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What If We Had Listened to Republicans During the Ebola Scare?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 4 comments




Remember the Ebola scare?

Recall the virus that caused a nationwide panic and metastasized into an October surprise for Republicans, who unabashedly fanned the flames of fear for months, thus ending up as an unseemly political windfall for the party which spent most of the last election cycle inciting hysteria.  For Republicans, fear has become a viable political strategy.  It’s their nuclear weapon, or in the case of Ebola, their biological weapon.

Unfortunately, instigating fear works.  Scaring the hell out of people triggers votes.  Fear wins elections, even when it turns out there wasn’t all that much to worry about, after all.

No one remembers yesterday’s news, nor recalls last year’s lies.  Like the tiny microbe with origins in west Africa that caused many Americans to avoid public places and cancel their travel plans, the farce of fear perpetuated upon the nation has pretty much been forgotten now.  Out of the news, out of sight, out of mind.  Our attention is now focused elsewhere, on the next flavor crisis of the month.

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Is This the Future of Economy Air Travel?

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Blog, Travel | 0 comments




It was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of the world’s first “standing airline.”

That’s right.

Instead of fetal-positioning ourselves onto tiny cramped cushions the size of a chessboard for hours at a time, passengers flying economy class might soon be standing upright during an entire flight.  You think flying’s an exhausting experience now?  Wait until you’ve been tethered vertically and chained into a speeding air dungeon.  Imagine your legs starting to tingle and then the pilot announcing, “we apologize, but takeoff will be delayed another 45 minutes.”  Flying on what amounts to a crowded city bus is going to make a ticket on Spirit seem like first-class on Singapore Airlines.

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Warning: Do Not Eat At This Chinese Restaurant!

Posted by on Feb 4, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 7 comments



Rice Republic is a great Chinese restaurant….if you’re on a low-calorie diet.


Rice Republic recently opened up a new restaurant in Downtown Summerlin.  It’s in the epicenter of a neo-urban commercial enclave adjacent to the Red Rock Casino, which will eventually have more than 100 new shops and restaurants.  Think of a sparkling new downtown area, with plenty of parking and no crowds (at least, not yet).

From the outside, the popular Taiwanese-themed eatery seems quite appealing.  Everything looks clean and new.  The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, which is divided by a huge glass window.  Yesterday afternoon while Marieta and I were standing outside pondering the menu which was posted on a marques near the front door, we were greeted by an aggressive host who invited us to take a seat.  We’d heard of Rice Republic before and we certainly love good Asian food, so this was the perfect occasion be adventurous and try out a new restaurant.

We were seated.  Then, things quickly went downhill until the unforeseeable edge of a cliff was reached.

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These Are My Thermostat Requirements When Visiting Your Home

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Rants and Raves | 12 comments




I attended a Super Bowl party at a friend’s house on Sunday.

What I didn’t expect was the sauna and steam bath that came along with a small living room crammed full of people.  This is what happens due to poor planning.  A disaster.  The whole place turns into a fucking sweatbox.  If he invites me next year, I’m showing up in a bathing suit.  I’m also bringing a fan and a cooler full of ice cubes.  Then, maybe he’ll get the message.

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A Most Violent Year (Movie Review)

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 1 comment


A Most Violent Year (1)


New York City’s masterful crime dramas of the 1970’s weren’t just epic battles between the forces of good and evil.  The very best movies of that genre were poetic morality tales played out on the big screen.  In between sporadic scenes of bloodshed — godfathers, gangsters, policemen, and prosecutors paused to soliloquize about personal honor and so-called sacred codes of conduct.  Cops weren’t always the good guys, and criminals were necessarily bad.  Perpetually clashing worlds were a murky shade of gray.  The clouds never cleared.

A Most Violent Year evokes the same gritty realism of those earlier times, every bit as reminiscent of The French Connection (1971), Serpico (1973), and Prince of the City (1980).  This comparative leap to the memorable films of Sydney Lumet and William Friedkin isn’t taken lightly, nor made frivolously.

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Has the Super Bowl Finally Jumped the Shark?

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in Blog, Sports Betting | 1 comment




An estimated 110 million Americans watched the Super Bowl last year.

But wait.  That number can’t possibly be correct, can it?  Given the U.S. population is currently 316 million, wouldn’t that mean 206 million other Americans didn’t watch the game?  If television ratings are anywhere close to being accurate, nearly two-thirds of the American population doesn’t watch the Super Bowl.

I wonder.  Who are these people?  Babies?  Little girls playing with dolls?  Immigrants?  The senile?  The criminally insane?  Hospital patients stuck in a coma?  Who the fuck doesn’t watch the Super Bowl?  Except for the very young, the very old, and the mentally deranged — everyone watches the biggest sporting event of the year.  Right?

That’s what I used to think.

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Dinner with Lots of Other Really Cool People in New York City (Keen’s Steakhouse)

Posted by on Jan 31, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Travel | 5 comments


Nolan Dalla and Michael Baden


Keen’s Steakhouse has been open since 1885.  It’s the second-oldest steakhouse in New York City.

I had the chance to dine there last week for the very first time.  Joining me were several dear friends, some of whom I’ll tell you more about.

First, a little more about Keen’s.

Located in midtown Manhattan, this is the quintessential power restaurant.

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Are American Parents Doing A Lousy Job?

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Rants and Raves | 3 comments




Are American parents doing a lousy job?

That not really a question so much as a accusation.  Admittedly, it’s also slap in the face to millions of parents out there who know far more about the ordeal of raising kids than I do.  Fact is, I don’t know a thing about being a parent or raising kids.  I merely pose this question for the sake of discussion.

In my countless travels and many social engagements over the years, I’ve noticed a peculiar tendency that seems unique to American families.  In other words, native-born family members appear to interact quite differently when together in public when contrasted with non-American born parents and their kids.  One presumes these similar relationships extend into to the home, behind closed doors, as well.

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I Refuse to Eat Ghetto Burgers

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 6 comments




So, White Castle finally opened up it’s first fast food location on the Las Vegas Strip.

No thanks.  You won’t catch me wolfing down this kind of junk food.  Not unless I was broke and starving (which I’ve been more than a few times, especially at the tail end of football season).  I’ll pass.  Now, would you kindly point me in the direction of the closest In and Out Burger?  All this talk of burgers is bringing out the animal in me.

White Castle is basically known for serving those square mini- “hamburgers” about the size of a hockey puck, with about the same nutritional value.  It’s ghetto food, plain and simple.  Heart attack heaven.  White Castle is to hamburgers what Milwaukee’s Best is to beer.  Pure fucking garbage.

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Handel’s Ice Cream Comes to Las Vegas

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Blog, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 2 comments




Up until now, Las Vegas had been missing a few things.  One of these voids was the perfect spot to venture for fresh homemade ice cream.

Well, the search is now over.  Handel’s has arrived.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is a family-owned creamery originally from Youngstown, Ohio.  The first store opened up in 1945.  Handel’s began expanding a few years ago, and now has 37 franchises.  It’s consistently ranked as one of the top quality ice creams in the United States.  And now, the very first Las Vegas location has opened up, on the far west side of town off of Tropicana, in Summerlin.

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