Cinco de Mayo has once again graciously fallen upon us. Have we a Blog for YOU of this past April’s happenings and of course early May for the 5th of which is one of “MY BAD TEQUILA” and Uncle Rico’s favorite days and holidays! I am going to advise 2 different places of where Cinco de Mayo should be celebrated if You are in the vicinity of San Francisco or Scottsdale. In Arizona – Juan Jaime’s TNT & in California the secret shall be revealed later in the Blog. Continue to read on, My Little Grasshopper!
Better fasten or tighten up Your seatbelt because we are taking a fast ride through California which began passing swiftly through Bakersfield only stopping long enough for fuel and to pay my respects to Buck Owens and the Streets of Bakersfield sang by Amigo Dwight Yoakum. I honked as I passed by Merle Haggard Drive as I listened to that Bakersfield Country Music which inspired me to write about my Ol’ Amigo Merle who I saw in a small concert venue at a Country Bar named Toolies in Phoenix, AZ in 1995 I believe it was. This bar has since been sold, operated as a Latino Night Club and then later torn down; but, during its prime was voted Country Night Club of the Year in 1993 as was KNIX Radio in Phoenix voted #1 Country Radio Station in the U.S. and it was there that I spoke and shook hands with the Greatest Country Music Songwriter of time.
Mr. Merle Haggard was born in Oildale, California in 1937. His parents, James Francis and Flossie Mae (née Harp) Haggard, migrated from Oklahoma to California during the Great Depression. When the Haggard’s arrived much of the population of Bakersfield consisted of migrant workers from Oklahoma and surrounding states. Haggard spent his childhood in Oildale, a suburb of Bakersfield. His maternal grandmother, Zonda Lyons Harp (1881-1971), is the subject of his 1972 hit "Grandma Harp."
Merle’s dad passed away when Merle was nine years old. He soon began committing petty crimes and skipping school. Picked up for shoplifting in 1950 (aged thirteen), Merle was sent to a juvenile detention center. In 1951, aged 14, Haggard ran away to Texas with a friend, but returned that same year and was arrested for petty larceny and truancy. Once again, escaping the juvenile detention center, he went to Modesto, California. He worked odd jobs—legal and not—and began performing in a bar. Once he was found again, he was sent to the Preston School of Industry, a high-security installation. He was released fifteen months later, only to be sent back after beating a local boy during a burglary attempt. After his fourth release, Haggard saw Lefty Frizzell in concert. After hearing Haggard sing along to his first couple of songs Frizzell allowed Haggard to sing at the concert. Merle began working on a full-time music career; however his continued money problems caught up with him. He was arrested for attempting to rob a Bakersfield tavern in 1957 and was sent to the San Quentin state prison for three years.
While serving his sentence in prison, Haggard ran a gambling and brewing racket from his cell. During a time of solitary confinement, he encountered an alcoholic mathematician and death row inmate, Drunk Adam. Haggard had the opportunity to escape with a fellow inmate (nicknamed "Rabbit") but decided to finish out his sentence. The inmate successfully escaped, only to shoot a police officer and return to San Quentin for execution. Drunk Adam's predicament along with that of "Rabbit" inspired Haggard to turn his life around. Haggard earned his GED high school diploma equivalency, worked a steady job in the prison's textile plant, and played in the prison's band. Upon his release in 1960, Haggard worked digging ditch and various other jobs with his brother before returning to the music industry. In the Year of Our Lord1969 the Grateful Dead began performing Haggard's tune "Mama Tried", which appeared on their 1971 eponymous live album. The song was steadfast in their repertoire until the band's end in 1995. The Grateful Dead also performed Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" numerous times between 1971 and 1973. Also, the Flying Burrito Brothers recorded and performed "White Line Fever" in 1971, and toured with “Hungry Eyes” and "Sing Me Back Home.”
As always I most always have a connection within this refined and notorious Blog and here is the first one: Steinbeck! Si, John Steinbeck the famous and one of my favorite all-time authors. I had the good fortune of visiting for the first time Salinas and the National Steinbeck Center and the home where “little Johnnie Steinbeck” was born, raised and first began writing. Remember the novel “Grapes of Wrath” which is about the Great Depression and the migration of families, workers and hobos from Oklahoma to other parts of the country, namely California and remember reading just three paragraphs above that Merle Haggard’s folks were part of that mentioned migration of Mr. Steinbeck’s published story in 1939. Steinbeck won the annual National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for novels and it was cited prominently when he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. http://www.steinbeck.org/pages/steinbeck-institute-for-art-culture
“The Grapes of Wrath” is frequently read in American high school and college literature classes due to its historical context and enduring legacy. Hollywood could not be left aside, without its film version, starring Henry Fonda and directed by John Ford in 1940.
