Chapter 118: COVID Chronicles

August 13, 2020

By Karen

Day 155

Tony’s Fundraising Update & Biden Picks a Mate

As of this minute, Tony is ON the 2021 RAL Calendar but in 12th place, and $20 short of 11th place. This contest has become as nerve-wracking as the Kentucky Derby in the stretch. A lot can happen in the final nine days.

Yesterday, one Cats Working reader’s donation qualified for the match, and that helped loads, so THANK YOU to her and everyone who has supported our Tony. Donations are accepted until August 22.

I hate to be a noodge, but Tony’s got a real shot at this. I know I’m biased, but of the top 12, I think Tony’s a standout in name and looks, and his calendar page (should he get one) will be stunning…

I tried to get a nice headshot of Roc this morning, and this is how he cooperated…

Now, on to politics. I hope every treacherous fat cat who got a job from Trump enjoys his last five months at the taxpayers’ trough, because once Biden and Harris take over in January, the heads start rolling in Washington.

I initially wanted Kamala Harris for attorney general so she’d have the satisfaction of prosecuting the entire Trump administration. But then Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin reminded me of Sally Yates, and she’d be just as ruthless as AG because of all the shit Trump and his GOP clown squad in Congress have put her through, so there’s that.

Now I’m thrilled Kamala has the opportunity to redirect her aggression toward Biden’s foes as viciously as she attacked Biden himself in the primary debates.

Comedian Lauren Mayer’s singing may not be Broadway (or even off-off-Broadway) caliber, but you’ve got to give her credit for lightning speed in composing lyrics to extol our future vice president…

Trump did himself no favors yesterday by holding a press conference where he delivered the same litany of lies and boasts and called COVID deaths “fatilities” — TWICE. Someone has figured out that his team isn’t even bothering to write him new material every day, because he always reads it as if he’s never seen it before…

I wonder if Kamala will goad Trump into dumping Pence for former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. There’s nothing Tump would like better than to watch two women mud-wrestle over him in the VP debate on October 7.

If Trump does shed Pence, I hope he saves the news as his nomination acceptance speech’s big reveal on August 27 so cameras can catch Pence’s adoring gaze melt into excruciating pain as Nikki Haley plants a stiletto on his instep clamoring for Pence’s place beside Trump.

It’s a relief to know who our weapons are, so now Democrats across the country can fully focus on crushing what’s left of Trump.

BONUS: Since Trump is toying with delivering his acceptance speech at Gettysburg because he’s developed this delusion of being greater than Abraham Lincoln, comedian JL Cauvin delivers the Gettysburg Address, Trump-style…

Special Message from Tony

August 11, 2020

By Tony

First, thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has already helped me raise funds to give cats (and dogs) who come to our alma mater, the no-kill Richmond Animal League, a chance at a good life. If your generosity makes me one of the top 12 fundraisers, I will be featured on a month in the 2021 RAL Calendar, which will not only show that Cats Working readers are the best, but it will also be a tribute to my namesake, Anthony Bourdain.

Right now, I’m in 14th place. So I’m close!

The humans running the 2021 RAL Calendar Contest announced today they have an anonymous donor who will match up to $2,500 in donations beginning at 10 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, August 12.

So, if you have been toying with donating, anything you give tomorrow will be matched and equal double votes for me. I and the pets this helps will be thankful for any amount you can spare.

Here’s where you can visit my page to make a donation.

Thought I’d just let you know.

PS: I love you all!

Chapter 116: COVID Chronicles

August 6, 2020

By Karen

Day 148

Tony Becomes Couch-Curious & Dreaming of a Trump–Lisbeth Salander Matchup

Tony’s over the moon that his post has raised $250 (Thank you!) in the Richmond Animal League’s 2021 Calendar Contest to help once-homeless dogs and kitties like Max, Roc and Tony get medical care and a second chance at life.

Tony hopes to be a top-12 fundraiser and get his name and face on a calendar page as a tribute to Anthony Bourdain. If you can help him by August 22 with a donation of any size, please do.

