Bourdain is Moving On

February 22, 2017

By Karen

Finally catching up on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, I watched the Rome episode the other night. Must admit I preferred his highly stylized black-and-white visit on No Reservations, but that’s not to say Parts Unknown is lacking. There has been something in every episode that grabs me in some way.

But what I didn’t catch in Rome was any vibe between Tony and the woman he spent a lot of air time with, Asia Argento. In hindsight, the scene of Tony in a grocery store with Asia and her two kids should have tipped me off. You have to be totally ga-ga about someone to tag along on that chore — with kids.

Anyway, Page Six and People just made it official. They’re an item. “Bourgento”? Asia is 41, Italian, divorced, tatted, and her Wikipedia entry lists her as an “actress, director, singer, model, DJ, writer.” A real Renaissance woman.

bourdain-argento-pagesix-gettyimages

Page Six – Getty Images

Did I mention she bears some resemblance to pre-MMA Ottavia?

If Tony’s happy, I’m happy, although I was hoping for someone age-appropriate. But we did see him bounce around after his first marriage with a few unlikely chicks before he fell for Ottavia, so I’ll still hold out hope for Nigella Lawson.

And now that I know he had something going on in Rome, that scene in the London episode of Nigella cooking Tony breakfast takes on new significance. I didn’t rewind to double-check, but was he wearing the same clothes from the night before, or was it my wishful thinking?

On the other hand, knowing how scenes get juxtaposed in the final cut, I’ll give Tony the benefit of the doubt that he and Nigella are still “just good friends.”

Bourdain recently gave an extensive interview to the New Yorker, for which author Patrick Radden Keefe deserves kudos for exhaustive research. (Note: This is the same piece I linked to as a must-read in the comments on an earlier post.)

Keefe gathered input from Nigella, Tony’s buddy Eric Ripert, brother Chris, and a host of others, including Ottavia. But the biggest coup was comments from first wife Nancy, who has been silent and elusive since the Bourdains divorced in 2005. Keefe reveals that Tony wrote to Nancy after he had a health scare while vacationing alone in France.

As always, Bourdain is pursuing myriad projects, including plans for Bourdain Market at Pier 57 in New York City, and popping up everywhere. Also, Bourdain and Ripert teamed with Williams-Sonoma to sell the limited-edition Good & Evil chocolate bar again. I think the price dropped from $18 to $12.95.

We original Cats Working Bourdainiacs have watched Tony achieve a level of fame where he makes the AOL homepage whenever he disses Donald Trump. I’m sharing just a few tidbits that have been highlights for me.

BONUS: Here’s an interesting in-depth analysis by Maria Bustillos for Eater of Bourdain’s three early novels and how they may have reflected the real Bourdain back in the days before his TV fame.


Let’s Make Laughter Trump’s Downfall

February 14, 2017

By Karen

I’ve been working on a Trump post for over a week, but the never-ending craziness eclipses what I write one minute with something worse the next.

Good news today is that national security advisor Michael Flynn threw himself on history’s trash heap as the Russian tool he’s always been. One down.

Sadly, Kellyanne Conway only got “counseled,” in lieu of the long suspension without pay she deserved, for giving Ivanka Trump a “free commercial” on Fox after Nordstrom abandoned her brand. T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Neiman-Marcus, Sears, and Kmart are doing likewise. Conflict of interest’s loss.

We’ve got a 70-year-old baby rampaging through the White House in a loaded diaper, screaming for attention however he can get it, and nary an adult in sight with the guts to, literally, change him.

Steve Bannon keeps Trump occupied while Bannon foments World War III by sitting Donald at his desk, shoving a big felt tip in his stubby fist, and providing stacks of important-looking papers to scribble on while fawning toadies watch. Trump holds up his handiwork and everybody admires  his cleverness.

“Look, Donald just made a BIG boom-boom. What a gooooood boy!”

“Look, Donald just made a BIG boom-boom. What a gooooood boy!”

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Signing his name illegibly is the only job skill Trump has mastered so far.

