In Memoriam Caprae

To honor the passing of that old goat Hugh Hefner (91) of natural causes(!), allow me to offer this portrait of Kathy Douglas (1960), who was unquestionably one of the most gorgeous Playmates ever:

Okay, let’s make it two portraits:

“Another”, you plead? Oh, what the hell, why not? Hef would have wanted it this way:

Feel free to add your favorite Playmate in Comments, but only from those before 1972 (i.e. the pre-airbrushing years).

R.I.P., Hef. You may have been a factor in the decline of Western Civilization, but at least you were only a mild one.

Final thought: wouldn’t it be ironic if Heaven was like the Playboy Mansion?

Fear Of Flying

As one who will be flying over The Pond again in precisely four weeks’ time, I read this Drudge-linked article with interest. For those who want to follow the link: yeah, it’s an NBC article and you can ignore the first third of it, which is a classist rant against the fact that wealthy people can cosset themselves against the rigors of modern-day air travel by buying their way into luxury lounges and wider seats, etc. BFD. A sample:

Ordinary passengers, however, shuffle along in line, and then just before they pack into coach, they have to edge through first class — where cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and hot towels might be passed around, even before the cabin door closes. Airlines are increasingly catering to their premium customers with fancier seats and beds, and most passengers never even see the comfortable terminal lounges for first-class seat-holders and very frequent flyers.
At Los Angeles International Airport, the wealthy can pay for an even greater buffer from the great unwashed, courtesy of an exclusive new club, The Private Suite. The service — with a $7,000 initiation fee and $2,700-per-trip price tag — allows travelers to ensconce themselves in a retreat on the south end of an airport that, by consensus, is one of America’s most crowded. Members can dine on caviar, take a shower and get a pedicure while waiting for their planes. The Private Suite has its own TSA agents, far from the exasperation of the long lines. And when it’s time to board, a car whisks Private Suite members across the tarmac, directly to their gates. Gavin de Becker, the entrepreneur who founded the Private Suite, hopes to expand to other airports.
Stressed and financially strapped, Americans are sensitive to any additional signs that they are falling behind, said Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “People are working two and three jobs to get by, and the disparity of wealth is growing,” Nelson said. “People are upset.”

Oh, mercy me: rich people have it better than the peasants. The iniquity! (In other breaking news, water is wet, and General Custer’s having a little trouble with the Sioux.)

The rest of the piece is far more interesting, especially this:

Though the airline industry was deregulated by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, it would take several other systemic jolts — notably the terrorist attacks of 2001 and the Great Recession, with its sharp reductions in discretionary travel — to get the airlines to trim money-losing routes. The downturn also triggered a series of bankruptcies, followed by consolidations. Delta Airlines consumed Northwest, United gobbled up Continental, Southwest took over AirTran, and American Airlines swallowed U.S. Airways.
Those four giant carriers finally had the reduced competition — combined with newfound discipline over the number of routes offered and the size of air fleets — to forge consistent profits.
One result: The number of flights offered annually declined by nearly 1.5 million over the last decade. Less service and fewer partially filled planes, combined with sharp cost-cutting, drove revenue to new highs.

Yeah, the airlines are making a profit again, after years of massive losses caused mostly by high fuel prices. I don’t have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the fact that airlines can get away with treating us like shit, generally under the guise of “security”, which is all the excuse the little gauleiters need to mess us around.

The plain fact is that air travel is no longer “fun”, as the article puts it. Those days of glamorous passengers and gorgeous, svelte young stewardesses have given way to the International Backpack & Sandals Set and grim-looking middle-aged “flight attendants” who bitch and moan about passengers — with, it should be said, quite a lot of justification — but which is all to be expected when you make an activity available to the masses by making it cheaper.

That said, there’s no excuse for the airlines treat We The Farepayers like self-loading cargo (which to be honest is what we are, really), but then get surprised when we get pissed off when we’re over-charged for crappy meals, a suitcase that’s a half-pound overweight, cramped seats and [2,000 other complaints deleted because duh]. and don’t even get me started about “involuntary ejection” or whatever cute little euphemism they employ when they toss a fare-paying customer off a flight for whatever reason they want to.

So it’s small wonder we try to game the system wherever possible.

Fact is, there is no more romance involved with flying; it’s just like being stuck in rush-hour traffic on the interstate, only more restrictive. And for me personally, all this just reinforces my conviction never to fly domestically — i.e. never fly anywhere I can drive — so the airlines can just fuck right off. They’ve got me on the international flights, and they’ll just have to be content with that — just as I’ve resigned myself to being forever subject to “random” searches and closer scrutiny in their fucking domains.

As with so many things, I just long for things to go back to being more civilized:

… or at least fun:

…but it doesn’t look like this airline travel ordeal is going to get better anytime soon, more’s the pity.

New Entrant

As Loyal Readers will already know, the Goddess Nigella has lost favor with your Humble Narrator because she’s lost too much weight and has become unattractive (to me, anyway).

Much as I am tempted to transfer my online infatuation to a Train Smash Woman such as  Lisa Appleton, she is rather a little too much of a good thing, if you get my drift:

Sadly, Train Smash Women also tend to be dead common, which is a major disqualification. Also, there’s that slightly crazed look in Miss Lisa’s eye which suggests that my pet bunny would not be safe around a kitchen pot.

