Monday, February 28, 2011

Klecko gets called out nationally for worst tattoo...EVER

When the cowboy rides into the sunset
The film credits will roll
While he turns in a badge and his holster
Angels scrape off his soul
You'll commemorate him with a library
An aircraft carrier too
Me, on the day he died
I got a Ronald Reagan tattoo

In a couple of weeks I'll be hosting the annual Kitchen Poet's Vault - poetry reading / tasting. The event will be held at the bakery, and is a great way of melding folks from the food show with the Twin Cities literary crowd.

Growing up poor and fulfilling the role of an indentured servant has often times skewed my perception of people of wealth, people who have embraced education. I have constructed reasons to validate not only my worth, but the worth of others who have known nothing but the hospitality industry, and whatever level of "cool" I have placed myself at, has almost always come at an upper castes expense.

But as I got older, and I would walk through the shop and eavesdrop on what were thought to be covert conversations, I learned my tribe wasn't as innocent as I would have liked to think.

In particular.....2 thugs were running ciabatta early on a Monday morning and were so grooved (this is when you become so entrenched in repetition that the world around you vanishes) that they started to gossip about some of the bakery employees.

One of the guys mentions that one of the bakers must be gay, since during yesterdays shift he read a Hemingway book on his lunch break.

This is when I started to realize that ignorance knows no social or economic class. At this point I walked into the boys personal space and decided to bust their b**** a little bit.

"Guy's if reading makes you gay, then I am the gayest cat you've ever worked with. I even like poetry!"

Guy #1 looks at Guy #2 kinda confused. He looks back at me for a sec, and then he turns back to his colleague "He likes poetry....yeah that is gay, but that's OK boss, gay is cool."

Honest to Pete, dude wasn't trying to be discriminatory, he was processing what somebody had taught him. Some of the guys I work with are from other countries where different value systems are in place. So to make a long story short (or shorter).....I started writing poetry with different food industry workers and columnist from food periodicals.My hope was through words, maybe our collective ignorance could be erased.

I think inadvertently I was trying to bring 2 classes together. When you take on a mission that is rooted in buildinging others, preaching coexsistance and stuff like that. It's EZ to direct your focus outword, but thats why poetry is such a definitive medium for a project like this, because it also forces each participant to review their own work, which will in turn reflect the deeds of their own soul.

At some other point, I'll tell you about the time I baked for Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev, but that's a story in itself. I've always been intrigued by the Cold War. I have always been fasinated by the Russians as well.

I believe with every drop of marrow in my bones that Polish Jesus Karma paved the roads that have brought Klecko across the entire Motherland.Was this payback for Klecko efforts, i don't know but............

President Reagan grew up in poverty, he had humble beginnings, he did play by play for Cubs Radio, he discovered and launched Marilyn Monroe, and best of all.....he brought down the Berlin wall.

But after his terms in office, his mental faculties slipped very fast, and I think he was swept out of the publics eye, and under the carpet until his death. I remember I was driving down Snelling Avenue....right in front of Cheapo Records and I heard on the radio that he had died.

Now I know when people want to add climatic drama they add emotion to their stories, but Klecko is not a drama fan, but none the less....when I heard that "RONALD REAGAN HAS DIED IN HIS........." Blah-Blah-Blah, I had to pull into the Super America parking lot. I felt sick.

Some people process pain by going to a therapist, others get high, while criminal elements will lash out and process their sorrow on others through violence.

Klecko gets tattoo's.

So that's what I did, Girlio drew up the ink tribute and plastered it onto my powerful Polish bicep LOL.

But I must confess, I have what...25-30 tats, all my family, my dogs, a back piece, Johnny Cash?

They all are dear to me, but there is something extra special about the Reagan tattoo.

Several years ago a national magazine called Franchise Times did a piece on tattooed workers and how their "tributes" effected common company policy. They ran a pic of me flexing the portraint of our nations 40th President. In biblical accrostics the number 40 denotes "completion" like Noah's 40 days and 40 nights, or Moses was how many years in the sand dunes? Jesus went off into the wilderness for how many days?????

Yeah - 40, what does that mean, nothing really, but in my head I would like it to account for something bad a** LOL!

So time passes as it always does, and I go to a dinner party at the parents of the captain from my summers little league team.We won the championship that year toppling a juggernaut squad. Eventhough I love the kids equally win or lose, I can't deny that teams (like families) will find reasons to get together more often if there is achievment to be celebrated.So a modest sized mob were nibbling on apps ands taking Mad Dog shots (Vodka-Rasberry something and Tobasco sauce.)and the energy of this party shifted up a level.

The house was flooded with lawyers, doctors and people who don't have to take a mandatory shower when they return from their place of employment.The kitchen was more fantastic than some commercial spaces I have worked in, and the host worshiped flavor.All of a sudden the Commissioner of our league pulls me aside and asks

"Dan, how on earth did you worm your way into the Huffington Post?"

I responded by telling him that I had know idea what he was talking about, and further more "What is the Huffington Post?"

Remember, I live in the Twin Cities where only me and God vote G.O.P. But to all the lefties....reading the Huffington Post is as ritualistic as me reading the Twins box score on sunny July mornings.

So a kid runs by with a laptop and Googles Huffington Post - Worst Tattoo's Ever,and sure enough, there I was in the crowd of Tat's that ranged from wicked funny to just plain wrong.

It started with George "W" baring fangs and biting into the Statue of Liberty's neck like a vampire. Then there was some portraits, one guy had Jimmy Carter on his right a** cheek, another dude had JFK on the back of his hand, and then there was the Abe Licoln portrait with a bullet hole in his head with blood gushing out.

Some bird legged guy had Sarah Palin's image with cross bones underneath and the word Poison inked in bold letters.

The one that wigged me out the most was a simplistic version of stick people diving head first out of the Twin Towers as they were being destroyed with the caption "It's Raining Men." Seriously, I am not into placing judgment, but WOW.....somebody's gotta go to Hell for that one.

So like I said, there was a dozen of them, and after some more time has passed. I googled the article this morning so I could research the artwork for this poem I'm working on, and to Klecko's dismay, what he didn't realize was that the viewers got to vote as to which tattoo was the worst political tattoo ever, and guessed it. Klecko won.

Don't get me wrong.I was flattered.I wasn't the worst of the year. I had the worst fricken tat EVER!!!! On a National Level.

As a Republican I took solice in this new found achievment, it gave me right wing street cred that would let me even topple Rush Limbaugh for a stint,. but as a patriot, I was seriously sad that people felt that way about somebody I respect so much.

Then it occured to me that pledging allegiance to political parties was probably just as near sited as thinking that one social caste is more relevant that the other.

At 47 Klecko is still trying to figure this out, but in the meantime, if you are cruising the TC's on Saturday March 12th, the reading/ tasting launches at 10:30 a.m.

White Collars and Blue Collars will come together, and even if for just a brief moment, we will enjoy each others effort's and journeys.

Oh yeah....the food will be FETCH! See ya there kiddos.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Sane Chef & Pavarotti's Bus Tubs

Being a Pollack, I've never had the need to engage in therapy. Instead....we just start off our day eating pork products and screaming at each other. However, if I did go to a shrink, I'm pretty certain that after we processed the entire vein structure of my neurosis components, the Doc would probably determine that Klecko is who he is because of a deep seeded desire to be normal.

After revealing this, you can be certain that a prognosis would be issued where the learned healer would do there best to assure me that there was no need to worry, after all every family structure has an element of dysfunction.

It's hard to argue with somebody that has multiple degrees when you had no success completing any of the 3 high schools that District 281 had to offer, but I do feel I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Klecko was raised by a small black and white television set.

As a kid, your favorite baker was reared in the 60's, a decade of change, a decade of experiment. My father bolted when I was 2, and my mother chased after enlightenment, so throughout my parents individual pursuits, I spent a large deal of my youth at houses other than my own.

On the occasions when I did sleep in my own bed, I spent my time in a state of worship, and the alter that gave me hope and peace was....that's right, that black and white TV.

Hours would pass and I would watch shows like the The Brady Bunch, The Walton's or even Little House on the Prairie.

The common denominator in all of these programs was that the family's were loyal, they put each others needs ahead of their own. But the thing that was most striking to me, the thing that I wanted to emulate the most was their collective normalcy.

Goals are good to have, and formula's to obtain them are really healthy. After you figure out your objectives, all you need to do is find a mentor and plug into them. TV gave me faith because even in 1972, when I was 9, I was inspired that Adam 12 always got the bad guys, Mary Tyler Moore could turn the world on with just a smile (and remember...we were both living in Mpls at that time), and Fred and Lamont were happy as clams even though they lived in a junk yard.

Sure, even though I was just 9, I realized that these were embellished themes, but my thinking was that thoughts had to come from somewhere, some kind of life experience.So just as the Templers Knights went in pursuit of the Holy Grail.......Klecko secretly pledged an oath to himself that he would find normal, and be normal.

Towards the turn of the millennium, the bakery I worked for moved locations. We went from a work space the size of a Nike shoebox, to a 7500 square foot facility that was brand new.

On Sundays, I would always be the first one in. I remember each time I entered that plant, I was always grinning. I couldn't fathom that somebody would put that kind of trust into me. They were actually going to let me steer the ship.

Most Sundays I would get there 1 or 2 hours early, just so I could sit in the bakery and watch it in it's quietness. All the other times I was in there.....complaining,cursing and laughter wall papered the airwaves. Sometimes.....even if it was just once a week, it was nice to witness it's greatness in silence, kinda like watching your first baby asleep in the crib.

Silent energy can be powerful. If you learn how to look for it, only then will you be able to understand how you can use it to frame chaos.

At about 8 a.m. phone calls would litter the office lines, and sometimes if I was bored I'd answer them. Chef "R" worked at the Saint Paul Hotel, and he would always place his order at 8:15, not 8:12, not 8:31, but always 8:15 on the dot.