Well as Tequila luck would have it, the home of John Steinbeck on Main St. of Salinas, California was closed as there is now a restaurant serving food in the former Steinbeck Victorian Home located at 132 Central Avenue and owned by the Women’s Valley Guild of which I signed an autographed copy of “My Bad Tequila” and slipped it through the gigantic mail slot. For more info, please visit: http://www.steinbeckhouse.com/
I then decided to drive on into Monterrey to see the historic waterfront district of Cannery Row along the shore of the Monterrey Bay of which another famous novel by Mr. Steinbeck “Cannery Row” was written about and published in the Year of Our Lord 1945.
Before my stop in Salinas & Monterrey I had visited the most beautiful city in the United States – San Francisco of which I have had the great pleasure of viewing and staying in the City by the Bay several times before. However, what made this trip different was a taxi ride to Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, the epicenter of the Tequila world and Tommy’s is listed as one of the top 23 things to do while visiting San Francisco. http://www.tommystequila.com/
Well, I went, met Julio the owner and son of Tommy whom I never had the pleasure to meet since he died just last year March 2, 2011 in San Francisco, CA. Born in Yucatan, Mexico on January 13, 1932 Tomas “Tommy” Bermejo came to the U.S. on a Guest Worker Program and founded the now famous restaurant in 1965. Julio Bermejo turned his parents’ longtime Richmond District restaurant into the Bay Area’s Tequila mecca, and his evangelism for Tequila ultimately earned Julio the role of the state of Jalisco’s sole U.S. Tequila ambassador.
After meeting Julio, autographing him his own personal copy of “My Bad Tequila” the pouring and sipping of Tequila began with a welcome shot of Azunia Tequila Reposado then a margarita with Platinum Blanco Azunia Tequila followed by a shot of Espolon, then Cabo Wabo and finished with a delicious shot of Herradura from 1998 stock. In the bar was Dave & Stephanie, a couple of Tequila Connoisseurs enjoying the many Tequilas offered at Tommy’s. I would also like to thank Greidi & Miguel for all of the limes that were freshly squeezed to help Julio blend the finest of Margaritas in the City of San Francisco.
If You are wondering why a book signing did not take place at Tommy’s then YOU are on the right track going the wrong way. Indeed a “My Bad Tequila” book signing took place Sunday evening as several of Apple executives, engineers and programmers had made reservations both with the limousine company and at Tommy’s Restaurant for dinner and tequila class. Yes, that is correcto, at Tommy’s, You can join the world’s largest Tequila Tasting Club and Membership is only $10.00 or approximately 120 pesos if You are like me and carry both currencies. Upon graduation, You will receive Tommy’s Tequila Master Booklet, an oak framed Tequila Master Diploma and a very cool Tommy’s Tequila Master T-Shirt. Guess what author is now working on obtaining his Tequila Master Diploma? Yes, I am the latest member of the Blue Agave Club - and proud to be the 7000th member;
And during the book signing (of which $3.00 per book sale was donated to Elmy’s favorite Charity “Casa de las Madres” which is a Charity of Women Against Domestic Violence – Elmy is Julio’s sister and also daughter of the late Tommy) in conjunction with Tequila class (We’re not drinking, We’re learning) one other special treat occurred, one of my Facebook Amigos Daron and his lovely wife Rose showed up as well for their wedding anniversary so the book signing was a huge success and a great deal of fun with an added pleasure of receiving $2 dollar bills from Two Dollar Bill of Apple who has earned his Masters and his PhD and beyond in Tequila Tasting. Gracias Bill for a gentle reminder of when my now deceased, sweet Grandmother used to give me a $2.00 note each Christmas as a gift. If things go as planned I’ll have my Masters in Tequila in just a few short years and then I will be eligible to attend one of Julio’s guided tours of Jalisco, Mexico and the Tequila World.
