Minesweeper Leadership Swept

And so it begins. The officer leadership aboard the Guardian that ran aground in the Philippine Islands have lost their prior positions:

Four officers of a U.S. Navy minesweeper that ran aground on coral reef in the Philippines are being relieved of their duties.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement Wednesday that initial findings indicate all four sailors failed to adhere to standard navigation procedures at the time of the Jan. 17 grounding of the Guardian.

The sailors are the commanding officer, the executive officer and navigator, the assistant navigator and the officer of the deck. They’ve been reassigned.

Workers recently finished dismantling and removing the minesweeper from Tubbataha National Marine Park.

The park’s superintendent has said the grounding damaged about 4,000 square meters, or nearly 5,000 square yards, of reef. The U.S. could face a fine of more than $2 million for the damage.

I find the coral reef damage troubling, I find the ship destruction stomach-turning.

Guardian, Half a Ship

R2-D2: [beeps] Uh-oh.
Anakin Skywalker: We lost something.
Obi-Wan: Not to worry. We’re still flying half a ship.
-Star Wars

Mario Batali Adds a Dash of Anti-Wall Street Crazy to His Cooking

Is Las Vegas backwards?

Las Vegas, Nevada; 3300 Stewart Avenue; City of Las Vegas Detention Center; General Lock-up, 0100 AM.

I had extra leave I needed to take from the Navy. Or I would lose it. So I up and left. To Las Vegas. If I did not burn the leave, I would forfeit the days I had saved.

Before I headed to Vegas, one of my co-workers told me I must visit Mario Batali’s restaurant Carnevino. She suggested the Beef Tasting Menu. Apparently, her husband loved it. What do you think:

BEEF TASTING MENU

FEATURING BBL BEEF — $120 PER PERSON


Carnevino Beef

Wagyu Beef Crudo

coriander, saffron, fennel

Beef Cheek Ravioli

with aceto balsamico

Wet Aged Piemontes Beef

Semifreddo, part of a Fredo?

spinach, garlic, quail egg

Dry Aged “BBL” Beef

lobster, potato, bearnaise

Vanilla Semifreddo

pistachio rum strawberries

The Navy ceremonial guard at the White House

Sure, it looks excellent. Wagyu? Is that not the house beef of our White House? Not when the Navy is in town, but for the overseas big-toupees to mack. . .

What is Piemontes? And the Semifreddo? Is that named after the deer-eyed brother from the Godfather movie, Fredo?

Can we talk price? 120 clams. Not exactly el cheapo. Certainly not. I can’t afford that, not on a Navy salary. (Note: this is not a complaint. I think myself highly compensated. The non-monied salary, the honor of wearing the uniform and service to country, cannot be quantified.)

So who could afford to shell out those clammy prices? Well, white-collar professionals. Bankers, stock boys, lawyers, financial execs and ex-execs, folks who can afford to wag the wagyu. Uh oh. Guess what Mario just said. Brace for shock:

The Carnevino Bull, not the Wall Street Bull

“But I would have to say that who has had the largest effect on the whole planet without us really paying attention across the board and everywhere is the entire banking industry and their disregard for the people that they’re supposed to be working for.”

“The way the bankers have toppled the way that money is distributed, and taken most of it into their own hands,” Mr. Batali said, “is as good as Stalin or Hitler, the evil guys.”

Bad move Super Mario. I may be a Sailor with more Hong Kong tats than IQ points (okay, not really), but I know enough not to dribble wee-wee on the berber carpet. It did not take long for word to circulate up and down the Street:

Some financial executives sounded as if they believed Mr. Batali had attacked them personally — and they made it clear they would never slide into any of his banquettes again.

And some, trying for a light note, quipped that Mr. Batali had bitten the hands he feeds.

The Wall Street Bull, not the Carnevino Bull

“Really, Mario,” wrote a trader at an investment management firm. “Really?”

An executive with another investment firm declared flatly, “Cancel all reservations at Batali’s eateries, including Babbo and Del Posto.” Yet another wrote, “Done with Batali restaurants.”

On Eater, a reader who used the name Sanity Now wrote: “Major mistake on Mario’s part! What was he thinking?? Alienating those that frequent his restaurants and spend the $$$ needed to keep his doors open. Wonder how he got the financing for all those restaurants and Eataly?”

Super Mario Batali

Not-so-Super Mario emailed out a loose-ankled, limp-wristed apology. (It was never my intention, blah blah.) Good luck winning back the hundreds of high-paying customers once slurping happily in your soup kitchens. That Occupy Wall Street thing don’t play with the wagyu crowd.

I, too, know the pain of miscalculation. I once did a post on Justin Bieber and overnight my blog nosedived. I went from comfortably ignored to annoyingly unread. Bloggers: Bieber will do that to you. Watch out for the kid. Blog on Bieb’s haircut at your own peril.

Of course, Mario has courted controversy before. Back when he was an Iron Chef on the Food Network, he got into a serious beef wellington with the network execs. And he ended up bailing on the show altogether, before going cold turkey from the whole network. Caught in a bad romance, indeed.

Mario Batali, chins financed by Wall Street

Then again, there was always that thang with Gordon Ramsay. Mario, he of 4 Michelin Stars for his restaurants Babbo, Spotted Pig, and Del Posto. And Gordo, of 13 Michelin stars for his various dives.

Mario must’ve forgotten the Royal and US Navy both extended honorary Sailor status to Mr. Ramsay, due to his exotic vocab. All those beeps on Kitchen Nightmares? Yup, that. So what did Mario say of Gord?

The beefy “Iron Chef” has prohibited the star of Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” who runs a fancy place at the London NYC Hotel, from entering any of Batali’s dining spots, including the Spotted Pig and Babbo, after Ramsay began calling him “Fanta Pants” to make fun of the orange shorts Batali sometimes wears. The effeminate moniker is a nod to the popular brand of orange soda.

Gordon Ramsay, never met a comb he liked

“I’ve banned him from my restau- rants,” Batali sniffed to London’s Guardian.

“Ramsay’s people call, trying to book tables, and I say no. I won’t have him in there.”

The feud goes back 18 months to when loudmouth Batali labeled rival Ramsay’s culinary fare dull and outdated and said he didn’t get New York.

Batali says Ramsay retaliated by making up the nickname, which he sneakily spread behind his back.

Mario Batali, manscaped beard, hidden capitalism

I will conclude this post with the thought that Vegas is an amazing city. I don’t drink or gamble, yet I still am enjoying my time here.

Kind reader(s), rest assured there are delightful gambolish details to follow this post. Wait, is not the Vegas tagline: what happens in Vegas does not get blogged about?

Anybody got any good Vegas recommendations, stories?

Also, in a completely unrelated matter, I need the name of a good (read: discrete) Bail Bondsman in the southern Nevadaish area. Preferably one with a military discount. I have a “friend” who is interested in learning that exciting trade. And he wants to talk to one. Right now. . .