A Song for Halloween: Waltzinblack by the Stranglers

A happy and creepy Halloween to everyone.

You may remember this song featuring in the late great, Keith Floyd’s TV chef series. A strange choice for theme music, but it worked well nonetheless.

It’s my pick for Halloween. I hope you enjoy.

The march for economic freedom, or the Juju shuffle up the M1

"picked" from jacarandafm.com

His name is Juju, otherwise known as Julius Malema, and heads up the youth wing of the African National Congress (ANC) – you’ll be amazed how much trouble an empty head can both cause, and get into.

Haven’t heard of him huh? That’s okay. You’re probably not from South Africa, and you have your own problems with scumbag politicians fucking up your own country. Right?

Anyway over here in sunny South Africa, Juju has been in the news far too much recently. His big mouth, and dubious lifestyle has got him into a heap of trouble, most notably with his parent organization the ANC, who also happen to run the country…more or less, mostly less. I’m not so sure if he’s in much trouble with the law. We all suspect [with good reason] that his parent organization owns the law and can make any trouble they’re in, disappear – much like our taxes.

His trouble with the ANC is believed to be because he is at loggerheads with a certain faction within the organization who in turn is at loggerheads with a certain other faction within the rotting carcase that was once headed by Nelson Mandela. We can’t be 100% certain of this, but most knowledgeable people seem to think so.

There was a time when Juju was 100% for the leader of the ruling faction [most South Africans will remember that this was around the time when it was revealed that Juju scored only 20% for woodwork at school]. Since then he’s become a whole lot fatter, and it’s thought that this could be due to all the tenders he’s been scoring for being 100% for the leader. But all that’s changed now and if we follow everything we’re being fed in the news, Juju’s 100% for himself only.

A little while ago, someone [bastard - may the fleas of a thousand camels...] whispered in Juju’s ear that “political freedom is useless without economic freedom” and he interpreted it to mean that all mines should be nationalised, jobs be handed out to the unemployable, and shares on the stock exchange be distributed freely among the people. Since this epiphany, Juju has hung onto this silly dogma like a hungry you know what.

Which leads us to today and this silly march up or alongside the M1, from Johannesburg to the Stock Exchange Building in Sandton. Juju has branded it the “March for Economic Freedom,” although it’s debatable whether he understands anything about the economy or freedom for that matter. Juju is becoming quite the politician – by being very adept at misleading and exploiting the common people.

Those of us who work hard for the pittance we earn, know that this march is all about demanding for shit that you don’t want to work for. It’s just an extension of the culture of entitlement that the ANC has worked very hard to cultivate over nearly two decades in office, while simultaneously fucking up the country. Yes, it’s commonly thought that their biggest achievement in all that time was to learn how to raid the treasury effortlessly, while sidestepping every attempt to hold them accountable.

Yeah, Juju, you know what? No amount of marching or singing or dancing is going to suddenly make jobs appear, mines to become nationalised or shares to be distributed. You may have convinced 5000 [estimated] gullible idiots to shuffle along the M1 to your delusional tune, but all that’s generated so far is howls of laughter.

March on into the Indian Ocean, you pompous numbskull…

The end of the world is (not) nigh…

Harold-Camping-FailIt’s less than 4 hours to go before 22 October rolls around here where I’m writing this, and it’s already that in some parts of the world.

If you’ve looked around and can’t find anybody you know suddenly missing for any strange reason, it could mean one of three things:

  1. We’re all evil bastards who don’t deserve to be Raptured, and have been left here on Earth to rot forever by [insert your version of a mean-spirited, invisible father-figure here]
  2. We’ve all been Raptured and are now in Heaven, which inexplicably looks just like Earth. And the whole event went unnoticed; occurred not with a bang, but with barely a whimper, as Camping is recorded as re-predicting.
  3. Harold Camping is a lying scumsucker.

Need I tell you which one I pick?

However, let’s for the hell of it, imagine if the first or second scenario played out. If we’re all evil bastards who have been left behind, it is highly likely that the mother of all floods is headed our way soon. In which case, I hope you have your Ark schematics approved.

If we’ve all been Raptured and are now in a Heaven, which looks and feels just like Earth, it probably signifies that we’ve all been had by the cosmic father-figure of our choice that we’ve trusted for so long. It therefore sucks being us.

I’m therefore quite justified in declaring that you can’t possibly win by believing in, and trusting invisible, all-powerful father-figures.

All that’s left is to wait for Camping to explain this monumental failure of prophesy, which I’m sure will be as hilarious as his previous attempts.

We live in a fascinating time…

Nicholas Roerich "Armageddon"

Image via Wikipedia

Hot news around the world today is that Moammar Gadaffi bought the farm. At least everyone thinks he has.

