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Social Media Distancing

Posted by on Mar 17, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 2 comments

 

social media distancing

 

Note:  This was posted to my Facebook page.  I’m sharing it here since many of you likely have the same issue to deal with on Facebook and elsewhere on social media.

 

I am making a change. Effective immediately.

I’m implementing a new policy on Facebook which I will call “social media distancing.”

Just as some people are infected with a virus, others are infected with the toxicity of ignorance. I have no use for either. According, they shall be quarantined. Let me explain.

For many years, I’ve exhibited extraordinary tolerance for the broadest range of opinion. As someone who is naturally curious and has always welcomed an open exchange of ideas (even bad ideas), I hoped my posts/threads/articles might in some small way contribute to bridging differences and fostering greater understanding. I will continue to adhere to this guiding principle.

Unfortunately, the law of large numbers of friends means more trolls and irrational outliers. I hoped discussion and debate might open some minds. Darkness is dark only until the light gets in. However, there are simply some minds which are so shuttered and locked that it’s not worth my time, nor the energy of my friends to waste time trying to do the impossible. Let’s treat the treatable, not the terminally ignorant.

Allow me to provide some examples. In the last week, I’ve cut ties and or blocked the following persons. Names will not be listed. I see no point in embarrassing them or giving them any additional attention:

CASE 1: In a thread about Alex Jones (the hate-spewing conspiracy nut) someone expressed admiration and support for his content. Right then, I made a calculated decision that there is nothing this person can say or write from this point forward that I can trust. I have nothing to learn or gain from someone who thinks Alex Jones, who has called the parents of children murdered in a mass shooting “crisis actors.” Moreover, I do NOT want to know this person. He was blocked. Easy decision.

CASE 2: This one is more complicated. In an exchange about public policy, someone stated President Obama did nothing on domestic infrastructure while in office. I proved otherwise (this was very easy, which took about 5 seconds on Google). The poster doubled down and refused to acknowledge a simple fact which was shown. I decided there was no point in engaging this person any further, since showing him an easily-searchable fact, didn’t trigger the expected reboot to reality. If we can’t agree on simple, undisputed historical facts, I see no reason to waste time or energy in future discussions with this individual. That said, the person is polite and communicates well, so rather than imposing a draconian punishment like blocking, I simply informed the individual I would no long engage him, but he remains free to post and contribute to my threads.

CASE 3: This was a poker-playing friend who I know marginally (met him a few times) but I would not call a friend. I tend to welcome invites from people because it’s a way to connect to new ideas and even learn things. While scrolling down my Facebook home page, I saw this person post. It was a rambling long-winded conspiracy rant about the Coronavirus crisis being a Leftist conspiracy designed to bring down Trump. He pulled every rancid chestnut out of the toxic toolbox, even alluding to 9/11 inside-job stuff. That was eye opening. Once again, this made my decision easy. There is nothing this person can write or post that gives me any faith in their opinion or judgment. None. And so, the persona non grata button was pushed. Poof! He no longer exists. Blocked. My soul is cleansed.

A WORD ABOUT TROLLS:  Finally, there is the wacko category, comprised of trolls. People who contribute nothing to a discussion. Some are even dangerous. My life has been threatened a few times, and one of those had a Facebook home page with photos of lots of guns and hate-filled topics. After he once threatened to come and kill me and my wife, I reported him directly to the FBI (some of you might remember this from a few years ago). These are easy to identify and deserve to be blocked. While I wouldn’t normally tell others what to do, I strongly recommend social quarantine against these types of individuals.

Please note that I rarely block anyone for having ideas different than my own. I have dozens of Trump supporting friends and even more conservative-minded contacts on my social media feed. Virtually all of them are civil and occasionally do post good content. I also will admit to some inconsistency since I allow those people I know very well (no names) tremendous latitude that I wouldn’t normally afford to someone who is anonymous. I try my best, but I’m not perfect in my enforcement of my own rules.

YMMV. Everyone can make up their rules. I have decided that my time is way to valuable to be wasting it on (Case 1) overt haters, (Case 2) people who do not listen to facts, and (Case 3) conspiracy nuts.

