Train Smash Time

Oh yeah, baby:  it’s that time of year when the Grand National is run at Aintree, and when we can look forward to some Train Smash Women and their antics.

Only, this year?  Not as much fun as usual… so far:


Too many regrettable decisions to count, in that last one.

A couple, it seemed, didn’t get the memo:

…but a lot of others did, and dressed accordingly:

That said, I think these pics were taken mostly in the early morning, before the booze had a chance to do its work.

On the other hand, maybe it’s just that nobody could afford to get wasted.  HFS, look at those prices:

Racegoers will be expected to pay £7.50 for draught beers (not including Guinness) and ciders, while a 330ml can could cost up to £7.

Meanwhile, a single serving of wine is set to cost £9.50 with a full bottle priced at £37.50.

A bottle of Prosecco will set punters back £46 while a bottle of Gobillard Brut Champagne totals a staggering £85.

Cocktails are priced at £13 each, with soft drinks costing £3.20 and a can of water £2.90 itself.

We’ll just have to wait and see.  More to follow.

Update 1:  Okay, despite the cost of booze, that’s a little more Train Smash-y…

And then came… Ladies Day.

Au Revoir, Paddy

I’ve spoken before of my distaste for “holidays” which simply serve as a catalyst for “social drinking”, not the least because like New Year’s Eve, they put a whole bunch of amateur drinkers out on the streets and behind the wheel of a car.

Most egregious of these is St. Patrick’s Day:  a time when, as the marketing goes, everyone turns Irish and drinks Guinness, Bushmills and Tullamore Dew.

Except me.  This would be like commemorating “St. Boromir Day” when I wear a Cossack hat and drink chilled neat vodka till I fall over.  What a farce.

Still, let me not be a killjoy.  There are always the costumes:

Makes you proud to be “Irish”, dunnit?

Carnies and Hucksters

Longtime Reader GT3ted sent me an email of the latest Sotheby’s auction catalog — the topic of this coming Saturday’s post, by the way — and when I commented that the prices seemed unusually-astronomical, even by Sotheby’s standards, he replied:

Yes, I thought the suggested bid ranges were high as well, But remember these are the the typical auction company’s “Projected” bid ranges which are often optimistic. And Sotheby’s does seem to have a better-than-usual lineup this year. The whole point of the catalog is to bring in as many Big Dollar buyers as possible since they need multiple buyers to run up the prices. Or at least the appearance of multiple bidders.

The Winter Arizona / Scottsdale Hype is strong thanks to “Bidenomics” / a soaring stock market and nervous investors looking for a place to park some equity before the possible collapse of the more traditional equities market place.

The world of high-end auctions is still just smoke and mirrors run by used car salesmen and ex-carnies all looking for the next greater fool, just at a much higher level.

It’s a very cogent statement.  But even among them what has more money than common sense, this (for example) seems egregiously overpriced:

Now let it be known that I loves me some 70s-era Bronco, but I would humbly suggest that even a handbuilt-from-the-ground-up item such as this isn’t worth anything like two hundred big ones.

It’s not an original — it’s a Kincer creation — and there’s another outfit that handmakes “classic” Toyota FJ45s, at similar nosebleed prices, and still another that does likewise with 1970s-era Mercedes G-wagens.  While I understand that hand-built cars involve an astonishing amount of labor — in some cases, hundreds of hours — I would suggest that it’s a fool’s gambit to try to recoup (and even profit from) the job.  As any amateur restorer will tell you, one never recoups the cost of restoration, and I just can’t see that restoring old cars as a production enterprise makes it worth the work and expense…

…unless, of course, the target market is not the brand’s loyal devotees but (as Ted puts it) Big-Dollar Buyers (“whales”, as the casino industry derisively calls them), for whom the car is not an object of desire but an investment.

And all investments, as any fule kno, carry risk.

Caveat emptor imprudens.

All that said, there are some juicy cars indeed in the Sotheby’s catalogue, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday to see them.  Just ignore the prices, and drool.

More “Health” Bullshit

Turns out that this “YOU HAVE TO WALK 10,000 STEPS A DAY OR YOU’RE GONNA DIEEEEEE!!!” mantra is absolute bollocks.  Actually, I always knew this instinctively, but here’s the !Science!:

By analyzing data on tens of thousands of people across four continents compiled between 15 existing studies, a team of researchers has landed on a more comfortable figure: the optimal number is probably closer to 6,000 steps per day, depending on your age.

