Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Groundhog Day

This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address fall on the same day.

As Air America Radio pointed out, "It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication.

The other involves a groundhog."

I am adding a link: Vichy Democrats. It is dedicated to outing and removing the ''Bush Lite'' Democrats who continue to support the war, tax cuts, CAFTA, etc. It is a useful, informative site with easy links to reward/punish the various politicians in our landscape.

It is run by a lawyer from Eugene, blog named ''Thersites''. The quote from his profile:

"The armies took their seats, marshaled into ranks. But one man, Thersites, still railed on, nonstop, teeming with rant, insubordinate, baiting the kings. Here was the ugliest man who ever came to Troy... Now he went for majestic Agamemnon, spewing his abuse: 'What are you panting after now? Your shelter’s packed with the lion’s share of bronze, plenty of women too, crowding your lodges. Best of the lot, the beauties we hand you first, whenever we take some stronghold. Or still more gold you’re wanting? How shameful for you to lead the sons of Achaea into bloody slaughter! Home we go in our ships! Abandon him here in Troy to wallow in all his prizes – he’ll see if the likes of us have propped him up or not.''

Monday, January 30, 2006


I just got an email from Jerry Brown. Current Mayor of Oakland, former Governor, perenniel Presidential candidate......and now candidate for Attorney General of California.

Jerry was high tech before there was high tech, and was an early casualty of primitive Swift Boat style smearing by his political opponents......both Democrats and Republicans. He dated Linda Ronstadt (I remember when she was asked what kind of music he liked, she said that he really seemed comfortable in elevators......). He drove a Dodge Dart, and avoided the Governor's Mansion. He went to Tassajara and meditated......Governor Moonbeam.

I hope I haven't told this story before......We were briefly the IN-caterer in San Francisco. We worked for Joe Alioto, the son of the ex-Mayor, and his wife Michelle at their amazing mansion in Pacific Heights. The bill for one party resulted in the first bounced check in the history of the Alioto family, who were friends of the founder of Bank of America.

Anyway, in the midst of our run, they threw a fund-raiser for Jerry Brown who was running against Pete Wilson for the Senate. There were a series of televised debates, and we catered the post-debate bash on Pacific Heights. The mansion was gorgeous.....a pink granite kitchen with a breakfast nook overlooking the Marina and Golden Gate; a full ballroom, mahogany panelled public rooms including a big library with its own bar big enough for a restaurant.

Working for the Ailioto's was a trip. Michelle was gorgeous and totally supportive.....she never questioned anything we did: the perfect client. Joe's guests were another story. This was right around the Godfather era, and the place was always full of olive-skinned young men with expensive haircuts and serious suits and shoes, talking out the side of their mouths.....Al Pacino-style.

We booked local college kids to cut down on the schlepp from Carmel Valley to the City, and Joe liked that we usually had serious babes on the crew. Our chefs were our own, and the level of sarcasm was high, as usual with us. I had to keep shushing my partner Peter, who insisted on whistling The Godfather theme all during the parties. And also typical of us, we forgot things and invented new things, and pulled dishes out of our butts half the time. At one memorable event, Peter turned cashews to dust, breaded oysters with the dust, and broiled them with cream and some prociutto and asiago. They were a hit, and one of the babes asked him: "What do you call this.....everyone wants to know!!" Peter responded, "Oysters Corleone." We giggled, and then I thought, "Oh, no......" and rushed out after the babe. Sure enough, she was just informing Mr. Alioto and a group of friends: "They are Oysters Corleone, sir....." I was aghast. They all nodded knowingly, and said, "Oh, yeah......I've had that."

Anyway, night of the big debate with Jerry Brown, I was extra stressed because Joe Alioto, Senior was coming over with his wife.....the big man himself. We had not seen him before: there was some stress in the family. Maybe because Michelle was a gorgeous blond, not the least bit Italian? Maybe because Joe, Jr. had lost a hundred million dollar malpractice claim for the family firm? Regardless, it was a super state occasion and I was extra-paranoid. I was behind the bar in the library, making sure all the glasses were extra polished. I had just bent down to check another case when the door flew open and two men rushed in. The CHP dignitary protection team swept the room quickly and left, but missed me in the back of the bar. I didn't think much of it, and continued quietly doing my work.

The two men turned out to be Jerry Brown and his closest friend and aid, Jacques Barzaghi. Jerry and Jacques proceeded to have an extremely personal and intimate conversation in the library. It was like listening to a therapy session. I was trapped in the bar, and it was clear they had no idea I was there. It was like another time, when I was using the master bathroom at a wedding in a big house, and the new bride came in with the best man and had wild monkey sex in the big bed. I hid in the linen closet, and prayed to St. Oliver Plunkett for continued concealment........At the Alitoto's I called on Blessed Ollie again....only this time I was afraid I would be arrested, or shot.

