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Friday, December 30, 2011

Dear Polish Jesus

Dear Polish Jesus,

So here's the deal.

We've almost finished another year together, so I guess I would be remiss if I didn't thank you for keeping me and mine out of harms way.....So thanks.

This upcoming year will be my last year on Earth where I am NOT going to be 50. In the summer of 2013 the impossible will happen....your Polish servant Klecko will be classified as "that old guy" or "when he was young you really shoulda seen him" guy.

One more year huh?

After considering this, my first reaction was to finish my "not old Klecko" stint by doing jet set stuff, you know.....basically I would hit the ground running for 365 straight.

But a funny thing has happened to me this year, during the year of the rabbit. During my year.

I think, and it pains me to say this, but I think that perhaps this may have been the year that I actually "grew up".

Through social media I have learned a tremendous amount about the human soul.

As you may have noticed, not many people are as socially retarded as me.

Not many people live their lives intentionally disconnecting their privacy filter.

But through social media I have creeped into the dreams, desires and fantasies of too many people.

The world will bare their soul if it's on a blog site Polish Jesus, and that's the straight up truth.

As the Last American Baker, I have been blessed to observe thousands of stories and miracles that have taken place with people that were some how connected to one staple item.

A loaf of bread.

But here's what's changing, this is what kinda freaks me out P.J.

For the first couple of decades that I entered "The Show", people got into the Food Industry why?

Because they wanted to feed people.

But today, through the web sites, blogs and e-mails I've collected, I've determined people want to get into this industry to feed themselves.

To build a false confidence, to shine ego.

You know that Klecko's not a cynical guy Polish Jesus, but let's face it......

Everybody-everybody-everybody wants to have their own spot light, everyone feels entitled to get their own reality show.

O-M-G.....could you imagine a planet with 8 billion Snookies?

Ya wanna know what I've learned this year Polish Jesus?

You wanna know why I think it's possible that maturity may not elude me for my entire existence?

Because I've actually taken some time this year to stop....think and be honest with myself.

I too wanted to be glorified. I too wanted non stop attention.

But now I will declare to you that my days for honoring myself have passed.

It just kinda hit me out of nowhere that everybody dies one day. Everybody and everything will cease to exist.....even Klecko.

I might be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

I get it, I will stand at some kind of finish line one day and will be judged.

I don't know this as fact, but it is my new supposition that you, John Paul 2 and Saint Faustina won't give a rat's tail about how many books I've sold, or how many times I was on the TV or radio.

I think I will be judged on just one thing.

Compassion.

In this world you either are, or are not filled with this.

Now the last thing I want to do is preach to the Polish Messiah, but seriously...

I get it, through compassion comes mercy, through mercy comes healing.

We are an infected brood down here huh?

I love you Polish Jesus, and I could list 1000 things to thank you for, but just for tonight, let it suffice for me to simply thank you for the honor you have bestowed on me.

Thank you for the privilege of baking for an entire city for over a 1/4 century.

And if I may be so bold oh holiest of Pollack's.........

Help this next wave, this current generation of chefs, cooks, bakers & foodies realize that honoring oneself is the direct opposite of the greatest gift one live creature can pass to another.

To feed another person.....in humility.

Good Night Polish Jesus, and have a great New Year.

P.S., if its not too much trouble, please pass on my regards to Johnny Cash !

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cookie Factoids

OK, we've already discussed the 2012 baking trends, right?

If you recall, Klecko has passed on that the new "cupcake" is going to be the savory cookie.

Now that most of you have just finished up knocking out batches of sugar cookies, or Russian tea cakes during the holidays, let me give you some interesting facts that might get you inspired enough to keep those cookie pans, parchments and scoops in the front of your pantry.

Fact -

When the chocolate chip cookie was invented, it was a mistake, the girlio who was baking them ran out of nuts and simply swapped in chocolate.


Fact -

Laurie Hertzel's favorite cookie is the Lemon Thumbprint


Fact -

In America, of commercial cookie sales......
Oreo is #1 and Chips Ahoy is #2


Fact -

The Cookie Monster (who lives on Sesame Street), his Christian name is Sid


Fact -

At the Twin Cities Farmers Market, the Molasses cookie is the top seller


Fact -

Animal Crackers were the first commercial cookie developed (1902) and were often used as Christmas ornaments on trees


Fact -

1/2 the cookies baked in the USA are chocolate chip


Fact -

Girl Scouts started pimping their cookies in the 1920's, and my favorite...the Thin Mint is their #1 seller.
The Thin Mint is 25% of the gross sales


Fact -

The fortune cookie was developed in America, and did you know it's cutom is more Japanese than Chinese


Fact -

You will eat around 35 000 cookies in your lifetime


Fact -

Cookie jars became relevent during the depression (1930's) because peeps couldn't afford commercial cookies and moms started baking in bulk. Up until this time, there was no need...or a place to store them.


Fact -

Klecko would rather have you bake your own cookies than buy his. There are very few things better than baking cookies with people you love.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let Them Have Their Cake - French Mobs

Tydus and I went to the Minnesota Timberwolves home opener last night. I have season tix with a friend of mine who coincidentally needed to be out of state yesterday.

This worked out good for my son.

So the 2 of us, watched the the game, the auditorium was packed to the rafters, and our home town squad just barely lost to a team that is considered by many to be one of the leagues top contenders.

So after the tilt is over, we shuffled back over to the Macy's parking ramp where a certain bread truck was revved up and waiting for us to vacate.

But when we entered the Macy's lobby, there was about a million people waiting in front of the elevators. Everyone was in a hurry because every minute you waste in transition will turn into 15 minutes that you will end up spending in a vehicular log jam.

So now we are in the elevator. Tydus pushes the "D" button, and people keep pushy,smooshing, piling in....a woman shouts out....

"My God, will you people be careful, you are crushing my child!"

When the doors prepared to shut, perhaps it was good that we were packed liked sardines. There was booze on the breath of many of my co passengers, and I'll bet w/o flesh balancing rods to lean up against....more than one of these "enthusiast's" would have been face down in the gutter.

The door shut.

BEEP-BEEP-BEEP goes the warning siren.

Our lift is over it's weight capacity, the doors reopen, Tydus turns to me and says......

"Enough of these savages."

Then he smiles, get off. I join him and watch him smile some more as he slides his hands into the pockets of his "P" coat.

"Sonny Boy, our chivalry is going to tack on an additional 1/2 hour in the ramp you know."

Tydus lined his eyes with the elevator floor lights and responded with a Paul Newman - matter of fact like responce.

"I'd rather wait all night in the ramp than subject myself to those freaks, that elevator was riddled with bandits anyway."

So eventually we make it to the bread truck.

The both of us hop in, I turn on the Wolves post game report, and while the announcer continues raving about Ricky Rubio's NBA debut, my son goes into that mode where he embraces his best friend....his smart phone.

Tick-Tock goes the clock.

The line of cars resembles a dead snake, it doesn't even have a pulse.

Tydus starts laughing and informs me that it appears he missed a riot by just a couple of hours earlier in the day while he was out at the Mall Of America.

Apperently a rumor started that Hip-Hop sensation "Little Wayne" was going to be out there with "Drake" and when peeps figured out that this wasn't going to go down.....gang members started throwing chairs in the food court.

The Mall went on shut down.

My son laughed in disbelief as he witnessed the carnage on You Tube.

Tick Tock goes the clock.....the line still won't move.

You gotta figure that there are 8 or 9 levels on this ramp. Each level has at least 100 vehicles trying to desend at the same time.

Down at the bottom there are only 3 toll booth people taking money.

When you factor in that the attnedants don't really give a crap because they get paid by the hour, with the fact that 1/2 the people who are complaining don't have the presence of mind to have the proper change ready when they reach the attendant......

The result shouldn't be all that surprising.

22 minutes have now passed, and we are still stuck on level "D".

Then it happened, almost like a lone snipers shot, off in the distance, from a different ramp level some unpatient soul blasts their horn...

HONNNNNNNNNNK - HONNNNNNNNNNK, and then there is silence for 3-2-1 and then in unison, a choir of car horns join in........

HONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNK - HONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNK.

If my life depended on it, and I had to estimate, I'll bet 75% of the drivers on that ramp participated in this audible mutiny.

Tydas and I just shook our heads in disgust, we were ashamed to have any possible link with these people, it was even embarrassing to share a species with them.

HONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNK...

At this point I couldn't help but laugh at the countenance of my fellow ramp dwellers.

Tydus has always enjoyed history, so I used our current circumstances to mirror a happening from the past that intrested me.

OK...this is me talking......

"Did you know that when Marie Antoinette said LET THE PEOPLE HAVE THEIR CAKE that she was actually wasn't reffering to cake?"

Tydus looked up, he didn't say anything, but just getting "the glance" was his way of saying that he wouldn't hate me if I continued.

"Yeah, at this point there was economic upheaval across France, and more particularly Paris. People were pissed because all the money was in the hands of.... like 5% of the populace.

It wasn't like it is here today in America, where we complain about corperate greed....and then go home to plasma TV's and 3 cars.

No, at this time your typical French person was considered lucky to even bring food home to place on their dinner table, and on those lucky days...more often than not the stuff they brought home was crap.

The word cake is kinda bogus, I don't know how it ever got translated that way....maybe they wanted Marie to come across more like a diva, but the proper transliteration would be "brioche".

"Let the people have their brioche." is what she really said.

Americans find this difficult to understand as well.

Brioche has surprisingly never pierced our counties bread culture.

