Virginia is for (Gun) Lovers

February 29, 2012

By Cole

After turning a deaf ear to families still suffering from the massacre at Virginia Tech, where a homicidal maniac named Cho killed 32 students and teachers before pumping himself full of lead — not to mention ignoring this week’s mass shooting in Chardon, Ohio, by a crazy armed teenager — Virginia governor Bob McDonnell repealed the law that limited people’s handgun purchases to one a month.

Poor souls were limited to just 12 guns a year. It simply isn’t enough when…

  • You’re planning to play Russian Roulette at your next party, or
  • You have inquisitive kids always looking for fun things to bring to school for Show and Tell, or
  • You love hunting, but are such a bad shot you need an arsenal to make things even between you and the animals, or
  • You love the bad-ass look the bulge of a piece gives you, or
  • There’s a bank or 7-Eleven you’ve been itching to knock over, or
  • You know someone who needs killing…

So Virginia is happy to help you arm yourself to the teeth.

A Richmond Times-Dispatch poll found that 66% of citizens want to keep the limit. But Virginia voters don’t matter now. McDonnell’s got bigger fish to blow away. He wants the hearts and minds of the neocon nutso fringe in his pocket as a bargaining chip for the Republican VP nomination.

McDonnell spouted the usual gibberish about the 2nd Amendment, and said the law was originally passed in the 1990s because East Coast gun-running used to be a problem.

Well, duh. Maybe gun-running is less prevalent today because THERE WAS A FREAKING LAW!

With typical Republican disregard for consequences, McDonnell’s marching us right back to the good old days where every crazy and criminal can own the armory of their dreams.


Bourdain in Miami with a Girl

February 27, 2012

By Karen

That’s right. Celebrity Baby Scoop got the best pictures ever of Anthony Bourdain’s daughter, Ariane, who will be 5 years old on April 9.

Over the weekend, she and dad were hanging out in their hotel pool during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Ottavia didn’t seem to be around, and I kind of doubt the paparazzi would have come away unscathed had she been there.

But anyhoo, the pics are on the ‘net now. Since the Bourdains have always protected Ariane’s image, Cats Working will respect that, but here’s the link to the photos.

Now let the discussion begin… Who do you think she favors?

And just when you think Paula Deen can’t sink any lower…

On February 24 Al Roker was in South Beach for the festival, and the Today Show gave Paula and her son Bobby an opportunity to act shocked and declare that mean people had “piled on” Paula for developing diabetes.

You’d have to go back to the Bush administration to find a more pathetic attempt at spin.

Of course, they carefully omitted how Paula pushed her deadly cuisine for 3 years after her diagnosis, and that she only admitted it once her lucrative diabetes drug endorsement deal with Novo Nordisk made continued deceit impossible.

And Roker let them get away with it. Shame on him!

Without the slightest trace of irony, Paula even had the gall to call her disease “a blessing.”

I guess so, now that it’s opened up a new multi-million-dollar income stream for her.

Honey, y’all ain’t foolin’ anybody. Cashing in on your diabetes was disgusting enough, but enlisting your son to help you bad-mouth anyone who’s appalled by your dishonesty and greed only adds calculated spitefulness to the list.


Virginia Gets Temporary Reprieve From Stupidity

February 24, 2012

By Adele

If Richmond makes national headlines, it’s always for thinking backward. Last night Brian Williams’ Nightly News featured a woman at the state capitol, screaming in protest at having her rights trampled, being dragged off by police.

But caving in to national outrage and ridicule, the state legislature did modify its pre-abortion ultrasound bill to eliminate transvaginal probing.

They also backed down on declaring embryos fully-functioning, legally-protected “persons” — by kicking that bill into 2013.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reinforced its Republican-rag cred by disingenuously declaring on page 1 today that the “personhood” bill was “scrapped” in a “stunning turnaround.”

In fact, the bill was just postponed.

The obvious intent is to fool women into thinking, “Oh, good. They dropped it. Never mind,” so the misogynistic General Assembly can slip the outrageous legislation past everyone next year.

But this month there was a THIRD assault on women, led again by none other than Del. Kathy Bryon. She sponsored a bill to repeal the state law mandating vaccinations for young girls against the human papillomavirus.

That’s because Republicans want to protect a woman’s right to cervical cancer.

