Stolen directly from Bill Maher-
"As Americans, we are united that Bin Laden will not choose our president. No, it's the Supreme Court that chooses our President.
Go in Peace
I'm in West Virginia, Mountain Mama!
I had to fly into Roanoke, VA. No really good connections to White Sulphur Springs, WV from the West Coast so I rented a car and drove two hours. AND I EXPERIENCED FALL!!!
They're in the middle of a warm spell and the leaves are just beginning to drop- it was a beautiful drive with the smell of sweet burning leaves pretty much the whole trip. The resort is stunning, the whole thing should be inside a snowglobe. And the people are soooo polite. At least, I think they are. Being here is kind of like the first few minutes spent with anyone from Scottland- there's a lapse period before the translation kicks in.
CONSIERGE: And over here we have the Lee Room and Washington Room.
ME: Which one is the men's?
CONSIERGE: Pardon, suh?
I went to the reception for early arrivals last night, slammed down a quick Tanq and Tonic before heading to dinner alone. I have little in common with most chefs and the few I started to talk to here drained me immediately. There is some sort of macho bullshit behind asking "what kind of food cost do you run there?" within three minutes of meeting another chef and I won't have any truck with that.
When I worked at the F-mont there were plenty of Shining-Overlook jokes told; but after seeing this place I see we were so wrong. The whole place looks like it was decorated by someone's grandma. It is impressive, and strangely attractive, because it is so complete, so thorough. I'll have photos when I get back. I saw a woman walking her twin daughters and had to fight of the urge to ask if I could photograph them.
Tonight is the main reception followed by dinner (Taste of the Virginias) and tomorrow we start seminars.
Go in Peace
You'll never be a real boy, Pinocchio, if you keep telling lies . . .
"Look, the Republican candidate will never win the contest for editorial board endorsements. The major dailies across the country tend to skew liberal."
-- RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, explaining Kerry's endorsement lead
"Since 1940...only two Democratic candidates -- Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 -- have ever won more endorsements than their Republican opponent."
-- Salon story
Go in Peace
Prelude, an old African story:
A young boy wants to give his teacher a present but has no money. He leaves school friday and walks all night and half the next day, finally reaching the ocean. Once there he picks out the most beautiful seashell he can find. Turning back he walks the rest of the day and most of the next to get home. Monday he gives the teacher the seashell. She says it is beautiful and asks where he found it. He tells her about his trip. "Oh, my!" she says, "You didn't have to walk all that way to get me a gift." He smiles at her and answers, "The trip is part of the gift."
My personal hero this week is the lovely receptionista.
She is the first person to respond to my several on line pleas and send me a postcard. Sure, other friends have sent me postcards, but let's be honest- I harangued the hell out of you and it became easier to send one than listen to me bitch that you didn't.
I love postcards. In the last 7 years I've received almost two hundred of them from all around the world. A great number of them come from Ant, a world traveler like no other. Every one says the same thing: Here's your damn postcard! My mom has made a solid effort the last two years also. Once I reminded her that I have a say in the choice of future assisted living arrangements and that some places have more stairs than others . . . the cards just started flying in.
Why postcards rock? Think about it- a buck for the card and stamp, drop it in a box and then the coordinated efforts of dozens of individuals, several governments, the use of a plane, train, boat, bicycle or maybe even a goat and this small piece of cardboard travels around the world. Most people wouldn't cross the street for a buck, but this amazing thing happens all the time and when the card shows up in my P.O. I have a keepsake from the world.
That address again:
San Francisco, CA 94164
Go in Peace
On election night I will be in West Viginia attending a shriner's like convention for chefs. I plan to be in my room with a nice bottle of red wine celebrating.
Kerry's going to win.
Sure, some of you doubt the Sain't- I don't blame you. Lots could happen between now and then: I don't rule out an October surprise and will graciously accept the humiliation should I be wrong.
12 years ago in May of '92 I told Uber friend KC that Bush could be beaten. She thought I was nuts. The war had been a huge success and his approval ratings were in the 80s. No, I said, he's gonna lose.
This time around was a bit different. There was no doubt that Bush could be beaten, the question is whether the Dems could find somebody who couldn't lose. Kerry can definitely lose. He's almost lost it several times. You'd think he was from NY rather than Boston (sorry, I never really do sports jokes).
I made the call to myself privately a week after the Republican convention- Bush was going down unless other forces intervene. I hope they don't. 20,000 lawyers could be in the air on the night of November 2nd could muck it all up.
Faith, my children. It's all we have.
Go in Peace
Oh, c'mon people. This is why the rest of the world doesn't trust our judgement and world leadership. Straighten up, will ya?
Just when you think the single-woman-alone-living-with-cats stereotype is played out . . .
Man knocks himself out working to elect Bush.
I saved a guy from choking once. No, really. I got a lovely thank you note and was glad everything worked out. Waiters have a different view of the world than cooks do.
Oh, to be young, own photoshop, and have a lot of spare time. Sigh. Here are some literal movie titles based on the posters.
Here is the transcript from Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. Favorite exchange:
CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just my opinion.
STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
The fork left town out of jealousy, you see- the dish ran away with the spoon.
Distract youself on a daily basis: go to Slate's Electoral College Scoreboard and follow the daily assimilation of polling information. I am sooooo hooked.
Go in Peace
It’s taken many years, but I finally got to the Bridge Concert yesterday. Personal Pop Icon LJR has a standing reservation Sunday show tix and this year the stars lined up and I found myself free to go.
