Anthony Bourdain’s Evil Alter-Ego

By Karen

According to promo and his own admission, there’s classic Tony snark in the Azores episode airing tonight (he mentions it at the end of this preview). We know he hates scenes involving dancing with indigenous peoples, but who’d have guessed sharing a frame with water sets him off?

Bourdain’s latest blog entry explores “Snarkology, the Sweet Science” and he reveals an alter-ego named “Vic” who’s well-known to his production crew. You have to read about “Vic” in his words. As always, priceless.

What intrigued me is that Tony lapsed occasionally into that unorthodox punctuation he used in a post back in August.

It wasn’t as pronouced this time, and the post was lengthy and otherwise coherent. For example, referring to “Vic”:

The name emanated from a prolonged, alcohol and fatigue, fueled fit of the giggles

In another spot, dashes intended to indicate breaks in thought morphed into new hyphenated word combos:

Over time, “Vic” became my alter-ego, what they called me whenever they felt I was being “difficult,” or standing in the way of quality TV-friendly yuks-or when I began to balk at 14-hour flights in economy class. There was “good” Tony-who’d obligingly stick with the program and “bad” Vic, who (often speaking of himself in the third person) would make his unhappiness known-usually in pungent terms — as with “Vic,” who doesn’t want to go to the Halloween party at Motel Dracula.

As the final dash in that paragraph shows, he didn’t forget how to use them. But later, he popped in a dash for no reason:

Like I said, I try to be nice. I don’t want “Vic” emerging from his dark trailer in the deep, ugly – recesses of my subconscious.

He also revealed that he’s well aware the blogosphere is tracking him, most recently spreading his comments about Alice Waters like a bad rash. (I’ve been reading up on her, and he’s right. Someone who thinks $8 for a “garden lettuce salad” is reasonable has no business telling the common man where to shop for food.)

UPDATE: Reader Cindy just sent in this link to fresh Bourdain observations on Waters. He praises her accomplishments (wise move, since they’ll be sharing a stage in Connecticut in May), but doesn’t really back down and adds a new dig about her lack of Heimlich skills.

I found a great photo of Bourdain’s unique autograph. I’m sure there comes a point in an author’s career where an indecipherable scribble is needed keep forgers at bay.

I’m not there yet. I just got a royalty statement on my book — 500 more sold, bringing the total to 7,100. But with my publisher’s hands-off approach to promotion and placement, I guess that’s not too bad.

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43 Responses to Anthony Bourdain’s Evil Alter-Ego

  1. MorganLF says:

    I’ve known about the Vic Chanko thing for a while he posted about it on his blog. In fact when I was going to see him I printed out a large 9×10 picture of him hung it on my bulletin board at work and labeled it “Vic Chanko” then I placed a post-it that changed every week; 12 weeks to Chanko, 11 weeks to Chanko etc. All my co-workers were who the F is Chanko?

    Waters is out of touch and has come to represent the worst of what California cuisine means which is spending to much money for some pretentious silliness on a dish. She was born not to far from here also in a rather upscale community. There are cool Jersey people and there are douche bags.

  2. catsworking says:

    Thanks for the link, Cindy! I just added it to the post in case anyone skips reading the comments. A heart-felt apology it was NOT.

  3. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you been holding out on me. This was the first I’d seen him mention Vic Chanko. But I think you’ve been a fan a lot longer than me.

    After Obama was accused of being labeled elitist and out of touch for mentioning the price of arugula, I don’t know why Alice Waters would have thought he was going to start living on pizza and fried chicken once in the White House. You know Michelle will be making sure the family continues to eat right.

    Her idea that everyone should grow their own food or shop at local farmers’ markets is so out of touch with the realities of modern life in most parts of the country, it almost defies description. What would REALLY be helpful is if restaurateurs like Waters offered delicious, fresh meals at REASONABLE prices to lure people away from the bad food, at least when they dine out. That’s the way to hook them on the value of freshness; not telling them to grow it themselves.

    However, while preaching healthier eating, she herself promotes it as something available only to the wealthy. That she apparently doesn’t see the irony of it doesn’t make her look good.

  4. Bob says:

    I have been in on the Vic Chenko gag since his Cook’s Tour Days.

