Friday, Oct. 28, 2005 | 7:48 a.m.
Typically when a neurosurgeon starts talking about the toys in his back yard, it might be time to slowly back away. But Dr. Lonnie Hammargren is no ordinary neurosurgeon (he's no ordinary former Nevada lieutenant governor, for that matter) and this is no ordinary back yard.
Hammargren, who closed his practice in July because he could not afford rising malpractice insurance premiums, will again open his Las Vegas home to the public in celebration of Nevada Day. From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday he hosts his annual Nevada Day party in what he often calls "Hammargren's Home of Nevada History." Admission is free.
The house is at 4318 Ridgecrest Drive, near Flamingo and Sandhill roads, and sits on about 2 acres. Hammargren has created a Nevada-themed wonderland since purchasing the home in 1972; the latest addition is a nonfunctioning replica of the Las Vegas Monorail (which was once a nonfunctioning replica of a "Simpsons" prop).
Also on display are a fire-spewing dragon from the defunct MGM Grand show "EFX," an electric mining railroad engine and car used to dig tunnels in Yucca Mountain, a replica of Hoover Dam, a wedding chapel made of the marble used in the original Golden Nugget, vintage signs from several imploded or closed Las Vegas hotels (including the Hacienda, Dunes and Showboat), a Clark Gable-sized model of Clark Gable hanging from an Army-issued parachute and a big tank full of live turtles.
Oh, and there will be bands and appearances by celebrities and refreshments sold by the Boy Scouts.
"I don't know whether it's LonnieLand or LooneyLand, but it will be fun," says the good doctor. Call 596-6669 or 806-2604 for information.
Army mobilizing: This week the Salvation Army held the first of its holiday season (counting Halloween, anyway) fundraisers as the all-volunteer rock band Brutal Planet performed Tuesday at the Orleans, which donated its showroom to the event. "Loud. Very loud, like Metallica" was the quick recap given by Salvation Army spokesman Charles Desiderio.
Still, the event drew a few hundred fans and, as Desiderio said, is a reminder that so-called "donation fatigue" is pronounced this holiday season, so brace for a lot of charity outreach ...
Trump responds: In an interview Wednesday on the celebrity news show "Extra" Strip developer Donald Trump responded harshly to the book "TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald" by The New York Times' Timothy O'Brien, which was released this week. "The book is not a very good book ... Tim's not a very good writer," Trump the book critic said.
O'Brien writes that Trump was "bored" with Marla Maples. Trump responds, "Marla is a nice woman, and they should just leave her alone." Trump also denies a rumored affair with Mike Tyson's ex-wife, Robin Givens, saying, "Well, you'd have to ask Robin about that, but it is not true" ...
Play me: The Las Vegas Wranglers' Hurricane Relief Night, scheduled for Nov. 4 when the Wranglers tangle with the Texas Wildcatters, gives us an excuse to note that Neil Diamond impressionist Jay White, a native of Canada who performs at the Riviera, has occasionally served as the practice goalie for the Wranglers (and, before that, the Las Vegas Thunder) ...
Quick quiz: Who is the bigger star, former Monkee Davy Jones or Twist architect Chubby Checker? According to the ticket prices for upcoming shows at the Silverton, today they are equals -- both fetch $25 a ticket. On the same sliding scale, the Charlie Daniels Band ($45) is just that much bigger than Three Dog Night ($25) ...