By: Risë Birnbaum

Walter J. Palmer (left) with Cecil the Lion. (man at right is unidentified)

Walter J. Palmer (left) with Cecil the Lion. (man at right is unidentified)

Whoever thinks PR doesn’t work, think again.  Karma’s a bitch for big game hunter, Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer with OVER 5,000 NEGATIVE YELP REVIEWS AND COUNTNG.  Palmer’s the one who traveled to Zimbabwe, lured Cecil the lion out of a national park using a dead animal strapped to his car, and killed the beloved lion with a bow and arrow.  My mistake, the arrow didn’t kill him.  The wounded animal made it away until the group found him the next day and shot Cecil dead.  And there’s that pic of the dentist, with a very toothy smile, gloating over the limp lion like some modern day William Tell.

Well, Dr. Walter James Palmer is getting his comeuppance.  Thanks to swift news of Cecil’s tragic death through social media and online and broadcast news, animal rights activists along with everyday mensches are taking to Yelp to squelch Palmer’s practice.  The verbal bows and arrows being slung include reviews like, “There’s a psychopath living among us,” and, “Dr. Palmer shot me in the neck with a crossbow.”  Ouch.

Actions have consequences and when a tragic tale makes headlines, readers and viewers want blood.  In this case, that means targeting his Yelp page, River Bluff Dental, with one-star reviews (and worse) and slamming the “Dentist of Death” on Facebook.

Believe it or not, the guy spent $55,000 for the right to hunt and slaughter Cecil.  I guess root canals don’t come cheap.  I think the dentist needs to fork over another $55,000 to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford. WildCRU tagged and tracked Cecil for research with the ultimate goal of increasing the lion population in the wild.  Ironic. Dr. Dummy should also throw away his bow and arrow (and maybe drill and mirror) and work in an animal shelter for the rest of his life.  And if I had my way, I’d tie him to a giant target and get the chance to practice my archery skills from summer camp.  Problem, is, I’m not that good a shot.


bison selfie

By Risë Birnbaum

You know it might be time to shelf the selfies when a bison decides to take matters into its own hooves.

All the action took place at Yellowstone National Park where the bison are very at home on the range.  Unfortunately, a woman tried to snap a selfie with one of the wild beasts.  Not the best idea.  The woman and her daughter had their backs to the bison and were about 6 yards away when the animal charged them, caught the mother on her side, lifted her up with his head and tossed her into the air.  She was checked out and released with only minor injuries.  Hashtag Lady Luck.

She’s the fifth person injured in Yellowstone this year by a bison in a photo faux pas.  One of those was a 16 year-old, gored as she posed near the famous geyser, but she lived to take more pics. Probably a selfie in her hospital gown.

So, one take on all this photo taking and sharing is that we’re all missing the forest for the trees.  First, not everyone cares about our latest look (or blog for that matter;) and when you take a selfie there’s a lot of self involvement.  You get so absorbed in posing for that perfect shot that you lose sight of the world around you.   In the case of the Yellowstone selfie-taker, danger lurks everywhere.

It’s not only selfies.  You could be checking your e-mail, texting someone or listening to NPR’s “Invisibilia,” while walking across a busy street, or on safari in Africa (uh oh).

Is it hip to show the world where you are and how good you look?  Sometimes, but those selfie sticks are one pain in the neck.

So numero uno takeaway from this bison tale is to check out where you are and who you might piss off before you look down at your smartphone for the 30 seconds it takes to get that shot picture perfect.  ‘Cause it takes an angry bison about 10 seconds to ride herd on your head.



By Risë Birnbaum

Is it the Guinness, the whiskey, or the Irish Spring hotel soap that’s gone to Kaitlyn’s head?  Not sure, but this dimwit bachelorette just let one good, hot guy walk out the castle door.  It’s no secret anymore that handsome, heartthrob Ben Higgins was given the boot and has already been crowned the next Bachelor-in-waiting.   Ben, in that fisherman sweater, was one shade away from Christian Gray.  Can you even imagine the line of beautiful women waiting to get their hands on him next season?  If I were just a little younger ;)

Meantime, Kaitlyn (who’s slept with just about every Bachelor and maybe even Chris Harrison) continues to make dumb mistakes and then cry about them.  Between her non-stop laughing and endless sobbing, Kaitlyn should be having a one-on-one with the on-set shrink.

So, Kaitlyn is left with two guys:  Nick V. who cried on the couch when Andi Dorfman dumped him last season, and Shawn B., the jacked and slightly unhinged trainer, who’s about to turn Nick’s head into ground meat.  Kaitlyn’s apparently very torn between the two, because she lets us know every 5 minutes.  Nick’s had an extra bed session with Kaitlyn, but we’re not yet sure if that works to his advantage.  And Kaitlyn did get to see Shawn’s putter on the golf course before she stayed in the fantasy suite with him that night.  Hole in one.

As for family time, both families seemed OK, with Nick’s mother definitely worried that Nick’s head might explode if he comes in 2nd again this season.  So were his 18 brothers and sisters.

Next week Kaitlyn takes the hot seat (looking forward to Ian from Princeton reminding her how shallow she is) and then it’s on to the finale.

My guess on who Kaitlyn winds up with?  Think it’s Shawn, who’s been nursing booze and an unhealthy attachment to Kaitlyn these past few weeks.  As for Nick?  It’s a really good thing there’s a pub nearby.



By Risë Birnbaum

Call me nearsighted (I am), but I just do not see how anyone believes a word Donald Trump says.  The latest kerfuffle happened today (it’s a daily thing now), and involves the new luxury hotel he’s building in downtown DC.

