Thursday, September 29, 2005


You’re better at playing the stock market than the rest of us. A study done by a Stanford marketing professor suggests that you’re going to do better financially if you have damage in the part of your noggin that involves the emotions, because emotions turn you into a putz, you become prudent and hold onto what you’ve got at the expense of getting more. If you weren’t such a wussy, you’d be stinking rich, or a compulsive gambler, whatever.

The sample size was tiny 41 people, 15 of whom had lesions in the pre-frontal cortex, the site of empathy, altruism and long-range planning. The participants were given $20 which allowed them to risk $1 on a coin toss. If they won, they gained $2.50. Those with damage to their brains bet on 85% of the rounds, whereas the normal subjects bet on only 58%.

The study is one in a scary new field called neuroeconomics, which investigates the mental processes that drive decision-making when it comes to money. They aim to plumb the mystery of myopic loss aversion, the tendency of people to invest to minimize loss, rather than increase their chance for gain, and I’m sure their motives are completely pure, because if there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s another bunch trying to separate us from our money.

The key is the fear that stops normal people from taking risks, psychopaths are able to control their emotions to a greater degree than we can because they feel anxiety less intensely or are energized by it. After a few painful losses, most people stop playing, instead of staying in the game and letting the odds work in their favour. Psychopaths have no empathy and can make rational judgments based on expedience without the distraction of the “human” factor. They don’t lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling like the rest of us.

Super investor Warren Buffett has been called a functioning psychopath, he says “what’s needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding the framework”.

He’s right of course, those messy emotions, always spoiling the party, maybe that’s why so many of us avoid the stock market in favour of lotto tickets.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


This is cheerful, this guy is using the sound of cancer in a dance track. What does cancer sound like? Harsh and rasping like emphysema or dull and monotonous and painful, apparently there is a sound when microbes rub together and this will be amplified for Matthew Herbert’s “thought-provoking music”.

“My new record is going to be a disco record. So, people might be out having a good time on a Saturday night, but they might be dancing to a disco record and the beats are made from cancer,’ he smiles”.

I disagree with the notion that music should be thought provoking, it should not provoke thought of any kind, it’s pure emotion, one of the few ways in which our society allows us a mad, abandoned, pagan release. When someone says “the lyrics are great”, I know I’m going to hate the music, not that there’s anything wrong with good lyrics as an adjunct to a fine song, but if your sole goal and function is to provoke thought, the music is sure to be crap. As to the sound of cancer, I really friggin don’t want to know, if I get cancer one day I’m going to have that song in my ear like some horrible earworm, turning over and over like that Doo Dee Doo song they won’t stop playing on the radio.

Matthew Herbert is semi-famous for doing music with unusual additions, his piece, Plat du Jour is the music of food, featuring musicians and chefs whisking eggs and drumming with coffee tins. He’s also done a piece about chickens called “The Truncated Life of the Modern Industrialised Chicken” using sounds from an abbatoir, mixing all the melodies with “half-a-dozen free-range organic eggs on a Pyrex bowl".

There’s only one question to be asked, what is the sound of an endive and will it move me?

I don’t want to, I just don’t want to go out, I just want to go home, just me, by myself. And do what? Nothing, just think, that’s all, I don’t need to be always doing something. Just me, I know, I just need, aw just read this.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Apparently, and this is true, you are no longer allowed to look at babies born at Calderdale Royal Hospital, Halifax, England, you may not pinch their cheeks, poke their bellies, chuckle them under the chin and you certainly may not coo “Who’s a beautiful baby then?” A sign on a doll in the babies’ ward puts it in no uncertain terms, “What makes you think I want to be looked at?”

I suppose they’ve got a point, you can’t have just anybody coming in and prodding them, but how has it come to this, that you can’t admire a cute adorable newborn baby. It’s so hard to resist, those big damp eyes, we’re Pavlovian in our response to baby animals of any kind, we love big eyes and chubby cheeks, and babies love us loving them.

Not any more, we’re no longer allowed, the hospital spokesperson says “cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me”.

Monday, September 26, 2005


This is a fairly disturbing story, there are dolphins roaming the seas that were trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater. Now they’re missing, they gapped it during the hurricanes.

Come on out Flipper, there’s a movie script with your name on it.


Here’s one of those shock horror stories that’s supposed to make us sit up and take notice for all of 5 seconds, apparently there’s a problem of drug abuse in the elderly. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), federal officials say the "number of seniors with alcohol and other drug problems is expected to leap 150% by 2020 to 4.4 million. Most, two-thirds, of substance abuse in these older adults – in their 50s and 60s – is long-standing, rather than late-onset.”

I say let them go for it, if granny wants a spliff, let her have it it’s hardly going to ruin her lungs any more than her 50 year 30-Chesterfields a day habit. If grandpa wants to try a toot of coke, cut it for him, and if they both want to get roaring drunk at the pub on weekends, what are we going to tell them? It’ll shorten your life?

Our grandparents and parents grew up in the heavy prescription era, they’ve taken legal drugs for decades, in the 40’s opiates, in the 50’s it was trendy to treat wives who wouldn’t knuckle under to domesticity with anti-psychotics, then came the sixties and seventies and a pharmacopoeia of pharmaceuticals both legal and illegal spread over the land. Then came Prozac and all the other mood enhancers, and it’s pretty much accepted now that taking a pill for a problem of moods and emotions is the norm.

Since drugs are mood enhancers, it’s no surprise to find that grandma’s chocolate brownies are full of fibre.

I’m not proposing anyone becoming a crack whore at 87, but there are only two good reasons not to take drugs, to keep your body healthy and your mind clear. If neither of those two things matter to you in your doddering pre-senility, why shouldn’t you take drugs, except it’s a bit hard to roll joints when your hands are gnarled with arthritis.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


It’s here once again, the Sunday-Times Markinor Top Brands survey, and the collective public yawns, drops it in the bin and turns to the sports pages.

