Bourdain Slurps Noodles with Obama

September 23, 2016

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s CNN series Parts Unknown is worth watching Sunday, September 25, 9 p.m. ET. He’s in Hanoi, Vietnam, and shares noodles and beer with President Obama in a small local joint.

Obama’s approval rating is at about 58%, so having a beer with a popular guy like Bourdain can only reflect well on Hillary. In fact, it’s a shame it’s not Hillary.

The intended contrast with Donald Trump is unmistakable. Not only would Trump never be caught dead in such humble surroundings, but you know he can’t use chopsticks and he’s incapable of small talk.

Luckily for Bourdain, Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt immediately eclipsed the Bourdain breakup announcement. The Bourdains can’t hope to have drama that remotely compares to allegations of Pitt being a substance- and child-abuser.

Today I read this Washington Post article where Tony mentions being in London during the Brexit vote (Parts Unknown to air Oct. 23) and did a double-take at the undated CNN photo of Nigella Lawson making Tony breakfast in her home.

Breakfast?!

As I’ve pondered Bourdain’s post-Ottavia life, the woman who sprang to mind as his next potential companion was Nigella. They’ve known each other for years, and he was there for her when her marriage fell apart while they were filming The Taste together.

I am absolutely NOT implying any illicit behavior, but if Tony does end up on his own, he could do a lot worse than Nigella. In fact, he DID do a lot worse before he met Ottavia.

On Parts Unknown last season, Bourdain wore no wedding ring. I should have mentioned months ago that it was his best ever, winning his 4th straight Outstanding Series Emmy. I’ve forgotten details, but every episode touched me in some way — tears, laughter, sheer wonder at the amazing cinematography.

Ottavia published an article in August on Lena Dunham’s site Lenny about how she got into MMA. Her byline included her maiden name and mentioned only her daughter, as if she’s a single mother.

So hints about the breakup were out there, even before the big announcement.

Bourdain has a new home-cooking book coming out on October 25 called Appetites. And he revealed in a recent interview with Uproxx that he’s about to start another book. I wonder what happened to the novel he’s been working on for years?

BONUS: Bourdain’s Russian sidekick Zamir Gotta has permanently defected to Buffalo, New York, to launch Zamir Vodka. And Trump’s worried about Mexicans.

DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Bourdain’s latest episode of Raw Craft, a series he does for Balvenie Distillery featuring expert craftspeople. This one is in North Carolina with a pearl-wearing metalsmith named Elizabeth Brim.


Page Six Reports the Bourdains Have Separated

September 20, 2016

By Karen

Late yesterday afternoon I got one of those shocks that feels like an elevator going into a sudden plunge when I read this Page Six article announcing that Anthony Bourdain and his wife Ottavia have been separated for some time.

I’d noticed Ottavia seemed scarce on Twitter. And Tony didn’t wear his wedding ring through most of Parts Unknown last season, but I told myself it was all jiu-jitsu-related.

Today, their separation is all over the media. MSN, E! Online, Us Weekly, even the Daily Mail in the UK. But they all just repeat Page Six without additional detail.

Thinking back, I don’t know the exact date I first discovered Anthony Bourdain, but I stumbled upon an early No Reservations on Travel Channel one night and was instantly charmed by his looks and wit.

I had no clue he was a writer until I found A Cook’s Tour at a remaindered book sale. On its cover I learned Kitchen Confidential had been a bestseller. I’ve been in hot pursuit of every book he’s published and have read them all to date. And seen every episode of his four travel series (A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, Parts Unknown). And his lamentable cooking competition, The Taste.

My first dedicated post in Cats Working on him was about his 2007 No Res Christmas special. It’s apparent I knew quite a bit by then, and Ottavia was intriguing me. I finally found her in February 2008. Thus began my regular chronicle of the Bourdains, which led to several personal encounters, most recently when he came to Richmond in 2013.