The Washington Post recently stated there are illegal immigrants working on the hotel, so Anderson Cooper decided to ask Trump directly about the allegations.  Trump’s answer:  “I can’t guarantee that all the workers I employ have legal status in the United States, but if I were to discover any illegal immigrants…we’d get rid of them immediately.”

I guess the same illegal immigrants that Trump believes are “raping our women” are OK to have around as long as they help him put up his luxury hotels.  Remember, this is the same guy who re-tweeted that “Jeb Bush has to like Mexican illegals because of his wife.”  Where does this guy come off?  And he doesn’t regret a word.  Nope.  Not one, single word of his nonsensical rants.  He also called conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer a “rodeo clown.”  Now, Krauthammer is not my favorite guy in town and maybe he should cut down on the hair dye, too, but he sure doesn’t deserve what Trump dished out.  Neither does Jeb.

Really, folks, can anyone out there actually take their precious vote and pull the lever for this guy?  If anyone’s a clown, it’s Trump, and if our country is going to get through this election cycle, he either better take some xanax, or we should.  Some noise-cancelling headphones would help, too.

What’s the latest from Athens? It’s Greek to Me


By Risë Birnbaum

Haven’t seen so many flip flops since South Beach this winter.  What’s up with Greece?

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version – Yes, Greece defaulted on a big loan payment because the country and its creditors aren’t on the same page.  This is right up there with Antigone as a Greek tragedy.  The scoop is Greece wants more money, but didn’t want the higher taxes and lower pensions to help cover the loans.  So ATMs around the country are now only dispensing 60 euros to any one bank customer.  Ouch.

And then Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a U-turn and decided he could agree with most of the bailout terms if a few changes were made.  But, wait, it’s not over yet.  Now, it seems as if Tsipras is again urging Greeks to vote AGAINST the bailout.  And if there is a “no” vote, Greece will be shipped out of the eurozone.

What to do?  Send John Stamos over as the new Greek “ambassador” to explain what’s going on?  Open up some new Greek yogurt plants around the country?  Send more Royal Caribbean cruise ships to Athens filled with tourists and pray no one gets a stomach bug?

In the meantime Puerto Rico said si, it’s also cash-strapped.  All this 3-card monty has the global markets stuttering.

Greek is in a pickle cause its borrowing power is now zilch and even if the country votes yes, it’ll take weeks to work out terms and who knows what happens to the government during that time?

Meantime bankers’ hours in Greece are as short as they’ve ever been with all banks closed, and the economy wasting away.

This has become a euro-disaster with only one short-term solution.  It’s a four letter word that’s pretty potent.  Nopel, not euro.  OUZO.

Gay & Be Marry!


Reporting from the ‘gayest’ city in the US, the streets of DC are rainbow-ed. The United States Supreme Court announced a 5-4 ruling that same-sex couples have the right to marry in any of the 50 states. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and said, “The reasons marriage is fundamental under the Constitution apply with equal force to same-sex couples.” Love is in the air!

So, the courts finally say “Yay!” on gay.  After avoiding the question in 2013, the government has finally boarded the LGBTQR2D2C3PO… train. Though it took us waaay too long, we have actually moved into the 21st century.  Even though Ireland, one of the most Catholic countries in the world, beat us to it – better late than never.  While 35 out of the 15 states were already ahead of the game, SCOTUS has finally accepted that gender does not matter – love is love.

Gays can be flashy as hell, and they sure didn’t disappoint today. There is nothing short of a celebration outside of SCOTUS, and Twitter is just as much of a party. Even Obama  (well, one of Obama’s official tweeters) – tweeted his support:


zcomm felt the gayness, happiness, and love first-hand. An experience unlike any other, two of our own ventured the three quick blocks to the White House and were immersed in gay pride.  zcommers are gay for gay!

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SO, for the 15 states that hadn’t approved same-sex marriage; sorry you’re late and your opinion no longer matters. Now, let’s just call it marriage, instead of gay marriage!

So Bummed over Hannibal


By Risë Birnbaum

NBC put a fork in the show and said “it’s done.”  And I need to up my meds ‘cause the thought of losing Mads is maddening.

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since “After the Wedding” years ago, and you couldn’t ask for a more perfect lead to this lush, beautifully shot, seductive show.  I mean I love food shows AND thrillers and this is the perfect blend of the two.  Where else can you watch a guy in a painted-on Savile Row suit flambé a human liver with cognac reduction and nibble on it with a side of kidney carpaccio and a full-bodied red?  This is not exactly Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and it’s even way too bizarre for Mr. “I’ll eat anything” Andrew Zimmern.

This show is divine — a feast to our senses.  I swear I can actually smell all the roasting and toasting as Hannibal so capably sears up a storm in his kitchen after dispensing with another victim.  A recent show had Hannibal keeping a colleague alive while he skillfully removed one leg, then the next limb, braised them to perfection and then invited the poor wheelchair-bound houseguest to the table for dinner.  A meal to die for.  And his knife skills are pure heaven.  (Even Gordon Ramsey would concede that fact.)

It seems I’m not alone in my Hannibal romance (Hannibromance?).  When NBC announced it was dropping the show’s next season, fans (or fannibals) took twitter by storm to try to resuscitate the dying show #Hannibal.  How can we lose this lush, sexy mix of style, fashion, food and blood?

My guess is, we won’t.  If NBC doesn’t backpedal and opt to keep the show, another network will gobble it up fast.  It’s too good.  Mads Mikkelson is the perfect dinner host, and Gillian Anderson and Hugh Dancy make very nice side dishes.  And if they aren’t enough, the word round the table is that David Tennant may make a guest appearance.  Now, that’s a dinner party worth joining.  Just don’t wear white.