In I Can Make You Hot! I'm going to clue you in to all the tricks I've learned from a variety of experts and that I now use to live my own life. I want you to be the best you -- happy, attractive, shapely, interested, interesting, and most of all, smokin' HOT!The blurb promises that the experience of reading this book will be "like rooming with a supermodel and going on a diet together." Truly, only someone with Kelly Bensimon's tenuous grasp on reality would say this as if it were something exciting, rather than a scenario taken directly out of the third circle of hell.
Kelly is a great mother and is constantly instilling strong principals [sic] in her daughters. In my opinion, that's the essence of being HOT. Kelly is smokin'.And just like that, I Can Make You Hot! is knocked out of the running for First-Book-I've-Read-By-A-Bravolebrity-That-Is-Also-Free-From-Glaring-Typographical-Errors. Better luck next time, champ!
Her beauty truly comes from within, and her clear internal compass and well-balanced lifestyle is what makes her an arbiter for what's hot. She has always had her own individual road map and is one of those people who beats to their own drum. Many are amazed by her leaps of faith and courage, which are products of her sustainable soul. And back to that energy! I used to think: If we could only package it. And now Kelly has!I would kill to be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Russell Simmons and Kelly Bensimon. But all of these endorsements are making me impatient to dig into Kelly's advice, so I skim over the next few pages and arrive at the introduction: "What's HOT and What's Not." Almost immediately, Kelly reassures us that she was not always the gorgeous, talented socialite she is today -- "No. Let's just say that I was never one of those tiny, cute blonde girls who guys named their hamsters after." Excuse you what? I literally just walked away from my laptop to go talk to my boyfriend and make sure I'm not just ignorant of some otherwise well-known traditional male courtship ritual in which young men adopt rodents and christen them after the women they love. That doesn't seem to be the case, although please reach out if you can shed any additional light on this situation.
When I was trying to come up with a title for this book, I kept asking myself how I would define what I love. "HOT" is the word that best describes what I love, and it's not a word I throw around lightly. "HOT" is attractive, unique, and first-rate -- never mediocre. Avril Lavigne made a video called "HOT." There are "HOT" issues of all my favorite magazines. Hotmail.com was given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service, and www.urbandictionary.com, whose definitions are created by their readers, defines "hot" as (among other things) attractive, the best, and someone who makes you wish you had a pause button when they walk by because you don't want that moment to end. (I want you to feel like that "someone.") Health, wellness, and fitness are always hot topics. "HOT" may be a buzzword but it's also how I describe the best there is and the best you can be. I've used the words "smokin' hot" for everything from a killer chicken wing red sauce to a coveted couture gown.There is…a lot to unpack here. My leading hypothesis is that Kelly must have accidentally exposed her internal circuitry to water and started shorting out while writing this passage, causing her to string together a rambling parade of incoherent sentences with no relationship to one another, save a tangential association with the amorphous concept of hotness. Also, it's factually inaccurate. A cursory Google search reveals that Hotmail.com was not "given that name to indicate that it was the best e-mail service." Rather, the service's name was selected as a reference to the use of HTML to create webpages, as is more apparent from the original stylization, HoTMaiL. I know from her savvy allusion to "www.urbandictionary.com" that Kelly is capable of navigating the Internet, so I'm disappointed that she's made such a careless oversight within the first three pages of the book proper.
Is skinny hot? Naturally skinny is hot. Starving yourself in order to change your natural body type in order to get skinny is not hot.
For me, the ultimate HOT girl is the nineteenth-century Gibson girl.
…Bethany Hamilton, the young surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack and didn’t let it stop her from pursuing a sport she loves. She's smokin' HOT.
pregnancy is smokin' HOTI'm distracted from my diligent note-taking by a line that truly makes me laugh out loud.
I don't want to pretend that I'm "just like you." To do that would be disingenuous, and you wouldn't believe me anyway. But I may be more like you than you think. My hair may be ready for Victoria's Secret, but my values are still Midwestern.I appreciate the honesty! As I continue reading, I am pleased to learn that I am, in fact, already consuming this piece of literature in the appropriate way. As Kelly says:
I urge you to make notes as you go along, either in the book itself or, if writing in a book is anathema to you, in a little notebook to use as your own personal guide. Jotting down ideas as they pop into your head is the best way to process them and be sure that they don't leave again before you've had a chance to commit them to long-term memory. Then, if you've made a mistake, when you go back and see it there on paper, you'll remind yourself not to do it again. Or, as I like to say, you'll avoid getting bitten by the same food dog twice!Bitten…by the same….food...dog? Never change, KKB. (As an aside, what's the oveunder on Kelly having even the slightest idea what the word 'anathema' means?) If I'm being totally honest, this book is making me feel a little superfluous. What more can I add when the source material is so impenetrable to begin with? How does one parse the unparseable? Newly humbled, I suppose I'll have to be content with just gaping in confusion alongside the rest of you. And now that I think about it, what better book to build me up from these insecurities and encourage me to be my best? In the words of Kelly herself:
After all, why wouldn't you want to be HOT? What's the alternative? Being "not so hot"?The book is organized into seven chapters, one for each day of the week, focusing on seven distinct facets of hotness. We start our journey on "Monday: Make a List -- Plan and Prepare!" and are immediately blessed with another one of Kelly's philosophical ramblings:
To me, living well is the only option. What, after all, is the only alternative? Living badly? Who aspires to live badly? I want you to live well, and that's going to take some planning.Eager to improve myself, I read on:
What are your goals for yourself? If you're going to make changes in your life, you need to have a plan, you need to prepare, and you need to take the time to get it right -- so that you don't wind up wasting your time. This is my plan, and from now on it's going to be yours. Monday is going to be the day you make a HOT plan and prepare for the rest of your week. Let's get started together!I can't help but feel like this is one of those answers that beauty pageant contestants give when they don't actually know how to respond to a question. Or like a motivational speech written by a rudimentary AI. I can't quite articulate exactly what it is that makes Kelly's writing seem so utterly devoid of logical coherence, but it truly falls into the literary equivalent of the Uncanny Valley.
Run in the street instead of on the sidewalk. I took a lot of flack for this when they filmed me on Season 2 of the Real Housewives of New York City. The thing is, I think that people walking down the street while texting are a lot more dangerous than a car. Drivers will go out of their way to avoid you (accidents are too much paperwork, and they really mess up a day), but strolling texters will walk right into you without even seeing you. You could also get smacked by a shopping bag, a stroller, or even an oversized purse. Sidewalks are really obstacle courses. Beware!Kelly shares some standout tracks from her workout playlist ("It's much more fun exercising to music!"), including the perennial pump-up-the-jam classic, "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. With no regard for thematic continuity or overarching structure, the next page is dominated by the header "Get Leggier Legs."
An April 10, 2009, article about me in Harper's Bazaar captioned one of the photos "She's got legs." I was born blessed with long lean legs, but I work very hard to keep them looking the way they do. I'm tall, but I could just as easily have long, large legs. And long and large is not hot. Unfortunately I can't give you my legs. But I can help you to be the best you can be.Truly inspirational. I think.
Get rid of any negative thoughts. Negative-town isn't Fun-town.to nonsensical
For every cheeseburger and fries, you owe me 12 cartwheels on the quad with your friends.to bizarrely specific and also racially insensitive.
If you starve yourself for a day because you want to lose weight for Homecoming, you owe me 5 minutes of sitting Indian style in a corner and meditating on why you thought that was a good option.Upon further reflection, I think I would actually be extremely motivated to stick to a diet if the alternative was being reprimanded by Kelly and forced to think about my poor life choices.
From Isaac Newton's First Law of MotionEven biology has something to teach us about how to be HOT:
A body in motion stays in motion. The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. So if you want to step up your exercise routine, try running in sand instead of on the pavement, or bike through gravel. That way your body will have to work harder in order to stay in motion.
You are a living organism; life is an organic process. You need to be up and active, ready to enjoy the process. Be open and available and ready to do fun stuff. Participating in what you love is HOT.I'm truly impressed by Kelly Bensimon's unparalleled ability to reframe the most basic common sense as divinely inspired wisdom. We see this in lines like
If you're feeling a bit frazzled and you need to calm down, you might want to take a yoga class.or, as we read in another "HOT Tip" panel
Don't be afraid to drink water while working out.I refuse to believe that this is a problem any person has ever faced. Even Aviva Drescher is not afraid of drinking water while working out (although, for the record, she is afraid of aluminum foil). Kelly closes out this chapter by encouraging the reader to "do one thing every day that takes you out of your comfort zone." If you find yourself lacking inspiration, she provides helpful suggestions, such as "try a fruit you've never eaten" and "try tap dancing." As she asserts, "there's nothing more foolish than sitting on your butt when you could be moving your body and having fun."
