What Would be Worse Than President Newt?

January 30, 2012

By Adele

First Lady Callista, or “Cally Lou,” as she’s known to family.

You can sling mud all day about Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton (I have). But when it comes to sheer repugnance, NO ONE competes with Callista Gingrich:

  • 6 years as Newt’s mistress before becoming Wife No. 3 after he got around to divorcing Wife No. 2, whom he had married after cheating with her on his first wife, the mother of his 2 daughters.
  • Younger than Newt’s daughter Kathy by 3 years, same age (45) as Newt’s daughter Jackie. I bet Newt’s itching for them to call Callista “Mom.”
  • Beneficiary of Newt’s $500K line of credit at Tiffany’s.

And anyone wonders why Newt lags in polls with female voters?

Callista’s on the campaign trail a lot, although she rarely speaks. Rather than supporting her husband’s ambition, don’t you get the feeling she’s there to make sure Newt doesn’t start stepping out with Wife No. 4?

Desperate Republicans who can’t embrace that morally squeaky-clean Mormon, Romney, now claim serial cheating is A-OK and, “It’s between Newt and God.”

They’re apparently good with rank hypocrisy, too, since Newt was going full-steam after Bill Clinton for Monica while he and Callista were making wet spots on the sheets.

Before Callista met Newt, she reportedly dated a single, age-appropriate guy for a few years, but broke it off when she found another girl in his apartment.

But Callista’s got Newt’s immortal soul covered. She persuaded him to convert to her faith, Catholicism. You can just imagine. “Oh, Newty, Wooty, you’ll love it. It’s GREAT! You can break every Commandment whenever you like. Then you just step into this little phone booth and give the priest the gist — it’s all ANONYMOUS. You say a few prayers, and your soul is good as new!”

Have I been making Callista sound like a dumb blonde? Sorry. As First Lady, she has said her pet cause would be MUSIC EDUCATION. She studied music and plays piano and French horn.

Somehow she missed the part where Republicans want to strip education to its bare bare bones, cut silly electives like art and MUSIC, kill artsy-fartsy Public Television and Broadcasting because nobody needs opera, and eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and anything else that has the slightest whiff of culture.

And Callista’s greatest contribution to fashion as First Lady would undoubtedly involve a renaissance for peroxide and the helmet-head hairdo. (Sorry, honey, Barbara Bush beat you to the pearls.)

Politics hasn’t seen such a golddigging bimbo since a cute little blonde named Eva sank her claws into Juan Peron.

Is this REALLY who you want standing behind the leader of the free world?


Passed on State of the Union

January 25, 2012

By Cole

Nobody needs an hour to hear the state of the union. I can tell you in 2 words:

It stinks.

We fell asleep before President Obama finished glad-handing all his suck-ups and started flapping his teleprompted gums before Congress last night. Watching that bunch who dedicate their lives to sending this country down the crapper for their own enrichment, and applauding every 30 seconds about it, was more than we could stand.

Nor did we want to hear Obama’s latest bright idea for a new task force, fraud team, super-committee, or study group whose sole purpose will be to kick any actual solutions to our dire problems past that tricky fork in the road called “the election.”

If you’ve heard one State of the Union address, you’ve heard them all. No matter how bad things are, a president of either party will say, “We’re strong, we’re great, things are getting better.” Yada, yada, yada.

And millions of Americans are out of work, living in their cars, wondering where their next meal is coming from, or becoming deathly ill because they can’t afford to see a doctor.

Michelle Obama “wowed” everyone in a blue dress by the unpronounceable designer, Barbara Tfank, while she sat with Warren Buffett’s secretary, who was there to remind us she pays more taxes than her millionaire boss. I bet a Tfank is beyond her means.

And that’s because we have a system where, if you make so much money you can pile it up somewhere to passively accrue even MORE money, and you can live well on it doing absolutely NOTHING productive (Mitt Romney, I’m thinking of you), you get to pay a relative pittance in taxes.

But if you actually WORK and EARN A LIVING, the government can’t take a big enough chunk out of your hide. You’re lucky if they leave you with enough to buy a can of Alpo.

If the greedy, corrupt fat cats who occupy Washington had a problem with this situation, they’d change it. That’s why people elected them. But apparently they don’t. It’s more fun to stand around yammering and clapping and pretending for one night that they give a damn.

Thankfully, nobody says (yet) that we have to watch.


