Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Terrorism: It's all about ME!

This month a number of threads in the Big Web came together:

1) Federal Attorneys Fired!
2) Yugos attack Fort Dix!
3) NRA Advocates Guns in Classrooms!
4) Police Chief in Mexico Assasinated!
5) Queen Toasts Power Sharing in Ireland!
6) Standards for Chocolate Gutted!

Let's see how this works......

First and most is now legal to call a mixture of cocoa powder and vegetable oil "chocolate''. Like grain alcohol and fruit juice is ''wine''. Anyone remember Boone's Farm? So, a five-hundred year tradition of defining chocolate as cocoa fat or butter, cocoa and POSSIBLY milk products is out the window. At the same time we are concentrating on single source chocolate (raised by one grower in Africa) the corporate tools have taken the entire industry in the other direction.

It is not important what something ''is'', it is only important how it can be marketed. Perception is reality. Remember Bill Clinton parsing ''is''? Democrats voted for this one......

Onwards to more marketing: Terror.

Apparently, the consistent rationale for firing four of the eight federal attorneys was that they were not pursuing gun cases hard enough.


I thought these guys were the gun guys. Guns for all, all the time. After all, it was Clinton that was in charge at Ruby Ridge and Waco, not the Republicans. Remember Janet Reno?

Meanwhile.......I loved the NRA stance on the Blacksburg college shootings: "If the other students were armed, this never would have happened......"

I agree.

Teenagers have done so well with automobiles, motorcycles, sex, drugs, and alcohol.....why not give them guns, too?

Who is in charge of the NRA? Ozzie Osborne?

Meanwhile, I am a gun guy, sort of. I am a recovering engineer who works as a chef, for chrissakes. I like machines. I like fire. I was a fencer in college.....long before I discovered Henckel and Shun. I have a Dunstall Norton Commando café racer with the 850 11.5/1 compression Combat Engine in the garage.....and three Alfa's and a Sunbeam Alpine in there with them. Then there is the 30-30, the Brazilian saddle gun 12 gauge, the steel Ruger mini-14, the chopper, the varmint rifles.....No pistols.....but some air guns! All legal.

Steel. Oil. Acceleration. Loud noises don't hurt either. Forget opposable thumbs....This is the real difference between us and the protzoaic mess that laps at our feet.....

I promise you....give me a less-than-robustly-heterosexual-proselytizing-vegan UC Santa Cruz student, 300 rounds and two hours at the range at Laguna Seca......and I will give you a new NRA member.

Anyway...what gun cases were these guys not prosecuting? Democrats are not big gun guys. In fact, many gun guys would love to have a couple of hours free-fire in Iraq.....or South Central, probably and unfortunately. These are Bush guys......I know these guys!

Last month, I was given the opportunity to buy an AK-47 or an M-16.....or several, for that matter......for $400 apiece. I was in: I don't have a violent agenda......I like machines, and I am a history nut. I promise that the folks who offered the guns were not Democrats, or Al Queda, or even traditional criminals......normal, tractor-driving country folks.

Well, turns out they might have been FBI!

The six idiots that organized behind the Bosnian pizza delivery guy to attack Fort Dix went down when they met the FBI guy with the guns! Hey, that could have been us!

Since I am fairly sure that this is now a client-free zone.....let me describe the Cachagua version of "Proper Use of Automatic Weapons".

For the Millenium, a local faux-rancher hired us to do his big parties. He was not a real rancher, but a guy from Florida with a NASCAR team and a nationwide rental business who had the bucks to buy out an old family ranch.

Oh, and the guy was a devout Catholic. (Please note: I am descended from a family thick with Jesuits on the male side, and Sacred Hearts on the female side. My aunt Cecily rode with Pancho Villa in Northern Mexico on his trains as a young nun. She taught Keats. Go figure.)

I can talk shit about Catholics. I was the Bishop's Altar Boy.

Anyway, this idiot invited everyone in Cachagua to his Millenium party in a tent in a pasture. Free food. Free booze. Free music.

Everyone came. I mean every upstanding citizen, every quiet hillbilly, and every in-bred, drug-addicted, wife-beating, child molester in the hills. It poured rain in buckets. I (former electrical engineer, and genetic Irish shovel wielder) spent my time digging moats around the electrical boxes....trying to ignore the sheets of water pouring down the faces of the boxes. Lights, heaters, bands with amplifiers......300 amps of service. Oh, and there was lightning as well.

We pulled it off, though. No one died (the ultimate ideal in the world of catering).

Faux-ranch Guy refused to believe that the crowd had drunk 30 cases of beer and 15 cases of wine in 8 hours in a pouring rainstorm on The Millenium Day.....and stiffed us for $1500. Are you kidding? I could pick five guys with JOBS in Cachagua and we could run up a $1500 bar bill anywhere.....and still be throwing bricks through the window of the package store at 1 am. This guy demanded to see the re-cycle, three weeks after the event. Yeah, well....fuck him.

