Tag Archive: From Russia with Love

“You read Playboy for the articles, right?

“No, I look at the pictures too … ”

He was repeatedly labeled then-and-now as a “sexist pig.”

He was seen as a dangerous cultural rebel.

He was an illusionist. He pedaled fantasies at a desultory time.

He advocated an exciting, edgy new lifestyle for men.

He was regarded by some as a new-age-for-males philosopher.

Hugh Hefner was an editor and publisher, who will go down in the history books.

Some will miss him, many will not … regardless he made a difference.

“Shaken, Not Stirred”

Author Ian Fleming passed away far too early at 56-years young in 1964.

The accounts of his fictional hero James Bond found favor with dashing debonair U.S. President John F. Kennedy, a priceless endorsement for any novelist.

Fleming’s writing/personal interview also found its way onto the pages of Hefner’s Playboy, “Entertainment for Men.”

In reality, Fleming’s secret agent with a license to kill, James Bond (played superbly by Sean Connery) was everything the America male was not, entering the 1960s. Alas, Fleming lived only long enough to see his prose transformed into two movies, Dr. No and From Russia With Love. The first raised many eyebrows with Connery as Bond teamed with bikini clad Ursula Andress, playing Honey Rider.

Honey Rider swam nude in Fleming’s novel, but not for the 1962 movie adaptation.

Seventeen years earlier, Life Magazine captured the iconic Rockwellesque image of the American sailor passionately kissing a nurse in Times Square on VJ Day characterizing the advent of the Baby Boom (1946-1964).

And with the babies came piss, poop, vomit, crying, wailing and screaming. The preoccupation during years of rationing and the G.I Bill was raising children in suburban communities. We liked Ike, but life other than the Korean War/McCarthy-era Red Scare was more than a tad boring with cookie-cutter cars, crew cuts, skinny ties and white shirts.

Enter Hugh Hefner in 1953 with his scandalous Playboy with a scantily clad Marilyn Monroe on the cover. On the inside was a totally unattired horizontally posed Mizz Monroe on red velvet. Asked what was on during her famous pose, Monroe reportedly replied, “the radio.” The collector’s item inaugural issue of Playboy was an immediate sell out.

There was far more than the girl next door in subsequent issues. There were fast cars, exotic global destinations, tasty liquors, perfect suits, gambling, executive jets and a walk on the wild side. Men were shown how their lives could be, and how to rebel against mediocrity instead of merely running out the clock on their boring/mostly forgettable miserable lives.

Ian Fleming’s M16 James Bond epitomized the Playboy lifestyle with his ejector seat equipped Aston Martin, his vodka martinis, sun glasses at the windswept beach, goggles at the Alpine ski resorts, how he defeated the bad dudes and won over the Bond girl.

Sure beats working all day at the office orfactory and returning to the burbs for meat loaf.

“Life Must Have Purpose”

Meryl Streep playing the role of Mrs. Thatcher, and replied to Dennis’ marriage proposal stating that her life must be more than simply raising children. In reality, Margaret Thatcher was more than the first woman PM of the United Kingdom; she made a difference.

Life indeed had a noble purpose for the Iron Lady.

Almost DailyBrett subscribed to both National Geographic and Playboy during the years as they both took you to places you will most likely never visit in your lifetime.

Your author rejects sedentary lifestyles (no binge watching) that emphasize doing and achieving. Hugh Hefner and Ian Fleming through their editing and writing respectively changed the world. Their lives had purpose then and now.

Hefner and to less extent, Fleming, were both accurately accused as being sexists who objectified the fairer gender. Both are guilty as charged.

The real question in the eyes of the author of Almost DailyBrett is whether we are better as a society in that  men were encouraged to do more in their lives than go to work, raise children and watch television at night.

There is a big exciting world out there and we are fortunate to be here for a relatively short period of time. This proposition applies to both genders. Life does not need to be restricted and boring. It can be upwards to the right, and not just on Wall Street.

There needs to be respect and understanding, but that does not mean we can’t go out and have our vodka martini in an exciting foreign locale… shaken of course, but not stirred.





Quite frankly, families are overrated.

Now, I appreciate that some will instinctively and vehemently disagree with me. That’s just dandy. Keep in mind that I have come to this conclusion as a result of years of agonizing experience with my own dysfunctional family, and also through a litany of discussions with others that suffer through the holidays just like me.

Naturally when I was a tadpole, I used to adore the holidays. Heck, Santa was coming down the chimney. He was bringing (or at least I hoped so), a James Bond attaché case with all kinds of neat Sean Connery gadgets to play with. I didn’t have to worry about preparing the meals, much less mediating the alcohol-influenced disputes among the blood relatives and in-laws. I was in my own little world, thank you very much.


Fast forward to the present era and I still want that attaché case, but this time with a real throwing knife, piano wire and exploding talcum powder just like the one used by OO7 in his life-and-death struggle against Red Grant (Robert Shaw) in From Russia with Love. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_Russia_with_Love_(film)

Or how about Rose Klebb’s (Lotte Lenya) poison-spiked shoe in the same movie? Yes, that could do wonders when one generation of the family bypasses another generation to lecture a third generation, thus drawing the wrath of the middle generation. Do you follow me?

And what happens if downsizing an annoying in-law is simply not an option, particularly one that worries about anything and everything. “What if it rains?” “What if there is fog?” “What if the hotel is full?” “What if the restaurant is crowded?”…Gee, what if the sun slams into the earth or vice versa? I guess we will all fry and die.

What happens in the 21st Century workplace, if a key employee simply takes a Luddite stance and steadfastly refuses to learn new technologies? Well that person wouldn’t last very long in the job and most likely would be replaced by a younger, more eager worker who readily embraces new ways of doing things. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with stubborn family members.

To be fair, some technologies can be intimidating. The manuals for these gadgets are in most cases (the Apple iPod is a refreshing exception) are written by gear-heads for gear-heads. The tech support guy (or female of the species) from India has to follow the script, “We are so sorry that you are having problems with…” Before you know it, you have spent two-to-four hours on the phone and you almost forgot why you called in the first place.

In the case of my family, they have a habit of discovering the usefulness of a technologies one decade too late: color TV in the 1980s; microwaves in the 1990s; PCs in the 2000s etc. And what happens when you purchase a certain in-law a cell phone (adding him to your own plan) and then he won’t wear the damn thing because it may give him cancer. What? Will it make you go blind as well? Sorry that is caused by playing with another gadget.


As we began our welcome 200-mile drive home the day after Xmas, my sympathetic daughter looked over and said “Dad, you seem so tense. Why are you so tense?”

The answer is that no one gave me my real-to-life James Bond attaché case or at least an Aston Martin with an ejector seat…God that would have come in handy with certain members of the family.

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