Here's to 2010: May it be kind and gentler than '09.
The biggest newsmakers of the New Year?
The prediction here is that the worst is not over for Tiger Woods. In fact, bet on it. CityCenter will be a compelling story, with so much riding on its success. Cash-rich Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin will be a major player on the Strip. And Garth Brooks' comeback will be the hottest entertainment story.
Best advice I gave in 2009: During a trip to Washington, D.C., in June I attended a breakfast gathering attended by Nevada Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign. When Reid noted my presence, I thanked him and jokingly offered some advice: "Just remember my policy: $500 will get you in the column; $5,000 will keep you out. So behave." Ensign must have winced. About a week later, he went public with his sex scandal.
Shameless plugs: Several days before the Tiger story broke, I wrote "a jaw-dropping celebrity scandal is on the brink of going public" with ties to the Las Vegas nightclub scene. And back in May I revealed the first indication that Steve Wynn was courting Brooks with a sighting of them at SW Steakhouse (Wynn). A day later, Brooks' publicist, Nancy Seltzer, denied anything was in the works. "Garth did meet with Mr. Wynn and told me he was a very nice man, but no deal was discussed," she said.
Damndest thing I've seen in my 10 years-plus in Las Vegas: Lindsay Lohan, fresh out of rehab shortly after her 21st birthday in 2007, showing up at Pure Nightclub at Caesars Palace wearing the Accessory of the Year: an alcohol-monitoring device on her ankle.
Best Bob Stupak story I've heard, from the horse's mouth: Stupak, who died in September after a long reign as one of our city's most eccentric characters, probably never had an introduction quite like this. A few years after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1995, Stupak was out on the town when an attractive woman approached him and asked whether he remembered her. Nope, said Stupak. "You should," she said, adding that they never officially met but she had seen him in, well, his birthday suit. "Never saw ya before," snapped Stupak. But she won him over after mentioning a tattoo he had, applied in a very private area.
Biggest comeback of any decade: Roy Horn's. After the illusionist nearly died on the operating table from tiger bites during a show in October 2003, he willed himself to walk again.
MAY I RECOMMEND ...
Visit LVRJ.com/09review for the year in photos by Review-Journal photographers. A video of the New Year's Eve fireworks show over the Strip can been seen at LVRJ.com.
Film icon Elizabeth Taylor, at Wynn Las Vegas on Thursday. Taylor, who turns 78 on Feb. 27, was reportedly in town for a VIP party hosted by Elaine Wynn. Taylor later attended "Le Reve" at the Wynn. ... Singer John Mayer, hanging out with friends Wednesday in the high limit bar in the new tower at the Hard Rock Hotel. ... Nicky Hilton, at LAX Nightclub (Luxor) on Wednesday. ... Kim Kardashian, hosting at Eva Longoria Parker's pre-New Year's Eve celebration Wednesday at Longoria Parker's nightclub Eve at Beso (Crystals at CityCenter). Along with Longoria Parker and Kardashian were Will.I.Am and Apl.De.Ap of The Black Eyed Peas, Brittny Gastineau, Wilmer Valderamma, Mario Lopez and Tito Ortiz. ... R&B singer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and tennis great Billie Jean King, backstage at Bette Midler's show Wednesday at the Colosseum (Caesars Palace). ... "American Idol" winner Kris Allen, with wife Katy and his band mates at the 9:30 p.m. performance of "Love" (Mirage) on Wednesday after dining at Stack.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Hooker Named Lay Person of the Year" -- Headline in the Dekalb News (New Boston, Texas)