Meanwhile, Faux-Ranch guy loved his Jesus. Around the time of Jesus' birthday the next year he put up a Nativity Scene by the side of Carmel Valley Road at Tassajara Road. Fine.

On the next New Year's Eve it snowed heavily. My loyal crew of locals obeyed tradition and drove 4wd's up to Chew's Ridge and went skiing. On the way back, they noticed the Faux-Ranch Nativity Scene. They stole Baby Jesus, Joseph and a couple of the Wise Guys.

They do like The Sopranos, my boys.....but Carmel Get-High School left them so culturally bankrupt that they actually, innocently called the statues The Wise Guys......not The Wise Men.

Their plan was to strap Baby Jesus to the 4wd, and run him into Joseph on the Valley Road at a million miles an hour.....and film the whole thing. Turns out that Baby Jesus was so creepy looking that even these heathens passed on that plan. Instead, they took Joseph and The Wise Guys up the mountain and machine-gunned them in my garden.

Some people have scarecrows in protecting their veggies.......I have Sarajevo Joseph and The Machine-Gunned Wise Guys among the sorrell.

Keeps the birds away.........What the hell!

So.....home-grown terror:

The single blessed result of the past month was the power sharing agreement in Northern Ireland. Ian Paiseley and Gerry Adams are actually talking and cooperating....supposedly.

Ireland was a mess 40 years ago. There was a religiously, culturally and economically oppressed majority who rose against the ruling elite. Civil war broke out. Gunmen captured busses full of Christian white people and shot all the Catholics.....or all the Protestants. Whatever. They could tell who was who by looking at them. Walls were built to separate religions in the capitol city. Sound familiar?

There were twenty-five years of anti-civilian terror....that technically had followed an even THOUSAND years of terror and oppression of said minority. The IRA conducted a vicious terror campaign.....Guns, bombs, rocks even. The money came mostly from Americans. In bars, of course. Guinness is good for you.......

The British responded equally viciously with their military. "Armoured cars and tanks and guns came to take away our sons......But EVERY MAN will stand behind.....the men behind The Wire." The Wire was Long Kesh, which made Abu Ghraib look like Club Med.

And then the IRA got smart. In the early nineties, the High Command stopped targeting civilians and British military and went after commercial British targets. Bombs went off outside skyscrapers in financial London on Sunday mornings. No injuries or fatalites, but 80 stories of broken glass, in multiple buildings.

Soon, it became impossible to insure glass in downtown London. A small thing, but picture the cost of all the windows in the Prudential Building in Newark. Suddenly the intransigent, right-wing, fuck-you government of Margaret Thatcher was brought to heel by her masters. The corporations were losing money! Oh fuck no Jesus God the windows the insurance!

The political settlement process started almost immediately. Bill Clinton threw his weight behind it.....and deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.....blow-jobs, globalization or no. It took until last week to sink the deal.

I leave you folks to draw your own parallels to now: when the economic incentives for businesses to reap financial rewards from the conflict in Iraq ends.....or when the pain becomes too severe......the war will end. In weeks......

Finally, more home-grown terrorism:

My friend Horace used to invite us down to Mexico in the early eighties. Horace's dad had been the dentist to the Presidents of Mexico.....and Horace worked for Mosler Safes....a really, really good business in Mexico.

Horace had a house in Chapultepec in Mexico City, and a house in Tepotzlan near Cuernavaca. His friend John White had a posada in Cuernavaca, and his other friend had a house in Jocotopec in Jalisco that included Curt Flood's parrot (this proves that I am old....Curt Flood was the first free-agent, a St. Louis Cardinal, and his parrot had been in so many games that it sang the National Anthem in a heartbeat). His other friend had a house in Ajijiic on Lake Chapala just down from Jocotopec.....and his OTHER friend had a house on the cliffs in Acapulco in the beautiful part of town between the cliff divers and the bull ring. The house had the first infinity pool ever built.....the water would cascade down the cliffs into the Pacific on a promontory just opposite The Island of The Burro Borracho......don't ask.

Horace had the keys to the entire country of Mexico.....and despite this power was......and remains.......the kindest, smartest, most considerate businessperson I have ever met. If Horace were Secretary of State......he would have the Nobel Peace Prize.....and we would be out of Iraq. We would not be IN Iraq.

Anyway, Mexico is all about class....class as in Marx....and despite Horace's was clear that the catering geeks from California had some serious make-up to do socially in old Mexico. My dear wife and my partner Valentine were oblivious to the guilt and spent their days working on malignant melanoma, comatose under the tropical sun. Meanwhile, I got up at 4am, grabbed Brendan (18 months) and went to the local market to buy food for the day. I would return, cook at least two meals with the abuelas in the back......pretend to dine with my friends, and fall asleep exhausted to start again the next day.

