Anthony Bourdain Dead, RIP

Depression is a horrible thing. Apparently, he committed suicide in France. He was a great chef, communicator, and shared the glory that is human culinary ingenuity and tradition. He will be missed.

 

Folks, don’t ever let your depression make you ignore this wonderful community of jackals and pet lovers. We will help you, hold, and lift you, just reach out.

I’ll  update with links soon and suicide prevention information.

 

The National Suicide Prevention 24 Hour Hotline is (800) 273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

You can also text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. People are standing by, ready to help without judgement.



99 Lustballoons Open Thread: The Charlie Rose Show Proposal

This *has* to be regarded as a trial balloon, since nobody who’s been in professional media longer than a week would ‘casually’ mention such a scoop to Tina Brown without expecting her to share it widely. I blame Donny Dollhands and his GOP enablers — those goniffs have cranked the news cycle for ‘powerful men acting out their worst fantasies’ so high, every other walking nutsack figures they’ve got cover.

From Vanity Fair, which has been at the glossiest intersection between pop culture and politics since it was revived during the Reagan era:

The question here seems obvious: who on earth is making this proposed series, and in what universe do they imagine viewers will tune in?

Rose was fired from CBS This Morning and his eponymous PBS show last fall following allegations of sexual harassment from multiple women; in a statement given at the time, Rose apologized, but denied the accuracy of some allegations. “I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings,” Rose said, “even though I now realize I was mistaken.” Rose’s agent did not immediately respond to V.F.’s request for comment regarding the new project.

Why would anyone think a series in which Rose interviews other men who have been accused of sexual misconduct is a good or necessary idea? That might remain a mystery—but the report should also be received with skepticism, since as of yet, it’s unclear who is actually trying to make this series happen…

Without knowing who is behind this potential project, it’s hard to know how likely it is to come to fruition. Though one might think toppled Hollywood titans wouldn’t want to draw attention to themselves with TV appearances, such a thing wouldn’t be completely outside the realm of P.R. possibility; Ben Affleck, James Franco, and Billy Bush have all logged late-night appearances to talk about the controversies that have surrounded them in the wake of #MeToo revelations or allegations. And as Roseanne’s massive ratings success has proven over at ABC, Nielsen does not distinguish hate-watches from earnest ones. So while it’s difficult to imagine Charlie Rose’s supposed #MeToo redemption series making it to the screen—and it’s worth regarding the very idea of such a series with a large grain of salt—perhaps it’s best not to write the project off completely just yet.

One difference even I can spot: Affleck, Franco, Bush, and Sara Gilbert (the executive producer / driving force behind the Roseanne reboot) are all at least a generation younger than guys like Rose and Weinstein, and there’s evidence that members of top advertiser-desirable demographics actually want to see them on screen. Matt Lauer’s borderline — he might be young enough to pull off a comeback, at least on a cable channel aimed at the adult-incontinence-and-diabetes-meds market — but that’s even more reason he shouldn’t want to publicly bracket himself with the other ‘Cosby, only White’ putzes, yes?



Good Dogs. Bad Humans. (Alternate Title: No, Virginia, The US Military Is Not A Flawless Band Of Heroes)

This story, tweeted out by the redoubtable Twitterer Angry Staff Officer (@pptsapper), breaks my heart:

In a report released on Friday, the Inspector General said that canine heroes, which saved the lives of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan while working with brigade combat teams to sniff out roadside bombs, were mistreated by the Army after they returned to the United States…

The report said that some dogs were left in kennels for up to 11 months, beyond a deadline for giving them away for adoption or re-using them in the military or other government agencies. It said they were mistreated through lack of care and attention, and others may have been put down.

To its belated credit, as a spokesman told Reuters, “The Army concurs with the DoDIG (Defense Inspector General) report” and is implementing its recommendations.

But damn.

I mean, damn.

I know this isn’t really surprising, given the wretched history of US abandonment of local colleagues in too many conflicts.  Those people’s lives should have counted for much more than they did, we owed them more, and the costs they’ve born outweigh, to me at least, the mistreatment of animals.

But that our armed forces, acting in our names, may have committed greater sins doesn’t make lesser ones any better.

And in some ways, this story is worse, or grates more than larger tales of betrayal, because doing the right thing would have been easy.  Treating these dogs well would have made their lives better, while making the lives of their human comforters richer as well.

