Trump vs. Obama

April 28, 2011

By Yul

The mouth-breathing birthers can remove their tin-foil hats now. Obama’s signed birth certificate is out there, and the family of his doctor (now deceased) has verified the doctor’s signature.

Donald Trump wasted no time taking all the credit, “proud” and “honored” that he succeeded in bringing this to light, naming the Clintons as some of those who “failed” previously.

Funny, I don’t recall Bill ever fretting over Obama’s citizenship, nor Hillary courting votes from the right-wing nut fringe.

Also funny that the “people” Trump claimed he had snooping in Hawaii also failed to unearth the paperwork, with Trump’s riches available for bribes and such.

Obama kindly alluded to the billionaire buffoon as a “carnival barker” who’s distracting the country with “silly” issues.

But Trump’s already a step ahead. Now he claims that Obama faked his way through Columbia and Harvard (graduating magna cum laude from Harvard notwithstanding) and Trump wants to see transcripts.

I say, if Donald Trump is so keen on full disclosure, let’s start with the top of his head.

How can anybody take the man’s tough talk seriously when he can’t bear to face his own reflection? Does he really think he’ll restore America’s glory when nobody can look at his “crowning glory” and keep a straight face?

It’s ironic that such a colossal windbag lives in eternal dread of sudden gusts. I guess it’s a given that, as president, he’d never champion wind energy (“I said, NO photo ops of POTUS with windmills!”)

President Trump would always be surrounded by a platoon of goons to keep photographers from getting behind him and blowing his cover. Literally.

My theory: What’s on top is actually coming up from his collar, growing from his back.

Trump’s been doing a live job interview with voters on Celebrity Apprentice, demonstrating his macho, convoluted logic in discarding good people, and how he relishes the use of fear to maintain his façade of authority.

I wouldn’t trust Trump to scoop my litterbox.

Solution to Ray LaHood’s Problem

April 26, 2011

By Cole

Since cats can go from 0-60 in a nanosecond from a near-coma, I had to laugh at Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s outrage over snoozing air traffic controllers. He said…

“On my watch, controllers will not be paid to take naps.”

He must think the Japanese and Germans are wussies for letting their controllers do it. I wonder what they think of LaHood allowing only one controller on duty all night at some airports.

Apparently, in LaHoodLand, real men never need to go take a pee.

What I think LaHood’s really steamed about is controllers’ salaries, coupled with faulty notions about what constitutes productivity and a belief that sleep is time wasted.

Here’s the scoop from the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

“Median annual wages of air traffic controllers in May 2008 were $111,870….The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $161,010. The average annual salary, excluding overtime earnings, for air traffic controllers in the Federal Government — which employs 90 percent of all controllers — was $109,218 in March 2009.”

They work 40-hour weeks, but can pull extra shifts for more money or time off. Yet they can be fired if caught napping during their 30-minute breaks, which they should get every few hours.

LaHood is ignoring scientific evidence that rotating shifts can cause a host of problems, from memory and cognitive impairment to heart disease and cancer. Instead, he insists it’s all a matter of taking more “personal responsibility.”

“Just say ‘No’ to sleep.”

Another Republican playing another tired old abstinence card.

While he’s been hitting the air waves venting his outrage at those lay-abouts, LaHood could have been at his desk spending 5 minutes to implement the obvious solution, which would be free and immediate.

Taxpayers aren’t getting any more bang for their buck if controllers are reading magazines, drinking coffee, or loading up on junk food, trying to stay awake during breaks. The downtime is already there, so just LET CONTROLLERS USE THEIR BREAKS TO SLEEP.

It always works for cats.

Happy Birthday, Ottavia Bourdain

April 25, 2011

By Karen

April is a month for celebrating in the Bourdain household. First Ariane’s birthday on the 9th, a wedding anniversary on the 20th, and wife Ottavia celebrates her birthday on April 28. Cats Working wishes Ottavia a great one, and many more!

Meanwhile, Tony has been off shooting No Reservations on the West Coast. Tonight, tune in for another new episode in Hokkaido in northern Japan. Here’s the promo clip. (Sorry I couldn’t insert it from Travel Channel’s website, a veritable monument to inconsistency, bad schedule info, and general suckitude.)

Tony blogged most eloquently about his recent meal at El Bulli, Ferran Adrià’s restaurant in Spain that’s closing forever this summer. The event was captured for an upcoming NR episode.

