Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hello, Dalai....

Posted without far.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gobshite Mick comes back...

Just so's ya know....

Not just ranting about witches in Carmel....

Food at high levels is like sports....Guys move around, stars crash, unknown guys rise up.....old steady guys win and win....week after week.

We are Spain fans....and food geeks.

If you follow this blog or accidentally land here, you are about to get three straight weeks of Spain, Spain, Spain.

We use the internet to try to keep up with the haps. We know what people in Spain think about what is what...we read Spanish newspapers.

Here is my response to the number one foodie website's current situation. Proof positive that the recession is real....and only corporate carpetbaggers are loose in the world with enough cash to sustain us.

Sorry, folks....for me the worst part of the worldwide downturn of the last two years is the utter decay of eGullet, especially the Spain/Portugal forum.

Two years ago it was all about fights about the relative merits of new restaurants in Barca....and what was up with the common esthetic of Victor at Extebarre and Rafa in Roses. And was Mugaritz worthy, if Andoni is never there...and why does the mejordelagastronmia guy boycott Arzak?

Now it is all Bulli, all the time.

Can Roca finally gets their third star...and gets posts every other month.

No mention of Barca restaurants since Halloween.

No mention of what is up in Olot.

Just you fucking wankers whining about getting dissed at Bulli.

Those of us who used to check this forum, and who actually speak with chefs, waiters, wine guys...members of the Adria family....knew two years ago that Ferran is over it and was closing the place.


Because of you idiots.

How can you possibly imagine that El Bulli is all there is to Spain and Spanish cuisine?

Do you keep track of Ferran's ex-chefs, waiters and wine people?
No. Cuisine is like baseball or soccer. The politics, the staff is important. What is up with an ex-Bulli/Mugaritz guy moving to Madrid....and stealing the world's hottest wine steward? And what is up with a Mugaritz guy running the door at El Poblet?

And can anyone reading this thread tell me where to find an ex-Bulli, ex-Mugaritz guy who is chef at the Adria family restaurant? Where is the Adria family restaurant?

The reason that we all admire Ferran is that he has a true apostolic vision of food. But, unlike you whack-jobs, he has an appreciation for the context. Ferran Adria did not invent Spanish cuisine out of whole cloth. He is a product of it. He surfed the wave he helped create.


And, unlike most of his fans...Ferran is acutely aware of when star-power and celebrity kill all the joy....and the message is lost.
Dinners at Bulli used to be a sort of international, interstellar bonding experience, inspired by the art and science of food. Now it a bunch of assholes sitting at tables not talking and trying to figure out how to Twitter the experience and post photos to their FaceBook page without pissing anyone off..

Get a fucking clue.

Spend more time worrying about where Ferran was seen eating, than whether you can wish your way into one dinner party for fifty people who all think you are an asshole because your shoes suck.

Ferran was all about art, culture, science...amazing hard work and attention to detail....and magic.

No wonder he is pulling the plug.

Here is my favorite Adria dish of all time.

A soft sheep cheese from a Catalan farm of which only the Adria's know. Honey from some other obscure, amazing source. Melocoton with some booze.....Knockout conversation over the passing of the honey down the bar.

Served by an Adria chef....

Ferran was at a table in the back corner, with a bunch of cousins.....

Just so's ya know.

The great local part of my rant....

The chef at the REAL Adria restaurant is shown here.

Note the chef coat.......

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gobshite Mick says: "Chill....."

This blog is supposed to be entertaining and informative. I will say things everyone knows, but no one will say out loud. Speaking truth to power is one of the tenets of the Quaker faith. In my world it is speaking truth to ignorance.

So...without an editor....this all for free, after all.....and without much of a super-ego, get what you get.

I thought I was a better writer than apparently I am.....

Here is the deal: I (if I say "we" it is not the Imperial we....but the consensus of my fellow workers, pounded out over hours, days, weeks, years of conversation over hard work. I value this consensus vastly more than that pounded out over alcohol, anger, or other over-rated stimulants).....we do not hate the Bach Festival.

