Traffic Jam lights

For the last week they have been digging up the main road close to Agent Triple P's house, again. With the road down to one lane the resultant congestion has meant queues of up to half a mile in length during the rush hour.

This morning Triple P left the house early for a doctor's appointment in the village and the lights had failed.  Guess what?  There was no queue whatsoever. People just took it in turns to drive when it was clear.  Triple P is reminded of the town in Denmark which removed all of its traffic lights, road markings and warning signs to find that the traffic flowed better and the accident rate dropped.

A lesson, here, we think!
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Cheryl Cole in Afghanistan

Former UK national treasure, and now somewhat fallen angel, Cheryl Cole has been in Afghanistan cheering up the troops in a bid to become the new "forces sweetheart".  This will no doubt severely, annoy busty Welsh warbler Katherine Jenkins whose own trip to Afghanistan some time ago propelled her into that position.

Unlike Katherine, who seemed to confine herself to having tea with the troops, Cheryl has been firing weapons, taking part in a mock raid and even meeting with the local Afghan leaders.

Coffee, tea or me, pet?

On her way out she served delighted troops with their meal, perhaps practising for an alternative career if it all goes horribly wrong (again). 

Most people on the internet are saying that it is yet another publicity stunt to get her back into the public's favour and we are sure that her agent highlighted the opportunities.  Nevertheless, Helmand province is a very dangerous place and she deserves credit for going out there.  Well done Cheryl!
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Calendar Girl September 2011: Marisa Miller

September's calendar girl is American model Marisa Miller who we have featured before as our calendar girl for November 2007.  Here she is perfectly attired for a bit of lawn mowing.  Actually, Agent Triple P's grass is a bit on the long side at present, due to the warm but damp weather we have ben having, so we could do with someone like Marisa to give the lawn a trim.

Marisa at the Victoria's Secret fashion show November 2007

Ms Miller's profile has increased significantly since 2007.  The same month as her 2007 calendar page she made her first appearance at the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show in Los Angeles and, indeed she also modelled at the following year's event which was held at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, only a week before (frustratingly) Agent Triple P stayed there.

In 2008 she became the first spokesperson ever employed by Harley Davidson motorcycles and has since worked in several campaigns with them getting her own bike (we are sure that she got a good discount) and motorcycle licence.

2010 saw two more campaigns: Firstly, for Captain Morgan rum which saw her flown to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico for a series of advertisements shot by Tom Munro.

Secondly, and more controversially, she was chosen by the National Football League to front their publicity for the 2010-2011 season, including the International Series game held in London.  The NFL was still reeling from accusations of "inappropriate" behaviour by some of its players when a female reporter had conducted a locker-room interview and, in another incident, a quarterback had been accused of having sent suggestive texts and explicit photographs of himself to a female sideline reporter.  At this point, when articles were being written about the inappropriateness of having scantily clad cheerleaders, Miller's advertisements for the NFL just added fuel to the fire.  Nothing became of it, of course.

More importantly, in 2010, she topped the FHM US edition poll for world's sexiest woman.  Surprisingly, she came third in the UK "poll", considering she is not that well known over here given that Sports Illustrated is not widely on sale in the UK, as the featured sports are largely irrelevant to the average British sports fan.

At the ripe old age of 33 it is important for Miller to diversify away from being just a model to being, as she acknowledges herself, a brand.  She has made a few TV appearances and was even mentioned as  a possible host for the US X-Factor.

Marisa in Perfect 10

Miller has been modelling for seventeen years now and has been high profile since she appeared in the very first issue of Perfect 10 magazine in 1997.  Incidentally, of course, Perfect 10, would not use models with artificially enhanced breasts so we know that Marisa'e svelte shape is all her own.

Models these days do go on to longer careers than in the past (perhaps its something to do with the existence of Photoshop) so we will see what Marisa's staying pwer is like in these critical years before she hits forty.  To achieve this she will have to have the impact of a Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer which, we suspect, she has not really achieved yet, despite being heralded as the new great American supermodel.

