RIP Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner, who created Playboy magazine and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant — all the while, as its very public avatar, squiring attractive young women (and sometimes marrying them) well into his 80s — died on Wednesday at his home, the Playboy Mansion near Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 91. His death was announced by Playboy Enterprises. Hefner was a stunning success from his emergence in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect.

The first issue of Playboy was published in 1953, when Mr. Hefner was 27 years old, a new father married to, by his account, the first woman he had slept with. The first issue of Playboy was financed with $600 of his own money and several thousand more in borrowed funds, including $1,000 from his mother. But his biggest asset was a nude calendar photograph of Marilyn Monroe. He had bought the rights for $500. He had only recently moved out of his parents’ house and left his job at Children’s Activities magazine. Mr. Hefner was reviled, first by guardians of the 1950s social order — J. Edgar Hoover among them — and later by feminists. But Playboy’s circulation reached one million by 1960 and peaked at about seven million in the 1970s.

Long after other publishers made the nude “Playmate” centerfold look more sugary than daring, Playboy remained the most successful men’s magazine in the world. Hefner’s company branched into movie, cable and digital production, sold its own line of clothing and jewelry, and opened clubs, resorts and casinos. The brand faded over the years, and by 2015 the magazine’s circulation had dropped to about 800,000 — although among men’s magazines it was outsold by only one, Maxim, which was founded in 1995. Hefner remained editor in chief even after agreeing to the magazine’s startling decision in 2015 to stop publishing nude photographs. Mr. Hefner handed over creative control of Playboy last year to his son Cooper Hefner. He admitted to being “‘involved’ with maybe eleven out of twelve months’ worth of Playmates” during some of these years.

Hefner had a minor stroke in 1985 at the age of 59. After re-evaluating his lifestyle, he made several changes. The wild, all-night parties were toned down significantly and in 1988, daughter Christie began to run the Playboy empire. The following year, he married Playmate of the Year Kimberley Conrad; they were 36 years apart in age. The couple had two sons: Marston Glenn (born 1990) and Cooper Bradford (born 1991). In January 2009, Hefner started dating Crystal Harris, joining the Shannon Twins after his previous “number one girlfriend”, Holly Madison, had ended their seven-year relationship. On December 24, 2010, he became engaged to Harris, to become his third wife. Harris broke off their engagement on June 14, 2011, five days before their planned wedding. The two later reconciled, and on December 31, 2012, Harris and Hefner married at the Playboy Mansion in a small private ceremony; he was 86 and she was 26.

Another 4 Day Weekend!

So, another 4 day long weekend awaits. Looong weekend. I wish all weekends were this long! Wishful thinking I know but somedays after a long stretch at the office (today for no good reason I was stretching for an additional 3 hours and 15 minutes. Sheesh, this is becoming terrible.

Anyways, I have got one more day of work and then it’s four days off. Friday is Mahanavami and Monday is Gandhijayanti/Gandhi’s birthday – therefore the extra two days off. Since I usually hate Mondays this is a good thing. I plan to go out on Friday and Sunday and rest and relax on Saturday and Monday. And go back to work fresh on Tuesday.

I am going to watch a bunch of films and tv show episodes. This is gonna be good. Eat some good food too. Maybe some vodka!

The Perfect Weekend Getaway?

Describe your perfect weekend getaway

I dunno what would be perfect. I can even think of a perfect weekend at home just by myself sitting and drinking a lot of vodka or beer, eating my favourite food like pizza or burgers or some Chinese food from one of my favourite restaurants. I could listen to music, watch some of my fav movies and go to sleep when I want too.

I could take an Uber and go to places nearby that I can sit and relax in for hours at a time. Go for a shopping spree or go to a mall and catch a movie. I could go visit friends and enjoy some long chats over coffee or something stronger.

I wouldn’t mind getting away for a while. A hill station sounds lovely, even if it’s just for a day or two. Relax with a coffee near a fire and read a book on an easy chair and watch the river water flow on by. Catch the sun setting on a nice beautiful evening as I drink a beer or some vodka and enjoy a quiet evening spent indoors. These are all good but the only way this would be perfect would be is if I had the company of a woman who loves as much as I love her.

Prompt from 31 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS FOR MARCH The Sits Girls

Star Trek : Discovery – The Vulcan Hello

Long awaited and long anticipated, Star Trek : Discovery debuted with a double episode. Like I mentioned earlier, I am following the show and plan to do a recap/review of each episode.

