Friday, January 18, 2008

"As we get older, the future gets shorter and the past gets longer, but the present deepens..."--Earon Davis

I suppose it is fitting that I dust this bad boy off, add a little to it, and post it on the day that Georgia Frontiere died. My father hated Georgia. One of my father's dearest friends was Carroll Rosenbloom, owner of the Baltimore Colts and later L.A. Rams, world-class gambler, and all-around bad-ass. For some reason that my father could never grasp, Carroll married Georgia Frontiere of his own free will [he was her fifth or sixth husband]. Carroll drowned to death in 1979 [my first funeral], and my father always said that Carroll drowned in the ocean because he went out too far, trying to get away from the sound of Georgia's voice.

Just as an aside, there were always rumors that Carroll was killed for gambling debts but that was pure bullshit--not only did every bookie in America know that Carroll's paper was gold, but if he had actually gotten in trouble, help was only one phone call to my dad away.

One of my father's other dear friends and a man I was honored to be in the company of countless times was President Ronald Reagan. What follows is a big pile of anger, angst, and frustration borne of my unique, formative exposure not just to President Reagan but also to some of those who have followed him.

Just as another aside, I don't ever remember President Reagan and Carroll Rosenbloom being in the same room at the same time, but it would have been possible--they were very different guys with very different motivations who would have loved each other.

What follows has been edited for spelling, often the first casualty of any fast typing on my part--beyond that I have left the ranting form and syntax just as it issued from me originally. The rest of the drafts I have, with one exception, are all restaurant-related and they will be out very soon--I just had to vomit this one out of my system first.

I sit here in face of the coming dawn unable to sleep, troubled by the possibility that the great uneducated and unwashed electorate that so terrified Alexander Hamilton has actually come into existence. My feet hurt from a very long, very trying holiday-season night at work--my hands are stained black with wine from the bottles I have opened, my shirt spotted with that from one of the bottles I have consumed. The heat blows like a frigging kiln when I turn it on, and while my mind is perfectly lucid, I don't trust my exhausted and inebriated body to successfully build a fire without risking the very real possibility that I will set myself ablaze. So, with ice outside I sit in my home office wearing my overcoat.

My dad raised millions of dollars for his friend Ronald Reagan to run for President--in 1976!! The two men met through a mutual friend, Alfred Bloomingdale, in the early '60's and hit it off as contemporaries--two guys with a bunch of great stories, a bunch of notable friends, and a deep, iron-clad love for this country. My father had fought for it and spilled blood for it, including quarts of his own. Reagan had stumped for it during earlier wars, and then dedicated a huge chunk of time to it while governing the state of California.

Many in our TV bullshit sound-bite reality show country remember the comedian's version of Reagan, especially at the end of his administration--a doddering old jelly-bean drooling figure-head who slept 18 hours a day. In truth, Reagan was a learned man, a contemplative man who read voraciously and was fiercely concerned with the direction and longevity of our nation. While the average douchebag will joke that he was probably already afflicted with Alzheimer's Disease during his last term, nothing horrifies me more than the fact that such an incredible, powerful man was slowly robbed of his faculties as well as the elegant and dignified journey at life's end that he so, so deserved. This isn't some bullshit I read out of a biography or on an RNC website, I know this because I used to listen to the conversations at dinner, on planes, in hotel rooms, at his ranch and at our home, and later at the White House.

Reagan didn't run in 1976 against the wishes of most in his party because he feared a democratic President [Carter or otherwise], he ran because he feared that a liberal "country-club" republican President [Ford] would mortally wound his party and doom the conservative values that he had come to hold so dear.

Reagan started out not just as a democrat, but as a very liberal democrat--reading, learning, and life-experience changed him over time. He was the personal embodiment of the old line, "anyone not liberal when they are young is heartless, and anyone not conservative when they mature is brainless".

