Notes & Letters
1. Scrumptious as it was, July’s DEALicious Meals package didn’t taste right to everyone. First Last, a commenter on desertcompanion.vegas, for instance. “I’m getting so sick of every single restaurant/meal article/review full of dead animal meals,” he or she wrote furiously. “Oh, every once in a while you’ll throw in something plant-based, but that’s one out of 20-plus listings on average.” And make no mistake, First Last has achieved peak meat fatigue: “It’s getting to the point that if I see food on the cover, I don’t even bother reading the issue and just recycle it.” (Did you at least read the profile of the Tomato Lady first?)
Before we could chamber a rebuttal, another commenter, RealityCheck, jumped to Desert Companion’s defense by busting out some foodie math: “Of 38 places listed here: 10 mention only meatless dishes; 4 mention both meat & meatless dishes; 24 mention only meat dishes = 37 percent of the listings give those who skip meat an option ... a far higher percentage than those of the population who eat meatless.” RealityCheck had more to say — some combination of the words “angry,” “self-important” and “vegetarians” — but we’ll let that pass and merely direct First Last and other like-minded readers to page 70. That’s where you can find a conversation between Staff Writer Heidi Kyser (a vegetarian) and Deputy Editor Scott Dickensheets (“mmm, charred flesh”) as they appraise the offerings at the Downtown vegan eatery VegeNation. Spoiler alert: Dickensheets swoons. Trigger warning: You’ll encounter the phrase “balls of meat.”
2. As an irrepressible cheerleader for poetry who’s already familiar to readers of this page, Las Vegan Lee Mallory was naturally gladdened by Andrew Kiraly’s All Things Profile of Bruce Isaacson, newly appointed Clark County poet laureate, in the July issue. “When I arrived here,” Mallory writes, “I saw how stuck and unsupported poetry is. Caught in the backwaters, overshadowed by all the glitz, illusion and pretense that much of Vegas represents. Poetry here, like elsewhere, is marginalized.
“In understanding Ginsberg and, especially, Bukowski’s interest in wrenching the word away from poetry posers, wannabes and academics standing by pencil sharpeners, Isaacson — like me — is avid to return poetry to the people. To bus drivers, servers, a nurse who writes a haiku or a carpenter set to scaffold thoughts and feelings. Those who try writing know that the word can pull us out of the cold cyber world, to get us back in touch with ourselves and life’s universals — love, escape from alienation and a yearning to get closer to nature. Poetry’s a north star to lead us back from the abyss and stir the soul.
“That’s why Isaacson sets his first sessions at a well-worn cultural center, site of his inaugural, which seemed a cross between an old school and a park. Indeed, our new poet laureate put his outreach there for the same reason I carry poetry into dive bars, coffeehouses, libraries and even a casino. As Charles Bukowski, late friend and mentor, said, ‘The world is full of shipping clerks who’ve read the Harvard Classics.’ We just have to go out and find them.”
3. On page 56, Mob Museum content guru Geoff Schumacher tells the tale of Johnny Rosselli, a Zelig-like figure in mob history. Hold on a minute, Geoff — is it Roselli with one S, as Wikipedia has it, or Rosselli with two, the way you use it?
“This is an example of why Wikipedia can’t always be trusted,” Schumacher tells us. “To be fair to Wikipedia, the one-S spelling is common in newspapers, magazines and books. Still, it’s not correct.”
He says the two-S spelling is used in the most serious-minded books in which Rosselli appears: All American Mafioso by Charles Rappleye and Ed Becker, The Outfit by Gus Russo, The Money and the Power by Sally Denton and Roger Morris and The Green Felt Jungle by Ovid Demaris and Ed Reid.
“More important,” Schumacher adds, “the two-S spelling can be found on Rosselli’s business card, one of which I happen to have on display above my desk at the Mob Museum. The most important part of that business card, however, is not the spelling of his name. It’s the job title he lists: Strategist. Apt.”