Saturday, November 29, 2008

Vegas Weekend Update

Vegas Weekend Update

What happens in Las Vegas…

TIGER SHARKS NOW LURK AT MANDALAY BAY: Species Ranked Second Deadliest to Great White Shark. Two female tiger sharks now rule the waters of Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. The only tiger sharks available for viewing in the U.S., these exciting new additions can be identified by their distinct tiger-striped markings in the 1.6-million-gallon aquarium. Attributing to the tiger sharks’ impressive reputation are their sharp, serrated teeth, powerful jaw and insatiable, non-discriminating appetite. These sharks have been known to consume unusual items such as license plates, tires, baseballs and other debris – earning them the moniker “garbage cans of the sea.” Currently, Shark Reef’s two tiger sharks are more than six feet in length, and the species can reach up to 14 feet in length. The scavengers lurk in shallow, coastal waters in tropical and temperate regions such as Hawaii and Australia.For more information, visit, or call (702) 632-4555.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas to Open in December
Encore, the new signature resort in the Wynn collection, is located next door to flagship property Wynn Las Vegas. Encore, set to open in December, is a distinct resort destination with its own repertoire of accommodations, culinary offerings and leisure activities including 11 retail outlets, seven cozy bars and lounges, five restaurants, one ultra-chic nightclub and an opulent spa and salon. The Encore experience includes a landscape of foliage and shimmering pools of water. Butterflies, vibrant carpets, mosaic tiles and textured walls draw you into juxtaposition between indoors and out. For more information, contact Jennifer Dunne, Wynn Las Vegas,

Michelin Selects 2009 Restaurant and Hotel Selections for Las Vegas
The world’s most discriminating restaurant and lodging guidebook – the prestigious, 107-year-old Michelin Guide from France – recently released its 2009 edition to showcase Las Vegas’ offerings. The Michelin Guide Las Vegas 2009 features 140 restaurants and 32 hotels. Among Las Vegas restaurants receiving coveted starred ratings: Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand (three stars – the guidebook’s top rating); Picasso at Bellagio, Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace and Alex at Wynn Las Vegas (two stars); and Alizé at the Palms, André’s Downtown, Aureole at Mandalay Bay, Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace, Daniel Boulud Brasserie at Wynn Las Vegas, DJT at Trump International, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Le Cirque at Bellagio, Michael Mina at Bellagio, miX at Mandalay Bay, Nobu at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Restaurant Charlie at Palazzo and Wing Lei at Wynn Las Vegas (one star). One star means a very good restaurant in its category. Two stars mean excellent cooking, worth a detour. Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey. For more information, contact Ceci De La Montanya, Allison & Partners,

AAA Announces 2009 Five Diamond Award Recipients
AAA recently announced the hotels and restaurants that achieved Five Diamond status, the travel authority’s highest rating. For 2009, Las Vegas AAA Five Diamond-rated hotels include Bellagio (eighth consecutive year), Four Seasons Las Vegas (tenth consecutive year), Skylofts at MGM Grand (third consecutive year), Wynn Las Vegas (third consecutive year) and The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino (second consecutive year). Las Vegas AAA Five Diamond-rated restaurants include Alex at Wynn Las Vegas (fourth consecutive year), Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand (third consecutive year), Le Cirque at Bellagio (sixth consecutive year), Picasso at Bellagio (eighth consecutive year) and first-time winner Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace. AAA rates nearly 60,000 restaurants and lodgings each year throughout all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, providing the broadest coverage of any U.S. rating system, both geographically and by number of properties rated. Of those, only 103 resorts and 59 restaurants earned the highly coveted AAA Five Diamond rating for 2009. For more information, contact Heather Hunter, AAA,

Las Vegas Art Museum Presents L.A. Now
The Las Vegas Art Museum is pleased to present L.A. Now, curated by David Pagel. The exhibit displays 20 emerging and established artists who are currently living and working in Los Angeles. The artists work in a wide variety of styles and media; each has gained national or international recognition for artistic achievement. Mr. Pagel is an art critic for the LA Times and a professor at Claremont Graduate School. The exhibition opens for regular viewing on Dec. 12, and remains on view through March 8, 2009. For more information, contact Anne Kellogg, Las Vegas Art Museum,

NOBHILL TAVERN (Formerly NOBHILL) Debuts at MGM Grand
NOBHILL TAVERN by Michael Mina infuses a new concept into the
ever-evolving Las Vegas dining transformation. Tavern cuisine, an innovative drink menu that pays homage to classic cocktails, and an expansive lounge area where guests can relax while listening to a music selection of popular songs from a variety of genres make up the NOBHILL TAVERN experience. The menu affords guests the opportunity to enjoy Michael Mina’s signature trio concept. For more information, contact Michael McKiski, MGM MIRAGE, at

Pianist Philip Fortenberry of “Jersey Boys” Debuts “Liberace and Me”
Philip Fortenberry, a solo pianist, improvisational composer and cast member of “Jersey Boys,” has debuted his new acoustic cabaret-style piano performance “Liberace and Me” for a six-month limited engagement through March 23 at the Liberace Museum. As a tribute to the legacy of Liberace, the 45-minute, afternoon show features original compositions, selections from the classic repertoire and Broadway music in the 75-seat Cabaret Showroom. For more information, contact Shelley Mansholt, Mansholt PR, at

Bar Louie Opens at Town Square
Bar Louie, a casual neighborhood restaurant and bar, has opened a location at Town Square. The popular Chicago-based chain is known for its signature sandwiches, uniquely prepared appetizers, inventive pizzas and specialty cocktails. The 6,500-square-foot space seats more than 200 and features design elements characteristic of all Bar Louie locations. The venue, which is the 49th in the nation, is open for lunch, dinner and late-night dining. For more information, contact Amy Weisenburger, Bar Louie America, at

The Holidays Arrive at Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens will welcome winter with a holiday display rich in nostalgia. The display will feature flying reindeer made of whole pecans, a charming snowman family created with white carnations and an oversized wreath adorned with pine cones and a golden bow. The centerpiece is a 32-foot Shasta Fir tree featuring more than 12,000 holiday lights. The holiday display is available for guests to enjoy December 7, 2008 through January 3, 2009. For more information, contact Rebecca Ingram Frisch, MGM MIRAGE, at

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Celebrates 50 Years with Big-Name Entertainment
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), considered the world’s premier rodeo, features 10 straight days of the best in rodeo competition, with a total of 120 contestants competing every night in seven events. Each December, the top 15 contestants, based on the 2008 Crusher Rentals PRCA World Standings, in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding qualify to compete at the Wrangler NFR. Some of the biggest names in country music will take the stage at Thomas & Mack Center Dec. 4-13 each day to open the event. Entertainers include Trailer Choir, Jake Owen, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Crystal Shawanda, Red Steagall, Ronnie Milsap, Charlie Daniels, Jewel, Jack Ingram and Matt Lewis as Elvis. For more information, contact Michael Mack, Las Vegas Events,

Ethel M Chocolates Creates Its Annual Chocolate Wonderland
Located adjacent to its Henderson factory, Ethel M Chocolates has transformed its three-acre Botanical Cactus Garden into a Chocolate Wonderland complete with thousands of sparkling lights, opportunities to visit Santa, and appearances by local choirs. Visitors can wander down the garden’s illuminated cacti pathways and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week excluding Christmas Day. The attraction is free of charge and open to the public through Jan. 1, 2009. For more information, contact Katie Knoch, SK+G,

