De Lille to host inter-faith prayer for rain on Table Mountain

That’s the headline from iol this morning, and the article underneath it goes on to say that:

The City of Cape Town’s Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille will host an inter-faith gathering of various religious leaders to pray for rain on Thursday at 2pm.

Who’ll be there? Well, various religious leaders including:

representatives from various churches, the Muslim Judicial Council, the Western Cape Christian Ministers’ Association, the Western Cape Traditional Leaders and Cultural Council, the Khoisan Griqua Royal House, the Bahaí Community of South Africa, the Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Centre, and the Hindu and Jewish communities.

Inter-faith indeed. All the major food groups listed there. No atheists, which is a bit awkward in our supposedly secular society, but I guess it might have been awkwarder still (I know) were we represented…

De Lille says:

“The residents and businesses of Cape Town have made great efforts to save water but we have to do more and we especially need the rains to come.”

Right. A few issues here. And I’m not going to spend too long on going through these. I’m too irritated to elaborate on stuff. It’ll involve swearing. Even this condensed version may involve swearing. Seriously, I’m literally just about to write it, and it really feels like it will involve some swearing right now.

1. Prayers don’t work. Evidence for this includes the repeated praying for no more terrorist attacks in Europe.

2. Also that whole Angus Buchan thing on Freedom Day.

3. And the annual SA Police Service prayer day for no more crime.

4. If prayers do actually work, then why didn’t you pray for rain earlier?

5. Oh wait. You did. And it didn’t work.

6. Look, I do realise that just because you’re spending your time doing this, it’s not that more practical solutions aren’t being organised: dams being dredged, other water sources being investigated and the like. But…

7. My rates – including my (understandably) inflated water tariff – are paying for you to attend this crap. And that’s annoying, because no matter what you were doing instead of sitting on the bloody mountain with your friends chatting to their various sky fairies this afternoon, it would offer me and the rest of the city’s ratepayers a far better return for our hard earned money.

8. If, when it rains tomorrow, as it is forecast to do (and as it has been forecast to do all week), and you or your god-bothering mates then claim that your Table Mountain meeting has yielded positive, tangible results, I may just go flipping postal. In a very reserved, British way, obviously.

Very restrained on the language there, well done me.

Look, I know you’re not going to read this, Patricia.
I know you’re not going to read it because you never read my towing an iceberg from Antarctica and dumping it in Franschhoek solution to the current water crisis; a solution which I have implored you to respond to on several occasions; a solution which I made up merely for comedic value, and which – although mathematically sound – is laughably far-fetched, but which would still be a better way of addressing the drought than you wasting everyone’s time and money on shouting at the clouds this afternoon.

What a disgrace.

Terrorism advice

In the wake of the Manchester attack (a phrase which has already been used all too often already this week), the UK Government has advised businesses to review their security and preparedness for a terrorist attack. Given that the threat level is “critical”, meaning “an attack is imminent”, it’s perhaps not a bad idea.

Their advice stretches to well over 10,000 words, and while I certainly haven’t read it all, contains some really interesting things.

Stuff like what to expect if you are caught up in a terrorist incident to which armed police are deployed:

OFFICERS MAY

  • Point guns at you
  • Treat you firmly
  • Question you
  • Be unable to distinguish you from the attacker

…which is actually perfectly reasonable, but is worth knowing before you actually may need to know it.

And the HOT protocol to recognise a suspect package:

The HOT protocol may be used to inform your judgement:-

Is it HIDDEN?

  • Has the item been deliberately concealed or is it obviously hidden from view?

OBVIOUSLY suspicious?

  • Does it have wires, circuit boards, batteries, tape, liquids or putty-like substances visible?
  • Do you think the item poses an immediate threat to life?

TYPICAL Is the item typical of what you would expect to find in this location?

  • Most lost property is found in locations where people congregate. Ask if anyone has left the item.

Again, common sense when you think about it. But… had you ever thought about it?

There’s stuff on what to do if there is a VBIED (Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices) or a VAAW (Vehicle As A Weapon) attack (like the Westminster Bridge incident earlier this year).
These can be mitigated by deployment of measures such as Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) and Vehicle Security Barriers (VSBs).

There’s also section 15.10, which I reproduce here:

15.10 Vulnerable/Dangerous loads

Operators should alert drivers to vulnerable loads or high-consequence dangerous goods and issue them with a vulnerable load/high-consequence dangerous goods card for these loads.

  • If a vehicle is stopped by uniformed officers in a marked police vehicle or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers, drivers should display the card and follow the instructions on the reverse of the card to verify the identity of officers from the police and DVSA.
  • During security alerts, operators and drivers should follow the advice given to them by their local police force. (Keep up to date using news media, the MI5 website and relevant associations).