Thanks to everyone for reading and supporting my amateur attempt at exchanging ideas. I recognize my posts are often inflammatory and off-putting in language and content. I do remain a work in progress, flexible to many topics, tones, and tactics. If someone is offended, I suggest they unfollow me. It’s that simple.

Over and out.

__________

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Yes, You Can Still Go Out and Have Fun and Here’s How (Surviving Las Vegas During the Coronavirus Crisis)

Posted by on Mar 16, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Personal, Travel | 2 comments

 

marieta dalla

 

I don’t know when it will come but at some point during this “social distancing” thing, many of us are going to go stir crazy.

This is especially true if you live in Las Vegas, like me.

We’re used to going out and having fun.  We’re accustomed to casinos, and restaurants, and world-class entertainment within a short drive.  We’re spoiled by instant gratification.

Let me be very clear:  I fully support and encourage following every recommendation and guideline put out by any authority — at least those put out by people not named Donald Trump and Mike Pence.  The draconian measures of social distancing, and in some cases “self-quarantining” are sure to save many lives.  I beg everyone:  Please follow them.

But let’s also be realistic.  Many of us are going to go outdoors.  We will leave our homes and drive places.  Some destinations — such as grocery stores and medical facilities — are mandatory.  Others, such as amusements are optional.

Fortunately, Las Vegas is blessed to have some really cool places closeby.  Everything about these spots is positive.  I think many readers might enjoy them if they can get outside and are willing to try an adventure.

In recent years, I’ve discovered a few amazing places that I want to share.  Each destination is easy to reach from Las Vegas.  So, if you are a local resident, or visiting, these are very doable.  Best of all they are safe and cost next to nothing!

 

OPTION 1:  TAKE A HIKE AT RED ROCK CANYON

Distance from Las Vegas:  5 miles

Time Required:  A few hours (or more is optional)

Don’t be put off by the word “hike.”  I promise — it’s not that difficult.  There are many leisurely walks through the Red Rock Canyon National Park.  Some take no more than an hour.  Others are more challenging and can take up to a full day.  The option is yours.

The main thing is — the views our here are magnificent.  More like breathtaking.  And, since it’s March, the weather should be great this time of year.  The same goes for April and May.  So, even if this health crisis continues for months, Red Rock Canyon will be there waiting to welcome us.

The many times I’ve been to Red Rock Canyon, it’s never been crowded, like a city attraction.  Sure, several hundred people might be at the canyon at one time.  But they are spread out of many miles.  So, there’s virtually no threat going out and doing something that’s fun and good for you — walking and hiking.

Here’s my report of an amazing hike I did a few years ago with a friend, Nick Christenson.  Nick knows these trails very well, so I was glad to have him as my guide.  If you’re interested in learning more, please read this column, and if you really want to find out where to go, share the discussion on Facebook.  Either Nick or I will be glad to address it.  Read:  TAKING A HIKE:  THE OTHER SIDE OF LAS VEGAS

 

OPTION 2:  DRIVE AND VISIT VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK

Distance from Las Vegas:  50 miles

Time Required:  4 to 5 hours (can be done in a half-day)

Valley of Fire is about an hour-long drive to the northeast, about halfway to the Utah border.  It’s a pristine setting with lots of rock formations and natural beauty.

There’s no urban development out here, meaning no hotels or gas stations.  The natural splendor is what makes Valley of Fire so attractive.  The park is located next to an Indian reservation, which has a tobacco shop as the main cut off from the highway onto a single-lane road, which takes another 10 miles, or so.

I’ve visited this park many times, usually with family or out-of-town guests.  Everyone I’ve gone with enjoys the quiet solitude combined with the beauty of the unusual landscape.

Unfortunately, I have not written about the Valley of Fire in the past.  So, instead, I will provide this link to their OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

 

OPTION 3:  DRIVE AND VISIT DEATH VALLEY (DANTE’S VIEW)

Distance from Las Vegas:  120 miles

Time Required:  8-10 hours (full-day)

People hear “Death Valley” and they think of unbearable heat and barren desert.  But it’s not that way, at all.  Or, I should say, it’s much more than that.

