Saturday, January 26, 2019


This is a wonderful event sponsored by, Atlantic City Weekly and 103.7 WMGM, the radio station.  It is held at the Golden Nugget in their ballroom.  There were 1,300 people in attendance this year.  20 local (and one not so local) battled it out for Wing supremacy – and the battle was one for the ages.  Each of these establishments brings their A-Game – they must.  This showcases their talents around that wonderful delicacy, the Wing (much more often than not – a Chicken Wing). 

Upon entry you are given two tokens – a red chip and a blue chip.  The red chip is to vote for your favorite wing and the blue chip is to vote for your favorite dipping sauce.  Fair enough.  And then you enter the ballroom.  There are ten contenders down either side of the venue, bars in the middle, and a stage with the band, LeCompt playing.  LeCompt is a great cover band.  They did the honors last year and did them again today for Wing Wars III.  Their version of “War Pigs” from Black Sabbath brought a smile to my face.  Great stuff. 


My wife saw that the far-right back corner was the least populated, so we started there.  It was Vic & Anthony’s from the Golden Nugget.  It was a maple glazed, quail wing and it was delicious.  IDK, if quail is a constant on their menu but they should consider it.  Very good first entry.  From there we made the rounds. 

But, before we go further, let’s talk strategy and science.  This is our - my wife's and mine, second Wing Wars.  We have been to the Burger Bash, too.  We now have a little experience when it comes to how these two events work.  We know to bring wipes, we know that if we find a seat one of us will sit so that the other will forage for two wings from each establishment to bring back to the table and enjoy.  We have upped our data collection.  Behold the Wing Wars III Data Collection Form.  Those stains were earned, the notes may look like hieroglyphics, but I can read ‘em – and this is how this blog was formulated.

Data sheet - for SCIENCE!

So, there it is.  My wife would hold down the fort and I would hunt and gather.  Oh, and there was so much to hunt and gather.  But that’s okay – it’s all part of the fun.  We sampled ‘em all – some twice.  As it turns out, wings are temperamental.  It’s best to have a fresh wing.  If the wing sits it can get cold, soggy, and nasty.  Not an establishment’s A-Game.  So, timing is important.  The temp, the texture, and flavor of a wing – all have an expiration time.  Fresh wings need to be replenished since this is YOUR establishment’s good name on the line.  There were times that I was pleasantly surprised.  I think that Hooters and Margaritaville upped their game from last year.  Hooters had their, “Daytona” sauce and Margaritaville did something fresh and fruity – they made a blueberry chipotle wing sauce.  My wife didn’t like it, but I did.  It showed initiative.  There were some true stand outs this time out.  Okatshe, made a tempura battered wing with a ginger scallion & chili sauce which was wonderful fresh but not so good if it was been sitting too long so that the oil can pool.  This wasn’t too much of an issue and it was great.  One contender, The Blind Rhino, came all the way from Norwalk, Connecticut to compete!  I’m glad they made the trip.  Theirs was a dry-rub, brown sugar concoction that strummed all the right chords.  Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint was able to make a stop at Flavor-town for their excellent smoked wings.  The Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall had a great flavor too.  Their offering was a Citrus Sweet Chipotle wing and it proved to by my wife’s favorite – so much so that she red & blue chipped them.  The VUE Rooftop Bar’s offering was a lime-zest and cumin seasoning with a honey-lime crème sauce.  Very tasty.  Toll Man Joe’s got my blue chip – there was something tangy about their sauce that captured my imagination.  Villain & Saint, for my pallet, did something magical.  

Villain & Saint's alchemy at work

Their offering was something they called, KFC – Korean Fried Chicken that was batter fried with an Asian glaze, and ginger ailoi.  This one earned my red chip.  I fell in love with it.  The fact of the matter is, you couldn’t do wrong with any of these contenders.    

