Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nigger, get back....

OK...be all mad because the white guy used the N word.

I submit that my people...the Irish....are running a close second to Africans when it comes to all that diaspora/abuse/genocide shit. There are still people living who will spit on your shoes if you tell them you are Irish.

What is super ironic is what Mick McCarthy did back before the '94 World Cup. The Irish are kinda like the Jews....if you can prove that you had an actual Irish grandparent.....you can get a passport and citizenship! Soccer rules are a little more lenient....no citizenship was allowed if your Irish ancestors were further back than grandparents.... but if there was a mick in the woodpile anywhere....you could play for Ireland. Still can.

The socio-economic aspect of that is that wherever you have black people....you have Irish. We all got sent into slavery. Mick was somewhat cynical about this and spent little time in Australia, and lots of time in Africa, Jamaica, etc......where Irish people were sold into slavery side by side with Africans.

And.....There is a whole section of Irish folk called Black Irish. Has nothing to do with skin color.

Everyone knows about the Spanish Armada back in 1588. Huge invasion, big storm, fleet destroyed by God to protect the white folks. Turns out that the storm was in the Irish Sea mostly, and many of the ships were wrecked on the Irish coast. Since your run of the mill Irishman, like Jesus, stays at home and lives with his mom until he is in his 30's.....the hot Spanish blood was not poorly received in the Ould Sod. Hence: black haired, dark-eyed Irishmen and women.

Oh....and the super irony: Queen Elizabeth had no standing Navy, and no budget for one. She hired private guys...the Blackwater of then....to muster for her against the Spanish. When the storm blew the Spanish away, she still had huge bills. So....she issued land grants to the lucky sailors who had stood up....land grants in Ireland. Of course it was sad that actual people had been living on that land for thousands of years....but fuck 'em, anyway. Dirtbag Irish.

There were other things the Spanish and Irish had in common: no one gave a fuck about them. For centuries, Spanish and Irish joined Armies in droves....and fought for whomever could give them the price of a beer or a meal. There are countless and tragic stories of Spanish and Irish mercenaries fighting their homies and brothers in the pay of some random oligarch. Both cultures are still way better at fighting amongst themselves than fighting outsiders.... to this day. We won't even talk about their African brothers.

Anyway....in my lifetime I have approached bars in England that had signs on the door: "No Irish Allowed". So I will use the N word with some historical imperative, and some culturally in-built sensitivity.

A large part of the nigger thing is class-related, not racial. Upstairs, Downstairs. Back door. Back of the bus. When I first started in the service industry 40 years ago it was part of the given.....though it was fading already. The locals had been blessed with legions of Filipino stewards coming out of the Navy, and tons of Korean and Japanese women to serve in black dresses and white aprons.

Carmel, as always....is the last bastion of fading social orders. We struggled at first because our older clients were uncomfortable with servers with college educations....and who weren't Asian, black, gay....or Irish.

Anyway, the photography folks liked us for serving visually pleasing food. For years we worked for Ansel and Virginia Adams as cooks and caterers. Everyone loved Ansel of course....but almost no one in the modern world realized that Virginia was the real source of power. At least in some ways...not taking anything away from Ansel.

Virginia Best was the princess when she and Ansel met. Her dad, Harry, had the concessions at Yosemite and was a highly recognized Western artist of his time. Ansel was a goofy unemployed piano player working as a caretaker and doing some wedding photography on the side.... and Virginia had the only piano for hundreds of miles. And she sang....and piano guys were thin on the ground in Yosemite in 1920.

Virginia had to talk her Dad into letting Ansel marry her....and some of that dynamic stayed for the rest of their lives. We dealt with Virginia, because we were in her kitchen. Ansel was cool, and good to us...but we probably as a group passed less than 100 words with him in eight years. Ansel...like Santa...worked more with a smile and a wink than with words. Virginia was our girl. To us, she was still the same princess Ansel found in 1920 in Yosemite. I can't tell you how many hundreds of times I witnessed people blowing Virginia off, because they were focused on Ansel. We would exchange a look.....this motherfucker is DONE!

One time she had me actually lift up a five-foot table and carry it away, leaving the people sitting on folding chairs in a silly circle. "Michael...these people are boring. Get them out of my house now!"

So....after Ansel died, Virginia had piles of money, tons of friends...and no more piano guy to play while she sang. She decided to sponsor big parts of the Bach Festival.....well, she and Ansel always had. Can you say Vladimir Ashkenazy?

