When the denial prefaces the justification

Perhaps you notice how the denial is so often the preface to the justification. – Christopher Hitchens


Last week I wrote about the release of the Public Protector’s report on the Nkandla scandal which discloses how nearly R250-million of taxpayers’ money was squandered on supposed security upgrades to President Zuma’s private home.

On Sunday the President spoke about it for the first time, but his response is both hysterical and contemptible at the same time. While the report was quite clear that Zuma and his family benefitted materially from the upgrades at taxpayers’ expense, and that he displayed both lack of leadership and control, the President prefers to bury his head in the ground.

I did not use taxpayers’ money. They put in windows that I don’t even want. Then they turn around and say this fellow used the government’s money.

This despicable man, who is slowly but surely eclipsing some of Apartheid South Africa’s past Presidents, and even Robert Mugabe, for being the worst example of leadership on the continent, actually expects the public to believe that he did not know what was going on in his own backyard.

Is it reasonable to expect anyone who finds bulldozers busy on his property and massive and expensive renovations taking place, not to question what is going on? What is this bullshit about windows? That does not even begin to address the scale of the renovations, but he glibly mentions this to the group of elderly people he was selling his candidacy to, for the upcoming elections.

It is gratifying to note that the calls for his impeachment are growing and even his own party members who previously closed ranks around him, are now asking him to answer for his scandalous behaviour. However there are still those within the ANC and bewilderingly some members of the public who think it’s okay to misappropriate public money.

Let’s hope that both these miscreants and the President are given what they deserve before the elections in less than two months, because the country surely will not survive another term of office with Zuma in charge.

#In case you’re wondering about the picture. It’s a new meme doing the rounds on social media. It points out that the public did not ask for the very expensive electronic tolling of major highways which the President signed into effect a few months ago, and which is attracting massive resistance.

And oh, you might want to check out this parody of what I would describe as the worst song ever, which suddenly became somewhat likeable.

To a Bohemian weekend with a dash of Pink

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is my pick as the ultimate song of all time. Some of my friends think it’s a sacrilege being covered by a female artist, but I think P!nk’s version is superb, if not the best cover ever. It’s not better than Queen’s original, but it comes pretty damn close in my estimation.

Enjoy your weekend folks and indulge in a little pink…

Bright White Dot Spotting

Just got back inside after gazing earnestly into the night sky. Nada! Slightly overcast…

According to this timetable I should have seen a very bright white dot moving through the sky at approximately 7:36 PM… for about three minutes. Apparently it was supposed to look something like this:

So the question is why would I want to fritter away three (maybe ten in total if you factor in the logistics) minutes of my life looking at a bright white dot?

Well for starters, that bright white dot happens to be the International Space Station (ISS) which is the brightest white man-made dot in the sky. Secondly, I think that it would be kinda cool to watch something whizzing by at a speed of around 27 724 kilometers per hour. The fastest thing I’ve ever seen is a Top Fuel Dragster which didn’t even get to 400 kilometers per hour (although they do go much faster).


Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with all the details about the ISS and why it’s so awesome – it’s everywhere on the Internet, and in person in a patch of sky near you. Just wanted to let you know that this is my timetable for the next few days, and if I still don’t spot that dot, I understand that the ISS is expected to be rotating the Earth until 2020…

Low Down Dirty Shame

It’s been exactly a week since Thuli Madonsela the South African Public Protector, released a report into the outrageous spending of R246-million of public funds on security (sic) upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s private compound residence Nkandla.

Oh there’s been the usual ducking and dodging, disingenuous comments and feigned outrage by the President’s hand-picked cronies Ministers and acolytes, but Zuma himself has kept mum except to utter these condescending, yet self-reflective remarks at some political rally today:

Some take the people of South Africa for granted and underestimate their intelligence.

Be an example and lead.

The guy’s such a smug piece of political vermin, he’s blind to the irony.

Off course, Zuma’s henchmen are not the only people rallying to his defence; ordinary members of the (credulous) public such as this one in an open letter, tried to cast veiled aspersions at the Public Protector, but failed gloriously – and not because of his atrocious spelling and grammar. It was actually quite hilarious to read (if you can stomach the grammar) in the end.

Others however were not fooled by the claims of innocence, as the The Lone Groover’s (rather good) attempt at poetry demonstrates:

My president is a fool,
he has no understanding
of the difference
serve and rule.

My president is a liar,
he lines his pockets
and he lights the fire
over his objects
of desire.

My president is a thief,
rotten to the core
way beyond belief
living in the past
and thinking like a chief.

My president makes me sad
as he squanders all the resources
that we have.

My president makes no sense
with his claims of innocence.

And my people make me cry
when they vote once more
for this guy.

However, the best riposte by far has to be this cartoon:


So for now, the long-suffering public is in for the long wait, as it appears likely that Zuma will waste yet more of our taxes fighting this thing in the courts.

If you’d like to wade through the rather lengthy Public Protector’s report on the Nkandla scandal, here’s a PDF version:

Secure In Comfort



Growing up in the 70’s I, like a lot of other boys, had a fascination with the Lamborghini Countach.

As an object of beauty, a Lamborghini poster or picture of some sort would have adorned the bedroom walls of many boys, alongside perhaps a poster of Farrah Fawcett (or in my case Genevieve Bujold). Unfortunately for me, I had to make do with mental imagery since my dad would not have tolerated anything this exotic on his walls, unless it was the Periodic Table or something similarly academic.

Through the years since, and even before the 70’s, many exotic cars have been produced which have excited the hearts and minds of boys and men, young and old. I cannot say for certain if it affected the female of the species as much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did. Powerful engines encased in sensual curved and angled sheets of metal was for the most part a guy thing. Not any more though, and all the better for it too.

Is the Lamborghini still one of the most beautiful and desirable cars in the world? Perhaps for some, but this fascination with automobiles is hardly objective. Our tastes change with years and new offerings constantly being put out by the manufacturers.

Personally for a very long time Aston Martin (various different models) had replaced Lamborghini as the most beautiful car in the world. The one other car that I thought, and still think as stunningly beautiful, is the Duesenberg Model J.

But now something else has come along that has knocked my socks off. If beauty had a name, it would be Maserati Alfieri. It is still only a concept car, but I wish like crazy that it goes into production.

Maserati Source

Helping Hands

I’m a member of a non-profit organization that assists destitute people, although we started out feeding poor and abandoned children on a regular basis.

I’m charitable but no philanthropist. I contribute monthly whatever I can. Being actually involved hands on in charitable work gives me personal satisfaction. I have no illusions about changing the world. What we do makes very little difference to the bigger problem.

But we all need to do something small. In the end it adds up to something, maybe not big, but better.

So, with that bit of sentimental fluff behind me, here’s something even more gushy by American writer and humorist Sam Levenson:

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others

Now excuse me while I go dry my eyes.

Flamenco Monday

Yesterday the girls and I attended a performance at the Wits University by a trio of highly talented artists from India, who played a fusion of Eastern and Western music on guitar, electric mandolin and a variety of percussion instruments.

The outfit known as the Mandolin Prakash Trio combined the precise timing of South Indian music with Afro-Latin rythyms which I found visually exciting at times, but quite drawn out in some places. Overall however, it was a feast for the senses, especially some of the strange-looking percussion instruments.

So while I’m in a flamenco kind of disposition today, here is something more familiar to general audiences. Paco De Lucia (sadly now deceased), John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola performing Mediterranean Sundance.