And then there was the judging – the people’s and the judges.  By popular, blue chip, vote the Dipping Sauces were…

Third:            Vagabond
Second:         Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall 
First:              Michael Patrick’s

By popular, red chip, vote the people’s favorites were…

Third:            Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall 
Second:         A.C. Burger Co.
First:             TIE! – The Blind Rhino AND Michael Patrick’s

And then came the professional judges.  And the winners were…

Third:            Villain & Saint (my pick for the shootin’ match)
Second:         Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint 
First:             Chelsea 5 Gastropub

Other wonders beheld this very day…

Congratulations to all of the winners from this year’s Wing Wars!  All of the contestants, too, including; AC Burger Co., Bill’s Bar & Burger, Blue Water Grill, Chelsea 5 Gastropub, The Blind Rhino, Guy’s Bar-B-Que Joint, KURO, Michael Patrick’s Brasserie, Hard Rock Café, Manco & Manco, Okatshe, Hooters, Margaritaville, Rose’s Garden Grill, Villain & Saint, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, Vic & Anthony’s, Toll Man Joe’s, Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House, VUE Rooftop Bar – remarkable offerings, ALL!  You brought you’re A-Game.  The hosts should be congratulated, as well.  This was a Wing Wars for the record books.  I’m looking forward to Burger Bash in the spring – it, too, shall be GLORIOUS

NOTE: The data gathered for this particular blog is based upon the descriptions from, “A Wing And A Prayer” by Ryan Loughlin from the January 24th – 30th, Atlantic City Weekly magazine, my data sheets, and my notes.  Your results may vary, which is why I encourage you to get out there and to try these establishments out for yourself.  They are worth the trip – even to Connecticut! 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

So, There Was This Video...

So, there was this video that surfaced early this past weekend.  It was appalling and it incensed a nation.  Why wouldn’t it?  What was presented in the video was an affront to decency – here we were again, a group of MAGA hat wearing kids tormenting a Native American elder trying to bring a bit of peace to what was an escalating situation between the MAGA kids and some African American group that had been reported as being there as well.  That is what was being sold in the video.  That’s what I reacted to.  “Camera’s don’t lie”, right?  I saw the original video but chose not to push that one forward on my Twitter feed.  Instead I found the epilogue video of Mr. Phillips, the tribal elder, he was in tears saying that he wanted to help defuse the situation.  It was this that I saw and it was this that I tweeted about…

And the Tweet had legs – it was retweeted and, as Twitter does, shared and liked to thousands of other possible users.  The video struck a chord.  Real people are sick and tired of the entitlement and hatred that permeates our nation.  By liking or retweeting the post there is a sense of like-mindedness a sense of “there are still people out there who give a damn that when something is wrong it can be righted.”  ALAS, aye’s the barb.  The dirty trick is that the original viral video was a half-truth.  A half-truth that launched an explosion on social media that we are still feeling the aftershocks from.  For the record, a half-truth is still a lie.  When you lie to support your premise, you cannot claim to have the high ground.  A lot of reactions were generated by this video and it gave cause for a lot of people, myself included, to react and, apparently, to act too quickly. 

To the Covington School, I apologize.  You should not have to shoulder the full brunt of this situation.  In the end we are marked by our deeds and not necessarily our words.  Actions do, in fact, speak louder.  You were waiting on a bus, bad things happened, and they escalated.  The internet took it from there.  I reacted to the information that I had.  This is not a complete, ‘free pass’, the chanting and the ‘tomahawk chops’ that some of you were doing lacked class but you don’t deserve the scrutiny that you have been receiving.  Truth be told, which is something I am extremely fond of, if MAGA hats weren’t involved this never would have made the news. 

“So, who was this third group?”

The third group were the “Black Hebrew Israelites”.  A nearly two-hour video surfaced on Sunday – after the internet blew up concerning the initial video was released.  It showed that the Black Hebrew Israelites were shouting slurs at both the Native Americans and the Covington School group.  The Covington School group started a school chant to drown out the racially charged attacks.  Mr. Phillips saw it as a sign of escalation and, in his way, attempted to deescalate the situation.  There.  That’s about as close to the truth of what happened that anyone sitting at their computer who was not there at the event can glean.  Mr. Philip DeFranco did an excellent piece on the situation.  Apparently, I am in very good company in acting too fast…

“So, where did the original video come from?”

@2020Fight, was the source of the initial video.  They have been identified and Twitter has shut down their account for spreading false information.  From the link below…  The Twitter account that helped spread the initial video has been removed. The user -- @2020Fight -- claimed to be a teacher and advocate named Talia from California with a photo appearing to show Brazilian model and actress Natalia Cardoso. In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said "deliberate attempts to manipulate the public conversation on Twitter by using misleading account information is a violation of the Twitter rules."”  One can no longer claim the high ground once such tactics are used.  Never give away the high ground to those who do not deserve it.  As the old saying goes, “If you lie down with dogs, you will get fleas.”  @2020Fight crossed a line, for whatever reason and, unfortunately, he/she took thousands of people along with them – me included.  Twitter responded appropriately.  Here is a CBS news segment identifying the perp or perpetrators…

Please, do me the favor of watching this video (I believe it’s still up).  In it is something I have never seen before.  Something that has affected me more and more each time I see it.  There is a man, possibly a school representative, talking to one of the Native American protestors who have set up outside of the Covington School.  He is wearing a MAGA hat and, instead of screaming at the protester he is talking to him.  In fact, he “suggested they sit down and share a cup of coffee or a meal. 

