Another cyclist killed

With the Cape Argus Cycle Tour only 3 weeks away, another cyclist, Colin van Schalkwyk, died on Saturday after he was hit by a truck in Milnerton. Another terribly sad accident and another family man killed. News24 utilised a convenient if overly-dramatic soundbite for its report title: Cyclists fear for their lives.

In there, two telling comments from people “in the know”:

The City of Cape Town is planning a meeting about the issue with various roleplayers.
Pieter Cronjé, a spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, said it was important to realise that there was no quick fix or easy solution. “You can only address a problem properly if you truly understand what the causes are,” he said.

Absolutely right, Pieter. And, as if proving Cronjé’s point, this from the Cycle Tour Director, David Bellairs, who clearly doesn’t understand what the causes are:

It is true that in summer there are more cyclists on the road. You would expect that motorists were more tolerant towards them.

What an utterly ridiculous comment. More cyclists on the road means more red lights and stop signs ignored, more 6-wide pelotons to avoid and more wobbling, weaving idiots more concerned with their chat than their direction. You want tolerance – encourage common sense, encourage lawful cycling, educate them – don’t simply blame the motorists.
Yet, that’s the sort of “expert” with his blinkered beligerence that motorists are up against in this debate. Perhaps David should read the comments following the News24 story. Very… telling.

Meanwhile, the hugely vocal Cape Argus is once again (rightly) outraged by the death of another cyclist. That’s four deaths in the last three months. Of course, this pales into insignificance next to the number of pedestrians and drivers killed in the same period, but then the Argus doesn’t sponsor walking or motoring events, does it?

A reminder of the time

A tenuous churchy theme running through today, I note.

From the letters page of the Southern Suburbs Tatler, the local freebie that they continue to insist on delivering, despite my many threats of violence. Perhaps I’m threatening the wrong people.
The subject being discussed is the rights and wrongs of church bells being rung early in the morning in a residential area. I didn’t see the original story, but this correspondence leapt out at me.

I read with some concern that the church bells were causing annoyance.
I was so thrilled to hear the beautiful clarion calls and bells at Christmas, and also hoped they would continue.

It is lovely to hear the bells at 5:45am, at six in the morning and the evening and at noon – nice to have a reminder of the time.

Joan Wurr, Claremont

Yes, at 5:45am, Joan likes to have a reminder of the time. And not just for her, but for the thousands of others who live in the area, too. Heaven forbid (npi) that she and they should sleep through that most important of times: a quarter to six in the morning. Although, it’s nice to know that if you somehow manage to continue your slumbers undisturbed past 5:45, then the local clergy have instituted something akin to a snooze function 15 minutes later.

Joan – if it’s “nice to have a reminder of the time” how about buying a clock with an alarm function? They’re all the rage these days, you know?

For the record, I have nothing against church bells ringing at noon or six in the evening. Not even at a reasonable hour in the morning like 9 o’clock.
But no, there’s no such thing as a nice reminder of the time at quarter to six in the morning.
If people want to know when it’s 5:45am, then they should do what I did and have kids.

Extra marks to me for getting all the way through this post without using the word “ungodly”.

Good Old God!

I’m an atheist. A very happy one at that. You won’t sway me, so please don’t even try. Equally, I won’t try to tell you who or who not to worship. Other than me, obviously: but that’s a given, anyway.

What I don’t understand (and probably never will) is reactions such as those of “Bruinman” to the deaths of three children (since updated to five) in a horrific car accident near Pretoria.

It is always sad to read news like this, especially when there are children involved. My condolences to the family and friends of the children.
May the Lord be with you and give you strength in this time of bereavement. God Bless.

Look, I’m completely with him about the “sad news” bit. And, for what it’s worth, perhaps even the condolences bit, too. But then it goes horribly wrong, because I’d actually have liked the Lord to have been with the kids in the back of the car, looking after them and maybe preventing them from plunging 15 metres (45ft) off a road bridge and onto the freeway below; not turning up a day later with a bashful apology and a pat on the back for the grieving parents, like the murderer bringing flowers to the funeral.

