A very little bit of thinking

30 06 09

I received an email this morning with the environmentally friendly suggestion to “think before you print” tagged onto the sender’s signature. So I decided to think for a bit. This is what I came up with:

  1. I feel entirely neutral towards Kelloggs K with milk and dried cranberries – I neither like it nor dislike it, but continue to eat it as I suppose it is a more nutritious breakfast than Cadbury’s whole nut chocolate. On it’s own, however, Kelloggs K is just dire.
  2. No matter how savvy I think I’m being, I will never know enough about cars to avoid being ripped off when they break. Asking questions merely allows the ripper-offer in question to respond in any way he wants – I cannot tell the difference between, e.g. “the prop shaft seal and CV boot are broken,” and “the turnip grinder has dismantled the Anacondan maze-recorder.” This bothers me.
  3. The same applies when buying electronic equipment such as TV sets and cellphones, life insurance, and financial investment products.
  4. I believe that the Nedbank ATM at 90 degrees on Rivonia, has not been operational for the past two years.
  5. I find Neil Patrick Harris extremely attractive.
  6. I don’t agree that this is the ugliest dog in the world.

 Righteo, now I can print.


A spoonful or 10 of sugar

29 06 09

This weekend was characterised by the intake of an abundance of sugar (of the “a minute on your lips, a lifetime on your hips” variety). Very, very much sugar was consumed. As a result, a number of sugar highs and ensuing lows were had, some more intense than others.

And all this was done in the name of fundraising for some sport I’ve never heard of, and still really cannot describe or identify, called Crossfit. I thought it might have involved horses, Mauve Dane suggested that perhaps mountains were involved, and Goth Girl and The Director seemed to have no idea whatsoever. No matter – the important thing was that the fundraising involved the tasting of more than a dozen different varieties of chocolate cake and a cup of tea, which is an utterly fabulous way to pass a sunny, Highveld winter’s morning.

We all voted for our favourite, and a cake that was all looks but no substance very nearly won – it was fittingly named the ‘Los Angeles Cake’ by the Dane. This was a damn fine idea, and I would love to repeat this with other cakes and foodstuffs, barring chillies.


On an entirely different note, I saw an article on Alternet today describing how a right-wing conference was held in America very recently to figure out how to get Republicans to regain a majority there. A quote from the article reads: “During one discussion, panelists suggested supporting English-only initiatives as a prime way of attracting ‘working class white Democrats’.”

Here’s a picture of the banner they chose to display.



26 06 09

While it’s sad to hear of the death of Michael Jackson, I can’t help thinking that his death probably came at a ‘good’ time for him.  Jackson no longer has to deal with any further embarrassments regarding child abuse allegations and a largely dwindling career (despite his upcoming 50 concert London gig, which I suspect he would not have got even halfway through).

The music genius’s death is far enough away from the most recent criminal allegations against him to have improved public perception I think. Good or bad, people forget quickly.

What MJ’s death means is that he doesn’t have to grow old, which I think would have devastated him. Surely for this child-man, old age would have been unbearable.

For me, the real Michael Jackson – the man who wrote pop songs and lyrics and like no other, who created dance moves and routines that dazzled, and who introduced the world to black shoes and white socks – died a long time ago. Now the world can join Jackson, finally, in the mourning of his death.

Astounding, amazing, earth-shattering sports reporting

24 06 09

As a general experience, I find reportage on sports to be rather dull. This is not because I dislike sport, nor because I believe it is inherently boring, apart from soccer and badminton. It is mostly because in an attempt to distinguish their reports from those of competitors, broadcast sports reporters end up sounding terrifically idiotic.

Last night, I watched the news on SABC 3 at 19:00, which included the premier of that pitiful province, Limpopo, implying that it wasn’t fair of the media to criticise her and her department as they’ve not yet been in office for 100 days, and everyone knows that new regimes have 100 days of criticism-free governance. 

So naturally I was left bemused, which persisted until the sports report began, and a prerecorded piece on Wimbledon was aired, giving details of the match between Venus Williams and Swiss Stefanie Voegele.

We were told that despite Voegele giving Williams a little bit of a run at times, “class overcame talent” ultimately, when Williams defeated her opponent. We were also told that Voegele did not show any “respect” for Williams’s prowess in…well…trying her best to beat Williams.

So, the message we TV watchers were left with was that Williams has class (and probably talent) whereas Voegele  has only talent, but probably not all that much because she lost, didn’t she? Also, certain players are worthy of respect, while others aren’t. Does allowing a former Wimbledown champion to win indicate respect? Should there have been a ring-kissing ceremony prior to the match? How does the concept of respect come into a tennis match?

As an aside, what I love most about sports reporting is when someone or a team receives a “drubbing”. It makes my day when a team is just destroyed, as the likelihood of the word ‘drubbing’ being used by a commentator or reporter becomes infinitely higher. I try use this word in ordinary conversation but find the fact that I don’t play sport – apart from the occasional squash game – impinges on my being able to use the word in relation to myself.