This is important.  At least it should be.  Yes, this is important.  You see, ever since the MAGA hat was invented I have never seen anyone attached to one talk to anyone who is opposed to their line of thinking, let alone an offer to share a meal or a cup of coffee.  No, for me the hat has always been associated with screaming, yelling, Kool-Aid drinking, hatred, and rage.  That is all that I have ever seen from MAGA.  Ever. 

Here's the mind blower.  The converse is also true.  I can show you MAGA who feel the exact same way that I do about them.  “The Trump hating crowd does nothing but scream, yell, bleat like sheep, hate, and rage.”  As it turns out, we are more alike than we think we are.  For the record, I don’t see anything that resembles either extreme in the above picture.  I see two men trying to come to some sort of resolution and this – THIS, is what has to happen on a national scale. 

There is a massive miscommunication happening right now and the only way to fix it – the only way, is to communicate.  Yes, I too have been polarized.  These are polarizing times.  But we need to look beyond that.  Sure, this man could be doing it for the cameras, but I don’t think that’s the case.  The camera’s happened to be there.  I believe that this was probably the case for Mr. Phillips, as well.  Both this MAGA hat wearing fellow and the elder, Mr. Phillips were trying to deescalate a situation.  What jarred me is the fact that my assumptions of this fellow in the hat are the same assumptions that, more often than not, leveled against me for being a, “Trump troll” or “Hater”.  Facts are scarce things these days, but the fact of the matter is I’m a centralist with the occasional left leaning tendency.  I’m slightly left of middle on the bell curve.  The lunatic fringe – the extremes of either side have always made me squirm.  They will always be there, but I don’t think I’m alone.  I bet I share that belief of being more, ‘middle of the road’, with people who claim allegiance to the right and to the left.  I don’t believe that our country is only made up of two extremes – us & them.  But the only way to test that theory is to talk and to listen.

So, could this be a watershed moment?  Wouldn’t that be something?  The fact of the matter is we need to talk.  We need to communicate.  Perhaps, “Let’s sit down and have a cup of coffee or buy a meal and let’s just figure this out,” is the sage advice that we need right now as citizens of these United States.  I believe that this gentleman, this MAGA hat wearing gentleman, is correct.  That is a sentence I have never typed before.  We must talk to each other – we are the WE, in We The People.  We need to start acting like it. 

So, what say we grab a cup of coffee?

We have much to discuss. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Hello Stranger

Okay, so my family and I found ourselves at Wheaton Village recently.  For those of you who do not know what Wheaton Village is, it is a tourist spot in Millville, NJ that has a glass museum and a main street with shops.  Wheaton’s used to be a big glass company in Millville – hence Millville’s nickname, “Glasstown”. 

So, we were wondering along, and found ourselves in the paperweight shop.  There are some amazing and expensive things to see in there – being the “paperweight shop”, most of them are paperweights.  One paperweight caught my eye and reminded me of a viral video that went nova earlier in the year.  Without thinking, I announced to my family and anyone else within listening distance – in this case it was a man in his sixties and the lady who was working in the shop, “This one reminds me of that meme with the naked man!

The very moment the words slipped from my lips, my brain kicked in with the ‘Say, you shouldn’t say that out loud’ warning.  It was far too late.  “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.” I announced to the quintessence.  It was then that I started to giggle.  Then I began to laugh.  Then the pitch of my laughter escalated that way it always does when I’m about to roll on the floor, snotting, & weeping with gut wrenching laughter. 

“Here he goes,” I heard a member of my family say.  “You should get out of here before you knock something over,” said another.

So, I told you that so I could ask you this; don’t these two compliment each other?  First is the picture of the paperweight and, second – is a picture from the stop motion animation short film, “Hi Stranger”. 

The paperweight.

"Hi Stranger."

Here is a link to the short film. "Hi Stranger"  Enjoy. 

I must remember my 'inside voice'.  Alas, that whole, "inner monologue thing" eludes me.