Handful O’Justice

No, that’s not the name of a Louis L’Amour or J.T. Edson gunslinger, it’s what came to mind when I saw the latest offerings from Defender Outdoors over in Fort Worth country. It’s a mini version of the Taurus Judge revolver in .45 Long Colt / .410ga goodness:

Now I know some people are going to wince at the thought of popping a .410ga shell out of a little thing like this: “Oh noes, Kim! It’ll break yore pore lil’ hand!” they’ll exclaim. Actually, it will do nothing of the sort.

What causes recoil, as anyone will know who’s ever fired a .375 H&H Magnum rifle before, is the pressure build-up in the barrel as the boolet gets propelled from the casing. But with an ultra-short barrel, the bullet has left the barrel almost before any pressure can build up. There’s some recoil from the gun’s inertia being overcome by the propellant, but that’s not much to write home about. How do I know this?

Because I’ve fired a .410ga cartridge out of a Bond Arms Derringer, that’s why:

Yes, it was a little bit of a handful… the first time I fired it. But I have to tell you, I fired another dozen or so rounds immediately afterwards, and there was no sore wrist, no sore hand, nothing. It was, in fact, a pleasure to shoot — and I really enjoyed watching the snake-shaped outline on the target almost disappear after the second load of shot hit the paper. I imagine it would do a similar job if fired into a goblin’s face at halitosis range, you betcha.

I like the cut of the Judge’s grip, too: more substantial than the Derringer’s means that the recoil is going to be even more manageable, and there are another three cartridges in the cylinder withal, if needed (doubtful). If there’s a better pocket pistol for varmint reduction (of any physiology, mind), it’s hard to think of one.

If any of my Readers in the DFW area has one for me to try out when I return from Britishland, let me know. I’ll supply the ammo.

Goopery

I swear on my life that I had not read this before I made Gwyneth Paltrow the worst-possible dinner guest of all time. (And you must read it too, all of it. Yes, it’s long. Don’t care.) Here’s the opening salvo:

In retrospect, I find it rather odd that I never paid much attention to Goop. Goop (or is it goop?), as you might recall, is Gwyneth Paltrow’s beauty/health/wellness website (and, of course, online store) that’s been in the news a fair amount over the last several months. The reason is that Paltrow combines celebrity, beauty, and “wellness” with pure quackery, and every so often Goop publishes something advocating pseudoscience so outrageous that it attracts the attention of not just skeptics, but of the mainstream press and even late night comedians like Stephen Colbert. What I didn’t realize is just how broad the quackery is, and, more importantly, how it is facilitated by actual physicians working with Goop. Before I get to that, though, let’s take a brief trip down memory lane, where I’ll explain how I became aware of just how much a wretched hive of scum and quackery Goop has become.

Me myself, I don’t care about Goop, its expensive snake-oil products or the fact that it hides good old-fashioned snake-oil sales techniques behind Gwyneth Paltrow’s skinny frame. I don’t even care if The Perpetually Gullible (i.e. people who espouse the value of homeopathy) end up sticking expensive jade eggs up their vaginas and die from the agonizing infection this lunacy can cause. (Yes, such a product is available at Goop and yes, it’s solemnly pitched as an answer to various ailments such as Trump Derangement Syndrome. That last part is an absolute fabrication on my part, but it’s no less plausible than all the other earnest-but-bullshit nostrums put out by Goop.)

I bet there’s an absolute direct and full correlation (like, 1.0000) between people who believe Paltrow’s  bullshit and Hillary Clinton / Bernie Saunders supporters. Not all the above are Goop acolytes, of course — but all Goop acolytes are, without a shadow of a doubt, liberals of that ilk. If you can still believe that socialism is a cure for all society’s ills after all the proof extant that it isn’t, you’ll believe anything, So feel free to clean out your colon with a Goop-endorsed boutique ostrich feather if you believe it will make you feel better about your bowel movements.

And if Goop ends up being the latest Jonestown Kool-Aid to liberals, who am I to deny their right to be a bunch of stupid, vapid morons, even if it kills them?