In the meantime, I think I need a bigger couch. Lately, Tony’s been angling for a spot, but Roc and Max aren’t giving an inch. This morning, Max wasn’t even in “the” coveted purple spot when Tony tested the water…

Now, to literature: When my friend Shelley told me about the Swedish crime novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, it didn’t sound like my kind of thing. But I read it and Lisbeth Salander, the “Girl,” has earned her place beside Jane Eyre, Jo March, Scarlett O’Hara and any other steely heroine you can name.

Larsson intended a 10-book “Millennium series,” but had only finished three, not yet published, when he died unexpectedly in 2004.

Films were made in Sweden of all three books, starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth…

What happened with the series after Larsson’s death between his long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson and his executors is an unfinished story in itself, which you can read about in the link above.

I thought no actress could compete with Noomi Rapace until an American Dragon Tattoo came out starring Rooney Mara…

Several years later, Americans filmed the third book, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, with Claire Foy, the softest incarnation of Lisbeth…

But back to the books. After Larsson’s nearly complete fourth novel and notes for others got tied up in squabbling, his publisher hired Swedish author and crime journalist David Lagercrantz to continue the series. He wrote three more and now says he’s finished. I’m reading his last book, The Girl Who Lived Twice, and it’s a shame because he has stayed true to the characters and added some great twists.

In the past week, I’ve also rewatched movies starring all three actresses. I’ve chosen Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth as best to deal with Trump.

A bit of backstory: Larsson’s original title, which was oddly translated to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was Män som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women). Being abused and tortured by misogynists all her life is what turns Lisbeth Salander into literature’s ultimate avenging badass.

My Salander-Trump match-up fantasy is a situation from the first book. Picture this:

Trump has been put in charge of Salander’s personal finances (that’s all you need to know). Before she can get an advance on her “allowance,” he forces her to give him a blowjob in his office. The next time she needs money, he invites her to his apartment. She expects more oral stuff, but he ties her up and violently rapes her.

Can you picture Trump doing that to a woman? Sure you can.

When she comes back AGAIN, he thinks she’s into him. Instead, she tasers him, strips him, trusses him up like a steer, and forces him to watch a secret video she filmed from her purse while he was attacking her. She threatens to use it to ruin him if he ever crosses her path again.

As a final touch, she tattoos, “I’M A SADIST PIG AND A RAPIST” in big, bloody, sloppy letters all over his chest.

Now that I think of it, this is probably something like Trump fears Putin will do to him if he ever makes a peep against Russia.

Lisbeth Salander, I wish you were real.

BONUS: When Trump called Yosemite National Park “Yo-Semite” and “Yo-Semin-ite”…

My sister Keri and her actor friend Dan Ruth made this parody, which Keri hopes will go viral…

DOUBLE BONUS: I just loved this scene of Hitler bemoaning Trump’s miserable crowd failure in Tulsa…

Chapter 115: COVID Chronicles

August 3, 2020

By Tony

Day 145

I’m a Philanthropist & Other FYIs About Me

Karen adopted me last year from the Richmond Animal League no-kill shelter and the rest, as they say, is history

Well, Karen has entered me in RAL’s 2021 Calendar Contest. She says I’m the most photogenic. Twelve animals who raise the most for RAL will get a professional photo shoot and appear on a month’s page.

I started in fourth place and was a shoo-in. But the competition is hot now with 110 contenders. Last time we checked, I’d dropped to 22nd. Some of these animals are AMAZINGLY well-networked (or rich) and have raised huge sums.

Max and Roc (and the late Adele, Cole and Yul) all came from RAL, so our ties run deep and we want to help RAL kitties be healthy and find forever homes.

We’re a little embarrassed to ask for your support because things are tough for everyone right now, but if you could help — even just a little bit — please visit my page and make a donation by August 22.