Getting himself up to speed on North Korea’s ballistic missile test at Mar-a-Lago last weekend in front of country club diners was just Trump seeing a new opportunity to drop a big, fat presidential boom-boom for all to admire, including Japan’s prime minister.

But it wasn’t quite received that way.

As Trump displays daily his ignorance, arrogance, and disregard for facts, Congress rubber stamps the parade of unqualified ass-clowns Trump calls a cabinet. And Bannon churns out executive orders for Trump to sign without reading so Trump can take the fall when Bannon’s overreach and rookie mistakes go public.

What can concerned citizens do? I say we give Trump the Saturday Night Live treatment.

Laugh at Trump and every scumbag who enables him. Mock them mercilessly. Let Trump and his cronies be greeted everywhere with jeers and boos.

Trump’s a thin-skinned bully who can dish it out but can’t take it. Let’s make him take it from all sides, every minute, every day. The incompetent heads who lose face will start rolling out of the White House after Michael Flynn’s. To slowly, relentlessly waterboard Trump with derisive laughter will erode his sanity like nothing else can.

Watch how Trump made his mark on Scotland. They’ll be dancing in the streets the day we’re rid of him…

Every time we’re forced to listen to an ill-informed flunky spew nonsense, let’s respond with this…

Let’s dissect and reject the tactics of his dedicated lie-spewing machine…

I hope TV networks decide Kellyanne Conway adds nothing to meaningful discourse and stop booking her. Trump may threat-tweet, “See you in court!” but nobody’s First Amendment right to free speech guarantees air time. Let her start a blog.


How Oprah Goosed Weight Watchers Stock

December 22, 2016

By Karen

Here’s another perfect example of the media not doing its (math) homework. All Oprah Winfrey had to say was, “Hey, look, I lost some more weight!” and it became big news, no questions asked.

Oprah joined Weight Watchers® in August 2015, investing $43 million in the company in exchange for a seat on its board. By the end of January 2016, she filmed an ad claiming she had lost 26 lbs. eating bread every day.

I calculated she was losing 1-2 lbs. a week, which is reasonable, but hardly worthy of a media blitz, especially when you factored in how much Oprah needed to lose.

To provide some context, I followed the WW Points Plus® plan myself in 2012 and lost 50 pounds in 9 months.

So today we get this big announcement that Oprah has lost “more than” 40 pounds. Not “an additional” 40 pounds. Forty pounds total.

And if she actually lost “more than” 40, don’t you think she’d proudly give the exact number, like she did when it was 26?

So let’s do the math. She was down 26 in late January, and now 40 in late December. That’s 14 lbs. lost in 11 months.

Therefore, in 2016, her average loss has been 1.27 lbs. a MONTH. That’s 20.32 ounces. Averaging four weeks in a month, she’s been losing about 5 ounces a week.

And on that paltry progress, Oprah’s stake in the company grew to $77 million because the media didn’t do the math and put the story in proper perspective.

I’m really happy that Oprah feels she’s finally got the situation under control. I’ve been there. It’s a never-ending struggle.

What I have a problem with is Oprah growing even richer touting weight-loss results that would have most dieters in despair.

I once had a friend who’d say he could lose that much weight taking a good dump. Come to think of it, anybody could.


Now Trump’s Just Sliming Us

October 13, 2016

By Adele

After the Access Hollywood tape surfaced where Trump talked about grabbing pussies, and then he behaved like an unprepared, sniveling little bitch and lost the second debate, Trump’s campaign has been sinking faster than Titanic, but with no ocean floor yet in sight.

This week he’s all about dredging up decades-old accusations against Bill Clinton. Trump vows to make Bill “look like Bill Cosby” by pushing the aging women Clinton long ago had relations with onto Sean Hannity’s show on Fox tonight.

Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, has claimed that Hillary “led a program of victim intimidation” and “viciously attacked” these women. If Hillary had truly destroyed them, how on earth could they be dragging their ravaged carcasses before the cameras today?

