Cold & Wet

Woke up yesterday to grey and gloomy skies, with occasional drizzle and a chilly breeze.  More like Britishland than like Texas this spring, so far.

I love it.  The Texas spring, that is, because the longer it stays like this (it won’t, according to the forecast) the longer that the temperatures of Texas Broil a.k.a. summer are kept at bay.

Britishland spring, on the other hand, is nothing like this — more like Texas winter, in fact — as witnessed by yesterday’s start of the racing season at Cheltenham, where the ladies’ clothing was more shall we say sensible:

(note to my Murkin Readers:  scarlet trousers for men are generally an infallible sign of the upper classes Over There)

What’s definitely not a mark of the upper classes would be outfits such as these:

Ugh… quick, back to the totties:


Quite disappointing, really;  but Cheltenham usually is, being more of a classy event than the others.

Never mind… soon it will be the turn of the Grand National at Aintree.  Can’t wait.


I remember back from my earliest schooldays that we kids had what our parents called “crazes” — fads that became “must-haves” among the schoolkids — and it seemed like every three weeks or so one would appear:  yo-yos, poker dice, marbles and so on all became the standard stuff in our pockets.  And woe betide you if you were “behind” the craze;  you were an outsider, and we all know how injurious that is to the tender susceptibilities of a child.

Needless to say, just when you’d finally prevailed upon your parents to get you a yo-yo — and it had to be the right kind/brand, of course — the trend would change, yo-yos became yesterday’s news (until next year, maybe), and some new damn thing would put you, the hapless kid, straight back into the outsider camp.

Of course, that tendency to follow crazes — what’s politely called “fashion” but is really just some desperate need to fit in with the “cool kids” — manifests itself in the adult world as well, whether it’s shoes (Michael Jordan Air, Manolo Blahnik), clothing (Versace, North Face), sunglasses (Ray-Ban, Oakley) and gawd help us, colors (coyote brown, putty, cement).  I’d add that even guns (Glock, SIG) aren’t immune to this nonsense, but no doubt some people will get offended.  And don’t even get me started on “smart” water, as though that Perrier bullshit wasn’t bad enough.

And now we have Stanley insulated mugs and flasks.  Seriously?  Overpriced sippycups to keep one’s coffee hot or “energy drinks” (another stupid fucking craze) cold, and among all the Cool Kidz, they’re a gotta-have.

The problem with adult crazes is that unlike marbles or yo-yos, they’re really expensive (see:  Ferrari, Range Rover, Michael Kors and Gucci).

The fun part is that whereas the nonconformists used to just suffer the opprobrium heaped on outsiders, nowadays there’s occasional pushback:

Stanley cups have become the ultimate “it” item for Gen Z, with hundreds desperate to get their hands on the £45 ‘adult sippy cup’.  The tumblers recently launched in the UK to much fanfare, taking many people to take to Twitter to joke about the ‘millennial version’

‘These were my Stanley cup’ one person wrote, a picture of coloured Coca-Cola glasses that came free with McDonald’s meals throughout the noughties.

Yeah, whatever.  (And then there’s this, sent to me by Reader Mike L.)

I have to admit that I’ve never understood the appeal of crazes, and (certainly as a youngin) this has generally made me a permanent outsider for most of my life.

I also resent like hell the fact that crazes, by and large, are created by brand- and product manufacturers’ marketing departments (e.g. perfumes, where the marketing and container costs constitute about 90% of the retail price — and I can’t help thinking that the same is true for most trendy bullshit).

As far as I’m concerned, if I wear a shirt with a brand on it (don’t hold your breath), the brand should pay me for carrying their advertising, instead of me having to pay a (massive) premium for the privilege of wearing a stupid Adidas or (even worse) Dallas Cowboys t-shirt.  Yeah, I know:  the franchises need the additional revenue to help pay their spokesmodels’ outrageous endorsement fees — yet another topic that could engender a 20,000-word rant from Yours Truly.

It’s all marketing:  a specious (albeit regrettably-effective) attempt to boost sales of some product or other, or some brand which is almost identical to another in the product line.


I think I’ll just have another sip of coffee from my insulated container, compared with its premium (and not really better) craze competitor.

The coffee isn’t that awful Starbucks shit, just ordinary ol’ Dunkin Donuts Regular.

(Actually, I think those Coca-Cola plastic glasses are pretty cool, just not that kind of cool…)

Update:  literally two minutes after this was posted, I got one of these spams in my Inbox.

Coincidence?  I report, you decide.

However:  if it’s not coincidence and someone got busy with my data, let’s acknowledge that their little AI data-scraping bot isn’t that good — because on countless occasions, I’ve heaped scorn and invective on the horrible sponsor.  In fact, I’d rather inject boiling bleach into my scrotum than give Dick’s a single dollar.  Wonder if they’ll pick that up?

When Does It Become Obscene?

Surfing on a bellyboard along the waves of Teh Intarwebz, I was struck by something, and not for the first time.

Readers of this corner will of course be familiar with golf hottie Paige Spirinac, who possesses quite possibly one of the best female bodies around, as evidenced in these pics:

Now here’s the thing.  While young Paige’s derrière is by no means underrepresented, it’s not by any means over-large, e.g.

