More from the Pope

18 03 09

“Afican lives don’t matter,” said Pope Benedict yesterday, as he flew to Africa for a visit aimed at spreading Catholiism – like HIV – throughout the continent.

Actually, what the Pope really said was that Aids is “a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems”.

According to the Guardian newspaper, he told journalists on a plane during his flight to Cameroon, that using condoms was not going to stop the spread of HIV.

The Pope has let rip with pearlers in the past such as his belief that promoting abstinence and demonising contraception will restore moral order and stop the pandemic.

Abstinence, after all, is so doable. Haven’t we noticed people in droves being abstinent? We’ve seen how successful virginity pledges are among teenagers and young adults, would you not agree?

I guess being the Pope does not come with a responsibility to really engage with the realities of sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.


On Swearing

13 03 09

There is a delightfully entertaining article on Slate investigating the use of that most satisfying swear word, ‘motherfucker’. Precisely why it is so pleasing to the one uttering the curse relates to, according to the article, its combination of an insult to both one’s family and a reference to incest.

I enjoyed some of the translations of examples offered by the author from around the world, e.g.

China:  Fuck your elder uncle.

            Fuck your ancestors of 18 generations.

Italy: If the streets were paved with pricks, your mother would walk on her ass.

Kenya: Go eat your mother’s anus.

Turco-Mongolian curse: I urinate on your father’s head and have intercourse with your mother. 

 Now get back to motherfucking work,  you cocksuckers!!

Political Partying

12 03 09

It came as a great surprise yesterday when the media informed me that 42 political parties would be contesting the South African elections next month. This is a remarkable figure, I think, and would safely assume that the vast majority of S.A’s citizens know only around 10 of these.

Of the 42 competitors, a few of the names struck me as amusing:

Keep It Straight and Simple  (No gays need apply)

A Party  (Any party? It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to?)

New Vision Party  (For those who’ve had lasic surgery)

Alliance of Free Democrats  (As opposed to imprisoned democrats, or free tyrants)

Women Forward  (Not forward women – women who express their desires are banned from membership)

South African Political Party (It’s nice to know it is a political party, not a birthday party or a farewell party)

South African Determined Volunteers  (No half-hearted volunteers need apply for membership. Determination has to be proven by a voluntary walk through fire.)

This year, there are no parties formed and led by South African celebrities. I would thus like to propose a few candidates, though unfortunately they will not be on the ballot paper owing to the lateness of the entry. Shucks.

That’s Not My Underwear Party  – led by ex-Springbok rugby star, and current alleged porno star, Joost van der Westhuizen.

Pleasure Of My People (POMP) – led by Afrikaans singer and prolific impregnator, Steve Hofmeyr.

People Opposing Imperialist Colonialist Angriests, but For Corruption and Ignorance (POICAFCI) – Led by current ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema.

Chokers – led by Graham Smith, captain of the South African cricket team, who lost the home test series to Australia this week. 

Any other candidates you’d like to put forward?

Sickening S.A. Airways

11 03 09

Our national carrier, South African Airways, is in deep financial trouble. This is not really news, as it has been in financial trouble for around the last 10 years, as least. Highlights of the airline’s money and accompanying management woes in recent history include the following:

-CEO, Khaya Ngqula, effectively being fired (yesterday) while an investigating into his alleged mismanagement continues. Ngqula’s severance settlement is rumoured to be around the R8-million mark.

-Two separate incidents of drugs being found among SAA crew members’ baggage on flights to Heathrow this year.

-R1.6 billion of taxpayers’ money being allocated to save the deeply indebted airline in the 2009/2010 financial year, as per the finance minister, Trevor Manuel’s, budget directive. A loss of R1.1 billion posted last year.

-Last month’s strike by the S.A. Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) against SAA over several labour issues, including the non-payment of bonuses to SAA staff.

And so it strikes me as odd and quite disgusting, actually, that the airline would be running a competition on a Jo’burg radio station, offering cash prizes to people who call in to share their ‘favourite SAA memories’. Airline management has figuratively thrown itself at Trevor’s feet, wailing and weeping and begging for bail-out funds, promising to do better, and here it is giving cash away to people who I am pretty positive couldn’t give a fig about the airline.

Really, who has fond memories of an airline? All they do is schlep you – uncomfortably – across the world, while feeding you barely palatable food, for far too much money. What’s there to get misty-eyed about that? Airfare, like insurance, is a grudge purchase; it is the suffering one must endure to get to the fun bit.

I judge SAA harshly for this ill-conceived public relations plan. They should have celebrated their 75th birthday by promising not to drain us taxpayers any longer.

Morty – A Totally Average Kinda Cat

10 03 09














I like cats. 