Charles Darwin, call your office.

Oh, Now They’re Good For You

Longtime Readers will recall that I don’t actually believe any medical studies anymore, because it seems that their advice changes weekly, and almost always contradicts their previous advice. After all the frenzied warnings about saturated fats, therefore, I find this article to be just the latest in a long line of articles telling us that this, finally, cross-my-heart pinkie-swear, is the definitive list of things to eat and to avoid.

Only this time, I’m going to half-believe them — and I hasten to add, my belief applies only to me — because I tend to listen to my body (not all the time, but mostly) when I start to crave certain types of food for no reason. When I realized that I had a blood pressure problem, I started taking Diovan just like the doctor told me to, because high blood pressure is a known killer of men. At the same time, however, I started to notice that I was hungry for certain foods in which I’d hitherto never much shown much interest — and surprise, surprise, almost all of them are on the list in the above article:

Oily fish – Don’t let the high calorie content of the likes of salmon and mackerel fool you, they are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
Avocado – These fruits are rich in oleic acid, a fat that reduces blood pressure
Full-fat yoghurt – Containing probiotic bacteria which supports your digestive health, be sure to buy natural, full-fat yoghurt with no added sugar
Nuts – A handful of almonds a day can lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and assist with blood sugar control
Butter – Rich in Vitamins A and D as well as fatty acids, butter can increase good cholesterol. Opt for unprocessed, organic varieties.

I’ve always eaten butter and never margarine, because margarine tastes like shit and I could not bring myself to believe that the body has a system to process something that is 100% manufactured. But other than butter, I’ve found myself eating more and more of the others — and by that I mean eating them regularly, not in large quantities.

Whereas before I’d never eaten avocado, after my trip to Chile (where they use it like butter) I came home and now eat an avo at least once a week.

Cashew nuts were on sale at Sam’s Club for a ridiculously low price some time ago: I bought a 5-lb container of the stuff, and now eat a large handful almost every day of the week. (I have a bag next to my writing chair right now, as a matter of fact.)

I mentioned a while ago that I am hopelessly addicted to Noosa yogurt, and I’ve been trying desperately to find an alternative Over Here, without success. I do eat another brand (Noosa isn’t available here, apparently), and while the “Scottish raspberry” stuff is tasty, I don’t crave it like I do the Australian-formula yogurt.

My love of fish — albeit in fish ‘n chips format — is too well documented to bear repeating here. Suffice it to say that I most often find myself not eating much of the batter, but all of the fish. Thanks to my gastric band, I can only eat but a couple of chips anyway.

And I’ve always preferred red meat to processed meat; since I came Over Here, I haven’t eaten hamburger or anything like it even once. Mr. Free Market is a dab hand with the Weber — he doesn’t let the staff near it — and red meat is therefore de rigueur as a meal choice, as is Mrs. FM’s baked salmon by way of her Aga oven.

I leave it to others to judge the value of a Full English Breakfast such as I consumed on Sunday morning:

Okay, maybe the chipolata sausages are processed meat, but I don’t care because they were delicious, and both they and the bacon were baked, not fried. And the fried bread was made with beef fat, not vegetable oil. I could have eaten six slices… but thank goodness for the gastric band. (Thanks to the latter, by the way, it takes me close to half an hour to eat a plate of food like this one, and most of the time I can’t finish it anyway.)

I know, the eggs were scrambled and not fried, but they tasted wonderful. And eggs, unlike the doomsayers wailed, are really good for you — which you’d know if you’d already read the linked article above.

As I said, this is how I feel about food, for me. Your own situation may cause your opinion to vary, and it probably should. So if you want to wolf down an American-style adaptation of the Full English, be my guest.

But that will probably kill ya.

Overpaid And Over Here

So the BBC published the salaries of their top “talent” a little while ago. Surprise, surprise, men earn more than women for doing the same job. (As Mr. FM puts it, “Most of them are paid to read a teleprompter and are no more journalists than my dogs.”)

