Monday, May 30, 2011

"Kids, Avoid Energy Drinks!" Say American Doctors

Some American doctors have a new message to kids and teens: stop drinking energy drinks! They also say that young people should consume fewer "sports" drinks like Gatorade. Simply put, all those stimulants, sugars, vitamins, herbal extracts, and a ton of other chemicals are not good for people whose bodies and brains are still developing.

According to Dr. Holly Benjamin, of the American Academy of Pediatrics:
"Children never need energy drinks... They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren't nutritional, so you don't need them... If you drink them on a regular basis, it stresses the body... You don't really want to stress the body of a person that's growing."
Experts say that the variety of energy-boosting ingredients in energy drinks may have serious side effects that we don't yet know about, especially in kids. Caffeine and other stimulants speed up the pulse and can disturb heart rhythm. In rare cases they can even cause seizures.

A recent report from a group of Florida pediatricians described cases of heart problems, delusions, seizures, and kidney and liver damage in people who drank one or more energy drinks per day, including popular versions like Red Bull and Redline (an energy-booster/fat-burner sold in many supplement stores). They say that the cases are rare but it's obvious that children shouldn't be risking their health with these products.

We say: It's completely crazy that so many kids are drinking this stuff in such huge amounts. The energy drink market is expected to reach $9 billion in 2011, and children and young adults account for half of that -- $4.5 billion dollars in sales. What's especially crazy is that many of these kids are chubby little video game players/couch potatoes who DEFINITELY don't need extra stimulants, sugars, and calories in their diets!

Learn some mo': Stay away from energy drinks, doctors say

Saturday, May 28, 2011

US Hospital Employee Exposes 800 People to Tuberculosis

A hospital employee in Atlanta's Emory University Hospital exposed 700 patients and 100 other employees to tuberculosis, according to a new statement from the hospital. Georgia Department of Health and Emory have begun contacting the patients, all of whom must be really pissed off about the situation.

Apparently, the employee did not know he was infected with the TB bacteria when he came in contact with others. Emory says they will contact everyone who was in the hospital in the 3 months before the employee developed symptoms.

Scary stuff. Here's something even scarier: about 11 million Americans are infected with a "latent" form of tuberculosis, which doesn't cause symptoms and, apparently, is not very contagious. About 5-10% of those people eventually develop an active TB infection, which is fatal if not treated quickly and can be spread through the air.

Experts say the number of TB cases in the United States have been in decline since the early 1990's. But they are worried about the new "super strains" that have developed strong resistance to nearly all anti-biotic drugs. Those are on the rise in several third-world countries and are being seen more and more here in the US!

We say: Why aren't all American hospital employees required to get TB vaccine shots? Also, it has become totally obvious that we need more tools to deal with the "super" tuberculosis strains and other emerging diseases. For now, we'll keep our vitamin D levels up (easy here in Las Vegas!), continue taking selenium supplements, and keep some MMS/sodium chlorite on hand just in case!

Learn some mo': Atlanta hospital notifies nearly 700 patients about TB exposure

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Giant Ferris Wheel (and MORE Stores) to Be Built on Las Vegas Strip

A Las Vegas project that's been talked about for years appears to finally be rolling: a giant "viewing wheel" on the Strip. The 500-foot wheel -- supposedly the largest in the Western Hemisphere -- will be positioned perpendicularly to the famous street to offer riders an incredible view of the city and its millions of lights.

According to Vegas-based land developer Howard Bulloch the huge Ferris wheel will be just one part of a $100 million, 40-acre project that will also feature new retail, entertainment, and restaurant space across from the Mandalay Bay on Las Vegas Boulevard. The "Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel" will be the the main attraction at the center of the project.

According to Bulloch:
"Skyvue Las Vegas will complement both the hospitality and entertainment industries... This world class attraction fills a niche in our economic recovery, creating jobs and offering a new and unique entertainment offering for the tourist base."
We say: It's great to have a new "big" construction project going on in our city. We definitely need the jobs and a cool, unique tourist attraction is always a good thing. But does Vegas really need more retail space? Stores are already shutting down left and right here. Unless the economy drastically improves before the project is finished (not likely in just 2 years) we don't see the new shopping area doing too well.

