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Why did he do it?: The strange saga of Dr. Ralph Conti

Why did he do it?: The strange saga of Dr. Ralph Conti

1. Even as it slumbers in the Desert Companion archives, our big July 2014 report on the late Dr. Ralph Conti — a beloved local pediatrician whose career was ruined by a stem-cell scam — continues to touch readers. This just in from across the ocean: “I took my ex-wife from South Africa to Vegas in Jan 2006, for stem-cell therapy,” Marthinus Stander writes after encountering Heidi Kyser’s story online. “She suffers from multiple sclerosis and had a serious relapse after the treatment, due to an infection. I revisited Vegas in 2012 as state witness in the case against (Albert) Sapse and Conti. While it was easy to direct fingers at Sapse, I felt sorry for Dr. Conti and could never understand what made him become involved.

“The guilty verdict and failed restitution did little to fix anything, but I still feel resentment towards the FDA and the state of Nevada. Too slow and too little, too late in the whole saga.”

 

2. More recently — the August issue, to be exact — we published a roundup of facts contextualizing Nevada’s new school-choice law, said to be the nation’s most far-reaching. The idea behind the law, rerouting dollars from public schools to private and charter schools, wasn’t well-received on social media. “So happy to see there are sound structural reasons why our vouchers will predominately go to the well-off,” one Facebooker responded to our factoid-palooza. Another went a bit further: “So much for the good old American concept that good citizens are best formed in public schools that teach common, non-sectarian American values, and not by the often divisive doctrines and slants taught in crackpot and unregulated charter schools. The entire idea that my tax dollars are being used to fund a religious school is obnoxious.”

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3. Speaking of obnoxious: The Aristocrats! The classic comedy documentary, which features some hundred comedians each telling what is possibly the foulest, dirtiest joke known to humor sapiens, turned 10 last month. We celebrated with Julie Seabaugh’s wide-ranging oral history of the movie’s making. It really made the rounds, too, as various comedians — Gilbert Gottfried being one example — tweeted the link to their hundreds of thousands of followers. Meanwhile, over on The Comic’s Comic blog, writer Sean L. McCarthy wrote: “Reading what went into making the movie — and comedians reminiscing about how Provenza and Jillette convinced them to participate, with the late great George Carlin providing a vital piece of advice in addition to his own footage — creates great foreplay and excitement should you decide to watch The Aristocrats again with fresh eyes today.”

 

4. Finally, this gem, from the comments section beneath George Knapp’s August farewell to famed cowboy sheriff Ralph Lamb: “I remember my dad scaring us just before we drove through Vegas back in the ’60s. If we were bad he was going to drop us off at the crazy Vegas sheriff’s office.”

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