I don't hate I-40 in Arizona between Kingman and Williams, either. I don't like or enjoy either one, but neither of them have been part of my life for twenty or thirty years. I can't muster much feeling one way or the other about either.

We especially have absolutely no grudge against the Bach Festival's Master Class....and we positively worship David Gordon. Our dear friend and mentor, Virginia Adams, originally funded the voice Master Class....and David was the first Master. He was dear to Virginia...and therefore dear to us.

David....from a caterer's a rare artist, and even rarer human. I think he switched from baritone to tenor....which no one can do (think switching from basketball to soccer). David will sing for you, the most obtuse, work-bound idiot in earshot will find tears welling up beyond control.

Past even that, David is an inspired teacher....and was able to take Virginia's vision and make it real. Very likely it was his vision to begin with.....and she helped him make it real. Regardless, there was a kind of magic about their relationship that caused us to pledge to run through machinegun fire for either or both of them....forever.

Haven't heard from David in possibly twenty years...until my post. The book he gave me twenty-five? years ago still sits over my to my other treasures.

In my simple Irish mind I have never connected David Gordon, Virginia, and the Master Class with the Bach Festival. One is pure and wonderful, and made of all the stuff that makes life worth living....and the other is a tarbaby of social and politcal horror.

Despite having been a hardworking caterer in Carmel for 33 years....we have never worked for the Bach Festival. They have never asked. Not even once. That is weird. Well, they did ask once...but their budget was so ludicrously small that it was below what even we do for the girls' soccer team at RLS. And they had demands.....

So...that doesn't count. The guy who took the job bought brownies at Costco and cut them in triangles and put Costco vanilla ice-cream on them and called it profiterolles or something.

As if.

We also do not hate the Carmel Public Library. The Library, and the dear souls who support it, are to me the quintessential distillation of much that is good about the mild Carmel social and intellectual whirl.

What I/we hate is power/ego hungry social asswipes who hijack institutions like the Bach Festival, the Library, the Symphony, Forest Theatre, the Museum, the Marathon....whatever.

Right now at the Library, you have folks who have personality differences or some strange agendas with people who love them and have been working hard for them for free for thirty years. What does this have to do with having books available to a reading public?

Asswipes can strike at any moment.

A really good 501.c3 has a good board, and a good director (paid from the proceeds of the fundraising). One or the other can flail, and even be truly awful....and the other can compensate and pull the irons from the fire.

By law, the Board of a 501.c3 is supposed to set policy, and the staff implements it. Many times, the Board are clueless socialite idiots with nice bank balances....but the staff is concerned, committed, underpaid....and is highly skilled at work-arounds. Many of these work-arounds involve the caterer, so we are un-indicted co-conspirators with the staff...Still, the work of the organization actually gets done.

Other times, a director is appointed who is power-mad creature looking for a pay-check and a life-style....and runs rough-shod over the hapless board, however well intentioned. Staff turns over, the organization is a lead balloon....with just the energy and connections of the Board keeping the money flowing in to keep the thing just above the ground. Stockholm syndrome philanthropy.

Other times, for whatever reason....the staff are long-time, amiable incompetents, who the Board chooses not to fire....and does the work for them. Sort of like ignoring the fact that Sparky no longer barks at the mailman...and pisses all over the museum quality Kerman every night. We don't actually want to deal with the fact of her senility, incontinence and we just invest in Bravo paper towels.

Still other charities can survive both crazy incompetent staff, and nutcase directors....because the donors and tradition are strong enough to deal with it.

To me, that is the Library right now. And maybe the director is OK, or just in thrall of a nutty Board. Who knows? Wait two is all good. long as I have pissed in the soup my take after 33 years of dealing with local least the ones that hired us.

Big Sur Land Trust: insanely competent staff, insanely competent and insanely diverse Board. Year after year, BSLT hits the ball out of the park. They tell us what they want....they give us a budget...and we say: "Yes, sir or madam!" They always make us look good, and they have never had a bad or even mildly embarrassing event. I have to say.....tears are not uncommon at their functions, and the caterer has been guilty at least two or three times......

Monterey Museum of Art: awful, vindictive director with staff flying in all directions....great board. Peace be unto them.

