Unwanted Feature

Here’s another thing about this so-called “Modern Lifestyle” that is a stone in my soul’s shoe:

A SUPERYACHT owned by a Russian tycoon boasting an eye-watering £61million price tag is set to be auctioned off after being seized.
The stunning 240ft vessel – named The Axioma – has a catalogue of bougie features including six decks, a pool with a swim-up bar and even a cinema.

What is it with having an in-home movie room these days?  You can’t open a real estate listing without seeing a windowless room with a giant screen and a few overstuffed easy chairs in it, and if I ever bought a house with such a “feature”, all that crap would be tossed out and replaced with something of redeeming social value — like a tasteful, fully-stocked bar — before the ink was dry on the closing documents.

Here is where I could hang out with a few friends, enjoy good fellowship, conversation and companionable drunkenness, all in a friendly setting.  Maybe a TV screen in the corner so we could catch a decent game or a Grand Prix maybe, but live sporting events are different from movies, as a moment’s thought will prove:   they are definitely group entertainment.

Movie houses are, almost by definition, not a place for gathering and social interaction.  Oh sure, you enjoy the movie “experience” together (not that too many modern movies actually provide much of an experience, don’t get me started), but that’s it.

“Oh, but Kim,”  I hear the cry, “it’s really a place for your teenage kids to hang out with their friends.”

Yeah, I really want my teenage daughter hanging out in a dark room with her testosterone-laden boyfriend, with the sound turned up loud lest parents actually hear what’s really going on in there.  Or if there’s a whole group of them, to be greeted by a sea of thrusting pimply adolescent backsides when I walk in the room.

Okay, enough of that.  Or if not a bar, then a gun room.  Yeah, a wall full of cabinets such as below, inside a securely-locked door and suitably-impregnable walls:

Add a decent cleaning station / workbench, and I think you can all see where I’m going with this one.

Of course, someone might say that this would not be a place where I could entertain my friends — but clearly, you don’t know my friends.

Whatever alternative use you can dream up for that room, you can be sure that you’d get more enjoyment out of it than can be had from a screening of Fast & Furious 207  or whatever other childish comic-book action comes out of Hollyweird.

What He Said

on the topic of manners.

What do bad manners have to do with the end of imperialism, you might well ask: in a nutshell, nothing and everything. Moral authority disappeared with the empire, just as its successor, socialism, undermined the authority of the family and the pursuit of excellence. The media suddenly presented itself as a tribune of the people, sympathetic to the sensitivities of the masses, with the rich always ruthless and the poor always perfect, the children always innocent and trusting, unless they were white, then they were crazed and feral.

All good stuff, and more besides.

Still More Doubles

My old post on Doubles should serve as background to this post, so go back in the mists of time to read it.

Here we have a couple new entrants to this crowded field, Maya Jama and Maya Henry.

Maya Jama:

Maya Henry:


I know, they look nothing alike.  But when one sees, for example, a headline shouting “MAYA SHOWS HER BOOBS!”, you will understand my confusion as to which superstructure I’ll be seeing when I click on the link.

It’s a tough life of confusion I live, to be sure.

The Relaxed Life

One of the things I noticed on this last trip up to Idaho from Texas is how much I yearn to return to an older, more relaxed style of life.  To be sure, this was triggered in no small part by the very frequent glimpses into small-town life Mark and I encountered as we drove up (more on this later), but lately I’ve been hankering to get further away from not only cities, but also the suburbs, “ex-urbs” and their concomitant lifestyle.

Everyone here knows, of course, of my love for older things, be they cars, guns or manners, and maybe it’s time for me to talk with New Wife about reverting to an old-fashioned lifestyle, where life is simpler and just… easier than the rat race we have to deal with now.

It doesn’t help that Mark and his wife recently left metropolitan Houston and moved far away to a small town in South Texas.  His description of their new life made me, in a word, jealous.  He and his wife are much younger than New Wife and I, so he can handle the more physical aspects of a small farm whereas we couldn’t.  And I wouldn’t want to do that even if I were younger;  I’m still a city boy at heart, but I have to think that I would be prepared to sacrifice proximity to gourmet restaurants and Central Market in exchange for a more relaxed lifestyle.

