Saturday, November 10, 2018

360 Vintage Vegas: Howard Hughes (PCP)

Howard Hughes
It’s a shame that the last 10 years of his life largely overshadows all he accomplished prior to his decent into madness.  Truth be told, Howard Hughes was a genius; an innovator in business, aviation, film and in his lifetime, was one of the most financially successful people in the world.  His work ethic was legendary as was his disregard for his own safety, especially when it came to his first true love, flying.  That disregard would eventually cause him to be involved in the plane crash of an experimental aircraft that almost killed him.  While he did eventually recover, he would never be the same. In chronic pain for the rest of his life, his over medication to address the issue pushed his struggles with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder into stratospheric levels, causing him to become the eccentric recluse most remember him for.  Despite all that, what Hughes did during his time in Las Vegas helped the market evolve from the seedy place run by mobsters to a respectable industry; even if that wasn’t his intention and resulted purely because it was his name attached to the legendary great acquisition of Las Vegas

Whatever you think you know about Howard Hughes, he was undeniably a genius by any definition of the word.  The Hughes family made their millions by creating a drill bit that dramatically improved the way oil was drilled for.  At the age of 19, after his father's death, Howard took over ToolCo and used his family’s wealth to revolutionize multiple industries.  With RKO Studios, he changed the way movies were made, introducing violence and sex to the cinema.  He was one of the leading innovators in aviation, setting multiple world records. That knowledge was so valued, Hughes Aircraft become one of the US government’s largest private contractors for military planes, and his commercial airline TWA was a leader in the evolution of commercial flight.  Sadly it was his refusal to be confined by the metaphorical walls he was told he had to operate within, in whatever he decided we wanted to do, that ended up causing him to be confined by the actual walls he would spent last 20 years of his life in, seclude from the world.  And even in those constraints, he was able to change, not only another industry but the reputation of an entire state, all while in constant pain, terrified of just about everything imaginable outside of that room on the 9thfloor of the Desert Inn.  Even if what he accomplished was nothing more than a symbolic shift in the gaming industry, Howard Hughes will forever be known as one of the most important people involved in the evolution of Las Vegas.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

E-283: Et Tu Brute?

Random Vegas
In 2003, new owners MGM Mirage announced plans to move away from the family friendly concept at Treasure Island in favor of something more traditionally Vegas. The property rebranded itself “TI”, removed the skull and crossbones marquee and replaced it with a digital “TI” sign and replaced the pirate show with a sexed-up theme called the “Sirens of TI”

Twitpic of the week

This week's winner, brought to you by @BSKphoto, is one of the best aerial photos of the strip I've ever seen. In addition to its neon glory, it evokes hope in the wake of last week's grim assessment that the forewarned damage unimaginative additions to the market and the adaptation of nickel and dime fees would do to Vegas has come to fruition.  This photo reminds that we created this city. We agreed to the house advantage in exchange for a fair shot and an unforgettable experience.  And now it falls to us to point out which party is in breach of contract and support those that still honor our original deal. A few times in human history, people have the opportunity to effect real change and rage against the machine.  Now is one of those times and you only need to be brave enough to try and save the city you love with the most powerful weapon imaginable in a capitalist economy, your money.  Years of complaining about it on social media has not encouraged legislation to stop Resort Fees or discourage Vegas properties from continuing to charge and increase them year over year.  But 6 months of declining revenues has delivered the punch to the face ownership had coming to them.  It has struck fear in the heartless and mocked the outdated Gordon Gecko philosophy that greed is good.  Unfortunately a shock and awe attack will not win us this war.  It will require a prolonged effort that, if we're lucky, will have casualties in casino leadership.  And from those ashes the opportunity to discover the next visionary leaders needed to restore Las Vegas to it's former glory, lest we be required to claim another inept Caesar until that leadership is revealed to us.