Basically we started off with sourdough concepts and then that kinda segued into enriched breads, which in turn got swapped out for multi grain and whole wheat concepts.

But in France, during that time, brioche was what it was all about.

Brioche is primarily comprised of eggs, butter, milk and often times honey. Just think of the ingredient cost.

The middle class was outraged because their brioche often times was simply weak flour, water, yeast and maybe salt if they were lucky.

So in some ways this traditional French loaf of bread was viewed as an etitlement by the entire nation.

The officials tried to pacify the mob be selling them a story that ingredients were scarce because of this reason and that, but when the cover was blown off and the commoners found out that in all actuality the butter,milk and eggs were being hoarded by nobles and dignitaries...well let's just say compliance was lost, and something hit the fan."

Even though my son is 20, I do enjoy throwing some of my tribal wisdom at him every once in a while.

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I thought my parable of greed and mob mentality was impressive.

But my kid can be quiet at times, so sometimes you have to pull accolades out of him.

Just as I was about to cast a line in that area, Tydus looks up at me, you could see in his eyes that he was oblivious to my most recent rant, and instead of praising papas knowledge, he simply closed with.....

"Dude,here's an excellent You Tube fight video from the mall today, you gotta check this out, it's killer."

I guess a fathers job is never done.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Christmas Post

Welcome back L.A.B. Rats, and 1000 pardons for my extended absence.

How long has it been since my last post...like 4 days?

To be honest, I wanted to post something on Christmas.

Something epic.

Deep down I wanted to write something inspirational, something that you would send to the people that you loved, and they'd be so moved by it....they'd feel compelled to send it to somebody else, and before you knew it....Klecko would go viral.

The bottom line though, is I kinda struggle getting through the holidays, and I just figured every man for themselves...LOL!

But I'm back, and earlier this morning, I was on the dreadmill @ the gym trying to figure out what my return Blog Post should about.

While "In Prayer" I noticed all the young woman were wearing new work out clothes that they had received as Christmas presents.

It appears pink is going to be the new black this year.

Tydus has been sneaking into the gym with me on Sue McGleno's pass, but today he opted to abandon me so he could head over to the Mall of America to "invest" in limited edition Nike's.

A bunch of the NBA stars have limited edition "Christmas Shoes" that are spin offs of their normal styles, but in red & green motifs.

I try not to worry too much about my kids, but if you've watched the news during the last week, a bunch a peeps have been pepper sprayed at these early shoe releases, and one guy was even beat to death on the east coast.

Can you imagine that? Thugs killed a guy over a pair of Nike's.

With all that going through my mind I looked down at the dreadmill dash board. 6 minutes down.....22 more to go....sigh.

So Klecko downshifted his brain, and went back into time, a time in fact when the world was no less crazy, a time when gangsta's and hoods were beating people to death to get their "Starter" jackets.

Remember those? I had a Raiders version, and baby Tydus had a matching one as well.

During this period of time I was working at a bakery with some unusual cats.

If my memory serves me correct, I think I was simply a bench hand, but higher up than most of the others. I was in line to get the next "Mixer" or "Oven" position that opened up.

Many tasks I worked on, I was paired up with "Frankie - Big Daddy Diamond."

Frankie was a level 10 lush and had the physique of Skipper from Gilligan's Isle.

When he stood in one place for more than 10 minutes, you would see a pool of sweat forming around his Red Wing work boots.

Frankie had seen his better days.

The guy actually had some skills, but he was such a drunk, you never knew what you were going to get from him, so basically...he'd remain a bench worker for the rest of his career.

Then one day some newbie slides into the shop. For the life of me, I can't remember who hired him, or why they chose this kid.

His name was B-Smith.

B-Smith was almost 17, had hair of straw, and a face that was blanketed with acne.

Usually young high school drop outs, such as him would come into our shop a little overwhelmed, but not this kid.

B-Smith had a big mouth, liked drugs and all things mystical.

He was "that guy" that owned multiple T-shirts with wizards on them, and I'll bet his bong had a dragon etched into the glass chamber.

When B-Smith was hired, that Queensryche song Silent Lucidity was on the charts, and every time it came on......he would jump up on the work bench, raise his arms to the sky, palms facing upward, and then he'd scream......

"MAGIC-THIS SONG IS MAGIC!!!!!"

People can imitate nature can't they?

Small predators, or aging large ones often times have to look for the weak to sustain on.

That's where Big Daddy Diamond would come in.

Every pay day, he'd escort the almost 17 year old B-Smith to a sauna of ill repute located on Payne Avenue.

Biggy Daddy was a hustler and he'd get the kid in illegally if the kid would pay for his session as well.

In a production bakery, you better have thick skin, your colleagues often share mutual characteristics with vultures.

Basically you're all cooped up in a small enclosed space, hour after hour, day after day.

If you reveal a weakness, trust me......that button will be pushed for the remainder of your employment.

One night Big Daddy and B-Smith went out and smoked a "J". Their shift was almost over but there was a batch of kaiser buns that needed to get knocked out first.

I don't remember how the topic started, but I remember that B-Smith said something about some Black Arts dude that he hung with (and called Dr. Wizard)and had smoked some weed with, and when he did.....the Magic Man must of placed a spell on B-Smith, because according to our almost 17 year old friend......

Magically his pants kept falling down, as if it was preordained that he was required to "give of himself" to Dr. Wizard.

Can you imagine?

Big Daddy laughed and never let the kid off the hook after that.

We'd be working and hear screaming from the break room......

"Help...Help me!"

So of course we'd all run in to see what was so urgent, and there would be Big Daddy Diamond with his pants and boxers around his ankles and his fat a** cheeks swinging in the wind.

O-M-G we would laugh until tears fell.

B-Smith on the other hand would cry as well. He'd shriek, make threats and his pimply face somehow found a way to find a deeper shade of red.

Now comes along a guy named A-Grant.

A-Grant was an African American guy in his mid 20's. He was attending community college for nothing specific, and over all was a pretty good guy to work with.

I enjoyed him a lot.

But B-smith, kinda got tired of being the crews whipping boy, so he figured that since he had worked in the shop longer than A-Grant, that he's do his best to keep this new hire as a rung underneath him.

People can imitate nature, can't they?

A-Grant realized that this straw haired kid was lacking self esteem so when the puppy snapped, the big dog often rolled his eyes and simply put up with it.

Puppy's need to be careful though, because perception is a funny word, and their puppy status isn't determined by themselves, but by the pack members that they run with.

One day A-Grant was telling us how he went out to New York City to visit his grandma.

He was familiar with the neighborhood, so he decided to go to the park and get in a few pick up games of basket ball.

As he was preparing to walk out the door, his grandmother noticed that he was wearing some new shoes.......

"Yeah, they're Air Jordon's granny!" A-Grant bragged.

But then his grandma issued a stern warning that kids around this neighborhood were thumping each other over footwear.

A-Grant...being a guy, realized things like that happened to "other people", but then he's burst out laughing and confessed to our crew.......

"Then those gangster mother f****** popped out of nowhere. I was on the basketball court with a f****** Tech 9 in my face. I had to lay down on my back while some b**** pulled my Jordon's right off my feet."

Then in a weird way, his smile got even bigger.........

"I don't know what I was thinking. Those shoes were brand new, they cost me a buck and a quarter, but the worse part of the deal was that I had to walk 9 block in my socks, back to my grandma's house, and when I walked in the door....she began to cry."

Sure A-Grant was the new guy, and we probably witnessed a confession that normally wouldn't have been issued, but when you're stuck in a tin box with a group of other self professed losers...why not?

It simply makes the time pass faster.

But good ol' B-Smith couldn't leave well enough alone.

He went over and started working a dough with A-Grant, and within minutes our youngest employee would dig himself into a hole that no amount of magic could save him from.

He made some references that indicated A-Grant was an idiot, and that he shouldn't have trusted these bandits even if they were "his people".

A-Grant softly laid down the bench scraper that he was using to scale the bread with and before you knew it........

WHAP-WHAP-WHAP...........

A-Grant open handed - bit** slapped B-Smith so fast and so hard, it took 3 strikes before they kid even realized he was under attack.

When B-Smith realized war had been declared, he cowered into the fetal position, and covered up.

Eventually he went to management.

His gripe seemed legit, after all he did have big paw prints across his left cheek,

But the claim was never taken seriously. When management conducted independent interviews......not one person could recall A-Grant striking anyone or anything.

That was a long time ago, and in hind sight, it's only responsible to reevaluate protocol, to make sure things were handled properly.

Ding......the timer on the dreadmill hit 28 minutes, so I cleaned off my machine with some antiseptic gel and just chuckled to myself how everything changes, but stays the same.

Gun Point High Tops

Welcome back L.A.B. Rats, and 1000 pardons for my extended absence.

How long has it been since my last post...like 4 days?

To be honest, I wanted to post something on Christmas.

Something epic.

Deep down I wanted to write something inspirational, something that you would send to the people that you loved, and they'd be so moved by it....they'd feel compelled to send it to somebody else, and before you knew it....Klecko would go viral.

The bottom line though, is I kinda struggle getting through the holidays, and I just figured every man for themselves...LOL!

But I'm back, and earlier this morning, I was on the dreadmill @ the gym trying to figure out what my return Blog Post should about.

While "In Prayer" I noticed all the young woman were wearing new work out clothes that they had received as Christmas presents.

It appears pink is going to be the new black this year.

Tydus has been sneaking into the gym with me on Sue McGleno's pass, but today he opted to abandon me so he could head over to the Mall of America to "invest" in limited edition Nike's.