F**k it.

People don’t always suck, but some days, it sure seems like the default condition.

Miserably open thread.

Image: Passarotti, Portrait of a gentleman with two dogsbefore 1592.



He Has Reached Rock Bottom, And Has Started To Dig*

In case you had any question as to just how skeevy — more, how fundamentally grotesque — was and is Roy Moore, here’s his reasoning on why sodomizing a child does not constitute “forcible rape”:

The Alabama Supreme Court had the opportunity to hear the case of one Eric Lemont Higdon, a man accused and convicted of two sodomy charges due to sexual assault against a four-year-old at Mama’s Place Christian Academy in Clay, Alabama.

 

Higdon had been convicted of both sex with a child under twelve years old, statutory rape, and of “first-degree sodomy by forcible compulsion” which requires that the victim face a threat, overt or implied, of  “serious physical injury.” That second forcible rape charge was overturned on appeal, and the question that Moore and his fellow state supreme court justices faced was whether that appellate decision was correct.  Almost all of the court had no problem working that one out:

Eight of the nine justices on the panel found that the appeals court had erred. Their legal logic was such that a 17-year-old’s sexual assault of a four-year-old was enough to produce in the mind of the four-year-old, an “implied threat of serious physical injury.”  The decision was reversed and remanded and Higdon’s conviction was reinstated.

Who dissented? That godly man Moore, of course:

“Because there was no evidence in this case of an implied threat of serious physical injury…or of an implied threat of death, Higdon cannot be convicted of sodomy in the first degree “by forcible compulsion.”

Four Years Old.

No implication of serious physical injury when a seventeen year old assaults a pre-schooler.  I wanted to put that last more bluntly, but I can’t. My stomach turns itself into a Klein bottle when I try.

What kind of man do you have to be to conceive of the scene between that youth and that little child and see no threat?

Roy Moore is not who we thought he was.  He’s much, much worse — and anyone who rises to his defense shares in his stain.

*From this time-honored list of British military fitness reports.  My favorite has always been “I would not breed from this Officer” — which, according to my uncle, a career man in the Royal Artillery, was known to refer to a fellow from a Guards regiment.  Posh don’t mean smart.

Image:  Diego Velasquez, Las Meninas1656-7.

This picture is not, perhaps, precisely on point with this post, but it knows the chords and is, in any case, a simply magnificent painting.



When You’re A “Star”, They Have to Let You Do It…

Props to Mr. Crews for speaking out, because his experience is further proof: It’s not about sex for powerful predators, it’s about the rush of knowing that they can treat “the help” like pets or furniture.

Liz Meriwether, at NYMag‘s The Cut, “I’m A Coward”:

Years ago, I went to a meeting in a hotel room with a powerful man. We started talking. He asked me about my sexual past, and I laughed and told some funny stories. I expect to talk about relationships and love and sex in meetings, since that’s what I write about. It was just the way he was asking me — he was pushing for details. I was suddenly aware of how alone I was in that room. Then he pointed to the bed next to us and said, “You know there’s a bed in here.” Like a young Dorothy Parker, with eloquence and wit beyond my years, I responded: “Yeah. I see that! Cool bed, man!”

Eventually the meeting was over, and he walked me to the door of the suite. I was starting to feel relieved it was over, when he suddenly grabbed my shoulders and held me in front of the gilded hallway mirror. I couldn’t move. He was watching me through the mirror. I could barely bring my head up. He said, “Look. Look at yourself. Do you see how beautiful you are?”

It was at that moment that I did something insane. I started laughing. Like, uproariously laughing. It was not a fun laugh. It was one of those crazy, terrifying laughs. Suddenly, I was Laura Linney in an Oscar clip. I turned my head and looked at him, still laughing, and said, “This is my worst nightmare!” That must have surprised him or offended him, because then he let me go. I headed for the door, walked through the lobby of the hotel, and didn’t stop walking until I was back inside my apartment downtown. I walked the way I walk in dreams, without feeling my feet on the ground. I was buzzing. I didn’t feel real.