The Springs Preserve Presents Its Second Annual Winter Lights Festival
The Springs Preserve proudly presents its second annual Winter Lights Festival. The lights display in the eight-acre garden and throughout the Preserve is created from half a million LED lights illuminated by solar power, a leading example of a sustainable holiday celebration. Guests enjoy entertainment from roaming performance groups, carriage rides, visits with Santa Claus and Theater Las Vegas’ original puppet show “Dickens Done Over.” Holiday inspired treats and green gift options are available throughout the Preserve. The festival runs 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday through Dec. 21, and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily from Dec. 22-24 and Dec. 26. For more information, please Dawn Barraclough, Springs Preserve,

Las Vegas Monorail to Operate on New Year’s Eve with Special Fare
With approximately 300,000 revelers descending upon the Strip on New Year’s Eve, the Las Vegas Monorail will continue to operate even when the Strip closes to vehicles and buses – providing a convenient transportation option for visitors looking to get to the city’s hottest spots safely, quickly and efficiently. The Monorail will be open from 7 a.m. Dec. 31 to 3 a.m. Jan. 1 to transport people throughout the night. The Las Vegas Monorail Company will offer an Unlimited Ride Day Pass for $12. For more information, contact Kristen Hansen, Las Vegas Monorail,

America’s Party to Bring Fireworks Closer to the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Events and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) will once again partner with Fireworks by Grucci for its annual midnight fireworks display to be launched from nine locations along the Strip. Las Vegas’ famed Fremont Street Experience will host a New Year’s Eve celebration called “TributePalooza.” The world’s best tribute bands will perform 14 hours of live music from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. on two stages, and will include tribute bands such as Billy Joel, Eagles, David Bowie, KISS, The Rolling Stones, U2, Queen and Aerosmith. The five blocks of the Fremont Street Experience, home to 10 legendary casinos, will be transformed into the biggest private party in town. For more information, contact Michael Mack, Las Vegas Events,

JW Marriott Las Vegas Celebrates New Year’s Eve
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa will offer two great ways to ring in the New Year. J. C. Wolloughan’s Irish Pub will offer an all-inclusive, three-course dinner complete with party favors and a champagne toast. The culinary team at Ceres has prepared a four-course dinner menu and champagne reception. Join in the countdown with entertainment provided by DJ Kayle Stevens. For more information, contact Lisa Roughley, Roughley Speaking PR, at

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas Offers Ways to Ring in the New Year
The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas will offer a four- and five-course gourmet dinner menus at Medici Café & Terrace complemented by party favors, champagne, dancing and live entertainment. Or, guests can join the party in the Firenze Lobby Lounge for dancing, a selection of fine libations and light dining fare. For more information, contact Bonnie Crail, Crail Communications, at

BELLAGIO PRESENTS ‘CLASSIC CONTEMPORARY: LICHTENSTEIN, WARHOL & FRIENDS’ New Exhibition in Partnership with Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Debuts January 23, 2009. Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) is pleased to announce the debut of “Classic Contemporary: Lichtenstein, Warhol & Friends. Organized in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), the exhibition will feature important paintings and sculpture by major contemporary artists with a focus on the 1960s and ’70s. The exhibit will include many of the major works in MCASD’s collection, primarily large-scale paintings along with sculpture and works on paper. The iconic artists to be featured were the leaders of their generation – Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt and Ed Ruscha, among others. Their innovative use of material and imagery was at the forefront of Pop Art and Minimalism worldwide. See or

A little blogging music Maestro… “Viva Las Vegas” sung by Elvis.

Dr. Forgot

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day


Today is Thanksgiving Day, a time for reflection upon things for which we are thankful. Mine is an easy list to prepare – friends, family, yada, yada. But I am most thankful that the Bush Administration will be gone in less than 60 days. Unfair, you say? Kicking a man when he’s defeated, you say? Several lists have been made of Bush’s bungles. Just for chuckles, I’ll use the one by Paul Kiel posted on Ready?

Indicted / Convicted/ Pled Guilty

* Eric G. Andell - deputy undersecretary in charge of newly created Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (previously senior adviser to Secretary of Education Rod Paige) plead guilty to one count of conflict of interest for using government travel for personal causes and was sentenced to one year of probation, 100 hours of community service, and fined $5,000.

* Claude Allen - Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy- resigned, pled guilty to shoplifting from Target stores.

* Lester Crawford - Commissioner, FDA- resigned in late September 2005 after only two months on the job. On October 17th, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts, making a false writing and conflict of interest. On February 27, 2007, Crawford was sentenced to three years of probation and was fined $90,000.

* Brian Doyle - Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - Resigned in wake of child sex scandal. Doyle was arrested on April 4th, 2006 and pleaded no contest on September 19, 2006 to seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and sixteen counts of transmitting harmful material to a minor. On November 17th, 2006 Brian Doyle was sentenced to five years in state prison and ten years of probation. He will also need to register as a sex offender.

* Steven Griles - Deputy Secretary at the Interior Department - is the highest-ranked administration official yet convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal. In March 2007, Griles pleaded guilty to lying about his role in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Sentenced to 10 months incarceration.

* John T. Korsmo – Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board from 2002 to 2004 – pleaded guilty in 2005 to lying to the Senate and an inspector general. He swore he had no idea how a list of presidents for FHFB-regulated banks were invited to a fundraiser for his friend’s congressional campaign. On the invites, Korsmo was listed as the “Special Guest.” Got 18 months of probation and a $5,000 fine.

* Scooter Libby - Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff - resigned after being indicted for lying to a grand jury and investigators in connection with the investigation stemming from the leak of Valerie Wilson’s covert CIA operative’s identity. Convicted on four of five counts, making him the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandal. Sentenced to thirty months imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. On July 2nd, after a judge decided that Libby would remain in prison during the appeals process, President Bush commuted Libby’s sentence by removing the thirty months in prison.

* David Safavian - former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget - convicted of lying to ethics officials and Senate investigators about his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. On October 27, 2006, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He is currently appealing the ruling.

* Robert Stein - former comptroller and funding officer for the now disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority, Southern Central Region in Al-Hillah, Iraq - pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, possession of a machine gun, and being a felon in possession of a fire arm. On January 30, 2007 Stein was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.6 million.

* Roger Stillwell - desk officer, Interior Department - pleaded guilty to failing to report Redskins tickets and free dinners from Jack Abramoff.

Resigned Due to Investigation, Pending Investigation or Allegations of Impropriety

* Philip Cooney - chief of staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality - a former oil industry lawyer with no scientific expertise, Cooney resigned after it was revealed he had watered down reports on global warming.

* George Deutsch - press aide, NASA - resigned amid allegations he prevented the agency’s top climate scientist from speaking publicly about global warming.

* Michael Elston - chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty - announced his resignation on June 15, 2007. Despite allegations that he’d threatened at least four of the eight fired US Attorneys, McNulty said Elston had served the Justice Department “with distinction for nearly eight years.”

* Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo - appointed executive director of the CIA, the agency’s third-highest post, in October 2004 - resigned and was ultimately indicted on bribery charges related to the Duke Cunningham scandal.

* Alberto Gonzales - former Attorney General - resigned without explanation amidst investigations of the firings of U.S. Attorneys, the politicization of the Justice Department, warrantless surveillance, and the torture and mistreatment of detainees.

* Monica Goodling - former Justice Department liaison to the White House and senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - resigned on April 7, 2007 amidst the investigation of the firings of U.S. Attorneys.

* Michelle Larson Korsmo - deputy chief of staff, Department of Labor - Helped her husband (see John Korsmo, above) with his donor scam. Quietly left her Labor plum job in February 2004, about two weeks before news broke that she and her husband were the targets of a criminal probe.

* Howard “Cookie” Krongard - former State Department inspector general — accused of not properly investigating State Department contractor fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan; of retaliating against whistleblowers in his own office; and of not telling the truth about his knowledge of his brother’s ties with Blackwater, a State Department contractor. Faced with a possible perjury investigation, Howard Krongard resigned on December 7, 2007.