Episode synopisis:

Investigating a damaged satellite near a binary star system on the edge of Federation space, the crew members of the USS Shenzhou discover an object obscured from their sensors. First Officer Michael Burnham volunteers to investigate the object herself, and finds an ancient, carved vessel. She is attacked by a Klingon, and when trying to escape she accidentally kills him. A group of Klingons mourn the death of their soldier, dubbed the “Torchbearer”, before the outcast Voq volunteers to take his place. The Klingons, lead by T’Kuvma, reveal themselves in a cloakable ship. T’Kuvma preaches to his followers of the Federation’s attempts to usurp the individuality of the Klingons and their culture, and plans to fulfill an ancient prophecy by uniting the 24 great Klingon houses as was once done by Kahless. Voq activates a beacon that summons the Klingon leaders. Burnham, desperate to prevent a war, attempts to fire on the Klingons first, against the wishes of Captain Philippa Georgiou. Burnham is arrested for mutiny.

We start off the show with T’kuvma declaring to his people as a warning of the threat of the Federation who he views as outsiders who pretend to come in peace and yet spread their way of live everywhere. He wants the 24 great houses of the Klingons to set aside their differences and unite to battle the Federation. We then flip to Captain Philippa Georgioua and her first officer Commander Michael Burnham who are on a planet which has had a drought for 89 years. After they sort out the problem, they are beamed aboard to the USS Shenzhou – that is a wonderful scene that I have to watch again and again.

The rivalry (close to sibling bickering almost) between science officer Saru & Burnham is fun to watch. Burnham’s history shows us why she would be wary and even aggressive towards Klingons, as her parents were killed by them and she was found and raised by Sarek as his adoptive child (and a sister to Spock). She is the only human to have studied at the Vulcan Science Academy but over the course of 7 years she seems to gain most of her human passion. Despite her initial cool and logical reasoning, when it comes to the danger to the ship and the Federation by the Klingons, she gets passionate and even reverts to mutiny when her captain doesn’t seem to agree with her.

After she eagerly explores the hidden outpost and is attacked by Klingon torchbearer Rejac, she is able to kill him. Burnham is put to the test shortly after killing Rejac. Against the wishes of Shenzhou medics, she returns to the ship’s bridge after her fateful encounter with the Klingon, urging Georgiou to raise defenses — just as T’Kuvma’s ship uncloaks. Because of her history with the Klingons, Burnham’s warnings are ignored by both her captain and Admiral Brett Anderson (Terry Serpico) – this rattles her so much that she temporarily incapacitates Georgioua and pretends that her orders are to attack the Klingon ship before they can attack us. The captain recovers before Burnham can carry out her attack and points her phaser towards her first officer and as the latter tries to convince her commanding officer – more Klingon ships appear on the console and in front of the Shenzhou.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with our ship in a dangerous situation and Burnham’s fears and warnings come true, setting things up nicely for the second episode. Though I do think that visually the show reminds me of Kelvinverse Star Trek, it does look a whole lot more interesting and intriguing that anything JJ’s version can come up with. I am looking forward to more from this show. But the new look for the Klingons hasn’t yet convinced me (but having whole conversations in Klingon language is awesome). I give this episode a 7.5 outta 10!

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0

Alexandre Lacazette scored twice to earn a shaky Arsenal victory over West Brom, their third Premier League win in a row at Emirates Stadium. The France striker – who has scored in each of those home wins – headed into an open net in the 20th minute after West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster tipped Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick onto the crossbar. West Brom, on the night midfielder Gareth Barry broke the Premier League appearance record, felt they should have been awarded a penalty before the opener when Shkodran Mustafi brought down Jay Rodriguez with a sliding challenge. Instead of staying on the ground following the contact, Rodriguez chose to continue but his shot was tipped onto the post by a diving Petr Cech.

After the break, Arsenal were themselves rightly awarded a spot-kick when Allan Nyom barged over Aaron Ramsey close to the byeline. Lacazette stepped up and calmly slotted into the bottom right corner – his fourth goal since his club record £46.5m summer move from Lyon. The Baggies caused Arsenal problems in the first half in particular, with Nacho Monreal brilliantly clearing a Rodriguez header off the line in the 38th minute. Victory for the Gunners lifts them to seventh in the table, one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham and six behind leaders Manchester City while West Brom drop to 12th. West Brom boss Tony Pulis cut an exasperated figure on the touchline as his poor record at the Emirates continued. He has now lost all 10 of the matches he has managed at the ground.

