Ariane Bourdain, in Person

February 29, 2008

By Karen

Like he did with his wife Ottavia, Anthony Bourdain hid his infant daughter Ariane right out in the open. Interviews with him all over the Web mention him whipping out photos of her, but I’ve yet to find any posted – until just now.

Last September, portraits of Ariane as a tiny, naked newborn in her father’s arms were shown during an interview he did on CBS’s 60 Minutes with Leslie Stahl. Starting at 9:15 minutes, here’s Ariane. She already has lots of her mother’s dark Italian hair.

And have we ever seen Bourdain looking so soft and mushy? You can’t help feeling happy for the man.

The interview also contains clips from No Reservations, many comments from his incredibly youthful-looking mother, Gladys, as well as vintage photos of Tony from 10 years old, through puberty, to adulthood. To top it off, he dons his chef whites to whip up a few tasty dishes for Stahl in the kitchen at Les Halles.

In spite of his new-found taste for women half his age, I think Tony will make a great dad and he’ll see to it that Ariane has an amazing life, particularly if he carries out his plan to defect and raise her in Asia.

If you haven’t seen this interview yet, enjoy

Can Cats Become Junkies?

February 28, 2008

By Fred

A few days after Yul spent a fur-raising Saturday nearly forgotten in a cage at the vet’s, he came down with a miserable cold. A hospital-induced infection, perhaps? For weeks, he’s been getting squirts of an antibiotic called Clindamycin so he won’t develop pneumonia.

Honestly, that fraidy-cat will do anything to avoid getting his teeth cleaned.

Since Yul utterly refused to sneeze into his elbow, he spewed spitty kitty germs everywhere. Now I’ve got the cold. My nose has turned into a paperweight. I’m typing this with my mouth open, determined to do something constructive. I will not lie around like a wimp on Karen’s bed, under cozy afghans with the humidifier running, looking for sympathy – like Yul did. He’s milked his sniffles for all they’re worth. He doesn’t even put up a fight over taking his medicine.

Maybe because he’s hooked!

Now I’ve got my own foul-tasting bottle of “Clind,” as the vet affectionately calls it, and I’m worried. Just a few squirts of it have given me the squirts. It tastes terrible and I hate it – so far. I want to get clean and sober again before it’s too late, so I’m patiently waiting for Karen to leave the evil stuff on the counter so I can push the bottle down the garbage disposal.

We at Cats Working have a policy of taking drugs only under protest, unless you’re talking about a score of prime catnip. But I found a blog called Mattress Police where the guy may have a certified kitty junkie on his hands. He’s got a great sense of humor, so let me spread the germs…oops!…the joy. Now he’s got me wondering if I’ll be able to kick my Clind habit when I can breathe again.

I think my cat may be on drugs. That’s not an expression, like “What has gotten into that cat? It’s acting like it’s on drugs.” I mean, it started out that way, but at this point I seriously think my cat may be abusing a controlled substance. Read the rest here.

Health Insurance Delayed Over a Freckle

February 27, 2008

By Karen

It’s been another month without approval of my cheaper, higher-deductible health insurance, and another $488 is due on my current plan, so I called the company and learned what the hold-up is.

It has nothing to do with the mysterious Saturday-morning phone quiz they gave me weeks ago. It’s over lab work I had done in January 2007.

During my annual Pap exam, my gynecologist found a small mole ‘down there,’ checked it out, and it was nothing.

The rep asked, “So the mole was non-cancerous and your Pap smear was not abnormal?”

“That’s right,” I answered.

But I wanted to scream, “No, you idiot! I found out over a year ago that I have two types of cancer, and I did absolutely nothing. Do you see any follow-up in my records, which you already have? I’m just thrilled to die so your employer can stay in the black and give you a nice bonus for jerking me around.”

The rep asked for the stupid physician’s phone number (it’s already on my application). Apparently, the doctor described my harmless freckle as scary dysplasia. Damn her doctor-speak!

This is supposed to be the last hurdle, and my new insurance should be retroactive to February 1. They’re supposed to credit the extra $110 I was forced to pay for my current coverage.

But no matter what the amount, February has passed and I’ve been afraid to get any regular checkups, so it’s money down a rat hole.

I applaud Patsy Bates, the 52-year-old hairdresser in California who just won $9 million in a suit against Health Net for canceling her when she had breast cancer. Her chemotherapy was delayed for months until she found a charity to pay her expenses. Thank heaven she lived to get revenge, and I hope she inspires thousands of similar lawsuits.

And now that the media has effectively squashed Dennis Kucinich’s presidential hopes and sent him back to Congress, I hope he’ll tenaciously fight for HR 676. This no-nonsense bill provides comprehensive universal healthcare and would revoke the power of life and death from health insurers.

Kittens Love a Good Fire

February 26, 2008

By Yul

Firefighters can be cats’ best friends when we get into a jam, but one automotive-loving kitten in Weston, Florida, put really put them to the test – twice.

On February 12, 2008, a stray kitten decided to chill near Walgreen’s in the undercarriage of someone’s Volvo, and firefighters were called.

