Review: Lightning Doesn’t Strike Twice for ZPZ with “Nomad”

May 19, 2022

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain set the bar so high for travel series, I wonder if we should retire the format for a generation, like a super-athlete’s sports jersey, after watching Zero Point Zero’s Nomad with Carlton McCoy on CNN.

I feel sorry for Bourdain’s heir. Carlton McCoy is tracing incredibly deep tracks without the experience or maturity to either fill or reshape them.

Scheduling Nomad at 10 p.m. (ET) Sunday, CNN did McCoy no favors because he follows Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. After an hour of Tucci charm, sophistication, wit and easy Italian banter in gorgeous settings, McCoy barely stands a chance.

I’m speaking with generational bias. McCoy is 37, with a shaved head, one of those itchy-looking stubble-beards, and tats all over. His personality reminds me of Rick Steves, and not in a good way.

McCoy’s quick backstory: Father Black, mother Jewish, but raised in the Pentecostal church of his paternal grandmother. Grew up in Washington D.C.’s tough, underprivileged Southeast section. Bounced around high schools, but managed to graduate with a scholarship to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America).

While working in restaurants, he studied wine and became a master sommelier. Only 5% who take it pass that exam, and there are fewer than 300 master sommeliers in the world.

He brings to the show a chef’s knowledge of food and what makes a good wine pairing. So far, that’s about it.

Remember Bourdain’s voiceover opening to No Reservations?

“I’m Anthony Bourdain. I write, I travel, I eat, and I’m hungry for more.”

This is McCoy’s…

“I’m a nomad, driven to move in and out of different cultures, different worlds. We celebrate diversity by embracing what makes us both unique and the same. After all, we carry our travels with us to our next destination. That’s what life is all about. Let’s do this.”

OK, wake up, I’m not finished!

Like Bourdain, McCoy’s voiceover is clear (more on that in a minute), but the content is as personally insightful and humorous as a book report about the dictionary.

Nomad’s inaugural episode is Paris, a place McCoy has visited before. The B-roll included all the usual tourist sights. The show wraps at Elysée Palace (the French White House), where McCoy talks to one of President Emmanuel Macron’s chefs.

But to its credit, for most of the episode, McCoy is in the seedier outer arrondissements, the banlieues parisiennes or No Go zones.

Nomad emphasizes the new, the next generation, with little acknowledgement of origins. Cultural context was Bourdain’s forte, thanks to his insatiable study of literature and film.

Nomad feels like early No Reservations. The camera work is safe and competent, and scenes tick the usual boxes…

  • Bowl of noodles at hole in the wall
  • Famous chef cooking in Michelin starred restaurant
  • Host strolling the streets

In the second episode, Korea, McCoy meets up with an old CIA classmate, and they immediately hit Seoul’s open-air market, including a meal of blood sausage and chicken feet washed down with local booze and beer.

Has your déjà vu alarm gone off yet?

When McCoy leaves Seoul for the countryside, they load the car with hard-sided, unscuffed luggage.

OK, that’s something new.

I can’t remember ever seeing Bourdain’s luggage. He wanted us to think he could and did go anywhere with just a carry-on. Stanley Tucci probably has steamer trunks for his impeccable wardrobe, but he’d never show them.

In the third episode, McCoy travels back to D.C. and hangs out with old friends, relatives and teachers. It seemed far too early in the series for him to be showing us his roots.

At the end, I expected to see Bourdain’s crew all over the credits, but there were only Chris and Lydia as executive producers. On second thought, new names mean Tony’s crew has moved on, and I’m glad. They reached the Emmy pinnacle for cinematography and writing, so going back to scratch with a noob would have been unthinkable.

With time, McCoy will probably grow into the job. But if he gets a second season, ZPZ must address his sloppy diction. His conversations almost need subtitles. His voice isn’t distinctive and he speaks too fast and slurs his words.

One other beef: He needs to lose that ridiculous New York Yankees baseball cap that screams, “I’m a dumbass American tourist!”

In the remaining season, McCoy travels to Ghana, Toronto and Mississippi. If you want more details on his early life, I found this excellent article by Amiee White Beazley.


What’s Been Up at Cats Working

November 19, 2021

By Karen

Virginia FINALLY cooled off and now the leaves are falling like mad. The acorns are crazy, too, so it’s like walking on marbles to go anywhere in the yard.