Pulis was furious when a penalty was not given for Mustafi’s tackle on Rodriguez and also disagreed with the decision to a give a free-kick in the build-up to Lacazette’s first goal, when the contact from Jonny Evans on Mohamed Elneny looked minimal. Former Arsenal defender and BBC Radio 5 live pundit Martin Keown agreed, saying the Baggies should “definitely” have had a penalty and calling the Evans foul “doubtful”. However, Pulis was expressionless when Madley did point to the spot in the second half and, in truth, could have few complaints. It was a foolish shoulder charge from Nyom on Ramsey after the Arsenal midfielder had shown too much pace to surge around the Cameroon defender and into the box. Arsenal also had a penalty appeal turned down in the first half when Grzegorz Krychowiak pulled the shirt of Sanchez at a corner.

West Brom have scored just four goals this season but could easily have added to that in the first half with Rodriguez a constant threat. As well as the Englishman’s header that was cleared off the line and the shot which followed the penalty decision, he came within inches of converting a cross from the right when sliding full-stretch towards goal. But, despite the improved attacking display, the Baggies are now five games without a victory and have won only one of 12 away league matches in 2017. Wenger has won all 11 of his home games against teams managed by Pulis, 10 in the Premier League and one FA Cup game at Highbury in 2005. Lacazette became the first Arsenal player to score in his first three home league appearances for the club since Brian Marwood in September 1988. Arsenal have scored in all 23 of their Premier League meetings with West Brom, the best such 100% record in the division.

Safeguard Your Cubs

At what age should children be allowed to use social media, and how much parent involvement do they need?

I think parents should be vigilant and not even allow kids to use the internet without someone like an adult being there nearby until say kids reach the age of 16-17. I know kids will hate me for saying this but I find that kids can get themselves into all kinds of trouble and let’s face it, at those teenage years there is too much hormones and not enough brains! Kids can be stupid!

If not a parent then a stricter and wiser older sibling or cousin will do. Do not take it for granted that your kids will known better and will not be the kind of kid who falls into the traps that you see kids in the news or movies falling into. Your kid is not that special (maybe to you but only to you) and he or she could use that guiding hand. Keep a parental lock handy, keep a software that blocks website that you do not want junior to be snooping around on.

I have seen or heard about too many kids, mostly young girls, getting into trouble because they trusted the person at the end of the online conversation. Then they get blackmailed into doing things that they shouldn’t because they gave the guy(s) their home number, sent enticing pics or something. Predators are everywhere and we need to be ever vigilant to safeguards the young cubs in the pack. It’s a tall order but it’s worth it in the end.

Prompt from 29 DAYS OF WRITING PROMPTS at The Sits Girls

New (For Me) Chips Brand

Have you guys tried these? This is a new brand for me; Kettle Studio gourmet chips. I bought them off Amazon.in and selected the Cheddar & Red Onion as well as the Sharp Jalapenos & Cream Cheese. Lighter and crispier than most brands I have had. The chips did get a bit crumbled in the trip to me but it was alright. The Jalapenos and Cream Cheese ones are really additive.

Lunch & Golden Dragon With Anil

After a long time I was meeting up with Anil for lunch this afternoon. He came up from Thrissur and we settled down in Golden Dragon for some beers and food.

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We had the honey glazed sesame pork and Dragon chicken among many others. Food was delicious as usual.

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We finished our meal by sharing soup and then went to get some gelato at Milanos.

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It’s been way too long since we last met and hopefully the gap will not be this long next time.

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Two old geezers taking a selfie outside the restaurant building.

My Second Favourite Trip

When I was 15 years old I had to beg my parents to let me go on the class X two day trip. The reason they didn’t want me to go was that the trip was to Kodaikannal and it being a cold hill station and during the peak season when it was the coldest in that area, they were afraid that I would have an asthma problem. I was able to convince them that it would be alright and as that was my last year in the school, I really wanted to have these memories with my school buddies and my teachers.

So I finally was given the go ahead and the next day I went and registered for the trip and paid my charges for the trip. The best thing was that all my classmates were going on the trip and we had two of our favourite teachers with us. We left on a Friday evening and reached Kodaikannal by the next day morning. We had a blast taking in the scenery, buying the small knick-knacks and knock off cheap touristy souvenirs and stuff. We had some fun riding boats and riding horses and I took a lot of photos.

