The ultimate gadget for the terminally forgetful

It looks like a beany with a very small flash memory device sown into it that records your thoughts as you sleep. You plug it into your computer the next day to download the recording.

If like me, you have some of the most awesome thoughts and ideas while in bed, and are too lazy to get up to write them down because you can never for the life of you, remember them later, you will appreciate a device that can automatically do that for you… without lifting a finger. Yeah, you would!

Unless of course you’re not only forgetful, but thought-impaired too. But like most people, you do have the ability to think up stuff, come up with all sorts of ideas, no matter how crazy. And you would like to be able to remember them later, even if you are not going to tell the world about them.

Sadly it doesn’t exist; not yet anyway. Bummer!

But it would be cool, wouldn’t it. I think it’s entirely possible some day in the future. Regrettably, I would have to lose so many thoughts until then…

Let’s face it Wenger, you have put together a team of losers

As much as it pains me to say this, the Arsenal I love are a bunch of pansies Nancy-boys.

They have no guts, no determination to give more than required, no pluck to lay their bodies on the line to get that goal. They even look like the least intimidating team in the whole Premier League. Pansies, all of them!

All they’re good for is passing the ball around, making pretty patterns on the football field, in their  well-coiffured hairdo’s and fancy socks and shirts. As pansies are want to do. They seem to only get penalised for being stupid, rather than for making hard tackles.

When someone gets injured, they usually wind up spending most of the season recovering on the sidelines, probably while getting pampered the whole time. Like pansies.

Is it any wonder those players with some sort of ambition, up and leave for clubs that want to be winners. Sure, they go for the money too. But I’ll bet you lot could get more pay, if you actually started winning something. Seven years, we’ve been watching you preening yourselves…

Grow some balls, you bunch of pansy losers.

Don’t you notice that the only people still making great music are those who play REAL instruments? All this monotonous electronic drivel is rather nauseating. Seems all you need these days is a pretty voice and a pretty face (men too!)…

Spacial Fray

The answer, undoubtedly, is yes.

I have had this argument with my boyfriend a few times, and he just can’t come to accept it. It’s not fair, he said, to compare the music industry as we know it today to the music of the past, because we see all the bad music around us today whereas bad music of past decades has faded out of history and we don’t even know about it today.

This is a good point. However, if you take a cross section of the most popular songs of each decade, you can see from the top five hits of each year how the trend is really going. Take this list for example. It begins in 1946. We have jazz standards, some silly pop songs. Then we move to The Beatles, who, let’s be honest, were some of the finest pop music of the century. In the…

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Reality simplified

Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist from the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, explains reality and renders the supernatural, superfluous.

The end bits are quite humbling.

Conqueror by Conn Iggulden [Book 5 in the Conqueror Series]

This appears to be the final book in the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden. While it focuses on the life of Kublai Khan, arguably the greatest conqueror in  Mongol history since Genghis, Iggulden chose not to relate the complete (historical) tale of his (Kublai’s) final conquest of China.

Instead to Iggulden chose to end the book at the point where Kublai wins the civil war he had engaged in with his brother Arik-Boke to become Khan of the Mongol empire. He may well have had an idea to continue the tale in another book, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. For now it appears unlikely.

While Conqueror felt like the most bloody and violent book in the whole series, Kublai was by far the most merciful of all the Mongol Khans since Genghis. From almost the beginning, right until the last bloody pages, the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are expended, and for the most part described in gory detail.

The Plot

Mongke Khan, elder brother to Kublai, succeeds Guyuk Khan as the leader of the Mongol nation. Guyuk was a particularly ruthless Khan and was not worthy of the title. Kublai who had until that point spent most of his life in scholarly pursuit is dispatched East into China by Mongke in an effort to “toughen” him up. The other brothers Hulegu and Arik-Boke are sent West and into the Mongol homelands respectively, to rule land already conquered there.

In his quest to bring the Sung Dynasty to heel in China, Kublai undergoes a fascinating transformation from scholar to master tactician and leader of an army outnumbered by far. However in complete contrast to the tactics employed by his grandfather Genghis, Kublai chose not to burn entire cities to the ground, nor butcher the inhabitants. This tactic probably won him more favour with the Chinese and led to cities surrendering much quicker.

Mongke dies (en route to join forces with Kublai to defeat the Sung), and Kublai’s younger brother Arik-Boke declares himself Khan. When Kublai, learns of this he is angered and decides to wage war with his brother to reclaim the title which he feels rightfully belongs to him. He calls off his triumphant march onto the Sung Capital to return home to Karakorum to fight for his right to the title of Khan.

With the help of his “orlok” general Uriang-Khadai, Kublai eventually wins the civil war against his brother and declares himself Khan. Iggulden decided to end the book at this point and does not continue the historic tale of how Kublai eventually went on to found the Yuan Dynasty in China. It would have made for fascinating reading, so let’s hope he does produce a 6th book in the series.

Note on Historical Accuracy

Although Iggulden once again takes quite a few liberties in terms of historical accuracy, it does not detract from the sense of wonder one feels at the accomplishments of Kublai Khan, who ruled over an empire larger than that of both Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. In fact, the book entices one to make an effort to seek out the historical facts about this fascinating era.