* Julie Macdonald - former deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks at the Interior Department - resigned in May 2007 after an “inspector general’s report found she had improperly leaked information to private organizations, bullied staff scientists and broken federal rules.” The Department of the Interior is investigating many of her decisions regarding endangered species; so far seven have been overturned.

* Paul McNulty - Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice – resigned, after questions about his involvement in the U.S. attorney firings and his testimony to Congress about the firings.

* Richard Perle - Chairman, Defense Policy Board - resigned from Pentagon advisory panel amid conflict-of-interest charges.

* Susan Ralston - assistant, White House - resigned amidst revelations that she had accepted thousands of dollars in gifts from Abramoff without compensating him, counter to White House ethics rules.

* Janet Rehnquist - inspector general, Department of Health and Human Services - resigned on June 1, 2003 in the face of an investigation into her alleged efforts to block a politically dangerous probe on behalf of the Bush family.

* James Roche - secretary, U.S. Air Force - resigned in the wake of the Boeing tanker lease scandal, after it was revealed he had rather crudely pushed for Boeing to win a $23 billion contract.

* Kyle Sampson -former chief of staff for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - resigned amidst the investigation of the firings of U.S. Attorneys.

* Joseph Schmitz - Inspector General, Defense - Resigned amid charges he personally intervened to protect top political appointees.

* Bradley Schlozman - resigned from his third and final post with the Justice Department after accusations of actively politicizing the department. He’s currently under investigation by the Department’s inspector general.

* Thomas Scully - Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - shortly after Scully resigned in 2003, an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general found that Scully had pressured the agency’s actuary to underestimate the full cost of the Medicare reform bill by approximately $100 billion until after Congress passed the bill into law. Scully was also hit with conflict of interest charges by the U.S. attorney’s office for billing CMS for expenses incurred during a job search while he still headed the agency. He settled those charges by paying $9,782.

* David Smith - deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks, Interior Department - resigned on July 21, 2006 after shooting a buffalo and accepting its skeletal remains and meat as an illegal gratuity. He eventually paid over $3,000 for the dead buffalo, but only after the internal inquiry had commenced. The Department of Interior inspector general also noted in a May 16, 2006 report that Smith’s involvement in the designation of Houston as a port of entry for imported wildlife in order to benefit a friend was inappropriate.

* John Tanner - Voting Rights Section Chief, Justice Department - resigned in December of 2007 and moved to the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Already under suspicion for aiding efforts to politicize the voting section, the bumbling proponent of voter identification laws angered lawmakers with his comments that such laws actually discriminate against white voters because “minorities die first”. Even more impressive was his apology for the comment. The DoJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility is currently investigating his travel habits and those of his deputy.

* Sara Taylor - Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs at the White House, where she was Karl Rove´s top aide - resigned amidst the U.S. attorneys investigation and other probes of Rove´s alleged politicization of the government.

* Ken Tomlinson - Board Chairman, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; member, Broadcasting Board of Governors - resigned at the release of an inspector general report concluding he had broken laws in spending CPB money to hire politically connected consultants to search for “bias” without consulting the board. At BBG, a separate investigation found he was running a “horse racing operation” out of his office, and continuing to hire politically-wired individuals to do “consulting” work for him. After being nominated and serving another term, he finally stepped down from that spot earlier this year.

* Carl Truscott - Director, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau - resigned. A report by the Justice Department’s inspector general found that Truscott wasted tens of thousands of dollars on luxuries, wasted millions on whimsical management decisions and violated ethics rules by ordering employees to help his nephew with a high school video project.

* Paul Wolfowitz - World Bank President - resigned in May 2007 after a committee report found that he broke ethics rules by giving his girlfriend a substantial raise.

Nomination Failed Due to Scandal

* Linda Chavez - nominated, Secretary of Labor - withdrew her nomination in January 2001 amidst revelations that an illegal immigrant lived in her home and worked for her in the early 1990s. Chavez blamed what she said were the “search-and-destroy” politics of Washington.

* Timothy Flanigan - nominated, Deputy Attorney General (also Alberto Gonzales’ top deputy at the White House) - withdrew his nomination in October 2005 amidst revelations that he’d worked closely with lobbyist Jack Abramoff when he was General Counsel for Corporate and International Law at Tyco, which was a client of Abramoff’s.

* Bernard Kerik - nominated, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security - withdrew his nomination amidst a host of corruption allegations. Eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor relating to improper gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars while he was a New York City official in the late 1990’s. Subsequently, on November 8, 2007, Kerik was indicted on sixteen counts for bribery, tax fraud, and false statements with a maximum sentence of 142 years and more than $5 million in fines. Kerik has pleaded not guilty. For a rundown of Kerik’s myriad indiscretions, check out TPM’s Ultimate Kerik Scandal List!

* William Mercer - the former associate deputy attorney general and US Attorney for Montana - withdrew his nomination to be the permanent number three official at the Department of Justice on June 22, 2007 due to his role in the U.S. attorney firings.

* Hans von Spakovsky - Commissioner, FEC - nomination to another term after his recess appointment failed due to allegations that he’d worked at the Justice Department to suppress minority voter turnout.
Under Investigation But Still in Office

* Stuart Bowen - Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) - was once admired for his successes while investigating allegations of waste and fraud in Iraq, but now employee allegations have prompted four government investigations into the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).

* Lurita Doan - Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration - still in office, despite investigations by both the Office of Special Counsel and the House oversight committee that found that Doan had “crossed the line” by suggesting that the GSA use its resources to help Republicans get elected.

* Alfonso Jackson - Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - following reports that Jackson told a business group in April 2006 that he once canceled a contract after the contractor criticized President Bush, an investigation by the HUD inspector general found that while Jackson told his deputies to favor Bush supporters, there was “no direct proof that a contract was actually awarded or rescinded because of political affiliation.” A second, criminal investigation was triggered in part by Jackson’s claim before Congress in May 2007 that “I don’t touch contracts.” That probe, now before a federal grand jury, has turned up evidence that Jackson may indeed have touched contracts - and steered them towards friends.

A little blogging music Maestro… “I Fought the Law and the Law Won,” by Sonny Curtis and the Crickets, Bobby Fuller, and The Dead Kennedys.

Dr. Forgot

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday, Monday

Monday Mish-Mash

No Phi Beta Kappa: I admit to the fact that my academic credentials pale in comparison to those of our new president. And indeed, I probably spent as much time on academic probation as did our current president. I didn’t appoint Brownie to do a heck of a job, read “My Pet Goat” during the 9/11 disaster, or fly over Katrina and wave. On the state level my credentials do not include being a military pilot (what is it with those guys?) or getting fired from Delta Airlines, or wrestling with a cocktail waitress just before the elections, or even texting my girlfriend on a state phone while my wife was curled up in the Mansion with a good book. But despite my lack of credentials I’m going to go way out on a limb and suggest some fixes for the state budget. Rather than take dollars from scholars, and given the fact that the casino and hotel industry is having its own problems, why not introduce a state lottery designated for the Education budget only? Let’s see, that would not only remove the deficit from the schools, it would allow the funds currently being directed to the schools to be redirected to other areas in state government. A Nevada lottery has been proposed in the past but the idea has been killed each time by the casino/hotel industry that did not want the competition. Typically lottery players do not use casino funds to play the lottery, and now might be a good time to strike – before the iron freezes.

