Sunday, April 13, 2008

Le plus ca change.....

Le plus ca change pas.

My buddy Donnie Brascoe was up for the post of Ambassador to Australia a bunch of years ago.....I think back under GHW Bush.....though it could have been Reagan.

Don is a Stanford guy, and a Republican from a family that was Republican probably before Lincoln. Don lived in Australia, and wrote a book about the place.

Don also ran/runs a successful family business, belongs to all the right clubs, knows everyone.....shoots birds in Scotland with the right bird shooters, and has a house in France in a proper part of the country. The successful business part probably means that he gave all the right donations to whomever you have to give donations to get on the Ambassador list to begin with.

Meanwhile, lest you get the impression that Donny B has five broomsticks stuck up his ass......Last week my food writer friend Charyn asked me to write down my last meal request. There is a book out of interviews where famous chefs do this. Since both she and I are Spain whores.....I put down a meal that came from all my favorite places in Spain. Unpublishable and boring to anyone but Charyn and I. My REAL list, of food from America, would include the best by far piece of meat I have ever encountered, much less eaten.

This was a Dall sheep loin that Don gave us as a present. Sorry, vegetarians.....the carnivores are interested in seeing what a Dall Sheep looks like. Note the big fucking mountains in the background.

The above picture is of Dall sheep conveniently located near Prince William Sound....which sounds (sorry, punsters....) almost downtown. Donny's Dall sheep was located in the middle of nowhere. After hiking in days and days, and skulking around mountains with insanely expensive weaponry and optics.....Don shot his Dall sheep, retrieved it, dressed it..... and so on. You don't carry out the whole sheep....who knows if he took the head, skin, whatever.....but he took the loins.

Don then walked out for two days over a glacier moraine composed of giant broken rocks. He showed us a picture taken of him about halfway through. He looks like John Walker Lindh.....on that perilous precipice of madness and exhaustion.

And he flew back to Carmel Valley.....and gave me the Dall sheep loin.

The loin had been aged in a backpack......and tenderized by a glacier moraine. The old Tatars used to season and preserve their meat (unsuccessful horses of the previous day....sort of a Russian Steppe Idol thing....) by packing it under the saddle and letting the salt of the sweaty horse and the pounding of the day's ride tenderize and season the meat. Steak Tartare anyone? There may have been something of that in the Dall sheep loin.

The meat was beyond, nutty and wild in the sense of that glacier moraine. You could feel the wind and taste the air and rocks. Absolutely clean, pure flavors......This was a Dall sheep that did not die in vain. I still have the entire experience imprinted on my chi.....along with that '59 Musigny Les Amoureuse, Comte de Vogue......"a peacock's plume.....opening in your mouth....."

And, like all culinary wasn't just the physical protein, was the work, the consideration, the depth of thought....and the sacrifice.

It was one of the best presents I ever got....right up there with the "Rose and Driftwood" from Ansel....and the amazing "Sensual Dune" from Rod Dresser. I can still look at the photographic images every day.....and I can still taste that Dall sheep loin. Don did not get the Ambassador gig. It went to Bill Lane.....son of Margaret Lane of Sunset Magazine fame.....and an useless wanker. We worked for the old lady.....and watched her scowl at old Bill. (Search this blog for "Larman".....Amanda says I should stop using real names.......)

Ambassador Bill served in the Pacific in WWII, and was an Ambassador at Large to the Pacific Islands in the seventies.

At Ambassador Bill's confirmation hearings.....televised, unfortunately for became clear to all and sundry that Ambassador Bill didn't actually realize that New Zealand was not an actual part of Australia. He thought Auckland came with the Sidney gig.

And they confirmed him anyway. I would have thought ritual seppuku would be more apt.

The term "dumb as a rock" doesn't apply. How about "dumb as a glacier moraine"? After actually supposedly fighting there, he couldn't get the boundaries straight? Anyone who knows anything about rugby, for instance....would know that confusing New Zealand with Australia is a potentially lethal error, depending upon the bar one was in at the time. And, in his defence.....Ambassador Bill probably knew most of the bars in the Pacific.

Donny B is still bitter.

So.....on to relevance.

Here is today's news: (from Huffington Post)

President Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley appeared on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos and repeatedly confused Nepal and Tibet.

Discussing how Bush has "no reason not to go" to this summer's Olympic games in Beijing and how boycotting them would be wrong, Hadley discussed the outcry over Tibet and the US response, only he kept saying Nepal.

"If countries are really concerned about Nepal, we shouldn't have this sort of non-issue of opening ceremonies or not. They should do the hard work of quiet diplomacy to urge the Chinese government -- in their interest -- to take advantage of this opportunity to do something," Hadley said.

He went on, "The way to deal with the issue of Nepal is not by some -- a statement that you're not going to the opening ceremonies and say, therefore, I checked the Nepal box."

And it didn't end there. "What he's doing on Nepal is what we think the international community ought to be doing, which is approaching the Chinese privately through diplomatic channels and sending a very firm message of concern for human rights, a concern for what's happening in Nepal, urging the Chinese government to understand that it is in their interest to reach out to representatives of the Dalai Lama, and to show, while the whole world is watching China, that they are determined to treat their citizens with dignity and respect. There is an opportunity here."

Nepal, which shares a border with Tibet and which is an independent constitutional monarchy, has about 29 million people, is 10% Buddhist and is not the home of the Dalai Lama.

We have a big poster in The Cachagua Store....with a photo-realist-Stalinist-socialist motif:

"People of Darfur!

Need Assistance in Your Hour of Need?

Take Two Aspirin....

And Call Us When You Are:

White, Christian.....


Then maybe our National Security Advisor will be able to remember your name........


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