I've always enjoyed people who are anal and creatures of routine, we usually get along. During this period "R"was at the climax of his career. The Saint Paul Hotel is in my opinion the top luxury venue in the state of Minnesota. Let's just put it this way....if a President from our country or abroad is sleeping in the TC's, you can bet that it's at the SPH.

The list of dignitaries that have passed through there is wicked impressive, and the thought of listing them all is almost silly.

After a couple months of Sundays, I really began to look forward to chef "R"s phone calls. I would explain the nuances of the baking world, and in return he told me stories about chef life that make me laugh to this day. One of my favorites took place on maybe the only week that he called in late, it might of been 8:30ish. After exchanging salutations, I told him that I thought perhaps an earthquake or locust plague swept through his neighborhood. The following is his reply.........

"No locusts, that's for sure, but you might say a mini hurricane."

I kept my mouth shut because I was intrigued.

"Last night Pavarotti was in town, and of all of our customers....well, he's maybe the highest maintenance. In addition to attracting more groupies than a rock star, the guy is impossible to please in terms of food. In fact, he feels that no chef is talented enough to feed him. Being the greatest opera singer must not be enough, because he has been quite clear to our management that he is the greatest chef on the planet as well. In fact, every time he comes to town, he has a special kitchen put into his room, but the one thing I'll give him, he doesn't mess around. The guy uses great ingredients, and he always cooks a feast. he loves to share his cooking with people...shoot, I don't know, maybe more than his music."

Then I asked "R" if he ever had the privilege of sampling any of the tenors wares. But "R" didn't answer, it was kinda an awkward moment, after repeating the question, "R" sheepishly began to laugh........

"Well, and we only did it cuz Pavarotti is legendary, but after all of his bashes, we have housekeeping bring the leftovers to our kitchen office. we pick over his bus tubs."

The both of us got a good laugh at "R"s expense, but the thought of cooking for the most powerful people in the world seemed daunting to me. so I asked "R" of all the dishes that he's ever cooked, what was his favorite. Listed below was his response.

"I really don't have favorite dishes at all, I have favorite experiences. I am surround by wonderful food everyday, but not always by people who I really want to be with. My wife is in hospitality too, so on the rare occasions we get to dine together, or once every couple of years when we get to be with our families in Detroit, those are the best meals. sometimes I think people are a more important element than menu choice"

So in closing, I've come to terms with the fact that I'll be "different" until I shed my mortal coil, however I do take solace in the fact the my theory is correct and there is at least 1 normal person gracing the globe.

So props out "R", and wherever you and your family have landed these days. Polish Blessings on ya friend!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pop Tarts and the Drop Palsey Flautist

Opportunity is cool, if you can collect just a few of them, it's easy to turn those experiences into something that will splash. For several years Klecko toured his "Bread Circus" to every Podunk flea market, truck stop and rodeo in the most remote corners of God's northern hemisphere.

"No good deed goes unrewarded" said the Monkey to the Baker, and with a thimble of fairy dust mixed in with the chalice remnants of Polish Christ.....Little Danny Klecko found himself at the airport ready to embark on a tour that would literally circumnavigate the globe.

Tonight's Epistle will focus on just one leg of this epic journey. It will be the first portion of flight 152 from Mpls to Amsterdam.

The end of this voyage is actually inconsequential, for right now its the process that is paramount.

If you ever want to write a novel that focuses on despair, just make sure that it starts with the government booking an international flight for you. Your plot line can become a dark comedy when you realize that the books protagonist is 6' 3" tall and 274#'s.

I forget the diff between 727's & 747's and what ever the biggest 7's are, but I was on the one that had 3 seats next to the window, 5 seats in the middle and 2 seats on the right.

So where do you think Uncle Sam plopped Klecko....uh huh, right in the middle of the 5 seat deal.

Even though I barely had room to move, I was feeling optimistic because somebody other than me (or Sue McGleno) was going to pay for me to talk about bread on a different part of the globe.

As I did my best to make myself comfortable, the seat on my direct left, and right filled with a total of 4 Dutch boys. When you fly w/o a partner, I have always found it to be a good practice to never say squat for the first 20 minutes. The silence is employed so you can have time to survey your travel mates.

One time I was flying to Vegas and I made the mistake of talking to a 20ish kid next to me, the guy wouldn't shut up.....

"Dude you gonna go large in Sin City?" and "Dude are you gonna score on the hot biotches on the strip?

It went on,and on, get it?

Finally, I looked at the kid and said "Hey, it's hard to say this w/o sounding like an A-hole but, I really hate you. shut up!"

The kid starts laughing...hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, then he stops to take a breath, and then Klecko expounds....

"Seriously, its really early and I have the impression if I'm not honest with you, you're gonna keep on talking. That just can't happen - so either shut up, or switch seats with somebody else.

The kid frowned and got puppy dog eyes. then I started to feel kinda bad. When the kid ended up inserting his I-Pod ear phones, Sue McGleno leaned over and said....

"I can't tell you how often I get sick of you, but you gotta know, it's moments like that when I love you the most."

But then I mumbled a confession of guilt and my wife just rolled her eyes while adjusting her doughnut pillow and saying...

"Don't ruin it for me. Let me go to sleep with the image of a real man on my mind, Leave me alone now, I want to sleep, but you can wake me up when we get there."

Every flight has an adventure, doesn't it? Can you think of a time where your commute through the sky was uneventful? I can't.

So I'm wedged between the 4 Dutch boys, and then a tall-lanky Abe-Lincoln guy drops into the chair right in front of me. The guys been talking in a voice that is easily 400 decibals louder than the rest of us. From the sounds of things, he's heading to Tulip Land to sing in a choir of Americans, most of which are 15-20 years older, and all of them are women.

"No....Peg couldn't make it! She's putting together the music for the orchestra."

I didn't hear a response, but Abe continued....

"No, no indeed she won't be playing. she was a Flautist, yes that's right, but she had to quit. It's not like she wanted to, but she acquired the Drop Palsy in her right hand."

No one said a word, I was trying not to laugh over the word "Flautist."

For reasons unknown to me, and those possessing minimal logic, the guy continued the rant....

"You don't want to get Drop Palsy. It is not a good thing to get. It is worse to get Drop Palsy though if you are a Flautist, because a Flautist has to use their hands to play the flute."

I would have looked at the Dutch boys for sympathy......but they were oddly enough starting to resemble that kid on the paint can, so I just prayed for a speedy lift off so I could watch an in flight movie.

This was my first experience with what I like to call the "Pop Tart" screen. You've seen it. They give you your own screen on the back of the chair placed in front of you, and then you pay $3 for headphones that you plug into your armrest to get the audio.

When we did get up, I began watching that movie starring Clive what's his head, the one where humans can no longer have children. One of the supporting actors was Michael Caine and he played a hippie recluse that had all the answers to life, but yet he was the first clown to get gatted by the bad guys.

Then I started to wonder.....who has been in the most movies ever, but without being anybodys favorite actor. I think Michael Caine and Gene Hackman are primo candidates, but to select a winner, its just too close to call.

But right when the movie started to come together, Abe (remember him? He was married to the Flautist with Drop Palsey). He reclined his chair which served as my screen. He lowered it to it's maximum. Typically on flights that are double digit hours, a traveling colleague will do a brother a solid and bypass this luxury. In Coach people usually realize that personal gain comes at a great cost to others, so they leave their seats erect.

So now I lean over and place my face through the crack and give this guy "The Guy Look" - This is just another way of one man asking another...."Do you really need to be such an A-hole?"

His silence indicated that he did.

When I started drifting off, I noticed a couple rows behind me sat a woman with black fish net stockings. I assumed she was familiar with the red light district.....and I kinda wishing I was too....just a bit though.

But then Sue McGleno's silhouette, it surfaced. Maybe I was dreaming now, but I saw a cloud bank full of thunder. And I couldn't find a silver lining, just a contract that said DIVORCE.

Hah,,,,,that's when Klecko woke up and his Dutch neighbors were totally engrossed with Disney's classic MY LITTLE MERMAID.

But before the story was completed, we were told by the Captain to fasten our seat belts for landing.

Now I'm sure you realize that this tale is just a time lapse version. I was feeling somewhat certain that you wouldn't want me spewing from my Klecko soap box for another 11 hours....or would you LOL?

When an international flight touches down, I really think it's the closest experience that will convey to civilians what it is like on a prison release day, or being emancipated from a P.O.W. camp, because once you stand up and stretch your legs. All sins and transgressions are forgotten. Everybody has survived this trial of patience together realizing that they are either in an exotic local, or even better home.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red Beer - Luftwaffe Book Signing, and the Big Lebowski Chick

The Germans are the best bakers in the world. There is no arguing it,well....Iknow some of you, you're going to throw feeble arguments out there, but trust me. I don't know much about much, but I do know baking, and the Germans can't be matched.

"Oh Klecko,,,,what about the French?".....What about em?
"You Can't put them above the Italians!"....I just did.
"Are you saying they are actually better than Americans?"......Did I stutter?

Trust me, as an American Pollack, I have studied the history of my families lineage, and I am aware that Poland has been a door mat for the Germans and Russians to wage their wars so the collateral damage would end up on foreign soil, but as a gotta give props to where props want to be. In the collar,arms and heart of those who guides them.

I've talked about being married to a Jew before, and often times people have asked me how I can continuously praise the Fatherland after everything that took place with the Jews during WW2. Dude....really? So the Germans that kick it in Miami are all Nazis to this day? I don't think so.

I wonder if the kids in Bolivia or Malaysia will dog Klecko's sourdough because Americans stole African Americans off their soil, oh yeah....while we are at it, can you brush the whole massacre of Native Americans under the carpet while you are at it?

