Pirate Laureate of the High Desert Outback of the American Dream


"If voting mattered, they wouldn't let us do it."Travus T. Hipp, 1982

The Underbellyof the News—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Site map
SITE NAVIGATION TIPS: When all else fails, read the instructions

Hope you and yours enjoyed enthralling Thanksgibleting
Happy High Holly Days


Barbwire Silver Anniversary 1988-2013 —>Now we go for gold
Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on Earth
   But instead it just kept on raining
A vale of tears for the virgin birth
   I remember one Christmas morning
A winter's light and a distant choir
   And the peal of a bell
and that Christmas tree smell
   and eyes full of tinsel and fire

   They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a Silent Night
   And they told me a fairy story
Till I believed in the Israelite
   And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
   Till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

I Believe in Father Christmas      
By Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield (1975)  

Hopeful High Holly Days: Heroes big and small
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-23-2014 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-24-2014
Expansions to the Tribune version appear in siena italics.
Editor's Note: Because Chuck Harper's memorial service takes place on Monday, Dec. 22, hereinbelow, you'll find an advance of my Dec. 23 column which will print the day after. C'est la vie.
This column has been uploaded on Dec. 21. Here are the adios logistics —> Memorial service at 1:00 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22, at Walton's, 875 West Second between Brickie's Bar and Keystone. Glad I didn't get a haircut this week. Reception follows at the Reno Elks Lodge on Kumle Lane across from the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.


Support Don Dondero next

Barbwire wins sixth Nevada Press Association award

We Don't Need No Education—> Neverending Barbwire Series

Watch for show times.
Help us get the word out.

Support the project at

Updated 8-30-2011
Reruns on Carson-Dayton 226

Additional programs
on Boulder City cable. Go to and then
go to the BCTV link.

If Reform Fails: Health Care, Jobs and Unions — new power to the people on the public airwaves

The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.

The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.

Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.

Please spread the word and consider contributing to the cause online at ReSurge.TV.

You may also take the public option known as the U.S. Postal Service and send a check or money order to ReSurge.TV, P.O. Box 10034, Reno NV 89510.

Your contribution will help fund the distribution as well as ongoing efforts at developing new media, including a regional, non-corporate community radio station and the return of community television to Reno-Sparks-Washoe.

You are present at the creation of what I hope can become a new media model where the programming accurately reflects what's happening on the ground and the media impact is powerful enough to forcefully pass the message upward.


Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

The Barbwire's Greatest Hits
Highlights from radio days
mp3 file

Tomorrow's news today —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Friday came news that Chuck "Big Daddy" Harper died at 80 on Dec. 13. His memorial service was yesterday and his yesterdays were all memorable.

I was very fortunate to cross paths with him many times.

When he managed a Salt Lake City music station in 1976, I called him at the very last minute in need of an affiliate for my Long Beach GrandPrix Formula One motoracing network.

"Oh, what the hell. Let's go for it," said my man Big Daddy.

I last saw him a couple of years ago at an Eldorado rock 'n' roll nostalgiafest featuring Phil Harvey, one of his former KCBN 1230-am colleagues now an actor in LA.

Phil's brother Andy from Carson City showed up as did Nevada newspaper hall-of-famer Marilyn Newton.

KCBN alumni included Palmer and Jolene Stewart and Doyle Brown, son of the founder.

Chuck told me a story that night that tells you all you need to know about him.

Back in the 1960s when Big Daddy Harper ruled, KCBN did a prom night contest.

At the drawing, one awkward teenage girl blurted out that she wouldn't be going because no one had asked her.

Big Daddy thought for a moment (it would mean canceling something important) and said "Relax. I'll take you to the prom."

So the clumsy duckling became the belle of the ball when she walked in with Big Daddy hisself.

That was my man Chuck.

Chuck's formal obituary appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal Dec. 19 and 21.

One thing not included: Big Daddy was once the ringmaster in the early days of Reno's Circus Circus, which he described as one of the most fun jobs he ever had. He had the perfect tall build to wear the black boots, top hat and tails and crack the bullwhip.

I don't know if Chuck's in the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame as yet, but he damn sure oughtta be.
[UPDATE: He is conspicuous by his absence.]

I got Guy Richardson elected to the Nevada Press Association Hall of Fame in 2012 and have been campaigning for Don Dondero ever since (see right).

So now let's go to work for Chuck.

I owe (and you can blame) Doc Guy for providing the entrée that launched my checkered career as a regular columnist in 1987.

The following year, Big Daddy tipped me that KOLO Radio was going news-talk. I got the job, my first regular talk show gig. They put me head-to-head with Lush Rambo in the morning. With Travus. T. Hipp doing afternoons, we surgically removed four in ten listeners from hate radio powerhouse KKKOH in less than six weeks. I knocked off Limbaugh outright on KHIT soon thereafter.

All remembrances about Big Daddy will be gratefully accepted and posted here.
[UPDATE: If there was a recurring theme at his sendoff, it came from people he unselfishly helped in their careers, with their families and daily lives.]

