Popcorn

Something amazing happened on Saturday evening: I went to the cinema.

Now, that might not be amazing for you, but it is for me. I don’t do films. I maintain that there’s no detrimental side to my feelings around the film industry, save for the fact that it does tend to be my Achilles’ heel in pub quizzes. But I make up for that by being brilliant at science and obscure 90s music, and by sitting with people who know about films.

Now, I thought that the film we went to see was all very nice – it was called All Good Things and it starred Kirsten Dunst, who is a good-looking young actress, together with some good-looking young actor and a somewhat distinguished older actor who has been in some stuff before.

Before the film, however, we were treated to some advertisements, imploring us to buy things, including whisky. You’ve probably all seen this a million times before, but like I said, I don’t do films, so it was a first for me.

Here is Robert Carlyle’s The Man Who Walked Around The World, for Johnnie Walker:

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Now (said he, in the style of Robert Carlyle in The Man Who Walked Around The World), I found myself rather impressed by the monologue and I began to wonder if it had been created in a single take. Well, turns out that it was and moreover, that it was filmed by a gentleman sat in a rickshaw pulled by two grips. Much like a certain lubricant, the first 39 efforts were none too special and so this work represents take 40, which was the final take from the final day of filming up in Bonnie Scotland.

Consider yourselves informed.

I recognise that this ad is 2 years old. I recognise that I’m behind the times. But I don’t care.
This “short film” had everyone in the cinema transfixed. Transfixed to an ad with a bloke talking about history  for 6 minutes – and they’d probably all seen it before.
I’m not in advertising, but if I was, I think I would probably think that that was a pretty special achievement. And Robert Carlyle was also pretty amazing, although nowhere near as pretty as Kirsten Dunst.

Now, keep walking and go and buy me some whisky.

3 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in 6000 recommends

Iceland whale tourism idea is brilliant

Iceland. Land of ice. And volcanoes. And financial ruin (like everywhere else these days). And puffins.

They’ve come up with another gem of an idea to attract visitors to their lump of rock: Whale watching – with a twist.
You get to eat what you see.

Watching and hunting whales “work perfectly together” in a look-and-cook combo of tourism and gastronomy, Iceland’s Whale Commissioner said on Thursday at the global whaling forum.
“Many of the tourists that go on whale watching tours go to restaurants afterwards to taste whale meat,” said Tomas Heider, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in the British Channel Islands.

Iceland have a “Whale Commissioner”. That’s brilliant. And so is his idea, despite what others may say:

Many countries in the 89-nation IWC, especially in South America, argue that potential income from tourism far outstrips the value of commercial whaling, and that the two do not mix well.
But in Iceland, Heider insists, the industries feed off each other.
“Even though we have been increasing our whaling in recent years, the tourists are streaming in numbers to Iceland and going to whale watching tours like never before,” he said. “It works perfectly together.”

Of course, we’d never, ever, ever think of doing something so vulgar in South Africa, would we?

Unless of course you’ve ever been to Oudtshoorn, the self-proclaimed “Ostrich Capital of the World”, where you can see, feed, ride and then eat the local birdlife.

I trust that anyone commenting negatively on the News24 article or writing an angry letter to the IWC (on recycled paper with a recycled pen) will also be contacting Western Cape Tourism and complaining bitterly about these same heinous practices taking place on our own doorstep.

Disclosure: 6000 eats ostrich most weeks and has also tasted whale meat on two occasions. He was unimpressed.

2 Comments | Tagged , , , , | Posted in economic issues, in the news, this is south africa

The Magic Number

Following on from April’s Five post, today brings with it my daughter’s third birthday. Scoop, as she is affectionately known (because of her innate ability and regular wish to be scooped up and carried by her dad), has brought 36 months of pleasure, insomnia, love and laughter into our lives.

As she and the 6000 family hit this milestone, whereby choking hazards become a thing of the past, I’d like to dedicate this song to the next year of her life – let’s hope it’s a magic year:

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Happy Birthday, Scoopy!

1 Comment | Tagged , , | Posted in positive thoughts, the parenting bunny

Pining for nuts

Let it never be said that life here in South Africa is easy. Sure, the weather is ridiculously good, despite this being midwinter, and the views, the expats and the beer are utterly spectacular, but there are always difficulties as well. I’m talking about allegations of corruption in Government, violent strikes in the engineering sector, petrol shortages and the price of pine nuts.

Yes, C Emily Dibb of Muizenburg has written in to everyone’s favourite letters page in the Cape Times and is very upset about how much pine nuts cost here in Mzansi. I feel her views deserve airing  – and indeed comment – here on 6000 miles…

Pining for nuts

On a recent visit to Turkey, I was captivated to find how many of their traditional dishes contain pine nuts; they are an integral part of many of their meat-ball recipes.

From this opening line, we can make several deductions. Firstly, that C Emily Dibb has recently visited Turkey, secondly that she is captivated by the weirdest things and thirdly that many traditional Turkish dishes are meat-ball based. (This last one is a bit of an assumption, but I’m sticking with it.)

