Anthony Bourdain was the true ‘unknown’
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I really don’t know where I’m going with all this.
But I’ve been thinking about the recent suicides of CNN travel host Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade, who both left young daughters behind.
Two people who made it to the front door of their careers, yet chose a tragic, back-door exit by hanging themselves.
I didn’t know either of them.
An admirer of Kate Spade goods, her line was not mine.
A fan of Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” travel show, his show was mine.
As a traveler, the accidental chef’s irreverently, reverent way of looking at the world was unique.
But there did come a time when I did not buy the casual way Bourdain talked about his drug/heroin use in the past as an admired rite of passage.
In recent years, it seemed to me Bourdain was becoming the truest “unknown” part of his show.
Strangely, I began to worry about him.
Had the celebratory part of each exotic meal become a mega booze fest?
Was divorce, travel and distance from his beloved daughter the result of his gaunt appearance?
Well, it certainly was no business of mine, but Bourdain did seem thinner and more grizzled than his 61 years suggested.
Years ago, a Chicago journalist’s elderly, confused father — unable to get a handle on where he was being taken on a family trip — said: “Well, I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m sure I’m going somewhere.”
I used to laugh at that vignette.
I don’t anymore.
Check, please . . .
Trump, table for two?
• Translation: The culinary and entertainment world mourned the death of chef and author Anthony Bourdain on Friday, including condolences from President Donald Trump —whom Bourdain openly despised.
• Backshot: Bourdain in 2016 told entertainment news website The Wrap that he refused to ever share a meal with the Donald.
“Absolutely f—ing not,” Bourdain said.
“I’ve been a New Yorker most of my life. We know him well here. We’ve watched how he does business and we’ve watched him say things and then we’ve seen whether or not he did those things. We have seen how he treats the people he does business with.
“I would give the same answer that I would have given 10 years ago, when he was just as loathsome.”
Stranger than fiction . . .
Tippecanoe and Pat Quinn, too!
If history repeats itself, former Gov. Pat Quinn should have no trouble gathering 50,000 referendum signatures in the next two months in an effort to set a two term-limit on Chicago’s mayoral office.
In 1976, Quinn wheeled a canoe containing 635,158 signatures up the State Capitol steps to defeat a 100-year-old law enabling state legislators to get paid two years in advance!
“On their first day in office, legislators used to stampede to the state treasurer’s office to get their entire annual paycheck in advance of a single day’s work,” said Quinn, who credits the late WGN Radio legend Wally Phillips with “helping us spread the word of our citizen petition drive by having us on his show 12 times!”
• The nightmare: “The State Board of Elections told us all 635,158 signatures had to be filed in one book . . . and that was 28,000 pages,” said Quinn.
“So a WGN Radio listener who happened to be an engineer advised to bind up 1,000 pages at a time and then take airplane cable to loop it through all the bound pages.”
• The transport: “Then we built a 30-foot-long canoe on wheels and hauled it through town and up the steps of the State Capitol to file it at the secretary of state’s office. We painted the canoe red, white and blue in honor of the bicentennial that year.”
• The pot shot: “Although we got booed by the state Legislature, they knew the jig was up due to the voluminous petition response . . . so they passed a law killing the old legislation before a referendum could be held.”
Although Quinn is a fervent believer in populist petition drives, he denies this referendum is being sought only to put Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is running for his third term in office, out of the running if the referendum succeeds this November.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” he said.
Royal return . . .
Back, at last.
Prince Harry hosted a charity gala at Kensington Palace late this week, but he was minus wife Meghan.
Not to worry.
Queen Elizabeth takes the newlywed on her first royal tour June 14.
Sneedlings . . .
Saturday’s birthdays: Johnny Depp, 55; Laurie Hernandez, 18; and Natalie Portman, 37. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Kate Upton, 26; Sasha Obama, 17; and Prince Philip, 97.