Anything more is unlikely to further reduce your chances of stumbling into an early grave.

“So, what we saw was this incremental reduction in risk as steps increase, until it levels off,” said University of Massachusetts Amherst epidemiologist Amanda Paluch when the study was released in March 2022.

“And the leveling occurred at different step values for older versus younger adults.”

So… 10,000?

Half a century ago, the Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company in Japan sought to cash in on the buzz left by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by producing a pedometer they called ‘Manpo-kei’ – a word that translates into 10,000 steps.

Why 10,000? Good old fashioned marketing. It’s a nice, round number that sounds taxing enough to be a goal, but achievable enough to be worth striving for. What it doesn’t have going for it is any scientific backing.

Yeah, but for the Health Nazis, that’s all they needed to boss us around.  It’s like that “drink 100 gallons of water a day” (or whatever bullshit “round” number they came up with for that bit of nannying);  everyone knows (or should know) that too much water is about as bad for you as too little.

Funny thing, that:  humans actually have a trigger mechanism to tell you when to drink.  It’s called “feeling thirsty”, and we’ve somehow managed to survive as a species for thousands of years by relying on it.  Also, we know when to stop, because we start feeling “full”, but clearly we have to ignore our bodies and keep on chugging back the water… until our overworked kidneys say “Fuck this nonsense” and quit.

As will our hearts when, as senior citizens (or “useless mouth-breathers” as the yoof calls us), we end up dying because those useless and as it turns out, dangerous extra few thousand steps will tax that organ into failure.

Every doctor or “health professional” or “fitness expert” who has ever insisted on the “10,000 steps and/or x liters of water per day” regime needs to get strapped to a scaffold and flogged, say, 10,000 lashes with a bullwhip.

Is that too much?  I dunno, but it’s a nice round number.

Quote Of The Day

From Miguel Castejon, illegal immigrant, on why he’s leaving Chicago and going back to Venezuela:

“The American Dream doesn’t exist anymore. There’s nothing here for us.”

Welcome to the club, pal.

He continues:

“We didn’t know things would be this hard. I thought the process was faster,” he said about the job permit situation in Chicago.

LOL it took New Wife over a year to get her work permit — and she was here legally, married to a U.S. citizen.

And of course, as Chicago’s harsh winter is starting its annual bite:

“If we’re going to be sleeping in the streets here, we’d rather be sleeping in the streets over there.”

…because Venezuela is on the equator.

See ya.

And by the way:  well done, TxGov Abbott.

Cultural Ignorance

Last night I had to call 911, because I heard gunshots outside my apartment — first there were two shots, evenly spaced, and then three in a row, very fast.  Sounded like a small-caliber pistol, I told the operator.  (This being Texas, she didn’t bother to ask me how I could guess the caliber.)

Anyway, the cops arrived, and then a fire engine.

Not gunshots:  fireworks.

Of course, “fireworks” never occurred to me as a choice because I’m culturally ignorant, and had no idea that it’s Diwali Time, here in Little Hyderabad, Plano (that’s what they call it, because there are so many people from that city living in the area).

That would also explain why so many apartment patios are festooned with light strings — they’re not premature Christmas lights (which is what I mistakenly thought) but Diwali lights, which is apparently a whole ‘nother thing.  So instead of living amidst a large number of Christian folk, I’m surrounded, so to speak, by Diwali devotees.  (Okay, I knew that already.)

Anyway, I felt a bit of a fool for calling 911 just about fireworks, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t get the appropriate memo from the Ministry of Cultural Assimilation.  And honestly?  these were loud bangs, so my confusion is quite understandable.  (I had the 1911 in hand while peering through the curtains and making the 911 call.)

Anyway, the morons who set off the fireworks got their pee-pees whacked both by the Fuzz and the Apartment Lords, as setting off fireworks in these parts is Streng Verboten.  (We have an extensive forest on both sides of the nearby creek, surrounded by empty grass fields that have somehow escaped the attention of property developers, hence the fire risk and prohibition.)

And by the way:  the cops were on the spot in about three minutes:  nothing like “Shots fired” over the old 911 to get the donuts dropped and the engines running.  But of course if there had been gunshots, three minutes is far too long.

This is Kim, your local Cultural Ignoramus, signing off.