An Ariane Bourdain Sighting, at Last

November 29, 2008

By Karen

Nineteen-month-old Ariane accompanied her dad, Anthony Bourdain, on his recent visit to Miami. Unfortunately, the photographer only caught the back of her head, but it’s better than nothing.

Daddy's Little Girl (Photo - Lynne Sladky, AP)

Daddy's Little Girl (Photo - Lynne Sladky, AP)

During the interview, Bourdain said he’s not interested in writing a children’s cookbook nor hosting a children’s TV show.

Well, DUH! What a silly question. Anyone who’s seen even one episode of No Reservations with its parental warning and glaring absence of children would know Bourdain’s not inclined to “Go Kiddie” in this lifetime.

A few other tidbits…

Tony has written the introduction to Pino Luongo’s memoir, Dirty Dishes, to be published in January. Tony first wrote about Luongo as his ruthless boss in Kitchen Confidential, and has admiringly dubbed him “the Dark Prince of Italian fine dining.”

It’s got me wondering if Ottavia agrees that Luongo knows good Italian, or if she thinks his cooking is also “disgusting?”

At Brave New Traveler, Rebecca Lang wrote an interesting article, Deconstructing the Cynicism of Anthony Bourdain, that went so far as to compare him to Samantha Brown.

On a personal note, I’m one step closer to fulfilling my dream of seeing Bourdain in person. A friend in North Carolina has offered to put me up for the night when he appears in Durham, North Carolina, in February 2009.

My Personal Bourdain Dilemma

November 26, 2008

By Karen

But first, Cats Working’s latest tidbits about our favorite bad boy chef:

Les Halles in Washington, DC, has closed and news reports were calling it the “brainchild” of Anthony Bourdain, which must amuse him. I thought he just worked in the New York branch, which remains open.

No Reservations’ producers have apparently abandoned all attempts at censorship because here’s another highly detailed account of one of Tony’s stops in the Philippines.

Speaking of censorship, I just learned that his failed special, At the Table, was quickly yanked from YouTube. Were they trying to cleanse the ‘Net of the stench of failure?

I came across a forgotten answer to this burning question: If Tony had still been with Nancy instead of Ottavia, would he have gotten that skull tattoo on his right shoulder for Miami Ink? He answers it himself at the end of Kitchen Confidential:

“My wife, blessedly, has stayed with me through all of it, the late nights, the coming home drunk, my less than charming tendency not to pay any attention at all to her…. A few months back, in a moment of admittedly misguided solidarity with my heavily decorated kitchen crew, I got a tattoo, a reasonably tasteful headhunter’s band around my upper arm. Nancy, however, was on record as finding skin art about as attractive as ringworm; she took it, not unreasonably, as a personal affront. She was mightily pissed off, and still is, for that matter…but she still wakes up next to me every morning, laughs at my jokes on occasion and helpfully points out when I’m being an asshole.”

And now, my personal Bourdain dilemma: There’s An Evening with Anthony Bourdain in Durham, North Carolina, on February 19, 2009. I’m afraid it’s as close as he’ll ever come to Richmond, Virginia. It would involve many hours of driving over possibly treacherous winter roads, taking 2 days off because I’d have to spend the night, and getting someone to feed the cats. Tickets are available. Dare I go?

P.S. For all you Bourdainiacs who can’t get enough, the Travel Channel is running a No Reservations marathon from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (ET) Friday, November 28.

Declawed Cougar Chomps Teen

November 24, 2008

By Yul

What’s with stupid young men and big cats? Now an innocent cougar named Chaos is in the dog house because of a 21-year-old trespasser named Anthony Zitnick.

On November 15, Zitnick, using an old key he had from 2005 to do yard work after Hurricane Wilma, took 16-year-old Amanda Gomez and her mother into a private wildlife sanctuary in Miami Gardens, Florida, owned by Alan Rigerman, a retired teacher.

