Chairs, Cups, Cheats, Chumps

No one thing grabbed my attention from the information overload that I now find myself happily facing on a daily basis. This is actually a good thing for you, my reader, because it is unlikely that I will rant about the paranoia and misconceptions of an irritated acrophobe, celebrate my good fortune at the hands of David Cameron or mourn the demise of an unfortunate giraffe.

No, today has been far more relaxed and it is in that laid-back frame of mind that I give you the following items for you perusal:

Via the ever entertaining Brian Micklethwait, a chair that rolls into exactly the correct shape.
Brian has (entirely justified) concerns over the longevity of this design, but as he says:

But what the hell, it’s only a chair, and if it goes wrong, it goes wrong.  It still made for a pretty set of pictures. 

Next up, a brilliant story from South Yorkshire Police about how the European Cup – currently in Milan and already booked for Madrid next year – came to arrive in their West Bar headquarters in Sheffield, having been “borrowed” by an aggrieved pub visitor in Birmingham.

The tale is from 1982 after Aston Villa FC won the European Cup.
The players had been celebrating at a pub in the West Midlands and, as the night wore on, the players had allegedly become more boisterous. A young man at the venue with his girlfriend took exception to their behaviour and asked them to show some respect for other customers. His request was allegedly met with more abuse. And so the man decided to play a prank on them. As no-one seemed to be paying attention to the European Cup, he decided to pick it up and see how far he could walk away with it before anyone noticed.

It’s a great story, made even more entertaining for me by SYP’s refusal – almost 30 years on – to commit that the Villa players had actually become more boisterous or had actually abused the young man in question.

Finally, another World Cup warning for the weary England fans who have already had to contend with race wars, earthquakes, snakes and tropical diseases. This time, it’s a reasonable request to be aware of online ticket scams.

According to the Office of Fair Trading, one in 12 ticket buyers are caught out by fraud each year.
Research from online ticket marketplace viagogo suggests almost half a million Britons have been duped by a bogus ticket sellers in the past 12 months.

I’m forever deleting spam from illegal ticket vendors on my World Cup posts. But the only frustration for ticket buyers here was the fact that FIFA’s systems failed yet again when the last 90,000 World Cup tickets went on sale in South Africa this morning.

As someone – I can’t remember who – pointed out on twitter:

FIFA – You keep asking if South Africa is ready. We are – so why weren’t you?


I went to gym today for the first time in ages. Not literally ages, as in Mesolithic, Jurassic, Paleolithic etc. That would just be silly. Blokes fought off velociraptors and dragged women around by their hair for exercise back in those days: there was no need for gym. Oh – and men had beards and said “Ug!” a lot.
Thus, those were obviously good days.

Back to the present.
I don’t like gym and, generally speaking, I don’t like the sort of people who do like gym. Therefore, I’ve had many, many reasons for this hiatus. Some have been good, some appallingly bad, several were brilliantly made up on the spur of the moment.
Many have been related to my children and at least fourteen had some form of alcohol as their foundation stone. But I’ve finally run out of excuses and it was time to face my fears at Virgin Active in Claremont. 

For some reason, I decided that a nice gentle easing of my body back in to fitness would be a 25km cycle ride without going anywhere while watching Manchester United and Blackburn, neither of whom were going anywhere either. 
At least the bike kept my heart rate up. At least the scoreline made me smile.  
Can you see how utterly desperate I am for something positive?

After that, I incomprehensibly headed for the incomprehensible torture weights machines and lifted more than I should have rightfully been able to in order to break myself some more. If you are passing Chez 6000, I would very much like you to pop in and touch me on my studio please, because I cannot currently bend down far enough to do it myself.

Sadly, I fear tomorrow may bring with it a new dimension of musculoskeletal agony and there’s precisely bugger all I can do about it.

Next year…

Damn. Don’t you hate it when good ideas come along just too late?