Why? Because unbeknownst to the advertising industry, we the people couldn’t give a crap about brands, we don’t “love” them in any emotional sense, we may like a product, and hope to be able to find it when we need it, but the days of walking a mile for a Camel are over. Nothing proves this more than the inclusion every year of Telkom as one of South Africa’s “favourite” brands.

The whole notion of brand loyalty is becoming more myth than reality. Clive Simpkins said it best, “brands and brand loyalty will change dramatically in years to come. People are already way less tolerant of mediocrity and less resistant to or afraid of brand and service provider change than they were just a few years ago.”

It could be because they keep changing the frigging product, how many times have you gone to the supermarket to see your favourite whatever repackaged and reformulated and completely unrecognisable?

Enough of the rant, back to the brands, Coca-Cola, SAB Ltd, Vodacom, Koo, Castle Lager, Toyota, Nike, Nokia or Pick ‘n Pay, who all deserve their status as respected and reliable. In amongst this lot lurks Telkom, an entity protected by the state with no competition to speak of and a contemptuous attitude to its customers. When it comes to community upliftment, there’s Eskom, Coca-Cola and, uh, Telkom, favourite advertisers, there’s Telkom again. I don’t think any of the others have a site devoted entirely to slagging them off.

Interesting bit here about beer, our favourite beer brand is still Castle Lager, but Carling Black Label now outsells Castle, despite the fact that it was never as heavily advertised. In honour of the success of Carling, SAB is having “Man Days” where they “take over a few of the major radio stations”, and have a masculinity rah-rah-rah without the drums. Sounds like the marketing people should stay away from a brand which owes its success to the fact that it’s 5,5% and it tastes good.

When it comes to destinations, my favourite city is third, but you can’t argue with a beautiful beach. Cape Town scoops the accolade, with Durban second, and Johannesburg and Gauteng, third and fourth. Sun City is apparently more beloved than the Kruger Park, go figure.

Fast foodwise, it’s greasy chicken all the way, KFC, then Chicken Licken, then Nando’s, Wimpy, Steers, McDonalds and Spur. Tastic and Hulettt’s come out top in terms of food, and Sunlight beats Omo for household cleaners. Clothing brands are Jet, Edgars and Pep Stores. Banks, no surprise Standard Bank up first and second ABSA, hmmm, since people mentioned the Perm and Volkskas, which no longer exist, I’m reserving judgement on this one.

In the category on Telecommunications providers, well whaddaya know, there’s Telkom again. Nokia is way ahead in the cellphone wars and what’s this? Petrol? Do you remember what brand of petrol you put in last time? It’s BP then Shell, then Caltex then Engen if you must know.

Big change in the media this year, the tabloids rule, The Daily Sun charged ahead in the newspaper category, with the Sowetan second and Sunday Times third. Astonishingly enough, the SABC came out on top in terms of business media, beating out Business Day and the ST Business Times. M-Net which has no business news comes fourth, which is explained thus by Heidi Brauer from Markinor “brand perceptions live in the mind of the consumer and perception is reality”.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Christo is planning to wrap part of the Arkansas River in Colorado with a giant canopy.

I love these giagantic art happenings, but next time there's a hurricane, can't they build a giant umbrella cum raincoat to drape over the Gulf Coast. Would be a whole lot easier than a million people packing the car and heading out of town all on the same day.


In an attempt by the restaurant monolith to improve its image, the clown used in McD ads for years and years has been replaced in Japan with a girl in a bikini with the trademark yellow and red leggings and high heels.

I always thought the Ronald McDonald character a bit creepy and grotesque, the babyish grown-up that hangs around the playground, bit paedophile in our paranoid day and age, so a girl in a bikini can only improve matters, except that nobody’s going to buy the notion of McD’s as healthy. It’s just a blatant attempt to sell a combination of ephemeral sponge masquerading as food, using a sexy, healthy young woman who probably wouldn’t touch the stuff.

They’re off to a bad start, this is what Den Fujita, the first McDonald’s Japan president said: “The reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for 2,000 years. If we eat McDonald’s hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white and our hair blond.”

This is a little bit sad, Japanese men are doing their metrosexual hair-cut grooming thing in establishments that employ pretty women hairdressers wearing French maid outfits.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Oh dear, Guy and Madonna were booed at the premiere of Guy’s new movie, must be the people who actually shelled out money to see Revolver, which by all accounts is a stinker of note, a movie that makes “Swept Away look like Citizen Kane.” It’s a sort of kaballah inspired ganster flick, about “ego and the light” with guns, and its one saving grace seems to be the always fabulous Ray Liotta.

The critics have been unsparing, according to this it's a "convoluted, risibly overwrought muddle", worse yet, it ”lands on cinemagoers’ collective heads like a sack of wet sand”. Shame, Madonna, it’s not her fault her husband makes bad movies, gives them a lot in common, except he seems to be able to stay upside of a horse.

This is just incredible, David Hasselhoff is teaming up with Ice-T to produce a rap album, well, the Hoff apparently does sing, he's released 7 albums, but juding by the covers, his singing career was clearly just another opportunity to wear a speedo. Apparently he’s particularly popular in Austria and Germany. Ice-T is quoted as saying “He’s gonna come out as Hassle The Hoff – I promise you. The Hoff will surprise people with his rap skills and humour.”

I’m just trying not to think about bling in that hairy chest.

Poor Kate Moss, if it isn’t bad enough the police are after her, the Scientologists are trying to recruit her for their rehab programme. All I can say is run Kate, run like the wind, much faster than that other Katie fembot whatsername who is allowing someone else to change her name.

