kisses and lies in the Amish area of bucolic eastern Pensylvania. Since 1893 the company founded by Milton Hershey has grown and prospered. However, like most businesses the sour apple of economics caught up with the candy maker and last February the company announced a cutback of about 10% of its workforce or about 1,500 employees. By year's end the company will no longer operate in Canada, Oakdale, CA, Naugatuck, CT or Reading PA. The bittersweet truth is that the company is indeed building a plant in Monterey, Mexico and has parntered with a South Korean candy maker, but most of the chocolate will still be, as Bruce Sptingsteen might say, "Made in the USA."
Of the 1500 employees who Hershey's will kiss goodby, those over age 50 were offered, uh, I guess you could say, chocolate handshakes that included early retirement packages and added substantially to their benefits plans. One group that is uniquely affected are the families in which both spouses work for Hershey's and that includes more than 100 couples in the Hershey, PA plant. Wow, those marriages must be sweet.
Besides making chocolate in Hershey, which can be observed in Hershey Chocolate World, the community is quite the tourist attraction. The Hotel Hershey is a four star, four diamond hostlery and an active place hosting meetings and conventions, and Hershey Park draws scads of people and they even have one of the top medical clinics in the state.
There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy your chocolate in Hershey from Reese's pieces to chocolate syrup or a steaming hot cup of cocoa. Reminds me of a tee shirt that was the favorite of a friend of mine that read, "Hand over all your chocolate and nobody will get hurt."
Dr. Forgot

Nobody For President!

Dump Them All
Am I the only one who is sick of politicians? They lie, cheat, and by the very nature of their job, have to compromise their positions to get anything done. You know, "Ok I'll back your bill if you'll back mine." The most corrupt part of the political system is the PAC. Money talks and you know what walks, and every politician has plenty of that!
I remember the elections of 1992 I believe it was, when a group of idealistic young people decided that they would self-impose term limits. Their platform was "Elect me. Get rid of the good old boys. I'll not only serve you honestly but I promise to serve only one term." So they were elected overwhelmingly and guess what? Nearly every single one broke his promise not to seek a second term.
The first big problem is the committee assignments. Some committees are more prized than others and those who toe the party line get theplum assignments. Those who stand up for what they believe get frozen out, Then there are the PACs, the so-called Political Action Committees. They're comprised of lobbyists whose contributors demant certain votes go a certain way and if the politician doesn't vote correctly, s/he gets frozen out of the big bucks. And I haven't even started on the riders and totally unrelated funding tags put onto bills with a good chance of passing.
Well I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it any more. And I DO have a solution that has nothing to do with my running for office. This election I WILL NOT VOTE FOR AN INCUMBANT! It matters not which party or which race. If the person running is seeking a second term or beyond, that person does not get my vote. Sure, it might mean we elect a few goofballs, but at least they'll be goofballs who have not been feeding at the public trough for more than four years. No longer will the American mantra be, "An honest politician is one who will stay bought."
Dr. Forgot

Home Means Nevada

Southwest Moves Southwest
Few people, even Nevadans know that the state song is entitled "Home Means Nevada." However Southwest Airlines has decided that Nevada would be a good place to call home. Currently more than 400 pilots and crew live in Southern Nevada and Las Vegas is one of the largest, if not the largest ports of call in the Southwest travel itinerary. So it just seemed a natural fit that a decision was recently made to include Las Vegas as a domicile for employees. Of course, Dallas is their first base, and probably Houston is their second base, but by selecting Las Vegas as a base Southwest hit a home run.
I have been a fan of Southwest Airlines since they first began to fly into and out of Las Vegas McCarran International airport. That happened shortly after PSA, the fun-filled low price carrier based out of San Diego was purchased by one of the legacy carriers who immedialtely stripped its routes between Las Vegas and the Left Coast. Las Vegas is just a 40 minute flight from Southern California and over the years Hughes Airwest, Air California, Bonanza, PSA, and a myriad of other carriers offered low fares between the Entertainmant Capital of the World and the Land of Milk and Money.
So it was a welcome relief in 1982 when those Southwest Texans decided that Las Vegas would be a good place to expand with flights from Houston and Phoenix. Since then they've grown to be the largest carrier at McCarran with about 1.5 million passengers per month, nearly double the passenger count of their nearest competitor, US Airways.
With the addition of Las Vegas as a base, Southwest Airlines expects as many as 3,000 employees to call Las Vegas home within the next three years. And that ain't peanuts.
Dr. Forgot