I as made a republican because of Jimmy Carter's ineptitude--I was made conservative by Ronald Reagan's passion and idealism. And yes, I am heartless, so becoming a young [younger than Alex Keaton] conservative was perfectly natural for me. Reagan cared about elections and party power not because he wanted to become, but because he wanted to do. The Presidency was not the endgame to him, as it is for so many of the reprehensible crap-piles currently courting votes nearby, and soon nationwide. Reagan meant something--he BELIEVED in what he was doing, in the rightness of his actions and in the rightness of our people, in the rightness of AMERICA. He didn't bomb Libya because of poll numbers, didn't remove a communist government from Granada because he wanted to distract the public from some scandal.

Reagan drew wonderful people to him, young people who had been energized and invigorated by his words and his plans for the country. He wasn't a micro-manager, but he wasn't the feckless, disconnected figurehead that many made him out to be either--he trusted those around him to fill in the details of his policies, and almost all of the time they did so masterfully. He made mistakes, as all Presidents do--but he admitted his errors. He also knew when a bad guy was the right man for the job--I was in the same room with CIA director William Casey three times, and that guy was a chilling, dangerous guy--just the guy that should have been running that agency.

I have known George W. Bush for nearly 2o years. We first met while I was representing my family at the Vice-President's Christmas Party in 1988, a month before George Herbert Walker Bush became President. My family and the Bush family have become close over the years, though we had a rocky start. My dad and George H. W. Bush first met during the 1980 primaries when my father threatened to knock the future President on his ass after he used his famous "voodoo economics" crack against his then-primary opponent Ronald Reagan. My dad gives up a few years and several inches to President Bush, but he's always been a nasty bastard and my money would have been on my father.

I love President George W. Bush. We re-acquainted ourselves in 2000 when he noticed my name on a list of donors to his campaign. He's a good deal older than I am, but we have much in common and have always been comfortable around each other, though I do not wish to make it seem as if we spend alot of time together because that is not the case. I have been to his home in Crawford, Texas as I have been several times [though mostly as a child] to Kennebunkport, Mane. I wish people generally knew how intelligent he is, and how compelling and eloquent a speaker he is in small groups and impromptu situations. Without wanting to heap even more derision upon myself than I will probably receive already, I have to say that he is much like Thomas Jefferson--unbelievably magnetic in intimate settings, wooden to the point of being unwatchable during public address [Jefferson was such a poor public speaker, he wrote his State of the Union addresses and had them read to Congress, rather than giving the speech himself]. I have a minor in Western European history, and our historic conversations have been entertaining in the extreme. He is steadfast, unwavering--a leader--and that is what his opponents hate about him. That, and the fact that he is usually, eventually proven right. Turnaround in Iraq, alternate non-embryonic stem cells, tax cuts leading to record treasury collections. I used to say that, "the Presidency doesn't control the economy, the economy controls the Presidency...", but in reference to his tax cuts he has proven me wrong.

He also has a nasty, filthy mouth--I think that much of his stilted public speech is the result of active self-censorship as he delivers his words.

I hate that he never fights back. I hate it, hate it, hate it. So many in the media and in his own bureaucracy actively working against him at every turn and he refuses to besmirch the Office by laying out even a tiny bit of long-overdue ass-kicking.

I don't know what happened with his stance on illegal immigration--and his huge, compassionate heart has led him to spend way too frivolously, but I remain absolute in my conviction that he was the only man to be President for the last eight years.

What has me waxing both philosophical and historical here is the behavior of our current and potential representatives in government. Some of my disgust is partisan--I believe that liberal politicians and activists were so embittered by the fact that George W. Bush fought for his election victory in 2000 rather than retiring his objections [as Nixon did in 1960 when JFK's daddy bought him the election in Illinois] that they have trampled every tenant of responsible behavior in their fervor to hound and discredit him. They have comforted our enemies, undermined our military, stalled the already halting progress of our government, and sallied forth throughout the world to denigrate their own homeland in both word and deed.