I said this before I’ll say it again, he’s back on the sauce, all those bicycle mishaps and the unfortunate pretzel in the nighttime. Alright this is the National Enquirer, but hmm, weren’t they first with the Brad and Angelina story?

Sticking with the politicians for a minute (and they really do give value in terms of scoffing opportunities), it’s an Arnie vs Warren Beatty armwrestle in California, this is so exciting. Warren’s schmoozing the teachers that Arnie called a “special interest” group he says Arnie’s governing by "by show, by spin, by cosmetics and photos ops". Ooh bitchy, Arnie says Warren’s just jealous. Watch out for the new reality show Gefuffelfuhrer vs Goldie Hawn’s Hairdresser. How can it miss?

Picture "borrowed" from here.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Big news of the day is that crime has gone down, a report called Crime Situation in South Africa, Crime Trends between 2001/02 and 2004/05 indicates that some crimes have gone down, except for the ones that have gone up.

I thought I’d try out this sweet new newspaper called Nova, because I think it really takes balls to start a newspaper in this environment. In an article on tabloids in the Sunday Times Lifestyle section Mike Nicol quotes Deon du Plessis, the man behind the Daily Sun as saying Nova is for the “Smiths, van Tonder’s and Tshabalalas who have recently moved into Gauteng’s new townhouse suburbs”. It’s a newspaper with a “magazine element”, nice paper, bold type, lots of little stories for those with attention deficit disorder. It’s like the Net on paper, but you can’t click through. Once I’d got past the front page poppie, who was fully clothed indicating that Nova doesn’t intend to be one of THOSE tabloids, I found the crime stats all neatly listing what’s up and what’s down.

Some of it is weirdly contradictory, kidnapping is down 46,6% but abduction up 47,7%, rape down 5,2%, indecent assault up by 21,3%, murder down 24,4% and oddly enough cash-in-transits, which is not the perception you get when you read about the latest spectacular shootout.

The problem with this way of looking at figures is that without the raw data, you lose the detail. For example the actual figure for burglary, divided into business and residential, is 120,3 business-break ins per 100 000 population, but when it comes to residential burglaries, you can see who bears the burden of crime in this country, in 2002 it was 704, it is now just under 600 per 100 000 people. Since there are 44,8 million of us, new appliances must be a full- on growth industry.

The stats aren’t good for South African children, neglect and ill-treatment are up 165,5% and 200% in KwaZulu Natal, common assault up 15,4% and public violence up 39,3%, but you’re less likely to have something stolen out of your car than you would have in 2001.

Interesting too to look at the naughty things the various provinces get up to, cash-in-transits in Limpopo went up 100%, drunk driving went up big time in KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape is definitely the place for drug-related crime.

Luckily for newspapers, bloggers and satirists, crimen injuria is down a whole 6,1%.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Those Swedes, always researching earth-shatteringly important life issues. For example, do you know who is scrolling through the SMS messages on your cellphone? The loved ones, that’s who, turns out that two thirds of people read through their partner’s SMS messages particularly after they have been out to a bar or restaurant. They usually do it when the person is in the toilet or when they’re asleep. 86% of people have flirted by SMS, 40% have had SMS sex with someone they know, while only 7% of the encounters were with a total stranger.

I’m not much interested in other people’s SMS’s, but I’m nosy when it comes to the sites they visit on the Internet. Everyone has their quirks and fetishes, but I don’t think I’m going to get close to someone who regularly visits Pony Love.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


It’s the time of year in Johannesburg when we wait for the first rains of summer, hope hangs in the sultry air as we scan the skies until our necks crick. The rains are late, there is an edge of anxiety, our already hair-trigger tempers boil over breathing in the same sour stale air day in and day out. We need one of our famous violent thunderstorms to cut the tension, but the skies are implacably blue. The frogs are loud, they’re also waiting, any day now, one of these will unfold itself on your bedroom wall.

If you’ve met a rain spider, the pictures don’t do it justice. It’s the biggest non-tarantula spider in the world, the leg span can go up to 10cm, and they’re heavy.

I woke to one of these staring at me from the wall, stretched out in all its frightening magnificence. Being the practical sort, I contained my panic, got a tin and a piece of cardboard, but the problem was getting it close enough for the scoop-cardboard maneuver. I touched it with the broom, hoping to coax it into running out of the window all by itself, but it launched itself off the wall and plunged to the floor so fast I didn’t even see it hit the ground. I heard it alright, thwack as it hit the wooden floor. They're so big, their favourite food is our much put-upon local cricket, the Parktown Prawn.

Here’s some advice from Museums of Cape Town to assist you in your giant spider handling should it become necessary. The important thing is to keep calm, approach the creature quietly and place a transparent jar over it. Not me, I use a tin or something opaque, you can hear it scratching around in there, but the last thing you want to do is eye-ball it, unless you’re an entomologist or know someone who is.

They also advise that you not fling it into the neighbour’s yard, the way everybody does, apart from damaging the spider, it sometimes clings to the jar and when you walk inside thinking the job is done, you experience the ticklish sensation of something running up your arm. Put the jar on the ground and let the spider walk out on its own.

So if you find one of these little critters in your house, you know exactly what you do, don't grab the Doom, they don't bite and at least it means at last it's going to rain.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Pop quiz, what is the most violent place on earth? I know you’re thinking Jozi Joburg, and you’re not far wrong, but according to this item, it’s Scotland, teeny tiny bagpipe-playing kilt-wearing Scotland.

“Violent crime has doubled in Scotland over the past 20 years and levels, per head of population, are now comparable with cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Tbilisi.”

