Hourglass

I can’t believe that Monica Bellucci is 53.  (Of course, to an old codger like me, everyone younger than I looks 15 years old, especially with my crap eyesight.)  But back to Miss Bellucci.  Here’s a recent pic:

…and a close-up:

I’m suspecting some kind of Faustian deal here.  For comparison purposes only [coff coff], here are pics of a somewhat earlier vintage:

The sands of time seem to have treated this particular hourglass extraordinarily well.

Hidden Depths

Like many of my contemporaries — people who grew up in a British colony — my childhood literary upbringing was primarily that of the Mother Country:  Rudyard Kipling, Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis and so on.

Another was a female author, E. (Edith) Nesbit, who wrote Victorian-era children’s classics such as The Railway Children and The Story Of The Treasure-Seekers.  As a child, I remember my parents reading both to me at bedtime.

One always thinks of the authors of children’s literature — especially female authors — as quiet, spinsterly or even virginal.  In the case of Edith Nesbit, it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.

So far, Edith had been rather a passive participant in ‘free love’, but she now began to even the score with Hubert, embarking on a series of romantic affairs with young writers whom she mentored. Some of these relationships may have been platonic rather than passionate, such as her fling with George Bernard Shaw, who she met through the Fabian Society.

It’s likely her other lovers were less reserved.  The young poet Richard Le Gallienne was captivated by Edith’s beauty and unconventional style – she refused to wear a corset and cut her hair boyishly short, drifting around in flowing robes, her wrists jangling with bangles – and she contemplated leaving Hubert for him.
A young accountant, Noel Griffith, was the next to be dazzled by her, although he found her ménage à trois with Alice and Hubert bizarre, observing that Alice seemed uncomfortable and that Edith found Alice irritating.  The only real beneficiary was Hubert, who was ‘very hot-blooded’ and ‘abnormally sexual’ – which didn’t stop him moralising about the importance of fidelity in his newspaper columns.  Meanwhile, Edith let her children run wild, playing on the railway, and turned a blind eye to domestic chaos.

Sounds positively 21st-century, dunnit?

No Night Shifts

This is why I work the hours that I do:

A young woman trying to reach her destination flew into a rage and beat up an Uber driver all because he refused to take her to her destination in Peru.
In a three-and-a-half minute video, Solange Estrada Liza, who claims she had previously had some alcoholic beverages before getting into the altercation, was attempting to get the driver to take her to her final destination.
But an argument ensued when the ride-sharing application’s driver refused to make the trip because he considered the area to be unsafe.

And this is why I don’t work the late-night shift.  I often joke that my reason is that I’m too old to be cleaning vomit out of my car at two o’clock in the morning, but the plain fact of the matter is that I have a very short fuse when it comes to dealing with drunk people — and had this drunken tottie tried that shit with me, she’d still be in hospital having her dinner through a straw.

People often ask me about strange experiences I’ve had as an Uber driver, and are amazed when I say that I haven’t had any.  (Sheesh, I’ve had stranger experiences driving my own kids around.)  About 80% of my passengers (and 90% of my earnings) come from sleepy businessmen and -women heading to the airport long before dawn to catch the first flight out, and the strangest request I’ve ever had was to stop for coffee en route to DFW, at 4am.  (I’m pretty sure that if I’d said no to the poor man, I’d have broken some state law.  Besides, he bought me a croissant.)

I especially like the fact that I have a small “stable” of regular riders who like me to drive them to and from the airport each week, which I do with the greatest of pleasure.  (The mechanics are simple:  I get to their house at the time they want to leave, and when they’re in the car, they call for a driver — which I’ll always get because I’m the closest driver to their location.)

The saddest drive I’ve had was to take a young man to a hotel because his girlfriend had tossed him out of the apartment at 3.30am.  (I knew he was in trouble — he was sitting on the sidewalk with four suitcases, a backpack and his dog.  Technically, I’m only supposed to take actual service dogs, but under the circumstances, I’d have been a bigger asshole than his ex-girlfriend to have refused him a ride.  And the dog licked my neck all the way to the hotel as though he knew what was happening.  I refused to take a tip, by the way.)

And just a final note:  I’m not a cab driver who is pretty much required to take passengers wherever they want to go.  I’m an independent operator driving his own car, and I don’t have to take anyone anywhere I don’t want to go.  (I think the skeeviest place I’ve ever taken a passenger was the VA hospital south of Dallas — and I took him because three Uber- and Lyft drivers had already turned him down, and anyway when it comes to Vietnam vets, I’m the softest touch in the world.  The Dallas VA isn’t a scary place, but the town it’s in most certainly is, especially at 5am.)

So my “job”, such as it is, is pretty uneventful, and I like it that way because I’m too old for the kind of excitement described in the article above.  And I’m way too old to get into fistfights with drunken idiots.

5 Worst Iconic Artists

Inexplicably popular, revered by critics, nobody seems to have realized that these iconic emperors had not a single stitch of clothing between them.  Some have drawn my ire on these here pages before, but there are others.  So, ranked in order of artistic nudity:

  • Marlon Brando (Method mumbling)
  • Elizabeth Taylor (squeaky voice and horrible acting not fully redeemed by large breasts)
  • Johnny Cash (bass monotone;  probably the smallest vocal range of any singer ever)
  • Jackson Pollock (gaudy splashes masquerading as Art)
  • Frank Sinatra (couldn’t hit a note with a baseball bat;  should have quit singing in about 1958)

Your suggestions in Comments.

 

Killing The Monster

I see that singer Michael Bublé has decided to quit singing and the limelight.  I can quite understand why.  At a time when his beloved son was close to death from cancer, Bublé found himself in a blizzard of “well-meaning” Press attention, with articles sensitively entitled “Michael’s Torment“, “Michael Looks Depressed As He Leaves Hospital” and the always-popular “Will Michael Bublé Ever Be Able To Sing Again?”  (“No” being the eventual answer to this question, as it happens.)

Under those circumstances, Bublé discovered that while his fame sold albums and made him rich, the price he had to pay was the complete loss of privacy and even dignity.  For attention-whores like the Kardashians and their ilk, this celebrity and attention might have been accepted, even welcomed;  for him, facing that most awful and personal of tragedies, the scouring of his anguish and its parade in the tabloids must have been torture — and his desire to quit the spotlight both literally and figuratively is both understandable and even laudable.

And good for him, say I.  His wealth is secure, his family likewise;  but should his young son ever get nailed by cancer again — a horrible possibility — I can only hope that he and his wife can deal with whatever happens in solitude and isolation.  I don’t even want to hear about it, for that matter.  Whatever happens, Michael Bublé deserves his privacy, and I can only hope that the Media Vultures leave him alone from now on.

I for one will refuse to read anything about him and his family ever again.  I can’t escape the future headlines, should they occur, but I don’t have to reward the Jackals Of The Press by reading about the details.  He deserves the anonymity he craves, and I’m happy to grant it to him.

Michael, I wish lasting happiness, health and peace to you and your family;  and thank you for sharing your magnificent talent with us while you did.