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Appreciation: For 'Alienist' author Caleb Carr, rescuing a cat meant rescuing himself

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Appreciation: For 'Alienist' author Caleb Carr, rescuing a cat meant rescuing himself

Caleb Carr, the novelist and military historian who died of cancer Thursday at age 68, was best known for exploring the darker angels of human nature. His breakout novel, “The Alienist” (1994), helped pioneer the historical thriller as we know it, telling the grisly tale of a child psychiatrist tracking a killer of young male prostitutes in 1890s New York. His other books include a sequel, “The Angel of Darkness” (1997), and a historical study of terrorism and warfare, “Lessons of Terror” (2002).

But when I had a late-night, hourlong conversation with Carr in late January, we mostly talked about our mutual love of cats.

Carr, his illness already far along, was eagerly awaiting the publication of what he correctly figured would be his final book, “My Beloved Monster.” It’s the story of his bond with Masha, the Siberian forest cat with whom he shared his fortress of a home in upstate New York, near a ridge called Misery Mountain. Contracted to do a third “Alienist” book, Carr instead called an audible, choosing to write his first memoir. Dipping briefly into his tortured childhood — he was regularly beaten by his father, the journalist and Beat poet muse Lucien Carr, and grew up in hardscrabble bohemian conditions on Manhattan’s Lower East Side — the book’s primary subject is how Carr found solace in the unconditional love of animals, and with his grief for Masha, who died in April 2022.

Staring down death, talking about grief, he was casually, effortlessly, macabrely funny that night. He spoke of how he argued with his publisher, Little, Brown, to forgo the standard “Author of ‘The Alienist’” tag on the front cover, which features a photo of his blond, fluffy rescue cat: “I thought, ’Guys, they’re going to think I wrote a book about murdering cats or some horrible thing.’” He discussed the challenges of getting cat lovers to read a Caleb Carr book: “We may have to convince them. These may not be people who spend their time reading grim stories about serial killers 130 years ago.”

And we talked a lot about what animals can teach us, and how they can even provide a kind of love that many of us didn’t know growing up. Even in childhood, when his father was knocking him down flights of stairs, Carr had pets to comfort him. “It’s amazing to think about it now, but there were cats, and other animals, that were trying to make me feel better,” he said. “The idea of that was so at odds with everything I was experiencing.”

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I didn’t realize how much I had in common with the guy who wrote “The Alienist,” a book I admire for its vivid, doggedly researched detail but whose author I hadn’t studied. We were both basketball freaks; when we spoke, Carr’s beloved Knicks were on a roll (“They’re doing scarily well,” he said). We both survived childhoods fraught with danger, though mine wasn’t as dramatic or brutal as Carr’s. And we have both found comfort in the companionship of cats, known for self-sufficiency but also, quiet as it’s kept, quite loving and dependable when the chips are down. If you have a cat, and you’re not feeling well, that cat won’t stray far.

As we talked, my attention-hogging, gray-and-white tuxedo cat, Mr. Kitty, strolled in front of my laptop camera. “He’s cool-looking!” Carr enthused, the energy in his voice rising. I explained that he was a good cat but could also get pretty aggressive with his teeth and claws. He likes human flesh. “Well, they’re hunters,” Carr replied. “They’re wildlings. Sitting inside, being all the things that they’re pictured as being in Victorian literature, is not their nature.” Over the years I have always tried not to get mad at my cats for being cats — knocking things over, going on the attack when I least expect it. Carr’s words have actually helped me succeed in this endeavor.

“My Beloved Monster” by Caleb Carr

(Little, Brown)

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Carr, too, could have been a wildling. “I could have been one of those dead-eyed drone troublemakers that comes out of an abusive household very easily, if it hadn’t been for cats,” he told me. His childhood home life was chaos, but he and his siblings always had pets. “All the animals we had really did teach us enough about love that we understood it outside of any human definition, although this was never something I talked about with anybody,” he said.

Carr’s longtime agent, Suzanne Gluck, was also a friend since they were both in high school at Friends Seminary in Manhattan. The irony of a future military historian attending a Quaker school is not lost on Gluck. “He was such a square peg in a round hole,” Gluck said in an interview the day after Carr’s death. “The administration really didn’t know what to make of him.”