I don't believe in diets; diets are for people who want to get skinny. I want you to be happy. If you feel good about yourself, you'll make good choices. If you starve yourself to be skinny, you'll be undermining your sense of self-worth and you'll be unhappy every day. Eating well -- a variety of high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods -- is for people who want to be happy -- and if you're not happy you won't be hot! Happy is always better than skinny.This is starting to feel like some sort of word problem from Algebra II. If happy is better than skinny, but hot is equal to happy, diet = die + t??? Kelly tells us that all women fall into two categories: overachievers and underachievers. Being an overachiever is good, and being an underachiever is bad. Here are some things you can do to become an overachiever:
Make good choices.
When in doubt, have fun.
Keep smiling.Kelly's motivational-phrasebook app apparently starts to glitch out right about here, but she continues on:
Stay positive and move forward. This is your last try at today. Yesterday may not have been great, but, today is better -- you just need to see it that way. The choice is up to you.The idea of someone being in such a dark psychological place that they are able to find inspiration in those words is so deeply sad to me that I can hardly bear to consider it. Thankfully, Kelly has already taken a hard left turn into what I think is some sort of extended metaphor:
I've already said that you need to treat your body like a Ferrari, but maybe you prefer a Maserati, an Aston Martin, a Corvette, or even a Bentley. Whatever your luxury car of choice, if you treat it well, it will increase in value; if you treat it like a bargain rental car, it's just going to wear out -- and being worn out is not hot!Ah, yes, I'd momentarily forgotten that cars almost always increase in value after they're purchased, and don't have a culturally ubiquitous reputation for losing most of their resale value immediately. Solid analogy. Apropos of nothing, we get a "HOT Tip" list of "model diet secrets that DON'T work." I'm extremely glad that Kelly encouraged us to take notes while reading -- I'd be devastated if any of these pointers had escaped my attention.
Eating Kleenex to make yourself feel full does not work.
The Graham cracker diet does not work.
Drugs do not work.Well, I suppose this clears up some Scary Island confusion. Had Kelly indeed been doing meth (as the reported cat-pee smell might suggest), she would be fully aware that many drugs are, in fact, extremely effective ways to lose weight. But lest you start to lose faith in the expertise of our fearless leader, read on: "when it comes to food choices, I've probably made every mistake in the book." By which she means that she ate Chinese chicken soup before giving birth to her first daughter and it made her sick, so she ate a turkey sandwich before giving birth to her second daughter and she didn’t get sick. To be perfectly honest, I'm struggling to find a way to apply this wisdom to my own life, but I'm sure it will become clear in no time!
When I was accused of being a "bitch" on national television, I was really upset. My response was to find comfort in Mexican food and margaritas for lunch and dinner three days straight.But we promptly return to form on the next page as she recounts her daily diet of "2 green juices," "a KKBfit lunch," and "a KKBfit dinner." I'd like to take a moment to appreciate how generous it is of Kelly to share her wisdom -- earned through a lifetime of catastrophic missteps -- so freely. It certainly didn’t come without a cost, as the following anecdote illustrates:
On the last day of my juice fast, I took my older daughter to a Yankees game where we gorged on sushi. (Yes, they have sushi at Yankee Stadium) As a result, I was stuffed and blinded by carbs when A-Rod came up to bat and hit a home run. Was I able to savor that A-Rod moment with my daughter? Absolutely not. I was in a food coma. Will I ever let myself be thrown into a food frenzy again? No! Lesson learned: I made another stupid food choice, and because of that choice I missed that home run moment with my daughter. From now on, when I go to a Yankees game I'll have a small hot dog instead….I want you to do the same.Verily! Heed her words of wisdom, lest ye not also lose the precious chance for thine own A-Rod moment.
Ooh, sorry Brad, I won't be able to make it to this afternoon's meeting -- it actually conflicts with my daily session of believing in my ability to make good choices today and every day. No, I understand how that could seem like an abstract sentiment rather than something that actually takes up time within your daily schedule, but if Kelly has to do it, so do I! And to be honest, my day is packed enough as it is -- it takes at least a second or two for me to tell myself I look HOT (because I do!), and I'm just worried that if I try to squeeze anything else in, it will cut into my mid-morning health celebration. Wish I could help!
- Celebrate your own health. We take health for granted.
- Get up in the morning and say, "I'm so grateful to be where I am and look the way I do," no matter what your size is.
- Tell yourself you look HOT, because you do.
- Believe in your ability to make good choices today and every day.
- Be mindful of what you eat. If I have to be mindful of what I eat, so do you. We're in this together.
If I don't eat [well], I'm violating my own laws of energy economics and my body goes either into inflation mode (too much energy when I don't need it) or recession mode (not enough energy in the bank for me to draw from). The key is to create economic equilibrium: eating well so that I feel good, which allows me to be happy.I am begging someone to start a GoFundMe where we raise money to pay Kelly to explain how the economy works. The next page introduces us to "The KKB 3-Day Supermodel Diet," which is less of a diet and more a random assortment of miscellaneous health-related sentiments that reek of the 2009 pro-ana tumblrsphere:
Chew your food 8 times instead of 3 or 4.
Brush your teeth and chew mint gum as soon as you finished eating. When your mouth is fresh and minty, you'll be less tempted to eat again.The final tip ("nurture yourself") includes a reminder to "blush your checks [sic]." Which may be a typo, but could also very well just be some strange Kelly saying that no one else has ever used in the history of the English language. On the next page, we're introduced to "Kelly's Food Plate." Which other, less sophisticated people typically refer to as the food pyramid. Kelly also takes a brief aside (in a feature box labeled "hot button issue") to expound upon her favorite delicacy, the humble jelly bean:
If you're a fan of the Real Housewives of New York City you probably remember that on Season 3 I took a lot of flack for eating jelly beans and talking about processed and unprocessed foods. I was actually making light of that food snob moment. Who stops at a gas station and asks for carrots? Did you bring your organic food cooler with you on this road trip? The important part is not to be a food snob; but when in doubt choose the best option. Sometimes it's better to be happy than it is to be right. Was I able to make my point? Clearly it wasn’t in the cards at that moment.This is a truly stunning synthesis of her experience. Underestimate Kelly at your own peril -- this girl has been playing 4D chess for longer than we know.
There's absolutely no reason why you, wherever you live, can't eat "colorful" foods. All over the country there are "gi-normous" supermarkets where fruit and vegetable aisles are bursting with every color of the rainbow.I am starting to get a "gi-normous" headache trying to make sense of this chaos. Kelly's advice that we can "mix and match what's there to make a FrenAsian or an ItaloGreek meal" is not helping. We also get some tips for how to grocery shop responsibly:
This is incoherent, right? I know I need to wrap up Part 1 of this write-up pretty soon, because I've read this sentence at least two dozen times trying to make some sense of it, and am still at an utter loss. I assume she's left out a negative somewhere, but at this point, I realize I've already thought about this tip for approximately ten times longer than Kelly ever has, so I'll move on.
- Always go with a list and never buy more than two items you planned on taking home.
Shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs
Lavender pepperTruly the voice of a generation! Decades from now, English teachers will be teaching their students about a fabled wordsmith who once uttered those eternal words, "shitake/oyster mushroom combination packs." Because this book has absolutely no respect for logical cohesion, we are hurled immediately into a diatribe about how expensive it can be to buy organic -- "I recently walked out of an organic market having paid $400 for just three bags of groceries." As I read on, however, it becomes quickly apparent that Kelly has no idea what the concept of 'organic' even means:
"Organic," in any case, seems like something of a misnomer to me. I know the Food and Drug Administration has regulations for certifying foods organic, but to me, for foods to be truly and totally organic, they would have to be grown in a test tube or a greenhouse with no exposure to the natural elements.Well, sure Kelly. If that's what you would like to use the word "organic" to mean, be my guest. She tosses us another crumb of helpful guidance, but it only serves to make me feel exceptionally sorry for Kelly's daughters and everything they have to endure:
Plate your food as if it were being served to you in a fine restaurant. Use a fancy foreign accent as you invite everyone to come to the table. Or try saying it in French. My girls love it when I announce, "Le dîner est servi!"We learn in yet another "HOT tip" that "fast food doesn't have to be fat food," and Kelly tells us for the eighth time that she eats two oranges every morning. In what has already become a recurring theme for me in this book, the following passage makes me desperately curious to know how Kelly thinks science works:
One question people frequently ask me is whether I believe in taking vitamins or supplements, and the answer is "yes, I do," because, even though I know my diet is healthy, I can't be sure that I'm getting all the nutrients I need. All the vitamins and minerals we need can be found naturally in foods, but how do we know, even if we're eating a healthy diet, that we're getting everything we need?I flip back two pages to confirm that Kelly told us quite recently how important it is to read nutrition labels to know what is in the food we eat (to make sure we avoid foods "whose labels are full of words you can't pronounce"). Exactly how she is reading these nutrition labels yet still manages to have no inkling how anyone could possibly begin to assess their vitamin and mineral intake eludes me. She continues:
I don't want to take that chance. I think of the food I eat as fuel and vitamins as my oil -- my body's engine needs both. Vitamins and supplements are not food replacements, but we're exposed to so many environmental toxins on a daily basis that I believe we need to supplement our diets to counteract all the harm those substances can cause.I can certainly think of something that is causing harm to my psychological stability at this particular moment, which I should probably take as a sign to wrap things up for today and go read some incredibly dense Victorian prose or something to remind myself what a properly constructed sentence looks like. Promise I won't leave you waiting for long!!