I keep expecting to be in the older 60 percentile of an audience at a concert, but I’m beginning to doubt that’ll happen here in SF until I pass 50. There is a whole culture of concert-goers here, people over 50 who can and will shell out whatever BGP (clearchannel) wants for tix and their tribe doesn’t discriminate to music just from their time. Last year LJR and I saw the White Stripes at the 2200 seat Warfield and still well over half the people there were senior to me. What college-aged kid can shell out $43.50 for general admission? No, they see their shows at The Bottom of The Hill, The Pound and other small clubs. When I was in my exclusionary-to-hip-for-big-shows stage, a big show was a stadium, theaters were still cool. Also, it was never the tix price that would have held me back from seeing someone in a big venue, pretentiousness was cheaper during the '80s.
LJR assures me that anyone with seats has a connection at BGP and only the lawn tix get sold to the public. That made sense as we are older and really need the lower back support of firm plastic. After several rounds of cocktails in the pavilion, watching Eddy Vedder on the screen while chatting, we headed over to our seats in time to catch the end of a great set by Los Lonely Boys. The sky had mostly cleared; it was just above 60’ with no wind when we claimed our seats for the next 5 hours.
First thing, I smelled pot. How quaint. No one is allowed to smoke cigarettes in the state of California, but we will tolerate the passing of a joint at a concert for tradition if nothing else. Later, a group of 40something school teachers would startle us by banging out the remains of a pipe on the back of LJR’s chair. One of these same ladies would have one too many frozen margaritas and get sick later on. It was a very tame affair, to say the least. ARE YOU READY TO ROCK? Yes, but first let me cell my teenaged daughter and make sure she’s home from the mall. The seats in front of us were occupied by a young gay couple, one of whom thought it was romantic to read continually from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass between sets. This cracked me up to no end. I once was on an endless date, listening to a girl recite from memory Plath’s Daddy and I must have had the same bemused look of someone waiting for it all to be over so the sex can start.
I love acoustic, effects free performances. I love the “unplugged” format because it strips a band down to it’s true skills so you’d better have something more than just energy, something more than just attitude, something more than whatever a producer gave your or a tolerant fan base accepts. A good song will stand up by itself and good musicians can make a go of any song. I remember watching the Eurhythmics on Arsenio one night performing a new song with Dave alone on guitar and Annie singing along. In the conversation bit, Dave stated that all of their songs could be done acoustically because they were good songs. Arsenio called the bluff and got the audience behind him demanding Sweet Dreams. It didn’t work. Not that it couldn’t have worked if they had sat down and spent some time on it, she’s a fine interpreter of song and he’s capable of fine arrangements, but caught unawares they embarrassed themselves. At the other end is KISS. LJR taped me a copy of their MTV Unplugged show and it was amazing how great the songs came off, how much skill they had to play these simplistic songs in a new way. I played that tape for weeks. (Side note, from this inspiration we got tix to see KISS live later that year and they went straight back to playing the simpler versions).
Los Lonely Boys did a wonderful set; they were tight and sang wonderful harmonies. After them Sonic Youth came on and they were good, interesting, but I wasn’t in the mood for ‘em. Ben Harper had a funky show that I really enjoyed then the Chili Peppers played a great set and I’m not just writing that ‘cause they covered my all time fave Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass.
The real school started when Tony Bennet took the stage. The Peppers, Ben Harper’s group, and Los Lonely Boys all played great. They played great together. Bennet’s band played great with each other. Those guys, dapper in their suits, never sweating, ripped off great solos and made changes like they were walking through a park. Compare this to McCartney’s hired guns who botched the ending to several songs. At the end is a set list that I copied from hyperrust.com (a neil tribute page). Note that they haven't a clue what the set list for Mr. Bennet. Here's a clue, guys, the song about San Francisco is called I Left My Heart In San Francisco. Ask your mom.
Most of the live music I’ve seen in the last five years has been in small bars watching jazz combos work their way through standards over three sets. Aside from the several thousand musicians is SF who mostly play rock of some sort or another, there is a smaller community of players who sit in with big bands, play the large weddings or commercial gigs at the hotels, - any chance to play using what used to be called “chops”. Bennet had a great set and even the kids on the lawn loved it.
Neil was Neil. That alone is worth the price of admission, really.
Sir Paul came out with a band that admirably worked through a slew of older Beatles’ covers that had the crowd up for the only time during the show. Up, but not really dancing. It was a subtle set that he did, half the songs alone with the guitar he used on the Ed Sullivan show. And Paul is in fine voice these days. Blackbird was haunting and beautiful, reminding me that even though he was doing pattered shtick between songs- at one time the man had a sleeper hold on how to write a great song.
Neil (show opener)
Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It?
Field Of Opportunity
Tegan & Sara
I've Got You
Walking With A Ghost
Monday Monday Monday
I Know I Know I Know
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Masters of War
Los Lonely Boys
More Than Love
I Love You Golden Blue
(w/ Lee on pump organ + Jim on piano)
Paper Cup Exit
Rain on Tin
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
She's Only Happy In The Sun
Where Could I Go
Burn One Down
With My Own Two Hands/War
Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way
Lotta Love (Neil Young cover)
Desecration Smile (new song)
Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)
Under The Bridge
They're Red Hot
Harvest Moon (with Eddie Vedder)
Journey Through The Past
On The Way Home
Comes A Time
Four Strong Winds
Drive My Car
Til There Was You
In Spite Of All The Danger
*new song* (title?)
Only Love Can Break Your Heart (with Neil Young)
Let It Be
Hey Jude (with everyone)
I had a great time, didn’t freeze or get wet, only spent $80 on overpriced drinks and a burrito- what more could I ask for?
My mom came across a recently published book that has three photos of my grandfather, Monroe Lake. I was so proud, my grandfather had been a commisioner on the Wayne County Board of Health. Then I read the name of the book: Eloise: Poorhouse, Farm, Asylum and Hospital. Ummm . . . he wasn't a farmer.
Go in Peace