The evening before we were to leave we had a bunch of singing and mimicry and all fun stuff and though I did have a bit of an asthma problem, it went by quickly and didn’t cause me much comfort. It was one of the best weekends I can ever remember having.The down side – we came back on Sunday night, the next day was a holiday for us kids from our school to give us time to rest. My family was waiting for me and we went out for dinner with a few of my relatives. I ate some good Chinese food but the trip took it’s toll on me and late at night I woke up and puked my guts out. Whew! I remember being so tired after that.

Messy Bed

Do you make your bed when you get up in the morning or leave it since you will just mess it up again that night?

Make my bed? Moi? Perish the thought!

No, I never make my bed. I usually just leave the sheet I use to cover me in a crumpled mess from when I move it off my body as I wake up and get outta bed. We don’t use blankets over here so it usually just single layer sheets. At times, only when it’s been raining throughout the day and perhaps late in the night and it’s really cold, have I ever wished that I had a thick blanket like the ones we used when we were in Kuwait (and which we brought back with us to India but are no longer used).

I also tend to have a few books (thin magazines and a novel or two), my small tripod for the phone, a diary (work related), my phone’s earphones and perhaps the charger pushed towards one end of the bed. Yeah – that messy! And I keep two pillows. When I watch movies, which I always do on my laptop, I have my usb wireless mouse on my bed as well but I always remember to keep it back next to my laptop which sits on a small table next to the foot of my bed.

I never fold my sheet and put it neatly when I am at home but when I am at someone else’s house, I tend to do so and keep the bed a little bit neater.

Prompt from 30 DAYS OF SEPTEMBER WRITING PROMPTS at The Sits Girls

How I Watch Movies

Where, and How, Do You Watch Movies?

Well for the longest time I usually only watched movies at home. So as a kid and until the age of 15-16, I and my family usually rented movies from a Video Lending Library. VHS tapes of movies and you signed up for a membership, give them your name and number and address and you paid a certain amount for each movie for a week or 2 weeks at a time. I usually would rent 2-4 movies at a time.

That’s what we did until cable came around to my part of the district anyway. At first we got one channel that had movies all day long and then we had a whole blast of channels which played movies and specials on movies, interviews and behind the scenes stuff in between showing of movies. So every weekend I had a choice of what movie or movies I wanted to watch from a handful of channels.

Since 2007 I have mostly been watching movies off dvds. They started selling dvds at a much cheaper rate – might not be original but it was good enough – and I could buy a few movies at a time and watch them over the next few days or so. I usually watch them in my bedroom on my laptop. I currently also have streaming options as I am a subscriber of Amazon Prime (the Indian one and options will be limited) and I am even thinking of signing up for Netflix.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?

What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?

When I was in high school (back then in India for most schools, high school started ended at the 10th standard or grade and you did your 11th & 12th in a different institute, usually a college), they took us for a couple of school trips. I remember going to the Kerala History Museum and also to the Modern Bread factory.

We were to both trips during the 8th grade and I remember them kinda vividly. Despite all these years that have passed since then. I remember learning a lot of things at the museum and seeing the statues and art work about our state. At the end of the tour we were given an orange drink and biscuits – which we 13 years old kids were only to eager to devour as we were quite tired and famished by that time.

The Modern Bread factory is where the majority of bread and buns for the state is made. It was quite near the school and the museum too. We went there in the same year and it was fun to wear a hair net for the first time and see how they make bread on a massive scale. And ofcourse at the end of the tour, we were given plenty of samples to take home.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

RIP Christy Mathew Phillip

This afternoon while at lunch, I was browsing through Facebook while eating my sandwich and came across a post from a priest who had posted on the profile page of a guy named Christy. From the way he posted it, in that weird Christian priesthood manner, even though he never said the words “passed away” or “died” you know what was up. I had no clue as to what had happened and this guy is only 23-24 years old. I tried finding out from the comments but couldn’t make out for a long time. I texted a few people who were close to him in order to find out what had happened.

I came to know that Christy passed away in a car accident in the early hours when he and a friend crashed with a truck. From what I hear, he died on the spot. Christy was a trainee of mine in my current office, though he left for higher studies last year. Everyone remembers him as always smiling and always jovial and cordial towards others. I remember a few of his jokes and funny impersonations of actors that he did during breaks in work.

I think he was studying for his MBA. He was around 23-24 years old, way too young for me to be reading his obituary. Young guys of his age should be looking forward to a new job, a career and enjoying life. I wish that could be what was in store for you. I can’t believe he is gone. But his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of his friends and colleagues. I hope his family can find some peace in this trying time.

