Trump’s Gaslight Strategy Doomed to Backfire

July 13, 2017

By Karen

Did you ever see that movie, Gaslight? Charles Boyer tries to drive Ingrid Bergman mad by moving and hiding things, telling her that all her perceptions are wrong, and accusing her of losing touch with reality until she’s reduced to a basket case.

Boyer’s despicable behavior is a recognized thing called “gaslighting.” Merriam-Webster defines it as…

“To attempt to make (someone) believe that he or she is going insane (as by subjecting that person to a series of experiences that have no rational explanation).”

Donald Trump has been trying to gaslight the whole United States.

In the latest attempt, the New York Times poked the administration’s smoldering tire fire until it sparked into Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain documenting his eagerness to hear the Russian government’s dirt on Hillary Clinton — with invitations to Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort to listen in.

We’ve lost count of all the shady meetings between Trumpers and Russians we now know about, but finally there’s rock-solid proof in black and white that the Trump campaign wanted Russia’s help.

I think Junior was more stupid than evil. He doesn’t consider Russians an enemy because they’ve supported his family for years. Quoting from a story in Time magazine…

“‘Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,’ Trump’s son, Donald Jr., said at a real estate conference in 2008, according to a trade publication, eTurboNews.”

Trump Sr. praised Junior for his “transparency” in releasing his emails in true gaslight style, omitting Junior’s longstanding lies and denials about his Russian connections.

Now Trump calls the whole matter “fake news.”

Uh, when the evidence is written, and the guy who wrote and published it says it’s authentic, it’s called REAL news. And it doesn’t help Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

Trump probably doesn’t care if Manafort gets toasted; he quit the campaign and made millions from Russians. But Kushner faces serious jail time, and spoiled, baby-faced brats typically don’t thrive in the big house.

You know Trump never read the emails himself nor, if he had, grasped how damning they are. He mistakenly believed if Junior tossed them out there with a defiant, “Now what are you going to do about it?” they would sink into oblivion because Junior doesn’t work in government and he can play with whomever he likes.

But Junior’s role in dad’s campaign may make them something criminal. Lawyers will figure that out.

So, trying to gaslight every U.S. intelligence agency, Trump now claims that Putin really wanted Hillary to win because she’d weaken the military. He doesn’t try to make even a little bit of sense anymore.

Whenever it finally penetrates Trump’s skull that precious Jared is in serious doo-doo thanks to Junior, he’ll be turning up the gas full-blast and Junior may realize Dad has a favorite — and it isn’t him.

That may drive Junior straight into the arms of another father figure, Robert Mueller, which can only be a good thing.

When the truth comes out, this nightmare ends, and justice is served, imagine Charles Boyer as Trump in his last desperate moments and Ingrid Bergman as the American people who are fed up with his games…


Bourdain’s Got a Bone in the Throat: the Movie

March 20, 2015

By Karen

Not all fans may know that Anthony Bourdain was a chef/moonlighting novelist before he hit bestsellerdom with his nonfiction restaurant exposé, Kitchen Confidential, in 2000.

Bourdain published his first crime novel, Bone in the Throat, in 1995, followed in 1997 by another one, Gone Bamboo.

Over the past few years, Bourdain’s career hit critical mass and now he’s on a roll, with one success after another. I knew he’d arrived when his birthday appeared last year in the “Born This Day” list of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Anyway, actor Ed Westwick plays Will Reeves (called Tommy Pagana in the book), an aspiring chef who works under this guy, whom I don’t believe ever gets named…

The chef, the tallest one, was pale and thin, with long brown hair that curled out from under his chef’s hat. He held a copy of Larousse Gastronomique and was turning the pages furiously. He wore the hat high on his forehead and pulled straight back like a skullcap. A cigarette dangled from his mouth.

In chapter 18, we get more description of this chef…

His face in the bathroom mirror was pale and bloodless. Tiny pupils floated around in watery, bloodshot eyes. His thick brown hair was too long, sticking up at odd angles, and his sideburns were uneven…. One tooth was missing on the right side, but you couldn’t see it; there was one crumbling molar on the left, also invisible to the casual observer, and a chipped eyetooth.

