This is my first day off since early August....so you are spared a long diatribe because I am exhausted.
Suffice it to say that Sarah Palin would not consider me to be a Real American.
The main reason that Amanda and I trip off to Spain each January is to immerse ourselves in a culture that is still intact: a society that still has manufacturing jobs and honors labor, where families are still intact for three or four generations in all directions, and where the connection between industry, family and culture is seamless.
Sort of like America.....before Ronald Reagan.
After six hours in Spain, Sarah Palin would be sobbing into the toilet at the Bilbao Holiday Inn.....Where is Moose Poaching Daddy?
Picture culture that cannot be manipulated......because it is 5,000 years old.....the new version. The Beta version goes back tens of thousands, and is kinda the same.
Oh....and medical care there, including helicopters.....is free. They have this weird idea that their citizens are their most important asset, and deserve help and protection in time of need.
Oh....and they educate them for free as well.
Oh....and help pay for their room and transportation while they are getting smart enough to start manufacturing businesses that hire actual neighbors.
In my friend's restaurant there is a chef...and old fart like me... his actual chef daughter....a maitre d'hotel, and a designer/scientist. There is a kitchen and a lab. Lasers are involved, as is science about neurotransmitters.
When they design a new dish....everyone participates. The taste, the texture, the presentation, the service......the dish that the food is placed on.
They have a CAD program (computer aided design) that lets them design their own plates for the new dishes they come up with. They have a live feed to the ceramic factory in the gorgeous valley 15 km away.
Admittedly a ceramics factory that would never be allowed in any gorgeous valley in America...but in Spain noise, pollution, ugly visuals are balanced with being able to walk to work, have three hours off for lunch and being able to have sex with your wife and walk your dog every day when the sun is out.
Anyway......the CAD program shoots to the factory, which has computer controlled manufacturing, and the dishes are delivered within days.
The factory then gets to market the dishes as "Super Cool Fancy Restaurant" dishes.
A whole different thing than "Martha Stewart at K-Mart".
If you are depressed about the state of America, or the state of your finances or retirement.....I have a suggestion.
Go to Stokes Restaurant after work. From 5:30 or so on is friendly.
Longtime locals at the bar.......lawyers, chefs, social folk, workers.
Great food and great beverages at reasonable prices.
Actual conversations....amongst friends. Amongst strangers who become friends.
A chef who brings his dogs to work.
An owner whose Santa Catalina daughters work charmingly as hostesses in the summer.
More child abuse.
A barman who makes time for his son after school in the restaurant every day. (I am sure that there are folks that would consider this child abuse).
We have a young chef from Spain living with us for three months. He is from the highest hierarchy of Spanish cuisine. Upon arrival at SFO I whisked him off to six days of 20 hour work shifts.
Forget Jet Lag....how about Cater Lag? The kid is money......completely unfazed by a 120 week....where he is a volunteer.
Today was our first break, and I took him to Stokes.
Wonderful food. Kind, attentive, ironic service. Great conversation.
Borja....my new hotshit chef from Spain.....saw the plate of roasted chiles that Kirk and Brandon offer for less than five bucks......and immediately got homesick. He loved the fried green tomatoes, was wowed by the house made mozzarella, and vacuumed up every bit of everything offered.
"Lo mismo que en Espana! Hay corazon!"
The real deal.
"Corazon" means "Heart" for you dumbfucks.
In my mind.....fire the shrink and the therapist. Money pissed away.
Hay corazon....and it is the heart that matters.
Spend two hours a week at Stokes. OK, ninety minutes.
The world would be a better place for your attendance and attention to this matter.