I would like to think that Danny Klecko is noble, fair and trustworthy.......but if I've learned one thing about anything in the last few years, its that everybody has a point where they will sell out, even me. As a Master Bread Baker who has been in the "Show" for 30ish years, I get people approaching me constantly to whore myself to levels you'd never guess a baker could stoop.
Sure I didn't cause irreparable damage by consenting to making those dinosaur head hamburger buns, or create trans fat filled buns for school children like a local meat company tried to pimp me into doing..........
I have had some of the biggest corporations lock me into their sound proof booths to scribble musings that would later have to be presented to a boardroom of suits......I can't tell you the company since I signed a confidentiality agreement, but rest assured, they are a front runner in the Global Feeding System, but the proceeds sent my son to Washington D.C. (funny....I've been to the Kremlin twice but never the White House)
Another time I was doing bread lectures at a State convention and some wily cat sidled up to me. He told me that he thought my presentation was fantastic, and then he proceeded to ask me if I would be willing to do some international consulting.
"Hells Bells" I told the guy, I'm a middle aged man with HBO and 4 dogs, why would I want to go anywhere.
The guy looked flummoxed and reminded me that my unique skill set may offer me opportunities to go ANYWHERE in the world that I desired. When I realized the guy was serious....I handed him my business card and issued instructions that I only wanted Poland or Russia.
2 days later my phone rang and I received an opportunity to tour Moscow, Novosibirsk and then the Asiatic Arctic diamond city of Aikhal......but that will have to be written about later. It was the most intense journey of my life, my own "Apocalypse Now" and I will have to pray about which details I will share with you.
My 2nd excursion led me to a city called Gelendzhik which rests on the Black Sea, these government "scopes" are queer because you never are certain as to who really is sending, financing, sponsoring your task, and even stranger....you are never told what the fruit of your labor will be plugged into.
My understanding is that in my tours the United States government sent funds to Russia, and they in turn contacted me and hired me out as an independent contractor. I received special clearance to places that most Russian citizens were not allowed to go. Quite thought provoking when you stop to consider that I've attended around a dozen short term jail visits over innocent misunderstandings.
During the Spring of 07, I was sent to the Gelendzhik Bakery with the mission of looking at their Moline Line and discussion theories concerning exponential growth.As far as the Moline Line went....the Administrator was tickled pink that they got it at a reduced price to knock out croissant and Danish pieces. The only problem was that the unit they scored was really meant to work with doughnuts. This put me in an awkward position......if I corrected this mishap....somebody would have to answer for being a dumba** and buying that rat trap.
The highlight of these scopes tends to be the relationship I develop with my interpreter. The Russians will usually assign an educated woman between 20-25 years old. These women are bright and will spoil you rotten. I think for them their street cred raises when they walk through a town with the sole "Americone."
My Black Sea attendant was a young lady named Jenya, she was 20 and was unusual by the fact that she had actually done some study in NYC. She hadn't been there in over a year, so much of our time was spent discussing Hip-Hop and Reality TV. The first couple days we hit our mission pretty hard. Direct instructions are seldom issued, typically you needed to unravel truths and be very willing to adapt.
At this point I started hearing about hotels and other concepts going up at a record pace around this region. It was explained to me that the Russians were battling the Austrians for the 2012 Winter Olympics bid. Most thought that Salzburg was the front runner, but Sochi (the district which I stayed in) was pushing hard and had a lot to offer. On any day of the year the conditions made it favorable for skiing, but yet when you came down to the Sea...it was warm enough to swim in.
Most of the gossip I picked up was in an Ukrainian Cafe, but when Jenya found out I was hanging there, she just rolled her eyes and mentioned "If you want to be with pigs....it must be so". Many younger Russians are not supportive of counties like Ukraine or Georgia for breaking away from the Republic. They view them as unpatriotic.
So that's pretty much how things went down, but now that you know the WHO-WHAT WHY....let me discuss my first day on the job. It was May 9th and in Russia this is known as Victory Day. This is where all of Russia celebrates the defeat of the Nazi's in WW2. Putin is shown in Red Square with tanks, war movies rotate throughout every TV channel, Vet,s squeeze into their uniforms and march through the city streets, I mean I'm telling ya kid....the whole country shuts down.
You gotta remember the Russians stood chest to chest with the Gerry's years before Uncle Sam got involved. In the Motherland...every family, not some....every family suffered numerous casualties. Even beer guzzling punks, and skater kids take time out of being rebels to honor their fallen during this holiday celebration.
So now that the history had been revealed to me, Jenya told me that on this day off we had a situation of importance, so I followed her down to the boardwalk where she told me to take a bench. Even though I am not a smoker...I was handed a pack and was told that we were going to play that game that they play in New York. I squinted with a look that indicated my ignorance and Jenya said....
"Surely you know the game, I thought you worked in a restaurant, when I was in Brooklyn we played Home-Hetero-Metro."
After assuring her that I was unfamiliar with the rules she informed me that basically you just sat in one place and smoked cigarettes, then one person might say to the other...."Girl in Green dress" or "Dude with flip flops" and the other person would attach the appropriate label to them.
Anybody who seemed generic received the Hetero tag. guy's that wore shorts registered as Homo in her book, but to be honest........anybody who could be deemed weird by any culture were Metro....and she would say it with such abject glee "Zis vomen with zee blue streak in her hair...PHEW.....zo Metrosexual - no?"
In Russia many of the people use words like faggot and nigger as common slang. There is no political correctness, and even less people who will show disdain towards such slurs.
But I believe that many of the people who make these off colored remarks, or cruel comments are perceived as being malicious. I would never endorse such names or condone there use, but in my opinion, those horrible names have no malice attached to them. The definition is different over there. When Russian decide to gather a collective hatred, you can make book that both barrels are pointed at gypsies.
As this day of celebration came to an end I was told that a climatic fireworks display would conclude the evening. Thousand's of people lined the boardwalk....then one after another, what mounted to be individual bottle rockets were shot off.....POP.........POW.........POP, and then for the grand finale.....they snaked like 5 or 6 at once and everybody jumped up and down like they were watching JON BON JOVI live in Jersey.
BTW......the Russians did get the bid, so when 2012 rolls around and you are watching the Winter Games...just remember who brought that sourdough to the host country.