Forest Theatre: Nice board, I guess. We did a big party for them supporting minority South County youth in drama....and the director later sent us a letter saying we would not be paid even our costs. Never told the Board. Meanwhile, they could have traded us or let us sponsor some movie nights....we are film nuts, with cinematographers on our staff....but we did not make it up to that level of concern.

Carmel Residents Association: You say "Jump!"...we say "How high?"....on the way up, of course. They just tell us where to be, and what to do....and we say: "Yes, ma'am."

Cherry Foundation: They actually insist on paying us and get all bothered because we refuse to send them bills. Ross and Mary Green were supporters, and the Houston we work for them for free....and it makes them uncomfortable.

Monterey History and Art.....Great, committed, volunteer staff.....who knows what goes on above?

Trail and Saddle Club: Steady, solid......the staff is almost annoyingly on the ball. The Board is super. Like BSLT, they tell us where to stand and how much to charge....and we are happy to be a part.

Big Sur Marathon....Up there with the Museum. Nutball director. Insanely hardworking Board. We used to feed 700 volunteers, and 700 VIP's...and handle all the donations and deliveries of leftovers to charities....for $2500. Not cash, just scholarships for the kids who worked the event. The director stiffed us the last year. Hey....the guy wears lifts in his shoes.

The Photography guys at Sunset Center: We did a party for 500 Carmel folk with free smoked salmon/oyster bar, Bechler petites fours, free martinis in real glasses, champagne....and the bill was $900. The dickhead director refused to pay because we had a plastic garbage can with a plastic liner next to the oyster bar. "Ansel would have been insulted." "Fuck you, Brian. I knew Ansel, and he would never have noticed and would have giggled about how crazy it was to offer free Martini's to the entire city of Carmel. We never got paid. But he is fired now, so fuck him.

Carmel Women's Club: The Board is the staff....and we would run through machinegun fire for them. Last week, during a wake for a great local grande dame....I was dismantling and repairing their classic but ancient oven. I lay on the floor with tools and flashlights for an hour during setup cursing like a sailor. In the end, I won...and dressed and got back out front. The daughter of the deceased asked me: "So which word finally worked? " "I think it was 'Let go, you fucking bitch.....'"

Tor House Foundation: See above. The very first party we ever did was for 1976. Tor House Foundation basically started us in business. They are kind, sweet, appreciative, funny, slightly weird, totally committed.....

I could go on.....Planned Parenthood, five stars. Paradox Sports, five stars. Sand City Arts, five stars.

What it boils down to is that some local charities actually believe in what they are trying to achieve....and earn their tax deductible status by doing good and doing well.

For those who are raging at me for knocking dear departed Nana or whatever her name is my last conversation with her....vis a vis her charging us $1,000 to be in the Bach Festival catalogue with a mention, after thousands and thousands of dollars of work in kind donations to David and Virgina:

"Businesses have to pay.....private people don't. You are lucky we even associate with you! Caterers are a dime a dozen. Your recognition is the fact that we even talk to you! And we let our people eat your food!"

The Waitresses: "I know he liked me....he left money on the dresser when he left in the morning!" is the deal: we believe in organic food. Our definition of "organic" is that the food should be good and local, that the purpose of the event should be the same, that the donors, the workers, the suppliers, the venues....who are all living in the community that the event is about...and who are all usually donating from slim resources whatever they can give.....should be treated with respect.

Doesn't seem to weird to me.

Am I wrong?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nigger, get back.... all mad because the white guy used the N word.

I submit that my people...the Irish....are running a close second to Africans when it comes to all that diaspora/abuse/genocide shit. There are still people living who will spit on your shoes if you tell them you are Irish.

What is super ironic is what Mick McCarthy did back before the '94 World Cup. The Irish are kinda like the Jews....if you can prove that you had an actual Irish can get a passport and citizenship! Soccer rules are a little more citizenship was allowed if your Irish ancestors were further back than grandparents.... but if there was a mick in the woodpile could play for Ireland. Still can.

The socio-economic aspect of that is that wherever you have black have Irish. We all got sent into slavery. Mick was somewhat cynical about this and spent little time in Australia, and lots of time in Africa, Jamaica, etc......where Irish people were sold into slavery side by side with Africans.