We’d appreciate that SO MUCH. If I can claw my way back into the top 12, having my name, Tony Bourdain, in the calendar will be a tribute to my namesake, and I’ll look totes adorbs doing it, right?…

As thanks, I’ll sharing some little-known personal facts about myself with you…

  • I don’t know how to be petted. Roc and Max take it like pros and even purr. But I I’ve got this habit of biting the petter. Not hard, but my teeth have a nervous tic.
  • On the other hand, I want to be petted. I sidle up to Karen and push my head under her hand until she gets it, then when she starts petting me, I bite her.
  • My litter box etiquette is impeccable. I squat to pee, always cover my business and I (usually) exit carefully to avoid litter scatter.
  • My favorite playmate these days isn’t Roc, but a rock. It’s red. When Karen threw away the dirt from her failed chives experiment, I pulled this rock from the bottom of the pot and we’ve been inseparable. I like how it skitters across the kitchen floor…

  • I’m into people cheese. When Karen makes a sandwich for lunch, my slice of turkey must come with crumbles of Havarti, Muenster, Swiss, Gruyere, Colby-Jack, Cheddar or even Feta. I’m not picky.
  • My next go-to people snack is shrimp. I’m also not averse to white meat rotisserie chicken.
  • I have a brother. We were brought to RAL together. That’s all I know about my family of origin.
  • I make requests with utmost delicacy. When Karen’s doing her daily steps in front of the TV and I’d rather she waved a stick toy for me, I’ll tap her shoulder from the kitty perch ever so lightly, no claws, and wear my most needy look when she turns around. Roc and Max just meow incessantly.
  • I’m the champion bug-hunter. Roc’s lethal if a bug throws itself at him, and Max is a pacifist, but I’m a HUNTER. My favorite catches, because they’re fast and try to flee three-dimensionally, are spiders, flies and the occasional wasp.
  • From my first night here, I’ve been obsessed with a blankie Karen considers an embarrassing failure. She crocheted it for Adele from thick baby yarn, but nothing about that idea worked out. It even got holes. But every night, Karen folds it beside her so I can knead and suckle it. (Yes, I still suckle. I lost my mom at 6 weeks, I’ve got issues.) To me, this blankie will always be beautiful…

Chapter 108: COVID Chronicles

July 14, 2020

By Karen

Day 125

Fridge is Full Again & Trump’s Got New Hairdo

I still have a few days’ worth of Chinese leftovers, but talk about states possibly going back into hard lockdown got me worried. I decided not to let the cupboard get any more bare and ventured over to Food Lion.

Turns out Tuesday morning is a great time to grocery-shop. No crowd at all. An employee gave me a sanitized cart as I entered and everyone wore masks (probably because the sign on the door said you can’t come in unless you do).

Two-fer deals were everywhere, so I stocked up more than I would have, such as with two jars of Kraft Light Mayonnaise that will probably get me to 2022. I also didn’t resist a small chocolate cake, Edy’s double chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, and some actual chocolate. Can never have enough chocolate in the house.

The tab broke all previous grocery records at $145, but I hadn’t shopped since June 13, so that really wasn’t too bad.

Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough, finally dropped this morning onto my iPad. In the prologue she describes 2017 when the whole family got comped to spend exactly one night at Trump’s D.C. hotel and was bused to the White House for exactly two hours to celebrate Trump sisters Maryanne and Elizabeth’s birthdays over lunch. They were first given a tour, where Trump bragged that he’d decorated the house “better” than when George Washington lived there.

However, the White House wasn’t finished until after Washington died. John Adams was the first resident. So many of Trump’s silly, pointless, self-aggrandizing lies are easily debunked with a quick Google search, yet his compulsion to spew them is chronic.

Mary also implores the media to stop discussing Trump’s “strategies” and “agenda” because he has none. She confirms that he lives minute to minute.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID BACK IN 2018. In fact, reading Mary’s book, I’m struck by our similarities in describing him; her voice has the added gravitas of a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Meanwhile, Trump’s deterioration continues. Yesterday, instead of giving him a podium to cling to, Trump’s White House handlers sat him at the end of a hallway (because he couldn’t stand without falling over?) to take reporters’ questions. He had this weird new thing going on with his hair, which it’s been reported he insists on styling himself. See if you can detect it. I’ve given you a little hint…

TV TIP: Last night I found a six-episode, one-off 2019 Britcom on Amazon Prime called Warren, starring Martin “Doc Martin” Clunes. This time he’s Warren Thompson, a curmudgeonly middle-class bloke, self-employed as a driving instructor, who lives in quaint Preston, Lancashire, with his nothing-special but loving girlfriend and her two teenage sons. I’m enjoying it. It’s fun to watch Clunes doing comedy, and he’s good at it. Here’s a sampling…

BONUS: This 20-years-published anniversary analysis of Anthony Bourdain’s life-changing (for him) book, Kitchen Confidential, is worth a read.

