As stated in a previous post, when we learned that Donald Trump planned to hold his first post-Covid-19 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my wife declared that we had to go. She was, as usual, right. We had to be there.
It was bad enough that the impeached, popular vote-losing, historically unpopular President originally intended to gather his MAGA minions on July 19th— the holiday known as Juneteenth — the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas finally learned they’d been emancipated by Lincoln’s proclamation back in 1863.
But there was more.
Worse than Trump’s Juneteenth affront was the city that he chose for his 2020 campaign kick-start. Nearly a century earlier, a white mob in Tulsa destroyed a prosperous African American neighborhood known as Black Wall Street, murdering hundreds of innocent Black men while burning more than 35 square blocks of homes and businesses to the ground. Trump wasn’t sounding a racist dog whistle. He was blaring his racist message through a stack of 100 Marshall amplifiers turned up to 11.
The swift critical blowback against Trump’s outrageous, race-baiting bit of scheduling forced him to move his rally from the 19th to the 20th – but that was just the first taste of defeat for Mango Mussolini that fateful weekend. He envisioned his visit to Tulsa as a re-boot of the traveling Trumpian circus that had served his Presidential aspirations – and his ego – so well in 2016.
Trump and his various campaign hacks and flacks trumpeted the news that Tulsa’s 19,000 seat BOK Center was nowhere near large enough to hold the hundreds of thousands of fans who had pre-ordered tickets for the rally. So, the Trump campaign arranged an outdoor venue for the overflow horde of cult followers eager to bask in their master’s mendacious message.
But there was a problem with those ticket reservations. It starts with the fact that my wife and I had six tickets and our youngest daughter had two – and none of us had any intention of going to the rally.
It was our daughter who hipped us to the subversive plan days before we left for Tulsa. She’d learned through the youthful online grapevine that, inspired by a TikTok video, the kids were snatching up tickets for Trump’s Tulsa rally as a massive prank. The kids were out to punk Trump.
This fast-moving youth movement followed the lead of Mary Jo Laupp, a 51-year-old grandmother from Fort Dodge, Iowa, who posted a TikTok video on June 11th suggesting that people book free tickets to the rally to inflate the attendance numbers and ensure there were empty seats. Laupp’s video earned more than 700,000 likes. Trump and his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, had no idea what was happening. They bought their own hype.
They swallowed the kids’ bait. Hook. Line. And sinker.
When my wife and I arrived in Tulsa on the 19th, we found a much sleepier downtown area than we imagined. My wife kept saying, “Where is everybody”?
By the day of Trump’s rally it was clear where everybody was: not in Tulsa!
Only 6,200 MAGAs showed up to bask in the first stop on President Man-Child’s Ego-Gratification Tour: just one-third of the BOK Center’s capacity.
What follows are images and commentary on Trump’s 2020 campaign Waterloo as we experienced it.
SPOILER ALERT: Those desperate excuses made by Trump loyalists about how the rally throngs were kept from getting into the BOK Center by protesters blocking their entrance? Pure lies, as you shall see…
Note the National Guard presence, the sparse crowd — and NO protestors. This was the pattern all day leading up to the rally.
The MAGA crowd is getting a little larger. But where are the protesters blocking the MAGAs from attending the rally? They don’t exist. Do you see any? Of course not. We are two blocks from the BOK Center at this point.
The Oklahoma National Guard is ready for action. Nervous kids doing their duty.
Another shot of the not-so- massive throngs gathering a couple blocks away from the BOK Center. Still no protesters. Actually, no protesters will show up until all the MAGAs are in the building and the rally is already underway. Oh yeah, there WAS that one older lady wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt who was handcuffed and hauled away from the entrance.
There were at least three layers of security in order to get inside the gates leading to the BOK Center: concrete barriers, three rows of National Guard, and a fence. You’ll note that you don’t see any protesters blocking this entrance. It was the same at all entrances.
One you get past the concrete barricades and three rows of National Guard, there’s a fence — and then a temperature-testing site. Notice all the violent protesters blocking these MAGAs from entering? Of course not. Because they weren’t there! Sorry, Trump campaign. No excuses. Also — nobody is wearing a mask and there’s no social distancing.