But sites like Eater and Grub Street began stealing my thunder and getting all the best scoop straight from Bourdain himself, so I stepped back. But I never lost interest.

I will declare with no reservations that Cats Working pioneered coverage of Anthony Bourdain before anyone else was paying much attention. If you search the archives, you’ll find a ton of his history, professional and personal.

I will try to learn more on this unfortunate development, but this post will give any Cats Working die-hard Bourdainiacs a place to comment. Tony has written about being at loose ends before he met Ottavia. This split, real or not, is no picnic for them, so please be kind.

Tony did appear to be alone on the red carpet at the recent Creative Arts Emmy Awards, where Parts Unknown won its fourth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series or Special.

bourdain-creativeartsemmys

The show was also nominated for Cinematography (Cuba), Sound Editing (Okinawa), and Sound Mixing (Ethiopia).

Bourdain was nominated once again for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program (Borneo), but lost to a Netflix show, Making a Murderer.


Hillary is Her Own Worst Enemy

September 12, 2016

By Adele

Hillary will probably never explain why she blew her big chance to connect with voters on a human level by announcing she has pneumonia.

She was a bit raspy at the Intrepid forum last week, and she’s been coughing, but she blamed seasonal allergies. Then on Friday she learned the truth.

Nobody could blame her for catching pneumonia. She’s been courting jet lag zipping across time zones, shaking thousands of strangers’ hands, and basically running herself ragged.

All she had to do on Friday was call a press conference and announce she was canceling all public events for a few days to rest and recover. Perfectly reasonable and understandable.

But did she? No. She tried to soldier through it until she made it an issue by nearly collapsing at a 9/11 memorial service on Sunday.

And even then she didn’t come clean, but instead fed the press some BS about being overheated and dehydrated.

Why, Hillary, why? People want to like you. Trump’s a maniac. Why do you keep going shady and making it so hard?

Amazingly, Trump didn’t pounce, calling her Frail, Crooked Hillary, too weak to be president. Instead, he and his babbling she-devil, Kellyanne Conway, focused on Hillary’s secrecy.

Apparently, Conway made Trump understand it would look bad to kick Hillary while she’s down. But as soon as she’s back on her feet, you can bet your last treat Trump will be playing the health card until election day.

Trump is supposed to release results of his own recent health exam on Dr. Oz Thursday, Sept. 15. Trump consults only quacks in seemingly irrelevant specialties. First it was Harold Bornstein, the goofy gastroenterologist who released a ridiculous letter. Now it’s Oz, a cardiologist who had to answer to Congress for dispensing reams of bogus health advice on TV.

Makes me think Trump’s hiding something big. For starters, why does he look like a Cheeto on legs? Who would do that unless they couldn’t help it? He’s also clearly out of shape and overweight.

Stupidly, Hillary has leveled the playing field with Trump on hoarding personal information that voters have a right to know. The stakes for her in the debates are now that much higher.

They both make Libertarian Gary Johnson look more appealing, even if he does think Aleppo is an exotic cat.


No Jail for Bob and Maureen McDonnell

September 9, 2016

By Adele

Here’s what we woke up to this morning…

mcdonnell-vindicatedIn reality, not quite.

The Supreme Court unanimously threw out all corruption charges against Virginia’s former governor, Bob McDonnell (and his wife Maureen by implication, I suppose, although she caused the whole mess), and now they have been dropped. Neither one will ever serve a moment of their jail sentences, and they can put this sordid business behind them.

I’ve got nothing against Bob McDonnell. He seems basically decent, although he suffers from the mental paradox of Republicanism, being misogynistic and discriminatory while professing to be a devout Christian.

Bob’s sin was to look away while his wife emotionally attached herself to a sugar daddy named Jonnie Williams and sucked more than $177,000 out of him. It caught up with Bob when he directly benefited in the form of a Rolex watch, golf outings (with a pro shop shopping spree), vacations, and large contributions toward his side real estate business and his two daughters’ weddings.

