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December 22, 2014

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Scott Dickensheets

Story Archive

Fiddlers provide a spirited soundtrack for the times
Friday, Jan. 28, 2011
Here’s something I learned the other night: When 15 fiddlers, four guitarists and one fella on the upright base swing into “Pig Ankle Rag,” it’s hard to think about what a mess we’re all in.
Housing crisis rife with perverse ironies
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011
Of the acre-feet of response I got to Friday’s column — about the moral calculation of whether to continue paying the mortgage on my overleveraged house, or walk away — none was more startling than this: I might be making the problem worse.
Imagine the state of the state two years down the road
Monday, Jan. 24, 2011
Dear fellow Nevadans, legislative colleagues, trusted lobbyists and out-of-work educators: I stand before you, here in 2013, after my first two years as governor of this great state of Nevada, having not (pause for applause) raised (pause for applause) taxes (enjoy the applause).
To walk or not to walk: Underwater homeowners face moral dilemma
Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
Mine is a nice house. Big enough for a family and all of its furniture and clothing and toys and books and papers and dogs and more books and miscellaneous junk and even a cat.
In search of common ground on education spending
Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011
The comments under this paper’s story last week about the governor calling for teachers to accept a pay cut — while sometimes grammatically and syntactically challenging — were gratifying in their way.
Reading a lot into ranking
Coming in at 52 of 75 cities leaves room for Las Vegans to improve – but then, they may not want to
Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
So, Las Vegas checks in at No. 52 on a new ranking of the nation’s 75 most literate cities. Are you surprised that we placed so high — and feel free to treat this as an essay question — or a little peevish at being dissed? (Or simply relieved that we beat Bakersfield, No. 73?)
Outlooks run hot, cold at a day at the job fair
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
Overheard at a gaming-industry job fair, one woman asking another:
“What kind of position are you looking for?”
“Pretty much anything.”
At gas pump, grocery store, inspectors improve our lives beyond measure
Monday, Jan. 10, 2011
When you buy a gallon of gas, how do you know it’s a gallon? That pound of tangelos you measured at the grocery store — you sure the scale didn’t cheat you an ounce?
Porn, pixels, poise converge in Las Vegas
CES, Adult Expo, Miss America Pageant in city at same time show how very American we are
Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
This is a big week for desire, even by Las Vegas standards, which is saying something. Here, you can satisfy your appetites any old day of any old week — in a poker room, at a table in Joel Robuchon, in the shops at Cosmopolitan, with a limo ride to Pahrump. Since the state legalized gambing, OK’d prostitution and hired its first showgirl, desire has been what we do.
Start 2011 with a good deed
Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
It’s been a few years since he was in the spotlight, but you remember Charles Bock, right? Once a local — his family has owned pawnshops here for many years — his novel “Beautiful Children,” about lost kids in Las Vegas, was published in 2008 to solid reviews (it was a New York Times notable book), brisk sales and an effusion of media attention. It’s solidly in the Vegas canon now.
Brian Sandoval fits right in at Jones Vargas law firm
Monday, Jan. 3, 2011
“Ahh, you can smell the anointment,” I murmured as I entered the offices of Jones Vargas for a media gathering called last week by Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval.
Dear next year: You’ve got a tough act to follow
Friday, Dec. 24, 2010
Dear 2011: I know what you’re thinking: I sure hope 2010 left a little cheddar for me. After all, this year pretty much wrung everything out of Nevada and Las Vegas.
On fixing schools, please be practical
Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010
Last week I quacked a bit about education funding, after a minion of Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval warned education leaders to brace for deeper-than-expected cuts. That, I wrote, is shortsighted and self-defeating.
There’s a (good) reason woman works nine jobs
Monday, Dec. 20, 2010
It’s so tempting to focus on Las Vegas’ larger, dismal narratives.
Neon Boneyard OK with photos — within limits
Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
In honor of Time’s man of the year — Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg — let’s break down today’s column into Facebook-style likes and unlikes. It’s the least I can do for the man who made it easy for all the people who never talked to me in high school to friend me now.
Sports legend’s Henderson stint a season to forget
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010
Memory dissipates. Especially in a forgettable place like this stretch of Boulder Highway, sliding north through the last sputter of old Henderson before heading toward Las Vegas.
Kids deserve better from Brian Sandoval
Monday, Dec. 13, 2010
A part of me — a tiny part — wants to feel a jigger of sympathy for Brian Sandoval. Not too much, but a little. You simply can’t get elected governor in Nevada, or maybe anywhere in America now, by telling the truth.
