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Been a great week … and I have to tell you that one of the highlights was spending Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park in San Francisco, enjoying a 7-1 Giants win over the White Sox, and enjoying the wonderful company of Safeway's Larree Renda and Brian Dowling. I had offered to pick up tickets, but they said that they'd take care of it … and I'm glad they did, because the only way we would have had better seats would have been if we'd been in the dugout. (That picture of us at left is where we sat!)

It was a reminder - served up with afternoon baseball, hot dogs and beer - of how lucky I've been to make friends like these over the years, and how I should never take them for granted.




Speaking of friends … I got a reminder this week of how Facebook has changed our lives for the better when I had lunch in the Napa Valley with someone I had not seen since 1976.

My friend, Adrianne Jaski, was someone I knew through an aunt and uncle who lived in Livermore, California. (Her mom had been raised with my dad, and my aunt kept in touch over the years and miles.) The last time I saw Adrianne was while we were both still in college, but Facebook had enabled us to re-establish connections. This week, when I was in Northern California for a speech, I detoured to Yountville for what ended up being an utterly delightful lunch with Adrianne and her husband at a fabulous restaurant called Bottega, where I enjoyed a fabulous risotto made with pork jowls and peas, and a beautifully smooth 2010 Renteria Pinot Noir.

Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg. (And thank you, Adrianne, who worked a lot harder at this than I did.)




Thirty-five years ago today, Apocalypse Now was released … and what I find amazing about that is that I can specifically recall when and where I saw it for the first time - it was the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan, I waited on line for several hours to get in, and the movie began with The Doors singing "The End" as a forest in Vietnam is napalmed…the sound of the helicopters moved across the screen and the theater…and we were quickly exposed to Francis Ford Coppola's vision of hell. And then, the blades of the helicopters turned into the blades of the ceiling fan, and we found ourselves with Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), who, we quickly discovered, is in his own personal hell. They may be three or four of the most remarkable opening minutes of any film, ever … and I remember seeing them the first time as if it were yesterday.

And it was 35 years ago. Yikes.




I was thinking about Apocalypse Now this week when I was in San Francisco, and I went to Coppola's Cafe Zoetrope on Kearny Street there, a little Italian bar and restaurant that I've always loved. When I went, I had what I always have - the Chilaquiles, which is not Italian but is delicious, made from crispy tortillas, scrambled eggs, tomatillo sauce and melted cheese. I'm told that the only reason it is on the menu is that Coppola loves them, and that is at least one thing we have in common.

I washed the Chilaquiles down with the 2008 FC Reserve Viognier, which was amazing.




It doesn't get as much attention as TV series such as "Mad Men" and "The Walking Dead" and "Orange Is The New Black" or "Downton Abbey," but I have to say that have found "Longmire," on A&E, to be fascinating television, based on a series of novels (that I have not read) by Craig Johnson.

The series focuses on Walt Longmire, a modern day Wyoming sheriff who deals with local crimes while recovering from the death of his wife. There is all sorts of fascinating subtext, and the show also examines the tense relationships between the white population and local native American communities. Robert Taylor, as Australian actor best known for his role in , is impressive and taciturn as Longmire, and he's ably supported by a cast that includes Lou Diamond Phillips, Katee Sackhoff, Cassidy Freeman and Gerald McRaney. I love westerns, and this is a good one … worth catching up with on iTunes, On Demand, or whatever.




Last, but hardly least, I spent last weekend attending two weddings in New Jersey - for the same couple, Caitlyn and Shankar. They got married twice because Shankar is Hindu, and Friday night's ceremony was for his religion, while Caitlyn is Catholic, and Saturday's afternoon's ceremony was in a church.

I've been to Catholic weddings before, but never a Hindu ceremony, and I have to tell you that it was a remarkable event - lasting almost three hours long, packed with relatives who eat and talk and celebrate throughout the ceremony, and there is an organic nature to the whole thing. The food was amazing - all vegetarian, all spicy, all delicious.

And then, on Saturday night, there was the party - which consisted mostly of Italians and Trinidadians getting together for six of the most exhausting hours that I've ever spent. It was extraordinary … because let me tell you, these folks know how to party! And there was a very special melding of cultures that I found to be both energizing and, somehow, reassuring.




That's it for this week…Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!

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