Scattershooting, while wondering whatever happened to….
Some random musings:
— Wrapping up the final stop of the year with “Poker Night in America,” which was shot this previous week at the fabulous Seminole Hard Rock Casino, located just north of Miami. Prior to this event I would have thought it impossible to top our previous two stops, in Upstate New York and Pittsburgh, respectively. But four full days of filming here in the Sunshine State set the bar at a new high.
No doubt, the highlight of the week was the first (and only) ladies-only high-stakes cash game ever live-streamed, or televised. This novel idea was the brainchild of PNIA creator Todd Anderson. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how the action would turn out; but the 11 ladies who made history and played parts of the eight-hour session turned this into one of the most entertaining poker games of the entire year.
— Here’s a shout out to my good pal from North Carolina, Ken “Teach” Aldridge, who turned me on to one of the coolest seafood restaurants I’ve ever tried in South Florida. “Teach” insisted the Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Ft. Lauderdale was one of the “top five meals” he’s ever had. Thankfully, I followed his advice and ordered the garlic crab claws, which came with a mallet. All you heard in the restaurant was loud talking interrupted by an even louder “wham!” which happened about every ten seconds as someone broke open another crab claw. Way too much violence and work for me to make it a top choice, but once I got a taste of the garlic crab claws, they sure were delicious.
— I’m really partial to West Palm Beach over all points south, including Ft. Lauderdale. Perhaps it’s just knowing the restaurant scene in Palm Beach County like the back of my hand. Three things happened in West Palm Beach the last few days that I want to tell you about:
1. I made a visit to my favorite Italian restaurant in Florida (it barely edges out Da Vinci, in Boynton Beach — which was Paul Berkowitz’s recommendation). My choice is Stresa, located on Okeechobee Blvd. in WPB. Italian pals by way of New Jersey Noah Carbone and Joe Conti put me onto Stresa. Since that introduction five years ago, I’ve dined at Stresa about 20 times. It’s as close to am perfect meal as you will find (for under $50). Be warned — its very old style. I was pleased to see Stresa hasn’t changed one bit.
2. I made my longest run ever two days ago. It might not sound impressive, but I did 12 miles straight without stopping. Previously, I’d done lots of 7- to 8-mile runs, but nothing longer. I never got winded. But the constant pounding on the pavement is way too much on the legs and ankles, especially carrying my weight (225). It’s simply too painful, and potentially does more harm than good. I always wanted to test myself to see how far I could run and the flat surface (hills are a killer) and ideal temperature in Florida this time of year made me want to push beyond my limit. The route was 14 miles along the ocean and I made 12, then walked (more like limped) the rest. Afterwards, I enjoyed a five-course dinner at Stresa. I earned it. I think I shedded two pounds by running then added three by waiting.
3. What is it with the worn out chips at the Palm Beach Kennel Club Poker Room? Those are the most damaged chips I’ve seen since the old Horseshoe days. Remember the time you could fit 21 or even 22 five-dollar chips into a rack? The colors at the Kennel Club are so faded out, that its almost impossible to tell the $1s from $5s. Even the $25 chips require squinting. So, they all look to be a dingy white color. Those chips are the worst conditioned I’ve ever seen, aside from some dive in a Sacramento strip shopping mall full of gangbangers Adam Bachrach dragged me to about 20 years ago where I went broke. By the way, Noah Carbone runs that room. He knows good restaurants for sure, but those chips suck!
— Speaking of things going on in poker, I’m looking forward to attending Jacob Zalewski’s charity poker tournament this week in Las Vegas. Jacob has been kind enough to invite me every single year, but I always seem to be traveling when his big annual tourney takes place. This time, I’m attending for sure and will write more about all the good things Jacob has done to support works of charity.
— I’ll be doing lots of writing these next few weeks, most of it likely to be published here. One narrative I’m eager to get down and complete is the continuing saga of my time right after the Romanian Revolution, in 1989. This month marks the 25th anniversary of the downfall of Nicolae Ceausescu and that merits completing my first-hand account. About two years ago, I wrote an Eight-part series on pre revolutionary Romania. Now seems like a good time to finish that series. I can’t believe its been 25 years!
So, whatever happened to Brian May since fellow band mate Freddie Mercury’s death and the subsequent breakup of Queen, back in 1991?
Most of us remember May for his searing guitar virtuosos, as well as co-writing some of the most iconic songs in rock n’ roll history. What many music lovers might not know is May’s accomplishments since then in another field — astronomy.
While working full-time as a musician, May also pursued his PhD and was ultimately awarded a doctorate in mathematics and physics by Imperial College in England after completing his thesis on the phenomenon of reflected light from interplanetary dust and the velocity of galactic particles in the solar system.
Proving that hes no typical burned out rock star, May was appointed a Visiting Researcher in Imperial College and continues his work in astronomy. He is co-author of “Bang! – The Complete History of the Universe,” published in 2006, and “The Cosmic Tourist,” published in 2012.
Brian May was recently ranked at the 26th greatest rock guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
Writer’s Note: “Scattershooting” is a bi-monthly column of mental scraps patterned after legendary Dallas Times Herald reporter Blackie Sherrod’s series of the same name.