More on Glaucoma

The "Sneak Thief of Sight"
According to writer Erin Evans, "It is called the 'Sneak Thief of Sight' for a reason: Years pass before patients notice vision loss - an absence of symptoms while damage is done and sight is stolen with no way to get it back." Such was the case with my mother. She was well into her eighties when she noticed some irregularities in her field of vision - reading became more difficult, so she was given large print books which helped. The numbers on the digital clock in her bedroom became obscured when she looked directly at them so she glanced out of the side of her eyes to read the time. But Mom had always been the caretaker - the eldest sibling of non-English speaking parents and later wife and mother of four, her role in life was to be the caretaker - to be concerned of others rather than herself. Whether it was suddenly deciding she did not like sweets when there were only two cookies left and her children wanted them, or focusing on taking care of her parents, children, husband and social group, she was more conscious of the well being of others than of herself.
So when the symptoms of what would be diagnosed as glaucoma began to appear she ignored them because symptoms almost always disappeared. But her vision continued to deteriorate until she was diagnosed with glaucoma and in what seemed like just a moment, was declared legally blind. Yet the desease is preventable.
Mom was one of 67 million people worldwide with glaucoma. As people live longer the disease, which increases exponentially as populations age affects vastly increased numbers. Some estimate that up to 3 million Americans have the disease and don't realize it. The Lions Club International Foundation has provided funding for the "All Eyes on the Family" program which hosted glaucoma screening throughout the US.
Medical professionals suggest dialated eye tests at least every three years, more often if there is a history glaucoma in your family. After all, you get your teeth cleaned every six months. Shouldn't you pay equal attention to your eyes? Teeth can be replaced - eyes cannot.
Dr. Forgot

Monday, November 5, 2007

More on Jeremy

For a Great Cause
In a previous post we told you about the stunning loss of Jeremy Duncombe Butler, a local man who had studied abroad then returned home to earn a college degree only to lose his life in an auto accident. Jeremy was a Las Vegas native as is Andre Agassi. Jeremy spent a year in France as a Rotary Scholar then graduated from the prestigious Las Vegas Academy with honors and earned a degree in corporate communications from UNLV. Andre became a world class tennis champion then founded the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in one of Las Vegas's most econimically deprived neighborhoods. The school is designed to provide kids with opportunities they would never have otherwise had.
On November 19 the Second Annual JeremyDuncombe Butler Golf Classic will be held at the Angel Park Golf Course. Last year's tourney raised money to help Jeremy's family tend to his needs during his three month hospitalization prior to his death. This year the Andre Agassi Foundation in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Las Vegas-Southwest and Vie Las Vegas Magazine joined Jeremy's family to set a goal of $ 100,000 to fund overseas exchange programs for graduating seniors of the Andre Agassi College Prepatory Academy.The first graduating class commencement is set for June, 2009.
The golf tournament and dinner will be held Monday, November 19 at Angel Park Golf Course in Las Vegas. Afterwards a banquet and silent auction will be held. All proceeds will go to benefit the Jeremy Duncombe Butler Scholarship Fund. Registration for the tourney can be completed at Donations to the scholarship fund can be made at
Las Vegas is a giving, loving city. Your support is appreciated.
Dr. Forgot

