Grasshopper Soup: a royal fuss in Las Vegas
February 9, 2010
LAKE TAHOE and#8212; Wayne Newton, the King of Las Vegas, and other Vegas VIPand#8217;s are freaking out because President Barack Obama gave a speech and said (if I may paraphrase slightly) that, if youand#8217;re smart, you donand#8217;t blow your college tuition in Las Vegas hoping for a royal flush. Of course, Obama was absolutely right. Maybe Wayne wanted him to say, and#8220;Look (Obama likes to say and#8220;Lookand#8221;) people, donand#8217;t worry about your future. Iand#8217;ll take care of everything. Go blow all your tuition money in Las Vegas so my buddy Wayne can add to his Arabian horse collection, and all those casinos can pay their electric bills.and#8221;
Protest all you want, Wayne. Itand#8217;s a free country. Nobody has to listen. Just watch out. Obama might raise your taxes to pay everyoneand#8217;s college tuition.
Wayne has a vested interest in Las Vegas tourism. But that wouldnand#8217;t have anything to do with why the silver throated glamour boy got a little defensive, would it? Danke schoen, Wayne. It is admirable that you have the courage to defend the land of the sometimes self-destructive obsession of gambling, scandalous affairs, whirlwind weddings and instant divorces, but what damage could the presidentand#8217;s true and accurate statement have caused you? Whatand#8217;s all the fuss about? It must be slim pickings on The Strip these days.
Having spent all his life in the wonderful world of make believe and show business, Wayne might be showing signs of a serious identity crisis if he canand#8217;t deal with people who freely speak the truth in the real world. I hope Obamaand#8217;s wise advice doesnand#8217;t cause Wayne too much financial harm. Horse feed is getting really expensive these days.
Wayne Newton is one of the worldand#8217;s greatest showmen, so he, of all people, should understand what itand#8217;s like when a politician hits the stage. Politics and show business have much in common. Obama was just relating to his audience, like Wayne, who knows itand#8217;s all about a good performance, and, oh yeah, doing whatever you want, even when confronted with sufficient evidence that more than half the country wants it done differently.
Itand#8217;s reasonable to assume that the King of Las Vegas would know something about the reputation of the little megalopolis he rules over. For instance, Sin City already has a bad name. The whole country has been calling it Sin City and Lost Wages for decades. Where have you been Wayne and#8212; Hirschdale? Vegas gets more bad publicity just by word of mouth than nuclear waste dump sites get from lawsuits filed by environmentalists. Whatand#8217;s the problem all of a sudden? At least the president wasnand#8217;t declaring war on Americaand#8217;s beloved 24-hour, energy depleting desert playground.
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It would be an unlucky royal flush if Newtondom went down the drain. Maybe Harry Reid can bail out Viva Las Vegas if all the loyal subjects get smart and quit gambling.
Las Vegas isnand#8217;t all bad. After all, it does host professional bull riding. And Wayne Newton is a great American success story. Heand#8217;s like one of Americaand#8217;s favorite cookies. Youand#8217;re darn tootinand#8217;, we like Wayne Newton. But we like hanging on to our money even more.
In other news not worth mentioning except for the fact that it is contrary to the idea of a free country, American skier Lindsey Vonn appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated posing in a ski racing suit, on skis, in a downhill tuck position, and womenand#8217;s groups are complaining that the picture is and#8220;too sexual.and#8221; If thatand#8217;s the case, I would like to file a formal complaint against Playboy magazine for not dedicating itself exclusively to pictures of Ski Bunnies in full ski outfits.
A woman skiing is too sexual? OK, we Tahoe locals get it. But all this fuss over nothing is enough to make you think the Puritans just landed on Plymouth Rock yesterday.
and#8212; Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.