One of the park’s best-kept secrets is an amazing landmark that overlooks the vast natural treasure, which is about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas.  This is one of the best day-trips you will ever take from this city.  For reasons inexplicable, I’ve met very few Las Vegas residents (or anyone else) who has done this wonderful mini-vacation.  Don’t be like them!  Do it!

Remember, during this period, we want to be cognizant of social distancing.  Well, a visit to Death Valley is about as socially isolated as it gets.  The closest you will come to other people might be cars on the other side of the highway.

This article I wrote about Dante’s View will give you some idea of what awaits those to make the drive.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  And, once you are there, it’s a nice spot to get out and spend a few hours.  The view never gets old.

Be Warned:  There is no food or services out here, so please make sure you are well-fed and stocked up before heading out.  Oh, the area is totally safe.  You just need to make certain you have plenty of gas and don’t leave hungry.  Because you won’t find a fast-food place around for 50 miles.  And that’s what makes it so wonderful.

Try Dante’s View.  This is an amazing experience.  Read more:  DANTE’S VIEW:  A GREAT LAS VEGAS GETAWAY

 

There are more places to visit than just these.  Utah has some astonishing parks within a reasonable distance.  Of course, it’s also okay just to go outside and take a walk.

I understand these are unusual times.  For everyone.  We’ve never been in a spot like this before.  I encourage those I know and those I haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet to stay safe.  But also — please volunteer and help when and where they can.

Just as important….I also think it’s vital to live a little and enjoy life.

Visiting one of the parks within driving distance is a breath of fresh air and a very responsible way to take advantage of this disruption of our normal lives.

The best way to appreciate Las Vegas right now might be to leave it, if for only a few hours or a day.

Please share with me if you decide to follow any of these recommendations.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Join the Facebook discussion on this topic HERE

__________

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If You Can’t Do a Lot, Then Let’s All Try to Do A Little

Posted by on Mar 15, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 0 comments

 

nolan dalla charity

 

Every little bit helps.

We don’t need superheroes. What we need are more people to do small things. Ordinary people like you and me.

Even a seemingly small act of kindness can make a difference. Just ask the beneficiary of anyone on the receiving end of a generous act.

No one can lift a ton. But many people in an organized effort can not only lift a ton, but move mountains. It’s the basis of my fundamental belief in cooperation instead of competition.

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from a grocery store that will remain anonymous because what they are doing isn’t allowed by the company. For about three years, Marieta (she deserves the credit) took “old” produce that was going to be discarded and shared it with some charitable organizations working with the needy. We made more than 100 deliveries, usually 5-10 boxes at a time, about once a week. Unfortunately, the produce manager left that store and we were not able to do anything after September of last year.

Sure enough, yesterday this person called and is now working at another location. In light of the current crisis, he asked if we wanted several boxes of fruits and vegetables. Of course, we jumped at the chance to get back involved. We gave this shipment to a local church group that is doing good work. Just to be clear, I don’t do nearly enough good deeds.  Marieta is more involved in charity work and motivates me to get off the sofa and so something.

I have spoken with many people about what’s going on and how it’s going to impact our lives. Not all of us have money, food, transportation, and the means to get to food and things we need. I strongly suggest you find just ONE PERSON, maybe a neighbor or a senior or someone you normally would not reach out to and make the effort to see if they need anything. Just knock on a door and introduce yourself and ask if you can help.

And, if you don’t find a person to help, then — I beg of you — by all means, help an animal. Many animals are desperately in need when there is a crisis. I’ve seen this firsthand at The Animal Foundation, which has way too many cats and dogs that we have homes for. If you hear a dog barking at unusual times and something doesn’t seem right, then please go and check it out. We might be okay. But not all people and animals are able to get what they need in times of shortages. Help those people. And help the animals.

One good deed might even save a life.

Please, do what you can.

No act is too small.

__________

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Don’t Politicize This?

Posted by on Mar 14, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

 

Trump coronavirus

 

Don’t politicize this?

Really?

Yeah, nothing says “let’s don’t politicize this” like wearing a USA TRUMP 45 campaign hat during an official White House press conference on the coronavirus while threatening to fire the Federal Reserve chairman.

