Gilding The Lily #268

I am so sick of people messing with perfectly-good things in order to “improve” them.  Here’s but the latest to arouse my ire:

Gin lovers were sent into a frenzy recently when a popular brand launched Premium Pink Distilled Gin & Tonic cans for £1.80 a tin at four major supermarkets in time for the first May bank holiday weekend.
Gordon’s Pink Gin, which launched last year, is said to taste of raspberries and redcurrants with a touch of juniper.

Two things:

1) if a gin doesn’t taste of juniper berries, it isn’t gin at all.
2) Pink Gin is made with a drop or two of Angostura Bitters added to the gin.  Making a gin pink-colored (with raspberries and redcurrants? ye gods) doesn’t make it a “Pink Gin”.  And don’t even get me started on the topic of booze served in tins.

Lastly — and this doesn’t just apply to the above — I’m getting really sick of manufacturers trying to extend their user base by appealing to younger people, playing on their unsophisticated and undeveloped taste buds by adding Kool-Aid flavors to grownup drinks.  (Chocolate vodka? are you fucking kidding me?)  This is akin to trying to get more women to shoot guns by making gunpowder smell like lilacs.

I am, by the way, fully aware of how innovation works — that most of civilization has occurred because someone, somewhere said: “Y’know, I bet if we just changed…” — but that’s confusing improvement with extension.  Tinned fruity-flavored gin is not an improvement.

I know that raspberry-flavored beer may have caused more people to take to beer drinking, but that’s changed things, and not for the better.  Go into any bar and look at what beers are on tap these days.  Barely a drinkable one available, and worse, they’ve pushed all the decent beers into bottles (or out of stock) while hipsters and chickies are catered to with the latest fad, Strawberry IPA [pause to be sick].

Basically, booze manufacturers are changing their products to appeal to people who don’t like booze.  In the old days of marketing, we used to call that pointless endeavor “catching eels” (try catching an eel in mid-air when someone tosses it in your direction and you’ll see what I’m talking about).  Not only is it pointless, it’s mercurial because what’s popular today won’t be popular tomorrow as your fickle new customers chase after the next “Flavor Of The Month”, and you’ll have gone from catching one eel to catching multiple eels.  That’s something they don’t  teach in the Marketing section of the typical MBA course because MBAs are all about theory (“line extension”, “product enhancement”, etc.).  And don’t tell me I’m talking nonsense because I’ve seen the curricula.

I think I’ll go and mix myself a drink.  A real Pink Gin, or maybe a gin & tonic — Gilbeys. Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire (because the brand is less important when you add tonic to it) and Schweppes Tonic. (Cucumber  tonic? egads.)

Or I’ll just have a pint of Fuller’s London Pride… and if anyone tells me to squeeze a lime into it, there’ll be murders.

Too Much

Was it Gloria Vanderbilt who opined that one can never be too rich, or too thin?  My answer is that it depends.  If one is going to use one’s wealth to evil ends (e.g. George Soros), I believe we can certainly make a case that some people, at any event, can be too rich.  As for the “too thin”… well, we all know about anorexia, which is the low-hanging fruit in a counter-argument to the wealthy (and skinny) Vanderbilt’s wrong-headed aphorism.

But there’s another aspect to the latter, which happens, say, when a woman with a perfectly-acceptable figure gets teased about being “fat” — by, one presumes, skinny people — and goes about getting skinny just to, I suppose, restore her self-confidence.  Here’s a case in point:

A size 16 woman who was fat-shamed by her boyfriend has got revenge by losing four stone – and becoming a British bikini bodybuilding finalist.
Emily de Luzy, 24, from Horsham, West Sussex, revealed how her boyfriend told her that he made sure she was properly fed because ‘the fatter [she] got the less people would look at [her]’.
Emily, who previously weighed 12st 8lb [176lbs], described how she used to hide her body away, after years of comfort eating.
She decided she wanted to transform her relationship with her body by overhauling her fitness regime, and now weighs 9st 2lbs [128lbs] and is a UK size 8.

Now that seems all dramatic and such, but here are the B&A photos:

 

She’s obviously quite a big girl — large frame and so on — and I would suggest that while 176lbs might have been a little too much, her weight loss was likewise too much:  her bust has disappeared and her face is now quite unattractive, almost skeletal.