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Daylight Savings Time

Saving is a good thing, right?
As usual, daylight savings time has my body in greater disarray than jet lag can ever produce. Spring forward, fall back, what's it all about? Politicians, investment brokers, and money managers tell us we do not save enough. Is that what daylight savings is all about? My wife told me last week (she keeps track of these things) that I needed to set the clocks back one hour. I did so and woke up to find that all the clocks except the cable box and cell phones had the wrong time. Turns out that this year we did the deed one week later than other years. (that's why I don't keep track of those things. My mind is cluttered enough already).
So why did we wait a week to adjust our clocks this year? Could it have been because of something Al Gore has been telling us about? He should know. He's an Emmy and Nobel winner. I put my crack research team together and sent them out to see why the change changed. After sound academic research and getting their heads together (that must have hurt) they came back with a logical explanation - it was the candy lobby that delayed the change.
Seems like if the little kiddees and neighborhood thugs went door to door one hour later it would be darker so fewer kids would tap on your timber begging for sugar filled treats. Because it would be darker earlier, households would turn out their lights and pretend nobody was home sooner. The net result would be that less candy would be purchased and Mrs. Mars, Hershey, Nestle and the rest of the chocolatiers would have a smaller bottom line.
Wait a minute, the stem cell research lobbyists failed, health care for children was vetoed, and FEMA has still not tended to some of Hurricane Katrina's victims. But the candy lobby was able to delay the start of daylight savings time. In the words of that famous counselor and comedian, Yakov Smirnoff, "What a country!!"
Dr. Forgot

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Keep An Eye Out

Macular Degeneration

My mother was well into her eighties when she said that the time on her digital clock seemed to jump and she could often see more clearly if she looked at objects at an angle instead of straight on. Of course, Mom had always been healthy so we figured it was just the body taking liberties as it does when we age. We were partly right. When she fially decided the problem was chronic enough to seek attention for it we discovered Mom had age-related macular degeneration, AMD. She was immediately declared legally blind and life changed for her. As Mom had quit driving decades earlier, that part of her life did not change but she had been a voracious reader, devouring novels, magazines, bulletins, and any other printed material she could get her hands on. She kept her own checkbook and balanced it each month to the penny. All those things came to a screeching halt.

Then we began to learn about AMD. It is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans over age 50 and affects nearly 2 million people with another 7 million being at risk. AMD comes in two types, wet and dry. Wet, so called because blood or fluid leaks into the back of the eye under the macula, is the rarer of the two. Symptoms include distortions such as straight lines appearing wavy, and blind spots. The visual periphery is usually not affected so those with wet AMD can read with use of magnifiers. However, the reading process becomes slow and arduous, as only a few words at a time appear on the screen.

Dry AMD symptoms include blurred vision, the need for additional light to read, and lessening of color contrast. For the most part no treatment exists for AMD although doctors are experimenting with various drugs that may prevent AMD from becoming progressively worse. Although there is little available in the way of treatment of AMD, there are some lifestyle changes that have been reported to help. They include not smoking, eatling plenty of fish, fruit, and green leafy veggies, avoiding foods with high fat values, and of course, exercise to control blood pressure and weight. Come to think of it, that is good advice for anybody whether they are worried about AMD or not.

In addition to annual physical exams, it is a good idea for those over age 60 to have a dialated eye exam every year or two. That gives you a chance at early diagnosis and a running start on dealing with it. Remember Ben Franklin's quote, "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Dr. Forgot

Outstanding Young Men

Paths Cross
Las Vegas thrives on its image. City of Sin. Anything goes. A place you'd want to visit but not live. But that's just the hype. That's the marketing plan. And when you think of "What Happens in Vegas..." think of this: Las Vegas has always been a family town. iIn the early 1800s it was the Indians who lived along grassy meadows. Few people realize that an Indian reservation sits just a few blocks from Downtown Glitter Gulch. In the mid 1800s came the Mormons whose influence in the city's government and civic organizations is still very evident. The "Mormon Fort" still stands near the reservation. In 1905 a group of businessmen auctioned 110acres and the town was born. Las Vegas has been home for a growing population ever since.
One young man, a son of native Nevadans was Jeremy Duncombe Butler. He attended the Las Vegas Academy, completed his graduation requirements by the end of his junior year and spent his senior year as a foreign exchange student. Another native son is Andre Agassi, the tennis phenom whose community involvement includes the Andre Agassi College Prepatory Academy which provides a superb education for many at-risk children. So how are the two locals connected?
Jeremy lost his life in an auto accident. He loved golf and coveted his experience as an exchange student. A fundraiser has been set up as the Jeremy Dunncombe Butler Golf Classic. This is the second year of the Classic. The goal is to raise $ 100,000 to support students who study at the Andre Agassi Academy with scholarships that will provide for overseas foreign exchange programs. This is Jeremy's legacy. You can be a part of it.
For additional information email and to register to play in the tournement go to
Dr. Forgot