Anyway...Virginia's fans sponsored the "Virginia Best Adams Master Class" at the Carmel Bach Festival. Like good Irish mercenaries....we were in the front lines for her, and did the big cocktail party around the Master Class every year. 100 people, Chalone wines, full bar with Ansel martinis, and all our best, best (Best!) apps.

We never sent a bill, because we loved Virginia, loved what she loved, and had respect for the wind she had beneath our wings.

Even in 1982 money this was not cheap....about six or seven grand a year. Ten years, twelve years....pushing a hundred grand.

Who cares? Love Virginia....an icon of the 20th century....and someone who was kind and loved us when no one else did.....

About ten years into our deal, the Bach Festival sent us a letter asking if we wanted to be in the catalog.

Sure.

We got a bill for $1000.

Meanwhile, if you were some low-end socialite from Modesto who gave $50, you were in the catalog.

We....supported by our partner Mort Levitt....refused to pay.

They took us to court. And sued us for the $1000 for our mention in the catalog.

Their defense was that since we were working people, we gained benefit from working for free and giving away stuff. And even though our donation at that point was above the level of IBM, their sponsor at the time.....we should PAY to have our name mentioned in their catalog.

Private people got no benefit from giving fifty bucks...so it was OK to mention them in the catalog. Mentioning business donors in the catalog lowered the social level of the endeavor.....so they should have to pay to make up for their tacky partnerships.

So....I wrote this letter. To Nana, who is revered in Bach Festival lore, OK.....expletives deleted....but she treated us like we were shit on her shoe....

"Dear Nana:

"Our participation in the Carmel Bach Festival is based solely on our love for Virginia Adams. Virginia supports you, so we support her. Our love and support of Virginia is at this point collectively worth $120,000 in in-kind donations to the Carmel Bach Festival....which is beyond even the commitment of your major yearly sponsors who grace the cover of your catalog.

"You have chosen to litigate our non-payment for our business-card placement in your catalog...which is fine.

"We just want you and your board to be aware that our commitment is to Virginia...and her apparently bizarre affection for the Carmel Bach Festival.

"Should Virginia develop an affection for the White Aryan Resistance, we want you to know that our business and all our energies will be happy to shift in that direction on Virginia's behalf....and we will welcome association with a better sort of people."

"Sincerely,

"Michael Jones, A Moveable Feast"

Nana thought that because we made things with our hands, and swam in the cess pool of commerce....we should not stain her program....unless we gave actual cash, not the tawdry by-products of our disgusting work. "I mean, really....these people cut fish......"

Which brings us to the Carmel Library Foundation.....

I come from a millenia of readers. The Irish are so devoted to the written word that at one point about 600 AD....we had all of them, locked up in fortresses behind stone on our frozen island. I read 2-3 books a week. My brother was a writer....two books written right here in Carmel Valley....and when he died of the inevitable lung cancer from the writer's drug of choice....he was Editor-in-Chief of HarperCollins in New York.

On top....my Mom is a librarian. Not only that, she is a proselytizer of literacy.....and has been a literacy instructor in Monterey County for 20 years. At 83, she is the oldest employee of the Carmel Unified School District....and still teaches English as a Second Language in Cachagua twice a week.

My surviving brother and I....left alone in a restaurant.....will read the back of our credit cards for something to do. We all read and memorized cereal boxes while growing up....and don't start with me with Longfellow, Tennyson, Shakespeare, Robert Frost, etc....

We are all library fans....so we have been working for the Carmel Library Foundation for 30 years. We do their yearly Donor Salute. A couple of hundred local dears....some nice apps in the afternoon. Thank you all for supporting literacy....in a town founded at least in legend by writers and artists.

My friend Wei Chang...who photographs the event for free...has a nice shot of me during the presentations a few years back....in the stacks, reading an obscure Aldous Huxley tome....

Meanwhile, we continue to work under our original early 80's budget.....$400 for hors d'ouevres and service, glassware, sodas and ice for 200pp. And we work in the basement of the library, on three folding tables and some desks, with one cold water outlet. I dragoon my fifteen-year old apprentices and their friends to help, and try to get Carmel High to write off their labor as community service.

Some of my old apprentices now have kids.....who work the Library party.

I love the Library party....even though I am spending a ton of money....because it is the one time I can see all the great grandes dames of Carmel in one spot: Jean Draper, Susan Draper, Lacey Faia, etc.