In pouring rain, they spent an hour jacking the car up and removing a wheel, but the cat kept ducking out of reach and eventually scampered off. They spent another hour scouring the parking lot looking for it.

Then some real work blazed up, and they had to leave to fight several fires.

Five hours later when they returned to the station, guess who they found in the fire truck’s rear wheel well?

But the kitten still wouldn’t come out, even for meatloaf. It had obviously seen too much.

Now here’s the riddle: How many firefighters does it take to nab a kitten?

Three – one to prod it with a Slim Jim, one to gently squirt it into the open, and one to catch it.

The unnamed kitty was dirty, hungry, scared – and now wet – but otherwise eager to get on with its remaining 8 lives.

Do Your Heart a Favor – Get a Cat

February 25, 2008

By Fred

We cats have always recognized our power over humans, but a new study makes it official: If you’ve never owned a cat, you could face a 30% greater risk of dying from a heart attack than a cat lover.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota stopped playing with fetal rat hearts long enough to share this good news at the American Stroke Association’s international conference in New Orleans last week.

A study was conducted from 1976-80 on 4,435 Americans ages 30-75, of which 2,435 were current or former cat owners. The rest were not.

In 10 years of follow-up, the cat owners showed a 30% lower risk of death from heart attack.

But why?

They think cats either reduce people’s stress by being so soft, cuddly, and nice to pet, or that people who like cats are simply more laid back and are less likely to develop early heart disease.

The study also revealed that dog owners don’t get the same benefit, which refutes a 1995 study that concluded dog owners had the edge in surviving heart attacks.

This time, researchers thought constant dog-walking would provide aerobic benefits, but actually, dogs may just create more stress with their everlasting need to be fussed over.

Naturally, the dog lobby pooh-poohs this conclusion, saying there weren’t enough dogs in the study.

Another reason cats may get better results is that we often live twice as long as dogs, giving our owners double the time to enjoy the heart-healthy benefits of our company.

It’s no wonder cats now outnumber dogs as pets. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, we’re 82 million strong, compared to only 72 million pet dogs.

Cats Rule!

Miko, the Feline Arsonist?

February 23, 2008

By Adele

Miko is a 2-year-old long-haired cat from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who was recently found 240 miles away. To a fellow cat, gaping holes in the news reports indicate Miko might be an arsonist.


On December 28, 2007, Miko’s house ignited. The media gave no cause, but it’s common knowledge that Christmas decorations and candles can turn deadly in the paws of a pissed-off cat.

After the blaze, the faithful family dog was nearby, probably still grateful for toys and treats from Santa.

But Miko was missing.

Could an old can of Pounce® and a stale catnip mouse under the Christmas tree have sent this cat over the edge?

A month later, Miko turned up 240 miles north in Pueblo, Colorado. Humans assumed she’d been “trying to keep warm” and hopped a truck to make the trip.

Now why would a cat fleeing an inferno want to keep warm? I believe Miko was on the lam and needed to cross the state line ASAP.

Reporters didn’t mention how Miko ended up in a Pueblo animal shelter, but rest assured she didn’t turn herself in. On the Ratkins Diet and Mice-a-Roni, she could have survived indefinitely on her own.

Miko’s collar and identity were “lost” during her journey, but shelter workers found a microchip on her that gave them what they needed to extradite her to New Mexico.

Miko’s owner, Jade Schulte, was thrilled to get her cat back. Obviously, she hasn’t connected the dots between the fire and Miko’s suspicious behavior.

I hope Jade lavishes plenty of love and treats on Miko from now on because the cat may be a psycho. The consequences for favoring the dog could be even worse next time.

And Miko just may have pulled off the perfect crime.

Obama Gets the Cats’ Meow

February 22, 2008

By Fred, Yul, and Adele

It’s official: We at Cats Working stand united for Barack Obama.


After the New York Times stink over John McCain’s alleged affair with lobbyist Vicki Iseman, we rolled over for another catnap, saying, “Get back to us when you can name a self-righteous, hypocritical Republican who doesn’t have 1) brainless arm candy for a wife, or 2) a girlfriend on the side.”

Hillary’s putting on a brave face, but she’s finished. A big win in Texas will only prove that the state which produced George W. Bush loves her.

Some honor.

Obama’s the top cat now, and it’s fun to watch the old dogs of Washington – Bill, Hillary, and McCain – chasing their tails trying to come up with new tricks to beat him.

Obama, if you’re reading this, feline issues, in order of importance are:

Healthcare – If Karen doesn’t get more affordable insurance soon, the stress will kill her and we’ll end up back at the shelter.

The Economy – Poor people sometimes eat cat food, so what do poor cats eat? We don’t want to find out.

U.S. Respect in the World – It’s in the toilet except in remote, Bush-loving pockets of Africa. Once we prove that we can keep our claws in and play nice, and can elect someone who isn’t named Bush or Clinton, other countries will come around and stop burning our embassies. We’ll be king of the jungle again.

