How many of the pissed-off rich people who live in swanky houses along Silverstone Golf Club in Las Vegas call themselves “free-market capitalists?” What’s the breakdown of those within that wealthy gated enclave who support the sanctity of private property rights?
Bear with me, now. I’m looking for some philosophical consistency. But I don’t expect to find it. What I do expect to uncover is this — hypocrisy. Good old-fashioned “not in my back yard (NIMBY)” hypocrisy.
Sure, protecting and defending private property ownership is sacrosanct within conservative and libertarian circles. The belief held is that a property owner can do pretty much what he or she damn well pleases. After all, it’s their home. It’s their land. Accordingly, homeowners and landowners have a fundamental right to use their property as they wish, so long as the fair use of the land is legal and doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others.
Sure sounds good, doesn’t it?
Trouble is, the real world isn’t guided by principles, nor consistent patterns of belief. This is especially true when lots of rich people get angry.
Curry Leaf from the front entrance
One of the great pleasures of being intensely passionate about different cuisines is trying out new experiences and visiting restaurants for the first time.
However, we were in no particular mood to seek out a new Indian restaurant. Why would we? Las Vegas has around a dozen decent lunch and dinner spots, which are all both serviceable and affordable. Trouble for those of us residing on west side of town is, virtually all the Indian restaurants are located near the Strip, or worse, way over on the east side of town. Hence, we don’t eat Indian food all too often — perhaps once a month, if that. Besides, although I do enjoy Indian food, it can be quite overwhelming and isn’t something I want to try too often.
Yesterday, something unusual happened at the crossroads of Flamingo and Fort Apache, in Las Vegas.
There’s a Home Depot on the southwest corner of that busy intersection. On most mornings and afternoons, for-hire Latinos hang out in front of the store, hoping for a few hours work. If someone drives by, they often wave and hope to the catch the eye of a homeowner in need of labor. Presumably, most if not all of these workers are undocumented. In other words, they’re illegal aliens.
What was most unusual on this otherwise magnificent Saturday afternoon was the appearance of three police cars in the parking lot, blue and red lights flashing, as the illegal aliens were being rounded up. I’d never seen that before. I’ve shopped at that Home Depot perhaps 50 times in ten years and have never once witnessed any kind of disruption, nor problems of any kind. I’m not sure why those illegals on this day were suddenly being arrested. Sure, they were probably here in this country illegally. But the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department certainly has better things to do with their time and resources than chase lots of poor people across the border back to Mexico. Besides, isn’t that the job of of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service?
Moments after the final course was made from scratch, served, and promptly devoured at Mon Ami Gabi‘s renowned cooking class, I approached executive chef and part-owner Terry Lynch. My only question was — when’s the next class coming up? I was ready to pounce and make another reservation on the spot. For anyone who enjoys learning more about culinary history, the fine art of cooking and devising original recipes, and/or simply adores eating great food and drinking specialty cocktails much like I do — this experience isn’t to be missed.
Mr. Lynch responded that Mon Ami Gabi does offer classes periodically (on average, about every six months). They’re usually held on Saturdays from 10 am to noon. He explained that December would normally be the host month for the next class. However, Mr. Lynch said he was planning a month-long trip to Vietnam and Cambodia towards year end. Why am I telling you this? Allow me to explain. I think it’s indicative of why all of Mr. Lynch’s restaurants are a stand out in terms of quality, value, and originality.
Jennifer Shahade, a two-time United States Women’s Chess Champion, and now the winner of BARGE XXV
This past week, I attended BARGE 2015, held in Las Vegas.
B.A.R.G.E. is actually an acronym meaning “Big August Recreational Gambling Excursion,” a name sounding a bit pompous and pretty like a weekend gambling junket, which I’m told is precisely what it once was when it first began 25 years ago. This eclectic group comprised of both men and women skews somewhat older now than when it was initially made up of lots of Silicon Valley types in their late 20’s. Today, BARGE includes loyal attendees ranging from 21 up well into their 70’s. It’s an astounding makeup of highly-interesting and supremely talented people from all over North America, who also know how to have fun both at the poker table, and just about anywhere else for that matter. BARGE attendees never ask where the party or the action is taking place. They are the party and provide the action, wherever they go. Make that — wherever we go.
In today’s column, I’d like to tell you a bit more about BARGE, including some of the unique history of this group as well as my personal experience from this past week. Unfortunately, lack of time and space makes this a writing exercise in futility since I’m hardly scratching the surface. Indeed, what follows is merely one card from a far more extensive full deck loaded with memories and stories.