And.....There is a whole section of Irish folk called Black Irish. Has nothing to do with skin color.

Everyone knows about the Spanish Armada back in 1588. Huge invasion, big storm, fleet destroyed by God to protect the white folks. Turns out that the storm was in the Irish Sea mostly, and many of the ships were wrecked on the Irish coast. Since your run of the mill Irishman, like Jesus, stays at home and lives with his mom until he is in his 30's.....the hot Spanish blood was not poorly received in the Ould Sod. Hence: black haired, dark-eyed Irishmen and women.

Oh....and the super irony: Queen Elizabeth had no standing Navy, and no budget for one. She hired private guys...the Blackwater of muster for her against the Spanish. When the storm blew the Spanish away, she still had huge bills. So....she issued land grants to the lucky sailors who had stood grants in Ireland. Of course it was sad that actual people had been living on that land for thousands of years....but fuck 'em, anyway. Dirtbag Irish.

There were other things the Spanish and Irish had in common: no one gave a fuck about them. For centuries, Spanish and Irish joined Armies in droves....and fought for whomever could give them the price of a beer or a meal. There are countless and tragic stories of Spanish and Irish mercenaries fighting their homies and brothers in the pay of some random oligarch. Both cultures are still way better at fighting amongst themselves than fighting outsiders.... to this day. We won't even talk about their African brothers. my lifetime I have approached bars in England that had signs on the door: "No Irish Allowed". So I will use the N word with some historical imperative, and some culturally in-built sensitivity.

A large part of the nigger thing is class-related, not racial. Upstairs, Downstairs. Back door. Back of the bus. When I first started in the service industry 40 years ago it was part of the given.....though it was fading already. The locals had been blessed with legions of Filipino stewards coming out of the Navy, and tons of Korean and Japanese women to serve in black dresses and white aprons.

Carmel, as the last bastion of fading social orders. We struggled at first because our older clients were uncomfortable with servers with college educations....and who weren't Asian, black, gay....or Irish.

Anyway, the photography folks liked us for serving visually pleasing food. For years we worked for Ansel and Virginia Adams as cooks and caterers. Everyone loved Ansel of course....but almost no one in the modern world realized that Virginia was the real source of power. At least in some ways...not taking anything away from Ansel.

Virginia Best was the princess when she and Ansel met. Her dad, Harry, had the concessions at Yosemite and was a highly recognized Western artist of his time. Ansel was a goofy unemployed piano player working as a caretaker and doing some wedding photography on the side.... and Virginia had the only piano for hundreds of miles. And she sang....and piano guys were thin on the ground in Yosemite in 1920.

Virginia had to talk her Dad into letting Ansel marry her....and some of that dynamic stayed for the rest of their lives. We dealt with Virginia, because we were in her kitchen. Ansel was cool, and good to us...but we probably as a group passed less than 100 words with him in eight years. Santa...worked more with a smile and a wink than with words. Virginia was our girl. To us, she was still the same princess Ansel found in 1920 in Yosemite. I can't tell you how many hundreds of times I witnessed people blowing Virginia off, because they were focused on Ansel. We would exchange a look.....this motherfucker is DONE!

One time she had me actually lift up a five-foot table and carry it away, leaving the people sitting on folding chairs in a silly circle. "Michael...these people are boring. Get them out of my house now!"

So....after Ansel died, Virginia had piles of money, tons of friends...and no more piano guy to play while she sang. She decided to sponsor big parts of the Bach Festival.....well, she and Ansel always had. Can you say Vladimir Ashkenazy?

Anyway...Virginia's fans sponsored the "Virginia Best Adams Master Class" at the Carmel Bach Festival. Like good Irish mercenaries....we were in the front lines for her, and did the big cocktail party around the Master Class every year. 100 people, Chalone wines, full bar with Ansel martinis, and all our best, best (Best!) apps.

We never sent a bill, because we loved Virginia, loved what she loved, and had respect for the wind she had beneath our wings.

Even in 1982 money this was not cheap....about six or seven grand a year. Ten years, twelve years....pushing a hundred grand.