I was trapped for about 45 minutes, while Jerry Brown poured his heart out to his aide and confidant. I heard every word. In the entire conversation, he did not utter one cynical syllable. His only concern was whether or not he was getting his message across, whether people could see his vision, and whether his ideas would be good enough......not just to win the election, but to improve the lot of Californians.

I have known a ton of politicians.....decent, motivated people most of them. Even so, none of them have that purity of intent and action that I witnessed at Alioto's. I have no idea why in the world Jerry wants to be Attorney General......I wish he could be president. Anyhow....check him out. www.brownforattorneygeneral.com

Oh, and I didn't get shot......I started rattling glasses, and they brought their conversation to a close. Jerry Brown looked at me back in the bar. "Did you hear all that?" "Uh....yup." "What did you think?"


Thursday, January 26, 2006

1984, redux.....

I just checked......“1984” is in the bar again……the year, that is. After all, it is 22 years old…..and boy is it depressed. It needs a drink…..”1984” was supposed to be literary hyperbole……not mundane reality.

Case in point: Tuesday, Big Daddy Bush was in Kansas for a Q&A with the typical pre-screened audience at the University. One of the questioners: “I am with the Kansas Beef Production Board and I just want to thank you for all you have done to reopen our markets with Japan…..” Was that a question?

Here is what Big Daddy did for beef producers in Kansas. They stripped the meat inspection budget. They refused to federally outlaw feeding of cow protein back to cows in feedlots…..the major source of BSE (mad cow) infection. When BSE inevitably showed up in our meat supply, Japan closed its borders until each and every steer is inspected for BSE.

One of our suppliers, Creekstone Farms (in Kansas, ironically) is just up the street from a branch of Kansas State University. These silly cowboys put together a program to test each of their steers for BSE using the ag students from the university branch. Corporate-educational partnership; funds for the ag lab, good stuff! Creekstone also range feeds their beef, and does not use anti-biotics, etc which our Pacific Rim buddies like, too. So, Creekstone Beef would be eligible to ship to Japan, and charge lots. Great!!

Not so fast.......Big Daddy had the Department of Agriculture sue Creekstone to cease and desist testing each animal. Why? Because they wanted a united front in their hardball negotiations with Japan, and Creekstone was blowing the deal. The incremental cost to industry for testing each steer? Three cents a pound…..

This sounds cheap, compared to the $11 we pay for each pound of filet, but…….The US produces 27 billion pounds of beef….which means that testing would cost the industry some $800 million dollars a year. We export ten percent of our production, so testing each exported steer would cost around $80 million. Even though they could mark up the beef, the nation would save the health care costs of caring for sick people, and exports would rise therefore paying down the trade deficit. Nope. $80 million is $80 million Ummmm. Anyone want to bet who the Cattlemen’s Beef Association backed in the election? Or how much they donated? A couple of paltry million. These scumbags sell out cheap.

In short, ma'am: Big Daddy did NOTHING to help open the Japanese market to Kansas beef. He fucked it up at every turn by being a corrupt, incompetent, short sighted, penny-wise-pound foolish douche bag. He cost Creekstone alone the lousy $2 million you slipped into the black bag....and the rest of you idiots the profits of ten percent times a huge markup times four years times all the beef you can grow. Christ........

More “1984”…….Big Daddy George (Bush, that is…..not Orwell) can listen in on you at any time with or without probable cause, and copy all your emails. He can send his boys by and B&E your crib to sweep your hard drive when you are out. If you are deemed politically unreliable, he can and will send the boys by in pairs (one FBI, one Homeland Security) to your clients to “investigate” you. In the course of the investigation, the clients will be told that the investigation is classified, and telling anyone about it is a felony. And by the way, the subject of the classified investigation (you) is being investigated as a potential threat to the security of the United States, as are all his contacts....business and personal. This is really good for business, because people really like being threatened with felonies by the FBI just because they hired you to do a job.

Oh, and your children will lose their security clearances and be fired from their jobs. And the only way you will hear about any of this is because one of your clients is Canadian and doesn’t give a shit about Homeland Security or the FBI. Did I mention that you are a war hero (Vietnam), and that the proof of your political unreliability is that you take pictures for CodePink? And one of Rumsfeld.