My house sprung a new quirk in the form of a weird tapping in the living room wall behind the TV. It had some intelligence because it would stop if I walked near it or went out on the deck or into the crawlspace to investigate. But I never saw anything.

The pest control guy I hired also heard it but couldn’t find the source, so he left some chemicals. I haven’t heard it for two days since then, so whatever it was may have moved on or died.

Speaking of the deck, one of my house’s good qualities is how high it is. This is the view from the deck. It feels like living in a treehouse…

Last night I was too tired to cook, so I popped this Lean Cuisine into the microwave…

The instructions were a little weird — 9 minutes at 50% power. I watched TV in the living room while waiting for the microwave to ding, but it just kept running and running and running.

Eventually, I realized something was wrong and this is what I found. These meals never look like what’s on the box, but this was ridiculous…

The timer showed 66 minutes left at 50% power. I must have accidentally punched in 90 instead of 9, so I’m glad it was only at half-power or I might have burned the house down.

But I know you’re dying to for cat news, so enough about me. The other morning, Tony toyed with being a tabby…

“Do these stripes make me look fat?”

He’s also been enjoying some fresh brown paper from Chewy.com delivery. He thinks it’s an invisibility cloak…

“You can’t see me, right?”

Lately, Max has been spending nights on my bed, but his favorite spot is between my legs, which means I can’t move. So, I relocated from the living room a cat bed they’ve all ignored for ages. Max actually slept in it the first night and made it the hottest new ticket in town. The next morning, Roc relinquished his claim on his own favorite bed to Tony so he could grab Max’s spot…

The following morning right after breakfast, guess where I found Tony staked out?…

Tony wouldn’t budge even after Roc showed up. Roc often bullies Max, but he knows better than to mess with the Tonester…

Almost forgot. Back in October for my birthday, my sister gave me this personalized mat. You’ll notice the kitties on it are furatomically correct…


Unfoodie Survives Pre-Colonoscopy Diet — Just Barely

April 26, 2021

By Karen

Since a recent commenter has handed my ass to me for being an idiot to receive the foul, disreputable Johnson & Johnson vaccine, let me preface this post by saying I realize my colonoscopy angst is pure First World kvetching and I do feel guilty about it, considering the world’s hunger epidemic.

I’ve got to type fast, because in 30 minutes I must pop my first two Dulcolax tablets to enter the final stage of prep.

I’ve had three colonoscopies before, but this time my doctor’s practice surprised me by throwing in this five-day “no-fiber pre-colonoscopy diet.” So, as of last Thursday, my life, which has already been a mind-numbing hamster wheel of Groundhog Days thanks to a year of pandemic lockdown, took a turn for the worse.

First, let me show you my produce bin…

NOTHING I would normally put in there, like tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, is on this diet. I was allowed to eat vegetables if they were cooked to vomitous mush, but I took a pass on that.

These are only the highlights because the monotony of my meals would put you to sleep. This dinner was flounder and mashed potatoes…

I always leave the skin on potatoes because I loathe peeling them, so I made enough for leftovers. But I haven’t touched them because I lost interest. And I REALLY love potatoes.

Another dinner was pasta with little olive oil and butter, topped by feta cheese…

I’m so used to chewy whole-grain pasta now, this white pasta had the texture of slimy erasers.

Last night I had shrimp and rice…

For breakfast one day, I had scrambled eggs, sourdough toast and canteloupe…

This next was my most colorful meal. Croissant, hard-boiled egg, and peaches…

Most days I skipped lunch, but did make this grilled gouda and cheddar cheese on sourdough with Lays White Cheddar Poppables on Saturday…

I only ate half of it because I lost interest. And I REALLY love cheese.

For desserts and snacks, I had pound cake and banana…

Baked Lays potato chips…

White cheddar cheese crackers…

And Danish butter cookies…

Have you noticed that the entire color spectrum of this food is white to pale orange? No fiber = no color. No spice. Minimal flavor.

Last night I whipped up a double batch of lemon Jell-O, the only “solid” I’m allowed today. I’ll probably end up feeding that to the garbage disposal because I hate Jell-O.

Well, I just popped my Dulcolax. In an hour when I start choking down Lemon-Lime Gatorade laced with Miralax, it’s going to get really ugly around here.

What keeps me going is the thought that this will finally be over in 24 hours and I can start weaning myself back onto real food with color. Like strawberries and blueberries and red potatoes and tomatoes and anything green.