Also, what the heck ever happened to building a new water park in this unbelievably hot desert city?? They shut down the only one we had -- Wet & Wild -- way back in 2004. We think a new major water-focused project on or near the Strip is WAY overdue...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chili Pepper: The Best Fat Burning/Appetite Suppressant Food?

Eating red hot chili pepper -- cayenne in particular -- may help you burn more calories and suppress your appetite, according to a new study. That's a good combination if you're trying to lose weight and the research supports the long-time theory that red chili pepper is one of the best "fat burning" foods.

Experts say that it appears the cayenne pepper stimulates nerves in the head and neck in a way that increases energy expenditure (calorie and fat burning) and decreases appetite (less hunger, food cravings, etc.). The "catch" is that the spicy pepper appears to affect people who don't eat much of it more than those who do.

The leader author of the study said:
"We found that consuming red pepper can help manage appetite and burn more calories after a meal, especially for individuals who do not consume the spice regularly. This finding should be considered a piece of the puzzle because the idea that one small change will reverse the obesity epidemic is simply not true. However, if a number of small changes are added together, they may be meaningful in terms of weight management."
In the study, eating the chili pepper increased core body temperature, which led to the increased calorie burn. Also many participants, mainly those who only rarely ate spicy foods, reported a significant decrease in appetite and cravings for sweet, fatty, and salty foods.

We say: We LOVE cayenne pepper and spicy food in general. Any excuse to eat even more of it is OK with us! :)

Learn some mo': Eating Red Pepper Curbs Appetite, Burns Calories

Friday, May 20, 2011

Best of Las Vegas List Released by USA Today

USA Today has released a "Best of Las Vegas" list and, surprisingly (to us at least), it's pretty good/accurate. They've broken up the list into "Daytime" and "Nightime" sections, which actually makes a lot of sense because our city is drastically different after the sun has set, especially in the summertime.

USA Travel writer Kitty Yancey apparently consulted with several Las Vegas locals in order to come up with her suggestions. Some of them are pretty well known:'s Anthony DeCurtis, Review-Journal columnist Norm Clarke, the Las Vegas Sun's John Katsilometes, and even our beloved Mayor Oscar Goodman!

Some of the "Best of Vegas" winners, according to the USA Today list, include:

Best Resort: The Wynn

Best Casino: The Cosmopolitan

Best Attraction: The Fountains at Bellagio

Best Buffet: The Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan

Best Nightclub: Tao at the Venetian

Best Shopping Center: Premium Outlets at Symphony Park

Best Family Pool: Mandalay Bay Beach

Best Golf Course: Shadow Creek

Best Show: "The Beatles Love" at the Mirage

Best Bar: The Fremont East Bars (including the Downtown Cocktail Room, The Griffin, Beauty Bar, and Vanguard Lounge)

Best Fine-Dining Restaurant: Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand

Best Locals Value Dining: Firefly on Paradise Road

Best Adult Party Pool: Encore Beach Club

Best Strip Club: Spearmint Rhino

Overall the selections are pretty decent in our opinion, with some exceptions. Firefly as "best value" for local dining? Hmmm... $25 for a small pitcher of way-too-sweat sangria plus the fact that you have to buy at least 4 or 5 of their mini-tapas, per person, to have enough food for a full meal equals not all that great of a value. I like Firefly a lot but I never spend less than $50 (and often a lot more) every time I go. There are definitely much better local dining values in Vegas!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nevada Considers Online Sales Tax, Pisses Off

Nevada's offline brick-and-mortar retailers want the state to start collecting sales taxes on online purchases. They say doing so will even the playing field and remove a major advantage web-based sellers have. State officials are giddy over the prospect of lots of new tax revenue, which would be about $32 million in the first 2 years alone. is, understandably, PISSED OFF about the idea an is already threatening to abandon its investment in supply-chain fulfillment centers/warehouses in Nevada. According to one Vice President:
"[the new legislation] would make us reconsider our pending plans for jobs and investment in Nevada, including in Las Vegas."
That's not good news for a state that is struggling with huge unemployment levels.

Some experts say that the new tax laws are designed to help small local retailers and to protect and even bring back jobs lost due to the "unfair" advantage online retailers like Amazon have. But in reality the multi-billion dollar retail giants like Wal-Mart and Target are the ones really pushing the online sales tax legislation in Nevada and other parts of the US.

