Why Aren’t White House Party Crashers in Jail?

November 29, 2009

By Yul

The social parasites who crashed the first White House state dinner (unnamed to avoid feeding their rush upon Googling themselves), stood up Larry King to shop their story around the networks for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

They need the money. Blondey allegedly hasn’t paid her hairdresser since 2002, and her polo-playing hubby sent his parents’ Virginia winery into bankruptcy.

But instead of talking TV deals, this pair should be talking to the CIA — in an undisclosed location under a naked bulb while being beaten senseless with rubber hoses for making President Obama look like a fool in front of India’s prime minister.

I rarely miss the Bush administration, but Cheney would have known how to handle this, and it wouldn’t have involved posing with trespassers for Facebook.

Let’s hope no network is stupid enough to take their bait. These people aren’t news, and they’ve already made too many front pages. If we keep feeding freaks’ insatiable need for attention, they’ll never go away. Hear that, Jon and Kate Gosselin?

NBC news anchor Brian Williams aptly compared the crashers to “Balloon Boy,” the kid whose father pretended his son was trapped in a runaway balloon to land a reality show. He pleaded guilty to a felony. Shouldn’t invading the White House carry a stiffer penalty — say, a few years of hard time?

Obama simply can’t let this pair get off scot-free — or sit back and let them profit from their dishonesty — or he’ll cement the growing perception that he’ll roll over and play dead on just about anything.

Goalie Penalized for Kindness to Cat

November 28, 2009

By Cole

Being a sports-loving cat can can get you in trouble in Croatia. When a stray cat wandered onto the field of a soccer match (they call it “football”) in Sebenik, the goalie for the visiting Medjimurje Cakovec team, Ivan Banovic, carried it to safety and put it through the fence under the scoreboard.

Then the referee penalized Banovic with a “yellow card” for leaving the field without permission.

I’m wondering what the stupid referee expected the players to do with a cat on the field. Trample it to death, kick it for a goal, or hit it with the soccer ball?

Even though Banovic’s team lost 0-1 to Sebenik, fans cheered for him the rest of the game to register their approval of his kitty kindness.

Maybe some soccer fan can tell me what a yellow card is. Does soccer have different colored cards for different penalties? Do players collect the cards and trade them? Do their uniforms have special pockets to hold the cards while they’re playing?

Instead of throwing flags, just imagine American football referees — I mean real football, with the flattened-out ball that bounces funny — handing out cards to naughty players.

Not to miss a chance for product placement, Hallmark could provide the cards, inscribed with poignant verses reminding players of their neglected mothers and moving them to tears, causing even more time-outs and extending already-interminable games into all-day events.

Referees’ flags would become hankies for weeping tight ends, and teary commiserations would be shared during huddles, which would be renamed “support groups.”

Somehow, I think cards would take all the fun out of the chasing and tackling, although all the male bonding would probably cause a marked increase in butt-fondling.

New Moon Sucks the Life Out of Vampires

November 25, 2009

By Karen

I was sort of railroaded into seeing New Moon last week (don’t ask). I know I’m spitting in the face of the film’s rampaging success, but as a vampire aficionado, I hated almost every minute of it.

At least Mathew DeKinder of the St. Louis Suburban Journals is in my corner.

First, I don’t understand why author Stephanie Meyer gave nocturnal titles to any of her 4 Twilight saga books. She could have called the series High Noon. By ignoring or failing to research vampire legend, her vampires are basically ordinary folk with pale skin and red eyes — more albino than bloodsucker. They don’t drink human blood. In daylight, they sparkle like jewels. Sunlight doesn’t even sting.

Nighttime, coffins, native earth, crosses, mirrors, stakes, running water. Forget ‘em. These pathetic excuses for vamps probably order extra garlic on their Domino’s pizza.

I know, I know. I need to read the books to see why vampire Edward Cullen is so mesmerizing. But I never read the books because I suspected no good could come from a Mormon writer playing with the undead, and New Moon proves me right. She’s steered a whole generation wrong on vampires.

The audience consisted mostly of teen girls. God help them if they identify with boring Bella Swan. Bella loves the vacant Edward, while a werewolf named Jacob loves her, and we waste the better part of 2 hours watching the 3 of them stare deeply into each other’s shallow eyes.