The Richmond TD reported that, in making her case to colleagues earlier this month, “Byron noted that Virginia, which enacted the provision in 2006, was still the only state to require vaccination. She claimed that the ‘longterm safety and effectiveness’ of the vaccination is still unknown and said lawmakers should not ‘intrude’ in the decision to vaccinate, which she said should be left up to parents.”

Byron thinks a shot in the arm’s an “intrusion,” but ramming a probe into a pregnant woman’s vagina isn’t. Priceless.

If anybody in this century deserves to be figuratively tarred and feathered in the next election for criminal insensitivity and hypocrisy toward her own sex, it’s Kathy Byron.

Fortunately, several medical experts were allowed to testify and blew Byron’s ignorant assertions out of the water — just like they did when Michele Bachmann claimed the vaccine causes mental retardation — and Byron’s repeal bill was defeated.

Unless voters stop these maniacs by kicking every last one OUT, it’s soon going to be too dangerous to be female in Virginia.


Virginia Governor Scrambles to Salvage Vagina Vote

February 23, 2012

By Adele

Have you noticed how men have been running amok lately, trying to trample women’s rights? First, we had that dick-fest in Washington, where male Republican politicians and religious leaders sat around kvetching about how giving women affordable access to contraception would infringe on MEN’S BEST INTERESTS!!

And right here in Virginia, Virginia’s Republican-led House of Delegates almost pulled off a bill mandating invasive transvaginal ultrasound (that’s internal probing with an 8-10” instrument) on women seeking an abortion, which Governor Bob McDonnell said he would sign.

Democratic No. Va. Delegate David Englin rightly reminded his colleagues that “object sexual penetration” is already on the books in Virginia as a serious sex crime.

But what rankles most is that the bill’s ORIGINAL SPONSOR was Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg). And I can describe her in just 3 words…

Stupid, sadistic bitch.

A thousand irate citizens protested outside the state capitol, but what really got our legislators’ attention was the national media.

When Governor McDonnell saw Jon Stewart brilliantly nail his bald-faced hypocrisy and mysogynism on the Daily Show, McDonnell probably heard the female vote swishing down the drain, making him a poisonous VP pick for whichever idiot becomes the Republican nominee for president.

So McDonnell did exactly what any Republican with unshakable moral beliefs does when his selfish ambition is threatened — a complete 180. Now McDonnell thinks the law should be limited to external ultrasounds.

Yet any ultrasounds in early pregnancy are useless except to remind doctor and patient that Big Brother is watching and to raise the abortion’s cost. But in the Republican mind, all the expense and intrusion is worth it if just one mother gets guilted into bearing a child she doesn’t want.

Va. Republicans may have wussed out on this, but they’re also cooking up a law that “personhood” begins at conception. Women who have abortions or accidentally miscarry would be guilty of murder. And by logical extension, anyone who uses contraception (including men wearing condoms) would be guilty of attempted murder.

So basically, anybody who has protected sex risks being prosecuted as a felon unless a baby pops out 9 months later.

But while Republicans are busy stripping women of their reproductive rights and dignity, here’s something for Democrats to propose to even the playing field.

If women are prohibited from practicing birth control but don’t want or can’t have children, they should be able to go to court and get an order for their partner to have a vasectomy.

There are already too many people in the world, and millions are starving. If men are going to force women to bear children, then women should be able to force men to become sterile.

It’s only fair.


It was Inevitable: Downton Tabby

February 22, 2012

By Karen

In light of our recent discussion about Downton Abbey and this blog’s theme, I must share a clever YouTube parody graciously provided by Cats Working reader Adele (the human).

But first, some thoughts on the Season 2 finale…

So Mathew and Mary are finally an item. Mary unwittingly reveals that her hide is as tough as her ice-cold heart, strolling outdoors with Mathew in a filmy sleeveless evening frock during a snowstorm.

But now Mary doesn’t have to lam it across the pond as her jilted fiancé, Richard Carlisle, unleashes the fury of the press on the seedy underbelly of the noble Crawleys.

So maybe Downton will host a lavish wedding in Season 3 that will put the late Lavinia’s ill-fated nuptials to shame. Might Mary’s marriage be the reason Cora’s mother (Shirley MacLaine) pops in?

