The Business I Loved

When I was a little kid I was very good at constructing forts using my building blocks. I figured out later that what I was really good at, design, and artistic composition, required something that unfortunately was my weakest subject in school… math.

Then, after I took a job as a busboy at the Caprice restaurant in Tiburon California, I fell in love with the restaurant business. I loved juggling five things at once depending upon timing, quality service, and of course… knowledge of your product.

At the Caprice I learned table side service. I would carve filet tenderloin, rack of lamb, and prosciutto. I also prepared Steak Diane, Duck a L’Orange, Caesar salad, Crepes Suzette, Cherries Jubilee, and a myriad of other dishes at the table.

Along with the dishes listed above I learned to make cocktails, and began the process of learning about wine. Each element was a journey which took me down different paths requiring intimate knowledge of product and service. The more I learned about the restaurant business,  the more I realized that each aspect of cocktails, food, wine, and service was a never ending educational deep dive.

I also knew that to aspire to the heights of fine dining excellence I would have to make a great commitment. This would require being around the best chefs, managers, and sommeliers in the world.

I’ve seen customers fight in the restaurant, carried out on a stretcher, cuffed by police, and pass out with their head down on the table with a thump. I’ve been threatened by customers, and even worked at a restaurant that received a bomb threat.

Each restaurant I learned something new about food, wine, cocktails, and myself. I’ve worked on the largest dinning ship west of the Mississippi, the oldest and most respected hotels atop Nob Hill in San Francisco, owned a restaurant chosen in the top ten by Time Life Books, and journeyed to NY to work with Joel Chenet (who was the personal chef to the president of France).

The Master Sommeliers I’ve worked with in Las Vegas include Ian Cauble, and Fred Dame (the third in the US to become a Master). I studied with Master’s Evan Goldstein and Wilford Wong when I was a General Manager at the Fairmont in San Francisco.

Along the way I was in charge of the wine list for Mason’s at the Fairmont Hotel, the wine lists for the Mark Hopkins Hotel, the California Hornblower Dining Yacht (entire west coast), Epanoui in Tiburon, The Plumb Room in Fort Lauderdale Florida, Bonnie Castle Resort in up State New York, and John Ash in Santa Rosa California.

Each restaurant and every situation I learned something new about food, the pairing of food and wine, and the distinct differences between liquors. I received my sommelier certification in 2014 at the Aria (a five star hotel in Las Vegas).

I see the movies Burnt, Chef, and others that take me back to the pressure cooker that is the restaurant business. The execution of food is the art of starting with exceptional product prepared consistently in an artistic form.

It’s funny that with all the artistic presentations that drew oohs and aahs from the guests, the most complements I ever received was at the steak house, Jean George at the Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

This was proof positive that when travelers dine out, they appreciate more than anything, a good steak. Of course working in the restaurant business is filled with high drama between the front and back of the house, management, staff, and of course the guests.

When I worked at L’Oliver in San Francisco I worked with some really crazy servers. One such server, Robin, was a raging alcoholic. He’d do double shifts, working lunch and dinner. He would start drinking scotch out of a coffee cup when he arrived for the lunch shift, around 10am.

By dinner time Robin was inebriated, and when the last seating rolled around, he could hardly stand. On one such occasion he was serving a well dressed couple having an intimate celebratory dinner.

After clearing the ladies unfinished Dover Sole entree, Robin went in the back of the restaurant and finished off the Dover Sole. After drinking another glass of wine he paired with the Dover Sole, hiding behind a curtain in the kitchen, he staggered out to the couples table.

It was beautiful to watch. Kind of like a car crash you want to turn your head away, but can’t. Robin was weaving between tables to reach the couple. As he began to tell the couple about desserts, he spit a piece of the Dover Sole which landed perfectly , a direct hit, onto the gentleman’s tie.

Watching this was like watching a movie in slow motion. The gentleman looked down at his tie, looked up at Robin, and said, “Check please.”

The gentleman, after leaving the table with his wife, made a B line for the owner. All I saw were arms flailing as he described the egregious service. The owner was beside himself with apologies to the customers/victims.