Speaking of masks and social distancing. Oklahoma Senator Lankford (in the suit with red hair) was definitely not wearing a mask or social distancing. Nice example, Senator!At this point, the MAGAs have it made past the barriers, past the National Guard and past the fence. Now, they pause to get a mask (which hardly anybody wore) and have their temperature taken. Still no protesters blocking anything. No protesters at all.Now, it’s just a few hours until the rally starts — and all the MAGAs are in the building. There’s nobody left in line. If this was a Rick Springfield concert, a monster truck rally, or even a minor league hockey game there would still be folks in line. But all the members of Trump’s angry army coming to Trumpapalooza are already inside the BOK Center. No reinforcements are coming.The scene from one section of the upper deck. Trump fans! Tired of all the winning yet?
My PyeongChang Diary (Part 7)
Those who know me know that I like meat. I’m an unrepentant carnivore.
So, naturally, I have spent much of the scant recreational time I have during the Olympic Games in search of the best Korean barbeque available in the PyeongChang area.
Living in Los Angeles, I’m acquainted with the tradition of Korean barbeque – but I figured that, being in the motherland, I could treat myself to the very best. My first two attempts at local Korean BBQ dining were good – but neither was a meat-eater’s home run.
And then, last night, I found — and enjoyed — Korean BBQ heaven.
Our cameraman Corey found the place. It was a 20-minute cab ride from our Phoenix Park hotel – but we were hungry for adventure (and barbequed beef) so we were down for the excursion.
What follows is a pictorial progression through a beef lover’s Korean BBQ pilgrimage. Vegan’s need not apply…
This is the downstairs dining area. You’ll note that there are only Koreans here at this point in the evening. That is absolutely a good sign. We’ve come to the right place.
This night was Korean Lunar New Year. And the South Koreans were enjoying one of their biggest annual holidays. (See Vietnam’s Tet.) Does the Tet Offensive ring a bell?
We didn’t realize it when we set out, but the restaurant would get very, very busy — and we would have to wait a while to be seated, unlike these folks who shared a special Asian room, with no chairs.
(No shoes, please.)
After dinner, we’d be unable to get a cab ride home because of the busy holiday, but that’s another matter.
The whole evening took 5 hours. But, all in all, it was well worth it!
The first step in traditional Korean Barbecue is to visit the butcher and buy your cuts of meat.
This woman knows her meat. She explained that the steer we’d be eating was raised organically, with no hormones, grass fed — and A #1. She was not bullshitting.
We bought our beef BEFORE we cooked it. That’s the way it goes. You buy your meat first, then you get seated — and your drinks and everything else are billed later. Meat is Job #1.
With cameraman Corey in the lead, we hauled out cuts of beef to the upstairs dining room after a 20-minute wait. We were famished — but we anticipated beefy, tasty, spicy joy in our near future.
The upstairs dining room. It’s getting busy. The meat is about to get cooking…
Unlike our cold, steel and glass hotel in Phoenix Park, this Korean BBQ place features warm wood and delightful crystal chandeliers — which we would later learn are from the United States!
Seated across the table from me are my AP, Agatha, and my EP, David. We’re all hungry.
First come the condiments: onions, garlic, chili paste, peppers, sea salt & other culinary joys.
Next, they fire up the tabletop grill. The main meat-lovers event is about to go down…
As the meat grills, you combine ingredients into your bowl — in my case, chili paste, peppers, onions and garlic — so you can plunge your beef bits deep into this spicy heaven.
Next, Corey pulls down the exhaust fan. Otherwise, we’ll all be asphyxiated….
Our waiter provides some assistance. Everyone is helpful. They all want us to have a great time.
As our first beef course sears on the grill, our crew poses for a pre-meal photo. We’ve all been working hard — and we’re eager for a great meal. Luckily, David & Corey are Korean BBQ experts.
Corey took over as grillmaster. For those of you who know me from Greek Easter — you can appreciate how much I respect Corey’s Korean BBQ chops!
Each cut of beef was better than the next — and the last course was the best of all…
Corey was far too modest. His grilling of that last fabulous cut of beef was superb. But our meal was not yet complete. Corey had another great idea…
At Corey’s suggestion we ordered this. Somehow, all of this tasty goodness boiled down into an incredible, sweet beef and veggie soup.
And finally, here’s our host. Jean went to college and spent a lot of time in Los Angeles (as have a lot of educated South Koreans we’re met). She returned to South Korea a year ago and started running this restaurant — recognized on Trip Advisor as the best in PyeongChang.
I’m awarding her an Winter Olympic Gold Medal for the Best Korean BBQ.
All hail, Jean!
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Filed under Adventure, Random Commentary, rock & roll, Travel, Truth
Tagged as 2018 Winter Olympics, Korean BBQ, Paul Barrosse, PyeongChang 2018, South Korea