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Clinging to the past


28 years ago “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” premiered on NBC. Starring, a 21 year old Willard Carroll Smith Jr (as Will)

Last week, I came across a video of Janet Hubert on Facebook. While most people know Will Smith, few people know Ms Hubert by her given name. However, she is known the world over as the original Aun’t Viv, she was 34 years old, when the show premiered.

M’s Hubert, was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid at the beginning of the fourth season.  Rumors suggested  Ms Hubert was difficult on the set of the sitcom, bumping heads with cast members and it’s star.

For the last 25 years years, Mr Hubert has been in a one person feud with Will Smith. She has blamed him for her inability to get work, her financial situation and  her son’s attempted suicide.

In her July 16th (2018) you tube post, she directs the video directly at Mr Smith. In addition to Smith, she attacked Perez Hilton, the black community and called Bet and Vibe the nigger networks.

It’s clear she has been trolling the Smith family, wife Jada and their children. She wants a face to face meeting with Smith .While she does acknowledge, Mr Smith’s kind words about her, she want’s to talk to him about events that took place more than 25 years ago.

When I look at her other you tube posts, she quickly lashes out at anyone who questions her or disagrees with her.  It appears she is angry with former cast mates reserving  most of her ire at Will Smith and Alfonso Ribeiro who has been critical of her. From what I’ve seen, when ever she is on TV, Will Smith is front and center.  She insists the cast members dislike each other.  However, the cast seem to be in contact with each other and speak well of other cast mates. With one exception in 1993, where he told a Atlanta radio station she was fired, he has had nothing but positive words about his experience with Ms Hubert.

While Smith and family have gone on to live their lives, its seems Ms Hubert life is stalled in the past and its very clear that she is comfortable looking rearward. Every now and them the Smith’s are asked to respond to something Ms Hubert has said to the press and from what I can see both Jada and Will are gracious.

There are many Ms Hubert’s who despite their words find comfort in the past. Blaming an event, an individual or individuals, a parent or someone or something  that prevents them from moving forward. With a well rehearsed story, so fresh it seemed it happened yesterday.

Many of these people need this narrative that was so damaging that they are unable to move forward.

For many of us, it is an excuse. Everyday people with challenging lives are fired, everyday someones heart is broken, we lose someone, and we are disappointed.

Hearts take time and isn’t a preset healing time. While some heart’s heal sooner that others, there are a few people who are so broken, they reject the healing process, they pick and reopen the wound to perhaps, keep the story fresh.

For some, the benefit of reliving the event is the sympathy it generates. Rarely does the narrator include a timestamp, when the event took place. In doing so, it reduces the impact of the story.

One wonders if these people are able to move on. Janet Hubert has spent 28 years angry. A lifetime.

CityFella

Rent Control Sacramento: The City offers a Bandaid to slow the bleeding


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Sacramento is the fastest growing big city in the State of California.  The capital city has seen a 9.4 increase in rent, three times higher than the national average and double the states average.

With rents averaging $1700, the Capital city has become an attractive and lower cost alternative to renters in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County.  The city has become popular with Millennials.  Sacramento, is the third most popular destination after Seattle and Nashville.

The new arrivals aren’t challenged by the rent prices

In Sacramento, fewer landlord are offering yearly leases ,opting for month to month agreements where they can increase rents with a 30 notice.     Many long term renters have experienced several rent increases this year.    After 16 years in a South Land Park Apartment, one tenant received 3 rent increases in less then seven months. Her dishwasher and disposal hasn’t worked in more than two year.  Today her rent is 62% of her income and she is not alone.    Sacramento’s eviction rate is more than twice the state average.

Fast Facts 

Don’t believe the Hype, not everyone is leaving California for Texas, Nevada, Oregon and Arizona, the state’s population continues to grow.  Nearly 40 million people call the Golden State Home.    There is a housing shortage in most population centers in state with Sacramento being one of the worst in the nation. According to Yardi matrix , Sacramento ranked 90 of the 96 markets. While Sacramento needs 2700 units annually to meet demand, only 593 apartments were completed in 2017.

While there has always been a need for affordable housing, the city eased requirements shortly after the Real Estate bubble burst and reduced funding for the program.

The Basic Myth 

Rent control will stop construction on new housing units……..

In most cities in California, (including Sacramento) apartment construction are at record levels.   Even in cities with existing rent control laws.  Developers set the rent on new developments,  once occupied, the cities rent controls would apply.   

Passage of Proposition 10 in November would allow California cities to place rent controls on new development. 

 (If the developer cant make a viable profit they may choose not to build.)

Tenants will not leave their rent control apartments, resulting in an shortages.  

The objective data, doesn’t support this.

 

Sacramento’s 

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It very clear, Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s and some members of the city council do not support any form of rent control.   His support of temporary measures disappointed many attending the rent control workshop last night.

Steinberg: “I do not favor permanent rent control in our city,” “I believe building more affordable housing is the best way to stabilize rents. 

  Funding for affordable housing may take 7 to 10 years. The reality for his constituents is they needed rent relief yesterday. They needed relief the first hour he took office.

(Government:   I want you to know we understand what your going through, needing shelter from the rain.  Currently there isn’t funding for umbrellas.   I have instructed my  has been instructed to locate funding.   Finding a source may take some time, but I assure you we will make this a top Priority. After a few necessary meetings with governmental agencies,  we should get funding for that umbrella you clearly need in two years, nine years tops! )  

Mayor Steinberg, supports a cap of 5% on annual rent increases that would expire after three years. The cap, would apply to apartments older than 20 years.

This is a slap in the face for renters in the city.  He has excluding more than a few thousand apartments units, built during Sacramento’s last building boom between the late nineties to 2007. What happens to rents after the cap expires? 

Council members Steve Hansen, Eric Guerra and Rick Jennings suggested mediation be available to tenants if a landlord attempted to raise the rent by more than 6 percent.  Their plan would also make it mandatory for landlords with more than five units to offer 18-month leases, which Jennings said isn’t as extreme as rent control and would help stabilize rental rates.“  According to their proposal, if a tenant who receives a rent increase of more than 6 percent within a 12-month period requests mediation, they must still pay rent, plus the 6 percent increase, until the dispute is resolved.

