Friday, February 27, 2009

The Troops.....

The American military supposedly runs to about three million folks....about 1% of the populace. Most Americans don't know anyone even in the military.....and in our blessed little corner of the Pastures of Heaven it is even more remote, despite the presence of the DLI, NPS, etc.

So, let me introduce you to my friend, Kevin.

Kevin is not actually IN the military yet. He is working his ass off to GET into the military. After Fahrenheit 911 and stories about recruiting scandals and terrible retention rates in the Army, and even worse recruitment rates......isolated, cosseted folk like me had the idea that the Army would take anyone with a pulse and an IQ above room temperature.

No one would actually disrespect our serving military directly.....but I confess to guilt of indirectly disrespecting them by buying into all of the above.

My friend Kevin is a hardworking guy from a local Salinas Portagee family. His Grandma came to America on a sailing ship. Many of our local Portugese came to California by way of Hawaii, with the fishing and sailing industry. Kalani Fonseca, for example. Not Kevin's people.....they were cod fishermen from the Azores who used to row from the Azores to the cod banks off Nova Scotia and Maine. Eventually they got tired of rowing and settled in places like Cape Cod, and Brockton, Mass.

Brockton, Massachusetts is the home of Marvin of the last true hero boxers of the last century. Marvin fighting skills were honed in Brockton by fighting Kevin's relatives. Brockton is a nice little town on the surface.....but if you drift to the wrong quarter at the wrong time of night....they will fuck you up, just for not being Portugese. friend Kevin is a sweet, kind, sensitive guy. He works his ass off. He is one of the few people....and definitely one of the few male humans....who I have ever spontaneously tipped a hundred dollar bill. Kevin has worked for us, and when he works......this kid works.

Kevin worked his whole high school and post high school time saving money to buy a car. Meanwhile, he drove beaters and hated every minute of the experience.

Finally, this fall he had enough money to pay cash for his dream car....which I am ashamed to say I have no idea what it was. It was a something something RX2000 Z.......Whatever, Kevin had spent his entire post driver's license life researching cars and finally bought his dream car in October.

To help pay for the car....Kevin prostituted himself out working for us. Some NATO beach parties, and finally the Ventana Wilderness Condor Release in October at the Packard Ranch in Big Sur.

We all met at the Highlands Store, and my friend Dan Keig doesn't mind if we park there and carpool down to Big Sur. Kevin parked next to Gilda, and next to Shawn with his brand new RTZ-5390 whatever....with 300 miles on it.

While we were working in Big Sur....a pharmacy sales girl stopped at the Highlands for a latte, got back in her Avis rent-a-car and mistook the accelerator for the brake and charged into Shawn's car, which slammed into Kevin's car.

Kevin's life dream was completely fucked up in a minute....Cops came....messages were sent to us in Big Sur that we never received......So the kid came back from this high of helping the planet in this gorgeous environment to find his car completely fucked up.

But.......the kid kept on working a double shift that day and helped us do a fundraiser for Kim Weston right next door to the scene of the crime....after he had already done eight hours with the condors. And kept a smile the entire time.....

Meanwhile.......The paint on Kevin's dream car was so complex that no local bodyshop could deal with it....and the pharm rep girl had a phony driver's license, and Avis had to hire lawyers.

Kevin lost his car for months, and was back to driving beaters.....after only 300 miles of driving his dream car.

Finally, in late December.....he got his car back. Not perfect, but it still runs like a bat out of hell, even though the paint is a mess.

OK.....Life in America in the 21st Century is all about diminished expectations.

No problem.....I mean, the kid graduated from Salinas High.......

The second night he had his car back he picked up a high school friend and they went driving around Salinas. The friend asked to drive the car......and Kevin said, "Well, sure....."

They switched seats, and Kevin started showing his buddy the different controls..... and all that.

At that moment, a gangster car drove by and the teenagers inside it randomly opened up gunfire on Kevin's car. As Kevin was explaining the handbrake to his buddy....a bullet passed through the buddy's head and splattered Kevin with his friend's brains.

Kevin enlisted in the Army the next morning.

His rationale was partly: If I am going to get shot at....I might as well get paid for it.

So....super smart, sensitive, crazy hard-working, honest local kid joins up. My heart sank....but I had nothing to offer him that could compete or attempt to heal his wounds.

The Army was not actually so in to Kevin. He was overweight, and out of shape. This is the kid that personally hauled two or three tons of equipment for me off the 13th Street Beach in Carmel without losing his smile or dirtying his apron.

Kevin stopped eating....and has lost 65 pounds in five weeks. He gets up every morning in Salinas and runs five miles with a 70 pound backpack full of rocks.

The Army still wants him to lose a half inch from his waist.

He has until Monday.....the first.

If not, he can get a fitness waiver.

All he has to do is: be able (in front of a crowd of other applicants) to do two full minutes of push ups at one per second......then run to a station where he jumps with both feet together up onto a box 18" tall once per second and then back down again.....for five full minutes. 300 reps.

After which he runs on a treadmill for four miles in under 30 minutes.

All of which exercises are completed with drill seargents screaming abuse in front of a crowd of other job applicants.

Kevin canvassed his neighborhood for Obama (he lives behind Star Market in the nice old lady part of Salinas......though the foreclosures are letting the vatos move in). Kevin want to go to Afghanistan because he actually believes that he can help make the world a better place....

Oh......and he figures the mountains of Afghanistan are probably safer than Salinas.

He has done his research......He understands weaponry; he has studied Islam, and understands the difference between Shia and Sunni....and is willing to argue about it.

We will watch his car for him......if the Army takes him.

Are you fucking kidding me??!!! He has to compete for this honor? Run with 60 pounds of bricks every morning and lose 65 pounds in a month?

I would give this kid my house....much less let him take a shit job halfway around the world for $1700 a month where he gets shot at.

I bought his flat-screen earlier tonight.

When Obama talks about leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq for decades......

Think about the Kevins.

What would it be like if that much desire, energy, and focussed on his homeland?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Economy is an Elephant.......

Everywhere one looks there are indicators of what is what with our economy.

Here are some local aspects....

Deli-Treasures at Mid-Valley has closed. Bill was our go-to guy for box lunches....but his clientele was mostly construction guys. Lots of folks from the Preserve.....

Oh, well.

The winery and ranch owned by one of the richest guys I terms of disposable income (movie money) is for sale. My friends who work there are trying to keep spirits up and the place open so they can keep their jobs. The place could be PolyFace Farms West....but the principals are bummed and bored, so they want out. The only decision is to close it now and try to sell it with the unsold inventory.....or keep it running and try to sell it as a running concern.

And, meanwhile....their wine is great. Well made, well packaged......the ranch is poised to be a great asset to the community and the economy for decades and generations hence.....

And.....I have to look at the ranch every time I look over the top of my computer screen, or whenever Grandpuppy and I take our morning walks.

Oh, well.

On a similar note, geographically......a fucker who bought the other half of the ranch above, and installed a vanity vineyard, and a barn made of Amazonian hardwoods covered with rare baseball-pitchers-granny's-Massachusetts slate to house his Texas quarter horses......was in bankruptcy court this month.

One never gloats or rejoices over bankruptcies.....

But this guy has never hired a legal immigrant, never hired a skilled union worker, and never shirked at dodging every law and regulation involving human decency..... in his least in his life in Carmel Valley. Donations to Cachagua Fire? Nope.

Fuck 'em. I'll call a helicopter.

Why should I pay $200 a year to protect my $20 million dollar investment and participate in the community? Fuck these assholes.

(Rupert Murdoch owns the place across the road.....and feels the same way).

Now his sun-scorched, afternoon wind-battered faux "Gated Golf Community" is in the weeds.....

Imagine that......

Boutique hotels in Carmel have had full weeks with zero occupancy........

We have been trying to build some greenhouses, chicken houses, some raised beds and stuff like that. Our workers are Union carpenters with more than 25 years experience who we are trying to keep in their houses by me inventing work for a third their Union wages.

A kitchen guy is hiring carpenters? This is wrong by a factor of at least three!

The Union meanwhile....the President of the Union is working jobs where he is using illegal workers over his own Union brothers. They are cheaper, you see.....and his Dad was the head of the Union before it is all cool. Meanwhile, I am paying his Union guys more than he is paying his illegal workers.....

I notice that the trade suppliers are nice to me now. Us faggy food folk have always been the last people noticed or served at lumber yards and electrical supply places. The auto people have always been good to us (Skip's rules!) because we have 13 vehicles and we drive 200,000 miles a year.