  

I think 25-30lbs would have been fine to lose; 50lbs was excessive.  Of course, if she feels better about herself (and has managed to shed her asshole boyfriend in the process), then there’s no harm done, I suppose.  I still think she looked better before: more attractive, more womanly and certainly less manly than she does now. (The bodybuilding pics in the linked article, by the way, are quite repulsive.)

But no doubt I’m in the minority, as usual.

 

Business Opportunity

Watching Starbucks digging itself ever deeper into the Pit Of Social Justice, I can’t help thinking that there’s an answer to all of this idiocy:

Yup, these guys are all over Europe and Britain, and are expanding into the Far East. Here’s one outlet in the Philippines (despite the red phone booth):

…but they’re all over the place:

That one’s in Prague, despite the English signage.

I encountered them last year in Britishland — remember, it had been nigh on fifteen years since I’d been Over There before, and as I recall, Costa was still a small presence back then. Now, of course, they’re pretty much ubiquitous, whether in malls, stations, on High Street and in service stations (thanks to a pretty nifty dispenser which gives you almost a dozen options).

Best of all, Costa’s offering isn’t at all like the hyper-pretentious nonsense from Starbucks — their sizes are Small, Medium and Large, for one thing — and best of all, their coffee is damn good (also unlike that of Starbucks). Because I’m a wussy, I drink their “Americano” (diluted espresso) whereas Mr. Free Market gets the super-strong unsweetened because he’s a manly man (and no sarcasm intended, either; I tried drinking his choice once, and had to quit after half a cup because hallucinations).

People think that Costa isn’t Over Here because of the strength of the competition (Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Caribou and what have you), and that’s a fair point: Costa came into the U.K., for example, when there were relatively few Starbucks outlets around and most Brits were still drinking instant coffee [pause to be sick], so their entry into the market wasn’t too difficult. In fact, I think they succeeded where Starbucks failed: to turn Britain from a tea culture into a coffee culture.

However, I still think Costa could make it here. Their menu is more Starbucks than Dunkin’ Donuts, but cheaper and (of course) less pretentious and self-conscious. Ordinary people like you and me go to Costa and drink coffee, as opposed to the hipster-yuppie-soccermom filth who prefer to pay too much for their triple-chocolate-low-fat-soymilk-double-decaf lattes. (I’m not making that last one up, either. I think the cost was $7.50 for a “small”, probably because of the labor cost involved in just making the stupid thing.)

It’s time there was a decent alternative to the Scum From Seattle anyway, and seeing as it’s not going to come from Greggs (more’s the pity), it should be Costa. As long as they don’t turn their outlets into shelters for the homeless.

Just The Latest John Sandford Novel

Friend & Reader Drew K writes and asks me what he can bring me on Visiting Day.

Puzzled? Here’s the back story:

UK Proposes Prison Time For Offensive Online Posts

The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has drafted new guidelines proposing prison sentences of between 26 weeks and six years for social media posts deemed hostile toward a race, religion or sexual identity.
The proposals have been made in relation to the Public Order Act, which prohibits all activities “intended or likely to stir up hatred” against minority groups, including transgender people. Many of the examples in the document reference social media use.
Those “in a position of trust, authority or influence” abusing their position to stir up hatred are facing the harshest sentences. The suggested punishment will also be more severe if the offender has a particularly large online following or if he or she is associated with any groups promoting hatred based on race or religion.
Three types of offences are considered the most serious. The first of these, understandably, are “cases where activity is encouraged which threatens or endangers life.” However, more surprisingly, the other two categories are “cases involving widespread dissemination of material and/or a strong likelihood that many would be influenced.”

There’s more, but it’s all the same bullshit. Read it and laugh.

Now as for me: I’m not necessarily advocating any violence here, y’all. On the other hand, should any of you run across (or over) members of this bunch of totalitarian cocksuckers so-called “Sentencing Council” and want to go seriously medieval on their ass — “medieval” being described as one or more of the following:

or:

or even:

…why, I would be shocked — shocked! — at your unseemly behavior.

Cheesecake would be good on Visitor’s Day, too. And joke ’em if they can’t take a fuck.

Says It All, Really

Via Perry de Havilland at Samizdata, there’s a rather long quote by Tom Paine wherein he characterizes the Labour Party and Conservative Party respectively as the “Let’s Fuck It Up” and the “Let’s Fuck It Up More Slowly” Parties.

If anyone can think of a better description of the current Democrats and Establishment Republicans (GOPe), I’ll buy you a drink.