Today: a summary

No one particular subject has dominated my mind or time today, save for the post I was going to do about waking up with Madonna and Billy Joel. Not on the radio or on the TV – literally waking up with them. In my bed. 
I have no idea what they were doing in there. Sleeping, I guess. My wife is going to kill me, she was only away for one night and I end up sleeping with a pair of veteran multi-Grammy Award winning artistes.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. My iPod has been churning out high quality choons all day. This is unusual. I have had a number of very disappointing days music-wise recently. But a combination of Depeche Mode, Fifth Amendment, Skunk Anansie and The Pigeon Detectives has redeemed Steve Jobs somewhat. I shall let him live a little longer.

And back to the ridiculous. The pope and his überdaft comments on condoms and HIV.
I’m not religious. I don’t mind people worshipping me, although it sometimes makes a simple trip down to Pick n Pay quite an ordeal. But I recognise people’s rights to believe what they want to. And the catholic church doesn’t like people using condoms. Fair enough. They can preach their silly message if they choose to do so. But to suggest that the use of condoms actually exacerbates the spread of HIV is completely unfounded and dangerous.

“While it is not up to us to pass judgment on Church doctrine, we consider that such comments are a threat to public health policies and the duty to protect human life.”

French foreign ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier

With great power comes great responsibility and the pope is a very powerful man. His comments are disgraceful and should be withdrawn before they do real harm. 
Are catholics allowed to withdraw? Probably not.

Julius Malema isn’t on twitter. Gutted.

Natasha Richardson has died. spEak You’re bRanes is unimpressed with the outpouring of emotion.

The Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998.

No person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds including race, gender, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, and birth.

“Birth”? Now they tell me.
I’ve been regularly discriminating against unborn people in my employment policies and practices since I came to South Africa. I have yet to employ either an embryo or a foetus and now I feel awful. And completely open to prosecution.
In my defence, the last time I interviewed a foetus (for a middle management position, as I recall), all I got in reply to some of my more probing questions was a slap from his mother.
Which was off-putting, to say the least.

What a difference a day made…

Twenty-four little hours.
Brought the smoke and the fires.
Where there used to be green.

Before and after – The Devils Peak Fire

Houses in High Cape and Vredehoek (where I used to live) were evacuated at 1 o’clock this morning as high winds threatened drive the fire into residential areas. Spectacular iol pictures.

Today, it’s just a matter of damping down what’s left of the vegetation and  putting out the fires in the kloofs on the Groote Schuur Estate. Just for an idea of scale, those three “little” fires you can see up at the top of the mountain have flames up to five storeys high according to the Cape Town Fire Department spokesman on the radio. S’big, then.

Sky News is killing English

Well, the snot has caught up with me and brought with it a stinking headache and an unpleasant fever. Days like this mean staying in bed so as not to infect colleagues and staying in bed means daytime tv. And analysing it.

Sky News. What are they trying to do to the English language?
It was a while back that they began americanising the date. Suddenly “the seventeenth of March” became “seventeenth March”. Annoying.

Next was the singularisation of sports teams: “Sheffield United have won the FA Cup” is English (and a little unlikely). “Sheffield United has won the FA Cup” is not (English – it’s still unlikely).

And today, in their report on University fee changes, £3,145, which I and every other Engelsman would pronounce as “three thousand, one hundred and forty-five” has apparently suddenly become “three thousand, A hundred forty-five”.

Look, I’m not feeling well and I’m mildly more grumpy than usual. But why must they bastardise the language in these ways? Was there – is there – really anything so bad about the way we say things now?
And even if there was/is, who appointed Sky News as the ones to put things “right”?

I’m unimpressed and I’m switching over to Mythbusters where they speak funny, but there’s Kary Byron as compensation.

Written on my Sony Ericsson Xperia X1. In bed.

Simonstown, March 2007

I’m so full of snot today that I feel it may be a case of home-bathkids-dinner-bed. Thus, noting that blogging is not included in that plan, just before I instigate part one, a quota photo.

It was two years ago to the day that we packed the car and the 10½ month old boy and headed down to Simonstown for the weekend, staying in a house with an implausibly steep driveway and a seemingly infinite number of steps up to the front door.

The weekend was spent (as I remember), poking penguins and playing football on the beach. And drinking:

Yes, it was empty*

The rest of the flickr set is here.

I have just noticed that my plan for the evening also fails to mention any red wine. It would surely be foolish to miss out on the immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C that come as a helpful by-product of fermented grapes. Especially the rather decent (and rather local) Steenberg Merlot.

I shall be sorting that out with dinner, never fear.

* once he’d finished with it, it was, anyway.

Carte Blanche & Sax Appeal

A quick comment on tonight’s Carte Blanche show, specifically the UCT/Sax Appeal/Blasphemy bit. (Probably not put together ever so coherently because I’m tired. Sorry.)


…nothing was said by Naidoo – or any other person of religious persuasion – to lessen the impression that free speech is all fine, unless you say something bad about my invisible friend, who – despite so much financial, spiritual and emotional support – is still surprisingly vulnerable to attack-by-cartoon. If only Satan had known…

Thus speaks Jacques Rousseau, who was interviewed for the report, arguing for the right of free speech. He describes himself “rather disappointed” with the report that aired and I can see why.
While I fully understand that you can’t condense every opinion into 8 minutes (or however long it was), you can at least provide a balanced viewpoint and allow both sides to equally have their say. That would surely provide the most fertile grounds for open debate – no matter that this seems to have come down to the rather empirical battle between christians and atheists.
However, Carte Blanche chose to play it safe, erring on the side of caution and not risk further offending those already offended christians. (Afrikaner puppy farmers are, however, evidently fair game.)

So hardly punchy, contraversial journalism, but the viewing figures are saved; although why has no-one asked why Derek Watts is allowed to work on the sabbath – something that must have surely enraged the fundamentalist christian groups they were actually trying to pacify.
Expect letters to the papers and Errol Naidoo calling for an MNet boycott.