Cameras, Revenue Generators and Automobiles

Earlier this afternoon, while at a local shopping mall, I noticed a duo of female traffic officers on foot, issuing traffic tickets to vehicles parked in the (private) parking area adjoining the mall. I stopped to observe for a while because I hadn’t seen this variety of traffic officer in quite a while. In the old days we used to refer to female traffic officers as “meter maids” because they would ticket vehicles parked next to expired parking meters on city streets.
 
I approached them to enquire under what municipal by-law they were authorised to issue traffic fines on private property (the shopping mall is presumably private property). It was obvious they didn’t know, and one lady indicated that because the entrance to the mall did not have boom gates, it was deemed an extension of municipal property and thus subject to the jurisdiction of the local Metro Police. By this logic, the land attached to my home could also be regarded as municipal property because I do not have boom gates installed at the entrance, either. Not satisfied, I left to continue my shopping, and when I re-emerged from the mall, about half an hour later, the “meter maids” had disappeared.
 
When I got home, I sent a mail off to the Mayors office enquiring about the legality of issuing traffic fines on private property and vented my anger. To quote myself, I wrote “I wish to also state that I find this activity of the Metro Police extremely reprehensible since they are clearly ‘lazy’ or incompetent or both in chasing the real threats to road safety, but are content to ‘camp’ at shopping malls chasing easy targets.”
 
My anger at the behaviour of our Metro Police is shared by practically everyone in this country. Daily we observe these fat pigs sitting comfortably under conveniently located shady trees, pointing speed cameras at passing motorists, while ignoring the traffic chaos caused by faulty traffic lights, a few blocks down the road. Their first priority is to issue as many traffic fines as possible. Traffic safety is not even secondary; it is an irritation that gets in the way of their daily siestas. That they are primarily employed to generate revenue for the local Metro Councils, is a well known source of mirth for the public.
 
And it just gets worse with the advent of newer technology. As the sophistication of the camera equipment they use to trap motorists, improves, their mobility correspondingly decreases. They no longer have to place these twin strips of wire (connected to a trapping unit) on the roads and then jump up from their seated position to flag down an offending motorist. No, these days all they need to do is sit comfortably under a shaded tree and the trapping equipment captures a photograph of the speeding vehicle. There are even fixed position cameras mounted on poles at various sites along motorways, which presumably frees the traffic pigs to enjoy longer siestas elsewhere. As a result of this decreased mobility, it’s not hard to notice how the girths of most traffic pigs have steadily increased.
 
The other irritation for motorists these days apart from the constant traffic, is the road blocks set up frequently by the Metro Police (read traffic pigs) to find those who have defaulted on payment of traffic fines. And the amazing thing is that these bastards don’t even try to hide the fact that they are stopping vehicles, invariably causing huge traffic congestion, just to look for motorists with outstanding payments against their names. The expenditure on the technology, manpower and vehicles to perform these exercises is an abomination and a criminal waste of taxpayers money.
 
Are we going to get real traffic officers back? Nah, I don’t believe so. Using these dimwits for revenue generation is proving to be a real rosy deal for the powers that be…

Twit of the Week – 05

My weekly rendition of the “twit of the week” is a little late this time around, but that’s not because there is suddenly a dearth of twits. On the contrary, there are any number of twits each week, banging on the doors of the halls of twit-dome.
 
Take for example, Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of trade union, Cosatu whose recent comments about “killing for Zuma” went unpunished by the South African Human Rights Commission. To top that, during  a strike-march last week, the twit called on the government to zero-rate (from VAT) the five basic commodities. Four of the basic five commodities are already zero-rated. Seems like mouthing off with little thought, is second nature to this clown. But, he actually does not make it into the halls of twit-dome (not this time anyway). You see, last week, a trio of murderous delinquents “high on religion” managed to earn entry instead.
 
26-year-old Nicolette and 20-year-old Hardus Lotter murdered their parents, Gerhardus and Magdelena in an affluent suburb of Durban, South Africa. And the dirty deed was apparently done under the influence of 21-year-old Matthew Naidoo, a religious nutcase who claimed to be the “third son of God.” Matthew told the siblings that God wanted their parents. You have to be pretty far gone to believe that you are a son of a non-existent God, and even more loony to actually allow yourself to be convinced to kill by such a cretin. As Voltaire observed “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
 
Now, will the “second-son-of-God” please identify yourself so that we can incarcerate you in a padded room, before you also entice someone to kill for your non-existent God.

