It never rains…

That’s a complete lie. It rained all day today and it also rained a bit yesterday, even though the sun was shining at the same time.
Apparently, in the UK this is known as a “sunshower”, although I’ve never heard that expression. Still, I only lived there for 30-odd years.
In Cape Town, where the weather is just plain weird, this sort of thing happens far more often. It happened yesterday and I photographised it.

I have been told that the phenomenon is known as a “Monkey’s Wedding”. However, I have never dared use that phrase, just in case it was one of those Old Skool racist things that were “perfectly acceptable” to use “back in the day”, but that one – quite rightly – can’t say now.

However, having done a bit of research (ie.I googled it), I have discovered that the phrase comes, in fact, from the isiZulu umshado wezinkawu , meaning (perhaps unsurprisingly) “A wedding for monkeys”. There is no further explanation as to why this is the case. However, it would seem that I am safely able to use the phrase from now on without fear of prosecution.

There’s also an Afrikaans version, which Wikipedia tells me is jakkelstrou or “Jackal’s Wedding”.
This, it seems comes from the dainty little rhyming couplet:

Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou,
As dit reen en die son skyn flou.

Which actually makes perfect sense, because I did notice that there was a jackal in the back garden who seemed intent on marrying the wolf’s wife while the rain fell and the sun shone faintly. With hindsight, that probably would have made a more interesting photo than the one above.

I’ll try to remember that for next time it happens. Sorry.

Best comment on “moon bombing”. Ever.

OK, so I recognise that the moon doesn’t get “bombed” every day, but the hysteria and lack of understanding surrounding this experiment reminds me of the “we’re all going to die” attitude when they switched on the Large Hadron Collider last September.

Obviously, we’re all still here.
Which is not always good news, because then people can make comments like this:

Uh. Are these people st00pid? We kinda need the moon for tides and stuff.

Which then prompted this:

…the Russians are going to get cross – Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize and now he’s bombing the moon and causing chaos!

And this:

Surely they can’t be 100% with their ‘predictions’ of where to bomb and EXACTLY what the impact might be? Maybe we’ll have floods for the next month.

The whole thread is hilarious, actually.

And high tide in Cape Town this evening is (still) at 6:19 PM SAST. No chaos. No floods (yet).

Oh, and they’re switching on the LHC again in November, so we only had a few weeks to live anyway.

Try Me I’m New

Because my most important reader is me.
And also because some people aren’t on twitter (my end of which has gone a bit crazy since I posted this earlier today).

This photo:

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Which stomach-churningly combines two of the staples of South African cookery into one handy-to-braai sausage casing.
At what point did someone actually stop whatever they were doing and consider putting pap and wors into a single sausage unit? And then go and do it? And then, having examined the visually-disturbing result, decide that putting it on sale would be a good thing to do?
Have Pick n Pay lost the plot? What are they smoking in that butchery there?

Try me I’m new, it entices.

No thanks. Really. No.

More thoughts on god and the plane crash

The Times (dead tree press edition) continues coverage of the Durban plane crash with news that Alistair Freeman, the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft and Ebrahim Mthetwa, the now infamous Municipal Worker, are currently in hospital in a critical condition, while the co-pilot (female) (just sayin’) and the other crew member are in a stable. Which seemed like an odd place for them to be until I read the next line: “condition in hospital”.
I should read ahead more often.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to each of them. But all that is incidental.

Firstly, before we wade into further heavy religious debate, let’s hear what Andre Smit “a private pilot with 20 years of experience” (although it doesn’t say in what) has to offer:

The pilot is to be commended. For him to come over all those houses to land shows true airmanship. His ability to fly is almost a miracle.

The pilot’s “miracle” ability to fly has, on this occasion, failed to impress me.
His ability to crash is truly awesome though.