Alex and Simon don't take themselves too seriously, which seems to be essential to parenting. Their fresh 'he said, she said' perspective on parenting is both humorous and insightful!Please, take a moment and do your very best to picture mention-it-all, betting-on-horse-races-at-age-five Bethenny unironically using the phrase "fresh 'he said, she said' perspective." To describe Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord. Right, didn't think so.
With the Park Slope OB-GYN, we had the first sonogram and saw the little blip on the screen -- our child-to-be. They say seeing is believing and as nothing was happening inside me, seeing confirmation on the video monitor that indeed my spermatozoa had penetrated and infiltrated one of Alex's ova made me aware that my days as a footloose and fancy-free guy might be coming to an end.Y'all, I am currently working on my PhD in Molecular Biology. Which, if you were not previously aware, gives me the authority to decree that Simon is never allowed to use the word "spermatozoa" ever again. And so it is.
The stats they quoted referenced a 40 percent cesarean section rate in the city, and I wonder how that can be acceptable? Are we heading toward Brave New World, where babies are scientifically created in petri dishes and gestated in artificial wombs? Oh wait, we're already there. Are we heading towards a Wall-E existence, where we ride around in carts everywhere and do nothing for ourselves so that our bodies break down and we're all fat, oozy blobs drinking protein from a straw? Somebody slap me, please!!Truly, Alex, it would be my pleasure.
Although the final stages of labor were very, very painful, I [Alex] never used our code word (tin can) for "game over, give me drugs." I definitely recommend using a code word, because it was kind of fun to scream, "I want drugs, give me drugs" through a contraction and have the midwife, nurse and Simon all know I wasn't serious. Once he [François] was finally out of my body, I experienced a tsunami of endorphins that was almost orgasmic, and I understand completely the stories other women have written about ecstatic birth. Simon was sitting behind me at the point of birth, and later when we untangled ourselves he discovered he'd actually ejaculated though hadn't felt any of the normal lead-up to that. It may seem distasteful to some, and definitely neither of us was thinking of sex at the time, but with the rush of emotion and my lower nerve endings going crazy, it's not too far a stretch to say that it's a profound experience.Johan is born two years later, although it's unclear from the text whether either parent reached orgasm during the event.
Which is…a lovely sentiment. But one that is slightly undermined by phrasing the first part in the grossest way possible, as well as by the use of the phrase "female delicate bits." I do like the idea that they "retract," however, because I think it's very cool to imagine the vagina as an SUV sunroof. By the grace of God, Chapter 1 comes to a close.
- Best advice I heard: men's genitals grow and change shape regularly, then go back to the way they were before. Don't worry about your female delicate bits being able to retract.
…to the truly unnecessary.
- We subversively took sleeping babies to as many non-child-friendly places as possible to prove the point that children can be seen, not heard and not bothersome, such as dinner at the Ritz in London, the Sahara Desert, shopping on Madison Avenue, Underbar in Union Square and film festivals.
With the couple's general backstory and credentials now under our belts, Chapter 3 ("The Screaming Kid on the Plane is NOT Mine! (This Time)") focuses on advice for traveling with children, which Alex admits "can be a complete pain in the you-know-what." I cannot describe the rage I feel at the fact that she has -- in no fewer than 50 pages -- forced me to read about both her newborn son's excrement and her husband's ejaculate, but cannot bring herself to use the word "ass." Alex, we're really far beyond that at this point, don't you think?
- While changing François' diaper on day one or two, we both stood mesmerized by the changing pad as meconium oozed out of him. It was really the most bizarre and fascinating thing I'd seen to date.
So, like a horde of primal sadists? I'm wondering if Alex and Simon have inadvertently confused Lord of the Flies with the hit 2007 reality show Kid Nation. I really hope that's what's going on here.
- Both boys charging down Saline Beach in St. Barths like something out of Lord of the Flies.
Wait, hang on. What?
- Knowing what calms the children down, such as making silly faces or reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards.
reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwardsI'm sorry, please forgive me if I have missed some recent, paradigm-shifting development in the field of early childhood education, but what?? As in, "ends sidewalk the where?" "Sdne klawedis eht erehw?" I am truly befuddled.
When an everyday product can do double duty such as Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty, a dish soap that seals in moisture while I'm tackling cleanup, sure, I'll buy it.…before closing out with a list of the "Top 10 Things We Do Because We Were Here First." I am happy to confirm your worst suspicions and tell you that item number one is indeed "Have passionate sex."
She was sullen, melodramatic and kept a blog about how she hated Americans, hated France, hated us and the children but loved New York. I think she must have thought we were idiots, and when she asked us to leave early we were only too happy to get her out of our home.I would love to meet this woman. I think we could be great friends.
A third permutation is when there's a behavior that has to stop immediately, say if Johan has a big blue indelible marker and is running through a white hotel suite. I swoop in and grab the marker as to risk a three count [warning] would be to risk decoration of the sofa.Take the marker from the toddler immediately instead of trying to reason with him? Groundbreaking.
"My daughter is perfect. Her table manners are excellent, she never speaks unless spoken to and we've always had white sofas at home since she was a child, with no staining."Zing!
-A woman with one preteen daughter, no sons
Your daughter sounds boring. I wouldn't want my sons to date her..
"Why are you outside?" - A bagel seller in Montreal, in FebruaryGot 'em!
I'm hungry and the stroller is well protected under the plastic cover. Johan is warm and cozy, the others are asleep in the hotel and I'm going stir-crazy. Is that enough, or should I buy my bagel from someone else?
"Excuse me, your baby is crying." -- Someone said to Simon as they peered into the stroller to try and determine the cause of said noise.Sorry, did I say 'passive-aggressive'? Let's change that to just 'aggressive.'
You don't say! Do you think, you stupid idiot, that I don't hear that? Do you think I think it's just loud music? Do you think I don't want him to stop and that I like it???
There was a mom at another table who wore all black and told her hyperactive daughter that they had to have a family meeting to decide what to do next. The type of woman who might ask her daughter to "process her feelings" about which color to choose. The type of woman who wanted make [sic] a big huge hairy deal about including her daughter in the decision-making process and "negotiating" the next best step for the family to take in the pottery shop. Pardon me while I shoot myself.I'm sorry, but I just cannot respect this take coming from a woman who calms her sons by reciting comedic children's poetry backwards.
They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, whereas for the 21st century surely hell no longer hath fury, as it's all been hurled at the belittled and scorned Internet mom.I'm honestly not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean, and my confusion continues all the way through this chapter's "Top 10 Ways We Make Ourselves Feel Better When It's All Getting To Be Too Much." We begin reasonably enough…
…before quickly losing all sense of self-awareness and flying completely off the rails.
- Check to see whether the person offering advice has children. How old are they?
- Do they have a point? Are they right? It is entirely possible.
The last few chapters have been a bit Alex-heavy, but never fear -- Simon pops back up in Chapter 9 ("If I Wouldn't Eat That, My Kid Won't Either") to tell us a charming story about how the family refers to his Bolognese sauce as "Dead Cow Sauce," and this is because his children are incredibly enlightened and understand the circle of life and where food comes from. Or something along those lines.
- Will we ever see this person again? If not, can we get away with unleashing our fury on them? Note, if you're reading this and decide to try it for yourself, go big or go home.
Excuse me, ma'am, you must be unfamiliar with the concept of Endless Apps®.
- Where would you rather be? A bistro devoted to race-car driving, with 1950s toy cars on the walls, or T.G.I. Friday's?
