What's Up!

March 28, 2004


This last piece of the Vegas Report Series got lost in the shuffle somewhere, so here it is. And I'm going to talk about how this was a "business" trip. When I mention that, people often give me a weird look like, "Ya buddy, business. Whatever you say." I admit it, initially this was at most, a working vacation (4 Aces related, which by the way may get reorganized, yet again). But once I discovered that a certain event was taking place the weekend we were going to be there, it became a legitimate business trip. After all, I was now attending Las Vegas as a member of the working media.

Remember that radio program that I beat into your head that I host and produce? Well, as host and executive producer of the random radio show, that does indeed broadcast in Orange County, I have credentials that establishes me as a member of the press. You better recognize.

Truthfully, I don't over-utilize my press credentials to the maximum I can. I only use it if I'm gathering material for the show. And this event in Las Vegas fit the bill perfectly.

So what was this event? Why the 2004 Adult Video News Awards and Tradeshow (more commonly known as the AVNs. In essence, the porn Oscars!)

We opted out of going to Awards show, but we spent two days working the Tradeshow. Let's start with Friday. When we had arrived, the show opened up to the fans. And it was absolutely packed. As me and my crew headed to the media room to register, we pass the ticket booths. No joke, the line just to get a ticket was an hour and a half long. Zoinks!

We tried to move through the crowd and it was mad house. Mad, mad, mad house. The longest lines were for Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson. We tried to get close for some interviews, but it was way too busy. We scouted the scene to pick our spots for the next day when we'd come during the trade-and-press only times.

Of course that night, we were up until 4:30am. Woke up at 9am. Imagine 4 of us, running around desperately trying to get ready to be at the Sands Convention Center to maximize our time there. Surprisingly, none of us were groggy. (I think I ended up with only 12 hours of sleep during the 4 days I was there).

Most of the adult film superstars weren't there as of yet. So we went around interviewing the fine folks from Real Dolls (makers of life-size silicone & latex dolls with a titanium and PVC skeleton. By far, the most interesting interview I've ever done), Virgin Again (makers of a lubricant that promotes vaginal tightening), Boy Toys (little vibrators that look like Playmobil figures), Bonkum (makers of bed stirrups among others), and other fine adult novelty manufacturers and distributors. In in my journeys through the show, I scored an interview with the President and COO of Private Entertainment, whose "Private Gladiator" won a truckload of AVNs last year was trying to score again with "Cleopatra" (it didn't win).

I took a few pictures of Val with some of the actresses there. Sorry, but most of those pictures are for the personal archives. And got a few autographs as well. But of course, instead of having the autographs made to me, everything was signed to Valerie. Porn stars love it when the ladies come up to them. All in all, I got a good chunk of material for the show that I had to break it up over two broadcasts. If you want more details, you should have tuned in. Maybe I'll slap it on a CD and sell it on the random radio shoppe (which is getting overhauled as we speak). Just maybe.

But let me share a few observations about the show. There were a good number of ladies looking like porn stars that were attending as fans. I was informed by a staffer at one of the film booths that these ladies come to break into the industry. Yes, porn star wannabes. Usually, they bring in their own "demos" to show to the big film company to land some work. Hey, if you've got the dream.

But if you want to see the interesting goods in a show like this, go to the back of the room. Near the entrances for both press and public, you'll find the big companies paying for big booths: Vivid, Wicked, Adam & Eve, etc. In the back is where you'll find significantly smaller groups trying to hock their wares. The aforementioned Virgin Again was tucked away back there. And being part of the press scored us free samples of their aforementioned vagina tightener and erectile enhancer that works better than Viagra, especially if you're a diabetic. That that we need any of that... yet (I'll hold onto this for when I'm 70+).

Last observation about the show. The number one complaint of the porn stars is not the fondling, or the drooling, or any comments hurled their way. It's the flash photography. When talking to Stephanie Swift, Val asked how she's holding up on, what was then, day 3. Her sole complaint was that her eyes hurt with all the flashes from the cameras. So friends, if you're going to a tradeshow of this nature, easy on the flashes. Do it for the ladies.