It’s a Boy! for Rachel Alexandra

January 24, 2012

By Adele

On January 22 at 2:40 p.m., Rachel Alexandra became the proud mother of a 125-lb. as-yet-unnamed bay colt. The little guy has big (horse)shoes to fill. In addition to his mother being 2009 Horse of the Year, his father is the fabulous Curlin, Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

If you’ll recall, Rachel broke the horseracing gender barrier by being the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness, and the first filly to win the Woodward Stakes ever.

Rachel and her colt are getting acquainted, and they say Rachel’s a natural mother. Like mom, the colt has a white blaze on his forehead, and his back feet are white, like Zenyatta — Rachel’s nemesis.

Rachel Alexandra's little bundle of joy. (Photo - Stonestreet Farm)

I was able to make a quick call to Rachel at Stonestreet Farm in Kentucky:

Adele: Congratulations on your son!

Rachel: Hey, thanks, Adele. He couldn’t have come a minute too soon. At 125 lbs., he weighs as much as a jockey. Carrying someone on your back for a 3-minute race is a lump of sugar compared to hauling another horse around in your belly for a year. Oy!

A: He looks like you, too, and he was up and walking at only 90 minutes old.

RA: What did you expect? Curlin and I couldn’t spawn a slouch even if we tried.

A: Are you disappointed you didn’t have a filly to carry on your legacy?

RA: Nah, I’m just thankful the little guy has 2 eyes and 4 hooves.

A: They’re saying you have a date with Bernardini later this year. Zenyatta’s carrying his foal right now, after her first pregnancy by him didn’t work out.

RA: That was a tough break for Zenyatta. She’s so used to having everything her way. But humans! What perverts! I never shared a track with Zenyatta, so why should we share men? I suppose they’ll bunk her in with Curlin to keep it all in the family. How gross is that?

A: Well, she and Curlin do both live at Lane’s End. And Curlin did knock up your stablemate, Hot Dixie Chick.

RA: That Curlin! There’s no keeping him “down on the farm,” if you know what I mean. Dixie’s due to drop my colt’s half-brother any minute now.

A: Who can keep up? It’s like the Real Horsewives of Kentucky. You make me glad I’m spayed. Take it easy, and I hope your colt’s an even bigger winner than his mom and dad.

RA: Same to you, Adele. These days I just eat, sleep, play, mess around, and pop out ponies. I can’t complain.


Pot Hooks the Unfoodie

January 23, 2012

By Karen

No, this is not about what you’re probably thinking…

This weekend was bitter, bleak and wet, and Food Lion had chuck on sale, so I decided to try another pot roast.

This time, instead of ancient bouillon, I had beef stock, drinkable red wine, and fresh sprigs of thyme and rosemary on hand (and I kept carrots and onions in the brew). The result was truly “fork-tender,” falling apart as I lifted it out of the pot.

But it was the POT that really got me excited. If you’ll remember, I cooked my first roast in a non-stick pot that didn’t need deglazing, so I had picked up a covered stainless steel Dutch oven at Big Lots — for $5.

Meet the new love of my life.

While searing this roast, I never expected the feeling of liberation that came over me. As I was struggling to turn 3 lbs. of meat with metal tongs and a spatula (so as not to pierce it and let the juices escape), I kept reminding myself it was OK to scrape the bottom of the pan. There was no non-stick surface to fear and coddle.

And then there were bits stuck to the bottom to deglaze with wine and my bamboo wok scraper!

My recipe calls for oven roasting at 275°, but I kept it on the stove and watched the action through the glass lid.

After 3 hours of simmering, things were pretty messy and I feared the pot might be totaled, but after just a few dabs with stainless steel, it’s good as new.

On the other hand, I’ve got this nice, heavy Emeril non-stick frying pan that’s all show — everything sticks to it. Now I’m thinking stainless steel is the way to go so I can start using “real” metal utensils again.


Suckered by a Pet Psychic

January 20, 2012

By Karen

On January 17, I consulted a pet psychic as my last hope of resolving ongoing hostilities between the Cats Working felines without resorting to medication (for them, not me).

I did my homework and thought I found a good psychic; her website was impressive. I won’t name her because I’m not out to sink her career, which can be lucrative — $50 for 30 minutes.

When we spoke to schedule the session, I liked her. I prepared questions for her to ask the cats, which I read to her at the start of what became a 2-hour ordeal.