He didn’t talk much about his home life then. And he was no misanthrope. “He was this pied piper,” Gluck said. “He was this very vibrant, interesting, thoughtful, charismatic guy with a lot of friends. He wasn’t someone sitting in the corner, troubled and wanting to be alone.”

Gluck recalls her response when Carr told her he was writing about Masha instead of serial killers: “This might be where the music stops.” The assignment, after all, called for more “Alienist.” But Bruce Nichols, then the publisher at Little, Brown and Carr’s editor, loved the story of Masha. (As the husband of a veterinary behaviorist , his might have been the perfect pair of eyes for the project.)

“When I read it, I just stopped thinking about ‘The Alienist,’” Nichols said. “I stopped thinking about fiction and just thought about all the great books that had been written as memoirs by dog and cat owners”— books like “Merle’s Door,” Ted Kerasote’s account of lessons learned from his Labrador mix. Carr, and Masha, got the go-ahead.

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Readers should be thankful for that. Carr wasn’t in need of redeeming in his final years, but “My Beloved Monster” is nonetheless an act of redemption. It gives specific life, and teeth and claws, to that old cliché about how we don’t rescue animals; they rescue us.

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Jeezy and Jeannie Mai finalize divorce after custody battle over toddler turned ugly

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Jeezy and Jeannie Mai finalize divorce after custody battle over toddler turned ugly

Jeezy and Jeannie Mai’s marriage is officially over.

The “Put On” rapper and TV personality finalized their divorce Monday in Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court, The Times has confirmed. After months of contention, Jeezy (real name Jay Wayne Jenkins) and Mai are now free to enjoy being single or to marry someone new.

They wed in March 2021 and share a 2-year-old daughter who has been at the center of their heated and months-long custody battle. Legal documents reviewed by The Times did not disclose the terms of Jeezy and Mai’s divorce, including a co-parenting plan. The former husband-and-wife duo also sealed other divorce documents, TMZ reported.

Representatives for Jeezy, 46, and Mai, 45, did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment on Thursday.

Jeezy, also known among his fans as the Snowman, filed for divorce from Mai in September 2023. Details about the ex-couple’s strained relationship came to light months after the September petition.

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In December, Jeezy and Mai began trading scathing allegations of infidelity and attempts at controlling parenting time in separate motions concerning their daughter’s care. At the time, both stars were seeking permanent physical custody of their child.

The legal back-and-forth escalated in the months that followed as Mai accused Jeezy of improperly storing his firearms, and Jeezy accused the mother of his child of limiting his parenting time and taking their daughter on trips outside of Georgia without his knowledge.

The custody battle took a dark turn in late April when Mai unleashed a slew of allegations of neglect, domestic violence and verbal abuse against her then-husband in a 117-page response. Her court documents also raised new claims about Jeezy’s alleged lack of safekeeping for his guns and ammunition.

“The allegations are not only false, but also deeply disturbing, especially coming from someone I loved,” Jeezy said in an April statement shared with The Times. “This malicious attempt to tarnish my character and disrupt my family is ridiculous.”

The statement added: “It’s disheartening to witness the manipulation and deceit at play and at this time my main concern is being an active father to our daughter as I continue to fight for court mandated joint custody. Rest assured, the truth will prevail through the proper legal channels.”

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Amid the final step of their divorce, both Jeezy and Mai have provided fans life updates on social media. On her page, Mai touted the quality time she was sharing with her daughter — including enjoying Filipino dishes during a trip to Palawan and riding scooters at a local farmers market.

Jeezy, on the other hand, has been enjoying views under the Tuscan sun. On Thursday, he shared a video montage of his solo trip to Italy, which included stops in Milan, Florence and Lake Como.

“Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself,” he captioned the video.

Times researcher Cary Schneider contributed to this report.

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Chandu Champion first reviews: Kartik Aaryan's film touches hearts with its gripping storyline | Hindi Movie News – Times of India