Terrorism – Least of our worries. The Republicans can howl until election day to keep suckers scared, but we don’t buy it. When we stop starting pointless wars and quit disrespecting everyone who isn’t a straight, white (Christian) male, we won’t be such a juicy target.

Felines for Obama!

One More Pocket of Competence at Verizon

February 21, 2008

By Karen

I can send long-distance faxes again, thanks to the “Expeditor,” a Verizon supervisor somewhere in the 757 area code.

She first called me out of the blue several hours after I put in my second request for third-party long-distance on my fax line. She said a 2-day wait for activation was unacceptable, and gave me two numbers where I could reach her.

Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful in speeding things up.

The two days were up yesterday, and when the promised service failed to materialize, I called the Expeditor, who stunned me by answering her phone. She checked into things and found that my order had “clogged” and gotten dropped. When this happens, no one at Verizon apparently notices or cares because nothing gets done until the customer starts screaming.

I know, because this isn’t the first time I’ve been trapped in a “clog.” It happened before when I initially tried to get FIOS. Verizon’s “So what?” attitude and “rush” to reschedule me – 3 weeks later – caused me to switch to Cavalier Telephone for a while.

The Expediter got me back in the flow and my long-distance was restored by 5 p.m. yesterday.

At 7 p.m., the Expediter phoned me again to make sure everything was OK.

After I sent a long-distance fax early this morning to assure myself it really worked, I called the Expediter to confirm and she answered her phone again. The woman never goes home.

I can’t tell you her name because I know she’d be swamped if it got out. I’m adding her to my stash of secret Verizon contacts. However, with both phone lines working properly right now, I hope I’ll never need to call them again.

More Hassles with Verizon

February 20, 2008

By Karen

When I got Verizon FIOS phone service in October 2007, they insisted I buy unlimited long distance on my main line for $14.95 a month. Then they screwed up my much-cheaper long distance plan with Qwest on my fax line, leaving me with none.

I don’t do much long-distance faxing, so I didn’t reinstate Qwest until December 18. As instructed by Qwest, I immediately called Verizon to give them Qwest’s PIC number, 0432.

I didn’t need Qwest until two days ago to fax long-distance, and then it wouldn’t go through.

Qwest blamed Verizon for not processing my change.

Instead of wasting hours trying to go through proper channels for what I thought would be a quick fix, I called the secret phone numbers I got when I blogged here about my mother’s recent problems with Verizon. Naturally, no one answered, so I left messages.

A while later, another Verizon rep called back and said it would take two days to get my Qwest service because 1) It was President’s Day (although not a holiday at Verizon because she was working), and 2) It was just after noon.

She also said I should be charged $7-something to make the change, but promised to waive it.

Verizon screwed up my service and isn’t going to make me pay for that. How wonderful.

Later that day, a fourth Verizon employee called who said she’d try to “expedite” things.

Two days are up, and I still can’t send a long-distance fax. I called “Ms. Expediter” a few hours ago and I’m waiting for answers.

5 P.M. update: The Expediter called me again after this entry posted, so I suspect I’m being monitored. Upon trying the fax machine once more, it just said, “Thank you for using Qwest.” So it appears that Verizon finally gave up and let me have my cheaper long-distance carrier back. Hallelujah!

Ottavia Bourdain: Found

February 20, 2008

By Karen

The hunt for Ottavia Busia Bourdain is over – and my eyes are still burning.

She’s been right under our noses for some time. Anthony Bourdain cleverly concealed her out in the open, like in Casablanca, when Rick stashed the letters of transit in Sam’s piano.

Web-surfing, I found a casual comment mentioning she was in Tuscany and on Miami Ink with him. The Ink segment’s on YouTube.

In the Tuscany episode of No Reservations, the same woman’s mysteriously sitting at the table to Tony’s right when he cooks Sicilian for his difficult director, and she declares his caponata “disgusting.” Then she’s standing by in a low-cut sundress while he learns to make pasta, and she partakes of the feast in the final scene.

Ottavia’s cute, stacked, and about half his age.

I think Bourdain’s having a mid-life crisis. After finding somewhat belated celebrity, he split from a wife who stuck by him for 30 years and tolerated loads of crap to fall for someone young enough to be his daughter. You can’t blame Ottavia for being eager to step in and enjoy the perks of his success, and she had the foresight to cement her place in his life by making him a father.

He must be thrilled now to have an adoring spouse who’s unafraid to display her cleavage and navel jewelry, and just grins like a fool while her 50-something husband has a hideous skull tattooed onto his shoulder.

I doubt Wife No. 1 could have pulled it off.

As Ottavia matures into her prime, she’ll be there to comfort Tony when his inevitable descent down the other side of the hill starts, which I hope won’t be for many years.

On the other hand, he may wake up canceled and sober one morning and realize they have almost nothing in common but a daughter. They say divorce gets easier the more you do it.

For a man so brilliant and untamed, I’m surprised he let the brain below his belt take over. When he’s pushing 70 and Ariane’s in high school, I wonder how he’ll deal with being mistaken for her grandfather?

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