“Emotional resident” Santosh Ramnarain has lost the plot though. Once again, here is an example of someone who can’t see the wood for the trees. Speaking (again) of the Pilot, Santosh tells us:

This man is a hero and God has to save him because he saved us. My whole family could have died in an instant if he did not act so quickly.

Santosh – who caused this accident? Well, if you believe in him and you believe in his omnipotence – and you obviously do, since you’re asking him to intervene in the pilot’s recovery – then god did! Don’t you see?

So, while you’re asking the big guy upstairs to save Captain Freeman, the whole plane crash thing was his idea in the first place.
Couldn’t he rather just have cut out the middleman and let Captain Freeman have a ordinary, undramatic and safe journey (albeit to Pietermaritzberg)?
That alternate scenario would also have resulted in the co-pilot not having two broken ankles, one broken hand and severe pelvic and chest injuries; the third crew member would not have damage to her spine and face and Mr Mthethwa would have been able to go home to his family in the evening instead of lying unconscious in a public hospital ICU bed.

That – to me at least – seems like a much nicer way of doing things.

So Santosh, maybe instead of asking god to save Captain Freeman, you should first ask him why he insisted on bringing the plane down in the first place.
Are you Bruinman in disguise? Blinkered to the crap that happens at god’s will, but giving him props for sunshine, pretty flowers and miracle pilots.

How to help a municipal worker

Following online news reports covering this morning’s plane crash in Durban, I have gained new insight into what action to take in the unlikely event that a small twin-engined aircraft should crash-land in my neighbourhood, skidding over an unfortunate municipal worker in the process. 

ND CRASH.JPG       ND CRASH.JPG
Pictures: Gcina Ndwalane via iol.co.za

My first reaction – being trained in first aid – would have been to approach the aircraft and try and assist in whatever way I could, taking into account the dangers inherent in such a move. One of the first things I was taught by St. John (or one of his discipley people) is how not to make oneself an additional casualty in such any given incident. 

However, it would seem that in the intervening period, the rules have changed.

Logie Naidoo, said she noticed the low flying plane just after 8am. “We are used to planes flying low overhead but this was too low.”

Being at ground level? Well spotted, Logie.

“There was a very loud noise and the plane slid in between our houses through a vacant lot and into the school property,” she said.

Naidoo said a municipal worker who was cleaning the street at the time appeared to have been struck by the plane.

“I was horrified, it looked like the plane slid over one man. I started screaming and praying. It all just happened so quickly.”

Again, flawless insight. Plane crashes do tend to be pretty quick. That, I believe, is due to the combination of the effects of the aircraft’s jet engines and the seemingly relentless pull of gravity.
Slower plane crashes tend to be more controlled and are called “landings”.

But did you pick up on the important detail there?
On no account should you try to physically assist anyone in or underneath the crashed aircraft. The best response is to scream and pray.

Scream and pray.

Screaming is a good idea because the noise will alert other individuals in the area that there has been a plane crash (probably a quick one). You may find that screaming is superfluous however, since the noise of the actual plane actually crashing may have made them already realise that a plane crash has occurred.
Never mind. It’ll help to scream anyway. And pray.

Praying, to be honest, is less helpful in these sort of situations when you actually stop to think about it. Which you won’t, because you’re too busy screaming.
Praying suggests that you believe in some deity or higher power being responsible for the things that happen on, around and – crucially – just above this planet. That being the case, your deity or higher power has already made his/her/its mind up about the little SAA Airlinkplane that just tried to take off from Durban Airport. And about the unfortunate municipal worker underneath it. Strangely, he/she/it has also made up his/her/its mind about you as well and you get to live, presumably so you can scream and pray.

But praying at this point is the equivalent of imploring a football referee to change his mind about the red card he just gave to your teammate. The mind is made up, the decision now set in stone (or at least a school fence). And your continued protests are likely to get you a yellow card. I presume that would be a mild heart attack or something similar.

But whatever you do, don’t actually go and try to help anyone. Stand there, scream and pray.
And then tell the newspapers about how you did it. You hero.