South African Nursery Rhymes

And lo, it came to pass that I realised quite how out of date and unrealistic nursery rhymes are.
What am I teaching my children? It’s bad enough that one of them thinks there’s a Gruffalo hiding in the back garden without them assuming that horticultural success can be achieved simply by the addition of expensive campanological implements, Cerastoderma edule and a line of random tarts fresh from Sea Point Main Road.

So, I was lying in bed this morning thinking of how one could best update and refresh nursery rhymes to actually be relevant to South Africa today. And I reckon there’s some mileage in this one, since observational humour is da bomb over here right now. And remember, we’re laughing with ourselves, not at ourselves. Sort of.

Let’s look at Little Bo Peep as our first example. And if you are more than 12 years old or you don’t have kids, allow me to remind you of the folly of the original prose:

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,
And doesn’t know where to find them.
Leave them alone and they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

One can learn so much from those four simple lines.

Employment Equity – as described in the Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998 – details how affirmative action should be applied wherever possible to ensure that previously disadvantaged groups are given preference when applying for employment. Wonderful. But look, women (a previously disadvantaged group) are simply not suited to some positions of responsibility*.
Take Little Bo Peep. She is obviously just not cut out to be a shepherd.  Her one task: look after the sheep. Failed.
I’m not generalising here**, but the chances are that she was on Mxit or chatting with her friend about how fat Little Miss Muffet has got lately or something and turned around to find her flock had been stolen.
Her lack of height probably doesn’t help either: a taller ovine guardian would be able to see over the unkempt grass.

And now she doesn’t know where to find them. Well, surprise, surprise.
Actually, not. Given that a woman’s sense of direction is about as good as that of a fridge, I’m not shocked at all. However, one thing in her favour is that she may at least ask passers-by if they have seen her sheep. A male shepherd would merely set about finding them himself, probably with equally limited success. Though decorating the local streetlamps with a myriad of poorly photocopied A4 “Missing Sheep” posters, as people seem to do when looking for “Lucky” their Jack Russell (later often found to be a misnomer of note), would probably not assist.

The bad news is, since sheep are also pretty rubbish with directions, it’s highly unlikely that they will merely just arrive back in their field by chance. This is assuming that they have “just wandered off” and not been stolen. In these tough economic times, lamb, mutton and wool are sought-after commodities and desperate thieves will steal anything that’s not nailed down. Sadly (for the sheep), I think the most likely place for them to be found is in pieces on a braai or in a big steaming pot over a fire. And those sort of temperatures are going to render the Altech-Netstar tracking device that Little Bo Peep’s boss installed, useless.
Sure, they may have found Annanias Mathe, but he wasn’t being slowly grilled over hot coals. Although, maybe he is being now.

So, in summary, we have a wholly inept shepherdess, employed not because of her skills, but because of her demographic. Not only does she manage to lose the sheep, she has no idea where to even begin to look for them. And let’s face it, it’s completely unrealistic to expect their safe return.
Yet I’m supposed to relay this information to my offspring as being gospel, despite the fact it’s undeniably irrelevant and incorrect. Complete fantasy. No chance.

Next week, I’ll address the utterly stupid tale of Jack and Jill, exploring the issues of siting a wellpoint at the top of a hill, basic time management in sending two people to do the job of one in the modern corporate world and the medico-legal implications of using ethanoic acid and parcel wrapping to staunch bleeding from a severe head wound.

* [sits back and awaits the firestorm.]
** No… wait… actually, I am.

Toothpaste is coming

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Wonderful news. It’s been well over a year since Mrs 6k and I announced that we were expecting little K-pu and indeed, it’s been over 8 months since little K-pu arrived in a blaze of gory. Dealing with two small kids is hard work, as any parent will tell you, so imagine how I felt when it was announced that we have another one on the way.