Coming up in June is the Erotica-LA tradeshow (click over to erotica-la.com for all the info). Now that I have a little seasoning, and a little more advance warning, perhaps I'll have time to do, ahem, "research." Of course, once I informed Station Manager Connie that I got some great material for the show and that the Erotic-LA show is coming, she got all excited and was making plans to get all the KTST on-air talent into that show. I love radio.

Well friends, that's a wrap for the Vegas Report. Of course, for more info on the random radio show, click over to randomradioshow.com and for a recap of the 2004 AVN Awards, click over to avnawards.com.

March 20, 2004


So to start the year, I proudly proclaimed my Next VII. The big stories to watch for in 7 categories. With almost 3 months into the new year, let's see how I've fared.

World News: U.S. Forces Invades Syria/Indonesia/Oman (circle one or all) in "Ongoing" War on Terror.
Verdict: Wrong
With the war on terror slightly stagnating, I though G-Dub would try something else, but Iraq has not proven the PR success the White House had hoped. And with it being election year, any new military action would be seen as a attempt to save his job. Sure, the year is still young, but any chances for a new invasion are slim to none. (While I got this wrong, I'm glad I did)

Technology: Apple to unveil the iPod Phone.
Verdict: Jury Still Out
Apple has rolled out new iPod minis in new fresh colors. A step in the right direction, but no grumbling about an iPod phone yet. Still, in the fast-paced tech world, anything can pop out overnight. And as this went to press, internet service provider Earthlink announced it would offer a phone service. Cross-pollination has begun.

Politics: The Dogfight Between Clark and Dean
Verdict: Wrong. So very wrong.
Remember when Dean was the frontrunner? Yeah, they people started to vote and Dean didn't win a single primary, except his own state of Vermont and that was after he withdrew. Clark at least scored Oklahoma, but little else. Neither one ended up in the final two. I was way off.

Health: The Return of SARS.
Verdict: Correct
As mentioned before, the first confirmation of SARS appeared when the Next VII went to press. But again, let me reiterate that Disease Blows!

Science: The U.S. Returns to The Moon.
Verdict: Correct
So technically, the U.S. won't actually return to the Moon this year, but a big proclamation with lots of fanfare came out saying that the U.S. space program was going to actively pursue putting another man on the moon by 2010. And as predicted in the Next VII, the reason for the second moonshot was "we can't send a man to Mars without trying the newer technology on a local trip." And as this update went to press, China announced it's putting a rover on the moon by 2012. Coincidence?

Business: The Fall of the Dollar vs. the Euro.
Verdict: Jury Still Out
Exchange rates have held at 1 euro = 1.22 dollar. The exchange rate for the sterling, however, has risen to 1 pound = 1.83 dollars. Currencies can be fickle, and with the euro still in it's infancy, it could take a while for this prediction to happen, but not out of the question for it to be swift.

Sports: The Rising Number of Lady Golfers in Men's Events.
Verdict: Jury Still Out
Just when it seemed that the floodgates were about to open, it seems the ladies have taken a step back. Why? Strictly a PR move. If all these women play in events so soon and often, the trend burns out quickly and is labeled a fad. You'll see a lady here and there, but probably not the huge rise I was saying. However, I still believe that one will make the cut. Only if that does NOT happens will I change the verdict to Wrong.

Score as of March 20:
Correct: 2
Wrong: 2
Jury Still Out: 3

And in case you missed it,
here is the Next VII.

March 3, 2004


Now polar bears come in 3 great flavors: Original, Grape, & Lime.

See, the random radio show broke news of a green polar bear in Singapore. This was 7 months after we talked about a purple polar bear in Argentina. What gives? Let's review what has happened.

Location: Singapore

Name: Sheba & Inuka

Age: Sheba:???, Inuka: 13 years

Cause: Algae

The Info: The white coats of Sheba and Inuka turned green a few weeks ago from algae growing in their hollow hair shafts, said Vincent Tan, a spokesman for the Singapore zoo. "The harmless algae is the result of Singapore's warm and humid tropical conditions," Tan said.

