My first smartphone selfie.
But that’s going to be my last selfie too. These things are just plain stupid.
For the number of times I’m accused in the comments section of not having an open mind…
It’s never a great idea to pack on the morning you are going away somewhere for an extended stay. Especially not when you’re departing at 4:30 that same morning.
But now I know for sure.
The girls and I holidayed in the amazing Mpumalanga Lowveld area last week and I forgot to take my cameras. I never leave my cameras behind when going away on holiday. But this was a first, and only because I packed in a hurry. Somehow the bag with the cameras whose batteries I had charged the night before, never made it to the car. Which meant I had to take a few pictures with my stupid cellular phone. I hate that thing; more so if/when I have to use it for more than just making or receiving calls.
But I did. And I got shitty pictures.
Awful, aren’t they? Please use the link above to get a decent idea of how beautiful this area of South Africa is. The German tourists seem to dig it. Met quite a lot of them taking in the sights, and every one I spoke to was impressed with the natural beauty of the Lowveld. Or maybe they’re just still so happy after that fantastic World Cup win.
By the way, the picture with my car visible in the background through those empty curio vendor stalls is not one of the natural attractions of this area, although I’m still pretty pleased with that four and half year-old Honda. I was just fascinated with the way the stalls looked in the setting sun.
You won’t believe I’m drinking tea as I write this. I used to avoid the stuff at all costs. That was when I was a one-cup-a-day-coffee-with-six-sugars addict. And mostly Coke (and not the diet kind).
It all changed about two weeks ago, and will explain why I haven’t written anything since.
I got sick. A double whammy. The flu trying to convince me it was a bigger deal than that awful pain in my stomach. The doctors at the hospital eventually decided that the pain in my stomach was a bigger deal… after I’d eventually managed to drag my ass out of bed after two days of torture, and drive myself there.
Turns out my gallbladder was seriously inflamed and harbouring some fugitive stones – nasty looking fuckers. I’d actually had this pain for a few years and chose stupidly to ignore it. My gall bladder’s time had come… to protest in the most violent manner possible.
Up to that point, I had no idea that it was possible to live without a gallbladder, so when the surgeon told me it hd to come out, I was somewhat taken aback. But, but, but…
“Oh, nothing to worry about,” said the bladder butcher, “we do tens of thousands of these every year.” And they all live happily ever after, mostly. Seems that the gallbladder just stores excess bile before releasing it into the small intestine to break down fatty acids and such during digestion, and does pretty much fuck-all else. No real need for it at all…
And so it had to come out. The procedure known as a cholecystectomy is pretty simple – anesthetic, and well… that’s all I remember. It’s only later I discovered four minor cuts and feeling a little sore. And oh yes, two days of physiotherapy which involved breathing exercises and walking about. Yep, all pretty straightforward.
However I’d have to make a few lifestyle changes. No more fatty foods and caffeine. That means NO MORE COFFEE AND COKE. Sob! Eat more fruit. I hated fruit.
That’s where the tea comes in. Who knew it could taste good, and without any fucking sugar too. Luckily I discovered this brand with ginger, orange and honey in a supermarket without having to look too hard.
I’m hoping to steal a drink or two of coffee and Coke some time next year when my body has forgotten that it doesn’t have a gallbladder. Maybe a nice fatty steak too. Aaahhhh! Something to live for at least.
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage…
Pretty much sums up how I feel about my job right now. But that’s by the by.
Strange thing about this song is that the title Bullet With Butterfly Wings is not mentioned in the lyrics at all, and does not seem to have anything to do with anything. But it does sound so cool, not to mention poetic. It was released in 1995 on The Smashing Pumpkins’ double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.
And how about that? Billy Corgan had hair back then.
Happy alternative weekend folks.
Justice Malala has written another great opinion piece on Times Live. It is just so good, that it would be a travesty not to share. I have taken the liberty to lift it whole for you to enjoy, if it is at all possible to take pleasure in reading about an obscenely disgraceful person.