These are defined as “goods which have the potential for misuse in a terrorist event. As a result, severe consequences might ensue: mass casualties, mass destruction or mass socio-economic disruption.”
But… verification of identity of officers? The MI5 website?
Wow. It’s all very James Bond, isn’t it? (And yes, I know he works for MI6.)

We once accidently stumbled across such a convoy, leaving Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. The first indication that something was going on was the presence of several gentlemen carrying scary looking sub-machine guns, standing next to a number of black BMW cars parked at junctions in the countryside just north of Cape Town.

None of them pointed their guns at us, questioned us or treated us firmly though, so we continued, passing a convoy of what were presumably high-consequence dangerous goods as went on our way.

Wendy play-off defeat

Late last night, in a godforsaken corner of the Steel City, and after a season of blood, sweat, toil and tears, Sheffield Wednesday’s play-off dreams were ended in exceptionally cruel fashion as they were beaten on penalties in the pouring rain, right in front of their own Kop.

True Wednesday fans will know that I have been in their position and that I know exactly what it feels like. The pain, the distress, the the heartbreaking effect of suddenly broken dreams.
They’ll also be aware that I’m unable to feel any sympathy for them, both contractually and because I actually find it quite funny. And I’d expect nothing less from them should the situation be reversed.

Experts told us that it was never meant to be this way.

and…

But it turns out that the experts were wrong.

The sun is shining, the birds are singing.
What a wonderful day it is today.

It isn’t, are you?

Left-leaning UK Facebook is knee deep in election propaganda at the moment. A lot of it centres around the assertion that Theresa May “is evil”: a convenient strawman argument, distracting us neatly from the fact that in the real world, Jeremy Corbyn’s policies are laughably pie-in-the-sky, laughably costed and seemingly aimed at making the UK a complete no-go zone for business.

But how do we not know this already? We read the papers, don’t we? Why haven’t they told us about Theresa’s nastiness?

Well, as further posts tell us “The Media Is Biased!”. The fact that people need telling this sort of thing is rather worrying, but still…
I’m not denying that the The Media Is Biased!. Of course it is. But that Media Bias! swings both ways – something that all the The Media Is Biased! posts seem to forget to tell us.

So, now that we’re a global community, and you might find yourself reading a UK newspaper website from overseas, let me just quickly fill you in on what to look out for with a quick guide to the usual suspects.

The Sun: Owned by Rupert Murdoch, right-of-centre.
The Mirror: Left-of-centre tabloid.
The Times: Another Murdoch paper, ex-broadsheet.
The Telegraph: aka The Torygraph. Pro-Conservative broadsheet.
Daily Mail, Daily Express: Right of right, gentile fascism. Horrendous.
The Guardian: Left-wing, liberal, ‘intellectual’ paper.

But then there’s one more, quite popular newspaper called The Independent. It used to be a part of the Dead Tree Press, before going online only from last year. And, because of its name, and its infamous motto:

…you can probably already guess at its lack of political affiliation.

But be careful, because this, as the quote goes, is “the biggest misnomer since Pussy Galore”. With each of those other papers, you get to make your own mind up, there’s no hint of which way they’re going to try and sway you. And of course, you should never believe everything you read anyway.
But please, when it comes to The Independent, don’t let your critical standards slip, just because of the title.

SA OK

Just a reminder on this Freedom Day that South Africa is fine and has been so since last weekend’s mass prayer meeting in Bloemfontein.

Malice, hatred, violence, murder and corruption here in SA packed their metaphorical bags and all left the country at midnight on Sunday, and thus we have spent the past few days luxuriating in what has been nothing short of a halcyon bliss; the placid tranquility a wondrous and welcome change from turbulence and barbarity we had encountered on a daily basis right up until Oom Angus intervened.

Sure, we were a bit put out by the violent protests in Lichetenburg and Lenasia on Monday, but at least one of the those was attributed to a mysterious “third force”, and we all know that God has quite enough on His hands sorting out first and second forces, and can’t really be expected to deal with third ones as well.

And then there was the new 5fm lineup reveal, which has caused shock, distress and anguish across the whole nation. But God has forsaken the SABC for many years now anyway. And rightly so.

Oh, and Helen Zille still has a twitter account. You must just have overlooked that though, right guys?

So yes. Thank you, Angus and your myriad disciples with your little misogynistic asides and dodgy, archaic views on homosexuality. Everything’s fine here now, and we’re all looking forward to you sorting out the Middle East, Justin Bieber, North Korea, Donald Trump, climate change and that Helen Zille thing over the coming weeks.

Get to it.