    It was his alter ego/Porn Star name ….. Tad Chenko .
    He has made references to it on his blog, books and Show.. But its easy to miss if you don’t expect it. He dosent exactly do Jazz Hands when he says it. LOL

    Its an inside joke

    Guess Morgan and I have been holding out on you LOL 🙂

  5. Bob says:

    Here’s a little of the back story in his own words.

    I am now often referred to in internal memos (or when being difficult) as my evil, egomaniacal action film star alter ego, “Vic Chanko” — as in “Vic doesn’t want to come out of his trailer” (although we of course don’t have trailers). Or “Vic” wants front of the plane. “Vic is not pleased with the thread count.” If I’m unhappy, I will torment them by referring to myself in the third person as in “Vic doesn’t like this scene. Vic doesn’t understand his motivation. Vic is checking out and checking in to the fucking Sofitel down the road.” For episodes with a disturbingly homoerotic subtext (as in the coming Rio show), I become Vic’s porn star brother “Tad Chanko.”

  6. Bob says:

    Here’s the Link to the Entire Interview.. Wow its old… Cook’s Tour days.

    http://www.egullet.org/tdg.cgi?pg=ARTICLE-bourdainidentity

  7. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that I understand both Alice Waters and Tony (Vic) Bourdain’s points of view on the subject. Alice Waters lives in a part of the world where lots of people can afford expensive food and lots of great food grows easily. That’s not true of a lot of the country. I’m a recent convert to mostly vegetarianism/macrobiotics (I know…don’t hit me, I wont’ be annoying about it.) And as such I’ve come to value fresh grown local organic food while also growing to develop a love/hate with places like Whole Foods, where you can really get duped into spending a lot more money than necessary. I shop every 2 weeks at a local organic farm. I drive 25 miles to get there. The produce isn’t much more expensive than the local market and it is EXQUISITE. It is well worth the trip. I cook in batches and freeze. But I have to say, one of the biggest drags about vegetarianism and macrobiotics is that it is very, very time consuming. I know that I couldn’t do this if I had a couple of kids and a husband and a traditional 9 to 5 job in an office.

    Bourdain has a bee up his butt about vegetarians/vegans but you’ll listen to him wax rhapsodic over greens fanatics in places like Greece, for example. I agree that vegans/vegetarians can be annoying. I am doing this mostly for health reasons and I couldn’t care less who likes or doesn’t like it, and I’m not going to convert anyone. But I have to say, I now do appreciate and value this way of eating and am seeing some pretty dramatic results. But not long ago I would have plotzed if anyone had told me, a self-avowed carnivore for life, that I’d not be eating meat on a regular basis.

    Anyway, yes, it’s not practical for inner city youth to learn to start small “victory” gardens, but it may be practical for people in more rural areas. I am seriously considering giving up about 1/2 of my property to start a small home farm, but only after I can successfully produce for a few years on a small raised garden bed.

  8. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    Oh, and PS, one of the most successful crops I’m growing is arugula. Ha! I can entertain the Obamas if they ever come to Florida.

  9. catsworking says:

    Bob, thank you for that link!

    I’m relatively late coming to the party. I stumbled across “No Res” maybe 2-3 years ago and have been playing catch-up ever since. When I first started watching the show, I liked the snarky host, but he didn’t really register with me until I was wandering through a remaindered book sale and found a copy of “A Cook’s Tour.” (At the time, I had no idea he was previously on the Food Network, and I have YET to see all those shows.)

    “That guy wrote a book???!!!” was my reaction. In amazement and with some excitement, I bought it. I loved it. So I next checked Amazon.com and started reading everything Bourdain I could get my hands on. I read quickly, enjoying his work at the moment, but with little lasting memory. It was like scarfing down a one-pound bag of M&Ms in one sitting.

    THEN one day I became idly curious about his personal life after seeing somewhere that he’d hooked up with a much younger woman. It just so happened that Cats Working was in its infancy at the time. When I found that precious footage of Ottavia with him on “Miami Ink” and posted it here, I quickly realized I was going to need a bigger boat. The blog took off. The Ottavia and Nancy postings STILL get the most hits just about every day. (I believe Nancy edges out Ottavia slightly for volume, but only if you combine the several postings I’ve devoted to her. “Ottavia Bourdain: Found” is my all-time No. 1 post otherwise.)

