Born in El Cajon CA, raised in Las Vegas NV, educated in Reno NV and living in Salt Lake City UT, I am a bartender, writer, boxer-in-training and general ne’er-do-well that enjoys whiskey, baseball and Twitter. I am addicted to podcasts, the San Diego Padres and currently suffering from withdraws from the NBA. Prior to the lockout, I was a die-hard Utah Jazz fan. I am going to be taking this season off. As far as I am concerned, a partial season is no season at all. I will be back in 2012. I think the NBA and the Jazz will survive without me.
I started writing a human interested column in college at the University of Nevada Reno. It was mostly about my adventures as a student and trying to squeeze out a life between class, the rugby pitch, work and The Sagebrush, Nevada’s student newspaper. I went on a damn near 14-year hiatus from writing due to no interest and being completely engrossed with bartending, site-seeing and opening a bar in Utah called The Woodshed. After selling the bar, the ensuing aftermath damn near destroyed me and I needed some place to vent.
I started my blog on blogspot.com and called it Behind The Bar. It was mostly a series of comments about bartending after being a bar owner for three years. It was clunky, myopic and not very good. I don’t think my writing ha improved much but at least I am not still covering the same topics. I enjoy learning about people and trying to tell their story. I am not a reporter in the least bit but I like trying to frame what makes people and local culture click. Unfortunately, I find myself revisiting Utah’s “interesting” liquor laws too frequently but you need to write about what you know.
After realizing the limitations at blogspot, I put my money where my mouth was and bought the URL bennyraskin.com at WordPress. I changed the name back to my college title of Raskin’s Rhetoric and I am going to keep it that. I like how the page looks, how easy it is to post from my iPhone and the tracking numbers of how many readers I get per column. That last word is very important to me. Column. I don’t write a blog. I refer to what I do at my website as a column. I talk about people, places, activities and culture both locally and nationally. If asked by a professional writer the nature of the content I put out on the inter-web, I would tell them straight to their eye that I am a columnist.
I don’t have an editor. I write for myself. I don’t expect to make a single plug nickel from this column. I am, however, addicted to readers and comments. The most rewarding part of writing Raskin’s Rhetoric is seeing how people react to my column and how it might impact them. Heady stuff. Equally pretentious.
All comments are welcome. I will answer any question sent to me. In addition, I will be shameless in trying to get people to read the column. I always appreciate anyone who can be a Mensch and tell a friend.