Bridges inside and out of Madison County: A government study done after the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota found that more than 70,000 bridges in the U.S. to be structurally deficient. Another recent study stated that 33% of the nation’s major roads are in “poor or mediocre condition.” So where to find the revenue to improve the roads both in our state and nationally? How about an increase in the gas tax? Gasoline prices are a fraction of where they were a year ago so why not add say, a quarter to the state tax and a dime to the national tax. That would increase the tax on a gallon of gas by 35 cents. It would also increase the revenue by about 40% statewide and nearly double the revenues. Nobody likes to pay taxes any less than I do but our nation is in economic crisis. The education system that offers free education to our children is the single most crucial part of our government benefits that helps our most precious commodity. President-elect and Mrs. Obama are two stunning examples of working class families who had the opportunity of a good public education. Highways, on the other hand, are the lifeblood of our tourism industry. Hence, these two areas must be addressed during this economic crisis.

Git the heck outta Gitmo: One of the many fiascos of the current administration was the indiscriminate vacuuming up of alleged “terrorists” during the panic of post 9/11 imprisoning them in the American military prison at Guantanamo. Despite many who have been held for years, isolation and alleged torture, not one iota of information that would be of benefit to the so-called “war on terrorism” has been received. Not one American soldier’s life has been saved as the result of such information. Of the 800 or so who were imprisoned, more than half were released without being charged and only one was convicted of a crime, and many have suggested even that one was a sham. There have been hundreds of suicide attempts, four of which were successful. President elect Obama has suggested the closing of the prison. Perhaps rather than close it we could change it to a detention center for all those CEOs, CFO, and other bigwigs who have robbed, raped, and stolen from the American public. Perhaps the Wall Street Gang could go the way of the Keating 5, but their Club Fed could be Gitmo. At least there would be real lawbreakers in detention.

Aye Matey, piracy is becoming big business: Piracy of tankers and other ships has become big business off the coast of Somalia. During the depression bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. He responded, “Because that’s where the money is.” Pirates of the Suez have become his disciples, hijacking tankers nad other ships and holding them for ransom. In the first 9 months of 2008 there have been 199 maritime attacks and 31 hijackings of ships carrying from oil to Christmas toys, clothing, and cars, and even a Ukrainian ship carrying at least 30 tanks and weapons. Millions of dollars have been paid in ransom for the safe return of the ships and cargo. Videos of the hijackers in their flimsy boats with a few weapons have been shown around the world. All the great security brains have been unable to control the pirates and their ventures. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but it would seem that one gunship sitting on a helipad would be a deterrent. When the pirates start to chase the ship, simply deploy the helicopter and blow their sorry behinds out of the water. Problem solved.

Push a button, pull a chain, $ 100,000 down the drain: The other day an astronaut was doing the equivalent of a lube, oil, and filter change to the space station when her $ 100,000 toolbox and all her tools slipped away and sailed off into space. Once again, I don’t presume to be an astro-physicist, but I can think of one simple little attachment. Can you say, t-e-t-h-e-r? If surf bums are smart enough to connect their surfboards to their ankles so the boards are not lost at sea, can our finest scientists figure out a way to attach a tether to a hundred thousand dollar toolbox? Just asking. Perhaps it was a “woman doing mechanic’s work” thing or maybe the astronaut was dyslexic and missed the bag when she reached for it. Wouldn’t be the first time health issues interfered with history. It has been suggested that Napoleon suffered from attacks of hemorrhoids so severe that they actually influenced the result at the Battle of Waterloo. Makes one wonder how they’ll be remembered in the annals of history.

A little blogging music Maestro… “A Big Hurt,” by David Bowie.
Dr. Forgot

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christians, Atheists, and Anagrams

Freedom OF Religion but not
Freedom FROM Religion

Pledge of allegiance: The other day I was reminiscing about how schools had changed in the past several decades. We began to play “Whatever happened to...?” and the conversation turned to a local teacher. Years ago the self-proclaimed hippie taught social studies and civics at a public junior high school. He wore his hair long at a time when most men wore crew cuts. (for you youngsters, a crew cut is sort of like a short Mohawk but with hair all over your head) He wore a shirt that looked like an American flag and was not shy about stating his opinion that the U.S. had no business fighting a civil war in Viet Nam. In those days teachers were required to sign a loyalty oath or their contracts could be rescinded. They were also required to lead their classes in a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The young teacher would end his pledge with the words, “… with liberty and justice for some.” I’m not sure what ever happened to the young rebel. Maybe he cut his hair, donned a suit, and became a school administrator, or maybe he continued his protests. Then I picked up the newspaper and read an article that caused me to wonder how tolerant we really had become as a nation toward those who do not conform.

American boasts freedom of religion: The recent election of the first ever Hawaiian, Barack Obama was a landmark in our country. During the election, however, he was accused of being a Muslim. He’s not, of course. He is a good Christian who attended a good Christian church presided over by Christian minister Reverend Jeremiah Wright. When the president elect was not being pilloried for attending a church whose Christian pastor preached fiery sermons, he was “accused” of being a Muslim, God forbid. Whatever happened to freedom of religion that our soldiers fought for over the years? Religion writer Tom Krattenmaker wrote an article in USA Today in which he discusses America’s views on atheism. If we are persecuted for our choice of how to worship, imagine what happens to those who chose to not worship.

Oh those crazy Illini: This spring a speaker and atheist activist named Rob Sherman attempted to testify against a bill in the Illinois legislature that would have granted $ 1 million in state money to a church. Representative Monique Davis, Democrat, Chicago native, former Elementary School Administrator, who is working on a Doctorate in Guidance and Counseling, took exception to comments by Rob Sherman who would present an opposing opinion. The issue was related to Gov. Rod Blagojevich's misdirected $1 million grant intended for Pilgrim Baptist Church. As Sherman began to speak Rep. Davis shouted, “I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous—“

Sherman asked what she saw as dangerous and Davis continues, “It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!” Sherman thanked her for her opinion and Davis continued, “You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.”

Sherman, after being told repeatedly by Davis to get out of his seat because he was an atheist commented that he felt like Rosa Parks, “who also was told, get out of that seat and arrested when she didn't give up her seat on the bus to a white person.” Davis is African American.

Land of the free, home of the brave, except for Lincoln and atheists: The speaker, Rob Sherman wasn’t trying to force the little kiddies to denounce their religious beliefs he was speaking against giving taxpayer monies to a particular church. So was Davis tirade an anomaly? Well, no. Many groups ban atheists from memberships including the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, and some local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, to name a few. The founding fathers built this country on the premise of separation of church and state. In fact, Illinois, the “Land of Lincoln where people believe in God,” as Rep. Davis proclaimed, in fact has wrestled with this issue since the time of Lincoln, who was attacked by politically active pastors in his time. While running for election Lincoln opined his frustration over the opposition he faced from 20 of 23 Protestant ministers in Springfield. Early in his political career religious figures warned against voting for Lincoln on the grounds that he, “…belonged to no church (and) was suspected of being a deist.”

The new atheist agenda: In an effort to make this a kinder, gentler world today’s atheists eschew the in-your-face activism of Madayn Murray O’Hair whose campaign mocked religion and was successful in removing mandatory prayer from the classroom. However, anybody who believes prayer has been removed from school had not been in a school during exam time. Studies suggest that up to 15% of the population is either non-believers or strong doubting Thomases. Margaret Downey, former president of Atheist Alliance International is doing her best to put a new face on what many call “positive atheism.” She recently joined forces with a Christian group to spend the better part of a day sorting and packaging food for the needy. Perhaps Christians and atheists can someday stand shoulder to shoulder instead of hand to throat, but my biggest concern is, “What do you say to an atheist who sneezes?

Finally, a bit of anagram silliness: You remember anagrams don’t you; those words whose letters can be rearranged to make other words. Although “atheist” does not lend itself well to be an anagram, many others do. Remember the one about the dyslexic atheist who didn’t believe in Dog? Here are a few others that might tickle your fancy. When letters are rearranged,
















A little blogging music Maestro… “Sympathy for the Devil” by Ozzy Osbourne.

