Bourdain Becomes a Standup Guy

October 29, 2012

By Karen

In preparation for his new Guts & Glory tour in November, Anthony Bourdain dropped in at the Comedy Cellar in NYC last week and did 10 minutes of standup to test his material. I’m sure it was better than bombing in front several thousand people, which is what his personal appearances typically attract, given the space, but it was risky in that he wasn’t guaranteed an audience of foodies.

Imagine making cracks about Guy Fieri and Adam Richman to people who have never heard of them.

But no guts, no glory. That’s our Tony!

I’ve been watching the final season of No Reservations, and he utterly charmed me in Burgundy and Emilia-Romagna. And I was awed by Ottavia’s amazing display of lower-body strength in Rio when she wrapped her legs like a boa constrictor around her hapless opponent to win her first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match.

No Res wraps on November 5 in Brooklyn — and Travel Channel waves buh-bye to future Emmys unless crown prince Zimmern can rise above a diet of balls and bugs.
To watch the Brooklyn show, Tony’s fan-favorite sidekick, Zamir, will be the guest of honor at the Lafayette Hotel in Buffalo, NY, where there will also be a Bourdain impersonator contest. Let’s hope somebody captures some video of that.

The second and final Bourdain-led season of The Layover begins in the No Res time slot November 19. Tony’s selection of places is excellent: Chicago, Atlanta, Dublin, New Orleans, Paris, Philadelphia, Sao Paolo, Seattle, Taipei, and Toronto.

It will be interesting to see how Travel Channel pads and drags out Layover to milk the illusion of Tony’s presence as long as possible.

I believe Tony begins work on his new, as-yet-unnamed CNN series in December.

But before all that, on November 9 a new 30-minute series debuts on PBS at 9 p.m. called The Mind of a Chef. It stars David Chang, with Bourdain as executive producer and narrator.

Details have been released on how Tony and Nigella Lawson’s ABC food competition, The Taste, will work. What sticks in my craw is the bit pitting amateurs against pros, but I trust that Bourdain wouldn’t condone a vastly uneven playing field after his merciless mocking of non-chefs on other similar shows.

And it seems Tony may have finally been bitten by the merchandising bug…

Zagat and Eater reported that Bourdain and BFF Eric Ripert may be launching a new chocolate bar called Good & Evil some time after November 8, but nobody seems to know any details.

First a graphic novel comic book, now candy. What next? Bubble gum with celebrity chef trading cards?

Old news, but also of interest…

On October 11, Bourdain got roasted at the New York Wine & Food Festival. Here are some of the zingers, and it sounds like Eric Ripert stooped nicely to the occasion.

More zingers.

The following morning, Tony got to spend 3 whole minutes chatting with Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show.

Bourdain recently did a phone interview with the Houston Press. It was published in 2 parts, and part 2 was most worth reading.

In part 1, Tony said he’d like to see chicken Caesar salads disappear from restaurant menus, and took a swipe at old white-haired food critics that got a rise out of John Mariani of Esquire.


Romney Takes a Bayonet on Foreign Policy

October 23, 2012

By Cole

After 6 years of running full-time for president, voters have YET to see the “real” Mitt Romney. Last night’s 3rd and final presidential debate, on foreign policy, was no exception.

The polls say Obama won it because Romney played DittoMan, agreeing with just about every policy Obama mentioned, even if it meant doing a 180 on his own positions, and having no ideas of his own except to “get tougher” with everybody except his BFFs in Israel.

Romney’s problem with debating — aside from never knowing which face of Mitt he should wear — is that he doesn’t comprehend the word debate.

He doesn’t hesitate to criticize and oppose the president everywhere else, but in a debate Romney turns into that JELL-O® you can’t nail to the wall.

I give Obama 4 paws up for not punching this face…

Thanks to split-screen TV, the world saw Romney’s studied blankness whenever he wasn’t talking. Whether he was being praised, criticized, or called out as a liar, when Obama spoke, Romney rarely deviated from a fixed stare with a hint of smirk.

If Romney was doing it to placate women voters who hate confrontation, the effect was fake and creepy.

Obama once again found himself down the rabbit hole, trying to reason with someone who responded with irrelevant or erroneous factoids and flatly denied things he’s stated MANY times before — like Russia is our greatest threat and it’s a mistake to set a date for leaving Afghanistan.

Once again, Obama pointed out Romney’s reversals and lies, and even chided him — with the much-quoted “horses and bayonets” example — for ignoring our Navy’s current efficiencies while pining for the long-lost fleet of 1916.

It was telling that when the debate ended, both men stood and walked away from each other, when they were sitting within reach of an instant handshake.

And then Romney proceeded to pack the stage with at least 3 generations of his family, as if demonstrating his intent to personally repopulate the country with Mormons.

The president and Michelle stuck around just long enough to greet the Romney coven, shake a few hands in the audience, and beat it. But Romney and his wife lingered to milk the crowd — like he cared about them or something.