Mediation?  Rent control let talk about it?  This proposal is completely absurd! 

This was clearly written by individuals who a have close ties with developers or own property in the city.  Rent control isn’t a new language, there isn’t a code to crack.  Not only is there several resources available members of their staff could make calls to cities along I-80 as  Richmond, Berkeley and San Francisco have rent control legislation in place. There is nothing ambiguous in those cities agreements.  In San Francisco, rent increases are limited to 6% a year*  no meetings, the landowner would need to get permission from the city to increase rents beyond the cap.   (* The landlord can exceed the cap if capital improvements are required) 

 

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Sacramento currently needs 2700 units of new housing annually.  In time, the demand  will only increase.  The city’s homeless population is growing by the hour. Sacramento has joined, San Jose, San Francisco and many other cities with employed individuals living in their cars, camping in our parks, because they cant afford housing.   According to the Sacramento County Coroner’s office, in 2016, 78 homeless people died within the county. But in 2017, 124 people died: an increase of more than 150%. One homeless person dies every three days.

This issue of housing and homelessness isn’t just a Sacramento problem its a national problem.  Its a national disgrace.  Ignored until it overwhelms.

The primary issue isn’t rent in the the new developments in Sacramento.  It is the exorbitant rent increases renters are experiencing all over the city.    Long term tenants are facing rent increases because the landlord can.   Resulting in fear, insecurity, and helplessness.

Proposition 10, may not be the answer to the state’s housing shortage. It is an reaction, to the inaction of local government .  The noise generated by the  renters of Sacramento have forced Mayor Steinberg and company to look at rent control.  Their proposed fixes won’t slow the bleeding Sacramento.

A genuine approach would be an ordinance that would immediately cap all rent increases to 6% city wide.   An ordinance that would prevent evictions without cause. (which would prevent landowner from evicting tenants to circumventing the law)

Tax incentives to those developers that include market rate housing in their projects.  Incentives to developers who add housing to their projects throughout these adding additional intensives for developer to build near light rail stations.  These projects could be managed thorough  Sacramento’s Housing Authority.   Returning to reality, none of these are likely to happen.

Renters of Sacramento,will have to make rent control a part of law.   There is no need to   have to re-invent the wheel as several templates   There are rent control advocates in the State that will participate in penning the law.

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CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Housewives of Atlanta S10 Reunion Pt 2 A-G-O-N-Y! Waiting for Kim


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Lawd have mercy, Lawd have mercy, LAWD HAVE MUR-CEE!!   This effing rapegate may FINALLY BE OVAH!  Between Kandi and Porsha.  I think after one apologies this one my have stuck.

Speaking of stuck, Bravo has stuck us with this lame reunion.  They are holding some of us captive, until next week when we finally see Nene and Wig go at it…  And fuck! (yeah I said it) it better be Epic!

This reunion much like this season has been much to do about Nothing.  Speaking of nothing why is Marlo still here?   Marlo doesn’t appreciate, Kenya calling her a HO. (not a garden tool)   When Andy, (who I might add is keeping this reunion afloat with his own shade) ask Marlo how does she make her money?   She tells Andy, she dated a billionaire. Who is not Ted Turner.   The billionaire, bought her home and her mothers home and her Aston Martin.     And she has a LLC ” Simply Marlo”.    Kenya!  “We see each other”

 

Andy asked Nene about her epic breakdown in Oakland. (Telling a heckler-she hoped she would get raped by a  Uber driver)   Nene seemed sincerely sorry.  Sheree was offended. Next.

Eva, came out  having contractions. (Dr Jackie is on call)  She and Cynthia had a few moments regarding Will.  Was he seeing someone the same time as he was seeing Cynthia?  Of course this is one more example of this stupid season.  Cynthia and Will weren’t anything to each other, so WHO CARES IF HE WAS DATING ANOTHER WOMEN!!!!!

Cynthia has moved on and is seeing someone else. Shady Andy suggested that Cynthia explore her clear attraction to women.

7 Minutes

Bravo played us!

It was all a tease. The sit down with Wig (Kim to her friends) was saved for the last few minutes of last night’s episode.

Nene’s back was erect. She came out looking good in a red dress and her red solo cup (Houston is there a problem?)

Andy, an equal opportunity shade master asked her “What the end game on the lip”  (This destroyed twitter)

They began with the Elephant Room . Where Kim told Cynthia to be quiet and look pretty.  Kim says she never suggested that Cynthia is lucky she’s beautiful because she’s not capable of much else.   The Receipts says your a lier.  The footage shows  Kim saying that Cynthia is lucky she’s beautiful because she’s not capable of much else.

Another dig from Andy:  He  compares Kim’s pivoting tendencies to Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Then Kim asks, “Who the hell is that?”

A moment with Dr CityFella:  I’ve always suspected Nene rage towards Kim is love. Outside of Sheree, Nene has known Kim more than 10 years.   It was Nene who suggested  Kim come on to the show. and Unlike Sheree, these two had a genuine friendship.  Nene said, she saw Kim at the mall and she believes Kim saw her and didn’t acknowledge her.  The Elephant room was another attempt to patch the hole in there friendship. 

Kim, insist she never say Nene at the mall. or took a photo of her car in the handicapped  Then we see the footage of her doing what she said she didn’t do.   Bleep, Bleep, Bleep,

Meanwhile

Southern Charm “New Orleans” Premiered after the Housewives has promise.   The Real Housewives of the Potomac, looks good this season.   Beverly Hills has one more episode before the Reunion and its about to go down at the Hampton’s in New York (read my review)   Bravo is going to have overhaul Atlanta, we deserve better.!

CityFella

 

“School Days” Submit to your husband! No Gays! It’s 2019 right?


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The School says it will refuse admission to students who participate in or condone homosexual activity,

If your looking for a job, be sure to read the fine print.

You are pledging not to engage in homosexual activity or violate the “unique roles of male and female.”  and watch your Moral Conduct or misconduct.

They include, and not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites,” 

This effects a LOT of people straight and gays.

The application says that the school believes ” marriage unites one man and one woman” AND that a wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ. ”   The job application asks potential employees to explain their view of the “creation/evolution debate.” 