It must have been my fault. It must have been something I said. Was I flirting with him? I shouldn’t have told that story. I shouldn’t have gone to his hotel room. What can I do about it? Who do I tell? I don’t have enough money for a lawyer. I don’t want to suddenly become unemployable because of something he chose to do to me. Was it that big of a deal? Did I make it up? It wasn’t an assault — it was just, like, an aggressive mirror hold. There are no laws against forcing people to look at themselves in the mirror. I’m fine. I’m tough. I’m one of the guys. It was just a weird thing that happened, and now it’s over, and I’m fine. What if I said something and he stopped me from getting another job? So I made a decision: I chose to stay quiet. I kept working with him. As I said, I’m a coward…
Read more



Long Read: The KKK ‘Imperial Wizard’ Murdered by His Cat-Hoarding Wife

Gotta say, this seems like another sad case where the ‘Flower of White Christian Manhood’ cosplay comes off as a particularly toxic attempt at self-deception. Disheartening for those of us who support animal rescue, too — reminder that the twist leading to animal hoarding too often coexists with other mental-health problems. Doyle Murphy, in the St. Louis Riverfront Times, with one of the great ledes of all time:

Frank Ancona, the imperial wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, smelled like cat piss.

The stench clung to the 51-year-old’s graying hair and mustache. It seeped into the fabric of his clothes and hung on him like a blanket. He was unhappy about it, but he did not seem to know what to do. He lived in a small, beat-looking house in the rural southeast Missouri town of Leadwood. The windows of the front porch had been pulled out and the wood frames wrapped in chicken wire — a project his wife had undertaken one evening after he headed off to his job as an overnight courier for a St. Louis-based shipping company.

Malissa Ancona, 44, seemed intent on turning their home into a giant kennel. It was well-known that the bleach blonde ran an off-the-books — some would say infamous — animal rescue. Dozens of cats and two dogs shared 1,000 square feet with the Klansman and his wife. They nested in piles of dirty clothes, pawed through open garbage and kicked litter across the floors. A neighbor estimates as many as 70 cats lived there during peak times…

There’s not much money in Leadwood. Set in the hills about 70 miles south of St. Louis, the median household income is about $31,000, nearly $20,000 less than the statewide figure. The population of 1,282 is 99 percent white. For diversity, residents identifying as American Indian outnumbered African-Americans two to one. That’s not a ratio: Census workers counted a total of two Native Americans and one black person in the 2010 tally.

Leadwood is the kind of place where people might not agree with the KKK, but they also don’t get too worked up about a Klan leader living next door. The Anconas moved in five or six years ago. Frank’s dad lived one house over to the south, and the local fire station was across the street. The younger Ancona seemed intent on settling in after years spent bouncing around Missouri and Illinois. The Leadwood house was a lease, but Frank had worked out a rent-to-own arrangement with the homeowners, relatives say. Shortly after moving in, he hung a red flag with the KKK’s “blood drop” cross to the left of the front door and a replica of the Klan’s historical flying dragon pennant to the right.

His only real problem was Malissa…

When word spread that Frank had gone missing February 9, no one seemed too surprised. His son, Frank Jr., knew something was wrong when his father’s employer called to say he had not shown up for work for the first time in nearly a decade. The son called police and headed over to the house.

He and the officers were just about to go inside when Malissa returned home with her son from a previous relationship and barred their way. Frank Jr. remembered a feeling of dread sweep over him.

“I had a gut feeling right then and there she’d done something bad.”…



Floriduh Woman: Personal Grooming Edition

Don’t do this!

Internet punsters are celebrating Megan Barnes as Florida’s “Pubic Enemy,” others are chattering about her “razor sharp focus.”

The 37-year-old Barnes catapulted to instant fame for an alleged multi-tasking mash-up that earned the bottle-blonde’s mug shot a spot on hundreds of Web sites.

According to a startled Florida Highway Patrol trooper, Barnes was shaving her bikini area while driving south on the famed Overseas Highway when she crashed into the rear of an SUV March 2.

In the police report obtained by ABC News, the trim job was apparently essential because the arresting officer, trooper Gary Dunick, said the Indiana native told him she was heading to Key West visit her boyfriend.

“She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit,” Dunick told the Key West Citizen.

It gets weirder. In order to pay full attention to her sensitive regions, police say Barnes enlisted her ex-husband, Charles Judy, who was riding shotgun, to hold the wheel.

Yes, her ex-husband.

Much more information at the link.