Who do you want?

Some wonderful examples of stating the bleeding obvious as journalists desperately try to make a story out of pure speculation over the FIFA World Cup Draw in Cape Town this evening:

A favourable draw for Bafana will give the hosts a chance of making it past the early stages of the first World Cup on African soil.

Wow. Who knew? Presumably a less favourable draw would reduce that chance?
(This is just a guess).

Three possibilities loom for Bafana Bafana when the 2010 World Cup draw is made: an easy passage to the second round, a challenging yet still possible promotion to the last 16 – or the dreaded Group of Death.

In between these three possibilities lie other inter-possibilities. Like, for example, Bafana Bafana getting drawn in the Group of Traumatic Amputation, which isn’t quite as bad as the Group of Death, but which they will want to avoid more than the Group of Permanent Injury or the less difficult, but nevertheless potentially challenging Group of Unfortunate Infection.

“I just hope that we won’t end up in the toughest group,” said French federation president Jean-Pierre Escalettes.

Never mind, even if you do Jean-Pierre, I’m sure you’ll handle it (in true French tradition).

US coach Bob Bradley said his team was hoping for a group in which they would have a “good opportunity to move forward.”

This is the sort of coach I like. Not one of those coaches that comes out with lines like “I really want us to fall at the first hurdle” or “I hope we lose all our games”. That’s positive thinking right there, Mr Bradley and it’s to your credit. Nice work.   

Tomorrow on 6000 miles…, we continue our exploration into the possible religious views of the Pope and the defaecation habits of ursines.

Not drunk

Tiger Woods’ car crash news is breaking all over Twitter.

Woods, 33, pulled out of his driveway in the Isleworth community about 2:25 a.m. when he struck a fire hydrant, and then drove into a tree at his neighbor’s property, FHP reported.

Woods was apparently taken to a nearby hospital “in a seriously rat-arsed condition”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always striking fire hydrants and then driving into my neighbour’s arboreal vegetation in the early hours of the morning. I like to test to see how quickly the local council can get out to stem the big fountain of water that spews from the broken faucet. If they arrive before it gets light, I feel that my exorbitant rates bill is doing at least some good. 
Next door’s tree just annoys me by dropping leaves in my pool so I try and knock it down while I’m out damaging the car: it saves time and effort just billing the insurance once.

I’m not drunk when I do that though. Honest.

Sunday stuff to do – blogging about space rock

It’s Sunday and there’s stuff to do. Exciting stuff like polyfilling and painting, poisoning the front lawn, drinking beer and watching football. Being mindful that any one of those activities could go on late into the night and also aware that there have been strange server error things going on at the far end of my internet and equally odd connection problems at this end, I thought it best to pop a quota photo up just in case I don’t get time or inclination to blog later.

But then came the story of the meteor over Gauteng and suddenly, the quota photo plan was reserved for another day. Big quota photo fans need not be disappointed as all (if not more) of my quota photos come from my flickr photostream, so you can always go on there and fill your boots, pixel-wise, if that’s what floats your metaphorical boat.

But on with that meteor thing. Twitter has been going mad – well, there were a couple of mentions, anyway – with people claiming to have seen it, claiming that a friend had seen it or claiming that they hadn’t seen it but wishing that they had seen it.
But what were people actually seeing? Eyewitness News sets the record straight. Sort of.

Johannesburg and Pretoria residents have come forward, claiming they spotted a meteor in the skies on Saturday night.

People in Gauteng saw the bright light at around 11pm on Saturday night, heading towards the north of Pretoria.
“We saw this big green ball of fire: it kind of came out of the sky, out of the blue,” one resident said.
“There was sudden flash. Like an orange stripe in the sky, followed by a very bright explosion where the sky lit up as if it was daytime,” another explained.

So it was green out of the blue (blue skies at 11pm?!?) and “it kind of came out of the sky”.

Now, even granted that this individual must have been shocked at such a shocking experience, that’s a whole lot of confusion in one single sentence. I defy you to succinctly imagine something “kind of coming from the sky”. Sure, I can imagine something coming from the sky and I can imagine something not coming from the sky. However the concept of something “kind of coming out of the sky” confuses me.
It’s like picking up one of Telkom’s stiff little ADSL hamsters in Bloemfontein and declaring it “kind of dead”.
No, a meteor is an all or nothing thing. And they always come from the sky.

I’m actually discounting the second witness statement completely as he was probably just drunk and passed out before waking up at sunrise. Thus, the sky lighting up “as if it was daytime” was probably due to it being daytime. The orange glow would have been wholly unfamiliar, given the recent weather in Gauteng.