 

If your really, really,  REALLY! want your kids to attend the Immanuel Christian School
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Springfield, Virginia, you will need to acknowledge the sanctity of marriage as a strictly

heterosexual practice. Families who condone, practice or support “sexual immorality,

homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity go against the principles of the school.  In other

words get the hell out sinner!

Why are we talking about this school? 

Because the second lady , Karen Pence is teaching at the school.  

 

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Her husband, the snappy dressing, snug suit wearing, never a hair out of place  Vice

President of these United States Michael Pence has long had issues with the Gay Community.

He has said, that homosexuality is a choice and keeping gays from marriage was not discrimination but an enforcement of god’s idea.  Image result for mike pence looking at donald trump

He voted against a law that would prohibit discrimination of the LGBTQ community in the workplace.

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He didn’t like the Obama directive on transgender restrooms. “The federal government has not business getting involved in issues of this nature,”

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He supports Conversion Therapy. He suggested that federal money used for fund research on HIV/AIDS should be diverted to programs that provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

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Defending his wife, he said he found the criticism of his wife working at the school deeply offensive.

How can they legally discriminate in 2019?

In Virginia and many other states, it is legal for private employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual and gender identity. 

It is a challenging climb, but we will get to the mountain top.

CityFella

 

 

 

 

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Is this thing on? “He’s Asian trapped in an White Body”


 

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The majority of the population in Hawaii is Asian.   For a brief moment,  Congressman Ed Case of Hawaii lost his mind when he said he was an “Asian trapped in a white body.”  to the Asian and Pacific Islander members of the new Congress. 

These tibets are not uncommon when some individuals are not totally comfortable the being a minority in a setting.

 

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Through the years, some Caucasian men has randomly said to me “Some people think I’m black, you know how I walk, talk, when I tan, I’m really dark”   

A co-worker many years ago said, that there are white niggers? 

 

In our super quick zero to 

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rush to judgement world!

I don’t believe that the congressman or any of these people that I described are RACIST’S.

 

It is something learned over time.  When you are exposed (socialize outside the work place ) you’ll soon realize we are the same.  Overtime you’ll become more comfortable with others from different culture’s and backgrounds.

 

Ed Case, is mega embarrassed over his comments. like other el stupido comments when we learn better we do better.

 

For now, I hope he’s okay being white.

 

CityFella

 

 

Sold my soul for a case of “Bit of Honey”


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My niece said, they’re auditioning at the Hilton, you should go. Even though I hadn’t seen or heard of the show, I said okay.

The medium sized meeting room was filled with perspective contestants and staff, who asked you about yourself and hobbies. When they asked me had I’d seen the show, I figured I was doomed. But no one gave me the heave ho and We saw a video of the show and played a mock version of the show. I was terrible.

When I was younger, my mother and I would occasionally drive down to LA to see the taping of some of the shows like Johnny Carson, Laverne and Shirley and various game shows. The game shows were lucrative, because they gave audience members a fist full of tickets to entice us to sit through the hours of taping. It was common for them to tape ten to fourteen shows a day. We came home with Tee Shirts, Electric Can Opener and cash.it was grueling.

I had long forgotten about Face the Music when they called and told me to come down to LA. Bring changes of clothing and expect to stay 14 hour a day. I had no expectations of winning a car or a ton of cash, I was just excited to be on TV.

My wife and I rented an Oldsmobile Cutlass and drove down to LA, where we stayed in a seedy hotel on Hollywood Boulevard near the Sunset Studios. I convinced her, the long day would be worth it because of the cash and prizes.

FORT KNOX

We arrived to the studio. As I was walking away, my wife remembered I had the rental car keys and the room keys and as she was walking towards me to retrieve the keys, she was blocked by two security guards. Who took the keys from me, and put them in an envelope, sealed the envelope and gave the sealed envelope to my wife, who was less than fifteen feet away.

HOME

In my mind, we would tape then break for lunch. I was assigned to a waiting area with other contestants ,where we were told the rules. We had to sign various releases including one very scary release that said, if the show was preempted in one of the five largest markets, we would forfeit our prizes. So if there was a national emergency, I could kiss my 1980 Ford Pinto goodbye.

We all learned that home during the taping would be this large room in a loft in the studio, where there was a dressing area, two restrooms and a large lighted mirror. The contestants were encouraged to entertain ourselves and watch the taping on a portable TV.

CHOW

There were snacks for us A large steel can held the IRIS soft drinks, coffee was in a large teachers coffee pot. with an orange light. Lunch on the first day was fried chicken, poured into another large steel can lined with a black garbage bag and chips. Napkins were our plates. No one complained.

FACE THE MUSIC

Face the Music was produced Sandy Frank, who was responsible for the very successful “Name that Tune”. The twist, however, was that in addition to identifying the songs that the orchestra played, the contestants had to link the song titles to famous people, places, and things. (Remember. I sucked here) The Host was Ron Ely, who was best known for his loin cloth in TV’s Tarzan. Way, way, wayyyy back in 1966. The Singer was Lisa Donovan who’s trademark move was twisting her shoulders at the beginning of every show. Her twisting slowly took over the room. By the end of the first evening all of us were twisting with Lisa

OLD MATH AND HARSH REALITY

They called us for the show. People traveled from Washington State to be on the show. There were nearly eighty of us. Two new contestants for each show meant, only 28 would get on if they taped fourteen shows. If!

My reality changed after realizing that I wasn’t guaranteed to get on. After I told everyone I was going to be on. “Fuck”

I was one of six black contestants. One brotha, names Eugene, killed it and became the champion. While we should be happy for him, all we felt was dread. You never seen blacks on one game show in those days. Eugene went on to win three other shows. They taped 11 shows that day.

My new wife, was disappointed that I didn’t get on. To make matters worse, the audience prizes were mostly tee shirts.

SELLING OUR SOULS FOR BIT OF HONEY

Several times a day the producers would visit the loft. The staff, asked us to chant their names as they walked up the stairs, the chants would grow louder as the producers got closer to the room, when the the door open there as absolute pandemonium, we were jumping up and down.