Dr. Forgot

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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bottom Line

Cliché Today
As American as apple pie: Although cliché is a French word Americans prefer a cliché to a soufflé. Today I’ll go against the grain and although I have no axe to grind, will give you the bottom line while we drill down to get the information that is on the money. Some clichés are as clear as mud and their meanings are rarely as pure as the driven snow. But today I will start at the crack of dawn and write, and though my thoughts may come as slow as molasses in January, I won’t beat around the bush, even if this column leaves me between a rock and a hard place.

Blood is thicker than water: The idea for today’s topic came from a sibling whose emails could fill a bottomless pit. Though she sometimes can’t see the forest from the trees she can also be the cat’s meow. Thus I will forget politics for today, which is for the birds, and sit back as cool as a cucumber and write today’s column come Hell or high water. Hopefully you’ll find this one funnier than a barrel of monkeys but I won’t count my chickens before they hatch. Compared to my other 300 posts this one is just a drop in the bucket. Oh, you might think that composing this is as easy as falling off a log but it is as hard as a rock to do this. Although even a blind squirrel can find an acorn beneath an oak tree. So I’ll just get my feet wet and go with the flow.

A good rule of thumb: Before you leave this site remember the grass is always greener on the other side, so don’t be a stick-in-the-mud. Laugh and the world laughs with you. It can cause a ripple effect. Send this to your friends and give them something to crow about. Soon enough we’ll all be pushing up daisies. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Your sorrows will be just a drop in the bucket, knock on wood. Life is a bowl of cherries. Laugh and the world laughs with you and soon your troubles will be as hard to find as a needle in a haystack. Sorrow is not my cup of tea. There’s no use crying over spilt milk, let yourself go. Be as nutty as a fruitcake. Avoid bummers like the plague.

Wake up and smell the coffee: With the economy in disarray it is well to remember that a penny saved is a penny earned. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Don’t tempt fate, look out for number one. Times might be rough as a corn cob but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Wall Street makes me as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof and the political parties that caused this are like two peas in a pod. Birds of a feather flock together. They pulled the wool over our eyes then told us to put that in our pipe and smoke it. The CEOs who caused this mess by trying to pull a fast one need to take their attitude and stick it where the sun don’t shine. As voters we need to tell those asking for a handout, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” As we watched our 401K bite the dust until it bought the farm we needed to bite the bullet. Although there are dark clouds ahead every cloud has a silver lining. Do something to take your mind off your 401K. A watched pot never boils.

Take me out to the ball game: To take your mind off the economy, perhaps an athletic event is in order. Sit back, relax, and see who draws first blood. The game might be nip and tuck or a real barn burner. The teams might go at it like two heavyweights, fighting tooth and nail while the crowd goes wild as players give 110%. They certainly came to play. Yours is a blue collar team that shows flashes of brilliance but they are taking it one game at a time. Pretty soon your team will begin to take it to the next level. They thrive under pressure, rising to the occasion, and perhaps breaking a record, as records are made to be broken. They control their own destiny. This is a must win situation. Your team was really dialed in. They left it all on the field.

Nothing ventured nothing gained: Now comes the time to wrap it up and put the pedal to the metal. We hope you enjoyed today’s column. Maybe we were pulling your leg. Maybe we were jerking your chain but don’t jump to conclusions. Was this satire or philosophy? You can’t judge a book by its cover. It is what it is. As for us, we’ll continue writing this tripe come Hell or high water. Most of what I write is on the tip of my tongue, and you can take that to the bank.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Words of Love,” by The Beatles.
Dr. Forgot

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Those Oldies But Goodies

Mid-week Memories

A friend of mine, Nancy the principal sent me the reflection below. It is credited to that most famous of writers, Anonymous. Read, reflect, enjoy.

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan, or the dawn of Camelot.

There lived a race of innocents, in the land of the free,
And they were simply simple folks, only you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.

We learned to gut a muffler, we washed our hair at dawn,
We spread our crinolines to dry in circles on the lawn.

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
And Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one's seen him since.

We danced to 'Little Darlin,' and sang to 'Stagger Lee'
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me Me.

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And only in our wildest dreams did we expect to see
A boy named George with Lipstick, in the Land That Made Me Me.

We fell for Frankie Avalon, Annette was oh, so nice,
And when they made a movie, they never made it twice.

We didn't have a Star Trek Five, or Psycho Two and Three,
Or Rocky-Rambo Twenty in the Land That Made Me Me.

Miss Kitty had a heart of gold, and Chester had a limp,
And Reagan was a Democrat whose co-star was a chimp.

We had a Mr. Wizard, but not a Mr. T,
And Oprah couldn't talk, yet, in the Land That Made Me Me.

We had our share of heroes, we never thought they'd go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.

For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren't named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led..

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was a virgin in the Land That Made Me Me.

We'd never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they weren't grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and 'gay' meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never coed in the Land That Made Me Me.

We hadn't seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And Hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me Me.

Buicks came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for condoms in the Land That Made Me Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill.

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,
And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me Me.

But all things have a seas on, or so we've heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.

They send us invitations to join AARP,
We've come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they're using smaller print in magazines.

And we tell our children's children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me Me.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Those Oldies but Goodies,” by Little Caesar and the Romans.

Dr. Forgot

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day 2008

Monday Mish-Mash
Tuesday Too

Out with the old, in with the new: Barack Obama entered the White House through the front door. The building that was built by slaves played host to the president and the president elect today. Pundits who have a shortage of air tome topics now that the election is over are asking how President Bush will handle the transition of power and whether he will be accommodating to the next president. Come on, Bush might have been a political bungler but one thing that he has always excelled at has been interpersonal relations. There is no reason to think that will change.

Ok, guys, you can quit whalin’ on Palin: During the election anybody who made fun of Governor Palin was called a hater by her party members. Now that the election is over the same slime-buckets who make a living trashing their opponents are sliming their own team members. I guess they just can’t help themselves. Their latest targets are Senator McCain who was made out to be responsible for everything that went wrong back to the fall of the Holy Roman Empire (which, by the way, was neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire). That music must sound like an oldie to McCain as the same group slimed him unmercifully during his attempted presidential run in 2000. The same group and their cronies has turned their venom on the Queen of all Igloos. What your mother told you as a child is turning out to be true – lie down with pigs and all you’ll ever get is dirty.

I don’t need the boss’s guff, I’m married: The latest term among those who examine career choices is, “work spouse.” No, it doesn’t mean your honey leaves the hive to become a worker bee, but according to Career “A work spouse is a co-worker of the opposite sex with whom you have a close platonic relationship. In many ways, these relationships can mirror a real marriage.” They even list seven signs to help you determine whether or not you are or have a work spouse. We have developed our own list to see if you have a work spouse: 1. Does your co-worker come to work with curlers and face cream? 2. Does your co-worker tell you to “Make your own damn coffee.” 3. Does your coworker tell you the meeting has been cancelled because she has a headache? 4. Does the co-worker tell you that you left the toilet seat up? 5. During Power Point presentations does your co-worker insist on using the remote? 6. Does your co-worker remind you that she could have been working for former employer who appreciates her work more than you do? And finally, 7. Does the co-worker “Forget” to tell you that her mother is coming to visit?

Goodbye Gift List: As the Bush family prepares to leave their home of the past eight years they will follow a long tradition of giving gifts to their longtime employees and friends. Some are so hard to buy for that the task will be difficult. Take Vice President Cheney, for example. Do they buy him a new undisclosed location? He already has more than enough Darth Vader outfits, so how about a lifelong supply of batteries for his defibrillator? For Condi Rice, perhaps he could fix her up with a blind date with a good ‘ole Texan. Wolfowitz, Rummy, and the gang that has already departed should be happy with “Thank You” cards. For Vladimir Putin a kaleidoscope that can be used to look into people’s soul. And finally for former press secretary Scott McClellan, a job interview with President Elect Obama.

