Good advice

Spotted this morning on several poles on the way to work, this headline deserved a blog post and submission to this flickr group.

I had a copy of the newspaper in my car with me, but reading a newspaper while driving comes a very close second to using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. And, with the traffic approaching Koeberg Interchange as bad as ever, my mind began to wander.
Who had advised this sausage thief on his prophylactic usage?
And why?

Was this a better way to smuggle sausages out of wherever he had stolen the sausages from? After all, no-one’s going to suspect that a sausage-shaped something in a condom is actually a sausage, now are they?
Even if they did, they’re unlikely to want to check.

(This wouldn’t work for boerewors though. Unless it was a very big condom.)
(And rather oddly shaped.)

Additionally, it wouldn’t work for cheese, which is what he also stole – and “Cheese Thief” is what the online version of the Cape Times has got him labeled as. R299 worth of cheese and Vienna sausages. All he needs now is the pineapple and the cocktail sticks and he’s ready for a buffet of note.

At 23 years old, Mzawanele Japhta already has 4 kids. And that’s why magistrate Grant Engel urged Japhta to go to a clinic for free condoms, “before you end up with 30 children”.

Who would presumably require him stealing a whole lot more sausages and cheese.

Heavy Sacks

Flicking through the Cape Times yesterday, I noticed a half-page ad for Cape Union Mart, the local camping, hiking and general outdoor sports suppliers. The ad in question (pictured here) detailed the wide variety of rucksacks which they sell, complete with stats on each and a brief blurb listing the features of the pack in question. All very handy, especially if you’re thinking about buying a new rucksack.

However, if you do find yourself in that situation, then might I advise you to read carefully and perhaps even try before you buy?
Because if you are planning trail running, mountain biking or a spot of climbing, then you might think that the Hydro Velocity 6 would be your pack of choice. Sure, it’s only got a capacity of 6 litres, but it is relatively cheap at R250 and it does have contoured shoulder straps for comfort. And they’re going to come in very handy, since it weighs 415kg.

Yes, it’s approaching half a metric ton, but it has got that mesh back for ventilation. And that’ll keep you nicely cool as you wait for the fire crew to try and get you out from under it.

But wait, in true Verimark style – there’s more.

What if you were planning a “short hiking trip” or some “general use”? You’re going to need something bigger than the pitiful Hydro Velocity 6 for that, right? Right.
Well, may I then suggest that you head for the R299 Ignite? At 28 litres, it’s got the capacity you need and features a detachable waist belt and a large main compartment. But don’t go putting anything too heavy in that large main compartment, because the backpack itself weighs an incredible 612kg before you’ve even started.

And that’s about the weight of a fairly large horse, which is probably why the ad doesn’t suggest that you try horse-riding while wearing it, because that would cripple your steed. And you.

Obviously, there’s nothing in the picture to scale the Ignite against, but based on the fact that at 28 litres, it’s just a small rucksack, I’m guessing that it must be made of something hugely heavy, like plutonium or something similar. Not brilliant healthwise perhaps, but the pale glow of the decaying atoms therein would certainly be handy to guide the fire crew in to rescue you from underneath it, should night have fallen while you were craning it from the back of your truck.

They can then take you to the nearest hospital to die from crush injuries and radiation poisoning.

JD Bryce explains all

And he/she explains it in a letter to the Cape Times today.
Over to you, JD Bryce of St James:

The tirade against Bakkies Botha compels me to defend him.

Ti•rade [tahy-reyd, tahy-reyd] – noun; a prolonged outburst of bitter, outspoken denunciation.

Ok – I’ll give you the denunciation bit – and maybe a hint of bitterness because he was an idiot.
But prolonged?
He only did it 6 days ago (and therefore a maximum of 5 days before you wrote your letter). Prolonged is when something goes on for longer than it really should – like discussion over Luis Suarez’s goalline handball (which I’m still in awe of) or whether Jacob Zuma should have stood trial for corruption (still raised most days on Cape Talk).
And outspoken?  No. Everyone (including Bakkies) realises that it was a bloody stupid thing to do. Apart from you. But apparently, you are compelled and have a compulsion to defend him.

So I’ll let you continue, despite your initial foolishness and inaccuracy, because I’m nice like that.

I believe the real reason for his action is the New Zealand Haka.

Ah! Sorry – I misunderstood! This is a sarcastic letter. Amusement! Satire! Hilarity!
Go for it, JD!

The Haka is nothing more than a barrage of abuse in which the All Blacks threaten to beat the other team to a pulp and sever arms and legs. This raises the their [sic] adrenaline levels and creates a dominance over the other team.