Debate 2: Romney’s Night of Magical Thinking

October 17, 2012

By Cole

At last night’s debate, Mitt Romney faced a feisty President Obama who wasn’t about to let Republican deceit, dishonesty, and distortions go unchallenged, and it was exhilarating to watch.

Romney’s beef with Obama seems to boil down to a naïve assumption that Obama failed to wave the wand Romney thinks is in the Oval Office’s top desk drawer. Mormons have great faith in magic, especially when it’s in their underwear.

Instead, Obama has been trying to reverse all of George W. Bush’s bad calls the hard way — by trying to work with obstructionist Republicans in Congress who would gleefully destroy this country if it would bring the black cat down.

Romney promises once he’s president, he’ll repeal the Affordable Care Act (on his first day) and replace it with all its good things and even more, create 12 million jobs, cut everybody’s taxes by 20%, balance the budget, get Iran to behave, and make China stop “cheating” (at what, exactly?).

Anybody who believes Romney can do all this without being anointed king is — sorry, but there’s no other way to put it — a f**king idiot.

Pollsters claim Romney’s closing the gap with women voters. WTF? Will they still love him after hearing how he sought out women “qualified” enough to serve on his state cabinet in Massachusetts, and seeming gobsmacked when he was presented with “binders full” of them?

We’re talking about Boston here, home of Harvard and MIT, one of the nation’s hottest hubs of higher education. DUH! Who would have known there’d be any smart women there?

As for Romney’s impressive display of faux concern for the 47% types in the audience, the New Yorker did a great job, so read about that there.

I’m surprised nobody’s picking up on the return of Old Miser Mitt, repeatedly asking Obama if he’d checked his retirement account lately. Obama blew him off by saying his isn’t as big as Romney’s, so he doesn’t check it often.

Didn’t you feel déjà vu to the debate where Romney tried to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry? Every time Miser Mitt mentions personal finances with the smug air of a guy who knows he’s got more money than anybody in the room — it makes my fur crawl.

But the best moment came when Romney stepped right into the shit with his closing statement, claiming he cares about “100%” of the people.

Obama sailed cleanly through that opening by reminding everybody it’s recorded on tape that Romney really believes 47% of Americans are lazy mooches.

Romney has backed out of appearing on The View on October 18, but he’s sending Ann alone. Apparently, chatting with a bunch of stupid women is not on his To-Do list — and he’s afraid of Whoopi Goldberg.


Rock’em Sock’em Joe Biden

October 12, 2012

By Cole

FINALLY, a Democrat had the courage to stop a Republican in mid-lie and distortion — 82 times in 90 minutes, the pundits counted.

Joe Biden’s VP debate with Paul Ryan was everything the first Obama-Romney debate was not. Biden actually laughed at Ryan’s persistent attempts to con American voters into buying the notion of a conservative middle-class low-tax Utopia that neither Ryan nor Romney themselves believe in.

Sure, today the opposition is crawling all over Biden for saying the White House was unaware that our embassy in Libya had asked for more security before it was attacked by terrorists on September 11.

Republicans, with their selective memory, like to think Democrats have a lock on massive intelligence failures.

At least when Obama doesn’t get the message, he doesn’t declare war on a different country, like dear old George W. Bush did after ignoring repeated warnings that Osama bin Laden was planning to attack us. Bush’s response was to fixate on Saddam Hussein and destroy Iraq, which had nothing to do with it.

To steal a choice phrase from Virginia’s former Republican governor, George Allen, Joe Biden came as close to shoving most of Paul Ryan’s misconceptions back “down his whiny throat” as anybody’s ever likely to get.

And it felt good. Real good.

To Ryan’s credit, he never backed down. Like a well-trained pit bull, he kept spouting the party’s worn-out lies and fact-free promises like he believes them. And he probably does.

Let’s hope Obama can maintain the momentum on October 16 in his foreign policy debate with Romney. It’s got potential as an easy slam-dunk, since Romney has already gone out of his way to piss off China (“cheaters”) and Russia (“our No. 1 geopolitical foe”), and talks like he’s itching for war with Iran and Syria.


Sandusky Still Abusing His Victims

October 10, 2012

By Cole

After getting the relatively light sentence of 30-60 years (out of a possible 400) after being convicted on 45 counts of child molestation, instead of showing the slightest remorse, Jerry Sandusky remains defiantly in denial that he ever did anything wrong.

In a mind-boggling audio statement right before his sentencing, Sandusky basically called the kids, their families, everyone at Penn State, and every person in the legal system remotely involved with the case liars, all conspiring to bring him down.

Despite many young men’s testimony to the contrary, Sandusky doesn’t — and never has — viewed his behavior toward them as sexual or unwanted.

Makes you wonder what exactly Sandusky does think sex is.

If the kids were as duplicitous and rotten as he now accuses them of being, why did he spend years devoting every free moment to lavishing gifts and attention on them?

Sandusky vows he will appeal and continue the fight because he wasn’t given enough time to prepare.