Tblisi? Has it come to this that my beloved city is on a par with Tblisi, hang about, where is that anyway? Thank you Google, it’s in Georgia, not the nice safe American Georgia, but that chip off the old Russian block leather-jacket vodka-swilling mafiya type Georgia.

The crime rate is worked out in terms of per 100 000 population, so according to Nationmaster 1999-2000, Columbia were way out ahead with 61, we came in at 49, although Tony Leon says it’s 43. There was a large dropoff to relatively peaceful Jamaica at 32 and Venezuela at 31. Note Russia at 20, and Georgia, home of Tblisi, only got 5.

But then, if we can believe this, the figure for South Africa in 1995 was 75,3.

Ah the motherlode, figures from the Institute of Security Studies, they cast doubt on the accepted figures, which have Swaziland way out front, followed by Columbia and eek, South Africa at 51,4.

The picture looks a little different if you use the victimisation survey, which is supposed to eliminate under reporting, but might lead to the opposite, because then Australia is on top, followed by New Zealand, England, with South Africa way down under Scotland.

Go figure. As Mark Twain said “There are three kinds of lies, lies, damn lies and statistics.”

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Jennifer Lopez singer, actress, fashion designer, all round fembot (and ex-fiancee of hat above) got into it with Heather Mills this week. The woman forever known as Sir Paul’s wife tried to deliver a video to Lopez about the horrors of the fur Lopez uses in her fashion line, and was knocked off her prosthetic leg and verbally abused by Jennnifer’s goons. Heather is threatening to stalk Lopez, and I’m putting money on the outcome of this one. Never underestimate the power of the high moral ground.

I admit to detesting the kind of manufactured item Lopez represents, the American chav demographic. She sings, makes bad movies, sells perfume and clothes, stretching the brand so thin it’s tearing in places. She made her name for a Versace dress, but she’s bombed horribly since then. If you want sexy dark smouldering hussies, Salma Hayek has more charisma in her pinkie, Penelope Cruz has more phwoar in her hair.

Busted this week was Kate Moss who was photographed consuming huge amounts of sniffy when she promised her client Burberry she would stay “healthy, wholesome and sound”. Hang on a bit, since when do we want wholesome from Kate Moss? She’s great because of that dark edge, that elusive mystery thing. Although her entire every breath and fart are recorded by the media, she refrains from over-sharing or mouthing off on genetically modified food and the starving poor in Africa. Unfortunately she just won a libel case against a British tabloid for daring to claim she was over-fond of coconut. The press don’t take kindly to having to give money to celebrities, look at what’s happening to David Beckham.

Kate’s 31 now, she needs to borrow Mariah’s Women who Love Thugs book and get herself a decent boyfriend like her mother says. Is that nice George Clooney still playing golf with his buddies?

Shamless pandering - Brad in the buff.


Put down that Derrida instantly, it is not necessary to clutter your brain with obscurities when the Internet has been invented and you can read everything you ever wanted to know about trendy French intellectuals in about 5 minutes.

You could also have a look at Woody Allen’s philosophy, “Is there anything out there? And why? And must they be so noisy?”

Here he is again, on existentialism and right below him, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’s, Mma Ramotswe, from Morality for Beautiful Girls.

“It was a good life being an existentialist, although not too good for all the other, nonexistentialist people around one.”

Here’s tech support Nietzsche style.

Philosophy on the Springer Show.

Want to buy an argument, but don't know where to go, here's the man himself, Socrates.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Here’s what we really need, this ingenious clothes peg that senses when there is rain in the air, and sends electrical signals to metal strips, making it impossible to use.

So, you’ve got this load of wet washing, pegs that don’t work because it might rain, what are you going to do? Stupid invention if you ask me, Is it so hard to look up at the sky?

Here are the best inventions according to a UK online survey.

Bicycle - 59%
Transistor - 8%
Electro-magnetic induction ring - 8%
Computer - 6%
Germ theory of infection - 5%
Radio - 5%
Internet - 4%
Internal combustion engine - 3%
Nuclear power - 1%
Communications satellite - 1%

Nuclear power? What about the contraceptive pill?

Friday, September 16, 2005


Tom Waits is suing General Motors and advertising agency McCann Erickson in Germany for using a look-alike in a commercial when he refused repeatedly to allow his name or image to be used. Here’s what he said in his deposition …

“Apparently the highest compliment our culture grants artists nowadays is to be in an ad – ideally naked and purring on the hood of a new car. I have adamantly and repeatedly refused this dubious honour… I am asking (the court) to make me radioactive to advertisers.”

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Whose lunatic idea is this? Here he is (scroll all the way to the end).

According to my local freesheet, on October 20th all cars will be banned from Johannesburg roads, and we will have to take buses and trains to work. Oh yes, and our friendly Metro police will be there to make sure nobody cheats and sneaks through the cordon.

Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said “The plan is to declare car-free days more regularly with the aim of ensuring that by 2010 people are used to the idea”.

Car-free sounds like a nice idea in a country with a reasonable alternative, and while I’m all for freeing up public spaces for the all-important pedestrian, I don’t think they’ve thought this one through too carefully.

Johannesburg is not designed to be car-free, the car is the reason for the sprawl, and since yesterday someone torched a train and then there’s this, I’m thinking some things just don’t translate from other countries.


The birds are coming, run for your lives, thousands of wild aquatic birds are flocking into South Africa from South-East Asia via Siberia and they may be carrying a toxic strain of H5N1 in their faeces which drops into water and may infect local birds with a variant of the dreaded SARS virus. The Department of Health has put up R3-million to fund a bird “surveillance” project by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases.

"Put those wings where I can see them, birdie, and nobody gets hurt."