I’ve never been to Turkey, but a quick search online reveals that there are many more captivating things in that country than the percentage of local ground beef recipes which contain pine nuts. I found articles on historically varying architecture, bewitchingly fascinating geothermal spas and hugely concerning foreign policy.
I found nothing about meat-balls. Nothing particularly captivating, anyway.

Emily continues:

Hoping to try some of these myself on my return home, I looked for pine nuts in the supermarket, and was staggered to find that they cost nearly R50 for 100g – a shattering R500/kg.

Before we go any further, I must congratulate C Emily Dibb on not using any exclamation marks in that last sentence. This is the mark of a true writer; one who was brought up in the old school when ZOMG! wasn’t an acceptable way of conveying acute surprise and the surcharge on punctuation put it beyond many people’s means.
Because C Emily Dibb is acutely surprised. In fact, as you may have read above, she is staggered, which is two rungs further up the astonishment ladder from acute surprise (just beyond plainly shocked).
Emily C Dibb also demonstrates that she is from the old school of mathematics as well, with that effortless extrapolative calculation to the standard economic unit of pricing, the Rand per Kilo value. I bet she did that in her head. You? You needed a calculator.

But point taken, Emily C Dibb. Pine nuts are expensive.

In Turkey, the pine nuts are produced in Anatolia on estates that grow nothing but the Mediterranean umbrella pine.
Are we missing a good trick here?

These final two lines score highly on the my scale of what an ideal letters page letter should contain, that is, a meaningless fact and an utterly obscure question. These elements have featured widely before, including the sublime:

My house reeks of your cat, and it is very embarrassing.

What is C Emily Dibb proposing here, exactly? That the local agricultural industry move over from its staples of mielies, sugar, grain and grapes and concentrates solely on a niche product from Eurasia in order to bring her recent holiday’s culinary memories closer to being within her financial grasp? Has she really thought this through? Because where would that leave our economy, with particular reference to duties on wines and spirits and export of produce to our neighbouring countries? Is she honestly suggesting that ever last hectare of South Africa’s 146,5224.44km² of arable farmland be devoted to the growing of the Mediterranean umbrella pine?

Sure, that’s enough pine nuts for a great many Turkish meatballs (I was going to do some rudimentary calculations, but the yield of the Mediterranean umbrella pine is hugely variable, as I’m sure you’re aware), but with supply and demand weighted heavily on the supply side of things, the international pine nut market will surely crash and we will be left destitute and economically ruined – even before Julius Malema has had his way. There are no by-products in the Mediterranean umbrella pine, save for, presumably, umbrellas [are you sure? Please check this before we publish - Ed] and we don’t need umbrellas here.

You’ll get your meat-balls. Oh yeah. You’ll get your memories of your holidays with the wrestlers, the architecture and the increasing Syrian refugee problem. You’ll get all of that, C Emily Dibb, and I’m sure you’ll find a myriad of pine nut containing dishes to be captivated by while the country is starving albeit well sheltered from precipitation.

No, C Emily Dibb. I reckon that if you can afford a holiday to Turkey, you can afford fifty bucks for 100g of your beloved and captivating pine nuts. And you can fiddle and fine tune your recipe to use less of this pricey and scarce imported ingredient and get to nibble on as many meaty balls as your heart desires, while not destroying the livelihood of the good farmers of this country with your megalomaniacal, Nazi plan to force them into growing one single, useless (save for addition to traditional Anatolian foodstuffs) crop.

2 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in economic issues, in the news, that's a bit mad, this is south africa

Germany’s electricity now comes from er… nuclear and coal

Eina!

After Angela Merkel’s short-sighted and silly plan of closing down Germany’s atomic power stations in a desperate attempt to prevent any more nuclear electoral disasters, it quickly appeared that Germany would run short of electricity. No matter, said Merkel – we’ll import our power from France while we decide what to do.

That’s France, which has 58 nuclear power stations and which produces almost 80% of its electricity using nuclear power.
Right.

Well, it seems that Merkel has flip-flopped her way to another momentous decision: her Government is going to encourage the construction of new coal and gas power plants using millions of Euros from a fund for… er… promoting clean energy and combating climate change.

Remember what risk perception expert David Ropeik told us about this?

We can fear too much (vaccines), or too little (particulate pollution from coal-burning power plants), despite the available evidence, and our perceptions can create risks all by themselves. Excessive fear of vaccines is allowing diseases that had almost been eradicated to spread once more. Conversely, inadequate concern about coal-burning power stations has meant coal has been favoured over “scarier” nuclear power, risking sickness and death for thousands of people from particulate air pollution. Fukushima is now playing a powerful part in this retreat from nuclear power.

Clear evidence, if any were needed, that for Merkel it was never really not about the issue of safe or green electricity production, it was only ever about the issue of trying to be popular with the electorate.

I think she’s messed that bit up now too.

2 Comments | Tagged , , , , | Posted in annoying people, economic issues, no electricity, politics
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