Sanctuary for flock of Rebels
Friday, Dec. 10, 2010
“I should know these by heart,” Father Albert says, referring to the six principles that are supposed to guide priests who minister to college students. He’s lived them long enough — for 43 of his 50 ordained years he’s worked on various campuses in California, Oregon, Arizona and, for the past seven years, here — that their exact wording escapes him when a nosy columnist presses him for details.
Whole lot of hoping going on in Vegas
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
“Hope is the thing with feathers,” the poet Emily Dickinson once wrote. She probably meant that to be inspirational, but then, she didn’t spend much time in Nevada.
Arts in need of a new argument
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
Good crowd tonight. It’s Thursday, and 50, 60 or more pack into the recently expanded Trifecta Gallery for the opening of the “Minumental” exhibit — more than 100 small, generally low-cost works. It can be tough to see the art through the milling art lovers — lotta stylish eyewear here, and scarves worn for the effect, not the weather. The work is a fairly standard mix of the good, the cute, the too-clever, the trying-too-hard. Most of it’s fun, though. The mayor was just here to cut a ribbon, there are door prizes and small candies, and the whole place is redolent of friendly schmooze.
A disgraced senator’s Hair, standing by its man
Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
The Hair is not relieved. Of course, the man upon whom the Hair resides, the disgraced senator recently let off the hook by the Justice Department, is — as befits a person of small vision and empty pieties — perfectly pleased. “It’s a pretty nice early Christmas present,” John Ensign said when news broke that he is no longer under criminal investigation.
Oh, the lessons Vegas could teach the world
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010
When news broke Tuesday that Las Vegas ranks 146th out of 150 cities worldwide in terms of economic strength — ahead of Dublin, Dubai, Barcelona and someplace in Greece — the obvious question arose: What can those lagging cities learn from us?
When cops kill, public deserves transparency
Monday, Nov. 29, 2010
When talk of reforming the coroner’s inquest — the process of looking into the death of someone at the hands of a police officer — heated up (again) after the Erik Scott case, one aspect of the ensuing conversation brought me up short.
For Las Vegas, cold comfort on jobs front
Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
Everyone has begun opening Microsoft Word documents. “What,” a bald guy in a Steelers shirt asks, “is Microsoft?”
How much homework do our children need?
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
Pop quiz: Did you know California once banned homework in schools? True. Following a campaign by the magazine Ladies’ Home Journal — which argued that the practice was not, in fact, good for kids — the state briefly halted it in 1901.
We do have some things to be thankful for
Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
Look around. Unemployment, foreclosures, budget crisis — you know the grim litany of Las Vegas woes by now.
Scott Dickensheets: Can we hire Andre Agassi to do a benefit for Nevada?
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
Two weeks ago, Nevadans voted Brian Sandoval into the Governor’s Mansion, deeply impressed by his non-Reidness and let’s-work-out-the-details-later approach to our budget crisis. Finally! A politician who tells it like it is.
Taking a bath inside the real estate bubble
Monday, Nov. 15, 2010
In 2004, two years before I bought my house, a website urged real estate investors thusly: “It is important that investors make their investments as soon as possible. This is because Las Vegas is growing and expanding at a scorching pace.”
Scott Dickensheets: Things kids say today — and how
Friday, Nov. 12, 2010
My wife called me this week. “Have you heard of this website, Burnbook?” she asked.
Scott Dickensheets: Bring up God, watch the sparks
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010
The message was short, direct, completely nuts. “What do Democrats know about God?” the voice-mailer demanded. “They abort children.” Click.
A curator’s vision for a Neonopolis revival
Monday, Nov. 8, 2010
At a time when Harry Reid actually believes “when the dust settles the Republicans will no longer want to stop everything and we’ll work together” I don’t feel even slightly sheepish about indulging another crazy dreamer.
Scott Dickensheets: An election hangover, and an act of God
Friday, Nov. 5, 2010
So it’s over. Either your candidate lost and you’re angry, or your candidate won and you’re still angry. (Except for the TV people, who remain glassy-eyed from the epic feast of attack-ad revenue.) Am I the only one who still flinches when the phone or doorbell rings? Indeed, the mood is so wrung-out and exhausted that it feels like we’re living in a Bob Dylan song.
Scott Dickensheets: Searchlight quiet despite maelstrom around Harry Reid
Town’s residents maintain niceties despite media storm over Senate campaign
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010
Dateline: Searchlight. Time stamp: Election morning. Assignment: Take a look around Harry Reid’s hometown.