What happens if they snag one or two, bring them back to headquarters for questioning and find they do have the lethal strain. What are they going to do, shoot all the birds? Watch out for these suckers - Curlew sandpiper, black-headed gull, egret, whooper swan, Ruddy shelduck and those dangerous little stints.

Case of really bad timing because according to this report, South Africa is totally and completely bird flu-free. The Department of Agriculture did a survey, turned up nada, niente, bubkes, our chickens and ostriches are peachy, so we can export again and all we have to worry about are those pesky foreign critters coming in.

Bird xenophobia, shouldn't that be illegal?


Alan Gietzmann charged with murdering his girlfriend Caryn Lindesay when she broke off their relationship. (Scroll down for pic)

Mark Scott-Crossley convicted for throwing Nelson Chisale to the lions.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Is anyone surprised that the fastest blind man in the world is a South African, Hein Wagner drove 269km/h along an airstrip in NW province in a red Maserati V8 Gransport breaking the previous record of 233km/h.

I know of one or two taxi drivers who could give him a run for his money, not to mention those 4x4 drivers who sit up there in their lofty armored bubbles, sunglasses glinting, deaf and blind to screams and bicycles, as they try to intimidate the taxis without getting bashed by the uninsured.

Traffic cops, they’ll see you that one time you cross the white line, but they’re blind when someone jumps a red light, weaves drunkenly in front of you, or when a light is out and the traffic backs up into next week. Cellphone users, make-up artistes, DVD watchers, all blind for periods of time while they're driving, which might explain how we arrived at these statistics.

We're also simmering with rage, smouldering with fury, liable to leap out of our cars at the drop of a baseball bat. Fortunately, we’re less likely to be hit over the head in a road rage incident than if we lived in India or Greece. 67% of us have experienced aggressive behaviour from fellow drivers, and we’re third worst in the world when it comes to getting out of the car and getting into it with some wanker who can’t drive (and is most probably blind).

Luckily most of us vent the passive-aggressive way, using the ever popular third finger wave, swearing, flashing headlights and hooting.

To add bankruptcy to injury, we’ve got the in car DVD player, which is supposed to be for the kids in the back of the limo, but whaddayamean shell out R2400 for the sprogs? What’s the bet it’ll be sneaked into the front at every opportunity and it's quite frankly a bit scary to think some of our roiling angry populace might take the opportunity to watch Naked Stewardesses in Heat on the way to work.

As if the morning traffic hell-run isn't bad enough!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


If you’re a handsome, well-toned metrosexual, better hurry on through Bloemfontein, and most especially if you can dance, because you’re not welcome, cuzzie. The Chippendales got pelted with eggs for coming on strong to one or two of the local gals. Clothing got stolen (that’s a good one) and tyres deflated, petty stuff, but not a nice thing to do especially if they're actively encouraging the women of Bloemfontein to go out and have some fun with a website called Nightguide which has pictures of the guys looking hot, and this

“What it boils down to is that they will steam up your mamma’s glasses, make you cross your legs and make you scream… and if you do miss any of their shows, we have a declaration to make. We hereby declare that if you miss them hunkie’s show, we will not be responsible for your nightmares. Ever!!”

Here’s the part about Bloemfontein …

Aaaaaawww… Bloem… Bloem sweet Bloemfontein… Bloem has got such a lot of beautiful girls… hotties, call them what you want… bottom line is half of the girls there are blonde anyway, so we just had to fit 5 shows into this Dusty Dorpie, all at the Callie Human Hall, from the 6 th to the 10 th of September.”

Someone at Chippendales HO didn’t do their homework, if it’s not hairy and scary, don’t bring it round Bloem way, certainly no pecs or six packs or waxed privates around Bloem girls, don’t want them to start getting funny ideas.

Good Free State hospitality at its best in a town which I've heard has a thriving gay pick-up area called the Wagkamer (Waiting Room), and plenty of strip-joints, so the men of Bloem are well catered for. The women, not so much, yet someone had the balls to put up the money to get the Chippendales to a town that quite frankly passes like a blur on the way to and from Cape Town. No let’s be fair, Bloem is quite pretty at the end of October when it passes in a purple blur on the way to Lesotho, but it’s not a place in which you'd linger and tarry unless you had a good reason. In the bad old days, the joke was in Bloemfontein on Sundays they were so determined nobody should have any fun, they took the swings out of the budgie cages. I’m so glad they’ve moved on since then.

I don’t mean to bash Bloem, I’m sure it’s a lekker place, but fergodsakes, aren’t the women allowed to have fun without the boykie brigade rushing in and pelting eggs at guys who are only doing their job. It’s a pretty treacherous job judging by the way women behave when they’re extremely pissed, surrounded by their extremely pissed buddies, away from the sink and the kids and the lump in the bed.

Sies Bloem, is this any way to treat your visitors, even if they're gorgeous?

Monday, September 12, 2005


Dr. Ben Marble who could be forgiven for being a little pissed off when he came home and found his bathroom lying in his swimming pool,so he sidled up to Dick Cheney and said “Fuck you Dick Cheney, you’re an arsehole”. A friend recorded the event, and the item is up for sale on E-Bay (uh, oh, not anymore, it’s been withdrawn again). Dr Ben needs the money, he and his missus have a new baby, there are T-shirts bearing the immortal saying which was of course first uttered by Mr. Cheney himself which is plagiarism at its most cunning. Go have a look at his wrecked house his site is called HurricaneKatrinaSucked.

Watch out for the angry man with cheap technology and a worldwide audience.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


In today’s paper Business Report (link) an extraordinary story unfolds about the bank we all know and love, and their attempt to attach R187 million against a debt of R13 000 owed by businessman Rico Benert.