A bunch of the NBA stars have limited edition "Christmas Shoes" that are spin offs of their normal styles, but in red & green motifs.

I try not to worry too much about my kids, but if you've watched the news during the last week, a bunch a peeps have been pepper sprayed at these early shoe releases, and one guy was even beat to death on the east coast.

Can you imagine that? Thugs killed a guy over a pair of Nike's.

With all that going through my mind I looked down at the dreadmill dash board. 6 minutes down.....22 more to go....sigh.

So Klecko downshifted his brain, and went back into time, a time in fact when the world was no less crazy, a time when gangsta's and hoods were beating people to death to get their "Starter" jackets.

Remember those? I had a Raiders version, and baby Tydus had a matching one as well.

During this period of time I was working at a bakery with some unusual cats.

If my memory serves me correct, I think I was simply a bench hand, but higher up than most of the others. I was in line to get the next "Mixer" or "Oven" position that opened up.

Many tasks I worked on, I was paired up with "Frankie - Big Daddy Diamond."

Frankie was a level 10 lush and had the physique of Skipper from Gilligan's Isle.

When he stood in one place for more than 10 minutes, you would see a pool of sweat forming around his Red Wing work boots.

Frankie had seen his better days.

The guy actually had some skills, but he was such a drunk, you never knew what you were going to get from him, so basically...he'd remain a bench worker for the rest of his career.

Then one day some newbie slides into the shop. For the life of me, I can't remember who hired him, or why they chose this kid.

His name was B-Smith.

B-Smith was almost 17, had hair of straw, and a face that was blanketed with acne.

Usually young high school drop outs, such as him would come into our shop a little overwhelmed, but not this kid.

B-Smith had a big mouth, liked drugs and all things mystical.

He was "that guy" that owned multiple T-shirts with wizards on them, and I'll bet his bong had a dragon etched into the glass chamber.

When B-Smith was hired, that Queensryche song Silent Lucidity was on the charts, and every time it came on......he would jump up on the work bench, raise his arms to the sky, palms facing upward, and then he'd scream......

"MAGIC-THIS SONG IS MAGIC!!!!!"

People can imitate nature can't they?

Small predators, or aging large ones often times have to look for the weak to sustain on.

That's where Big Daddy Diamond would come in.

Every pay day, he'd escort the almost 17 year old B-Smith to a sauna of ill repute located on Payne Avenue.

Biggy Daddy was a hustler and he'd get the kid in illegally if the kid would pay for his session as well.

In a production bakery, you better have thick skin, your colleagues often share mutual characteristics with vultures.

Basically you're all cooped up in a small enclosed space, hour after hour, day after day.

If you reveal a weakness, trust me......that button will be pushed for the remainder of your employment.

One night Big Daddy and B-Smith went out and smoked a "J". Their shift was almost over but there was a batch of kaiser buns that needed to get knocked out first.

I don't remember how the topic started, but I remember that B-Smith said something about some Black Arts dude that he hung with (and called Dr. Wizard)and had smoked some weed with, and when he did.....the Magic Man must of placed a spell on B-Smith, because according to our almost 17 year old friend......

Magically his pants kept falling down, as if it was preordained that he was required to "give of himself" to Dr. Wizard.

Can you imagine?

Big Daddy laughed and never let the kid off the hook after that.

We'd be working and hear screaming from the break room......

"Help...Help me!"

So of course we'd all run in to see what was so urgent, and there would be Big Daddy Diamond with his pants and boxers around his ankles and his fat a** cheeks swinging in the wind.

O-M-G we would laugh until tears fell.

B-Smith on the other hand would cry as well. He'd shriek, make threats and his pimply face somehow found a way to find a deeper shade of red.

Now comes along a guy named A-Grant.

A-Grant was an African American guy in his mid 20's. He was attending community college for nothing specific, and over all was a pretty good guy to work with.

I enjoyed him a lot.

But B-smith, kinda got tired of being the crews whipping boy, so he figured that since he had worked in the shop longer than A-Grant, that he's do his best to keep this new hire as a rung underneath him.

People can imitate nature, can't they?

A-Grant realized that this straw haired kid was lacking self esteem so when the puppy snapped, the big dog often rolled his eyes and simply put up with it.

Puppy's need to be careful though, because perception is a funny word, and their puppy status isn't determined by themselves, but by the pack members that they run with.

One day A-Grant was telling us how he went out to New York City to visit his grandma.

He was familiar with the neighborhood, so he decided to go to the park and get in a few pick up games of basket ball.

As he was preparing to walk out the door, his grandmother noticed that he was wearing some new shoes.......

"Yeah, they're Air Jordon's granny!" A-Grant bragged.

But then his grandma issued a stern warning that kids around this neighborhood were thumping each other over footwear.

A-Grant...being a guy, realized things like that happened to "other people", but then he's burst out laughing and confessed to our crew.......

"Then those gangster mother f****** popped out of nowhere. I was on the basketball court with a f****** Tech 9 in my face. I had to lay down on my back while some b**** pulled my Jordon's right off my feet."

Then in a weird way, his smile got even bigger.........

"I don't know what I was thinking. Those shoes were brand new, they cost me a buck and a quarter, but the worse part of the deal was that I had to walk 9 block in my socks, back to my grandma's house, and when I walked in the door....she began to cry."

Sure A-Grant was the new guy, and we probably witnessed a confession that normally wouldn't have been issued, but when you're stuck in a tin box with a group of other self professed losers...why not?

It simply makes the time pass faster.

But good ol' B-Smith couldn't leave well enough alone.

He went over and started working a dough with A-Grant, and within minutes our youngest employee would dig himself into a hole that no amount of magic could save him from.

He made some references that indicated A-Grant was an idiot, and that he shouldn't have trusted these bandits even if they were "his people".

A-Grant softly laid down the bench scraper that he was using to scale the bread with and before you knew it........

WHAP-WHAP-WHAP...........

A-Grant open handed - bit** slapped B-Smith so fast and so hard, it took 3 strikes before they kid even realized he was under attack.

When B-Smith realized war had been declared, he cowered into the fetal position, and covered up.

Eventually he went to management.

His gripe seemed legit, after all he did have big paw prints across his left cheek,

But the claim was never taken seriously. When management conducted independent interviews......not one person could recall A-Grant striking anyone or anything.

That was a long time ago, and in hind sight, it's only responsible to reevaluate protocol, to make sure things were handled properly.

Ding......the timer on the dreadmill hit 28 minutes, so I cleaned off my machine with some antiseptic gel and just chuckled to myself how everything changes, but stays the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pontious Pilate & The Death of Il Gatto

When I think of Pilate talking to Jesus, I like to envision the scene from "Last Temptation of Christ."

David Bowie played the Roman Ruler and William Defoe was the Messiah....you just can't get better than that.

If historical notes are accurate, it appears that Pontious wasn't all that jacked to send the Son of God to his final demise.

Like most good rulers, Pilate searched for a loop hole, and guess what....he found one.

Imagine that.

Under Roman law, once a year the government was able to give that mob called Rome a prisoner back.

This gesture was supposed to be symbolic, representing the forgiving heart of Caesar.

Typically the cat that avoided the noose was a noble person that was wrongfully persecuted, somebody like...oh, like a Desmond Tu Tu.

So Pilate gives the mob a choice.....

"Do you guys want me to set free this religious zealot, this man called Jesus, this guy who talks about love? Or would you prefer that I give unto you that serial killer dude Barrabas whose crimes are torture, rape and basically every heinous deed that will inspire deprived minds for generations to come?"

B.T.W. that Pilate quote was kinda a Klecko paraphrase, in case you didn't figure that out.

Collective perception, old fashion values and common sense are something that should never be taken for granted.

The human species is flawed, and 9 times out of 10, you can count on them to make the wrong choice, just as long as it pumps up the drama and contributes additional gossip for the afternoon session around the water cooler.

If you are an Atheist or Agnostic.....I'll take you to chapter last.

The mob not only let the serial killer free, but for all practical purposes, they had parties, did Jello shots and whooped it up as the Romans drove spikes into the hands and feet of Danny Klecko's all time favorite hero.

So whats this post all about? Is Klecko dropping bombs of religion on us?

Geesh....and we were just starting to like him.

LOL....shut up ya'll, I'm just using this as a historical reference to set you up for how easy it is for a mob to act foolishly.

In Sunday School when they told us that story, most of us kids would say.....

"Those people were stupid to kill the Christ, didn't they stop to think about this for a split second?"

No....people usually don't, not if common sense can be replaced with drama.

In my city there is a business group named Parasole.

For decades they have created numerous restaurants across the Twin Cities.

In addition to inspiring a metro area with culinary delights, this concept has provided countless-countless-countless jobs for many folks across the TC's.

Within the last week however, a snafu has hit their business plan.

Everything I am about to report is basically gutter talk and gossip, words from the street if you will, but my objective here isn't to aim the spotlight on the people at Parasole as much as the rest of the Johnny Lunch Buckets in the Twin Cities Foodie scene.

Earlier this week I got a phone call hipping me that Parasole's prized Il Gatto had shut their doors this past weekend.

Rumors circulated that management, servers and additional staff pulled up to the concept but the doors were locked.

Pissed off food workers from my city started to grab their pitch forks and chime in........

"I heard that those bast**** were packing stuff up while the employees stood freezing out on the side walk."

Dude....you would have thought they were writing a sequel to "The Little Match Girl."

As the week started, I witnessed peoples angst, it was a type of pebble that like the ones that get stuck inside their Adidas, but as a few days passed.....people began upping the anti and launching verbal boulders.