    That’s why I recently reread “Kitchen Confidential,” and I intend to reread all the other books. Since I started writing about Bourdain regularly, my perspective has changed. Things that would have amused me as a casual fan, only to be quickly forgotten, are now potential fodder for my readers.

    So maybe somewhere I did see something about Vic Chanko, chuckled, then let it sink like a stone into the dark recesses of my gray matter until he resurrected it on his blog.

    But as we all collaboratively pull together the bits and pieces he’s scattered across the Internet, I think we are building the most well-rounded portrait of the man that may ever be available anywhere — unless someday he writes an intimate memoir (which I don’t see happening).

    Or, we’re creating a new Frankenstein. Your pick. 😉

  10. catsworking says:

    Nancy, congrats on the arugula crop! I admire your willingness to turn your diet inside out to eat healthier.

    I’m totally for the theory of eating more and better veggies and less meat. But as you said, prep can be very time-consuming and the ingredients aren’t always readily available. Junk food is quicker.

    I WISH I could grow a garden in my yard, but I’d need to jackhammer through the red clay and rocks. Right now my best crop is weeds and a little moss, a few tufts of crabgrass, some scrubby bushes that haven’t grown an inch in 20 years, and daffodils that won’t die, even though they bloom too early every year and get killed off by frost before Easter.

    When I lived in Massachusetts, where the soil was much richer, I grew lots of flowers, and I loved my grandfather’s greenhouse and the empty lot behind his house where he grew all sorts of veggies, but mostly tomatoes (being Italian — lots of sauce — uh, gravy, for Morgan).

    The first Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s opened in Richmond recently — about 25 miles on the other side of town. I shopped Joe’s last week and picked up quite a few goodies you’d never see in Food Lion. I haven’t hit Whole Foods yet because I’ve heard it’s overpriced, but eventually I’ll check it out.

    I think Bourdain rags on vegetarians/vegans just to get a rise more than anything. He knows about nutrition, but how else can he justify what he eats on his shows? It’s like we’re watching him kill himself for our own entertainment.

    And who knows? Maybe one day Ariane will announce she’s going vegan and paint him into a corner. Being his daughter, it’s something she’s almost OBLIGATED to do. 🙂

  11. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    I would not be surprised if Ariane’s diet will be strongly influenced by her upcoming time in the far east, and if that’s the case, then yeah, she’ll likely have a different way of eating than her dad’s. Though I suspect he’ll indulge her whichever way she chooses.

    Karen, I tend to shop Whole Foods only for things I know I can’t get elsewhere. I also am starting to mail order a lot of things in bulk through the Internet, and I also shop frequently at a local Asian supermarket, where I can get a lot of stuff pretty reasonably. There’s also an amazing local bread guy that makes good whole grain sourdough, and a couple of decent produce markets that are closer between trips to the organic farmer’s market.

    I think Bourdain rants on vegans who espouse the “meat is murder” philosophy and try to impose their views on others. I honestly don’t care what other people do, and I’m certainly not giving up meat 100%. I just see it now as an occasional indulgence.

    Hey, when do you go see Bourdain in person? Isn’t that coming up?

  12. catsworking says:

    Asian supermarkets! Nancy, I’m glad you mentioned that. They have been popping up all around here and there’s one I’ve been meaning to visit but it always slips my mind. Watching shows like NR has made me a more adventurous eater, but I haven’t embraced recipes that require much beyond the basic ingredients I already have. I need to expand my repertoire to justify more exotic purchases; otherwise, I’ll come out of these places empty-handed.

    (For the record, some years ago I got into wok cooking and have many more Asian condiments in my pantry than the average American kitchen, so I’m not totally hopeless.)

    I’m with you. I don’t care what other people eat, just as long as they aren’t blowing cigarette smoke in my face while they do it. Not that my opinion on it matters in the slightest to anyone.

    I see Bourdain in person on Feb. 19 in Durham, NC. Yikes! That’s in just a few weeks!

  13. Bob says:

    Your welcome Karen,, Ya know I keep looking for the Latest Cats Working Calendar here.. Not much luck.. Have to put the fists to your publisher.. Last year’s was pretty cool.

