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Posted by on Aug 2, 2012 in Blog, What's Left | 0 comments

An Intellectual Lion: Gore Vidal (1925-2012)

Gore Vidal Photo

 

Gore Vidal died yesterday.

In obituaries which appeared over that last 24 hours, he’s been described as a writer and protagonist.

He wrote.

He ran for office (losing both times).

He commented.

He thought.

And, he provoked — and he certainly did that far better than most.

Like his more recent now deceased contemporaries Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and William F. Buckley and in the mold of great thinkers of yesteryear such as H.L. Mencken, Upton Sinclair, and even Mark Twain, he was a fixture on the intellectual circuit.  He basked in the spotlight in a time when writers were afforded the same celebrity as rock stars.  One colleague pined, “he was the man who knew everyone.”

Vidal was a wildly controversial figure, no doubt.  Audiences — those who cared enough about society and culture to follow his ceaseless parade of provocation, now increasingly dissolved in what’s spawned into a grotesque 140-character Twitterized world — would describe his ideas as eccentric and hopelessly out of touch.

As if that’s a “bad thing.”

To the contrary.  We need more eccentrics.  We need more thinkers who are out of touch.  And, we need more Gore Vidals.  And sadly, we now have one less.

The intent of a great writer and meaningful prose should not be — to be right all the time.  Writing, discussion, debate, inquiry, and ultimately provocation is not about prim and proper conformity to expectations and comfort zones.  Indeed, great writers should shun such a horrifying prospect.  You will forgive me for admitted bias, but whatever inside the box “is,” the thinker should be standing on the outside and perhaps as far away from the middle as possible.  And few stood any further from the apex of old-fashioned traditions as Gore Vidal.

Indeed, great writer does not necessarily implant what one must think.  But he (or she) should inspire one TO THINK.

There is a profound difference.  And no one understood that different better than Vidal and his fellow lions of intellect.

Gore Vidal did plenty of thinking, urging others to contemplate their own existence, their own sense of right and wrong, during an 86-year adventure, ultimately a fruitful life filled with the handiwork of books, plays , articles, essays , debate appearances, speeches, and participation in all forums which encouraged the free exchange of ideas.

This has been a tough year for writers, no doubt.  Eight months ago, we lost Christopher Hitchens, a thinker of extraordinary immensity.  Now, we have lost another.

Although I never met Vidal, I think of myself as someone who knew him — through his words and ideas.  Perhaps his greatest contribution and of those like him was to inspire others to carry on and push the envelope of ideas, to challenge conventionalism, and blaze new paths towards enlightenment.

In your memory, Mr. Vidal.  Thank you.

 

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2012 in Blog, General Poker, Personal | 0 comments

Trip Report — In Search of Black Tail (Part 2)

Florida Vacation

Marieta and Nolan visit a favorite restaurant in South Florida — “Michelle Bernstein’s,” located in Palm Beach.

 

V:  SINGER ISLAND — IN SEARCH OF BLACK TAIL

 

With Orlando mercifully in the rear-view mirror, it’s a two-hour drive south to West Palm Beach.  The game plan is to relax on the sandy beaches of the coast for a few days and then begin a two-week work assignment, when the WSOP Circuit starts in mid-February.

During my previous visits to the West Palm Beach area, we always stayed on Singer Island, which is an exclusive coastal causeway of ritzy hotels and condos located just north of the city.  It’s basically a giant retirement home for people with money.  The sad fact is, however — every time I’ve gone onto Singer Island since, there are at least a half a dozen construction cranes destroying what was once an uncrowded pristine beach, turning into another Miami.  Now, it’s pretty much wall to wall whitewashed high rises stacked along the ocean side, which makes me sad.

Unfortunately, the hotel prices have gotten so fucking ridiculous on Singer island that I can’t afford to stay there anymore.  In the past, it’s always been around$150 a night, for a four-star hotel on the beach.  Now, double that as the rack rate.  And that’s the rate for a room facing the street on the second floor over the loading dock.  It gets worse.  Now, these fucking hotels charge you EXTRA for — an ocean view, a pool view, parking, and a refrigerator.  Shameless thieves double the prices on the rooms and then try to double whack you with the extras.

During my preparations, I obsessed over a dozen websites looking for good hotel deals, to no avail.  My previous favorite was the Hilton Singer Island, which I always thought was a good deal and location during my four previous stays there.  This time, they wanted $279 a night plus tax, plus the extras.   I figured five nights meant about $1,500, which is way over budget.  So, I basically said SCREW THEM, and decided that Marieta and I would instead stay on Juno Beach, which is about four miles due north.

In short, Juno Island is NOW what Singer Island was ten years ago.  Which means the greedy bloodsucking developers are eventually going to skull fuck it to death over the next decade until they milk every dollar out of the sand.  Then, they’ll move on up to Jupiter, and so forth and so on.  That’s how the game works.  They call that “progress.”

