Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tidbits from the Ninth Issue of The Henderson Press

This could not wait to fall in line as the first tidbit: Don Logay has the top story on the front page of the ninth issue of The Henderson Press, Vol. 2, No. 4, dated February 24-March 9, 2011. It's about what went on at the opening of Ravella at Lake Las Vegas, the new hotel in that resort region. His article is so obviously a booster piece, but his quiet enthusiasm for the area always comes through so wonderfully. He cheers, but he doesn't slobber. He overdoes the adjectives this time, such as "wonderfully warm" weather, and "warm and gloriously sunny" day, but considering the area had nearly become a shell after Ritz-Carlton closed the year before in the same location, it's understandable, but only just, since it almost reads like a press release from the resort itself rather than a newspaper article. But when he sticks to the facts, he writes as well as he always has. I still appreciate the article for those facts, for learning what Ravella has, and storing it in my memory. I may not think about it all the time as I do with Nevada overall, but it's there.

And now to the rest of this issue:

- There's a quarter-page ad for Skyline Restaurant & Casino, touting "Loosest Machines," "Most Liberal Comps," and "Friendliest Staff." I want to see what kind of slot machines they have, because even though I won't gamble regularly--and even then it'll be very small--I want to finally pick out a favorite machine. I've got my favorite pinball machines at the Pinball Hall of Fame on East Tropicana Avenue, but I also like the meditative quality of slot machines. Not only do I consider whatever's going on in my life, but I wonder about the machine itself, who came up with the idea, if it was expanded at any meetings, how many iterations it went through before final approval, and the work of making the machine itself.

- Here's another "Only in Las Vegas" thing: Blood donations in Henderson done through United Blood Services throughout February earn donors a voucher for two free tickets to Defending the Caveman, a one-man play performed by Kevin Burke at Harrah's. Makes me even more proud to soon be part of Southern Nevada.

- Jennifer Twitchell's latest "Family Matters" column is really good once again, talking about being three days past her due date, and how she should be more attuned to what's wonderful about parenting. It is for her, but what she thought she was stating as fact, such as "heartburn" and "no sleep," sounded negative to her grandmother. This is her best column thus far, enough to make me ignore her use of "whilst" instead of "while." If she was British, I'd understand the usage.

- Twitchell also has a profile about the "It's a Gas" science exhibit at Galleria at Sunset, which has the twofold purpose of informing and promoting the Henderson Space and Science Center, which its board hopes to open "in about five years." There's exhibits and demonstrations on nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases, on the first floor next to Dillard's. That kind of wonderful incongruity is what makes Galleria at Sunset my kind of mall. This is what Twitchell's best at: Great care for the community and what it offers.

- And Twitchell cares yet again, about the 10th Annual Moms and Muffins benefit at John Dooley Elementary, which puts the money earned back into the school. Those who think Las Vegas, and by extension Henderson and Summerlin, are only about casinos and fast, easy entertainment are very wrong. There are communities here. There are people that care here.

- On page 13, color ad for Baskin-Robbins offers a free single-scoop cone with the purchase of one. Valid only at the location at 510 South Boulder Highway "(and Basic Road)".

- On page 14, the ad for Johnny Mac's offers half-price pizza on Wednesdays and a 1-topping pizza for $10 on Sundays. Above both is "Daily Specials," so I would assume that they offer more than that during the week.

- The Henderson Press, at least in these early issues, are very selective about their "Letters to the Editor" section. One of the criteria seems to be that letters be thoughtful and well-written enough to get their point across clearly, without resorting to ranting and raving. In this issue is a letter to the editor from Ligeia Will of Henderson, headlined "Support Services Often Overlook Single Moms," vividly about her experiences from looking for work to becoming homeless, living in a shelter, and then finally getting housing, apparently below homeless men and Section 8 people in Clark County's priorities. She makes a lot of sobering points, important points that should be considered.

- Under "Corrections" is a long list of one from Gail Rattigan, director of the Dr. Joel and Carol Bower School-Based Health Center. He wrote about vaccines given by the center, and got facts and names very wrong (including spelling wrong the name wrong of one senior nursing student who gives the vaccines, as well as her mother's name). I don't know if that's why his byline is nowhere in this issue, but it is a relief to have a break from him, and the newspaper reads a lot stronger, free from being bogged down by Couzens's wandering articles. I'm sure he'll be back in the next issue, and so I hope his articles are like the article he wrote for the eighth issue about the City of Henderson receiving $6.6 million for flood control. When he concentrates fully on the facts, when he doesn't worry so much about how to write an article, as I suspect he does based on past evidence, he's an informative writer. He gets it.

- All of page 20 is given over to where The Henderson Press can be found, based on zip code. And there's a lot of places, including Barnes & Noble, Lucky Star Chinese Buffet, Hot Rod Grill, Henderson Hobbies, 155 Water Cafe, and so many others. This is as a community newspaper should be. It spreads; it reaches.

- Still no Corollas on offer in the transportation ads.

This was a comfortable issue, well-connected to the community itself. From here, The Henderson Press is starting to find the necessary balance of hard news and an attentive focus on the people who live in Henderson. This works.

New DVD Reviews

Five DVD reviews of mine were posted on Movie Gazette Online since El Bulli: Cooking in Progress. I like single-disc releases such as that one because I can write something right away, whereas with, say, Doc Martin: Series 5, which I'm currently watching for a review, it takes time for a review to form. I'm not in a rush or anything, but sometimes I want to write right away. I've got my novel, so that helps, but to write for readers, I like being immediate. But then, the DVD sets that take time to review can elicit richer writings that explore what's involved in a show, what makes it work, or what doesn't work.

If the DVD set is really good, I don't mind it, and having received the miniseries, Washington: Behind Closed Doors, a fictionalized take on the Nixon administration, I'm going to watch it all because of the presidential aspect. Normally, I don't watch all of a DVD set. I can't, because some reach well over eight hours. For a review that's usually less than 1,000 words, it's not necessary to watch everything. But I love how each DVD review differs, that I watched I, Claudius: 35th Anniversary Edition, and just recently finished Hazel: The Complete Second Season. Yesterday, Rebecca Wright, the head of Movie Gazette Online, forwarded a press release about Tom and Jerry: Around the World, asking if anyone wanted to review it. I do, because I like Tom and Jerry, though my favorite animated character is Popeye. By the time this DVD comes, I'll probably have watched the Carlos Mencia DVD I'm expecting, written a review of Doc Martin: Series 5, and started watching a German film called Young Goethe in Love (owing to my desire to watch more foreign films after seeing We Have a Pope three Fridays ago at The Landmark in Los Angeles). In DVD reviews, there's always something different to watch, and even though that was true of Film Threat, I feel far less pressure now because I don't want to be a full-time film critic anymore. I can have fun with this, and I am.

Here are my new DVD reviews, from earliest to latest:

Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour

I, Claudius: 35th Anniversary Edition

The Getting of Wisdom

Titanic (2012)

Hazel: The Complete Second Season