The R13 000 is owed for legal costs ABSA incurred when Rico Bernert took ABSA and Sanlam to court on behalf of his business partner, Alfred Mahner, who killed himself and his family in 1996, when facing financial pressure to repay an overdraft of R250 000 to Trust Bank (now part of ABSA).

Here’s the interesting part, Alfred Mahner received the Bravery Medal of the Republic of South Africa, for rescuing schoolchildren from the Westdene bus disaster in 1985. Bernert is putting this medal up against the R13 000 owed to ABSA, and the best part is if ABSA sells the medal and makes more than the debt, Bernert will have the singular pleasure of extracting money from the behemoth banking group.

Bernert’s skirmishes with ABSA and Sanlam make fascinating reading, an everyman against the might of the gigantic banking conglomerate, David vs Goliath, the man has balls to spare. Break a leg, Rico Bernert, nobody feels sorry for the banks, the people who put the F into grudge purchase.

My bank, however, wants to fly me to the moon, which may have sounded like a good idea to the advertising folks in the boardroom brainstorm over catered lunch, but it doesn’t jibe with their cash cow’s more modest aspirations. Question FNB, why would I want to fly to the moon when I owe you money for my house, which you will whip away from me in a flash if I come upon hard times and can’t pay for a few months. How does this trip to the moon work? On Friday I leave my job as call center operator for Helkom, fly to the moon and be back at my desk on Monday, so I don’t lose my pension and medical benefits, and I’ve still got the leaky roof, the cracked backyard and the millstone around my neck. I’d rather have the money thanks, so if I win, (apparently I’m automatically entered) I’m putting it up on e-Bay.

Then I’ll pay off my house.

Well, boys, better have a really tight foreskin and be able to pee over your head because King Goodwill Zwelethini announced at this year's annual reed dance that "mentors" had been selected, "masters had been trained" to conduct virginity testing for boys.

Here's the bit about the peeing according to traditional Zulu testing methods "when the male urinated, he had to point his penis upwards and his urine would have to reach his height or even sometimes above that.”

To those boys who may already have indulged in sin, all I can say is drink lots of water and keep your legs crossed.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Michael Brown doesn’t know why he was fired, he’s taken on that air of self-righteous indignation so beloved of those caught in way over their heads.

Bush himself is in the sticky in more ways than one, this is what he said on 5 September,

“Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. "

Dick Cheney visits the stricken area and experiences famous local hospitality.

"Dick Cheney : I was talking to the mayor in those areas …

Dr. Ben Marble : Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney.

Dick Cheney : We have got to figure out what to do with all of the debris.

Dr. Ben Marble : Go fuck yourself.

Reporter : Are you getting a lot of that, Mr. Vice President?

Dick Cheney : That’s the first time I’ve heard it. He referring to John – oh, never mind."

And here's Dr. Ben Marble.

Mind numbingly stupid quotes.

Gore makes a comeback, who wudda thought.

I like this guy, more Kanye.

There will be no politics during the telethon to raise money for Katrina survivors. Look at the list of names, Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow, Bono, Kanye West.

Anyone seen Bob Geldorf?

Friday, September 09, 2005


One head rolls.

Time did him in

Spontaneous Answers to Non-Prescreened Questions to Michael Brown

That hair! Grecian Blonde for sure.

The satirists are out in full force :

Fafblog – “If you’re worried about your safety in this new era or if you're gettin worried that the government won't be there to help you out during the next hurricane or earthquake or terrorist attack, don't panic! Fafblog is here with our Do-It-Yourself Emergency Management Guide! Today we're gonna show you how to get through a major disaster just usin stuff you've got lyin around the home.

"It has been brought to my attention that there was recently a bad storm"
The Onion.


In the chicken world, lower status chickens get pecked by those higher up in a hierarchy that is dominated by the chicken elite. They are compensated for enduring this bullying by being able to peck those below them, and so on down the line. Spots of blood, sickness or age make them fair game, and they are dispensed in a heartless and efficient way for the benefit of the group as a whole.

In the human world, we’re more enlightened, it’s not fair to pick on someone worse off than you, we don’t even peck people who are just slightly better off than us, we go for the mega-rich and tasteless, who are well able to protect themselves from proletarian chirpers like us, which makes it the most democratic thing in the world.

The fame junkies are the easiest targets, they won’t go off and retire to their country estates, they keep coming back because without that mass love, they don’t feel truly alive. Michael Jackson wants to stage his umpteenth comeback by having a Queer Eye makeover to become more macho. I should think a couple of months in Dubai should teach him everything there is to know about macho. He’s also doing a song for “Katrina victims”. Well he would, wouldn’t he?

When immensely high status and foolish people do stupid things, they ask for a pecking and it’s our duty to deliver, for instance, Mariah Carey has everything going for her, she’s been famous since she was 18, ditched her powerful husband, buried an embarrassing movie debut and staged a successful comeback. Then she had to spoil it all by calling up a guy and begging over the phone. Someone get Mariah a copy of that book, whatsit, he’s not into you, and that other one Women Who Love Thugs. Maybe Diana Ross can be delegated to teach her how a diva should behave, she’s never put a foot wrong in her entire life, ditto Oprah.

As for Eminem, who owes much of his success to the production genius of Dr Dre, what an incredibly sadistic, uncool and frankly wankerish thing to do? It may have been her fiftieth begging call of the day in which case alright, but to play the tape in his concerts, then pretend to puke, come on, tasteless and mean-spirited isn’t the word. Sis man. We get it already, don’t fuck with Eminem, no wonder he can’t sleep.

Why doesn’t he get together with Courtney Love, she’d provide endless hours of copy now that he’s run out of mother/ex-wife stuff. Courtney Love's daughter, is already a little madam, she’s thirteen and obviously getting ready for her turn in front of the cameras, and good luck to her.