Big Daddy also wants to know all about your internet searches. They want to see your “Search Prairie”. That sounds pretty damn American to me, to quote Iris Dement…….Search Prairie. I picture the covered wagons, the buffalo, the purple mountains majesty, the fruited plains....wait, that is Brokeback Mountain…..

Uh oh. Here comes the cavalry. Oh, crap! It is F-Troop, come to save us from the Injuns. And the blue uniforms are all drunk, falling off their horses. Is that the reason there is no outcry at all these illegal, impeachable offenses…..that these guys are such fuckups?

Let me save F-Troop the trouble of checking my own Google Search Prairie this week (we don’t use Yahoo: too many drunken guys in blue, giving up the keys to the fort without a whimper).

A is for Al Gore and Andy Wylegala; B is for Barbara Boxer, beef production, bergamot; C is for Current TV, Carmel Pine Cone, currency exchange, Creekstone; D is for ‘dead hummingbirds bad omen’, David Lauriski and Davitt McAteer, Diane Feinstein and Dovre Club………

Obviously politically unreliable…..I hope SOMEONE protests when they take me away………

“All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, is sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.” D.H. Lawrence.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dead Ethics, Part II

Truth in Blogging.....it is not just the Republicans that are ethically challenged.

Last Friday, my Buddy had a bachelor party at Stokes Adobe in Monterey. Fifty bucks a head, bring a bottle of wine. Buddy is a serious wine guy, so I agonized over the choice. I have been at Buddy's house and witnessed the death of countless first growth Bordeaux, infinite Williams-Selyem.....all washed down with decent French champagne. What to do? 750 of '78 Pichon Longueville.....or magnum of Silver Oak '79 Alexander Valley? Killer Bordeaux, but smaller bottle.....vs. Statement Wine, and in magnum for the 20 or so invitees? I went with the magnum.

To make matters ethically worse, it was same time, same day as Stephanie Miller's fundraising appearance for the local Democrats. I had shamed them into charging actual money to see her, and now I was going to be a no-show. But, how often do I get invited to parties, as opposed to working them? Never. So......I hired stand-ins for the Democrats. Wrong move as it turns out.

Upon arrival at Stokes......I found the parking lot packed. I cut through the kitchen.....Chef Brandon looked bitter: "Are you part of this shit?" "Uh, yeah?" Turns out the Brotherhood of the Geeks of the Grape were also having a prix-fixe dinner there that night, and were out in force.

The Geeks of the Grape are an upwardly mobile wine tasting group. No, truth in blogging.....they are already up. There is no more mobile. I was a member back in the day, because......I forget. While my working class friends in the Burgundy Club were kiting checks to buy killer burgundies and get neurotic over high-altitude oak vs. low altitude oak, and unrestrained malolactic fermentation, the Geeks would get rapturous about jug wines....and what was new at Trader Joe's for under $8.

When I discovered that 75% of my yearly dues to the Geeks went to a magazine that mostly showed pictures of Lead Geek Norman Gates in black tie groping the wives of Fellow Geeks (there were no Sister Geeks).....I stopped paying. My attorney and dear friend, Terry McCleery, became the local chapter president and persuaded me to eventually send in a check to stay on the mailing list. I put on the memo line of the check: ''Norman Gates is a Geek!" and forgot about it.

I received a letter by return mail, certified. Turns out that Norman Gates runs the Brother hood of the Geeks of the Grape as a private scam......and cashes all the checks himself. My letter started out:

"Dear Mr. Jones:

As you obviously have no understanding of the meaning of the word ''Brotherhood'', you are hereby expelled from the Brotherhood of the Geeks of the Grape............."

Oh, hurt me......I framed it. Terry offered to sue the bastard......"Good Attorney! Down, Boy!"

Anyway, back to Friday. I fought my way through the Geek crowd lining up for sticky nametags and ordered champagne. My crew eventually arrived, and we were shown upstairs, each of us clutching a bottle. I cast my eyes about: Goats Do Roam....everywhere. Oh, fuck. And me with my Silver Oak. And for this I am missing Stephanie Miller?

Annette the Restaurant Goddess leaped to my aid. I slipped her my magnum (the bottle, the bottle....filthy mind!), and whispered ''Bury it!'' (the bottle........When my Buddy stopped dating Annette we thought he was probably gay.....she is beautiful, whip-smart, capable, calm.....the full package). Stokes had been told that the party might bring ''a bottle or two'' so they had waived the normal corkage fee. Instead, each guest brought a bottle or two. No income for the house, no tips for the waitress, tons of dirty glasses for the crew for nothing, and the deal the chef gave them on the food assumed at least some income from some beverage to cover the rent. Great.