Now, the lumber folk are nice. They call me back. They compete....and I try to ignore the hint of desperation in their voices as they talk about free delivery.

The organic top-soil guy apologizes so profusely for missing my call that I have to calm him down:

"I am so sorry I missed your call. It is supposed to forward to my cell-phone....I don't know what happened. I am really, really sorry.....Like everyone else, I have cut my staff, and I have to do the office myself."

Dude....It is fine, calm down. You are talking to a guy who checks his voicemail every two weeks, not every two hours. I have given up wading through hundreds of messages per year from Asians wanting to renew my non-existant auto warrantee to pan out the odd customer who wants a wedding......

Things must be really tough in Dirt Land......

The guy will deliver a ten-wheel truck with 18 yards of dirt to Cachagua for $150. No one delivers anything to Cachagua. Our last bid was $600 and a blow job. Now the blow job is on the other to speak.

And, dude: we have been doing our own office for 32 years....

That is why we are broke, probably.

Trying to order redwood boards for our beds....suddenly Harold from the big lumber yard is my buddy. Email, me anytime with your quote reference.

Meanwhile, the owner of the lumber yard's new wife hates us because we knew him and did parties for him before.....with his ex-girlfriends.....

And we speak Spanish with him and that is such a threat because we both love Spain......

Even Murphy's seems to have dropped their resistance to our faggy-foodness.....or whatever it is that has caused them to look at me like I have just had botox for my frown lines.....for the last 30 years.

There is further cause for concern....

From friend, Nate Silver...who is an engineering geek. Nate is the guy who not only aced the Statistics final.....but actually loved the class.

Nate is a Maritan....but he called Obama, down to the individual electoral vote; Nate called the Devil Rays winning the stupid baseball thing; Nate called the Oscars.....

Here is Nate's take on one aspect of the economy.......

"The chart that follows details the quarterly change in alcohol purchased for home consumption, adjusted for inflation and dating all the way back to 1959. We can compare this against the quarterly change in real GDP:

As you can see, there has generally not been much of a relationship between alcohol purchases and changes in GDP -- the correlation is essentially zero. Nor have alcohol purchases historically been any kind of lagging or leading indicator.

But something was very, very different in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down by 9.3 percent from the previous quarter, according to the Commerce Department. This is absolutely unprecedented: the largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.

Beer accounts for almost all of the decrease, with revenues off by almost 14 percent. Wine and spirits were much more stable, with sales volumes declining by 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Now, there are several plausible explanations for this. Alcohol sales -- but particularly beer -- had been on something of a hot streak prior to the 4Q, so perhaps there was some reversion to the mean. Perhaps people are substituting Michelob and Coors for more expensive microbrews like Alpha King and Dogfish Head. (This is unpatriotic, by the way, since all the macrobrews are now owned by foreign-based multinational conglomerates. Stimulate your country -- and your tastebuds!).

Perhaps retailers are discounting their prices, or brewers are passing along cost savings to their consumers (there had been a hops shortage for much of 2007-08). All of these are probably factors to some extent or another.

Nevertheless, it's absolutely startling to see a major consumer staple experience a sales decline like this."

At The Cachagua Store......folks have shifted from Fat Tire to Coors. The Mexicans have shifted from Corona and Pacifico to Modelo (which is weird because they all cost the same here in America del Norte).

Only on Sunday do things remain the same.

Sundays are for validation. Fat Tire. Guinness. Newcastle.

Who knows what any of this means.

Amongst the blind men.....I am with the Trunk Guy.

I don't know what exactly it is...but it is thick, strong, versatile....

And it just stole my lunch.

Politics is an Elephant....

Said the Republican.

Take a dozen blindfolded wise men and set them to examine an elephant.

"It is strong and huge and steady...." says Leg Man.

"It is small and whippy and elusive..." says Tail Man.

"It is soft and large and wide......" says Ear Man.

"It stole my lunch!" says Trunk Man......

No one believes me that I am a Republican.

I know.....I am a registered Democrat. You could look it up.

In my heart, though.....I still Like Ike.

Unfortunately, there are no more Republicans under the age of 80 that I want to talk to.

I must point out, however......while Dianne Feinstein contiunes to prove herself to be the Whore of Babylon (and the human embodiment of the reason why working class people continue to vote Republican against their own interests)......

Abel Maldonado has stepped up to the plate and hit a Bi-partisan home run.

Abel Maldonado is your Republican State Senator if you live anywhere near me. Abel is from San Luis....and works his roots heritage thing, while flying around in jets with his buddies.

Abel is a client...and a sweet, smart guy who has one of the two smartest political operatives in California working as his right hand man. Possibly one of the top ten smartest operatives in the country. And the kid's name is Brendan, and his mom lives next to Prince's Camp. I once wrote that she lives in Prince's Camp....and she accosted me at my mailbox in her Mercedes to correct my geography. She lives across Nason Road from Prince's Camp, you see.

I hate most of Abel's politics.

Abel's campaign ads for the last election cycle bragged about the new increased funding for education in his district.....when the legislation was passed over his dead body and strenuous objections.

I have heard Abel mouth the most offensive Republican party-line talking points imaginable at fundraisers. But......dummies like Sheriff Kanalakis were in the crowd.

I magically used to become a good Catholic when my Irish Grandma was in the room as well......

Abel....or more likely, Brendan....paid for the campaign of a Green Party dweeb to run against both Abel and Peg Pinard in the previous election cycle save one. A local electrician was given cash in a bag to file and run.....and only later discovered the source of the funds. The kid tried to back out of the deal, and even campaigned for Peg Pinard. The kid got 2800 votes.....Abel won by 2400 votes.

You can either be all pissed off....or admire brilliant manipulation of the established rules.

Meanwhile....this time around Abel (and Brendan) had so trounced the oppostion that there wasn't any. No Democrat bothered to file.

I will point out that I personally observed a second sack of cash for a backup Green Party guy.....but it wasn't needed.

In a Gilbert and Sullivan Opera style move....Abel Maldonado, Republican Senator from our district....almost secured the Democratic nomination as well as the Republican.

Abel told the media that he wanted both parties' nominations so his hard-core Democrat mom could vote for him in good conscience.

This is such an elegant Fuck You to our local Democrats that you have to love it......

Personally....I want smart people to represent me, almost independent of the politics. I have not been wild about Abel's politics....but he is no dummy. I was not wild about Clinton, either.....but his stupidities were limited to chicks with big hair......

We won't talk about NAFTA right now.

I want a guy who can work the system, and is possibly thinking about me.....

I probably feel like all the thousands of Republicans that have been voting for Sam Farr for the last 20 years......We need a good man first, then we talk about politics. This is why I have been a life long Gerry Brown fan.

Abel Maldonado and Gerry Brown? I need a shrink. Maybe Noam Chomsky can help.

Anyway....Abel Maldonado was the guy who crossed party lines last week to finally pass a budget in California that might possibly some day address our problem of too little income and too much expense.

All the other Republicans were too chickenshit and too afraid of the State Republican Party to do the right thing.

Abel could run as a Democrat in our district and still win........Fuck the Republicans.

The Republicans were all saying that Abel had signed his politcal death warrant by crossing party lines.

I don't this point I like Abel a whole lot more than DiFi for Governor......

What I am waiting for is for the other best political operative in California.....Vinz Koller, from the Monterey Democrats..... to cross swords with Abel's Brendan K.

Or, hook up and join forces.....

No, that would be too weird.

We might get something done.......

U @ 50

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Irish Terrorism II

From the archives....

My friend Keith just found fotos of this old adventure in the archives......

In his barn in Sonoma.

Here is Keith.....our financial and legal adviser....

In the early eighties, my friends and I had a business called The Arroyo Seco Wild Irish Pig Company......

We raised wild boar at the Howard Ranch the other side of the Cahoon Grade..... almost to Arroyo Seco.

Chris Herrold from The Aquarium owns it now.

Being Irish.....we used our pigs as part time political statement.....and part time food source.....and part time sentimental source of sweet pets and friends. Very confusing......

So, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas: We were carefree and green.... and famous among the barns....And famous among the crazy Irish (redundant?) in San Francisco with our whole taking the pig to the Princess adventure.

We actually had to avoid Irish bars for years because of all the rounds people would buy us when we walked in the door….

”Oh, Jaysus…..Fer Fook’s Sake!! It’s the lads!!! They took the fookin’ pig to the fookin’ Princess!!”