Sheba's coat was successfully bleached with hydrogen peroxide 2 1/2 weeks ago and Inuka will be given a similar treatment in three weeks, Tan said. The zoo wanted to observe Sheba's reaction to the treatment before bleaching Inuka, he said. For now, Inuka remains mottled with bright grass-colored splotches behind his ears, on his back and legs.

Location: Mendoza, Argentina (700 miles west of Buenos Aires)

Name: Pelusa

Age: 23 years

Cause: Dermatitis Treatment

The Info: Pelusa was sprayed with an antiseptic spray that turned her normally white fur a dark shade of violet. The unusual color - a temporary side effect of the treatment for dermatitis - has turned the aging bear into a minor celebrity in Argentina and prompted thousands of schoolchildren and tourists to make their way to the Jardin Zoologico de Mendoza in the western city beneath the snow-capped Andes.

The spray applied to Pelusa is similar to one used by pediatricians to treat children's scraped knees or lab technicians to stain micro-organisms for examination under microscopes. Pelusa, a 395-pound bear has been temporarily placed in a cage because of the treatment, and is separated from her mate, Arturo. The separation was needed to keep Pelusa from taking her regular plunge into an icy pool of water at the polar bear compound. That would have washed away the medicine prematurely. Once Pelusa begins to swim again, "she will lose her violet color" quickly.

Location: In the wild: Unites States, Russia, Canada, Norway, Greenland.

Name: scientifically "Ursus maritimus" or sea bear.

Cause: Hollow hair shafts

The Info: Despite what our eyes tell us, a polar bear's fur is not white. Each hair shaft is pigment-free and transparent with a hollow core. Polar bears look white because the hollow core scatters and reflects visible light, much like ice and snow does.

Polar bears are the world's largest land predators. They top the food chain in the Arctic, where they dine primarily on seals. Adult male polar bears weigh from 775 to more than 1,500 pounds. Females are considerably smaller, normally weighing 330 to 550 pounds.

Yes! There's a website!
If you count yourself as a big polar bear fan, you can visit Polar Bear International, a non-profit polar bear conservation group at: www.polarbearsalive.org.

February 3, 2004


We going to take a small break from the "Vegas Report" series and talk about Super Bowl XXXVIII. Well, mainly just Janet Jackson's breast.

I personally did not see the halftime "show," or the game for that matter, but I've got one question. Why the anger?

Let's assume that it was indeed an accident, a stunt that went inadvertently too far due to "wardrobe malfunction." Ok. No harm, no foul. No one died. No one went blind. No child who saw it is now speaking in tongues. God didn't come down and smote us. None of that happened. In the accident scenario, all we would need to worry about is the embarrassment endured by Janet (Miss Jackson, if you're nasty). And then we go on to worry about more important things.

Now let's assume that it was a planned "incident." I'm sorry, but the most outrage I can muster is, "Well, that was inappropriate." And that's pretty much it. A good "talking-to" would be needed for Janet (again, Miss Jackson, if you're nasty) and Justin "my real last name is Randall" Timberlake and the MTV crew who produced it. Something along the lines of, "Hey, this type of thing will not be tolerated again. And yes, that was a criminal offense."

But if our country does one thing well, it's overreact. What's all this talk about fines for CBS and the affiliates who aired the game? What good will that do? If the FCC wants to hammer someone, see the three parties mentioned above. Psst, MTV is owned by the same people who own CBS, so they'll still have to reach for the checkbook, but why punish the non-network-owned CBS affiliates that had no idea what's going on?

My opinion on this matter? Personally, whether accident or intentional, I don't care It's not that big an issue. And if you didn't see the "incident," I've got your hook-up.

Do you feel a draft?

Gosh, I'm cold!

But I think my bigger beef is the underlying bizarro mentality running around in this great land of ours. In the United States, you can see drug use, alcohol abuse, murder and death in various forms on our entertainment media without too much fuss, but you can't see the naked human body without a uproar. That, my friends, needs to be "investigated."

