Can’t get enough slot machines

•December 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Las Vegas is home to so many slot machines. Some of the themes are pretty outrageous. For some reason, I like the outdoors/wildlife/nature themed machines. I mean, I never actually play them. Slot machines aren’t fun and unlike video poker or keno there’s absolutely no rhyme or reason to winning. You simply hit a button and hope for the best. But even though I don’t play, I love to look. Here are a few I found that have a great outdoors theme. I imagine they make these to attract the freewheeling cowboy types who frequent the casinos. I don’t know if they work. There’s probably a huge marketing strategy for attracting the inner-gambler in all of us.

Nothing says jackpot like charging buffalo.


Everyone knows giant eagles are lucky.


Win, then howl at the moon.

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Everybody’s getting hip to Moog

•May 14, 2011 • 1 Comment

More Moog please.


Moog has expanded their niche with analog music equipment, and I say it’s about time. More than 50 years since the company first broke into the music world with their synthesizers, they are now getting a second wind. Moog is actually seeing major profits during the recession (or I guess it’s the post recession now). According to this article, everyone from Lou Reed to Lady Gaga is stocking up on Moog gear. I’ve long been a proponent of the analog sound, especially when it comes to synthesizers.  Just listen to Emerson Lake & Palmer’s “Lucky Man” when that incredible Moog bubbles up in the coda. No digital synth could create something that awesome. Even though these modern digital units have tons of analog-style samples, there’s a major difference in sound and performance. Digital keyboards get their sound from a computer chip in the back. Analog synths, like Moog instruments,  have nobs and dials that directly effects what’s coming out of the speakers.

Here’s what Moog President Mike Adams said:

“In the back of our device, there’s a soundboard with 897 components,” he said. “It’s a completely different sound you get. You’re really able to hear the subtleties of the sound.”

I hope this resurgence of analog equipment in music continues. Not just with synths and guitars, but recording equipment too. I still have my Fostex reel-to-reel, but getting new reels is a major pain in the ass. In the meantime listen to “Lucky Man.” The Moog doesn’t come in till the end, but it’s worth it.

Site editor out to lunch

•May 6, 2011 • 1 Comment

A surge of big news events has erupted in the last two weeks, but here your trusted blog-writing pal has been asleep at the wheel. Yes, there has been a plethora of topics to write about, yet I have tackled none of them.

The site editor eating luch.

Let’s review:

First there was Donald Trump jumping on the birther bandwagon in a vain effort to boost his profile for some GOP straw polls.

Then President Obama released his long form birth certificate to hopefully end what is one of the lamest conspiracy theories of all time. This was followed by Trump being made fun of in front of all the Washington elite at the White House Correspondents Dinner. I’m not a fan of picking on people, but if there was ever someone who deserves it, it’s Trump.

In addition to those big non-news stories, there was also some big actual news. First, there were the horrendous tornadoes that ripped though the South, killing at least 327 people. Tornadoes haven’t been scary to me since I first saw Twister a decade ago. This story reminded me that twisters could be more than just  one-liners and special effects.

As big as the tornado story was, it was soon dwarfed by the news of Osama bin Laden’s death during a U.S. Navy SEALs siege in Pakistan. Right now, that is (understandably) just about the only thing you can hear about on the news. I was in my car listening to NPR when I first heard the report of bin Laden’s death. My emotions were difficult to define. I was glad we finally got the man who murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people on American soil. But it wasn’t the kind of joy that made me want to jump and shout from the rooftops. It was one of those situations where you don’t know the appropriate way to react. I’m very non-violent by nature, but at the same time I was thankful that this tyrant was no longer walking the earth. Plus he died by the hands of the country he sought to destroy.

While listening to the radio, I thought back to where I was on 9/11. My first recollection was senior year, being in my government class and hearing an announcement over the class speakers from our principal. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but we were told of a terrorist attack and finished the school day amidst mass confusion. When I got home, I watched the non-stop coverage with my mom and brother. Early that evening, one of my close friends gave me call and offered to pick me up to grab a bite to eat at Subway. It was a refreshing break from all the chaos. When he picked me up, he immediately made an off-color remark about the terrorists (which I won’t repeat). Ironically, when I heard the president’s address Sunday night, I was headed to Subway again to grab a bit to eat.

