Year of the Potato

How many of you knew that the United Nations had declared 2008, the International Year of the Potato? Well, it’s nearly the final month of the year, and I have to admit, that I for one, only heard about this declaration a few days ago. I have to further admit that I had no idea that vegetables were thus honoured; I mean I know about the Year of the Monkey, Year of the Dragon, and the Year of Living Dangerously, but Year of the Potato? Come on now!

Seriously folks, 2008 is the year of the humble potato and that’s not all. It’s also the Year of the Frog, the Year of the Reef (as in Coral Reef), and, the Year of the Dolphin, 2007, has been extended to 2008 for some reason. 2008 is also being touted unofficially as the Year of the Women. Year of the Women? Could Hilary Clinton losing the democratic nomination, and that astronaut losing her tools in space be considered as setbacks? I wonder! And hey, although not official, this could also be considered as the Year of Barack Obama, but I suppose that could be next year as well. Seems this year which is almost over, is a lot of things that hardly anyone knows about.

Anyway, back to the Year of the Potato. I’ve never really given much thought to the potato, apart from the fact that it tastes great, roasted, baked, fried or mashed, and that it accompanies practically anything. I’ve known for some time that potato’s originated in the South American Andes near Peru, but I had no idea that there are some 200 species, and about 500 different varieties still grown in the Andes mountain area. If you’re interested, you can check out all the facts and myths about potato’s, even try out some recipes at Year of the Potato 2008.

Well, since there is only one month left in the Year of the Potato, I’m off to find some of the distilled variety, from Eastern Europe. I know potato farmer, cum patriarchal evangelist, Angus Buchan wont approve of the consumption of Vodka, but he must surely be pleased with the cash that’s rolling in, in the Year of the Potato.  Who knows, maybe next year will be the Year of the Beetroot; that should put a smile on the ugly mug of disgraced, former South African Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

The T D Jakes Circus is Coming to Town

Yes folks, pastor T D Jakes, the notorious American evangelist, is blowing into Johannesburg this weekend, bringing with him his “annual” family oriented, conference and revival known as MegaFest. I’m not exactly sure what families do at such an event, but grovelling on hands and knees, submitting enthusiastically to brainwashing, and parting with cash, springs readily to mind.

And why exactly is the pastor coming to South Africa only now? It seems that since the inception of the MegaFest concept in 2004 in Atlanta, attendance figures has consistently dropped from around 500 000 to 100 000 or less in 2006. This alarming trend (to Jake’s that is, who had grown used to the good life, while defending his ostentatious collection of wealth) resulted in the event being cancelled altogether last year. It’s reasonable to surmise that Jake’s is running low on his reserves and needs an urgent cash injection. You know how tough it is maintaining all those houses, cars and the $45million Church called the Potter’s House. So, the resourceful pastor looked up to the heavens and when he got no answer from there, he looked down, South actually, and realized that if a potato farmer can sucker 60 000 odd people into attending a Mighty Man conference, he could surely do better.

When interviewed on MSNBC, T D Jakes said “I think that Jesus is the product” and “when the product is excellent it doesn’t require a big sales pitch.” Since he is now leaving a potentially much bigger target audience to scam from, to come out to South Africa, one can only wonder why the “product” is not selling so well any more. Could it be that Americans are wising-up to religious scam artists? Or maybe it’s just the current economic crises in the USA? Attendance figures for his MegaFest event had already started declining from 2005, so I tend to favour the former argument.

You know what’s even scarier than T D Jakes coming to town this weekend? Nope? Angus Buchan, the potato farmer and upstart evangelist, is also scheduled to host his Mighty Men conference this very weekend in Heidelberg, not too far from where Jakes is hosting his MegaFest. How about that? I don’t for one minute believe that they could have got their schedules mixed up. I am of the opinion that Angus Buchan deliberately scheduled his event on the same weekend to flex his muscles and see how big a (arguably deluded) crowd he can draw, with a big gun like TD in town. It would be interesting to read the attendance statistics after this weekends celebration of gullibility.