I tried to drag us back to the ethical side of the line by ordering a few bottles of champagne. No one was interested.....one guest even said, "Why pay their prices? Here, have a glass of Goats Do Roam!" I ran downstairs, grabbed a pint glass and went around gently collecting tips for the poor girl attendant. It was then that I spotted a bottle of Stoly in a brown bag. Kirk the owner was standing by, just shaking his head. The party had gone from uncool to illegal, with Kirk's license on the line.

I felt I had to bail out, so I left in silent protest. A couple of days later, I returned for lunch and to pay for the champagne. Annette refused to let me pay......and she pulled out my Silver Oak magnum from its hiding place, safe and sound.

Yesterday I went back for lunch. I brought Annette the '78 Pichon Longueville. Fair is fair......remember when that was the rule?

PushoMan Posted by Picasa

Ethics is dead.....

I am thinking that we have gone through The Looking Glass…..that all this despicable Abramoff shite, and the crazy illegal war, and the crazy illegal wiretapping and illegal searches are not the problem. They are just symptoms of a much greater problem. In the same way that mushrooms are just the fruit of a huge underground mycelium that extends all through the woods.

Remember PushoMan? The guy that arrived drunk two hours early for a cocktail party....before even the host and hostess arrived.... hung around anyway, still drinking…..and then after the power failed, shoved Gilda out of the way in the candlelit kitchen to get at uncooked hors d’oeuvres? We tried to get the CHP to pick him up, but no such luck. Rats.

And.......He’s baaaaack!!

It turns out this creep is everywhere. He drives all the way out to The Store to buy our Morgan Winery Syrah, because it is only $15. And he showed up on Monday Night with perfectly nice people: the local Bocce Ball Club. It was a big group…a twenty-top. PushoMan (aka Jon Northerland) bought all the wine. Of course he came back into the kitchen to bitch me out because I raised the Syrah to $16. In a restaurant.

Anyway…..the big table drank a ton of wine…some twenty bottles. At our pathetically reduced prices this only came to $220 bucks…..probably 60 glasses on the table for the girls to buss, wash, polish, stock. And serving the twenty bottles, of course. The result? You guessed it: Straight Stiff. No tip whatsoever.

We were even warned…the restaurant title that night:

Bocce Balls Roadhouse
‘Our food and wine are cheap…..but not our staff! Tip like you mean it!’
So much for subtlety.

PushoMan also has a Mercury Navigator registered in Oregon….no sales tax, you see…so he is not even helping pay for the California Highway Patrol salaries we hope will one day get his ass off the roads….or either for the maintenance of the California roads themselves, come to think of it. Like Abramoff, Duke Cunningham, David Lauriski and Bush himself…there is a clear sense of entitlement here. He is rich, therefore God loves him, therefore God lets him make his own rules. What does he need mores, ethics, societal norms for? Like his buddies…..he was born on third base, and the dipshit thinks he hit a triple.

Anyway, he works at Sotheby's International as a realtor in Carmel Valley, so if you want to buy a house from a complete scumbag..... give him them a call.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Some boring shite about mines.......

A brief note to fans of small government, Bush-style. New Orleans was no fluke.

Bill Clinton’s director of mine safety was a guy named J. Davitt McAteer. The director of mine safety heads the Mine Safety and Health Administration and is an Assistant Secretary of Labor.
UVW Alumni News:

McAteer's involvement with mine safety and health issues began in law school, when he developed and directed a study of the West Virginia coal industry. The findings of this study, published as Coal Mine Health and Safety: The Case of West Virginia, led directly to the nation's first comprehensive general coal mine health and safety act in 1969 and indirectly to the election of reform candidates to lead the United Mine Workers of America in 1972.

Following law school, McAteer developed the mine safety program for Ralph Nader's Center for the Study of Responsive Law and worked to improve conditions in U.S. mines and monitor the enforcement of federal law.
When a reform movement won control of the United Mine Workers of America in 1972, he became solicitor of safety for the union where he helped revitalize the union's safety and health program and improved the training of rank-and-file safety inspectors.

McAteer joined the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C., in 1976 and was instrumental in developing a broadened mine health and safety law and a new federal strip mining control law.
In 1984, he founded the Occupational Safety and Health Law Center (OSHLC), a public interest law firm based in Shepherdstown that engages in education, training and policy analysis of issues involving workplace safety and health.