PS: The hospital did call me about the COVID-19 test, which I did in a drive-by on Friday. I haven’t heard anything, so I’m assuming no news is good news and the J&J vaccine has been doing its job, evil creators notwithstanding.

Wish me luck!


Tony Has Picked a Role Model

February 22, 2021

By Karen

Now about 20 months old, our Tony (a.k.a. RAL’s “Mr. July”) is growing up. I’m watching him morph from a scatterbrained kitten into a cat who’s trying to figure out and find his place on the crew.

Last night — I’m pretty sure for the first time — Tony glued himself ALL night to me in bed, even though it wasn’t particularly cold, which is what usually motivates their cuddling. If I moved, he’d scooch closer to maintain full contact. He’s always come and gone at night, sometimes not showing up at all, and I have no idea where else he sacks out.

During the day, he still won’t sit with me for more than a few seconds, and doesn’t like being petted if he sees my hand coming. But he’s still enough of a daredevil to have taken a few falls recently. The first one was totally my fault.

We were in the bathroom. I was facing away from the toilet when he jumped onto the seat as a step up to the sink. When I turned around, I accidentally knocked him into the toilet (it had been flushed).

Adele did that once when she was a kitten. She was in and out in one move and splashed everywhere.

But Tony was nonchalant, probably because he likes playing in water. He calmly pulled himself out and scampered off like nothing happened.

Next, we were having nightly TV time when Tony fell off the second beam. He was alone up there, so he wasn’t pushed. I heard scrabbling above and he flew past just as I turned my head, coming down in front of the lamp. We took this later, just to show you the logistics…

A straight trajectory would have landed him in the kitty fountain, but he bounced off the end table and hit the carpet in a crouch beside the fountain. He was dazed enough to let me pick him up and make sure he was OK. And it didn’t scare him off that beam…

“They say when you fall off a horse or a beam, you should get right back on.”

Speaking of the end table, I had put a blanket there when Max was using it as a hangout, so Tony didn’t hit a hard edge in his fall. Now that blanket is Tony turf. After dinner, Tony often spends his entire evening by me on the table instead of taking his evening siesta in the bedroom…

“It’s impossible to take a bad picture of me, right?”

It was when he started doing that, that I realized he’s taking cues from Max, even though Max shows not the slightest interest in Tony. It started at Christmas when Tony began bogarting Max’s favorite beanbag bed on the Man Cave couch. Max now mostly refuses to sleep there.

Natural leader that Roc is, you’d have thought Tony would look up to him, but maybe he realizes Roc is too much of a bad boy. They do spend the most time together, but mainly to use each other as punching dummies.

Max, after losing his Man Cave bed, claimed the living room bed overlooking the deck. Now Tony takes that whenever Max leaves and is even trying to ingratiate himself with Max’s faithful Catty(pillar)!

“I’ll have Catty eating out of my paw soon. No bug can resist my charms.”

Tony’s hero worship is not going unnoticed by Max. He’s done a few interesting things himself since this started, but I’ll save those for Thursday.

Here’s one last pic of the little man, plotting his next move…

BONUS: In my continuing series on misleading in frozen dinner packaging, here’s one from Boston Market. Except for the gravy being browner, I think it looks suspiciously like Stouffer’s Swedish Meatballs


A Peek Inside My Notebook

February 8, 2021

By Karen

No theme is gelling for me today on Trump 2nd Impeachment Eve, but I’ve got bits and pieces I’ve been meaning to share, so let’s hit those…

First, the Super Bowl. As always, it was so far off my radar, I didn’t know who was in it until Saturday. That’s also when I learned Tom Brady isn’t a Patriot anymore — not that any Trump-loving, alleged ball-deflating cheater ever could be, except in football.

Needless to say, I didn’t watch one second of it. After seeing the 31–9 final score this morning, Kitten Bowl VII on Hallmark we did watch must have had more action and less ego.

Am I mistaken, or haven’t all Super Bowls in recent memory been low-score, over-hyped nothingburgers? Why waste hours watching commercials interspersed with guys inflicting brain damage on each other during those rare moments they’re actually doing anything.

If you asked me tomorrow who played in this game, I can promise you I will have already forgotten.