Isn’t Arnie’s face looking incredibly tight these days, or is that the death grin of the one term governor contemplating the political wasteland. He’s got the teachers after his hide, and in laid back sunny anything goes, California, he’s vetoing the gay marriage bill. His approval ratings are so in the terlet, since Arnie for President is becoming remote, he has no choice but to protect the cash flow since famously liberal Hollywood isn’t going to give him a hearty welcome back. He better hope for that earthquake that was promised so he can appear in a flight suit and boost his macho factor, hmmm, there’s an idea for Michael Jackson, fly into New Orleans to lend a hand in a pair of finely tailored blue overalls.

Khanye West for President.

I’m saving the politicians for another post, there’s so many of them, and what they have done this week has been so callous and cynical, they demand a section all by themselves. Arnie’s stays over here, cos he’s not really a politician is he?

Monday, September 05, 2005


Our country has been in the news recently for a number of nifty inventions we’re an enterprising nation it seems, ever ready to supply exactly what the market needs when it needs it.

Now we have the Rapex penis mangler-mincer-shredder, the post-millenium chastity belt, a condom with burr-like teeth, which is apparently going to solve the scourge of rape in our country. When I heard about this little device I imagined it would look like a condom with little teeth like Velcro, I never imagined anything like this.

How is this thing supposed to work? You’re going out for the evening, and you need to decide before you leave the house if you’re going to get raped or not? This is what you have to think about when you’re getting ready for a date, maybe he’s a rapist, I’d better slip in the dinky Rapex just to make sure? That teacher, hmmm, he looks alright but you never know, that neighbour, that shopkeeper, where will it end? You slip this monstrosity inside your body like a tampon, no big deal, and presumably if you haven’t been raped by the end of the day you take it out, right? Duh, what’s to stop the guy taking it out before he rapes you? Except now he has to fiddle around looking for it before he rapes you. Or maybe you catch him and there he is on top of you with pins in the tip of his dick and fully able to sit down and have a reasonable debate about the foolishness of his behaviour. There will be lawsuits about this, mark my words, because there are women who will not be able to resist using it as a weapon.

And hey, wait a minute, are we supposed to buy these things ourselves? Shell out our hard-earned cash for the freedom of movement we thought was our right?

The jokes have already started, here’s one thanks to The Sage :

Man walks into Pharmacy,

I’d like a pack of Trojans...

Regular or Maxxum


Ribbed or non


Lubricated or not


Latex or Kevlar


All right, that'll be 3 pound 5 pence

Here’s an invention we really need, lemons without pips, sounds great doesn’t it, because there are so many pips in lemons aren’t there? Instead of the heavy lifting involved in removing a pip or two from a lemon slice, we now have fruit trees that can’t propagate themselves. Chalk one up for agri-business.

Couple other maybe good things in the food line are new sorghum and wheat cultivars, seven new maize cultivars with enhanced drought tolerance and disease resistance and a groundnut with extra large kernels called the “Rambo”. Hmff, alright good, as long as they’re not genetically modified.

More importantly they’ve developed a “flat pack” for pig semen. Oh yes, a couple of cherubic piglets have already been born from frozen sperm shipped to St. Helena from these shores. Frozen pig spunk in handy rip open packs, ought to be a winner.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


With all the things we need in the world, clothes that don’t need ironing supermarket trolleys that travel forward, feta cheese containers that don’t shred your fingers as they shoot brine around the room, here’s something we apparently need a lot, a robot dog that helps you lose weight by monitoring your diet, exercise levels and giving a “verdict” on your health. It’s linked to a pedometer and bathroom scales with a PDA connected by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to log every morsel that goes into your mouth and every step you take from fridge to couch.

Day One

DD (Diet Dog) : Arf, hello I’m your friendly diet dog, I’m here to help you lose weight and fit into that wedding dress you optimistically ordered a size too small.

OP (Obese Person) Great, make yourself at home.

DD :I don’t mean to intrude but is that a doughnut you’re eating?

OP : I’m hungry.

DD : If you don’t mind me saying so, that doughnut is not the best possible choice for someone wanting to control their weight. It will have a negligible effect on your hunger, but your blood sugar will rise to elevated levels before dropping precipitously, and the amount of fat will add to the adipose on your hips even as the cholesterol from the oil they use over and over clogs up the arteries of your heart.

Silence, munching.

OP : Stop looking at me like that, this is diet ice cream.

DD : I see that you are also drinking a toxic brown beverage that pushes 6 teaspoons of sugar and a tremendous jolt of carbonated caffeine into your body sending your heart rate up?

OP : So what, I’m thirsty, I don’t have anything else in the house, what do you want me to do?

DD : You haven’t moved in the last four hours except to roll over and reach for the remote control.

OP : Put a sock in it, ning nong, I’m tired.

DD : Take me for a walk, take me for a walk, take me for a walk.

Click, reboot.

Day Five

DD : What is that?

OP : It’s a cigarette, we smoke them.

DD : Keep that up, you stupid clot and you’re heading for a horrible lonely death, your lungs rotting in your chest, speaking through your neck to the few people left who can stand to be around you.

OP : Swear to God, I’m going to unplug you for good.

DD : Shall I call the dressmaker and have her let out the wedding dress? Or cancel the stupid garish wedding altogether, I mean that boyfriend of yours, got loser written all over him, shifty eyes, can’t trust them … his crotch smells as though he’s just come from Teazers.


In reality the dog doesn’t talk, it mirrors the person’s response, which is a fat lot of good (so to speak) :

If you have stuck to your daily calories, he will jump up and down, wag his tail, play vibrant music and flash the brightly coloured LEDs that pepper his 50 centimetre-tall plastic body. But if you have already had too many, he will move slowly and lethargically and play low-energy music.”