    But anyways just watched the Azores show,,, Hell one scene of Tony getting snarky, and the apologizing for it???? Old Tony is Dead and Buried..

    But did like the show kind of a love in with his roots, good simple food.

    Did I mention that when you see Tony in Durham it’s my Daughter’s birthday???
    Good things abound.

    Have a good time and get pushy for some face time, to thank him for the Christmas Card.

    Yes WE ROCK!!!!

    Bob

  14. catsworking says:

    Bob, thanks for looking for my calendar. It was very scarce in stores in the U.S. over Christmas, which really pissed me off. My publisher has never promoted the book except to send out a few advance review copies. Any exposure it’s gotten has been my doing. Ironically, they almost justify self-publishing the next one.

    The 2009 calendar was the first one. There should be a 2010 edition coming out in July with all new material (which I wrote) and photos. I know the book is available on Canadian Amazon.com, so the calendar should be there, too. It’s on Amazon all over the world, although only available in English. I believe most of my sales are happening through the Internet.

    I found Bourdain’s snark lacking in the Azores episode myself. Maybe his best stuff was left on the cutting room floor. Certainly, I didn’t see enough misery for him to talk about hanging himself from the shower curtain rod.

    I was a bit surprised he didn’t mention Emeril Lagasse, who’s Portuguese and grew up in Fall River, Mass. Maybe Emeril doesn’t track back to the Azores.

    Feb. 19 should be a big day for both your daughter and me!

  15. Let me get this straight…you are going to hang out with Anthony Bourdain IN North Carolina? I LOVE North Carolina too (http://somuchmorethanamom.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/flying-solo-part-iv/)!! I am so jealous. Please tell me there will be lots of blogging and tons of pics afterwards. 🙂

  16. catsworking says:

    Mom, let’s just say Bourdain and I will be in NC, in the same building, at the same time. Anything more than that, I don’t know. Read about it here:

    https://catsworking.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/ive-got-a-date-with-bourdain/

    Since I’ll be up in the Grand Tier, I don’t know if any photos I can sneak will come out, but I WILL be taking notes and I WILL be posting anything interesting I hear here.

    I’ve been checking out your blog this morning and enjoyed it. Keep up the good writing!

  17. Bob says:

    Oh Man Looks like we got another lifer on here now!!!!
    Keep up the good work both of you 🙂

    Bob

  18. catsworking says:

    Hehehehe! The more the merrier!

  19. Bob says:

    Found a good Bourdain Rant, He is Obviously Drunk, Red Wine Glass in hand. Ottavia ducking in and out of camera shots.. I had never seen this particular one before.. There are more on the site with him and Mario Battali chewing the Fat. LOL

    Here is the link ENJOY

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/03/bourdain-rants-about-the-food-network.html

  20. catsworking says:

    Bob, I’ve seen that clip a few times (in the original once, with no bleeping) and NEVER noticed Ottavia in the red dress in the background. You have eagle-eyes! I don’t think I knew what she looked like then. Also, I didn’t recall how drunk Bourdain was. He was one step away from being unable to form sentences.

  21. Bob says:

    Where did you find the original clip??
    Was it on the food network website???

    Eagle eyes hardly, I just know what to look for now 🙂
    He lookes pretty tipsy in that short clip

  22. catsworking says:

    On the FN site? Hardly. 😉

    (Oops! I take that back. When I went to the link again, it certainly WAS a FN thing.)

    I’m looking for an original clip, but so far haven’t been able to track it down. Maybe I saw it fresh, before the bleeping was added. If I remember correctly, Bourdain referred to sex acts involving Germans and butts.

  23. MorganLF says:

    Karen actually I only discovered Bourdain slightly before I discovered this site. It was about September 2008. I could never find his show but was aware of how hot he was through his appearances on Top Chef. I regularly watch Food Network yet never saw him!

    When I rented Kitchen Confidential and Nasty Bits from the library along with his first season the Librarian gushed about him…when I called to reserve the books a female co-worker started gushing…it seems every one but me knew who he was. So it you had the goods on him first.

    I got hooked ASAP and started looking for info on him. I have not read all his books yet. Frankly I found “Gone Bamboo” so-so, I prefer his first person narratives.

