Massacre of Valentine’s Day


I take it that there is general acknowledgement that the modern observance of Valentine’s Day is as commercialized as Christmas. Notwithstanding, most people still indulge in this celebration of love as a necessary distraction from the hum-drum of daily life.

But there are those who wish to tarnish and discredit this old tradition.

Anwar Abbas, head of education (yeah right!) at the Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars thinks that Valentine’s Day is “incompatible with his nation’s culture and religious tenets.” This self-appointed moral policeman expressed his indignation after discovering that retailers were selling Valentine’s Day chocolate gift packs that included condoms which he claims “glorified promiscuity.”

What an idiot? The provision of free condoms is a public service. Religion should never be allowed to come between consenting sex organs. (Yes, I’m referring to the multitude of sexual partnerships, not just heterosexuality). This is the 21st century for Odin’s sake. People love to bonk because it gives them pleasure. There is nothing immoral in sexual pleasure.

It used to be that Abbas’s irrational and irresponsible adjudication was the forte of the Catholic Church. And he’s not alone. Abbas has cohorts in every religion under Sol. It is now apparent that it is endemic in religious ideology in general. Ideologues have for time immemorial been using morality as a pretext to impose their narrow-mindedness on the uncritical masses. It has nothing to do with morality, and everything to do with religious bigotry and the power that having a priestly position entails.

Fuck all religious naysayers. No wait, don’t, not in that way. Ignore all fundamentalist religious idiots and have a banging Valentine’s Day tomorrow, but for Odin’s sake use a fucking condom.

Tea at this hour?

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.

She’s got 99 problems but funny ain’t one of them

This TED talk by Maysoon Zayid who is afflicted with cerebral palsy, is not only very funny, but so awesome on so many levels. And yes, I was teary-eyed at the end too.

Sub-titles are available in 34 different languages. You can read about the challenges faced by the translators to retain the comedic effect in 34 languages over at the TED Blog.

An inconsequential contemplation of pain

Although I’ve experienced intense pain as I’m sure most people have, I’ve never really given much thought to the mechanics of it. However, as the title implies, this is not a scientific examination of pain, but neither is it meant to play it down.

I’ve often watched televised matches in disgust as professional soccer players writhe and wail on the pitch when brough down in a foul, (in apparent agony, or so I thought). In my experience rugby players don’t ever shriek and howl as much, so the natural inclination was to conclude that soccer players were a bunch of sissies just looking for attention and sympathy from the crowds… and the referee, while the former are made of sterner stuff.

Seems I may have been wrong.

This weekend I watched in an admittedly inebriated stupor as a close friend injured her knee quite dreadfully while playing soccer. Her teary eyes quite clearly attested to the pain she was in, and it was not until a day later when she got the hospital’s diagnosis, that we learnt of the full extent of the injury.



There was a complete disruption of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and significant damage to the Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), coupled with some muscle damage. Now I don’t really need to suffer a similar demolishing to know that it must have been severely painful, and still is after having just spoken to her. She will require reconstructive surgery and at least one source I have looked at, estimates a recuperation period that could extend up to six months. Ouch!

So where is this all leading to?

You’ve probably heard the expression that women are much better at tolerating pain than men, and thought it was bollocks. Well I can tell you that my lady friend handled it pretty darn well, and still is. She was back at work today, on crutches, walking up several flights of stairs, for crying out loud.The studies I’ve read here and here seem to indicate that women feel pain more intensely, while men have a higher pain threshold. While the studies look mainly at biological factors, it seems that social and psychological factors also play a part.

And my conclusion…

Even though the science may suggest that men can handle higher intensities of pain, I’m pretty convinced that women deal with it much better.

A rare Saturday post: Uninspired

After partying out a 4-day weekend, I have had one of those rather inspirational weeks in which I strained to find anything worthy of posting.

And so, for the purposes of just putting pen to paper (so to speak), I leave you with this:

If you’re counting the calories in your daily food intake, I really feel for you. Yes, it may well be the healthy thing to do, but it is life-sucking all the same. For the record, I don’t indulge in calorie-counting, but I’ve lost a few kilos anyway – see I’m one of those lucky one’s.

But I guess it may be insensitive to those who are struggling with their weight. Therefore if you’re counting your calories and are still found wanting, think of it like this*:

caloriesBlaming those pesky nanobot seamstresses will not ease your plight, but laughing about it sure as hell will lighten up your world.

* With gracious thanks to a FB friend.


The occasional Friday post: A cure for hangovers?

English: Postcard picture for New Year's; eBay...

Over my many years of binge drinking I’ve suffered through some pretty awful head clangers and gut busters.

I’ve tried the occasional hangover cure punted by fellow guzzlers who always swear by its efficacy, like I’m sure many of you have too… and none of them work, as I’m sure many of you have discovered to your dismay also. Off course there’s the infamous “stay drunk,” which assumes that you never have to at some point rejoin the human (rat) race. And I have even seen a claim of a scientific cure, but it’s obvious that Professor Michael Oshinsky’s rats have not partied like a mofo.