Here is the menu we normally serve....with a staff of 10-12, for our $400....including platters, spoons, sodas, ice, glassware, tables, etc.

Quesadillas: spicy, not spicy, vegetarian, chicken
Bruschetti: asiago/scallion, crema porcini, thai chicken, mole chicken, etc.
Paninnetti: baby paninni with herbs and breakfast radishes
Mushroom caps with walnut/parseley duxelles and chevre
Baby roast potatoes with chevre, with hummus and asiago, with chipotle and cheddar
Endive with: Stilton and walnuts; mango and mascarpone; roast pumpkin and candied walnuts
Roast baby beets with coconut chevre dressing
Pear, parsnip shoestrings, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, blue cheese foam and tarragon infused honey
Roast savory tofu wrapped in sorrel
Orange, jicama and toasted cumin
Caprese of organic tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella and EVOO

Shot glasses of hot Valrhona chocolate with passilla chile and chili whipped cream

Spoons:
Winter salad of parsnips, fennel, shiitakes and pears
Dungeness crab cakes with rosemary aioli and basil oil
Local fish ceviche
Maple cured Heluka porkbelly with polenta and tomatillo relish
Beluga lentils ceviche
Big Sur chanterelles with polenta and Meyer lemon/parseley dressing

Corralitos Market sausages with our sauerkraut
Salpicon of beef brisket with mole
Sesame chicken wrapped in sorrel
Prociutto and Rocky Sweet melon

Carmel Valley oak smoked wild Alaska salmon
Fresh Monterey sardine bocadillos with mojito aioli

Not bad for two bucks.

Every couple of years there is a new board, and a new hired director. Whatever, nothing changes for us. We do a nice party for folks in Carmel who love the written word.

This year was different. I started getting emails from the new director about having a meeting about the event.

We don't need to meet. We put out as much food as we possibly can of the best quality while working from folding tables on one 16amp circuit in the basement of a library. We bring tables, linen, glasses, sodas, ice, corkscrews. What meeting? What the fuck for? It has been 30 years....what do we need to know?

"No...we need to meet."

On this day here...which turns out to be my first day off in five months. Sure, I will take the dogs to the beach, meet with you.....fine. If you insist. A two hour round trip drive on my part....on my first day off in months.....

Fine. Did I mention the storm, and the lack of power at our place, and the whole running generators thing to keep us in business?


I load the dogs in the car, drive to town. Go to Library. Wrong place. Go to other Carmel Library. Wrong entrance...whaddarya, stupid?

Sorry.

"Oh, I'm sorry.....I guess I forgot to tell you....the meeting was cancelled. One of our Board Members was a little under the weather. I hope we didn't inconvenience you....."

Nielsen's: Swedish fish against plunging blood sugar....and Diet Coke against plunging self worth. The dogs have been barking madly for an hour because they can smell the see. Every Carmel woman over the age of 40 is looking at me like I kidnapped Elizabeth Smart.

We go to the Beach...except there is no beach.


It is a cold day, I bite into a Swedish Fish.....and my bicuspid #6 shatters. Well, it had actually broken the Friday before....but the ultimate insult that I discover two weeks later after ten days of veterinary anti-biotics is that a piece of Swedish Fish is blocking the abcess from draining.....so the abcess is now attacking the nerves in my face.

As are my dogs.....who cannot believe or understand that the Beach is closed.....

Awesome.

No....two weeks later I am dragged to town.....and grilled by the new board of the Library Foundation for an hour.....with the dogs in the car, who now know that there is no fucking beach.....

What are you serving? Why aren't there more gluten free appetizers? We need to approve your list of appetizers. There is way too much cheese and bread.......Send us a list that we can approve it before the event....

Before you let me spend $3500 on a party I bill you for $400 for? We are serving 20 different apps to 200 people for $400.....and I have to kiss their ass?
I am a fucking Nigger....Carmel-style.....

Here is my response...

We have been a part of the Donor Salute for more than 20 years....note
the noun "part", as in participant, part of the whole. Not only that,
we have felt like an honored part, as if our services had value and
contributed to the greater well-being of the Library as a whole.

You make us feel like some outside agent who is being grudgingly allowed
on the property. I am curious if the board meets to consult on the
font or color of ink on the odd $3500 donation check before accepting
it, or if you are just rude and insulting to suppliers.....those of us
little people who work with our hands.