Slaying the dragon is our family euphemism for using the toilet (drowning the dragons that live in the sewer) and is fun for the boys to talk about, though probably not forever.Before giving us a chance to adequately process this revelation, Alex goes on to reflect:
Hmm, perhaps I should delete this -- I don’t want obnoxious classmates getting hold of this book in 10 years and asking the boys if they need to slay the dragon in the middle of geometry class.Alex, I assure you, you truly have nothing to worry about. Any self-respecting bully will be far too focused on the fact that Simon ejaculated at the moment of his son's birth to pay this comparatively trivial factoid any attention.
One kind of funny thing that I noticed recently is that the toys the boys tend to leave upstairs in our red and black living room often tend to be red and black as well. I'm not sure whether that's intentional, but it's funny that the room always seems to match regardless of its contents.The list of "Top 10 Craziest Places We've Found Objects" is mercifully absent of any orifice-related discoveries.
As a former actor, I've always gotten into play-acting and dressing up with my children. Perhaps a little too much. But I've taken the opportunity to show off a few old monologues, complete with bounding around like a puppy. If you have knowledge, why not share it? If you happen to know Puck's speeches from a Midsummer Night's Dream by ear with tumbling and staged sword play, why the heck don’t you share that with your boisterous boys, who love it and run around shouting, "Thou speakest aright!"I am suddenly compelled to call my mother and thank her profusely for never making me put up with anything like this. Maybe I'll also get her thoughts on one of the tips listed in "Top 10 Favorite 'Developmental' Things To Do": "if they want something that you want to delay giving them, make them ask in every language they can before giving in." To me, this seems like an effective way to encourage your children to learn how to say "Fuck you, mom" in French as early as possible.
This is a thing I'm sure Johan said completely organically and not in response to hearing his parents say "we're giving you a time-out so that you learn to be a good grown-up" approximately seven zillion times.
- Apropos of nothing, Johan said, "You give us time-outs because you are teaching us to be good grown-ups."
I'm actually glad for the mistakes I've made because anyone who doesn't make mistakes doesn't learn, and if you don't learn, you're boring!And if you're boring, you're not HOT! I think I'm starting to get the hang of this!
Staying hydrated is important no matter what you're doing, so I always try to drink eight glasses or about a liter of water a day. Soda isn't water. Coffee isn't water. Water is water. Drink throughout the day; don't try to get it all down at once. You wouldn't drown an orchid, so don't drown yourself.I am putting in my formal request for a Public Service Announcement in this format, but using the last line of that passage. Also, Kelly clearly does not know how poorly I tend to my houseplants.
We keep reading about how bad sodium is for our health, but if you eat fresh foods that you prepare yourself, you can determine and control the amount of salt you want to use. I, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, am perfectly capable of deciding how much salt I want to put on my food. I don't need anyone else to salt my food for me. I know that the amount of salt I choose to sprinkle on my food is not going to hurt me.I read on to find a two-page spread in which Kelly expounds, in rhapsodic praise to rival that of Song of Solomon, upon her ardor for her beloved dehydrator -- "I though I was in love with coffee, but now I think my dehydrator is my truest love." Most of the passage is taken up by an unstructured list of the various things Kelly has attempted to dehydrate ("cucumber," "mangoes," "avocado") but she does manage to squeeze in a few infomercial-ready lines -- "Really, you should buy one; I promise you won't be sorry."
Drink water throughout the day (not all at one sitting).She's also been thoughtful enough to provide a list of resources for us to use as we soldier on along the perilous journey to HOT. After all, as Kelly says, "I don’t expect you to carry this book wherever you go -- as much as I would love that." As someone who has never before ventured into the wild world of cyberspace, I really appreciated Kelly introducing me to so many fun, useful websites that I might want to check out! In case you, too, just haven't figured out how to navigate this whole Internet thing, I've included a few examples below:
One-stop shopping for just about any book, periodical, or product you might want to read or buy in order to get HOT.
Everything you need to know to stay up to date on any sport.
Useful, up-to-date, trustworthy information on medical and health issues.
www.yummly.comCan't wait to check these out later! That Amazon one sounds super cool!
Claims to have "every recipe in the world"
I suggest that you take a picture of yourself every day…Some days when you're feeling your fattest, you may be surprised to see that you really look great.Okay, so fat is NOT HOT. Except being comfortable in your body is HOT. And trying to be skinny is NOT HOT. But being skinny is HOT. Thank goodness I still have a few more chapters to go -- I clearly still have a ways to go before I truly understand the logic of HOTness. As it stands, I must admit that I'm a bit baffled.
The best kind of vanity is being vain about what you put in your body.Friday's chapter promises to introduce us to the world of "Hot Couture," and I am excited to see what tips and tricks Kelly has managed to accrue over her lifetime in the cutthroat world of modeling . But first, we abruptly transition to a story about Kelly meeting Madonna shortly after both women had given birth. Kelly had "gained a healthy fifty pounds," which I am led to believe, from the context of the anecdote, is NOT HOT. Madonna, on the other hand, was "flat-stomached" and therefore "HOT and cool." Of course, Kelly reassures us hurriedly that she lost all the weight within the following six weeks and was "actually thinner than I'd been prepregnancy." I am at an utter loss as to what the point of this story could possibly be, but -- blessedly -- Kelly is gracious enough to explain:
So what's the lesson here? That Madonna had personal trainers and chefs to whip her back into shape, and I didn't -- and still don’t. I shouldn't have been comparing myself to her in the first place. My advice to you is: don’t compare yourself to anyone else, only to your own personal best.This is a perfect example of something Kelly does throughout this book, which is to present a completely reasonable piece of advice (don’t compare yourself to others), but couched within such a bizarre and logically disorganized narrative that by the time I reach the ultimate moral of the story, my brain feels like it's been run through a series of meat grinders, and I'm reduced to just nodding along in bemused acceptance.
Stop praying for what you don't have and be grateful for what you've got.This amount of cognitive dissonance is truly proof that Kelly contains multitudes. Or has recently acquired some sort of debilitating short-term amnesia. Nevertheless, we continue:
But whatever your shape, show it off. Don’t try to hide it. Hiding is not hot.Kelly next walks us through figuring out which "season" we are, based on the wisdom extolled in "Color Me Beautiful, the groundbreaking book that was so wildly successful in the early 80s." It's no surprise to me that Kelly, who earlier encouraged us to make our lives easier by using our PDAs, finds this to be an exciting new trend to share. Also, in case you weren't aware, "hair color is also important. You can lighten it or darken it or cover the gray." Lighten it or darken it? The boundaries of my mental universe are truly expanding.
Scarves are hippie chic, cool, and always HOT.
If you're narrow, show off how narrow you are with a monochromatic palette.
Ankles are the new cleavage!Narrow ankles only, I presume. Kelly's selfless, giving nature is highlighted yet again in the following passage, in which she explains:
All these celebrities have stylists who pull the clothes, accessories, and shoes that make them look the way they do. They charge a lot of money for what they do, so why not get some free advice based on my experience.And what, pray tell, is this coveted advice that Kelly is so lovingly sharing with her readers, free of charge?
Okay, so far be it from me to complain about the quality of free advice. But. Out of the five pearls of wisdom that make up the "KKBStyle Rules," two of them are rudimentary instructions to wear somewhat-situationally-appropriate clothing, and the other three are the kind of cute sayings that you would find on a piece of poorly bedazzled wall art in the clearance aisle of your local TJMaxx. I'm not impressed.
- Save sweatpants for the gym.
- Save PJs for the bedroom.
- Dress as if you were the boss.
- Remember what Carrie Bradshaw says: "Nothing is casual anymore, even when it says so on the invitation."
- Manolo Blahniks are a girl's best friend.
I even painted my nails red the minute I started writing this book. I wanted to see my short red nails tapping away on my Macbook Pro. Almost every red dress is smokin' HOT, and I've never met a guy who doesn't think a woman in a red dress isn't hot. He's a liar if he denies it.To repeat, Kelly says she's "never met a guy who doesn’t think a woman in a red dress isn't hot." Poor dear got a bit carried away with her negatives, but I'm sure she'll redeem herself in no time:
When I was sitting in the front row of a Marc Jacobs fashion show a few years ago, I wore a full, red short skirt, a tight red sweater, and red open-toed shoes. One of the editors from The New York Times was sitting across from me, and as we were waiting for the show to begin I kept crossing and recrossing my legs to make him laugh.Sure, Kelly. To make him laugh. I can only assume she must have written some kind of hilariously clever joke on the gusset of her underwear to have had this editor so tickled
It was a long wait and after a while some guy I didn't know who was at the other end of the row, leapt towards me and screamed that he was obsessed with my feet. How crazy is it that red open-toed shoes and red toenails could create such a reaction. Red is HOT, even stalker HOT. Yikes!I'm not clear where "stalker HOT" fits into this whole complex web, but it's reassuring to know that a wise soul like Kelly has such a nuanced appreciation of all of the different ways to be hot. She also gives us some "HOT tips for heating up your image." Like,
Put on a pair of jeans and a white tee shirt.
