Happy Halloween from Cats Working

October 31, 2011

By Max

It’s my first Halloween and I’m pretty excited. Cole tells me it’s the biggest night of the year for black cats, so I’m expecting an extra-special dinner (hint, hint, Karen!) to celebrate. I’m already in my costume. Meet Max the Mex, the baddest kitty South of the Border. I always take from the fat cats and give to the kittens.

Maybe Taco Bell could use a spokescat?

Cole is supposed to be Elliot Hiss, the bumbling Federale who always manages to stay one step behind me. And Adele is Consuela, the madam of a house of ill repute with a weakness for kitties on the lam.

Unfortunately, Cole and Adele are both not cooperating about posing for pictures.

So, for now, I’ll just wish all our readers a Happy Halloween!

And if a black path crosses your path, remember, it’s GOOD luck!

American Airlines Finds Jack the Cat

October 27, 2011

By Max

After the brainless massacre of those 38 big cats in Zanesville, Ohio, last week, we needed a cat-on-the-loose story with a happy ending.

On August 25, Jack, a handsome 18-lb. ginger long-hair, and his adoptive brother Barry, were in separate carriers, traveling with their owner, Karen Pascoe, from New York’s JFK airport to their new home in San Francisco. Pascoe was off somewhere having dinner when an airline employee stacked the carriers with Jack’s on top. It fell, and the door popped open. Jack, undoubtedly shaken and terrified, took off and hid in the vast incoming baggage area. Probably overwhelmed by all the strange noises and smells, he wouldn’t come out even when Pascoe returned and called him.

American Airlines sent Pascoe and Barry on to San Fran and said they’d keep searching for Jack.

It takes a really stupid airline to lose a furball this big.

Meanwhile, Pascoe set up a Facebook page for Jack, and there was talk of people boycotting American Airlines until Jack was found.

The London Daily Mail posted a tribute to Jack.

Jack’s supporters put up posters and passed out fliers around JFK, surprised by how many workers didn’t know a cat was on the loose. It makes you wonder how diligent American was about the search.

On October 25, someone found Jack in the customs room, dehydrated and thinner, but alive. Right now, he’s being treated by a vet in Queens. He developed fatty liver disease from lack of food. It will be days before he’s healthy enough to go to his new home.

What worries me is that Jack will be flying American Airlines. They’d better place his carrier in a first-class seat, with his own personal flight attendant right beside him.

Sad PS: During the search, other cats were found living at JFK and were taken to a kill shelter. ILet’s keep our paws crossed that Jack’s fans in the area help them all find homes.

Bourdain’s Back on the Road

October 26, 2011

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain kicked his personal appearances back into high gear last week. Here’s what I’ve found on his near-upcoming schedule…


26 Charlotte, NC*
27 Dallas, TX
28 San Diego, CA
29 Vancouver
30 Charlottesville, VA*
31 NYC for Halloween?


2 Philadelphia, PA*
3 Portland, ME*
4 Cleveland, OH
5 Asheville, NC
10 Washington, DC
Food Fight

* “Good vs. Evil” with Eric Ripert

Bourdain told the San Jose Mercury News that his appearances have a new format, with lots of fresh material and video clips from his TV shoots. If you’ve seen him in person before, it sounds like he’s worth checking out again. I’m eager to start seeing bloggers weighing in on these appearances.

I didn’t know he was going to be in Charlottesville with Ripert until just the other day when Ripert tweeted something. When I checked into it, it was sold out.

In other news…

Rachael Ray told Joy Behar that she has invited Bourdain on her show in November, and said nice things about him. I haven’t seen whether he has accepted.

At the NYC Wine & Food Festival earlier this month, Bourdain’s Mini-Me, Andrew Zimmern, jumped into the fray and covered Tony’s back in his tussle with Paula Deen over what’s wrong with her cooking.

Speaking of the Festival, Cats Working’s own MorganLF was there, and hung out in the audience with Ottavia while Tony was on stage doing his thing.

Bourdain gave an interview about his literary side to the Los Angeles Times.

In case you missed it, here’s a 5-minute video of Ottavia talking about MMA. She says practicing the sport allows her to eat 3,000-4,000 calories a day, mostly meat and veggies.

And here’s a pretty funny video of Eric Ripert visiting Costco with Alan Richman.

On The Chew, Michael Symon responded to Bourdain’s snarky comments about the show.

