U.S.S. Adelson lost at sea

Sheldon Adelson‘s presidential campaign officially sank today. It was preceded to Davey Jones’ Locker by $21.5 million in Adelson family money (or $10.75 million per primary victory). It’s been a brief voyage but one revelatory of Sheldon’s inner workings. For instance, there was his recent, self-pitying sulk, in the presence of Jon Ralston, about the ‘unhelpful’ attention his ham-handed intervention had generated. Can someone who makes his living by literally having the odds in his favor really have been so unsophisticated as to be caught unawares by the political backlash he encountered and — more to the point — the media spotlight into which he thrust himself? The latter should have been doubly predictable, given the colorful clouds of scandal that currently befog the battlements of Las Vegas Sands. Did no one caution him?

I think someone probably tried but the U.S.S. Adelson had left the port of Egomania, outward bound for Megalomania. One of “Tex” Adelson’s more endearing foibles is a quaint tendency to, from all outward appearances, think of himself as the axis upon which Planet Earth spins. He’s not naive: He played footsie with Rick Santorum while the latter still had a chance, then — in characteristic Adelson form — waited until Santorum was down and bleeding before administering several swift kicks. It’s an experience with which cashiered Sands execs are painfully familiar. (The mainstream media missed the irony of casino tycoon shopping for a president who would keep Internet gambling out of the U.S.) Do you really think a man who happily does business with governments both authoritarian (Singapore) and brutally despotic (China) would lose any sleep over a Santorum presidency? Nah, me neither.

Now, Tex boasts, he will pull the levers of democracy in stealthy and subtle fashion. However, Adelson’s about as stealthy as a 72,000-ton battleship and slightly less subtle. He’s not going to slip off the radar that easily. Ironically, his worst political investment has been in a winning candidate: ideologically amorphous Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R, left). In the space of one year, Scott managed to be averse, favorable and neutral toward casino expansion in the Sunshine State. Even Gumby isn’t that flexible. Scott’s rubbery contortions made him useless during the legislative session, when Sheldon could have used some help — a politician who wasn’t worth buying.

Holy F**k! Dept. Not content to have burnt herself to a crisp in sundry tanning beds, a New Jersey woman — who hails, quite appropriately, from the town of Nutley — appears to have started broiling her daughter for good measure. Words fail me. If ever there was the quintessential case of “You can’t choose your parents,” this must be it.

Not content to have slaughtered the hits of Kelly Clarkson and Billy Idol this season, Dancing with the Stars mutilated a classic Adele anthem beyond recognition last night. (I told my wife this was going to happen.) Thank your lucky stars that the DWTS stage show at the Tropicana Las Vegas is choreographed to taped tunes, usually performed by the original artists, sparing us the Harold Wheeler Band‘s musical castrations.

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