50 Years of James Bond – My pick of the best and worst theme songs

It’s kinda hard to believe that the James Bond franchise is 50 years old. Starting way back in 1962 with Dr. No starring Sean Connery, and Skyfall, the latest in the series starring Daniel Craig, which is about to hit cinemas across the globe.

While it’s great fun looking back over the years at all the different exotic cars, stunning girls, evil villains, high-tech gadgets and actors who played the Bond character, another fascinating aspect of the franchise are the memorable theme songs that characterise every film. From the original Dr. No by James Barry & Orchestra to Adele’s Skyfall, I’m sure everyone has their own personal favourite.

Here follows my personal selection of opening title sequence themes, in descending order of preference:

1. Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey, from Goldfinger, 1964

2. Live And Let Die by Paul McCartney & Wings, from Live And Let Die, 1973

3. For Your Eyes Only by Sheena Easton, from For Your Eyes Only, 1981

4. Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon, from The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977

5. Diamonds Are Forever by Shirley Bassey, from Diamonds Are Forever, 1971

And who can forget that scene from Dr. No with Ursula Andress’s character Honey Ryder emerging from the sea in a white bikini. A real classic piece of cinema history. And what better way to remember it, than to Under The Mango Tree by Diana Coupland:

A special shout out needs to go to the only duet from a James Bond film, Another Way to Die by Jack White & Alicia Keys. However it’s a real pity it came from one of the worst Bond films in my opinion, Quantum Of Solace, and starring my least favorite Bond, Daniel Craig.

To round off, the worst choice for a Bond film has to go to Madonna’s Die Another Day from the 2002 film starring Pierce Brosnan. Don’t get me wrong, the song is good, but it just does not sit well with the whole Bond theme somehow. So I’m not gonna bother with a video clip either…

An Open Letter to Those Who Voted ANC

Dear South African voter,

This letter is aimed especially at you, you… and you. Yes, you who voted for the ANC repeatedly since 1994 – even after the whiff of the rotting carcass became overpowering.

There, there! It’s all right! I guess you couldn’t possibly know how many maggots were crawling around and living off that putrefying pile of pus. But now you do, don’t you?

You got your democracy. And it felt satisfying. Funny thing that. Really no better than a monarchy or aristocracy or dictatorship when managed by madmen, or power-hungry revolutionaries. But hey, it sounds less evil than apartheid, right? And why not? You get the satisfaction of seeing Black people go one up on the Whities for perpetrating acts of gross insanity.

How could you know that the politicians selected by the party, pretending to represent you, would grow fat with such ease on the taxes that you pissed stones to contribute to the country? How could you know that the treasury could spring so many leaks while in the control of the ANC? Why should reports of their profligate spending of R5 billion on catering, travel and entertainment be such a big deal? Even fat farks deserve a little pampering, right? And you can’t trust these Whitie newspapers to tell the truth, can you?

So R5 billion could have been used to build 1000’s of houses and pay for some services too. So what? It’s only Whities who are complaining. They’ve all got houses and services. They should all just shut the fark up and let us get on with not having any. Right?

Wait! What!

Are you seriously okay with being an average plonker who’s content with things as they are? Well, are you? Do you know how you’re affecting me with your antipathy, stupidity, or ignorance. Even if you don’t care about me, I do. But what about your children?

Are you also content to see them inherit a country ruined by ANC arrogance, incompetence and greed? Well? Are you?

You know what you need to do at the next elections. Don’t fark up again!

Up Yours,


Pride (In the Name of Love and Rights)

I got talked into attending Joburg Pride. I’m so glad I did.

It’s simply marvellous really, that the event is attended by so many heterosexual men and woman. I had no idea.

The theme this year was “Protect Our Rights.”

I was truly amazed at the outpouring of love and camaraderie from the LGBTI community. After the Parade March was over, the spontaneous party atmosphere at the gathering point in Zoo Lake Sports Club had me dancing along with thousands of other people.

The really strange thing was not feeling like an outsider; it just felt so natural being there, celebrating our wonderful sexual diversity.

I’m definitely attending again next year. Maybe I’ll get into the whole costume thing this time…

Back Tuva future

And now for something completely different [with apologies to Monty Python’s Flying Circus]…

My posts about music usually revolve around great guitar riffs, but today it’s about a different kind of music, one I presume many people won’t be too familiar with. Tuvan throat singing as practised by the Tuvan people of Southern Siberia in the region of Mongolia, is a very old art-form which involves producing one or more pitches of sound from deep within the throat.

One of the more accomplished practitioners of this amazing art is Kongar-ol Ondar who hails from Tuva and is a master of the khöömei style of throat singing (the others being kargyraa and sygyt). Ondar is relatively well-known in the West and has brought a modern touch of fusion to this old art with compositions such as this:

And even an attempt at rapping that has me re-appraising my antipathy towards rap music:

Kongar-ol Ondar has collaborated with Western artists such as Paul Pena and Bela Fleck. This collaboration with Bill Miller, a Native American, is simply astounding as it showcases the vocal abilities from two different continents and cultures.

However he does enjoy some light-hearted moments, such as in concert here with Bela Fleck and the Fleckstones:

If you listened carefully to the song, you will have heard a reference to Richard Feynman, the famous American physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga for his work in quantum electrodynamics. Feynman also shared a keen interest in, and fascination of Tuvan throat singing, and is considered the “patron saint” of the informal group Friends of Tuva.