By now, most of you realize Klecko is not about lines that divide people or property. Klecko has been called into the world to be optimistic, to love and to bake items so wonderful, that you won't even mind sitting next to your ex husband while eating them.

On Summit Avenue is a parade on mansions that runs several miles long through Saint Paul. In one of these dwellings is a gathering place for a group of Germans, what is it called? something like the Germanic Instatute of Minnesota, or something.

I don't honestly remember how our relationship took place, usually my memory is pretty good at remembering who courted who but, for some reason all I remember is that I was to go and do a Demo focused on German breads for these people.

The "lecture" was to take place on a Friday in the evening, so throughout the mornings vampire hours, and into the noontime Klecko worked diligently on recreating some of the styles and flavors of German bread that his audience had grown up with.

Duplicating ethnicity can always be challenging, for instance if I walked up the their podium and declared I made the best Party Brot......all hell would break loose, some feeble clod would wave a cane in the air and ask me when was the last time Klecko had sampled Werners wares in Dusseldorf.

You can't refute perception, in any aspect of life. so throughout the course of my baking shift I attempted dark rye's, I did a caraway / lager piece with honey and golden raisins. I also did pumpernickel's, brotchen, roggenbrot and even pretzel breads that I hand dipped in caustic soda.

So I finish a 10 hour shift, go home, take a shower and swoop up Sue McGleno under my wing and point the bread truck in the direction of "Little Berlin".

When I get to the mansion, I had an actual tower of bread. have you ever seen those plastic bread totes that rest behind grocery stores. I had those on wheels and stacked to my chest (remember....Klecko is 6' 3".)

So as I slowly drag these across an uneven sidewalk, several woman poke their heads out the door, give me an inquizitive look, and then they slammed the door shut. They knew I was coming in...didn't they?

These birds didn't just close the door, they SLAMMED it.

Sue McGleno usually isn't one to attempt to dispense humor, but I am pretty certain I overheard some zinger about Pollacks on the doorstep.

Klecko then proceeds to ring the doorbell, the woman who slammed the door now reopens the door, but now she greets me as if the previous incident never took place and asks me how she can help.

When I explained to her that I was supposed to do a German Bread presentation she looked befuddled....

"No, (and I can't write in a thick German accent - sorry) I don't think you are. Anna is doing a presentation."

Anna was a club member, and Germans have this white doily stuff. It has a name, but I don't know what it is. I've seen the exact same items from Bulgaria to Peru, but Anna led me to believe that the German version was different....because it was better LOL!

So Klecko pulls an envolope with the Germanic Institute crest on it, and produces a letter that quoted the starting time and date. It doesn't always happen, but on this occasion Klecko was correct.

Now several women entered and clucked as to who the dumb a** was that double booked. When one of the kitchens alpha dogs suggested that I come back the following week...Klecko replied....

"Verily-Verily I say unto you fine ladies, by this time next week Anna's white doily things will be in the exact shape that they are now, but these loaves of mine. These loaves that I spent the day slaving on will be dead. C'mon....I really don't want to be a thorn in your side, but if you turn me away, what will I do with all this bread? They will become bread orphans!"

I kinda thought they would laugh....they didn't, in fact a chick named Helga suggested that I just leave them for the dinner and come back the following week with new loaves. I looked over at Sue McGleno with those "Are we in the Twilight Zone" eyes.

And of course by know that nobody was enjoying my plight more than her.

So Klecko starts to get pissed and looks at the name of the woman who signed it. I'm going to insert a fake name now, because "Oh My Blog"....I'm not here to tear people down.

I've always dug the name Lola, so I pointed to the signiture and said "Why doesn't somebody find this Lola, is she around?"

Now all the hens are barking orders, and I wondered if there would be anyone left to follow them out. Eventually a woman surfaced, and she was one of those rare women that made Sue McGleno flash me that "Don't even think about it look."

This Lola was about 5-10 years my senoir, and she wore a bright red pant suit just like that chick who was the German performance artist in the Big Lebowski. remember her? she was the one with wires attached to her body, and she surfed the ceiling of some vacent warehouse space hovering over The Dude.

In addition to a ringmaster pant suit, Lola wore a black shirt that had low cut ruffles that ran along the button seam. Funny though.....usually middle aged women don't leave as many buttons undone as she did. I confessed to Sue McGleno that I was scouting, but it was more of a car crash stare, and she granted me pardon while explaining that even she to couldn't help but look, and middle aged German chicks had never been her scene.

I don't know what the pecking order was, but Lola greeted me (and my date) with kindness and soft cheek kisses before taking the birds into the kitchen and yelling at them with this sexy guttural-throaty-a** lashing that was really quite impressive.

When she left her minions and returned, she had us follow her upstairs to an area that contained a gift shop,where she basically killed time with us until dinner. We got to sit under chandeliers that you'd expect to see in an opera hall's foyer before attending the Valkyrie.

We were served Schweinbraten, Wiener Schnitzel and piles and piles of kraut. It honest to "G" was one of the top 10 meals of my life. As we ate, the tension lowered. Old people were being nice to us. Old people are fun to eat with, they always seem to been genuinly interested in stuff as long as it is positive, While our dinner conversations were in full stride, some guy entered our area, he had gotten there late. He had been down in the beer celler area setting up his little booth where he was going to sell and autograph books about the adventures of his Granddfather who flew in the Luftwaffe.

When Sue McGleno overhear this, I interviened and asked if she was enjoying herself yet. Her eyes vulture glared me and commented that the dessert better be pretty d*** good.

So the meal is done, peeps stand up slowly, some run outside to have a quick smoke. Klecko runs down into the beer celler, and this place has long oak tables, important crests with tough looking creatures all over the wall. The bar is stocked with priceless gems of achohal which I am hoping were brewed in castles which overlooked the Rhine....and as I walk up to the podium, I swear to Caesar that Luftwaffe guy close lipped smiles at me across the room and flashes me an encouraging thumbs up.

So now Lola stands to give an intro, she starts off apologizing for the mix up, and assures everybody that next week, or next month, whatever it was...that they would get to see Anna talking about those fetching white doilies.

Klecko walks up to the mike, and pans the audience from left to right real slow like (this has always been a standard Klecko move, using the dramatic pause to add just,,,,enough tension.

"Well......leave it to the Pollack to come in and mess things up for the Gerry's huh? Sorry Anna."

I tell you in complete seriousness, I was certain that would start the show off with a bang. but, nobody laughed. They just looked like 108 deer with their eyes caught in the headlights. Then from the back an old womans voice screamed something in German, it sounded like swearing, but I looked to Lola and asked if that was German for Give us Barrabas and she actually started to chuckle.

As the presentation went on, I started to talk about my sourdough starter, and how it is customary for bakers to name theirs after a woman they loved. I named mine Annalisa after my neighbor who was Mormon. Her family pretty much raised me (you can read about that in Klecko and the Mormons posting) and Annalisa was the youngest of their clan. she was 2 or 3 years younger than me.

When I was in baking school, it wasn't unusual for me to come home to my efficiency and find her plop a**ed in front of my TV with all of my beer consumed. she even made pyramids with the empty's so if I came home after she left.....I would know it was her that drank them.

She wouldn't even leave me a single drop, why.....because she knew thats how much I loved her. She was really tall and had a Dayrl Hannah torso, so she often stole my leather jackets and dress shirts. During this period of time she was also discovering her sexuality. she was dating some women and to be honest, it freaked her out cuz I don't think she knew if she was gay or straight, then when you toss in the God stuff, it can be pressure packed. Sometimes she'd bring it up and i'd interupt her and ask "Do you want my last cigarette?" The pack might have been full, it didn't matter, the point was when she was depressed I told her that she could take anything I owned off my Turd Island...even my last smoke.

A couple years later she went to Chicago and was partying with friends and then had a toxic shock reaction to tampons. She knows I love her because I would never type the "T" word for anybody else. It's against guy rules.

I got the call telling me about this around Midnight. I was mixing Doughs at SuperMom's and told my boss I had to go. I was young, and wasn't sure if I even had enough money for gas. When I got there I would visit briefly, because Klecko hates medical. Annalisa was bloaded and had tubes in her nose and her family surrounded her and they all looked like they wanted to die real quick before she left us.

I just sat next to her and told her jokes, and explained to her who I hated because I knew that she would like that. I was too ashamed to tell her family that I had no money, so I just slept in downtown parking lots in the back seat of my Nova.

So all of this is racing through my mind. The Germans are staring at me, totally enthralled in my sourdough starter description.....then I feel the worst feeling a real guy can feel. I felt like people might feel when they are gonna cry, but I wasn't sure since Klecko never cried much.

I was less sure what was going to take place in the next couple minutes than anybody. So I looked at Sue McGleno, and I could tell from the look on her face, I was doomed. Good wives know their husbands better than they know themselves. When I asked her later, she tried to defuse the weirdness by telling me that she always knew that I was a little softer than she cared for. But yeah, I started crying in front of all of them. and when you haven't cried in years and try to stop it, it only gets harder, and your face makes weirder expressions.

It might has been the worst moment of my life that was not attached to trauma.

Lola stood up and walked over to me real briskly, and she hugged me. And then the Germans just got up and went to the bar. I didn't even finish my presentation, but that didn't matter. all these lovely people took turns buying my beer and schnapps.

I confessed to my embarrassment, but then Anna...the doily lady handed me a stein of something and assured me it's not bad to cry for the people we love.

I will never forget the kindness and hospitality that the Germans showed me that night.

And w/o a doubt.....they really are the best bakers in the world.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An American Vice President and the New York Dolls

Dateline - 5:45 a.m. the History Center Parking Lot (2007?)

I'm sitting in the parking lot waiting to go into the History Center to partake of some event that was called something like Early Bird Sunrise Breakfast. The frost is so thick on my windshield that I can't scrape it off with my drivers lisence.