Who cares? Love icon of the 20th century....and someone who was kind and loved us when no one else did.....

About ten years into our deal, the Bach Festival sent us a letter asking if we wanted to be in the catalog.


We got a bill for $1000.

Meanwhile, if you were some low-end socialite from Modesto who gave $50, you were in the catalog.

We....supported by our partner Mort Levitt....refused to pay.

They took us to court. And sued us for the $1000 for our mention in the catalog.

Their defense was that since we were working people, we gained benefit from working for free and giving away stuff. And even though our donation at that point was above the level of IBM, their sponsor at the time.....we should PAY to have our name mentioned in their catalog.

Private people got no benefit from giving fifty it was OK to mention them in the catalog. Mentioning business donors in the catalog lowered the social level of the they should have to pay to make up for their tacky partnerships.

So....I wrote this letter. To Nana, who is revered in Bach Festival lore, OK.....expletives deleted....but she treated us like we were shit on her shoe....

"Dear Nana:

"Our participation in the Carmel Bach Festival is based solely on our love for Virginia Adams. Virginia supports you, so we support her. Our love and support of Virginia is at this point collectively worth $120,000 in in-kind donations to the Carmel Bach Festival....which is beyond even the commitment of your major yearly sponsors who grace the cover of your catalog.

"You have chosen to litigate our non-payment for our business-card placement in your catalog...which is fine.

"We just want you and your board to be aware that our commitment is to Virginia...and her apparently bizarre affection for the Carmel Bach Festival.

"Should Virginia develop an affection for the White Aryan Resistance, we want you to know that our business and all our energies will be happy to shift in that direction on Virginia's behalf....and we will welcome association with a better sort of people."


"Michael Jones, A Moveable Feast"

Nana thought that because we made things with our hands, and swam in the cess pool of commerce....we should not stain her program....unless we gave actual cash, not the tawdry by-products of our disgusting work. "I mean, really....these people cut fish......"

Which brings us to the Carmel Library Foundation.....

I come from a millenia of readers. The Irish are so devoted to the written word that at one point about 600 AD....we had all of them, locked up in fortresses behind stone on our frozen island. I read 2-3 books a week. My brother was a writer....two books written right here in Carmel Valley....and when he died of the inevitable lung cancer from the writer's drug of choice....he was Editor-in-Chief of HarperCollins in New York.

On Mom is a librarian. Not only that, she is a proselytizer of literacy.....and has been a literacy instructor in Monterey County for 20 years. At 83, she is the oldest employee of the Carmel Unified School District....and still teaches English as a Second Language in Cachagua twice a week.

My surviving brother and I....left alone in a restaurant.....will read the back of our credit cards for something to do. We all read and memorized cereal boxes while growing up....and don't start with me with Longfellow, Tennyson, Shakespeare, Robert Frost, etc....

We are all library we have been working for the Carmel Library Foundation for 30 years. We do their yearly Donor Salute. A couple of hundred local dears....some nice apps in the afternoon. Thank you all for supporting a town founded at least in legend by writers and artists.

My friend Wei Chang...who photographs the event for free...has a nice shot of me during the presentations a few years the stacks, reading an obscure Aldous Huxley tome....

Meanwhile, we continue to work under our original early 80's budget.....$400 for hors d'ouevres and service, glassware, sodas and ice for 200pp. And we work in the basement of the library, on three folding tables and some desks, with one cold water outlet. I dragoon my fifteen-year old apprentices and their friends to help, and try to get Carmel High to write off their labor as community service.

Some of my old apprentices now have kids.....who work the Library party.

I love the Library party....even though I am spending a ton of money....because it is the one time I can see all the great grandes dames of Carmel in one spot: Jean Draper, Susan Draper, Lacey Faia, etc.

Here is the menu we normally serve....with a staff of 10-12, for our $400....including platters, spoons, sodas, ice, glassware, tables, etc.