It’s like Trump can’t rest until he has made himself the most hated man on the planet.

A parade of women Trump groped has begun telling how he put his “locker room talk” into action after seeing him deny it. Naturally, he says it’s all lies. He should thank them for having given him their silence all these years so he could continue being a lecher.

Now even the most obtusely loyal Republicans (Paul Ryan, John McCain) are turning on him. So are voters in droves, although Trump dismisses voters by calling any poll that doesn’t favor him “crooked” or “rigged.”

I hope this pathetic freak show Trump and Hannity stage tonight backfires and boosts Hillary’s support by making her relatable, showing what she had to put up with during Bill’s catting-around days. That staying in the marriage and keeping up a brave face took an act of super-human strength when she probably wanted to smash Bill with a cast iron skillet for being so reckless and stupid.

Now that Trump’s campaign consists of nothing but desperately grasping at rotting, irrelevant straws, at what point does the media say, “Enough’s enough,” and leave it to Fox to let that sleazeball foul their airwaves with venom about ancient events? Fox is what his supporters watch. He’s not winning any new voters through mainstream media with this garbage.

I wish the moratorium would start today and Trump wouldn’t get one second of free air time unless he’s talking about something relevant to being president.

Then we could all sit back and listen to crickets chirp until election day.


Post-Debate: Donald Trump’s One Chewed-Up Cheeto

September 27, 2016

By Adele

Hope you tuned in for the debate last night to see the beginning of the end of Donald Trump’s run for president.

He started out fairly calm, but with no teleprompter to keep him grounded, Hillary soon got under his hide like a cat burrowing into a warm blankie. That caused him to retreat to his comfort zone, which means interrupting, bragging, lying, repeating himself, and mostly keeping a safe distance from facts.

And sniffling and guzzling water. What was up with that? Does cocaine need a chaser? I couldn’t take my eyes off his nose, waiting for a bat to escape the cave and gross out Lester Holt. “Joe Blo” on YouTube kindly compiled Trump’s nose action…

Later, Trump nonsensically claimed his “defective microphone” was the culprit. How? Did he get confused and try to snort it?

His hapless running mate, Mike Pence, claimed today on CBS This Morning that he never noticed Trump’s labored breathing. Sure, the world began tweeting about it simultaneously last night because Trump WASN’T sniffling.

Another hilarious moment came when Trump said, “I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina,” while hanging onto his podium for dear life with both hands. He used his podium to prop himself up through much of the debate, while Hillary stood under her own power.

Hillary did a masterful job of holding her ground, letting Trump’s monosyllabic grunts and rambling accusations roll right off. You knew from her smile that she was picturing some idiot child playing grownup in a suit and tie whenever she looked at him.

I stand by my prediction that Trump won’t do any more debates, and his BFF, Rudy Giuliani, agrees it’s a bad idea. Trump knows now that he’s incapable of doing the prep necessary to get the best of a policy wonk like Hillary. To beat her, he’d have to become things he’s not — reasonable, rational, and coherent — and sustain it for 90 minutes.

Here are two other analyses of the debate I agree with. Seth Meyers brought out some great points…

And so did Trevor Noah…


Trump v. Clinton Debate is Must-See

September 26, 2016

By Adele

Not because it will be so enthralling, but because it will stand alone in this election. Trump’s campaign has consisted mostly of playing “I’m Rubber, You’re Glue,” turning EVERY criticism about himself into a charge against Hillary, even when it’s patently absurd.

He’s gone so far as to say she should be jailed and could be assassinated. He’s coasted on name-calling, bullying, threats, and precious little substance.

Tonight Trump’s in the big leagues for the first time, against the most seasoned debater he’ll ever face. He’s probably over the moon about the anticipated viewership, but if he thinks his schoolyard bully schtick, free of any grasp of the issues, is a recipe for success, Hillary’s going to hand his ass to him.

And when she does, Trump will withdraw from the remaining two debates and whine until election day that the process was unfair and rigged.

