Guy Richardson — Little Giant Among the Stars
Expanded from the 2-23-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
Updated 2-4-2007, 9-24-2012: Richardson inducted into Nevada Press Assn. Hall of Fame

Updated 11-11-2014

As you approach the singing of your September song, you will look into the folds of your back pages for the sheet music. Therein, you will find a pattern which becomes so obvious that you will wonder why you never saw it before.

The true test of a Hall-of-Famer: His Work Lives On
Guy Richardson named Paul Revere "The Last Madman of Rock 'n' Roll"
Steve Timko / Reno Gazette-Journal 10-16-2014

The tapestry of your life is woven of people and places interlaced by your interactions with them. What seemed no more than a word or a look may have been a major turning point. You just didn't know it when it happened. These become the threads of your life.

My circuit on this globe minus the gravity of Guy Richardson would teeter and fall out of orbit like the world without Atlas to hold it up. I certainly could not have predicted all that the first time I laid eyes on the little ink-stained wretch from the Reno newspapers' linotype room. When I hit town 32 years ago, the morning Journal and evening Gazette still had separate editorial staffs but had already combined advertising and production departments in the building which still stands at W. Second and Stevenson streets in downtown Reno.

The back shop was right out of playwright Ben Hecht's classic The Front Page — noisy, dirty, hot and steamy with muscular dudes melting lead into hot type to lay down fast copy in black and white. Only a steel mill worker could claim a more macho job than a union typesetter back in the days of the rotary letterpress.

But hot type and metal cylinders were soon to give way to prissy pasteup and sissy computers. Change or die.

Guy Richardson changed. Turned out the little sumbitch* could write real good. The impish pixy traded in his typesetter's pica pole for a typewriter and we are all the richer for it.

Guy hung out with a lot of entertainers, so he was a natural for the showbiz section. His longtime friendship with Stew Carnall, manager of Willie Nelson and others, provided some of his greatest column items. (Like the time a concert was selling slowly and Carnall leaked a story that the Rolling Stones or somesuch were going to show up unannounced. Ticket sales improved.)

Guy's most famous dustup came with the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra hisself.* The irascible Italiano was enraged at something Guy had written and banned everyone from the Kazoo-Journal* from attending the famous 1975 Frank Sinatra/John Denver "Back to Back" engagement at Harrah's-Tahoe.

I first got to know him when I needed a singer for a radio commercial. The artist who got the work sent me a nice thank-you note. Turned out he desperately needed the unexpected money to buy medicine for his sick baby. On that occasion, Doc Guy truly earned his later e-mail handle of the same name.

I have too many Guy stories to fit into one column. I will happily post your reminiscenses. Send them here.

Now, lemme see if I can pack 32 years of Guy-isms into the space remaining
: "Why did Willie Nelson cross the road? To sing a duet with the chicken."..."The publicity photo that gets ink is the one that looks expensive."..."One thing you notice about Miss Rodeo America is that she's lawd-a-mighty purty and says what's on her mind: 'If that steer isn't in this rodeo, it's in McDonald's.'"..."Sex is not the answer. Yes is the answer. Sex is the question!" (Jim Stafford)..."Seen those candidate signs around town promoting 'fiscal vigilance?' Imagine a woman asking 'have you tried fiscal vigilance with your husband?'"..."Facing down stiff competition on St. Patrick's Day, Andy Barbano came up with a killer promotion for Del Mar Station Bar — bring in a head of cabbage and get a free green beer. 'Erin Go Braghless!' exulted Betty Barbano"..."Then, I swear, Daisy Mae reached down from heaven and inspired the waitress to take that bragging disc jockey down a peg or two. 'I like listening to your country station,' said she. 'Puts me to sleep.'" (For many years, Daisy Wright was the graveyard cook at the seven-stool Landrum's Diner at Mt. Rose and S. Virginia streets. Landrum's infamous chili cheese omelets sobered up many a drunk in the olden days.)*

Now, a confession about who's really to blame for Barbwire by Barbano over, lo, these many years. I got started when a magazine publisher asked Guy if he knew somebody who could write a good column. The rest is history. Guy even recommended that I buy the very Macintosh upon which these words are being composed.

NevadaLabor.com Research

NevadaLabor.com Exclusive
State of Nevada study blames chronic fiscal problems on wholesale creation of low-wage casino jobs.

More corporate welfare horror stories: NevadaLabor.com White Paper on Nevada's unfair and regressive tax structure. 1-20-2003 Web Extra

The Silence of the Sacred Cows
Sparks Tribune 1-19-2003

Gambling industry offers only token taxes and cosmetic participation
1-20-2003 Web Extra

State of the State: Next to Nothing
Las Vegas CityLife 1-30-2003

Humongous property tax hike glossed over by Gov. Dudley Do-Right
Sparks Tribune 1-26-2003

The need for zero-based taxing
Sparks Tribune 12-13-98

Logrolling, air raids and dirty deeds done dirt cheap
Sparks Tribune 2-2-2003

Gov. Dudley Do-Right asked for it
Internet Extra 2-3-2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal 2-7-2003

Guy willed me a treasure long before his death last month at age 65. One day, I thanked him for re-labeling Las Vegas as Gomorrah South, the best monicker ever hung on the beast of Clark County and a name I've frequently utilized. He said he was happy to pass that torch and knew it would be in good hands.

As I know he's in good hands now. In the big after-hours diner with Daisy Mae where there are no deadlines and the coffee cups are always full.*

FIRE UP THE ZAMBONI. Last week, Sen. Joe Neal got snowed in by the eastern blizzard which hit DC, thus postponing the hearing for his bill to raise the gross gaming tax on Nevada's largest casinos. The State Senate Taxation Committee will hear Senate Bill 21 this Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Nevada's casino tax rate is the lowest in the world and hasn't been raised since 1987.

Three of the seven committee members are from these parts*: Sens. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno; Dean Rhoads, R-rural northern Nevada; and Mike McGinness, R-Fallon/central Nevada.

Gomorrah South* members are Sens. Ann O'Connell, R-Las Vegas, Sandra Tiffany, R-Henderson, Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, and Sen. Neal, D-North Las Vegas.

Contact them all and ask them to make casinos pay a fair share. Legislative hotlines are 684-6800 from Reno-Sparks-Carson City, 486-2626 from Las Vegas and 1-800-995-9080 statewide.You may fax the senators at (775) 684-6522. Invest the time. It's your money.

If you have the courage to list your name as a supporter, call or e-mail me. Visit the Silver State Casinos Out of Politics (COP) website to volunteer.

If you want to read about the true cost of the casino industry, check out the UNLV study which makes Sen. Neal look like a psychic. Half a decade ago, Neal said the cost of Nevada problem gambling and addiction could be a billion dollars a year or more. The UNLV study proved him more than correct.

AIR WAR. For the inside scoop on who's doing what, with which and to whom at the ledge, join me on Nevada Newsmakers with Sam Shad on KRNV TV-4. (Go to DecidingFactors.tv for the coming week's lineup.) I promise hard-hitting reportage, insightful commentary and creative character assassination.

Be well. Raise hell.


*GUY RICHARDSON*S STARS. All of the *asterisks* in this column indicate Guy-isms forever embedded into my organic software courtesy of the man hisself.*




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Copyright © 2003, 2007, 2012, 2014 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org. He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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