Pages Menu
TwitterFacebooklogin
Categories Menu

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in Blog, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | 3 comments

B-52s and Banana Cream Pie — My Visit to Bossier City

 

 

Writer’s Note:  The World Series of Poker Circuit is currently taking place at Horseshoe Bossier City.  So, I’m staying in Shreveport, Louisiana during the next two weeks.  Today, I’ll share with you two things that have impressed me most so far about my visit.

 

It sounded like a screech.  A deafening, high-pitched screech.  Almost like the scream in a horror movie.

I looked up into the sky.  There it was.

A giant B-52 bomber.

If you’ve never seen the breathtaking sight of a B-52 in flight, I must say — even from the ground — the visual is awe-inspiring.  Conjoined with its high-pitched eardrum-shattering 120 decibels, the image of the B-52 plowing overhead with it’s beastly eight engines barreling out thick black smoke is a momentous assault on the senses.

Barksdale Air Force Base is located on Bossier City’s east side.  Years ago, I remember well the sight and sound of B-52s regularly hoovering over the Louisiana Downs Racetrack off in the distance, which I frequently visited.  It’s been a long, long time since I saw this aircraft up close.  I had forgotten how intimidating the sight is.  Earlier today looking up into the sky, I rekindled that double-edged love affair with darker forces and was once again reminded of mankind’s inherent aptitude for creating marvels of self-destruction.

It was horribly beautiful.

The B-52 is an astonishing image of national power.  The fleet carries payloads of nuclear weapons.  These are B-52s on high alert — always ready to strike.  Prepared for its target like wolves catching the scent of a bunny, B-52s are always swilring around up in the air somewhere, defending the nation.  This is intentionally so, as a sort of Orwellian flip-flop of logic manifested by explaining the madness as a “deterrent.”

Never mind that their constant presence was one of the things which triggered an arms race and ignited the fuse for a lot of bad guys in the world who came to accelerate their own ambitions for nuclear weapons.  Even with the Cold War long over, B-52 missions continue around the clock, every day and night of the year.  I had just witnessed the conclusion of one of these missions, landing at Barksdale AFB.

But what’s really most impressive about the B-52 is longevity.  This year marks the aircraft’s 60-year anniversary.  That’s right.  America’s nuclear arsenal is hauled around in a fleet of planes that were designed when Eisenhower was President and most the country was tuned into “I Love Lucy.”  I’m not sure if that’s more astonishing, or horrifying.

That’s how incredible these planes are.  That they have stood the test of time for six long decades and remain just as frighteningly effective as the day they first rolled off the Boeing assembly line as the most powerful fighting machine perhaps that’s ever been designed.  Think of all the advances in technology and changes in aircraft design since that time.  And yet, the most destructive instruments in the history of mankind are hauled around in the equivalent of a 1952 Chevy.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 5, 2012 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 0 comments

Trip Report — The Final Chapter (Part 5)

 

Note:  This is the fifth and final installment of a trip report I wrote (unpublished) from February and March of 2012.

 

XV:  MONDAY: FINAL DAY OF WSOP CIRCUIT AT CAESARS ATLANTIC CITY

I rarely discuss working at the World Series of Poker in any public forum, other than comments related to my official role.  I do not believe it is appropriate for me to comment here or anywhere on what goes on behind the scenes nor infuse my personal biases into what I do.  So, those of you looking for that in this blog — you will be disappointed.  I consider it a great honor to work for the WSOP as long as I have and I simply do not betray confidences entrusted in me.

But I’ll break protocol somewhat in this report, with some activities that take place on the thirteenth and final day of the WSOP Circuit at Caesars Atlantic City.  Today will be a brutal workload, with THREE final tables to cover, which means three full written reports, the most important of which is the Main Event Championship.

I must admit some of these reports are like industrial writing.  It’s like grinding out a new chapter in a giant tech manual each day.  Occasionally, there’s a good story here and there.  But how in the fuck do you make a 22-year-old college dropout winning $26,183 compelling reading?

