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The Vortex Blog

carry-nation

SADLY, NOBODY SHOT THE BITCH

Booze is great. And if you don’t think so, you’re nothing but a God-damned communist. The Founding Fathers wanted Americans to be free. Free to drink alcohol. In fact, only a couple of decades after seriously kicking some British ass, George Washington was operating the largest whiskey distillery in the United States. Thomas Jefferson regularly brewed beer, and stocked the White House with wine when he was President. John Hancock ran a liquor distributing company. Lincoln was a bartender, and owned his own tavern. The list of patriotic, booze-loving American heros goes on and on. Because freedom, that’s why.

But it never takes tyrants long to ruin a good thing. In the early 19th century, “temperance” movements began to pop up across the United States. Who supported them? Mostly religious fanatics and racists. The Klan were big supporters. They associated crime with those dirty liquored-up immigrants. Carrie Nation was also a leader in the movement. Since her husband was a drunkard, she reasoned that no one should ever be allowed to drink. Besides, God told her so. Her routine was to enter private bars, singing spirituals and praying, and then bust the joints up with a hatchet. All I know, is if some crazy bitch came into my bar swinging a hatchet, I’d shoot her in the face.

Sadly, nobody shot the bitch, and the 18th Ammendment was eventually ratified. Prohibition was the law of the land from 1920 until 1933. If this futile experiment taught us anything, it’s that anti-freedom legislation is always a bad idea. Enjoying alcohol is not immoral. Turning previously law abiding citizens into criminals with the stroke of a pen is definitely immoral. Whenever tyrannical laws are passed, they always create a profusion of unintended consequences. Prohibition cost America thousands of jobs, and much needed tax revenue as we entered the Great Depression. But even worse, instead of stopping crime as supporters claimed it would, prohibition ushered in a new era of far reaching, well-armed criminal syndicates. Violent crime increased to levels never seen in our country’s history. So thanks for the Mafia, Carrie.

Prior to the law taking effect, many wealthy Americans stockpiled alcohol, buying up the inventories of liquor retailers and wholesalers who were forced out of business by government decree. President Woodrow Wilson moved his own personal supply of booze from the White House to his home when his term was over. His successor, Warren G. Harding, transferred his large personal stash into the White House following his inauguration. Before the congressional elections of 1930, bootlegger George Cassiday reported how he had been providing hooch to members of congress since the beginning of prohibition. By his estimate, 80% of congressmen and senators were embibing. As always, if you were well connected you could simply skirt the law. The brunt of the negative impact of this legislation was suffered primarily by the working-class poor. Hmmm. Why does this all sound so familiar?

internets

THE INTERNET IS NOT A WEBSITE

My initial introduction to the internet was many years ago, on my big old 75-pound desktop computer, which, if I recall, was powered by gasoline. I remember how excited I was the first time I used a search engine. And not just because every keyword I entered would bring up porn. Nope. It was the idea that so much knowledge, so much information was right there at my fingertips. At everyone’s fingertips. It was clearly a new dawn of awareness for humanity. If ignorance were to continue in the world, it would now be solely by choice. Sadly, that choice continues to be very popular.

I deal directly with this type of ignorance in the form of people being mad at my employees. People show up with their 4 kids and are mad that we have a 21-and-over policy. People want their free birthday meal and are mad that we don’t actually offer that as an option. People come when we’re closed, and are mad about that. “But I read it on the internet,” they will angrily declare. Well guess what, folks? Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Don’t be mad at us about it. To further clarify, The Vortex does not control the internet. Only our teensie weensie little corner of it.

Every single day I read inaccurate stuff about The Vortex. From online articles, to foodie blogs, to the yippy-yappy review sites – spurious information is everywhere. But if you want to find actual, factual information about a business, it’s remarkably easy. Just visit their website. That’s what websites are for. Like most reputable businesses, we strive to keep ours up-to-date. And if errors are ever pointed out by our loyal fans, we always correct them as soon as possible. So if you read a policy on our website, it’s most likely going to be true. But if you read something about our business that we were not responsible for writing, it just might not be. Shocking, I know. False information posted on the internet. What is this world coming to?

eating

EATING YOURSELF STUPID

I once butchered an entire pig to make my own tasty bacon, sausage and pork chops. And it was a really cute pig. So I think I could have become a chef in an alternate universe. But instead I own a bar that many people consider a restaurant. Sure, it’s just a burger joint, but we serve some pretty damn good burgers. My wife and I also own the best Mexican restaurant in Atlanta (Yeah, in my humble opinion, the best by far). Hell, my retirement plans even include organic farming and animal husbandry. In spite of all this, I would never refer to myself as a “foodie.”

When people label themselves it often ends badly. Back in the 1980’s, “young urban professionals” began referring to themselves as “yuppies.” That’s a true story, kids. The word began as an acronym to describe upwardly-mobile, under-40s who were not ashamed to flaunt their success. It was a badge of honor. But eventually their attitude became viewed as elitist, because it fucking was. Now the term is considered derogatory. People don’t call themselves yuppies anymore.

So when will this happen to “foodie?” People continue to use this label proudly, and it always makes me cringe. We’re currently living in the “Age of the Foodie.” It seems all the interconnected corporate machinery is conspiring to get Western civilization to eat itself stupid. Food channels are rife with “celebrity” chefs who hawk their wares in trendy specialty shops and supermarkets. Super-exclusive (and super-expensive) restaurants dot the landscape from N.Y. to L.A. and back again. And all this malarkey continues to be the subject of hyper-polished profiles in fashionable magazines, eventually leeching out into the darkest nether regions of the internet, which by now has been completely overrun with food bloggers. Please. For the love of God. Make it stop.

First, the label is divisive. But that’s by design. The terminally self-aggrandizing like it that way. It represents undeniable evidence of their sophistication and superiority to the unwashed masses. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying good food, or even getting excited about a particular chef. But you don’t have to be an obnoxious jerk about it. The self-proclaimed foodies of today are the same as the self-proclaimed yuppies of yesterday. They’re just practicing an updated version of elitism and exclusion. And enjoying good food should never be about exclusion. More than anything else, what I appreciate about food is how a thoughtfully prepared meal can bring people together. I really love good food. No label necessary.

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Vortex Radio Ep2 – Rules Of Engagement

On this episode, Michael and Rebecca introduce our Tech Monkey, Frank, and give Heather some well-deserved grief about possibly leaving the show soon. (She’s going to make cupcakes and join the PTA!) We discuss the rules of The Vortex and how they came to be. Rebecca tells the hilariously unbelievable tale of The Woman Who Would Not Wait For a Table — we won’t spoil the ending, but COPS. Yeah. Tune in and enjoy!

Contact us at VortexAtlantaRadio@gmail.com

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Tweet us @askthevortex

Big thanks to our friend Candye Cane for our intro and out music!

Listen to this Podcast on Soundcloud or YouTube!

COMING SOON TO iTUNES & STITCHER RADIO