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Chandu Champion first reviews: Kartik Aaryan's film touches hearts with its gripping storyline | Hindi Movie News – Times of India
Chandu Champion’, the sports drama that marks Kartik Aaryan‘s debut collaboration with Kabir Khan, is scheduled to release in theaters on June 14. The film is inspired by the life of Murlikant Petkar, India’s first Paralympics gold medallist.
The first review for the film has come from the people who watched the film at the special screening hosted by Kabir Khan.Those who have watched it have shared their verdict on social media. While Sumit Kadel called ‘Chandu Champion’ one of the finest films of 2024, Siddharth Kannan wrote, “It would be an understatement to call this @TheAaryanKartik ‘s best performance. Just like #MurlikantPetkar ji, he has risen over all odds and has made an indelible mark with his performance in the film.”
Sumit Kadel took to X and wrote, “#ChanduChampion is one of the finest films of 2024. It is a sports drama done right, telling the remarkable and legendary life of Murlikant Petkar. Director Kabir Khan narrates his story with great skill, research and most importantly honesty without going overboard. The movie explores every chapter of Murlikant Petkar’s life, which is full of heroism, valor, and courage. We see his journey from his village to joining the army, becoming a world-class boxer, struggling with his injuries, and finally achieving success at the Paralympics. His story is extremely inspiring, emotional, and powerful. #KartikAaryan delivers his best performance in this film. His body transformation is extraordinary, and he looks like a real athlete throughout. More than his physical transformation, Kartik’s emotional performance is what truly stands out. There are many scenes in the film where his acting will make you cry. He is sure to be a contender for the best actor award this year. #VijayRaaz lent strong support and the child who played Kartik’s Young version is brilliant. The first half of the film is excellent, while the second half is a bit slow and stretched at times. However, the last 20 minutes make up for these shortcomings. The major highlights of Chandu Champion are the boxing matches and the fantastic war scenes just before the interval. Overall Chandu Champion is a very honest film with a beautiful story, direction, screenplay, and many inspirational moments. Kudos to producer Sajid Nadiadwala for giving the film the scale and grandeur it deserves.”

On the other hand, Siddharth Kannan wrote, “#ChanduChampion… It would be an understatement to call this @TheAaryanKartik’s best performance. Just like #MurlikantPetkar ji, he has risen over all odds and has made an indelible mark with his performance in the film. #VijayRaaz, Nobody could have been a better mentor than you in the film for apna Murli. #KabirKhan packs a punch with yet another blockbuster. #Kartik, you have shut down all those who you would have once said, #HastaKaykoHai?”

Ramesh Bala tweeted, “#ChanduChampion Review : Kabir Khan is back in full form with this film. Emotions, actions, drama, relationships, motivation and unexpectedly killer performances. The film sticks to your mind. Kartik Aaryan deserves a standing ovation. Extremely watchable movie 🍿 full Paisa vasool.”

While seeing the movie, a few audience members who were invited to the private screening were also seen crying. Sharing the video of the same on Instagram, Kartik wrote, “First screening of Chandu Champion with the Man himself. An evening filled with honor, joy and tears with THE REAL CHAMPION. The Man who refused to surrender MR MURLIKANT PETKAR.”
The Kabir Khan film is based on the life and events of Petkar, the first Paralympian gold medallist, who bravely confronted every hurdle life threw at him. The titular role is essayed by Kartik Aaryan.

Kartik Aaryan’s Most Candid Interview On Chandu Champion: I Am Manifesting A Lot And That’s Why These Roles Are Coming My Way

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Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's L.A. home broken into twice in four months

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Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's L.A. home broken into twice in four months

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn had two break-ins within a four-month span at their Los Angeles home, the “Death Becomes Her” star has revealed.

The couple discovered the first incident, which occurred in 2020, after coming home from dinner.

“We were gone maybe two hours and 20 minutes or something,” Hawn told Kelly Ripa on the “Let’s Talk Off Camera” podcast. The two turned on the TV and Hawn called it a night. Upon entering her bedroom, though, she came across a well-rummaged site.

“They had broken in from the balcony to our bedroom, our closets, and they completely knocked down my door, which was a safe door, so they’re very, very sophisticated,” Hawn said. “They got a lot of my goodies, if you know what I mean. So I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my God. Well, the chances are, I guess that’s it.’”

Hawn, 78, assumed that would be the first and only time, because “odds are that’s not gonna happen again.”

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Four months later, though, she was home alone with her dog when she heard a “big thump upstairs,” leaving her to wonder, “What the hell was that?”

“Was that a sonic boom?” she said. “Did somebody jump somewhere? I mean, and as it turned out, the next day, we discovered that they were trying to get in my bedroom while I was in the house.”

Now, Hawn has amped up security.

“I’m never without a guard,” she said.

Hawn and Russell have been together since 1983 but have not married. Their blended family consists of sons Oliver Hudson, Wyatt Russell, Boston Russell and daughter Kate Hudson.

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