Zuma the wrecking ball
Just a month into his second term, President Jacob Zuma is politically exposed and his former friends are calling him names in parliament. Already, many within the ruling party have begun contesting for his position.
His performance in parliament last week was dismal and underlined what some of us have said since 2005, when Thabo Mbeki fired him: he is not fit to govern and is not fit to walk in the shoes of Oliver Tambo and Albert Luthuli. His first term as chief executive of South Africa Incorporated was an absolute disaster. His second will be worse.
His new cabinet is possibly the worst to sit around a table in the boardrooms of the Union Buildings since democracy dawned. It is a collection of cronies, incompetents and yes-men. It is a cabinet in which the few talented and worthy individuals are overwhelmed by the compromised.
Zuma stood up in parliament last week and brazenly told us something we all know – we have run out of electricity. The only reason we still have lights on in our homes is because Eskom is diverting electricity to consumers while the mines and other big users are being starved of the stuff. Expect major outages when the platinum miners go back to work.
Now, you would think that a president would send his best people to deal with the sort of energy crisis we face.
Zuma did, after all, spend the biggest chunk of his speech going on about our energy challenges. How does he solve this clear and present danger?
He has appointed possibly the most controversial, divisive and incompetent minister of his last administration, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to the energy portfolio. You have to wonder what kind of sick joke is being played on the electorate. In her report in December, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma should act against Joemat-Pettersson because of her “reckless dealing with state money and services, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure, loss of confidence in the fisheries industry in South Africa, alleged decimation of fisheries resources in South Africa and delayed quota allocations due to lack of appropriate research”.
But Zuma went and appointed her to what is potentially the most critical job in his administration. Within days she was telling the world that South Africa will be building a nuclear power plant.
And who will be building this facility? Ah, President Zuma’s new best friends, the Russian government. Let me give you a prediction, dear reader: In 2030 there will be a commission of inquiry in South Africa investigating “corruption related to a trillion-dollar nuclear deal”. This is another arms deal in the making. Mark my words.
You have to wonder who advised Zuma on some of his appointments. Siyabonga Cwele? Faith Muthambi? Nathi Mthethwa? It boggles the mind.
When he has a clear opportunity to do something extraordinary, the man chokes.
Why is an announcement that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will run the National Development Plan not explicit in Zuma’s speeches? As usual, on this issue Zuma has done what he does best, he has poured uncertainty into the milieu.
On May 25, announcing his new cabinet, he said: “The National Planning Commission, as well as the performance monitoring and evaluation ministries in The Presidency, have been combined into one ministry to harmonise the planning and monitoring functions.”
He announced that the man in charge of this ministry is Jeff Radebe.
Last weekend the ANC, reacting to the bad news that two international ratings agencies found our economic future bleak, issued this statement: “The Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, has been assigned the task of chairing the National Planning Commission and has overall oversight of the implementation and enforcement of the NDP across government.”
What is going on here? Does Zuma’s left hand know what the right hand is doing? I don’t think so. In fact, I think some distance is beginning to emerge between Zuma and his party. It seems to me the ANC wants some leadership, whereas Zuma prefers to keep things murky and divisive while he rules the roost. It is absolutely the wrong way to run a country.
Thankfully, it seems as if some in the ANC are waking up to the fact that the man is a liability. As a clearly ailing Zuma hobbled into parliament last week party branches across the country were beginning to caucus about who should succeed him when the party conference is held in December 2017.
The powerful KwaZulu-Natal branch could push for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma or Zweli Mkhize.
But the North West, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Limpopo branches are saying Ramaphosa should be given a chance. Ramaphosa needs to send them a signal that he is ready to run.
Crucially, KwaZulu-Natal ANC leaders are saying they are prepared to back Ramaphosa, but would want to have Mkhize as his No2. This is where the sticking point lies: a place has to be found for ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, at present the most powerful man in the party.
It will be an interesting race, but Zuma could lobby hard for his former wife to succeed him.
Meanwhile, South Africa will just have to grit its teeth for another five long years with the liability that is Zuma.