    Whole Foods sucks giant member! It’s about $45 for an apple and they have great prepared food items, brisket, lasagne, cous-cous, you get the drill, for about $50.00 an ounce. So you get home with a few containers and it cost you a hundred bucks. When I saw bing cherries for $9.00 a pound I just said these pretentious aholes just don’t care!

    I do still go there but stay away from their Italian sausage,I was in a hurry so I grabbed some for chicken and sauzeege and potatoes. It was some weird gnarly shit and the chicken was awful threw the whole mess out and it costs twice what I pay elsewhere.

    Speaking of where you grew up did I ever mention my family is from Lawrence MA? My grandparents were from there and my mom was born there. Left long ago though.

  24. catsworking says:

    Morgan, you surely have made up for lost time on your Bourdain studies. I’d say you rank up there among the experts on his life and times.

    Around here, he’s not a household name. My family is clueless. But I do have one girlfriend who was actually impressed when I got the Christmas card.

    Next time I’m across town, I’ve GOT to check out this Whole Foods, just for the shock value. Kroger has a nice section of organic produce, but every time I ask myself if I want to pay triple for organic lettuce, the poisoned stuff always ends up in my cart.

    I was born in Lawrence MA, although we lived in nearby Methuen until I was 10 and my father got transferred. He worked at Western Electric’s Merrimack Valley plant (along with many of my other relatives) that just closed.

    We lived in Ohio and New Jersey (Freehold) for the next 5 years (I think Bruce Springsteen and I were at Freehold High School at the same time, but never met), and returned to North Andover, MA, for my last few years of high school and I graduated there. The following month, we got transferred to Virginia and have been here ever since.

    Speaking of Top Chef, I was so relieved that Fabio didn’t get the boot last night. I loved it when he said, “If they gave me monkey ass and told me to stuff it with bananas, I would come up with something!”

  25. MorganLF says:

    Whoa!! You went to High School in Jersey? That’s major, no wonder you like our boy so much!

    Not a fan of Springsteen but I did see the filming of the Glory Days video, from my balcony in Hoboken back in the 80’s. The craft truck blocked my parking spot and I made a big stink..Springsteen, Smingsteen parking in Hoboken is a bitch!

  26. catsworking says:

    I spent half of freshman and sophomore years at Freehold, and remember it as the Reign of Terror. The kids were the scariest I’d ever seen. Jaded and sexually light years ahead of me. The school was patrolled like a prison. During classes we were practically locked down, and heaven help anyone caught in the hall after the bell.

    I was afraid to go to my locker in a remote, dark hallway, so I lugged my whole day’s books around.

    Once we had a riot over a racial incident. Kids were rampaging through the halls scribbling on the walls. The teachers were terrified of the black kids.

    I remember black girls refusing to get dressed for gym class and the tough, dykey white teacher just backing off and letting them get away with it.

    In Massachusetts and Ohio, I’d never seen racial tension up-close and personal before. Nothing I’ve seen in the South has ever held a candle to Freehold. It was my year of living dangerously.

    If I’d been approached by a Bourdain type in those days, I’m sure I would have run the other way screaming!

  27. Bob says:

    One thing I never got about the Excited States of America is your High Schools.. Hall Monitors, Passes to go pee… Lockdowns???

    Hell We used to pretty much hang out in the halls at will here, Well Teacher depending.. In my home town we had something like 5 or 6 hundred Students on a good year up to a thousand.. But Being from the sticks we had kids coming from all regions.

    One of My fave movies in High School was Breakfast Club. Laughing at the pure silliness of the “System Down South”.

    What ever happened to trusting people????

    Having Said that I was a Nerd in High School but one that moved up and down levels. I never let anyone Label me.. Maybe that’s why I am a Bourdainiac????

    Well Done My Anti US rant… Lets Hope We Can Just all be Friends Again.. 🙂

    Back to the Superbowl … 🙂
    Bob

  28. Bob says:

    Hey Morgan …. Sorry I tend to skim the posts when I am gone for a bit…. But you went to the Library and “Rented” Kitchen Confidential… Do you guys have to pay to get books out of the library???

    Just Wondering??

    Bob

  29. catsworking says:

    Bob, ssshhhhh…. Don’t give the libraries any ideas. Around here, borrowing books is free unless you return them late. Then there’s a fine.

