Why Bourdain Won’t Be Invited to Tea

May 31, 2010

By Karen

On May 21, Anthony Bourdain appeared on Anderson Cooper’s 360° and described Tea Partiers as “very angry white people” who are as “dumb as a sack full of hammers.” In case you missed it, here’s video.

The TP contingent struck back all over the Internet with trademark maturity and restraint. Many disparage Tony’s level of education without knowing what it is. They also dismiss that he’s been to roughly 100 countries and has friends in myriad cultures on every continent, so he probably recognizes stupidity when he sees it.

A few of the names they’ve called him are “uneducated dolt” and “f**king druged [sic] out moron.”

Breitbart TV’s literate readers venomously deemed Bourdain a “meron [sic]” and “an crabby white guy [sic]” and called for a No Reservations boycott.

But I have to give the prize for wit to the U.S. Constitutional Free Press, who called Tony a “gastronomical moonbat“ with “rectal-cranial inversion.”

I suspect they’re upset partly because Bourdain prefaced his assessment by mentioning he’s been reading Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton Sides.

No, Tea Partiers aren’t racists. And you’ll never get them to admit there’s an unread copy of Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, propping a door open somewhere in their house.

As a counterpoint to all this bashing, Jeff the Zombie wrote an inspiring account of how he developed a true low-sodium diet for his congestive heart failure after seeing so many of the options during a 3-day No Reservations marathon.

But back to that fateful night in DC… Earlier, Bourdain and Eric Ripert made an appearance together. My Eclectic Favorites covered it with lots of photos — and even met them. Famous DC got some decent video.

Newsweek talked to Bourdain about his recent trip to Beirut. He says it has a Miami vibe.

On May 22, Bourdain and Eric Ripert did another joint appearance in Baltimore, and Baltimore Dining Examiner reported. I didn’t know Ripert is a Buddhist with past anger management issues.

The Baltimore Sun described how Tony deftly got himself off the hook for dissing Baltimore in the Rust Belt episode of No Reservations.

And in case you missed it, Sandra Lee’s boyfriend, Andrew Cuomo, is running for governor of New York. Can you imagine the dinner parties they’ll have? Times Union inspired quite a bit of speculation.

USAToday reports that Tony wants to write for the HBO series Treme, after doing some consulting on Season 1.


Came across this 2007 article Tony wrote for Spin, “Eat to the Beat,” that I don’t recall ever reading before.

Dear President Obama, Now You Just Sound Silly

May 28, 2010

By Yul

Come on, Barack! Now that BP seems on the verge of plugging the damn oil leak, the buck suddenly stops with you?

Yeah, I know, it seems odd only because I “don’t have all the facts.” And I do believe the imminent sliming of the Gulf and East Coast states has been keeping you up nights. But where were you in that tail-wag-dog moment when BP told the EPA to go pound sand when they told BP to stop using dispersants that could prove equally or even more damaging than the oil?

Why aren’t you or BP seriously considering the MANY viable alternatives to clean-up that don’t involve replacing one pollutant with another? Under the circumstances, your “Thanks, but no thanks” attitude toward accepting outside help is unconscionably Bush-like.

And when are you going to comprehend that sometimes Americans NEED drama? The news media is oozing 24/7 gooey video, complete with innocent wildlife suffocating in oil. People want to see their president express some actual outrage. “Angry and frustrated” are just words without any actual emotion behind them. Sometimes I wonder if your face is full of Botox.

BP execs giving interviews don’t seem to think they’re operating at your behest. And once they plug the hole, nobody’s stupid enough to think they won’t leap to evade responsibility for clean-up by instead pouring millions of dollars into Congressional campaign coffers.

Obama, I know YOU personally can’t stop the spill, and nothing you say or do really matters at this point. The time for drastic federal action and ass-kicking passed weeks ago, and now you’re stuck with an environmental disaster of epic proportions. Stop talking about it and get people moving — every which way they can — to SAVE THE GULF.


On a local note, Virginia’s addle-brained Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, is bummed that Obama canceled drilling off Virginia’s coast. Maybe his TV is broken. Or maybe he’s seen Virginia Beach recently. The water stinks and the sand is so filthy it turns your feet black, according to Karen. Maybe he thinks a disaster like Louisiana’s might not make much difference.

Could the Gulf Get Any Slimier Than BP?

May 26, 2010

By Yul

They were smart enough to dig the hole to the oil that’s destroying the Gulf of Mexico. But when it comes to closing the hole, BP and its crooked cronies Transocean and Haliburton can only whine, “We don’t know if we can. It’s a WHOLE MILE under water!”

What’s going on is obvious. They haven’t really WANTED to seal the well because they hope to tap it again, instead of starting over somewhere else.

And now we’re hearing that unexpected stuff spewed from that rig at least three times right before it exploded. Big red flags everybody ignored. Gee, when have we ever seen Corporate America oblivious to all warning signs before a disaster?

Can you say, “Every time?”

I’m sure the Gulf Coast inhabitants watching their world get slimed would concur when I say to BP and the federal government…

Enough with the useless investigations! Shut off that damn well FIRST, ask questions LATER!

