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"Media is the plural of mediocre."
— Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017)

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes.

Everybody knows.

I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island.

Leon Russell, 1942-2016

Sands of time blast the milestones of life
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 1-16-2019 Sparks Tribune / Updated 1-18, 1-19 and 1-21-2019 / Expansions in blue

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Barbwire wins 9th Nevada Press Association award

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We Don't Need No Education
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The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

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To peruse your proper place on this planet or its general neighborhood, just venture outside on a clear Nevada night and look up.

Who or what will be remembered by whatever life forms abide in these parts a thousand or even a hundred years hence? Your guess is as good as mine.

Our measure is not the poundage with which we impact this mortal coil (adults are 60 percent water), but rather our infinitesimal impact while interacting with our fellow life forms.

"Maybe we're all just penciled in," advertising legend and satirist Stan Freberg once noted as part of a series of religious radio commercials.

So sharpen your pencils for those deserving a brief sketch.

FOR MY DAUGHTERS. Debra Joyce Donlevy and Donna Leslie Cline shared the same birthdate (Jan. 16, 1959) and the same star-crossed fate. The two friends were severely injured in a 1978 rural Nevada car crash. Debbie died because of an incompetent doctor at a cow county hospital. I've written about the risks of getting sick or injured in the outback and nothing's changed. (Barbwire 4-2-2006).

Donna went on to become Miss Wheelchair Nevada, Miss Wheelchair America and a major market news anchor. When she died in 1999, no less than Texas Gov. George W. Bush marked her passing on his official website.

What might this world have become had they lived longer.

FOR SPARKS. Last year, Bill Galt's death made local and national news as the founder of the Olive Garden restaurants which were originally called The Good Earth. Bill Galt got his start in Sparks with a chicken drive-thru which he converted into "The Big Potato" in the 1970s. The short-lived enterprise featured every variety of baked potato which could be conceived by the human imagination.

Its strongest impact was a TV spot by film maker Jim Mitchell who used Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra (aka the theme from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey) as background music over what looked like a shot taken from a spaceship flying over a desolate planet.

Upon closer perusal, it was a landscape of potatoes. Galt ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 1964 and the primary for lieutenant governor in 1966. He died in Reno on 2 August 2018 at age 89.

FOR WONDER WOMAN. Stunt woman and ladies' world land speed record-holder (512 mph) Kitty O'Neill died on Nov. 2, 2018, in Eureka, South Dakota. In Oregon's Alvord Desert in December, 1976, her first run topped 608 mph. (Two runs in opposite directions are averaged for the record.) She was prevented by her car's ownership from going for the men's record of 630.4 mph because the attempt had been contractually committed to stunt driver and Hollywood director Hal Needham who was away helming a film at the time. Toy companies had the rights to make an action figure of Needham and went to court for an injunction. He never set the record. They should'a bet on Kitty. (Two years later, Mattel did so.)

The record of 763 mph (1,227.985 km/h, Mach 1.020) was set by Royal Air Force pilot Andy Green (UK) on October 15, 1997 in the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nevada (pre-Burning Man). Kitty also set a world speed record in water skiing (104.85 mph) and was an Olympic-class swimmer and diver.

She was perhaps most famous for taking a dive off a skyscraper. (Barbwire 1-24-2018)

Kitty's photo appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal in 1979 after she "established a new high-fall record when she plunged 127 feet from atop the Valley Hilton in Sherman Oaks," the Los Angeles Times reported. She did it in full Wonder Woman drag, standing in for TV series star Lynda Carter. In its 30 December 2018 edition, The New York Times Magazine selected just 30 of the hundreds of prominent people who died last year for an extensive last hurrah. There stood Kitty with the likes of Aretha, Margo Kidder, Vic Damone, Dick Tuck, Tom Wolfe, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Dwight Clark, Rusty Staub and Stan Lee. The Times included a color shot of Kitty standing next to a race car and the full-page black-and-white corollary to the Wonder Woman dive. Taken from ground level next to the inflated cushion which she dared not miss, you can barely make out a tiny figure executing a perfect swan dive in mid-air 13 stories up. BTW: The Times Mag led off the 30 retrospectives with Kitty's story: "She overcame tragedy by daring anything and outrunning everything," stated the headline of Michael Paterniti's splendid story.

