Map

More than just a quota picture, honest.

Considering I’ve never lived in London, I have always had a strange fascination with the London Underground. I’ve never lived in Budapest, Paris or Berlin either, but I have a strange fascination with their underground systems as well. Sheffield, Oxford and Cape Town don’t have underground systems  (too hilly, too small and big flat lump of rock in way, respectively), but I was happy to flirt briefly with the Metro in Newcastle whilst studying there. It was fun for a while, but it was never going to last. I was so hurt when I discovered that she had been allowing other people to ride her during our time together.  

Anyway, one of the best known things about the London Underground, aside from its innate ability to attract young muslim men with rucksacks, is the famous network map. First devised by Harry Beck in 1931, the evolved version is now a design classic and inspired Simon Patterson’s 1992 piece The Great Bear, which I don’t have a copy of.

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Map

What I do have is a copy of is the map above by Gerald Higgins, downloaded from here. And, thanks to my wonderful wife, it is now framed and sitting (vertically) on the wall right next to me.
Yes, this is the UK Motorway System documented in the style of Beck’s Underground map.

Revisiting Higgins’ site recently, I see that he now has another one (which has nothing to do with Beck or the Tube) to add to my collection: It’s Grim Up North – a map showing all the towns and cities mention in the KLF’s 1991 song of the same name.

Brilliant.

Hero in a HalfShell

ZUMAPOWER!

Zumatello hits the election campaign.

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¼ of the world’s most awesome fighting team

Straight away, one can see the direct parallels:

Donatello (who wore the purple mask, of course) was the brilliant scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius. He was perhaps the least violent Turtle, preferring to use his intellect to solve conflicts.

Zumatello (who is wearing the red mask, above) is the brilliant ANC President, polygamist, alleged fraudster and political genius. He is perhaps the least trusted Turtle, preferring to use his friends as scapegoats to avoid prosecution.

6000 miles… does not condone the defacing of election campaign posters unless it’s really, really amusing and you send photographic evidence to us here chez 6000.

Emil is unhappy

Ask anyone anywhere in South Africa what the biggest scourge in this nation is and they will probably answer “crime” or “Jacob Zuma”. Ask them what is the biggest scourge on the roads and they will probably answer “crime”, “Jacob Zuma” or “taxis”.
Taxis are a law unto themselves in this country, breaking rules, endangering lives and making the ride to the amusement park a lot more of an adrenaline rush that the roller coaster once you actually get there.

So reviled is the minibus taxi – and so happy to disregard any rule of law – that Helen “Twee Hoede” Zille, mayor of Cape Town, has threatened to call in the Army to make them behave.
Meanwhile, civil rights group AfriForum have suggested that citizens take photos of “lawless taxis”:

AfriForum created an e-mail address, taxi@afriforum.co.za, to which the public may send the pictures, as well as details of the event, after which AfriForum’s legal team will formulate a complaint on behalf of the public for submission to the SA Police Service.

Alternatively, if you don’t want the bother of emailing a picture in, you could always just put it on your blog with a brief description of the driver.

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Don’t hold back: tell us what you really think, Emil!

For you non-Afrikaans speakers out there: “Easy stereotyping – The driver of this taxi is a [censored].”

Better out than in, Emil. Thanks for your honesty. Aaaaaaand relax!

2 parties drop out

It was with great sadness that I read on the news24.com election site that two of the parties which were to have fought in the upcoming elections on April 22nd had dropped out of the race to finish way behind the ANC.

Not too many tears were shed regarding the loss of the Hlanganani Sakhe Isizwe party – they didn’t pay their R180,000 and were kicked out by the IEC. Not that I have anything against the Hlanganani Sakhe Isizwe party, it’s just that when I’m at a braai discussing the election, I’ve usually had too many beers to accurately say their name.

Far more disappointing was the loss of the SA Determined Volunteers Party from the list of competing parties.

Those guys weren’t being paid for what they did. They were volunteers. And not just any volunteers – they were determined volunteers – and I know for a fact that they had a lot of prospective candidates lined up on their shortlist.
Previous to drawing up that shortlist, they had a longer list, but they rejected many of the names on there because they just weren’t determined enough.
Removing those less determined volunteers had the effect of concentrating the determination of the remaining volunteers until they were the most resolute, decisive, steadfast, unhesitating, purposeful, earnest, firm, unflinching, obstinate, persevering, resolute, resolved, single-minded, unfaltering, decided, strong-willed, stubborn,  unwavering, dogged, intent and tenacious bunch of volunteers this side of Pietermaritzburg.

Sadly, such well-meaning determination doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with any sort of organisation and the SA Determined Volunteers Party forgot to submit their registration for the elections.

Bummer.

How to prevent cervical cancer

I have been reading through the most recent issue of Private Eye magazine, replete with several spectacular examples of two-facedness regarding the whole incomprehensible media circus surrounding Jade Goody, such as this little pair of gems from Scottish poison-dwarf Lorraine Kelly

The bubble has finally burst for the thick, foul-mouthed and thoroughly nasty piece of work that is Jade Goody… As for Jade’s boyfriend, Jack Tweed, all I can say is that they deserve each other. He actually makes her look reasonably intelligent.

Lorraine Kelly, The Sun, 20 Jan 2007

I sincerely hope Jade Goody has her wish for a perfect wedding day tomorrow…

Lorraine Kelly, The Sun, 21 Feb 2009

In their Medicine Balls column by Dr Phil Hammond, (writing under the pseudonym M.D.), however – something that I didn’t consider when I wrote my post about Jade’s wedding:

Jade Goody may be encouraging more people to have cervical smears and HPV vaccinations (if only the NHS could afford them), but a much cheaper way to dramatically reduce your risk of cervical cancer is not to smoke.

The risk is greater the earlier you start and more you smoke. Twenty a day increases your risk seven fold, 40 a day increases it 14 fold, because the damaged cervical cells can’t clear the human papilloma virus. A simple message that not even Max Clifford has thought to mention.

Good point, Doc. And another sign that the NHS in the UK continues to struggle – poorly funded and overworked – to save the lives of those who do nothing to help themselves.