Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Our first really hot day.....

The toilets failed. The exhaust fan failed. The compost pits turned into a Cohen Brothers horror flick. We turned on the swamp coolers and were rewarded by myriad frost-related geysers. We ran out of flour and made buckwheat pizzas.

We have the California Mille Miglia tomorrow.....I spent three hours making pasta di zucca for them....and too fucking hot. Screw it. So they get a blood orange salade with jicama and shaved fennel.....a white bean salad on the the side.

We checked out Harold McGee on citrus. Turns out that the bitter, protective pheynols in lemon zest are water soluble. They also contain all the anti-oxidants...but fuck 'em. The flavorful oils are not water soluble. So we soaked the zests in virgin olive oil and hope for the best.

Always learning......I have been making candied lemon, orange and lime zests for forty years.... No one ever mentioned the difference in solubility of the bitter anti-oxidant pheynols vs. the oils.

So we had Pat Clark's completely cute daughter Maggie strip a case of organic Meyer lemons of their zests.....and read the whole chapter of McGee. We soaked the zests in cold water.......Seriously fucking bitter!! Three washes and soak in oil.......Not bad! Turns out the yellow color we flush is just a reflection of the cold weather that forces a turn from citrus' natural green color in the tropics......Photo synthesis, and all that.

All battles fought, all demons exocised. more. Forty years ago tonight, Richard Farina crashed on a motorcycle during his first novel's release party in The Village. It was his wife Mimi's twenty first birthday party.......they had fought earlier in the young couples do.

They never made up.

The party was in The Thunderbird Bookshop....the former post office....future law office, and now day spa in The Village opposite The Running Iron. Richard was making a run for some smoke.....he crashed at The Bucket. Some random guy was driving, and survived.

Our Joe Ortman was the fireman on call.....and failed to save Richard.....

But who could have?

Joe came in tonight for a beer.......

Richard was the natural progression in the Cornell Literary World: Nabokov to Vonnegut to Pynchon to Farina. Did I mention I got Richard's room at Cornell? Literary Viagra needed or what?

Richard met Mimi when she was 14 and ran off with her to Paris. They made their own dulcimers and guitars and some sweet, wonderful, poetic music.....

They are both gone now......When I heard that Mimi had died of breast cancer....the dj on KPIG told me...... I was driving my truck towards The Village......right next to the tree that Richard crashed into.......The hairs on my neck have not yet stood down.....

Every week, Mimi's sister Pauline comes into our place to eat.....she has her own table. She doesn't sing, or play. We never talk about her family.

Still she is the author of Mimi and Richard's only real hit song: Pack Up Your Sorrows....

"There is no use crying, talking to a stranger, naming the sorrow you've seen.

Too many sad times, too many bad times.....Nobody knows what you mean......

Ahhh.. But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows.....And give them all to me.....

You would lose them.....I know how to lose them.....Give them all to me....

No use rambling..... walking in the shadows.... trailing a wandering star.

No one beside one to guide you....

Nobody knows who you are......

But if somehow........"

It is now 9pm.....there is no one around.

The creek is rushing poetically by.....with a full frog chorus. Balmy air. No mosquitos...blazing sky full of stars.

Right now if anyone from anywhere showed up they could have killer rosé sparkling wine from New Mexico with a raspberry sabayon over the first real strawberries of the season from Esther Vasquez.

Possibly life changing experience...

Well......they didn't show. So, I guess I will have their experience for them......

If only......

But the frogs.....and the creek are nice....

Thank you, Richard.....


Requiestat in pace........

Friday, April 28, 2006

Hu's on First......

First Neil Young album released online today. Listen to it here:

Second....slightly dated commentary about the Chinese Leader's visit to Washington. Our Feckless Leader failed to get any kind of love from Hu. Of course not, Hu is holding all the cards: a huge trade imbalance that tilts his way and China holds mass quantities of our financial instruments. George is the crackhead appealing to the dealer for another rock: "Uh, I could trade you this old rotary phone.....or these sheepskin seatcovers...they look real and they're not too dirty......" Right. Hu didn't even need to say: "How about I cash in all these T-bills and sink your economy?" Or: "How about I pay for oil in Euros instead of dollars for a while, and sink your economy?" Better hang on to those seat covers and that rotary phone, might need them.

And it is doubly bad for George, because Hu runs a country just like the one George envisions for himself....and all of us. China is run by a technically adept and ruthless oligarchy. They have absolutely no problem with security, dissent or control of media and the internet. There is a State Religion that starts with a ''C''. The middle class were actually shot (with bullets) a while back, and the workers are just smart enough to run the machines for almost nothing. The only drawback for George would be the universal health care in China, and all the public housing and transport. (But then again, if you deduct the cost of housing, health care and transportation from our wages.....we kind of bump along with the Chinese).

Anyway, give Neil a listen. And......he is on myspace. No teenage chick fights, though.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Silence is Golden, Redux

The Blog is not dead......just busy paying taxes. Don't start with me.......

A brief word: Democrats are gutless fucks, incapable of even knuckle-rapping a criminal President that gleefully pistol-whips our most basic freedoms, and laughs in my face. My old post: "DiFi is a Slimy Maggot...." Too true. In a Real World, Republicans would be censuring Bush........ Dwight Eisenhower is spinning in his grave.

Reality: the candidate that raises the most money wins the race 90% of the time. I just checked the first quarter House of Reps fundraising reports. The Republican candidates have out-grossed the Democrats by a factor of four to six times the money.....all across the board (except for two districts in Indiana). Check it out.....have whiskey handy:

So...all these miserable prick Democrats are already counting their chickens and dancing on the grave of the Republican majority. A new world beckons in the fall! DiFi is already unzipping Chevron's giant oil-swollen jeans......