Trump has already cautioned NBC moderator Lester Holt not to fact-check, an indication Trump’s strategy is to rely on the well-debunked, fact-free lies he keeps repeating. He’s dumped such an avalanche of ignorance on this country, it’s become too deep to detail.

To prepare for the debate, Hillary’s been learning facts and practicing with a Trump stand-in. Trump thinks he can do it off the cuff because nobody expects him to know what he’s talking about.

There’s some truth in that. Trump’s supporters, who choose to remain willfully ignorant, will declare him the winner if he manages not to lose control of his bowels on stage.

In the past week, both candidates met with foreign leaders visiting the UN. Well, Trump verifiably met one, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. To Fox News he claimed there were more to come, saying, “I don’t want to comment specifically on who, but a couple of people are coming over.”

But there have been no photo ops of any other fawning world leaders kissing his ring at Trump Tower. Maybe they asked to see his tax returns and he had his goons throw them out.

Clinton, in contrast, met also with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and knew what was going on with their countries, as witnesses and press reported.

Meeting with al-Sisi, Clinton called for release of a U.S. citizen held hostage since 2014 for operating a nonprofit in Egypt. Trump never mentioned that. Maybe he was unaware of the situation, or he thinks the hostage is a loser for getting captured and deserves no help.

Now it’s time for Trump to face the woman he’s been lying about and demonizing. I hope Hillary leaves Trump looking like a chewed-up Cheeto. And when she does, mark my words, Trump will never debate again. There’s nothing a bully hates worse than being confronted.


Bourdain Slurps Noodles with Obama

September 23, 2016

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s CNN series Parts Unknown is worth watching Sunday, September 25, 9 p.m. ET. He’s in Hanoi, Vietnam, and shares noodles and beer with President Obama in a small local joint.

Obama’s approval rating is at about 58%, so having a beer with a popular guy like Bourdain can only reflect well on Hillary. In fact, it’s a shame it’s not Hillary.

The intended contrast with Donald Trump is unmistakable. Not only would Trump never be caught dead in such humble surroundings, but you know he can’t use chopsticks and he’s incapable of small talk.

Luckily for Bourdain, Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt immediately eclipsed the Bourdain breakup announcement. The Bourdains can’t hope to have drama that remotely compares to allegations of Pitt being a substance- and child-abuser.

Today I read this Washington Post article where Tony mentions being in London during the Brexit vote (Parts Unknown to air Oct. 23) and did a double-take at the undated CNN photo of Nigella Lawson making Tony breakfast in her home.

Breakfast?!

As I’ve pondered Bourdain’s post-Ottavia life, the woman who sprang to mind as his next potential companion was Nigella. They’ve known each other for years, and he was there for her when her marriage fell apart while they were filming The Taste together.

I am absolutely NOT implying any illicit behavior, but if Tony does end up on his own, he could do a lot worse than Nigella. In fact, he DID do a lot worse before he met Ottavia.

On Parts Unknown last season, Bourdain wore no wedding ring. I should have mentioned months ago that it was his best ever, winning his 4th straight Outstanding Series Emmy. I’ve forgotten details, but every episode touched me in some way — tears, laughter, sheer wonder at the amazing cinematography.

Ottavia published an article in August on Lena Dunham’s site Lenny about how she got into MMA. Her byline included her maiden name and mentioned only her daughter, as if she’s a single mother.

So hints about the breakup were out there, even before the big announcement.

Bourdain has a new home-cooking book coming out on October 25 called Appetites. And he revealed in a recent interview with Uproxx that he’s about to start another book. I wonder what happened to the novel he’s been working on for years?

BONUS: Bourdain’s Russian sidekick Zamir Gotta has permanently defected to Buffalo, New York, to launch Zamir Vodka. And Trump’s worried about Mexicans.

DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Bourdain’s latest episode of Raw Craft, a series he does for Balvenie Distillery featuring expert craftspeople. This one is in North Carolina with a pearl-wearing metalsmith named Elizabeth Brim.


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