Guess who’s found a cure for AIDS now!

There is a terrible disease sweeping across Africa. OK – there are several of them, but this one is really nasty. The symptoms include false hope, political gain and setting HIV/AIDS programmes back immeasurably.
We’ve mentioned South Africa’s own dear Health Minister – Manto Tshabalala-Msimang – on this site on more than one occasion, including her support for the Germanic conman Mattias Rath and her advice that a diet of garlic, african potato, turnips, lemon juice and olive oil can cure HIV. (Incidentally, even dear Manto is unwell). We even chatted briefly about the Deputy President of the ANC and his belief that taking a shower after having sex with an HIV positive individual will prevent you being infected with the virus.
Thank heavens that these individuals aren’t in positions of power and responsibility, hey?
Hmm.

Anyway – it’s all over now. Step forward Yahya Jammeh (ja, ja…) – who “just happens” to be President of The Gambia. He’s sorted all our problems out by discovering that a herbal remedy and a good dose of prayer will rid your body of HIV. And yes, that includes removing its intergrated nucleic acid from every last one of your cells. Incredible. He treats people on Thursdays and claims he can cure them in 3 days. Which should make for a pretty good Saturday night out, assuming all goes well. Sky News interviewed him while he was actually doing the biz – a superb demonstration of multitasking and altogether fascinating stuff.

The thing is, I can see you laughing at these stories in your comfortable Western homes and offices. What you need to realise is the terrible truth is that people believe these claims, they stop taking their ARVs and then they die.
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. The answers to curing HIV or the answers to the dubious methods of African politics.


Frankly, I’m just shocked that “Uncle Bob” Mugabe hasn’t got in on the act yet…

The Lowdown

Just a quick update on the news from ballacorkish.net and from South Africa.


Let’s get the dull bit over first.
Great news! My new RSS feed is up and running. This one is via Feedburner, so it should be universally acceptable. To subscribe, just click this little icon: Click me for updates! and we’ll tell you each time the site is updated.
It really couldn’t be simpler. (Unless of course the icon clicked itself.)

I’ve also spent a lot of time streamlining the page, so it should load more quickly than before and it’s also properly coded for the first time in years. The other pages on the site (pictures, Nix’s page and Alex’s page) will be returning soon. We’ll let you know.Meanwhile, in South Africa, it’s summer. You can tell this by just looking at the beautiful weather during this football match in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening. You know that I don’t put YouTube clips on here unless they’re really worth it. Don’t miss this – it’s amazing. Finally, the most unjust criticism of the new Faithless album To All New Arrivals, which I think is just lovely, came from my wife, who I think is just lovely too. She described it as:

“Good, but a bit Faithlessy.”

Proof, if any were needed, that you really can’t win when it comes to women.

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…

Have you seen Peter?

Peter is one of those local urban bergies that were mentioned in my previous post. He’s not actually a true bergie as he doesn’t drink. He appears to do very little in Cape Town, but without an alcohol habit, he’d be completely at a loss in Arniston.
I see Peter most lunchtimes sitting on the corner of Portswood and Beach Roads in the shade (or shelter) of the hospital wall. Since late October, if I’ve seen him on the way to buy my lunch, I’ve always bought some fruit or bread to give him on the way back. He’s always genuinely grateful and always thanks me.
One day, just before Christmas, I introduced myself and asked him his name. With hindsight, this was a bit of a foolish move and could have proved fatal for Peter. It came as a bit of a shock to him – I don’t think anyone had ever actually spoken to him before.
And remember: One should never shock a homeless person – very few of them have medical aid.

Anyway, to cut a long and rambling story somewhat shorter, Peter has disappeared. Last week he was there, this week he was not.
I don’t know if he’s moved on, been moved on or what. I guess there’s not a lot I can do – it’s not like I can put “missing” posters up on the local lampposts – “Have you seen my homeless person?”

Peter, if you’re out there reading this (pretty unlikely, I know) then I hope you’re ok.
I also want to know where you got the money for internet access, which is notoriously expensive in SA.
I’d like to think that I didn’t make you ill. If you were allergic to apples, you should have said earlier.

I just hope that wherever you are now is somewhere better than leaning against your hospital wall.

Getting away from it all

So there goes another New Year’s resolution: “I will update the site at least once a week”, indeed! Put that with the “cut down on beer” and “watch England win a cricket match”.

Actually, I do have a very good excuse. We chose to head off out of the big city and find a small village. Preferably one with some sea close by. Arniston* seemed to fit the bill quite neatly and within 3 hours of leaving the metropolis, heading over Sir Lowry’s Pass and winding through the patchwork of fields of the Southern Cape, we were there.

I’d love to fill you in with tales of dramatic, action-filled days, but that wasn’t what we were there for. And so it was up early, hit the beach and swim in the lovely warm Indian Ocean, a spot of body-boarding perhaps and then back to the cottage through the hottest part of the day. Copious beer (me), wine (Nix) and milk (Alex, obviously) was consumed and then it was back to the beach to enjoy the evening before braai’ing each night til late.

Entertainment was provided by the local fishermen, who moored up on the Wednesday afternoon soon after we arrived and then proceeded to drink the rest of the sunny days away slumped outside the local bottle store just down the road, chatting and laughing.
Some readers would take pity on them and see that as a wasted existence, using up what meagre money they have on quarts of Black Label and Milk Stout, but fair play to them, I say. It seemed to me like they were having a pretty good time compared with our local urban dronkies and they all went home by 6pm, probably to be chastised by their wives. Which is probably why they came back the next day.

But all too soon, after a quick trip down to Cape L’Agulhas, it was time to bid farewell to Arniston and head back to reality. Fortunately, you and I can both relive those heady days via the Arniston set on my flickr.

That’ll be all for now then. Tell your friends to come visit. Leave comments. Oh, and help yourself to my
RSS feed on your way out.

* Arniston should not be confused with Aniston. We did not spend a few days chilling out with Brad Pitt’s ex, ok?