“So, what’s it going to be?”

Bashar Al-Assad taunts US and allies in new web article.

With the world on tenterhooks over the situation in his country, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has written an open letter to the West taunting them over their seeming lack of options with regard to intervention (or not) in Syria:

Well, here we are. It’s been two years of fighting, over 100,000 people are dead, there are no signs of this war ending, and a week ago I used chemical weapons on my own people. If you don’t do anything about it, thousands of Syrians are going to die. If you do something about it, thousands of Syrians are going to die. Morally speaking, you’re on the hook for those deaths no matter how you look at it.

So, it’s your move, America. What’s it going to be?

I’ve looked at your options, and I’m going to be honest here, I feel for you. Not exactly an embarrassment of riches you’ve got to choose from, strategy-wise. I mean, my God, there are just so many variables to consider, so many possible paths to choose, each fraught with incredible peril, and each leading back to the very real, very likely possibility that no matter what you do it’s going to backfire in a big, big way. It’s a good old-fashioned mess, is what this is! And now, you have to make some sort of decision that you can live with.

And he’s right, of course. This a complete no win situation for the West. And with Russia and China strongly backing Al-Assad regime, there’s the danger of things going all sorts of Taylor Swift if the US and chums move in.
Here in SA, we’re tucked away from the military side of things, but we’re still economically involved (as a developing economy, we’re the first to get shafted by this sort of unrest) and, of course, politically. Basically, the SA government will side strongly against the US on anything it can. So that means that tacitly, we’re fully in support of Syria using chemical weapons on its own men, women and children.


It’s also interesting to note how politicians have dealt with the situation: UK opposition leader Ed Milliband, for example, has said this week that his party would back military action and also that his party would not back military action. So that’s fairly clear then.

Al-Assad leaves us with this chilling warning:

Long story short, I’m going to keep doing my best to hold on to my country no matter what the cost. If that means bombing entire towns, murdering small children, or shooting at UN weapons inspectors, so be it. I’m in this for the long haul. And you will do…whatever it is you’re going to do, which is totally up to you. Your call.

The man’s a cold, calm, calculated nutter.

No easy way out of this, and sadly there’ll be no good news coming out of Syria any time soon.

Oh, and for those of you who have been bothered to read this far down, yes, I’m completely aware that it’s a satirical article from a satirical website.

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Is possibility of snow on Table Mountain tomorrow night still on?

Just to keep you inquisitive people who keep asking if we’re still on for a few flakes of the white stuff on Table Mountain tomorrow night,  in the loop – and if you’re in Cape Town today, then you’ll readily believe anything the weather has to throw at us – here’s an update.

Following on from this post which compared the frankly ludicrous claims of mountain-forecast.com – it’s a weather forecast site for mountains, innit? – with those more reasonable efforts of windguru and weathersa, we need to tell you right now that the whole snow on Table Mountain thing IS STILL POSSIBLE.

What we’re looking for is temperatures below 2°C at 1000m or below, together with forecasted precipitation. That, plus that will likely equal snow. And here’s the graph that matters:


Yeah. If you thought today was cold, you’d be right, but it’s only going to get colder when tomorrow comes around.

The blue line marks the height above sea level (in metres) at which you’ll experience an air temperature of 0°C. Looking at the contours just below that, you can see that the altitude at which we’ll have 2°C temperatures dips about as low as 800m during Thursday night and Friday morning. Add in cloudy skies and a (current) forecast of about 7-8mm of precipitation and all the ingredients are there.

As things stand right now, your best plan is to wrap up VERY warmly and head for the Cableway early on Friday morning.

Book online to save time and money. Avoid awkward allegations of sexism by making a snowperson. Avoiding awkward allegations of racism will be more difficult, because snow is previously advantaged.

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I could totally be one of these…

Yes, it’s i09’s list of people who live inside water towers. And after this post last week, you’ll all be aware that I would quite like to feature on the list, were it not for the small matter of the R76 million that I’m short of the asking price.