This story is ongoing. There has been no official response as yet, because it’s Sunday and all the Government departments and official bodies in South Africa are closed. Not that I want anyone to invade or anything, but if you’re going to (and who’s to say that you haven’t already?) then Saturday at 11pm would be a great time to do it. That way, you’d basically have about 30 hours grace to settle in and make the Union Buildings your own, unpack some boxes, do a spot of decorating, change the locks etc (bring your own locksmith) before anyone realises what is going on and starts grumbling on Monday morning.

And even then, they’ll probably only moan if it’s raining and they can’t go and lie in the sun on their unexpected day off.

UPDATE: Wow. OK, now I get it.

Footage from the security camera of the Mustek building in Midrand of the meteor shower that took place on 21 Nov 2009. 

The Great Aussie HippoPig Shoot Story

More from the country which brought us the lunatic ninja kangaroo – a man has shot a hippo.

A pygmy hippopotamus has been shot dead during a pig hunting expedition in the Northern Territory.
Nico Courtney, 27, was out spot-lighting for pigs with mates in the Douglas Daly region on Saturday night when he accidentally shot the vulnerable African rainforest dweller.

Pigs with mates? Why only shoot pigs with mates? Is it like some sort of a two-for-one deal?
What if you see a pig with no mates? Is he safe? Because if he is and the pigs get wise to this, then there’s going to be a whole lot more single pigs around and that does not bode well for the continuation of the species.
But then again, neither does you shooting them, I guess.

Stories about sightings of African wildlife wandering the NT outback have long been shared amongst locals.
But it wasn’t until Mr Courtney stumbled on the dead hippopotamus, after shooting what he believed to be a wild pig, that he realised the campfire yarns about free-ranging exotic animals were true.

Now, I realise that this was a pygmy hippopotamus and therefore rather small and also that it was dark out there in the bush. But stumbling on an animal that you’ve just shot dead is just plain clumsy. It’s not like it’s going anywhere. It’s dead. It’s lying right where you shot it. Just look where you’re putting your feet in future.

“From the tail end it looked just like a big pig,” Mr Courtney told News Limited.
“We got out and had a look at it and thought: that’s not a pig, it’s a hippo.”

OK, well done – although I think we’ve now established that your eyesight really isn’t great.

“Then we thought: you don’t get hippos in Australia.”

That’s actually a damn good point. You don’t get hippos in Australia.
And you’re in Australia. Therefore, it can’t be a hippo. I’m loving your logic.
But how on earth can you make it not be a hippo anymore?
I know – maybe try going to bed and let the effects of the evening’s festivities wear off:

Mr Courtney went to bed hoping to reassess the situation in the daylight, but woke to find it was, in fact, still a pigmy hippo.

Well, there’s a huge shock. No magical porcine transformation as you rested.
Sure, evolution has a lot to answer for as far as the pygmy hippopotamus is concerned. It certainly looks like it has some catching up to do. But it’s not going to evolve into a pig overnight.
Especially when you’ve already misidentified it by looking at its arse, shot it, tripped over it and then gone to bed in the hope that it will make some miraculous species jump. 

A spokesman for the Douglas Daly Research Farm, where the hippo’s body was stored on Sunday in a cold room, told AAP the Darwin Museum had expressed an interest in the animal. It was sent to the taxidermist on Monday.
However, it is understood that the carcass may have been left un-refrigerated for too long and, as a result, may be unsuitable for display.

Given that it’s just been shot dead, I think a lack of refrigeration would be the least of its worries.

Mr Courtney told ABC Radio on Monday he would never have shot the hippo had he known what it was.
“It is not really a trophy or something you would brag about, it makes me feel sick,” he said. 

Your buddies all go out and shoot some boring old pigs and you bag a virtually extinct pygmy hippo and that’s not some kind of trophy? Are you really telling me that being known in every bar in Douglas Daly as “that bloke that shot the hippo” makes you feel sick?

That’s free beer for life, right there. You’re a hero, mate. Live the dream.

Hang on a minute!

Cape Town‘s Integrated Rapid Transport Strategy has hit another snag ahead of the World Cup next year:
Fare dodgers.

Apparently this guy got on without paying a cent.
Fortunately, the police were quickly on the scene to arrest him.


This one has been doing the rounds here for the past couple of days, but I think it’s only fair to share it with my overseas readers as well. As we say here in Africa: Only in Africa!