The chef moved his eyes down over his naked, bony chest: protruding ribs, the stomach that was showing the beginnings of a paunch. He examined his arms. There were no tracks to speak of, only a small, yellowish bruise in the crook of his left arm.

Remind you of anyone we know?

Well, I’m sure the paunch must be gone since he took up MMA and lost 30 lbs., and his arms are now covered with tattoos.

The story for the movie was transported from Manhattan to London’s East End for some reason, and premiered March 14 at a film festival at the Alamo Ritz in Austin, Texas. Here’s the trailer…

The Austin Chronicle gave it a positive review.

Variety, not so glowing.

The movie’s official website includes some recipes, although food isn’t a central character.

I doubt this flick will ever make it to a Richmond screen, but that gives me time to reread the book before I get my hands on it.

Having read both novels years ago, I remember little about the plots. But I do recall laughing out loud at Bourdain’s sharp dialogue and vivid, witty descriptions of the seedy gangster underworld his imagination dwelled in.

Diving back into his fiction is one task on my To-Do list that I eagerly look forward to doing.


Only One Appropriate Response to North Korea

December 19, 2014

By Cole

Does North Korea’s childish hijacking of the satirical comedy, The Interview, remind anybody else of that annual Dr. Seuss holiday special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

If you’ll recall, the big, bad Grinch whose heart was two sizes too small crept into the village of Whoville on Christmas Eve and stole all the trees, decorations, and presents.

And what did the Whos do when they woke up robbed? They celebrated Christmas anyway.

As Americans, we need to take a page from the Whos’ playbook.

Granted, The Interview’s best moments may have already been shown in the promo clips before Sony shelved the film. But since when do we let a Kim Jong-un tell us what’s entertainment?

Or cower at a threat from faceless hackers that reads like a satire of itself:

Warning

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.

Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.

The world will be full of fear.

Remember the 11th of September 2001.

We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.

(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)

Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

All the world will denounce the SONY.

More to come…

George Clooney is right. If we let North Korea win this point, where does it end? We might as well shelve the First Amendment.

The movie chains and Sony need to grow a pair and release The Interview on Christmas Day — in theaters, on DVD, and on demand. And movie-goers should make like Whos and watch it — and laugh even at the lame parts.

If Kim Jong-un can’t find it in that shriveled little raisin he calls a heart to laugh with us, then we can laugh at him.

PS to the hackers: If you want Americans to take your threats seriously, learn English.


Bourdain to Jump Ship to CNN

May 29, 2012

By Karen

I haven’t written about Anthony Bourdain lately because No Reservations is leaving me meh, but attention must be paid to today’s announcement that No Res is wrapping up after current Season 8 and he’ll be leaving Travel Channel after filming one more season of The Layover. In 2013 he’ll begin a Sunday prime-time series on CNN and become a domestic and international commentator.

Here at Cats Working, we’ve been saying for a long time that he’s too good for TC, but I’m not sure CNN is good enough for Bourdain. What do you think?

This just in (5/30): The CNN arrangement calls for Bourdain to produce 8 shows in 2 seasons each year, or a total of 16 episodes. Will an 8-week “season” be enough to  hook viewers so they’ll remember to return 6 months later for more? Hmmm…

Bizarre Food’s Andrew Zimmern, who’s been lately talking like Bourdain’s mini-me, must be giddy at the prospect of inheriting Tony’s crown as the “grand old man” of TC.

CNN’s news release describes Tony’s as-yet-unnamed program as one that “will be shot on location and examine cultures from around the world through their food and dining and travel rituals.”

I certainly hope this implies something more substantive than another opportunity for Tony to globe-trot, eat, drink, and shoot his mouth off.

Will CNN try to rein in Bourdain’s tendencies to stir up controversy? At last weekend’s Great GoogaMooga Festival in Brooklyn, Tony talked about doing unspeakable (if well-deserved) things to Dick Cheney and expressed a desire to soak an Olive Garden in gasoline so he could burn it to the ground over its pasta-cooking techniques.