He has authored numerous articles and publications. More than 25,000 copies of his comprehensive legal and practical guide for rank-and-file miners, Miner's Manual: A Complete Guide to Health and Safety Protection on the Job, have been sold and distributed. He has also published similar manuals for the textile and chemical industries. In addition, he produced and directed an award-winning video, Monongah 1907, chronicling the history of mine safety and health in the United States.

McAteer has been a visiting lecturer at the West Virginia University College of Law and at the University of Hawaii. He has also served on a number of advisory boards and research bodies, including the Secretary of the Interior's Advisory Committee on Coal Mine Safety Research, the National Science Foundation's study of coal refuse banks and the National Council for the Public Assessment of Technology.

Impressive, huh? Bush fired him the day he took office. He then installed David Lauriski, former president of a mining company from Utah.

Under Lauriski budgets for mine inspections and enforcement were gutted. His chief contribution was to change the name of ‘’Mine Inspector’’ to “Compliance Assistance Specialist.” Referrals from “Specialists” about safety violations in mines dropped 70% from the Clinton years….possibly because Lauriski ditched 70% of the regulations and improvements brought in by McAteer.

Even at this reduced level of citations, you should know that citations are like speeding tickets: a major safety violation typically gets a $60 fine…as much as $400 for something really bad….in a billion dollar industry.

The Bushies consistently have shitcanned a bill that would increase these fines, six years in a row. Last week, after the deaths, they brought it out of legislative limbo, and tried to pretend it was their idea all along! They actually used the fact that the fine levels were created in the Carter Administration to blame Democrats for the disasters! The Mine Safety and Health Administration wasn't even created until Jimmy C, in 1978.

Anyway, in November 2004 Mr. Lauriski left his job after a Labor Department report found that while he was in charge, the agency had awarded questionable contracts to companies with ties to him or his associates. His term in office was also marked by disputes over an investigation into a major environmental disaster, as well as his attempts to change dust regulations in a way that would have directly benefited his former employer. Oh, and his new employer? A mining company. But you knew that.

My favorite discovery was a letter from the Society of Safety Engineers, pleading with Lauriski to work with them to lower the death rate in the mines…..directly after the famous Quecreek accident in Pennsylvania in 2002. Lauriski ignored them.

Since Lauriski, the agency has been run by an acting administrator, David G. Dye….. a political hack from Alaska with no absolutely background in mine safety, or even mines. He can, of course, always ask advice from his deputies, all of whom have also come directly from the industry over the past five years.

Final word: Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia just appointed Davitt McAteer to head up an investigation of the two recent fatal accidents and to advise on new state regulations for health and safety in the mining industry.....in the face of the total failure of the federal government.

SurveyUSA just ranked Manchin as the most popular governor in the country, with an 80% approval rating.

Oh……Joe is a Democrat. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

DiFi: The Turd in the Puncbowl

My Senator is Dianne Feinstein: she is the Fat Turd, floating in the punch bowl. I see all my fellow Progressives chatting away at the Fabulous Democratic Party, little fingers lifted, pretending that everything is fine……dipping the crystal ladle into the punch….taking care not to disturb the obvious Fat Turd floating there, or get any in their cup.

It is all fine, really. This is how it is supposed to be.


Gutless, soul-less caricature of a washed up, glad-handing toad…...She makes Ted Kennedy seem like Brad Pitt. I almost prefer a more directly corrupt Republican. At least you know their price….and at least that price involves food and golf.

DiFi is only woman on the Judiciary Committee…and she is selling out any chance of a filibuster against Alito….in advance of any possible negotiation…and blowing the last best chance American women have of maintaining control of their own bodies in this generation.

“This is the way the World ends…….

Not with a bang, but a Whimper……”

And The Hag was in the audience as the only Democrat left still with a surviving sense of outrage commemorated MLK Day with the best speech since Martin walked the Earth……If you missed it….Al Gore knocked it out of the park on Monday and said everything that needs to be said. He called Our President a lying, corrupt, criminal cocksucker while standing in the Daughters of the American Revolution convention center. Well, maybe he left out the cocksucker part........

All the cutaways to DiFi during the speech showed her shimmering with envy…..a Hag plotting revenge on Al for his eloquence…..clearly fearing his shadow. God forbid she should celebrate his skill and success…..much less his passion. She hasn't shown passion since Monckton barfed on her shoes in Paddy's Day Parade.

Al is good....therefore, Al must be shunned.

In the restaurant business, the very best place to open up your new restaurant is across the street from the other guy’s wildly successful joint. We love to share in our buddy’s success…..and then try to steal his décor, his recipes, all his chefs, hot waitresses and clientele later.