So the search continues. I’m not going to spell the search criteria out, because in fact they are largely undefinable. Let’s just use the Old Nigella as a template, and take it from there:

Okay, what the hell, let’s give it a try: Nigella’s replacement must be over 50 years old, classy, with a full figure and a decent cleavage. Sadly, the very first criterion eliminates most well-known women these days because they all seem to have the morals of stoats and all the class of a full airline barf bag. Nevertheless, we can but try; I’m not looking for unblemished near-virginity — Nigella is anything but that — but a touch of class would be a definite starting-point.

It’s early days, of course, but ol’ Helen Mirren does cause a certain stirring in the loins:

Let’s just say she’s first out of the starting gate.

Simple Question For The NFL

…and in fact for all the people who are refusing to stand for the National Anthem:

If you don’t stand for the National Anthem, what DO you stand for?

And I mean that in every sense of the word — because my immediate reaction is: you don’t stand for shit. Also, I don’t want to hear any bullshit about your First Amendment right to protest. This nation’s Constitution proudly protects that right — and the very least you can do is acknowledge that protection by showing respect to its anthem.

This picture turned my stomach:

…and today, after wearing it proudly for thirty years, I will be throwing my Dallas Cowboys coat in the trash because that’s where it belongs.

So you listen to me, Jerry Jones, you arrogant, bloviating fuckwit: you’ve just lost the right to call yourself “America’s Team” because you don’t get to have it both ways. And that goes for the preening, pampered and overpaid prima donnas who call themselves your “players” as well, may they all die from football-related concussion. You’re nobody, you’re nothing, you’re dead to me: you, your team, all the other teams and the whole fucking NFL.

You don’t exist anymore. Fuck Off And Die, the lot of you.

Backlash

I see with interest that the people of Majorca have had enough:

Streets of Majorca were filled with 3,000 people protesting over mass tourism in a latest backlash in the British holiday hotspot.
Holidaymakers in the capital of Palma looked on as the angry crowd chanted “Without limits, there is no future” and “tourists go home”.
Spokeswoman Margalida Ramis said the holiday island was being saturated by visitors at the expense of the environment, local jobs, housing for residents and general co-existence.
She said the islands’ dependence on tourism was not a good thing from an economic point of view and was “precarious”.

I should point out that the “onlookers” (tourists) at this protest march probably outnumbered the protesters by about ten to one, which should give the proper perspective to the situation.

So let me see if I’ve got this straight: you encourage tourism by offering cheap hotel accommodation, allowing budget airline flights to land on your sun-drenched little Mediterranean island, and in general cater to the meme of “Holiday In Paradise”, and then you are shocked — shocked! — when a bunch of loutish drunks invade your little paradise and fuck things up?

Let’s be honest: the Balearic Islands have little to offer except tourism, so if tourists were suddenly to disappear, Majorca’s and Ibiza’s economies would fall into the pit, so to speak, their citizens’ standard of living would resemble that of a Third World village, i.e. grim and poverty-stricken, and they’d have to resort to fleecing the wealthy foreigners who’ve paid untold millions for their tropical getaways — which is what the Balearics used to do before the era of cheap flights, cheap accommodation and cheap booze.

There’s a solution, of course, but their government won’t take it: raise taxes on holidaymakers, institute curfews, imprison revelers who take it too far, and in general make it uncomfortable for tourists. (The cynic in me would suggest that they allow a different kind of visitor — Middle Eastern refugees / migrants — and let events take their natural course after that. If that doesn’t discourage tourism, nothing will.)

Makes the Florida spring break destinations look quite placid, by comparison.

Idiots

So last week came this tragic tale of a female kayaker who was murdered while canoeing along the Amazon River. Of course, there’s a lot more to this story than meets the tale, because sentient human beings (of which she is no more, and probably wasn’t then either), would ask questions about this foolhardy venture, such as, “Why was she doing this alone?” and “Why didn’t she listen to the warnings?“, as evidenced by this:

The 43-year-old was specifically warned about the danger of the water she was about to go through but insisted on sticking to her schedule as she was “losing time”.
In her last known conversation, the 43-year-old said she felt she had no choice but to carry on in order to complete her 4,000 odyssey from the Amazon source to the sea.
Tragically, her bravery and determination led her straight into the path of cold blooded killers who shot and stabbed her in her tent.
Shortly before her death — stunned that a foreign female canoeist was heading alone towards pirate territory — residents of a riverine community called her over as she passed by.

So let me see if I got this straight: this moron had created a self-imposed deadline or timeline for an already-dangerous venture, and then decided to ignore warnings and carry on.

If a man was trying to set a record by driving between, say, Chicago and St. Louis, was told that an ice storm had passed through Illinois, but decided to press on an drive at speed along the icy I-55 and then crashed and died, would we call his actions “brave and determined”, as some are calling the Amazonian kayaker? We’d call him a bloody fool, because he was, and so was Emma Kelty.

Here’s why I’m so dismissive of this tragedy on the Amazon: it was self-imposed and unnecessary. It’s like taking a shortcut through New York’s Central Park at 2am so you won’t miss a Gilligan’s Island rerun on your hotel room TV.

But enough analogies. Many years ago, a group of European tourists went on a “nature safari” in Botswana, during which they would “experience nature” or some such bollocks. You can guess what happened next. A lion came into the tent where a woman was sleeping, killed her instantly by crushing her skull in its jaws, then carried her off to finish his little gourmet meal in private. Well, there’s an experience in nature, isn’t it?

For all foolhardy adventures of this type, I have only two things to say: What the fuck were you thinking? and Mother Nature in the raw is an ice-cold bitch. Don’t even get me started about the folly of putting yourself in harm’s way without the proper means of self-protection.

And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter, because one should not spend too much time moaning about such tragedies, when people bring them on themselves by their arrogant stupidity.