The highest court in our justice system deemed that the McDonnells did nothing wrong by taking all this because they swore they provided essentially nothing in return. Anyone else caught making such a heist would probably be charged with stealing, but the McDonnell case has established that politicians are incapable of theft under any circumstances. Private interests may shovel unlimited amounts of cash and goodies their way in hopes that some pol will slip and show some gratitude – and not get caught.

The McDonnells may be technically finished with their legal ordeal, but they’ve got a long road ahead to redeem themselves as human beings.

Bob has been doing some charitable work and talks about doing more. He should now help the down-and-out people he would have assuredly crushed under his heel had he continued to rise in Republican politics.

There’s been no word, but I’m guessing Maureen hasn’t changed much. You know what they say: “Once a greedy bitch…”

But with Bob going around in sackcloth and ashes, she’s lost her bait to catch rich guys who need favors, so she may be forced to live within her means. Like the rest of us.


Trump and Clinton Almost Face Off

September 8, 2016

By Karen

Trump and Clinton were like two ships passing in the night – on the aircraft carrier Intrepid. A weird setting for sparring with NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer, now known as Mr. Fluffmeister.

The candidates appeared consecutively to answer veterans’ questions on foreign policy and being commander-in-chief.

Hillary was first, and Lauer leaped for her throat, forcing her to explain her email misuse for the umpteenth time.

OK, we get it. Using her own server was dumb. But how many years has it been with no repercussions from anything that might have leaked, and no evidence she was ever seriously hacked? It wasn’t illegal at the time and there’s nothing to prosecute.

Hillary routinely gets crucified on many things that, if bungled by a man, would get a shrug and a, “Boys will be boys!”

Let’s face it. Hillary doesn’t have an open, sunny disposition. When cornered, she resorts to slippery lawyer-speak. Her detractors act like she’s the only politician in history to do that.

Thanks to Lauer’s pointless email questions, Hillary was hard-pressed to address foreign policy, and then Matt kept telling her to be brief.

But Hillary somehow managed to display great familiarity with geography, foreign affairs, and the challenges the next president faces.

And then came Trump. The bar for his performance was so low, all he had to do was not drool or poop his pants. His verbal vomit was presidential poetry to Lauer, who didn’t challenge any lie or boast. Nor did he push Trump onto the ropes to answer for anything.

With his customary disregard for the military audience, Trump dissed our generals as being “reduced to rubble” and hinted he’d fire many, yet make them submit within 30 days a plan for defeating ISIS. Not that Trump already doesn’t have his own secret plan. He just wants to see if his generals have another one.

Trump, you idiot. You’re not starring in The King & I.

Remember when Yul Brynner, the king of Siam, is stewing over how to prove to England’s Queen Victoria that he’s not a barbarian? When Anna, the English governess, asks what he intends to do, the king commands, “You guess!”

Trump wants to play “You Guess!” with the generals, thinking he’ll trick lowly beings with no right to advise a king president into giving him a plan. Which they’d do, and he’d follow because he has no clue.

Trump’s appearance was notable for its lack of specifics, admiration for Putin, and inability to resist insulting Obama and Hillary, which both candidates were asked not to do, and Hillary mostly complied with.

Trump sat slouched and didn’t even turn his head much to respond to any veteran’s question. Hillary spent most of her time on her feet, facing her questioners.

For all his attacks on Hillary’s physical fitness, Trump looked like an out-of-shape, low-energy, unhealthy couch potato.

Considering the double standard, I thought Hillary showed presidential-caliber comportment and intelligence. Trump, as usual, was a clown show.

Can’t wait for the September 26 real debate when Trump finally has to face Hillary.


How Mexico Totally Blew It with Trump

September 1, 2016

By Karen

Lest anyone has forgotten, USA Today published a good run-down of the many ways Donald Trump has disrespected Mexico before he paid a visit there yesterday to piss all over the shoes of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Nieto’s approval rating in Mexico stands at about 23%, even lower than Trump’s here. The Mexican people hate Trump so much, beating the crap out of him as a pinata has become a popular party game.