I then went to find Robin to tell him to watch out for the owner that was coming for him. However, Robin was passed out in the private dinning room, drooling on his uniform in a position of absolute content.

I hid in a dark corner to watch the owner arrive to find Robin, wake him up, and suspend him for two weeks. I’m not sure that Robin even remembered anything past 6pm, but for me… it was truly a funny sight to witness.

I’ve got a hundred stories like that one.  Each day was a journey into the unknown.  This revolved around the people I worked with in need of psychiatric assistance, and the guests in search of escape, drowning themselves into the world of inebriation.

 

Transported to Childhood

 

 

If there is one phrase that can transport us to our childhood… it is, “Once upon a time”.

This phrase, first recorded in 1380 (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) has opened many oral narratives since 1600… this expression is frequently used as the opening line of fairy tales and stories told to children.

What a beautiful phrase that can transport us to a much simpler time. A time when most of us only had to think about our first experiences and lavish in the moment of discovery. The alluring discovery of life in many different forms became the expansion of my reality.

A creek became an adventure. I would follow the movements of life forms as previously undiscovered entities that  broadened my horizons. A ballet of tadpoles swimming across the creek bed lined with a landscape fabric filled with boulders and stones of various sizes was an auditorium for my education.

The days before school were filled with the wonders of flying creatures that exhibited the colors and motion of theatrical dance. They were found weaving within natures canvas amongst the sounds and light that figured into their magnificence.

Each day brought a new found joy of discovery. Seeing insects, birds, and deer for the first time brought about an inner peace not realized by my youth but appreciated with age. Laying on the grass was one of my favorite pastimes.  However I quickly realized that bees didn’t like my overture into their white clover flower kingdom which provided sustenance for their species.

That first sting made me realize that I couldn’t just accept beauty but had to be careful when approaching it. At that point in time I didn’t understand the complexities of nature that underscored their protections, advances, and sometimes predatory nature.

Why should I? I was not yet educated in anything pertaining to the small envelope of space I occupied. I was a life form in its purest and simplest exhibition. I was being taken care of by two people I had just met that (unbeknownst to me) would give their lives for me, and in addition to that, a term I was yet to discover… their unconditional love.

I lived in a fairy tale world that involved sustenance, sleep, and discovery. Each frame in time was a meal, followed by a celebration (I usually had to dress up for), followed by more moments of discovery.

The first time for everything was the best, and still is. The exception to that was when I was actually too young to remember that event, place, or person. When I did remember, later on, I enjoyed the celebrations but not the attire. Halloween was the worst.

At Halloween, my parents would make me stand on a stool as they took old costumes and dressed me up like a mannequin. This took what seemed like hours and became my opening overture to the concept of time. My first memory of a costume was when my parents dressed me up like an African bush man.

I could have been the character, “Little Black Sambo”, but who knows? I had an African mask and a spear that conveyed a certain level of ferocity, humor, and poor taste, all wrapped into one, little, four year old package.

My parents would drive me around the neighborhood with my friends, all dressed in either cowboy attire, army, or knight garb. I was the only black man in the crowd, which on many occasions led to laughter and pointing. There certainly is a rap song in their somewhere!

My favorite holiday, like any young, dependent, greedy kid… was Christmas. I overlooked the religious basis and went straight for the capitalistic prize… presents. Oh how I enjoyed this holiday.

If it bounced, or I could play war with it… I was overcome with joy. Because I was an only child I reveled in the battles I’d create with my plastic army men on full display with their guns, tanks, ships, etc. However… at the end of the day the comfort of love, caring and understanding enveloped me.

That’s when it became time for my bedtime story. Usually my mom would read to me from a book of fairy tales… “Once upon a time” became the soothing mantra of the times of future past.

I lived in the present at that young age, a magical time of safety, protected by a phrase, “Once upon a time”. Looking back… it seemed like viewing a snow globe within a world I will never forget.