So why have huge buttocks become a thing?

Maybe the trend started with screechy pop star Jennifer Lopez:

… and was amplified [sic]  by the awful Kim Kardashian (who has never been slow to ride a trend, so to speak):

It seems, however, that this trend has no upper limit — and I speak not of all-over fatties like Lizzo, but of “Playboy models” like this one:

It’s been decades since I looked at a Playboy, but if this is the trend of their models, it will be decades more before I do it again, if ever.  Horrible.

Another example is “plus-size” model Ashley Graham, who despite having an exquisitely-beautiful face, has a backside that would fill a school bus:

Among African tribes, a large pair of buttocks is a feature of attractiveness, because it speaks not only of fertility but also of the owner thereof being well nourished (a source of pride for their husbands as providers).

But that’s in Africa.  We live in the West, and have a European standard of beauty.  And I speak not of ultra-skinnies and the like (that being more a creation of homosexual fashion designers), but of women who have proportional statistics.

Here’s actress Sasha Alexander, for instance, who has what I would consider a decent set of proportions:

Note:  no inflated breasts, nor a bulbous backside.  Another example?  Sure, why not?  Here’s the rather Mumsy-looking Laura Hamilton, who in in her forties and has two kids:

Let me say in summary that I’m not asking for women to strive for some impossible ideal of beauty:  anything but.

What I’m asking for is proportion, and not grotesqueries.

And yes, I’m familiar with the contradiction of all the above, considering that  pneumatic sexagenarian Carol Vorderman often appears on my back porch:

…as does the equally-balloony Kelly Brook:

What can I say?  I’m a sucker for a pretty face.

Model Failure

Yesterday I received another one of those email ads trying to get me to spend more money.  I was about to junk it, when something caught my eye, to wit, this:

Great Aphrodite’s bleeding eyeballs, when did models turn away from being beautiful and into heffalumps like the above?

Yeah I know, “body positivity” and all that Womynz Issues stuff, but seriously?

Here’s something for the Fashion Industry to ponder.  Somewhere between this:

… and this:

…is a happy medium — basically, a women not emaciated or boyish, and not a fucking blimp either, but a woman who looks more like a happy medium, i.e. not like this:

…but more like this: 

The latter girl, by the way, is not a model, but just a random pic of an ordinary person taken from a newspaper — with an acceptably-pretty face, and a decent-but-not-perfect body.  That, I would suggest, is more of a happy medium than what we’re having shoved in our faces today.

Fuck their “body positivity” and all that jive.  If I’m going to be persuaded to buy something, I just want to see it presented in an agreeable form.

And this from a man who actually prefers zaftig  women over skinnies.  But I have my limits, and modern advertising has stepped well over them.  Here’s the latest such offering:

I love Miriam Margolyes beyond words… but as a model?  No.

If I want to see ugly women, I’ll go to WalMart.

Old Ties

At one point in my life I probably owned well over four dozen ties (neckties) simply because I wore a suit to work each day of the work week, and occasionally over the weekends as well (weddings, formal dinners and so on).  The inside of my wardrobe looked very much like this:

Ties back then were not just about dressing well, nor even some kind of workplace uniform.  They were a mark of your individuality, a means whereby you could differentiate yourself from all the other guys dressed like you in their blue or gray pinstripe 3-piece suits.

So I read this article with a certain degree of regret:

While the trouser suit – for men and women – continues to be a staple on catwalks at international fashion weeks, it seems that the old fashioned necktie isn’t quite so in favour with those seeking out business attire.  

On Twitter this week, City worker and think tank owner, William Wright, of New Financial, shared a snap that will strike anxiety into the heart of officewear traditionalists…a very pared down tie display. 

While the neck tie was once considered so vital to employees wearing a whistle-and-flute to the office that it spawned a whole shop – Tie Rack – dedicated to it, it seems the accessory is no longer on trend. 

Ignoring the teeth-grinding and pretentious “on trend” phrase — what we used to refer to simply as “fashionable” — the fact remains that with the trend going from “business suits”  to “business casual” to “casual” to “Jeremy Clarkson” to “one degree above fucking ghetto”, there is no future for men’s ties, which makes me melancholy.  It’s just another manifestation of what was once called “prole drift” — the propensity for society to degrade its appearance and manners towards the underclass and becoming a world of boors.

The plain fact is that putting on a tie makes a man look properly dressed when the occasion demands it.  I couldn’t think of attending something like a wedding, funeral or even a smart sit-down dinner without a tie.  Here’s what I mean:

Without a tie, even a decent suit looks wrong.

So I went over to my tie rack as it stands today, and counted my ties.  Eight neckties, two cravats and a bolo (string) tie — “Texas formal” — and that’s it.

My old tailor at Lightbody’s in Johannesburg is turning in his grave.

Afterthought:  A little while ago, New Wife and I were going out to dinner somewhere, and I put on a suit for the occasion but dispensed with neckwear because it wasn’t that formal an occasion.  When I asked her how I looked, she responded acidly:  “What about your tie?”

I was able to pull the Old Fart card here by putting my hand to my throat and feigning shock at my forgetfulness, but I don’t think she was fooled.  I think she has been sent to chide and chastise me by my late mother.