To be honest, I'm not sure how I even got here with such limited visibility, so instead I just give thanks to Polish Jesus that I was able to navigate myself to this destination w/o crashing into something.

This is the worst time of the morning to listen to the radio because they refuse to play music. Its always BLAH-BLAH-BLAH morning talk show hosts. OMG- is there anything more demonic?

So I rifle down the dial and eventually I hear something that resembles music, sorry, it was only Journey singing "SOMEDAY LOVE WILL FIND YOU."

At this point, Klecko does the unthinkable and shuts off the radio. If there is one nemeses that he loathes, it's silence, but sometimes it's the only cure for a middle aged man who has pulled an allnighter.

I would have gone into the building, but there was 5 or 6 other cars idling out in the parking lot as well, and none of them were budging so I began to wonder if there was something going on, or maybe a reason why were shouldn't enter yet.

I would be a "nose as long as a telephone wire" if I didn't report that I seriously thought about skipping the dealio, but one of the peeps who invited me was part of the crew that I kicked it with the previous evening.

The cats name is Stevie C, and he is a lawyer for the "Farmers Legal Action Group." Basically those guys are the folks that take that Willie Nelson's LIVE AID money and travel across America defending farmers against the government/establishment or anyone who will do whatever they can to pull the rug out from under our nations food growing community.

If you met would be shocked that he debated at Stanford or did other lawyer training stuff at prestigious Boston universities because the guy has pretty much looked like one of the Ramone's ever since he got out of high school. In addition to the black leather biker jacket, the guy is completely sold out and even sports a "Prince Valiant" banged haircut that has been out of style for so long, that it's almost back in vogue...LOL!

But anyways, the night prior we brought a mini chess board and went to First Avenue. Now for those of you that are not from the Twin Cities....First Avenue is the club where the "cool" bands play, or the venue for bands that can no longer fill our arenas. But....more importantly, this is the space where our own home town hero Prince shot the music scenes for his iconic Purple Rain film.

So me and Stevie made a special trip because the New York Dolls were playing a set and neither of us had ever seen them. It was cool going to a show at age 44 and the other 1200 people in the crowd were older than me. I don't know what to think. Is "that guy", you know who I'm talking about, the guy who is 51 with blond spiked Billy Idol hair and a dog collar. Is "that guy" cool....or actually...never mind, Polish Jesus is telling me not to cast judgment.

Stevie has a higher chess rating than I do, but at the same time, he pretty much only plays a Ruy Lopez E-4 opening, so if you can feed him a few beers and open B-4, he'll recoil in fear.

As the crowd thickened, I spotted Kansas City Bob, Terry Duck and a host of other food service folks.

When showtime hit....David Johansen struts out, dude is like what..... 102, and he still is in great shape. Back in the day the savvy children would pit him against Lou Reed, and even though I am a "Lou Guy', Lou does look like he's died several deaths, but Johansen wore a bathrobe and sang songs from an open book that was as big as your grandpa's almanac.

When they opened with Personality Crisis,the roof almost caved in. There is something about bands that have that perfect "club" sound. In food terms it is like saying a guy/girlio that serves the proper steak & potato is offering you a service than can never be improved on.

High end fine dining will never touch a well run steak house. The Dolls at First Avenue, was actually more fun than U2 at the Target Center....sorry Bono.

So people across the entire floor were going ape s***, and within seconds the chess board got leveled, pawns were lost, but after, things get foggy. All I know is I am sitting in a parking lot, my hairs still wet from showering and I basically just wanna die.

So after some letch in an orange hunting cap plops out of his Pick Up and prepares to go in, the rest of us sheep line up and amble quietly in.

At most events, and in particular "Breakfast Events" there is usually some chipper middle aged woman that sings salutations at you as you walk in the door. I don't know about you, but anytime before 6 a.m. is way too early to drop a Doris Day bomb on anyone, even a baker. Today would be an exception though because instead I was greeted by some athletic looking guy who just rolled his eyes at us in silence while handing us badges that would declare that we were important and worth talking to.

So as I make my way to the event floor I had to do a double take. could it be? Why yes....I do believe that I spy former Vice President of the United States - Fritz Mondale. He was all by himself and seemed like he was in a reasonably good mood.

At this period in my life I was writing columns for a couple different food and wine rags, and being a vulture of opportunity I realized I would kick myself in the head if I didn't capitalize on this moment.

To be honest....Klecko froze for a second thinking "What even is the protocol? Do you call a former V.P. - Mr. Vice president, or do you go with a less formal Mr. Mondale? I sure wasn't going to stroll into his personal space shouting "What up Fritzy?"

So now he starts fidgeting a bit, and I realized it was now or never............

Sweet Holy Christ and the kittens of retrospect even I can't believe how amateur my delivery was "Mr Vice President" this part was good, he seemed to enjoy the formality in this greeting. "My name is Danny Klecko and my mother is Corrine Mady. When you and your wife went to China she stayed at your house and watched your dog."

OMG, that's it Klecko...that's your best off the cuff power networking?

Fritz, like a true politician processed the information I gave him and was kind enough to pretend that he remembered my mother, and continued to issue some generic praise about her.

Then when he paused for a breath, I decided to assure him I wasn't making the whole deal up, so that's when I tossed data at him that would assure him that I was in the loop.

"Well if I recall Sir, my mother said you had a beautiful Rottweiler, hows the old boy doing?" I asked, almost oozing as if I had spent summers alone in the Hampton's with that mutt.

The Vice President....of the United States..... of America, just kinda scowled and furled his brow before leaving me with his answer.

"It's not a he, it's a she, and SHE is dead thank you.....have a good day."

I wrote a column about it anyway.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kansas City Bob and the Seafood Chess Reunion

What do you do when you are faced with an opportunity to make some cash, but in order to collect it, you have to revisit shame?

Tomorrow I have a bread promo at Oceanaire Seafood Room where the Chef wants to see some 14 ounce sourdough rounds. This high-high end concept is located in the downtown (Mpls) Hyatt Regency, which is home to many visitors from the Convention Center which rests in the adjacent position.

My incident of trauma took place a few years back. Klecko was writing a column for a local food rag called Buon Gusto at the time, and decided to do a piece on a group of line cooks and such that had a real informal group that they called the Food Service Chess Club.
The host sites would rotate, and often times you sat in back rooms or next to freezers and took your chances against some salt dog opponent.

The nice thing about chess is it's a level playing field, you can't bull**** your way into victory. So over the course of the story I witnessed many a bus boy toppling his hierarchy superior.

Of course nobody plays to lose, but there's something a little unerving about being dressed down by the cat who comes from a lower caste system.

Blitz or Bullet was the the game most of these people wanted to play. If you don't play chess, this basically means that the player each have a clock with 1 to 3 minutes preset, and if you don't win the game by the time the clock runs out....the game is lost.

This version can be particularly interesting once the Budweiser's or P.B.R.'s got flowing into their blood system.

Like all walks of life, this circle had etiquette, but it sure didn't resemble anything that would fit into the comfort zone of some blue blood.

Check - Mother "F"er,Check again you dopey b****, Check and Mate you little be a good loser and fetch me a beer."

Usually these events (but not always) took place during closed hours, therefore ranting and name calling could be maximized. On some of the occasions where there were bigger turnouts, the energy was frantic. who would have ever guessed that chess could create the same tension as Christopher Walken playing Russian Roulette in that Deer Hunter movie?

One of the ringleaders in this crowd was a guy who went by the name Kansas City Bob.

K.C.B. was a life long food service worker who had drove bread trucks in Chicago, ran breakfast lines in Montreal, and apparently held iconic status in the K.C.'s grocery store scene.

In the Twin Cities however, he worked as a prep guy in the kitchen at the University of Minnesota's Kaufman Union where he assembled items for the chefs, filled parfait cups and basic stuff like that.

I don't know if Kansas City Bob was looking for ink, or just plain out liked me, but he'd stand over my shoulder and give me input on my weak opening moves. After each of my games he'd pull me aside to do a post mortem because it was just another platform to show his level of brilliance.

Sometimes I found it hard to focus though because I'd catch some of his tattoo's out of the corner of my eye and I'd simply break out laughing. Dude has a Buffy the Vampire Tat, and better yet....on his right bicep he had a Hilary 08. When I saw it... it was 2006, 2 years before the election LOL.

The guy was awesome.

So after awhile we ended up hanging out on the West Bank playing chess in coffee houses where if you were born in America, you were an outsider.

Thats really what makes this game so cool. it transcends every boundary possible.

So one night we are working on D4 openings and Kansas City Bob mentions he is playing in a tourney over at the Hyatt the coming weekend. he also mentioned that there would be an open division for fish like me that didn't have a recognized rating.

I agreed to go, and to be honest....I was a little nervous. On event day. We walked through the long hallway, or would it be a corridor? When we stood at the entrance to the tournament room, the doors were menacing. I'll bet they were 20 feet high, like you were going to enter a castle.

So as I reach out to pull the door open, Kansas City Bob grabbed my outstretched arm to issue what I'm guessing was an obligatory warning that was issued to all newbies.

"When you open that door, I'm telling're gonna see things that will baffle logic. There's going to be guy still wearing Members Only jackets from 1979. You'll see men were plaid pants, not because they think it's cool, but because they just have always worn them. if the guy you draw hasn't washed his hair in a week, don't worry about, that's totally normal, but if any of those 52 year old pricks try to intimidate you...just lean over and whisper that you don't live in your mothers basement, and that you've actually had sex. That should shut up about 90% of these guys."

So Bob took off and disappeared into an ocean of chess boards and I sat at what was the equivalent of the card table in the den, where the children eat their Thanksgiving meal. The first guy I played wore headphone and rocked. I crushed him to the drone of "Prince" standards that leaked out of his head phones.