 

 

 

Critical Thinking about Climate Change

 

Sadly, misinformation has become ubiquitous in modern society. Whether its politics, climate change, vaccination, 911, or even the complex arguments concerning evolution or religious belief, we are bombarded with a dizzying flood of conflicting messages. How do we make sense of this information overload?

Well, after the aliens abducted me the truth became very clear. That’s another blog for another time.

Back to reality… the problem with the age of information is that when we consider research finding accurate scientific information, this information can be cancelled out by misinformation (see Dr. Fauci).

When people are confronted with two conflicting messages the tendency is to align the discussion with what fits that person’s internal narrative. This “internal narrative” usually is based upon hear-say, their environment, a lack of education, or comfortable compliance.

However, for critical-thinking people, we must weigh the origination of the idea related to that source’s agenda, political affiliation, and money paid for that opinion. The risk with most people is that, if there are two conflicting messages, and no way to  resolve the conflict, many people disengage.

This means that the best efforts to teach science can be potentially undone by misinformation. There is a solution to help critical thinkers determine whether the hypothesis is based on myth, fact, or complete fiction. That solution involves equipping people with the skills to resolve the conflict.

Inoculation theory is a branch of psychological research that offers a way to achieve intelligent resolution. Just as exposing people to a weakened form of a virus builds up their immunity to the real virus, similarly, exposing people to a weakened form of misinformation builds up their “cognitive antibodies” so that when they encounter real misinformation, they’re less likely to be misled.

We deliver misinformation in a weakened form by explaining rhetorical techniques used to mislead, like explaining the sleight of hand in a magician’s trick. Consequently, as well as how we teach the science of how climate works, it’s also important that we teach how science can be distorted.

Fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking, and false evidence to promote an agenda (see Al Gore). Most critical thinkers have a low worry about climate change as they look to nature rather than human causes.

In James Delingpole’s book, “Watermelons, The Green Movement’s True Colors” Delingpole promises to show that the man-made global warming is a fraud, one that has already cost billions of dollars and is a clear and present danger to our liberty and democratic traditions… and ironically, to the environment itself.

Delingpole was among the leading journalists who reported the “Climategate” scandal, in which he analyzed e-mails among the leading climate scientists that had been hacked and posted on the web. He discovered a pattern of purposeful and coordinated efforts to:

    • Manipulate the data supporting the claims of a sudden and dangerous increase in the earth’s temperature.
    • Not disclose private doubts about whether the world was actually heating up.
    • Suppress evidence that contradicted the hypotheses of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW),
    • Disguise facts around the Medieval Warm Period, when the earth was warmer than it is today.
    • Suppress opposition by squeezing dissenting scientists out of the peer review process.

Normally, disclosure of fraudulent behavior on this scale would throw the proponents of any position into disrepute and spell the end of their scientific or political power. Not so with the advocates of global warming.

The reason: Global warming is not about science, but about politics expanding the power of elites using the coercive instruments of government to control the lives of people everywhere.

Just as the governing class embraces ineffective Keynesian stimulus spending to justify expansion of government, they now extol AGW as the basis for increasing their power to rule over the rest of us.

I remember in the ’70s, “scientists” had used computer models to “prove” that the increase in industrial activity was about to trigger another ice age. The villains and solutions were the same as with global warming: Economic growth, rising living standards, capitalism and increased economic activity were going to destroy the planet.

Then, as now, reduction in the use of fossil fuels, de facto restrictions on the use of automobiles, higher taxes and forced reductions in living standards were the recommend policy responses.

What makes AGW different is that this time, the alleged pollutant is carbon dioxide – an odorless, colorless gas that is the basis of all life and human activity. Regulation of CO2 is the gateway for those who control government to regulate all economic and most human activity.

With the stakes this high, it should not be surprising that those who seek power have simply ignored the fraud and continue to press forward with their agenda to regulate “carbon” emissions. The emissions they seek to regulate are not dirty, sooty carbon, but carbon dioxide, that harmless gas that we exhale with every breadth.

