Unneighborly: Last Friday, Rene Boucher 59, a retired anesthesiologist allegedly attacked his neighbor, Sen. Rand Paul, while the senator was doing yard work.

The New York Times and Boston Globe report Mr. Paul had just stepped off his riding lawn mower when Mr. Boucher raced onto the senator’s property and tackled him from behind. Sen. Paul’s sound-muting earmuffs prevented him from hearing Mr. Boucher’s approach.

Said Robert Porter, a friend of Sen. Paul:

“Rand never saw him coming or heard him coming.”

Mr. Boucher was charged with fourth-degree assault and released on a $7,500 bond.

New York Magazine and CNN notes Sen. Paul’s injuries from the tackle are worse than first reported. He reportedly told police he was “fine” last Friday, but a few days later, we learned he had five broken ribs.

Then on Wednesday, Sen. Paul updated his status, says CNN and ABC News, and it’s worse than initially thought: 6 broken ribs and a pleural effusion, which WebMD defines as “an unusual amount of fluid around the lung.”

Here he is on Twitter:

ABC News gives you the breakdown of Sen. Paul’s condition and prognosis in “Rand Paul’s rib fracture: What you need to know.”

The New York Times and CBS News say the attack might stem from “landscaping drama,” citing interviews with neighbors and three Republicans familiar with the dispute.

The Hill says Matthew Baker, Mr. Boucher’s attorney, says the same. He claims there was no political motivation, though Mr. Boucher is a registered Democrat and Mr. Paul a Libertarian; he says it was a lawn care-based attack.

“Senator Paul and Dr. Boucher have been next door neighbors for 17 years. The unfortunate occurrence of November 3rd has absolutely nothing to do with either’s politics or political agendas. It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial.”

Neighbor Jim Skaggs told CNN the two neighbors have had a long running dispute over property maintenance and noted Sen. Paul disliked the rules of the community. Said Mr. Skaggs:

“He believes in less restrictions on property rights. He has strong beliefs on this subject. He had to be told very sternly that he needed to follow the rules and restrictions. He did not do anything wrong. But he had to be told sternly to follow the rules. He did not like the rules.”

And The New York Times quotes Mr. Skaggs:

“They just couldn’t get along. I think it had very little to do with Democrat or Republican politics. I think it was a neighbor-to-neighbor thing. They just both had strong opinions, and a little different ones about what property rights mean.”

On Thursday, Mr. Boucher appeared in Warren County District Court, pleading not guilty to a charge of fourth-degree misdemeanor assault, reports CNN and The Chicago Tribune.

 

 

Mr. Baker echoed his previous claims, telling NBC News “It’s not about politics” and “It’s a messy yard.”

But CNN reports Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to Sen. Paul, says it can’t be a neighborly misunderstanding, because the two men haven’t talked in years.

“Last week, Sen. Paul was vigorously assaulted by someone in his neighborhood. This is a serious criminal matter involving serious injury, and is being handled by local and federal authorities. As to reports of a longstanding dispute with the attacker, the Pauls have had no conversations with him in many years.”

“The first ‘conversation’ with the attacker came after Sen. Paul’s ribs were broken. This was not a ‘fight,’ it was a blindside, violent attack by a disturbed person. Anyone claiming otherwise is simply uninformed or seeking media attention.”

The Hill says Sen. Paul is subtly — or not-so-subtly — suggesting the lawn dispute may not be the prime motivation for the attacks. He’s tweeted two articles from The Washington Examiner and Breitbart calling that defense into question.

 

USA Today quotes Travis Creed, another neighbor and, Paul family friend:

“The Pauls are and always have been great neighbors and friends,” Creed wrote in an email. “They take pride in their property and maintain it accordingly. Rand has enjoyed working on and maintaining his lawn for as long as I have known him.”

So listen, say whatever you like about Sen. Paul, but do not doubt his commitment to a well-manicured lawn.

Couldn’t both things be true? Mr. Boucher’s in his house, watching Sen. Paul on his riding mower, thinking about the tax bill and how Sen. Paul is getting cozier with President Trump. He’s picturing the two men together and he’s getting all worked up.