    The high school in New Jersey was the most extreme I ever saw and I was thrilled when we got transferred back to Massachusetts. In my day, kids respected, or at least feared, teachers, so blatant misbehaving was almost unheard of. In NJ I was afraid to use the bathrooms because they always reeked of pot. I thought I’d get caught up in a drug bust.

    So there I was, lugging a stack of books all day on a full bladder. Not pretty.

    My last high school in MA was a casual, friendly place of 800-1,000 students. But soon after, they replaced it with an “open” high school that had few fixed walls. The idea was that teachers should be able to move partitions made of bookcases, blackboards, and lockers around to configure their space however they wanted.

    Well, it only takes about 5 minutes of picturing it to realize what a stupid idea that is. Once those partitions were in place, nobody dared move them. It was a turf thing. And who wanted kids running around screaming, “Who took my locker?”

    But the absence of walls caused a breakdown in the whole system. It was noisy, the kids were constantly distracted and felt free to run around and act up. I went back to visit once and kids were running piggy-back through the halls with teachers saying nothing. The kids became disrespectful and started physically attacking teachers. The teachers got disgusted. I know 2 English teachers from my day who essentially gave up and just put in their years until retirement.

    Now you’ve got kids bringing weapons to school, cutting, stabbing, shooting people. Forget about trust.

    My sister’s a high school teacher and she once told me, “If I have an extra cookie from lunch, I’ll offer it to a kid and actually think, ‘Someday that cookie may keep that kid from killing me if he goes postal.'”

    What a terrible way to work.

  30. MorganLF says:

    Time warp….
    High school for me in North Jersey was awesome. No racial tensions, um no races. We had a large regional school for 3 towns about 2,000 kids. Lots of activities; big sports school especially football. We had one Jewish kid we called him “Bagels”. Our big divisions were the Norks, (short for nicky-norks) or greasers, the Ra-Ra’s cheerleader types, and the hippies. We also had three levels of difficulty: smart (me) with college level courses, middle and stupids.

    As for smoking pot never in the school..only on the front lawn. It was all so innocent and fun. Cutting class for Bobby Kennedy’s funeral when I was 13…jumping on the bus for NYC whenever the mood struck us, drinking beer in Central Park with some Spanish guys who gave us Quaaludes, then having to panhandle bus fare home!

    Eating a bunch of acid then hitting the Fillmore on a Friday night to see Johnny Winter (I was 16!), only to get bored when this dopey opening act no-one knew, played for three hours…the live recording of that night , “The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East” one of the all time best rock albums…EVER!

    It was the best of times and we got through it unscathed.

  31. catsworking says:

    I’ve been at the hospital all day with my father, and came home to find I had MISSED delivery of something else from BOURDAIN. He sent it by express mail and it needs to be signed for, so I hope I can catch it at the PO first thing tomorrow morning before the idiot mailman puts it in his truck. I may be at the hospital when he comes again.

    I hope it’s not the dreaded Cease & Desist, but maybe something pertaining to Durham. The suspense is going to keep me up all night.

    Boy, Morgan, now I KNOW I was in the wrong high school! Your activities were way ahead of me on the bad-ass scale, but it sounds like fun.

  32. MorganLF says:

    Karen…WOW you must be freaking out. I’m freaking out. It’s not a cease & desist, he does not work that way. Hope all is well with your dad. I bet it pertains to Durham. Told you long ago I had an affinity for Bourdain. We were so innocent little babies that in our sheer naivitee just had fun. Oddly there was little sex or drinking ( in high school at least!)

  33. Adele says:

    Gee Karen, first of all, hope your dad is okay. I can’t believe you received a cease and desist order from Bourdain; I don’t think he rolls that way either, but I’ll be on pins and needles until we hear what it is.

    It sounds like I have about 8 or 9 years on Morgan. I went to a big high school, where the main friction was between the greasers and the collegiates. There were a few eccentrics, which I guess was where I fell; we were into folk music and civil rights; at age 16, I joined the Mississippi Freedom Democrats, recruited by Fannie Lou Hamer, herself. I think there was only one black kid in our high school, but I’d come into the city for demonstrations. The biggest to-do I remember, was when the head greaser chick challenged the head cheerleader to a fight in the girls’ locker room. Lot’s of hair pulling. College was a different matter. I never was much into psychedelics, though; I had the feeling that if I shuffled the cards too much, the deck would end up missing a few, but I certainly was no stranger to milder drugs and still marvel at the fact that someone would say, “Take this,” and I would, and nothing bad ever happened. A much more innocent time; a friend and I would hitch hike into Chicago (about 65 miles from Northern Illinois University) to go to blues clubs on the west and south sides. I even hitch hiked from Dublin to Belfast in 1971 and lived to tell the tale.