Apparently, he’s forgotten the heartfelt review of the new Grand Forks Olive Garden that got him so misty-eyed, he handed a publishing deal to its 85-year-old author that’s probably doomed to produce a book to make Garrison Keillor seem like a pornographer in comparison.

Gothamist did a good job of putting Tony’s kind gesture into its proper Photoshopped perspective.

Tony’s long-awaited graphic novel, Get Jiro! is finally coming out July 3.

And someone is adapting his first novel, Bone in the Throat, into a movie.

Bourdain received an honorary Clio Award on May 15. I congratulate him, but I’m still trying to wrap my head around the rationale behind it.

I’d say Bourdain’s career has hit critical mass. Like Paula Deen, whatever he touches, whether past, present or future, is destined to turn to gold.

Speaking of Paula, Tony tried to clarify that he objects to her misleading fans and profiting richly from diabetes, while Paula and her kids disingenuously spin it that Bourdain blames her for having diabetes.

BONUS…

A few other things I’ve collected that may interest you:

Tony told Eater he’s still considering the year-in-Vietnam book, but opened the possibility of relocating it to Italy. YES, YES! Eater “gets” Tony, and their interview is well worth reading. In 2 parts.

Here are the first batch of books Tony has chosen to publish under his new Ecco imprint.

Ottavia’s become a celebrity in her own special niche. Here’s are some links to video interviews on how she got into MMA.


Dark Shadows Movie: DOA

May 12, 2012

By Karen

I hated the comical advertisements for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie, but I couldn’t stay away opening day.

I should have.

I’m not doing spoilers, but will say this DS was neither an homage nor a mockery of the show. Rather, it’s a cynical hijacking of well-known, beloved characters, locations, and plotlines that enabled Burton & Co. to skip creating their own.

I don’t care what fans they’ve claimed to be. They obviously didn’t know the basics–right down to the name of servant Willie Loomis.

Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith doesn’t know sh** about vampires. Since when do their fingers grow when they turn? And walk freely in daylight with sunglasses and umbrellas (á la Michael Jackson)? And not notice themselves bursting into flame in direct sunlight?

Johnny Depp’s decision to play Barnabas Collins channeling Nosferatu doomed the movie. When the “real” Barnabas (Jonathan Frid) was freed from his coffin in a new century, he noted changes in people’s behavior, speech, and dress, and did his best to fit in—albeit with a suave and courtly Old World flair. The FIRST thing he would have done was CUT HIS DAMN FINGERNAILS.

Depp’s Halloweeny white greasepaint with black eye sockets and cheeks made it impossible to believe that Victoria Winters—or even the witch Angelique—could be attracted to him.

And speaking of Victoria, the governess. As the reincarnation of Barnabas’ love, Josette, Bella Heathcote was woefully miscast. She looks about 12 and they dressed her like a child, so in her scenes with the boyishly-built Depp, they looked like 6th-graders. Zero sexual chemistry.

Eva Green played Angelique as sexually agressive trailer trash in designer labels. Her centuries-old beef with Barnabas drove the whole story, but Depp’s goofy looks killed whatever sparks might have been there.

Helena Bonham Carter had to play Dr. Julia Hoffman as a boozer for no reason, and her growing co-dependency with Barnabas got no screen time, so her behavior just seemed shallow and wacky.

I’ll give credit to Michelle Pfeiffer, who played matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. She lacked Joan Bennett’s regal presence, but she didn’t make the character ridiculous.

The overall film was extremely dark. The comic bits used in the ads were forced and fell flat.

This could have been a good movie if Depp hadn’t made Barnabas a buffoon. He even carried an cheap wooden knockoff of Barnabas’ elegant brass wolf’s head cane.

The original Dark Shadows’ may have had cheesy production values, but the actors gave it something this film, with its multimillion-dollar budget, utterly lacked—heart and class.

Depp and Burton had a chance to resurrect the franchise for original fans and a new generation, but they blew it. Big-time.


Too Bad Natalie Wasn’t Made of Wood

November 21, 2011

By Adele

If she had been, she might have stayed afloat until someone answered her cries for help — because God knows the man she married — twice —Robert Wagner, wasn’t going to do it. He didn’t even identify her body once it was found.

