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Thursday, March 31, 2011

I’ll Have What Betty White’s Having

Betty White redefines age as meaningless.

I’ll Have What Betty White’s Having - Technorati Celebrity

What’s up with Betty White? I always figured that by the time I reach seventy, if I reach seventy, I’ll just rest on my imaginary laurels and coast through whatever’s left of my life. Betty White, on the other hand, is reported to be eighty-nine years old and has just announced her latest project.
Betty is going with the flow and teaming up with NBC for a reality show. Nope, she’s not moving in with the cast of Jersey Shore (but imagine if she did!); based on the opinion of the many people who have told her she’s off her rocker, Betty’s new show is Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, according to Associated Press.
Seven seniors band together to play pranks on younger people, and if you don’t see the comedy in that, just ask my kids (although I doubt they find a lot of humor in what I do; maybe you should talk to my grandkids). Once you hit a certain age, the pranks are endless (feigning a heart attack, feigning a stroke, feigning Alzheimer’s).
I doubt that Betty White’s seniors will be as mean-spirited as I, but I’ll bet the Emmy-winning White has a few very funny tricks up her sleeve. In addition to Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, White continues to appear on Hot in Cleveland (TV Land) and has a book set for release in May, If You Ask Me (And of Course, You Won’t). I'll bet she wouldn't turn down any good movie offers, either. Which leaves me with two comments for Betty, “You go, Girl!,” and “How the heck do you do it—and where can I get some?”

Originally published:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Glorifying Gangsters, Vegas-Style

Glorifying Gangsters, Vegas-Style - Technorati Entertainment

It took two years and twenty-five million dollars, but there’s finally a shrine to “the mob.”

First, let’s clarify one thing: there’s no such thing as the Mafia. How many times do those “in the know” have to tell us before we deny the evidence of our eyes and ears and accept that the Mafia is a fiction? Now, if you know of someone who is or was in the Mafia, that doesn’t mean it actually exists. It’s like love—everyone knows something about it, but no one has ever seen it. Oh, sure…you see expressions of love, but you never see the actual thing called love. Apparently (according to “official” explanations), “Mafia” just stands for “Male And Female Italian-Americans,” or it would if it existed. But it doesn’t.
As a second-generation Italian-American, I never doubted the existence of the Mafia. My mother and her parents moved to New Jersey (where there is no Mafia) from New York (ditto), and members of the extended family were reputed to be Male and Female Italian-Americans (or would that be "Males And Females of Italian Ancestry"?), so I grew up believing in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Mafia. I was actually a fan of organized crime, feeling that it was so much easier to live with than the disorganized variety.
If the Mafia doesn’t/didn’t really exist, who was Mario Puzo writing about? Americans love their gangsters, but with what gang were the Corleones associated? Oh…wait…they were fictional, so they must have belonged to the fictional Mafia, sort of like Scarlett O’Hara living at the fictional Tara. Based on societal language trends, a real name must be applied to the people who were believed to be members of the imaginary Mafia, hence the term “mobster.”
“Mobster,” which allegedly has no ethnic ties, can be applied to late greats like John GottiJoe Bananas, Carlo Gambino, and Fat Tony Salerno who were members of “the mob.” You know…the mob that so successfully organized crime for so many years until…well, you know all that (if you don’t, check out GoodFellas). “Mobster” and “the mob” are not new terms, and we are aware that some cities—at one time—were infamously “mobbed up.” One of the most notorious, of course, was Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, one-time gambling (er, excuse me, “gaming”) capital, is now a high-class theme park offering all types of entertainment opportunities, but it hasn’t forgotten its roots. This week, the creators of The Las Vegas Mob Experience (not the actual experience, but an interactive museum), family members of well-known gangsters, and celebrities were on hand for the opening of The Las Vegas Mob Experience. Joining them were famous pretend-mobsters James CaanTony Sirico, and Frank Vincent, as well as mob-fans Pamela Anderson, Peter Greene, and Rick Harrison (of Pawn Stars, there—no doubt—to authenticate the furnishings).
Putting aside any moral reservations we may have, The Las Vegas Mob Experience can be viewed as a valuable historic display (wait a sec…my tongue is stuck in my cheek). Visitors are “educated” through both videos and holograms “on the mob and how Vegas worked back in the day.” The experience is “Anchored by the largest collection of authentic artifacts, memorabilia, photos and videos of organized crime ever assembled” (we’ll have to ask Geraldo about that), and explores Vegas history, and what role organized crime (not all Italian or Italian-American) played in its transformation from desert town to tourist destination.
Located in the Tropicana Hotel (where else?), The Las Vegas Mob Experience is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Annual passes are available to those who would like to visit often, and—for those of us who couldn’t make the Grand Opening (March 29, 2011)—an on-line store offers bullet-riddled t-shirts and “hot shorts” with “An offer you can’t refuse…” emblazoned across the butt, among its mob-inspired wearing apparel (not recommended attire for your mob initiation ceremony) and souvenirs. Perhaps, though, the offer you can’t refuse is to text your name to 25155 “to get a call from a made guy.”

Originally published: