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The Rocking Ghosts of Del Mar Station
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 6-10-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune
Updated 6-17-2012

   Everybody knows the dice are loaded.
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
   Everybody knows the war is over.
Everybody knows the good guys lost.
   Everybody knows the fight was fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
   That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

Everybody knows the scene is dead
   But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
   What everybody knows.

— Leonard Cohen

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award


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Updated 8-30-2011
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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.

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Be well. Raise hell.


Click here for selected on-demand re-runs from the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Barbwire.TV archives

15-year overnight success

Daily Sparks Tribune 2-10-2008

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

HAT TRICK: Barbwire wins 3rd straight Nevada Press Association First-Place Award

Believe it or else, the recent news about heartless NFL owners and horny Secret Service agents brought back fond memories of this area's first fern bar, a Cheers long before the TV series.

In the fall of 1975, the Shea family started Del Mar Station at S. Virginia and St. Lawrence, a block south of the Ponderosa Hotel at the site of a former darkened dive called the Peppermint Lounge.

Del Mar was a hit from day one, catering to a young crowd and specializing in overpriced fresh-fruit drinks. Paint was removed from the blacked out windows, plants were hung. Mixologists wearing ties worked in front of a 10-foot carved wooden back bar. Cocktail servers in long dresses attended customers at antique oaken tables.
The back room featured solo musicians. Guitarist Ron Butler was one of the most popular. He had a great sense of humor and a tenor voice of such quality that upon hearing him, the legendary Ella Fitzgerald said "call me."

Ron was also a world class linebacker. In his first season with the Detroit Lions, he was hit from behind by a Green Bay Packer. The blow fractured his neck.

Team owner William Clay Ford visited him in the hospital and announced that surgery could return him to the playing field. All they had to do was move his trachea around to fix the bone breaks.


"I'm a singer," Ron informed the auto heir.

"I used to entertain the other players in the locker room with my guitar," he once told me.

Ron said he would allow nothing that might compromise his voice which had a range competitive with Roy Orbison or the Guess Who's Burton Cummings.

Ford became visibly upset, then angry, noting all the money he had invested in salary, training and medical care.

Ron stood his ground. The Detroit Lions boss cared about his return on investment, which provides a window into why the NFL apparently long-ignored the effects of concussions and brain injuries on the disposable workers of their plantations.

Butler never played again.

SECRET FERN BAR SERVICE. Late one night as I sat at a Del Mar table with my wife and some friends, bartender Mike Galloway came rushing by and blurted "back me up" as he pulled Tom Shea outside.

A customer had informed Michael that somebody was out back breaking into cars. The late Mr. Galloway was absolutely fearless and both of these gentlemen were reputedly pretty good in a street fight.

As they rounded the corner into the alley, they found some hammerhead busting car windows with a tire iron. He confronted the Del Mar militia then suddenly turned white as a sheet and quietly dropped to his knees, hands behind his head.

Behind Shea and Galloway stood a half-dozen U.S. Secret Service agents with their guns drawn.

The G-Men were having a few beers in the bar when they heard the police call on their earpieces.

"I just got backed up by the whole damned Secret Service," a Reno police officer chuckled as he placed the perp under arrest.

The good guys were in town in advance of a visit by President Reagan. Michael probably bought a round afterward.

FERN BAR JUSTICE, PART DEUX. Reno Police Chief Jim Parker once had Del Mar busted at midnight. Cops ordered all patrons outside and made everyone pass thru a line and show identification to get back in. No underagers were found.

Never missing an opportunity to promote Del Mar, I called TV news director Ed Pearce and UPI reporter Geoff Dornan who came from home to interview irritated customers.

Sometime later, I made a business visit to bar owner Jerry Shea. He showed me a purse left by a patron the night before and handed me two driver's licenses, one showing the UNR student as 19, the other with her as 24.

"See what I'm up against," Shea said. The fake license, reportedly available for twenty bucks, was perfect down to gold-lettered DMV lamination.

Then came a coincidence that could not make the script of a TV sitcom. A liquor salesman arrived and Jerry showed him the two licenses.

"This is my daughter," the guy gulped.

JUNETEENTH AND JUNE 16. On Sunday, June 10, the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society celebrates Juneteenth, an annual commemoration of the freeing of American blacks from slavery. The music and food event takes place in Wingfield Park on the river in downtown Reno beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The Reno-Sparks NAACP will host a booth selling tickets to its 67th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet which is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, at the Circus Circus Mandalay Ballroom.