We’ll have to wait to find out if Lady Edith can convince Sir Anthony that real men can do it with one arm. That guy reminds me of a Jim Carrey character, and seems just about Edith’s speed — unless Patrick Gordon reappears and she finds herself forced to choose between the cripple or the man without a face.

Now that Sybil is pregnant, if she has a son, will the law of entailment dictate that he becomes the heir of Downton, robbing Mathew and Mary of their future fortune? That could give Carlisle the last laugh in a scene where he runs into Mary in London, buying gowns off the rack.

And thank goodness Lord Grantham was able to get Bates’ murder sentence reduced to life in prison, which keeps Bates and Anna around for Season 3.

Perhaps their one night of honeymoon passion will result in a little Bates, complete with baby bowler. Maybe Junior could inspire in his perennial patsy of a father a new enthusiasm for sharing all pertinent details about crimes he didn’t commit so he has a hope of getting and staying out of jail.

And what did I tell you about Thomas drooling for Bates’ job? That guy hit a new low when he tried to use the family dog to make himself look like a hero.

I predict while Lord Grantham works on Bates’ appeal in Season 3, his newfound and utterly misplaced trust in Thomas will be shattered again when Thomas either: 1) Senses the lord’s loneliness and makes a pass at him, or 2) Lets something slip about Vera Bates’ murder that…

ONLY THE REAL KILLER COULD POSSIBLY KNOW!!!

And now, enjoy Downton Tabby


UnFoodie Makes Meatloaf

February 20, 2012

By Karen

My meatloaf, which I throw together and never make the same way twice, is usually delicious, but it falls apart, so I’m always collecting meatloaf recipes.

“Mom’s Amazing Meatloaf” came from the paper, but I never followed it too closely because some ingredients seem weird (milk, parsley, and parmesan cheese). But this weekend, I had just about everything on hand and decided to give Mom’s recipe a fair shake. Here are the ingredients…

1 ½ lbs. 93% lean ground beef

2 eggs
½ cup low-fat or whole milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 slices toasted hearty whole-wheat bread (for 2 cups cubes)
1 large onion (for 1 cup chopped)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

½ cup ketchup (or more, to cover)

Preheat oven to 325° and cook for 1 hour, 15 minutes (for medium) or until done.

I’m not giving the nitty-gritty of assembling a meatloaf. You guys know the drill.

Anyway, I did make a few slight adjustments: My meat was roughly a pound’s mixture of ground beef, pork, and veal, so I used a tad less of everything. I used half and half instead of milk, and dried parsley instead of fresh. And I added half a cup of diced green bell pepper.

I mixed the wet ingredients first (noticing for the first time that it called for 2 eggs — I usually only use one — has that been the fatal flaw?), then dumped in everything else, with the bread last.

My 2-piece meatloaf pan is great. I cover the bottom with tin foil so I can toss the grease into the trash. And I tuck the meat in on the sides so the grease can drain down through the holes.

Anyway, this meatloaf came out PERFECT and stayed intact. It didn’t even fall apart when I lifted the whole thing to store it.

So, Mom’s meatloaf truly is amazing — and delicious! I feared the parmesan cheese would make it meatballish, but it didn’t.

Now, what are your favorite meatloaf recipes?


A Bourdain Catch-Up Marathon

February 16, 2012

By Karen

I’ve got a pile of Bourdainia stacked up, so let’s sift through and see what’s worth sharing…

Travel Channel just announced No Reservations Season 8 (yes, 8 – TC apparently forgot they tried to fob S7 off on us as two distinctly separate events) begins on Ariane’s 5th birthday, April 9.

Destinations include:

  • Austin, TX
  • Baja, Mexico
  • Burgundy region of France
  • Croatian coast
  • Emilia–Romagna region of Northern Italy
  • Finland
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Lisbon
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Sydney

France, Italy, and Portugal, great, but I’m most looking forward to Finland. Tony told somebody recently he’s trying to overcome his distaste for orderly countries.

The rest, meh.

In the meantime, TC has given Tony’s usual 9 p.m. Monday slot to new episodes of Bizarre Foods, which must have Andrew Zimmern feeling “King of TC” is almost within his grasp.

On April 10, Bourdain will be TCM’s guest programmer, watching and discussing with host Robert Osborne such classics as The Searchers and Eyes Without a Face. This link also has his Oscar picks. I think he was swinging from way out in left field to claim Midnight in Paris is elitist. I saw it twice, don’t recall Djuna Barnes being mentioned, and STILL don’t know who it is.