PS: I checked on Bourdain’s artwork auction, and it still stands at the $1,000 minimum, with no bids yet.

Chapter 105: COVID Chronicles

July 11, 2020

By Karen

Day 122

Bourdain & Jane (Eyre)

Lark Mason is auctioning through an ink drawing Anthony Bourdain did when he was about 20 years old. It’s called “Stay Calm”…

Bidding is underway if you’re interested, and runs until July 21. When I checked this morning, it was at $1,000.

What’s interesting is that Tony kept this drawing for four decades. Although he never talked about it, except to say that as a kid he wanted to illustrate comic books, he must have been proud of his art. He could capture the essence of things. Like his signature chef’s knife, which he drew for me, along with a self-portrait, in a few quick Sharpie strokes…

On the literary front, I read Jane Eyre in 10th grade English and loved it so much, I’ve tried to see every screen adaptation, starting with the 1943 Hollywood movie starring Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles. Welles as Rochester was so-so, but you can see from the movie poster how totally not-Jane Joan Fontaine was…

My all-time favorite Jane Eyre was a four-hour 1983 miniseries starring Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton, who has just the right roughly handsome ugliness. As did George C. Scott, who starred in the 1971 Jane Eyre with Susannah York, who was too old…

It’s been done many times. But last night I took in the 2011 Jane Eyre. Mia Wasikowska, who was a lousy Madame Bovary, was a perfect Jane. (But I still give “definitive” credit to Zelah Clarke).

Judi Dench had the small role of Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper. Mr. Rochester was Michael Fassbender.

The trailer looks like a horror movie. Even with a maniac in the attic, Thornfield is 24/7 too dark and spooky. There’s no Mrs. Poole to pique Jane’s suspicions. In fact, the question of WHAT’S in the attic is almost tangential in this one.

It begins in the middle, with Jane arriving half-dead (why?) on the doorstep of St. John Rivers. The central story is one big flashback and it takes most of the movie to loop back to why Jane ends up with Rivers.

It might be baffling to anyone who hasn’t read the book.

Poor Michael Fassbender, young and smooth, has to ask Jane this question from the book, which seems silly coming from him, “Do you think me handsome?” She’s forced to answer with a straight face, “No.”

Their chemistry is meh. For example, the night Jane saves Rochester from becoming Bertha BBQ in bed, he almost kisses her (prematurely at that stage of their acquaintance). But when Jane pulls back and leaves, Rochester doesn’t even look disappointed.

I got downright irate at my favorite scene, the proposal. Rochester and Jane are strolling through the sunny garden. He’s behind her when he says the line about feeling a cord connecting them, which would make it a leash. Their whole exchange is highly abridged, though it should be pivotal.

Here’s that same scene with Dalton and Clarke. Set and played perfectly, with the dialogue virtually book-verbatim…

I shouldn’t have been surprised when this movie botches the ending. Jane turns down St. John’s proposal to marry and be missionaries when she hears Rochester’s voice calling her on the wind and dashes back to Thornfield.

She finds Rochester has been burned out of Thornfield, but then there’s no mention that he’s blind and lost a hand and thinks Jane wants to be a nurse, not a wife, nor that they work out that misunderstanding so well, they eventually have a son.

It’s just, “They’re back together. Assume happily ever after. The end.”

If you’re into Jane Eyre, this is one to skip.

Chapter 89: COVID Chronicles

June 25, 2020

By Karen

Day 106

#BourdainDay News from the Home Front

Were Anthony Bourdain still with us, today would have been his 64th birthday. In 2019, his chef friends Eric Ripert and José Andrés began celebrating by designating June 25 #BourdainDay. All that’s required in recognition is to raise a glass or have a great meal that Tony might have loved — which is to say, do whatever makes you happy.

Restaurants all over are featuring specials in his memory. For example, Tojo’s in Vancouver is recreating the seven-course menu served when Bourdain visited in 2008, with a portion of proceeds going to Mind the Bar, a fund for local restaurant workers dealing with depression. Even in death, Bourdain still champions worthy causes.