My second game was against some dude from Brazil, or Chili. If Klecko is stupid...I really don't have an adjective for him, cuz I thwarted him.

So during the break...Klecko starts to strut a bit, thinking maybe he's gonna bring home a 3rd place medal from this weirdo division. But just at the climax of the fantasy, the tour director announces that I drew Billy X. all the peeps are whispering, giggling, clamoring. I wanted in on the buzz, so after a little investigation. I found out I would be playing the Minnesota Kindergarten State Champ.

I told the brass monkeys that I didn't want to play the kid. it was to David & Goliath. I was 10 times as old, 10 times his size, and I didn't want to deal with cry baby antics. Politely it was explained to me that I should just shut up and be prepared to take the a** whooping of my life.

As me and the kid lined up from one another across the chess board. I swear to polish Jesus that hundreds of sets of eyes turned to observe this freak show. Each of them with a weird grin on their face.

The outcome? I conceded in 42 or 43 moves. The kid rocked. When the game was over, he stood up to shake my hand. Although i was still seated, I towered of his little frame. The kid walked around the table....and I kid you not, he draped his arm across my shoulder and started pointing to the remnant of the game.

"Mr. if you want to improve I am going to suggest that you really consider your pawn structure. See how mine remains balanced, like a picket fence. Yous is blown apart, it doesn't know what it's trying to do."

So even though it is years later, guess what is the first topic everybody wants to relive when Klecko is setting up his chess pieces.


OK kiddo, keep your fingers crossed, if Karma is just....I will land the Oceanaire Room.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Three Stooges, Walnut Rye and Saving Anne Frank

I used to go to church, but when my first wife divorced me, and priests molestations were continually covered up by the Vatican and archdiocese, it just kinda was a drag to remain being Catholic.

Klecko has made attempts to find a house of God over the years, but to be are what you are.

I am a Catholic even though my standing is in question. Over the years I have tried other options. I've been to Baptist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Assembly of God, Jews for Jesus.... churches, so I think it's safe to say I've pretty much covered the gambit.

I guess I can understand the importance of why we should go, but to tell you the honest truth, it's not Jesus that I am at odds with. I have been on the God Squad since day one. But, if truth be told, it's his ambassadors that freak the living crap out of me.

I think that's why, if I am lucky enough to make heaven, I've already cut a deal with the Lord. I kinda mentioned to him (in a real respectful way of course) that I was more than dissapointed that I didn't get to be alive to bake for him at the Last Supper.

With that said, my people are with his team, and there are some pretty hardcore negotiations taking place concerning whether Klecko gets to bake for the first heavenly meal that takes place after the lion lays down with the lamb.

Now that I have reached middle age, I think I'm suscribing to the Johnny Cash or Elvis form of spirituality. I get a sense that with those 2 cats, they never were "off the clock" with their faith, instead.....they gave everything to God. when they took drugs or delved into wrong doings, they didn't pull a Jimmy Swaggart (who I will confess I really like) and deny wrong doings or accountability.

Instead they just kept their eyes on the cross and moved forward.

Even as they waded through the sewage of their deeds.

For the last year, maybe year and a 1/2, Klecko has made Watching the 3 Stooges on his couch with his illegal ammount of dogs his church.

Alright.....before you scream BLASPHEMY......I'll qualify this by explaining that each Sunday when AMC runs the 3 Stooges from 6-9 a.m., I am always alone. My family doesn't get up by 9 on the weekends.

Chefs don't call and scream, people don't try to hit me up for donations, problems just are not on the table during this time frame. I don't think that there is another 3 hour window like that in my week. We all have things that we love, but sometimes stuff you love can also piss you off.

But, then there's things that bring joy. Joy is never bad, never wrong, it never gets on your nerves. when I sit on my battered horseshoe couch, wrapped in a Cornhuskers quilt with 4 mutts (and sometimes a cat) and the Stooges engaging in their antics. It is as spiritual as it gets.

If you wanna dare to say Christ isn't there totally digging it....well I look forward to watching you get a playful pitchfork to your backside on judgment day.

People can view this anyway they like, but dude....I'm too old for wrestling over theology or homiletics, I've cut my deal with God.
As a kid, I would celebrate when we got to skip church. At my house growing up....some years we skipped it 50 times LOL.

But, now that I have found my new ritual, I do get ticked off when my 3 hour window gets jerked with. When I drove my son off to college for the 1st time, it was during the Stooges, about a hour into the drive, I did make mention of this and he got all whiney....

"Sorry I had to ruin your day by moving out and taking on a college education!" At least during our last few hours we had an element of normality by fighting.

During the last 2 Sundays, I've had to take my pups in to the vet. I have all of them on insurance programs and they all get bi annual comps, last week however, Gracie and Romeo had to get teeth cleaning. Kind of a big deal because they have to "wonderdrug" these guys and the process takes the entire day.

I take my crew to Banfield (which is like a vet chain) and often times they rotate doctors. Last week when I picked them up, I was greeted by a 30(?) year old who looked like a blond Sarah Palin.

She greeted me and explained that she held back on some of the shots for the 2 dogs receiving dental work, because they already had this drug - and that drug in their system. Throughout our entire conversation her language always remained within it's industries vernacular. I was kinda smitten.

So today I caught a few Stooge episodes. In fact I think it was the one where Shemp was in heaven, and his Uncle maintained the gates security, and he said Shemp was kinda a wack-nut and couldn't gain admission unless he went down to earth and helped Moe and Curly mend their wicked ways.

Anyways....I take the dogs in, the tech brought me into the room and said we needed to get temps. the only drag about this is Gracie is a 50# Sheltie / Eskimo and she doesn't like things placed in her butt,

Romeo...he doesn't even budge, that little Jack Russell just grins at you.

Gracie though, she takes it personal and fights to the end. My dogs have been going there for 8 years so everybody knows the drill.

Klecko basically drops his big Pollack frame onto top of the Sheltie (who is perched up on a stainless steel table while the tech employees quick hands, mingled with silent prayers and mumbled curses. The part that is the worst is today, as the tech removed the thermometer, Gracies swerved around and brushed a big glob of excess Dog Butt Lubricant all over the front of my jacket.

The tech did her best not to laugh, but c'mon....what's a sister gonna do?

Todays meeting with the blond Sarah Palin was brief but thorough, when I went back out into the parking ramp it was what...maybe 8:15 a.m. and there was about 60 teenagers congregating. Most of them had plastic bags in their hands, and when I asked one kid what they were doing, he told me if you get caught selling weed in the Capitol City, you end up scouring parking ramps on the sabbath. Of course the others echoed hith sentiments with tired chuckles.

So when I'm driving home, the blond Sarah Palin gave me another one of those "Middle Aged Man Flashbacks."

You're never really certain what will jump start them, but in this case the connection was easy. OK.....from this point out......Klecko is going to change the names to protect the....the,I don't know, the people in the story I guess, but many years ago there was a group of guys who worked a 6 p.m. to a 2-4 a.m. shift.

Often times these lads showed up to work early and every once in awhile they'd catch a buxom bombshell on the old main drag that surprisingly enough, was'nt afraid to be seen smoking cigs with a baker who wore a soiled "wife beater" and plastic shorts which were adorned with hula girls.

It was discovered that this woman was a vet and her name was Antoinette. she had a practice that was fairly close to the bakery and time to time would pass by for the encouragement and joyful spirits that only a village baker can provide.

As time passed, the baker named Johnny X, he would go either by himself or with other workmates to the animals clinic and talk to Antoinette. How funny these boys must have looked, pardon the pun, but these young men followed her like puppies.

This vet could have doubled as a model in Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" video. In addition to having an extremly large chest, she wore "Naughty Librarian" glasses and pulled her long blond hair up into a rough bun thus exposing her neck.

Dude....that neck was something. Long necks are hard to pull off. If it's too long you have "Giraffe Neck."

Giraffe neck can tumble what is already a very solid look, if you know what I mean.

Like everything else though, Antionettes was perfect. In her office she kept a map in her drawer. It was a map of the surrounding area, and in several places there were addresses marked with red inked X's.

She could get kinda militant and go into rants on the mistreatment of some of the dogs in the area.

One thing that shouldn't be to hard for you readers to phathom is most industrial production places typically don't exsist in the nice parts of town. 99 out of a 100 of these sites are in some cesspool where people have been afraid to hope or dream for generations.

She also had Polaroids showing wounds on many of these dogs. Not all of them were patients. Our good doctor was not averse to doing a little reconnaissance when needed, but that really needed to be done at night, and even strong studly young guys had to be on their toes in this part of town.

So as she was placing these pictures back into the envelope, Johnny X-Y and Z were all kinda choked up. Johnny Y asked "Can't the authorities get involved, can't they help?"

Antoinette replied by telling these boys that she made attempts, but in this part of town the problem outweighed the funding.

So now Jonny Z asked...

"What would happen if....lets just say some of these dogs that have been starved or tortured were emancipated, would there be some kind of system to plug them into?"

The vet stood up, and started walking towards the back of her building. She stopped at a place where there were empty kennels. she stood there and mentioned how those particular cages could house anything from a Chihuahua to a Saint Bernard.

Then they all went and smoked in her back parking lot. As she extinguished her butt, she tilted a flower pot (one of 7 or 8 that rested in a row) and they all saw that there was a key hidden under said pot.

As the group said their good byes, she handed a certain somebody the Mutt list and everybody dispersed and went on there way.

In a bakery, you always make products with nuts at the end of the shift. That way the feds don't jump your mug for cross contamination and allergens. So at this particular shop it was very common to finish your bake at about 1 a.m. by inserting a jag of Walnut Rye pan breads into the oven.

The bake time is traditionally 40 minutes for a 2 pound pan bread, so on most nights (early mornings) you'd finish your shift smoking cigs on the sidewalk while your last oven load baked off, or every once in awhile it was said that some peeps broke into pastry guys cabinet and drank his rum....however, that was never proven LOL.