Most of my disapointment is equal opportunity however. Earmarks, corruption, sloth, and idiocy abound on both sides of the aisle. No one seems to care about those they represent--they only care about their reelection, their pockets, and/or their dicks.

Ostensibly an elected official states his goals and positions while campaigning for office. Depending on how well these convictions are received, he should win or lose. If he wins, logic would then dictate that he would try his best to advance the agenda that he espoused while campaigning. When unexpected issues arise, he should be expected to vote/speak his conscience as it applies to the best interests of both the nation and his district [in that order].

In reality, a bunch of arrogant douchebags set about doing their best to lie and spend their way to victory. Should they be successful, they spend all their time in office pandering to those that got them there and remaining wholly focused on staying in office, or advancing higher. Different accents depending on where they are speaking. Different answers to the same questions depending on who is asking. Revising history as it applies to earlier elected offices. Flip-flopping on core issues, or in many cases flip-flop-flip-flopping.

In this terrible presidential campaign, only two men are saying what they stand for and consistently have the same answers. Only two men really seem to believe, to have conviction, and to be willing to make a stand and invite people to come to them, rather than trying to figure out what a particular group wants to hear before running over to say it to them.

Fred Thompson is saying mostly everything that I want to hear from a presidential candidate, and he has my money--but he won't win. Not only does he refuse to blow the smoke that retard voters demand from their "front-runners", he [rightfully, though disappointingly] doesn't really want the job. He feels the responsibility like Reagan did in 1976 and again in '80--he just doesn't have the energy.

Dennis Kucinich also has passion and conviction--he keeps them right next to his insanity. Crazy, but at least he isn't a liar.

I grew up surrounded by good men in government, including a number of democrats. Reasonable and focused men who loved their country more than almost anything. Now I just see a sea of scumbags and a gigantic broken machine peopled by sycophants tearing off pieces and throwing them at one another. I've got a long winter and 3,000 bottles of wine--lets see which lasts longer...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Only through dedicated work does a man fulfill himself..."--William S. Carlson

Check the date on my last post and it will appear that I have not written in nearly a month, but nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact I have written thousands of words ranging from restaurant happenings to global analysis--they remain in the draft section of this thing because the entries seem too truly representative of the person I really am.

As I read these hidden exhortations I picture them posted next to an 8 X 10 glossy of my [locally] very recognizable puss--for some reason these still-cloistered words are not nearly as anonymous as previous entries--they are filled to the brim with "me" and are as recognizable [as being my words] as the above-referenced picture of my face.

I am going to post them soon anyway, mainly because none of the consequences resulting from any potential discovery could be any worse for me than than a mild annoyance. One luxury of being both rich and deathly tired is that even the most public firing imaginable would still be a relief.

Much of this pending writing is borne of the fact that I am beginning to wonder what the hell I am doing with my life. I love what I do most of the time, and this restaurant is absolutely the centerpiece of my existence--I say that proudly rather than morosely or with resentment. However, the eleven years I have been here have passed in the blink of an eye--Christ, every year in August I still start to get nervous because I am worried about two-a-day football practices starting back up and I haven't been subjected to that hell in over TWENTY YEARS.

On the bright side I suppose this means I am young at heart, or at the very least blissfully unware that I am aging. My concern starts to brew on many different levels as I begin to contemplate my end--I don't want to be one of those guys who comes home one day[or one early morning, in my case], drops his briefcase on the kitchen table, loosens his tie, and drops dead with nothing to show for his existence but a pile of money and a few thousand bottles of undrunk wine waiting to be willed to distant relatives. I am starting to wonder about what I am missing. I am also starting to wonder about the pending state of the world and our country--selfishly becoming concerned about what environment will await me when and if I do finally decide to kick back and relax. Like many Americans [though probably for reasons diametrically opposed to many of them] I am extremely frustrated right now with the greater picture of our world.

So get ready for a different view of the Last One Home.