Nevertheless, we think Ms Miller is quite splendid and her most important asset, as far as Triple P is concerned, is, indeed, World class.
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NASA announces new Space Launch System

NASA has revealed today some early concept illustrations of its proposed new Space Launch System which is being designed to replace the former Ares I and Ares V with one multi-purpose vehicle as mandated in the NASA Authorisations Act of 2010.

The idea is to use as much existing technology as possible to keep the costs down.  For example it will use five of the R-25 main engines from the Space Shuttle and the same solid boosters as well, although there is a plan to have competing boosters designed by Aerojet and Teledyne Brown.

The first flight is scheduled, ambitiously, for December 2017 with a possible manned Lunar orbital flight in 2021.  In 2025 it is thought that they are planning a possible manned asteroid exploration flight with the big manned mission to Mars by 2031, although they haven't officially announced these dates.

The cost, for the next six years until the rocket launches, will be $10 billion for the vehicle itself, $6 billion for the crew vehicle and another $2 billion for upgrades to the Kennedy Space Centre to allow it to launch the huge rocket.

Its initial lift capacity will be 50 tonnes growing to a possible 130 tonnes as the system is developed and the more powerful boosters are designed.  This compares with the 22.7 tonne payload capacity of the Shuttle.  The entire stack will be about twice the height of the Shuttle launch group and at 335 feet only 30 feet short of the Saturn V.

NASA, with its eyes firmly on the budget, has designed the project so that the initial high development cost portion will be front-loaded to early in the programme so that inflation doesn't eat into the near on $60 billion  budget.  Using a lot of Shuttle technology means that they will be able to re-employ many of the technicians and companies that lost work when the Shuttle was cancelled.

As a child of the Space Race, Agent Triple P never really took to the Shuttle, an aesthetically unfortunate creature that looked like it was a collection of plastic toys sellotaped together.  For Triple P space exploration means big rockets and we think the new SLS (they will have to find an appropriate name for it) does the job perfectly.  We have lift-off!
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This Week's Films: 8

We didn't watch anything whilst we were away in August and latterly have been watching TV series (principally True Blood -excellent) but have managed a few films of late.

Frauleins in Uniform (1975)

The story

German girls do their bit for the war effort by "entertaining" the troops on the Russian front.

Seen it before?

No, this was the first time.

 Shower scene!

 Nazi striptease party!

Girls on manoeuvres!

Any good?

Originally titled Eine Armee Gretchen (and also known as She Devils of the SS) this German film is similar, at first glance, to the Nazi sex and horror exploitation films churned out by the Italians in the seventies.  Whilst it has plenty of sex and nudity it, thankfully, eschews the nastiness and at times resembles a X-rated episode of Benny Hill.  All the actresses take off their clothes and all the men keep their trousers on during simulated sex. We get many examples of prototypical scenes from the genre: a group shower scene (of course), several lesbian trysts, a striptease, stripping for a medical inspection and, most bizarrely, running naked from captivity whilst really large and dangerous looking explosions go off. 

Not a bad way to spend an evening's viewing with a nice bottle of Rheinpfalz.

The lovely Karin Heske and, look, real Russian T34/85s!

Notable for...

Surprising veracity in the portrayal of correct uniforms, weapons and vehicles.  It puts many conventional WW2 films to shame in this regards

Is this the best naked girls in a church scene in the history of cinema?

Any good girlies?

Lots of them!  All of them quite splendid too!  If we had to pick one, however, it would be the gorgeous Karin Heske.

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965)

The story

An American and British pilot both try to win the same girl whilst competing in a London to Paris air race in the early years of flight.

Seen it before?

This is another film that was a staple of Triple P's Saturday afternoons when he was younger but we haven't seen it for some time.

Any good?

It holds up surprisingly well although much of the pleasure comes from seeing a host of chracter actors going through their paces, the real aircraft built especially for the film and Christopher Challis' luminous photography.  Not quite as funny as it thinks it is, it is still  a pleasure to watch  a cast that includes James Fox, Robert Morley, Gert (Goldfinger) Frobe, Eric Sykes, Terry-Thomas (marvellous), Benny Hill, Flora Robson, John LeMesurier, Millicent Martin, Tony Hancock. and many others. The miraculous cast is full of walk-on surprises (Cicely Coutneidge and Month Python's Graham Chapman to name but two).

Dastardly and Muttley

Notable for...

Terry-Thomas' (in a film stealing performance) character being the inspiration for Dick Dastardly from the series of Hanna-Barbera cartoons originally starting with Wacky Races (1968) with Eric Sykes's "Muttley" delighting everytime his master's plans go wrong.  Ron Goodwin's well known theme music.

Irene Demick is painted by John LeMesurier

Any good girlies?

Leading lady Sarah Miles is quite cute but miscast so the honours have to go to French actress Irena Demick who plays multiple parts as a series of girls from various countries.

Red Sonja (1985)

The story

Girl whose sister is killed by an evil Queen must avenge her sister and save the world from an out of control crystal.

Seen it before?

We have seen this once before on TV.

Any good?

Even given the constraints of  sword and sorcery films it is only OK but does have some striking set and costume design from Danilo (Flash Gordon) Donati and Ronald Lacey riding his brief world-wide fame from Raiders of the Lost Ark.  It could have been a lot better and even Arnold Schwarzenegger reckons it's the worst film he ever made; which is saying something.  The problem is it suffers with an excess of "comic" relief as director Richard Fleischer (who also helmed the inferior Conan the Barbarian (1982) sequel Conan the Destroyer (1984)) isn't quite sure how to pitch the tone of the film. Not a bad soundtrack from Ennio Morricone either and the Italian scenery looks great.

Notable for...

The first film appearance by Danish model and later Mrs Sylvester Stallone, Brigitte Nielsen, as Sonja. 

Oh happy horse to bear the weight of Brigitte...

Any good girlies?

Sandahl Bergman chews the scenery as the evil Gedren but the film is really all about Nielsen and, in particular, the way her incredible leg muscles flex.  We could watch her just climbing things for hours!   Nielsen, before she became a physical parody of herself, never looks anything other than completely gorgeous and handles herself brilliantly in the fight scenes.
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The return of Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly's Ola Jordan

One of Triple P's guilty pleasures is Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars in the US) so we were delighted to watch the preview programme last night. 

Usually there is a TV babe or two (like last year's winner Kara Tointon) to enjoy but this year, hammered by accusations of ageism as regards women the BBC has presented a celebrity line up of older ladies.  We have to say that sixties pop poppet Lulu still looks great at 62.  The show does feature Australian actress and warbler Holly Valance though, who Triple P admired a few years ago.

Holly in her heyday

The lady dancers haven't changed this year so we have the welcome return of grumpy dancing Pole (as opposed to pole dencer) Ola Jordan and Triple P's current favourite, the classically gorgeous Canadian-Lithuianian Katya Virshilas. 

Katya Virshilas: Hot to foxtrot

We're looking forward to seeing them all gyrating around in tiny sparkly outfits over the next few months.
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Christine Bleakely in school uniform

Oh dear, the Daily Mail is having a right go at TV presenter, and fiance of England footballer Frank Lampard, for showing up at her old school in her old school uniform.  Yesterday's report was merely factual noting that her morning TV show, Daybreak, was doing a back to school week and she had appeared at her alma mater Belfast's Bloomfield Collegiate grammar school where she had been head girl.

Today, however, following dozens of negative comments from women on the Daily Mail website the ever-fickle newspaper's attitude has changed, with one of the columnists launching a nasty attack on what was, after all, just a fun TV stunt.  Yesterday the Mail reported that she had "slipped" into her uniform whereas today she "squeezed" into it implying that it was too tight, which it patently isn't.  Probably all these grumpy women are just annoyed that in increasingly obese Britain a 32 year old woman can still get into her school uniform at all.

The thrust of the objections being that dressing like this will encourage perverts to prey on schoolgirls.  This is somewhat bizarre logic, we feel, as Ms Bleakely is patently all-woman whereas we would have thought that paedophiles would prefer young girls.  We are much more disturbed by young girls dressing inappropriately as adults (inspired by the likes of Rhianna et al) than a woman dressing in what is her actual school uniform.  It's not as if she turned up looking like something from St Trinian's.

This is not to say that there isn't a certain frisson about Ms Bleakely's outfit (its probably the dark socks) but all the pictures do to Triple P are to make him  much more interested in the heretofor unregarded Ms Bleakely rather than go hanging around school gates.

We actually think Ms Bleakely looks quite splendid!
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Cheryl Cole 2012 calendar

Cheryl has been publicising her new calendar and whilst we are not that taken with most of the pictures we think that this image, for September, is very fine indeed.

We haven't been able to identify the photographer (there were two for the calendar we think) but it was shot in the South of France.  This image, particularly as regards the lighting and make-up,  has a lot of that old Patrick Lichfield Unipart calendar vibe from the late seventies and early eighties.

Agent DVD is off to the South of France imminently so perhaps he might be inspired to take some similar photographs!
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Kelly Brook on a bike!

Kelly yesterday

The lovely Kelly Brook was out and about in London again yesterday for the mayor of London's Skyride, which promotes cycling to work.  Unfortunately, the only way to make cycling to work appealing to Triple P is by having Kelly accompanying him and, as they did, closing the roads to traffic.

Kelly promoting the ride, next to the London Assembly, in August

What Mayor Boris doesn't seem to realise is that cycling to work only becomes viable if employers provide a secure place to leave your bike.  Triple P has seen unlocked bikes on the streets of Copenhagen and in Switzerland but in London, however well shackled it is, someone will come along with  a pair of heavy duty bolt cutters and make off with it to sell in those breeding grounds of criminality,  car boot sales.  Until that happens, only the very brave and those with expensive folding bikes (like Agent DVD; who keeps his bike under his desk during the working day) will risk it; especially in London where cycling is akin to running the rapids sat in a rubber ring.

Kelly in August

Poor Kelly has attracted some criticism, both for yesterday and her earlier promotional shoot in August, for not wearing a helmet and having unsuitable shoes whilst promoting the ride.  We think her outfit and shoes are perfect for doing what she is doing: posing around for photographers to successfully get publicity.  Honestly, do people really think that a glamour model is going to cram her carefully coiffed hair into a helmet just to give out a safety message?  If she had, guess what pictures the newspapers would have used.  Yes, the ones after she had taken her helmet off!

In the middle of the ongoing internet debate about the importance of cycle helmets, a helmetless Kelly not being a good role model for cycling youngsters (er...she is a glamour model) and other safety issues, we were amused by the inevitible messages from girls asking where she got her shoes and top (actually God, on a very good day, created her top).   This, we are afraid, as Triple P's father once said, is why men rule the planet and women do the ironing.

Anyway, we think the ladies have it right.  Much more important for encouraging cycling are her little Skyride outfits.  For 2011 she had the currently trendy faux-fifties look with her pink mini dress for the promotional shots in August and then the rather more practical red top and jeans (still with five inch heels we should note) for the ride itself.

May 2010

Last year we had three promotional doses of Kelly.  In May she appeared in a flirty, low-cut dress (and five inch heels).  Very fine outfit, this.

August 2010

The August launch event featured this elegant little number in red and blue.


Jeans again for the ride itself but a much more low-cut top compared with this year.

In 2009, both the promotional photoshoot and the ride itself were in September.  For the earlier shoot Kelly's dress had a far too voluminous skirt for a bike although the wily photographers did manage to get this enticing shot.

For the ride itself, later in the month she also wore a dress.  Given that she does actually cycle the route on the day perhaps this explains the appearance of jeans for the last two years.

One final thought.  It is all very well to give cyclists traffic free roads in the capital once a year but in both Paris and Bogotá they have been doing it every Sunday!  In Bogotá they close 70 miles of street for the Ciclovia so people can run, walk and cycle.  Promote that Kelly and Boris!
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