Put your hair in a ponytail.
Put on a pair of hoop earrings.And also
Wear your jeans a size smaller instead of a size larger.For some reason not entirely clear to me at this moment, wearing jeans in your actual size does not seem to be an option.
There's nothing hotter than a HOT head of hair (unless it's a hunky bald guy).Kelly follows up by offering a list of what she calls "HOT healthy options." Based on the preceding paragraph, you might assume that these tips would have something to do with haircare and hair styling. However, you would be wrong. Instead, we're instructed to:
Enjoy as much watermelon as you like.
Pack a picnic lunch of dehydrated fruit, chamomile iced tea, and mini pizzas made with corn tortillas, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Eat your picnic in the park.
Come up with something fun you want to try and do it!Personally, it seems like a bit of a cop-out to make one of the items on your list of fun things to do "make up your own fun thing to do." But who knows? Maybe cop-outs are HOT!
Besides my hair and my legs, the one thing people always ask me about the way I look is how I keep my teeth so white. And yes, that's also a matter of genetics. I'm blessed with the whitest teeth on the planet, and, no, I've never had them professionally bleached.The weekend begins as I turn the page to the penultimate chapter -- "Saturday: Heat Up Your HOT Image with Healthy Options Today." Saturdays, as Kelly tells us, are for fun activities. For example:
If you're in the mall, go to different stores and figure out which looks will make you HOT. Ask other shoppers for advice.Also:
Parks are great for people-watching. Who looks fit and healthy?I sincerely hope that any and all of my friends would give me a stern talking-to if I informed them that my weekend plans consisted of going to a park and…pointing out people I think aren't healthy enough?
You're not going to get fat from having a few drinks a week. You will get fat if your routine is to drink, eat late, and then lie around watching television the next day, eating and making bad food choices. Going out is fun, but when you sacrifice the next day, it's never fun enough. Don't have regrets; enjoy every day. This is a life plan, and yesterday isn't coming back ever again.The chapter comes to a close with a reminder to "wrap up every day with a great big bow and be ready for your next adventure. But before we close out our week of HOT, we're provided with what I anticipate will be an incredibly useful reference material for us all, the "KKBfit HOT Quiz." If you'd like to take the quiz yourself, you can find it here. However, I'm not entirely sure I would classify it as a "quiz," since it seems to be mostly a set of questions followed by Kelly's feedback on various possible responses. For example:
I presume that the lack of response after the "Other?" choice is supposed to represent Kelly staring at me in deranged disappointment for a few painfully protracted seconds. Some questions, like the one above, don't seem to have any wrong answers at all. In contrast, other questions have clear wrong answers, which Kelly wastes no time in making apparent:
I had a Kelly Green Juice -- Wasn't it yummy?
- How Kelly Green are you?
I had a smoothie from the health food store with a splash of spinach -- Great choice!
I had kale chips, spinach, and quinoa for dinner last night -- I bet you woke up feeling great this morning!
I had a grilled chicken salad for dinner on three different days -- That's good, but I wish you'd get a little more adventurous in your choices.
- Are you getting enough protein? How many days did you eat chicken, fish, or meat for at least one meal?
Haven't had a meal since last night, but I'm going to skip breakfast and go on a run. I won't eat anything until lunch. -- Sorry, but starving your body is not KKBfit.
- How KKBfit are you?
The quiz ends, leaving me entirely unsure of whether or not I've actually made any forward progress towards my HOTness goals, but the next page does promise help for those who "still need more inspiration." Here, it seems that Kelly has compiled a loose assortment of quotes, most of which (I have a sneaking suspicion) were found by searching the keyword "hot" on BrainyQuote.com. Also, this masterpiece from Kelly's ex-husband, noted fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon:
I drink when I'm exercising but that's about it -- Not good enough! Try harder next week.
- Are you drinking enough?
HOT--Move over, Rupi Kaur! I hope with every fiber of my being that Gilles Bensimon has published his collected poetry in some kind of volume that I could purchase, read, and have, I'm sure, nothing but positive things to say about. After about a dozen similar quotations, Kelly continues:
It is not about the look,
It is not only about the charm,
It is the perfect combination:
Sweet and tough,
Sexy and reserved,
Fragile and powerful,
And definitely smart.
-- Gilles Bensimon
Now, as you get ready for Sunday Funday, take a few minutes to think about how you define HOT. Has your definition changed or evolved since you started reading this book? If so, I'm doing my job.In all honesty, my definition of HOT has definitely been…affected by this experience. So we'll call that a win! Kelly tells us a few stories about times when her friends and family members have come to her for guidance on how to be hot. She explains:
I'm not the food police, but I've made myself the Sven-arbiter (as opposed to Svengali) of what's HOT and what's not.Case in point:
It's just not hot to belong to the clean plate club.The chapter closes with a list titled "Why Don't You," which I believe is supposed to be a list of fun activities we can try during a Sunday Funday. Or possibly a list of terrible life hacks for stoned college freshmen:
Use an electric teapot as a clothing steamer.
Make grilled cheese sandwiches or press wraps using a hot clothes iron.There are very few things sadder to me that imagining someone taking Kelly up on this last bit of advice as a fun way to liven up what must be the most preternaturally boring existence possible. If your idea of fun is white bread and Kraft Singles getting slowly warmed over on your clothing iron, I can only imagine the fit of hysterics that you'd be thrown into by a passable Minions meme.
No one on earth would ever call me a chef.Of course not, Kelly -- they'd call you a cook. Otherwise, it's creepy.
I'm not the greatest pancake maker, and I probably never will be. But what I am very good at is thinking of unusual things and doing them.Frankly, I can't argue with that. As she continues:
When in pancake doubt, have fun, add fruit, and see if pancakes can be a vehicle for creating great memories for your family.Next time I'm in pancake doubt, I'll know just what to do! We move right along into the Soups and Salads section, and are promptly introduced to Kelly's "Jimmy Achoo's Chicken Soup." Which is apparently a play on Jimmy Choo and also described by Kelly as "filled with veggie exploitation," which sounds terrifying. Of the next recipe, "Rich and Skinny Cauliflower Soup with Kale Chips," Kelly reflects:
I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Internet. I wish I could tell you exactly where, but I can't.The recipe calls for kale chips, which Kelly goes out of her way to inform us can be purchased "at health food stores and many well-stocked supermarkets." We also get a few general "HOT salad tips" that can be applied to many of the recipes throughout this book, such as
There are so many different types of lettuces available today! Try different ones to see which you like bestand
When you order a salad in a restaurant, ask for the dressing on the side. You're a grown-up and you should get to decide how much you want to use.With that under our belts, the grown-ups among us move on to "Meat, Chicken, and Fish." In her recipe for "Grilled Rib Eye with Herbes de Provence", Kelly tells us about meeting the famous chef who inspired this dish:
When I met Eric, who was still in his thirties at the time, he still had dark hair. I was caught off guard because I thought all chefs were older, had gray hair, and smelled like garlic.So perhaps Bethenny should have taken it as a compliment? Kelly continues,
He's since invited me many times to go into his kitchen and cook with him, but my fear of losing a finger by being overzealous has prohibited me from accepting.It's unclear to me exactly what this means or why Kelly would even be particularly worried about this possibility. Does she have habit of excitedly snatching vegetables out from other people's knives? Does Eric have a reputation for slicing anyone who dares to get in his way? Before I make any headway with this particular mystery, we're introduced to the next recipe, the "Pencil-Thin Skirt Steak." As we learn, "Everyone looks slim in a pencil skirt, so it's only fitting that skirt steak is one of the leanest cuts of beef you can buy." We get a recipe for "Sultry Roast Chicken" in which Kelly shares with us that "in fact, chicken without ginger doesn't taste like chicken to me anymore." This would be more believable if we weren't, a mere two pages later, introduced to a notably ginger-free recipe for "Second-Chance Chicken." As Kelly explains,
I hate the idea of leftovers. To me, eating leftovers means you're too lazy to start over, and I've never wanted my girls to think that we weren't starting fresh.In the introduction to the recipe for "Bad Girl Wings," Kelly gives us yet another poignant insight into her life as a mother:
These chicken wings are Sea's favorite. I'm sure she loves them because she knows I love wings (she's a cutie like that).It would obviously be ludicrous to assume that Sea actually enjoys chicken wings authentically. Much more likely that she just loves them because Kelly does. HOT! In a segment labeled "hasta la vista taco bell," Kelly recounts a traumatic experience in which she "discovered that my favorite food choices [at Taco Bell] added up to 580 calories." To me, this seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of calories for one daily meal out of three, but according to Kelly, I am embarrassingly off the mark. Rather, she sighs, "I guess that means my Taco Bell days are over -- unless I decide to chance [sic] Sunday Funday into Fatso Food Day." Not HOT.