I like them enough to have got myself a furry little grey and white version 6.5 weeks ago. Her name is Morticia, and I fear I’ve encouraged her to live up to her crazy, perhaps a little evil, name. Either that or she is just a boisterous kitten, who loves nothing more than to run up my legs – whether  bare or clothed – and leap at my hands. I found this frustrating last week, and Morty and I did not really strengthen our bond during this trying, somewhat bloody time. However, I have finally isolated the real problem: my ‘issues’ with Morty became apparent precisely when I began reading a book leant to me by my colleague, entitled Dewey – The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, written by Vicki Myron, who was the librarian who found the frozen kitten in the library drop-box.

Warning: if you ever want to love your own pet, or a future pet, unconditionally, do not read this book. This book sets out to destroy any affection you might have for your imperfect beast of a pet cat. However, from what I’ve noticed during a bit of Internet trawling, I might very well be the only person who’s read this book who thinks it is boring, sentimental and, basically, full of shit.

Dewey is a perfect cat. Apparently he doesn’t flinch when hoards of people descend on him, never bites or scratches people, advises the library staff on how to address their problems, consults regularly with the United Nations, presidents of the world’s wealthiest nations, and brilliant medical scientists, on how to solve the Middle East crisis, the economic crisis, and develop cancer and HIV vaccines. Let us not forget his role in Britney Spears’ image overhaul.

In fairness, Dewey seemed like a lovely little cat who brought great joy to all who knew him. But hell, Myron has just elevated him from cat to cat-deity. Every page is filled with Dewey’s ‘thoughts’ and ‘smile’ and ‘questions’. And in between those details, the book is filled with the eye-gougingly boring details of Iowa farming life during the 1970s and 1980s, and how Myron managed to make herself a better life by ‘pulling herself up by her bootstraps’. How sick are you about hearing stories about people making good? Oh wait, anyone for Slumdog Millionaire?

The upshot is that I began looking at Morty as a beast filled with the soul of Robert Mugabe, because she attacks my feet when I move them, she runs away from the screeching brats who live next door, and she squirms on occasion when I pick her up. Funny, that. Could be she does all those things because she is…a cat. A gorgeous, sweet, crazy, manic, irritating kitten.

Anyway, I’ve decided to stop reading this book. And since I’ve made that decision, I no longer feel hard-done by when Morty jumps on my chest and bites my eyelashes. My Morticia!

1096 Days…And Still Going

06 03 09

Tomorrow marks three years to the day that I’ve been employed in my current position. This equals the longest period of time I’ve spent at an employer, and it happens that the other was my first formal job.

These three years have, without doubt, been the most bizarre years I’ve spent at an employer. My bosses and colleagues, both past [with some exceptions 😉 ] and present, are the strangest, most unfathomable individuals I have ever met. I’ve worked in radio before, and the fact that this crew outstrips the radio people in the weirdo department, says much.

I feel a little recap is in order now, which may serve as a basis should I ever decide to write a fantasy-horror book or screenplay based on my colleagues in the time that I have known them.

On Death:

– Three colleagues have died, and 12 other people all related to my one colleague have pegged, in the past three years. Despite this, dying is looked upon unfavourably.

On Communication:

– Email is the preferred choice of communication with fellow colleagues. For example, when the three colleagues died (see above) we were informed via email. When colleagues resign, again an email with the subject line “xxx has resigned” and no message in the body, is circulated to the office.

 -Telephone calls are reserved only for those conversations which can be had face-to-face, i.e. when both parties are in the same office at the same time, and sit close enough to each other to be able to smell if the other has been eating garlic.

– Communication of important company information is merely theoretical at this stage.

On Helpfulness:

 – IT support is defined as follows: Sort out your own problems, and if you really, really REALLLLLLY can’t, then ask the office manager to assist you. If by ‘assist’ one means ‘grump and huff and puff at you, while making sure you know that you are the dumbest person he’s ever encountered.’

On Wildlife:

 –  2 x bats ; 1000 x cockroaches, infinite invisible biters buried in chairs.

On Haircare

 – One brunette white woman who went platinum blonde, let the roots grow out, and is now plum.

 – One brunette black woman who veers between platinum blonde and ginger.

– One older man who shaved his head as a result of losing a bet on the rugby, and kept the baldness for six months before he clearly realised he looked like a cancer patient.

Happy work anniversary to me.

Anyone want to offer me a job?


Clients – The Foulest of the Foul

04 03 09

There are many aspects of my job that I do not like. Listing them would just make me want to top myself right now, so instead I will focus just on the most hateful, vomit-inducing one: clients.

Clients are worse than cat excrement.  Why? Because clients don’t really let you do your job. Clients do not recognise your field of expertise (or competency). Instead, they ask you things like, “er, please could you change this word to ‘potato’ instead of ‘vaccine’ on the last proof”  (thanks R. Rottweiler for that example.)

Clients ALWAYS know better than you. Also, you have 24 more hours in a day than they have in order to make their inane changes.

Argh, I can’t carry on. It is too irritating. Let me instead focus, instead, on the reappearance of my colleague D, who I thought might have been dead. As it turns out, he appears not to be dead.

Nope, that’s boring too.