Shamans salute dead whales

Seriaas?

Sadly, yes.

Yesterday, as a full moon rose over the Cape peninsular, about 120 people gathered at Kommetjie’s Long Beach to honour the whales who were shot there last weekend.
Oblivious to all of this, two whales basked off-shore within sight of the onlookers. Incense smoked and burning candles were arranged in the shape of a fish on the small promenade overlooking the beach,
Local sangoma and shamanic healer Devi Hill banged a Native American drum and chanted a bit as fellow spiritual healer Shelley Ruth Wyndham called on mankind to respect planet Earth.
“We humans are disrupting systems which have taken millions of years to develop,” she said.
She led the small crowd down to the sea where the whales were shot, and the chanting resumed. “We are one, we are one, we are one! Wake up! Wake up! Rise with the rising sun!”
Then night fell.

Andrew Donaldson, Sunday Times

I can’t stand the shallowness of people who attend these kind of events. Hundreds of people are dying each week in SA of malnutrition, HIV, violent crime and other stuff that isn’t included in those three categories that I just mentioned and yet they organise a memorial serivce for some dead whales? Please.
Now I like whales as much as the next man (and I’m assuming he’s not Norwegian or Japanese), but holy crap, these people have got their priorities seriously screwed. And look at the idiots that are doing it. Why have the candles in the shape of a fish? Whales aren’t fish. They’re mammals. Genetically, whales have more in common with Oprah Winfrey than they do with fish, so why not have an outline of a popular American talk-show host on the Prom instead?

And why bang a Native American drum, Devi? What’s wrong with the good old African drum, happily banged for years and years here in Africa? Or were you just showing off amongst your hippie friends? I recognise that “Native American” is a bit of a trump card when it comes to all things spiritual, but rejecting your local heritage is unforgivable.
And Shelley Ruth Wyndham’s rantings are nothing short of idiotic, too. What “systems” (which have taken millions of years to develop) were at play when those stupid animals chose to crash into the beach at Kommetjie? Cos SatNav certainly wasn’t one of them.
And how exactly did we “disrupt” those “systems” by shooting the whales? What were they planning on doing if we’d left them there? Growing legs and sneaking off into Noordhoek to do the Pub Quiz at the Toad in the Village? Leaping up in the dead of night when no-one was looking and opening a successful five-star hotel and spa complex in Misty Cliffs? Or just lying there and suffering unbearable agony until they eventually died?
I know which one my money is on.

Seriously Shelley, stop moaning and get proactive. If humans really are doing so much damage to the planet, then why don’t you do Earth a favour and pop off to join the choir invisible? Every little helps. Can you imagine how much CO2 is chucked out by that incense and those aforementioned inappropriately-shaped candle designs? Or how many small wading birds were unable to get their supper because they were scared off by your fellow idiots’ daft chanting? Talk about disrupting nature.
We aren’t one, Shelley. You and I have as much in common as Jacob Zuma and ‘Dotty’, an eight-week-old Dalmatian puppy living in Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex; as chalk and cheese; as Castle and decent beer. So please don’t think that I am one with you or your foolish friends. Frankly, the thought repulses me.

I really hope that this is the last we hear of those sodding creatures. Yes, it was sad that they crashed into a beach and died. But the incessant whining, accusations and recriminations around the subject are – frankly – beginning to get right on my tits. And this stupid ceremony – as misguided as the whales were a week earlier – really tops it all off. What a waste of time, effort, money and human spirit.
What is this going to do? Is it going to stop whales beaching themselves here or anywhere else again? Is it going to stop them swimming straight back into shore once they are dragged back out to sea? Fools.
If you must do something with your Saturday evening, then make it worthwhile. Make it meaningful. Make it beneficial. Don’t make an arse of yourself by banging a trendy drum and singing on a beach. Because, believe me, crying over dead whales while ankle-deep in ice-cold sea water makes you look like complete idiots.

Linky goodness: Ben Trovato on the Kommetjie Whale Slaughter.  

Note: A whole range of interesting swearwords (across three different languages) were removed from this post before publication, in case my Mum reads it.
This is in keeping with the 6000 miles… terms and conditions as described here.

Table Mountain Silhouettes

It was cold and dark and wet in Cape Town yesterday. All day.
Now it’s cold and dark and wet again, but at least one third of that is due to it being night time. 

The cloud has been thick and grey and low. I’m quite sure that Table Mountain does still exist, even if we can’t actually see it. This information is especially important for pilots and aviators of any kind to remember. I’m still wondering if once we get clearer weather, we’ll find Air France 447 sat on top of it. Although I’m not wondering this ever so seriously, if I’m honest.

Meanwhile, a reminder of warmer times up the mountain: December 30th 2007 to be exact. We were up the mountain that day with the same couple that we visited today for an indoor braai (believe it, because it’s true), so it seems reasonable to step back 18 months and enjoy one of my most very favourite pictures.

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Which is fully explained here and fully illustrated here.

There were flashing lights all over Devils Peak as we drove back into Cape Town this evening. I don’t know why. Suffice to say they looked like emergency vehicles rather than Christmas lights, but I can’t elaborate further just now because I’m all out of elaborative details. I could make some stuff up, but I find that often gets me into trouble, so probably best to wait for the newspapers to tell me what happened tomorrow.

One final word: this was a big relief after I watched this last night.

Abandoned Russian Polar Nuclear Lighthouses

More lighthouse stuff, via @ChrisRoperZA.