As big day nears, all’s quiet at election nerve center
Monday, Nov. 1, 2010
This is where campaign hysteria comes — at long, weary last — to die. It’s been raging across the valley for months, in attack ads, fliers and weaponized sound bites, but come Election Day, it’ll rattle to a halt, and it will do so here.
Scott Dickensheets: Intelligence has a place in our culture. Really. I mean it.
Friday, Oct. 29, 2010
It was a question I hadn’t anticipated: “Do these rankings ever make you feel lowly as a human?”
Scott Dickensheets: Church helping to fill plates with goodwill
Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010
Looks like a good crowd today. Upward of 100 people are lined up outside in the unseasonably warm October afternoon, but inside Wayne Carrington is the one working up a sweat. It’s a Thursday afternoon, when the food pantry run by Living Faith Assembly hands out the groceries, and it takes an incredible effort to pull it all together.
Reveling in ignorance: Fashionable but dangerous
Monday, Oct. 25, 2010
A friend of mine Facebooked this little dart of insight the other day: “America doesn’t need better leaders. It needs better followers.”
Scott Dickensheets: Harnessing youth for greater good
Friday, Oct. 22, 2010
From the remorseless cash-extraction ethos of the Strip to the every-man-for-himself mentality that simmers below the surface of our civic life, Las Vegas offers plenty of reasons to be ambivalent about the city and its problems. Many of us don’t fight it. London Porter does.
It’s the border with Canada we should fear. Who knew?
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010
I’m having trouble finding an illegal Canadian. Not for a lack of trying, though. Peering into the trucks carrying work crews and gardeners down the freeways at dawn, I’ve looked. Swinging past the day-laborer gathering points, I’ve looked. Not a single conspicuous Canadian, just the usual Hispanics, or, as Sharron Angle knows them, Asians.
City hall is civic symbolism, one steel beam at a time
Monday, Oct. 18, 2010
“They’re building that already?” asks a guy I bump into on Friday, after that morning’s topping-off ceremony for the new Las Vegas City Hall. “I thought they were still arguing about it.” For Mayor Oscar Goodman the project carries a heavy symbolic load.
Scott Dickensheets: Sheesh! If Las Vegas got offended every time it was insulted ...
Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010
Open letter to Dearborn, Mich.: I confess, Dearbornians, that as a longtime Las Vegan, it didn’t occur to me at first that anyone there would take Sharron Angle’s comments about the rise of Muslim Sharia law in your city seriously.
News of the day — in Las Vegas vernacular
Monday, Oct. 11, 2010
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, it’s estimated that a human language dies every 14 days. Most are aboriginal and village-specific tongues, sure, but we shouldn’t get complacent.
Scott Dickensheets: Our reefer madness makes author see red
Friday, Oct. 1, 2010
My period of drug abuse sprawled across four harrowing seconds in 1982.
Inquest a test of fragile memory
Its failings apparent in testimony, but this outcome likely correct
Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010
Human memory can be a notoriously unstable and tricky mechanism for making decisions, imposing judgments or, more to the point in the Erik Scott inquest, getting at the truth.
Anger’s appeal: It just feels so good
Monday, Sept. 27, 2010
Anger is so in now. It may be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but wrath is all the rage. Blame the Tea Party and its deep sense of entitled grievance if you must — and I, for one, must — but hasn’t it gotten bigger than that?
Scott Dickensheets: Tough to compete with comfort news
Friday, Sept. 24, 2010
I’m going to feel itchy about journalism for the next few minutes, and because you’re reading this news product, I’ll presume you’re interested, at least a little.
Taking initiative not yet a lost art
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010
Maybe your reasons for visiting South Commerce Street will be different from mine. Maybe you will need a little paternal help (Dad’s Bail Bonds) or something from Clark County Bar and Restaurant Equipment. It’s a street of niche destinations, for sure.
Constitution Day a day to celebrate, if only we knew
Monday, Sept. 20, 2010
“What’s that?”
I had just told a lunch companion that it was Constitution Day.
If Las Vegas is in decline, let’s make the most of it
Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010
The other day I saw a U-Haul turtling down U.S. 95, toward Arizona, and not for the first time asked myself: Is Las Vegas really in decline?
Dodge the blues with a Coney
Monday, Sept. 13, 2010
Let’s start small. I’ll have plenty of time to ladle some outrage, put a face on the city’s problems, share funky Vegas stories, introduce odd characters and offer life lessons and style tips. Believe me, I’ll bring it.

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