News Column

Houston Chronicle Ken Hoffman column

August 29, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 29--When Mr. and Mrs. Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine and Gail Kim enter a room, you'd guess he's the professional wrestler ... with his tight black T-shirt straining at the seams over his thick muscular chest and Popeye arms.

But it's Irvine's wife, lady wrestling superstar Kim, who wears the championship belt in their house. Irvine and Kim met in 2009 when Irvine hosted his Food Network show "Dinner: Impossible" at a wrestling event. Kim was one of his kitchen helpers. They were married in 2012.

"I didn't know much about wrestling before Kim, but I'm amazed at those superhuman athletes. Sure, there's storytelling, but they are awesome athletes, and I'm floored by Kim's dedication and ability."

Irvine, who now hosts "Restaurant: Impossible" on the Food Network, looks like he could go two out of three falls against the Masked Destroyer from Parts Unknown.

Pound cake? He can bench press a 500-pound cake.

"I work out six days a week, an hour a day with weights and cardio. I also do a lot of light weights and repetitions, then I finish with cardio," he said.

In 2007, Irvine was named one of the "25 Fittest Guys in America" by Men's Fitness magazine.

I asked him, "Can you beat up Bobby Flay?"

He laughed, "Easy!"

Irvine will be in town Sept. 5 to host, mingle and, most important, cook for the 25th Great Futures Dinner benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of Houston. KPRC Channel 2 anchor Dominique Sachse will be the emcee. Last year, the dinner raised $575,000 for the youth clubs. This year, they're crossing their fingers for $1 million.

Tickets start at $250 per person. Click on bgclubs-houston.org for information.

"It's going to be like my old show 'Dinner: Impossible' back in the kitchen. It will be 'get it done, get it perfect, get it out.' There will be a lot of chaos back there, but it will be great," Irvine said.

He wouldn't reveal what's on the menu.

"I want it to be a surprise. I will share this with you, though: It will be playful, it will be interesting, and it will be big on kids."

Final answer?

NCAA officials reportedly questioned Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for six hours about whether he took payment for signing autographs. Manziel denied it.

Six hours?

At most, this sounds like a 10-second interrogation.

NCAA: Did you take money for autographs?

Manziel: No.

After that, what?

Much ado

Everybody needs to take a deep breath about Miley Cyrus' performance on the Video Music Awards. Critics are crushing Miley, saying her number was overly sexual, outrageous and crazy weird.

Duh! Hello? What did you expect on the Video Music Awards? The hokeypokey?

But many also are saying her performance was obscene and VMA producers never should have allowed it on the air.

Inhale. Exhale.

Let's jump into the Wayback Machine and travel to Jan. 6, 1957 ... Elvis Presley is shaking his hips and singing "Don't Be Cruel" on "The Ed Sullivan Show." CBS censors, outraged by Elvis' dance moves in previous appearances, instruct cameramen to shoot Elvis only from the waist up.

Those hips! Those gyrations! Do you know what that looks like? Our daughters can't see that! Our wives, either!

Mother, close your eyes!

True story: After one early appearance on TV, Elvis was burned in effigy in downtown Nashville. Hey, isn't that where Miley Cyrus was born? Oh, the irony.

The crack back on Elvis was a bigger story in 1956 than the Miley reaction this week. Elvis was a more revolutionary cultural figure than Miley is.

Now we look back at Elvis from the waist up, and the insults hurled at the Beatles for their long hair and censoring the Rolling Stones for their suggestive lyrics ("Let's spend the night together" -- indeed) ... it's silly.

Don't think poet Walt Whitman got off easy when he published "Leaves of Grass" in 1855. The poems were considered so vulgar, Whitman was fired from his job with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Now the book is studied in college. President Bill Clinton gave a copy of "Leaves of Grass" to both his wife, Hillary, and Monica Lewinsky.

Maybe "Leaves of Grass" isn't the best example.

Like her or not, Miley is an artist. She is older than 18. If you find her disgusting or perverted, or think she crosses the line, or just don't care for her music, then watch something else. One thing's for sure, 10 million people watched the VMA's live, millions more watched her performance on the Internet. Her audience was shocked and challenged. Everybody was talking about her the next day.

That's the job of an artist.

Don't worry. Next year it will be something else.

More much ado

With a nod to Jimmy Hatlo and Bill Maher, there oughta be a new rule: Any former baseball player who goes on TV and blasts Alex Rodriguez for dishonoring the game ... has to pass a lie detector test proving he never took steroids.

I rolled my eyes listening to one self-righteous, formerly musclebound ex-player practically sentence A-Rod to exile on St. Helena for using performance-enhancing drugs. Give me a break.

___

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