Perhaps someone can explain to myself and my readers as to why the “loving”, “omnipresent” God wasn’t there to stop these five innocent kids dying in such a horrible way.
While you’re at it, help me out with the rape stats in South Africa (52,000 pa) – can “He” not  do something to sort that out at all?
Cholera in Zimbabwe? 80,000 infected, 3,500 dead. Why would “He” let that suffering occur? And while we’re there, why do “He” and his followers tolerate Robert Mugabe swearing himself in (again) on the Bible “in the sight of God”? Not the sort of message I’d want to be sending out, but “He” allowed it to happen (again) this week. 

I could go on and on, you know. I often do.

It’s unfathomable to me as to how Christians (and those of other religions) can so easily turn a blind eye or make excuses for those things which don’t fit conveniently into their religious demographic.
If you think you’re different and you can tell us how and why these things happen with such regularity and apparent impunity right under “His” beard, please leave a comment.  

Note well: The first person to use the phrase “God works in mysterious ways” will be banned. Immediately.

George Bush is Dead

Well – not really.
But if you were watching the pisspoor South African Sky-wannabe eTV News (or more especially, their annoying little rolling banner thing across the bottom of the screen) then you would have seen those exact words on your TV.

The “misbroadcast” happened when a technician pressed the “broadcast live for transmission” button instead of the one for a test-run.

“The technical director pressed the wrong button, it took a second for the words to appear and then the words were on screen for only three seconds before they were taken off,” said spokesman Vasili Vass.

The station said test banners would now be done in “gobbledegook”.

Given the general standard spelling on their rolling banner, quite how they are going to separate the gobbledegook from the real stuff is a complete mystery to me and their other viewer.

The mistake was first reported on by the Afrikaans language newspaper Beeld, and on the media group’s website, News24.com.
“Its unfortunate, because we never comment on their mistakes,” said Mr Vass.  

Well, of course not. You’re only a 24 hour news channel.
Take on that sort of onerous responsibility and you’d never have time to tell us about ex-world leaders popping their clogs. Or not.

How many nurses?

My plans to post an entry each day in February seem to have been somewhat derailed by a HTTP 500 INTERNAL SERVER ERROR, which is denying me access to 6000.co.za and also to the dashboard and inner workings of the site where the wonderful milky prose you come to lap up each day is created and stored. Serves me right for using that cheap deal with the servers in South Australia, I guess.
Thus, it’s back to basics and I’m writing this up using MS Notepad. Ah – the memories. None of them good.

And phew – whatever gremlin was playing about with the important stuff that makes the site work has now given up and gone to the pub, or been burned, or whatever. And I’m back. Although, I guess it was all pretty seamless for you, so I’ll just make the font look a bit funny so that you can be reminded of how I suffered to bring you this. There we go.

As I write, Jeff Randall is tearing into Barclays boss, Bob Diamond, on Sky News.
The main thrust of Randall’s argument seems to be somehow related to the £22 million which Mr Diamond received in bonuses last year. I can never decide whether Jeff is really on the side of the man on the street as he claims: “That’s about 1000 times what an average NHS nurse earns – do you think you’re worth 1000 NHS nurses?”.
It’s a typically unfair and unnecessarily emotive kind of question. Exactly what Sky News is paying him for.
Because of course, it seems likely that Jeff Randall also earns significantly more than the average NHS nurse (albeit not as much as Bob Diamond).

But how much?

Well, I don’t know, but his previous time at The Telegraph and the BBC surely means that he can’t have been cheap. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that he’s pocketing well into seven figures. So I wonder how many nurses Mr Randall thinks he is worth. Mr Diamond hasn’t actually asked him that, but he must be tempted. Or maybe he did and it was edited out*. After all, Jeff is supposed to be on our side and such hypocrisy wouldn’t look good.

Incidentally, I am worth at least 20 average NHS nurses. In addition, I don’t sleep with junior doctors, lose important specimens or give patients the wrong drugs.
I even wash my hands once in a while, which is more than any of them do.
If my boss is reading, please sort out some sort of remuneration package reflective of this. And backdate it.
Do this now.

 * A large chunk of today’s Jeff Randall Live was actually pre-recorded.