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the 30-year-old suspicious drowning case of Natalie Wood has been re-opened. It was the freaking lead story on the NBC Nightly News. (Shame on you, Brian Williams!)

Dennis Davern, captain of Natalie’s yacht, Splendour — a.k.a. “world’s worst TV interviewee” (ask David Gregory, whose attempts to get Davern to make a point on the Today Show failed utterly) — co-wrote a book about it in 2009. Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour must not have made enough of a, uh, splash, because Davern’s out there trying to churn things up again without actually saying anything.

Natalie was on her boat with Robert Wagner and her co-star in Brainstorm at the time, Christopher Walken (who has now lawyered up), when an argument started, possibly over an alleged affair between Natalie and Walken.

Walken went to bed while Natalie and Wagner continued to fight. There had been a lot of drinking all evening.

At some point, Natalie, in a flannel nightgown, socks, and a jacket, went over the side. She was deathly afraid of the water.

Wagner knew it, and Captain Davern says Wagner told him not to turn on the searchlight and check the water when Davern realized Natalie was missing.

WHY NOT?

There were only so many places on that boat Natalie could go. Did Wagner think she’d hopped into bed with Walken? Did he hope to punish her by letting her tread water for a while?

Or in the heat of battle, did he push her, and fear how she’d spin it if she lived to tell about it?

The police are now saying Wagner still isn’t a suspect, although he was the last one with Natalie.

I’m not saying Robert Wagner intended to drown Natalie Wood, but he knows exactly what happened and he knows what he DIDN’T do to save her.

Robert Wagner needs to come clean. If the police can’t bring themselves to get answers out of him, then they should stop wasting taxpayer money to help the perp get away with it — AGAIN.


Mister Ed, Movie Star

November 16, 2011

By Adele

Karen left us cats in charge today with orders not to generate controversy, so I’m sharing the best news I’ve heard since Sarah Palin finally admitted she’s not running for president.

Fox 2000 is going to make a feature film of the 1960s hit TV series starring my favorite horse, Mister Ed.

Back in 2004, someone tried to revive Mister Ed as a TV series — with a few changes. For example, they named the owner Wilbur Pope, which was the name originally used, but changed to Wilbur Post after the pilot episode.

Also, in the 2004 series the Popes had a son, which the Posts never did. Wilbur and Carol were newlyweds when the series began.

And in a breathtaking stroke of miscasting, the voice of Mister Ed was to be none other Sherman Helmsley, a.k.a. George Jefferson. So apparently they envisioned Mister Ed 2004 as a jive-talking turkey.

Mister Ed himself was never cast, and the whole project fell through.

In this new movie, they say Mister Ed will have a computer-generated mouth. I don’t know if it’s because Hollywood thinks today’s horses are stupid, or because computer jockeys are cheaper to hire than horse trainers.

The animated mouth cop-out only makes the original Ed’s achievement all the more amazing. Watch him in his opening credits…

Here’s some Ed trivia: Alan Young (Wilbur) made up the story that they used peanut butter to make Ed’s mouth move. They really put a loose piece of nylon thread in his lips to tickle them so Ed would try to dislodge the thread.

But by the end of the first season, Ed had figured out he was supposed to “talk” whenever the camera was running and Wilbur stopped talking. In the second season, Ed was mouthing his own dialogue. They had someone crouching off-camera to tap Ed on the leg as a cue to STOP talking.

And it only took Ed’s trainer about 15 minutes to teach Ed any of the physical stuff he did. Once Ed learned the stunt, he always performed it perfectly. Alan Young once said (and I paraphrase) that Ed made him a better actor because if Young fluffed his lines and caused several retakes, Ed would begin to think it was something he was doing wrong and he’d start improvising.

Bonus: Ed’s real name was Bamboo Harvester. He died in 1970, 4 years after the show went off the air, at the age of 21, from an accidental overdose of tranquilizer given by a temporary caregiver. On the show he played an 8-year-old, but he was actually 12 when filming started.


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