We added to our ignominy by becoming a fixture at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade: parading our baby Wild Irish Pigs in the Parade through the Streets of San Francisco. The 1982 parade was our denouement…..

My partner in Pigdom was Michael MacKenzie Monckton.

Here is Michael in a typical Arroyo Seco moment. Which could be now a typical Cachagua moment. Note the super strong Neptun Golden Ale....the Ruger Mini-14 with the short clip....and perhaps some investigation into local herbiculture.

Also, Michael's family motto: Rub It Easy, Make It Hard.

We moved our pigs from Garrapata Canyon in Big Sur to the Howard Ranch in Carmel Valley, on the Arroyo Seco watershed. The Howard Ranch was 1400 acres on the hillside, 35 miles from town. Monckton and my brother Rob lived in an old stage house on the flats, and we had all our pigs as well as tons of organic tomatoes growing on the ranch. Rob somehow managed to write two novels at the Ranch, while surviving the constant gunfire, the second-hand smoke..... and the two hour drive to town every day in his Dodge Omni for his real job as Telephone Operator at The Lodge at Pebble Beach.


Michael’s nickname was Trips…..Both for the three M’s….Michael MacKenzie Monckton (everyone in his family are Triple M’s) as well as his penchant for certain stimulants.

The flats at the ranch were really flat. You could land a small plane. In fact, certain small planes landed frequently. An LSD base smuggler would leave his dog at the ranch for Rob and Trips to watch while he flew to Holland for the base. On his return to the ranch, he would give Monckton film cans full of the shavings from the gel sheets of super-pure, super strong acid. Open a can, lick your finger, stick it in, lick it………good for at least a day.

Michael was working construction at the Aquarium, which was just being built……Rob was writing his first novel. A long drive: early wakeup; strong coffee, Kahlua and Bailey’s; a little lick from a jar…….If the sun was up, maybe a clip from the Mini-14 at the ground squirrels on the flats…..Bob’s your uncle…..

That December, we were the hottest caterer in San Francisco. We worked everyday: up at 5am; shop and prep; pack and drive; do the party, clean up and drive back; unload at 2 or 3 am…..sleep, sort of. We would stack folding tables in the van, bungee cord them to the sides for bunkbeds, and bungee cord guys to the tables on the ride back. Still, we ran out of steam after a week. Caffeine stopped working: we couldn’t afford cocaine; we were too fragile and too smart for meth, plus we couldn’t afford the down time. We turned to the film cans…..Hey, it was just a month we had to be awake……

After sleeping through January and February, we were ready for March.

Monckton prepared his truck for the parade by taking a SawzAll and cutting out the roof: Redneck Moonroof. He lined the jagged edges with duct tape to cut down on tetanus shots. He drove wooden 2x2’s into the rack supports and wired on hog wire and barb wire. He added a steel ice chest (not a red Coleman!), a couple of cases of Green Rooster beer, some bales of hay, six baby wild boar….and we were ready. We had roasted a whole pig for a fella, and saved the head. Michael jury-rigged a pole through the front suspension, and we jammed the roasted pig head on it as our figurehead and totem. Me, Monckton, Brendan at 18 months, Jane, sister Annie and our friend Keith from Sonoma….off to St. Paddy’s.

We arrived in San Francisco at 9am at The Dovre Club, Paddy Nolan’s bar on 18th off the Mission……

The bar was on Clarion Alley, on the ground floor of The Women’s Building. It was a former Norwegian seaman’s union hall and tavern, highjacked by Nolan and turned into the slightly alcoholic organizing center for Irish Northern Aid (read: IRA). It was dark, spare…..grim, even. I later spent a terrifying World Series there with Hunter Thompson and Warren Hinckle, and various actual gunmen. The jukebox: “Armoured Cars and Tanks and Guns……Came to take away our Sons……But every Man must stand behind…..The Men Behind the Wire!”

The front of the bar doubled as the urinal. Saved time.

First order of business: ”Oh, Jaysus…..Fer Fook’s Sake!! It’s the lads!!! Bring oos some whisky!! These lads took the fookin’ pig to the fookin’ princess!!!” In fact, we had actual pigs, and in honor of Hinckle and his basset hound, Bentley…..both of whom wore eye patches, our piglets wore eyepatches. The happy drunks (keep in mind, this is 9am…..) joined in the first round or so. Then some of the gunmen insisted on a couple of rounds……You don’t just say “No.” Nancy Reagan please take note.

We emerged from the gloom of the bar into a pissing rain for the short trip to the mustering site for the parade. We were positioned just behind a black drum majorette high school group from Oakland, and in front of a lesbian marching band. Our plan was to march with the pigs on leashes, behind our banner: Arroyo Seco Wild Irish Pigs. I think this was conceived as a business expense: we even had a checking account……Unfortunately, when we put the piggies in their harnesses, clipped on the leashes, and set them on the ground the piggies just squealed like banshees and spun in circles. No amount of coddling could them to go in any straight line. We attempted to gently dribble them along the street like soccer balls, and had both the majorettes and the lesbians menacing us with batons and wind instruments.

Plan B: We turned the truck into a float. We perched on the wire with the cute little piggies while the girls stood on the seats and waved through the moonroof…..just like the Rose Bowl. Well, there was that roasted pig head out front…..I think the Chronicle referred to us as “drunken collegiate trailer trash….” Accuracy in journalism for a change!

It was a miserable, pathetic parade in freezing, drenching rain. The only good thing was when the pigs pissed on us, it was warm for a few seconds. Did I mention that the Green Rooster beer runs 10% alcohol? Monckton was at the wheel, and was soon nodding off…..imperiling majorettes and bystanders alike.

Finally, exactly in front of the reviewing stand at City Hall (the Fire Chief was Irish, and the Parade Grand Marshal; Dianne Feinstein was there as Mayor), Monckton jammed on the brakes, shoved the girls out of the way, hung his head out the roof and projectile vomited all over the reviewing stand.....and DiFi's shoes.

Irish charm….

We were able to wrestle him out of the truck, and using the 4 wheel attributes of the old wreck, parked in the Plaza on the grass. We laid him out on the grass, and got the girls and babies into a warm bar. Several Irish coffees later we were almost warm and almost dry. When we finally emerged, we immediately realized that someone had stolen the roasted pig head.

Only in San Francisco would someone steal a roasted pig head with 200 wet road miles on it from the front of a beater truck. Who would do this? Some crackhead Hmong refugee, recognizing a home-grown delicacy? A weird Satanist or sexual fetishist?

Probably a crackhead Hmong Satanist sexual fetishist that had missed lunch…..

Meanwhile, no Monckton.

He was nowhere to be found. We searched the Plaza for half an hour, getting wet again in the process.

Finally we just gave up and walked to the truck, figuring he had drifted drunkenly away.

Oh well, and no real loss in the scope of things.

A huge flock of pigeons was sitting next to the truck, feeding. When we approached they flew off, revealing: Monckton…….

Damn: where are those Hmong Satanist sexual fetishists when you really need them?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

An Phoblact Abu.......

This means "Up The Republic!" in Gaelic.

I am an Irish immigrant people once reviled at least as much as any Asian, Latino or African you can produce in present days.

Ireland is a small island, about a seventh the size of California....with an equivalent poplulation ratio. Unlike California, there are no major highways.....travelling in Ireland is like travelling in Cachagua: windy roads, possibility of sheep and strangely arranged motor vehicles around every turn.

Recently, the Republic of Ireland found themselves with a problem on their tiny, windy highways. They had a criminal and scofflaw of epic proportions. be epic in Ireland is to reach towards some pretty poetic and lofty goals.

An individual named Prawo Jazdy had been caught by the Garda (the Irish police) more than 50 times.....violating the already generous motor vehicle laws of the Republic.

Prawo Jazdy was obviously Polish. The Poles are the Mexicans and Salvadoreans of Europe, and especially of Ireland and England. The British Isles had a Silicon Revolution of their own.....and their relatively highly literate and educated folk started raking in the big bucks building hard drives, etc.....and lost the strong desire to clean houses, dig ditches, and watch over small children.

Enter the Poles.

But, the the former toilet scrubbers of the world, are very tolerant of the working poor.

Prawo Jazdy's many violations were at first viewed with tolerance and understanding.

Each violation of Prawo's listed a different address, and involved a different motor vehicle. Prawo never showed up in Court to defend himself.