Does exactly what it says in the title.

lh2Dmitriy Vyacheslavovich lighthouse, Taymyroslavich Peninsula*

Some explanation:

…the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to build a chain of lighthouses to guide ships finding their way in the dark polar night across uninhabited shores of the Soviet Russian Empire. So it has been done and a series of such lighthouses has been erected. They had to be fully autonomous, because they were situated hundreds and hundreds miles aways from any populated areas. After reviewing different ideas on how to make them work for a years without service and any external power supply, Soviet engineers decided to implement atomic energy to power up those structures. So, special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses.

Some great photos and handy hints for rogue states and terrorist groups on where to find unguarded plutonium.

Everybody wins. Happy days.

* completely made up.

Rogue Abyssinian is a menace

The batty residents of Claremont are at it again in the invaluable Southern Suburbs Tatler:

To the owner of the roaming Abyssinian cat in the Lynfrae Avenue area: your cat comes into my home on a daily basis to eat my cats’ food, to urinate in and against my kitchen cupboards and other furniture, and terrorise my cats who are feeling violated and insecure in their own home.
I have to clean up after your cat, buy extra cat food, purchase various cleaning materials to clean up his mess and tolerate the inconvenience of trying to keep him out. My house reeks of your cat, and it is very embarrassing.
I have walked around knocking on neighbours’ doors to find the owner of this cat, and several people told me that they have to endure the same problems caused by your cat.

Dr Elzabé Dürr-Fitchen, Claremont

So many images. Not least the poor “violated and insecure” cats in their own home. How does one identify those sorts of traits in felines? Low self-esteem? Self-loathing? Lots of sleeping near heaters?

These are the risks you take when you have pets – the chance that someone else’s bigger pet will come into your home, eat their food and pee on your cupboards. I see it as a metaphor for life. You’re either a big fish in a little pond or someone comes into your home, eats your big fish and pees on your cupboards. But is writing letters to the local rag – however heartfelt they may be – really the way to go about solving the problem? And isn’t “tolerating the inconvenience of trying to keep him out”, a little dramatic?

Because – and sit down, because here’s a plan – why don’t you close your door?

I have found that even the most agile of felines find it near impossible to navigate their way through a couple of centimetres of solid wood. No matter how hard you throw them. In trying this method, you’ll probably come across other unforeseen benefits of door closing. Not only will rogue Abyssinian cats be kept out, but so will other annoying things like wind and rain and leaves and burglars. And, as an added bonus, things like warmth, your TV and your laptop will remain in your house.

With the lack of support they’re getting in this worrying situation, it’s only a matter of time before the good doctor’s cats take matters into their own hands, follow the rogue Abyssinian home and wreak havoc upon his house by going in and sleeping near their heaters. Unless his owners have taken the radical step of closing their door, of course.

I must, however, mention that while living in Oxford back in the mid-90’s, I did experience a similar problem to that suffered by Dr Komplik8ed-Sürñåmê, whereby a neighbour’s cat came into our kitchen and pee’d against the cupboards. Once.
However, rather than writing to the local freebie newspaper in an effort to trace its owner, I was more proactive, trapped it in the kitchen and then took a broom handle to it (in the style of the Maid from Tom and Jerry, but without the fat legs) and soundly beat it until it was black and red.

That seemed to sort the problem out almost instantaneously: once released (I helped it over the garden fence), it never came back. Although I too had to purchase various cleaning materials to clean up the mess.

Anyway, bye for now, Abyssinia.
(sorry)

Eating on the run

This post dedicated to Nix-Grim, who can (hopefully) now relax for at least a couple of weeks.

One of the benefit [sic] of our current Medical Aid is the Discovery HealthyFood™ programme, whereby members can get up to 25% off healthy foodstuffs bought at Pick n Pay supermarkets. I feel better because I’m healthier and saving money, Discovery feel better because I’m healthier and claiming less money from them and Pick n Pay feel better because I go there to buy my fruit and veg with 25% off and take the opportunity stock up on curry and chocolate while I’m at it.
So everyone’s happy.

As part of the enrollment for this ground-breaking new initiative, I was forced requested to fill in a Personal Health Review which covered everything from Smoking (I don’t), through Drinking (I do) and Stress (I am) to Physical activity (chance would be a fine thing). Prospective answers for each question were given from a drop-down menu, like this example from the stress section:

disc

Do I eat on the run? Well, not if I can help it, but sometimes it’s either that or nothing. So never is right out, but I certainly don’t do it daily either.
Which leaves me with “a few times a week” or “1-3 times a year”. Because let’s be clear, there can be no middle ground in the eating on the run scenario. Either you are a serial on the run eater*, eating on the run a few times a week or you eat on the run 1-3 times a year. Not four, not five: one to three.
That’s why, the first time you eat on the run each year (probably mid January, I’m guessing), you have to make the big decision – are you going to do it again a few times that week or are you going to limit yourself to next eating on the run only in July and then again once more in September? That’s a big ask, believe me.

Suddenly the mass fainting episodes at schools in KZN are explained. This isn’t a case of witchcraft, nor pollution, nor drugs. This is  an example of what happens when you foolishly take the 1-3 times a year option and then use up all your eating on the run opportunities by the first week in February. You go hungry and you faint.

Safer then, to do as I did, risk the wrath of your Medical Aid and tell them you eat on the run most days. Of course, in doing this, I suggest that I lead a high-stress lifestyle which puts me at greater risk of all sorts of nasty disorders and they told me that they’re pretty unhappy with me because of that.
A heated argument ensued over the phone, with Discovery threatening to increase my monthly premiums unless I cut back and only ate on the run 1-3 times a year. In the end, blood pressure sky-high and anxiety levels through the roof after a full-on 20 minute row with the dear Boitshepo in the Johannesburg call centre, I gave in and promised to eat on the run less often.
(She was ever so forceful.)

I put the phone down and had to have 4 beers and slab of chocolate to get over the stress of the whole situation.

* Note that this is different from eating cereal on the run.