Oh, before I finish, I want everyone to try something. As you're staring at the screen, take a moment to look down at your lap. Turn your head slightly to the right... what's that? Why, it's your right breast! Just like one that Janet has! Just like one that we've all got! Oh my GOD! The horror, the horror!

*Editor's note: If you didn't spot that sarcasm in the last part, then your sense of humor must have been eaten out by the bug that's lodged up your ass!

January 26, 2004


Daddy Needs a New Pair of Shoes... Size 15!!!
It happens every time. A conversation turns towards the topic of Las Vegas, and the question pops up, "What do you play?" Now for almost 10 years (yes, that means I was playing when I was 19, but let's not forget that at 19, I was 6'3", 230 pounds, with a beard and passing for 26) I have been saying that my game of choice is blackjack. That streak, has now come to an end.

During this last "business" trip to Las Vegas, I played blackjack for all of, oh... 40 minutes. Not at once mind you, it was in 10 minute intervals, but still, only 40 minutes. Why? I'll tell you why. Because every time I played, I would end up with a 14 and the dealer would be sitting on a face card. I understand that's part of the game, but for me to encounter that every hand?!?! Needless to say, blackjack lost its allure in a hurry.

One night at the Excalibur, after Val had tapped a slot machine for $800 (more on this later), I decide to wander off. I come to a craps table with a little bit of a space along the rail, and I decide to wedge in. Now a few trips ago, I lost $50 in a matter of 2 minutes on a craps table at Caesar's and haven't played since. But this time, I figure what the hell, and I lay a little money down. So, an hour and a half later, when Val comes and finds me, I leave $20 ahead.

That's right, I played for a full 90 minutes, and left the craps table with more money than I started with. That my friends, is gambling. I've always said that I'm more than willing to give the casinos my money, but let me enjoy the time doing it. Blackjack doesn't let me do that. Craps does. Hence, my new love: CRAPS!

The premise of the game is simple enough. Sure, there are lots of complex side bets and propositions, but the very basic elements are easy. In a nutshell:
Just stick with that for now.

Back to the story, I won at every outing, except at the Palms but I had the most fun there (during one sequence, I shot for a full 10 minutes, which is usually unheard of) and I ended up winning the money back at Mandalay Bay, and usually playing for a minimum of 45 minutes at each table. Unfortunately, because of this enjoyment, I think I'm addicted. I have the itch to return to Nevada to play my new love, craps!!!

Crapless in California
So why must I go back to Nevada for craps? Well, none of the local Indian casinos have craps. In fact, they don't have roulette either. If you were to go to an Indian casino, sure you might see a roulette machine, but not a table. What's up? It could be along the lines of neither game being card-based or electronic. A spinning wheel and dice are just too unpredictable for California's liking, I guess. And they're probably the most susceptible to interference, corruption and cheating.

But it seems that a few casinos are starting to roll out a couple of variant forms of craps. Casino Morongo (which I call Crapsino Morongo, and this time, the name has nothing to do with the game) is offering what it calls "dice-less" craps. What? Its website didn't give any info on it. Figures.

In San Diego County, at the Pala Casino, they are offering what they call, "Pala Craps." And surprisingly enough, it's a card-based craps. How does that work? Well, let me give you this which is from the Pala Casino's website:

  • There are 36 cards in the deck representing the 36 possible combinations with two standard dice. Two cards from the deck are placed facedown on the Red and Blue boxes on the table layout. The shooter rolls two special dice, one red and one blue. The die with the highest number determines which of the two cards the dealer will turn over as the Play card. The rules and payoffs on Pala Craps are precisely the same as found on standard Las Vegas-style Craps.

    I think I'm going to have to give these a try, just for novelty. And since Pala is only 15 minutes from Pechanga (my fave Indian casino) in Temecula, I think I might. Oh, Pala also has what it calls "Pala Roulette." Check their website for the info on that one.

    V.J. Moneypants
    Personally, I have always like Mirage, and the Paris has made its way onto my Favorite Places list. But the one property I don't give enough press to, but one that has always been a favorite of mine (and profitable) is the Excalibur. I've never gone there and had a bad time. This time would be no different.