These were all self respecting people who would never act this way. ANYWHERE! But we wanted to get on, so we tossed aside our self respect and screamed they way the told us too.

By the second and final day, I was depressed. I kept it to myself. Even with the announcement they were going to tape 14 shows, did nothing to relieve my sadness. I told everyone I was going to be on TV, and now it looks likes its not going to happen.

Eugene, who came out of top for four episodes, lost in the the pivotal fifth episode which would have guaranteed him a new car. I felt bad for wanting him to lose.

In the room, you could feel the disappointment. I even sang a sad song that make a couple of people cry.

At one point, they asked us to come downstairs. Showtime, was shooting a documentary (I think) featuring game show contestants. We all signed releases without looking. When the cameras were on me, I told them how excited I was to be on and how well we were treated (All lies)

We returned to more chicken. I sat staring at set. There was no more Lisa Donovan Twist. Just as I started to settle into my reality, I wasn’t going to be on. They called my name.

The other contestants made me feel important even though I would never see them again. The brotha worked on my Natural, others made sure every thing was perfect. No one had to coach me about my energy. I was ready.

When Ron Ely asked what I did? In song, I said I was an opera singer. My colleagues at the insurance company where I worked as clerk, teased me about that for months.

(An Opera, what?)

I didn’t make it past the first round, BUT, I was a hit, with pats on the back from staffers and the female producer. I got carried away by the laughs in the audience. Ron Ely, told me to settle down. But who was he? I was a hit!

My consolation prize was a selection of Bulova Clocks and a Case of Bit of Honey.

The car was especially quiet leaving the studio. Then all of sudden “Wedding Ring” WEDDING RING!! WEDDING RING!!! my wife is screaming! Was the answer, to the question. I made the mistake and said, I know! HOW COULD YOU NOT KNOW WEDDING RING!!! We have only been married a few months. WED-DING RING!

An unscheduled stop at Del-Taco, reduced the temperature of the car.

GAME SHOWS

I have auditioned for several games shows. From the Zoo like atmosphere of the Price is Right, to Card Sharks, I was called by three of the four shows I auditioned for. But the more I thought about the degradation and making a complete fool of myself, and decided against it.

If can’t say if this is the experience at all game shows, but I was one and done.

My prize arrived six months later, I was Bit O Honey for world

Every now and then I will get a call from someone who has seen me on Face The Music, on Game Show Network and other Cable channels and I walk away, we no regrets. While all my children know that I’m crazy, I wish I could get a copy of the episode so they might share it with their children

See you on Cable

CityFella

I am a “Masterchef” survivor


MasterChef casting

Have you ever wondered what kind of person auditions for reality TV? Here’s my story, and what I saw

By: Jessie Glenn/Salon.com

This life story was originally published on Salon on February 18, 2018.
If you take 300 people and push them to an extreme stress level, some of them will die under the pressure. I believe producers of reality shows know this is true. There are no former reality show contestants who will candidly discuss the process of casting and filming a major reality show because the contracts contestants sign contain nondisclosure agreements in addition to frank threats against their family and friends.
And, elements of reality show casting are horrific enough to deserve a transparent discussion. Full of dangerous, dirty secrets; no one can talk about the full details except me, an unlikely candidate from the start. The only explanation I have is that my interest was accelerated by a desire to please, an insensate understanding of pop culture and a pathological curiosity. 

When my husband Billy and his daughter Lila moved in with me and my children in 2008, they brought with them a riot of  pop culture we had never been exposed to. As I sorted through the novel offerings I understood two things almost immediately: I hated video games the most and liked cooking shows the best. We had watched “Hell’s Kitchen” for two years already when  “MasterChef” began its run in 2010. Billy got me hooked in the first season. I dug into the sort of anxiety that resolves deliciously at the end of each season and enjoyed recreating and embellishing the food in my own kitchen. We watched season 2 but, really, I watched Billy watch the second season. He liked watching it, and I wanted to be the thing he liked watching.

Even with my limited knowledge of reality shows, I knew that real people became unreal characters. I’d long understood that the caveat to my lifelong atheism was that though there is no one creator god, all gods are real, because people create them through belief.

Once made, gods take on their own power. It’s not just mental illness that causes a person to think a god voice has spoken to them. It’s also that the god has been brought into existence as a character with a measure of his or her own free will. Same with reality show contestant fame. Did I want my husband to see me on television as a kitchen goddess creature brought into existence for a moment? Yes, I did. I wanted to be more special than a person. That impulse alone is both questionable and problematic for a person weighing the odds of a dangerous decision. And I imagine it’s a feeling shared by most people wanting to be reality stars.

The casting process that no one is allowed to talk about occurs in multiple stages. Most contestants send a video, then go and prepare a “signature dish” in person at various tryouts around the country (I drove to Seattle to do mine), at which point the “signature dish” is graded by subcontracted cooking school judges in secret. If they pass you on, the next step is filling out reams of paperwork that end up coaxing a TV-ready backstory and a streamlined brand where, before, there was simply a person.

For other contestants there is a different path. Quite a few of the “kooky” contestants, the ones with puppets and spells and flying falcons, are recruited, but for comic relief rather than a quick advance to the finals. They are Hollywood eccentric staples. Christine Ha, however, the winner of season 3, was recruited based on her Blind Chef cooking blog. Luca, winner of season 4, was recruited after an unsuccessful tryout with me in season 3. For me, this raised the question: Do they choose the winner before the first tryouts?

For us regular schlubs, once you pass the next few rounds of casting online, you get to fly to LA (which you pay for yourself). You gather with some of the other contestants in a nondescript meeting room at The Doubletree Hotel in Culver City and you all complete a two-hour-long personality psych test reminiscent of the somewhat outdated Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). The test is analyzed by a computer while you wait and the results are then given to a psychiatrist who meets with each potential contestant. You do not get to see the results. It seemed to me that the point of the test is to judge what dramatic traits each person has that could be harvested later for a plot twist.