Quesadillas: spicy, not spicy, vegetarian, chicken
Bruschetti: asiago/scallion, crema porcini, thai chicken, mole chicken, etc.
Paninnetti: baby paninni with herbs and breakfast radishes
Mushroom caps with walnut/parseley duxelles and chevre
Baby roast potatoes with chevre, with hummus and asiago, with chipotle and cheddar
Endive with: Stilton and walnuts; mango and mascarpone; roast pumpkin and candied walnuts
Roast baby beets with coconut chevre dressing
Pear, parsnip shoestrings, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, blue cheese foam and tarragon infused honey
Roast savory tofu wrapped in sorrel
Orange, jicama and toasted cumin
Caprese of organic tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella and EVOO

Shot glasses of hot Valrhona chocolate with passilla chile and chili whipped cream

Winter salad of parsnips, fennel, shiitakes and pears
Dungeness crab cakes with rosemary aioli and basil oil
Local fish ceviche
Maple cured Heluka porkbelly with polenta and tomatillo relish
Beluga lentils ceviche
Big Sur chanterelles with polenta and Meyer lemon/parseley dressing

Corralitos Market sausages with our sauerkraut
Salpicon of beef brisket with mole
Sesame chicken wrapped in sorrel
Prociutto and Rocky Sweet melon

Carmel Valley oak smoked wild Alaska salmon
Fresh Monterey sardine bocadillos with mojito aioli

Not bad for two bucks.

Every couple of years there is a new board, and a new hired director. Whatever, nothing changes for us. We do a nice party for folks in Carmel who love the written word.

This year was different. I started getting emails from the new director about having a meeting about the event.

We don't need to meet. We put out as much food as we possibly can of the best quality while working from folding tables on one 16amp circuit in the basement of a library. We bring tables, linen, glasses, sodas, ice, corkscrews. What meeting? What the fuck for? It has been 30 years....what do we need to know?

"No...we need to meet."

On this day here...which turns out to be my first day off in five months. Sure, I will take the dogs to the beach, meet with you.....fine. If you insist. A two hour round trip drive on my part....on my first day off in months.....

Fine. Did I mention the storm, and the lack of power at our place, and the whole running generators thing to keep us in business?

I load the dogs in the car, drive to town. Go to Library. Wrong place. Go to other Carmel Library. Wrong entrance...whaddarya, stupid?


"Oh, I'm sorry.....I guess I forgot to tell you....the meeting was cancelled. One of our Board Members was a little under the weather. I hope we didn't inconvenience you....."

Nielsen's: Swedish fish against plunging blood sugar....and Diet Coke against plunging self worth. The dogs have been barking madly for an hour because they can smell the see. Every Carmel woman over the age of 40 is looking at me like I kidnapped Elizabeth Smart.

We go to the Beach...except there is no beach.

It is a cold day, I bite into a Swedish Fish.....and my bicuspid #6 shatters. Well, it had actually broken the Friday before....but the ultimate insult that I discover two weeks later after ten days of veterinary anti-biotics is that a piece of Swedish Fish is blocking the abcess from the abcess is now attacking the nerves in my face.

As are my dogs.....who cannot believe or understand that the Beach is closed.....


No....two weeks later I am dragged to town.....and grilled by the new board of the Library Foundation for an hour.....with the dogs in the car, who now know that there is no fucking beach.....

What are you serving? Why aren't there more gluten free appetizers? We need to approve your list of appetizers. There is way too much cheese and bread.......Send us a list that we can approve it before the event....

Before you let me spend $3500 on a party I bill you for $400 for? We are serving 20 different apps to 200 people for $400.....and I have to kiss their ass?
I am a fucking Nigger....Carmel-style.....

Here is my response...

We have been a part of the Donor Salute for more than 20 years....note
the noun "part", as in participant, part of the whole. Not only that,
we have felt like an honored part, as if our services had value and
contributed to the greater well-being of the Library as a whole.

You make us feel like some outside agent who is being grudgingly allowed
on the property. I am curious if the board meets to consult on the
font or color of ink on the odd $3500 donation check before accepting
it, or if you are just rude and insulting to suppliers.....those of us
little people who work with our hands.