Yeah-Yeah-Yeah.....I get it. It's almost Christmas and a bunch of people lost their jobs. Yes that is tragic.

I feel ya, just read the Blog post were the Fed's shut down the bakery I worked at 10 days before I married Sue McGleno.

Klecko was stressed out. Klecko hated it when the new relatives asked him what he did for a living, basically I just said....

"Right now I'm pretty much sitting at home following the O.J. trial."

That period of my life sucked.....HARD!

But, with all that said, I never-ever-ever dissed on the ownership group.

I knew what I was signing up for.

This is the hospitality industry.

Haven't you guys ever seen that Clooney movie - Michael Clayton?

He was a government spook, a cleaner, a fixer.

Daddy-O could set empires on their ear, but if you recall, towards the end of the movie.....dude couldn't keep a restaurant afloat.

It is such a hard thing to do.

Maybe the hardest.

If you don't believe me, just go talk to somebody smarter than me, somebody like a banker.

They'll tell you that the odds of a restaurant making it in today's world is Long Odds at best.

People who have been in the show for awhile realize that it's not a matter of if, but when.

Like Kings...Every-Every-EVERY restaurant is eventually deposed.

When you sign on to work as a server, a chef, a baker, an accountant in a restaurant.....you are playing Russian roulette.

When you put the gun up to your head, the odds are in your favor that your skull will remain intact after you squeeze the trigger, but eventually...somewhere down the road that bullet is simply going to slide into a chamber that blows your top off.

People have watched far too many food Network montage's where they are led to think that their are rainbows at the end of the Food Service Workers race.

Let me give you a little clue......there isn't even a finish line.

If I sound annoyed, maybe it's because I am.

I don't have any deep connections with anyone over at Parasole, but I too thrash frantically in the water, trying to stay above, just like they do.

I know for a fact that they put a ton of cash into that concept, and nobody is going to take a bigger financial hit than their ownership group, but Klecko's no fool....he's been to the rodeo before and knows that an ownership group losing money don't always resonate good will in a story where people lose work during the holidays.

But since you've tolerated me up until this point, you might as well just let me finish off my rant with...........

Days, months and years have passed, and during that time the Parasole Group has sent home over ten thousand employee pay checks.

They have offered stability and great dining options for our community.

With that said, I'm just gonna shout at the peeps who are hating to back off.

Seriously....after everything this group has done for our city and it's economic base....now you're gonna get all self righteous and point your finger in their face?

Sigh.....Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pollack Christmas Recipes

OK, for once Klecko is going to bypass telling you guys emotional stories from years gone by.

If ya'll are anything like me, you have enough emotional baggage to deal with throughout the holiday seasons.

So I won't tell you about my Grandpa's drunk brother trying to stare down the blouse of the blind woman sitting at our famlies Christmas table.

I'll spare you the details of my step father getting trashed and throwing 10#'s of potato salad on our kitchen walls.

Or better yet, the year he went on a bender, and he didn't even surface until December 28th!

That's right.....with the holidays comes good and bad times.

But Klecko likes to dwell on the positives.

As a kid we would have BIG Pollack bashes with our clan and it was w/o a doubt the happiset moment(s) of my childhood.

In the basement, my Grandparents had a stereo that they had on around the clock during the holidays.

I remember when I heard "The Little Drummer Boy" I would run downstairs and stand there by myself singing along.

I kinda was pathetically innocent LOL.

And on the shelf underneath the stereo was a manger, and I would pick up Baby Jesus all swaddled in rags, and he would be a running back who had to try to score touchdowns against the 3 Wiseman.

Funny....Like Tebow......Jesus always won.

But on a serious note, I was touched by the lyrics in that song and remember how badly I wanted to have something to give to the Christ Child, but I felt helpless because I was a small kid that lacked confidence, and didn't have many resources.

With that said.....if Baby Jesus of Warsaw was here today...

I'd ask how JP2 and Saint Faustina are doing in heaven, and then I'd make him this.........

EGG NOG -
4 Fresh Eggs
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Rum
1 1/2 Cup Whiskey
1 1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Yolks and whites go into seperate bowls, beat yolks with 1/2 the sugar and then toss off to the side, beat whites untill stiff and then beat in the other 1/2 of the sugar,

Pour the yolks into the whites and mix s-l-o-w-l-y, stir in the rum, whiskey and milk....s-l-o-w-l-y,

Then whip your cream and fold it in.

If you are feeling provocative......toss some nutmeg on top.

EGG NOG QUICK BREAD -

2 Eggs beaten
1 Cup Egg Nog (from previous recipe)
2 teaspoon rum (or rum extract)
1 Cup Sugar
1 teasponn Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Salad Oil
2 1/4 Cup A.P. Flour
2 teaspoon B-Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt (a real Pollack would add about 7 pounds LOL)
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 - 1/2 Cup Poppy Seed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)

Blend eggs-eggnog-rum-sugar-vanilla and salad oil.

Then in another bowl......flour-B-powder-salt-nutmeg-poppy seed.

Like all quickbreads...wet in bowl #1 and dry ingredients in bowl #2

Mix them up, or better yet incorperate they ingredients......

DO NOT OVER MIX! This will form more gluten than you want.

Then.....pour your batter into a foil form, ahhhhh....maybe 66%-75%, but no more than that.

Place it in the oven, 400 degrees for the first 8-10 minutes, and then finish off the bake at 350 (F).

Depending on the size....ballpark, you are looking 10 minutes 400 and 30ish minutes at 350.

When the bread is done baking, it will start pulling away from the foil.

Dont be afraid to insert a toothpick into the middle.

If it comes out w/o gunk on it...well you are in buisness.

Merry Christmas guys, I love most of you.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just Who Is It That Reads the Last American Baker

How cool is it that almost 100 countries have participated in discussing their passion and revrance for baking.

A number of the countries listed here....well, i wasn't even sure where they were located. I actually had to breal out the ol' atlas.

Anyways, I want to throw special props out to Russia. Your viewership is growing by the day. I am honored.

Germany, Canada and U.K., what can I tell you? Other than my home soil......you L.A.B. Rats have been my core audience.....mad love at ya.

Netherlands and Japan, your numbers spikes have been sic! Your population isn't huge, but you guys are steady-Eddie

Biggest dissapointments......well, it would be nice if the children of Warsaw popped in a little more frequently LOL.

So with that said, if you have friends living in countries that are not on this list....boy oh boy, how trick would it be you you guys sent some of my links to them.

BTW....wouldn't Easter island look good on this list?



LAST AMERICAN BAKER

(COUNTRIES VIEWED IN)

Albania –

Argentina –

Armenia -

Australia –

Azerbaijan –

Bahrain -

Bangladesh –

Belarus –

Belgium -

Bolivia –

Bosnia & Herzegovina –

Botswana -

Brazil –

Brunei -

Bulgaria –

Burma –

Canada –

Chili –

China –

Columbia –

Croatia –

Cyprus -

Denmark –

Ecuador -

Egypt –

Estonia –

Finland –

France –

Georgia –

Germany –

Ghana –

Greece –

Guernsey Island -

Haiti –

Hong Kong –

Hungary –

India –

Indonesia –

Iraq –

Iran –

Ireland –

Isle of Man –

Israel –

Italy –

Japan –

Jordon –

Kazakhstan –

Kuwait –

Latvia –

Lebanon –

Libya –

Lithuania –

Luxemburg –

Macedonia –

Malta –

Malaysia –

Mauritius -

Mexico –

Moldova -

Netherlands –

New Zealand –

Nigeria -

Norway –

Pakistan -

Peru –

Philippines –

Poland –

Portugal –

Puerto Rico –

Qatar –

Romania –

Russia –

Saudi Arabia-

Serbia –

Singapore –

Slovakia –

Slovenia -

South Africa -

South Korea –

Spain –

Sweden –

Switzerland –

Taiwan –

Thailand –

Tunisia -

Turkey –

United Kingdom –

United State –

Ukraine –

United Arab Emirates –

Venezuela –

Viet Nam

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Crew Cuts - Cakes & the Poet Laurette

About a week ago I received an invitation to a joint birthday party for Saint Paul's Poet Laurette Carol Connolly, and a friend of hers with a piggyback birthday.

It was been hosted by their friend Mary Beth Yarrow.

M.B.Y. is an interesting woman, in addition to once being married to Peter Yarrow (of Peter - Paul & Mary fame, she is also the niece to Eugene McCarthy.

Being thrilled to be invited, I called our host to ask if it would be OK to bring a birthday cake.

Nobody ever turns that offer down, however I was told that Carol Connolly can't have chocolate and the cake needed to be a white cake, with lemon filling and a butter cream frosting.

EZ Peezy.

Then just 72 hours before the big bash, I spoke with Mary Beth once more and she suggested that I and my teacher "A.K.A. Mike Finley" should be commissioned to read poems to commemorate the occasion.

I was thrilled, but I was kinda sick in my stomach too because I so love Carol Connolly and I wasn't sure if I could write something in 72 hours that warranted not only her attention, but that of her friends and family as well.

So after stopping at the bakery to get the cake, I headed over to Finley's house to pick him up so we could enter the party together,and maybe hash over a little strategy.

I had seen the poem Mike wrote...well actually, we both wrote poems about cake, and Mike had shown me an original version that he seemed to pen together with such ease.

I do hate him for stuff like this because I found myself like Jacob wrestling against the angel of God to get the proper words to express myself.

