Martini endorsement shows it's OK to act like an adult

News item:

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The city's martini-loving mayor says he has settled on which brand of gin he will tout.

Oscar Goodman said Thursday that he's reached a "handshake agreement" to become an official spokesman for Bombay Sapphire gin.

A contract on the $100,000 deal could be signed next week, ending a months-long bidding war among three prominent manufacturers seeking to take advantage of the mayor's bully pulpit.

I didn't get a chance this week when Oscar Goodman was in town to ask him why he had picked Bombay gin over Beefeater or Tanqueray. I figure if you must talk politics, then this is the kind of conversation I could understand.

I also would have congratulated him on a clever idea for dragging Nevada out of its budget deficit.

Half of Goodman's endorsement proceeds are going to provide scholarships for low-income students to The Meadows School in Las Vegas, and the other half will be donated to the city's general fund.

Thank goodness Oscar stepped up to the plate. Now I'm waiting for the line to form behind him for product endorsements from other Nevada officials.

Gov. Kenny Guinn -- with all his travel between Carson City and Las Vegas, he might be able to do commercials for frequent-flyer miles. Whichever carrier gets the nod could go with the tagline, "The Anointed Airline."

Secretary of State Dean Heller -- definitely needs a NASCAR deal. I can see decals plastered all over the windows of his capitol office, and he can start wearing a crash helmet to those Board of Examiners meetings.

Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko -- could probably get an offer from Budweiser, if I remember right from that photo we ran in the Appeal a couple of years ago. But I admire Ray's black cowboy boots, so I'm thinking Tony Lama might be interested.

Supervisor Robin Williamson -- would have her autograph on Wilson soccer balls. I'm envisioning a commercial in which one of her Redevelopment Authority projects gets approved, Robin yells "Gooooooooal!" and runs laps around the Sierra Room with her jersey pulled over her head.

Supervisor Pete Livermore -- is too obviously linked to his favorite root beer. But remember a few years back when Pete tried out the new beds at Carson-Tahoe Hospital and gave them the thumbs up? Now, there's an endorsement deal to fall back on.

Principal Glen Adair -- had a great opportunity a couple of weeks ago to endorse any number of brands of bottled water. Come to think of it, he did just that at the last school board meeting.

Sheriff Rod Banister -- must have some favorite fishing or hunting gear he could endorse. Maybe he could be the cover boy for Cabela's catalogue.

Of course, some people might have a problem with public officials making endorsement deals for products -- especially something like gin. Here's what Goodman had to say to a Las Vegas columnist:

"We're in Las Vegas, OK? We're supposed to have a good time here. If you can't have a drink in Las Vegas, unless it's against your religious convictions, and have fun with that drink, then Las Vegas isn't the Las Vegas that I think it is."

After all, it isn't like we have a former professional wrestler for governor or ex-Love Boat star for congressman. No, it's just a former mob lawyer as mayor of Las Vegas.

Gambling, prostitution, extraterrestrials -- why shouldn't Nevada lead the way in martini endorsements?

The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Bureau's Web site now offers a visit to Martiniland, where you're welcomed by Don Rickles. "How's about a little drinky-poo?" Don asks.

It calls the martini "the unofficial drink of Las Vegas and the drink of choice for swingers everywhere" before offering up a recipe with "everything you need to know to board the train to Numbsville in style."

Since Las Vegas dropped the whole "family destination" advertising myth that tried to persuade Midwesterners to bring their kids to Sin City instead of Great America, it's apparently OK to act like an adult again.

I'll drink to that, baby.

Barry Smith is editor of the Nevada Appeal.


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