I’m thinking that Gadaffi was eccentric enough to have had a body double, who is the unfortunate slob who is now actually riddled with bullets. Privately, I’m hoping that this is not so, and that the evil bastard is indeed dead. We’ll just have to wait and see…

If it is genuinely confirmed that the tyrant is dead, it would be rather unfortunate that he copped it prematurely. Tomorrow, October 21 is the eagerly awaited Judgement Day, and it would have been rather sweet if Gadaffi got his personal Armageddon on this auspicious (to Harold Camping and his idiotic followers, at any rate) day.

And while we’re talking about Camping, I wonder what the lunatic is doing right now? Is he on bended knee, hands clasped in prayer? Or is he giving his final sermon to the delusional rabble that follows him? Perhaps he’s having his last earthly meal?

Whatever!

I’m just dying to find out how he’s going to explain away tomorrow, when it passes as it normally does, and the world remains as fucked-up as it is today. My advice to his more sensible (if that’s at all possible) followers is to prepare a noose for Camping, to send him on his way to meet Gadaffi.

That way he will get to enjoy an ending after all.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – A Trilogy in Five Parts, by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (THHGTTG), the first book in the science fiction series has been around since 1979. It was followed by The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Life, the Universe and Everything, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, and Mostly Harmless, the last in the series in 1992.

I had not read any of them until a few months ago, and I will never forgive myself for this outrage. You see, such have I revelled in the experience, that I’m absolutely certain that I would have read the entire series, a few times by now, had I bothered to make the effort even a few years ago, before the Hollywood film adaptation was released.

There’s not much of a plot in any of the books in the series. It chronicles the mis-adventures of a wacky bunch of characters, both earthlings and aliens, through multiple dimensions of space and time. And it’s flipping hilarious.

But that’s not the reason I found it hard to put down, until I had finished reading them all consecutively, over a period of a few weeks. And it was not because of the most improbable cast of characters ever to have been dreamt up: Arthur Dent the clueless Englishman, Ford Prefect the alien from the vicinity of Betelgeuse who travels the galaxy posting ridiculous facts about the places he visits in the guidebook of the title, Zaphod Beeblebrox a two-headed alien, Trillian, another earthling, Marvin the Paranoid Android, Slartibartfast of the planet-building planet Magrathea, who designs coastlines, Zarquon the prophet, Wonko the Sane another earthling, Random Dent, Arther’s daughter through a sperm donation, Protestnic Vogon Jeltz the Vogon captain hell-bent on destroying earth, Old Thrashbarg a shaman from the planet Lamuella, Oolon Colluphid the famous author of such books as Where God went Wrong, Some More of God’s Mistakes and Who Is This God Person Anyway? and many, many more.

But apart from the characters, you will come across some of the strangest places in the galaxy: the Folfanga star system, Frogstar World A, B and C, the Megabrantus Cluster where the Vogons hail from, the Squornshellous star system, the Ydsdllodins star system, the Planets Arkintoofle Minor, Bartledan, Blagulon Kappa, Eroticon [no explanations needed], Gagrakacka, Golgafrincham, Kakrafoon, Krikkit, NowWhat, Voondon and many others.

But it’s not about the strange star systems and planets either. No.

What makes this series of books so utterly amazing is what I believe to be the ultimate goal of Douglas Adams in writing them. He writes about the utterly bizarre, and the ridiculously improbable, not to show that all things are possible as some have been lead to believe, but that skepticism is the most essential tool for understanding life and the universe. The weird and wonderful people and places in the galaxies that are visited by our heroes in the books are actually metaphors for the strange beliefs people hold in religions, superstitions, pseudoscience, alternative medicine, homeopathy, astrology, the paranormal and other dogmas.

And did I mention that it’s funny as hell?

I think you’ll agree as I sample some of my favorite quotes from the various books.

From The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:

The Jatravartids, who live in perpetual fear of the time they call the Coming of the Great White Handkerchief, are small blue creatures with more than fifty arms each, who are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel.

One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of accidentally becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem involved in becoming your own father or mother that a broadminded and well-adjusted family can’t cope with.

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

From Life, the Universe and Everything:

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

From So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish:

For a moment he felt good about this. A moment or two later he felt bad about feeling good about it. Then he felt good about feeling bad about feeling good about it and, satisfied, drove on into the night.

There is a feeling which persists in England that making a sandwich interesting, attractive, or in any way pleasant to eat is something sinful that only foreigners do.

Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff beer.

‘It seemed to me,’ said Wonko the Sane, ‘that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.’

…a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting.

Let’s be straight here. If we find something we can’t understand, we like to call it something you can’t understand, or indeed pronounce.

