“I thought it was a lunatic ninja”

The words of Mr Beat Ettlin, 42 after he fought off a 40kg kangaroo which had broken into his house during the night.

The confused marsupial smashed its way into Beat Ettlin’s home in the Canberra suburb of Garran.
The 42-year-old told Sky News Online: “I just saw this black thing. I thought it was a lunatic ninja, an intruder. It just fell on top of us on the bed. A couple of seconds later I realised it was a kangaroo.”

As you would. The tail, the pouch, the bouncing motion and the lack of a sword. All dead giveaways.

ninja_crouch kangaroo
Kangaroo/Ninja: Tough to distinguish

Full marks to Mr Ettlin, however, for not only making a presumptive identification of his would-be assailant, but also performing a remarkably quick psychiatric assessment.
I know – when something lands on your bed in the middle of the night, it’s sometimes hard to work out exactly what it is. I regularly have the same issue. Only yesterday evening, a moth fluttered down onto my arm while I was watching the Spanish footy. My first thought was also “lunatic ninja”, before I settled on the more reasonable Plutella xylostella. But not before I had battered him to death with my nunchucks.

So anyway, having gathered that her husband was dealing with a mentally unstable martial arts expert, Mrs Ettlin took the appropriate action:

“I just pulled the covers over our heads and screamed. It jumped on my shoulder, bounced across the bed and onto the bedside table. Can you imagine how close it was to my head?”

I don’t know – can we? Are you some sort of mutant?
If not, and it bounced on your shoulder, I’m going for about 6 inches, tops. It’s not that hard to imagine™.

But the similarity between kangaroos, lunatic ninjas and moths doesn’t end there:

Mr Ettlin believes it was attracted by light on the bedroom window and cut itself on broken glass when it smashed its way through.

I have the same problem with moths and lunatic ninjas. They see that bedroom light on and they have to be near it – whether there’s a window in the way or not.
Leave a light on and go downstairs for 10 minutes to get your cocoa and when you return, there are a variety of 14th Century Japanese warriors and Lepidoptera circling the ceiling bulb.
And your window is invariably broken.

Happily, Mr Ettlin was able to protect his wife and kids by performing basic wrestling moves on the kangaroo before ejecting it from the house. He now probably faces animal cruelty charges, but it’s a small price to pay for the fun of beating the local wildlife up.
In fact, since moving to South Africa, few things please me more than sneaking up and practicing my karate moves on a quietly grazing springbok – certainly a vast improvement on the rather unsatisfying hedgehog boxing we used to get up to back in the UK.

Less prickly, too.

Those Argus Results in Full

Congratulations to all those who took part in this year’s Cape Argus Cycle Tour and especially to those who managed to complete the 109km course on what turned out to be such a horrendously windy day – not great conditions for cycling, I’m told. Or at least I’m about to be, over and over and over again.

Anyway, while this website may have become known as a rather vocal critic of the tour and those who choose cycling as their religion of choice, I would like to make it clear that I have the utmost respect for those who get up at stupid o’clock in the morning, dress up in outrageously funny clothing and paralyse the Southern Suburbs for a few hours on a Sunday morning. “Well done”.

With that in mind – here are a list of the whining winning riders and some notable other achievements from the 2009 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour.

Winners:
1st Lance van Steroid (Team EPO)
2nd Ivan Russianaround (Syringe Boyz)
3rd Steve McCheat (Team McCheat)

Most red lights ignored during training:
Markus Botha (Pretoria) 2,618 – including a remarkable 159 in 2 hours during a reccie visit to Cape Town in February

Widest peloton during training:
19 by UCT Table Tennis Club on M3 Southbound, 4th March 2009, completely blocking the road for 2¾ hours

Squashed by Chappies rockfalls:
James Fortune

Best excuses given for not completing race:
“Bruised left testicle” – Jennifer Viljoen
“Fear of sharks” – Andrew Howard, Danielle Smythe
“Rockfall on Chappies” – James Fortune (from back of ambulance)
“567 Road Show playing Celine Dion in Camps Bay” – 1,691 riders

Best excuses given for not going “sub-three”:
“Like, the wind was just so hectic at Smitswinkel, man.” – Everyone

Yeah, yeah, I know.
More serious special mentions to the Tall Accountant and the Blonde Sales Chick for giving it a go this year and (presumably) surviving.

And – it’s over for for another year. Can we have our peninsula back now, please?

Two Hats in Hat Swap Shock!

Cape Town Mayor and Leader of the DA, Helen “Two Hats” Zille has been nominated as the DA’s candidate for the Premier of the Western Cape in the forthcoming election.