There’s a lot to be said about all this, but I’m only going to make a few comments.

BBC is funded largely by annual license fees paid by 95% of the British population — roughly $180 per annum per household — and the fees are collected with incredible ferocity. It’s not unfair to say that they’re collected at gunpoint, because failure to pay can result in massive fines and even imprisonment. Needless to say, therefore, people really bitch about wastage and, inevitably, bloated salaries unless they’re being paid to people of serious worth such as veteran nature documentary maker David Attenborough. Here’s a lesser-known example.

BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, unsurprisingly, makes more than any of the others. While we Murkins might know Evans as the dorky ginger who tried (and failed) to fill the scuffed suede shoes of Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson, Evans is a brilliant DJ, has had the morning radio gig for many years and has astonishing listenership numbers. (Radio is still very popular Over Here, mostly because the TV, all of it, is such shit.) If we translated Evans’s popularity into a Stateside comparison, he’d make more than Howard Stern did at WNBC in New York or Rush Limbaugh still does. While there’s the usual Wealth Envy moaning from the Labour Commies, not too many people are getting upset about Evans because frankly, he’s worth the money. Of course, there are some male presenters who, equally frankly, are not only overpaid but lucky to be employed at all because by any measure, they’re as shit at their job as the crap they have to present. But that’s not the biggest issue.

Oh no; it’s all about Teh Ladies (of course).

Now I’m not going to get into who are the better presenters (although I can’t see why, say, morning TV show male presenters shouldn’t be paid the same as their female co-presenters — they aren’t; men are paid much more). I haven’t watched enough BBC-TV shows to get an idea, because a.) I have a life and b.) all the morning shows are so banal that they make Good Morning America look like the aforementioned Howard Stern’s TV show, and I’d rather walk the Free Markets’ dogs than watch any of them. I will say that having watched a few, the wimmins are actually more entertaining than the men — unless they’re doing a girls-only show like Loose Women, which makes the American show The View (which is unspeakably bad) look like quality programming by comparison.

My final thought is that managerially speaking, the BBC are a bunch of morons. What they should have done was publish alongside the salaries both the length of tenure on the job — experience counts — and most importantly, the viewership / listenership numbers — it’s all about the eyeballs and earholes, folks. Chris Evans’s 9 million listeners dwarf BBC Breakfast‘s 1.5 million viewers, so that would explain the salary disparity there. (As an aside, I should point out that rival ITV’s Good Morning Britain, hosted jointly by the sexy Susanna Reid and the revolting Piers Morgan only gets 800,000 viewers.) Here’s Susanna:

And lastly, the whole BBC salary thing is a study of orange-and-apple comparisons — morning TV shows to, say, football shows — but I have to say, though, that I’m getting a huge amount of pleasure watching the oh-so sanctimoniously-PC BBC wriggle as they try to explain the “gender gap” in their executive wage scales. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of social justice warriors. The BBC also complains that they have to pay these salaries because they’re in competition for talent with the commercial media — except that the competition pays far less, on average, than does the BBC for like jobs.


Addendum: stats on Brit media are incredibly confusing: “peak” vs. “average daily” v.s “weekly” etc. I do understand them, having worked in advertising agencies for years, but I couldn’t be bothered with forensic accuracy. My numbers may be a little off, e.g. dated, but the relative scale of them isn’t, and I’m not a journalist so I have no inclination to spend hours of research on them when I could be cleaning my new Mauser. Priorities: I have them.

Well-Suited

From Reader Jason R. comes this intriguing question:

You have spoken at length about how to spend money on watches and etcetera. I have been champing at the bit to ask you, sir, if you hit the Powerball: where does one buy the finest of suits?

Now that is an interesting question. Right off the bat, I don’t want to hear from people who are only going to wear jeans and wife-beater t-shirts for the rest of their lives, nor do I wish to hear about how suits are an outdated institution blah blah blah. Mr. R. wants to hear about suits, and I will address that issue with two options, bearing in mind that with Powerball winnings, cost is not an issue; but style and quality are.