I filled out the questionnaire carefully, consistently, and not at all truthfully. “You’re a real rule follower, hmm?” asked the tall, fit examiner, who looked as if he could be a psychiatrist out of central casting himself. “I suppose so,” I answered blandly. I knew that tests with multiple similar questions asked in different ways are testing for lies. But, I think I beat it. The doctor figure asked a lot of other questions about mental health and what I guessed were follow-up questions for: hypochondriasis, hysteria, psychopathic deviation and hypomania, among other conditions. More generally, the test was an attempt to predict behavior in various situations. Or, what TV producers would call plotlines. Over the course of the 15-minute interview I peppered posed naïveté with sassy, authentic eye contact, thus maintaining the brand I had created without breaking character. Had he worked for other shows, I asked? My voice pitched higher than usual. “Yes!’” he said, “‘The Biggest Loser,’ ‘American Idol,’ all the Fox shows.”

I was too pissed at the thought of his sadistic prying into the vulnerable psyches of the idiots who would want to go on reality TV to maintain my “PNW Organic Mom 2.0” profile. “What about that First Do No Harm clause in your medical training?” I asked, my eyes narrowing now. I never imagined I would actually get to say that to a doctor in real life. I wanted to make him uncomfortable.

“We’re done here,” he said, opening the door. “Go see the private investigator now.”

The experience with the “MasterChef” detective felt just as invasive. No, I never modeled underwear for softcore porn. I don’t think? I’m sure I did many worse things he didn’t ask about, though, and I sweated guilt. He must have known I was guilty. I can’t remember what he looked like or how long I was in his office. Was I ever arrested? I don’t remember. What will the financial credit report, arrest records, residential history and historical reports he ordered dig up? Because I’ve done nothing. Right?

I flew back home to Portland, Oregon, the same day I left and felt wild, violated and alive. The blood and pee samples I had to send to them from the lab after I got home felt like no big deal after the professional interrogation. Submit. Submit your blood, they said. Yes, sir. I did.

I passed the next round of casting and they sent me the final multiple contracts by email and I sent them back 17 bulleted questions about the details because oh my god, they were unbelievabledocuments. Any part of myself that desired to please got trampled by the part that liked to win.

In the “MasterChef” contract, which a casting director later told me was essentially identical to those of most reality competition shows, they asked me to agree to be subjected to physical and mental distress, to agree to have my medical history used in any way that they wanted and to use it in perpetuity, to agree that my family would likely not be contacted in the case of an emergency. They asked me to release the show and its employees from liability for any injury to myself from risks both known and unknown. They asked that I release them from liability from the social and economic losses that could result and to please note that the consequences could be substantial and could permanently change the future for me, my family, friends and significant others.

They asked for a clause that could have kept me from working at my own media publicity company and to remove my own company website on their request.

They asked me to agree to pay a 15 percent “management fee” to a company called One Potato Two Potato (OPTP) owned by . . .  Gordon Ramsay. This fee would then apply to any income or even gifts I received in any context potentially related to the showI asked if OPTP would do any other career management. No, they said.

Despite the huge number of questions I asked, and despite the lawyers that they undoubtedly employed along with the detectives and psychiatrists, somehow someone missed that I never sent back the signed contract. I promised nothing.

The day before all the contestants arrived, the casting department called to say I had made the cut. I was a contestant. They were flying me out to LA the next day. Clearly, I was a replacement for someone else who dropped out at the last minute and I figured, fuck it. I never signed anything waiving any of my rights and as the daughter of a journalist, I’m genetically hardwired to be curious. It was the most perfect setup for a pathologically inquisitive, masochistic exhibitionist that ever was. I couldn’t wait to get there.

The contestant minders were called wranglers. They were all gorgeous. Perry was the lead wrangler but her official title was Contestant Coordinator. There were quite a few wranglers and in my memory they run together into one attractive, fit, amoral blur. All of the contestants stayed in a hotel for the first two days and, pelted with questions, the wranglers told us some things and would not tell us other things. It was hurry up and wait and whisper and guess. We spent all the time asking what was happening and where we were going and when we were eating. They got direction through earbuds which would then be transmitted to us.

There was an odd assembly where a producer (who appeared to be an actor) assured us that all the contestants had the same chance of winning or he would get in trouble with some official body and we should try our hardest. Then a member of the “official body” came on stage and shook his finger at the phony-looking producer and the producer pretended to be scared. It was like watching a psych version of WWF.

Everyone there besides me seemed like they were OK with believing whatever they were told. The contestants applauded and shrieked like initiates in a revival tent. Each one was a winner. They all just knew it. I was almost jealous. I missed out on the orgy of emotion and faith that the reality show congregants trampled over each other to prove.

We contestants were each interviewed during the first two days in front of a production set of fake produce, a regular horn of plenty, where I refused to be filmed holding the Walmart bag. We weren’t allowed out of the hotel room unless we were with the wranglers, who would take us on one or two outings, either to the hotel pool or a burger place, where we would share enormous confidences with one another. Explosive familiarity bloomed in these small portions of time we were able to see other people, strangers, who were all equally anxious to unfold their shininess to other shiny strangers after the stress of staying hours in a hotel room with antagonists and no phones. Because the wranglers made a huge deal out of telling us our roommate selections were random. And because that appeared impossible.

Everything the wranglers said seemed a pretty obvious setup to me to add intensity and create plotlines. I could see it from the outside (I kept a notebook, of course) and the artifice was fascinating and well done. From the inside it felt . . . gross. They had asked me about religion; Atheist, I said. And food: all local and organic! So I was roomed with a devout Evangelical Christian woman who used sugar, Rice Krispies and food coloring to make statues of the judges’ heads, which she brought with her from Texas. The Palestinian and the Israeli were roomed together (the Israeli contestant dropped out before the end of the weekend). The short, anxious, possibly gay man and the bully banker. The flamboyant opera singer and the dead-eyed animal tracker. Contestants chosen for the producers’ raw accessibility to stereotyped plotlines. Locked in together for hours. Fascinating. Cruel. Effective. More than any other experience in my life, the wranglers exemplified the ideology of “just following orders.”