Former Washoe County Commmisioner Jean Stoess recalled that the community held a fundraiser for him at the Sparks Nugget.

"My dad broke his neck diving into a sandbar in Lake Tahoe," noted Chuck's daughter Michelle Harper-Montoya, adding "he made a full recovery."

One thing I learned early about this town is that if you take care of it, when you're in need, it will take care of you.

My friend Big Daddy was the ultimate mellow dude who always took care of business both personally or professionally.

May he rest in peace among all the golden oldies riding the waves which escaped our sky toward the ends of the universe

Return of the Lost Boys
KCBN's last day

Barbwire 9-29-1989
Whoever promised me a CD of all 13 hours of the venerable rocker's swansong but never sent it, now would be a very good time. People are waiting to download from here. Please e-mail me.

MEMORIAL SERVICE UPDATE 12-23-2014: Doyle Brown officiated. Media dinosaurs among the multitudes included Carole Draper, Dennis Golden, Ron Smith, Palmer and Jolene Stewart and Dick Stoddard. (In his first radio incarnation, Palmer was known as Dick Diamond.) Many of Chuck's unindicted co-conspirators from the annual Sheep Dip show attended, including union stalwarts Rita Weisshaar and Ron Borst. Rita will direct the 2015 edition of the annual satirical review. You can bet money that Chuck will be fondly recalled. At the memorial service, several remembered Chuck as having helped their careers when they needed it. I resemble that remark. (See above.) Amazing Grace was sung by those who journeyed graveside to a nice spot overlooking the little valley by the mucky Truckee.

KCBN's liberal talk reincarnation was assassinated in the womb by ownership
Barbwire 5-2-2013

FORTUNATE MISTAKES. For years, I've had a talk line for live TV during legislative sessions.

It comes with Yellow Pages listings. For some reason which escapes me, Ma Bell includes Barbwire.TV under television stations.

Sometimes, serendipity surfaces.

ROOP STREET RATZ. As noted a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from an 81 year-old Carson City mother living with her disabled son. She had a horrendous rodent problem, holes in the wall and a totally unresponsive landlord. Her cat couldn't keep up with the invasive critters. I wallpapered the capital media and public officials and even called a few. The mother in question went to the local health department. Nobody lifted a finger.

Finally, the lady called the landlord's representative and mentioned the Barbwire. Problem fixed. She said knowing that I would back her play gave her the courage to complain. (In Nevada, tenants can be evicted without cause and little notice.)

Don't know if I helped much, but it made me feel good at Christmastime.

A few days later, the talk line helped me get some Sparks seniors their rabbit ears TV service back.

The lady who called said I sounded young and thus made an old man very, very happy.

COMING SOON: Déjà vu all over again — Fear and Favor in the Newsroom, a bad dream from the '90s (Barbwire 12-10-1997 and 2-15-1998 and 2-22-1998) came back to Sparks last week with the showing of Shadows of Liberty. Stay tuned.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY: FEEL UP YOUR FIRE METER. The Reno Gazette-Journal did big spreads on three consecutive Sundays (Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28) on NV Energy smart meter fires. Welcome aboard. Barbwire readers were two years ahead on the fire meter issue. (Touch a Smart Meter, Go to Jail — 11 October 2012)

[UPDATES: THE NEVADA FIRE MARSHALL'S INVESTIGATION concluded "don't worry, be happy." I'm still worried and will continue fondling NVE's precious equipment. In its Sunday 21 Dec. 2014 front page headline major story, the Reno Gazette-Journal published results of the NVEnergy-commissioned "don't worry, be happy" echo study. Spoonfed stenography means never having to say you're sorry.]

ANTE INTO THE GAME: Support the new season of Barbwire.TV by putting your money where my mouth is.

A thousand thanks to those who already responded and keep sending show suggestions.

"Media is the plural of mediocre."
                              — Jimmy Breslin

  Stay tuned.

  I encourage you to donate to the cause at Barbwire.TV/

The medium that shapes public opinion needs at least one refuge where it is not filtered through the distorted green eye shades of prissy corporate accountants for whom profit is the only priority; where self-censorship is the journalist's normal work environment and where all sins of omission are tacitly encouraged and forgiven with the wave of a balance sheet.

This is important. We've got a lot of work to do.

Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential.

Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)


Andrew Barbano is a 46-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, first vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of and and As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Peruse the Underbelly of the News —> Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

Smoking Guns...
Get ahead of corporate-influenced news—>Subscribe to Barbwire Confidential

The ever-expanding Ira Hansen Archive of an anachronism

Breaking Bad 5: Machine Gun Michele and the good ole boys
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-16-2014 Sparks Tribune

Walter White and some other white guy

Breaking Bad 4: Ira and his ammosexuals flip us the finger
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-9-2014 Sparks Tribune / Updated 12-11-2014

Breaking Bad 3: Ira, the guv and the dragonslayers
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-2-2014 Sparks Tribune

Breaking Bad Part Deux: Ira blames the Tribune
Barbwire by Barbano / Submitted for publication 11-21-2014 / Expanded from the 11-25-2014 Daily Sparks Tribune
On 11-24-1874, barbed wire was patented.