At the appointed hour, I phoned her from the living room while the cats lounged in my bedroom. We started with Adele, who kvetched about “dust in the air” when I vacuum and something I spray in the house. (The only spray I use is Clorox Clean-Up in the kitchen and bathroom when Adele’s not there). Adele also complained her food isn’t “pure” enough.

The psychic seemed to push a raw-meat diet, which is dangerous and nutritionally unbalanced, and then suggested a dog food. She seemed to think cats and dogs can eat the same food.

Then Adele got nasty. She accused me of adopting Cole and Max for myself, not as her companions, and thinks it’s unreasonable for me to expect harmony. She claimed I spend too much time with the boys, fail to “discipline” them, and let them get away with too much. She feels like she’s doing all the work with them. She also thinks I need to “reclaim” my house and put them all in their place.

I was told that my life is out of balance and that the cats crave for me to bring nature to them, if only by getting outdoors more myself. Their hostility toward each other mirrors my feelings about myself.

To correct this, I’m supposed to remind myself that “I love me” when things go wrong, and practice more creative visualization.

Adele urged me to live in the moment. “When you’re with Cole and Max in the moment, you can sense who they are.”

Now, readers, do I seem like I don’t have a good sense of who these cats are?

Then our attention turned to Cole, who cryptically replied, “My instincts run deep,” when asked why he’s still skittish after living here for over 2 years.

We’ve had this longstanding mystery with the Petmate cat fountain. It keeps emptying into the big tray it’s placed in. I know Cole does it, but have never caught him in the act.

Instead of just asking Cole, “How does the water get out of the fountain?”, the psychic pumped me for details on the fountain, then basically repeated them back to me, right down to the “glug, glug” of the water reservoir draining. She said Cole does it by putting his paw in the water.

Really? And I thought he was using a shop vac.

Last, Max told me he’s fun-loving and lets things roll off his back.

Well, DUH! Max is a kitten.

Max also observed that Cole is really smart. I’ll say. Cole can suck a cat fountain dry without getting caught.

Bottom line: The cats’ interpersonal issues are MY fault because of how I live my life. They want more discipline. And I need to stimulate Cole’s and Max’s minds more.

Surprisingly, the late Fred and Yul and their Christmas orbs never came up.

It’s taken me a few days to write about this because it (and its $200 price tag) left me really in the dumps. If you know Cats Working, you understand why.

Adele spent a few hours at the vet that same afternoon, having minor surgery on an injured claw, which she told the psychic she had snagged on the rug. (Good guess!) Adele didn’t think the vet could do much, but I disagreed. As a result, the vet saved the claw (and buh-bye to another $200).

After processing everything, I concluded the psychic thinks cats and dogs are interchangeable and she cribs off Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan a lot. His name even came up.

And all the New-Agey recommendations didn’t come from the cats. They’re not into that stuff.

I’m happy to report that the cats have relaxed into their usual level of bickering. I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

P.T. Barnum said there’s a sucker born every minute. This was definitely my minute.


Is Bruce Ismay Back as Francesco Schettino?

January 19, 2012

By Karen

Cats Working has never covered cruise travel, but the capsizing of Costa Concordia has been dominating the news. As a veteran of nearly 40 cruises, I have to weigh in.

I think Captain Francesco Schettino is the reincarnation of Bruce Ismay.

Ismay was the managing director of the White Star Line. He was on Titanic’s maiden voyage, demanding she make record time to New York in spite of numerous warnings of ice ahead. We all know how that turned out.

Ismay jumped into a lifeboat while women and children were drowning, and spent the rest of his life in disgrace, regretting he survived.

In Schettino’s case, it may turn out that his u-turn into the shallows after his ship was gashed open and took a huge boulder in the gut may have saved the lives of those who were able to swim to shore.

But his quick thinking in that one moment is negated by the arrogance that led him to deliberately endanger the vessel in the first place. And he’s been lying about every action he took ever since.

He’s claimed he did it to honor a retired captain, Mario Polombo, who lives on the island of Giglio, and that they were on the phone together when the ship hit the rocks.

Polombo has said he wasn’t on the island that night. Wouldn’t he have mentioned that to Schettino?

What Schettino hasn’t said is that he also did it to impress a maître d’ from Giglio. Probably unbeknownst to Schettino, the maître d’s sister posted on Facebook in the hour before that the ship would come really close.