Most of us have consigned ourselves to just facing it; although I’m almost sure none of us actually think too much about the consequences. However new research suggests that there may be a way to beat the hangover, but  you may not like it.

Initial research carried out at the University of Southern Denmark and published in the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, seem to indicate that older people (60+ years) were less likely to experience a hangover than younger people (18 – 29 years). In other words there is a distinct correlation between age and being and victim of the dreaded hangover.

However, as you may well know correlation is not causation, but on a personal level, I can attest that I do suffer less hangovers as I approach 50, but that may well be due to my choice of classier beverages, as the study also concedes.

So, all in all I find it quite amusing that the cure for hangovers is simply “grow the fuck up.”

Bumper charity weekend ahead

The guys and I have a hectic weekend ahead of us as we take on our most ambitious charity project in the 12 or so years we’ve been doing this.

We’ve invited some of the poorest families from an economically depressed residential area South West of Johannesburg to join us for a lunch the guys will be cooking, and we’ll also be distributing food hampers to each family. We’ve secured the assistance of a local school which has kindly allowed us use of the premises, and a few classrooms and the ablution facilities.

The classrooms are for the use of a general practitioner, a dentist and an optometrist who have magnanimously donated their time and services to conduct basic medical screening and checks on all the invited folks who are in such need. The SA Blood Services (SANBS) will also be at hand to perhaps carry out some tests, present a talk, and hopefully collect some much-needed blood from willing donors.

Tomorrow, we’ll finish up some last-minute shopping and spend the day putting together the food hampers which will consist of basic dry provisions, vegetables and fruits. The guys will then spend the rest of the afternoon preparing the meat, vegetables etcetera for the traditional Indian chicken briyani, we will be cooking in two huge pots over an open fire at the school.

The cooking will start very early Sunday morning. Tables and chairs will be set up for the few hundred people who are expected, and some classrooms will be prepared for the health professionals to do their thing.

I’m expecting to be exhausted by Sunday afternoon, but gratified at pulling off this mammoth [for a handful of guys] task.

And in this corner, George’s Grill & Griddle…

During the week I spotted a George Foreman Grill & Griddle (hereafter referred to as GGG) on display in a store that I frequent, and being a bachelor, I thought it looked like the perfect appliance for those quick dinners after a hard day at the office.

However, the store was temporarily out of stock, except for the one on display. The sales lady offered to put in back in the box for me to purchase, but I declined and opted to return on another occasion to check if stock was available. On Saturday, I returned to find two GGG’s in stock in somewhat battered-looking boxes, although the contents appeared untouched in their original wrappings.

I was rather eager to give this appliance a try, so I made the purchase and picked up a fairly big rump steak at a supermarket, on my way home.

After the obligatory reading of the instruction manual and recommended cleaning with a  damp cloth, I got GGG’s grill section set up and ready for cooking.

Fifteen minutes later (including standing time), I tucked into a steak that was disappointingly  tasteless. I had followed all the instructions explicitly. What the hell happened?

My initial thought was that the steak was overdone. But it certainly looked medium-to-well as I normally like it. Then it dawned on me that maybe a steak needs to be cooked in its own fat. This appliance has a fat-free system that allows the fats and oils to drain away. I may be wrong, but the lack of taste pointed to a lack of fat. This afternoon, I did some digging on the Interwebs and found the following hilarious Customer Review by Sam Gregory on Amazon which sort off confirms my suspicion:

A ring at the door abruptly disturbs my sleep. My dream? I don’t remember the exact details but it was something involving two fillet steaks, a tub of goose fat and a scantily clad Britney Spears singing into a newspaper cone filled with chips.
After performing my ‘one-two-three’ side-roll out of bed and onto the floor I dragged myself to the staircase instead of getting straight to my feet, then used my elbows to slide up and into the stair lift.
I had the man from the stair lift company come round and fit an extension to the rail last month meaning that I can get anywhere downstairs without having to flop out of the chair, because walking is just SO outdated.
The doorbell rang a second time and I scrabbled to open it, refusing to drop the half eaten Mars bar in my left hand from last night which was by now, coated in a mixture of carpet fluff and hair. I just hate waste.
A cheery young fellow passed a huge box to me which I rested on my stomach-shelf and asked me to sign his notebook which I did, smudging melted chocolate and caramel across the sheet by accident, much to his dismay.

Hugging my new present and closing the door I put my chair into gear and made my way to the living room to unpack it. Seeing Georges over-enthusiastic, smiling little face filled me with excitement as I removed the outer packaging. I noticed that this thing was indeed a healthy size, possibly big enough to cook half of a breakfast on at any one time.
After sitting it down I plugged it in next to my computer to let it warm up whilst I logged into World of Warcraft, but to my amazement, by the time I had reached the character selection screen I could feel the heat beaming up at me from the fully machine washable griddle plates. Wow, what a machine!

