Departments of Heroes and Villains
First, the good guys:
Goodbye to one of Oregon’s – and the nation’s – finest. Donald G. Malarkey, a WWII paratrooper and NCO with the 101st Airborne Division’s legendary Easy Company, died on September 30, at age 96.
Malarkey’s story, and those of his fellow Easy Company paratroopers, is told in the finest historical miniseries of all time (IMHO, but don’t even attempt to argue with me), based on the book of the same name, Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers.
Several times in this space  have I mentioned my fondness for the series, and how much the series meant to my father (also a WWII paratrooper). Like everyone I’ve spoken with who’s watched the HBO series, I became absorbed in some way with each of the very different soldiers’ very different stories. That said, Malarkey (portrayed by the terrific actor, Scott Grimes  ) stood out in many ways. It was engrossing and heart-tugging to watch him transform from the wise-cracking, amiable, optimistically brash private in paratrooper training to the haunted lieutenant, a veteran of some of the most bloody and decisive battles of the ETO. In the series’ interviews with the surviving members of Easy Company, the real (i.e. non actor) Malarkey evinced the survivor’s pain and humility (Why am I here and my buddies are not?), decades after the incidents portrayed in the series, that came from seeing his good friends blown to bits and/or severely maimed.
A far better tribute to your country than standing and saluting a damn piece of cloth “the flag” would be to educate yourself about The Big War, which continues to affect politics and policies, for good and ill, to this day. Band of Brothers offers a slim time portal…a window through which to look back at what so many of our fellow citizens – our friends and family – endured (and sacrificed) during those times.
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Department Of Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish… And One Regressive Sexist Pig
The good riddance news: Hugh Hefner is (finally!) dead.
The bad news: people keep eulogizing him as if he were some kind of progressive pioneer and/or First Amendment activist.
Hugh Hefner was a First Amendment activist the in the same way that my cousins who used the N-word were free speech advocates.
As an op-ed piece in The Independent put it,
To claim that Hefner was a sexual liberationist or free speech idol is like suggesting that Roman Polanski has contributed to child protection.
( “Hugh Hefner was the ultimate enemy of women – no feminist anywhere will shed a tear at his death” Julie Bindel, The Independent )
Friend RE noted with disgust on Facebook that people are “…holding Hugh Hefner up as some sort of humanitarian, or even making jokes that indirectly show admiration for this absolute scum of a person.”
Just the idea of using those three H words – Hugh and Hefner and humanitarian – in the same sentence is ludicrous. If you were to publish a book about Hugh Hefner’s “humanitarianism” it would be one of the smallest books every printed, vying for that claim with Saudi Arabian Sports Legends, The Wit and Wisdom of Dick Cheney, and Authentic French Vegan Cookery.
Some feminists felt they had to make an uneasy alliance with HH, due to his financial support for abortion rights when times were tough in the pro choice movement.  But HH, a profiteer of mid-twentieth century/post-WWII prudery,  didn’t give a lecherous rat’s ass about women’s right to self-determination and bodily integrity. Rather, his support for abortion rights fit into his philosophy of as much sex as possible with as many women as possible…and some of them are going to get pregnant, and if you can convince them to have an abortion you don’t have to marry them and/or pay child support.
I even ran across a blurb lauding HH for supporting “feminist causes.” That would be news to the Predator-in-Chief, himself, who in an infamous 1970’s memo (leaked by secretaries at Playboy) lambasted a reporter, who thought she’d been assigned to do an objective story on the Women’s Movement for Playboy magazine, for not doing a hatchet job on feminists:
“These chicks [feminists] are our natural enemy,” wrote Hefner. “It is time we do battle with them… What I want is a devastating piece that takes the militant feminists apart.”
Finally, some harsh reflections and truth-telling have been getting through (Speaking Ill of Hugh Hefner, and How Hugh Hefner’s Incredibly Complicated Legacy Got Cast as Female Sexual Liberation, and this piece in Salon, among others)…which, apparently, is upsetting to some HH fans.