Goodbye, Christy! We will all hold you dear in our memories.

Arsenal 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

Arsenal moved into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup as Theo Walcott’s first-half goal saw off League One Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners, who made 11 changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, hit the crossbar early on through Olivier Giroud’s overhead kick. But Walcott put the hosts ahead when he collected Alexis Sanchez’s cross-field pass and dinked a shot over Ian Lawlor. Doncaster’s Matty Blair headed against the bar late on, but Arsenal advanced.

Arsene Wenger’s side dominated throughout with 27 attempts, with Giroud heading over from Mohamed Elneny’s cross and Walcott having a shot pushed over by Lawlor. Doncaster, who are 19th in League One, came close to forcing extra time but Blair’s header from Liam Mandeville’s right-wing corner bounced off the bar. Although they made 11 changes, the Arsenal starting XI was still strong with Per Mertesacker, Jack Wilshere, Giroud, Sanchez and Walcott all beginning the match. Seventeen-year-old Reiss Nelson made his first start for the Gunners, before 18-year-olds Josh da Silva and Joe Willock made their first Arsenal appearances in the second half. Doncaster were the lowest ranked team left in the competition and manager Darren Ferguson, son of former Manchester United boss Alex, can be proud of his side’s dogged performance.

Arsenal have never won the League Cup during Arsene Wenger’s 21 years at the club, but have lost in the final on two occasions – in 2007 and 2011.

Sep 20th : On This Day…..

On this day, September 20th :

The Orville : The First 2 Episodes

Ok, so as a lot of you fellow scifi nerds may know, the Orville  is an American science fiction drama created by and starring Seth MacFarlane that premiered on September 10, 2017. The show is reminiscent of and is both an homage and a light-hearted parody of Star Trek, and as Seth has mentioned in an interview, also inspired by The Twilight Zone. Along with MacFarlane as captain Ed Mercer, we have Adrienne Palicki who plays his his ex-wife  Commander Kelly Grayson and the first officer assigned to The Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, that operates for The Union, an inter-planetary group. The show is set 400 years in the future.

We also have Penny Johnson Gerald (who had a recurring role in Star Trek Deep Space Nine) as the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lt. Gordon Malloy the helmsman and best friend to Mercer, Peter Macon as Lt. Commander Bortus, the second officer and an androgynous alien, Halston Sage as Lt. Alara Kitan, 23-year-old Chief of Security, J. Lee as Lt. John LaMarr, the navigator & Mark Jackson as the voice of Isaac, the Science and Engineering Officer who is a member of the artificial, non-biological race from Kaylon-1 that views biological lifeforms, including humans are inferior.

So far we have had two episodes aired and I like it a lot. The second episode had a lot more depth to it than the first which was a bit of a let down.

In the pilot, 25th-century space pilot Ed Mercer, who has a promising career, divorces his wife Kelly Grayson after he catches her cheating on him. He starts drinking too much and turns up for work hungover. A year later, he accepts a position as Captain of the U.S.S. Orville, a mid-level exploratory ship, which came as a surprise even to him. But he is informed that due to the size of the fleet and the retirement of the former captain, the Orville, was in need of a new commanding officer. He also finds to his dismay that his ex-wife Kelly will serve as his First Officer. During the Orville’s first mission, the hostile alien Krill Captain attempt to steal a device that can accelerate time, which has both beneficial and dangerous applications. Mercer and Grayson rig the device to destroy itself and the Krill vessel.

In the second episode the technologically advanced Calivon imprison Ed and Kelly in a replica of their former home as a zoo exhibit. Alara is left in command of the Orville as Bortus has laid an egg and must incubate it. Alara is unsure of herself, but gains confidence with the help of Dr. Finn’s mentorship. Ed and Kelly wonder if they could have made their relationship work, but finally conclude that they were never compatible for a long-term romantic relationship, despite their strong camaraderie. Admiral Tucker orders Alara to return to Earth instead of approaching the powerful Calivon; Alara violates these orders and rescues Ed, Kelly, and an alien child by trading an archive of Earth’s reality television for them. Ed presents Alara with a medal of honor and believe he and Kelly can prevent her from being punished for insubordination. A female offspring hatches from Bortus’s egg, stunning him and Klyden as this is thought to be biologically impossible for the single-sex Moclans.

The show is scheduled for a 13 episode run during the first season and I hope we get a lot more. We could use some light-hearted comedic scifi and this Star Trek like show is the humurous offspring of the comedy classic Galaxy Quest.