This closing chore is always done by one baker, but it wasn't unusual at all for another baker who might of got off at around midnight to hang out. Where else would he go at that time, and that way when the work was done a lot of whiskey was shared in different bakers garages all across Saint Paul while their family's slept in peace.

Then on one night when the boredom of repition was at it's height......Johnny Z said to Johnny X....

"I got that map in my locker. It looks like there is a couple places that we could patrol before the Walnut Rye is baked off."

Both lads laughed because they didn't have a clue what would happen, or what they would do, But it was reported to me that on there very first stop, they found a Border Collie tied to a tree with its ribcage poking out just like they do on the the television commercials of the starving kids in Africa.

The lads untied it from the tree, and gently tossed the nearly dead dog into a sedan and one of the boys went back and unloaded the Walnut Rye, while another guy just took that dog for a walk....funny, it was never seen after that.

Johnny X and Johnny Z talked about the ethics of what took place during the next few weeks, during the early hours of the morning when all the other employees had left.

Johnny X was kinda troubled about the action, but Johnny Z responded with......

"F-that, that dog was dead if somebody didn't do something, the people who own it are lucky I didn't put a cap through their a** as well. In fact, you hang tight and I'm gonna go Anne Frank another one of those pups!"

From that moment on, a dog kidnapping mission was always referred to as an Anne Franking. Like "Dude, Im gonna Anne Frank that mutt on ***** street." or "I didn't Anne Frank that dog by the blue dumpster. I think "A" might be over reacting on that one."

One night Johnny Z went on a run by himself, but the dog he was trying to was one that was suspected of being in numorous dog fights. It was kept in a kennel that the owners padlocked, so "Z" actually brought bolt cutters, removed the lock with little effort or noise, but when he opened the kennel, the Rotty took a big chunk out of him.

Typically this would of made the 3 Johnny's laugh, but the bite marks went deeper than the funny bone on this occasion.

To remedy this, the cooler in the bakery had pepperoni's for specialty bread sticks, so when one of the Johnny's was out Anne Franking...they'd always start the rescue with a pepperoni feeding. There was never an issue after that.

The missions were sporadic, but all 3 Johnny's told me that in words there deeds were unforgivable, but in the eyes of these dogs and one smoking hot vet.....they were comepletly understood.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunny Sky - Jonesing Skinheads & Broken Jaws

We're family now right?

Well I sure hope so, but I'm gonna be up front. In today's featured story, there is going to be a crime committed. Only an idiot would confess of such wrong doings in a cyberspace confessional right? So let me preface this....."account" as a fictional piece, yeah - that's it, consider the following a piece that I'm submitting to some wonderlunk writing contest LOL

At the age of 40. I didn't have a vehicle, I was a one car family. Sue McGleno had the "house ride" and I took buses bicycles or skateboards to my place(s) of destination.

On Sunday mornings the buses ran less often, so often times I would have to wake up early, walk to the neighborhood coffee shop, get a depth charge, and then read 20 some pages of something until the 74 D came around.

On one particular Sunday morning, early in the Spring. I started my pursuit. As I got to Hamline Avenue I smiled like dogs do when they flop around in warm grass while pushing their backs hard against the afternoons heat.

For a Minnesotan to outlast Winter is reason enough for celebration. Hamline is lined with historic Ash tree's on both sides of the Avenue. The vast amount of foliage reaches out over the street forming a green canopy that makes you feel as if you were living out some kind of Hobbit fantasy.

I'm guessing it's 6 a.m. and I think of Bob Dylan's lyric (which Bono will steal years later)I'll give you a highway with diamonds on it."

Brah - it was just so wonderful out, and I so got off on the fact that I was the only person in my neighborhood hoarding God's natural resources, kinda like going into a movie theater, and you and your peeps are the only ones there for the flicks duration.

Highland Park is one of the nicer neighborhoods in Saint Paul, and although I haven't seen the official tally, I will throw rough supposition at you that 1/2 the community is Catholic and the other 1/2 is Jewish.

All the Scandinavians and Lutherans....well you'll just have to cross the ocean to Minneapolis to find them.

Klecko grew up Catholic, and in fact he met Sue McGleno at bible camp when he was 15. I remember it was some newer modern camp where they took inner city kids, kids at risk, and plopped their a**es up in the woods. It was ecumenical with higher power doctrine, but they let you wear jeans, plaid shirts, ride horses...and get this, they even let us smoke cigarettes!

So thats the first time I met my future wife. I remember how attracted I was to her, she had the number one quality that Klecko yearns for, that final touch that will separate.....smoking hot from pretty good.

Sue McGleno had a Big "Roman" - Eastern Euro - Bohemian nose! being a guy, I was checking her out, sizing her up, and imagining her in parochial plaid skirt which would certainly be accessorized with those long, clean white stockings that only a young Catholic girl can sport.

Holy Saints of Warsaw....I almost passed out.

However...LOL, upon further discussion, after asking what Parrish her family attended, she just rolled her eyes and explained in the simplest terms "Catholic? Whatever....I'm a Jew!"

Cardinals, Popes and Priests were turning in their graves, cuz I gotta be honest, just like Sampson, I knew at that moment, one day I would marry this woman even though we came from different tribes.

And to be honest, and let me preface this with "Forgive me Father for I have sinned!" That was the least of my worries.

My biggest mental hurdle was not seeing those muscular calves and thighs clad in pristine white stockings, and the plaid skirt....OMG, 1/2 my post puberty thought process focused on meow girls and their plaid skirts.

So digress no more Klecko, lets get back to the main plot line. Klecko is walking down Hamiline, it's 6 a.m. on a Sunday, it's spring time and nobody is outside. Well that's what I thought at least. after putting several blocks in my hypothetical rear view mirror, I was now approaching the Cretin Durham Hall high school campus.

This place is Iconic in the Twin Cities, it is our states Vatican by proxy. Many of the kids pay higher tuition to attend there, than they might at college. In addition to being the shooting set for Disney's Mighty Ducks 3 (the one that only had like 9 seconds of Emilio Estevez) it is also a hot bed for baseball.

Hall of Famer Paul Molitor went there, present Minnesota Twin Joe Mauer went there. Somebody help me out...who was that quarterback at FSU that was in their program too?

But then you can throw in the likes of Jack Morris (10 shutout innings in game 7 of the 91 World Series) and Dave Windfield were on rival squads, but both were true-blue Saint Paulites as well.

So in front of the school, even on weekends it is not uncommon to find off street parking. A slew of cars formed a column that outran my vision, and just when Klecko was approaching the baseball field, he hears a car door slam behind him.

With the combination of the hour, weather and destination, you shake those up in a Yahtzee cup and the sum of your die cast will be "No need to be concerned - go on with your day.:

But when I impulsively looked over my shoulder. I noticed a dude with a shaved head and a hunchback was walking behind me at a brisk clip. I know in stories you add adjectives like Skank - Turd or Hunchback to draw shock value, but I swear to Caesar....dude was hunchback, and he had one of the prison tear drop tattoo's under his eye.

Did I mention he limped?

I could tell from the guys flushed skin, perspiration and hollow shark eyes that he was jonesing for a hit. The whole thing was starting to come together, some peeps have speculated that even our small hamlet is not immune to drug trafficking and Hunchback parked just down the street from a drug house that urban legend dictates is in close proximity to Syndicate & Watson.

Unless the guy was packing, I wasn't too worried, concerned....for sure, but he was small, hunchbacked and I'd toss his little anti semetic frame around like a rag doll.

So dude is closing the gap right? Do you know how creepy it sounds to have a limping hunchback trying to run you down?Then out of my peripheral.....I notice a second skinhead, a bigger skinhead, a more agile skinhead on the other side of the street.

Skinhead #2 is now jogging, and I figure out what these scoundrels were up to. They were trying to catch up to me when I got to the outside of the ballparks left field wall. It's constructed of brick and rot iron so if they timed this just right....Klecko can't employ evasion as an option.

I have been attacked - beaten on numerous occasions, so often times I have shared my "beating wisdom" with others who haven't. The initial reaction becomes fear. When I saw that there were 2, and I realized they were both jonesing and possibly packing.....dude, I really thought I was in a bad way. Yes, Klecko was officially afraid.

Rule #1 - Accept the fear, but don't let it control you. If you even have a fraction of a chance of getting out of this mess, you'll have to have a clear head, asses options immediately and act on them.If you don't do this reactionary, to much time passes and you're toast.

Oh yeah.......I remember just before the rubber hit the road, I actually started laughing to myself. I thought "Man....this is Highland Park, home to Lawyers, Doctors and Professors, and these clowns are going to try to roll a 6'3" Pollack weighing in at 262#'s who might have had 7 bucks in his wallet. Why not wait 10 more minutes and jack a guy half my size who is 15 years older, and certainly holding more digits"

So Klecko decides the key to this is to find a way to drop Skinhead #2, take the whale out of the equation, and the minnow typically will swim away. Another element is to let your attackers think that you are ignorant to their intentions as long as possible. You can actually have the element of surprise work in your favor when you are the victim

So as per their plan.....we converge at the point I figured they had preplanned. Skinhead #2 is about 15 feet in front and closing in....Klecko still acts aloof, now aloof is a fine line. aloof doesn't mean that you whistle, talk to yourself or stare downward. Aloof simply means that you acknowledge their presence and let them believe that you are not afraid, and you don't even have time to recognize their pathetic existence.

You are momentarily self absorbed.