One Trump fan and singer who says she’s known Hefner since she was a teenager is beseeching commentators, “Please don’t trash a man with class.” 
A tRump fan who thinks HH was a man with class? What a shocker.
I don’t know what flipped my stomach more over the years – the pajama-clad pimp himself, or the fact that many people thought it “hip” or “classy” to be associated with a third rate smut peddler sporting a fourth rate dye job. Some celebs thought it was a sign of coolness to be invited to the Playboy mansion. Bill Cosby was a frequent Playboy mansion guest…yet another shocker. Perhaps it was there that Cosby learned his Quaaludes strategy for “allegedly” drugging and then raping women. Hefner was a fan of the powerful sedative, which he often pressured his girlfriends and “bunnies” to take – he referred to Quaaludes as thigh openers.
Excuse me, tRrump fan, you were saying something about a man with class?
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Department Of Enough Is Enough
‘Tis the season, again. And again and again and again.
Come October, it used to be you couldn’t walk within 30 feet of a Starbucks without getting a whiff of a pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin spice chai or pumpkin spice frappuccino. But now, in 2017: pumpkin spice – it’s not just for coffee shops anymore.
Have you noticed? It’s everywhere. There are, of course, pumpkin spice scented candles and baked goods. But, hey, Pumpkin Spice Industry ® , y’all be gettin’ outta hand. I came across a pumpkin spice bathroom deodorizer. Finally, humanity has the means with which to fool guests to our homes into thinking that it was a festive autumn squash dessert which took a dump in our toilets!
And the other goods…yikes. These are just some of the pumpkin spice products I’ve seen/heard of in the past week:
* pumpkin spice chutney
* pumpkin spice pasta
* pumpkin spice shampoo and conditioner
* pumpkin spice body lotion
* pumpkin spice antiperspirant
* pumpkin spice toothpaste
* pumpkin spice doggy chew toy
* pumpkin spice cough drops
* pumpkin spice vinegar
You can even purchase a pumpkin spray on spice, to apply to presumable anything that has somehow escaped being pumpkin-ized. (the spray’s how-to-use instructions include this evocative suggestion: “Awaken your breakfast.“)
The last straw  was yesterday, when I picked up our mail and saw one of those catalogs targeted towards Women of a Certain Age ®…addressed to moiself. Y’all Lady Folks know what I’m talking about? You’ve never purchased anything from such a catalog, never even knew they existed, and then one day you start getting them in the mail.  They have titles like, As We Change, Soft Surroundings, The Golden Times, and The Best is Yet To Come (which, I think, would be a slogan better suited to selling ED drugs to Men Of A Certain Age ® ).
Oy vey. I suppose it’s a better title than
As We Shrivel Up and Blow Away:
Feel Like a Nap, Look For Your Eyeglasses, Live Just To Spite Your Heirs
Yet again, I digress.
So, I get this catalog, and discover it contains a little foil sampler packet sample….of a pumpkin spice….ahem….”personal lubricant.”
I kid you not.
Okay, that was a (fragrance-free) lie. But the way things are trending, I betcha next year I won’t have to make up anything like that. Anyway, the point: people, pleeeeeeease, stop. Pumpkin spice your pumpkin pie, and leave the rest alone.
* * *
May the spice in your life be anything but pumpkin;
May you feel free to trash a classless man;
May you appreciate the true heroes in life;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 And many others thought he sought to excuse his exploitation of women by “buying” feminist sympathy, or at least toleration, by throwing money at pro choice organizations.
 Who profited greatly from said prudery, for if nudity and sexuality were truly considered healthy and natural, where would be the fun – and why pay for the opportunity – in sneaking behind the bushes and looking at nudie magazines?
 As quoted in How Hugh Hefner’s Incredibly Complicated Legacy Got Cast as Female Sexual Liberation, Slate.com
 Strangely enough, the straw was not pumpkin-spiced.
 I know the gummint is worried about an impending Social Security crisis, but is the SSA selling their data base to marketers?