NBA playoffs: Choose TNT

•April 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I love the NBA playoffs. And even though my beloved Cavs were nowhere close to qualifying, I’m still excited. The competition is so much more intense than during the regular season. I love how the crowd really gets into the games. I love how the players get more aggressive and we usually get to see some good technical and flagrant fouls.  I especially love watching the games on TNT, home of legendary sportscaster Marv Albert along with fellow broadcasters Mike Fratello (“Czar of the Telestrator”) and Reggie Miller (one of my favorite all-time NBA stars) and not to mention Craig Sager with all his colorful suits.

Unfortunately, half of the first-rounds games are being televised on ESPN/ABC. For those who think it doesn’t matter which network broadcasts a sporting event (either way the game is televised) this is a perfect example of when it does matter. TNT does a far superior job. With TNT at the half you get the wonderful banter between Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. You also get Ernie Johnson’s reactions to Barkley’s non sequiturs. ESPN’s halftime show is dominated by Stuart Scott’s contrived hipness and recycled phrases. “Cool as the other side of the pillow” now officially gets on my nerves. When ESPN’s halftime and post game shows come on, I change the channel. On the other hand, I make an effort to watch TNT, especially after the game.

What’s even worse is ESPN’s three-man game broadcast team which usually includes the weasel-voiced Jeff Van Gundy. I liked the guy when he coached the Rockets, but his personality comes off as straight-up obnoxious on television. Will some team please hire him so we can get this guy off the air? What disappoints me the most is that the finals will be on ABC, which uses the ESPN crew. ABC Sports was long considered a bastion of sports coverage, but has now downgraded itself to “ESPN on ABC.”

TNT does a great job, and considering its extra production standards, comes off more like a “network” broadcast. I hope for the day we can see NBA Finals on TNT.

Romney: Officially thinking about running for president

•April 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

In a twitter post released yesterday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney officially declared his intentions to explore the possibility of maybe running for president in 2012. That’s right, he is forming an exploratory committee that will look into developing all the facts on whether it’s a good idea for him to think about the foreseeable future and consider said future as a world with him thinking about declaring his candidacy for a presidential election in which people would most likely be faced with the choice of voting for him or possibly someone else, but they would have to think about it.

Further Reading:

Romney Makes it Official: He’s Exploring Presidential Bid

In other Romney news, he switched from a conservative Republican to radical socialist on Tuesday when he said he actually believed Barack Obama was born in the United States. Good luck getting the conservative vote now. I honestly must hand it to him for going out on a limb to cross party lines like that.

Further Reading:

Mitt Romney to birthers: Barack Obama was born here. Period.

Government shutdown: Good for anyone?

•April 8, 2011 • 2 Comments

With the government shutdown looming, several of you must be wondering what my take is on the whole situation. Indeed people have stopped me on the street to ask “Hey Sean. What’s up with this government shut down?”

Well it sure seems like a major pain in the ass if you’re soldier on furlough or an employee for one of the national parks, as they won’t be working/getting paid. It will probably be disappointing for those thousands of middle school students across the country eagerly awaiting one of those spring break field trips to our nation’s capitol. I took one of those trips when I was in eight grade, and let me say that this government shutdown may actually  be a blessing in disguise for students planning to take the trip this year. Use the shutdown as an excuse to go somewhere better for spring break. Maybe Cancun or here in Vegas would be more of an education. When I went to Washington D.C., the government might as well have been shut down. I don’t seem to remember anyone hanging around the capitol building, or doing any actual work. There certainly wasn’t any voting or debates going on. I don’t know about you, but when I make a trip like that, I want to see some major fighting amongst the legislature. You know, congressmen bashing each other with canes, challenging each other to duels, or some real filibusters like when Strom Thurmond read the constitution for 24 hours. I don’t remember much of those D.C. tours, most of which will be closed if this shutdown occurs. All I remember is fighting for the bed in the hotel room and eating crummy lunch from the food court.

Further reading:

A shutdown over spending or abortion: two sides disagree

Government shutdown 101: What would a shutdown mean for you?

 

Basketball finals: I was wong

•April 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So, two days after I go on about how awesome the NCAA basketball national championship was going to be, what do we get? Probably the least exciting game of the tournament. Not only did Butler loose 53-41 to Connecticut, but they played ugly — shooting 18.8 percent from the floor. Of course I picked the Bulldogs to upset the Huskies, and more-or-less predicted a riveting finale to a great March Madness. But, alas, it was low scoring and marred by clumsy play. At times it was even painful to watch, especially in the second half when Butler went six minutes without scoring.  Connecticut wasn’t remarkable, they just didn’t miss all their shots. Which reminds me of one of my favorite sports axioms — the best way to win is to not let the other team score as much as your team.

Frustrated Bulldogs Go Out With a Clang