20 minutes of nauseating self-congratulation.

We’re willing to be rational about this. Note that no one goes after Anthony Fauci and others, because they stay on message and provide (as best they can) accurate information to the American people.

Even though they’re appointed by President Biohazard, we understand the need for bipartisanship. But man, that’s really tough to do when every single mic appearance by Trump is laced with campaign-style narcissism.

Oh, and in the presser that’s continuing as I type this, Ben Carson, who doesn’t believe in evolution, is now talking about how “we’ve gotten away from God,” and praising Trump’s “National Day of Prayer.”

Now, ladies and gentlemen, any more questions about WHO are the instigators of politicizing this crisis?

__________

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Pandemic and Crying Wolf

Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

1918 spanish flu

 

Fueled by toxic right-wing media, complacency, and in some cases, plain old dirt-dumb willful ignorance — many otherwise intelligent people are succumbing to a dangerous mindset that the COVID-19 pandemic is:

Fill in the blank……

— an exaggeration
— a media-driven panic
— just another type of flu
— a hoax
— a plot to hurt Trump

Virtually all these “opinions” are expressed by people with absolutely no background in science. Certainly, none of the people posting idiotic memes and spewing senseless perspectives on social media tainted by warped political and selfish economic interests have any academic or practical experience in viruses and pandemics whatsoever. Let me put it another way: They don’t know shit.

I have little knowledge or understanding of science and even less ability in viruses. It’s true. I don’t know shit, either. Hence, I chose to rely on the good people who do know this stuff, who are virtually unanimous in their warnings and recommendations that this threat is very, very serious. What knowledge and understanding I do have is in politics and history, and to get a broad picture of what things could be like, all we must do is look at what happened a hundred years ago.

Neither of the possible outcomes is comforting. Either the virus does terrible damage over some unknown period — not just medically, but economically and socially, as well. Or, the alternative is a false confirmation of anti-intellectual bias, a wedge between ignorance from sanity.

There does exist the very real possibility that experts will deliver us from this peril, that the virus will be contained, and the outbreak will not be as bad as it might have been. In this far more palatable scenario, it will inevitably follow that critics and cynics will insist the virus was never a big deal at all, that COVID 19 was — an exaggeration, a media-driven panic, just another type of flu, a hoax, and a plot to hurt Trump.

Science will have won the medical battle but then lost the war of truth. In essence, even if the pandemic gradually subsides thanks to scientists and public health officials, some/many will point to the dissipating storm that inexplicably took a detour and missed destroying the village, and then mock those who warned us.

A crisis brings out the very best in people, and the very worst in people. We may be damned if the virus spreads, but just as damned if it doesn’t.

__________

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Here’s Why I’m Donating to the Trump Campaign (and You Should, Too)

Posted by on Mar 8, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 75 comments

 

 

I urge readers to follow my lead and gum up the Trump campaign machine with a real contribution that will help make America great again.

 

Today, I’m writing a check to the Trump re-election campaign.

I’m making this check out to “Donald J. Trump for President” and signing my real name.

Then, I’ll stick an envelope in the mail and send it to Trump’s re-election headquarters in New York.

No, I haven’t lost my mind.

No, I haven’t flipped over to the dark side.

No, I’m not supporting Trump.

But I do want to make a contribution, in my own way.  I intend to make sure the Trump campaign and countless affiliated Republican political organizations will latch on to my “generosity,” waste vast sums of money mailing me free stuff, sending me bogus political questionnaires, and sapping up their reserves to beg me to donate more.

You see, I’m sending the 2020 Trump re-election campaign a check in the amount of “$.01.”  That’s right.  One cent.

 

Let’s Do the Math

 

This an act of cold calculation, my friends. It’s dubiously designed to invest a tiny amount of money in order to make the evil beast bleed far more in funds.

My investment in this project amounts to 55 cents — the cost of one USPS stamp — plus 1 cent for the donation.  Then, there’s the expense of a personal check and a simple envelope.

What do I expect for my 56 cents and an envelope?  I know exactly what to expect because — believe it or not — I once worked in Republican Party fundraising, years ago.  I know how their game is played.  I know the score.