Once filming started we had 14-hour days on set while contestants took turns cooking, then either failed or made it through to the next round. Our clothing was assigned the first day and cleared with costume and we wore the same thing each day as the musky people smell increased and slept-in hairstyles were prodded back to center. As the people who didn’t get an apron left each day, the remaining contestants’ relationships grew more intense. The man with the puppets who read handwriting samples, the pastor’s wife from Detroit, the witch who tried to put a spell on the judges and the vegan bread maker who was shocked (shocked!) to hear that yeast was alive left fairly quickly. The Jamaican Marine cooking peas and rice; the Italian cook who came back to win season 4; the gentle Hawaiian man whose parents promised to kill me a pig; the fabulous, black, Christian opera singer; the racist, alcoholic redneck, they mostly stayed till the end of the week.

The shiniest people were obvious from the beginning. The star power of Felix Fang, the technique and focus of Becky Reams, the staggering capability of blind contestant Christine Ha and the hugely tall, kind, food lover and former Army Corps of Engineers contract specialist Josh Marks outshined the rest of us, as we all stretched our powers of charisma.

My tryout was at the last part of the last day of the weeklong tryouts. The only people left were the ones who were continuing along to the next episode and the set was quieter than the days before. My dad (the journalist), my husband, my brother and his wife (pop culture enthusiasts), our three kids and my brother’s daughter flew down to California to watch while I cooked.

That morning, I left my wallet in the hotel room and future finalist Josh Marks noticed I was desperate for some coffee. “I got it!” he said. I blushed. I hate accepting things from people I don’t know well. “I’ll get you back when you’re famous,” I said. As if I didn’t care. “Absolutely,” he answered cheerfully. But I didn’t get the chance to buy Josh Marks a cup of coffee. No one has been able to do that for several years now.

On set through the day, the pressure mounted. I am not generally fazed by strangers trying to stress me out, but the wranglers and interviewers are pros. They also try out for the job that they have and the skill is being able to set people off balance. When contestants talk into the camera in a reality show, they are answering questions that have been carefully and tactically worded to create an interestingly uncomfortable moment. I was surprised to find myself flustered. I burned the goddamn garlic. Why did I decide to use a Japanese mandolin when I had never used one before? Because I wanted to know how it worked just like I wanted to know how a reality TV show worked. But, it turns out solving puzzles with a clock running down while people try to destabilize you is less satisfying on set than in real life.

Like the scene from “The Wizard of Oz,” I walked slowly past the crowd pushing a cart with my signature dish on in through the black curtain darkness with all of the videographers and wranglers dressed in black, motionless, watching me and suddenly: there I was in a cavernous room. Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich were elevated on a stage in front of me, brightly lit god-men.

They each asked me about the dish (it’s an egg frittata with California asparagus and goat butter Hollandaise! All sourced within five miles of the warehouse and all organic!). Branding myself as “Portland Locavore” was a no-brainer. They each walked down from the stage one at a time and tasted; then, an airplane flew over the warehouse. “Damn, that ruined the ambience,” said Graham. I started cracking up. “OK, again,” said one of the interviewers. I regained my lack of awe.

“Beauty shot,” said the cameraman. “We want to take a long still of your plate.” I backed off obediently and then realized they were filming me, not the plate. That was how they got those odd shots of people nervously waiting right before a commercial break. I stared back at the camera, eyes as flat as possible. Fuck. No.

“No,” said Joe. “Yes,” said Graham. Then I remembered — they had already interviewed me about this — “which judge’s ‘yes’ vote would be most important and emotional for you?” I had told them, well, Graham will say yes, Joe will say no, so Gordon’s the swing vote. Which is how they wrote it. So that I would react.

I knew I wouldn’t get an apron because I was a replacement contestant from the start, plus I wouldn’t hold the Walmart bag. As I watched during the week, I learned that the food had little to do with moving past the first round. The tryout round was to watch contestants for telegenic qualities, one-liners and quick responses on camera and potential plotlines between contestants. The second round knocked out all of the contestants who had compelling, touching backstories but not much cooking experience and/or not enough plotline potential.

“Daaamn. Shame,” Gordon said in his thick British accent. He didn’t like my frittata (burned garlic).  “But the goat butter Hollan-dez is rally qu-white good.”

“Thanks!!” I couldn’t help being excited by the verbal pat on the head. I knew that on top of the other egregious actions sustained by the “MasterChef” contestants, Gordon’s management company was waiting to siphon off future earnings from winners. But he was awfully charismatic in person. I think it was season 3 winner Christine Ha who said he smells incredible. I didn’t get close enough and I wasn’t going to be one of those people who asked for a hug in the first round.

There was a dramatic pause in which I felt zero anxiety. “No,” he said. Because I knew he would. I can’t deny a bit of disappointment, though, as much as I would like to. So I didn’t win at not caring entirely, but I gave it my all.

I walked back through the door with no apron and everyone made sad sounds for the camera. I looked at my husband — let’s get the fuck out of here. “Stop. Exit interviews,” said the wrangler.

She wasn’t the wrangler I had been led around by all week and she wasn’t Perry, queen of the wranglers, but she was enough of a voice of authority that I stopped rather than diving through the open door like I wanted to. It might have been Carter. Or Angelic. It’s possible this next part is a stress memory, but I’m nearly certain that the exit interview took place in an elevated boxing ring. Although there’s no good reason there would be a boxing ring in the warehouse. Maybe the ring was there so I wouldn’t contaminate the winners with failure. Losers were very strictly not allowed to speak with other contestants. Once you failed, you no longer belonged.

I rushed through the interview quickly and was so close to the industrial backdoor when another gorgeous anonymous wrangler told me I had to see the psychiatrist again. No, not the same doctor. “Do you harbor any thoughts of killing any of the judges or yourself?” he asked.  “No . . . .” said I. They finally let me go.

When I got home I was a little screwed up. Despite knowing that they were messing with me, it worked, probably because I thought I was immune. Anxious, neurotic, easily startled and sobbing off and on for the next week, I was mortified that I could have inadvertently exposed my children to a bout of my depression (self-imposed, no less). I hid as much as possible and it passed in a week or so. The children steadfastly pretended not to notice.