In Ireland, this obvious flaunting of authority would not be as surprising as it would in say.....Germany. We Irish are World Class Flaunters of Authority. We kept our culture alive for a thousand years under conditions that even make the Jews stand up and notice......Indeed, there are a few folk who think that the Irish are one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.

Still.....when Prawo's violations climbed from the twenties and thirties up into the forties and fifties......even the Irish got pissed.

Who the fuck is this guy? Fuck this guy. When we catch him, he is done. Fair is fair, but this is too much.....50 violations, 50 different addresses, 50 different vehicles......This is a conspiracy!

Finally, one young Garda had an idea.

He sought out one of the most powerful anti-crime databases known to man.

A Polish-English dictionary.

Turns out that "Prawo Jasdy" is Polish for ........

"Driver's License".


An Phoblact Abu!


Peace and reconciliation...... every crew talked about the whole Carmel suicide routine..... that I have been avoiding as too huge to contemplate.

They are really upset, but I get the sense that the younger staff are seeing an opening and are trying to claw back some meaning from some really bad things that happened to them and their friends in the whole Carmel School Days Experience.

They loaded on to the topic more things that even I could have imagined.....and I have observed some really twisted stuff. I guess I have to stop working and write a book.

Just recently:

Carmel Valley High teacher fired in the wake of......well, you know.

(Picture what must have gone down for CUSD to fire a tenured teacher. They didn't even fire married teachers and counselors who students watched having sex on a daily basis......)

Our most beloved local physician enmired with the Feds.....because maybe his patients traded meds with other patients.....

One of the victims trading out his meds for the meds he thought he needed (kids are good with the internet, you know.....)to friends who traded him placebos for more fun stuff....

And the kid winds up under a bridge with a gun.....and no sense of a solution.

And all of this confided in CUSD staff........

Please correct me if I am wrong.....

For the foreseeable future we are dropping names and going with nicknames on this blog......

Stay tuned on that deal........The kids are finally starting to talk. (our hostess tonight referred to one of the guests as a "kid".....Her "kid's" dad wrote "Taipan" and "Shogun" a million years ago.....and his "kid" is now at least 50.

When I say "kid"....I mean anyone who graduated from high school in the 90's or later.....

The kids are starting to talk......and I have heard horror stories.

The educational culture in Carmel is such that the administrators determine the external reality. I am sure that there is a large disconnect with administrative reality and student reality in all educational settings......

Maybe Carmel is normal.....All kids bitch about teachers and administrators.....

If so, no one should mind if I pass on stories from the kid-side of the equation.......

I understand the power of rumor and gossip...and it's often complete lack of veracity.

See what you think....

Take it all with a grain of salt......

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Panetta Needs a Diaper......

If you ever wondered why run of the mill Americans hated and distrusted Democrats for a few decades........

Check out Neon Leon Panetta's lastest giant turd laid in the bed of connubial bliss we all thought we were experiencing.

Obama appointed this Dick Cheney clone....because?????

This is Change We Can Believe In.....or Change We Are Too Depressed To Contemplate?

And this is policy decided by my neighbor.........Leon Panetta, as in Panetta Road, Carmel Valley, CA 93924.

Jesus Wept.......

Sorry about the botox ad......

LONDON, Feb. 4 -- Two British High Court judges ruled against releasing documents describing the treatment of a British detainee at the Guantanamo Bay prison, but made clear their reluctance, saying that the United States had threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with Britain if the information were made public.

"We did not consider that a democracy governed by the rule of law would expect a court in another democracy to suppress a summary of the evidence . . . relevant to allegations of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, politically embarrassing though it might be," Justice John Thomas and Justice David Lloyd Jones wrote.

The judges decided not to release information, supplied to the court by U.S. officials, concerning the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, 31, an Ethiopian-born British resident who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002.

The decision touched off a wave of anger at Washington from the floor of Parliament to the offices of human rights groups.

"The government is going to have to do some pretty careful explaining about what's going on," said David Davis, a top Conservative Party leader, speaking in the House of Commons.

Davis said it appeared the U.S. government had "threatened" the British government about the repercussions if details of the case were made public. "Frankly, it is none of their business what our courts do," he said.

"The ruling implies that torture has taken place in the Mohamed case, that British agencies may have been complicit, and further, that the United States government has threatened our High Court that if it releases this information the U.S. government will withdraw its intelligence cooperation with the United Kingdom," Davis said.

Mohamed was initially charged with planning a "dirty bomb" attack in the United States. Those charges were later dropped, but Mohamed has been held at the Guantanamo detention center in Cuba since September 2004 after allegedly confessing to being an al-Qaeda operative.

Mohamed says that evidence against him is based on confessions obtained by torture at the hands of U.S. officials and allies in "secret prisons" in Morocco and Afghanistan and later in Guantanamo.

Wednesday's ruling was part of a long-running legal battle by Mohamed's attorneys, who argue that he has committed no crime and is a victim of torture and rendition by U.S. officials, with British cooperation.

Attorneys for several British and American news media organizations petitioned the court to release the information it had about Mohamed's treatment, which had been redacted from a court ruling last summer.

On Wednesday, the judges turned down the request to release the documents, saying that the United States continued to threaten to punish Britain by withholding intelligence cooperation if the court released details of Mohamed's treatment.

Clive Stafford Smith, Mohamed's attorney, told reporters that by not disclosing the evidence, Britain was guilty of "capitulation to blackmail."

"It is hardly Britain's finest hour," he said. "As the judges say, it is up to President Obama to put his money where his mouth is. He must repudiate his predecessor's reprehensible policy."

Officials in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said they are unaware of any threat from the Obama administration to withhold cooperation. "We have not engaged with the new administration on the detail of this case," a Brown spokesman told reporters.

Also Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to clarify the Obama administration's position on the Mohamed case and to reject what it described as the Bush administration's policy of using false claims of national security to avoid judicial review of controversial programs.

Anthony D. Romero, head of the ACLU, said, "The latest revelation is completely at odds with President Obama's executive orders that ban torture and end rendition, as well as his promise to restore the rule of law."

Back to the Koalas.......

This is not quite so cute......

I confess to be a leading critic of corporate culture: not a fan of globalization, the G7, the IMI....or any of that shite.

For decades, I and my ilk have hated Nestle as being one of the worst of the worst corporate scumbags.

Pushing dried formula to Africans as an alternative to breast-feeding for instance. Oh, and ingnoring the fact, or not, that the dried formula must be mixed with water.....of which there was none, or none that was safe.

And selling same dried formula by the millions of tonnes to the UN, UNESCO, etc, etc, etc.......

I am sure anyone with a Santa Cruz zipcode could regale all of us for hours about the many and varied sins of Nestle.

I have a vague feeling that Nestle is a supporter of the Marine Stewardship folk....who are adopting sustainable fishery standards in the North Pacific. In fact, Nestle may even own the Marine Stewardship folk.....but I am falling back on the idea that this blog is opinion, not fact.

The Marine Stewardship folk may be on the side of the angels....but the last time I observed one of their press orgies at the Solutions For Solipsism....or Sautees for Sustainiblility.....or whatever the soon to arrive in Monterey Self-Love fest will soon be.......

Whoever they were, they were all drinking Fiji Water on the dias.

Fiji Water is pulled from an ossified source.....once gone, ain't no mo'.....9,000 miles away from Monterey and flown in little bottles to the Sipping For Self-Aggrandizement Fest.

Anyway, the most recent chairman of Nestle.....Peter Brabeck-Letmathe....a Swiss guy, not a dummy.

Swiss Pete is worried about water.....probably because every person to the left of Vladimir Putin kicked Nestle's ass for thirty years about the whole baby formula thing....but Pete learned from his mistakes, and he is now ahead of the game.

Pete is worried about not global warming....but the loss of fresh water that results from global warming and a bunch of other bad practices and policies.

Nestle has been tracking their water use, not just by volume, but by water use vs. volume of sales for ten years.....ever since La Leche League started picketing. Usage has dropped at Nestle from five litres per dollar of sales to below 1.8 litres per dollar.

Swiss Pete is one of the most complete corporate cocksuckers on the planet....Pete is Swiss, so he is not really worried about starving children in Bumfuck, Egypt....he is worried about his company's bottom line.

I once worked for a new hotel in Switzerland....the InterContinental on the wrong side of the river in Zurich. When it opened, the business plan called for the place to start making money in 50 years. Everyone laughed. Well, all the Americans laughed. At the time, Switzerland had a negative inflation rate.....and was actually paying 0 per cent for deposits. I think it went up to 2%. If you had put your student loans on the Intercontinental, you would have missed the dot-com and real estate booms....but you would be laughing hysterically in the cafe across from the bank right now.