Chaos and owner Rigerman in happier times (Photo - MiamiNewTimes)

Chaos and owner Rigerman in happier times (Photo - MiamiNewTimes)

Reports conflict on whether Zitnick was trying to impress Amanda as a love interest, or if he was just helping her fulfill a community service requirement for high school graduation by cleaning cages. Amanda wanted to be a zoologist.

Either way, Rigerman was away and had no idea he had visitors.

Chaos, the 4-year-old, 150-pound declawed cougar was minding his own business when Zitnick let him out of his cage. Nobody has said why Chaos lunged at Amanda, but some authorities believe the attack was her fault. Chaos punctured Amanda in several places with his teeth and chomped the back of her head. Luckily, he didn’t rabbit-kick her with his still-intact back claws or she’d have been shredded.

A neighbor hearing Amanda’s screams came running and managed to kick and punch Chaos back into his cage. Zitnick apparently just stood there in shock.

On the Today Show this morning, Amanda said she’s rethinking her career aspirations because the only cat she trusts now is her own domestic shorthair.

Zitnick is free on bond after being charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Chaos lives at the sanctuary with his mother, Chantelle, snakes, tortoises, and alligators. He has no history of violence, and his eventual fate is unknown.

We just hope this beautiful cat won’t have to suffer – or die – for Zitnick’s stupidity.

Bush Finally Shows Some Class

November 23, 2008

By Fred

Beyond anybody’s expectations, George and Laura Bush have been gracious to the Obamas, even having Barbara and Jenna give Malia and Sasha a private tour of the White House.

Republicans are usually such sore losers – like Sarah Palin blaming McCain’s loss on everybody but herself – is it possible that Bush realizes how deep in the ditch he’s plowed this country and he knows Obama is our only hope?

If McCain had won, we’d have seen a lot of self-satisfied smirking and good ole boy back-slapping on the steps of the White House as Bush and McCain put their heads together to figure out how McCain could keep Americans teetering on the brink of financial collapse and terrified of unemployment and marauding terrorists while he pretended to be improving things.

But with Obama, it’s all different. After he survived the slings and arrows shot at him from all sides with super-human grace, for Bush to diss Obama now would be a new low, even for Bush.

I think Bush secretly hopes Obama will repair the damage Bush has done so in hindsight he can claim, “See? It wasn’t so bad. I wasn’t the terrible president y’all thought I was.”

That’s why 20,000 people in Baghdad just threw a big block party to beat and burn Bush in effigy on the former site of that big statue of Saddam Hussein.

By being nice to Obama, Bush may be rehearsing his return to the role of lovable Uncle Georgie, the Bush family idiot everyone wants to have a beer with.

And Obama optimistically steps into the worst job in the world – cleaning up Bush’s mess.

Del Monte Pushes Meow Mix for a Good Cause

November 19, 2008

By Yul

If Del Monte Foods was embarrassed by the utter disinterest of most of the real cats in Meow Mix® Wholesome Goodness™ wet cat food during Think Like a Cat, the game show recently televised nationwide, we’re lucky it didn’t dampen their dedication to helping kitties in need.

On November 22, volunteer caretakers from the Feral Cat Initiative will converge on Rikers Island to receive a donation of 35,000 whopping pounds of Meow Mix. The food will help homeless cats living on the streets of New York City to get through the winter.

I hope the cats can keep the stuff down.

Just kidding, Del Monte!

The Initiative is trapping, spaying/neutering, and vaccinating tens of thousands of feral and stray cats, then releasing them back into their outdoor colonies where they will live out their nine lives because they’re too unaccustomed or fearful of humans to be domesticated. With no kittens, the problem solves itself over time.

Cats Working gives six paws up to Del Monte’s commitment to helping these worthy kitties, as well as FreeHaul, NPC, the non-profit organization transporting the food.

The Feral Cat Initiative (NYCFCI) is a joint program of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, an umbrella group of over 100 animal welfare organizations dedicated to eliminating pet overpopulation in New York, and Neighborhood Cats, a leading feral cat education and advocacy group.

Cats who have fallen on hard times in the Big Apple are really lucky to have these caring humans watching their backs.