GoTraveler posted a tribute consisting of early Bourdain TV clips that left me smiling. He was so exuberant when he and his earring embarked his globe-trotting adventure…

I met Anthony Bourdain’s wife Ottavia in November 2009 when several Cats Working readers and I gathered in Washington D.C. to attend the annual Capital Food Fight, which Tony was hosting with José Andrés…

Since then, Ottavia and I have occasionally touched base, and she graciously provided an update on how she and daughter Ariane are doing.

Ottavia’s parents live in Italy’s Lombardy region, which was the epicenter for COVID-19 there. Bourdain once filmed an episode of No Reservations featuring them and other members of Ottavia’s family. Fortunately, they have been able to stay healthy.

But Ottavia wasn’t so lucky. She’s gone back to school to study neurobiology (she had once studied dentistry in Italy before emigrating to the U.S.). In February, she got her EMT (emergency medical technician) license.

She told me she caught COVID-19 in mid-March, probably in school or on the bus, so her plans to begin volunteering as an EMT had to get scratched. Here’s what she told me about coronavirus:

“It was AWFUL. I wasn’t one of the worst cases and I managed to stay out of the hospital, mostly because I have a stethoscope and a pulse oximeter at home and I could check my lungs’ sounds and my oxygen concentration. It took me over three weeks to recover. I still have lingering issues.”

Ottavia is in her early 40s (her 1965 birthdate repeated all over the internet is wildly inaccurate). She describes this lingering aftereffect of COVID that I haven’t seen reported anywhere:

“I had completely lost my sense of smell and could barely taste anything. But things were getting much better until last week, when I started smelling a sinister scent. Like rotten carcass. I was sure there was a dead mouse in the apartment, although Eddie and Ariane couldn’t smell anything. I went on a hunt for hours. But then I realized that I could smell that scent in meat, tuna, coffee, body wash.

“I emailed my doctor, and turns out that many people who recovered from COVID-19, and had lost their sense of smell, are now, weeks later, suffering from parosmia, a distorted sense of smell. For some it’s so bad they can’t even eat because everything tastes like rotten meat.

“I’m sure this too will pass, but it’s a scary virus because there are still so many unknowns. It’s maddening to see how many people are nonchalant about it.”

Ariane and Eddie haven’t gotten sick, and Ariane even tested negative for antibodies, so somehow Ottavia managed to successfully quarantine while they were all living in the same apartment.

Ottavia has had a relationship with Eddie Cummings for several years. They met at Renzo Gracie’s Academy while practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I don’t know how much of a role, if any, BJJ still plays in their lives. Eddie is completing his master’s degree in applied mathematics and plans to go on to Ph.D. studies.

Ottavia is keeping busy with a lot of summer school classes. Last year she told me she wanted to study neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and would love to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical science.

Daughter Ariane is 13 now and studying for high school admission tests she’ll be taking in the fall. Can you believe how time flies?

It sounds like Ariane has some strong Bourdain genes. She’s already taller than Ottavia. She’s a straight A student. For hobbies, she’s into playing music and painting. Ottavia also reports that Ariane is a great writer.

Ariane is certainly old enough to surf the ‘net, and she does. And what she sometimes finds about her father is disturbing.

In case Ariane’s surfing ever brings her to Cats Working, I want to say that none of us know the full story after 2016. Only after Tony was gone did we learn he’d become deeply entangled in an explosive mess created by that woman he was dating. Had it come out while he was alive, it would have damaged his reputation and possibly ended his relationship with CNN. So, anything he did to keep that woman happy and quiet may have been to protect his own family, not because he preferred her.

Since this woman has never shown the slightest regard or respect for Tony’s family before or after his death, anything she puts online about him can only be construed as self-serving and possibly cruel by intent. She’s firmly established that’s how she rolls. Our only reasonable response is to ignore it and her.

I think I’ll be celebrating #BourdainDay later with a dirty martini. Cheers!

BONUS: has a series of links to amazing tattoos of Bourdain people have posted. Check them out.