I whipped my chair into warp-speed and flew to the kitchen to grab a couple of sirloins, a handful of pork chops and a dozen sausages just to give my Foreman a little mid-morning test.

That was where I hit my only real problem with this little beauty.
I didn’t take much notice when I first slapped my meat-feast across the grill but the whole machine is actually on a slant. The front kind of dips downward, meaning that all the fat and grease (the good stuff) seeps out of your food and runs onto the floor.
I have found a few solutions to this design flaw and they are as follows:

1. Cut a long French baguette in half and place it beneath the front of the grill allowing it to soak up the wasted fat. This tastes great with a couple of sausages crammed inside.

2. Take two fairly thick books (I use my Linux For Dummies 8th Edition and a couple of computer game walk-through guides, I don’t use them anymore, I am too elite) and stack them underneath the front feet of the George Foreman. This keeps the fat on the grill and allows your meat selection to cook in its own juices wonderfully.

3. Last but by no means least… I noticed whilst unpacking the box there was an extra bit of packaging which at first I thought was a little excessive but now have come to think of as a real godsend. It is almost like a long plastic dish that fits perfectly to the size of the grill!
I place this underneath to catch the fat, then before it cools down to a solid state, quickly pour it into a blender with some ice cream, a tablespoon or two of sugar and a knob of butter then leave mixing whilst I remove my meat from the grill. Pour the frothy delight into a chilled glass and enjoy through a straw.
This is a real treat and highly recommended!

So what more can I say?
A superb invention I would highly recommend to anyone who like me, strives to be nothing but the best.

Thank you George you lovely little man you.

Warms up quicker than World of Warcraft
Great picture of George Foreman on the outer packaging I feel, which I have now had framed and put beside my bed

Could be bigger really. Say 3 or 4 times bigger?
The slanted grill is a minor issue which can be rectified by following my above instruction

I’m not about to give up though. Perhaps I was doing something wrong after all. Either that, or I have lost my sense of taste. So before I retire my GGG for life, I’m going to try a few other items like vegetables, fish, sausages and bacon, on the grill first. I also still need to try out the griddle section.

Well George, seems like you’re going to get another shot at the title…

Abaya urrrrgghhh!

It was pretty hot today. The climate control in my car was at full tilt.  It was therefore a little disconcerting, gazing in my rear-view mirror at two women in those black tent-like outfits, riding in an older-model car that obviously did not have the same comforts.

I could not tell if they were comfortable or happy; all I could see were their eyes through a rectangular slit cut in the headdress which formed part of the ensemble known as an abaya, traditionally worn by Moslem women.

I resisted thinking about what they had on underneath and failed. I hope it was nothing because perhaps that would have made them slightly less hot. I really don’t know; I have never tried wearing a shapeless tent-like outfit before.

At this point, I know there will be those who will accuse me of being disrespectful towards the Islamic religion. Well…. I’m being no more insolent towards Islam, than I’m towards every other religion; I have the same loathing for all religions. Don’t take it personally.

This is not about your religion; well not entirely. It’s about the women who are affected by it. Maybe I’m presumptuous, but I can’t imagine any women willingly dressing up in tent-like outfits on a hot day. I’m not saying it does not have practical applications in some parts of the world; it just seems so impractical and silly on a hot day in this part of the world.

Women would have to be absolutely terrified of the maker of such a dehumanizing religious law, not to mention the cruel earthly guardians self-appointed to enforce it. That would be about the only reason for dressing up like that, apart from dementia and a bad case of self-loathing.

Women’s beauty is meant to be shown off and celebrated. It’s meant to be enjoyed by both men and women alike. I just can’t abide any archaic law that prevents me from savouring the beauty and form that makes up a women.

Women have a right to live with freedom and dignity. She should not tolerate any god or man who would take that away from her, lest she be prepared to live in mental and physical slavery for the rest of her life.

Listen up, you oriental berks, rhino horn does not cure cancer

Just over a year ago I wrote about how poachers were decimating South Africa’s rhino population, driving another species towards extinction.

At that time around 210 had been killed already, but the latest figures indicate that the total for 2010 reached a record 333. However, the figures for this year thus far is an alarming 341 animals killed, which works out at almost one a day.

A photo taken of Rhinoceros eating in a nation...

Image via Wikipedia

And it’s all for feeding the ignorant oriental belief that rhino horn cures cancer among other diseases.

The biggest culprits driving the killing of rhinos for their horns remain Vietnam and China. It appears that their respective governments could not be bothered in the least to implement measures to curb the trade in rhino horn. One wonders if the ageing Commie despots running these countries, are not indulging in rhino shavings themselves, to prolong their tenure in office, dealing more misery to their people.

It’s a scandal that a magnificent beast is giving up its life, not to sustain human life as livestock do, but to sustain a delusional belief system.

So listen up! Stop being yellow monkeys! If you’ve got cancer, go to a fucking doctor for treatment, or die with dignity. Don’t be grasping at horns. Let the beasts be…