I learned later from speaking with a number of the runner-up cooks that every round longer that a contestant stayed in the competition, the symptoms of traumatic stress appeared more intense when they returned home. Many of the runners-up from each season appear quite damaged. Some are unable to hold jobs, have difficulties with explosive anger. The winners fare somewhat better but not always. I’m still friends with many of them on Facebook and there are secret Facebook groups to talk about all things reality, though interest for most contestants dies off over the years other than blatant self-promotion, fundraising and talk of appearances on other cooking shows.

Despite thinking most of the people who decided to sign that contract were total rubes, the contestants of season 3 were some of the most interesting people I ever met and I don’t doubt that they all had their own reasons for submitting to the abuse. It was a group formed by a casting department for intentionally created, attractive diversity: telegenic people from as many walks of life as they could come up with, who would do practically anything for attention and who loved food. I wouldn’t have traded that part of the experience. But it’s impossible to discuss the experience of being a short-term reality show contestant without noting that some don’t emerge from the experience unscathed.

The week the season finished filming, after he lost the finale to Christine Ha, Josh Marks, the self-titled “gentle giant,” was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He struggled with psychosis. Josh got into several conflicts, including a fight with cops, and heard voices in his head. Police said he claimed he had been possessed by Ramsay. It’s not hard to imagine the god that Gordon Ramsay became through Josh’s deep faith actually manifested.  The week before he took his life, Josh was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I met this man’s family. I met his mother, who struggled to find adequate mental health resources for him in Chicago. Josh was kind and decent and excited about his future and starting a restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard and I mourned his death.

All three of our kids told me that reality TV was stupid and that on-set filming was boring. I think they were still annoyed that I tried to leave them for a month. My husband and I never really watched cooking shows again until the “Great British Bake Off” years later. I felt bad about it in a topical way — we had to start watching something else, so thank god for “True Blood.”

An activity I thought would be partially a lark and partially an unprofessional investigation became something else: an experiment in power and submission and subversion over which I had no control. I knew there would be danger, but I thought the danger would give me energy, that it would excite me creatively where a happy marriage and a calm few years had left me feeling  dull and soft without the potential for danger. But instead of feeling like a warrior surviving a crucible, I left feeling I had failed to protect the tender people. Eccentric, charismatic strangers, yes, but these fragile egotists couldn’t have completely known the results of professional abuse. Being violated is something that can make people feel alive. But that doesn’t make it safe.

A month after I returned home I got a chatty note from the casting director. “Oh, could you send me those final forms, it seems we don’t have your signed contract.”

“I’m really not at all wild about that idea,” I wrote back.

“I’m having legal call you to straighten this out.”

“Feel free to email.”

They never contacted me again.

 

Trump’s nightmare: A Latino taking his job


Image result for julian castro

 

By: Raul A. Reyes/CNN

 

It may be Donald Trump’s nightmare: a Latino is trying to take his job. Some may consider Julián Castro, who announced his 2020 presidential bid before a cheering crowd Saturday, a long shot. They could not be more wrong. Julián Castro is a hugely important candidate in the Trump era. For Mexican-Americans and other Latinos, Castro is — quite simply — a role model. For non-Hispanics, he is a visible symbol of Latino achievement.

Most crucially, as a candidate, Castro is a living repudiation of the negative rhetoric that President Trump often puts forth about Latinos, who represent a surging demographic that made up about 13% of the electorate in the midterms.
Castro understands all this. Here is how he put it when he announced in San Antonio last weekend: “When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for president of the United States of America,” the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development said.
The grandson of a Mexican immigrant and the son of a community activist, Castro attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School. In 2001, he was the youngest person on the San Antonio City Council. In 2009, he was elected mayor of San Antonio. At 39, he was the youngest person in Barack Obama’s Cabinet. In short, he’s young, accomplished, and Latino — all factors that could matter as he pitches himself to voters.
Castro’s emergence onto the political scene is also a watershed moment for Latinos, because they have not had a national political leader since the heyday of Cesar Chavez. A 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center asked Latinos who was the most important Hispanic leader in the country. The top two answers were “Don’t know” (62%) and “No one” (9%). Meanwhile, three-fourths of Hispanics say their community needs a leader. Castro has a chance to fill that role, at the very highest reaches of the US government, and to serve as an inspiration to young Hispanic Americans.
And his candidacy comes at a particularly fraught time for Hispanic-Americans and immigrants. Indeed, to hear the President tell it (when he was running for President), Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” The President has done his best to conflate Latinos with MS-13 gang members and “illegals.” On top of that, Latinos are often portrayed in the media with negative stereotypes. A Latino presidential candidate who is educated, assimilated and successful will remind Americans that Latinos are good citizens with solid values.
Castro says he plans to focus on issues like education, health care and climate change. Such topics may be boilerplate among progressives, yet they carry extra resonance coming from a Latino. Too often, Latino politicians are only afforded a national audience to talk about topics like immigration or the border. How refreshing it will be to hear Castro discuss his plans for a “Green New Deal,” and universal pre-K.
While immigration is no doubt important to Castro, a Texas native, the public needs to see that Latinos are not single-issue voters.
Castro is not the first Hispanic to seek the Democratic nomination for president; former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson ran in 2008, and West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda has thrown his hat into the ring for 2020 as well. But Castro has the potential to go further, as the Democratic Party — particularly in this moment — is increasingly welcoming to diverse candidates.
And it doesn’t hurt that Castro is more than three decades younger than Democratic front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
Because he is not a household name, Castro will have a steep climb to win the nomination. According to the FiveThirtyEight blog, his path to victory lies in appealing to Latinos, millennials, and Democratic Party loyalists. As such, he can potentially attract Latino support in a way that past Latino presidential contenders like Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Florida, could not.
In the 2018 midterms, Latinos favored Democrats over Republicans by a more than two-to-one margin, with 62% of Latinos saying they identify with or lean Democratic, compared with 27% who affiliated with the GOP. Changes in the Democratic primary schedule, with primaries for California and Texas moved up on the calendar, could also benefit Castro, as these two states are home to the largest number of eligible Latino voters.
Castro is now in the political big leagues. He has a unique opportunity to represent himself and his community to the millions of Americans who will be closely following the race for the White House. Win or lose, Castro’s candidacy is a step forward for him, for Latinos, and for all Americans.