    Remember when I said that Val tapped a slot for $800? That was a $1 Wheel of Fortune slot at the Excalibur. And while I was off at my 90 minute craps sabbatical, Valerie, who EARNED the nickname "V.J. Moneypants," went ahead and tapped a quarter machine this time for the $1030.00 Progressive. You read that correctly. So in a matter of, let's say, 2 hours, Valerie took Excalibur for over $1800. Oh, hell yeah!!!

    Now right before this issue went to press, Valerie offered up some tips for success.

    Only 3 1/2 Hours, Really
    So my new addiction can only be properly satisfied in the state of Nevada. Sure, if I win, it's not really a problem, but it would be so time-consuming. I guess I'm lucky that the Indian casinos don't have it, but Primm Valley at the Stateline is only 3 1/2 hours away, and once they open that third lane on the I-15 (oh yes, it's coming. They're working on it as we speak), I might even get there in 2:40. Hmmm.

    January 17, 2004


    In the first of the multi-part series, we take a look at one of our favorite cities in a joint Demosthenes OnLine/random radio show project. (Believe it or not, this was actually a "business" trip. And I'm sure there will be some contribution to 4aces.net as well.)

    The New "ti"
    Some call it a paradigm shift. Others would call it change of identity. I call it crap! What is it? The new TI.

    What I'm talking about here is the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Once upon a time, it was called Treasure Island, or more formally, "Treasure Island at the Mirage." But nowadays, it's made a change into "TI," actually officially lowercase as "ti." What gives?

    For those that don't know, the Mirage, Treasure Island, and the Bellagio were built and owned by Steve Wynn. Due to same shady goings-on, I haven't heard the official story so I won't speculate, Wynn was in the unenviable position of having to sell the three properties. Who happens to come in but fellow Vegas bigshot, Mr. Kerkorian of the MGM Grand. He creates the largest conglomerate of Vegas casinos and renames the who operation "MGM Mirage."

    Shortly after the buyout, Vegas made the move in image from family vacation destination, back to adult, super-sexy, high-roller getaway. Treasure Island was the first to feel this effect, as a lot of the pirate-themed accents were eliminated.

    Less "Rrrr." More T & A.
    During it first 5-6 years of operation, the Treasure Island probably had the best theme and use of theme on the Strip. It all started with the big "Battle of Buccaneer Bay" out front. It was a special-effect laden show featuring a battle between a pirate ship and a British naval ship, and one of the ships actually sinking. An EXCELLENT show. And then inside, you'd see subtle themed touches like the Black Spot Grille, Madame Ching's, and even the decor and costumes of the employees. Things were done right.

    But after the buyout, some of the thematic elements were removed in an attempt to be less "Disney" in nature. At first, it didn't bother me all that much, but after this last trip where I was able to experience the new "ti" I am left wholly disappointed.

    And it all starts out front with the big pirate ship battle. In their infinite wisdom, the "Battle of Buccaneer Bay" has been replaced with "Sirens of TI." From a wonderfully scripted re-enactment of a pirates vs. British battle, the show is now best described as "Pussycat Dolls does Pirate of the Caribbean." The Sirens on their white ship seduce and sink the men aboard the "Bull Ship." Is it an ok show? Sure. Is it a suitable replacement for Battle of Buccaneer Bay? Not by a long shot.

    And I'm not alone in my assessment. Inside at the tables, we mention that we just saw "Sirens," and the dealer asked how we liked it. My response was, "Not even close to be good as the last one." The dealer, without missing a beat, comes back with, "We hear that a LOT." Hey MGM Mirage! Listen to your customers!

    The show out front is about the extent of the pirate theme. Once you get inside, all pirate elements are conspicuously missing. There are a few holdovers, such as a few accent pieces within 10 feet of the entrance, but some are just gone, such as the skulls on the door handles.

    So what's the skinny? None. I just needed to vent as I lament the loss of a fine building. It's not going anywhere really, but the Treasure Island is no more. It's been replaced with a watered down copycat called "ti."

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