&

I checked out the new SyFy series Resident Alien, described in the TV promo as “the small-town murder mystery doctor dramedy Earth needs right now.” Here’s the network’s blurb…

“An alien crash lands on Earth [in Patience, Colorado] and must pass himself off as small-town human doctor Harry Vanderspeigle. Arriving with a secret mission to kill all humans, Harry starts off living a simple life…but things get a bit rocky when he’s roped into solving a murder and needs to assimilate into his new world.”

It’s a comedy, but much darker than My Favorite Martian, who never wanted to kill us all. The ‘60s were so innocent…

Also, in Patience, the mayor’s son, a 10-year-old named Max, is the only one who sees Harry as he really is, which sets up the central conflict and the funniest scenes.

&

Another show I stumbled across is Dishing with Julia, a delightful six-part series on PBS featuring vintage episodes of Julia Child’s The French Chef being watched and critiqued by today’s chefs, including wonderful José Andrés and Eric Ripert…

&

If you’re wondering how the cats are doing, Tony has gone totally high-tech. I’m trying to get video of him during our new after-dinner ritual involving a laser pointer. After I eat, I like to sit for a few minutes to let things settle before I complete my 7,500 steps for the day. But now, Tony plants himself on the sardine scratcher and gives me laser eyes until I give him his red dot…

“You’ve got laser duty — NOW — since you’re the only one with thumbs. “

I also showed him Adele’s favorite cat software, “Paint for Cats,” on my old iPad…

“Do not mistake this for a self-portrait. No brown cats here. Yes, we can see color.”

Now, whenever he sees me using that iPad, I get his, “Are you going to bogart that thing ALL night?” look. Roc also likes to play. Stay tuned for video.

&

Last night after we finished Chase the Laser and I settled down for TV, Roc and Tony adjourned upstairs to conduct aerial surveillance from the second and third beams…

“She sure looks a lot smaller from up here.”

&

As I’m writing this post, Tony is lounging in his new favorite sunny spot on the balcony, on the blue perch…

&

In what may become a continuing series, I would like to note that frozen dinners NEVER come out of the microwave looking like the delicious meal on the box…

At least there are a decent number of meatballs.

&

BONUS: Randy Rainbow wrote a song for Marjorie Taylor Greene…


Chapter 141: COVID Chronicles

December 21, 2020

By Roc and Karen

Day 282

Karen Get Crafty & Cooky for Christmas & Roc Feels Punky

Roc here…

We’re fans of a blog called Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life, featuring this brilliant Somali therapy cat/supermodel named Summer Samba. If the lovely Tater Tot wasn’t my girlfriend, I could get ideas about Summer, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, Summer’s human posted simple instructions a few years ago on how to make Nip Knots and Karen decided to make us some because we already have just about every toy ever made. She made a few from felt. They did the trick and had us all nipping out — even Tony. Here I am with them…

I’m also sitting on the red flannel Karen bought later to make nip knots for the family kitties. In the foreground you can see our new pinking shears to give the knots jaggedy edges. Karen said it was fortunate she was wearing a mask at Joann Fabrics when that scissors rang up at $35 because her expression was pained.

(In the background, you can also see our faithful Saturn in the driveway.)

I hung around to supervise and inspect the outgoing product…

Here are all the knots, packaged and ready to go (with extra nip to keep them fresh…

Later, I sneezed about 20 times in a row, and it’s been downhill from there. All I had for dinner last night was a few fish flakes because Friskies Shreds just didn’t appeal to me.

Karen was worried we’d be seeing the vet today, but I ate a decent breakfast and did my toilette, if you know what I mean. Still, my nose is hot and dry and I kind of look like the new scissors pinked me around the edges.

Christmas is the only time I ever get sick. My very first Christmas ever, I caught a cold…

So, I’m dictating this from Karen’s bed, curled up under my blankie with only my stuffy nose poking out…

Karen taking over now…

Success with Nip Knots inspired me to tackle Maple Spiced Glazed Nuts after I scored a huge bag of walnuts at Big Lots, but you can use pecans as well.

This recipe says 1 1/2 cups of nuts makes 6-8 servings, but that’s absurd. I multiplied the ingredients below to six cups of nuts (for six portions) because they’re so delicious, they go fast.

Preheat the oven to 375°, with a rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

1 1/2 cups unsalted walnut or pecan halves

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put the nuts in a bowl or a bag. Combine everything else separately, then pour the mixture over the nuts and toss to get them all coated. Spread the nuts on the parchment…

VERY IMPORTANT: You must turn the nuts every 2-3 minutes while roasting or THEY WILL BURN. My shortcut is to lift the parchment one side at a time to toss the nuts toward the middle, then I respread them all.