They keep on knockin…

22 06 09

 Today I received yet another A5-sized advertisement for “Psychic, fortune teller, herbal therapist”, Professor Ramah…obviously at a set of traffic lights in Sandton. How Prof. Ramah differs from his previous incarnation as Prof. Whako and Sheik Kassiim is that Prof. Ramah offers answers to a new batch of distressing sexual and witchcraft-related questions he poses on his leaflet, including:

“Can’t you produce enough sperms?”

“Do you experience knocking on your roof/door?”

“Do you see strange things in your house hold?”

 Although I wouldn’t dream of denying the pain of not being able to produce enough ‘sperms’, the latter two questions did make me wonder, while flicking radio stations, if perhaps my flat has been hexed. The truth is, I do see strange things in my household, and I do experience knocking on my door.

The knocking has become problematic and, in 99% of cases, is caused by two of the young girls who live diagonally below me. There is no pattern to how frequently the girls knock on my door – sometimes it’s three consecutive days in a week; other times they can go a couple of weeks before pestering me. On Friday, they arrived within five minutes of each other and asked/demanded if I had the inside of a toilet roll and a stapler, respectively. I had neither.

They’ve asked me for many things, these girls:

–          Five rand (so she wouldn’t get smacked by her mother, conniving little brat)

–          DVDs (‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Hairspray’ are their favourites)

–          Magazines

–          A note pad

–          Prestick

–          Glue

–          White nail polish

–          Swimming goggles

–          A waterproof jacket

Oh yes, and once to do their homework, which I’m sure I got wrong. This, of course, is excluding the many occasions I’ve chosen not to answer the door when they’ve knocked and wanted me to watch their song-and-dance routine. Christ.

In terms of the strange things I see in my household, there is very much of that presently owing to the fact that Mary the Cleaner is allegedly near death’s door, and thus has not come to work today. That’s well and good – Mary must recover. It does present a problem, however – my flat resembles a floordrobe and I am sure the ecoli are proliferating. And then there’s the change of the duvet cover issue.


Perhaps I’ll have to pay a visit to Prof. Ramah. My problems are large, like my penis isn’t. I need the strong herbs.

Death no longer an valid excuse for late flight arrivals

19 06 09

There are some occupations which largely require that one remains alive in order to do the work. Practising surgery is one that springs to mind; driving a bus, mining precious metals, playing cricket professionally and flying a Boeing 767 from Brussels to New York, are others.

Or not, as it happens.

It seems the pilot of the aforementioned trans-Atlantic flight did, in fact, die while at the controls. The passengers only found out, however, when they noticed a horde of emergency vehicles on the tarmac.

“The crew of the Boeing 767 made an announcement over the
loudspeaker asking if there was a doctor on board, but Martha Love, of Greenwich, New Jersey, who was sitting in the first row of the plane, didn’t suspect anything was amiss. The flight attendants continued to serve snacks. Passengers read
magazines and watched movies. And the flight stayed on schedule.”

There are important lessons to be learnt from this, but the most pertinent is certainly that should the most important member of a team pop his/her clogs, there is no reason for the project to be delayed or derailed.

You, doctor, fear not – your overtired and underpaid scrub sister will take over your delicate neurosurgery should you expire.

To the South African bus driver, no-one will notice the difference between your conscious attempt at driving vs your rigor mortis grip on the steering wheel.

To the decomposing Department of Home Affairs…you have not allowed death to halt your reign of inefficiency, incompetence and generalised unwillingness to stop us citizens from trying to draw blood from a very dead stone.

Finally, to some of my colleagues…I know you’ve been dead for years, but still I value you. Lots.

The Joyous Commitment Agnostic….or something

17 06 09

There’s a tasty tidbit of an article on The Times (U.K) website today offering a scientific postulation for why women are/remain single. It appears that some new research has found that the hormone oxytocin helps women

“…overcome “neophobia” in relationships – i.e., not totally freaking out at the thought of bonding with a stranger. One study claims that romantic bonding is a form of stress (an argument many of us will be ready to accept), and oxytocin helps diminish that stress”.

In essence, it seems study suggests that women with more oxytocin are better able to bond with partners and thus avoid being single. I don’t know where this leaves single women intent on finding a mate, though. Will they (I?) line up in droves during their lunch hours at the rooms of the first medical practitioner who becomes licensed to dispense oxytocin injections? Would this ever become legal? I don’t think it’s as bizarre a development as it sounds.

This could be a helpful scientific explanation for the reasons so many of us have not met people who make us wanna dance in the rain (blegh!), but I believe much singledom results more from a mismatch between opportunity and allure, than a wilful decision specifically not to see if one can enjoy spending time with someone else.

And while I, and I would wager many others, would like to hope that I’m more the ‘Joyous Commitment Agnostic’ than ‘The Victim’, the reality is more likely that the very act of classifying oneself as such is a desperate attempt to nullify the shame of being single in one’s 30s, with no sign of ‘fixing’ the horror. ‘