When the ship began to founder, Schettino claimed at first that he was thrown overboard.

If so, he must have climbed back onboard, because he told a judge in court Tuesday that he was helping passengers into a lifeboat when he tripped and fell into the lifeboat himself.

The lifeboats aren’t open like those on Titanic. They have roofs. It’s hard to imagine someone tripping into one. Not to mention that Schettino’s 2nd and 3rd in command happened to trip into the same boat with him.

And we’ve probably all heard the conversation between Schettino and Coast Guard Captain De Falco where Schettino suddenly turned dumb about how to board his ship.

In all the picture’s we’ve seen of Schettino, he’s wearing a dark sweater and coat — civvies. What happened to his uniform? Was he given dry clothes on shore because he’d been in the water? Or did he return to his cabin to change because he didn’t want to stand out with his 4 stripes while his ship was erupting into pandemonium?

Costa initially supported Schettino, while admitting human error was involved. But if worldwide outrage makes them ultimately let the Italian courts have their way with Schettino, who could blame them?

An excellent site for following developments in this story, often before the media knows them, is www.cruisecritic.com. A CC member from Australia who survived the capsizing provided a thorough report of her experience the very next morning, and you’ll find many links to international news stories. You don’t have to join it to read.

Concordia passengers have been comparing this to Titanic, and it’s a fair assessment as far as their terror goes, but the loss of 11 lives (or 34, if the 23 who remain missing didn’t make it) is a far cry from a tragedy where only a third of the souls onboard managed to survive, and the rest drowned in waters over 2 miles deep.


Paula Deen, Diabetic – and Hypocrite?

January 17, 2012

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s rant against Paula Deen has now been justified by Paula herself. She confessed to Al Roker on the Today Show this morning that she’s known for 3 years she has Type 2 diabetes.

Eater.com got Bourdain’s take while Deen’s announcement was still pending, last weekend at the Cayman Cookout. Tony didn’t gloat or take any cheap shots, but his suspicion that she’s known about her condition for some time was right on target.

Paula also told Roker she’s a paid spokesperson for pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, who makes Victoza®, the daily non-insulin injection she takes. You can catch her new schtick on a Novo Nordisk site called Diabetes in a New Light™, which tucks Paula and her cooking around hype about Victoza®.

And not so coincidentally, her son Bobby is doing his own show, Not My Mama’s Meals, for the Cooking Channel, which conveniently premiers TONIGHT, featuring lighter versions of Paula’s death-dealing recipes.

Paula herself never could have pulled a 180 on her cuisine without revealing her hand. But knowing what she knew at the time, it does render her self-righteous reaction to Bourdain’s claim that her food is “f**king bad for you” beyond disingenuous.

On the other hand, diet alone doesn’t cause diabetes. There’s also heredity, being overweight, lack of exercise, and age. Paula fills the bill on 3 out of 4.

But for the sake of her fans she claims to care about, she should have come clean and publicly begun revamping her recipes and her image when she was first diagnosed.

Instead, she blithely continued to slather butter on everything until she landed a comparatively lucrative deal (I assume) with a drug company so she could segue into her new career as the fearless diabetes fighter, and gave her son a cushy new platform for a spin-off to keep the family’s bucks rolling in.

Now I can’t look at a Deen without seeing dollar signs in their eyes. Shame on them.

Bobby and Paula (Photo - Cooking Channel)


Virginia to Rick Perry: ‘Get Lost’

January 16, 2012

By Cole

Friday the 13th was unlucky for Rick Perry & Co. (Gingrich, Santorum, and Huntsman). A federal judge ruled they couldn’t play the Virginia primary game, lose, and then whine about its unfair rules.

(Actually, Santorum and Huntsman were just hoping to catch a break. They hadn’t previously tried to qualify for the ballot in Virginia.)

And in a twist whose irony was apparently lost on this rat pack, they complained that having to hire Virginia residents to gather votes is TOO EXPENSIVE ($50K-$100K).

So, Virginia’s Republican primary on March 6 will have only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul on the ballot, with no write-ins allowed.

On another front, the state GOP is considering scrapping its loyalty oath, which all primary voters must sign, promising to support the eventual Republican nominee. Even Virginia’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, who typically loves any discriminatory, backward idea that crosses his path, thinks this unenforceable oath is a bad idea.