Matt Lauer on the Today Show lit into BP’s CEO, Tony Hayward. Hayward admitted he blew off Shell’s past president, John Hofmeister, who suggested they bring in supertankers to filter the oil from the water before it hits land, like the Arabs did with a bigger spill in the Arabian Gulf.

Guess Hayward would only consider that if his oil were filling the English Channel and the Queen was miffed.

Instead, BP plans to pump a mud-like substance into the hole, and then concrete, a strategy that has a 50-50 chance of working and could make things worse.

My suggestion is to use robots (like the ones that brought up stuff up from Titanic, which is 2 miles under water) to clear away debris from the leak, then bring in the biggest, heaviest slabs of concrete man can create and just drop them on the hole. Smash that sucker flat so nothing can ever escape.

I’m guessing they haven’t tried anything so straightforward and simple because it would 1) be a permanent fix, and 2) look so easy, people would be asking, “Why didn’t you do that a MONTH ago?”

Did Andrew Know Fergie’s His Pimp?

May 25, 2010

By Adele

After the British Royal Family kicked her to the curb, Sarah Ferguson became the quintessential stray, living by her wits and raising 2 nice daughters, by all accounts. It was extremely disheartening to see her snagged in a nasty trap set by the News of the World. Talk about biting the hand that feeds them. Hasn’t Sarah supplied the tabloids with enough trash for all the best years of her life?

Granted, selling access to her ex-husband Andrew for trade deals was sleazy, but I don’t believe Sarah did it without Andrew’s full knowledge and consent, no matter how the palace tries to spin it.

The Royal Family is guilty of giving Sarah a taste for the jet-set lifestyle. She’d be better off today if they’d just left her among the squashed cabbage leaves of Covent Garden.

No, wait. That was Eliza Doolittle.

But nobody can say Sarah didn’t get royally screwed in her divorce, with the the court “forgetting” Andrew was a prince and awarding her only $21.5K a year based on his military pay. It’s to her credit she accepted that pittance without raising an unholy stink.

That’s precisely why Andrew lets her sell him on the side. She doesn’t guarantee her customers results, just access. Andrew’s under no obligation, doesn’t get a cut of the take, and keeps his skirts clean.

The only problem now is that Mumsy knows, and she HATES stuff like this.

I hope Camilla’s taking notes and stops trying to sell Charles’ old socks and toothbrushes on eBay. The tabs always find out.

Advance Peeks at Bourdain’s “Medium Raw”

May 24, 2010

By Karen

Naturally, Grub Street got its grubby hands on an advance copy of Anthony Bourdain’s new book, Medium Raw, and published a smorgasbord of snarky bits. Nasty backlash has already begun in an Esquire blog post by John Mariani.

Only the first chapter has crossed my path, and I had a comparatively generous reaction…

Bourdain starts off describing a dinner party that could be from one of his crime novels, at an anonymous restaurant with “some of the most respected chefs in America,” also unnamed. They’re served a dish that’s so illegal (and up there in grossness with warthog ass, in my opinion), they all eat with their napkins over their heads.

Then it gets good: Tony flashes back a few years to pre-Kitchen Confidential, slinging hash at a lunch counter, resentful and humiliated. He has nowhere to go but up. That’s the part that left me “hungry for more.”

Any day, I prefer Tony the working stiff to the gourmet hob-nobber — the writing feels truer — so I hope the book holds plenty more of that. And as a non-foodie, the evolution of Bourdain the writer/traveler interests me more than lengthy analyses of cuisine and the people who prepare or eat it.

I’ll be in Barnes & Noble on publication day, June 8, to get the rest of the story.

Tony’s publisher Ecco’s parent, HarperCollins, lists the top 10 signs you’re a Bourdain fanatic.

NBC Washington got a good-natured joint interview with Ripert and Tony before they appeared together in DC on May 21. Tony sees them as the Odd Couple. Ripert thinks they’re Laurel & Hardy. How about you? I’m seeing Martin & Lewis, without Jerry’s silly mugging.

That same night, thanks to a timely tweet from Ottavia, fans could catch Tony on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN, where he talked about current events and deftly dismissed Sarah Palin as a serious contender for anything, right to Ted Nugent’s face.

The LA Times reported on Bourdain’s recent trip to Beirut to finish what he started. Tony shared with Newsweek his reaction to being nominated for an Emmy for the first Beirut episode.

On May 22, Bourdain and Ripert appeared in Baltimore, where some people are still apparently steamed over the NR episode he filmed there, according to the Baltimore Sun. The publication got a joint interview, as well.

Serious Eats asked readers for their opinions of Bourdain and got them. He certainly doesn’t seem to attract fence-sitters.

Smithsonian Lion Cub Dead

May 21, 2010

By Cole

Very sad news. I just tried to check the lion cam to see how the National Zoo’s newest member is doing and found out that the little cub, a male less than 3 days old, died yesterday evening. They said he wasn’t responding to his mother.

All of us at Cats Working send sympathy to his parents, Naba and Luke.

We’ve got a bit of sorrow here, too. Today marks one year since the passing of our Fred. I never knew Fred, but the big hole he left made it possible for me to join the family, so I’m grateful to him and hope he approves, wherever he is.