Another Religious Lie That Came Through My e-Mail

Secularism is on the rise and so is Atheism. The signs are everywhere. More and more people across the planet are realizing that religion is a fraud. More Atheists are revealing themselves openly, especially in America, once thought of as becoming increasingly fundamentalist.

And the religious movements, proponents and apologists are all too aware of this shift away from their organizational clutches. Initially it was the cults and new-age existentialist movements that attracted both the weak-minded and disillusioned away from mainstream religions, but in the age of the World Wide Web, information is the new “God.” Information has exposed the irrational and illogical, and has replaced the imaginary power of God with a tangible alternative. Not that this alternative needs to be worshipped; it only needs to be acknowledged as a real power.
It is thus not surprising that religious organizations and self-serving individuals have resorted to using this information medium for spreading lies, half-truths, mis-quotes and disingenuous statistics, in a ludicrous attempt to confuse, mis-inform and keep the religiously inclined within their control. I recently posted an essay on a hoax mail about people who apparently mocked God, and I received another one recently. However, if you go to this page on the Snopes.com site, there are quite a few listed there.
 
Entitled, The Hands of God, the mail contained the following photograph and claim:
This is awesome! This certainly should make believers out of non-believers. Praise the Lord! Would you look at this picture? It reminds me of that song “He’s got the whole word in his hands.” He is definitely in control. I needed this today more than ever. Enjoy and pass it along. Photo taken in Kentucky .

Cara Winship sent this out it is called: God’s hands. I took this picture on Hwy 30, traveling to London , KY. It has given me strength in the times of trouble. I feel I should share it with the rest of the world. I hope it is an inspiration to you. It just goes to show what we already know…. We have a God and he’s watching over us. I e-mailed this picture to News Chanel 36. I was contacted by Meteorologist John James. He said that this picture of the sky is showing up, in all states, around the world. He wanted to know where I was from and where I took it. He saw a similar picture taken in Texas . He said this is amazing to him!

And my response:
This is not awesome. It’s just pathetic lies from religious cretins.
It certainly does not make me a believer. Actually, I’m even more of a non-believer now that I’ve seen this lame attempt to spread religious lies.
It reminds me of the song “liar, liar your pants are on fire…”
Er, no “He’s” definitely not in control if “He” is allowing such rubbish to be passed on as the truth.
John James?, Chanel 36 News, Cara Winship are all morons and liars.

Now here is what the real picture looked like before it was digitally defaced with a Photoshop clone tool. Wasn’t it a better picture before the religionists got their “grubby hands” on it?

Gore’s Generational Challenge to Repower America

On Thursday former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore issued a bold challenge: that 100 percent of U.S. electricity production come from sources with zero carbon emissions within 10 years.

A video and the full text of his speech given in Washington DC can be accessed from the We Can Solve It website. Although the challenge was issued to Americans, I believe that it is applicable to every country in the world today. I am hoping that our own President (and the one waiting in the wings) will take heed and adjust our own environmental policy to encompass this challenge.

Twit of the Week – 04

This week lucky motorist, Absolom Morifi joins a rag-tag pack of politicians and rabid religionists in the halls of twitdom. Absolom may have been lucky in escaping on Tuesday with his life, from a massive pile-up on the N1 in Johannesburg, near the Buccleuch Interchange, which resulted in excess of 20 cars being totalled, but is a twit nonetheless. Here’s why.
Absolom cancelled his insurance policy on the morning of the very day that his car was flattened, together with several others by a runaway truck, and he had to be cut out of the wreckage with barely a scratch. But that’s not the reason why he is a twit, as many people cancel insurance policies when times are tough, to channel money to areas where it is desperately needed. Absolom however cancelled his insurance policy of R1, 400 a month so that he could pay this amount over to the Rhema Church instead as a monthly tithe. Apparently Absolom felt guilty (or more likely was made to feel guilty) about not paying his tithes, when he visited the church that previous Sunday.
You have to be a real twit when you feel your church needs your money more than you do, and you go to the extent of cancelling your insurance policy. I can’t really heap all the blame on Rhema Church here since their business empire is based on raking in the cash by dispensing guilt, and Absolom bought into that willingly. I dread to think how many others are in this same position?