We say: TAXES SUCK! Instead of making online stores charge high sales taxes, why don't we try lowering or removing sales taxes on offline sales in the state. We have a feeling a LOT more people would be shopping in Nevada!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Microsoft Beats Down Facebook to Buy Skype for LOTS of Money

Tech giant Microsoft has smacked down and beaten out Facebook, Google, and Cisco to buy internet telephone service Skype, more than doubling the offer made by Facebook last week. Bill Gates's company will pay 8 and a half billion dollars for the free voice and video calling service. Insiders say the deal represents a major attempt to increase growth at the 36-year-old company.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the the biggest deal in the company's history will allow it to "be more ambitious, do more things." Well that's one way to put it... :)

Experts say that buying Skype allows Microsoft to becoming a much bigger player in mobile communications and social networking. That's important because the bread-and-butter businesses, like the MS Windows operating system and client-side business software, are showing strong signs of slowing down.

No matter what, this is probably a huge gamble by Microsoft and its executives. Skype has yet to prove that it can be highly profitable by simply providing free and ultra-cheap VoIP phone and video calling services. Many think that the long term goal is to integrate Skype voice communication functionality into nearly all of the company's products, including Xbox video gaming and its MS Office software suite.

Learn some mo': Microsoft Pays $8.5 Billion for Internet-Phone Firm Skype

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Las Vegas Classic Sahara Closes

The Sahara Hotel and Casino shut down operations today, marking the death of a "classic" Las Vegas Strip property and the end of an era. The owners of the once-popular resort, a group called SBE Entertainment, say that they simply couldn't bring in enough business to keep the doors open.

Locals and gaming experts alike blame the global economic recession as well as the fact that the Sahara is located on the down-in-the-dumps northern end of the Strip. Some point the blame at the current owners, saying that poor strategy and bad management basically ran the place into the ground in recent years.

One thing is for sure: the Sahara was, at one point, one of the classic "Rat Pack" casinos and was frequented by everyone from Elvis to the Beatles to Frank Sinatra. In the last decade or so it's become known as the place to find dollar blackjack games, cheap drinks, a really short roller coaster, and ultra-cheap hotel rooms that are occasionally invested with bed bugs.

Things had definitely gone down hill.

Still, the old joint had its charms with Moroccan-themed decor and a 1950's Hollywood-style pool. It also had a good group of employees who lots of tourists knew on a first-name basis going back to the 60's. Many long-time Vegas visitors and locals -- including us -- will miss the place... just like we miss the Dunes, Sands, Stardust, and all the other Vegas classics we've seen disappear in recent years.

We say: Las Vegas casinos are some of the most profitable businesses in the world. The Sahara, as far as we know, had no significant debt problem. There's something seriously wrong when you can't get a place like that to crank out at least a small profit!

Learn some mo': Sahara hotel-casino closing on Vegas Strip

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Gives You (Blood) Cancer

Here's some more bad new for people who like to pop Tylenol and other products containing the pain killer acetaminophen: it may increase your risk for blood cancers. A new study showed that chronic users of the drug -- those who take it at least 4 times per week -- have as significantly greater risk of contracting hematologic cancers.

In fact, according to the research results, people who use lots of acetaminophen on a regular basis have TWICE the risk of those who don't use the drug often. Other common analgesics like aspirin and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and Nuprin) didn't show the same risk increase.

According to one researcher:
"Long-term use of any over-the-counter drug might have adverse effects. You have to weigh the benefits against the risk of all the drugs."
We say: Why even risk it? There's obviously something not good/safe about Tylenol and acetaminophen. We'll be sticking to our baby aspirins for early morning hangovers and other pain-related issues!

Learn some mo': Chronic use of acetaminophen tied to blood cancers: study

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shane Mosley's New Girlfriend Bella Gonzalez Is HOT!

Millions of boxing fans watching the boring Mosley/Pacquiao fight last night in Las Vegas were introduced to one very sexy lady: Shane Mosley's new girlfriend Bella Gonzalez! We're boxing fans and we live in Vegas so we're used to seeing the hot girlfriends and wives of boxers, but Ms. Gonzalez is definitely a level above most of the boxing WAGs we've seen!