Waiving the oath could open the door for Democrats and independents to flood the polls, hand Paul a resounding victory, and give Romney another dose of heartburn.

Wouldn’t that be sweet?

Perry’s appealing the ruling, but it’s too late. By law, absentee ballots for the military and other votes have to go out by January 21, so Virginia can’t keep diddling around with this indefinitely.

Besides, this mess is probably self-inflicted, if we believe the person who watched Republican volunteers qualifying the signatures candidates collected and tossing out enough, often on a whim, to make Perry come up short. (So did Gingrich, but he admitted some of his names were bogus.)

But after watching George W. Bush “win” twice in questionable squeakers, voting hanky-panky is sort of expected from Republicans. They talk about loving this country, then treat it like some banana republic, where rules can always be bent to their advantage.


Let’s Abolish Pointless Primaries

January 13, 2012

By Cole

Mitt Romney won Iowa by 8 votes (or maybe not) and got 39% of New Hampshire’s primary votes.

Why won’t people admit it signifies NOTHING?

Candidates trying to woo voters one state at a time is expensive, inefficient, and crazy. The only ones who benefit are TV talking heads who need gum-flapping fodder.

Romney managed to snow a fraction of the voters in 2/50ths of the country, and suddenly he’s the “inevitable” choice to run against Obama.

Fiddle-ticks.

Instead of having candidates play hopscotch across the map, preaching to the choir, they should be given a month (2 max) to make a national pitch. Give them the air time the networks would otherwise squander on baseless prognosticating.

After they give it their best shot, their fate is decided at the convention.

As it is now, they get so many do-overs every time they stick a foot in their mouth, they manage to get something right sooner or later. We’ve seen this as, one by one, the Republican wannabes have risen to the top, only to quickly plunge again into disfavor when they remind people again what jerks they are.

Here’s how we kill primaries:

  • Voters, consistently lie to every pollster. Give a different pick every time you’re asked. Keep the poll numbers hopping. I had hoped New Hampshire voters would be wily enough to do this, but they were so disgustingly predictable, they deserve to forfeit “First Primary” status.
  • Use “eeenie, meenie, mynie, moe” in the voting booth. Or if you can write in a name, make it someone dead. The results couldn’t be less meaningful than how you choose now.

By dragging things out with state primaries, the contenders just have more time to fling dirt at each other, which the press eats up and pukes out on the rest of us. It’s downright sickening.

Instead of vying for the title of “Phoniest Panderer,” let candidates forget stumping, handshaking, baby-kissing, and debating, and get real. Force them to channel their energy into submitting detailed, factual blueprints of their proposed presidencies that people can evaluate and compare without all the hot air.

Electing a president should be serious, yet people begin it with this party game.

And instead of incessantly bilking the electorate for millions in campaign donations, candidates could let the money stay in people’s pockets, where most of them claim it belongs anyway.

The bottom line is that our political process desperately needs to grow up.


Worried About Casey Anthony’s Dog

January 11, 2012

By Adele

Casey Anthony, the 25-year-old woman who was acquitted last year of murdering her daughter Caylee, is living in an undisclosed Florida location, serving out probation for her felony conviction on passing checks she stole from a friend.

Casey claims a computer hacker put this creepy video diary entry she filmed on October 13, 2011, out on YouTube. Nobody seems to know how it really got there.

At one point, Casey marvels, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to call something mine,” and gabs about all her stuff — a new computer, phone, camera.

Then she says she’s adopted a dog whom she talks to and loves. However, she doesn’t mention the dog by name or tell what breed it is. You get the impression she considers it more of her stuff.

Let’s hope someone is watching out for that unfortunate dog. Guilty of murder or not, Casey Anthony has demonstrated zero skill as a caregiver.

Casey goes on to talk about her upcoming birthday in March and how many more months she’ll be on probation. She thinks she could be free by February.

As Casey prattles on about herself, you can’t help remembering that little girl who will never have another birthday, and who laid for months rotting in the woods while her mother lied to police at every turn so she’d never be found.

If we can be sure about anything, it’s this: Casey Anthony’s itching to get on with her life. If that dog so much as whimpers about being left alone when she’s able to party again, it will end up road kill and Casey won’t stop or ever look back.

There’s something wrong with a country that will let people adopt pets after they’ve shown themselves incapable of keeping their own children safe and alive.


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