At the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1978, I discussed land speed records with Kitty, Formula One driver Jean Pierre-Jarier, and CanAm driver and future Nevada State Sen. Randolph Townsend, D&R-Reno. Kitty said she was gearing up for another run but wanted to use rubber tires for "more traction."

Jarier was aghast. "You need a steel tire at those speeds. There is racing and there is suicide!"

And there was Kitty, fearless as always. And by the way, totally deaf, a result of measles, mumps and smallpox contracted as a baby in Corpus Christi, Texas. Sen. Townsend and I mourn our old friend's passing.

Andrew: Thank you for letting me know of the passing of our friend: the remarkable Kitty O’Neill. She was a memorable athlete and person with great character and an infectious sense of humor. She rose above the barriers of her time (gender and size) to set an athletic standard that has yet to be broken. I will forever remember her for her warmth, smile, and humanity. The world (and particularly the US!) can use more people that have the qualities of Kitty. She made those around her better people. May she rest in peace. Respectfully, Randolph

FOR THE CAPTAIN. Darryl Dragon, ex-Beach Boys keyboardist and The Captain of the "The Captain and Tenille," died last year. He and his former wife had the biggest hit of 1975 with "Love Will Keep Us Together," the only single to top two million in sales that year. It didn't keep them together. They eventually divorced in 2014. They lived many years in Washoe Valley, Nevada, between Reno and Carson City. Toni Tenille was quite active for local charities while in these parts.

FOR THE STARS. Dr. Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018), the Mother of the Hubble Telescope, was a former Renoite.

"In Reno, of course, the skies were very clear, a beautiful place to observe the sky, and we lived on the edge of the city at the time" (when she was 11 years old). "We had very few lights. I started an astronomy club with the girls in the neighborhood. We learned the constellations, read astronomy. I just never lost my interest in it." (The New York Times 12-31-2018)

The stars are now her destination. As is the brightest star we lost last year, Aretha.

Saturday, Jan. 19 — 11:00 a.m., women's march from the Reno Arch to City Hall.
In Las Vegas from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., a memorial celebration for longtime Nevada Assemblymember Bob Price, D-N. Las Vegas, will be held at the Robert E. “Bob” Price Park and Recreation Center, 2100 Bonnie Lane, Las Vegas 89110. The facility was dedicated in his honor in 2007.

FINALLY, FOR POETRY. "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." So wrote the great romantic poet John Keats, before dying of TB in his twenties. He thought himself a failure.

'Twas not so.

But "this monster mannunkind," as poet e.e. cummings termed us, are not only writ in but made of water. Which washes away pencil dust rather efficiently.

Take care of each other.

Be well. Raise hell.
Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
être bien, élever l'enfer (And my French.)
Stammi bene. Scatenare l'inferno. (And Italian.)

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, superannuated labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and BallotBoxing.US and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988 and received its ninth Nevada Press Association award (6th first-place) at the 29 Sept. 2018 NPA annual convention in Las Vegas. (Such ephemera and about six bucks will get you a Latte Mocha Cotsafracas Chingade at just about any Starbux worldwide, guaranteed.)


PINK SLIPS, PURGES AND PRUNING. I need to hear from recently purged Eldorado Hotel-Casino, Circus Circus-Reno and Silver Legacy employees. Barbwire spies report perhaps 100 workers getting the ax just in time for the holidays. In this newspaper, at Barbwire.US and in the London Guardian, I have lamented the deepening desperation of renters here in Tesla boomtown.

I'm now getting complaints about medical and dental practices purportedly pruning their patient loads, cutting loose the less-lucrative. That's de facto malpractice but medical professionals are lawsuit-proof under Nevada law — unless you're rich enough to personally pay a few hundred grand in legal fees.