 

The Name of the Game is “Caging”

 

It’s called “caging.”  What an appropriate term applied to the Trump Administration.

What happens is this — my envelope gets opened by a third-party processor which collects checks and then enters the names of all campaign donors into a computer database.  What — you think there are paid staffers on the 15th Floor at Trump Tower doing data entry?  Think again.  Bulk mail gets trucked someplace much cheaper and then processed.  That’s the way it works with large political operations.  The checks and information are caged.

So, my name eventually gets recorded, which is required by federal law.  Someone working for close to minimum wager for the contractor spends no more than a few seconds adding me to the vast Trump army of deplorables.  Then, another office flunky down the assembly line will process my check.  Oh, my check will get cashed — for sure.

Bingo!  Success.  Mission accomplished.

Now, I’m on the inside.  I’m officially a Trump donor!

 

So, What Happens Next?

 

Sometime later, my name ends up on every Republican hit list.  Elections come with postal bombardment.  When Trump gets the party nomination — I’ll get mail.  During the campaign — I’ll get more mail.  Later, every Republican candidate who buys the “Trump donor list” will blow even more money trying to squeeze blood out of this Socialist turnip.  They’ll be hounding me for more money until the end of democracy.

This is certain.  I know, because I already get bombarded with Trump trash.  Why not make them spend even more.

Doing the math, what this means is that in the coming years, Trump and the Republican Party will likely invest 100-times more money than I initially donated to their evil cause.  My modest investment-donation will cost them far more than they will ever receive.  It’s a simple, but effective means of protest.

It’s death by a thousand paper cuts.  It’s playing dirty but legal.  It’s how big corporations kill lawsuits by smaller businesses — paperwork them to death.  Exhaust their resources.  It’s not a pretty way to win, but it’s still a win.  And you might not win, but you cause enough damage to the evil system (h/T Patrick Day).

 

Gumming Up the Trump Works

 

Now, imagine thousands of good Americans doing the same thing.  Sending tiny donations of just a cent or two.  Call it “gumming up the works.”

I urge all anti-Trumpers to do exactly the same.  Donate a small amount and mail them a check.  Even if 1,000 good citizens do this, that means Trump raises perhaps $10.  After all, 1,000 pennies is just ten bucks.  But the Trump campaign and subsequent Republican candidates who buy the sucker list will blow tens of thousands of dollars on wasted solicitations that will get tossed straight into the wastebasket.  There’s another bonus:  I find Republican campaign literature to be the perfect cat box liner.

I know, this isn’t the most environmentally-friendly means of protest.  It’s wasteful.  But the time for scorched-earth activism has arrived.  Protest.  Resist.  By any means necessary.  Do something.

 

Make Your Contribution, Now!

 

I urge readers to follow my lead and gum up the Trump campaign machine with a real contribution to making America great again.  Make them blow both time and money.  Sure, they’ve already raised millions in donations.  A few dollars might not seem like much.  But every single small act leads to an avalanche.  Great causes are victorious not by giant events, but by one small act at a time.

For those rightly concerned, note that making a tiny donation will NOT be reported to federal authorities (reporting requirements apply only to donations over $200).  However, all the names of those who donate are indeed recorded.  Republicans consider these lists worth their weight in gold.  Trump and the party will certainly comingle all donors and blow campaign funds on future solicitations.  And the best way to fight them is by throwing their garbage away, or better yet, sending a blank donation envelope back in their return postage-paid envelopes (which are often supplied).  That really stings.  Making them pay — double, triple, and quadruple!

If you’d like to read more about what happens when you make a political donation to a national campaign, here’s a guide.

Make your donation to the Trump campaign now!  And write CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION on the outside of the envelope.  That way it gets to the right place.

Here’s the mailing address:

Donald J. Trump for President

Trump Tower

725 Fifth Avenue

15th Floor

New York, NY 10022-2519

 

Note that the online option at the OFFICIAL WEBSITE has a minimum contribution of $25.  Why do you think they don’t want to bother with donations less than $25?  Answer:  Because it ends up costing them money!  So, contribute the old fashioned way by check, instead.