After reflecting upon our meeting, it is clear to me that some portion
of the board is not happy with our work, and more than likely has
another caterer in mind, or have ideas about catering that do not
match ours. In Ireland we have a saying "Why have a dog, and bark
yourself?" Please feel free to pursue other vendors who might be more
pleasing to the consensus of your board.



Thursday, February 04, 2010

Health Care....

So.....I missed the clinic closing today.


I have health insurance.....Anthem has doubled the costs in the last three months, but I have coverage. For now.

$1000 deductible, no dental, no meds, I pay 20% over and above the first $1000....and it caps out after a car crash, but way before cancer or anything really bad.

And it is now more expensive than my rent.

For that shit.

Meanwhile, two weeks ago I broke a tooth.

The nightmare people who now run the Library insisted that I come to town to have a meeting about a party we have done for free for 30 critique my performance and menu selection. Only in Carmel would you have to drive to an hour to town to be bitched at for giving away food....not just for giving away food, but for not giving away the right kind of food.....Too many carbs...not enough sensitivity to wheat alllergies.

Fuck me silly.

I took the dogs along as wingmen....The same way that if you hire a stripper on-line to jump from your cake, she comes with a giant Samoan wingman with no sense of humor. To protect her "honor".

By some miracle we arrived early on the day. No lunch, because believe it or not my day is usually too busy to actually eat. Energy flagging, depression mounting, blood sugar plunging. I stopped at Nielsen's for Diet Coke (caffeine) and Swedish Fish (sugar). Green food coloring (anti-depressant). The dogs howled in the car during my transaction, causing all the LOL's (which used to mean Little Old Ladies) at the Carmel Seniors....... to glare at me as if I were a child molester.

Note the use of subjunctive case....

Anyway....back at the car with the howling Pointers.....I gobbled some Fish, and washed them down with Diet Coke. It was cold day. The fish were stiff.....I broke a tooth.


I drove to the Library, found a parking place, left the howling hounds, ignored the broken tooth....on time for the meeting.

Wrong locale. Wrong Library.

Move the car. By now the dogs are going bug-fucky and clawing the walls, windows, ceilings....and me. I no longer hear the howling. I used to slaughter hogs....and I raised three screaming boys.

I re-park.

I run into the other Library, five minutes late. Wrong place, you have to go around back.


I run around back.....

The Library: "Oh....I am sorry. I forgot to call you. A board member was a little under the weather, so we cancelled the meeting. I hope this didn't inconvenience you......."

Fuck me silly. I am used to it. The Irish were niggers before they even invented the word to describe black people.

Meanwhile the dogs did not give a rat's ass about my broken tooth or my wasted afternoon. They can smell the beach. So, we drive there.....

And...there is no beach.

Proof that there is a God.....and She hates me. And German Wirehaired Pointers are her choice of weaponry.

Meanwhile, as a guy who spent 10 years in Europe in countries where there is no dental care....a busted tooth doesn't worry me.

I call my dentist.

Appointment in March.

Fine. No worries.


I start losing feeling in the right side of my face. And, I can't smile very well, because the muscles over there don't move. And my sinuses start tanking.

Now....I am scared. But, no room at the Inn. March is a ways off.

Luckily, my mad dogs are so nutty that they charge into inanimate objects for fun.... at speed ....on a daily basis. They have better health insurance and health care than I do, and we all spend lots of time at the vet's. I have bottles of antibiotics and painkillers around for the hounds...pills and injectables.

Can't get in till March? No worries. Got Doggie Downers.....Puppy Uppers.....Puppy anti-Buggers......We can hang in.



Boxes of Vicodin.....which actually don't matter, because the infection is destroying the nerves.

There is no pain....just a sense of loss.


And...we are oddly busy: in January, in a Depression. time to argue or seek alternatives. Shoulder to the wheel. an Alternate Universe....

That is: the Entire Rest of the World Who Don't Know Water Buffalo Personally......

This would not be an issue.

In Spain....where we go for culinary and cultural inspiration....and which country was run by an outfit crazier and more vicious than Hitler or Mussolini and which insane outfit survived 40 years after the war....has universal, single-payer health care.

