Poor start

As I said, the plan was to be creative this long weekend, but it hasn’t started well. The fresh, open air of Agulhas is fantastic for flying the Mavic, but sadly, that fresh, open air is moving awfully fast right now (gusting to 60kph, nogal), and thus getting off the ground is a bit of a non-starter.

Equally, it’s even a bit breezy for long exposure photos. Not that the photons are getting blown around like the drone would be, but camera wobble is a problem. I was going to try somewhere a bit more sheltered last night, but the people renting the place next door decided that they needed to leave their outside light on all night because…  actually, I have no idea why. Anyway, those plans were also thwarted.

Flying is right off the menu. I might manage something on with the camera later, though. I’m not sure how right now, but I still have a few hours left to sort things out.

Watch (as ever) this space. It is, after all, the best space to watch.

On UK politics

As Helen Zille puts foot firmly into mouth with her “Colonialism wasn’t ALL bad” tweet, thus conveniently removing the spotlight of the SASSA scandal from the rotten and rotting ANC, I spotted this on twitter this morning.
Not sure whose words, but… well… yes.

Yep. It’s free rein for the Conservatives at the moment. Theresa May could poo on the front lawn of Buckingham Palace on live TV* and she’d still win the next election by a landslide. Helen Zille? Not so much.

* not a campaign suggestion.  

They’re onto us

Aw, crap.

Time to come clean. They’re onto us. To be fair, we had a good run; in fact, I was amazed that we managed to get away with it for so long, but the inevitable end was… well… inevitable.

An admission: My MSc project, allegedly on Multilocus Sequence Typing of Streptococcus agalactiae, was actually just a cover for my research into putting brain-eating nanobots into vaccines.

Oh dear, I seem to have accidentally wiped the name of the website out.

Of course, even if you have a basket full of brain-eating nanobots and several litres of vaccines, you can’t just lob the two together and hope for the best. Our Illuminati Overlords would never allow that. Usually, you’d start a major project like this with some small scale testing, but nanobots are pretty small anyway, so we had to start with large scale testing and then work our way down. First, we began piping beagles into homes via the water reticulation system in Singapore (who could forget the Singapore Mass Beagle Outbreak back in 1999?).
The unqualified (and unexpected) success of that part of the project allowed us to go smaller, and yes, as you’ve probably already guessed, it was our laboratory that was behind all those acorns people discovered in their Starbucks coffee in Florida in 2001.

From there, it was an easy step to putting brain-eating nanobots in vaccines. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? Beagles in your tap water, acorns in your coffee, brain-eating nanobots in your vaccines. It’s the obvious and natural progression of things.

Sadly, we weren’t counting on the amazing detective powers of one particular keyboard warrior fighting against our imposition of a New World Order. He’s got us banged to rights and no mistake. Jim Stone – who has been a constant thorn in our side since I first heard his name earlier this morning – has also told you (often using occasional BOLD TYPE and capital letters) about how Zika virus was dropped from helicopters, how UFOs ABDUCTED flight MH370, how the recent mix-up at the Oscars was due to a Wiccan spell DESIGNED TO ATTACK DONALD TRUMP, that Antarctica is being evacuated (presumably not a hugely lengthy process) so that aliens can land there, and that Nelson Mandela DIED IN PRISON, there was a $250 banknote and COWS HAD (or is it didn’t have?) HORNS in his (Stone’s) other life.

On that last one: yes, really – and it includes the brilliant opening line “When I was a kid I lived in a semi rural area and had a lot of exposure to cows.” (And then the murders began?)

Anyway, I think you can now see that the brain-eating nanobots in vaccines exposé is just one of many blows that Jim has stuck against the clandestine establishment which tells you what to think via popular blogs and the like. It’s just that this one was personal for me because I worked so hard on it. (I had tried to get in on the jet fuel and steel beams experiments, but George Bush only wanted psychologically malleable engineers.)

Anyway, the discovery of the whole brain-eating nanobots in vaccines thing has all come too little, too late. Everyone is already full of vaccines and brain-eating nanobots, just like Singapore was full of beagles 18 years ago, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.
On the plus side, poliomyelitis is now almost a thing of the past and childhood mortality due to infectious diseases has halved over the last 25 years. Still, this has to weighed up against the MASSIVE increase in deaths due to people’s brains being eaten by brain-eating nanobots.
So, you know, some you win, some you lose.

My thanks to Jim for keeping us honest, and my apologies if you or someone you love has been affected by a brain-eating nanobot. Or an acorn in your beverage while holidaying in Miami.

I obviously can’t give you any details about the project that I’ve been assigned to down here in Cape Town, but it’s got nothing to do with putting microchips in Gatsbys. Absolutely nothing.
So much so that you should probably forget that I even mentioned it.

Which I didn’t. Right?

Cycle Tour Protest

Many cyclists have vowed to protest following the short notice cancellation of the 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour due to dangerously high winds and a large wildfire on the route.