__________

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Thirty Years Ago Tonight

Posted by on Mar 6, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Personal | 1 comment

 

Nolan Dalla and Marieta Dalla 1990 Bucharest Romania

 

Today marks an anniversary, of sorts.

Thirty years ago tonight, March 6, 1990, I went on my very first date with Marieta.

I went on a blind date with a Romanian girl named Marieta Petre. She lived across the street from the national soccer stadium in central Bucharest. I picked her up at 6.

The instant I laid eyes on her, I thought I stood no chance. There was no way this was happening. She was too beautiful. I suppose it was that sense of having nothing to lose that made me relax and somehow carry on a dinner conversation that was good enough to keep her interested, leading to a second date.

Our first date was at Pescarus (which is still in business). But, thinking my chances of developing a serious relationship were at best a longshot, our second date wasn’t until after Easter, in late April.

The most interesting thing about our unusual courtship was that it all took place just as Eastern Europe’s Iron curtain was falling and the future was uncertain. Bucharest was in chaos for six months after the revolution, with marches, protests, and sporadic outbreaks of violence.

We “dated” almost every day. I got off work at the Embassy around 5. Marieta, who worked for the nearby office at Manufacturers Hanover, got off about the same time. We met up at the daily protests at University Square, which were filled with 5,000-10,000 people every single day.

One afternoon, the provisional government which was fragile and struggling to hold power, tried to break up the protests and sent in the Army. Thousands of troops tried to clear the streets. That caused the crowd to riot, torching vehicles and breaking lots of windows.

Someone took this photo of us during one of the riots. It’s our first photo together.

After the riots, that just made the protests grow larger. Crowds were so large that it was often difficult to find Marieta. So, we made a pact that we’d meet at the burned-out Army truck each day at 5;30. I think this burned Army truck sat in the streets for three months.

I have lots more fun stories to share and the old photos are fun to go back and look at — and remember. I’ll share a few more over the next few months.

Thirty years ago tonight — our first date.

__________

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A Message to the Bernie Bashers

Posted by on Mar 5, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 2 comments

 

 

Though Bernie Sanders is correct on virtually all the issues of this election, his presidential aspirations now appear to be fading over the horizon,  His ideals are a setting sun of hopes and dreams.

But before Democrats and Biden supporters and Bernie haters in the tens of millions rejoice and pile on about Sanders’ shortcomings (and they are many), it’s worth just a moment — no, make that TWO MINUTES of your time — to remember exactly who has been there for progressive causes for nearly SIXTY FUCKING YEARS.

Yeah, I’m pissed. I’m pissed because piling on about Bernie Sanders is disgraceful.

Evidence: Watch this clip.

 

Do you think ANY OTHER CANDIDATE would stand up and take on flagrant bigotry like this?

Virtually everyone in political office was a bigot, or a fraud, or a gutless coward 25 to 35 years ago. All of them.  Certainly every Republican, and most Democrats, too. NO ONE defended gays or took on unpopular social causes. Not Biden. Not Clinton. No one.

Except for Bernie Sanders, who has been there in the trenches. Since the early 1960s. While other candidates were fellating so-called “traditional values” and cowering to hate, SANDERS has been on the front lines making enemies. Fighting the fight.

When it comes to certain issues of human rights, let me say this as clearly as I can — fuck your mainstream moderate politics.

Now — do I want Sanders to continue battling for the nomination once it’s apparent he can’t win?

No.

But a little FUCKING RESPECT during this primary process would be nice.

I guaran-damn-tee you there are ZERO clips os Biden or others in the race who stood up for things that weren’t popular 30 years ago. ZERO. NONE. NOTHING.

So, think about that next time you tear Sanders from his flesh on social media for being “too ideological” or “too extreme.”

__________

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Big B’s Texas Barbecue (Review)

Posted by on Mar 3, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Restaurant Reviews | 0 comments

 

 

 

BIG B TEXAS BARBECUE (REVIEW)

Big B Texas Barbecue is located on the far south side of Las Vegas. It’s adjacent to South Hills Medical Center on Fort Apache. It took over the Chef Jose Andres spot (which I loved) after the french bistro closed down last year. It’s also a few doors down from where Khoury’s (Lebanese) used to be before they relocated to Village Square.