This was one of the first dishes I made when I started to cook -- as a science experiment. My "method" was to think of foods I loved and which ones I thought would go well together.Fascinating! Think of ingredients you like and combine them into a dish that you will then likely also like! The next recipe, for "Kelly's Kalamari," features the following introduction:
I still love fried calamari, but it doesn't love me. Whenever I eat it, it goes right to my stomach and makes a little pooch -- eww!As a reminder, this is the same Kelly Bensimon who told us that loving our bodies is HOT and dieting is die + t. But also, eww!
When you make this (especially for children) just be sure you cook off the alcohol so that you aren't serving vodka to minors or have to assign a designated driver for your guests.This seems like reasonable and conscientious advice. Until I read on and learn that the recipe calls for 1/8 cup vodka, and makes four servings. If your guests need a designated driver after consuming a half-tablespoon of vodka each, I would strongly encourage them to seek medical advice forthwith.
Try using quinoa in this recipe instead of the rice -- I call that having your cake and eating it too!Oh, to live a life in which your most selfish indulgence was quinoa. I suppose this should have prepared me for a few pages later, when Kelly remarks:
Both hummus and guacamole make great toppings for steak or fish. They're my version of béarnaise sauce.I love hummus. Hummus is great. But there is no possible existing parallel universe in which hummus and béarnaise sauce are interchangeable. One of the final recipes in this section is cryptically titled "Have an Impromptu Pepper Party" and instructs the reader to scoop out the insides of a bell pepper and stuff it with "whatever ingredients suit your fancy." Again, I feel like this fails to meet the definition of an actual recipe, per se, but it is supposedly "quick, fun, and satisfying."
On Season 4 of the Real Housewives of New York City, I made a mixed fruit pie for my kids with what was left over in the fruit bowl…Don't be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and have fun doing it.I can only hope to someday be brave enough and fearless enough to make a mixed fruit pie.
Gummi Bear MartiniETA: I am so disappointed in myself for forgetting to include that Kelly has a ceviche recipe that instructs you to marinate raw fish in lemon juice for exactly two minutes before serving. In the interest of food safety, perhaps it was for the best that this nugget momentarily slipped my mind, but sharing this information with you all is the burden I have been cursed to bear. 🙏🏼
If you don't have a paper umbrella handy, Gummi Bears are a great way to put more fun in your drink.
Makes 1 Drink
2 parts orange, grape, or other-flavored vodka
1 part Triple Sec
1 part white grape juice
Splash of cranberry juice
Gummi Bears, as many as you like
Combine the vodka, Triple Sec, grape juice, and cranberry juice in a tall glass. Add ice and fill the glass with Gummi Bears.
“The reason why the manor is so controversial is because nobody is saying what’s actually happening in here and that’s out of respect for the manor and myself and what we’re trying to produce here. If the people who go through the haunt want to spill all the beans and say everything that happens, they certainly could but they don’t and that makes the haters crazy because they don’t know what’s happening. That’s why you hear all the insane rumors because they’re just making things up in their mind of what is happening.” - Russ McKameyWhat is McKamey Manor?
“19. Participant was warned numerous times about the intensity of MM and by the Owners and other members of the crew that YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THIS.”The waiver continues to stress that the experience is just “a game” several times. By number 28, the waiver starts to detail what the participant may be subjected to:
“20. Participant agrees and understands that your life in reality is not in danger and this is just a game.”
”21. Participant agrees and understands that during the Tour and Participant is in the van, they will not be secured by a seatbelt or other safety device.”
“22. Participant understands and agrees that they are not being tortured and this is just a game.”
“23. Participant understands and agrees that they are not being beat up, kicked, slugged, or actually physically harmed. You will be roughed up but no one is there to hurt you. Knowing that, MM is very rough and not for the meek. Participant will have bumps, bruises, possible black eyes, swelling of the face, etc.”
“24. Participant understands and agrees that they are never being held against their will.”
“28. Participant fully understands that by signing this waiver that they are giving MM permission to keep nothing off the table (except sexual or inappropriate situations). Everything else imaginable can and will happen inside of MM. You are aware of this and are giving full permission for any action that may happen inside of MM.”The waiver continues for several more pages, the intensity increasing with each page.
“29. Participant agrees to and has full knowledge that if selected to visit the barber, Participant may leave MM completely bald, including eyebrows.”
“30. Participant agrees and knowledges that mousetraps are used within the Tour which may result in bruising, cutting, or breakage of fingers.”
“31. Participant agrees that if selected, they could be buried alive under 12 feet of dirt and rock to which they will have a limited amount of air and that they will have to figure out how to escape and they could possibly breathe in a significant amount of dust, dirt, or foreign objects that may cause death if Participant does not breathe properly or hold their breath at the right time.”
“32. Participant agrees to partake, if selected to participate, in a height stunt that involves walking a plank 25 feet above ground without a safety net.”
“33. Participant agrees that if selected they will come in contact with a variety of live poisonous animals. It is the Participant’s responsibility to not panic or agitate the animals. If Participant is bitten, it is because the Participant made a sudden movement within a confined secured environment.”
“My hair is wrapping around my neck and I start freaking out. I’m telling them I can't breathe and they’re just laughing and doing it more.”Despite the “traumatic” experience, Mulligan spoke highly of the tour during her exit interview, going as far as adding that she did not feel like she had been “tortured” and treated it “as a game.”
“I was waterboarded, I was tased, I was whipped. I still have scars of everything they did to me. I was repeatedly hit in my face, over and over and over again. Like, open-handed, as hard as a man could hit a woman in her face…” More graphically, Brotherton adds that she was blindfolded with duct tape and submerged underwater by her ankles. According to Brotherton, she was submerged underwater for so long that her body started involuntarily thrashing. Brotherton was later forced to dig a hole in dirt with nothing other than her bare hands. Brotherton was then forced to lie in the fresh hole while they covered her and her face with dirt, giving her only a straw to breathe through. “[The dirt] started to go into my throat, and I started to swallow it. I’m coughing and I keep saying ‘I need water,’ and they would just splash water in my face. That went on for, I want to say, 20 to 30 minutes.”Brotherton repeated the safe word for several minutes before the actors finally relented. Like Mulligan, Brotherton had to record an exit video. In the video, Brotherton also spoke positively about her experience. Though according to Brotherton, it was because she was “forced” to.
“Before Russ turned the camera on he said to me, if I do not say good things about McKamey Manor and I start telling what actually happened, he’s going to sue me for $50,000. I signed a waiver saying this could happen. So Russ forced me into saying all these great things, like, ‘Oh my God, my tour was so amazing, it was exhilarating,’ blah, blah, blah.”After her experience, Brotherton went to the hospital but refused to tell the hospital staff who or what caused her injuries. As a result, the hospital staff called the police. Brotherton, however, was discharged and left before the police arrived. Brotherton says that she later worked up the courage to report the incident to the police, but was told that she didn’t have a criminal case because of the waiver she signed. Brotherton took photographs to document her injures. According to journalist Megan Seling, who interviewed Brotherton for her article, Tennessee's McKamey Manor: Torture on Demand, the nature of Brotherton’s injuries included:
“In one photo, Brotherton is in a neck brace and a hospital gown and her face is markedly swollen. She has scrapes on her cheeks and a lump on her forehead, her lips are red and puffy, and there are small cuts at the corner of her mouth.According to Seling, McKamey didn’t deny Brotherton’s claims, though he did shed doubt on the fracture in her foot. McKamey also admitted to exposing her affair but claimed that it didn’t affect her tour in terms of increasing severity. Rather, according to McKamey, “Any personal information we have, we’ll use it against you in the tour.”
In another image, you can see a large, bloody wound on Brotherton’s left knee. She says that’s an old surgery scar that opened up after McKamey’s actors cut off her knee pads and made her crawl on the ground. Her legs are covered in scratches, and there’s a large purple bruise on top of her left foot. There are also two pictures of her torso, showing large purple bruises that stretch across her hip and stomach. She says X-rays showed a hairline fracture in her foot, and the inside of her mouth was so scratched up from the hitting and “fish-hooking” (“Where they take their two fingers and they put them inside your mouth and they stretch your mouth open”) that the hospital sent her home with medical mouthwash, which she had to use every two hours for three days.”