This one came to my attention about 7 weeks too late for Valentine’s Day this year, but I can only imagine how overwhelmed Mrs 6000 will be to find that I have arranged her funeral for her as a romantic gift next February.

Valentine's gift idea

The brilliant bit about this gift is that once you’ve sorted it all out for the wonderful woman in your life, you will never have to get her another Valentine’s Day gift again – because you definitely won’t be together anymore.

That’s not a gopher

Driving out of the car park at my new favourite drinking spot (which shall remain nameless so I can avoid the vast numbers of vigilante groupies that went after the unfortunate Fireman’s bouncer I mentioned yesterday), I happened to spot a Toyota RunX.
This one had one of those personalised number plates that I don’t really like, but at least this one was for business purposes. Almost excusable, then.

Here it is (you can see the whole car here):

Obviously, Gopher can like to be your number one choice (or close to it) when you’re looking for industrial property in Cape Town.
But not, it seems, if you are looking for accurate descriptions of small mammals. Because that thing under the ‘X’ of ‘RunX’ is not a gopher, Geomyidae spp.. It’s a meerkat, Suricata suricatta.
Which is all nice and African, since gophers are only found in the Americas and meerkats are far more local, but that’s like Hippo insurance brokers advertising their services with a picture of an elephant. Just foolish.

One gopher, Two meerkats. It’s not difficult.

Look. See how different they are? OK, so they both appear to have the ability to stand on their hind legs, but I once saw a bear do that on some BBC documentary programme (although, to be fair, it was chained by its neck to a pole and was being beaten with a big stick by a vodka-drinking Siberian bloke with a wild beard and an even wilder temper).

Up! Get up, you bastard!
Up! Or I’ll have you made into carpet slippers!

Hell, sometimes I can even manage to stand for a few brief seconds after 8 pints of Stella, so it’s nothing special.
And look how much bigger the gopher is than the meerkats. How anyone could ever confuse the t… sorry?… Ah, ok. Thanks.
Sorry – apparently the gopher just looks bigger because it is nearer the camera. The meerkats are far away….

But seriously – noting that the car has Irish badges all over the back windscreen – talk about reinforcing the stereotype…

</small mammal basic identification post>

What a good idea

Sometimes a good idea comes along and doesn’t get anywhere because it doesn’t get the support it deserves or needs to take off. I would give you examples, but because they never got the support they deserved or needed, I’ve never heard of them. Usually, the only ideas that ever get anywhere are those that are going to make someone, somewhere, some money: cars, computers, drugs etc etc.

But the good idea I heard today isn’t going to make much money. Instead of Rands and cents, this one is all about the currency of goodwill. Which makes you feel all happy and warm inside, but won’t buy you beer. So not perfect, by any means, but still pretty good.

The idea is the brainchild of the improbably-named Dean Oelschig, a creative type from Jo’burg. But let’s not hold those facts against him, for he has come up with the idea of #worldcuphost. This is what is called a hashtag, which is a word or phrase, prefixed with a # that people can search for easily on Twitter.
And Dean’s idea is that willing people from South Africa advertise themselves on Twitter as #worldcuphosts so that visitors coming over from foreign parts can ask all those vexing, awkward or downright stupid questions about the country and how to “do stuff” here – and hopefully get a quick, helpful answer.
I am already predicting a plethora of beer-related queries, interspersed with several on transport, a couple on the weather and maybe even one or two on the football. But mainly beer.

And because the people on twitter are generally of a somewhat higher intelligence and educational standing than on other, less enjoyable social media platforms which involve feeding other people’s penguins on their imaginary farms, the answers those tourists will get will be honest, informative and helpful. Right?

So, go and advertise yourself as a #worldcuphost
Better still, retweet this post (use the little button below) so that people know what it’s all about, because obviously, the more people that are aware of this – on either side – the better it will work. 
Let’s do our bit to make this World Cup a even better experience for those visiting South Africa.