The Vancouver Sun touched base with Tony on all the things he’s been doing lately. Mildly interesting.

Sandra Lee talked to Harper’s Bazaar (or in her case, Bizarre) and said about Bourdain’s snipes at her, “I think he makes it up, cause nobody can be that nasty.” The article was accompanied by several photos of Lee as a culinary sex goddess.

In case you missed Ottavia’s Twitter link, Tony’s interviewing really hit the big leagues now with one featured in Playboy.

For Bourdain’s appearance in Dallas on October 27, a blogger with D Magazine got screwed out of a pre-interview because it wouldn’t appear in print, and somehow Tony found out and contacted her to rectify the matter.

Tony also shared a list of his favorite cooking shows with Grub Street.

And on a final note…

I’ve been suffering through the non-stop padding and commercials on Dancing with the Stars (which ABC won’t let you bypass even On Demand) just to see Chaz Bono and JR Martinez dance, and can’t help thinking of what “might have been” if Bourdain had agreed to do the show. If they’d blessed him with a tall partner, women would have swooned over his waltz, foxtrot, quickstep, tango, and paso doble. But I can’t see him getting into the jive or Latin dances.

Anyway, Eater.com Photoshopped Bourdain into a series of DWTS “what if” pics. If you missed them, they are PRICELESS.

Why Investigate Gadhafi’s Death?

October 25, 2011

By Cole

Last week while she was visiting Libya, Hillary Clinton told an audience of students…

“We hope he [Gadhafi] can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer.”

She got her wish. Within days, Moammar Gadhafi was dragged out of a drain pipe like a common sewer rat, beaten by the people he’d terrorized for decades while they ignored his pleas for mercy (he’d taught them well), and put of out his misery with a bullet (or several) to the head.

There’s now debate over whether the rebels executed him on the spot, or he bled to death en route to the hospital. His body was seen in an ambulance by Holly Pickett, a freelance photojournalist.

You say tomato, I meow tomahto…

Hillary’s saying she backs a UN investigation into how it all went down.

Why? Who cares? Somebody offed the bad guy. He’s a national hero. You want to put HIM on trial?

You can’t have it both ways, Hillary. You wanted Gadhafi dead, so don’t start acting all concerned now about the circumstances. The world agreed he needed killing. It’s done.

It’s better than paying for his upkeep in prison for years while he just went crazier and used his trial as a stage to deny his greed and atrocities, claim he was still beloved by all, and just piss everybody off even more.

We all know that could only have ended with his execution.

So rather than miring the country for years in the phony game of “Justice for Gadhafi,” he’s history and they can begin RIGHT NOW to rebuild the country.

NATO and the UN should just let the sleeping dog lie.

UnFoodie Conquers Pot Roast

October 24, 2011

By Karen

Cool weather inspires my more adventurous cooking. The paper had a recipe for “Perfect Pot Roast” and Food Lion had boneless chuck roast on sale for $2.59 a pound, so I decided to take another whack at it.

The recipe wasn’t “perfect” for me. It called for red wine, which I avoid because it gives me a runny nose and headaches, and fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme. No point in blowing $6 on herbs that would mostly rot in the fridge.

So I started with a well-marbled 2.5 lb. roast, 2 onions, 3 carrots, and Swanson unsalted beef stock. But there had to be some seasoning… What to do, what to do?

My last packet of Lipton Onion Soup! It even had a “Country-Style Pot Roast” recipe on the box, calling for carrots, potatoes, and water. Close enough.

The Perfect recipe needed a Dutch oven I don’t have, and the roast was too small for the crockpot, so I used Lipton’s stovetop cooking method, although boiling beef sounded like a recipe for disaster. But my previous attempts in the oven had only yielded gray slabs that could pass for paving stone, so what the hell?

First I browned the onions and carrots – the carrots “about a minute,” per Perfect.

I learned that carrots don’t brown. And after simmering in stock for several hours, they don’t get too soft, either.

Searing the roast in olive oil went without a hitch, but I skipped deglazing the pan for “tasty bits” because it was nonstick and there were none.

Next, I heated the stock to a boil and threw in the dry onion soup — and then noticed the box said, “Best if used by June 12, 2007.” Hmmm… too late now.

Back in went the onions, carrots, and meat to simmer for 2.5 hours.

Dinner, or something I'll use to repair my front walk?

The Lipton recipe said to add the carrots and chunks of potato during the last 30 minutes, but I’m glad I didn’t. The carrots would have been like rocks. Instead, I roasted the potatoes doused in olive oil and Emeril’s Essence separately.