Oh. My. Fraud…
A friend found the Metal folder yesterday that I keep skipping on the memory stick that’s been playing in my car for a while now. She figured it would be nice to listen to some really hard stuff after the piano/cello/clarinet recital we’d just been to in Westcliff, Johannesburg. I decided to let it continue playing today while I was driving to work – nothing like some heavy metal to liven up a Monday morning and get you prepared to face a shitty start to the working week.
Anyway, I came across My Ruin, an alternative metal band fronted by Tairrie B and Mick Murphy (these days at least). Tairrie B is one bad-ass vocalist; she’s certainly no shrinking violet. I can still hear that 1999 hit Terror playing and it gives me goose bumps:
I strike terror among men.
I can’t be bothered by what they think.
I bare my cross,
but I never forget.
I’ve been put upon this earth in female form.
But I can handle myself with the best of you,
As well as the worst.
And I often have.
I have the right to remain silent,
But I choose to speak…
But I digress. The song playing this morning was Blasphemous Girl. Get a handle on these opening lyrics:
Drunk with sin she sits in her skin,
Filled with anger fueled by liquer drowns in dreams
With no saviour from the truth none can save her
He is her own personal Jesus and he will not be her last
God wants a piece of her ass
God wants a piece of my ass…
But you know what? I really admire that. We need more Tairrie B’s in the
music world. Check out these closing lines:
torture me with timelessness
worship my first with every kiss
resurrection of my pain drag me down our memory lane
introduce me to devotion
leave me numb with no emotion
stars surround you when I feel you
you look better when I cannot see you…
looks good on you but liar should be your tattoo
Who do you think she’s referring to? Does my opening line make any sense now?
This made my week.
An enterprising South African posted the following on a local online smalls advertising site known as Gumtree.
But wait, it gets better…
After the posting was made public on a popular Tech and IT news website, Gumtree decided to take down the advert. A Gumtree spokesperson explained the reason:
We encourage users to only upload advertisements that offer legitimate goods and services…
I guess she had no idea how hilarious and appropriate her response was. Well played spokesperson; a growing number of South Africans know all too well that our President is definitely not legit.
While many politicians were today attending the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Jacob Zuma in Parliament, I’d venture that a whole lot more astute South Africans decided to give it a total miss.
Why anyone other than journalists unlucky enough to get this pissy assignment, politicians and economist types would want to watch this drivel, is beyond me. I do know that quite a few people I’m acquainted with would have watched if only Zuma would have used the occasion to say, “You were all right. I’m a poor excuse for a leader. I quit.” But we all knew that was never going to happen.
From the newspaper reports, SONA did live up to expectations: another drab, meaningless affair crammed full of rhetoric and promises drifting on a stream of hot air spewing from the President’s untrustworthy mouth. He could have rehashed any previous SONA, and only the most discerning would have detected any difference.
However what interested me the most was the outfits these politicians chose to wear to Parliament. It smacked of pretentiousness.
While many chose traditional African outfits, one even came barefoot. Another MP’s wife arrived clad in a blue, red, yellow, and black Ndebele blanket, claiming that it was her culture. Perhaps her culture is only manifest at Parliamentary shindigs, because I’m willing to bet that you will find her dressed in European haute couture, the rest of the year. One female MP bought her traditional dress in Ghana because it symbolized freedom. Seemingly there are no South African equivalents.
Julius Malema of the infamous Economic Freedom Fighters attended in a red workman’s overalls, which has become his party’s dress of choice for Parliament because it symbolizes their (supposed) affiliation to the working class. The idiom “a
jackass wolf in sheep’s clothing” has never been more relevant. But that was not all: an observant journalist noticed that Malema was wearing a normal suite under these red overalls. You can be sure that those red digs will be ripped off like a stripper does, just before the SONA after-party, safely out of sight of his doting, but gullible constituents.
Then off course there were the others, whose fashion sense were about as deficient as their honest political intentions.
And so concludes my report on another hollow State of the Nation Address.
A pretty reckless thing for anyone to say, but this band does it so well. Oh yeah, and it is a kick-ass song; no really.
And the best clip from the movie…