Hitler thought he had an infinite supply of Jews, homosexuals and Slavs to grind down and burn up to run his industrial empire. Francisco Franco.....the twisted fuck who invited the Guernica massacre as practice genocide and inspiration for Art....realized that he needed functioning, healthy working class slaves to feed his industrial machine.

It is not a little thing.

If you are a Spanish 20 something.....if you have ever been hurt or sick, you go to the doctor and get fixed. Maybe you wait in a line for a few minutes or an hour....people tend to get hurt all at once.....but you are taken care of. Health care is not an issue in your life....more than the supply of oxygen or sunlight.


My 20-somethings know how to stitch up wounds with dental floss, and how to make butterfly bandages out of duct tape. There are even funny stories about my guys stitching themselves up with floss....and not noticing that is was green mint floss until too late.


And they all know where Hacienda Hay and Feed is.

Choice: you have an eye infection. Call Doctor Tocchet and ask for an appointment. Wait three days. Mom takes a day off from work to bring you. You get a script.....which you drive to Safeway to cash in. $80 for Doc, $80 for meds....Mom loses a day of miss three days school. Or you go anyway, and give everyone else pinkeye.....which causes all of them to seek their private doctors and miss work and study. use the Otic salve from Hacienda.....$17 a tube....and you don't miss a minute.

The loss of efficiency, the loss of good labor, the loss of educational potential cannot be measured. can be measured, but you don't want to know....any more than you want to know what is in that envelope the IRS just sent you.

Beyond the concept that in Spain a child lives in an environment where she grows up with no question that the society and government are there to take care of her basic needs. No one is Spain has ever had to worry about missing work, or about how to pay for basic health care. It is part of the air they breathe. It is the wind beneath her wings. They think that the world around them values them....and their health and well being.

And, believe me....their kids fly on wings who take them to places of which our kids know not....

And this is a country run in recent memory by one of the top three most murderous motherfuckers ever to walk the planet.....and who cynically wanted health care for his people....

Walk the La Concha beach in San Sebastian today and be stunned by the beauty....and try to deal with the echoes of the daily executions that took place on that beautiful beach for twenty years. Franco was a cocksucker, but he was a realist. He wanted a functioning, efficient working class....
so he could exploit them.

In our health care debate....which is really a health insurance debate....the main idea that Republicans have lost sight of is that everyone else in the world takes care of their workers as a given. Even insane fascists like Francisco Franco. The fact that America dumps health care off into ridiculously corrupt private cum buckets means that all of us business owners start off 20% or more short while trying to compete on world markets. Our national health policy has turned us into a third world country.

I own a shitty country store in Cachagua....a different sort of cum bucket. I have skills and visions of foods and service on a world wide scale.....and to implement them I have to count on only hiring kids who feel bullet proof, and who don't mind me stitching them up with dental floss if they fuck up....and don't mind cephelaxin from the vets if the infection gets out of hand.

You can get a way better deal in Kenya.....Don't talk about Spain.

Meanwhile....speaking of cum buckets....our national legislators have sold themselves against popular interests in a way that is unprecedented since Caligula stopped sending Legions to fight the tides.

More than 60% of Americans support single payer, and/or a public option for health insurance. Single payer works great in Canada, Mexico, England, France, Italy, Spain....fucking Costa Rica!!! and all our young people go to these places and understand that.

The medical insurance industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to pervert the popular will....and have succeeded. Did they think no one noticed? The guy getting the blowjob outside the bar thinks he is hiding in a bush?

I think that this epoch of supposed "democracy" and "will of the People" will go down as one of the most corrupt in two thousand years of studied, rampant corruption. People have been working at corruption, just like they work at internal combustion engines.

We now have Ferraris.

Republicans are obviously at fault....but worse are the Democrats who talk the talk.....and fail to walk the walk.

"Money talks....and bullshit walks. So...stop talking and start walking....."

It is inconceivable to me that our society could value the health of children less than the profits of oligarchs. Health insurance execs walk with BILLION dollar packages, while I shop at Hacienda Hay and Feed for antibiotics and eye medicine for six-year old soccer kids?

I think that our present legislators are the most venal and corrupt in the history of the world...

History will judge them....and us, for having allowed them power over us.