Religious Hoax e-Mails – People Who Mocked God

Aside

We all receive them. The claims are invariably too fantastic to be true. Anyone with half a brain will see right through them, and yet recipients of these mails, keep forwarding them on. They usually contain some sort of promise of good luck or a veiled threat of misfortune should you not “forward on to 10 persons. I normally have a good laugh while reading, and then delete.

I received one the other day, the contents of which was really menacing, and which leads me to believe that the purveyors of religious filth are becoming really desperate to maintain this delusional thinking and are prepared to stoop really, really low to achieve this. These religious cretins have resorted to misquoting prominent persons, quoting out of context, twisting quotes to suit the occasion, disingenuously using statistics and even propagating blatant lies. I have even been told by some that lying for God is OK.

See what you make of this before reading my responses below (for the sake of utilizing space optimally, I have copied and pasted the contents of the mail without the eye-catching font size, paragraphing, color scheme and other formatting):

DID YOU KNOW THESE FACTS? I SURE DIDN’T TILL NOW
Death is certain but the
Bible speaks about untimely death!
Make a personal reflection about
this…..
Very interesting, read until the end…..
It is written in the
Bible (Galatians 6:7):
‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for
whatsoever a man sow, that shall he also reap.
Here are some men and women
who mocked God :

John Lennon (Singer):
Some years before, during his interview with
an American Magazine, he said:
‘Christianity will end, it will disappear. I
do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was OK, but his subjects
were too simple, today we are more famous than Him’ (1966).
Lennon, after
saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):
During the
Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even
God would remove him from Presidency.
Sure he got the votes, but he got sick
a day before being made President, then he died.

Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):
During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ), while smoking his cigarette, he
puffed out some smoke into the air and said:’God, that’s for you.’
He died
at the age of 32 of LUNG CANCER in a horrible manner.

The man who built the Titanic
After the construction of
Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone
he said: ‘Not even God can sink it’
The result: I think you all know what
happened to the Titanic

Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
She was visited by Billy Graham
during a presentation of a show. He said the Spirit of God had sent him to
preach to her. After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said: ‘I don’t
need your Jesus’.
A week later, she was found dead in her
apartment

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of
his 1979 songs he sang: ‘Don’t stop me; I’m going down all the way, down the
highway to hell’.
On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he
had been choked by his own vomit.

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas , Brazil a group of friends,
drunk, went to pick up a friend…..
The mother accompanied her to the car
and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the
daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car: ‘My Daughter, Go
With God And May He Protect You. She responded: ‘Only If He (God) Travels In The
Trunk, Cause Inside Here…..It’s Already Full ‘
Hours later, news came by
that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died, the car
could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the
trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained
intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was
broken

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer) said the
Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written. In June 2006 she was found
burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name
that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus. Many have died, but only
Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive.

‘Jesus’

PS: If it was a joke, you would have sent it to everyone. So are
you going to have courage to send this?.
I have done my part, Jesus said ‘If
you are embarrassed about me, I will also be embarrassed about you before my
father.’

You are my 8 in 8 seconds. I am not breaking this. No
way!
I’M TOLD THIS WORKS!!!!! Bishop T.D. Jakes ‘8 Second Prayer.’ Just
repeat this prayer and see how God moves!!
‘Lord, I love you and I need you,
come into my heart, and bless me, my family, my home, and my friends, in Jesus’
name. Amen.’
Pass this message to 8 people {EXCEPT YOU AND ME}.You will
receive a miracle tomorrow. I Hope that you don’t ignore and let God bless you.

