Memories of 2003

While I’m reading papers detailing the genotypic make-up of quinolone resistant and hypersusceptible clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (it’s all in the DNA gyrase* genes, you know), I tend to listen to my rattly iPod. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

Today, I have been mostly listening to Radiohead, which has been bringing back amazing memories of their performance at Glastonbury in 2003. In fact, I’m pretty sure that you can actually see me on this YouTube offering of Karma Police (bottom of the screen at 1:34, next to the waving bloke with some red thing over his shoulder).

You can also hear me singing along later in the song, but I’m a little drowned out by several thousand others; which is sad after I’d made the effort.
Wow. As the song says: “For a minute there, I lost myself”. Lump in the throat, tears in the eyes, shivers down the spine, goosebumps all over. Well, nearly all over anyway.
That said, I thought the Manic Street Preachers were better, to the disbelief of my companions.
Dusk, the big raindrops falling from the moody, grey sky illuminated by the brilliant white lights and James Dean Bradfield giving it some welly on that big white guitar just a few metres away.

Ah yes – that’s completed the goosebump coverage nicely.And then it’s back to the here and now. And a particularly worrying story from the front page of today’s Cape Times:

The severe cold, wet and windy conditions expected to spread eastwards across the Western and Northern Cape provinces this weekend could be fatal for livestock and dangerous for humans, the Cape Town Weather Office warned yesterday.
Forecaster Carlton Fillis said rainfall of up to 50mm, combined with gale-force winds and temperatures of below 15C**, was especially dangerous for livestock such as goats. People should also be careful.

So there you have it. Conclusive proof that when it comes to South African livestock, your average goat is the least hardy species around.
Sheep? – sorted. Cows? – no problemo. But goats? – dead.
Carlton says so and who are we to question his judgement?

So tomorrow, it looks like I have have every excuse to cook a big pot of soup and hide under a duvet watching the football and the rugby while knocking back coffee and hot chocolate. And beer, obviously.

Enjoy your weekend. And take good care of your goats.

 

* It should be noted that DNA gyrase is an enzyme, not a dance.
** Er…yeah. That’s what they call cold here. Hmm.

Why has no one asked the obvious question?

The world news this week has been dominated by the shootings at Virginia Tech. I know most of you have now stopped reading already. You’re thinking (as you click onto something infinitely more exciting): “What can this intelligent, good-looking, informed and amusing writer tell us that we haven’t already heard?”
Well, only that everyone has missed the single most important question about this whole incident, that’s what.

Of course, “tragic” though they are, these sort of shootings are manna from heaven for the rolling news channels. Reporters are live from here, there, everywhere.
Every word of every press conference is replayed time and time again. Everything is analysed by so-called experts. Were there warning signs? Could this have been prevented? Was George W Bush to blame? What brand of soap did the killer use?
Thus far, I think it’s more than fair to say that the picture painted by the media and the authorities shows that Cho Seung-hui was an obviously disturbed individual.
I could have told them that three years ago – because no-one has asked the blindingly obvious question:

Why would any sane and rational person choose to study English in the USA?

Let’s be frank, that’s like studying capitalism in North Korea: “Sorry Mr Jong-il, how did you say the free market economy worked again?”.
The Americans have done more to bastardise the English language than any other nation.
Except maybe the Australians.
If they’re not talking about “Toe-May-Toes” and “sidewalks”, then it’s that dreadful ESPN football commentary where new words are invented at a rate of about three per sentence, leaving the typical English football fan who’s been following the beautiful game all his life, completely bewildered as to exactly what just happened.

A zip-two shutout for Meelan saw Bayern bested and team Italy elevated to four-left status at soccer’s Euro Tournament Wednesday. A Clarence Seedorf 40-yard speed-play upfielded for Filippo Inzaghi to put through the scorebag with a score-shot – equalling jubilation in the Meelan locker-room. Dida’s blanking left Bayern facing a negative score-stat scenario and brought Meelan to a 8-4-5 close-out on the road. Dida performed big when Bayern’s offensive hitman van Bommel had a net-shot opportunity late in the third quarter.