Bourdain to Pull the Plug on “No Reservations”?

November 18, 2008

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain has lately been sending mixed messages about his plans for the future, but he may be contemplating the end of No Reservations.

He’s already committed to a publisher to write a book about spending a year in Vietnam. How he’ll pull off doing the Year in Provence thing in Southeast Asia while spending most of his time on the road filming is anybody’s guess.

Then he said he wants to buy a place in Italy so his daughter Ariane can be near her grandparents, the built-in babysitters.

But just recently he said in an interview posted on the Filipino site, which just moved and became difficult to access:

“I’m not as fit as you think I am. I’m giving myself another two years of this traveling (10 months of the year) and eating. I’ll probably hie off to some Caribbean island with a beer belly so low it’ll touch the ground.”

That sounds like the end of No Reservations and the move to Italy. But it seems unlikely Ottavia would let him get away with that.

Just to round up, here are a few other interesting Bourdain bits I’ve gathered lately:

More from He’s currently on Chantix in his ongoing attempt to quit smoking, and he says he doesn’t spend much time in the kitchen because, “My wife won’t let me; she hates my cooking.”

In Miami on November 13 at the Book Fair, Tony said if he could only eat one thing for the rest of his life, it would be sushi. He also admitted loving “that bright orange macaroni and cheese out of a box with lots of black pepper.”

His new least favorite Food Network personality is Robin Miller.

The Broward-Palm Beach New Times has a list of amusing things Bourdain said in Miami.

Meow Mix Hosts Cat “Lame” Show

November 17, 2008

By Yul

The $1 million grand prize dangled like a catnip toy on the Meox Mix® game show, Think Like a Cat, proved to be as elusive as a laser dot.

The 8 catestants’ ages, breeds, and home states were:

Abbey, 3, Tabby, TX
Charlie, 3, American DSH, IL
Guido, 2, Tabby, CA
Mr. Guffington, 4, Himalayan, CA
Phoebe, 8, Persian, CO
Quinn, 6, Main Coon, FL
Spooky D. Cat, 10, Snowshoe, OR
Wolfie, 11, Persian/Siamese, NY

The Fast and the Furriest was their only real competition, where they had to race through a short, straight tunnel to their owners and a container of Meow Mix® Wholesome Goodness™ wet food.

As you might expect, only Quinn and Spooky completed the course, and Quinn alone seemed to like the food. Abbey turned around half way, but was declared a winner by default because they needed 3 for the next round.

The other 5 cats were eliminated. Their punishment was a year’s supply of the Meow Mix they’d just shunned, even with $1 million at stake.

The next round, Are You as Smart as a Cat? was a cat-themed Jeopardy! for the owners. Quinn and Abbey took that round. Spooky was out, but won $10,000 and Meow Mix.

In the showdown, Quinn and Abbey’s owners had to Think Like a Cat and predict how their cats would meet certain challenges. I’ll just say that Quinn knows good cat toys, and Abbey’s into her owner’s voice.

Overall, Quinn scored the most points and was declared the winner. Abbey got $15,000 and – you guessed it – Meow Mix.

The $1 million was a crap shoot. Out of 10 bags of Meow Mix, Quinn and his owner each had to pick one containing matching ingredient pictures. They failed, but Quinn took home $25,000 and Meow Mix.

Quinn looking silly, thanks to owner Ian Stich

Quinn looking silly, thanks to owner Ian Stich

The show was as exciting as watching hairballs dry, but many animals benefited because Del Monte donated another 10% of each cat’s winnings to their local shelters.

It reruns on the Game Show Network on Nov. 21, at 9 p.m.; Nov. 22, at 1 a.m., and Nov. 23, at 4:30 p.m. (all EST).

Why Home Paramount Bugs Me

November 16, 2008

By Karen

As if I’m some deadbeat, Home Paramount Pest Control just sent me a “3rd Notice” requesting payment for my annual termite warranty and inspection. But my warranty doesn’t expire for another month.

We’ve played this game for years. They start invoicing me in September for work not due until December until I break down and pay for it in November.

