Returning from the annual Vegas trip, yours truly is happy to report that the Second Amendment in Sin City is alive and well. DH’s uncle who lives in the area told us (and I’m not going to bother to fact check him because a) he’s reliable when it comes to Nevada news, and b) I’m lazy) that the trend for the casinos had long been to diversify, and that they now derive 60% of their profits from shopping and dining. When DH had his bachelor party in Vegas some years ago, his friends took him to target-shoot machine guns. The following year we noticed an ad for the range that they visited at the airport. Now we see ads for gun entertainment everywhere. Either our memories are wrong, or machine guns are the new big thing.
We usually try to do something that can count for culture on that side of the Rockies. Since we’ve already seen Cirque du Soleil and we’ve seen Penn and Teller, we decided to move on to museums. And, boy, are the museums in NV different! Last January we went to National Atomic Testing Museum, an outfit somehow affiliated with the Smithsonian. I’m not sure why the Smithsonian wants to have anything to do with said museum because the story of the atomic testing is told from [gasp!] the American perspective. They do give voice to the hippies, as they should, because hippies made “anti-nuclear proliferation” their cause, becoming a minor part of the Cold War history. The bulk of the exhibit tells the story of patriotic people who developed and tested nuclear weapons (or watched them tested). The last room showcases the pictures drawn by schoolchildren after museum tours. To my amazement, there was little pacifism on display. Some kids even drew “peace through superior firepower” symbols.
This year we went to The Mob Museum, now located in the old courthouse downtown where some of the mob hearings where held. (On the way to the museum we passed El Cortez casino that proudly advertizes that they accept EBT. In the buffet, presumably? I hope. I should have snapped a picture of their marquee. Note to self: when in doubt, photograph.) I was surprised by the breadth of information covered by the The Mob Museum exhibits. The artifacts, from the St. Valentine’s Day massacre wall to Tony Soprano’s wardrobe, were neat. A Tommy gun, the mafia weapon of choice in the 1920s, was on display, and so were the late 20th century assault weapons, like fish hooks and blades. An entire room was dedicated to mafia and the Kennedys, and the mafia-unions connection was likewise explored. For the most part The Mob Museum presented real, honest history, although some exhibits were purely tangential. For instance, is it at all relevant that there were black people at Las Vegas’s founding? Including black gangs would make much more sense.
Needless to say, neither The Mob Museum nor National Atomic Testing Museum could exist in the Bay Area. I guess there is hope for this country.
Speaking of the Bay Area, starting New Year’s Day, our municipality instituted a dignity tax. What’s dignity tax, you ask? It’s the 10 cent surcharge on every bag a store gives to a customer. Plastic grocery bags are now banned. Upon its enactment, the new law generated a lively discussion in the letter section of the one local paper that can still tolerate me reading their pages. (The cherry on top was an unrelated letter from girl scouts chastising smokers.) Some locals warned that for health reasons residents should be invest into canvas totes and duffel bags, and washing said bags after each use. Like I’m going to haul bags to the store every time I buy $150 worth of groceries, and, after spending an hour shopping, commit another hour to doing a load of laundry. Still, because reusable grocery bags pose a threat of cross-contamination and infectious disease outbreak, like the recent norovirus outbreak in a girl soccer team everyone likes to cite, I propose creating a national registry parents who, because of their narcissistic irresponsible behavior, expose their children to danger of reusable grocery bags.
Manhattan Infidel has some environmentalism news from the other side of the continent.
When we heard that the California Teachers retirement fund is divesting from firearms (you mean, that’s what they were invested in, up until now?), we bought some gun stock. Meanwhile, from Legal Insurrection post of the day link we learn about an amazing 15-year-old who defended himself and his sister with dad’s AR-15. Yep, there is hope for this country.
Professor Jacobson had a lot of fantastic posts on the Sandy Hook aftermath. Among them is the story of the non-prosecution of David Gregory and putting pressure on Gannett corporate, the parent company of Journal News, to take position on the paper’s outing of individuals who own guns. Holding corporate parent companies responsible is something the right needs to learn to do. Leslie Eastman warns that California is targeted for enhanced gun control activism. Seems like a good place to start, if you are an anti-gun nut. If you for some reason don’t read Legal Insurrection, you should.
I’ve never understood how a feminist can be anti-gun. After all, a gun is a great equalizer. Men are superior to women in pure physical strength, but civilization gave us weaponry that makes us more or less equal in street combat. On this point, see images at Bluebird of Bitterness and Maggie’s Notebook.
Speaking of pictures, after rare winter storms, Israel was covered with snow. I loved Ann’s Opinions photo essay, and found some other great photographs.
Trendy photography from the IDF Twitter feed
The good news is that Russia is going wobbly. Russians are floating proposals to give a NC18 rating to the beloved animation series Nu Pogodi (thanks to Harrison for forwarding this one to me). Like all Russian kids of my generation, I grew up watching the series, which featured a lovable anti-hero and plenty of violence, including gun violence, though no gore. All of you interested in Russian culture, do click on the link. By the way, while my generation didn’t know gun ownership, we also didn’t know the “guns are icky” mentality either. Our popular culture was replete with gun imagery, and all boys played with toy guns. In high school we shot AK-47 blanks to fulfill our initial combat preparedness requirements.
King Shamus is having some fun at the expense of Obama voters. It’s a soft target, I suppose. This time the schmucks found out that their paycheck shrunk, which, evidently, was not on the list of goodies they expected from O.
I know why Armenians make good shoes — they’ve been practicing the longest. In the Soviet days, Russian ladies bought Armenian shoes because they were well made. (Take note, Anthropologie.) And Russian ladies are always on the lookout for a good pair.
To buy or not to buy… It’s not like I need another pair of boots, but the price is right, and I’m sure they present a formidable challenge for Lena Duhnam
When I started blogging, I thought that it was better to write a few short posts than a single long one. And now, mostly due to lack of time, I take so long to compose a link post, that whatever I set out to write keeps expending until… OK, I’ll shut up.