When Dude (Skinhead #2 was 8-9 feet in front, I listened intently to the footsteps behind me.I estimated Hunchback was 15-20 feet behind. It seemed logical. Skinhead #2 would strike 1st, he was the warrior. So right when #2 was about 3 feet out of my outstretched wing span......I lunged forward "BAM". as quick as a cat (remember....there was a good chance both of these guys are suffering from withdrawal and are possessing muddy minds), stepping off of my right, while rotating to my left (his right, and odds would favor he would attack from that side) and I arced my right hand in a rainbow pattern, momentarily blinding his vision, and in unison I used my arm like a piston and gave Skinhead #2 an open hand strike, flush to the side of his face.

The punch didn't feel like I had a lot of velocity on it, but dudes jaw bone gave way like a match stick that never drank milk in it's adolescence.

"POP".....everything froze for a second, when I saw him ready to drop,I turned and looked at Hunchback Skinhead.....his eyes shot out of his head like Buckwheat's used to on the Little Rascals.

Hunchback wasn't gonna do a thing, but he stood there (frightened I'm guessing) issuing death threats to me, cussing at me, Now People in the Neighborhood start looking out windows, a couple approached there stoop.

I figured the cops were probably at least 5 minutes away, but I didn't want to be around when they witnessed the aftermath. In situations like this, nobody is let off the hook. Not immediately at least, and I was opening mixer, and on a Sunday....if that guy isn't at the's like a football game without a quarterback.

But I also remembered what my step father Whiskey Willie instructed me. "Danny, if you win a fight, and the guy whose a** you just kicked starts talking s***, you don't want to walk away. Drive the death nail in him by simply remaining. You won't want to say a word to the guy, it shows that you are in control, but as the guy keeps rambling, he's going to realize, and if other people are there, it will be obvious to them that the guys a p****."

So I did stand there, motionless, Skinhead #2 was still "bag of bricks" motionless on the ground. I continued standing there for about 90 seconds, and then I split.

Nobody in my hood ratted me out, and over the years as I have recalled the event of that morning, or shared some of the details some friends of mine who have mentioned that maybe the story should be tabled.

They are w/o a doubt correct, but I think they echoed these sentiments out of fear of potential retaliation, but dude, you can't live in fear, you can't let ignorant louts who attack and destroy people feel as if they can control you .

It's better to take 1000 thumping's than to give them that satisfaction.

Last August, right before I took my son off to Iowa to go to college, I saw Hunchback at the Deli section of the Cub Foods on University Avenue. My son had heard this story, and I pointed dude out. He was with a woman who I presume was his love interest.

In Klecko's past......he has done things that will shame him for life, I'll bet you have too. But as hunchback had his lunch meat handed over the counter, he looked at me for a second. I smiled and nodded. I was with my son, the Center of a football offensive line, dude was with a chick. Advantage me this round, but in my heart I hoped that God, logic or common sense had taught this guy a better way.

I smiled at the Cat, and as me and my son walked out to the bread truck, he asked if I thought the guy remembered me......I just chuckled and replied, "I hope not, I hope the dude has forgotten the whole deal and moved on."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Martha Stewart - NYC- Dogbiscuits and Sleeping with a Dude

About 4 months after I got promoted at work (and was given my own office) I was checking my e-mails and I realized I had received one from Martha Stewart. At first I was going to delete it into my junk box, after all I figured it was sent by J.C. Penny or Herzberger and they probably had nothing better to do than pimp beach towels and waffle irons at me.

But dude.....LOL, I wish I saved the letter,cuz it said that they thought I was the Shiz, and wanted me to come out to New York City to promote my newest book (K-9 Nation - Baking for my Best Friend / Minnesota Historical Society Press.)

I sat there for a moment, then I called my publicist "A-10" and she was even kinda tweaked.

"Good job Klecko, it's about time you gave me something to work with!"

When I finished with her, I called most of my acquaintances (Klecko likes acquaintances better than friends) and asked...

"Were we going to do that thing on May 14th?"

And as the person I was talking to would reply "What thing?" I would interrupt and finish by saying "Oh, I'm sorry, I guess I can't, I'll be flying into New York City that day to prepare for the Martha Stewart show."

So I was slated for the morning slot, and would be going on at 8 a.m. eastern time.

That meant I had to fly into JFK, and find my way to the Midtown Hilton the night before. Klecko gets really bored traveling by himself, so I guess the natural thing would have been to ask Sue McGleno, but she had burnt all her vacation hours on going to Omaha to watch and assist in the birth of our Granddaughter.

So I thought about it for a little bit, and then I decided, why not Mitchelson? He's a solid fact I'll bet he'd actually be funner to hang with than a chick. for those of you out of the inner circle.....Mitchelson is the editor for a publication called Food Service News and it pretty much gets tossed onto the desktops of every hospitality person with purchasing power across the state of Minnesota.

For years I've attended events with him, and the 2 of us have always got along.So I call him and tell him what was happening, and explain how I already have a free room, and he decides that he's gonna be spontaneous and tag along.

So now I'm feeling better that I got somebody to keep me from being alone with Klecko too long, but then it occurs to me. Whats up with sleeping arrangements?

Sweet Saint Faustina.....if you ever wanna see something pathetic and fractured, just watch the sleeping pattern of a guy who spent 15 years working night shifts. To this day, I never lay my head down and go to sleep.Basically I just pass out for random increments, seldom surpassing 90 minutes.

Klecko is usually sitting on the couch, with the lights on, maybe reading books while HBO is blaring and 4 dogs and a cat try to dig sleeping grooves into his Cornhuskers blanket.

47 minutes later.....a dog will need to go pee, so Klecko will get up let that dog out, but when he returns to that couch....if Hooisers, Rudy, The Great Escape, Chariots of Fire, Ben Hur, Ghandi or any Clint Eastwood movie is might be another 34 minutes before Klecko passes out again.

On a serious note, sometimes peeps embellish a crappy sleep schedule because they think it makes them sound cool or intriguing, but for me...I'd chop off your right hand to sleep 8 consecutive hours, to be honest....I don't recall the last time I slept 4 hours in succession.

So when me and Mitchelson get on the plane, they don't let us sit next to each other, I got stuck next to some cat who was on break, he was the piano/keyboard player for High School the Musical. I don't remember if it was 1-2 or 3, I just remember when he divulged this info to me, he had-had a couple cocktails and from the look in his eyes, he didn't seem to proud of this boast.

Neither Mitchelson or I had been to Manhattan so it was interesting trying to navigate with somebody as useless as myself. After a $50 cab ride, we were gonna toss our stuff up in the room so we could hit the streets and go Sinatra on the locals.

As we approached the check in place, Mitchelson had a thoughtful or nervous expression on his face. I asked what was up, and he tried to buffer his worries through the gift of comedy.

"You know, it's not that I don't find you attractive, but what's the deal here? Tell me that when we open the door that there is going to be 2 beds."

Tick-Tock goes the clock........pending anxiety attack on the horizon. I hadn't even really thought about it, so I figured OMG why would there be a 2 beds, when "A-10" booked it, she didn't know that I would be touring with Mitchelson.

I approached the counter girl, she was a 20 something - African American girlio, with the coolest beaded hair I have ever seen and her name (i think) was Rachel. So I told her my plight, and said "Tell Klecko you're gonna toss him a solid and give him a room with 2 beds!"

Rachel returned the plastic cards that she had and handed us and replaced them with some other ones. I tried to grease her for the effort, but the kid pulled her hand away and explained "it wouldn't be a solid if I took coin for helping you. Hit me later for something else though."

So on the streets we went. New York City is interesting because you've seen it in Crocodile Dundee, Warriors, every Woody Allen film, 1/2 of Oliver Stones films and......I was expecting it to bowl me over and be even grander than I imagined, but you know didn't.

The N-Y-C did a perfect imitation of itself. It was awesome, but lets face it. I see Time Square on TV 100 times more often than I see the rube cities in my very own state.

So Cajun food, Carnegie Deli, Time Square, Central Park, and finally to round out the night....The Russian Vodka Room.

Prevet Comrade!

When you walked in the place reeked of Mafia. Over sized leather jackets, mach turtle necks and crew cuts, but me and Mikey were wearing T-shirts.

Vodka was the drink of the night, and our barmaid was Kournikova hot, but the difference between American and Russian servers is the good looking American chick, she really does not care if you are fat, bald, missing a hand or if you even if you don't have a job, she's pretty much going to be extra nice to you, make you feel great in hopes of resurrecting your ego,then shes gonna expect a mega tip.

Russian servers are so different. They don't bust a**, they just kinda stare at you indifferently and say w/o saying "If you want better entertain me."

About Midnight, both of us were getting tired and gravity was messing with our Martini glasses LOL. So the 2 of us amble back to the hotel. As our elevator was taking us up, I started to dread sleeping in a room with a dude.

My biggest horror was, what if he was a "Turn off the TV guy?"

That's enough reason for 12 therapy sessions in itself. After brushing my teeth, I hopped into bed and Mitchelson who kinda resembles a new millennium John Wayne, goes into the bathroom.

I hear faucets blaring, water splashing, so knowing that he's gonna be occupied for a couple minutes....I gain control of the TV clicker and find HBO.

Whats the name of that movie? Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes are paired up as some kind of spy tandem, or political thriller, doesn't matter, as long as it's HBO right?

Then I noticed that, oh i don't know, 7 hours have passed and water is still splashing away. Seriously, I think dude was in there for 3 series of commercials.

So when he finally comes out........we both mock the lack of production value that the movie contained, and Mitchelson used these snide remarks as justification to say "Well I don't think either of us want to watch this s***." And, then he grabbed the clicker off the night stand and cut the power.

I laid in bed for 20 minutes cursing him to every Polish saint that there ever was, but after 20 minutes he fell asleep and I revisited Sean and Wesley.

So the next morning we headed over to a skyscraper and went up to floor one thousand and whatever to the Sirius Radio property. When you walk in, there sits a receptionist who didn't wear a bra, or utilize buttons and pretty much was of little help.