According to Tony, we all have Ferran Adrià to thank for the very existence of No Res. Tony and his crew shot “Decoding Ferran Adrià” on faith and used it as the pilot for the show that eventually found a home on the Travel Channel.

Last week, Tony appeared on The Joy Behar Show on CNN. Eater posted the video. Behar mentioned that Medium Raw in paperback will be available in May. Amazon says May 3.

Bourdain’s BFF, Eric Ripert, prepared lamb on the Today Show on April 22 and was asked to describe Tony in one word. He answered, “grain of salt,” and explained why. provides a bit more background on Tony’s involvement as a writer on HBO’s series, Treme, which began its second season last night. Bourdain’s in charge of the New York thread, and his feelings for Alan Richman, whom he added as a character, don’t seem to have softened appreciably.

I’m reading Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir, Blood, Bones & Butter mainly because Bourdain raves about it. BTW, they are co-hosting a lamb roast fundraiser on April 29 in NYC to benefit the Bronx Academy of Letters, if you’re in the neighborhood.

I’m just getting into “Bones” after feeling no qualms about skipping a chicken-killing scene that wrapped up “Blood.” I’ll reserve judgment, but confess that I’m not feeling hooked yet.

Will Bourdain Eat Beans in Boston?

April 18, 2011

By Karen

Tonight Anthony Bourdain eats and drinks his way through Boston in a new No Reservations episode named “Know Your Enemy” (because he’s a Yankees fan). I think he’s tweeting live @NoReservations during the broadcast. He talked to and they provide some background. And here’s the promo…

If you’re interested in the quotable Bourdain from the Amazon episode in Brazil last week, Eater’s got the best one-liners.

In the “Friends of Tony Bourdain” department…

For the past week, Tony has been tweeting from Spain, mainly photos of food. He’s been hanging out with chef Jose Andres while filming NR, a tribute to Ferran Adrià’s restaurant, El Bulli, which he’s closing to launch an advanced culinary academy.

The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald interviewed Sandra Lee during a visit there, and this is just one of her semi-sweet digs at Bourdain…

“I bet he’s a really nice guy. … I think he’s really talented,” she said. “I’m going to love the day when he doesn’t need to drop my name and say nasty things about anyone to get exposure and press.”

The article mentioned that Lee will be selling a cookware line she designed at Sears and Kmart, and that all 23 of her books are self-published because no “real” publisher would touch her first semi-homemade cookbook.

As a counterpoint, A.V. Club interviewed Brian Roberts of Ha Ha Tonka, the band that played on the recent NR Ozarks episode, and here’s part of what he said about Tony….

AVC: Is he as cool as he comes off on TV?

BR: He is just as cool — if not cooler. Really, really nice guy — he hung out with us for like 10 hours.

A food writer at Chicagoist describes a very strange encounter where the renowned chef Grant Achatz allegedly behaved like an asshole at his new restaurant, the Aviary.

The Harvard Business Review just published a podcast they did with Tony on “Why Leaders Should Eat with the Locals.” Among other things, he talks about what motivated him to take over his Twitter account @NoReservations.

Cats Working wishes the Bourdains a Happy Anniversary on April 20.

If you get HBO, Season 2 of Treme, begins on April 24 with Bourdain as one of the writers.

My RMS Titanic Connection

April 14, 2011

By Karen

The 99th anniversary of Titanic’s sinking seems like an appropriate time to share my own little Who Do You Think You Are tale…

You know the backstory: the “unsinkable” White Star liner, Titanic, scraped an iceberg on a clear, cold night on April 15, 1912, and sank in the North Atlantic, killing more than 1,500 people

I’m an ocean liner buff and, in 1999, got to sail through the area where Titanic went down. My ship actually stopped dead in mid-ocean to hold a somber ceremony for the lost souls, officiated by the captain and the noted maritime historian, John Maxtone-Graham.

One night years after that, I was reading another book about the ship and was stunned to see, for the first time, the name “Frederick Wormald” listed as a victim.

Google quickly revealed that he was a crew member and is buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I left it at that.

But earlier this year, a friend happened upon a gravestone in Massachusetts that turned out to belong to my great- and great-great grandfathers. That’s when I decided to find out if Frederick was anywhere in my family tree. traces the Wormalds back 7 generations. I believe with 98% certainty that Frederick Wormald was the son of my great-great-great uncle, William Wormald, who was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1829.

William’s data is weirdly sketchy. If I could only find out his wife’s name (I think it was Annie Elizabeth), I’d be certain he was Frederick’s father.