New Wife has often expressed her desire to live in a small English village, in a cottage like this one:

(Lest anyone wonders how, I should point out that our current 2BD 2BA apartment is about 970 sq.ft., so we’ve already downsized.)

We’re not going to do that, of course — we could, as she’s a British citizen — but no, because of all the usual reasons:  expense, upheaval, weather and of course British gun laws.

She’d also prefer to live on the coast somewhere (I wouldn’t mind), but to be honest, cost is a major deterrent.

Another problem is weather.  I’ve come to absolutely loathe Texas-type hot weather, and neither of us could handle the work of living in extreme cold in, say, northern Idaho or Montana.  Somewhere, there must be a happy medium, but damned if I can find it without some serious other negatives.

It’s also gotta be reasonably pretty.  I’ve had enough of flat Texas and, both of us having grown up in hilly Johannesburg, we yearn for that kind of scenery again.

So far, the rural states which occur to me are Kentucky and Tennessee — and by “rural” I mean that part which isn’t called “Nashville” or “Lexington”, and in each case also means “eastern”, as far as I can tell.

So, O My Readers:  talk to me, in Comments and by email, and tell me where I might find that kind of life as expressed in the picture at the top of this post.


The nice thing about getting into a car, back in the day when I first got into a car is that it was like a fork:  everything about it was self-evident, and it was easy to use (hold the end without the pointy bits, stab your food with it and convey said food to your mouth).  It even allowed for different styles of use, e.g. the American (hold the food still while cutting it into baby-sized pieces, then transfer fork to right hand, slide the fork under the food and shovel said food into your mouth).

I pass no judgment about the American way other than it’s fucking stupid and it’s the way a child eats.

Anyway, the same methodology applied to a car of an earlier era:  you open the door with the handle thoughtfully attached to the outside, get in and sit down;  then insert key into ignition and turn the engine on, put the car into gear, release the handbrake and off you go.  (A couple of steps have been omitted for sake of brevity.)  Then when you get to your destination, you pull up the handbrake, turn off the car, open the door with the handle thoughtfully supplied, and get out to go to the pub.

None of the above required a user’s manual or anything other than a thirty-second explanation from an adult.

Compare that simple procedure to this concatenation of silliness:

Jeremy Clarkson was test driving a brand-new Maserati MC20 when he and Lisa decided to drive the motor to their local pub, where they were planning to indulge in a fish pie, but the couple soon realised they couldn’t get out.

Jeremy said: ‘We were in the car and five minutes after that we were in the pub’s car park. And five minutes after that we were still in the pub car park because neither of us could find anything that even remotely resembled a door handle’.

‘Eventually I turned on my phone’s torch and found the little button that you must press to unlatch the door, and then we were out.

‘And then I was back inside very smartly because the car was starting to roll down a hill.’

After finally discovering a button that activated the handbrake, Jeremy thought he had fixed the issue only to hear ‘bonging noises’ when he got out of the vehicle.

‘After an hour of swearing and wondering out loud whether it would have been easier to stay at home and make a soufflé out of ant hearts, I called a colleague, who said that to engage ‘park’ and turn out the lights I had to stop the engine twice.

‘So I pushed the button to turn the motor off, then pushed it again. Which caused it to start. I then called the colleague again, who said that when I pushed the button the second time my foot had to be off the brake pedal. And he was right, which meant that we just caught last orders.’

Let’s hear it for Technology!

As Longtime Readers all know, I have a long and abiding passion for Maserati cars, despite the dreaded which causes fits of laughter among American engineers and drivers.

Now imagine that same applied to a system which (nominally) controls the “hand”-brake and door-“handle” functions, in addition to lights, mirrors, windshield wipers, turn indicators, window- and trunk controls, ignition, transmission and (gawd help us) onboard computer.

Compared to this mobile disaster area, even my old Fiat 124 looks like a dream come true.

Manual everything — gearbox, ignition, doors, windows, seats, rearview mirrors, turn indicators, trunk opener and even, on occasion (!), windshield wipers.

All this modern shit?  You can stick it.

Even for an MC20.