Las Vegas is stacked with several average-to-good barbecue joints. Most are serviceable. Barbecue is either hit or miss, with not much in-between, but can be great comfort food. I’ve tried most of them here in town.

Big B appears to be independently run (I did no research on this, so some things might be incorrect). It’s one of those old-fashioned open-air kitchen places with giant slabs of pork and beef, with a standing line where customers order over the counter. Meals are served on wax paper on plastic trays. The whole place smells like smoke. This is probably ideal for the neighborhood and is a quick take out, though plenty of tables are available for dining in.

The barbecue was very good. I’d rate it 8/10. We enjoyed a platter of smoked ribs, pork, and brisket. Platters come with two sides and are priced around $10-15. Quality was a high thumbs up.

Where I think Big B missed the target was entirely a matter of personal taste. I don’t like hoagie rolls and that’s how sandwiches are served. I much prefer a butter crusted shiny bun, lightly toasted. Hoagies are cold, doughy, and are simply too much bread for the barbecue. I don’t like hoagies. But hey, that’s me.

I was also unimpressed with the sauces. Big B offers sweet, mustard, and spicey. I found out the sauces are all homemade, which I appreciate. Unfortunately, none of the three were the right match for my taste. I’m far more inclined towards a Worcestershire flavor with a thick ketchup-like texture. These house sauces didn’t work for me and given how vital moisture is to a mix of mead and bread, this was a strikeout. I stress, my tastes might be different from yours. Others might like Big B’s hoagies and homemade sauces.

The sweet barbecue beans were also annoying, but this too is a matter of personal taste. I don’t like sweet food, certainly not on my barbecue, but others may disagree.

Big B’s was busy during my lunch visit. It appears to be doing well.

Let me add that I hope Big B’s succeeds. A man I presume was the owner came by and was very attentive. He brought us silverware, re-fills, and genuinely enjoyed his role as host. I like “hands-on” ownership and admire people who pay attention to details. I only wish I could give Big B’s a higher recommendation.

Unfortunately, my criticism of this authentic Texas barbecue joint was entirely based on my own tastes and expectations. Others might have different ideas. So, I don’t want to dissuade anyone from trying this place, at least once.

Final grade: This wasn’t suited to my tastes, but you might think otherwise. The quality of meat and hands-on ownership alone is enough to make at least one visit worthwhile.

__________

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A Bridge to the Ugly Past and an Even More Shameful Reminder of the Present

Posted by on Mar 2, 2020 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

 

pettus bridge

 

I wish I could say I’m amused. But I’m not amused.

I wish I could say I’m shocked. But I’m not shocked.

I wish I could say I’m done writing about ignorance and stupidity in America. But I’m not done writing about ignorance and stupidity in America.

Today marked the 55th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, which turned into America’s “Bloody Sunday.”

It happened at a bridge named after Edmund W. Pettus — a Confederate general and head of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. Perhaps we can forgive naming a bridge after this traitorous racist scumbag during the 1920s, a time when Dixie was misty-eyed for the Old Confederacy. Perhaps we can overlook that historical blight and simply do the right thing now by taking a couple of gallons of white paint and slapping a fresh new coat over that dead rebel’s disgraced name.

But we can’t. Look! There it is. The decomposed bigot and favorite son of Alabama — he’s still with us today. Every time someone drives on that bridge and passes under that name, he’s remembered, when he should be buried and long ago forgotten.

It’s 2020 folks — tell me why THIS FUCKING BRIDGE hasn’t been renamed? I did some research that renaming a bridge on a state highway requires approval by Alabama State Legislature. So GET OFF YOUR RACIST ASSES, bigots. Do something.

Yeah, I know. You’re White. You’re nice to Black people. You even have a Black friend or two. There’s no way you’re a racist. Heavens, no.

So, you’re sick of hearing about racism in America? Yeah, me too — I’m sick of hearing about it. I’m sick of writing about it.

As long as we see shit like this, it’s pretty hard to say we’ve made enough progress since that sad day in 1965.

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