Remember our veterans: Veterans Day, 2008. Regardless of one’s politics or whether or not you feel we should be in Iraq, or should have been in Viet Nam or Korea, today is the day to honor the brave men and women who serve our country. We recognize the brave soldiers, sailors, and marines and wish them safety. We also need to tend to them upon their return from active duty. So hug a vet today or at least take a moment to give thanks to them. Oh, and by the way, legend has it that many babies born during World War II were named “Furlough.” Don’t worry if you don’t understand that one. It just means you’re a youngster.

A little blogging music Maestro… “God Bless America,” by Kate Smith.

Dr. Forgot

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vegas Weekend Update

Election is over, Back to Unreality
Las Vegas Happenings

Aliante Station Celebrates Grand Opening Tuesday: Station Casinos’ newest property, Aliante Station, will open Nov. 11 in North Las Vegas. The $675 million Aliante Station will offer 202 hotel guest rooms and suites; six restaurants and a food court; 14,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and convention space; Regal Cinemas’ 16-screen movie theatre; Access Showroom, a 600-plus-seat entertainment concert venue and an array of popular gaming choices including traditional table games, a poker room, state-of-the-art race and sports book and slot machines. Aliante Station will represent Station Casinos’ 11th hotel-casino and its 18th property in Southern Nevada. For more information, contact Lori Nelson, Station Casinos, at

Caesars Palace Tops Off $1 Billion Expansion: Caesars Palace topped off its new 23-story, Octavius Tower as part of a $1 billion expansion. The resort’s sixth tower will add 665 hotel rooms to the property and will be located next to a new 263,000 square foot meeting and convention center and three new pools. The expansion is slated for completion in mid-2009. For more information, contact Debbie Munch, Caesars Palace, at

CityCenter Tops Out Mandarin Oriental: CityCenter celebrated the topping out of its third high-rise tower Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. The 47-story tower is part of MGM MIRAGE’s CityCenter project, a more than $9 billion urban metropolis set to open late 2009. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas are comprised of approximately 227 luxury condominiums situated on the upper floors of the 400-room hotel tower. Met with strong demand, Mandarin Oriental has sold 93 percent of its residential units, generating $656 million in sales. For more information, contact Natalie Mounier, Kirvin Doak, at

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Celebrates Expansion Milestone: As part of its $850 million expansion project, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino topped off its new North Tower slated for completion in September 2009. The 17-story building will feature 479 guest rooms, state-of-the-art meeting space, 10 luxurious pool suites and a 3,400 square foot penthouse. For more information, contact Cherryl Kaopua, Kirvin Doak, at

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts Announces New Development Plans: The Smith Center for the Performing Arts has announced new development plans for the world-class performing arts center to be built Downtown. Citing recommendations from design architect David M. Schwarz, the exterior of the Smith Center will now be built using Indiana Limestone instead of rose met quartzite. In addition, the 650-seat small hall previously envisioned for the campus has been removed from the building program. Plans for the cultural center now include a total of three theaters. The 2,050-seat main hall will be home for the Las Vegas Philharmonic and touring Broadway shows, in addition to housing the Nevada Ballet. A smaller, 300-seat theater will have a stage facing Symphony Park and host jazz, cabaret and other performances. The third theater will be a 200-seat flexible studio used for rehearsals, children’s theater and local community events. Groundbreaking for The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is slated for early 2009. For more information, please contact Morgan Kise, Kirvin Doak, at

Harrah’s Las Vegas Unveils Modern “M” Suites: Harrah’s Las Vegas recently introduced the new “M” suite product featuring sophisticated design and an array of high-tech accessories. The focal point of the bedroom is the dramatic headboard featuring a bold white frame with a chocolate brown patent leather center, set against a deep brown wall with vivid red velvet striping. Convenience and technology meet in the “M” suites with digital amenities including a top-of-the-line Denon sound system with MP3 player docking station and CD/ DVD player, sleek Bang & Olufsen telephones and wireless internet connection. Rooms also are equipped with 42” flat-panel, HD television sets and built-in screens in the bathroom mirrors. The 33 new “M” suites are located in the Mardi Gras tower and complement the property’s other recently renovated standard guest rooms and suites. For more information, contact Jamie Nielsen, Harrah’s Entertainment, at

ELEVEN Spa to Open at Town Square: ELEVEN, South Florida’s top spa escape, has announced that it will open a 20,000 square-foot sister location on the Las Vegas Strip before the end of the year. ELEVEN Vegas will be located in Town Square, the 1.5 million-square-foot regional lifestyle center with more than 100 shops, 12 restaurants and several entertainment venues. The spa will open in early December. The ELEVEN brand includes spas, signature skincare and makeup lines, a clothing boutique and more. ELEVEN Vegas will offer features such as a pool area with crystal chandeliers dripping into the water, a large specialty hair salon, 30 treatment rooms, 11 makeup stations, a signature brow bar and its very own helipad. For more information, contact Danika Daly, Shamin Abas PR, at

Disney’s The Lion King to Open at Mandalay Bay: Disney Theatrical Productions and Mandalay Bay have announced the award-winning Broadway phenomenon THE LION KING coming to the Mandalay Bay Theatre May 2, 2009, with preview performances beginning April 20, 2009. This production will join the six other highly successful companies of THE LION KING around the world in New York, London, Hamburg, Paris, Tokyo and Fukuoka. Mandalay Bay’s production of THE LION KING will be virtually identical to the other companies seen around the globe and will be staged with all of the same spectacular music, sets, and costumes that have made it a worldwide phenomenon. For more information, contact Erin Randell, MGM MIRAGE,

Donny & Marie and Flamingo Sign Two-Year Deal: Flamingo Las Vegas has announced that brother-sister duo Donny & Marie will extend their contract as the resort’s headliners for two years, through October 2010. Presented by Danny Gans and Chip Lightman of GansLight Entertainment, Donny & Marie is an energetic, 90-minute variety show that incorporates singing, dancing, comedy and the stars’ signature brother-sister banter. For more information, contact Jamie Nielsen, Harrah’s Entertainment, at

The Real Deal! Premieres at The Venetian: The Real Deal!, the first ever live, interactive poker-themed stage show, has arrived at The Venetian Showroom at The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. Starring comedian roaster Vinnie Favorito as the host, the world’s greatest poker professionals and the entire audience, the show introduces a new paradigm in entertainment and establishes a completely original live show format that combines fast-paced action and humor with the latest in wireless technology and abundant prizes, including a chance to win $1 million. The Real Deal! occurs Tuesday through Sunday with shows at 5 p.m. and primetime performances on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 - $125. For more information, contact LeAnn Tinch, The Venetian, at

SUSHISAMBA Strip Launches Signature SAMBAbrunch and SUSHI+SAKE 101:
SUSHISAMBA Strip is now serving its signature SAMBAbrunch every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located on the retail level of The Shoppes at The Palazzo, SUSHISAMBA now offers a family-style brunch menu complete with Continental and Brazilian, or Feijoada, breakfast selections for $22.95 per person. Additionally, the restaurant has announced an interactive, two-hour teaching and tasting event called SUSHI+SAKE 101. Beginning Nov. 5, participants will learn what it takes to become a master sushi chef while sipping sake alongside a five-course meal. The class introduces students to the art and history of this unique cuisine. For more information, contact Marina Nicola, Wagner Junker, at

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Extends Popular Exhibition Through New Years:
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art has announced the extension of its “American Modernism” exhibition. The compelling collection now can be viewed through Jan. 2, 2009. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), the exhibit features masterworks by Georgia O’Keeffe, Stuart Davis, Marsden Hartley, Arshile Gorky and others. For more information, contact Rebecca Ingram Frisch, MGM MIRAGE,