The recipe says roasting takes 8-10 minutes, but it’s closer to 20, including turning time. I do 5-6 rounds of turning, or until the maple syrup dries and congeals on the parchment, like this…

You can roast the nuts as dark as you like, the darker the crunchier. They’ll seem soggy during roasting, but they crisp right up as they cool. My six cups of nuts filled three festive reused Chinese takeout containers (small order size), and about one extra cup…

In addition to snacking, you can serve them on a cheese tray, or use them as garnish for sweet potatoes and salads, or in yogurt or oatmeal.


Chapter 114: COVID Chronicles

July 30, 2020

By Karen

Day 141

Baking Bread & Trump’s Headed For a Fall

Before I get started, Tony sends his regards, relaxing by his favorite mess…

BTW, it’s day 13 and still no sign of the rubber band.

Now, to the kitchen: I don’t care much for the bread my borrowed bread machine puts out, which my parents LOVE, so I made Jacques Pépin’s quick and easy-peasy Soda Bread the other day. I know I made it once before and liked it.

The book it’s from, Essential Pépin, also has a PBS TV series I’m slowly working through. Writing this, I just discovered he makes this bread in episode 17, so I must jump ahead to see that. These are the only ingredients it requires…

You spend no time letting the dough rise because it’s never dough, but a pile of goo…

I think my first mistake was not mixing the milk into the dry ingredients fast enough, and probably stirring it too much.

I lowered the oven rack to accommodate the stainless steel bowl you put over the bread for the first 30 minutes of baking. The bread steams rather than rises because there’s no yeast in it. Warning: Removing the bowl releases steam that can easily scald you. Trust me. Here’s how the bread looked after the bowl came off…

The lowered oven rack was too hot to move, so I think the bread was too close to the heat and the bottom almost burned. I was also worried the parchment paper it was on would catch fire because it got crispy, too. The finished loaf looks decent enough…

It didn’t rise much, and I could have used a chainsaw to cut it, but once I did manage to break some off, it tasted good with butter.

My third mistake was putting the loaf in the fridge because I couldn’t really slice it thin for freezing. Now it’s like a paving stone. Tonight I may try to whack some off, soak it in egg, and make French toast. I think that’s my only hope to salvage it.

Meanwhile, COVID creeps ever closer to Trump. Dipshit Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert has it now, blames it on wearing a mask, and will treat himself with hydroxychloroquine. I wish he’d asked his witch-doctor for a Clorox enema.

Every time Trump wears a face mask, which must be disorienting, Trump flirts with face-planting on camera. He was in North Carolina the other day and fell backward (splayed hands to steady), then lurched into a jerky little bow before he could settle into his knuckle-dragging ape stance to balance…

When Trump inevitably does fall, he’ll blame the mask. Ninety-six more days before we vote and send that monster to hell, where he belongs.

THIS JUST IN: No sooner had I pressed “Publish” on this post than I came across the news that Trump’s BFF Herman Cain has died of COVID, after a month in the hospital, after have the last time of his life at Trump Tulsa rally. Wonder if Trump will skip Cain’s funeral the way he dissed Rep. John Lewis this week?


Chapter 110: COVID Chronicles

July 16, 2020

By Karen

Day 127

Mad About Good Bones & Artichoke Hearts Aren’t Forever

The only home fixer-upper program I watch is Good Bones on HGTV. Season 5 is underway right now. It stars the mother-daughter team of Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk. They live in Indianapolis and have a construction company called Two Chicks and a Hammer. They’re not flippers in the sense that they buy homes on the cheap, make cosmetic improvements (like what was done to the house next door to me recently), and then sell for maximum profit.

Instead, they seek out the most rotten, run-down ruins and reconstruct them, reclaiming as much from the original house as is safely possible. Then they install stylish yet practical finishes and go to great lengths to stage them to attract buyers.

Mina is also a real estate agent, and Karen was an attorney before she took up construction. They’re so fun together. Mina is the sensible bean-counter and Karen is whimsically New Age. I adore Karen, and while writing this, I discovered her birthday is the day before mine, so we’re both Libras.