The Swiss are the closest thing that Europeans have to Asians....they are in for the long haul.

When a corporate fucker like Peter Brabeck-Letmathe lets everyone know that he is worried about water......and has been already tracking his rapacious company's use of water for ten years......get on the bus.

Here are the facts that Swiss Pete lays out for us:

One litre of water produces about one calorie of food. This varies according to climate, crop, technology, etc....but take it to the Swiss Bank.

Meat requires ten litres of water to produce one calorie of food. Us white folks have had the market cornered on the whole meat thing for millenia. The average daily diet in California requires about 6,0o0 litres of water in agriculture alone.....compared to half that in those annoying Allah countries like Tunisia and Egypt.....

But those damn Africans, Asians and South Asians are catching up.

Mmmmm. Dead critters taste good!

And they all want to have hamburgers with Paris Hilton....and later mad sex at the clubs.

Oh...this is just food related water.

It takes about 16,000 litres of water to produce a litre of wine.......and multiply that by at least ten to start thinking about vodka or brandy.

Paris is a really high maintenance date......

We also drink three or four litres of water every day.....and we need a minimum of 300 litres for showering and pissing.....and maybe another 300 litres for making tires and the plastic that covers the water bottles we take to the gym.

Divide all these faggy Euro-numbers by about eight to get manly American gallons......we are about at 800, and we have not started on the landscaping yet.

Speaking of landscaping.....and groovy new feel-good stuff: it takes up to 10,000 litres of water to grow soy for one litre of bio-fuel, and about 4,000 litres of water to make a liter of corn biofuel... drive to the club with your litre of vodka.....better hope that the club is close, or you are taking a taxi.

Even so......your life-style is burning through tens of thousands of litres of water a day....while African and Asian women are walking miles and miles every day with buckets on their heads to give their families cups of water to continue to live. Recently it was a Nobel-prize winning breakthrough idea for folks to teach Bangladeshi women to strain their drinking and cooking water through scarves before strain out the amoebas.

And, at least in America.....all the places where we are growing bio-fuels are sitting atop aquifers that have been draining and shrinking alarmingly for decades. In the San Joaquin Valley in Cali, subsidence of thirty feet is the last decade. If you want to laugh for days amongst your Annie Proulx's great book "That Old Ace in The Hole". Or call me....I will lend you the fifthteenth copy I have bought because I lent out all the others......

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is convinced that we will run out of water long before we run out of fossil fuels. This is like hearing that Dick Cheny is worried we will run out of Berdan primers before Dick runs out of friends or quail to shoot...

Swiss Pete thinks that water should be commoditized....except for a basic survival minimum. Localities and those who own the local water rights can wheel and deal and the Market will make everything cool....

Did I mention that Cal-American Water Company is German?

I am going back to praying for rain.......

Along with the Koalas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Koalas Know Something.....

Australia and Cachagua are bonded in many ways.....

There are two Red Pig in Cachagua and one in Two-Tree Plain....


They have an insane fire in Oz right now.......

Multiply our fires of last summer in Cachagua/Big Sur by Hiroshima, and add in the eucalyptus multiplier.

Hero fire guys are everywhere......

But.....Oz has us beat on cute.....

When I was a tiny kid in Hawaii, my Grandpop was a sea captain....fuel tankers in the South Pacific during WWII. Later, Matson Lines luxury cruisers.....

The finish line on his runs was Australia....

And he brought us back stuffed critters from Oz as a show of his kangaroos (Roo!) koalas....(Walla!).

Platypus had bad agents, apparently.

Gramps did not bring us cute little stuffed animals.

We got....

Actual stuffed dead baby critters....

But, hey...they were cute.

Gramps confided that the roos were destroying the had to have special windshield screens to keep alive while driving inland, and special fencing to have a hope of having a farm.

And the fucking koalas would rip your flesh in a drunken moment with their claws....

Your drunken moment.....their claws and attitude.

Gramps loved giving us stuffed baby roos and wallas....A dead roo is a good roo. the cutest critters in the universe are.....


Koalas demanding water......from guys who, given enough Foster's.....will beat your ass to a pulp because.......well, just because.

Some people need beating, after all.....and apparently you are top of the list. the cute wars......we lose again. A koala appeared at a lady's back door, acting thirsty. It is summer in Oz, and it is a million degrees. The lady poured water into the first thing she found handy....a bucket.

The result: And, finally....

In the extreme, horrible, deadly heat of the Oz summer this summer.......

Crazy, testosterone fueled normal residents of the country who are not at the moment doing the Mad Max thing and playing Ozzie Rules Football....are riding bicycles in the mountains in the deadly heat in the middle of wildfires.

How do you say "Conway" in Australian?

The bike geeks were derailed once again by curbside Union Koalas....demanding their fair share of Australia' rapidly diminishing H20.....

Before you laugh too heartily.....

Here is our latest outlook.

Clearly....we are starting to be completely fucked.

Rather than conserve water, increase taxes to pay for the services we need, or invest in new technologies, or develop a coherent strategy to deal with both development and survival......

All of which is really annoying hard work......

We just need a cute animal......


We have lots of eucalyptus.........

Monday, February 09, 2009

Good News....Bad News.....

Good News: My rant about young peoples' suicides started a good dialogue.....lots of people with lots of ideas.

Bad News: Mr. Pal is super mad and wants a public debate. Bad news that he might be taking this personally. Good news about the debate. I certainly did not mean to attack Mr. Pal as a gripes are with the school paradigm for kids at risk. We have another one right now that has me worried sick: great mom and grandparents, not the best student. His troubles in English got him a punishment......booted out of all his science classes, which are the only classes he loves. Quiet, introspective kid who, like all Cachagua kids......doesn't have lots of friends.

Bad News: We are in the middle of the AT&T.....and noses to the grindstone. More thoughts tomorrow....and happy to engage in dialogue. As are a bunch of other folks.

Good News.....the relative warmth has the wildflowers popping already. Walks in the woods are gorgeous.

Bad News: Smokey Joe Ortman on the top of the ridge keeps track of the rainfall for thirty years. We are now at 12"......about half. Twelve inches is the place where the Jamesburg Creek starts to flow. Not much yet, and nothing in the Cachagua Creek but feral chickens.

This time last year, the Creek was overflowing, and even washed away Howard and Store Kitty.

More Bad News: Our organic meat guy, Frank at PL Bar in Gonzales, raises cattle all the way to the top of the Gavilans on the far side of the Salinas Valley. He keeps track of rain, and he is at 6".....also about half. The sucks if you are a grass-fed farmer.

More Bad News: Our organic lamb lady.....also in Gonzales.....has half the lambs she normally has. They have water and feed aplenty, and usually the ewes give birth to twin lambs. Nature is telling the sheep something, and there are only one apiece this year.

Remember, that a lot of the pressure that broke up the Land Grant Ranchos was weather-related. In the 1850's and '60's, right after Statehood, the weather went crazy. Drought, drought, flood, drought, flood, flood, drought. The rancheros cattle either starved or died of thirst, or drowned in the mud.

Folks like David Jacks were right there to lend a hand.....and dollars to make it through the bad times in exchange for mortgages on the ranchos. The Rancheros thought this was free money (sound familiar?)......and wound up losing everything. David Jacks even foreclosed on the entire City of Monterey.

Good News: The snow sure looks pretty!

Friday, February 06, 2009

A word from the workers........

My guys just asked me to point out something from the stimulus debate:

The Republicans just went off about a few million dollars included in the Stimulus Plan to support honey bees.

Anyone who has been outside.....much less anyone who has been to a Farmers' Market....or anyone who has actual fruit trees themselves.....has known for a decade that there is a serious problem with dead honeybees everywhere.

Crops are not being pollinated.

The State will pay you to raise bees......

Cellphones, pesticides, contrails....everyone has been blamed for the fall off.

Dead hives everywhere.

People fighting over hives to pollinate their almonds, plums, apples, etc......

Albert dummy, I hear.....has a famous quote:

"When the honeybees go.......civilization will be gone in seven years."

And the Republicans......who are fine with our government paying an extra 80 billion dollars for worthless corporate paper in the last six months........

Won't spend a few million on honeybees?

And, worse......turn honeybees into a talking point?

Jesus wept.

Panetta Shits The Bed......

Neon Leon dropped the Ball today......

The Ball.....and any hint of actually claiming any balls of his own.