Speaking with sycophantic radio presenter John Maytham yesterday evening, Zille described the move as being “strategic” and expressed her wish for the DA to work “from the ground up” to “set an example of how good governance can work”.

She said if it could run both Cape Town and the Western Cape, voters across South Africa would realise that service delivery is better in regions where the DA is in power.

“It is a project of national significance. We want to run the city and the province in co-operative governance and demonstrate what it possible under those circumstances,” she said, adding that as mayor she was frustrated by stone-walling on the part of the ANC powers in the province.

This struggle between the ANC controlled Provincial Government and the DA controlled City of Cape Town Municipality has long been cited as the reason for delays in service delivery – most especially housing – and for the objective bystander (that’s me) acts as a shining example of all that is wrong with politics. That is, while the individuals elected to serve the people bicker and attempt to score cheap political points from one another, nothing actually gets done on the ground.
This lack of service delivery is obviously because of the Province, according to the DA and obviously because of the City, according to the ANC. It’s playground politics at its very worst.

Zille’s record as Mayor of Cape Town is undoubtedly impressive. However one must remember that the DA remains a political party and be mindful of spin when looking at her claims of success, which she rolled out one after another in yesterday’s M&G article “The DA Saved Cape Town“.
And even if her numbers stand up to scrutiny (and I have neither the time nor the inclination to scrutinise Helen Zille’s vital statistics) then there is still a lot of work to be done by the DA to overturn the ANC’s Provincial rule. More likely, as Linda Ensorstates in today’s Business Day is the DA holding no overall majority and looking to form a coalition with the ID or Cope: something Zille described as “always complex”.

Whether a coalition (such as the one which the DA have used to run Cape Town for the past three years) represents true democracy is open to debate. But it will be interesting to see how many of those barriers to service delivery are removed should the DA control Province and City. And how many more are “discovered” between Province and National Government. Cynics might suggest that the problem will merely be moved upward and onto a larger scale – something that would hinder service delivery to even greater numbers of needy citizens.

Clarkson on Jozi

Jeremy Clarkson has been to Johannesburg.
And he didn’t get mugged, hijacked, shot, stabbed or killed in any way whatsoever.

I could reproduce the whole article here, but I won’t – click his name if you want that.
Meanwhile, here’s just a little taster.

Jo’burg has a fearsome global reputation for being utterly terrifying, a lawless Wild West frontier town paralysed by corruption and disease. But I’ve spent quite a bit of time there over the past three years and I can reveal that it’s all nonsense.

“Pah,” said the armed guard who’d been charged with escorting me each day from my hotel to the Coca-Cola dome where I was performing a stage version of Top Gear.

Quite why he was armed I have absolutely no idea, because all we passed was garden centres and shops selling tropical fish tanks. Now I’m sorry, but if it’s true that the streets are a war zone, and you run the risk of being shot every time you set foot outside your front door, then, yes, I can see you might risk a trip to the shops for some food. But a fish tank? An ornamental pot for your garden? It doesn’t ring true.

Look Jo’burg up on Wikipedia and it tells you it’s now one of the most violent cities in the world . . . but it adds in brackets “citation needed”. That’s like saying Gordon Brown is a two-eyed British genius (citation needed).

Check the comments – he’s got all the ex-pats into a frenzy. “You didn’t go to Hillbrow”, “You were reading the wrong newspapers”, “You had a guard” etc etc etc. Bless. They hate the fact that they might lose some sympathy points over in Blighty or Ozland when people read this. I’d guess that the most annoying thing for them is that he’s independent, has no agenda here, no need to take one side nor the other – oh – and well read.
Ooh – that’s quite a lot of annoying things. You can see why they’re all upset. 
So well done for speaking truthfully, Jezza.

Now – if you’d just let me walk around your lighthouse, we’d all be sorted.

Thanks to MrShallowEndDiver for the heads-up

Jumping the gun

The South African Police Service get a lot of criticism for their sometimes lacksidasical approach to the job, but in this case, they’re certainly ahead of the game:

Eleven critical after Alberton crash

Eleven people were critically injured when a taxi and a Toyota Corolla collided head-on in Alrode South, Alberton this morning, Ekurhuleni metro police said.
“Ten people from the taxi and the driver of the Corolla were rushed to the Natalspruit hospital,” said Inspector Jimmy Maboko.
The cause of the accident was unknown but it is suspected that one of the vehicles veered out of control and crashed onto an oncoming one at 6am.

A case of culpable homicide was being investigated, Maboko said.

Why? No-one was killed.

    Culpable Homicide is defined simply as “the unlawful negligent killing of a human being”.
     (S v. Naidoo and Others, Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa, Case 321/2001)