With the mainstream Democrats I just see conniving, backstabbing old whores. Instead of opening across the street from the new hot place and try to compete for his new clientele, they call the Planning Commission about his signage….. and rat him out to the Health Department because he doesn’t have a mop sink.

Lord help us.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Budding terrorists at the Dovre Club Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

So you want to be a caterer:....

The Joys of Entrepreneurship:

“I always wanted to have a catering business. I love parties. And I have a really excellent recipe for crème brulée…..”

Boxing Day, December 26 (A Legal Holiday): The roof exhaust fan fails. Monday Night Dinner looms…..65 reservations, massive prep, devastating heat, volumes of CO2 and CO to vent.....or die. So, up on the roof in the pouring rain. Dismantle fan assembly. Mount forty pound replacement motor. Smash fingers. Flat-at-a-time nuts and bolts. Attach wiring. Wrong. Dismount motor. Repeat for two hours. Success!! Ahh, the joys of craftsmanship!!

New Year’s Day, January 2 (A Legal Holiday): Deluging rains again. 65 reservations for Monday again (the day after Christmas and the day after New Year’s Day are supposed to be the two slowest days of the year in RestaurantLand…..we only have 59 CHAIRS, and there are no turnovers…..People bring their own CHAIRS, for chrissakes…….) The roof springs leaks everywhere….most worryingly down the back of the wall with the PG&E meters, but also in the dining room, the bar, etc. So:

Back to the roof. Rake hundreds of pounds of sopping leaves dumped by the storm off the roof. Clear the gutters. Struggle like a deckhand on the Pequod against billowing sheets of plastic and staple the fuckers down at least over the VIP tables……In Cachagua, you know you are a VIP if your table doesn’t have a bucket on it, and if Gilda doesn’t hand out rain hats……A whole new aspect to the term “Dry Martini”…….

Oh......because of the storm, twenty five no-shows.......

“I always wanted to have a catering business. I really like parties. And I think I have a gift for food. You should taste my lavosh!!”

Twelfth Night, January 6 (Not even close to a Legal Holiday): Entering Whole Foods (White Hypochodriacal Overfed Lascivious Egocentric Fucking Overbearing Overpriced Depressing Shite....) to pick up bread for our 28th straight Twelfth Night Party for Mary Green. If she dies, we are coming anyway…but so are the guests. Twelfth Night is more dependable than the whole swallow-Capistrano thing.

I spot Molly The MILF. (Do I have to translate MILF? Molly is drop-dead gorgeous, and probably over 50….she has a daughter actress who has been in Maxim…..Chain Saw Massacre…the new one). Her batshit crazy husband, Dick, is irate with us for accidentally swiping his red Coleman cooler. We brought him a brand new red Igloo cooler, but no. We brought him a newish BLUE Coleman cooler…..No. We don’t have, nor do any of our friends or clients have, a red fucking Coleman cooler. What is the cooler for? Human fucking livers? He logged EIGHT phone calls in one day about the red cooler. Maybe there is microfilm, or drugs, hidden in the thing? Dick owes us four grand or so…..but he wants his red cooler first. . Of course, in the middle of the winter, no one is selling coolers, red or otherwise. Not even on EBay. Not even COLEMAN…….

So, when my cellphone rings, I have to hide from Molly the MILF behind the squash pile in front of White Hypochondriacal, etc. How humiliating is this? And THEY owe ME money?

It gets weirder: I am also hiding from Molly The MILF for other reasons. At the party before the last party, after one particular female guest arrived, Molly turned to me and said, “Follow Dick and that woman…..” Sure enough, Dick took the baggie old hag down to the garage (where we were set up) to show off his Indian….motorcycle that is. As the baggie old hag climbed suggestively on behind Dick, she stage whispered: “Dick….Buck me, don’t fuck me!” Yeesh.

So I can’t face Molly….because I am so weirded out by Dick……..But wait, there’s more!!

At their next party, two days after Buck Me Don’t Fuck Me: Dick gives me a meaningful look (after rejecting the red Igloo…..). “Michael, may I have a word with you? Man to man?” Oh, shit. The guy is going to probably grab my dick…….

No. Instead, Dick says: “Mike, I have this buddy. He is married, of course….but he wants a little on the side. Do you know any hookers? Call my pager……..”

Sweet Sleeping Jesus on His Holy Mountain! Here is a win-win situation for you: find a hooker; turn her on to your client’s batshit crazy husband. No problems there! Of course, if we don’t, he'll talk shit about us…..or if I rat him out to Molly……either way, I lose the client forever.

Where in business school do they teach this one? Oh, right. I forgot. I didn’t go to REPUBLICAN business school. They probably cover that on the first day there.

