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Cool ain’t what it once was

[This originally ran Oct. 23. It has been updated to reflect Hef’s 90th birthday on April 9.]

Most of you have heard that Playboy magazine will no longer publish photographs of naked women. Some say it is a sign of end times; others say they won’t notice because they only look at the profiles and trend articles.

By “others,” I mean liars.

There is also a sad story from London’s Daily Mail, relaying reports from British supermodel Carla Howe, 25, who spent time at the Playboy Mansion.

It seems the legendary abode in Beverly Hills has become a retirement home for Hugh Hefner, 90, who prefers to spend evenings watching vintage movies rather than cavorting with models. Says Ms. Howe, “Hef is so frail he goes everywhere with a group of nurses.”

She further disclosed that women living at the 22-bedroom home must adhere to a strict 9 p.m. curfew and it’s “like being in prison.”

Hef was once was the epitome of cool. He founded Playboy in 1953. The original working title was Stag Party and the first issue’s photo layout was of Marilyn Monroe, so he made good editorial choices early.

The magazine led to syndicated TV shows in the 1960s, a string of nightclubs in major cities and a reality show on cable. We’ll spare you details of his love life.

Back to Ms. Howe and the mansion. She tells of damp bedrooms, stained sheets and squalor. I wouldn’t want to visit because we cats have 10 to 20 times the sense of smell of humans. (Dogs’ noses are thousands of times more sensitive. Ever heard of sending cats to hunt down somebody who walked off a prison road crew?)

Writing this, we mean no disrespect for Hef. Imagine what shape your sorry ass will be in at age 90.

‘Journalists’ never get it

A journalism professor at Columbia University has written a tome about metropolitan newspapers’ decline and its effect on laid-off reporters and editors. Dale Maharidge was a newspaperman for 15 years, thus his sympathetic tone. From the version posted at The Nation:

“The term ‘seismic shift’ is overused, but it applies to what’s happened to American newspapers. In 2007, there were 55,000 full-time journalists at nearly 1,400 daily papers; in 2015, there were 32,900. … That doesn’t include the buyouts and layoffs last fall, like those at the Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New York Daily News, among others, and weeklies and magazines like National Geographic. …

“For most of the past century, journalists could rely on career stability. Newspapers were an intermediary between advertisers and the public; it was as if their presses printed money. The benefit of this near-monopoly was that newsrooms were heavily stocked with reporters and editors, most of them passionate about creating journalism that made a difference in their communities.”

The assertion about passionate journalism is a crock. In most cases, reporters and editors were only interested in telling the unwashed public what to think. Had they stuck to reporting news, readers would have followed them online. Those in the ivory towers never accept any blame.

The article rehashes familiar themes of age and racial discrimination, plus a lament from a laid-off photographer that politicians and businessmen will get away with more dirty dealings as the “watchdogs” disappear. (No doubt he popped up with his camera to document every bribe paid in his town.)

An unidentified 24-year-old wondered “what do young ones like me have to look forward to?” Answer: A future, maybe, if you’re smart enough get out now.

England’s palace intrigue

Did you hear that the queen of England is quitting her job?

Well, maybe. Speculation has surfaced before and been shot down. The source this time is a Buckingham Palace insider blabbing to OK! Magazine, always chock full of news about celebrities that people like us don’t give a tasty rat’s ass about.

(That’s a metaphor, of course. We cats kill mice for sport and then bat them around. If we actually ate them, somebody in Comrade Bill’s NYC would set up a cannery. Low input costs create a great business model.)

Anyway, at age 89 Queen Elizabeth II supposedly has tired of official visits and waving to gawkers and wants to retire for the sake of her husband, Prince Phillip. From the insider: “She wants to spend every possible moment with the man who’s been by her side for 70 years. She’d hate for something to happen to him while she’s away on official business.”

Elizabeth became queen in 1952 when her father, George IV died, and has had the longest reign of any British monarch. If this story is correct, she will abdicate in the spring.

OK! Magazine went on to drop another bombshell: Her eldest son Charles, 67, won’t be ascending to the throne because Mum has brokered a deal for grandson William to become king and his wife, the former Kate Middleton, to be queen.

Geez, Charles can’t catch a break. He looks like a horse. He suffered through a messy divorce and then his ex-wife got killed in the most publicized traffic accident in history. At the end, he gets no credit for being the hardest-working royal in history. Often life isn’t fair, even when you’re the Prince of Wales.

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