In Twilight world, the ultimate sin a vampire can commit is to go shirtless and let people see him sparkle.

Werewolves don’t fare much better. A full moon doesn’t trigger their transformation. Just annoy them and they turn furry. As humans, they wear nothing but shorts year-round in the Northwest. Shorts that seem to miraculously disappear and reappear. I wondered if they represented the ubiquitous underwear Mitt Romney refuses to talk about.

The film never explains why Bella loves Edward, but much of her screen time is spent is moping around after he disappears “forever” to protect her — from what? Another vampire sparkling at her?

Except for a few moments of spectacular werewolf special effects, New Moon is sheer tedium, the brief appearance of Michael Sheen (Tony Blair in The Queen, David Frost in Frost/Nixon) as ancient vampire Aro notwithstanding. Why, Michael, why?

Dracula, Nosferatu, Lestat, and Eric from True Blood must be curling in their coffins to think the torch has been passed to a droopy drip like Edward Cullen.

I’m counting on Johnny Depp to restore vampires to their former gory glory in 2010 when he plays Barnabas Collins in the remake of Dark Shadows.

Feline H1N1 Takes a Deadly Turn

November 24, 2009

By Yul

H1N1 isn’t just a ferret-killer. Since I last reported on it, at least three more cats have caught it and one of them died.

Buddy Lou was a 10-year-old male cat who lived in Oregon. About a week after a child in his house had H1N1, Buddy developed a weird pneumonia (view x-rays) and tested positive for H1N1. Antibiotics and oxygen failed to help. Buddy deteriorated over 4 days at the vet’s and he died on November 7.

Buddy Lou (Photo - Chicago Now/Steve Dale)

Buddy lived with 3 other cats who started coughing and sneezing, but none tested positive and all recovered.

The following week, a cat in Utah got sick after its owner had H1N1. This cat was having trouble breathing, and an initial nasal swab was negative, but further testing confirmed it was H1N1. That cat recovered.

Nine ferrets in Oregon came down with H1N1 after humans in their household had it, but they all recovered.

AnnArbor.com reported that 2 cats, 13 and 14 years old, also contracted H1N1, but they both recovered. Since none of these cats were named, it’s impossible to tell if they were additional cases or not.

Humans take note: NO ONE has reported cats passing H1N1 to humans.

Cats have no vaccine for H1N1. Dogs so far are unaffected, but they have their own flu, H3N8, and they do have a vaccine for it. (It figures.)

People, watch your cats for lethargy, poor appetite, fever, runny nose and/or eyes, sneezing, coughing, or changes in breathing (including difficulty breathing). It could be H1N1 and the cat needs to see the vet STAT.

If you are sick, protect your cat as you would try to protect your kid. Don’t sneeze into your hand and then pet the cat. It can lick the virus off its fur. Cover your face when you sneeze or cough to keep the virus out of the cat’s air space. Don’t handle the cat or its belongings with germy hands.

The Latest Bourdainia

November 23, 2009

By Karen

Actually being with Anthony and Ottavia Bourdain temporarily interrupted my usual cyber-hunting, but my Bourdain calendar is blank the rest of 2009, so I think Tony may be wrapping up his appearances this year. Here’s some catch-up…

Hill’s Kitchen caught a pic of Tony when he was in Des Moines on November 5.

Des Moines will be included in a Midwest episode of No Reservations during Season 6. Tony killed 2 birds with one stone by filming a scene at Bistro Montage while he was there.

AnnArbor.com snagged an interview before Tony’s appearance there on November 7.

Go Ahead and Snicker saw him in Ann Arbor and offers favorite Tony quotes.

While in Ann Arbor, Tony ate in some restaurant where he met chef and cookbook writer Max Sussman and posed for a picture. Sussman wrote Freshman in the Kitchen: From Clueless Cook to Creative Chef with Eli Sussman.

ClubFood shot a really creepy video about why Anthony Bourdain is her hero. Not sure about her dates, since I wasn’t aware he appeared anywhere on November 9. But between her drugged/hung-over(?) demeanor and her peeling orange nail polish, I’d say he has much more to fear from fans like this than the middle-aged ladies who read Cats Working. ClubFood even caught a snippet of illicit footage from his appearance. which you’ll find at about 5:30. And then her first commenter, the charming Deathrape2001, gets Bourdain totally wrong in every way.