Paris Las Vegas to Host 2nd Annual Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration: Following last year’s inaugural celebration, Paris Las Vegas has announced its 2nd Annual Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration set to kick-off at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 20. Honoring the long tradition regulated by French law, Beaujolais Nouveau, a red wine made from Gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region of France, is released no sooner than the third Thursday of November when it is ready for consumption just six weeks after the harvest. Paris Las Vegas will host special events, tastings and unique Beaujolais Nouveau wine pairing menus at its restaurants. For more information, contact Tanesa Medlin, Mixed Media Entertainment, at

Virgin America Expands New York-Las Vegas Route: Virgin America, the California-based airline, announced it will add another daily non-stop flight between New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and Las Vegas McCarran International (LAS) airports. Effective Dec. 11, 2008, Virgin America will have two daily flights on this busy travel route. On Sept. 4, Virgin America launched the non-stop JFK-LAS route with a star-studded inaugural flight. For more information, contact Abby Lunardini, Virgin America, at

Catholics Humble in Las Vegas: Little known facts about the Catholic Church in Las Vegas --There are more churches in Las Vegas than casinos. During Sunday services at the offertory, some worshipers contribute casino chips as opposed to cash. Some are sharing their winnings - some are hoping to win. Since they get chips from so many different casinos, and they are worth money, the Catholic churches are required to send all the chips into the diocese for sorting. Once sorted into the respective casino chips, one junior priest takes the chips and makes the rounds to the casinos turning chips into cash. And he is known as .....................The Chip Monk! For more information put your tongue in your cheek and pass this one on to a friend.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Viva Las Vegas,” By Elvis.

Dr. Forgot

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Highs and Lows

Election Results: Hope: 1, Fear: 0

How did it happen: The election results are even more amazing when the following factors are considered: Hillary Clinton had been the anointed one for years. The Democratic Party planned to walk through the formality of a primary before selecting their candidate for coronation. But from Iowa onward Obama was smarter, better organized, better prepared, and hungrier. President Elect Obama won the election despite being beaten up and trashed during the primaries by the Hillary Clinton camp that threw out charges of sexism at those who did not support her. Hillary showed her mettle as a terrific campaigner who some say nearly followed a scorched earth battle plan. That turned out to be a two-edge sword, for although the Republican opposition used several of Hillary’s clips in anti-Obama’s ads, if one watches his performance before and after the primaries, it is clear that he improved tremendously against the strong competition. The long and arduous primary was so intense that many Hillary supporters were so committed to her they were unable to change their loyalty to the person she had been fighting. After the primaries it became clear that her tiara had been snatched from her and she coolly did the minimum to help her former opponent until late in the campaign.

More innovation, less traditionalism: The Obama vs. McCain campaign was like no other in American history. Conventional wisdom calls for the leaders of the Party to support the candidate of choice. The most influential Democrat in the country, former President Bill Clinton was noticeably absent from the campaign trail until very late when the outcome was already well in hand. As mentioned above Senator Hillary Clinton also had a difficult time helping to elect the person to the office that she and Bill clearly saw as hers. She did eventually overcome her hurt and in the same fashion that she had reinvented herself time again during the primary campaign, she got into it about the eighth inning. Her help was a little stronger than Bill’s but still was not a deciding factor.

Next in the traditional campaign would have been former primary candidate John Edwards who was strong with the working class and was expected to bring that constituency to the Obama camp. But he self-destructed with the tabloid news break of an illicit affair that produced a love child while his wife was fighting to be a cancer survivor. It was a Newt Gingrich type story but the result was that Edwards and his leadership disappeared from the campaign trail. Finally, the Party traditionally helps the candidate with money for TV and radio ad buys, but in a stroke of brilliance, the Obama party raised more money than the entire Democratic Party.

If Reagan was Teflon, Obama was Houdini: The Obama campaign neither invented the internet nor introduced it into political fundraising but took the task to a level never before seen. The campaign, as the nerds say, went viral, reaching hundreds of thousands of people who had neither been previously active nor donated to campaigns. In addition the campaign used its internet magic to reach supporters who were already both internet and politically savvy. Supporters were asked to donate small amounts - $ 25, $ 30, $ 50, even $ 100. The internet donations had almost a contest atmosphere to them, bringing supporters back almost daily for more requests. The phenomenon was not unlike a chat room in which people with like interests exchange ideas, gossip, chatter, and donations. No campaign had ever taken such a novel approach and one result was that young people in the 18-35 age group, many of them students who had not been politically active previously, “joined the club.” The campaign also assembled more than a million volunteers to register voters, hold rallies, and bring in many who had felt disenfranchised by the political system.

The Campaign itself: The campaign was a classic between traditional and innovative. The innovative side had several firsts including a female presidential candidate in the primaries, a non-white presidential candidate in the generals, a campaign that used the internet with an almost surgical precision, used text messages and cell phones to keep in touch with constituents, and focused on constituencies that had not played a major part in politics for decades. The traditional side offered an elderly white male candidate who by his own admission did not know how to use email, who campaigned in all the traditional ways, drawing mostly white audiences, and earning endorsements from mostly old white traditional men. Late in the campaign the traditional side threw the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass by adding a female to the ticket. The ploy seemed to be pure genius but upon further review, although she invigorated the party base, a lack of vetting of the candidate proved to be a detriment.

The traditional candidate did what had been done in campaigns for decades, tossing dirt, character assassinations, and other usual tricks such as having surrogates in the form of so-called 527 groups send daily missives that were wildly emotional with highly skewed “facts” in an attempt to discredit the opponent. The innovative candidate did not address the attackers talking points or return the below the belt punches. It had no 527 or surrogate groups return the attacks in kind. It simply either ignored them, or for those that were patently false, it responded with a rebuttal, often within minutes, then moved on.

Newest Republican sport: Pounding Palin: Now that the election is over, as in any contest to the victor go the spoils. For the losers, angry Conservatives have discovered a new target – their former Hockey Goddess Sarah Barracuda. Reports have leaked from the McCain camp that the head guy himself described his ex-running mate and her family as “Wasilla hillbillies who looted Neiman-Marcus from coast to coast.” Reporters who had taken a vow of silence until after the campaign was over are now saying that the Republicans are painting their former star as an overly ambitious politician who lobbied hard for the job and who, when told to buy three outfits for her and her hubby, bought nearly $ 200,000 worth of clothing for the entire family! Her rise and fall from grace reminds me of the line from “Ole Blue Eyes,” who once crooned, “The higher the top, the longer the drop.”

Out with a smile: We will close out today’s post with a few bits of tongue-in-cheek humor about each of the players. The rift in the McCain campaign became clear when he began to refer to Sarah as “That One.” When Sarah Palin began “going rogue,” her Secret Service detachment changed her code name from “Caribou Barbie” to “Joe Biden.” Joe the Plumber was not a licensed plumber so he was unable to save the McCain campaign from going down the toilet. President Bush’s dog Barney reportedly bit a Reuters reporter. Seems the newsman reported finding a “doggie surprise” on the White House sofa. Barack Obama had Bruce Springsteen lead off with “Born in the USA” at a fundraiser. His birth certificate was shown on the big screen to convince the right wing.

A little blogging music Maestro… Dedicate this one to the Vice President Elect: “The World Was a Mess But His Hair Was Perfect” by The Rakes.

Dr. Forgot

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, President Elect Obama

A New Day

In case you are Rip Van Winkle: Just in case you missed it, there was an election yesterday. Today we have a new president-elect, a new first family, and within a few months we’ll have the transition team in place and hope will fill the air. The burden will be a heavy one, as our country is in fiscal chaos and has a $ 10 billion dollar per month war festering. President-elect Obama is our new leader and every American must pull together to heal the wounds from which our country and its citizens bleed.