This goes back to the NR Christmas special, but Broward Palm Beach New Times got a nice little video of Tony griping about the Travel Channel — complete with a foul cat simile.

Speaking of cats, he did it again in the San Francisco Layover episode, in the Hotel Fairmont tiki bar: “If you have no love in your heart for this place, you are a sick, twisted, lonely fuck with too many cats.”

In case you missed that one, Eater.com posted the best one-liners.

Rachael Ray talked about Bourdain with A.V. Club. It’s in the middle of the page, including, “Everybody has a right to their opinion, and quite frankly, there probably isn’t too much Tony has said about me over the years that wasn’t true… if you were Tony.”

Paula Deen should take notes.

Speaking of dear Paula, I wonder if Tony will be appearing on Fox any time soon after they used her announcement of Type 2 diabetes (and $$$ deal to shill for a drug company), along with some misinformation from TMZ, as an excuse to take a few big dumps on Bourdain.

One was titled, “Anthony Bourdain is a Moron,” with video where Fox talking heads refuse to pronounce his name correctly and act as if Tony calling himself “Bore-dane” is some twisted affectation on the spelling.

On the other hand, those phonetically-challenged bozos do think “Boehner” spells BAY-ner.

And in a second attack they called him an “elitist” displaying “Northern snobbery.”

New York magazine elicited many one-liners from Bourdain. Cole and Max were thrilled to learn that Tony also loves his man cave.

Men’s Journal got a meaty sit-down (in a NYC bar) interview with Tony.

Tony did a Q&A with Vanity Fair about vacationing in Ottavia’s neck of the woods in Italy, where he loves to devour Italian gossip magazines and TV game shows.

Apparently, Travel Channel has jerked Andrew Zimmern’s leash up short, keeping him in the U.S. for his next season. This article at South Coast Today provides an interesting analysis of Zimmern and Bourdain’s respective schticks.

Bourdain and Eric Ripert did their Good vs. Evil thing in Austin (where Tony’s filming NR in March — has TC clipped his leash, too?). Who knew Eric harbors a grudge against John McEnroe?

The Cynical Girl saw Bourdain and Ripert in Raleigh, NC, which inspired her to write, “Anthony Bourdain is Such a Piece of Shit.” If what she says about his note-reading delivery is true, he must have really been having an off night.

Here’s a 30-minute video from Reddit that apparently was recently unlocked for general viewing. Tony answers questions directly to the camera, and it’s about as close to conversation with him as it gets.

And Ottavia hasn’t been exactly hiding in a corner all this time…

The Genuine Kitchen got Ottavia to discuss why she loves for Amaretto Di Saronno as she was leaving the Cayman Cookout in January.

She also gave an interview to FightChix about — well, guess. If you’ve ever wanted to see more of her tongue, this is your chance!


Let’s Talk ‘Downton Abbey’

February 14, 2012

By Karen

Since Adele’s last post seems to have segued into Downton Abbey, let’s go there.

I’ve watched from the beginning and, like the rest of the world, let out a hearty WTF?! last year when the miniseries ended just as things were bubbling and World War I started.

It was like pulling the plug on Gone With The Wind after 20 minutes, at the Twelve Oaks barbecue.

Fortunately, viewer outrage spawned a Season 2 — which has been all too brief and ends next Sunday — and Season 3, which I believe is filming right now.

Discussion points…

Mr. Bates has always been my favorite, and it was so nice to see him finally reward Anna’s unwavering patience and kindness with a wedding ring. But will the vengeful Vera Bates reach out from the grave to destroy their happiness? She was last seen dead on the floor, presumably from rat poison Mr. Bates bought. Did he lose it when she gave him a black eye and do her in? Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? If so, by whom? Could it be yet another unholy plot by Thomas and O’Brien to ruin Bates?

Will we find out Sunday, or have to wait for Season 3?

WHAT WAS LORD GRANTHAM THINKING? We really didn’t see enough of Jane the maid to feel the attraction that made Grantham lunge for her, completely out of character. Are they trying to juice up his story as consolation for giving him nothing to do in the war but walk around in a uniform?

And what would the Dowager Countess say if she caught her son sucking face with a servant?