Chapter 81: COVID Chronicles

June 17, 2020

By Karen

Day 98

Max vs. Roc Continues & Traces of Bourdain Still Cross My Path

Last night Roc claimed the couch, but Max got it back by threatening to sit on Roc’s rear end. Turns out, in addition to learning Adele’s “shred the bookcase for treats” signal, Max saved another page from her playbook, her signature “sit on it and make it disappear” move. Roc scooched right over, probably stunned. When I went to bed, this was their arrangement…

Last night I skimmed a marathon of Season 11 Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and happened on an episode where real estate agent Tracy presided over an estate sale for Rose McGowan.

Remember Rose? Asia Argento’s BFF and spokesperson when Anthony Bourdain died? It was Rose who announced (I paraphrase) that Asia and Tony were always free as birds in an open relationship. No one could possibly construe Asia’s paparazzi spread with another man the weekend before Bourdain killed himself as cheating.

For good measure, Rose added that Bourdain had refused to seek treatment for depression, whereas Asia had dispelled her demons so she could be a normal, well-adjusted mother to her children.

Like most things in Argento’s life, it seems, her alliance with McGowan soon crumbled, with Argento threatening a lawsuit. Argento also got cast out of the #MeToo movement she and McGowan shared as fellow Harvey Weinstein survivors after Argento’s alleged rape of an underage boy and subsequent payoff got anonymously leaked to The New York Times.

But back to the show: McGowan put on sale everything in her Hollywood Hills home (including personal possessions) to finance “her fight against Harvey Weinstein.” (McGowan also was facing a felony cocaine possession charge in Virginia). Tracy said McGowan left the States with only two suitcases. But somehow the little waif made it to Paris for Fashion Week while her effects were being sold March 3 and 4, 2018.

[I must still be seeking closure because I always timeline any Bourdain connection as BD (before death) or AD.]

So, approximately two months before Bourdain’s death, Rose McGowan had liquidated all her assets and gotten real tight with Argento, who just happened to have a  famous, wealthy and generous boyfriend. Hmm…

Bourdain died by hanging, but one might suspect he may have been trying to escape being consumed by leeches.

Which brings me to my other recent freaky Bravo TV-Bourdain connection: The Real Housewives of New York.

If you’ve never watched it, the only true words in the title are “New York.” They do all live in New York State. But none are housewives, nor are their lives, as portrayed on the show, particularly real.

With one possible exception: Write Leah McSweeney. McSweeney replaced Bethenny Frankel for Season 12, which is on right now. She whapped Argento and McGowan head-on with an article in Penthouse,Can We Talk About Toxic Femininity?” If you’ve never read it, please do. Or read it again. It’s still powerful.

Naturally, Argento threatened McSweeney with legal action if the article weren’t taken down, and McSweeney responded on Instagram.

Likewise, Leah rubs most of the housewives the wrong way because she’s 1) capable of complex and abstract thought beyond scheming to promote her brands, 2) genuine in her reactions, even obnoxious sometimes, and 3) two to three decades younger.

It’s been two years since Bourdain’s passing, yet as I watch TV — not even his shows — these little connections leading to unanswered questions keep popping up.

Chapter 72: COVID Chronicles

June 8, 2020

By Karen

Day 89

Zamir Marks Two Years Without Bourdain

#BourdainDay, as commemorated by Tony’s friends Eric Ripert and José Andres, isn’t officially until June 25 on what would have been Bourdain’s 64th birthday.

But Zamir Gotta, Tony’s Russian sidekick from many memorable adventures going all the way back to his first series, A Cook’s Tour, says today is Bourdain Day because it marks two years that we all learned Tony had killed himself in his hotel room in France. It’s still hard to accept.

And fans still have many of the same questions we were left with in 2018.

[You can visit the Cats Working June 2018 archive for several more posts on details as they emerged. July 2018 was about him as well, and a search on his name will uncover developments here and there ever since.]

No public memorial service was held in New York beyond the avalanche of notes and flowers left in front of Les Halles (since closed), the last restaurant where Bourdain worked before his TV career began.

I’ve never seen any word about the final resting place of his ashes, if there is one.

Restaurants worldwide ever since have held special dinners and other events, with many of the proceeds going to suicide prevention. Artists have drawn murals. Here’s a great example on the side of a building in Fishtown, Philadelphia, by @jespaints in August 2019…

Here’s a video about a massive mural done by artist Krystal Cooke in Flint, Michigan, last year.