Yeah,well......I had always thought that Sylvia actually claimed that anatomical function in their family anyway.......

In the process, Neon Leon pissed all over any remotely believable idea that there is any fundamental difference between any given group of politicians.

Ralph Nader people are chortling into their Kambucha tonight.


A change perhaps of whores.....brunettes for blondes. Maybe not so many diaper people like David Vitter....who knows? Maybe there is a rise in Nazi paraphernalia-style sex geeks? Like the Formula One car guy. My friend The Hassler is finally off-loading his stash of Wehrmacht gear he collected in high school in Munich at record prices....and touring the West this spring on the proceeds.

Neon Leon re-appeared before the Senate today and avowed a number of startling cowardly and false ideas:

1) The United States of America has NEVER renditioned ANYONE to any foreign country for purposes of torture or harsh interrogation....or disappearance.

2) No U.S. personnel who actually tortured humans will be prosecuted.

They were just following orders, you see.


The thing I hated most about the Bush era was people in positions of power, influence and information feeding me slimy turds and telling me it was foie gras.

These fucking guys don't even bother to realize that we are not stupid.....we are compliant. There is a difference.

We will go along with your crap.....because we are too busy bailing down here in the hold to care too much about whether the Captain is drunk or not.....or whether we just hit rocks.... or an iceberg.

Just stop fucking lying to us!

We have more information than even you do! We spend way more time on CSPAN and YouTube than your butt-slurping aides will ever have time for.

We have the tail numbers of each and every private jet that was used in the renditions. We have the corporate information and addresses that match the tail numbers. Our super-geeky friends the plane watchers have the entire itineraries of each and every rendition jet on each and every shitty stop they made all across the shittiest countries in the world. Times, numbers and dates.

The rendition people were so fucking stupid that they did not realize that their cell phone transmissions leave a permanent the same time their friends were recording every sigh, syllable and semi-colon in every communication made by anyone in North America.

Who knew the Italians were up to these standards? Why aren't they dealing with shoes and pizza?

We have a bunch of our Foreign Service officers, State Department guys, CIA guys.....with active warrants for war crimes, civil rights abuses, kidnapping, Italy. Our people set guys up in Italy, and had them renditioned to Egypt and tortured. I myself have fotos of the scars and the abuse of the guys they renditioned.

The US Government has been protecting these guys from the justice of......Italy?

Foie gras, Leon? Nah....bullshit.

We won't even talk about the Canadian guys.....or the random German guy dropped off in Albania after 18 months......

Leon, you dumbfuck!

You are supposed to be apologizing for all this shit everyone knows about......not maintaining the status quo!

Isn't "Panetta" Italian? Do you not want to go there without subpoenas?

2) "I did not know.......I was just following orders."

After WWII, the US, and NATO, tried dozens....hundreds of Nuremberg.....for this exact thing. We strung them up and dropped like the fucks they were and composted them.

When I was in sixth grade in Anaheim, weird reading thing was already well-known. One of my dad's friends was Dr. Connie....a Russian optical scientist who had been captured by the Germans and shipped to Peenemunde to help make rockets to kill Brits and Yanks. All the construction crew at Peenemunde were slave-labor: Slavs, Jews, Russians, Poles.....

I was supposed to be studying for my Confirmation....but I had run across a copy of "Lady Chatterley's Lover".....and a copy of "Judgement at Nuremberg".

One book involved mad wanking, and the other a strange sense of what-the-fuck? This was 1962...only seventeen years after the fact of the Trials.

I overheard Dr. Connie....who had been a defendant at the Trials........talking to my dad.

"What do you think?"

"I think it is time he knows and understands......."

I thought they were talking about DH Lawrence and the mad wanking.........

"I don't know......."

"He needs to know......We have to have faith in the next generation......."

I scoured "Judgment at Nuremberg" for any hint of crazy sex......and all I found was hideous depravity on a global scale.

Our lead prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson .....a guy often quoted by both Sam Alito and Chief Justice Roberts in their confirmations, despite the fact that he was a New Deal guy.....Judge Jackson laid down the law in Germany:

This is really boring shit for anyone who is not an Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Superstar.
You can skip it.....or better his whole speech at the link. There is so much in here that makes me want to leap up and beat someone with an American flag standard.....

The Charter also recognizes individual responsibility on the Part of those who commit acts defined as crimes, or who incite others to do so, or who join a common plan with other persons, groups or organizations to bring about their commission. The principle of individual responsibility for piracy and brigandage. which have long been recognized as crimes punishable under international law, is old and well established. That is what illegal warfare is.

This principle of personal liability is a necessary as well as logical one if international law is to render real help to the maintenance of peace. An international law which operates only on states can be enforced only by war because the most practicable method of coercing a state is warfare.

Those familiar with American history know that one of the compelling reasons for adoption of our constitution was that the laws of the Confederation, which operated only on constituent states, were found ineffective to maintain order among them. The only answer to recalcitrance was impotence or war.

Only sanctions which reach individuals can peacefully and effectively be enforced.

Hence, the principle of the criminality of aggressive war is implemented by the Charter with the principle of personal responsibility. Of course, the idea that a state, any more than a corporation commits crimes, is a fiction.

Crimes always are committed only by persons. While it is quite proper to employ the fiction of responsibility of a state or corporation for the purpose of imposing a collective liability, it is quite intolerable to let such a legalism become the basis of personal immunity.

The Charter recognizes that one who has committed criminal acts may not take refuge in superior orders nor in the doctrine that his crimes were acts of states. These twin principles working together have heretofore resulted in immunity for practically everyone concerned in the really great crimes against peace and mankind.

Those in lower ranks were protected against liability by the orders of their superiors. The superiors were protected because their orders were called acts of state.

Under the Charter, no defense based on either of these doctrines can be entertained.

Modern civilization puts unlimited weapons of destruction in the hands of men. It cannot tolerate so vast an area of legal irresponsibility. Even the German Military Code provides that: "If the execution of a military order in the course of duty violates the criminal law, then the superior officer giving the order will bear the sole responsibility therefor. However, the obeying subordinate will share the punishment of the participant: (1) if he has exceeded the order given to him, or (2) if it was within his knowledge that the order of his superior officer concerned an act by which it was intended to commit a civil or military crime or transgression." (Reichsgesetzblatt, 1926 No. 37, P. 278, Art. 47) Of course, we do not argue that the circumstances under which one commits an act should be disregarded in judging its legal effect. A conscripted private on a firing squad cannot expect to hold an inquest on the validity of the execution. The Charter implies common sense limits to liability just as it places common sense limits upon immunity. But none of these men before you acted in minor parts. Each of them was entrusted with broad discretion and exercised great power. Their responsibility is correspondingly great and may not be shifted to that fictional being, "the State", which cannot be produced for trial, cannot testify, and cannot be sentenced.

The Charter also recognizes a vicarious liability, which responsibility recognized by most modern systems of law, for acts committed by others in carrying out a common plan or conspiracy to which a defendant has become a party. I need not discuss the familiar principles of such liability. Every day in the courts of countries associated in this prosecution, men are convicted for acts that they did not personally commit, but for which they were held responsible because of membership in illegal combinations or plans or conspiracies.

The American dream of a peace-and-plenty economy, as well as the hopes of other nations, can never be fulfilled if those nations are involved in a war every generation so vast and devastating as to crush the generation that fights and burden the generation that follows.

But experience has shown that wars are no longer local. All modern wars become world wars eventually. And none of the big nations at least can stay out. If we cannot stay out of wars, our only hope is to prevent wars. But the ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars, which are inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to make statesmen responsible to law.

And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment. We are able to do away with domestic tyranny and violence and aggression by those in power against the rights of their own people only when we make all men answerable to the law.

This trial represents mankind's desperate effort to apply the discipline of the law to statesmen who have used their powers of state to attack the foundations of the world's peace and to commit aggressions against the rights of their neighbors.

But it points to the dreadful sequence of aggressions and crimes I have recited, it points to the weariness of flesh, the exhaustion of resources and the destruction of all that was beautiful or useful in so much of the world, and to greater potentialities for destruction in the days to come. It is not necessary among the ruins of this ancient and beautiful city with untold members of its civilian habitants still buried in its rubble, to argue the proposition that to start or wage an aggressive war has the moral qualities of the worst of crimes. The refuge of the defendants can be only their hope that international law will lag so far behind the moral sense of mankind that conduct which is crime in the moral sense must be regarded as innocent in law.