“That smug son of a…”

So now he’s boiling and the unthinkable happens: Sen. Paul’s deluxe riding mowers blows debris and grass clippings across the property line and it’s just too much for Mr. Boucher to take and before he knows it, he’s doing a perfect Von Miller on Sen. Paul over the flower bed.

That’s just me riffing, mind you. That’s my Perry Mason version.

Does it feel like there’s something else going on with this story? I don’t know what it would be, but it still just seems a little off.

Regardless, here’s wishing Sen. Paul a speedy recovery.

Thanks, but No Thanks: Newsweek reported last week white supremacist website The Daily Stormer proclaimed Papa John’s the official pizza of the alt right. That came after Papa John’s founder and CEO John Schnatter criticized NFL player protests and sagging ratings, blaming the latter for lagging sales for the pizza chain, an official sponsor.

For the record, The Daily Stormer doesn’t completely do that. They throw out a bunch of vile, backwards slurs and hate speech alongside some bizarre racist baby talk gibberish for a few paragraphs with a photo of a pizza with the pepperoni fashioned into a swastika accompanied by a caption: “Papa John: Official pizza of the alt-right?”

But then they hurl a few insults at Papa John’s too. I figure they just hate everybody to keep things simple.

But regardless of whether it’s an endorsement with a period or a question mark , the folks at Papa John’s don’t want it. USA Today and Fortune say they the company would prefer the white supremacist call someone other than Papa.

After HuffPost alerted Papa John’s to the Stormer piece, Peter Collins, the senior director of public relations at Papa John’s, expressed shock and concern, later e-mailing an official statement:

“We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it. We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza.”

Remember when being anti-Nazi was something we could pretty well take for granted? Thanks for that, 2017.

Be Cool: Oscar time is coming and Entertainment Weekly is here with Best Actress predictions for you. Jennifer Lawrence isn’t one of the first names that pops up on the list, but she’s still in the conversation for her work on the Darren Aronofsky who-knows-what-to-make-of-it environmental psychological horror thriller “mother!” A film so unto itself it’s created its own compound crossover genre.

The top contenders so far according to EW: Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jessica Chastain for Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game,” Margot Robbie for “I, Tonya” and Emma Stone for “Battle of the Sexes.”

Three of those are biopics, so Hollywood has not fallen out of love with the “based on a true story.”

You may recall “mother!” was a pretty polarizing film, with critics and audiences falling pretty firmly in either the “love it” or “hate it” categories. Deadline says Ms. Lawrence discussed the film once more at The Contenders.

“It’s certainly not a darling. It never crossed our mind that everyone was going to love it. It’s an assault, but I think it’s necessary. I’m proud of us, and I’m proud of Darren for writing and conceiving it.”

“It was something I’d never done before. It’s what I wanted from working with Darren, to be challenged in different ways. Everything about him is unique, and all the movies he’s made are unique.”

If you missed out on “mother!” in the theaters, you can check it out before Oscar season as it heads to DVD/Blu-ray/4k on Dec. 19.

One thing being in Oscar contention for a daring, edgy film won’t get you: cool points with the kids. BuzzFeed’s Sam Stryker writes: “I Asked A Bunch Of Teens To Tell Me Which Celebrities Are Cool And Not Cool And Here’s What They Said.” Jennifer Lawrence came in listed as “Not Cool” along with buddy Amy Schumer.

Here’s who the kids of the informal poll thought were cool:

Emma Watson, The Obamas, Brie Larson, Oprah, Demi Lovato, The Sprouse Twins, Cupcakke, Zendaya, Khalid, Rihanna, Lorde, Britney Spears, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Finn Wolfhard, Jenna Marbles, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Christine Sydelko.

That’s a pretty good list, but I have to say, Jennifer Lawrence is still going yo make it onto the cool column. I mean, she’s Jennifer Lawrence, for crying in a bucket.

Do you agree with the BuzzFeed teen list? Debate away and let me know who makes your cool/not cool list and I’ll run it next Friday.

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.


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