This season, Karen has pulled back from the back-breaking renovations and instead focuses on turning trash she salvages from the houses into treasures through various DIY projects. She puts the results back in the houses as part of their history. I’ve seen her transform pianos, mantels, vent covers, light fixtures, doorknobs, panes of glass, even wallpaper into lovely new things.

Another family member who appears regularly is Mina’s half-brother Tad, who leads the demotion crew. That job is often disgusting thanks to what previous occupants left behind — especially in fridges and toilets.

The demo guys are like Tasmanian Devils and often have to reduce the houses to their studs, then clean up the unbelievable mess they make.

The homes are usually modest, with two or three bedrooms, so they’re affordable for normal people. Karen and Mina are also shown buying their materials from local businesses to showcase Indianapolis in a way that makes it look like a very nice place to live.

What surprises me is how many derelict homes there seem to be there. But these women have been at this since 2007 and they’re reviving entire sections of town. Now you often see one of their previous projects beside the one they’re working on.

There’s also a bonus offshoot called Good Bones: Down to the Studs where the crew discusses past projects with funny behind-the-scenes scoop on the how those went.

Since the show started, Mina has gotten married and had a baby named Jack. She’s a rough-and-ready type and seemed to stay involved in the heavy stuff almost right up to her delivery. Now she’s pregnant again and due in September.

Since both women are taking new directions, I hope this isn’t their last season. At the very least, Karen should host her own crafts show.

Here’s some great video, narrated by Mina, that lays out the show’s amazing evolution better than I could…

FOOD TIP: If you remember, several weeks ago I threw a few artichoke hearts into some leftover pasta salad I was jazzing up. The nearly full jar has been in the fridge ever since. Well, today I wanted them, but they were covered with green mold and had to get tossed. Lesson learned: Artichoke hearts ≠ pickles and olives. I had no idea.

BONUS: Comedian Sarah Cooper on How to Immigration…


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 93: COVID Chronicles

June 29, 2020

By Karen

Day 110

With Trump, No Surprises Left & I Get Creative with Leftovers

As if it weren’t enough for Trump to be killing us in droves with COVID at home, we learn he’s been happy to let Russia take out our soldiers by proxy in Afghanistan.

It seems Putin pays the Taliban bounties for American hides. And Trump now denies that he and Pence have known it for months.

I’ll concede it’s possible that Trump, with his dwindling mental capacity, has no memory of it. And Pence’s standard line for everything is, “Nobody never tells me nuttin’ about nuttin’.”

And maybe whenever Chickenshit Cheetos Cadet Bone Spurs salutes a soldier, it’s not his secret “Fuck You!” signal to our generals because he’s been helping his BFF Vladdy wipe out U.S. troops without wasting any Russian bullets.

When did we make it OK for presidents who commit cut-and-dried treason say, “You can’t blame me for treason because I’m too mentally incapacitated, but you still have to let me run the country”?

What I find most tedious about this latest crime is everyone’s totally predictable outrage and continuing questions.

If there’s one thing 100% consistent about Trump, whether he’s manifesting any heinous human trait you can imagine, or behaving with such depravity that it defies description, it’s that it’s always EXACTLY as bad as it looks.

Trump has NEVER said or done anything that left anyone saying, “Well, that certainly wasn’t as bad as we feared.”

Moreover, it usually gets worse as you peel away the putrid layers of corruption that envelop everything he touches.

These bounties will be no different. Trump has been green-lighting Putin’s Kill-Americans-for-Fun-and-Profit project.

Don’t be surprised if it’s eventually revealed that Putin pays Trump a percentage on every American kill. Trump’s never been one to pass up an opportunity to demand a cut for his beneficence. This will probably be no exception.

Back on the culinary front, last night I had leftover beef lo mein in the fridge from my favorite takeout place, China Taste. I jazzed it up with onions and broccoli doused in soy sauce and sesame oil, and sprinkled it with bits of boneless pork spare ribs. It turned out delicious…

For today’s lunch, I still haven’t bought lunchmeat, and had only a dab of Mediterranean pasta salad left. It swims in olive oil, so I added some diced tomato sprinkled with oregano. Then a few Kalamata olives. And for protein I had some hard salami sitting around, so why not? For that touch of green, capers. Finished off with feta cheese. Voila! Tasty little lunch…

Speaking of lo mein, does anybody know a good recipe for whatever’s on the noodles? I’ve tried several, but have never been able to duplicate that restaurant taste.


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