Check her out below and you'll see what I'm talking about:

Dang! :-o

As we immediately suspected upon seeing her well "enhanced" body, Bella Gonzalez is a professional model. Here's a video of a recent shoot featuring boyfriend Sugar Shane:

Very nice Mr. Mosley... we applaud you!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Las Vegas Tourism Numbers Point to Recovery

Local tourism is picking up in Las Vegas and the city is slowly moving toward economic recovery, according to some recent statistics. That's more good news for our home city. Reports show that "foot traffic" is increasing on the Strip and visitation rates have increased for 12 consecutive months, a trend local tourism experts expect to continue at least for the rest of the summer.

The casinos are even beginning to make some money again. For example yearly revenue at MGM Resorts, one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, is up over $7 million compared to last year. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority predicts that the city will receive about a million more visitors in 2011 -- 38 million in total -- than it did in 2010.

Other numbers point to a Vegas recovery as well. Travel websites have seen a big jump in the number of people interested in visiting the city. And for the first time in years Vegas room rates are increasing slightly. Of course, the room prices are still pretty low at around $103 per night currently.

According to the LVCVA its doing a lot of social media promotion to get people interested in coming to Vegas again. All the big events and celebrity sightings in Vegas make that easy to do.

We say: This is definitely good news for our favorite city. But, as we've said before, a true Las Vegas economic recovery won't happen until more locals get back to work!

Learn some mo': Signs show Las Vegas tourism starting to pick up again

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Facebook (or Google) Is Buying Skype (Maybe)

According to reports, Facebook is about to buy Skype, the popular free/cheap VoIP internet phone service. The selling price? Close to $4 billion buckaroos! But some insiders believe that it may really be a joint venture deal instead of an outright buyout.

Google also is apparently trying to buy or enter into a JV deal with the company.

Skype and Facebook have had a relationship for some time now. In fact, Facebook social networking features have been built into Skype since version 5.0 was released. Fully integrating Skype functionality into their site could allow Facebook to dominate the social networking landscape even more.

Google is fighting valiantly to get a foothold in the social networking/social communication arena. Getting Skype could definitely help them make some big moves, especially as more and more people around the world begin using the internet to make low-cost and even free phone calls!

Learn some mo': Facebook and Google consider buying or partnering with Skype, report says

Las Vegas Is Recovering (According to Some)

The Las Vegas economy has finally started to recover, at least according to some rich casino executives. MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said this week that tourists are beginning to spend more money on all facets of Vegas entertainment, including hotel rooms, dining, shows, and gaming.

That sounds like great news to us... but is it really true?

There has definitely been a pick up in 2 markets in the past year or so: the "budget" market and the "high-end" market. That's good and it shows that Vegas is finally starting to do what it used to do extremely well: provide great value to both the penny-slot player and the millionaire baccarat fan. Vegas deals are always a good thing! Also, according to the stats, Strip casinos are bringing in a lot more convention business.

According to Murren:
"The recovery that has been felt for well over a year in other leisure markets around the U.S. has finally arrived... We're seeing growth on the high end and the economy side, which indicates a sustainable recovery as opposed to ... a somewhat one-dimensional recovery."
Awesome. If it's true.

One very good sign is that room revenue, long a measure of overall tourism demand, has risen 13% in the first quarter of 2011 because of increases in room rates and occupancy levels. The big convention hotels like Mandalay Bay and Aria are doing especially well as conventioneers use their expense accounts on entertainment and dining.

Overall, consumer confidence is up slightly in the US. But that may change soon because of skyrocketing gasoline prices. For now though, drive-in "auto traffic" from places like California is actually increasing during the spring months.

We say: This is all good and well. But many (most?) of the big Strip players still have billions of dollars of debt. MGM Resorts alone has a debt load of over $12 billion! Things have to REALLY begin to pick up in order for these gaming companies to start making some money. Also, there is still one big problem for Las Vegas locals: jobs. Until we figure out a way to bring down unemployment in the Las Vegas Valley it's hard to believe that any true "recovery" is on the horizon.

Learn some mo': MGM’s Jim Murren: ‘Recovery has finally arrived’

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Buzz Aldrin Punch Video on The Daily Show

Daily Show host John Stewart just showed this awesome video of one of our space heroes punching out a conspiracy theorist:


And no, we didn't get our blog name from this incident... ;)