Civilization asks whether law is so laggard as to be utterly helpless to deal with crimes of this magnitude by criminals of this order of importance. It does not expect that you can make war impossible. It does expect that your juridical action will put the forces of international law, its precepts, its prohibitions and, most of all, its sanctions, on the side of peace, so that men and women of good will, in all countries, may have "leave to live by no man's leave, underneath the law."

Basically, the United States of America.......following the example of the Greatest Generation....drew a line in the sand and said: "Never again!"

Band of Brothers. Local heroes like 10th Mountain guys like Ross Green and Clayton Anderson. Silver Star guys like Stuart Walzer......and don't forget the Manzinar folks....and Gordy who hid in Hatton Canyon all during high school, rather than go to Manzinar with his relatives.

We have had heroes since.....most of the guys living under bridges were Vietnam people. Lots of the quiet guys who buy twelve-packs at The Store in Cachagua....

I always think back to my high school buddy who went to West Point.....and when the rotors stripped off his helicopter at 1000 feet in Vietnam, who had just enough time to shout out to his buddy on the radio the account number of the secret account he had set up for the son he had never seen..... before impact.

There is a reason we all work harder than we should here in California.....We cleave to a higher ideal.

America is not a is a vision and a goal.

Back in the dead friend Hunter Thompson used to villify random dick-shit scumbags who would rear up out of the Democratic slime.....

Most memorably to me, he once said that Hubert Humphrey should be "stuffed in a goddam bottle and floated out on the Japanese current......"

Hubert's direct descendent was Walter Mondale.....another limp-dick, bound for failure, Democratic-machine whore.....who clearly also needed floating out on the Jap current.

Leon Panetta supported both these losers......

Somehow, I thought that the skills he had learned in all the bureaucratic infighting of his long career would be eventually brought to bear in the defense of Freedom and Change.

Why did I think that?

I just realized that it was because my old friend, Mary Green.....who passed just last month...was a Leon supporter.

Back when he first ran in local politics.....And all the way along the line.

My friend Mary had many occassions to kick my ass.

I can't decide right now if I am glad that Mary did not live to see Leon "Shit The Bed"......

Or if I miss 82 year old Mary...walking up to Leon....and knocking him on his fat ass.

And stuffing him into a goddam bottle....

And floating him out on the Japanese current....

Mary could do it......

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rob......

Thinking of you.....

Robert Sean Jones (3 March 1953-13 August 2001)

Hoping the Supreme Court does the right thing on the fifth....

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who Needs 12/21/12?

The end is nigh......

Forget the is possible that the end has already occurred.....and we didn't notice.....

Like that great movie set in Philly with Bruce Springsteen and the amazing actress from Muriel's Wedding.....

"I see dead people....."

OK, it wasn't Bruce was that other washed-up, balding, Wal-Mart ass-kissing Bruce...


Due to my position as World Leader of Beverage Trends......or else possibly due to my position as Some Random Guy With Internet Access....

I received a press release about Ulitmate Ice.....aka Glace Luxury Ice.
(There is an umlaut over the "a" in "glace" which my skills cannot reproduce in this blog. The umlaut turns the vowel below it into a really long sound......think the "o" in "Lowenbrau", or the "au" for that matter.....Wait, who am I kidding? No one reading this has ever heard of Lowenbrau, or cares about pronouncing it right...... "Glace" with the umlaut would be pronounced "glace" like "glade", not "glace" like "glass".)

Google already knows about this browser tells me of 70,000 references.

Who knew that we have been failing....failing!!....our friends and denying them access to pure frozen water in its most pure form? Our crappymountain spring water ice has been polluting their drinks and their senses for five years now......

A UC Davis student engineering student from Nicaragua has set himself on the road to reform all our plebian drinking habits....

Regular ice, you see, is possibly artesian-sourced....and full of nutrients and off-flavors that can wreck the subtle flavors of seriously expensive distilled alcoholic beverages.

Hence....Celebrity Ice.

If you can pay $400 for a fifth of Ketl One or "Goose" in a shitty bar that Paris Hilton once charged a quarter of a million dollars to hang out in for fifteen need Celebrity Ice. Especially if your date, and the cocktail waitresses, are all either failed ....or future.... pharmaceutical sales reps.

I am a failed engineer myself....electrical version. Despite my many and varied engineering failures, I cannot escape my education.

For instance: I often have to explain to Brides and Moms-of-Brides why they should have four-foot tables that seat 7-8 rather than five foot tables that seat 9-10 at their to experience a more geometrically realized social interaction......

And quite possibly.....eternal love.

The circumference given any guest at banquets is always the same....about 1.8 feet. As the table gets bigger (a 6, an 8, a 10, etc) the circumference per guest stays the same, but the area the table takes up goes up by the square of the radius. A twelve-top takes up half again as much area per person as an eight-top. And the linens are bigger and more expensive, the centerpieces are bigger and more expensive, and the guests are further no one can talk.

Almost no one listens to me either.

The same thing happens with new bartenders or wine geeks.

I explain how I want the bar/wine station laid out: "Hexagonal closest packing....OK?"

Each glass touching another in rows, slightly each glass touches six others. Hex is Greek for six. Dummy chemistry from eighth grade....everywhere but Carmel (thank you, Mr. Pal for a generation of mathematically and scientifically deprived CHS grads).

All my bar people but Lee smile and nod at me like I am an insane person. "Sure, Mike. Science class.....heptisional closet stacking." And procede to line the glasses in nice, inefficient rows of little vitreous soldiers, waiting to be knocked over and gunned down in their solitary little rows without being able to touch their six friends........

Lee, of course....given perfectly willing to dredge up Pythagorus and give me a run for my geometric money. But Lee is a Cal guy....saved by the Blue and Gold.

I was amused by the Glace kid, therefore. His whole pitch is based upon the geometric fact that his ice is "scientifically proven to have the maximum surface of cooling.....for the minimum volume of frozen water"! A breakthrough! Science conquers beverage cooling....and you can be a part of it! Just log on and order! friend Andreas Baer, an engineer who survived Mr. Pal and CHS..... will now explain what shape has the maximum surface area vs. the minimum volume.....


"A fucking sphere, Mike".....says Andreas.

Glace sells spheres of frozen distilled water......with flair. They promise the slowest melting rate and greatest cooling rate of any shaped ice product. A sphere, in other words.

It is a "meticulously designed and differentiated drink-ice product".

It is a "perfectly spherical 2.5" diameterice product designed to occupy the top position of the premium ice market."

"Diameterice"? Hey, a take on "diameterice"?

Pythagorus, meet Roberto Sequiera...founder of Glace, whose "unique talent and passionate dispostion has (sic) fueled his rise as an extraordinary entrepreneur......"

Mr. Sequiera....late of resides in California where he "balances the demands of a brilliant career with the laughter and intimacy of family and friends. He credits his warm and optimistic personality to his parents (sic) influence and many life-long friendships which have contributed to his embodiment of the American success story."

The tidal wave of enthusiasm for Glace is readily apparent in their press releases. Just now, at the Arpa (?) film festival in Hollywood ("Hollywood is all about Glace!") none other than Ken Davitian had his drinks cooled with Glace.

You remember know....the fat, hairy guy from Borat and SNL.....the token Armenian?

And who can forget the night at the Playboy Mansion?

Back to Pythagorus.

2.5 spherical inches of water turns out to be about a half cup....4 oz. For the moment, we will forget the fact that frozen water takes up more space than liquid.

The hell we will! If frozen water were not less dense than liquid water, there would be no life on earth....Ice floats and forms a cap that protects and insulates the creatures underneath....


Frozen water is about 9% less dense than liquid.

Glace sells for about $8 per wholesale.

This is $8 for four ounces......which runs out to, trust me......a mere $241 per gallon of distilled water.

I think our Nicaraguan friend, Sr. Sequeira is on to something.

He does embody the American dream.....

Sell a bunch of dummies with too much money a glizty product that will enable them to reach out and touch their dreams of being Platonically form and in idea. A robust understanding of the English language is irrelevant.

The American Dream.

Of the Bush Years.....

For what it is worth.....independent of the "science" of the sphere of ice.......the chilling vs. dilution of drinks is a subject close to my heart.

Years ago....decades ago....I worked in New York City as a Union bartender. The bartenders' union is like is a bitch to break in, and you have to have skills.

When I was a bar-back, working towards my card.....I would spend my shifts washing glasses, bringing ice, and praticing pouring tiny measured amounts of liquid on scales: 5ml, 2ml, 10ml, 7ml, etc.