Some excerpts from President Elect Obama’s speech: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer… It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states… We are, and always will be, the United States of America…

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader…

(He then thanks all who have played a role in his life’s journey) But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you… (This victory) drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth. This is your victory.”

Some excerpts from Senator McCain’s speech: “My friends, we have -- we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly… In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving…

"Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face… I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together, to find the necessary compromises, to bridge our differences, and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited… It is natural -- it's natural tonight to feel some disappointment, but tomorrow we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again.”

“I would not be an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it... Tonight, more than any night, I hold in my heart nothing but love for this country and for all its citizens, whether they supported me or Senator Obama -- whether they supported me or Senator Obama, I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president.

“And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties but to believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history, we make history.”

Turning off the passion is difficult: Two strong candidates ran for the office of president of the United States. Both sides had their supporters and both fought for victory in their party. But just as the sportsmanship that comes with the end of a conference football game, win or lose, both sides shake hands, congratulate each other for a battle hard fought, and leave the field as allies in the same conference. So must the passions be set aside that were so strong just hours ago. That is what makes us a civilized country. We vote, and then we all support the winner. Such must be the case with our new president. We must rally as Americans to support our president to rebuild the economy, the healthcare system, and all the other challenges that must be met. Should the President Elect seek my counsel I would advise him to invite Senator McCain to join his cabinet. Regardless of who you endorsed for president, I urge you to follow that person’s exhortation and become a true American.

We are not alone on this planet: Leaders of countries around the world watched the U.S. election. Below are a few of their comments:

"With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America's identity, have expressed with force their faith in progress and the future.

"At a time when we must face huge challenges together, your election has raised enormous hope in France, in Europe and beyond. France and Europe ... will find a new energy to work with America to persevere peace and world prosperity."

"I look forward to meeting with the President-elect so that we can continue to strengthen the special bond that exists between Canada and the United States.

"In the weeks and months ahead Canadian officials and diplomats will be working closely with members of President-elect Obama's transition team. Ministers in our government look forward to building a strong working relationship with their counterparts in a new Obama cabinet."


"Senator Obama will be taking office at a critical juncture. There are many pressing challenges facing the international community, including the global financial crisis and global warming. We look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama and his team to address these challenges."


"President (Asif Ali) Zardari expressed the hope that Pakistan-U.S. relations will be enhanced under the new American leadership that received a popular mandate in Tuesday's poll."

A little blogging music Maestro… Replay yesterday’s tune: “A New Day” by Celine Dion.

Dr. Forgot

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote Tomorrow

RAIN Minus 1

Item First – Let it RAIN: From one month out until the presidential Election Day we have begun each post with a review of the Remove All Incumbents Now (RAIN) campaign. A good rain washes clean all the road scum, dust and filth. We hope that a cleansing of Congress will result in the firing of the legislators who are part of the group that bailed out Wall Street with nearly a trillion dollars, at least 150 billion of which was blatant authorized pork by Democrats to appease Republicans who had previously rejected the bill then changed their vote allowing it to pass after being seduced by pork. We are not sure how much of the bailout, if any, was actually needed.

Early Voting: Early voting in Nevada closed Friday – a state holiday, not because it is Halloween but Oct. 31 is the day Nevada became a state. About 600,000 people had cast their votes in Nevada by close of polls Friday. That number exceeds the total who voted just two elections ago. Colorado has seen 70% of the number who cast votes in the last election vote early. If this campaign has done nothing else it has stimulated interest in one of democracy’s most precious rights. Regardless of the outcome of the state, local, and national elections you need to be proud of yourself for voting and must also support the next president – but watch him as well. Stay involved and remember that we hired him and if he does not live up to our standards, he can be fired at the end of his contract.

Why it is important to vote Obama for President: This is the first time I have overtly come out and supported a candidate. This is the reason: The Republican Party is in disarray if we are to believe the pundits and reporters. As the polls increasingly show Obama in the lead infighting within the Republican Party threatens to tear it apart down to its very fabric and leave it in utter chaos. That is a good thing, for from chaos comes opportunity. Consider this: with the Republican Party in chaos, an opportunity arises to jettison the right wing nuts, the religious zealots, and the Atwater/Rove - style slime mongers, and build the Party from the ground up with REAL American values. See more about this idea below.

Nothing but excess: We have been spoiled as our country has grown and prospered from the end of World War II onward. Our homes have increased in size from an average of less than 1500 square feet to over 2500 square feet. The stock market has grown rapidly and many of us enjoyed watching our 401k, stock portfolios, and savings accounts grow. As children we had maybe one car in our house, now we have one for each member of the family over the age of 16. We have color TV, cable, satellite radio, computers, electronic games, and toys ad infinitum. We have become a society of consumers rather than one of savers. We drive gas guzzlers, travel at the drop of a hat, eat out regularly, and enjoy many more choices than our parents and grandparents had. Then the market crashed.

State of the Union: We are in a $ 10 billion per week war that we cannot win. Our environment is dying, our air is unhealthy, our economy is in the toilet, health insurance costs have skyrocketed, and we are among the unhealthiest of nations in the G-8. We have a high mortality rate, the income tax structure is a mess, FEMA is a joke, and we are perhaps as divided amongst ourselves as we have been since the Civil War. We tremble at the thought of terrorism, are required to remove our shoes and half our clothes before going through an airport, we recently paid $ 4.00 per gallon of gas which threatened to go even higher (it will), and most of that happened on the watch of the current administration. Our Congress has socialized the money lenders with a trillion dollars they call a bailout. The Republicans want another chance but offer no new ideas. The Democrats also want a chance to fix things. I say let them try. We have little more to lose.

Giving the Democrats a chance: The Republicans have controlled the presidency for the past eight years and the senate for six of those eight years. It was on their watch that the sky has fallen. The McCain campaign has operated like a pinball bouncing from idea to idea while spreading gossip and trashing their opponent. They have offered little in the way of solutions. So I say it is time to give the other team a chance. If their election means Congressional Republicans get tossed out and one party dominates the Senate, House and White House, that is not ideal but so be it. If the new group does not turn the country around, when the next elections roll around, fire them.

Few will argue that Congress as it now works (or doesn’t work) has become corrupt with the infusion of PAC money, so-called 527s, and lobbyists. We must give the new administration a mandate to clean up the system and vote out any Congressman who has been a part of it. Every two years when election time rolls around throw the bums out who have not lived up to the “New America” promise. The voter has the power to do that.

What happens to the Republican Party: While the Democrats are trying to undo the damage that has been caused by a corrupt Congress, the Republican Party will have time to rebuild. As stated above, they need to jettison the right wing nuts hate and fear mongers, and religious zealots who would put ideology and religious fervor first. Then they must identify strong leaders with strong ideals. Perhaps the governor of California, or Ron Paul, or even Ralph Nader could form a nucleus of people who have not been corrupted by the system. Follow some of the good things that Candidate Obama has done by reaching out to young people and others not involved in the system. Imbue the party with philosophies of some of our greatest leaders such as Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and the like. Include bright energetic women and minorities in the mix. Seek council from the likes of Colin Powell, Bill Gates, Suze Orman, Stephen Hawking, Robert L. Johnson, Linda B. Buck, Dolores Huerta, and leaders from all walks of life. Now THAT would be a party I could get excited about.

The alternative: The alternative to giving Barack Obama and his party a chance to do their best to repair our ailing country is to reelect a party that is in disarray, that is itself infected by far right radicals, hate mongers and religious zealots who bully more moderate members of the party. The choice is to continue on the path to Perdition that the country is now following, or allow a new generation to try to fix it. The choice is yours. Literally.

A little blogging music Maestro… “A New Day” by Celine Dion.

Dr. Forgot

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