Brendan, even at a year and six months was a huge help. He was blond and blue eyed, and very smiley. Upon entering the crazy, gnarly Mercado Indio at 4:30am the first abuela to spot him would grab him and run off. They called him Zarco, after a famous general of Pancho Villa's that had blue eyes and a generous libido in Sonora during the Revolution. The irony of Aunt Cecily riding with Zarco and Pancho seventy years before was not lost on me.

Anyway, the kid was safe......the grannies loved him. I would do my shopping, the abuelas would brutally critique my purchases and return him to me, well-fed and unscathed. I do wish that I had a foto of the Sunday morning in Taxco when I retrieved him...... gnawing on a goat-head from the traditional Sunday morning goat head soup. And you thought it was a Rolling Stone album!

After a couple of weeks of this I was wearing out. Late nights and early mornings......and the store-bought Percodan were losing their ooompf. We hit Acupulco after a long drive with one windsheild wiper through the mountains and multiple Army check points....... to make sure we were not guerrillas. I was really confused......Acapulco is in the State of Guerrero, for chrissakes. Aptly named, I guess.

Anyway....more of the same: big house, combative abuelas, gorgeous sun and water, comatose wife and partner, overwhelming guilt and hunger. I hit the Mercado Indio like Sherman hit Atlanta. The most beautiful fruits and vegetables I had ever seen....or have seen since. Gorgeous fish and shellfish. Stunning meats and offal. In Mexico it is VERY important to get to the market early.....refrigeration is not a huge value.

The beautiful, kind Mexican people welcomed us like brothers.....and Brendan and I quickly had a routine. Abuelas for the boy......Fruitas y legumbres for papa.

Acapulco was different than inland, though. I would work from 4am until about 10pm and fade. Because all the gorgeous houses on the point were lit up, and because of the geography of Acapulco Bay....a party boat would pull up right offshore and blast away until all hours, starting about 10pm. BeeGee's. Tie a Yellow Ribbon, for fuck's sake.

This was like a mini Love Boat, with big white decks for dancing, bars, restaurant, strings of lights like a Cal Worthington wetdream....and loud, loud music. Just when I was trying to get some sleep. And on and on until all hours of the night. Motherfuckers.

After a few days of this I had had enough. My contacts at the market (the minute you appear there are twenty college kids waiting to be runners for you and find you shit....even Keats scholars....and they were not elaborately right-wing kids). My Irish genetics led me to the simple solution to my growing exhaustion: explosives and rockets.

Not a problem, as it turned out. The abuelas vouched for me......well, really for Brendan, and I was IN. I met with the local Fidel look-alike, gave him all my cash (and some of Horace's) and they hooked me up.

My rockets were full on gorilla guerilla-style. This was 1982, and the cocaine/heroin economy had not reached this far north......or the left-wing politics had not reached this far south. Whatever. I needed my sleep.

The rockets had bodies made of tree limbs. As in kinda crooked. Very Williams-Sonoma. Cute. The warheads were wrapped in papier-maché. And they were not cheap. Again....whatever. I needed my sleep.

For the attack itself, I enlisted the help of the grandson of the main, gnarly abuela of the household. He was about 12, but he knew my revolutionary contacts at the market. Like all teenagers he had traditional values: Oil! Metal! Speed! Big Noise! Bright Light! Shock and Awe!

We waited until the height of the Party Boat Frenzy....about midnite. We set up our base just below the top of the cliff, and pounded pipes into the cliff to support the tree-branch bodies of our rockets. We were gonna get these "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" motherfuckers......

When the boat appeared, we prepared our rockets, our launch pipes. We actually saluted each other.

Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!

Our shit was together. First rocket burst over the dance floor and blew out all the strings of lights. Screams. Second rocket took out the band. Silence, except for the screams. The other rockets made direct hits to the hull and decks and left huge black stains all over the pristine white paint. Fuck you, Love Boat!

Victory!! The boat took off like a bat out of hell. High fives all around. Well, me and Francisco, anyway.

Sleep, beautiful sleep! "Flights of angels sing thee to they rest........."

Next night......

There were four boats with bands.

They had heard about the show from the cliffs.....and wanted to be part of it.

Get a clue, America. Listen........ for a change.

We are only 10 per cent of the world population....and only five percent of that bunch don't follow NASCAR.

And.......I was really bummed when I hit a nettle last week while reaching for the last chanterelle of the season. It numbed my hand for two days.

I did not call in an air strike.



Blogger conjon said...

It's all true!!!! I laughed really hard at the wise guys part. I remember that night. Forest was tripping especially hard because the baby jesus actually did look like him. You forgot to mention that we were too afraid to discard of the baby and it was stored in the closet where it creeped me out every day I went to change. Thanks for the memories and especially the laughs.

6:51 PM  

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