Nice build up – and now deliver that punchline!

I believe Bakkies probably had a smouldering resentment to this.
His reaction is understandable.

Wait. What?
Is that it? Are you having a laugh, JD? Are you, perchance, “extracting the Michael”?

I have done some rudimentary calculations and seventy-four points as to why you are an idiot for writing this letter come to mind right about now. I will, henceforth and forthwith,address some of these below.

First off, Bakkies was not alone in facing the All Blacks’ Haka that day. There were 14 other players alongside him as the New Zealanders shook their little asses before kick off. If each of those 14 also harboured a smouldering resentment to the dance troupe, they hid it rather better than Bakkies did. And what’s with this “smouldering” stuff, anyway. You make it sound like he hid this supposed resentment rather well, when in fact he chose to smash himself headfirst into the back of Jimmy Cowan’s head.
While he was lying on the floor.
His reaction in this case is clearly not understandable.

Next up, a quick look at his Springbok Hall of Fame page, indicates that Bakkies had played for the Boks against New Zealand on 12 occasions prior to Saturday’s game. That’s 12 previous Hakas he has face without going completely LooneyTunez 2 minutes later. There was also a match against the “Pacific Islands” in 2004 which probably included a little dance up-front as well, because Pacific Islanders like doing that kind of thing.
Given this information, surely no jury would find that the reaction of Mnr Botha was “understandable”.

And then there are “other incidents” involving Bakkies, where he has tried to break players who haven’t even done the Haka. Gio Aplon of the Stormers, for example. Mind you, that was a long while ago – well, two months ago, anyway – in May this year.
I was there that day and watched as Gio (who weighs a mighty 75kg) was illegally taken out of a ruck by Botha (120kg) and was quite broken. Although, he got better.
But Gio hadn’t been dancing and threatening to beat the Bulls to a pulp. His only crime was to be on the end (corner?) of Bakkies’ shoulder in front of the Railway Stand at Newlands.
Maybe Botha had got him confused with one of the cheerleaders, who did have a quick boogie on the pitch before the teams came out.
We’ll probably never know. But since there was no Haka involved, his reaction in this case was far from understandable.

And what of this Haka and the threats and abuse it brings with it, anyway?
Have the All Blacks actually ever beaten anyone to a pulp during a Haka-prefixed game? Only on the scoreboard, methinks (32-12 last weekend).
And is there really any evidence that arms and legs – (is it ok if I use the collective term “limbs” here, JD? Is that alright?) – is there any evidence that limbs have been severed during an All Black game?

I’m no expert on rugby, but I can use Google and I can find no record of traumatic amputation of any limb during an international rugby match involving New Zealand. And that’s 462 games.

Ignoring replacement players and the complications that they would bring to the calculation and therefore working on the basis of 15 opposition players per game (and a rather obvious 4 limbs per player), that’s almost 28,000 limbs that the New Zealanders have – through the medium of dance – allegedly threatened to amputate during rugby matches and a grand total of zero that they’ve actually managed to tear off.

If you or Bakkies had actually done the maths, you’d surely realise that this Haka thing is obviously just an empty threat and nothing to get all wound up about. Sadly, that does mean that his reaction is anything but understandable.

I recognise that this blog post may seem to you to be part of the “injust” “tirade” against Bakkies, but it’s actually not. It’s simply a reasoned response to your foolish action in attempting to explain his foolish action.

And so, JD Bryce, your letter to the Times is therefore declared null and void and you are banned from 9 weeks from writing anything remotely involving rugby to any newspaper.

Save maybe for an apology.

P Tucker is unhappy

And you only have to read his letter to today’s Cape Times to see why:

P tucker letter

As I was reading this sorry tale today, I was amazed at the number of foolish allegations and inconsistencies in P Tucker’s letter. It would be unfair to label him “stupid” without first addressing each of these in detail.
I shall do this now.

P Tucker applied in the first phase of ticket sales and was rather successful. As he points out, there was no indication as to where the different price categories for each of the games were. That’s because no-one had any idea who would be playing in the tournament, much less who they’d be playing against and where. The number of seats in each category varies from game to game, so that there is more chance of the stadium being filled and so that FIFA and the LOC can maximise profit from each game. P Tucker knew about this when applying for those tickets as he clicked the little box stating that he agreed with the ticketing terms and conditions.
Didn’t P Tucker read them before checking the box?
More fool P Tucker.

