Bubbles

31 03 09

soda-stream1

I saw an advert for Soda Stream on telly last night, and I want one! Bubbles in my beverages makes me exceedingly happy. I am thinking about purchasing one. Do you think that is odd? It would just be for me. And I would probably break it within a week – do you think it’s worth the risk?

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Baby Kaboom

30 03 09

In South Africa, I understand that by law a woman is entitled to four month’s maternity leave from her employment, which may be either paid or unpaid. I don’t know the intricacies of this law, and am thus unsure what kind of female employee (permanent, contract etc) qualifies. In terms of paternity leave in S.A., I believe fathers are entitled to three days of ‘family responsibility’ leave to allow them to bond with their child, learn how to change their kid’s nappy, become accustomed to their new family, and help out their partners who’ve just had a live being ripped from their womb. Erstwhile Minister of Hell (health) and current Minister in the Presidency, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, has declared that this is unfair, and that proper paternity leave should be put into law and be upped to two weeks.

It is different in the U.K. There, women receive nine months of paid maternity leave, and the government has promised that by next year, women would receive a full year of maternity leave. Men receive two weeks of such leave. But the U.K.’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has said that this, in essence, is rubbish, and has called for this to be cut to six months’ paid leave, so that fathers can be given longer paid paternity leave.

The reason for the Equality Commission’s recommendation is what interests me. The group suggests that ‘the focus on maternity leave has entrenched the notion that only mothers look after children, and damages women’s careers by making them less attractive employees.’

Business is also unhappy with the nine months’ leave a mother is given, and one can only imagine how unimpressed it is with the suggestion that they may have to keep open a position for a returning employee for a full year. Is it really viable for businesses to do such a thing in such a tough economic climate? Or is that just the excuse business is looking for to get rid of female employees who have children because of the perception that they would not be able to devote as much excellence to their work as before?

What do you think?


Cocks are out, Wangs are in

26 03 09

A story on Reuters today is right up my alley.  Anything that feeds my mild obsession with bizarre names just makes me happy.

I am quite upset, actually, that there are fewer Cockshotts, Balls’s, Deaths and Shufflebottoms around in Britian. Also that there are few people named Smellie, Daft and Gotobed.

If the Poggenpoels, Koekemoers, Foks, Eatcocks, Alcocks etc disappeared, I don’t know what I’d amuse myself with each work day.

By the way, I came across a Dr Coffin and a Dr Herts the other day.


Funny false advertising

25 03 09

ladderless1Sorry about the poor quality of this photo. I took it this morning as I drove to work, and snapping pics while putting on make up, smoking a joint and swigging from my hipflask  sometimes causes me to falter in one of these activities – often I’ve arrived at my destination with a mascara wand protruding from my eye.

Anyway, the Ladderless Window Cleaning Co appears to have a slight problem with its advertising. If you cast your eyes to the roof of the car, you will notice…. a ladder. A large ladder, in fact.

I think I might enjoy this type of false advertising. I would enjoy visiting the website of ‘low-cost’ airline, Kulula, on the day it offers cheap flights to Cape Town, to find that just a couple of hours after the special began, not a seat was available.  I would also enjoy receiving  – or not receiving the email until it was too late, as it were – the email announcing this special, sneakily sent at 22:30 the night before.

Oh, did I say ‘enjoy’? What I meant to say was that I would feel the need to gouge out the eyes of those responsible for misleading the public into believing in the organisation’s beneficence. 

 fish 

 I wonder what is for sale, here?

 


A not-so-hypothetical tale of having a car stolen in Jo’burg – the Damask Dachshund story

23 03 09

Say you’ve decided to trade in your pile of crap car, after establishing that the cost of fixing it properly would end up being three times what the car is actually worth. A good decision, undoubtedly. So you head off to your regular dealership, and sign the papers to trade in the car and buy a new vehicle from them, to be delivered/collected the following week.

Say that weekend you have dinner at a lovely restaurant in an area famed for being not the most savoury of places of late. However, you return to your crap car two hours after dinner, and discuss with a mate how it seems Melville is not the thieving crack den you’ve been led to believe it was over the past two years. During your walk back to your car, you turn a corner to discover that your car is no longer in the spot you parked it a while earlier. In fact, it is nowhere to be found. 