But that's why Finley is such a "True Blue" poet.....he just doesn't care. I mean he does, but not enough to knock himself off balance. How many times have I seen this guy write, rewrite and then turn around and present his original idea.

Some might think he is unorganized with his thoughts....they are fools, I think Finley believes that his poems are living-organic things....like bodies, they look a lot like they did an hour ago, but sometimes nothing like they did a couple months ago.

So we pull up to the mansion where this to-do is scheduled and the both of us climb a series a stair cases to make our grand entrance.

The house was stunning-stunning-stunning and within 3 seconds I felt so out of my element.

But then I looked up, and there across the room....the first body I saw belonged to Kim Ode, I didn't know she was attending this party, later on she told me she didn't know that she was attending this party until the previous day.

But my vision jumped head first into a free fall, because I noticed that Kim was wearing some bluish blouse.

Blue has never been in Kim's wardrobe palate, when I confronted her on my observation.....I think she was surprised I even noticed.

"Yeah....I'm not sure if it is quite blue, maybe it's more of a tope, or even".....

I interrupted...

It's more of a, or in between a royal blue and a aqua don't you think?"

Anyways, I'm not sure there was a definitive answer, but if the musings of the Last American Baker ever get made into a film....note to director.....

Kim Ode is always Pink and / or Yellow.

The party goes on -

Blah-Blah-Blah everybody was having a good time.

I've written about this before, but Klecko really feels awkward at parties...it's just a fact.

But I was THRILLED to be invited, but just for a little bit, I decided to find the kitchen and hang out there for awhile.

When I entered this space....Sweet Jesus of Warsaw! There were refrigerators and freezers bigger than some restaurants and bakeries I've worked in.

The pantry had pots and pans that were the size you would use to cook for an army.....literally.

I met the 2 guys who were catering this gig, introduced myself and told them how out of place I felt in the midst of so many pretty people and blue bloods.

Dudes laughed and told me they knew exactly what I was talking about, and I was welcome to hang in the kitchen.....just as long as I stayed the he** out of their way LOL.

So I pull out my Droid, check voice mails, check e-mails, check Facebook, and then I checked this Blogsite.

I had a recent message from fellow L.A.B. Rat - H.N. from Texas USA.

Actually it was more of a comment, or maybe even a question. She wrote something like.....

"Klecko, your blog cracks me up. Sometimes you seem so wise....but then other times you're an idiot (then she drew that smiley face thing), didn't you mention that you were like 50 or something?

I'll bet you were a trip when you first started baking huh? Were you a total rebel?"


Wow.....I love getting questions from you guys, maybe more than I let on. So now I pick up a ladle and began stirring some broth like substance. To be honest, I'm not certain exactlly what it was, but the stuff had just hit boil and none of the kitchen staff seemed to object.

So at this point, I had been thinking about how I would blog the events of this day, but now I was more intrigued by the Texas question.

H.N. - No, I don't think I was a rebel at all, but I'll tell you one thing I was (and remain).....I was an instigator.

I've posted in the past about some things I've implemented when I gained some supervisory authority, but then....right there as I stirred the broth, I remembered something that I did many-many years ago.

When I was working a rare day shift one summer I pulled out my Pharaoh ring and made a creed that Friday was haircut day.

You see, the shop I worked at had a barbershop on the adjacent corner.

The guy who ran it was a middle aged Irish guy, I forget his name, but I remember that he l-o-v-e-d horse racing.

Anyway, I worked out a deal where I would send at least 8 guys over every Friday if he'd give us $5 haircuts. Back then I think the going rate was $7 for a buzz cut.

The guy was thrilled by this and told me that he loved the idea, and to show his gratitude, he was going to give me my cut for free.

Well....Klecko told the boys about the one "free hair cut" and I offered to let everybody throw their names into a hat, and whoever got picked would get the freebie.

O-M-G......LOL, is was such a ghetto-lotto.

Each week whoever won the freebie would stand on top of the pallets of flour and beat their chest.

I think we had 12 or 13 bakers there, and every-every-every single-solid one of these guys participated every week.

You might think this is odd, but too many of you guys have watched movies where the bakers work in those little artsy bread boutiques, sporting ponytails and silly hats.

When you work in a bread plant, and it's summer time, and you have no air conditioning.....hair is a liability.

It's would be the equivalent to wearing a parka to the beach.

So here I am, a guy who is on his way to getting old, standing in some mansions kitchen, remembering something dear to me that had eluded me for at least a decade.

All I could do was smile.

Everybody wanted cake.....the clamoring started, but our host informed them that before anybody got dessert.....we were going to have a brief series of poems to commemorate the day.

I asked Finley if it would be OK for me to go first. It's almost never that I volunteer to defer to somebody else but...........

I'm not an Idiot.

I realize that at this particular moment......Mike Finley is the Beatles, and I'm more like Alice Cooper.

So figuring out that marquee shouldn't be too hard.

Writing poems is hard.

Writing poems for people you love is even harder.

I do love Carol Connolly, so I was actually nervous.

Klecko -

"Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you so much for joining us on this day where we are fortunate enough to celebrate two of the loveliest women that Saint Paul has to offer.

I have been asked to present a poem to commemorate this occasion.

So before I do that, I will mention one thing.....Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. I am Klecko, the CEO of Saint Agnes Baking Company and in the 30 years that I've been baking, I've learned one thing.

Women have one common denominator......cake."

Many people laughed, and the remainder returned pleasant smiles.

"CAKE by KLECKO"

NOBODY UNDERSTANDS
A WOMAN'S THOUGHT PROCESS
ON THE DAY OF HER BIRTHDAY
QUITE LIKE THE VILLAGE BAKER

FOR HE HAS PLACED ONE THOUSAND CAKES
IN FRONT OF THE FAIRER SPECIES
AND HAS DEDUCED FROM THESE OBSERVATIONS
WHAT THE MAJORITY WILL MISS

WHEN EYES PEER THROUGH THE CANDLES GLOW
WHICH PUNCTUATE THE CANDLE TOPS
A WOMANS THOUGHT WILL NOT ALIGN WITH LOSS
OR LAMENTATIONS OF THE PAST

AND AS HER MOUTH BEGINS TO PUCKER
TO EXTINGUISH FLAMES, TRANSFORMED TO WISHES
IT IS NOT AFFECTION THAT SHE COVETS
SHE SIMPLY WANTS DESSERT

Hey Finley....I would be honored if you posted your poem up here when you get time, and Ode.....did we figure out the official-official color of your blouse?

either way......you looked Meow!

Until Next......Klecko

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are You Allowed to Experiment with Your Christmas Dinner?

Day #1 Monday -

If you have an adult kid, and that kid has had a best friend for most of his/hers life, chances are you have got acquainted with the best friends family.

My son has a best friend, and over the years Sue McGleno and I have enjoyed the minor social pleasantries that go along with that.

Last year, my sons best friend stopped by the bakery and the Father matter of factually told me how the youngest brother of the best friend (14 to `15 ish) had explained to the parents that he was gay.

The announcement didn't come as a surprise to most of us, the young man had always displayed effeminate qualities, and often times skirted around issues that dealt with gender diversity.

With that said, I remember how impressed I was that this father took the time to make the rounds and help the people that they cared about become segued into this situation.

To me, it simply doesn't seem like something like this would need a "Press Conference" but I guess the world can be a tough place for anybody who doesn't fit within societies norm.

So now it's Monday evening, I collect the mail at the Klecko estate, and I noticed that this best friends family had kept with tradition and sent us a Christmas post card that had pictures of the 3 sons on the front.

However, this year the son who had recently announced being gay, made a new statement this year. Instead of signing the card with his masculine name that all of us knew him by......

This year his named was switched to a woman's name, and the photo didn't look like a young man anymore. He looked like a she.

I sat down on the stoop in front of my house and carefully examined the photo, and then it struck me how blessed this kid was to have a family that not only accepted him/her as they were, but these parents went out of their way to print up mini billboards and send them to everybody they knew.

I can't tell you what raced through my mind, but I was really very happy that there was one less person that would be dreading the upcoming holiday season.

This kid is certainly in a low percentage minority group, but when he/she sits down for a Christmas meal, there isn't going to be a character ambush.

So the day goes on......

Tick-Tock Tick-Tock.

Klecko comes home from the gym,steps out of the shower, and between hopping into a pair of boxers and flexing in the mirror....he hears something coming from the living room.

The sound was show tunish, and after switching rooms to investigate, Sue McGleno revealed....

It's White Christmas, it just started, and then she sat down on the couch and began settling in.

Sue McGleno never has been much of a TV girl, but I could tell from her focus that she had a thing for this flick.

She continued doling out information.......

"AMC is playing this movie back to back, and not just tonight, but 3 consecutive nights."

At that moment, I had no idea how influenced I would become by the viewings of this movie over the next 72 hours.

I was familiar with the film, but I hadn't viewed it "wire to wire" in over 30 years.

But Sue McGleno looked invested so I decided to join in by default.

Typically Klecko stays away from musicals, and one of the quickest ways of knowing if a film is going to be filled with dancing and show tunes is to look at the credits and see if Danny Kaye was going to be in it.....

In this case, the answer was yes....sigh, it was going to be a long night.

But I always have liked Bing, and I noticed his love interest was Rosemary Clooney.

When I saw her, I had to chuckle because in this movie she was adorable, unlike the older-ravaged Rosemary Clooney I remember growing up with during those paper towel commercials (Extra Value Is What You Get When You Buy Coronet).

And this Rosemary Clooney character had a younger sister in the movie. This woman was "Smoking-Smoking Hot" and she was played by Vera Ellen.