“Russ here, I'm posting this FB post here because I think it's worth mentioning. There really is only one part of your story that I have an issue with. Sure the way you went on and on about Laura B. without having the real facts was to be expected. Clearly if things happened the way you suggested in the piece...I would be in jail. I can assure you, Laura's tour was no tougher then other "Chamber" tours in San Diego. If you would have spoken to other contestants who have taken multiple tours (up to 5), including the same tour that Laura took...you would have received a balanced take on the San Diego shows. I offered you their names, but you decided to go with the most salacious participant. The person who has been banned by all other extreme attractions. Why...because she causes trouble and she does not speak the truth. The bottom line Megan Seling is this. Why did you feel it was important to get one final (unsubstantiated), dig in at myself and the Manor. Would you top off a story about a magician or illusionist with a statement about what is real or nor real? But for some reason you felt it necessary to do so covering the MM story. It may have been understandable to include your final paragraph if for some reason you really felt inclined to complain because I wasn't giving away my secrets, but you did so much more then that. You left your readers with the impression that what you were saying was fact. And that's were I have a big issue with what you presented to your audience. You deceived your readers by presenting your "opinion" as a factual statement. You even admitted to other FB readers that you you knew what you did was going to upset me, but you went full steam ahead nonetheless. In hindsight, that's probably the effect you were looking for. As you and I both know, I called it from the first phone call and several hours working with you on your story, how you would eventually spin the article. And as usual in these cases deal with the media...I was correct. But let's get back to the actual statement you presented to your audience as fact...not opinion. You wrote the following: "Here’s the thing: There is no $20,000. There’s no caiman named Ralphie, there’s no quicksand-like mud that will swallow you whole, and McKamey will certainly never slather your body in flame-retardant gel and lock you in an incinerator somewhere in Huntsville, Ala. None of that is real." That is not an opinon...you're stating this as fact. I would like to offer this challenge to you publicly here in your papers comment section. I have already done so numerous times as you're well aware. Because you're so keen on exploring what is real and not real at MCKAMEY MANOR, and because you're so inclined to make that the final impression of your story, I have a very simple way to bring this to a very exciting conclusion. All you have to do Megan is to actually take the tour. I would think as a professional journalist you would be more then happy to participate in this little adventure. If for no other reason just to get the actual facts correct. Unfortunately we all know you will never do that. Instead you'll sit behind your desk in the comfort of your safe space, writing about second hand information instead of actually seeking the truth from your own experience. I understand that there are those that are "participants" in the world, and others who simple watch from the sidelines. In your case I'm offering you a chance to actually become an active player and not just a computer warrior. If you would care to sign up for the tour, I'm pretty sure you would change your statement. What do you have to loose? Don't just toss opinions out as fact. Maybe you're absolutely correct that MCKAMEY MANOR in not real in the faintest, and that nothing is what it seems. My challenge to you is to be a real real journalist and find out the facts. Imagian the great story you would have, and I know your supporters would love to see you get away from your desk and safe space to show us all what MCKAMEY MANOR is real all about. Is MM just "Smoke and Mirrors," or it it something much more exciting and magical. This would make an excellent follow on piece for your paper. Do you have what it takes Megan to actually find out the truth? If anyone would like to participate in the MM experience, please fill out the contact form at www.Mckameymanor.com. Be advise you must be able to meet all basic requirements and you must provide a doctors letter stating your mentally and physically cleared to participate in our little adventure called MCKAMEY MANOR. And no matter what you may have read in this article, the chance to win 20,000.00 is absolutely real. Do I believe that will ever happen...not on your life ladies and gentlemen. MM is looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. One final note, I'm the most transparent individual you'll ever have the opportunity to meet. If anyone one of you reading this comment have any questions for me, feel free to call me directly at (omitted by u/BubbaJoeJones). I will answer any and all questions...concerning anything. Thank you for reading my little rant :-). Russ McKamey”Questions and Theories
“I’m not going to open it to the masses–I like keeping it a secret. I like the mystery of the manor. If you saw everything it’d be like any other haunted house. That’s my goal, even when I’m dead and gone, to make sure people are still talking about McKamey Manor. That’s why nobody is really going to ever see behind the wall.” - Russ McKameyTo date, little is known about what took place at McKamey Manor in San Diego. Mulligan and Brotherton maintain that they were subjected to excessive abuse, despite that they signed the waiver. As McKamey said, many of his participants choose not to detail their experiences out of respect for maintaining the mystery of the manor. Thus, there are very few accounts available on people’s experiences at the Manor. Although McKamey claims that the Manor in Tennessee and Alabama is the most “toned-down version of the Manor ever,” people continue to sign petitions in an attempt to shut the Manor down. Despite their efforts, McKamey says that he will continue to run the Manor as long as he is able to.
YOUNG DOM: Do you know they've assembled a directive? The Russian Vory, KGB, the Americans, her enemies have pooled their resources and put a bounty on her head. They're calling it the Townsend Directive.Seems clear Ilya knows who this Neville Townsend is.
YOUNG ILYA: Neville Townsend?
YOUNG DOM: He's at the top of a very long list of people who want her dead.
YOUNG ILYA: Are you worried they'll find you?
YOUNG DOM: I'm worried they'll find Masha, try and leverage her.
YOUNG ILYA: Look, Dom, I I can't help you.
YOUNG DOM: You made a promise! To Katarina. You told her you would look after Masha if anything happened to her.
YOUNG ILYA: Yes, but I can't call off Townsend. And he will not stop looking.
The Russian Vory, KGB, the Americans,Note he never says, at the time they are discussing this, which is after Katarina disappeared, likely even after the surgery even, possibly years later, during the Belgrade affair, that the CIA is after her.
Katarina was a traitor to two countries, both global superpowers.which coincides with what Katarina told Kate in 1991:
The KGB uncovered my affair with Raymond, which means US Intelligence knows as well. Both sides are tracking me down.forget the cockamamie reason: the KGB would be happy with her affair. It was supposedly the job. Seduce RR and her information. But what Katarina told Kate was that she was being chased by BOTH sides:
Both sides are tracking me down.and that is further established by what Red tells Jennifer when he is desperate to get to Naomi, and Jennifer is demanding truth:
In 1990, the KGB and the CIA had almost nothing in common except the mutual determination to hunt down one individual.https://preview.redd.it/tthwdgy8m7b51.png?width=558&format=png&auto=webp&s=315157b13fdada5ce4762bd06f904d9d6d3d02b9
The Russian Vory, KGB, the Americans,The KGB is after her (or its successors), as they were since 1991, since they sent Velov and then the OUC. Nothing has changed there.
KATARINA TO DOM: I am not a traitor.So, the Americans after her, are not the CIA. She was not a traitor to them. She is now being protected. Likely someone high in power told the CIA to leave her alone. Alan Fitch?
RED: The Cabal is in green. Their affiliates are in red. Their competition is in blue. Since I've been a fugitive, the pestilence on this map has only grown. This is what we're up against-- a multi-headed hydra. You cut off one head, it grows two others, you have to cut off every head and burn the rest of it. It's a mythic battle, and it's not anywhere close to being over.When this aired, I thought this was singularly important. It was not the fulcrum, which was long exposed. This gave us the reason why Katarina is hiding:
LIZ: It's your battle, not mine.
RED: I wish that were true, Lizzy. But the manhunt revealed certain facts that had long been hidden about you.
RED: Katarina Rostova was a name that had been lost to history. Masha Rostova was never more than suspicion and rumor. The manhunt and the publicity it generated changed all of that.
LIZ: But who would care that I'm Katarina Rostova's daughter?
RED: The daughter of a legendary spymaster, the secret-keeper who disappeared - ... The secrets she took with her could compromise any number of players on that map.
LIZ: But I don't know anything.
RED: They don't know that. You can't walk away, Lizzy. They won't let you.
a legendary spymaster, the secret-keeper who disappeared. The secrets she took with her could compromise any number of players on that map.This has to be the Sikorsky Archive (SA). It also tells us the SA contains information not only on the cabal, but related players and even competition. But the cabal seemed weakened, yet, there is one level of the cabal we have not learn much about it other than location, it seems singularly important:
THE DIRECTOR TO SOLOMON: if you don't and our friends in Bonn learn of your insubordination, I don't think they're gonna be very pleased.The higher echelon of the cabal is located in Bonn, which was the capital of West Germany during the Cold War.
How many times have I told you? Leave it alone. I warned you. Even saying the name Katarina Rostova has consequences, and now you see. Now you see what that name will make others do.Note the curious wording. Not the normal one: 'Even mentioning HER (Katarina) has consequences, and now you see. Now you see what HER name will make others do.'
