It’s not hot today. The high is supposed to be 84. There could be thunderstorms, although in Las Vegas that can mean you get a 30-second sprinkle and call it done. This is the first time we’ve had a day like this in months. It’s been a hot, dry summer. This is not terribly unusual for Las Vegas, but it’s definitely a significant contrast with Iowa, where we were for three years previous. I don’t mind the heat, but I do mind the climatological monotony.
My work at the Mob Museum is going very well, but Las Vegas generally is not as hospitable as one would like. With the endless violence reported on the news, the ubiquitous homeless people approaching us in parking lots and the thoughtless and angry motorists on the streets, not to mention the recent report ranking Nevada 50th in education, we are less than impressed with our new-old home.
But summer is weird. Things might look better before too long. Fortunately, it’s that time of year when some things return to normal. In a week, our younger daughter will return to Iowa State University for the fall semester. In two weeks or so, our son-in-law will return to the classroom to teach eighth-graders. At month’s end, college and pro football will start their regular seasons. In mid-September, the fall TV season will kick off, bringing back a handful of shows we like. And by late September we might start feeling the first signs of fall.
Since I don’t blog that often, I should throw in a few updates:
– The Nevada sesquicentennial book launched in May with a great event at the Clark County Library. The book has been well received and is selling well. In fact, the first printing is nearly sold out. We’re not sure yet whether there will be a second printing.
– I wrote a long essay for this year’s Las Vegas Writes book. The book’s theme is “Lost and Found,” and I wrote about lost and found Nevada historical documents and artifacts. The book will debut at the Vegas Valley Book Festival in October.
– Speaking of the book festival, I am scheduled to participate in two panel discussions there, one on the Las Vegas Writes book and one on the Nevada sesquicentennial.
– I’ve been writing some essays and book reviews for Desert Companion, Nevada Public Radio’s monthly magazine. My old friends and colleagues Andrew Kiraly and Scott Dickensheets run that operation, and I enjoy writing for them.
– I recently completed a big project to rescue the Las Vegas CityLife and Las Vegas Mercury hard copy archives from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which wanted to dispose of them, and donate them to the Nevada State Museum. There were many car trips from the R-J to my house, where the 75 banker’s boxes of papers were stored in my garage, and then there were many more car trips from my house to the museum. Thanks to museum director Dennis McBride for taking an interest in preserving these publications.
When I moved from Las Vegas to Ames, Iowa, three years ago, several people told me, “You’ll be back.” At the time I thought it was a rather presumptuous prediction, built on the idea that Las Vegas is such a desirable place to live that I would be disappointed anywhere else. But here I am, three years later, back in Las Vegas, and happy to be here.
After 25 years in the newspaper business, I have leaped into a whole new industry. I’m the director of content development for the Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas. Although museums are very different from newspapers, I think my skills and experience translate well into what I am doing now. I am working on a bunch of different things but they all revolve around history and storytelling.
I intend to continue writing books and articles, but my primary focus will be on contributing in whatever ways I can to improve and grow the museum. The possibilities are vast, exciting and daunting. There is no shortage of work to do and ideas to pursue.
I also hope to revive this blog a bit after a long period of inactivity.