Hmm. I seem to have strayed from the point somewhat. How unusual.

I guess what I’m saying is that with everyone asking the same questions repeatedly, there’s not real opportunity for objective insight to events such as those at Virginia Tech.


Producers at BBC News 24, Fox, Sky News et al may wish to know that I am available to provide exclusive expert analysis on anything you care to throw at me, from school shootings through to the Iranian nuclear standoff (I can even pronounce Ahmadinejad correctly). My fees are very reasonable.

Childcare 101

While checking up on the news from back home in the Republic of South Yorkshire, I came across a story detailing how an 18-month old toddler had injured his mother by putting an aerosol under the grill.
The aerosol – somewhat predictably – then exploded in her face and she ended up with some (probably quite nasty) burns.
The toddler, bless his little cotton socks, was unharmed in the incident.

Reading this story will have divided the 6000 miles… readership.
A percentage of you, who do not have children, and who enjoy watching shows like Jackass and Dirty Sanchez are thinking: “Cool, dude… Exploding aerosol!”.
This percentage will then probably snigger like Beavis and Butthead.

A disappointingly large percentage of you aren’t really very bothered and haven’t even read this far.
You’re missing out. Really. And you smell.

The remainder of you are either mature, balanced individuals (like I used to be) or parents (like I am now).
You are probably wondering what on earth an 18 month old was doing with access to:
a) an aerosol can, and
b) a grill.

Back at Chateau 6k, the jury is still out on whether we are going to allow the “naughty” coffee table to stay around after it “attacked” little Alex twice in as many days*. It’s currently on a final warning, and with plans for a braai this weekend and a sudden hike in the price of Namibian Camelthorn, it had better watch its step.
As for Alex, I can’t imagine that he will enjoy the company of aerosols and grills for several years to come. I don’t think that’s being over-protective, I think that’s being responsible. When he’s old enough, I’ll be there to demonstrate the dangers of putting an egg in the microwave. And then we’ll try a 60W lightbulb.
And we’ll both sit back and snigger like Beavis and Butthead.

* Actually, the first time, he just fell over near the table. But we blamed it anyway.
I think the second time was merely its act of petty revenge.

Worshipping at the altar of Ben

I’ve made a start on Ben Trovato’s latest compilation, Hits and Missives. Of course, it’s typically brilliant.
Interestingly, if you want the book, I’ve just noticed that according to that link, shopping with Exclusive Books “is 100% safe”.
Bit of a bold statement, isn’t it? One wonders exactly what that covers…?
Credit card fraud? Probably.
Loss of product during delivery? Probably.
Being gunned down by armed robbers who burst into your home while you were deciding between the latest Jeffrey Archer and Hannibal Rising? Perhaps not.
A little clarification wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, I digress. Often.
I enjoy Trovato’s no nonsense approach to topics and his irreverent sense of humour. Take the subject of his latest column in the Cape Times for Valentine’s week: wife beating.

Entry-level wife-beaters need to remember that spousal abuse is no longer the brutal sport it was when our parents were young. The application of minimal force through the use of smart slaps has become the feng shui of home-based violence.
The Japanese even have a name for it – they call it karate, the way of the empty hand – although they practice something else when it comes to killing whales.

Of course, ballacorkish.net would like to point out that any form of violence against women is entirely unjustifiable. Unless they really asked for it. (This category would include talking during the football or not having a suitably chilled beer ready for you upon your arrival home from work.)* But whatever your views on this tricky subject, I strongly suggest that you make time and effort to read more of Ben Trovato’s work. The man is clearly a genius.

The other things that was going to go into this post were the first photos of the work that began late last year on the Green Point Stadium for the 2010 World Cup.
However, they’re not in here because precisely bugger all has happened yet.
Maybe next time… (Ja right…)

* Yes, I’m joking…