Do you know what the Sikorsky Archive is? ... It's a blackmail file. It has compromising information on very powerful people. I've been accused of stealing it. He knows I didn't. I think he knows who did.What is not clear is who commissioned her to do so, if anyone did. What it sounds like is the way Red described the fulcrum:
The Fulcrum.... It's a blackmail file-- proof of the existence of an extraordinarily powerful clandestine organization. If their activities were made public, some of the most powerful and influential men would go to prison or be executed.Peter sees the fulcrum for the first time. he had examined the pieces, as if he did not know it had pieces, or had seen the pieces before, but not know what they were.
DOM: Remember, all this happened as the Soviet Union was collapsing. She betrayed all of us.Dom never mentions a cabal, but it is clear she was working with Fitch, parts of which we see in Rassvet. A curious part, because she tells her mother and her father diametrically opposed things:
LIZ: By working with the Cabal.
DOM: By helping to fan the flames of an uprising. Many powerful people were looking for your mother, and she knew she needed to disappear, to fade away.
KATARINA TO LENA: Because I'm a traitor. And they'll think you're a traitor, too. They'll think you're on my side.The KGB believed her to be a traitor, dispatching Anton Velov to hunt her, then the Osterman Umbrella Company:
KATARINA TO DOM: I am not a traitor.
Your mother loved that photograph. Represented everything she wanted but couldn't have. Not after she betrayed the KGB. After that, she was a hunted woman.... Hunted by the Osterman Umbrella Company.... A burn notice can mean kill or capture. When it's kill, they're the hit squad of choice.So, It seem as we explored in part 2, Katarina's mother was KGB, but Dom was not. This puts these lines from Rassvet into perspective:
No, Papa, listen to me. You have to go. You can't come back here.... Moscow's gonna fall. It's only a matter of time. You have to leave.Former KGB involved with the cabal stayed in Russia, after the USSR fell. An example? The esteemed relative of Motya Morozov, one of the goon who bought into the Townsend Directive bounty:
RED: Motya, I need to take care of this myself. It's personal.Back in 2015, when the team was trying to find the man responsible for faking the death of Berlin's daughter, and setting the bombing at Kursk, they discover that the man who set the explosives was Kiryl Morozov, a man who back then was a low level KGB officer, and rose to the rank of Minister of Finance:
MOTYA: Ah. Do you know your conversations with the Minister of Finance single-handedly responsible for getting my operations pushed out of Kiev? I lost millions in rail lines alone. I lost my relationship with contractors, politicians
COOPER: Kiryl Morozov. He was a low-level KGB operative.so, if Morozov not only could stay in Russia, but seemed to have benefited from the cabal's activities in rising to a position of great power, why did Dom have to leave?
NAVABI: And today?
COOPER: One of the most powerful men in Russia.
WRIGHT: Kiryl Morozov is one of Putin's most trusted advisers. The man runs the finance ministry.
COOPER: And we have reason to believe he's responsible for the 1991 bombing in Kursk that left -
WRIGHT: 12 people dead. In Russia.
The CABAL was engaged in a global conspiracy to bring about the fall of the Soviet Union. The players agreed that, once the Soviet Union was dismantled, the world would enter a 25 year period of instability, allowing the group to profit from the political and economic uncertainty that followed. Afterward, the world would return to a Cold War posture, with the two opposing super-powers restored.But Fitch making an object that would effectively dismantle the cabal (if it had been used in the 1990s) and then protecting Red while he found the missing piece, certainly puts that part into question. So, what Fitch was really doing, likely under the guise of enriching the group, is ending the Cold War by accelerating the fall of the USSR.
You saw what Katarina wanted you to see. She lied to you about everything. KGB trained her to seduce foreign diplomats, intel intelligence personnel into believ--https://preview.redd.it/bges9qkxp7b51.png?width=576&format=png&auto=webp&s=7afbde9f8192980f168112d49b837b664da6e7d9
You saw what Katarina wanted you to see. She lied to you about everything. KGB trained her to seduce foreign diplomats, intel intelligence personnel into believ - revealing secrets. You always thought I was the interloper. The truth is that I was an assignment. I'm I'm sure you were, too.Red does not use verbal clutches often, those "ahhh", "Ohh", "Mmmh" or has interrupted speech, in which a thought starts to come out, and he checks himself midsentence, changing it, or abandoning the thought. He has done it three times. ALL related to a "Katarina Rostova".
VELOV: All I know is they say she had a daughter.https://preview.redd.it/b2vr9an4q7b51.png?width=576&format=png&auto=webp&s=5f67fa03fd4637de8935c04a66be1bd621f0b06a
I knew her as Katarina Rostova. One of her many names. She was a KGB agent.That sounds like what Red tells the task force about Fakerina: "She has no name."
She doesn't have a name. She's a ghost. Think of a name, any name, and that could be it.Which sounds like Wujing. A ghost child, whose invisibility was an asset:
They say that Wujing was a second child. So they gave him away, denied he was ever born. He was invisible to his family. Wujing made a life working in a business where invisibility was an incredible asset.Red certainly knows what Katarina's real last name is, because he knows who Dom really is. So when Liz asks about her mother, it seems Red is telling her there about a mother who is NOT Katarina, the woman who raised her, but about the one who gave birth to her. Or he is digging telling Liz her mother's real name.
Your parents Uh, father and …They were both in foreign intelligence.Red had just told Liz that her mother was KGB. Why then does he appear to be repeating himself?
I don't think there are any photographs of Katarina Rostova.... She's a myth. Tall tales late at night over vodka shots. Probably an amalgamation of a half-a-dozen unknown female Soviet operatives-- the Pinko Mata Hari.They seem to be covering up the charade, but "Katarina Rostova" was a honeytrap, a professional seductress who extracted secrets from targets using seduction and sex, and that seems to have been the province of the Russian, real-KGB agents, as Red said in the trial (partly)
Have you ever heard of Katarina Rostova? ... She was a KGB officer. Would it surprise you to learn that she and I had quite a complicated history? Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. Did I say "sex"? Sex....and:
35 years ago, a Naval intelligence officer working for the US government fell fell into a relationship with a beautiful Russian woman. Unbeknownst to his superiors, that relationship, which started as guarded attraction, quickly evolved into passion, which resulted in pregnancy. They had the child. ...There is no subterfuge there. We know the woman Red met as "Katarina Rostova" was a honeytrap who was assigned to him to seduce him and either turn him, or steal information from him. Just what Dom tells Liz, except that is not about his daughter Katarina:
What the Naval officer didn't know, but certainly should have suspected, was that the Russian woman was a KGB officer, that Katarina Rostova had been assigned to get close to Raymond Reddington and steal classified information from him.
KATE: Is it serious?Frivolous and serious are antonyms. There is one way to make it work.
KATARINA: Yes. It's frivolous exciting dangerous
I don't really know how we got here, Raymond. I remember being an honest businessman in a happy marriage until you came along.... Seduced my wife. To her credit, Katarina broke it off, - but you couldn't let go.For Constantin it was Red who had seduced Katarina, and made him into a dishonest businessman. But how would that happen?
Do you know what I'm thinking, Raymond? That house by the water, holding a gun in your mouth. I should have pulled the trigger.Constantin was referred to in a newspaper as a trafficker in secrets from the USSR and goods into the USSR.
But if we discredit him... The intelligence I stole. We leak that it came from him. No one will believe him after that. Not with the blood of 134 Americans on his hands.And where do that leave the Gideon? Did it really exist? Was Fitch fine with working with an agent who had caused the death of 134 Americans? Fitch send the guy who was attempting to disable the bomb home. It is the act of a good man, a man who loved his country:
I've been in the intelligence field a long time now. On my orders, 763 men and women have died in service to their country. And there wasn't a grieving wife or mother or husband I didn't either call or visit personally. Thank them for their sacrifice. That's what makes it the hardest. The families. You can't disarm it, can you?... That's more than enough. I'm not gonna make it 764. What's your name? ... Go home, Mike. You've done everything you can.Were the 134 sailors part of the 763 men he had been gone to thank their families for? Or was the USS Gideon a false flag operation? An old sub made into a charade? Were they really 134 sailors? Was it full of 134 traitors, delivered to Russia on a silver platter? (Reverse Red October?)
A defective stealth fighter called the Grayscape Seventeen. The Navy knew Ross was working for China, so they made sure he stole plans for a plane that couldn't fly, and when it crashed, China blamed Ross, turned him over to the fedsBecause if the US Navy (Or Fitch) knew that Reddington was not the real identity of RR, then maybe it had always been the idea to use that identity for whatever was needed, because not been a real one, Raymond could then disappear into another identity, leaving "Reddington" behind.
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