‘I am a woman with every fiber of my body’: Germany’s first transgender MP


'I am a woman with every fiber of my body': Germany's first transgender MP
The Bavarian state parliament building where Tessa Ganserer sits for the Greens. Photo: DPA
From: The Local Sweden
Lawmakers returning to the Bavarian regional parliament after elections three months ago will find a transgender woman colleague, Tessa Ganserer, on the benches where Markus Ganserer previously sat.

 

The Green party’s Ganserer is believed to be the first transgender person in Germany to hold a regional or national MP’s seat, or to change their gender while in office.

Just a few weeks after coming out on social media to a burst of publicity, the 41-year-old will make a first appearance before the press Monday to discuss her change of identity.

Long a laggard on social issues, some abrupt changes have taken place in Germany in recent years.

Parliament legislated last month for a third gender on birth certificates after a Constitutional Court decision that the documents must respect intersex people.

And in summer 2017, MPs pushed through gay marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would not whip her party on the subject.

While Ganserer won her Bavarian parliament seat in October, in the United States Democratic party candidate Christine Hallquist recently failed in her bid to become the first transgender woman governor in Vermont.

‘Madam regional MP’

“I am a woman with every fiber of my body and now Madam regional MP as well,” Ganserer posted on her Facebook account in early January, announcing her intention to sit in parliament as a woman.

She received lots of congratulations from well-wishers.

Just a few weeks ago, Ganserer had said both Markus and Tessa remained a part of her. But from now on she hopes to live as a female politician, wife and mother of two children.

While Bavaria is a strongly conservative and mostly Catholic region, the president of the regional parliament Ilse Aigner of the Christian Social Union (CSU) backed the change.

“Mrs Ganserer has taken a very brave and highly personal decision,” Aigner said.

The CSU usually takes very conservative positions on social questions and opposed the federal gay marriage law.

“Our male colleague is becoming a female colleague, that should not be a problem in this house,” Aigner said in a public statement after speaking with Ganserer.

“A person’s personality is always more important than their gender.”

At the first plenary session of the year from January 23rd, the Greens party MP — first elected in 2013 and reelected last October — will be registered as a woman.

“Life as Markus Ganserer was not bad. But I am Tessa Ganserer and I will finally live like this,” said Ganserer on Twitter.

‘Getting used to it’

Among fellow MPs, “many definitely still have to get used to it,” Aigner said.

One member of the pro-business FDP cried “what are you playing at here? A drag queen?” when he first saw Ganserer in a long blonde wig and makeup in the Munich chamber, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported.

As for her official identity papers, Ganserer has a little longer to wait. In late November, she received a medical certificate from a psychiatrist confirming she is transgender.

German law requires two medical opinions to back a name change in the official register. Securing that step “meant getting my real birth certificate to me”, Ganserer told the SZ.

While she has made little public comment, she told the paper that she “discovered” herself as a woman around 10 years ago when looking in the mirror wearing a dress.

Since then, she has picked her way through different roles: as man, father, husband, woman, wife, and mother.

Now, her doubts are so far gone that she has told her sons, 11 and 6, that “from now on I will always be like this”.

“Children don’t have prejudices. If you present the world to them in a friendly way, they will accept it as it is,” Ganserer said.

She doesn’t plan to undergo any medical procedures, but to mark the definitive arrival of Tessa, Ganserer took a major step: she packed all her ties, shirts and suit jackets into bags and gave them away.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta S10 ep11: Text, Lies,Therapy


RHOA-Porsha-Williams

Season 10 is better than season 9 but that’s not saying much.  While its less volatile than last season this season is struggling for a storyline, so far it has been the Porsha show, featuring Kandi Burruss.

Last nights, episode began where it left out  last week with Porsha and Kandi arguing with each one calling the other one a bitch and phoney.     Porsha threatened to leave but stayed.

At one point, Porsha asked Eva,  Have you ever been shady with Cynthia?”  Eva replied “I don’t have a shady bone in my body.” ( more of Eva’s amnesia)

Eva then invited all the ladies to Tokyo for a bachelorette party.

Image result for moving on gif

 

Nene is stressed, its difficult being a caretaker.  Gregg cuts is finger after attempting to trim the hedges sending them to the emergency ward.   She and Gregg interviews a chef to introduce a healthy diet.   A very grumpy Gregg initially dismissed nearly everything the chef offered.    The Chef prepared the food for Gregg’s birthday celebration.  Gregg’s sister acknowledged the stress Nene is under taking care of her brother. “‘I mostly keep strong,”’He is definitely a grouch. I’m so close to him, all the pressure is on me. I’m worn out like a freakin’ car tire Nene said.

Hot seat: Mike fielded questions from Cynthia's friends who each had three minutes

Cynthia is introducing her new man Mike Hill to Eva, Kandi and Marlo.  At the restaurant she brought a kitchen timer allowing each of the three minutes to ask questions of Mike.  While Eva, asked him tame questions, Kandi and Marlo went there.  Kandi asked, What was his go to move (sexually speaking) with Cynthia.  Marlo wanted to know his credit score and if he ever had an STD?  Comparisons to Cynthia’s “Will” was made.  Mike reminded the ladies his name was Hill not Will.

Burlesque show: Shamari DeVoe met up with Kandi who was planning a burlesque party

Enterprising Kandi said she was gonna make money for the rumors about her having a sex dungeon into a Burlesque Variety show.   Starring Shamari. The two met at an Lingerie Store to choose outfits for the store.

Porsha meets with her therapist. She is troubled about Dennis texting his ex.  She has never really dealt with it and reminds her of her relationship with her ex husband.Her therapist advises her to slow down and ask Dennis questions.

In a conversation, Porsha tells Dennis about her marriage with her ex and how she wore a mask during her marriage.   She feels by ignoring Dennis text’s to his ex’s, she has put the mask on.    Dennis tells her they are on the same page.

Next week Tokyo

Last Week, One of Kandi Employees Put Porsha out of Todd Party        (Set Up?)

Click on link below for story

https://sacratomatovillepost.com/2019/01/07/the-real-housewives-of-atlanta-s11-ep-10-finally-drama-porsha-put-out/

 

Your thought of the season so far? (write us)

CityFella

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