But back to Frederick…

Frederick William Wormald was born in 1876, married a woman named Emily Hitchen, and they had 6 children. On April 4, 1912, Frederick’s employer of 4 years, the White Star Line, transferred him to Titanic to serve as a 1st class saloon steward.

Frederick’s body was recovered on April 24 by the Halifax-based British cable repair ship CS Mackay-Bennett. He was wearing an overcoat, and underneath it a white steward’s uniform showing the name “A. Wormald.”

He was taken to Halifax and misidentified as Jewish. On May 3, he was buried in the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery, where he remains to this day.

Meanwhile, back in Southampton, after Emily surmised Frederick must be dead (he was in the water, unaccounted for, for 9 days), the White Star Line allowed her and the children to sail third-class to New York on Titanic’s sister ship, Olympic. I’m not sure why, since Frederick was dead in Canada. When they got to Ellis Island, they were back by the authorities because Emily had “no visible means of support.”

Can you believe that?

The family returned to England on Olympic, only to find that their rented house in Southampton had been re-let in their absence. Fortunately, neighbors managed to salvage and store most of their things until they found another house. They received some compensation from the Titanic Disaster Fund, but their trail went cold after 1915.

(Thanks to Brian Ticehurst, who published these details on

Since notable Wormalds don’t pop up every day, I was amazed that my family, even distantly, had anything to do with the most famous ship-sinking ever.

Bourdain’s Back in Brazil

April 11, 2011

By Karen

In tonight’s new episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain revisits Brazil — but this time, he bypasses cosmopolitan Rio for the Amazon jungle. During this shoot, he developed a severe back problem and honed his acting skills trying not to wince in pain. Here’s the promo of him eating an anesthetizing local soup called Tacacá…

Tony seems to be branching out with his own TV endeavors in association with Zero Point Zero Productions. BourdainChankoTV posed this demo for Komrads, a potential new show featuring Zamir and ZPZ Associate Producer Nari Kye as unlikely traveling companions…

John Kessler at the Atlanta Journal Constitution is still trying to sort out the Bourdain/Mariani ethical debate over food writers getting comped for their subject matter.

It’s one of those “burning” issues that reminds me how NOT a foodie I am, particularly after taking someone’s advice to use my homemade chicken stock to prepare couscous. All I can say about couscous is Bleeeecccchhhh! Not rice, not pasta, just bland and grainy. And this is after forcing myself (for cholesterol’s sake) to acquire a taste for oatmeal.

Alice Waters leaped into the Twitter fray on March 28 with a folksy chicken motif, and then confessed to LA Weekly that she is Ruth Bourdain. Yeah, right. Next she’ll be claiming she’s the Bronx Zoo’s cobra.

Bye-Bye, Beck

April 7, 2011

By Adele

TV just regained an iota of sanity. Glenn Beck is walking away from his daily pulpit show on the Fox network (I can’t bring myself to call it Fox “News”). When he announced his departure to his dwindling viewers, he compared himself to Paul Revere, rationalizing that Revere’s historic ride through the streets of Boston was always intended as a one-off, not a lifelong commitment.

Fox claims the end of Beck’s run has nothing to do with disappearing ratings nor the fact that more than 400 Fox advertisers have specifically requested to not have their ads air during Beck’s brainless rants show.

You have to be special breed of raving lunatic to be too much for Fox to handle. The next generation of dictionaries may define insanity as “going stark-raving Beck.”

And no one will be surprised if, whenever Beck takes his final public bow, he’s wearing a Paul Revere costume with wraparound sleeves, accompanied by nice men in white who have a rubberized luxury suite in some undisclosed location prepared for him.

Fox says Beck will continue to do specials whenever he receives noteworthy warnings of the coming apocalypse through his tin-foil hat. And he’ll still be spewing hateful nonsense on the radio.

Beck’s undoubtedly telling himself that escaping the daily grind will leave him free to become an even richer and more powerful political force — like a certain former Alaska governor.

But Beck’s about to discover that his screaming and crying must be even louder and crazier to hold anybody’s attention. Whoever stopped watching him on TV didn’t do it because they’d rather listen to him on the radio or read his books.

If there’s one thing Beck should know about his followers, it’s that once they make up their mind about something, no one can change it back.

So it shouldn’t take too long for Beck’s already-sinking career as a pundit to implode — like a certain former Alaska governor’s.

And the world will be a better place.

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