After reflecting upon our meeting, it is clear to me that some portion
of the board is not happy with our work, and more than likely has
another caterer in mind, or have ideas about catering that do not
match ours. In Ireland we have a saying "Why have a dog, and bark
yourself?" Please feel free to pursue other vendors who might be more
pleasing to the consensus of your board.

Woof.

Michael

12 Comments:

Blogger 皮東 said...

看到你的好文章真是開心 加油囉.......................................

2:36 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

Sometimes a board realizes too late that it made the wrong choice for director. Things have a way of finding level.

This is what happens when people have too much time on their hands. They should be out working in the fields. Then that whole director, need to be in control thing wouldn't be happening.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Sequoiagrapeboy said...

Fuck them.

If you provide the same level of amazingly, generous, inspired and economically suicidal tendencies for the Carmel Valley Library (you probably already do) -- I will make sure that no dick-head, paid Directors even get close to you. Oh yeah, no meetings either.

Plus, your commute time would be half.

No beach though for pups... River?!

XXOO -- Sparkle-Nuts

10:21 AM  
Blogger Peninsula Music said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Peninsula Music said...

What a crock of sick, hateful, spiteful bullshit.

It is utterly absurd to claim that the Carmel Bach Festival ever charged anyone $1,000 to get a "mention" in the program book.

We have ALWAYS had a full page of mentions of people and companies who donated in-kind service.

I asume you wanted a display ad. I WORK for the Festival and I have to pay for a display ad in the program (by the way it is a program book, not a catalog).

I, for one, will make sure all music lovers in the Monterey Bay Area read today's blog.

And by the way, you can return the priceless "Mrs. Beetons" book I gave you in gratitude for all those dinners at Virginia's.

You are a very sick boy.Please take your meds.

David Gordon
23-year staff member
Carmel Bach Festival

11:26 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

wow, just wow.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Peninsula Music said...

"Expletives deleted"?? Ha Ha.

But now you add a line about how Nana treated you "like shit on her shoe"?

What a coward.

In your (now edited) post, you write: "Mentioning business donors in the catalog lowered the social level of the endeavor."

More bullshit from you.

I picked a random Bach Festival program book off the shelf: 1994, during the period you are writing about. On page 92 is a list of "Business Supporters" And there on the list is A Moveable Feast. That's you.

Shall I go on?

Your Feb 10 posting remains filthy and crude. This is your idea of writing?

Get a grip.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Sequoiagrapeboy said...

I guess Peninsula Music doesn't understand the meaning of a blog?

And... a little less understanding about Mike...

Rich Tanguay
45 year old inhabitant of Earth

4:48 PM  
Blogger Roy Jordan said...

"Cool Hand Luke"
A Moveable Feast)
Versus
"The Captain"
Carmel Class System).

"What We Have Here Is, FAILURE To Communicate". (The Captain)

Just Like Paul Newman's "Luke" Refusing To Submit To Strother Martin's "Captain".

5:52 PM  
Blogger Bachtenor said...

It says a great deal about you, Roy Jordan, that you assume I can have no validity because I am Captain of The Carmel Class System.

Does it hurt when your knee jerks like that?

You do not know me and you do not have the slightest idea who I am.

I am quite certainly not the sort of person you think I am, but by putting a convenient label on me you can condemn me, without acknowledging that a friend of yours descibed a respiected member of the Carmel Valley community as "a frigid, rancid whore...who I hope died in excruciating pain"

By the way Sequoiagrapeboy, I do know what a blog is. Duh.

When all else is said and done, Mikey is a pathetic whiner. Bitching about stuff that happened years ago is bad enough. Pissing on dead people is repugnant.

Fuck you. I'm outta here.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Roy Jordan said...

@ Bachtenor:

Angry Old Man Syndrome?

Life's Too Short To Sweat The Small Stuff.

http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/bobby-mcferrin-don-t-worry-be-happy/1E2CEB08CFDBE52B3B3D1E2CEB08CFDBE52B3B3D

1:08 PM  
Blogger RawkClmbr said...

Egomaniac? Just like Jesus? Works for free? Cuts people down with the most vicious words available.
Amanda is a hot one Man. Am just waiting for her to get tired of all your self appreciation.
Looks like a lot of old ladies follow your blog. Do I smell formaldehyde?

11:47 AM  

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