Some of Tony’s furniture, books, manuscripts, art and personal belongings were auctioned off to fund the Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship at his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America. The auction raised nearly $2 million — FAR more than anyone expected. His custom-made chef’s knife alone fetched $231,500.

This past January, Tony’s mother Gladys passed away at age 85, leaving only his younger brother Chris and daughter Ariane as surviving blood relatives.

I wonder how Bourdain would have coped with self-quarantine and travel being internationally shut down during COVID-19. I think he would have kept busy writing, editing others’ books for his Ecco imprint, and planning his own future projects. He would have recognized that his TV career as he knew it was probably over, or could evolve in a restricted way he’d find unworkable.

He might have well have seen this pandemic as a blessing and an opportunity to change course, since he seemed to be so bone-tired near the end.

And how would he have supported today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement? You know he’d be all in for fighting Trump’s never-ending attacks on immigrants and every American who isn’t rich, white, racist and male.

We can only imagine what a force for good he would have been.

Let’s Compare COVID-19 Notes

March 28, 2020

By Karen

I’ll start… I have no symptoms except a pollen cough, but I’ve been home since March 12, leaving only twice for provisions. With 12 rolls of Wegman’s toilet paper that usually last six weeks or more, I’m feeling pretty well-stocked.

As a freelancer who’s worked at home since 2002, I confess it feels like the world has come down to my level. I can easily go six days without leaving the house. Last year, squirrels took advantage of this to leisurely chew my Saturn’s fuel line to bits.

But even with abnormally high tolerance for solitude, I’m thankful for the cats. Roc’s the only one who’s been acting a little off, more clingy than usual. He’ll meow like a maniac if I’m out of his sight too long.

Tony at nearly 10 months old has taken up the hobby of bannister-walking. Here he is, high above my head, strolling along the balcony that overlooks  my living room.

Last weekend I tried to order dinner from China Taste, my nearest takeout, but for the first time ever, they were closed. Was it because our Racist-in-Chief was whining about the “Chinese Virus” and they feared backlash?

Yesterday I hit my limit with what I’ll take from Trump. The vile sight and sound of that subhuman creature makes my blood boil, so his daily victory laps/lie marathons will no longer air in this house. Besides, it scares the cats when I scream obscenities at the TV.

That also goes for all political pundits who ask what Trump “meant,” or why he “contradicted” himself. All future discussion of the verbal diarrhea spewing from Trump’s mouth and Twitter feed needs to focus on his rotting mind and the need to remove and permanently silence him. Period.

Trump untethered is on track to kill a good chunk of the population. I’m thankful that my governor, Ralph Northam, is a Democrat and a physician. Trump won’t bully Virginia into doing anything stupid.

Do you ever wonder what Anthony Bourdain would be doing if he were still with us? I think he’d probably be holed up in New York to be near his daughter, but going stir-crazy. Parts Unknown would have become Future Unknown.

I like to think he’d keep busy writing. Maybe finish that novel he started years ago. Essays. Blogs. Another graphic novel about Jiro. Edit some manuscripts for his Ecco imprint.

This would have forever changed Bourdain’s globetrotting career, and perhaps ended it. He might be fine with that, even welcome the reason to stop, since it seemed he had lost the thrill of travel.

Speaking of travel hosts, Andrew Zimmern has moved to MSNBC with a new show, What’s Eating America. He’s trying really, really hard to fill Tony’s shoes and I give him an A for effort, but there will never be another Bourdain.

I just binge-watched two seasons of the Netflix series, The Kominsky Method, with Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. If you like Curb Your Enthusiasm, you’ll love it. I laughed out loud many times.

Reading on my iPad, I’m nearly through Rick Wilson’s Running Against the Devil (previous book, Everything Trump Touches Dies). It’s an often hilarious, but serious, user manual for Democrats on how to beat Trump, but coronavirus has called off all bets. With “luck,” Trump shoveling the U.S. into its worst recession with the highest preventable death toll in history will doom that bastard in November.

Next on my reading list is Woody Allen’s new memoir, Apropos of Nothing. I’ve always been a Woody fan, always will.

So tell me, what have you been doing to cope during this nightmare? Let’s keep in touch here since we’re all in this together.

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