Keynote speaker will be prominent Florida attorney Alishia McDonald who was recommended by former NAACP National Chair Julian Bond. Her mother, Alise Moss Vetica, is a longtime Sparks resident. The downtown Reno Tom Vetica Resource Center, which serves the homeless and impoverished, is named after McDonald's late father, Dr. Thomas Vetica.

Honorees this year include the aforementioned Pearce of KOLO TV-8, Reno Municipal Court Judge Kenneth Howard, People First Foundation Executive Director Courtney Bell and Bishop Luther Dupree, Jr., pastor of Rehoboth Holy Temple C.O.G.I.C.

The Freedom Fund Awards Banquet is the NAACP's principal fundraiser. Tickets are $60 at the door. They may also be purchased at

SUPPORT THE NEVADA CITIZEN TV PROJECT to re-establish a people's channel hereabouts. You may donate at ReSurge.TV or contact me, especially if you think great issues like the above demand extensive and rational discussion.

Help give the gift of non-corporate TV to your community. We are making progress toward returning a citizens station to these parts. Your support is both needed and appreciated.

Thank you.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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 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 Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.

Smoking Guns...

Followed by a moon shadow

TRAVUS T. HIPP, 1937-2012

ADIÓS, COMPADRE — Our friend Travus, 75, passed away peacefully between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. PDT on 18 May 2012 at his home in Silver City, Nevada. The sun is in eclipse as I write this at 6:30 p.m. on May 20.

CHANGE OF VENUE (5-22-2012) — Adiós in Silver City, Nevada, Saturday, May 26, 2012 —> Updated 5-27-2012 — > The auld church where Travus lived and died proved too small for the expected multitude, so gathering, gnoshing and remembering commenced at the Silver City Community Center, 385 High Street, at 10:00 a.m. PDT. The graveside memorial service began at High Noon. Travus was buried next to his rock star companion Lynne Hughes, a short walk away. My remembrance of Lynne from the 3-21-1993 Daily Sparks Tribune has been linked to Travus' formal obituary at this website. All memories accepted for permanent posting hereat. Stay tuned for pictures and stories of the appropriately rainy day.

Thanks for all your kind words. Keep up the good work and the good fight.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

Travus T. Hipp & Tales of Nevada's Futures Passed
Expanded from the 6-3-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

     At bottom, he was an artist who used his voice to soar and slice, a tenor for the tenor of our times. Many of his mourning California listeners talk about the vocal spells he wove, how he soundly organized the noise of daily life into music that entertained, engaged, enlightened, educated, enthralled and occasionally enflamed. [From the saga of Travus T. Hipp and contributions by The Barbwire to the May 25 Reno Gazette-Journal and May 26, 2012, Daily Sparks Tribune.]

Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced.
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

Click here to view the show on your desktop

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

...and more ammo

Economist: This is a true depression
Elliott Parker Guest Editorial / Las Vegas Sun / 11-27-2011

The plight of the paper pushers
The great recession made bashing public workers a national sport
Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Bury the Bad News with Rose-colored Reporting
How urgent can economic troubles be if leaders say things are getting better?

Dennis Myers / Reno News & Review / 11-23-2011

Fact-free nation: Inside the lie machine
Mother Jones Magazine May-June 2011 / Cover story and in-depth analysis

Bill Moyers: Welcome to the Plutocracy
Money fights hard and it fights dirty
Speech delivered at Boston University on 29 Oct. 2010
Part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series

Barbwire Corporate Welfare Archive

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

Labor Day 2009: Rise of the Vampire Corpobots
Expanded from the 9-6-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

Angry Americans and Freudian fraud
Using war to market cigarettes
from the 8-23-2009 Daily Sparks Tribune

BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive

Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Barbwire 8-14-2005

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Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know

Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.

NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Alternet 5-20-2007

Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.

Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.

Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below

ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

     SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

     By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)

     Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.

Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.

      BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey

      BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy

The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Barbwire 9-10-2006

      Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966 | 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
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Banks, Cabbies, Cabela's, Cable TV, Cancer Kids/Mining, Energy, Food, Health Care, Resurge.TV/consumers, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
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Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-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 premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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