    Alice and I are thinking good thoughts about your dad and TB.

  34. Adele says:

    P.S. Morgan, I am a Springsteen fan, and Karen, your Jersey roots must have created an affinity for Bourdain. Between Bourdain, Bruce, and you guys (not to mention the Sopranos) I’ve sorta wished I was from Jersey, too.

  35. catsworking says:

    My family moved back to Massachusetts the second half of my sophomore year and that’s where I graduated. I think we had only 6 black guys in the whole school and they were imported from the South through the ABC program (I think it stood for A Better Chance). They were great, but I think things got a little tense around prom time because no black girls were in the program. Talk about a stark difference to NJ. I had a white girlfriend there who only dated black guys, and she once got her hair pulled out in the bathroom by some black girl upset about her horning in on their men.

    Never did drugs of any kind. Aside from all the different schools, I led a very sheltered life. I think it was partly because I was always the “new kid” and didn’t fall in with any particular crowd. All my girlfriends tended to be loners, and none of us were fit to wipe the sneakers of the cheerleaders, goddesses who tended to graduate pregnant.

    PS: Since I mentioned it earlier, my father went into the hospital this week for a few tests on his heart (had a heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery 7 years ago). They ended up putting 2 new stents in, and he’s getting a pacemaker/defibrillator thing installed in the morning. But he feels fine and can’t wait to go home.

  36. Adele says:

    Good thing Dad isn’t a big Bourdain fan; your news could have sent his ticker into a crazy rhythm.

    Changing schools alot is something else we have in common — maybe that makes writers and social workers. I was in the same high school for all 4 years, but went to 8 different grade schools, 4 in Chicago, 2 in Miami, and finally 1 in Lincolnwood, a Chicago suburb. It’s kind of amazing I learned to read.

  37. catsworking says:

    Bob, like so many things about Bourdain, Beth now seems to be another gray area, although I think we can agree that she’s an old friend who occasionally helps him out. You must have a photographic memory to recall her from the Christmas special!

    Adele, attending 3 high schools turned me into a turbo-typist. Each school had different rules for when kids could take Typing I so I ended up taking it 3 times. After the first one, I was gaining speed while the class was just learning the keyboard. By the 3rd time, I was a sophomore doing 60 accurate wpm and the only kid the teacher allowed to practice on an ELECTRIC typewriter (which was state-of-the-art then).

    Now, when I’m on a roll, I think I clock 90-95 wpm and I’m still pretty accurate, but I use a split keyboard because I have cysts on my wrists that get annoyed when I do a lot of back-and-forth hand motion. The split keyboard cured that problem.

    My father should be getting his pacemaker as I type this, so I’ll keep you guys posted. Thanks for all the good wishes. I’d never seen him down for the count until he had a heart attack 7 years ago at age 65, and the whole family had been really lucky up to that point with no serious illnesses, so all this hospital stuff is new and very stressful.

  38. Lis says:

    Hey Karen! I stumbled across your page tonight and must admitt I’m both amazed and comforted by that fact that so many other people are fascinated with Mr. Bourdain. I really had no idea that the man generated such an interest. Now I am even more intrigued! I love your site and have bookmarked it so that I can come back for more. Thanks for sharing the info on your recent meeting!

  39. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Lis! It was a surprise for you and me both. I had no idea Anthony Bourdain would ever become a regular character on Cats Working.

    I think what sets Cats Working apart from other blogs that have covered Bourdain is that this is not a foodie site. My interest in him is mainly as a writer and traveler, and so I have delved more into the person himself than his eating adventures. I feel sure this hasn’t always thrilled him because it probably stretches his comfort zone as a public figure, but I feel like I and my readers have been able to fill in some blanks and provide a more complete picture of Bourdain and his life and dispel some untruths. On balance, I think that’s a good thing.

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