From Mostly Harmless:

Few things are worse than fall in New York. Some of the things that live in the lower intestines of rats would disagree, but most of the things that live in the lower intestines of rats are highly disagreeable anyway, so their opinion can and should be discounted. When it’s fall in New York, the air smells as if someone’s been frying goats in it, and if you are keen to breathe, the best plan is to open a window and stick your head in a building.

Surely the notion that great lumps of rock whirling in space knew something about your day that you didn’t must take a bit of a knock from the fact that there was suddenly a new lump of rock out there that nobody had known about before.

Census 2011: Count me Out

It’s census time in South Africa again. However for those who can’t see the point, or shudder at the thought of the cost, its senseless time again.

I’m one of those who are skeptical about the benefits, especially living under a government that could quite fairly be described as bordering on despotic.

I was contemplating participating in the grand scheme of information gathering, by answering the questions cynically:

Race: Human

Age: Old Enough

Sex: Infrequently

Gender: All for Equality

Number of People Living on the Property: Sorry, there’s no more room at the Inn

Income: You have a bloody cheek asking me that, since your employer appropriates most of it

Etc. You get the point.

However, I just read the Statistician General Pali Lehohla, being quoted in a newspaper as saying that we’re legally bound to answer ALL questions asked by the census takers. And that has peeved me off, big time. Surely there is something in our Constitution such as Title 13 from the US statutes that protects citizens from this sort of government harassment?

That changes everything! I will not be threatened. Pali and his government can kiss my Human ass. I’m not even going to give you bureaucratic scumbags the time of day.

Why should I tell your government anything about me? So that they can budget for how much they can safely raid from the treasury coffers, instead of doing it with impunity, like they do now?

Why should I allow a government who intends passing laws that will silence the public and prevent us from asking them questions, to ask me any questions? You can call me unpatriotic and silly and whatever. I couldn’t be bothered. This is my opportunity to protest peacefully about the thieves who run this country.

Listen up! Count me out!

The only reason culture is sacrosanct, is because you say so…

I have in fact said this before, but not in those same words.

Well, at least one other person believes the same thing. Online editor Chris Roper, writing in the Mail & Guardian about football culture, sums it up pretty nicely in his opening paragraph:

A useful rule of thumb is to avoid anybody who uses culture as an excuse for doing something stupid. From wearing neckties to picking brides out of a line-up of bouncy little breasts, from showing respect for your elders to hunting a whale, it’s all a bunch of bullshit. Yes, I’m sure your culture is vitally important, and we have the right to practice whatever nonsense we want, but really. The only reason it’s sacrosanct is because you say so.

The rest of the article mostly makes reference to Manchester United players, one of which goes like this:

Park, Park, you’re an ugly fuck, you’ve got a face like a crispy duck; could be worse, you could be gay, getting bummed by John O’Shea.

Football culture aside, if you want your culture to not be ridiculed, leave it at home where nobody else can see it or be bothered by it. It goes without saying that it is not deserving of any respect.

Two ways to understand the world we live in

The Religious Method

The Scientific Method

One provides comfort and does not strain the brain; one requires some effort, but is ultimately more rewarding.

Your choice…

17 shopping days until the end of the world?

Harold Camping in 2008

Image via Wikipedia

October 21, 2011 approaches!

According to Harold Camping, the world is supposed to be in the final stages of 5 months of horrible torment since the fabled Judgment Day which passed with hardly any fuss, on 21 May 2011. With just 17 days to go before that supposed all-defining moment in the brief history of mankind, die-hard believers are presumably wringing their hands in glee, while those who have not accepted Camping’s Lord, should either be wondering if there’s anything to all this flim-flam, or laughing hysterically.

To be fair, the last five months have been kinda unusual. Could Camping be onto something? Or is he on something, which seems to be the consensus of opinion?

World events over the last 5 months have been rather unusual. Or so it would have seemed to the casual observer. I’m not even going to try to imagine what it must have seemed like, to the stoned observer.

Despots who were apparently well-loved by the people being ousted in North Africa, the darling of the freedom movements, the ANC revealing themselves to be plain old scum, economic crisis in Europe, snow near Sun City and tornadoes in other parts of South Africa, Julius Malema being disciplined and the ANC Youth League losing popularity, and Arsenal languishing just above the relegation zone in the English Premier League table.

Now those were just some of the mighty unusual occurrences over the last 5 months. Or Harold Camping will have you believe so.

Either way, whether you’re a believer or not, it’s the ideal time to get in some shopping. Whether it’s to buy some wine for that last supper, a gift for Harold for warning everyone, a new bible to search for those passages to help you repent, or a bottle of the usual plonk, to ease those mouth muscles while you laugh at those who fell for it again…