Maybe I should write Tom Delay for advice………

Panini beats MacDini

From The Times:

The baker who beat McDonald's

AFTER a five-year battle, the fast-food giant McDonald’s has retreated from a southern Italian town, defeated by the sheer wholesomeness of a local baker’s bread.
The closure of McDonald’s in Altamura, Apulia, was hailed yesterday as a victory for European cuisine against globalised fast food.
Luigi Digesù, the baker, said that he had not set out to force McDonald’s to close down in any “bellicose spirit”. He had merely offered the 65,000 residents tasty filled panini — bread rolls — which they overwhelmingly preferred to hamburgers and chicken nuggets. “It is a question of free choice,” Signor Digesù said.
His speciality fillings include mortadella, mozzarella and eggs or scamorza cheese, eggs, basil and tomato, as well as fèdda, a local version of bruschetta — toasted bread drizzled with olive oil and salt and covered in chopped tomatoes.
McDonald’s opened in a piazza in the centre of Altamura, 45km (30 miles) south of Bari, in 2001, infuriating devotees of traditional Apulia gastronomy such as Peppino Colamonico, a doctor, and Onofrio Pepe, a journalist. They campaigned against McDonald’s as the Friends of Cardoncello, named after a southern Italian mushroom.
Altamura, founded in the 5th century BC and rebuilt in the Middle Ages by Frederick II, is famed for its fragrant, golden bread — and for Signor Digesù’s victorious panini.
“There was no marketing strategy, no advertising promotion, no discounts,” Il Giornale commented. “It was just that people decided the baker’s products were better. David has beaten Goliath.”
The queues outside the bakery grew longer while McDonald’s gradually emptied, despite the best efforts of Ronald McDonald, the mascot clown, changes of management, children’s parties and special offers.
In July 2003 Altamura bread was recognised by the European Union as a protected regional product after lobbying by Enzo Lavarra, Euro MP for the Bari area, Rachele Popolizio, the Mayor of Altamura, and Giuseppe Barile, head of the local bakers’ association.
Signor Pepe said that he regretted the loss of 20 jobs at McDonald’s, but “tradition has won”. The campaign was supported by the Slow Food Foundation, founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini, an Italian journalist incensed by the opening of a McDonald’s on the Piazza di Spagna near the Spanish Steps in Rome. It has 82,000 members in 107 countries.
Despite a series of closures around the world and active opposition, McDonald’s increased worldwide sales by 4 per cent last year. Jim Skinner, the chief executive, said that it was “the leading global foodservice retailer”, with more than 30,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, 70 per cent of them “owned and operated by independent local businessmen and women”.
Shirley Foenander, vice-president for marketing and communication, said that McDonald’s had adapted to local cuisines and tastes.
But Signor Digesu’s victory was seen as more than a local setback by some. The French newspaper Libération said it showed that there was a “peaceful alternative” to the militancy of José Bové, the French farmer and anti-globalisation protester, who was given a three-month prison sentence after ransacking a McDonald’s in the town of Millau in 1999.

Altamura bread was the first baking product in Europe to be granted a DOP certificate, and is so far the only Italian bread to qualify for the honour. DOP stands for Denominazione d’Origine Protetta, or denomination of protected origin, the equivalent of DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or denomination of controlled origin), used for wines. DOP products must be specific to a geographic area
The bread is made from locally grown durum wheat flour with yeast, water and marine salt, according to a recipe dating to 1500. The formula is almost certainly older, however, because Horace, the Roman poet, called the bread “the best in the world”
The flour must be ground in mills within the communes of Altamura, Gravina di Puglia, Poggiorsini, Spinazzola and Minervino Murge, all in the province of Bari. The baking process has five stages from the rolling of the dough to baking
It is baked in an open oak wood oven. It is unusually long-lasting and was originally created for shepherds and farmers who worked in the fields and hills of Apulia for days or even weeks at a time
Altamura bread is the basis of several local dishes, including a winter soup called cialda, in which slices of the bread line a pot to which are added water, onions, tomatoes, parsley, basil, potatoes, olive oil, olives, celery and lemons


pred·a·tor ( P ) Pronunciation Key (prd-tr, -tôr)n. An organism that lives by preying on other organisms. One that victimizes, plunders, or destroys, especially for one's own gain. [Latin praedtor, pillager, from praedr, to plunder. See predatory.]

A good, liberal, feminist friend sent me and few dozen other friends a new search website: Find the Sex Offenders near your house (powered by Google):

Reply to All:

Re: Family Watch website.