P Tucker doesn’t say which category he applied for, let alone which match(es), but was hugely indignant when he found out that he had been given tickets in block 333 (half the Number of the Beast) which he describes as being “near the roof”, although I believe the technical term is “in the top tier”.
Of course, as any seasoned sports fan will tell you, it’s not how high up in the stadium you are, it’s whether you are behind the goals or down the side of the pitch that determines how good your view is and therefore how much you’re likely to pay.

I love P Tucker’s rage that a friend got “better” tickets for R600, which amounts to “total manipulation by Match officials”. Yes, P Tucker – they’re obviously totally manipulated against you, personally. They hate you, despise you and give you tickets in the attic, but they seem to love your mate, don’t they? Damn, it must be so very difficult when the system is stacked in everyone else’s favour. How do you live, day to day?
What an expensive joke they are playing with the soccer patrons of South Africa you, P Tucker.

And it’s not even as if this smear campaign against all things P Tucker ends there. Because his next set of tickets were “also near the roof” in the now infamous Block 304. Now this is where things get interesting, because that second lot of tickets must have been purchased over the counter. Otherwise, he would have received all his tickets in one go. And when you buy over the counter (or even online during an over the counter ticketing phase), you get to see that all-important map of the stadium before you click the purchase button. And yet P Tucker seems to have chosen to sit “near the roof” again, despite his unmentioned vertigo issues.

While P Tucker is distressed at the placement of the tickets he has been allocated, he’s lucky to have got any at all. Such is the demand for tickets – especially for Cape Town games – there are many thousands who wish they could be sitting in Block 333 or even (at a push) Block 304. All of which brings me to my symbiotic solution to this issue.
P Tucker, distraught with having to climb so many steps to get to watch the games and upset with Match’s personal vendetta against him, should simply sell his tickets back to FIFA.
He’ll get all his money back – no commission, no fees, no questions asked – and then someone more grateful (and less paranoid and downright miserable) can have them.


Tuesday: Shower. Breakfast. Traffic. Work. Tea Break. Such is the life of a lab rat.

But with Tuesday tea break comes Ben Trovato’s column in the Cape Times. Today, I open the paper even more eagerly. How will someone with such obvious compassion for those around him and an incomparable understanding of South African cultures handle the recent xenophobic problems?

Surprisingly subtly, actually. But whatever, because then, halfway through the column – the bombshell:

And so, to matters more serious. It is with a heavy heart I inform you of circumstances necessitating that I relinquish this valuable piece of literary real estate with immediate effect.

I read it once. I read it again. And I was left numb. Seriously, Ben Trovato has kept me going through some difficult times since I moved over here. I have all his books and I agree with every sentiment therein – maybe even the bit when he called my car “gay”. I have lived vicariously through his words, possessing neither the bravery (foolishness?) to do the stuff he did nor the literary ability to describe the things I dared not do. And now he’s hanging up his pen.

At times like this, you can either mope, depressed in the knowledge that Tuesdays will never be the same again. Or you can celebrate the chance for a new columnist to fill his boots (something Ben Trovato has been doing for 5 years+).

Well sod your happy-clappy positivity. I’m in mourning.

RIP Ben Trovato. (Unless this is all a big hoax in which case I’m coming after you with a big stick.)
I know that you read me like I read you, so thanks. And all the best.
I hope I’m still going to be able to read you somewhere… sometime.
Otherwise, how will I know what to think?

In memory, I present to you his finest hour:

Why, in the name of God, won’t someone bring Jacob Zuma his machine gun? I can no longer stand by and watch the man suffer like this. Has he not been through enough?
There is an organisation called the Friends of Jacob Zuma, and yet not one of its members is willing to do as he asks. Some friends.

Jacob Zuma has anywhere between two and five wives. But what good is that if none will go the extra mile? Who brings him his pint of Ijuba after another exhausting live concert outside the Pietermartizburg High Court? As a proud Zulu man, he cannot be expected to fetch his own sorghum beer and automatic weapon.

Jacob Zuma is clearly someone who treasures his machine gun above all else. So what of it? He doesn’t ask for much. All he wants is his machine gun.

And maybe the presidency.

I don’t want to sound churlish, but it might help if he told us where he left the damn thing. It must be somewhere. He definitely started out with one, otherwise he would be singing, “bring me a machine gun”. By referring to his machine gun in the possessive, he is telling us that he already has one, but that he has either mislaid it or somebody has moved it from where he last saw it.

Perhaps his machine gun is at his mother-in-law’s house.
Maybe he can’t remember which mother-in-law.

EDIT: Incoming email from Ben Trovato himself suggests that I should look out for the Sunday Times on 8th June. Could it be that he is taking the place of thankfully-sacked columnist Bavid Dullard?
If so, sign me up, Mr Makhanya!!