Beyond that there was the actual physical practice of pouring in front of the guests....cutting the fruit, juicing the lemons, limes and oranges, shaking the drinks, straining them, etc.

New York City in the early '70's was a Martini town. If it was not Martini' was Manhattan's. It was not yet cool to be out of the closet the boys always had super-model dates who hung at my bar while the boys played in the booths. The girls drank old-school drinks: Golden Cadillacs, Pink Squirrels.....and my personal favorite, Stingers.

I had a long bar at The Colony at Madison and 61st Street. The girls would line the bar and order fun stuff just to fuck with me. Because of all the different mixed and shaken drinks I had three rinse tanks for my shakers: a clear tank, a fruit tank, and cream drink tank. The tanks were scattered along the 25 foot based on what I was doing I spent a lot of time racing back and forth, rinsing my shakers....trying to keep up.

The other hurdle was that the boys at the time were into poppers....amyl nitrate capsules that one would crush under someone's nose to.....supposedly bring them back to life from a faint.....but really to enhance orgasms from your partner.

The girls held the poppers.....and part of their idea of fun and tipping was to lean over the bar and snap a popper in my face as I was racing from rinsing a martini shaker and a brandy alexander shaker and a daiquiri shaker.....

Bang! Everything goes all electric and fuzzy and slo-mo....

Thanks, girls.

All the drinks were shaken and strained into beautiful glassware......

And the last big hurdle to clear from being bar-back to getting you Union card was the shaking/stirring thing.

The ice had to be fresh and dry (bar-back land....). The booze went in fast....the stirring and shaking were such that the ice cubes jumped around in the shaker or glass.....and were strained immediately.

Any slowdown, lack of skill or laziness or slack on the cleanliness of the shakers or glasses resulted in a drink that was "bruised".....not cold, too much water. Or cold, too much water.

A properly shaken or stirred drink is alive with oxygen and tiny bits of ice.....and one of the great pleasures of modern civilization.....

A properly shaken or stirred drink requires a highly trained bartender with a huge support network, and an equally huge fear of failure....great glassware......good ice, and a management with a good dose of fear of failure on both the labor front, and the ingredient and glassware front.

I won the "Best Martini in Manhattan" award in 1972.....despite a fucked up management. I would rather have that prize than the Nobel. Nobel does literature, but not drinks.....despite being a Norway thing....

Fuck this Nicaraguan idiot from Davis.......

If this clown is not sharing a cell with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney....or at least celebrating his new job of bringing them tofu-scrambles at Guantanamo by this time next Union bartender guys will hunt him down and kill him.

If you love your spouse or is a great drink, reaching out to you from the days of Watergate.....the last time American Democrats searched around and found a set of balls.

Even if you are a Republican....and are still bummed about the whole Nixon thing, it is still a great drink and an awesome anti-depressant....and possibly best consumed with former or future salesgirls of other anti-depressants.

The Colony Restaurant Stinger:

1 oz Get Mint
4 oz decent Cognac (We reject the idea of using XO, etc for a mixed drink....unless you are trying to get Angelina Jolie back to your hotel. In that case, ask the barman for some Glace ice. A good VSOP, or even a nice Armagnac will suffice)

Good dry ice. Not "dry ice". Ice that is not wet.

Fill a martini glass with ice and set in front of Angelina Jolie.

Fill your shaker with good dry ice. Pour in ingredients. Shake according to Union standards. Toss ice from glass, strain the drink into the glass with a proper Union flourish...


Step back in case she has a popper.

Rinse your shaker and set to dry.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Feral Epiphany.....

I realized tonight that I have spent a fair amount of time with things feral.

Back in the day, we had the Arroyo Seco Wild Irish Pig Company.....raising Russian Imperial Boar on our pathetic little ranch the other side of the Cahoon Grade. Well, it was 1500 acres....and maybe the ranch was not as pathetic as the ranchers....

Here we are on a marketing trip in San Francisco in 1979......I am on the left. My partner and brother-in-law is on the left. The foto was taken a half hour before Michael barfed on Dianne Feinstein's action for which I will always revere him. No politician has ever more deserved projectile Irish pig-farmer barf on her shoes than Dianne Feinstein.

(Note the roasted head of a pig stuck on the end of a shovel handle, protruding in front of our chauffeured limousine.....Body By Ford. The Only-In-San Francisco note of this event is that....the day was Saint Patrick's Day...and it was pissing rain and we all ran the effects of hypothermia from hanging out for hours beneath a drizzle of rain and Jameson. I drove the Beast Wagon downtown to Union Square after the Barf Incident to buy dry clothes for all of us at Macy's.....I double parked and made my purchases. When I emerged from Macy's....some San Franciscan had stolen the roasted pig head.........for what completely perverted and completely interesting purpose one can only imagine.....and be pissed at not having been invited to......)

Our Wild Boar were visually pure......long black hair, big shoulders, small hams, and a seriously pissed off attitude.

We started our Wild Boar business and got good graphic design behind us.....My friend Jeff Sax did our logo...... (We won the Jonathon Livingston Seagull Award that year for Best Graphic Design........)

But, the pigs themselves were genetically, technically......feral.

We caught the ancestors of our tribe of wild boar at the Search Ranch on Tassajara Road one Christmas morning.

Catching wild boar on Christmas morning? Mothers don't let their daughters grow up to be caterers......

That morning.....I know longer remember what the draw was, but it was pre-children....say 1977 or 1976. What else does Christmas morning in Carmel Valley have to offer for single people?

Chasing baby wild boar, apparently.

Our friends who were tenants of the Search Ranch directed us to some old abandoned chicken coops: "They are all down there......They are tearing up shit, but they are little......We think there is no mom."

What followed was total Charlie Chaplin physical comedy.....white boys and girls charging through the mud, and at one point even charging through a wall....diving into the grass and kidnapping baby pigs.

We got three....they weighed approximately four or five pounds. Even though they looked to be pure wild hog....they were technically just regular feral pigs....

This weekend we had my friend Helaine out to help us build our kitchen garden for this year. Her business is The Raised Bed......turn-key gardens. (I know you know how to do this gardening also are really good at ironing shirts........good use of your time?)

I tried to describe our situation in Cachagua to Helaine before she came out: riverbed sandy soil with boulders.....screaming summer sun, freezing hard-frost winter cold, overflowing creek on occasion, fifty feral chickens.....

Fifty feral chickens?


The local Mexicans drop off all the gay roosters.....or the peace-love-tie-dye roosters that won't fight....and we have a sufficient supply of hens that there are chickens everywhere, and eggs pretty much everywhere as well.

Our feral chickens help me out with the compost in soon as I move the tarps that cover the piles they all come rushing over to feast.....but the rest of the time having fifty feral chickens is like having fifty Energizer Bunny weed-whackers randomly cruising your property.....only the strong herbs and veggies survive.

In our case that means: rosemary, gnarly piss-tasting epazote, and hunted, stunted fear-driven mint.

Our chickens fly. The only reason the hawks, bobcats, pumas, snakes, camp dogs and hungry Mexicans have not exterminated them is that they are fast on the ground......and they sleep in trees.

On the morning just before Christmas when I came to work to find our entire water system frozen shut......I walked outside to check the areal water-line over the find a dozen chickens dozing in the pale morning sun on my frozen water line.....eight feet off the ground over the Creek.

The future success of our kitchen garden depends on our gathering up and civilizing our feral chickens......

Grant and Dave offered to help in the trapping process and the whole penning up process. They are experts......


Grant and Dave are Feral Humans!

They draw almost no nuture from government or any civilized institution......they live by their wits......and they technically don't exist.

And.....from time to time....they are a huge pain in the ass.

And.....from time to time.....their mere existence and spirit inspire us.

Unlike our feral roosters....Grant and Dave are not reproducing. I am not sure if this a good our bad thing....

But....picture the savings for our government. Suddenly there could be no more homeless people.


No stigma for failing to care for our poorest and most unable.....Ronald Reagan's miraculous legacy of Anti-Commie Cowboy and Kommie Gobment Killer could be extra polished....

All the completely crazy, or slightly crazy people Ronnie dumped from any hope of state care and released under our Republic's most popular warm bridges and freeway overpasses......

Could be re-labled....and further disappeared!

They are not Homeless.........

They are Feral Americans!

They have rights to pursue their lifestyle outside of social and government assistance and interference.....

Get them off the books and back on their own.

I gotta call Rush Limbaugh.....

Viva Feral Americans!