Washingtonian.com had the most interesting recap of the Capital Food Fight on November 11 I’ve seen, and they critiqued Tony’s garb for the evening.

Next, Bourdain and family headed to Miami for a celebrity chef event with Eric Ripert and Jacques Pepin on November 13, and allpurposedark snagged a little Q&A. (Note to Morgan: Tony uses the word douchebag.)

Miami New Times reveals that Bourdain is on the short list of chefs (with Ripert and Ramsey) whom Ingrid Hoffman of the Food Network’s Simply Delicioso would like to cook naked with, in the answer to what has to be one of the most stupid interview questions ever.

TimesUnion.com interviewed Tony by phone before his appearance in Schenectady on November 15, after which he was flying to Ecuador to film No Res.

Speaking of Ecuador, We Travel World did a little fixing and got to meet Tony and crew while they stayed at the Mandala for 2 nights. Bourdain apparently wasn’t much-recognized outside of Quito.

Here’s what the TimesUnion reporter had to say after Bourdain’s Schenectady appearance.

Denver Post got an advance phone interview before his sold-out November 18 appearance there, and learned that Bourdain is now actively seeks to undermine the “bad boy” tag he can’t seem to shake.

Just to rub it in that Bourdain once vowed never to return to Denver after saying he couldn’t find any good food, Mayor John Hickenlooper presented him with the “Fork to the City.”

Café Society ran a contest to recommend 3 good restaurants for Bourdain in exchange for a pair of tickets, and this was the winning entry. After his appearance, they also posted one of the worst pictures I’ve ever seen of him.

A.V. Club reports on what Tony said in Denver and offers a bit of illicit video from the Q&A portion.

ROCNow scored an advance phone interview with Bourdain before his appearance in Rochester, NY, on November 20. Bourdain says he realizes that writing will be his fall-back after TV, and hints that maybe he’s getting weary of No Reservations.

James Leach with Rochester City Newspaper got another advance interview where Tony talks about becoming famous and offers a tiny preview of Season 6 of No Res.

DemocratandChronicle.com reports that Rochester gave Tony a standing ovation just for showing up.

AskMen.com did its annual ranking of the most influential men and places Bourdain at No. 73, although readers rank him 94th (the lower the number, the more influential). In 2007, he was No. 19. I’m guessing the husband-father thing may explain the slippage.

Karl Klockars, a food blogger in Illinois, wants to know what Bourdain has written lately to deserve the laurels he’s resting on, and criticizes his diligence in following Web buzz about himself.

Alice at Uncommon Sense writes an eerily lyrical love/hate letter to Bourdain that makes her regret her humdrum existence as a college student in Texas.

Finland has launched a campaign to get Bourdain to pay a visit.

In honor of the upcoming holiday…

Here’s a video clip of Bourdain preparing a turkey and stuffing from his only holiday special. It’s the closest Tony may ever come to doing a cooking show. Pass me some of that stuffing, Tony!

If you’re in New York City, Tony will be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble TONIGHT with David Chang at 7 p.m. and it’s free.

Will Sarah Palin Ever Run Out of Scapegoats?

November 18, 2009

By Adele

Short answer? No. And Oprah Winfrey walked on eggs trying not to become the next one. Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, began polluting bookstores yesterday, blaming everybody for everything. Now she’s whining to Rush LimpPaw, Barbara Walters, and anybody else who can listen to her with a straight face.

(Photo - AP/Harper)

Oprah seemed unusually subdued for most of their chat, carefully lobbing softball questions as if she’d been ordered, “Don’t try to make Sarah ad lib an original thought or say anything she can’t readily quote from the book.”

Oprah did dare to replay the infamous clip of Katie Couric asking Palin about what she reads. Palin’s still oblivious to the fact that she’s the only one who detects malice or a hidden agenda — and she still can’t name a title.

New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani has pegged Going Rogue as “part cagey spin, part earnest autobiography, part payback hit job,” and hinted that Palin’s co-author, Lynn Vincent, features editor of an evangelical magazine called World, did Palin no favors by not cleaning up nonsensical imagery like this sentence from the first paragraph:

“I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier.”