I was surprised how small the studio's were. I've done radio in the Twin Cities dozens of times, but everything was consolidated in this space, I had to walk by Howard Stern and the NFL stations to make my way to Maratha's studio.

At first when I got the invite, I was excited because Martha was a Pollack like me, and she had a dog that died from something creepy like an explosion or whatever. I figured she needed a little of the John Paul Deuce from her Polish brother, but it turns out that I got tossed in with 2 angry female co-hosts that were 6 years passed there prime, and they almost reached that brass ring, but for whatever reason....that major contract eluded them.

Usually I interview myself and take control of all things conversation, I rehearse it out in my head, and the host typically will follow my lead, but skank #1 and skank #2 blind sided me the second I placed my headphones over my ears.

Skank #2 says....

"So why would a Master Bread baker waste his time making a dog biscuit book?"

Klecko wasn't even sure if we were live yet.

Typically when you do radio, the producer will tell you how long your set will be, and introduce you to the host, but these chicks just tried to impale me with a hot microphone.

Skank #1 blurted out....

"Saffron, caviar and bison, c'mon...this has to be a gimmick to sell books huh?"

So at this point Klecko gets hit by a lightening bolt.....BANG!!!!!! "Knock-Knock Puddinghead!" I say to myself. It all of a sudden occurred to me that this was New York Media, and the next 4 minute and 12 seconds of my glory was going to be determined by how I held my own with these vampires.

I didn't span the globe to get punked by to C-League wanna be's.

Klecko retorted

"Yeah, I can see where the ingredients might be outside of the east coast commitment. In the Midwest we tend to be more civilized and cultured concerning our pets."

Skank #1 strikes a defensive posture

"I love my dog, but does that mean that I need to make high end treats from your book, or any other recipe for that matter?"

Klecko was beginning to laugh at this point....

"No not at all, and if you have children....just take them to KFC for 90% of their nutrients, that would be an effective strategy, don't you think?"

So now the producer has laughter eeking out of the corners of her mouth. Skank #1 and skank #2 issued blank stares at one another and immediately they dialed down the questions to a lob that any turd could park over the fence.

When the interview was done, I lied and said I would be back in town for the holidays so they should have me back.

They never called, and I never met the Pollack,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sacred Ducks, Heretic Cow and the Moscow Fox

Yeah, Klecko was fine dining the other night. He and Sue McGleno went to a swank joint called the Mission American. I really dig that they have tall backs on the booth seats, tall enough in fact that you can be cut off from the rest of the diners.

So we're looking at the menu's and after Sue McGleno scopes out the dessert options, she turns and starts asking me questions concerning which entree I'm going to order.

Wives can be wicked insane you know, I've been going to restaurants with her for 30 years, and in all that time, Klecko has never divulged what he was ordering until the server comes to officially take the order.

So now she's cradling what appears to be a fish bowl of Merlot and sinks deep into the interior of the booth.

After a long sip she turns with an inquisitive look in her eyes and asks "Are you going to order the rabbit? They have a special where you can get it served 2 different ways."

Now....I've never really pushed my personal Klecko/religious views on anyone, but after 3 decades of laughter-love and longing, you'd think a girlio would remember..........

"Danny Klecko doesn't eat passive animals!"

In the Pauline Epistles, what is it, the book of Philippians Ch 2:16ish where he discusses how we all have to work out our own salvation?

In Kleckoland, one of the quickest things that will send a thug to hell is eating rabbits or ducks, because they are "passive animals."

Klecko doesn't expect this to make sense to anybody, because he doesn't much understand it himself, or feel a need to impose this culinary theology on anybody else, it's just his own deal.

Of course Sue McGleno, being a wife and lover of watching her doltish husband trip over the boxes in his mental warehouse poses the question.....

"What about lamb, sheep? I've seen you eating gyro's all the time. they are passive, are they not?"

It's hard for Klecko, because he gets what she is saying, and cannot defend against this question with logic, but he retorts none the less....

"Shut up and quit attacking my Food Religion! I do eat lamb, and I feel convicted by it....but it is not a Food-Hell sin, it is more of a Culinary-Bad Karma dealio. If I eat lamb, I won't go to Hell, but instead I will probably loose my car keys or the power will go out."

Sue McGleno realizes that she has won this battle, but then a look in her eyes reveals to me that there is the possibility that she might desire more.

She might want to win the war.

I have a publicist, her name is A-10 and she collects her full time paycheck from the Minnesota Historical Society. Before landing that gig, she worked at some new age publication that produced ghost, vampire and Wicca literature.

If you ask her what her personal spiritual deal is, she shuts up and reveals nothing, but if you piss her off, she loves to send you voice mails indicating that she is going someplace really awesome, with cool people whose name are not Klecko.

Or if your perception doesn't line up with hers, don't be surprised if your droid belches out a text that says "HEX".

I have been asked by more than one of my friends if it makes me nervous as a recovering Catholic - Polish Jesus guy to be affiliated with somebody who sees things from such a different perspective.

My response is always "Not at all. I love A-10 and she loves me." Sometimes I think people freak out over stuff like that. might be an issue if we had to teach a Sunday school class together, but we don't. I love A-10, and she love me. Life is really that simple. Like Bono says....Coexsist.

However, we did have a (pardon the expression) COME TO JESUS moment last spring.

During my April Retail bake sale I was making dog biscuits. they are always one of my better selling items. I always sell them at break even prices, if not a loss.

So for the April one I made Peter Rabbit Chinese Bunny biscuits. I got a deal at the Restaurant Depo on Chinese rabbits, and A-10 and her posse barraged me with bloody bunny Facebook posts.

A-10 also lives with a domesticated rabbit who also sent me terse e-mails as well.

My critics called me out and asked "Klecko, how can you fear going to hell for eating passive animals and then turn around and bake them for the entire K-9 nation to devour?'s called the food chain. As we speak some Daddy-O is over in Bombay being all noble, but when a cow crosses his path and he stops and honors it, respects it, he's being sincere to his belief system?

But me, a Pollack, if I see a cow I'm going to slam it to the ground as if I were Hulk Hogan and eat the flesh off of him while the old boys still breathing.

So food and religion can become conflicted, people can take different stands. I respect the cat from Bombay for honoring something that is sacred to him, but what?????????

Food chain baby, Klecko's eating steak!

So even though I refuse to eat passive animals, I won't impose the no rabbit rule on dogs, are you kidding me?

The Dream of the Moscow Fox

It's springtime - 2008 and I am laying in bed on the 11th floor of the Hotel Bega.

This place is kinda known for being a mafia hotel in Moscow. I have a patio that overlooks the Hippodrome Racetrack. I wanna say that this racing facility originated in 1790 something. Basically when my country was 20 years old.

I'm laying on my back, my head is down on the foot side of the bed and I am so fricken bored that I simply weld my stare on the wall that the headboard rests against.

I am out of Rubles, the Russian government has reviewed my scopes, and I have been out processed. it's raining outside and I don't have a jacket. As much as I love Russians, the most savage thing about their country is that they don't have HBO.

Their television is almost all Russian. CNN has a station, but the news loops for days. I think I have 32 more hours before leaving for the airport. I have not been home for a month. When I am on a Russian scope. I am virtually off the grid. No cell phones, e-mails period. Even by Klecko standards....I'm getting a little TWEAK. I began looking at this picture on the wall. It has a bunch of Brits dressed in red riding jackets, on horse backs. By their side there is a pack of hounds. I'm not an expert on the hound breeds, but these guys looked like Red tick Coon hounds.

Next I start figuring out the ratio of dogs per horse. the picture was really detailed and before I reached the sum....I fell into that place where you are not awake or asleep, but I did dream.

Klecko seldom dreams, or remembers dreams, but in this case it was like I was watching an IFC film, and the director was some nutty Romanian cat with a spectacular eye for lighting. The scenes rifled by in quick clips, some were black and white, others were in color.

The focal point was a fox. and in my dream I loved that fox as much as a kid loves a Disney dog.

The fox was all merry and skipped through colorful wildflower patches...then zoom----he was pictured in black and white racing down a steep hill. Sometimes the camera pans from left to right, while other times it's an Aeriel shot.

Now my fox friend comes up to babbling broke. it is the crescendo of our animal movie experience. We are one breath away from world peace and....wouldn't you know it, the soundtrack in my dream went silent. You couldn't hear the brook, wind or birds.

The fox looked terrified and I felt sick to my stomach.

Now the scene shifts and I am at a seminar in heaven. Somebody is lecturing, I am not certain if it is God or some Angelic dealio since my folding chair is in a crappy part of the auditorium, it's almost Charlies Angel's like, I'm betting if my dream had a sequel...I wouldn't get to see the face of that deity then either.

In the audience is humans and angels, but none of us look like people who were ever on the inside track of anything important. It's almost like 8th grade detention and we are in the midst of some remedial course that we skipped after heaven's orientation.

But, the voice starts to explain that animals were the original creation. They were to be what gave God an amount of joy that would not - could not be measured.

And that animal kingdom was nothing but majestic. God loved them, but... slowly but surely, while planets across the solar system watched these creations on planetary reality TV shows, the animals got cocky, and demanded new contracts. The apes killed an entire species to vamp their royalty checks.

God was furious, and that's why Men were sent down, to not only break the animals cruel spirits, but to provide for the needs of those who suffered animal emotional trauma from this mutiny.

Then.....BAM!!!!!! Klecko woke up and sat up real quick (like Springsteen does in the "I'm on Fire" video). Dude, I was sweating. I know on TV and books people wake from a dream in a sweat, but for real...that never happens in real life.

That dream Fox, may have had as much impact on me as swimming with the humpback whales in Maui during my holiday last year. It was so vivid and powerful.

So passive animals are kinda a Klecko scene, you'd think by now Sue McGleno would know better than to ask me if I was gonna order the rabbit.

I'd be curious to know what bizarre eating rituals you all are obsessed with.