Smithsonian Zoo Has a New Lion Cub

May 20, 2010

By Cole

And, at 2 days old,  it’s really cute.

On May 18, 6-year-old lioness Nababiep gave birth to the first cub born at the National Zoo in Washington in 20 years. They’ve put a camcorder on her and her cub, whose gender doesn’t seem to be determined. Check it out.

Naba’s mate is Luke, a 4-year-old lion she shares with her sister, Shera. So the little cub has an aunt.

The humans are in the process of getting the lions to live peacefully together in a pride. Video of the big cats meeting reminds me eerily of the first day I ventured into the living room and encountered Yul and Adele. That clip starts after the 2 women stop talking.

Laura “Stepford” Bush, the Closet Liberal

May 19, 2010

By Adele

Laura Bush has been making the obligatory talk-show rounds to plug her memoirs, Spoken from the Heart. Since George left office, she hasn’t lost much of that glazed, “Where’s my Prozac?” look, and she’s been talking crazy by Texas standards. (Sarah Palin probably told her it does wonders for book sales.)

(Photo - Amazon.com)

For example, Laura recently told Larry King she believes in gay marriage and a woman’s right to have an abortion.

She said she was asked about abortion on George’s first inauguration day in 2001, and decided not to immediately make waves by disagreeing with him.

And so for the next 8 years, she kept her lip zipped while she was First Lady and her opinions could have mattered, if only to give hope to everyone who thought there was no intelligent life in the Bush White House.

Barbara Bush did the same thing, but she only had to play dumb for 4 years because her husband couldn’t hold on to the job.

Now, who gives a rat’s ass what either of them think about anything?

Laura and Barbara were intelligent women who married into a family of idiots. They kept their compassion and common sense on the back burner while their husbands championed the Republican agenda of denying rights and benefits to anybody who isn’t a rich white guy. The Bush fortune apparently meant a lot more to them than a clear conscience, and saying what they really think now changes nothing.

Laura Bush’s belated empathy is moot. And I’m not even sure I believe her.

Your Vet Thinks You’re an Idiot When…

May 18, 2010

By Cole

…your cat or dog has a stupid or nasty name, according to USA Today columnist Patty Khuly, a Miami vet with so much time on her hands she writes about such things.

PawNation gathered opinions from other vets and they agree with Khuly. Vets do judge owners based on their patients’ names.

They say it’s a sin to recycle names like a Tudor because of the reincarnation angle. Creepily enough, Karen confessed she briefly considered calling me Henry because I’m her 8th cat.

Khuly gets concerned by “good” people names like Stephen or Susan because they indicate the pet may be considered more than an animal. So what’s her point? But she’s OK with “bad” people names like Bruno and Oscar that would earn a human kid a daily beating on the playground.

Cats Working cats have always been named for famous people, beginning with Karen’s late tuxedo cat, Coco Chanel.

Yul, Adele, and I all started out with names assigned by the Richmond Animal League.

Yul was originally Sydney, but Karen prophetically renamed him Yul Brynner. When he was 6 years old, he lost his tail, sort of like Brynner losing his hair.

Adele was Ping Pong Ball because RAL said they’d run out of names for white cats. She became Adele Astaire because she was an exact miniature of the resident alpha cat, the late Fred Astaire.

RAL called me Dash after finding me “dashing” for my life across a highway, but Karen saw a different kind of dashing — Cole Porter — in me, and I wholeheartedly agree.

So, if your cat’s name is some thing (Boots, Snowflake, Smokey), a bad word, or an infamous person like Hitler, Saddam, or Castro, realize that your vet pities the cat and thinks there’s something wrong with you.

Can Ripert Lure Bourdain Back to “Top Chef”?

May 17, 2010

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain is hard at work on Season 7 of No Reservations, recently visiting Rome and returning to Beirut for new episodes. NBC Washington got some scoop on his plans for Beirut. If the poll of “locals” down the right side of the page is any indication, he got a warm — preferably peaceful — welcome back.

Eater compiled a one-minute video ode to Bourdain’s eating and drinking in Season 6. The background score, “I Say a Little Prayer for You,” seems a little weird.

Speaking of weird, Bourdain has lined up a speaking gig in Nebraska on September 11. First Salt Lake City, now Omaha. He did speak in Texas in April and lived, so maybe it emboldened him for deeper forays into the red states.

And in the Friends of Tony Dept…

Entertainment Weekly reports that Eric Ripert is replacing that odious twit, Toby Young, as a judge on the upcoming Top Chef: Washington, DC, to air on on Bravo beginning June 16.

Here’s hoping that Tony will find time to share the judges’ table with his bud, Eric.

Some commenters at Slashfood hate the DC locale and the roster of political guests. I wish Tom Colicchio would fix co-host Padma Lakshmi a burger and fries to go.

Padma recently had a baby and deserves some slack, but did she look in a mirror before she left the house to attend the Met’s Costume Institute Gala?

And if you’re willing to make your eyes bleed, I found on Quote Unquote a photo of Toby Young à la Bourdain’s “boner” picture.

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