The Real Facts
The very first line is a lie, because what follows is anything but the facts.
Death is always untimely, period. I’ve never heard any dead person saying his or her death was timely. An observer however may give his/her opinion about the timeliness.
Here is what John Lennon really said: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first — rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” There is nothing wrong with this analysis by Lennon, and as one poster on Snopes.com (the urban myths site) so rightfully pointed out, at the time Lennon made this comment, you could not find any massive throngs of people, screaming in excitement, queuing up for hours to get into church. Incidentally, why did this vindictive God take 14 years to punish Lennon for making the quote in 1966? Maybe he had his hands full punishing all the other blasphemers in the world, and could only get around to Lennon in 1980. The truth is, Lennon achieved greatness before he died and his memory lives on – what more can you ask from life?
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Tancredo Neves did make the statement about God as claimed. And yes, he did become ill a day before his inauguration as President and died about a month later from abdominal complications. His death was followed by an outpouring of grief from the citizens of Brazil who regarded him as a liberator from the previous dictatorial regimes. In honour of Tancredo Neves, he is listed as an official President of Brazil although he never took office, and the Tancredo Neves International Airport in Belo Horizonte is named after him. He died, but his memory and honour lives on. This guy had more honour than any imaginary vindictive God. The truth is, Neves achieved greatness before he died and his memory lives on – what more can you ask from life?
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Cazuza did make the statement about God as claimed. Yes, Cazuza (real name Agenor Miranda Araujo Neto) was openly bisexual and died from an AIDS related illness at the age of 32. Cazuza’s honesty about his AIDS infection helped to change public perceptions about the disease. He is considered as a leading example of Brazilian Rock Music and is still an inspiration to latter day artists. Yet again, an honourable and revered person whose memory lives on. Yep, he’s still smoking!!! And all ye faithful can put that in your pipes and smoke it. The truth is, Cazuza achieved greatness before he died and his memory lives on – what more can you ask from life?
The man who was responsible for building the Titanic probably did not say “Not even God can sink it,” but lets assume he did. So to punish him, this vindictive God causes the ship to sink, resulting in the deaths of more than 1500 people, including the shipbuilder, Thomas Andrews. Now why do you believe in this monster again? At the time, the Titanic was a marvel of engineering. Thomas Andrews achieved greatness before he died and his memory lives on – what more can you ask from life?
So what if Marilyn Monroe told Billy Graham she did not need his Jesus? Any intelligent person who understood that religion is a drug would have said as much. Why would she want any more drugs? Those she was already hooked on were adequate and so the Jesus-drug was not necessary. Anyway by this time, Monroe had already achieved greatness and will forever be remembered – what more can you ask from life?
Rock stars such as Bon Scott of AC/DC are artists who make use of poetic lyrics to express themselves. To say that he actually meant literally that he was “going down the highway to hell” is rather disingenuous. Claims of death by choking in his own vomit are conspiracy theories. Scott, an asthmatic, actually died of alcohol poisoning, while sleeping in a car, after a night of heavy drinking. By this time, Scott had already achieved greatness and his memory lives on. His grave in Australia is not only the most visited there, but is listed as a heritage site. Has anyone visited Jesus grave recently?
The alleged Campinas accident is the stuff of urban legend. Notice that no names or dates are provided to verify the incident. But at least we now know that the safest place to store eggs, is in the trunk of a car.
Christine Hewitt was absolutely correct to say that the bible was the worst book ever written. The kind of filth portrayed in the bible as the word of some supernatural power that has dominion over us all, cannot be regarded as good by any intelligent, rational, thinking person. Hewitt was probably killed by some religious maniac, but we will never know. At the time of her death she had already achieved prominence in society and will be forever remembered for the good work she did.
In the end, the authors of this hate-mail have merely proven that their imaginary God is not only conceited and vengeful, but downright incompetent as well. This imaginary murderer has failed dismally to snuff out the greatness of those who have been perceived to have rejected and mocked him.

Meeting Jesus by Accident

Driving home from work this afternoon, I approached a set of traffic lights at an intersection where a line of cars were waiting for the lights to change. As I approached the vehicle at the back of the queue, a white Opel Corsa hatchback, the first thing that caught my eye, was a large blue decal emblazoned with the word “Jesus” plastered across the upper half of the rear window. Only thereafter, did I notice that the rear end of the car was totalled; light clusters, bumper, wheel arch, the lot.
 
The first thing that crossed my mind was that this sorry-looking car had been rear-ended by someone desperately wanting to meet Jesus. I know it was a wicked thought, but natural nonetheless. Remember, I was first drawn to the Jesus-sticker, before I noticed the damage on the rear end. Damn, I am definitely not placing any decals on the rear of my vehicle and fish-signs are on top of that list. I most certainly don’t want anyone crawling up my rear end to get in touch with God.

Twit of the Week – 03

As an avowed advocate of equality between the sexes, I have no qualms about naming a women as a twit if it is deserved. This week the honour belongs to Frene Ginwala, and I dare say, is long overdue.
 
If you need someone to cover up Government chicanery, corruption, nepotism and incompetence with a commission of enquiry, then there is no one better qulaified to head it, than Frene Ginwala. The former Speaker of Parliament, gained notoriety for among other things, her refusal to censure former Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs, Penuell Maduna for his misguided attacks against the then Auditor-General and her deceit in the Arms Scandal Investigation a few years back. Her loyalty to Thabo Mbeki however, is unquestionable. Her aptitude to obfuscate to protect her masters, was amply demonstrated during the hearings into the arms scandal and exposed by Andrew Feinstein in his book “After the Party” where he referred to her as a “sari-clad dominatrix.”
 