When asked why they would take this action, cyclist union leader Cyril Leikra responded:

“We need to show the organisers just how hard we trained for this event. If we’re not allowed to ride today, we will embark on a year long protest of civil disobedience. For us, the next 12 months was to revolve around pub stories of our struggle in the breeze at Fishhoek and the annual tough climb up Suikerbossie.
Now, we will have none of that glory. We’re angry.”

We asked Leikra what form the protest was going to take:

“We will ride on the freeways, we’ll ride two or three abreast on narrow roads – especially on weekends around Kalk Bay – and we will ignore all traffic signals on our route. Red traffic lights be damned. It will be a straightforward move – this is what we have trained for over the last year – our members are ready.”

But Cape Town residents seemed amused by the decision to protest:

“Look, if they were hoping to pull the sympathy vote to get a beer or two after the Tour, they still can. All that training for nothing. It’s genuinely sad. But the protest idea is laughable. No-one will even notice, because that’s all they do all year round anyway.”

However, from a now sweaty chair at the local Vida, a helmeted Leikra was determined to have the final word:

“I remember riding in the infamous Glencairn Hurricane of 2012. People just don’t understand. And the council’s decision to annually increase the gradient of Suikerbossie just shows how hard done by we cyclists are. It’s time we stood up for our rights and reminded people how we are victimised – something that it seems everyone has overlooked since I told them about it all day yesterday.”

To cheat or not to cheat?

That is the question.
And it’s actually tougher to answer than you might think.

Luis Suárez is, once again, the centre of attention for his last minute antics in a big football match. Luis rose to international prominence with his goalline handball at Soccer City which effectively knocked Ghana out of the 2010 World Cup. And, though I hate to say it now, I defended him over that (although it was mainly just to pass contrary comment on the stupid people on social media).
Forr me, that handball was an instinctive thing – he was on the line, the ball flew at him, instant self-preservation and desperation set in. Four years of preparation, of blood, sweat, tears and hard work came down to that split second:

I would have stopped that shot with my hand if I’d have been on the line that night. So would David Beckham, so would Lionel Messi, neither would Robert Green.

He might have been a thoroughly despicable, cheating, nasty piece of work, but I maintain that that infamous handball was involuntary.

But then… the biting, the diving, the racism, the diving, the biting and the diving since then?
Less involuntary. More considered. Calculated. Controlled.

Deliberate.

Ugh.

The 90th minute dive which won the penalty which assisted Barcelona through at the Nou Camp was disgraceful. It’s difficult not to look at any incident involving Luis Suárez without cheat-tinted spectacles, but even setting aside any dislike for him and his team of UEFA’s darlings, Wednesday evening may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. (Suárez’ collar bone did survive though, despite the obvious agony as he fell to the floor having not been karate chopped across the neck.)

Anyway, the main reason for this post is to share one of the excellent newspaper articles and soundbites that this has generated. Silver linings – sometimes you’ve just got to try and find them.

Step forward, then Ewan Murray in the Guardian:

Once again the cottage industry that is the lauding of all things La Liga, and Barcelona in particular, belies what appear to be dark arts. The Barça brand matters more than what should always be established codes of football conduct. Pundits fawn, laughably in respect of former footballers who would rightly be incandescent had they suffered at the hands of Barça’s routinely wobbly forwards.

If the awarding of Barcelona’s first penalty of the night was dubious, Thomas Meunier committing the apparently fatal sin of falling over with Neymar in close proximity, the hosts’ second, which fuelled the fairytale, represented a blatant act of cheating.

Ewan pulls no punches, voicing opinions which many of us have been harbouring for some time now.

If you watch back through the dying stages, Barça’s players are throwing themselves to the floor with such desperation it is comical. The not-so- subtle message, as witnessed by millions including impressionable young footballers? When in doubt, when things get seriously tough, keep the conning of officials at the forefront of your mind. The ruse is even more effective when a team are at home, in such an intense atmosphere as the Camp Nou.

Preach, Ewan! Preach!

Please, can the thing that comes of this be the fast forwarding of video-assistants for the referees. The pathetic extra official on the goal line experiment has had virtually zero positive effect and needs to be scrapped in favour of a rugby-style TMO. Of course, if this were the case, Suárez would be off (having been booked for diving earlier in the game) and Barca would be out. Maybe that sort of thing is why technology hasn’t been introduced. Convenient human error being a great way to ensure your pet team continue to prevail.

But I’m sounding bitter and cynical now (albeit with good reason).

Suárez will go on Suárezing for just as long as he is allowed to do so.
The FA used post-match video evidence to look back at incidents in the ManU v Bournemouth game and Tyrone Mings and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were rightly handed bans for breaking the rules.

What sanction then for Luis and Barca? (spoiler: it’s none)

Now [FIFA] need to allow the reviewing of video evidence after the game for players diving and then suspend them.
Either that or maybe make some more big bucks by researching, developing and marketing whatever it is that allows players like Pedro and Javier Mascherano to miraculously recover and get on with the game 5 seconds after what appears to be a career-threatening injury.

Hmm. It’s (still) time to drag football’s governing body, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.