I tried the website, and it showed no sex offenders near me. This was both ironic and inaccurate......as I employ a registered sex offender who lives two miles down the road. His crime was playing doctor, as near as we can tell. His victim was the person who called me and asked me to hire him. He spent 10 years in prison (he is now 28). He has been basically destroyed by the experience, but what remains is the calmest, sweetest, steadiest guy I know. I would have bet that he had spent ten years at Tassajara in the monastery, not in one of the worst prisons in the country. He has friendly, avuncular relationships with the girls that work for me.....and their parents are among his friends and fans as well.

Every few months some local person runs across his name on the Megan's Law website, and there is a brief and painful flurry of hysteria. The latest in a series of vengeful moms stopped patronizing our store because of his presence a few months ago. Last week, we had to go up to her house to pick up her kids (10 and 12 year old girls) because they were hysterical. Mom had climbed out the window to go have sex with a local methamphetamine dealer and left them alone. My guy made the girls pizzas while we tracked down their Dad at work. Family values.

My sexual offender employee is one of the truly good people I know....I would trust him with my business, my money, my kids, my life......

I am aware of the notion that there is a high rate of recidivism amongst certain kinds of sexual predators. There are sensational and tragic examples in the tabloids and on Fox News. Just be aware that not all those listed as sexual offenders are predators......and in the current climate it is nearly impossible for even the truly repentant, who have paid the full measure asked by society for their crime, and been forgiven by their victims, to live anything like a normal life.


Michael Jones

Then, Gene Shalit calls the gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain ''predatory:"

Today Show at NBC:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I was offended by Gene Shalit's characterization of one of the characters in Brokeback Mountain as a sexual predator.....apparently just because he was pursuing a homosexual relationship.

I am not gay, but was offended all the same. It was like watching a reviewer of a movie characterizing an African American character pursuing a relationship with a white woman as a sexual predator. Or of an aggressive female character as probably lesbian, and probably predatory. Grotesquely offensive. And dated!

Is this the Alabama of fifty years ago? Is this pandering to the Fundamentalist Right? Has NBC gone the way of Fox? Have we not progressed as a nation?

Almost worse than the blatant sexism of Mr. Shalit's comment is the fact that he completely missed the boat in even his artistic criticism of the movie. He missed the plot and character points that drive the film because he was apparently blinded by his own homophobia. What other grotesque prejudices does Mr. Shalit bring to the table? And how ironic is it that his homophobic rant plays the same week as a study showing that homophobes are the population most stimulated by exposure to homosexual images?

In the Today time slot, I much prefer our local (ironically Fox) outlet: Good Day LA in Los Angeles. They bring a frank, humorous, intelligent and even ironic view to matters such as these. Now I know why I like them.....this NEVER would have happened at their station. When deciding on a morning show with my coffee, I certainly doubt I will spend much time with Today henceforth.....and certainly not a second with Mr. Shalit. I will also let your advertisers know my feelings.

Dan Rather got the bounce for technical failing on his part. Gene Shalit's failings are technical, moral and artistic. Gene Shalit should first: apologize; second: resign. Failing that he should at least be suspended, if not fired.

Who needs this? Are you telling us there are no better film critics out there? Oh, crap! They are probably gay!

Michael Jones
Carmel Valley, CA 93924

Finally, Ford Motor Company reaffirms its comfortable relationship with gay and lesbian media, in the face of a boycott by the Christian Right.

Bill Ford
Ford Motor Company

Dear Mr. Ford:

It is with some relief that I read that Ford has apparently not caved in to pressure from the American Family Association to modify Ford's relationship with the gay and lesbian community.

I am a heterosexual business owner with a fleet of cars and trucks. I find the tactics of the American Family Association to be predatory, offensive and un-American. My business would sink in a minute if I did not work hard at being completely inclusionary.....I need all the customers I can get! It is none of my business what they do at home, what color their skins are, or how they feel about Christmas. I just want them to appreciate my hard work enough to send me some business.

We do not need anymore hatred than we already have. We need understanding and patience. Thank you for standing with those of us who seek such things.

I already drive a Jaguar and I love it. My newest van is a Ford.....my first. I promise that your support.....forget support.....your simple refusal to cave in to the politics of hatred will figure extremely importantly in my decision as to which vehicle to purchase next.

Michael Jones
A Moveable Feast
Carmel Valley, CA 93924

Jesus......I am turning into that weird old lady with all the cats: writing letters to people who could give a shit.

Not to mention that, promises to Bill Ford notwithstanding: in Cachagua, FORD stands for "Fuckin' Okies Really Dig 'em"..........