The logic is simple. By billing way too early, if they can dupe at least some people into getting annual inspections every 9 months, they’re selling 4 inspections in 3 years.

Who else gets away with that? Do doctors bill you 3 months before your annual exam? Does your mechanic get paid 3 months before doing your car’s state inspection?

The inspection itself usually takes less than 10 minutes, then it’s all the pitch for the service du jour. One year it was mold treatment, although I couldn’t tell if those black specks were really mold or bug droppings.

In 2004, I did buy their automatic crawlspace vents. They seemed like a good idea until 2 guys with hammers came and beat the hell out of my foundation removing the old vents, leaving numerous hairline cracks in the cinderblock.

I didn’t complain until I noticed the new vents were loose and a piece of siding had been broken off. Home Paramount did eventually install the vents properly and fix the siding. The foundation cracks are my souvenirs.

Every year, these guys find a way to put the pest in pest control.

Between Crimes, Brothers Hope to Profit from Tatiana the Tiger

November 14, 2008

By Fred

Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal have filed suit seeking unspecified damages against everyone they can think of in the Christmas Day 2007 attack by the late Tatiana, a Siberian tiger at the San Francisco Zoo. They claim to be victims of libel, slander, civil rights violations, and permanent scarring.

Even though Paul, 20, initially admitted taunting Tatiana until she escaped her enclosure, killed 17-year-old Carlos Sousa, Jr., and mauled the brothers, attorney Mark Geragos has helped the brothers remember things differently.

Kulbir, 24, now claims he was attacked after a zoo employee refused to let him take refuge inside a café. He’s also steamed that police impounded for several weeks the BMW M3 he was driving.

Paul’s in jail right now after managing to turn a 30-day sentence for leading police on a 140 mph chase into 16 months in San Quentin after getting caught with marijuana and slapped with a parole violation just 3 days later. He’s expected to be on the loose again next year.

That is, if three counts of commercial burglary and two counts of grand theft (all felonies) he still faces don’t earn him more jail time. He allegedly attempted to steal video game equipment worth more than $400 from Target. Yesterday, a judge was persuaded to dismiss lesser shoplifting charges in a plea deal, but gave him 5 years’ probation and ordered him to stay out of Target.

By the way, Paul’s current jail stay is for two convictions because he got sentenced to serve concurrently after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and public intoxication in September 2007. Kulbir pleaded not guilty.

With the Dhaliwals’ growing criminal rap sheet, Geragos should be ashamed for trying to pass this pair off as two innocent victims who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their litigation should get buried in a very deep litterbox as the crap it is.

Toyota’s Making Cats Turn to Crime

November 12, 2008

By Yul

Toyota Australia is launching a series of nonsensical ads where they put cute kitten heads on human bodies and make them steal.

In Episode 1: The Heist, this lone, two-legged “kitten” (named Max, I learned) wanders into a derelict shopping mall, startling some strategically placed white mice that look like lab escapees. He encounters a pack of feral cats in black jogging suits. A fight ensues, and Max turns into Jackie Chan.

Toyota's hero, Max

Toyota's hero, Max

The scene shifts to ferals standing at a well-stocked seafood buffet out of nowhere. Max distracts them by making the overhead lamp swing, then stuffs their fish into his man-purse before fleeing.

The ad ends with Max peeling out of an empty parking deck in a black Toyota Corolla, with the tag line:

Corolla. Packed with a lil’ action.

An ad industry site, Campaign Brief, explains the ad agency’s rationale and says this was the introduction to an animated graphic novel called The Getaway that will continue online. A sidekick named Misty will be introduced to accompany Max through three adventures: 9 Lives and Counting, Landing on All Fours, and The Sound and the Furry.

Weird as this is, it’s better than this purely creepy Nissan Dualis ad, also from Australia, that features a flying black cat/spider thing.

What I don’t get is why Australians think cats sell cars. What’s the connection?

Most cats HATE cars, except for Rambo, the Taxi Tabby. For most of us, a ride in the car means one thing – a trip to the vet.

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