The Old Homestead

I didn’t really know what to expect when I decided to go and see the house where I grew up (ages 3 – 23). Given that Johannesburg has turned into a series of walled fortifications, I expected not to be able to see the house at all. Here’s an example of the security almost all houses surround themselves with these days:

…and mostly, the gates are solid wood or steel, to prevent “crash” robberies.

So my heart sank a little when I turned onto the old road, and saw this:

…but when I got to the old house, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the current owners have not succumbed to paranoia (or, to be cynical, prudence):

The place has changed quit a bit (and for the better, I think), as it now has a Mediterranean feel to it. When my father originally built it back in 1957, it was the height of 1950s architecture — i.e. pig-ugly by today’s standards — but now its design is almost timeless.

And having just come from the south of France, I like this far better.

Some details: it sits on a hectare (about 2.5 acres), and while some of the other places have been subdivided into two, old Number 7 hasn’t. The house is about 4,000 sq. ft in size, unless they’ve added on some more in the back, which I couldn’t see through the trees.

It looks quite lovely, and I’m glad I got to see it.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what I’ve seen in and around Johannesburg.

 

5 Worst Places To Have Sex For The First Time

For men or women:

  • The seaside (where you’ll soon discover why sandpaper used to be made with beach sand)
  • Lena Dunham’s bedroom
  • Any public restroom
  • On an active movie set or at a frat house party (pretty much the same thing, nowadays)
  • Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room

Your suggestions in Comments. Extra points if it’s a place where you actually had sex for the first time.

 

 

Airline Bullshit

When I first saw British Airways’ little pre-flight safety announcement, I was amused: a bunch of well-known Brit actors and comedians demonstrating safety procedures, all under the guise of being auditioned for the job of making the announcements.

Then I stopped laughing, because what this really was was a commercial for some poxy charity drive (video autoplay alert), whereby passengers empty their pockets of loose change, said proceeds going to feed the Pore & Starvin Chilluns of the world.

Now I have lots of sympathy for said Chilluns, because I am not without a soul. I have no sympathy for the so-called “charities” who collect this aid money because they are a bunch of thieving bastards who siphon off percentages of the funds before passing the moolah on to agencies who purport to help the P&S Chilluns, but whose efforts really perpetuate the conditions of poverty by making these people dependent on continuous aid.

I have even less sympathy — actually, tolerance — for organizations like British Airways who facilitate this bullshit. Why?

Because I’m sick to death of paying extra money (over and above the already-inflated airline ticket fees) for stuff that we used to get for free: things such as “extra baggage” fees (for a second suitcase) and seat selection fees (!!!) just because when you go online to check in for your flight, you either put up with the seat you were originally given, or, if you want to change your seat, you have to pay a fucking “change fee” when the change comes entirely cost-free to the airline. (I’m not even going to talk about how “better” seats also command a “seating premium fee” and how you’re bombarded with the ceaseless suggestions to upgrade to a marginally-better “class” of seat for only $320 (!!!!!).)

And a big thank you to Donald Fucking Trump and his Administration for allowing the airlines to hide their thievery (annoying autoplay alert). You bastards.

So here’s a little thought for British Airways and all the other little flyboys like American, United, Delta and whoever: fuck you. If you want me to donate money to your charities, you can start by leaving me more money to donate, and get rid of your fucking highway robbery fees. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the shitty seat you give me (last time: 42D, the very last row in the plane), and you can get stuffed. You and your fucking charity partners.


Afterthought: I know, why do I fly? Because driving across the Atlantic Ocean is problematic. Domestically, I drive wherever I can instead of flying because I hate the fucking airlines. Likewise the poxy TSA and their security theater because [20,000-word anti-TSA rant deleted].

I Could Live Here

“Here” is “anywhere along the Midi (Southern France coastline)”, where I spent last week. Never mind the usual tourist pics like this one:

…because to buy one of those houses you’d need to win not one but three or four large $100-million+ lotteries.

No; I could live in one of the smaller places up the hill such as in Beausoleil, La Turbie or especially Juan-Le-Pins, well off the tourist areas, where prices are not even close to California levels — as long as you don’t doing a bit of renovation. But good grief, the views:

Apartment rentals are not bad: depending on the quality of the place, about $2,000 per month for a small 2-bedroom apartment (in Plano, I was renting a 1-bed for just over $1,200). Here was the view from Longtime Friend & Drummer Knob’s place in Beausoleil, just outside Monaco:

The weather is just about perfect, the food is about the same price as the U.S. (if you avoid the tourist traps along the coast) and the towns look like this:

A few miles inland, by the way, are drives like this:

…and given the season, that’s about as ugly as it gets. Gawd knows what it’s like in summer.

I need to brush up on my French (which, by the way, is in a sad state of dilapidation after years of non-use). Amazingly, my halting Franglais (for so it has become) was met with sympathy and even friendliness — the people in the Midi do not live up to the reputation of the French as surly xenophobes; quite the opposite.

I didn’t take too many pics of my trip there, because I knew after about three hours that I would be coming back.

If you’ve never been to the south of France, you owe it to yourself to go. Start saving now; you will never regret it. (I would recommend April-May or September-October, to avoid the high season when prices and such are sky-high.)

Oh, and did I mention the food? That’s for another post.

Dept. Of Righteous Shootings

The story: some Scumbag threatens Our Hero with a gun, then threatens Our Hero’s family — whereupon Our Hero pulls his gun and ends Scumbag’s criminal career for good with the assistance of some hot lead. Details here.

And of course, because this happened in Texas there will be no charges filed (the report says it’s “unclear”, but what’s crystal clear is that if the prosecutor does file charges, he’ll be tossed out of office, if not worse).