You laugh. Perhaps in horror, perhaps in disbelief, perhaps at the irony of the fact that you and your friend had just been re-evaluating your opinion of Melville, and now you would have to admit that you guys had been right.

Because you have further plans that evening, you go through the motions before heading to the Parkview police station to report the crime.  You elect not to go to the Brixton police station, because two women (you and your mate) driving into Brixton at 22:00 on a Saturday night is like walking around your flat in the dark: you probably won’t hurt yourself, but the possibility exists that you could get badly hurt…like ripping open your shin on a sharp corner on a table you forgot was there.

Let’s assume the two somnolent, unwilling officers on duty at the Parkview police station say they can’t help you because their data capturer is off duty, at which point you decide to report your stolen car at a larger, and probably more efficient, police station. You head off to the Linden police station.

Say you arrive at the Linden police station, and you are treated relatively well by the officer on duty, who captures your details correctly except for an extra 0 in your identity number. Imagine, also, that during the half hour you spend relating the fucking unfair and bizarre tale of the theft of your vehicle, a woman arrives at the station to report an assault on her by her boss, and three drunk men arrive to report that one of their wives is ‘missing’ after jumping out of their car at a traffic light.

Imagine you are dropped off at home late on Saturday night sans remote control to your complex’s gate, forcing you to wake an 85-year old resident so that she can let you in. Think about the  wasted hours and wads of paper that lie ahead of you. Think about the insurance company’s suspicion that you orchestrated the whole event because so many cars get stolen every day in Joburg.

And imagine how much worse it could have been.


Electioneering

20 03 09

The South African national election is a month away, and the party for whom I have voted in the previous two elections has not yet contacted me to establish whether or not I will vote for it again. This is most likely because I have moved houses since then, and the buggers don’t have my new number, praise Buddha. What is strange, however, is that my colleauge was phoned by them at her home last night, and the caller asked her if she knew me. No reason suppled by the caller for his question, nor indication of how he might have known that my colleague and I know each other. A little freaky, actually.

At the same time, an Afrikaans colleauge was called by the Freedom Front, a political organisation that is extremely fond of the white Afrikaans person, less so of the English-speaking white person, and remarkably less fond of the black person, to request her vote. This pissed off my colleague as she believes it shows that the FF believes everyone with an Afrikaans surname secrety (or not so secretly) desires to live only with fellow Afrikaners to the exclusion of the rest of South African society.

So I’m trying to decide what to put on my Ipod’s playlist while I wait in line on election day. So far I have the following ditties up for consideration:

– Chain of fools – Aretha Franklin

– Ordinary world – Duran Duran

– Don’t look back in anger – Oasis

– Ideal world – The Christians

– If you tolerate this, then your children will be next – Manic Street Preachers

Can you suggest any others?


When a Turkish bazaar throws up

19 03 09

I am not a fan of a living space filled with nick-nacks, trinkets, and lots of general stuff. I find it makes me anxious, particularly when those objects are of the breakable variety. Astoundingly enough, I am able to destroy even the most non-breakable kinds of ornaments, with next to no effort. Thus, I keep a rather spare living space.

Actually, that is not entirely true. The other reason for my sparsely decorated abode is my not having the wads of cash I’d need to buy all the pictures, paintings, curtains, rugs, vases etc I would like. This is despite having only 90 square metres of space to work with.

I drew comfort from my situation, however, when I ventured out to the northern suburbs of Joburg yesterday in order to interview a person for a feature to be run in my company’s publication next month. On viewing the wondrously…um….boisterous interior decor of this sweet but eccentric and just plain odd individual, I was suddenly ok with what I’d accomplished in my flat over the past two years.

clutter Yes, I still have disgusting, leftover curtains hanging unhappily in my bedroom, and a carpet my cat has now ripped to shreds, but at least I don’t have five heavily framed paintings and a number of mirrors on each wall of each room in my flat. Nor do I have rugs (probably Persian, but who can tell?) covering every square metre of space, or busts and statues of cats all over the place by the dozen. When I enquired about the cats, I was informed that, in fact, the owner of the house did not really fancy cats all that much, and far preferred dogs.

I did not manage to photograph the ornamental owl whose eyes glowed red when it was plugged in.