Bullshit. None of MY people are giving a nickel to these gutless fucks......and rightly so. Meanwhile, we are being out-spent by six to one by the folks cashing in on the giant K-Mart Blue-Light Special that is what is left of America. It makes basic economic is better than Jesus. Pat Roberston claims that every dollar given to the Ultimately Pierced One (or His stewards) will come back ten fold. Fucking pikers. Look at Rusty Cunningham.....his pimps got back TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY FOLD. Forget separation of Church and State.....Official corruption is where it is at.

If I had a Republican Congressman, and a $100k cash in a Whole Foods bag, I could get catering built into the basic MediCare budget: every quarter, a fancy dinner party for 16 for every widow over 64......just to uphold the God-given right of every American blue-hair for fandangos, blended scotch, frozen prawns and chocolate mousse. We might bring back Duplicate Bridge. For an extra ten percent, we'll even say grace, the Pledge of Allegiance, and have the string quartet play "God Bless America. I figure $10 million for Monterey County alone, quarterly. I'll even split the take with "Michael's Catering"......not worth the bookkeeping to separate the checks.

You think I am kidding, right? Picture any industry besides catering, with an axe to grind, and bucks to be made......and the check books are out. Wake up, people.

If you have an extra nickel....I strongly urge you to go to to and give it to them. Have a sober evening, and give a Guinness for Christ. Wait for the DVD, and don't hack up the ten bucks for the new Adam Sandler flick. Or, God Save Us.....Lindsay Lohan.

If you think it is bad now.....according to statistics, it is only going to get worse. Money talks, bullshit stop talking and start walking. Diane Feinstein, Joe Lieberman, Rahm Emmanuel, Hillary Clinton, etc......Fuck 'em. Useless pricks of the Neville Chamberlain/Ellsworth Toohey caliber.

History will judge George Bush as easily the Worst President in the history, not only of America, but the World. Right along side will be the judgment of those who sat on their hands and counted their Chevron dividends. I am talking to you, Diane.

The MoveOn crew are worthy, on the other hand, and they can do magic with even a five dollar bill. They have script writers like you, filmmakers like you, web guys like you, temps like you......and they get the bang for your buck.

Do it. When Pops isn't looking, put it on his credit card. He will thank you in five years. Other than that......start studying Romanian.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Silence is Golden

So......I have been told by my attorney not to write this blog. He has heard that it has irritated people in power. And, these apparatchiks could make my life miserable. He is particularly concerned about pissing off anyone in Monterey County.

This guy runs through machine gun fire for me on a monthly basis, so I want to listen to his advice. This is also the guy whose mom went to Israel in 1967 to meditate for peace with the Maharishi Mahesh yogi.

A quandry: as small business people we are regulated by: the Monterey County Health Department; the State Board of Equalization; the Monterey County Sheriff; the state Alcoholic Beverage Control; the Monterey County Planning Department; the Building Department; the California State Department of Agriculture; the Internal Revenue Service; the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms guys.......any one of whom could crush us with paper in a heartbeat. We are legal, but light in bookkeeping and paperwork resources. I can barely get the bills out, and the checks. I am a chef......I cook.

The question: would my recitation of humorous and bitter vignettes of small business life, and how national politics affects me really cause a government figure to put me out of business because he or she disagrees with me? Is it now economically and physically risky to state an opinion?

My friend Nigel would say ''yes''. He was notified by a Canadian client that a team of FBI and Homeland Security guys were visiting all his clients informing them that he was a security risk. The client was even told that TELLING anyone about the visit was a felony under the Patriot Act. Since the client was Canadian, he told them to fuck off.....and called Nigel.

Nigel is now unemployed and living in his 15 year old BMW. Did I mention that he is a war vet (two wars for three countries) and a patriot? No matter......But if you need any photography or web design......or bartending.....Or advice about BMW's.....I will hook you up with him.

So it is possible. I will just hope that I am a small enough bug to not need swatting......

But then again:

An excerpt from the Hartlepool Weekly (that is in country)

Man taken off plane

A MAN was removed from a passenger plane and questioned by police amidst fears he was a security risk.

Harraj Mann, 23, of Hartlepool, travelled from town by taxi to Durham and Tees Valley Airport before boarding a flight bound for London.The taxi driver had become worried on the way to the airport because Mann had been singing along to The Clash's 1979 anthem "London Calling," which features the lyrics "Now war is declared -- and battle come down" while other lines warn of a "meltdown expected".

Mann told newspapers the taxi had been fitted with a music system which allowed him to plug in his MP3 player and he had been playing The Clash, Procol Harum, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles to the driver.

"He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police," Mann told the Daily Mirror.

But before the aircraft took off, two plain-clothed police officers boarded the aircraft and escorted Mr Mann away.He was then questioned before it was established there was no security threat.

Mr Mann, a mobile phone salesman from the Rossmere area of Hartlepool, was going to London to visit members of his family.

He said: "I got frogmarched off the plane in front of everyone, got my bags searched, asked every question you can think of, from what school I went to, to the more obvious, what am I going to London for? "I was being held for questioning under the Terrorism Act.

"I was laughing about it, but all my mates are absolutely furious."It's just left me bemused. I can agree that there's a culture of fear. They acted on the information they had."I'm just frustrated that it happened to me. It's a mystery."

Mr Mann, who is of Indian descent, ended up missing his flight and getting a taxi home - and is still not sure if he will be reimbursed.A spokeswoman for Durham Police said the action was taken "as a result of information received" and the flight was stopped before take off on Thursday last week, shortly after 7pm. She added: "A man on that flight was escorted from the plane and interviewed by police. "

"Safety is paramount and we respond to concerns from members of the public in the way they would expect us to."In this case the report was made with the best of intentions and we would not want to discourage people from contacting us with genuine concerns regarding security."

Please register to vote.....