There are some pretty special buildings here too, together with the reminder that if you choose to live in a tower, there are certain logistical issues that you are going to have to deal with:

This brick tower with 64 windows was erected in 1898, and used for seventy years. It was bought by in 1989 by Elspeth Beard from Elspeth Beard Architects and renovated the whole six-level structure.
There are now 88 steps to the kitchen, 116 to the living room and 142 steps to the roof.


I think my favourite is this one from Guildford in the UK:


It’s just stupidly huge and grand – the Victorians certainly liked to celebrated their functional, industrial buildings. I like the school of thought that “it has to be here, we might as well make it look nice”, but to them it was a demonstration of their progress and achievement: a thing of pride. The upshot of this age of narcissism is a huge number of still spectacular, well-built and generally well-preserved industrial buildings across the UK.
Will our current utilities buildings last as long? Will we want them to?
I doubt it.

In this case, the water tank was on the 5th level, and the “external” spiral staircase provided access around the tank to the top of the tower. There’s loads more about this building here and here.

If money and bylaws were no obstruction, which building would you like to convert and live in?

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The Varying Prices Of A Prime Circle Concert Ticket

We were going to go along to see Prime Circle on Thursday night, but something came up, so we’re not going  to do that any more.

That said, if we were desperate to catch them on their acoustic tour of the Western Cape, there are/were several other opportunities:


But look at those prices. Some few variations, no?

I recognise that venue costs and ticket sales may differ from place to place, but can a difference of 108.3% for the same concert really be justified? Prime Circle are well established on the local scene and I’m sure they’ve rehearsed ahead of time. I can’t honestly believe that they will be 108.3% better this Thursday in Hout Bay than they were last Friday at the Waterfront.

As musicreview.co.za pointed out, lovely though they may be, R250 for 60 minutes with a local band is a bit of a stretch:

…we find it disturbing that a South African band (and obviously the events organiser and venue behind it), could think that it is appropriate for live music goers to spend R250 on an ‘unreserved seating’ ticket, with absolutely no perks and no support acts for a 1 hour performance on a Thursday night.

But then, it is at an ever so trendy, local ‘farmers’ market‘, where people mysteriously seem willing to pay extra for stuff just… because.

Anyway, as I pointed out, we’re not going along, but if you’re planning on doing so, then maybe go last week and not on Thursday. As a couple, I’m sure you could find something reasonable to do with the R260 you’ll be saving.

* (un)surprisingly, there are still many tickets available for Thursday evening.

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Is There Going To Be Snow On Table Mountain This Week?

UPDATE: Wednesday afternoonhere’s the latest news

Well, that’s what Facebook says anyway.

The thing is, everyone is going bonkers over a single forecast from mountain-forecast.com, which appears to be the ANN7 of weather forecasting websites:


As you can see, they’re suggesting a total of 9 cm of snow (those red numbers) on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and they say:

Our advanced weather models allow us to provide distinct weather forecasts for several elevations of Table Mountain.

Te one above is distinctly their best guess for 1087m elevation – which is about as high as Table Mountain is. So there you go.

However, other more reputable sites, such as windguru.cz and weathersa.co.za are merely predicting much coldness and rain for the Mother City.

But before you get all depressed at the prospect of having no snow on Table Mountain again, just like there wasn’t last summer as well, there may actually be a glimmer of hope at the end of the Cableway.

And that’s because even windguru is suggesting that there will be light precipitation over Cape Town on Thursday evening AND they’re saying that it’ll be 0°C at about 1000m elevation as well:


While it is a myth that it actually needs to be 0°C for snow to fall (actually, precipitation generally falls as snow below 2°C) this is certainly cold enough for snow on the summit of Table Mountain to be a possibility this week.

The last snowfall on the mountain was in August 2011.

Break out the skis and the snowshoes. And someone please warn Instagram to get some extra servers on the go.
This could be serious.

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