It hasn’t been enough for him to wreck a still-undetermined number of childhoods. Now that he can’t touch boys, he’ll seek gratification by continuing to inflict psychological and emotional pain from a distance, for as long as he lives.

His future prison home hasn’t been finalized yet, but in any prison, the inmates tend to think child predators give criminals a bad name. If given a chance, they’ll probably be glad to teach Jerry what it feels like to be the prey.


First Debate: Mitt Gone Wild

October 4, 2012

By Cole

Just about everybody concedes that Mitt Romney “won” last night’s debate on the economy. Republicans are positively giddy.

Mitt’s bravura performance proved beyond any doubt that he’s the quintessential department store mannequin. Change the window-dressing, change the man. He has no genuine core.

Last night his handlers dressed and prepped him to be Elmer Fudd in camo, out to stalk and bag that “wascally wabbit,” Obama.

And Mitt did. So eager to make his points, he flouted the rules by repeatedly refusing to let moderator Jim Lehrer speak and keep things on track, and even talking over Obama.

At one point, Mitt even had the nerve to say, “Mr. President, you’re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts.”

This from the man with 5 houses and several Cadillacs with their own elevator, representing the most fact-free political party in history.

Mitt was so stuffed with numbers (few of which contained his actual PLANS), they exploded from him on every topic.

Obama and Lehrer found themselves playing with a statistical piñata.

Had Obama sunk to responding tit for tat, they’d have been ping-ponging so many incomprehensible figures, the audience would have tuned out.

By trying to keep it simple, Obama came across as “weak.”

What’s indisputable is that Obama got VERY bad advice as far as not calling out Romney on his everlasting bullshit or bringing up anything he’s ever said or done that might embarrass him (like dissing the 47%, or decimating American companies like KB Toys and raising employment in China while at Bain).

And Romney pounced on and gleefully rolled in those concessions like a dog in shit.

It seems Romney thinks he’s running to be anointed king. In his first term…

  • He’ll repeal the Affordable Care Act, yet keep all the good parts — and replace the rest with WHAT?
  • He’ll lower taxes 20%, but eliminate loopholes and deductions (WHICH ones?) — which may result in tax INCREASES for the middle class.
  • He’ll to create 12 million “good-paying” jobs — HOW? Doing WHAT?

And Congress doesn’t exist in RomneyWorld. He’ll just wave his golden scepter and POOF! — instant Utopia where nobody’s unemployed, health insurers aren’t unfair, and the budget always balances.

Unfortunately, Obama handed Romney this one on a silver platter, and I hope today he’s kicking some of his re-election “experts” to the curb before they try to hog-tie and gag Joe Biden when he faces Paul Ryan on October 11.


Wayne Powell vs. Eric Cantor: The Debate

October 2, 2012

By Cole

Eric Cantor has finally met his match in Wayne Powell, a 61-year-old retired Army-Colonel-turned-lawyer with a son in Afghanistan who is making his first run for public office.

Last night Cantor agreed, for the first time in 10 of his 12 years in Congress, to deign to debate a challenger.

Here’s the full 1-hour debate on CSPAN2 (scroll in 10 minutes to bypass the introductory blah-blah).

If Eric Cantor lives to be 100, he’ll always seem like the 90-lb. nerd who minced through high school with his shiny white loose leaf binder under his arm, smugly thinking he had all the answers.

If this politics thing fizzles out for him, Cantor would be perfect for the cast of the Big Bang Theory.

Powell showed up with a rumpled legal pad and a lot of determination. He was direct, and by turns passionate, emotional, and indignant.

He displayed any normal person’s responses to Cantor’s infuriatingly empty, canned, often-hypocritical Republican bullshit.

Powell never stopped throwing punches (i.e., facts), while Cantor just smirked and danced around them. Cantor did everything but taunt, “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!”

The most telling moment came at 38:10 (watch this, if nothing else), when Powell was asked to pose a direct question to Cantor. Powell choked up a little asking Cantor why he voted for Congress to continue being paid during a possible government shut-down, while he voted AGAINST funding to pay the troops.

As expected, Cantor’s response was smarmy enough to get some audience boos, and he didn’t answer the question.

Cantor’s opening statement included faux concern for some fictitious “single mother in Goochland” that came off as smarmy and insincere as Romney’s current TV ads, where he claims to care about everybody.

Takeaway from the whole event: Wayne Powell is from Mars, Eric Cantor is from whatever planet Romney calls home.

Cantor has been elected to represent Virginia 7th District 6 freaking times. Let’s hope Wayne Powell tears the blinkers off voters so they can finally see that their interests are the LAST thing on Cantor’s mind.

In 2006, Virginia elected another non-politician, Senator Jim Webb (D), to stop another self-serving Republican, former-governor-turned-Senator George Allen.

Now we need Wayne Powell to rid Washington of Eric Cantor.

BONUS…

Compare the debate write-up by the conservative Richmond Times-Dispatch…

…To the Daily Kos, which didn’t feel compelled to pussy-foot around Cantor.


%d bloggers like this: