Hired Car Blues

21 04 08

While I wait for my car to be repaired after an accident I was in four weeks ago, I am driving a rental vehicle – a very pretty silver Polo classic with only 5000km on the clock. Let me take this opportunity to say that while I am thoroughly enjoying zipping around town in this lovely little vehicle, it has posed some problems owing to the following:

1)     There are very many silver cars in Johannesburg

2)     There are very many silver Polo Classics in Johannesburg

3)     From the front, the Polo looks like the VW Golf.

4)     From the side, the Polo looks like the VW Golf, Toyota Corolla, and most other smallish cars.


So yesterday, following a lovely afternoon with G.B, C.F and HiD, I stopped by the shops. After buying 3-ply toilet paper (thought I would spoil myself), I walked back to my car and remarked to myself how I hadn’t noticed the red stripe above my grill in the week that I’d had this car. Ignoring this piece of information which would become rather vital in the next 30 seconds, I inserted my key in the lock and turned. Nothing happed. I tried harder. Again, nothing happened. I stepped away from the car and noticed that, in fact, this was not my car that I was forcibly trying to unlock. Unfortunately, the owner of said car was standing a few metres away, watching me trying to break into his car. I backed away quickly, twittering that it was a hired car and thus the mistake…blah blah blah. He seemed to understand….until he saw me trying to unlock a silver Toyota, parked a space away from my car. At this point I became quite uncertain what my name was, let alone how I managed to make such an arse of myself in such a short period of time.

Perhaps it was the three cocktails I’d consumed in the previous two hours. Perhaps I am just stupid. Either way, the next car I buy will most definitely not be silver, and will have identifying marks such as purple polka dots.

Saving Yourself, Naturally

18 04 08

Good morning and welcome to 1950.

Today we’ll be discussing natural remedies to cure all manner of sexually transmitted disease, courtesy of Natural Remedies Encyclopedia – America’s Master Book of Home Remedies. In particular we will focus on the section labelled 'Encouragement' which follows the listing of all the natural remedies that are suggested for use to clear up such infections, such as fruits, vegetables, bark, roots and oils.

Syphilis: “Determine that you will study God’s Word every day and obey everything you read”

Chlamydia: “How can we solve the problems we have? Only in Christ can they be resolved.”

Venereal Warts: “There is a mighty power in prayer”

HIV/AIDS: “You have a bright future if you will give your earthly life to Jesus, just now.”

Further, the good book goes on to suggest the following in order to prevent HIV: “Total abstinence on the part of both you and your spouse prior to and after marriage, is a wonderful way to live and an excellent way to avoid a lot of misery and disease.”

Trichomoniasis: Practise safe sex; and the only effective way to do that is for a virgin man and a virgin woman to only marry once, only having sex with one another.”

In summary, when it comes to venereal diseases, “the only genuine protection is abstinence. Marry a person who never has and never will have, sex with another during your lifetime. Afterward, both of you remain faithful to one another to the end.”

As one might expect from an encyclopaedia on natural remedies for illnesses, there is a section on evolution entitled “The Big Bang is a Fizzle.” Be sure to read this section while brewing your bungleweed and sassafras concoction to attend to your gynaecomastia.

Apologies, did I say that this was printed in 1950? My mistake.

The first edition of this tome of wonderfully realistic and sage advice was first printed in 1998. The edition from which I’ve quoted was on holy shelves just four years ago. It’s a relief to know that we can rely on such current and in-touch alternative medicine and good ol’ fashioned spiritual advice. With this kind of information, how can we fail?

Out to a Very Long Lunch

11 04 08


I wonder what David Bullard was aiming to achieve by writing this article in his 'Out to Lunch' column in the Sunday Times newspaper this week? This piece of journalism can only be described as foolish. As he has told much of South Africa’s media in the last few hours, his brief was to write a ‘controversial’ column. In essence he’s blamed his dismissal squarely on the incompetence of (now former) boss Mondli Makhanya, the editor of the Sunday Times. Bullard says Makhanya, as editor of the publication, has a duty to read what his columnists write, and make suggestions and/or changes before the piece goes to print. I agree entirely. It’s a bugger when an editor has to….*gasp*  EDIT!!! And Makhanya has actually admitted that, in essence, he and his staff did not do their jobs properly in allowing this article to be published. Slap me on the wrist and be on your bicycles, is what his comments really amount to.

However, it concerns me that it seems Bullard believed such an article would NOT be taken seriously by a country very much at odds on how to deal with persistent and often misguided notions of what constitutes racism. Really, it was a terribly silly article, and not at all controversial. Since when does an “If…then” postulation of such magnificent pointlessness warrant a response other than ‘crap article, write something people would want to read’? Didn't Bullard feel the tiniest bit embarrassed about submitting that?

Bullard argued that the editor has his copy three days in advance, that he was mandated to be controversial, and that instead of firing him over the telephone, the editor should have called him into the offices to discuss the matter. I think this is well and good. There is no doubt that the manner in which this situation has been handled leaves a lot to be desired, and would naturally lead to rumours of ‘other’ forces being at play, e.g. speculation that the Sunday Times is being threatened with threats of pulled advertising by the government owing to Bullard’s alleged vocal criticism of the ANC (I say “alleged” because I have not followed much of Bullard’s commentary of late).

The thing is, the column was pretty offensive but mostly towards literate, engaged South Africans who enjoy having ideas challenged in a meaningful and intelligent way. Writing drivel for the sake of a ‘controversial brief’ and a massive reaction does make something newsworthy nor interesting.

What Would Tracy Do?

04 04 08


There’s a beggar who sits outside the Spar at which I spend my oodles and oodles of disposable income. Yes, the way this man looks at me you’d swear he spies on me when I often set fire to the wads of spare cash I have floating about, just to watch the pretty colours…sooooo prettttty.

I feel guilty that this bedraggled man has nothing but his singing voice to get him through the day. I genuinely can get quite overcome when I think about what this man does not have, but fortunately I’ve learnt to suppress those emotions and think about 30 Rock instead….WWTD?…What Would Tracey Do?

Well, Tracey would tell the man to shut the hell up. He’d tell the beggar-dude that singing “Hallelujah, hallelujah” over and over again, in no identifiable tune only makes people less disposed to flick a coin or two your way, rather than more. Then Tracey would take of his gangsta t-shirt and do his stabbing robot impression. But I digress.

If, perhaps, this was a crafty move of the beggar’s to get people to pay him money to stop singing, well kudos to him to think of it. Unfortunately, it seems nothing shuts him up.

Over the years, beggar-buskers have ruined many a song for me: the guy tromping up and down the Umhlanga beach who destroyed Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’ by singing the refrain “Don’t worry about a thing/ every little thing’s gonna be alright” over and over and over again….for years (even more annoying than the guys with the boeps drinking beer at 9am on the beach); the one in Rosebank who sang the very worst song ever to be put to panpipes – ‘Annie’s Song’ by John Denver, who made paying for my parking ticket so very traumatic; and about a million others who’ve tried to do justice to ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘Over the Rainbow’, without success.

Tuneless singing does not move me. On the radio, I switch it off. In public, I walk away from it.

Have a good weekend y’all. I’m off to Umhlanga for an extended weekend, and I will be sure to report if I come across the Bob Marley impressionista…that’s if you care at all.