Dick Clark RIP, born Richard Wagstaff "Dick" Clark on November 30, 1929 and passing from this world on April 18, 2012. Dick Clark was an American radio and television personality, best known for hosting American television's longest-running variety show, “American Bandstand”, from 1957 to 1987. He was also known and referred to as America’s Oldest Teenager. Dick Clark will be missed again at the end of each old year and the ringing in of the New Year just as was Guy Lombardo.
Happy Birthday to my wife Connie as we celebrated her 50th Birthday with many Amigas & Amigos from as far away as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Idaho with many Arizonans from the 47 other states. Connie also picked the winner “I’ll Have Another” as the winner of the 138th Run for the Roses – Kentucky Derby. The night before the big fiesta my Idaho Amigo Rich & Amiga Rhonda & I all decided to go out for a couple of quick drinks and dinner with the first stop being at Juan Jaime’s Tacos and Tequila TNT where we tasted Clase Azul, Don Julio and Cruz Tequila served again by mi Veracruz Amigo – Martin. After a great dinner off we rode to see my Ol’ Amiga Gwen, owner of Handle Bar J’s as she had asked me to come in and to bring a copy of “My Bad Tequila” with me for a Special Scottsdale Celebrity. The only hint she gave me was that he was a Sports Figure of whom I had met years earlier. Well that left a lot of possibilities as Scottsdale and Phoenix is loaded with Persons of Celebrity Status and with living in the area for 21 years I have been fortunate to have met the majority of them through sporting events, book signings, concerts, and/or golf outings. When the trio of us arrived I gave Gwen a huge hug, introduced her to my fellow Idahoans and asked “WHO is coming to Handle Bar J’s?” of which only a smile was given in exchange. I shouldn’t give the answer here as I should make YOU each scroll down through the pictures at the end of the Blog to locate “The Celebrity,” but, as YOU all know I am not that cruel, so TOM CHAMBERS, former Basketball Star of the Phoenix Suns. When YOU look at the picture, please remember I am of normal male height of 5’10” and well Tom, he is a Giant, a Good Looking, Gentle Giant, but a Giant all the same. Amigo Tom wanted his autographed copy of “My Bad Tequila” and a picture with the three of us to remember the event. Gracias Amigo Tom for the many great years of entertaining basketball in Phoenix as a Suns Player; I can’t wait to get YOUR Review!
Awaiting me when I arrived home was the Fed Ex truck because he had a Commemorative Special Edition bottle of “The Mint 400” by Azunia Tequila sent to me by my San Clemente Amigo Mr. Jim Riley of Intersect Beverage. The legendary General Tire Mint 400 is known as “The Great American Desert Race”, and is the longest running off-road race in America. It started in 1967 and is held each year just north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The race is a four hundred mile test of man and machine, and is considered one of the toughest and roughest courses in off-road racing. Every year hundreds of the best race teams in America, as well as celebrities from around the world compete in the Mint 400, which features twenty-four different types of vehicle classes. They are all after one goal, the overall win! Good Luck Team Azunia & General Tire!!!! Bottle arrived JIT for May 5th!
Cinco de Mayo – 5th of May is the 150th Anniversary of Puebla War which commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861 – 1867). If I have to tell another individual that it is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day I will have to have another strong Margarita. Mexico’s Dia de Independencia is September 16th and that is a major fiesta in Mexico whereas May 5th is a huge party in the United States driven by the Tequila market. Any Questions? If so or not watch video!
Enjoy & Share! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q22H3a_QNVA
New website to get Your copy of My Bad Tequila on eReader:
Saludos y Vaya Con Dios,
Uncle Rico Rico Austin Author, Blogger, Tequila Connoisseur, Co-Songwriter, Part-time Movie Star, CEO, Amigo & One Righteous Dude - MY BAD TEQUILA
"Have a Double Shot of Reality" TM
Don't Forget to Purchase YOUR Own Copy of :
2009 BEST of TRIPS (Tequila, Rock N Roll, Insanity, Personalities, Sports) eKindle Only http://www.amazon.com/TEQUILA-Tequila-Insanity-Personalities-ebook/dp/B006SB0KAU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1333521091&sr=8-4
2011 BEST of TRIPS (Tequila, Rock N Roll, Insanity, Personalities, Sports) eKindle Only http://www.amazon.com/TEQUILA-Tequila-Insanity-Personalities-ebook/dp/B006NQKLEU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333521091&sr=8-2
THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!!!!