He’s Not Wrong

Sean Dyche makes a good point:

It’s true. Kids are very impressionable. When I were a lad, whenever we saw anything different or exciting in the football over the weekend, there would be loads of us trying it out in the playground on Monday morning. I wonder how many kids were “moving the ball” (and the foam) before taking their free kicks, after Ivan Toney did it, and after it was praised so roundly by all the pundits?

As we remarked at the time, moving the ball might have been seen as being “a bit clever”. But as soon as he moved the foam as well, well, it was clear that he knew he was cheating.

Sure, it’s not the biggest thing in the world, but it is symptomatic of the way that some bits of football are going. And the well-paid, “celebrity” pundits sitting in the cosy, warm studios are – for some weird reason – encouraging it.
So why not start with the small stuff and actually note that Toney was deliberately breaking the rules, rather than admiring his actions? Just say that it was wrong. You don’t have to want him to be banned for 8 months: he can do that himself.

Also, I quite enjoyed this quote because he’s basically taken three whole paragraphs to just say “Fuck you, Michael Owen”.

It’s something I regularly find very easy to condense into just those four words.

Oh, and also, one more thing: I put this graphic up on our football team Whatsapp group this morning and no fewer than six people agreed with it. All of them dads. We’re bringing up our kids right. Forza.

Alkali metals in water

The girl child came home buzzing yesterday after a Chemistry lesson in which they got to chuck some Sodium into some water. This reminded me of that iconic Open University video where they do the same demonstration with a number of Group 1 Metals, namely Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium and Caesium.

Don’t bother with the first bit (unless you really want to). The fun starts at about 1:06, so scroll straight through. And it’s definitely worth a minute or so of your time, so do bear with it, even when they insist on putting the equation for the chemical reaction across the screen, 1970s style.
And do put the sound on so that you don’t miss the deadpan commentary, with lines like:

You can see that things become gradually more terrifying as we go down the group.

The involuntary whistle and abrupt end to the video are perfect. It’s not like they didn’t know what was coming, and yet…

We’re going to need another beaker, Ted.

I miss those carefree (by which I mean “H&S-free”) days in the laboratory.

An experiment

Here’s a post which will mean very little to anyone except me, but I’m just conducting a quick little experiment to see if my daughter reads this blog. I know that she sometimes does, but putting a random post in here might just answer the question as to how often.

Sort of, anyway.

So if you’re reading this blog post and you know my daughter, please don’t contact her to tell her to read this blog post. That would ruin the experiment. I’ll know if she reads this blog post because she will tell me.

All I will need to provide is this image of a car in a Cape Agulhas car park, untouched by the magic of Photoshop…

…and I know that she’ll be in touch as soon as she sees it.

(Like I said, this won’t mean anything to the rest of my readership (even to the rest of my family), but MMIRIM, and it’s just one of those father/daughter bonding things that will ruin our relationship forever amuse us both.)

And so I find myself…

…overlooking some local vineyards while waiting for my daughter and her friends to enjoy a last-day-of-the-school-holidays lunch. I’ve done a couple of jobs and a bit of shopping, and now I’m back where I dropped them off and I’m enjoying a sandwich while I wait and don’t cramp anyone’s style.

As regular readers will know, I’m well used to waiting in car parks while my kids do stuff, and this one really isn’t much of a chore, given the weather and the view.

At times like this, I’m reminded of a recent conversation about emigration. As a topic, it’s always lurking awkwardly somewhere in the background at parties and braais, ready to pop into the chat in any quiet moment. Honestly, I’d rather talk about other things. Probably with other people. People who want to talk about emigration are usually the ones who want to talk about other stuff I don’t.
I came for the beer and the meat and the happy times. An opportunity for some time off from real life.
Not to wallow in politics and economics and crime stats. (And remember: I’m not just talking about SA here.)

But there was no escape in this case. And this was the “we’re staying” version of the emigration chat.
And the line that has remained with me from the mountain walk that morning is:

If we were in the UK right now, what would the highlight of our weekend be? Probably visiting a garden centre.

I sometimes think that in justifying (or trying to justify?) these sorts of decisions, it’s easy to be biased towards whichever side you’ve chosen, sometimes by over exaggerating the positives of your choice, sometimes by denigrating the other option.

And I do definitely think that this is a bit of the latter.

But as I’ve said before (and fully recognising how lucky I am to be able to say this), for us, the lifestyle here far outweighs the problems of the place.

And without wanting to do the UK down, I can’t help but think that if I were there, I’d more likely be waiting in a shopping centre multi-storey car park and not overlooking the Constantia Valley and False Bay. (Well, obviously. But you know what I mean.) And it’s not like I don’t have the choice of a shopping centre multi-storey car park if that were my (or my daughter’s) scene.

But on a sunny, breezy Monday lunchtime under the oaks in Constantia, the biggest concerns are baboons and tourists. And why they didn’t bring a straw with her milkshake.

And this car park is really good.