If you haven't seen the movie, I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that her waist was smaller than my bicep-tricep.

"Hey Sue McGleno....why can't you look like that?"

This prompted a slug to the shoulder which was delivered with a little more velocity than the one's you get when your wife knows you are joking LOL.

Sue McGleno announced that no matter how many times she has seen this film, it amazed her how perfect Vera Ellen's legs were.......

"Look at those legs....O-M-G, a sculptor couldn't improve them. They are just perfect!"

As my punch wound throbbed, Klecko now sat back and started watching more of the movie.

As one scene passed after another, let's just say I noticed that Danny Kaye wasn't falling all over Vera Ellen 1/2 as much as I would. When he grabbed her to dance, or kiss her....it was as if there was some invisible force-field that held him back.

I couldn't see any fire in his eyes and then for the first time I wondered....

"Hey Sue McGleno, whadda ya think....that Danny Kaye guy, maybe he's not truly inspired by chicks huh?"

Sue McGleno laughed, but then got annoyed.......

"Shut up. How would I know, and does it really matter?"

Well.....for the record, it didn't matter at all, but for my curiosity, I was dying to know, and let me tell you why.

I had always heard that Bing was kind of a jerk, on and off the set, and then it occurred to me that if Danny Kaye were gay, would that have prejudiced a confessed lout like Mr. Crosby?

When you watch the film, the chemistry between Bing and Danny was stellar.

Klecko finished watching the entire film with his pretty little bride, and when it was over, he tucked Sue McGleno into bed and then came back into the living room and watched the second running while reading Kerouac's Dharma Bums.

Day #2 Tuesday -

Its early afternoon and Hennessy is washing a pile of pastry dishes that almost qualify as what ever land mass is just one level smaller than a mountain.

Klecko's intercedes into her task and asks.....

"Do you know anything about Danny Kaye?"

Hennessy looks befuddled so Klecko continued.....

"I was just wondering, do you think Danny Kaye was straight or gay?"

There was no thought put into Hennessy's response.

"Danny Kaye was married." she replied.

Now I really laughed.......and said

"Yeah, the film was released in what...1954? I'm sure there were no gay guys that felt it necessary to mask their sexuality in a bogus marriage."

Hennessy stopped, laughed and then responded.......

"You may have a point there, after all, there was always Tony Randall huh? And he was still having kids in his 70's.

Tick-Tock goes the clock.........

The second night of White Christmas comes on (Episode #3 of 6) and now not only am I convinced that Danny Kaye is gay, but I am certain Bing realizes this, and then I kinda smirk because for such a pissy old man......Bing was cool with Danny. You could tell that these guys really respected one another.

So Klecko pops into his home office and drops a quick Facebook message that says....

"That skinny chick in White Christmas sure is pretty."

And then I continued about my business.

Now that the 3rd episode was past 1/2 way over. I realized that meant that the 3 day marathon was about 1/2 over.

Klecko was invested now and simply couldn't continue with supposition, he demanded clarification.

When absolutes are required, one needs not go any further than Mike Finley.

I called him..........

"Mike Finley here."

"Is Danny Kaye gay?" was the salutation I served my mentor.

Part of being a mentor is that when peeps ask you questions, you are usually obliged to add dramatic pauses to cause effect. As usual....Finley broke the rule and answered before the question passed my lips.

"Of course he was gay. He had a thing for Laurence Olivier. He followed him like a puppy. I'm pretty sure that they lived together for over a year."

After hanging up, Klecko called Hennessy. I usually don't like to bother employees during their own time, but pastry chefs are exempt from rules.

"Hennessy, I just talked to Finley. Danny Kaye W-A-S gay, had a thing for Sir Laurence...had it real bad I guess."

Then Hennessy replied with.......

"Hmmmmmmmmm..... but did you know that Bing beat his kids?"

Then she hung up, left me hanging while the cast was singing "What can You Do With A General"?

Could this be true? I didn't dare call Finley back. A guy only gets to ask one random question like this a day.

Stupid Pastry Chef!!!!! LOL, now I was starting episode #4 of 6 and I was depressed.

I didn't want the lead man to be a child beater.

Now Klecko utilizes a stretch of commercials by checking Facebook and he got a thread with a billion different answers about how I said Very Ellen was so pretty.

One of my friends who writes novels responded with.........

"Yeah, she died of anorexia. It was a very sad ending for her."

Some of my Facebook friends attached off colored jokes to this tidbit, but I didn't view them as funny at all.

I wondered how somebody so pretty, and so talented could fade into the woodwork.

I watch Turner Classic Movies everyday and I just haven't run into much of her work.

I picked Kerouac back up and he, I and the cast of White Christmas finished off episode #4.

Day #3 Wednesday -

White Christmas had taken over my life by this point. If you tell anybody, I swear to Polish Christ I'll deny it, but I was humming "Sisters" as well as "Count Your Blessings" throughout the work day.

By this time all the beautiful people in the Twin Cities had followed my lead and everybody was talking about this movie.

Questions were asked like....."How does it stack up against the other Christmas films?" or...."Was it even as good as Crosby's Holiday Inn?"

What started out as a simple night on the couch with Sue McGleno had somehow now morphed into a strange life experience.

Klecko couldn't even remember what any of the questions were.

So, during episode #5 of 6, Sue McGleno wrapped Christmas gifts and I acted as moral support. I really am the worlds worst present wrapper.

It was fun watching Sue McGleno watch this film again....why? Because it made her happy.

I almost had to laugh.

To me, this film had turned into a source of facts that made me curious, crabby and frightened, but to that little Russian - Jew I live with.....it was simply high octane merriment.

Same as ever, Sue McGleno crashes after episode #5 and Klecko crawls back out for the final showing.

I would be a liar if I didn't admit that this final viewing was paired with low levels of trepidation.

Klecko hates-hates-hates when routines and topics come to an end, but I did my best to stop being so sensitive.

The following morning I was off of work.

It is unusual for me to have a Thursday off, but I had to drive to Iowa to pick up Tydus and bring him home from college.

I left at 8 a.m., and by 9:25 I was just on the cusp off Amish territory.Up until this point I had been writing poems in my head, but I got bored and called Kim Ode.

"Star & Tribune, Kim Ode speaking."

I didn't need to announce myself.

"Did you see the thread on Facebook last night? what's her head said that Vera Ellen died from some kind of eating disorder?

"I did see this." Kim responded "I saw it, and then went on line but a lot of sources had her listed as dying from cancer, but then there was other articles that mentioned that the reason she always wore those dresses that covered her neck was because if you saw it, it was certain proof that she was malnourished."

I started to get depressed so I changed the subject.

"What are you serving for Christmas dinner?"

Then with some alley cat - wise guy voice, my best friend laughs and brags....

Perhaps I'll make something from my upcoming cookbook, you know it launches in March right?

Before I could ask what dish she was goi.....I was interrupted.

"Pork Morningside, my little riff on Beef Wellington, and then there will be ham with a rhubarb compote wrapped in puff pastry."

Klecko drives -

Klecko wonders -

Klecko asks -

"Seriously.....have you made this before?"

Than answering me as if she were off put by the doltish question, she answered....

"Yes, this will be my 3rd time."

Now I was starting to feel like I was in an episode of Seinfeld and a real Jerry and Elaine argument was about to commence.

Klecko -

"You can't experiment on Christmas with Christmas dinner. It's against the rules.It goes against common sense. It goes against Christ wrapped in a swaddling cloth."

Ode -

"It's not an experiment, I have made it twice. And our rule is that there are no rules concerning Christmas meals."

Klecko -

"Are you serious, I didn't make the rule....God and America did. You can't experiment on Christmas or Thanksgiving. You got 363 other days to fool around with your menu."

Ode -

"Well, we'll still be serving our twice baked potatoes. We've always had those."

I was nervous because by this point I really thought I was going to have an aneurysm and swerve off the road, who knows? Possibly taking out an Amish Buckboard while heading into the ditch.

Klecko -

"Side dishes don't-don't-don't count. We are talking entree here."

Ode -

"Are you and Sue McGleno preparing the same meal?"

Klecko -

"Yes, you know we are. We are civilized and will have homemade chicken pot pies!"

Ode -

"There is nothing civilized about pot pies, now if you were really going to be traditional, you'd go with a ham."

At points like this, some friends will decide to agree to disagree, but when you are best friends.....you can decide to hate each other and throw the question out to the masses.......

And right then, just as I was about to hang up....Kim Ode kinda got nostalgic, it was hard to detect by listening to her voice....but I think she was starting to get choked up.

"Remember the closing scene where they open the curtain, and then that barn door and huge-puffy snowflakes are falling down, and as if that wasn't enough to get ya...then that sleigh comes into the picture.

It came out of nowhere."

And that my friends is why Klecko loves Ode.

But.....we still have one thing to ascertain.

Should you have the same traditional Christmas meal each year? Yes or no.

And if you have anymore comments on White Christmas, it's cast or song list....lay it on me kids.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Buddha and the Bread Factory

Tick-Tock...............................Tick-Tock.

Last night Klecko sat in silence.

Last night Klecko sat in the oversized chair that looked like it should be occupied by somebody old (who used to be famous) on some BBC or PBS special.

Tick-Tock...............................Tick -Tock.

Last night Klecko was determined to see if he could conquer the impoosible, could he spend an hour in silence.

The rules of this (game?) or new life style is that you can't utilize tv's, radio's, computers or phones.

And.....you have to sit in a chair.