Her addition to the halls of twitdome however, comes as a result of her recent appointment to chair the commission of enquiry into suspended National Prosecuting Authority head, Vusi Pikoli’s fitness to hold office. Pikoli was axed by President Thabo Mbeki after he spearheaded the investigation and prosecution of disgraced former commissioner of Police, Jackie Selebi. Mbeki cited a breakdown in the relationship between Pikoli and Justice Minister, Brigitte Mabandla as the reason for his suspension. Every decent thinking South African knows however that this is not the case; Mbeki is merely protecting Selebi.
 
True to form, the Ginwala Commission has been a total waste of time thus far, and Frene is playing her part to perfection, in support of her masters and delaying the execution of justice, by not calling Brigitte Mabandla to testify. Frene Ginwala is well and truly set to whitewash yet another inquiry.

 

Dinosaur Management

Earlier this year, in April to be exact, I posted an essay on why I don’t acquire any further business-related qualifications to advance my career in the company I presently work for. You may recall that I was adamant about not becoming one of the “corporate crooks” who darken the halls of power in companies everywhere.
 
Today, my decision was vindicated. As a project Manager, I am called upon occasionally to make presentations to Senior Management about a particular high-profile project I’m working on at the time. Usually the presentation involves providing project status information, identifying risks and problems, and expenditure reporting. Currently I am working on a very high-profile project, mired in politics and with serious image ramifications for the country. Because of the sensitive nature of the project, I cannot reveal any more details. But that is irrelevant. What is relevant however, is how my presentation was treated by Senior Management.
 
Prior to making the presentation, I was issued with a presentation format that really did not suite the type of information I was supposed to disclose. Obviously, whoever came up with the format was not really knowledgeable about the technologies involved in the project. The format I was being coerced into using did not allow me to reveal adequately the scale or complexity of the project from a holistic perspective. Needless to say, I went ahead and compiled the presentation in my own format which I found to be most suitable, all-inclusive and logically structured, for the occasion. I knew that it would be met with disapproval, and that it could potentially have serious ramifications for my future, but I went ahead anyway.
 
The Senior Managers at the meeting wasted no time in attacking my presentation format, when it was projected onto the screen. Nobody seemed interested in the information it contained; one Senior Manager in particular was extremely pedantic about it all. My explanations were dismissed outright, and he insisted that I change the format for the next meeting. In the end, we did not discuss anything contained in the presentation report which was the whole point of the meeting in the first instance, because everyone was more focused on the format. I could see the uncomfortable looks on the faces of those present; they just wanted me to stop arguing so that they could conclude the meeting and get out of there, back to their comfort zones. I know some were thinking, who is this upstart who is challenging the status quo? Eventually I gave in, but made it clear that I did not agree with the idea. The relief in the room was palpable as I walked out.
 
Reflecting back on the presentation meeting, several things stuck in my mind. How Management pay lip service to creativity, innovation and initiative. When confronted by a real live situation they quickly show how little they care for it. Clinging onto the tried and trusted, the familiar, is the norm. That is why this company is having trouble holding onto its most talented people; their creativity is stifled, innovation frightens the “hangers-on” in power positions. Upsetting the status quo is like committing a treasonous offense. This organization produces a multitude of report writers and report readers, buys and creates several in-house information gathering systems, but hardly any analyzers and problem-solvers. You always have to work hard to satisfy the systems; they invariably don’t work for you.
 
The decision-makers don’t have a clue; they are focused acutely on enriching the shareholders. I never want to be part of this clique of comfortable dinosaurs. That is why I have no desire to climb the corporate ladder.

Creating a Quote

Recently I came across a book by Acharya S, “The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold” on her website Truth Be Known. Acharya S, real name D.M. Murdock, is credited for researching and supplying the Christ-myth material used in the Internet film Zeitgeist (please be patient and listen to the introduction before the film starts, about 4 minutes). 

The book title reminded me of a line from one of George Carlin’s shows “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.” This gave me an idea; why don’t I create a quote using Acharya’s book title with a George Carlinesque twist. And presto:

Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever sold

How about that?