Oprah only seemed to thaw out when she got Palin to say Levi Johnston has an open invitation to Thanksgiving, right after she trashed him by claiming he aspires to a porn career because of his relatively modest Playgirl spread.

Speaking of trashing, Palin also did a number on John McCain’s key campaign staff, especially manager Steve Schmidt, who calls the book “total fiction.” McCain has only said he’s “disappointed.”

So the dimwit thinks she gets the last word by putting her delusions in print.

The Associated Press did some fact-checking and, not surprisingly, found Palin’s facts lacking.

I confess, like President Obama, I will probably never read Palin’s book because Karen won’t let me. But the buzz tells me if you’re looking for reasons Palin would make a good president, they aren’t in Going Rogue.

Bourdain Food Fight Pan Scrapings

November 16, 2009

By Karen

The last tidbits I picked up from my evening with Anthony and Ottavia Bourdain at the Capital Food Fight in Washington, DC, on November 11:

Bourdain’s next book…

The manuscript is due in December for June 2010 publication, so Tony must be putting the finishing touches on it now. There will be a book tour. Ottavia told me the title may not be Cooks. She hasn’t read it. He only lets her see his finished work because she said her criticism is “too brutal.”


Ottavia showed me a picture of Ariane in a full-length white gown for Halloween, saying proudly that she looked like “a beautiful little bride.” Mama took Ariane trick-or-treating and she loved it. Tony was traveling and upset to miss it, but he already has next Halloween blocked off on his schedule. According to Ottavia, Ariane has her mother’s good appetite, eyes, and the strawberry blonde hair Ottavia had as a child, as well as Dad’s mouth and height. The height should serve her well because she’s studying ballet.

Ariane was with them in DC, staying at the hotel with her nanny. From there, they were flying to Miami for Tony’s appearance on November 13 with Jacques Pepin and Eric Ripert. He was due to speak in Schenectady, NY, on November 15, which regrettably didn’t leave much time for Miami R&R.


Ottavia is “really excited” about moving to Vietnam, but doesn’t see it happening for a few years because of Tony’s many other commitments. However, he’s returning there in 2010 to, I assume, shoot another No Reservations.

Social life…

In New York, the Bourdain’s don’t go out much. Tony is recognized everywhere, and when he’s not traveling, he’d rather relax at home — and not in the kitchen. Ottavia said it’s not because she doesn’t like his cooking, as he claims. With a laugh she told me, “When I married a chef, I thought good… but no, he doesn’t cook much.”

After their early drinking dates, starting very late after her restaurant closed, they drink little at home. Ottavia said, “Mainly, Anthony drinks for the show and socially, but not in airports at 10 in the morning.”

Bourdain’s Alternate Universe…

I asked Tony if casting himself as the mad scientist for the “Cooking Channel” in his new animated Web series was deliberate, since Travel Channel’s new owners will be launching a channel by that name. He said with some irony, “No, it was serendipitous.”

Life imitating his art. Sometimes the snark is purely unintentional.

He also mentioned that this “Web freebie” turned out to be a lot more work than he envisioned. Ottavia said it was the brainchild of one of the producers’ relatives, a graphic designer.

Ottavia’s fans…

After the Food Fight, Ottavia asked me to accompany her up on stage, where Tony gave her a big kiss. Then he noticed me, and I said jokingly, “She and I are new best friends.”

He answered, “I was afraid of that.”


For all his misgivings about allowing me access to his wife, Bourdain placed his hand on my shoulder, not on my throat. Remarkable restraint.

People were clamoring to meet him on stage, so Ottavia and I returned to the floor, where two young Asian women shyly approached Ottavia. They recognizing her from No Res in Sardinia and told her they loved it. Ottavia seemed touched and surprised, and obligingly posed for a photo with them.

They left, and when I observed, “You have your own fans now,” she giggled.

Final thoughts…

Tony and Ottavia seem like a perfect fit. They’re attentive to each other, but she’s comfortable stepping back to share him with fans. Her self-confidence and maturity must help to ground him, but she also has a youthful ebullience that he probably needs to keep himself going at times.

When the night was over, we walked outside for another soaking by Hurricane Ida and ran in to none other than Tony, Ottavia, and Eric Ripert on the empty street. Tony bounded away to hail a cab and off they went.

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