Also eventhough the goal is to endure one hour, you can't look at the clock or that would be considered cheating.

If solitude is the vibe you're trying to bite on, how lame would it be to keep goose necking at a clock so your brain could scream out to your body.....

"Only 8 minutes left, hurry up and get ready!"

For the first portion I held a clipboard and prepared to work on my "Year of the Rabbit" album, but before the pen ever touched paper, I noticed Gracie, P-Nut, Romeo and Deedle - Deedle congregated in a tight pack.

All off them stared upward at me with a look of bemusement.

I had to laugh, because over the last 10 years, I guess I've kept my mutts surrounds by lights-camera-action.

They were a different shade of Pavlov and didn't know what to think.

My opening line for track #2 was........

I know what its like to be God -
Because I know what its like to be lonely -

And then I began to laugh to myself, because in my minds eye I could see Kim Ode recoiling at the fact that Klecko would dare to equate himself to God.

People forget though, well I'll preface that by saying...people who believe in the Bible forget that it says that God was an artist, God made landscapes that were award winning. God was self actualized and cool as all get out........

But God was lonely, lonely enough that God decided hanging out, or observing flawwed creatures such as myself might be more intresting than merely sitting alone in God Glory, with God Wisdom, in God's slendor.

After a little while I set my clip board down, and proceeded to pick up a torn up copy of Kerouac's "Dharma Bums."

Jack certainly was a lot of things, but if you ever take a couple minutes to scan over his musings, it won't take long before you realize that he has a real "Thing" for Buddha and that whole eastern point of view.

So as I jumped back into the story, Kerouac was hanging out with this little Asian man whose name was Japhy.

The two of them had parked their truck at ground zero and were preparing to hike up all kinds of terrain, hoping that eventually they'd end up on top of a mountain.

Japhy had copleted this adventure several times in his life, but for Jack....this was his first excursion.

The adventure would take days under the best of circumstances.

On day #1 both of these guys had a bounce in their step and passed time by reciting haiku's pertaining to insperational sights that they had witnessed.

When Kerouac writes about this journey, you can almost feel the flames of passion passing from the words on the page into your finget tips.

But after several days Jack and Japhy went passed a number of plateau's and were in an area which was described as....."Higher Ground."

I am fearful of treading on sacrilege, but let me loosely paraphrase how Kerouac described this moment to those of us who have taken the time to flip through his thoughts........

"As Japhy and I made our way to the higher ground, I found it intresting how things changeded. The two of us walked like Billy Goats, navigating ourselves upward over piles of boulders.

The most intresting thing about being at this altitude is that words almost seemed useless.

We no longer felt it nessasary to speak in order to communicate.

The higher you raise yourself in altitude, the more you find yourself relying on telepathy."

O-M-G...LOL, I just experienced "Writers Fushion with Jack Kerouac."

At this point I replaced my book marker and simply stared into the blinding lights strewn with purpose across Sue McGleno's Christmas tree.

Then I sat back and felt a sense of clarity that has been absent from my life for a long time.

A clarity that I valued, and now miss.

I totally got what he was saying about finding places in life where words are good for nothing. In fact....sometimes they'll only serve as stumbling blocks.

My mind took an aerial view of my past and seemed to start making wide vulture circles around Friday evening bakes when I was an Oven Captain.

Fridays are w/o a doubt the busiest time of the wholesale bakers work week, and the early evening is when pressure mounts to its maximum.

The funny thing is though, that this is the time of the week when people bit** the least and work the hardest.

Mistakes are almost never made during this period because the entire crew locks down on a collective focus.

Oh what a dance it is to participate with a dozen other guys who are mixing, forming, proofing, baking and finally packaging 15 tons of dough in one shift.

This is almost always done in complete silence.

As if an energy, or ghost consumes the collective only to steer their deeds with wind and thought.

This is almost always done in a spirit of reverance.

The satisfaction those moments gave me were better than sex or drugs.

So for a few more seconds I tried to digest a feeling that more than likely will elude me in my future....but one never knows huh?

Eventually I looked up, my "Session of Silence" had exceeded 96 minutes.

So as you can imagine...LOL, the first thing I did when it was completed was turned on my Droid, dialed Mike Finley and reported to him what I read about Kerouac and his completive friend.

"I gotta tell you Mike, I totally get what Jack was saying when he mentioned how when you find your groove, words are no longer neccessary, and I gotta tell ya....that's a great place to be."

Like all good mentors, Finley didn't respond too quick.....he just kinda paused, considered my ephiphany with the same attention that he might apply to a coupon or sheet of TV listings and informed me in his most matter of fact tone..........

"It's the ONLY place to be."







But I think often times people (ecspecially me) view lonli

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gingerbread Men and Swapping Wives

If I've said it once..........

When you run a wholesale bakery that pretty much focuses on bread, taking on a Pastry Chef is a lot like taking on a wife.

Like marriage, this experience is meant to take two people, join them together and then if this tandem is daring.....only the Saints of Warsaw know where they will go.

I don't know about you, but the Christmas holidays always amplify my emotions.

As of late, I have been missing Gilson, she has (and always will) have a V.I.P. tent set up in my heart.

Since she has left, we have talked on the phone several times, but we were not scheduled to do anything social until last Tuesday.

The plan was to go to the Amsterdam for lunch and then head across the street and look at Christmas ornaments. Like Sue McGleno.....Gilson is part Raccoon and collects objects of a shiny nature.

At 8:38 a.m. last Tuesday, I received a text from my former Pastry Chef friend that said....

"Sorry Danny, I can't make it today. I have to get my teeth cleaned."

Interesting enough, it was her who had set the date just 12 hours prior to the text being sent....LOL.

But that's Gilson.

I remember once when we were in the foyer of Whole Foods, a women and her girlfriend passed the electronic sliding doors.

The two ladies looked at Gilson, Gilson looked back at them and awkwardly said.....

"I wasn't able to make it to your party."

The second lady answered......

"Yeah, I know."

Isn't it funny how all of us have our habits?

I would not put up with cancellations from anybody else in this world, but with Gilson......it's part of her DNA. If you can't get past that one flaw, you'll never see the hundreds of other stellar qualities she possesses.

Her replacement...Hennessy has been filling Gilson absence however.

I think one of the reasons why its working is because she is totally opposite.

Gilson enjoys Indy bands and forgets who they are a week later.

Hennessy simply worships Mick Jagger.

Gilson spends countless hours shopping for clothes online at Barneys of New York.

Hennessy spends countless hours building a wardrobe by stealing clothes from her family. Her clan is a stereotypical brood of Saint Paul Catholics, and she has nabbed sweaters off of 21 different uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews.

So just the other day, Hennessy had just finished baking and packing 37 Gingerbread Men that were 1 1/2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.

The two of us ran them over to the X-Cel Center where they were going to use them for a decorating contest.

On the ride back to the shop, I think the both of us shifted gears and officially embraced the holiday season.

When we got back to the plant. I stepped over to the pastry area so Hennessy could walk me through a Steam Fig Pudding recipe that used beef suet.

All the ingredients were systematically laid out across the butcher block table, but before we began incorporating them, Klecko confessed.

"Sometimes at night, I don't like to sleep on my left hand side. If my ear is flush with the pillow, I can hear my heart beating....its so Edgar Allen Poe - Tell Tale Heart that it makes me lose my mind."

Gilson used to get annoyed by my random remarks, but Hennessy cocked her head slightly and informed me......

"When I go to bed, I never lay on my right side, it creeps me out to think that my heart is suspended up in the air."

EWWWWWWW - I never thought of that, and I didn't particularly care for this floaty image.

As the two of us began our recipe, Hennessy was scaling out the dry ingredients while I was blending the beef suet with the sugar.

The suet wasn't rendered, so I was curious to find out how these ingredients were going to blend.

I thought that it might be tacky and gelatinous, possibly giving off a rich-rank odor, or flavor.

It actually wasn't that bad.

"Hennessy, do you have one Christmas that was better than the rest, you know....like a Brady Bunch Christmas miracle or something?"

Hennessy smiled while she scaled.

"Yeah, it was 26 years ago. On Christmas Eve morning I took a home pregnancy test and found out that me and Kevin were going to have our first child. We decided that we would tell people the good news on Christmas, after all...the both of us had to work so wouldn't be hanging out anywhere too long on the 25th."

Now Hennessy gets this cute grin on her face, stops talking momentarily while manually removing pits from the recipes figs.

"Yeah, that was a great day, to share such a fun secret like that with the person you love....we actually went out shopping for tree ornaments and found ones that looked like baby cribs.

We ended up getting a pink one that we eventually gave to Kevin's parents, and a blue one that I gave to mine. We told both sets of parents that whoever possessed the correct one one have to give it back to us for the baby's first Christmas."

I don't think Hennessy or me had to say anything else after that. Even though this story took place 1/4 of a century ago....it was enough to make both of us feel good throughout the rest of the days bake.

As we get closer to the Jesus birthday thing....it can get easy to let tension mount, but sometimes I just like to do the Ebeneezer Scrooge dealio and think of the people from my Christmas past up to Christmas now.

Opening gifts by a tree with a wife that you love can be a wonderful experience, but baking with your Pastry Chef for an entire city in a humbling honor.

I am so thankful for Gilson & Hennessy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Joan Ida....My First FSN Column

September 1, 2010

Dollar Diplomacy, Editorial

When Chef Joan Ida joined Blue Plate, some eyebrows raised. But, for the former upscale kitchen commander, it really does make sense.