As the house filled with cooking smells, I felt a little Ruth Reichl coming on…

Carrot-colored leaves fall as beef and iridescent onions laze in a rich Jacuzzi of juices, making the senses swim in their succulence.

After I fished everything out of the stock, my crowning achievement was a batch of lumpless gravy, which I made with cornstarch instead of the flour Lipton recommended.

This pot roast wasn’t falling apart but, for the first time, it WAS moist and tender, without that dry, chewy finish, even upon reheating the next day.

Success at last!

Next time, I'll skip the carrots.

Can a Wormald Ever Really be Famous?

October 21, 2011

By Karen

Hollywood’s greatest dancers: Astaire… Kelly… WORMALD???!!!

A remake of the 1984 film, Footloose, opened last week, with 27-year-old Kenny Wormald in the Kevin Bacon role. Last week he appeared on Dancing with the Stars with his co-star, Julianne Hough. It felt shocking when host Tom Bergeron said “Wormald” several times without once fumbling over the “Worm.”

Kenny and I both grew up in Massachusetts, so I bet you’re wondering if we’re related.

Once upon a time… a few Wormalds trickled over from England, where the name fills whole columns in phone books and doesn’t make anyone stutter over it.

I thought the Massachusetts Wormalds were all my family until I discovered a parallel universe of them in the newspaper when a Marilyn Wormald kicked a police officer. My father says he used to be asked about a Henry Wormald, who apparently had some trouble with the law.

I have no idea if Kenny springs from that branch, or there’s a third one, I’m just saying… I don’t think we’re related.

For a few years, a Ken Wormald appeared in the Richmond phone book. I Googled Kenny to see if maybe he went to college here, but it doesn’t appear so.

I have to applaud Kenny’s guts. Remaining a Wormald must please his parents, and definitely makes him unique in the entertainment industry. But that “worm” thing makes people squirm. How far can he go with it?

Think about it. Studio heads didn’t pick “Greta Garbage” when they renamed Greta Lovisa Gustafsson. And “Marilyn Monrot” was probably never an option for Norma Jean Baker.

I’ve even considered a literary nom de plume myself, because people have such an aversion to saying “WORMald.” (For the record, we pronounce it just like “Donald.”)

I may see Footloose this weekend, even though Kenny’s not my cousin. It’s my chance to see most of my name on the big screen.

Go for it, Kenny! I hope you take Wormald all the way to the top!

Obama Passes Through – Again

October 18, 2011

By Cole

President Obama’s back in town when his bus rolls into Richmond tomorrow about 6.5 miles from here — as close as I’ll ever get to him — to talk about his jobs plan.

Obama’s destination is a fire station where he’ll talk to firemen, some county employees, and a smattering of local officials. The public is not invited.

Obama couldn't fit much of the public in here, anyway.

It’s Obama’s last stop on a 3-day tour through North Carolina and Virginia. He flew Air Force One to Asheville, NC, where he hopped onto the armored bus the Secret Service drove down for him.

After the fire station visit, Obama will fly the short hop back to DC — presumably on AF One — while his bus toodles up I-95 below him. This raises several questions:

Q: What happens if there’s a fire while Obama’s in the firehouse? Do they just let the place burn?

A: The fire trucks will be parked outside so the firemen can discreetly respond. Not that I wish ill on anyone, but wouldn’t it be funny if fire broke out and the room emptied on Obama? I bet he’d be rethinking that “no public allowed” decision.

Q: Why is Obama wasting double fuel traveling by air while his bus makes the same trip without him?

A: Hmmmmm… Good question. Obama?

Q: What’s Obama’s point? Does he really expect to gain broad support for his jobs plan by sneaking through town, snubbing voters?

A: It’s probably a money thing. The Miami Herald questioned who pays for this trip.

If Obama doesn’t appear before hordes, he can’t be accused of campaigning, so taxpayers must foot his travel expenses. But if so, why should ALL taxpayers pay for his visits to only a handful? And why should they have to pay for a plane AND a bus to make the same trip?

While thousands of Occupy Wall Street people are in the streets protesting greed and reckless spending, Obama thinks it’s a good idea to joy-ride/fly through two nearby states which are, coincidentally(?), critical to his re-election, pretending he’s not campaigning so he won’t have to pay for it.

And he wonders why his cred is in the toilet.

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