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in Blog, Personal, Picture 1, Travel | 1 comment

Bucharest 1989

 

Nolan Dalla just prior to the Romanian Revolution

This photo was taken in December 1989, just after the Romanian Revolution. I’m standing In front of Casa Republicii (House of the Republic) in Central Bucharest a short time after the fall of Nicolae Ceasescu. Casa Republicii, then under construction, was to be the new government center for the Romanian Communist Party. Ceausescu oversaw its construction personally, which essentially bankrupted the nation. It still stands as the world’s largest office building. But he never saw it completed. He was shot by a firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989.

Note to Readers:  Thanks for coming and visiting my site.  This week, I’m playing in several poker events here in Las Vegas (BARGE 2012).  Accordingly, I’ll be posting an unpublished series of trip reports from earlier this year.  Next week, I’ll begin a new series on the events that led up to the 1989 Romanian Revolution and the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.  This will be the first time I have shared my experiences of living in Romania during this period.  I’ll also be posting many photographs, which have not been seen publicly.  Over the next month, look for commentary on politics, religion, and just about any topic this happens to pop into my twisted mind that day.

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Blog, General Poker | 2 comments

A Statement by Nolan Dalla on the Settlement Agreement on Pokerstars’ Acquisition of Full Tilt Poker

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today’s settlement agreement between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), which includes an announcement that PokerStars will acquire the entirety of Full Tilt Poker’s global assets, is an encouraging development for all poker players, and particularly positive news for those owed monies via their immobilized account deposits.

In fact, today’s news is the first break in the black cloud that has hung over the poker industry for 15 months.  Given PokerStars’ longstanding reputation for integrity and the commendable manner in which they handled their own player-deposit crisis during 2011, all poker players should be grateful to the ownership and management team of this company for assuming a leadership role in what have been troubled times for the poker industry.

However, today’s announcement does nothing, nor should in any way, abdicate any of the principals associated with Full Tilt Poker for their irresponsible actions, criminal or not.  Neither does the announcement serve in any way to remedy the gross negligence that led up to the crisis, nor amend the utter indifference of Full Tilt Poker and its principals to the suffering of innumerable poker players who endured severe financial and emotional hardships since the events of April 2011.

Full Tilt Poker’s actions during both the pre- and post-Black Friday period, represented an unprecedented level of irresponsibility and a grotesque violation of trust.  The damage these industry outcasts have done to players, public confidence, and the game overall lingers and will not be forgotten nor forgiven until the principals have provided explanation, apology, and restitution.

Conversely, the actions of PokerStars during this crisis have continued to win favor from the poker community at large.  I am optimistic that all poker players – residing both inside and outside the United States — who are deemed “victims” in the precise language contained in the official press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York on this date will be reimbursed IN FULL (emphasis mine).  Moreover, the USDOJ should do everything in its considerable powers to ensure that all monies are returned as quickly as possible to all victims.

Nolan Dalla
Las Vegas, Nevada
July 31, 2012

Writer’s Note:  The opinions expressed here are my own and do not in any way reflect the position of any company, publication, website, or entity with which I have been associated.

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Posted by on Jul 31, 2012 in Blog, Rants and Raves | 6 comments

When Masterbation Becomes an Olympic Sport

 

volleyball-team-olympics

 

Passing through a crowded casino this weekend, I couldn’t help but notice hundreds of people – primarily men – crowded around several television screens at one of the bars.

So, what were they watching?  It’s not football season yet, and no one gives a shit about baseball, at least until the playoffs begin.

Answer — the 2012 Olympic Games.

More specifically, the men were watching women’s beach volleyball.

Right.  You’re thinking exactly what I’m thinking.  I’m sure most of those guys with their eyeballs glued to the television screens really gave a flying rat’s ass that the United States was playing Australia in a preliminary medal round.  Hell, it wasn’t even the finals.  But for many of those men, no doubt, the match concluded with one hell of a climax.

Beach volleyball?  Don’t call this charade a sport.  It’s the world’s largest masturbation festival — plain and simple.  It’s a cum-dumpster parade.  Women in panties prancing around in the sand.  They might as well be having  a pillow fight or wrestling in jello.

Confirming my suspicion that most of the viewers had no real rooting interest in the Olympic match other than the tits and ass tally, sometime later when I passed through the same area after dinner and this time men’s volleyball was being shown, virtually no one was watching.  MENS VOLLEYBALL.  Poof!  Everyone was gone!  I don’t know — perhaps someone yelled “fire” inside the casino and I missed it.

The bottom line is, most of these gold medal events aren’t really “sports” at all.  They are excuses for getting as many athletes from as many nations as possible into a televised viewing frame so that as many products as possible can be plunged down our throats in the form of a non-stop parade of commercials.  That’s it basically.  The Olympics are nothing more a delivery device for rampant consumerism — be it cell phones, sports cars, or soft drinks.  It’s the globe’s biggest assembly line for product placement — on every wall, on every uniform, on every sign, on every conceivable frame of real estate that might possibly be viewed by someone, somewhere.

Which brings me to what should be the Olympic Games’ most expensive product platform — the ASSES of the volleyball girls.  Hell, that real estate is more prime than a penthouse on Central Park West.

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