The sisters…

Lady Mary spells disaster for any man who crosses her path, yet seems oblivious that she’s about to unleash it on herself if she tries to dump Richard Carlisle for cousin Matthew.

Sybil and her chauffeur got Lord Grantham’s blessing and seem destined to live happily and boringly ever after — unless some disaster brings Sybil back to Downton.

That leaves Edith and the disappearing Patrick Gordon. Did he miraculously survive Titanic, or is he a master con artist? Was that peculiar little moustache wipe Lord Grantham noticed genuine, or something he learned from the real Patrick? Will Edith track him down and get to the truth?

The staff…

Will Cora’s evil lady’s maid O’Brien ever admit to leaving that bar of soap on the floor, which caused Cora’s miscarriage that robbed Downton of its rightful heir?

And what will become of Thomas, now that he’s broke after being outsmarted by even bigger crooks in the black-market? Will he be wanting his old job back at Downton?

The relatives…

The other plot twist that seemed contrived was Matthew regaining use of his legs (and, presumably, what’s between them), just before his fiancé Lavinia kicked the bucket to leave the way clear for him to end up with Mary.

Will war refugees really be enough to keep Isobel Crawley at bay, or will she decide Downton needs her more, just as Cora’s mother (Shirley MacLaine) arrives in Season 3?

The BBC can’t understand why Americans are so hooked on Downton, but they have a lot of theories.


Congrats from One Adele to Another

February 13, 2012

By Adele

When I was at the vet’s a few weeks ago having a claw issue, a male tech who looked about 18 asked Karen if my name has always been Adele. Weird.

Karen answered, “Yes, why?”

The kid said, “Have you ever heard of that singer Adele?”

Without missing a beat, Karen said, “Yes. She was named after my cat.”

Actually, the singer Adele was 11 when I was born so that isn’t true, but we’re both recognized internationally by our first names only.

Thanks to the singer, I predict the name “Adele” will start showing up on the favorite baby name list, possibly bumping off Emma or — yuck! — Bella.

It was nice to wake up today and hear everybody talking about “Adele.” My namesake won all 6 GRAMMYs she was nominated for:

  • Album of the Year
  • Best Pop Vocal Album for 21
  • Record of the Year
  • Song of the Year
  • Best Short Form Music Video for “Rolling In The Deep”
  • Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You”

Cats Working gives Adele 12 paws up. You go, girl!


Obama’s Shameful Mortgage Settlement

February 10, 2012

By Cole

President Obama has punished crooked mortgage bankers — by giving them a big kiss on the lips.

The 5 biggest banks have to cough up $25 billion in restitution — and Obama thinks we’ll see that BIG number and think, “Gee, he really NAILED them!”

Realistically, how far does $25 billion go?…

Right now, 11 million homeowners are “underwater,” which means they owe an estimated $700 billion more on their homes than the homes are now worth. Under this deal, maybe 1 million, about 9%, can get their loans modified. That won’t even begin to put a dent in it.

Obama said the settlement “will speed relief to the hardest-hit homeowners, end some of the most abusive practices of the mortgage industry and begin to turn the page on an era of recklessness that has left so much damage in its wake.”

Is he KIDDING?

The “hardest-hit” were the estimated 8 million suckers who fell for predatory loan terms and ended up on the curb. Under this settlement, about 750,000 will get a check for $2,000 — and the banks have 3 YEARS to get around to paying it.

Meanwhile, the banks were granted added protection against states pursuing civil charges against them.

Homeowners can still file criminal charges, but rotsa ruck to the little guy who couldn’t even make his mortgage payments prevailing over a bank’s army of lawyers in protracted litigation.

This settlement represents a limp-wristed swipe at bank profits. Even worse, NO bank honcho who condoned unscrupulous loans, or foreclosed with bogus documents and bank employees forging signatures, is going to jail.

There’s more: The banks are now free to complete millions MORE foreclosures they had on hold during negotiations. More homeowners already down on their luck can just bend over and wait for the screw job.

Mike Heid, president of Well Fargo Home Mortgage, said this “represents a very important step toward restoring confidence in mortgage servicing and stability in the housing market.”

It’s a total OUTRAGE that Obama or the banks think they’re fooling anybody.

Once again, when faced with bankers’ greedy, unethical, criminal behavior that is leaving millions of Americans in financial ruins, Obama rolls over and lets the bankers scratch his belly.


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