• Two airline tickets to Seattle $1,140
• Three nights at the downtown Marriott $480
• Four tickets to Mariners baseball $440
• Booing A-Rod with your son…priceless!

By the time this publication makes its way into your possession, an incredible change in my life will have transpired. I will have become an empty nester. The youngest of my fold is an 18-year-old jock who will attend a small college in Iowa where his main focus will be on playing football.

Being guys, neither one of us wanted to discuss the importance of putting closure on this part of our lives. Instead, we figured it would just be easier to fly out to the west coast and watch Ichiro take on the Yankees.

During batting practice rumors began whirling around the ballpark that the “Evil Empire” was trying to trade for Cliff Lee (The Mariners All-Star selection) to solidify their pitching rotation. When my son heard this, he threw his hands in the air and cursed the Yankees for always trying to buy another championship.

As a father I was thrilled to be surrounded by this circumstance. It gave me a perfect opportunity to explain to my son that sentiment for dark-horse concepts never nurtures success, but obtaining the best personnel almost always will, and nobody should ever have to apologize for doing that, not even the Yankees.

A few days later when I went back to work, I had to chuckle because the culinary equivalent of this situation was happening in the Twin Cities. According to some of my hospitality sources on Facebook, I heard a rumor that Chef Joan Ida was no longer working at the posh Ivy hotel; instead she had taken on a position at the Highland Grill.

I can’t tell you how this switch of venues threw people off balance, but to be honest, I don’t know why. After all, I’d been an Ida groupie ever since Morrissey Companies gave her the reigns to their Tria concept years ago. The one thing I remember her telling me back then was that she wanted to add more “comfort selections” onto a menu that was steeped with decadent French recipes.

If you’ve ever worked in a kitchen, you know how convoluted peoples perception can become, so instead of continuing in cyber gossip, I simply called Joan at home to ask her about some of the new occurrences in her life. The first thing I wanted to know was if she missed working in fine dining, but before I could get the question halfway out I was met with a confident “No-No-No-No!” At this point we both began to laugh.

Joan went on to explain how a lot of the higher end concepts were struggling right now, and much of their demographic will only patronize these establishments once a year for special events like birthdays and anniversaries.

I believe this realization is so clear to Ida because she has never seemed to be rooted in ego. In fact she was very up front when telling me, “One of the things young cooks need to understand is that people don’t care who’s cut their meat. Whether the chef has status doesn’t seem to mean as much to people who are living in a challenging economy. I decided I’d be more than willing to work in a smaller kitchen if the venue gave me an opportunity to feed somebody a couple times a week instead of every couple of months.”

Then I asked if she considered going abroad to take a position at some exotic location. Her response was interesting.

“Not initially. When I was circulating my resume, I was looking for a place that I could call home. The ownership at Blue Plate was fabulous, but as much as I appreciated their kindness, I was impressed at the company’s growth over the last couple of years. These people knew what they were doing. In my interview we discussed things like price point and food cost but sometimes rules for making money are only part of the equation. I was hopeful that they would allow me to increase their concepts’ image of being more chef driven and creative.”

As she was finishing her point I began to wonder how natural this merge was, and if she was nervous being such a high-profile person, entering into an organization that was already successful.

Her explanation made sense.

“If I were younger that might have been an issue, but I had this exact same experience when I went to China. Working in Hong Kong taught me how to teach, to get what I needed. Everything revolves around respect and moving forward, and the other thing I learned was you can’t just tell people things. You need to take the time to teach them. That’s the essence of communication, and communication is essential.”

I guess only time will tell if this intriguing combination will turn into a juggernaut. In baseball, when a player gets traded, we are told to never try to analyze the swap for at least three years. This is based on the theory that public perception seldom aligns with the actual outcome, but I’m a guy who is influenced by trends and statistics, that’s why I just can’t help but think that Team Blue Plates’ acquisition of Chef Ida may be a move that will transform them from a perennial favorite into a champion. Whatever the outcome, I can assure you that there will be a huge fan base rooting for them.

Good luck.

Friday, December 9, 2011

FSN Column (Importance of Power Names)

by Dan “Klecko” McGleno
August 1, 2011
in Dollar Diplomacy, Editorial

The Importance of Power Names

What’s in a name? Everything. Use it wisely.

ST. PAUL (Hickory Hut on University Avenue)

There I was, sitting in that corner booth with a pile of lunch in front of me.

Hickory Hut chicken wings are more than legendary, they can be hypnotic. The main component in my feasting delay was that I was with my Pastry Chef Debora Gilson, and she was grilling the counter staff as to whether or not the mac & cheese was made in-house.

After receiving her meal and joining me, I don’t remember if I shrugged my shoulders or rolled my eyes before commenting....

“Listen kid, you already ruined my street cred when you asked for a Ginger Ale at the Gopher Bar, but to ask if anything is made “in-house” at a place where everything is packaged in Styrofoam is ridiculous!”

I do love Gilson though. At times she has confessed to me that she can be a bit of a food snob, but, truth be told, I think she simply expects all food concepts to be run in a civilized manner that align with her perception.

Momentarily the two of us sat in silence, because our dining colleagues were eclectic enough to keep us entertained, but Gilson tired of this quickly and told me a story.

“Last night I went to Scusi with a friend of mine for dinner,” she began.

“We had each ordered drinks and decided what we were going to eat for dinner, but then our server came to our table and introduced himself. He said he had forgotten if he had formally introduced himself by name. I told him that it wasn’t really necessary since in an hour’s time I probably would forget it. I think I might have offended him, or maybe shocked him perhaps.”

I slumped into my booth horrified, exclaiming that this was just a mad fable that my friend was tossing down on me, but to my dismay, she began to laugh.

“Oh Danny, you can be so Midwestern,” she said. “Do you know what would happen to a server in New York or San Francisco if they pulled a stunt like that?”

When I confessed that I was uncertain, Gilson told me with complete confidence that they would be run out of town. Her analysis was justified with the following reasoning: “It’s not as if I am in a relationship with this person. To be honest, I want to know as little or nothing about them.”

Then with a wink in her eye she tells me, “In fact, half the times I go out to dine it’s to get away from life’s doldrums, not to add on to them. So you see, if a server is really good, they’ll understand that. They will explain the specials, tell me to watch out because my plate is hot and keep my drinks coming.”

I was stunned! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

When I revealed that I always sought out my server’s name and that I tried to be friendly with them, Gilson started to laugh even harder and then said, “Yes, I’m sure you do.”

OK, I’d had enough by this point, so it was time to settle matters once and for all. I pulled my Droid out of my pocket, placed it on speakerphone, and called our mutual friend, Kim Ode, who writes for the Star Tribune Taste section. After brief salutations, Gilson repeated her occurrence from the previous evening and asked if in her opinion, she had thought that some type of protocol had been broken. Ode didn’t even hesitate with her response—she pounced on it. “Oh I’m with you Gilson, I don’t like that whole identification thing either, and I think we are seeing the end of becoming friends with people we do business with,” she said.

The girls giggled together because they unified their opinions against a lout. What do you do when two of the women you love most are in disagreement with you? Worse yet, what do you do if you think they are miles off the mark? As always, Klecko likes to start at the dollar sign and work backwards.

What my friends have suggested is that working with nobility will bring these servers the highest wage possible, but I’ve learned long ago, that it is better to work smart, than work noble. Even people who respect you will underpay you if you leave the outcome up to them.

I don’t care if you are a server or an executive chef; the best way to increase your worth is to increase your personal visibility.

Just last week I was at a local media event at a Saint Paul restaurant, and for two hours all the Ketel One menu items were free. As you can imagine, everybody was drinking vodka. When my server set martinis down for my date and me, I tossed a ten spot onto her tray. The server literally knelt down, placed her hand on my forearm with a touch of compassion and asked, “You’re in hospitality, huh?”

When I told her that I was, she said she just knew it, because every other table in her station just ignored her when she brought their drinks. When it comes to your paycheck, never give people the benefit of the doubt. The story I just illustrated is one of a million scenarios where people will use an opportunity to deny you your entitlement.

Am I saying they do this intentionally? No, not at all.

The young woman who was schlepping vodka all night was serving people who were only thinking about themselves. That’s how life usually works. When a populace of any sort hears the word “Free,” they block out the server’s involvement, because after all, free is free right? In the world of hospitality, everybody is out for themselves. If you’ve been in “the show” for even a few short years, you know I’m telling the truth.

So, in addition to performing your tasks with moderate proficiency, what’s the quickest way to make more money? Simple. Exude confidence and have a power name. If you work in a field that hinges on communication, everything starts with a name.

If you’ve been reading my column for a while, most of you might agree that I have a pretty high opinion of myself, but if I presented these same thoughts with my Christian name McGleno, I wonder how much marketing traction I would have received when I launched myself. In fact, I believe in this so much that when my son was born, I gave him a completely different last name. When they came in with the birth certificate, I wrote Ty Pharaoh.

The nurse yelled at me and said I couldn’t do that. She was wrong.

I don’t want to be one of “those” dads, but my kid was the captain of the Highland Park football and baseball squads. The kid has over 700 pounds of trophies. He’s a natural born leader, he gets the opportunities that he covets, he doesn’t wait for them to come to him. Recently, when I sent him a message on Facebook, I noticed that he had changed his name from Ty to Tydus. When I asked what that was about, he informed me that the swag of his name was being diluted by a growing number of cowboys and rodeo clowns that have copped his brand.

The fact that he understands that all secrets to success start with your name, well, it makes me feel some assurance that he won’t ever struggle with a paycheck.

I am Klecko, and I thank you for your time.
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