Follytix '15: From Topless Campaign to Breaking Bad
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-28 and 11-18-2014 Sparks Tribune
BREAKING BAD 11-23-2014—>Hansen resigns as Nevada State Assembly Speaker

Voting, gloating, loathing and scapegoating
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 11-11-2014 Sparks Tribune

If you voted early, this will make you regret it
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 11-4-2014 Sparks Tribune

Virginia City's next scary sexy Hollywood movie
Virginia City 911: Sexy Sheriffing in Old ConforteLand
Barbwire by Barbano / Special Nevada Day Edition 10-31-2014, Updated 11-1 and 11-3-2014

Follytix '14: Year of the Topless Campaign
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-28-2014 Sparks Tribune, Updated 10-31-2014

Words from God on Nevada ballots and Ebola
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-21-2014 Sparks Tribune

Happy 150th Birthday, Ms. Nevada
Nevada Day Required Reading
The Lady in the Red Dress
The Barbwire's classic Nevada Day column written in 1983
The compleat history of the Silver State in 500 words
Sparks Tribune 10-31-2013 and previously

The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln on display in Reno thru Nov. 2

GAO Study: Voter ID laws cut turnout by blacks, young
By Alan Fram / Associated Press 10-8-2014

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Cheap thrills: Sex banned in Gomorrah South
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-14-2014 Sparks Tribune / Updated 10-15-2014

True confessions from the back of the bus
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-7-2014 Sparks Tribune

We don't need no education: Leaks R Us
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-30-2014 Sparks Tribune

Taxpayers taken for Teslacide demo ride
Heavy demands for services & infrastructure but no money for them: Los Angeles Times debunks booster claims

Can megaresorts scam Tesla-style freebies?
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-23-2014 Sparks Tribune

St. Elon, Lord Pedro and Gov. Veto El Obtúsè
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-16-2014 Sparks Tribune
9-23 CRYSTAL BALL UPDATE: The above column accurately predicted Martinez's departure one week in advance

Tinkle-down economics: testing Tesla's testes
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-9-2014 Sparks Tribune

Labor Day 2014: Red, white and screwed
Silver State Lining: Nevada union membership 10th-highest in the nation
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune / 8-28-2014

Union decline and rising inequality in two charts
by Colin Gordon
Economic Policy Institute / 6-5-2012
Labor Day: State of the Unions
By Mark Robison / Reno Gazette-Journal / Sunday 9-1-2013

The above graph was used in journalist Mark Robison's extensive Hard Labor: Nevada unions tout role in helping workers, firms, economy (Sunday 2 Sept. 2012 Reno Gazette-Journal, page one, Reno Rebirth section of the print edition). Union men Jim Burrell, Paul McKenzie and Guy Louis Rocha did the movement proud.

The Barbwire Labor Day column
Reno Gazette-Journal / 9-3-2012

We Don't Need No Education
The continuing Barbwire series

Barbwire: Nevada not really a state
No, we were not Battle Born in Kenya
Top 10 reasons Nevada lives in the 19th Century

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-17-2013 Sparks Tribune

Low-income penalty: Nevada socks it to the working poor
BARBANO: Nevada is one big company town
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

State of Health
National health care comes up against a very sick state. WHAT'S IN IT FOR US?
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review 10-10-2013

...and more ammo yet

IMF Head Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right.
By Erika Eichelberger / Mother Jones/ 5-30-2014
“The behavior of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally…since the crisis.
The industry still prizes short-term profit.”

The Post-Dated Recession: Pay me now or pay me later
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 9-6-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

The Post-dated Recession
By Joshua H. Silavent / Daily Sparks Tribune / 5-3-2011

Nevada Press Assn. Better Newspaper Contest


Hopelessly trying to win an earthquake / 4-18-2013

The 2013 Loony Tunes Legislative Lexicon / 5-30-2013

The politics of media ga-ga boosterism / 3-20-2014


Support legendary photographer Don Dondero next

2010 GOLD HAT TRICK: Barbwire takes first place three years in a row.
The winning entries
Suing for Schools: The 20-year shuck

Expanded from the 2-21-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

RED flags flying low over Sparks
Expanded from the 1-10-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

The wrath of self-righteous racism
Expanded from the 11-8-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?


The Dean's List

   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006

The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008

SITE NAVIGATION TIPS: When all else fails, read the instructions | U-News | Bulletins + Almanac
Casinos Out of Politics (COP) | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors
| BallotBoxing.US | Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive
Barbwire Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Annual César Chávez Celebration
War Rooms:
Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's/cabellyup, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
We Don't Need No Education
Search this site | In Search Of...


Copyright © 1982-2014 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 46-year Nevadan, editor of and; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee. He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail

Barbwire by Barbano moved to Nevada's Daily Sparks Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in them parts ever since.
Whom to blame: How a hall-of-famer's hunch birthed the Barbwire in August of 1987
Tempus fugit.

Site composed and maintained by Deciding Factors, CWA 9413 signatory

Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins