The Grim Eater

Dear Leslie Brenner,

After seeing the movie “Chef” last night and having recently returned to the restaurant industry I feel like it’s time to write your letter-a-day.

I’m a blogger but not a food blogger. I enjoy a nice meal but I’m not a foodie. I’m a work in a restaurant but hopefully not forever and I’m a Dallas native who’s proud of our dedicated food scene.

When it comes down to it, there are essentially three things to do in Dallas.

We shop like every store at NorthPark is going out of business. We watch and discuss sports like they actually affect our personal lives. And most importantly we eat out at restaurants as if every meal were our last. In so many ways, Dallas has elevated dining beyond a casual habit to something of a sport like hunting exotic game. For those who can afford it’s s an entire lifestyle unto itself.

We don’t have any Michelin Star restaurants like New York City and it’s not a dining destination like New Orleans. Our food scene can be myopic and self congratulatory to a dangerously high degree at times. But despite it all, our passion for dining is undeniable and is to be celebrated. Criticism can be both honest and constructive.

Unlike many, I’m not here to bash your reviewing style or stance on certain restaurants. I’ll even pretty much side with you on this whole John Tesar Twitter fiasco. He must have seen “Chef” also and realized there was an opportunity to get more press for himself. I’ve never been to The Knife myself (I’m but a lowly waiter) but I thought your review was more complementary than not.

Try to be a friend to the industry. When you crush someone’s favorite restaurants, it feels personal because it’s the personal touches that makes a restaurant special for most people. Food and wait staff all add up to an experience that, when done right, makes you feel like part of the family. A great Dallas restaurateur once printed on their menu that, “The love is free”.

Love and be loved Mrs. Brenner.

PS: Of course laziness is inexcusable but if possible, be sympathetic to the waiter who doesn’t know as much about food as you. They don’t get to eat out for a living.

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Dear Mattson Plummer,

I was heading to a show in Deep Ellum when I noticed a gallery full of people and decided to see whats up. It was the opening night of your show at Kettle Art after which I started following you on Instagram. I told myself I was going to go back and buy one of your surprisingly expressive watercolor skull illustrations with my next paycheck until I realized that you give them away.

Now it’s not that I’m too cheap to buy one; it’s the thrill of the hunt, or “#headhunt” as you call it.  I want to earn it. I want to say it’s mine because I was on top of my Instagram game, tracked it down, and beat everyone else to it.

And what an engaging way to promote your art. I think it’s awesome and I can’t wait for my next opportunity to find one of your pieces. *cough* in Hamilton Park *cough*

PS: Might you be a fan of surf jazz duo The Mattson 2? Here’s a favorite of mine from them:

Zuck It

Mark Zuckerberg when he became a man. Mazel Tov!

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Ah the Internet. It’s probably the most important “invention” since the printing press. That was the first major leap in mass communication. But even as we’ve progressed from the printed word onto radio and television, it has always been a one-way form of communication.

The Internet is different.

For the first time in human history, there is the opportunity to connect every single human on the planet with one another. To share ideas and culture through a direct, one to one, unfiltered (right NSA?!), visual/written/spoken medium. And while the greatest inventions often are credited to a single person, a la Facebook and yourself, the inspiration and collaboration of ideas is the core of any great innovation. More ideas shared translates to more opportunity for great things for everyone.

Your work with aims to bring internet access to all people. Could there be a time when Internet access is as basic a need as electricity? I have an irrational faith in the power of human collaboration to solve the biggest problems in the world. Although I don’t think your motive is purely altruistic (7 billion Facebook users would be great for the stock price), I think we share this ideal.

Here’s to an open Internet for everyone!

Watch This

Dear Tim Cook,

When Samsung was advertising their Smartwatch product last holiday season, I kept asking myself : “Why is this necessary? My smartphone is right in my pocket with all the same features and more.” Then someone (granted, an acquaintance who works in their marketing department) gave me some perspective.

The goal is not to replace your phone.

It comes down to a simple social cue. Pulling your phone out is a nasty habit we’ve developed in so many social situations. Depending on the place, looking at your phone ranges from rude to downright dangerous. Sometimes we want insulate ourselves from those around us (the bus) and it works great. Other times we are trying to be social and it gets in the way. Consider this scenario:

You’re sharing a dinner out with a friend. The conversation is deep and engaging but then you feel your phone buzz in your pocket. You don’t want to be rude and check but the curiosity is almost literally burning a hole through your pocket. Maybe it’s that girl you texted earlier and she wants to meet for a drink. Maybe your house is on fire or your dog escaped from the backyard.

With a smart watch, you can casually glance at your wrist and see that it’s just your mom leaving a voicemail saying, “Hey it’s Mom, call me back.” (I knowww it’s you mom.)  And now you’re not that guy with his phone out.

The Apple Watch looks killer sleek of course but what caught my eye is the fitness component. You’re taking it right to Nike+ and FitBit which I like. Hopefully the competition forces them to improve their products and we all benifit. There is no doubt that wearable technology segment is going to continue grow in all kinds of innovative ways. Apple wasn’t the first to market with a Smartwatch but here’s to hoping you lead the way.



Nicolas Ivanoff

Dear Nicolas Ivanoff,

Congratulations on winning the Texas Red Bull Air Race. I was there to witness the winning flight and am glad your taking the gold cowboy hat home to France to wear proudly. Please do wear it.

I was rooting for you mostly because you have to coolest aircraft in the bunch. Your bright orange plane just looks faster, so I assumed (correctly) that you would win. I also assumed (incorrectly) that you all raced head to head, in the air at the same time. But I guess it makes sense only one plane is in the course at a time for obvious safety reasons,  though it would make for some great television.

I guess the Red Bull Air Races have been around for a few years now. Does it get old racing the same dozen guys at every event? It probably builds pretty intense rivalries but also friendships. Who’s your bitter rival on the circuit? The German guy would make sense.

Congrats and good luck in LasVegas!

PS: I’m thinking helicopter races for next season.

Loyal with no Faith

Dear Jerry Jones,

I’ve been waiting to write this letter with the hopes of having something positive to say after the first game of the season. Instead, I am forced to write you with a bad taste in my mouth from the season opening 28-17 beatdown. It’s a familiar taste, the only one I’ve ever really known from the Cowboys.

The Cowboys won their last Super Bowl in 1995. I was born in October of 1988, making me all of 6 years old when we were champions last. I have only the vaguest memory of the whole ordeal. I consciously became a Cowboys fan during the Quincy Carter/Rocket Ismail era, an abysmal time for the franchise. There were a few hopeful years with Bill Parcels at the helm but those were cut short by what I assume was an ego problem between you two. A few 8-8 season later here we are, getting crushed day 1.

I’m not going to detail your horrendous draft history or blind faith in coaches. I like to stay positive in these letters and will tell you that I think you’re a great owner. If you could buy us a championship I know you would. But be honest with yourself and give up on being the General Manager. It’s obviously not working. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.

We as fans need to believe that we are building towards a championship team. If we’re going to be bad, at least we should be developing players for the future. There is no sense this is happening. The culture is broken. Swallow your pride, start over from scratch, and build towards something. Maybe give Troy a shot at GM. It worked for Denver with Elway…

I’ll still faithfully watch the Cowboys each Sunday, with no faith.


Red head series: Part II

Dear Louis C.K.,

Comedy is a grind. I wouldn’t know personally because I have no aspirations to become a comedian, but from my outsider’s perspective of the funny business (no pun intended) it looks like one of the most difficult professions. How many comedians can a random person on the street name? Three or four maybe? At a certain level, I assume most comedians are writers. Before you get that prime time sitcom gig, you probably need to write for a sitcom.

There are a lot of funny people out there, just like there are a lot of writers out there. I think the grind is vaguely similar for both as a career. It starts with a few friends and family supporting your interest. With dedication, rejection, failure, and some luck the hope is that it grows into a way to support yourself while doing something you’re passionate about. Each individual has their own personal measurement of success.  If it doesn’t pan out how you hoped (what ever does), at least it will be your outlet to express your thoughts to the world. There’s solace in that.

Louie is an amazingly funny show with unmatched emotional depth. Nothing on television, comedy or not, comes close. It captures the magic of comedy. At it’s best, it reaches our innermost feelings about all aspects of life.

Music on Streets

Dear Daren Eubank and Chima Ijeh (AKA D & Chi

I as I was wandering around Bishop Arts taking pictures the other night I happened upon your performance outside of Emporium Pies (the business that place does, WOW). It’s not often that I’m walking around the streets of Dallas and hear some really great street musicians. In cities like New Orleans or Nashville its so common that it gets almost overlooked, but in Dallas it’s a real treat. I took this video with my camera. It’s pretty shaky and the crowd noise is loud in the beginning but it smooths out by the end.

What is the name of the song?

Dallas needs more musicians like yourselves. Hope to catch ya’ll again and thanks for being awesome.

Never Gonna Give, Never Gonna Give

Redhead Series: Part 1

Dear Rick Astley,

From one red head to another I have some comment, concerns, and general nonsense to discuss with you.

First: I’ve been told that red headed men go bald young. I know baldness is a genetic trait (and that’s not good news for me), but I’m hoping you can give me some confidence here. I have a very full head of red hair at 25 that’s almost exactly the same hue of red as yours. It looks pretty thick in recent pictures but I noticed it’s pretty dark if not brown. So I’ll assume you dye it.

Second: Why would you dye your red hair when it is such an huge piece of your image as Rick Astley? Was it going gray? Does (will…) that happen to me?

Third: I’m learning the words to Never Gonna Give You Up for karaoke. Again, as a redhead I think it will be a nice addition to my repertoire. I’m looking for back up singers if you’re available.

Finally: Check out this cool video of me Karaoking last winter. 

PS: Got’em!

Day of Rest

Dear James P. Hoffa,

Happy Labor Day to you sir.

This is a day for the workin’ folk. The guys and gals who make this country go; that drive the trucks (and Uber’s?) and busses all across this great nation. Thanks to the great Grover Cleveland, we don’t have to get off the couch today and are spared, at least for one day, from endless road that is work.

I’m a dude who appreciates a long solo road trip. Plenty of  times on the long lonely road to nowhere I’ve contemplated the life of a trucker. It’s your job to travel and see the country which is cool if you don’t have a family or care about your health. I mean how much Subway can one person eat before they go insane.

I don’t know all that much about unions other than they aren’t as powerful as they once were.

Have you heard of the app Trucker Path? Apparently it is (going to be?) the Uber for the trucking industry. Better watch out and work with the change because you don’t want end up like the taxi cabs (or the music industry, the publishing industry, the travel industry, the…).

PS: I’ve been reading the book American Tabloid by James Elroy and your dad is a central character in the plot. It is historical fiction of course, but he sounds to have been a… tough guy…


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