Golden Rule: forget off-the-peg / ready-to-wear, unless you have to wear a suit in the next month or so. It’s to a tailor you’ll be going.

Option 1:  Go to a style capital, and have the suits made (you’ll need at least four, along with dinner attire — a tuxedo, in the American idiom). Your choices will include:

Milan, if you have the figure to wear Italian designs — i.e. not fat like me. Milan sets so many fashion trends, it’s silly to go anywhere else, if you want to be fashionable.  By the way, Italian suits are so well made that you might be able to find something off-the-peg which will work, but I’d still go to Caraceni first. Be aware that Italian suit designs go out of fashion more quickly than the “classic” designs; if you want something of that nature, you’ll need to go to

London (Savile Row or Jermyn Street) for the British cut: timeless and almost immediately recognizable — but you’ll need to find something to do in London for a couple weeks, because those Brit tailors are slow. One caveat: Brits don’t do summer suits that well, simply because they don’t need them that much; the Italians do, so you may do well to split your trips, as it were.

New York will be fine, if you’re okay with American-style suits (the eponymous TV show Suits is coincidentally an excellent example of the look). Barney’s used to be the place to go, but I’m not sure if that’s true anymore. (My NY Readers may be able to help.)

Option 2: go to Hong Kong, and have a dozen suits made for the same price as four would cost you in any of the above cities. Seriously: anyone who knows anything about buying good suits either goes or has gone to Hong Kong. They will have all the latest fashion patterns, and all the different cloth weights and types on display; picking out the fabric(s) will take you almost as long as it takes them to make the suit. You’ll only need about three days to get a dozen suits. Hankow Road will give you Willie Cheng or Sam’s (the celebrity tailor). Mr. FM, who has all his suits made in HK, cautions against getting your shirts made there because for some reason, HK tailors never give you a long enough tail — which means your shirt is always coming out. Stick with the guys in Jermyn Street.

Addendum: you’ll need shoes. Forget American formal shoes like Johnston & Murphy, unless you want to look like the parvenus lawyers in Suits. (I’m not dissing J&M, by the way: I own two pairs, and love them. But if you want to match your exquisite suits with equally-exquisite shoes…)

Once again, Milan will be your friend — nobody makes stylish shoes quite like the Italians. However, if you really want to follow the example of Sterling Archer (and you should), you should have your shoes made for you by a cordwainer (old fart’s term for shoemaker). If you don’t want to go to Milan and visit Stivelaria Savoia, or you’d prefer a more classical style of shoe, I would like to suggest a place somewhat off the beaten track: Vienna, and the place to go there is Ludwig Reiter. (Warning: if you follow that link and read about “welting”, you may never buy shoes off the shelf again.)

If you’d prefer a more British style, then John Lobb in London will give you whatever you need. I’ve been there, could never afford their prices (see below). I love their description of how shoes are made.

All bespoke shoemakers will measure your foot and make a wooden last of it; then, whenever you need new shoes, you just call them and they’ll make you a new pair, or several new pairs, according to your style selection. The initial consultation and measurement will take ages, but subsequent pairs will be made quite quickly. In most cases, you’ll be allocated an individual within the company who will be responsible for all your shoes thereafter.

You’ll need an assist from Powerball, by the way: Savoia, Lobb and Reiter shoes can cost anywhere from $2,000 – $8,000 a pair. But they’ll last forever, and never go out of fashion. I have a copy of Reiter half-boots which cost close to $800; I’m still wearing them, twelve years later, and they still look wonderful. (Those are available in Vienna’s Kärtnerstrasse — a very bad place to shop if you have no impulse control.)

Now… where did I put that EuroMillions ticket?

Saturday Morning, Again

Ah yes… last night.

Pretty much the same cast of characters (The Englishman and Reader John M. — Mr. Free Market had to stay late at work: celebratory drinks after some successful capitalist venture, no doubt), the same products of Messrs. Wadworth and Company, same wonderful fun, same pub. Same final result, of course.

Back when the skull-hobgoblins have finished their Happy Dance…