That's why TV lawyers only advertise for arrest or accident cases these days. If you've been cast adrift by patient pruning, call me at (775) 882-TALK or e-mail me.

Sore-oppressed Soul-Sister Cities: Menlo Park and Reno-Sparks-Fernley share similarly sad high-tech stretch marks.
"All humanity has left the area": paying for Tesla's Gigafactory
Barbano and Nevada conservatives decry corporate welfare depredations

By Rory Carroll / The Guardian 7-3-2018

Editor's Note: The Guardian publishes 180,000 newspapers daily in London and environs and generates ONE BILLION monthly web page views.
(I should live so long.)

"Facebook is taking everything": rising rents drive out Silicon Valley families
Property companies advertising their proximity to Facebook’s campus are giving low-income residents a choice: pay a huge rent increase or move out
By Sam Levin / The Guardian 6-20-2018

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For all the news you never knew you needed to know 'til now: Tell your friends and friendly enemies to subscribe to Barbwire Confidential for warm laughter, cheap thrills, hot scoops and occasional cold logic at BallotBoxing.US/ Cheap at twice the price. (Hush Hush!)

Last year's dark foreshadowings unfortunately became reality. I thus suggest inoculation by signing onto the HushHush! list at BallotBoxing.US/ It's cheap as well as enlightening entertainment. Thank you kindly for your support.

Smoking Guns—>

Bob Price: Cowboy, lawmaker, union man and Elvis fan
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 1-9-2019 Sparks Tribune

Crystal Balls: Peerless Predixions 2019 & Beyond
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno / Expanded from the 12-26-2018 Sparks Tribune

Barbwire 30th Anniversary Trilogy
Now well into a 4th decade of equal opportunity harassment of the rich, famous & powerful
Sunday, August 12, 2018, marked 30 years since the first Barbwire appeared in the Rail City's newspaper of record since 1910. "The Chilling of Hot August Nights" brought the first of nine Nevada Press Association awards. I'll add more memories of the early days of the Barbwire as time, space and the political season allow. (See above right.)

Part 3: Biting the hand that feeds me
GOP '18 upsets: Déjà vu all over again
Laxalt and Heller favored to win in November
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 9-5-2018 Sparks Tribune
Part 2: Biting the moonhowlers
Good reasons to lie to those pesky pollsters
Heller eats sheep balls to get the courage to perpetrate guilt by association
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-29-2018 Sparks Tribune
Part 1: Bitten by my buds
Machine Gun Michele and her low-caliber, low-cut friends
The censored Barbwires of the 2015 legislature finally see ink and my fantasy fiancée bares all
Barbwire by Andrea Luigi Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 8-22-2018 Sparks Tribune

30 Years before the masthead: Barbano remembers the Barbwire's greatest hits
By Kayla Anderson / Sparks Tribune 8-22-2018

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

$75 dead or alive: Still crazy after all these years
A mass murderer becomes famous on TV a century later

How come nobody noticed 'til now?
Barbwire by Andrew Barbáno
/ Expanded from the 2-21-2018 Sparks Tribune

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners Max Blank and Isaac Harris. Is not Mr. Harris eerily familiar to television junkies?

From the Emmy-winning opening slate of the blockbuster "Cheers" television series. Combined with its "Frasier" spinoff, it lasted 20 years.
The "shirtwaist kings" immigrated from Russia and made a fortune manufacturing "Gibson Girl"-style blouses. (Photo, "The American Experience"/PBS)
The Emmy-winning opening slate of the "Cheers" television series before the "slate" of creators is superimposed. Looks like Mr. Harris' dead ringer (at left) is having a bloody good time.

"Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Chico Marx disguised as Groucho Marx in "Duck Soup" (1933)
Back to the story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist holocaust

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Copyright © 1982-2019 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 50-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is the executive producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Betty J. Barbano
2-7-1941 / 12-27-2005

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