It’s obvious that with each alert the government sends to protect us from ourselves we are losing our constitutional freedoms. Unfortunately the majority of our fellow Americans are only focused on the latest music, sports team, and drug that will distract us as we slip farther away from our inalienable rights as Americans.

EN 23

 

EN 23 is a new class of medicine. EN 23 isn’t actually a new discovery. It’s been around for centuries. Some scientists have suggested a natural version of it actually played a role in the emergence of human language and consciousness in early hominids.

Not until the 1950’s was it synthesized, studied, and tested on human subjects. Then it was made available only to the world’s richest and brightest people. But something of this magnitude can only be kept in the dark for so long. After all, we’re talking about a pill that can help you…

      • Enhance your memory
      • Learn a foreign language within months
      • Become physically fitter
      • Increase your confidence levels
      • Successfully treat mental health conditions , such as depression, PTSD, and addiction
      • Extend your life span by as much as twenty years
      • Stave off neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Think about it for a moment… A new drug that could make you smarter, stronger, less susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases, effectively treat nearly any mental health condition, and make you more confident and successful.

The FDA is about to sign off on EN 23. It has been said that penicillin has saved more than 200 million lives since first coming to market. EN 23 will save more. EN 23 could potentially treat an almost endless number of diseases with 60%-100% effectiveness with just a single dose.

At this very moment, scientists around the world are studying EN 23 for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Anorexia, Diabetes, Smoking, Epilepsy, Obesity, Autoimmune disease, Arthritis, Chronic pain, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, Insomnia, and Crohn’s disease.

In short, this breakthrough could be the single most efficient way to treat the most stubborn and costly diseases plaguing society. What’s particularly interesting about this treatment is that, unlike most medications prescribed for chronic pain, this one is non-addictive.

In a world where the medical community is desperate to find non-addictive painkillers, this is a very big deal. Especially when you consider that the market value for chronic pain treatments exceeds $100 billion and is expected to reach $177.34 billion by 2031.

To clarify, EN 23 isn’t just a single pill or treatment. Instead, it’s a valuable class of molecules that drastically improves brain function. To be more specific, these molecules bind to the serotonin 2a receptor, which is one of 15 specialized receptor molecules the serotonin system uses to coordinate brain activity.

When administered orally, EN 23 molecules can not only lead to extreme changes in perception, cognition, and mood, but also promote neuroplasticity. As described by psychologist Kendra Cherry, neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt due to experience.

Neuroplasticity is kind of an umbrella term referring to the brain’s ability to change, reorganize, and grow neutral networks. This can involve functional changes due to brain damage or structural changes due to learning. While neuroplasticity is possible without any medical assistance, as it is simply a function of biology, your ability to utilize neuroplasticity to learn, grow, or heal is still limited by genetics and environment.

Simply put, some people are just born with the right genes into the right environment. They excel in science, math, and languages. They easily grasp complex academic concepts and absorb information with great speed and agility.

However, with EN 23, genetics and environment are superfluous, because EN 23 can stimulate neuroplasticity and enable you to become smarter, healthier, and more efficient in everything you do, no matter your genetic makeup or upbringing. It can help you become more confident, more creative, and more successful in your career and your relationships.

Essentially EN 23 is like steroids for your brain and central nervous system. There are no limits to what you can accomplish when taking EN 23. There’s a mountain of research that EN 23 can treat a variety of age-related diseases that essentially keep most of us from living past 100.

The good news is that the American Medical Association approved  insurance billing codes for EN 23 after the results of Phase 3 trials were released by the FDA.

To put this in perspective consider the penicillin class of antibiotics which contain about 15 chemically related drugs. All these drugs were approved by the FDA in 1945. The approval of penicillin essentially opened the floodgates for other drugs chemically related to penicillin, and that class is now valued at nearly 9 billion dollars.

The same thing is happening with EN 23, but the value of this market will easily exceed that of penicillin because it can treat so many different types of diseases and ailments. Figuring conservatively, you’re looking at a valuation of more than 1 trillion dollars.