So Nieto meets Trump and says later that he told Trump Mexico wouldn’t pay for a wall.

Trump, not hearing what he wanted, claims the wall never came up in the conversation.

It raises questions about Trump’s ability to follow through on any of his boasts about how he’s going to make all the world’s leaders bend to his will. There he was, in a face-off with the guy who’d write the check for his wall, and Trump never even mentioned it?

Then they did a joint news conference, and instead of interrupting Trump and boldly stating, “Hell, no, we’ll never buy you a wall, and we’re not criminals, rapists, and drug-dealers!” before cameras and reporters, Nieto inexplicably stood silent and let Trump run the show.

Remember in the movie, Love, Actually, when Hugh Grant as the British prime minister puts the lecherous, suspiciously Bush-like U.S. president in his place at a press conference? This could have been that moment. Here it is (ignore the subtitles, the audio is in English)…

If Nieto had stood up to Trump, his approval ratings would have instantly soared, and he’d have earned the world’s gratitude. He’d have sent Trump back with his tail between his legs to make his epic foreign policy rant in Arizona that night, with every threat against Mexico thoroughly repudiated and recorded for posterity.

With video testimony from Mexico’s president, if Trump had persisted in his nonsense about getting a free wall on Mexico’s tab and deporting Mexicans along with everyone else, no one could ignore the fact that he’s a racist, raving lunatic.

Nieto could have achieved all that. But he did none of it.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny made Trump blink before a planned visit by saying he would tell Trump in person how racist and dangerous his comments are.

Trump canceled that stop in Ireland because there’s nothing a chicken-shit bully hates worse than being confronted.

Nieto, you had your chance, and you blew it big-time.


Is Donald Trump Walking Into a Mexican Trap?

August 31, 2016

By Karen

We should know the outcome of Trump’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto today.

Reports on who initiated the meeting conflicted, but I think the only ones giving Trump credit were Trump’s people. The media seems to agree that Nieto invited Trump. Otherwise, why would Nieto host the orange buffoon who spews contempt for Mexico and Mexicans daily?

Mexico’s former president, Vincente Fox, told CNN that 130 million Mexicans don’t like Trump, don’t want him there, and reject his visit. He thinks current President Nieto will be considered a “traitor” if he’s perceived to go soft on Trump.

Not that Nieto has ever expressed any love for Trump. He knows Trump is pulling this publicity stunt to make himself look presidential and tough on Mexicans.

Trump is said to be bringing no reporters, but let’s hope the Mexican press fills the gap, and what goes down spreads worldwide in minutes. To recap the backstory…

Trump has called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists.

He wants to build a wall that he’ll force Mexico to pay billions for, to keep Mexicans out.

He wants to deport all Mexicans who are here illegally.

He wants to renegotiate NAFTA so Mexico gets a raw deal on trade.

And he thinks he’s going to wave his dick around today and show the world it’s bigger than Nieto’s.

Unless Nieto is an idiot, his welcoming party for Trump will be just short of a firing squad. He needs to verbally rip Trump to shreds with words that nobody can spin as “softness.”

It seems Mexico’s tit for tat with Russia in trying to influence our election. Hillary should be thrilled because Mexico has every reason to keep Trump out of the White House. Putin just wants a malleable sap he can control with flattery.

Let’s hope Nieto soundly rejects Trump’s wall, laughs in his face at redoing NAFTA, and defends his people.

This has potential to make Trump look like an even bigger idiot, reducing the cornerstones of his foreign policy to rubble.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Trump cancels his big speech — again.

When the proof of Mexico’s position is on film, what’s Trump going to say? That Nieto agreed with him? Give the world irrefutable proof of his pathological lying?

Nieto, this is your chance to strike a blow for your people and for Americans who have suffered Trump’s ignorant rants against Mexico for a year. Slap the lies and bluster out of him. Stay strong.


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