chills, squeeze plays and sucker punches
From the 1-25-1998 Daily Sparks Tribune
you would aspire to the fortune fame brings, you must run the risk of
being served up as sacrifice at the altar of mass amusement.
Herewith, the Mental
Moonrock Dishonorable Mentions for distinguished despicable conduct
at the holy sacrifice of the sacrilege.
THE WHOLLY SHEET AWARD
goes to the area's number one hate radio station, KKKOH (yes, it's spelled
right!). The station's afternoon King Kleagle has banned Travus T. Hipp
from calling his show. That's a helluva slap at the guy who still holds
the all-time audience record for the station's afternoon block.
Now well into his fourth
decade in the business (he works in California), a compelling case can
be made that Travus stands as the best who ever practiced the art. He
got his start with the legendary Tom Donohue who created the album rock
format at KSAN-fm in The City.
Alas and alack, the local
moonrock behind the microphone won't let anyone criticize his station
or his act. What a wimp.
THE WYNNDY CITY TROPHY
goes to Gomorrah South casino magnate Steve Wynn. His vendetta against
Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith and his publisher has
brought down one of the true champions of American letters.
Barney Rosset, 75, fought
long and hard to publish unknown or controversial authors. You might
have heard of some of them: Henry Miller ("Tropic of Cancer"), William
Burroughs ("The Naked Lunch"), D.H. Lawrence ("Lady Chatterley's Lover"),
Samuel Beckett ("Waiting for Godot"), Malcolm X, Che Guevara, Jean-Paul
Sartre and Eugene Ionesco.
"Rosset became one of
the leading postwar political and avant-garde publishers," the Associated
Press recently reported.
"The crisis was brought
on by a lawsuit involving a book he had nothing to do witha terrible
irony for a man who sacrificed a great deal of money to publish what
he thought everyone had the right to read," AP stated.
"Last summer, a Las Vegas
jury awarded Steve Wynn $3.1 million in a libel case against Barricade
Books, which had published an unauthorized biography of the casino operator
and which also happens to distribute Rosset's small imprint, Blue Moon,"
according to AP.
"Wynn's suit wasn't even
based on the biography but on a sentence in the Barricade catalog that
linked Wynn with the Genovese crime family. Wynn said the information
was false. Barricade publisher Lyle Stuart has no libel insurance and
has filed for bankruptcy, forcing Rosset to do likewise. An appeal against
the libel judgment would take yearstoo long to help Rosset now,"
He has not paid the rent
on his New York apartment in months.
"I have nothing," Rosset
says, not even a bank account.
Maybe Wynn will comp
him at the Mirage buffet.
OPRAH DOPES. The
TV talk empress can well afford good lawyers against a ludicrous libel
beef brought by Texas cattlepersons. But will poorer commentators and
journalists be reluctant to discuss wrongdoing in the future? Chilled
silence is the purpose behind such legal actions.
UP IN SMOKE, TOO.
Can you believe the turkeys trumpeting the wonders of the tobacco settlement?
Has it never occurred to anyone that governments, by becoming partners
in the profitability of big tobacco, thus ensure the corporate drug
GO TAX YOURSELF.
Can you believe those TV spots trying to convince us to impose a national
sales tax on ourselves? The less you make, the larger the percentage
of your income will go to taxes under yet another ghastly transfer of
wealth to the wealthy. Do they think we're that stupi...don't answer
seems the appropriate rallying cry for those who once worked at the
now-closed Nevada Club. It will spread among the 19,000 downsized last
week by AT&T...Justice is not only blind, but damnably slow if you're
out of work because you demanded your rights. The long-suffering Reno
Hilton union security guards will soon get their day in court. Their
charges of illegal termination go before a federal judge in Reno on
March 9. The next day, Sparks Kmart warehouse management faces another
federal trial over alleged illegal conduct in last August's union election.
Finagling University of Nevada-Reno President Joe Crowley doesn't like
following orders from his lessers on the board of regents. When they
took away his legal staff, he tried to shunt funds from four salaried
positions to get his lawyer back. The regents caught him and closed
the cookie jar...Rumor has it that Sparks Regent James Eardley will
not seek re-election this fall.
Mother Jones magazine's MoJo Wire, an outfit tamely called
the National Federation of Republican Assemblies has an active Nevada
chapter. They've taken over the California GOP and advocate replacement
of democracy with a Bible-based theocracy.
ONE JUST MAN.
Reno Gazette-Journal columnist Rollan Melton last Tuesday did his community
proud, pleading in vain for sane use of the Reno riverfront. His passionate,
personal plaint before the Reno city council was never reported in his
own newspaper, itself a profitable bastion of mindless boosterism.
Purists often throw darts at me and my colleagues in columny for harboring
various nefarious conflicts of interest.
I like to think I'm an
equal opportunity harasser and, on occasion, have done the job pretty
well. One longtime Sparks official once told me that after reading this
column for years, she still failed to focus a fix on my political slant
or party registration. Such occasions settle accounts receivable in
Nobody proceeds without
preferences and predilections, not even a guy living in an outback shack
in Montana. I thus periodically print a confession.
Here's a current mea
culpa and caveat emptor. I'm an Italian who has relatives in the old
world (California) and the old country (east of the Mississippi).
I am the son of immigrant
farm workers, born into a union household. My mother walked picket lines
before I was born.
My job description includes
making life miserable for the rich, famous and powerful, taking special
pleasure in goosing former skinny kids who became fat cats and forgot
which side of town they came from.
I fight for worker fairness
and passionately promote progressive politicians. I freelance for a
few publications and work for labor lawyers, trade unions and Sen. Joe
Neal (D-North Las Vegas). I am honored that the gentleman has asked
me to manage his campaign to become the first African-American governor
west of the Mississippi here in the state once known as Mississippi
Enough about interests.
Time to go create some conflicts. Fasten your seat belts, we're in for
a bumpy ride this year.
Be well. Raise hell.
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