There’s also data entry for all results to do, which is what I’ve been reduced to at age 50.  A fucking data entry clerk.  That’s what I am.  Only, instead of typing in social security numbers and addresses, it’s poker players and chip counts.  Now, I know why insurance salesmen are the heaviest drinkers.  Monotonous mind-numbing repetition must be doused with some extinguishing excitation.

Read More

Posted by on Aug 4, 2012 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 0 comments

Trip Report — Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City (Part 4)

XII:  SATURDAY EVENING:  AT-LARGE BANQUET

Speaking to any audience in the poker community is a challenge.  Think about it.  Most poker groups are full of novice recreational players — unsophisticated star-struck newcomers who pretty much salt lick any speaker’s ass and chomp any poker tidbit like its a carrot dangling in front of a mule.  But this group I’m with tonight has a considerably higher threshold of expectation, which is precisely why some of our past BARGE speakers were misfires (including yours truly).  Bottom Line:  It’s not easy to entertain as well as inform a group with some of the brightest and most experienced minds in the game.

In short — it’s hard to hit a triple crown with any speaker at a poker gathering, which in my view consists of:  1. A speaker who “gets us,” 2: A speaker who is informative, and 3. A speaker who is entertaining.  If we hit on two of those cylinders, that’s a double.  Three is a home run.

I was pleased when I initially heard that John Pappas would be this year’s speaker.  For those who do not know him, John serves as the Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).  It’s an organization to which I give a mixed grade, which would probably be a “C” mixed with an “I” for INCOMPLETE.  But I certainly respect the fine work John has done and I am eager to hear his latest from the political front.

I thought John hit a solid single on at the banquet with his speech.  There was nothing earth-shattering nor newsworthy about it.  But, he essentially covered all the bases with the latest with what’s happening in poker at the moment, especially with regards to online poker legalization.  I do think John could have been a little more revealing about the work he does, and would very much have liked to hear some behind-the-scene stories about what he’s seen an experienced.  I can only imagine the roadblocks of ignorance he’s up against with the clueless whores we elect as lawmakers.  Some candid revelations about what happens in the trenches of lobbying could have been entertaining.  But, you can’t fetch the winning hand from the muck and so this too shall pass.

Now, let’s move on to what you are waiting for — the ballbusting.

Read More

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.

Read More

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Blog, Essays, Travel | 1 comment

Three Dogs and a Mexican (Part 2)

 

It was a Sunday.

Boulevards normally jammed with traffic were less so and moved more freely.  It was a day of leisure.  People were out and about.

The park was busier than the day before.  Children ran in circles.  There was laughter.  Music played.

And, my eighth run began alongside the concrete aqueduct.

Just as the day before, I ran about a mile, and then veered off the right.  I scaled the first wall effortlessly and ran a considerable distance before coming upon the same cinder block barricade I remembered from the previous day.

I had arrived at the blue tent.

But this time, the tent had an occupant.  A small-framed man, perhaps 30 or so, sat upright on what appeared to be a sleeping bag.  I did not want to startle or disturb the man.  So, I quietly made my way over the wall and began to proceed down the path to continue my run.

Suddenly, one of the dogs started barking.  And the other dogs too, joined in unison.  The canine alarm bells had gone off.

I could not see the man’s face clearly.  But, he must have been fearful.  After all, few passersby run along the aqueduct and certainly no one scales over two barricades – on a weekend, no less – to invade the solitude this man had etched for himself in what was a gigantic foreign metropolis.

Alerted by the barking mutts, the man quickly rose to his feet when he saw me.  He appeared startled, and it was easy to understand why this was so.

Seeing a invader passing along the aqueduct, in a place off-limits to pedestrian traffic, had to be a terrifying prospect for this frightened man resting in solace, who was clearly Hispanic, probably Mexican — and almost certainly an illegal alien.

That’s right — an illegal alien.  Chew on those words for a moment.

Read More
css.php