The robot dog doesn’t weld the fridge door shut, hide the remote control or chase the dieter around the house, it just hangs around looking lethargic, exactly like a teenager. Pretty damn useless if you ask me.

Now excuse me I have friggin ironing to do.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Here’s Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin, transcript of radio interview, Friday September 2.

Camille Paglia is back.

William Rivers Pitt.

Anne Rice.

Angelina gets involved.


Black people loot, white people find.

Rev Pat Robertson?


Someone shut up Granny .

Thank you Borowitz

The Barbara Bush. Tour Guide Houston for the Underprivileged.

Poster for the Sunday Independent on a tree in my neighbourhood “Katrina Batters Bush”.

Friday, September 02, 2005


We have interesting problems of our own here in South Africe, but what we don’t have to worry about are hurricanes. A tornado or two, fantastically violent electric storms, hail, gets a bit windy this time of year, but nothing approaching a full-on hurricane has been seen in these parts at least since I’ve been alive.

So I find myself living in San Antonio, Texas, 1989, my husband works for the military, I live in a townhouse in a gated complex, drive an Amerrrrcan car, eat barbecue and shop at HEB. I work for a Texan bank where the bosses wear Stetsons and have bathroom/shower combos in their offices. It’s a strange job, rather vague which led me to suspect I was their spy, but that’s not the point of the story. Along comes Hurricane Gilbert heading straight for the Texas coast and there’s a small chance it might fling my car into my roof. The television build-up to the hurricane’s arrival is huge, everyone becomes an expert on synoptic charts and has moment by moment knowledge of the exact placement of the threat which is even more menacing since it can’t be controlled. A sense of urgency takes hold, there is a zing in the air, faces are flushed, the radio is on all day, everyone pops around for an update, someone has a map and tracks the progress with a pencil.

The bank takes care of its staff, emergency plans are put into action for the employees from the coastal branches to drive up to San Antonio and stay in hotels, pets are kenelled, goods are stored. Packing up an entire household in a few hours can lead to strange misshapen objects. Padre Island is completely evacuated, it looks like an apocalyptic nightmare, all the beachfront hotels boarded up against the wind which already blows frantically.

On Friday, everyone is on edge, except me, I’m South African, we don’t take safety for granted, every day is a gift, little storm, pah, no big thing. The next day, it’s blustery and grey, but the roof stays on, we stay indoors the American way with pizza, beer, videos and ice cream, we don’t for one moment think of packing the cars and running for our lives. Where would we go, live in someone else’s house? Pack up everything all for nothing? Why us? Why is that hurricane going to hit our house exactly? We’re reckless, we’re special, we’ll be alright.

The hurricane lifts as it reaches the coast, it skips over deserted Padre Island, misses Corpus Christi and Victoria by miles and one of its evil stepchildren hits San Antonio right in the Texan goolies, one of the military bases has its buildings drilled through by a giant Black and Decker, splintering everything into matchsticks.

So there you go, you can never tell with Nature, which is why you don’t pack up and head for the hills at the first sniff of a hurricane, you ride it out, hoping you are special enough to the universe to be spared and that if something bad happens the government will send somebody to help you in time.

Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


The first day of September is the start of spring here in beautiful Johannesburg and does this city have the perfect climate or what? We’ve gone from summer to winter with barely a brrr and it’s spring again, all those blossoms foaming around the razor wire, jasmine so pungent it stings the throat, even the birds have become giddily infected with the madness, chirping their heads off from trees bursting with pink.

The start of spring usually represents that lovely slow slide towards Christmas when the holiday season takes hold and everything gets put off until "next year". You wait for the first tinsel and fake snow spray and the sound of that first irritating Christmas commercial. Then you realize with a horrible shock that most of the year is over and you still haven’t done that thing you promised to do. It’s a good time to go through last year’s New Year’s resolutions because you’ve still got 4 months to do them, I’m pulling mine out and, uh, about that yoga, those cartons of cigarettes, ah well, four out of ten is better than last year, and there’s still time.

Reasons to be cheerful

1. That my shoes aren’t on a bridge in Baghdad.
2. That my house isn’t flooded with toxic bilge, a lifetime’s mementoes, photographs, carefully assembled collections, swamped in an instant of madness, compelling me to spend days and days with 10 000 other people in a huge oven with no food, water or toilets.
3. That my most pressing concern right now is what to have for dinner.
4. That I have a dinner.
5. That tomorrow is casual day at work and all the guys in the office have promised to wear short shorts.

* Ian Dury

Reasons to be Cheerful Part 3 (abbrev)

"Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good golly Miss Molly and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley and nanny goats

18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camels
All other mammals plus equal votes
Seeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
Being rather silly, and porridge oats

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You're welcome, we can spare it - yellow socks
Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
Going on 40 - no electric shocks

The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot
A little drop of claret - anything that rocks
Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain't spotty,
Sitting on the potty - curing smallpox

Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

1 2 3

Reasons to be cheerful part 3

Health service glasses
Gigolos and brasses
round or skinny bottoms

Take your mum to paris
lighting up the chalice
wee willy harris

Bantu Stephen Biko, listening to Rico
Harpo, Groucho, Chico

Cheddar cheese and pickle, the Vincent motorsickle
Slap and tickle
Woody Allen, Dali, Dimitri and Pasquale
balabalabala and Volare

Something nice to study, phoning up a buddy
Being in my nuddy
Saying hokey-dokey, singalonga Smokey
Coming out of chokey

John Coltrane's soprano, Adi Celentano
Bonar Colleano

Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3
Reasons to be cheerful part 3

1 2 3

Yes yes
dear dear
perhaps next year
or maybe even never

in which case

Reasons to be cheerful part 3"