The timing actually couldn’t have been worse. A disturbed night with the little one, concluding at 5:45am at which point she (and I) decided to give up completely on the idea of any further slumbers; a Monday morning with the slightest hint of a Grolsch-induced hangover; a hectic week at work and (as yet unknown to anyone except himself) a flat tyre on Roeland the Clio. Oh Happy Day.

So picture my “amusement” when, at 7am, it was announced to me. No beating about the bush, no gentle introduction, no “wouldn’t you like to sit down and have a coffee, dear?” – straight in there.

I’ve got a baby in my tummy and it’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

I was stunned. “What are we going to do?”, I asked.

I’m going to call it Toothpaste and it’s going to buy me a new train set.

“Cool. Want to come and watch Winnie the Pooh now?”


For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, it’s our almost-three-year-old son that is “expecting”. And not just a baby called Toothpaste, but a new train set as well, it seems.

This is no bad omen. Choosing a name as daft as “Toothpaste” indicates that little Alex will surely one day be some sort of film star or musical artiste, earning megabucks and therefore be able to look after us long into our retirement. Which, assuming he makes his first movie/number one aged eight, will begin in around five years time.

I can’t wait.

Click it – it’s magic!


Unfortunate Twiming


Every so often, twitter has a way of making things that really aren’t funny, funny.

Like this morning, when the sad news of Jade Goody’s death reached the BBC. And Bridget wrote a blog post.

Not funny

Of course, just to clarify (if you can’t be bothered to click through) the two were completely unconnected.
Just a case of unfortunate twiming.


Today: a summary

No one particular subject has dominated my mind or time today, save for the post I was going to do about waking up with Madonna and Billy Joel. Not on the radio or on the TV – literally waking up with them. In my bed. 
I have no idea what they were doing in there. Sleeping, I guess. My wife is going to kill me, she was only away for one night and I end up sleeping with a pair of veteran multi-Grammy Award winning artistes.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. My iPod has been churning out high quality choons all day. This is unusual. I have had a number of very disappointing days music-wise recently. But a combination of Depeche Mode, Fifth Amendment, Skunk Anansie and The Pigeon Detectives has redeemed Steve Jobs somewhat. I shall let him live a little longer.

And back to the ridiculous. The pope and his überdaft comments on condoms and HIV.
I’m not religious. I don’t mind people worshipping me, although it sometimes makes a simple trip down to Pick n Pay quite an ordeal. But I recognise people’s rights to believe what they want to. And the catholic church doesn’t like people using condoms. Fair enough. They can preach their silly message if they choose to do so. But to suggest that the use of condoms actually exacerbates the spread of HIV is completely unfounded and dangerous.

“While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life.”

French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier

With great power comes great responsibility and the pope is a very powerful man. His comments are disgraceful and should be withdrawn before they do real harm. 
Are catholics allowed to withdraw? Probably not.

Julius Malema isn’t on twitter. Gutted.

Natasha Richardson has died. spEak You’re bRanes is unimpressed with the outpouring of emotion.

The Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998.

No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds including race, gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, and birth.

“Birth”? Now they tell me.
I’ve been regularly discriminating against unborn people in my employment policies and practices since I came to South Africa. I have yet to employ either an embryo or a foetus and now I feel awful. And completely open to prosecution.
In my defence, the last time I interviewed a foetus (for a middle management position, as I recall), all I got in reply to some of my more probing questions was a slap from his mother.
Which was off-putting, to say the least.

Hero in a HalfShell


Zumatello hits the election campaign.

¼ of the world’s most awesome fighting team

Straight away, one can see the direct parallels:

Donatello (who wore the purple mask, of course) was the brilliant scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius. He was perhaps the least violent Turtle, preferring to use his intellect to solve conflicts.

Zumatello (who is wearing the red mask, above) is the brilliant ANC President, polygamist, alleged fraudster and political genius. He is perhaps the least trusted Turtle, preferring to use his friends as scapegoats to avoid prosecution.

6000 miles… does not condone the defacing of election campaign posters unless it’s really, really amusing and you send photographic evidence to us here chez 6000.