The introduction to the general public of EN 23 is a revolutionary development. It’s curing diseases that have long been thought to be incurable.

If the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz had this drug, he’d be able to compute the exact time and distance in a heartbeat to get Dorothy and the gang back to Kansas, safe and sound.

VANISHED

 

March 8th 2014 marks the ten year anniversary of the disappearance of flight 370. This is the Boeing 777 that vanished from radar shortly after take off. The flight, carrying 239 passengers, mostly Chinese nationals, was flying from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Satellite data showed the plane deviated from its flight path to head over the southern Indian Ocean, where it is believed to have crashed. Despite a multinational search all participants failed to turn up any clues, although debris washed ashore on the east coast of Africa and Indian Ocean islands. A private search in 2018 by Ocean Infinity also found nothing.

Captain Z aharie Shah was 53 years old when he took the controls of MH370 and departed Kuala Lumpur with 237 passengers and 11 crew members. Several theories persist regarding what actually happened that day.

A common theory is that Captain Shah locked the first officer out of the flight deck. He switched off the communications systems that were designed to keep MH370 in touch with air traffic controllers; donned an oxygen mask; and depressurized the aircraft at an altitude higher than Everest. The passengers and other crew would soon perish from oxygen deficiency.

The theory then has the captain flying the aircraft along the frontier between Thailand and Malaysia to avoid raising the interest of the military on either side, before turning south to a location… never to be found.

While there have been a number of crashes perpetrated by suicidal pilots, the tragic destruction of Germanwings flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, in which the first officer killed himself and 150 others is just one example.

It is difficult to find any precedent upon closer examination of the pilot and his co-pilot for the theory listed above. It is feasible that one of the pilots intended to land or ditch the aircraft in a survivable state but bungled it and was incapacitated by hypoxia along with the others onboard. Still, based upon all evidence there is no possible motive for such an audacious mission.

The flight was supposed to take 5 hours and 34 minutes. The travel route took the plane north beyond Malaysia, past the coast of Vietnam, across the South China Sea, and then over China.

As the plane proceeded north, MH370 was supposed to check in with air-traffic controllers from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Although the plane showed up on the Vietnamese radars, it quickly disappeared. The plane’s transponder mysteriously stopped broadcasting, and Vietnamese and Malaysian military radars showed the giant plane traveling north, but then turning west toward the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. The autopilot was switched off, presumably by hand, in order to make the turn west.

The plane was never seen again; it checked in automatically with Inmarsat satellites over the Indian Ocean, but the route was indeterminable. By 2017, twenty pieces of aircraft debris had been discovered in the Indian Ocean, on the French territory of La Reunion, and on Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, South Africa, and Tanzania.

An examination of the serial number on the piece French authorities found on La Reunion confirmed it came from MH370.

Over the past ten years, government investigators, journalists, and internet sleuths alike have concentrated their attention on several factors. Almost all have fallen away except for one; events in the cockpit.

Whatever happened to MH370 happened in the cockpit. The intentional turning of the aircraft westward, off course, was done by someone at the controls of the aircraft. If the plane was hijacked, control was likely seized in the cockpit. If a radicalized or despondent pilot decided to divert the plane, it was done by physically manipulating the controls of the plane.

We will probably never know what happened to MH370. The Indian Ocean where it is suspected the wreckage lies, is a vast place. Pieces of debris from the plane have been found, but the aircraft itself likely shattered into a thousand pieces. There may not be any identifiable wreckage on the ocean floor, and important clues, such as the plane’s black box… may simply be lost.

In this day and age it is incomprehensible that there isn’t some sort of cover up related to the identities of the passengers leading to the causation of this crash . Another words, what if there was a pre-determined reason for not allowing this particular plane to reach its destination.

Only a major government could carry off such an exploit. With the technology available today it doesn’t seem possible for an aircraft to just disappear. Logic dictates that there is “something rotten in the state of Denmark.” This is a quote from Shakespeare’s, Hamlet.  It relates to corruption or a situation in which something has gone terribly wrong.

“That one may smile and smile and be a villain. “