Still not raining

Look, we’ve covered this before.

We noted the city’s request for prayers here:

Why haven’t our religious leaders been praying for rain already? And if they have, where’s the evidence? Who’s withholding the damn rain anyway, and why?

And we added a touch of sarcasm here:

Tamboerskloof vicar Rev. Denise Woodhouse stated that she had been instructed by her senior clergy to hold off any specific reference to rain in her Sunday prayers “until April or May”.
When it was pointed out to her that this was rather convenient timing, given that that’s when the seasonal rains usually begin anyway, she replied, “Yes, isn’t God amazing?” and hurried off to help with pouring the tea at the Women’s Auxiliary meeting.

But the weird thing is that with just n days of water left, people are still genuinely suggesting that prayer is the answer to the current water crisis:

Exactly what do these people think is responsible for this crisis? The underlying cause of the lack of water is simply a lack of rain.

Given that we are advised to “put our faith in God as He is the only one who can save us from the catastrophe” (as He did just after that day of prayer about 30 years ago), I’m left wondering why He hasn’t done something about this already.

Is He really sitting up there in heaven, omnipotent, but waiting for us all to worship a bit harder before He sends any precipitation to Cape Town? Are the recent floods in Gauteng a sign that they prayed harder or better than we did, or is He just trolling?

Behold what I am capable of, just up the N1! Enough rain to fill their dams (and sweep innocent schoolchildren to their deaths), but no: you’re not having any until you get yourselves to church and beg for it. And, if you’ve already been to church and begged for it, then go again and beg a bit harder.

And then, when it does eventually rain, you will praise me for granting you watery salvation, conveniently overlooking all the times I ignored your repeated and increasingly desperate prayers over the past few months.

But that’s exactly what Ilze Müller and her kind will do: drowning (pun intended) in religious confirmation bias, defending the indefensible, brainwashed and blinkered.

Still, if I can get an afternoon off work on the strength of pretending to participate in their ludicrous charade, I’m obviously all for it.

Fire theories

There have been some wildfires recently. And while arson is likely to be the cause of some of them, could there be something even more sinister behind that arson?

Only yesterday, High Empress of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, sent out this tweet, “just asking” if the recent wildfires could be “accidental or coincidental”.

[EDIT: Actually, this is a SA Weather Service map showing warning for “veld fire conditions” (and “extreme heat”), not actual fires.]

To be honest, we’re all well aware that she has jumped on the conspiracy theory bandwagon and is “#justasking” if the ANC has a deliberate, coordinated arson campaign in full swing in order to “destabilise the [DA-run] Western Cape”. And even then, is that “accidental” or “coincidental”?
In my view, it’s neither. I think that would be “deliberate” and “coordinated”.

The trouble is, even in sharing the image above, Helen has basically answered her own unasked question. The fires are all in red or brown areas – marked as such because they are very dangerous or extreme risk for wildfires. Next to some of the fire icons are thermometer icons. They show that there is a heatwave, adding to the fire risk. And then there’s the green bit towards the south and east of the province. Limited fire risk there. And no fires. And then there are the those three fires icons in the [ANC-run] Northern Cape. Bit of an own goal there, ne?

So wildfires in fire season in high risk wildfire areas, during a heatwave, in the middle of a drought? Yeah. Sounds like an ANC campaign to me. [pops on tinfoil hat]

Cape Town will always suffer from wildfires though, because of the volcanic mountain on our doorstep. I think most people are unaware of this – obviously the city wouldn’t want panic to ensue when the 4.5 million residents realised that they were living right on top of an explodey volcanological time-bomb. So they’ve not mentioned it.

Sadly, thanks to this erstwhile FB user, the cat are now out of the bag.

Yeah. I mean, how unlikely is that cigarette or arson theory when you look at the “Lions Head is a sleeping volcano” reasoning. Of course, Lions Head isn’t a sleeping volcano, it’s sandstone on top of Cape granite (see here), as any meteorologist will tell you (once they’ve… er… stopped foolishly looking at the weather), but don’t let that stand in your way as you crash wildly through the fragile boundaries of reality and into your scary, alternate, “everything is going to repeatedly be set on fire and they’re not telling us why” dimension.

Wait… OMG! Fires on hot days? I hadn’t linked the two. Ever. She might actually be correct. I mean, it never burns in winter, does it? You know: Winter, when the volcanic mountains go cold for several months and there are no wildfires. Checkmate, skeptics!

And just in case you are still a non-believer:

Well, California, South and East Australia, OregonPeru and Canada, just off the top of my head. And, weirdly, all in summer. And double weirdly, all in places where the ANC wasn’t in power. And treble weirdly, all in places where the local authorities haven’t told residents that they’re living on top of a explodey volcanological time-bomb, even when they’re not.

Suddenly. It. All. Fits.

And our Facebooking friend has some advice for those who are commenting on her post:

Yeah. I mean, honestly. If you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to the volcano mountain or the natural annual fires, then just don’t get involved, ok? Just like she didn’t.

Sadly, this being the internet, and her theories being utterly laughable, some people did get involved and the lady making the volcano suggestions was on the receiving end of some not inconsiderable ridicule. And then, this being the internet, someone defended her, and so she said this:

Yeah, immatured people. Please actually think logically when you’re participating in matured conversations like ones about volcanoes which aren’t volcanoes lighting fires on extremely unbearably hot days.

Honestly. It’s not hard.

HELP FIND VIENNA

Here it is:

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But no. That would be far too easy. This is a blog post about a different Vienna – a Vienna that is a sausage dog (I see what they did there), that has gone missing in the Table Mountain National Park.

Now, before we go any further, let me categorically state that I’m aware that some people have a very close bond with their pets, and I’m sure that this a very difficult time for Vienna’s owner. I sincerely hope that Vienna is found, safe and well, very soon. It would be wrong of me to ridicule her situation in any way.

However, it would also be remiss of me not to pass some sort of comment on some of the people who are active upon the HELP FIND VIENNA Facebook page that has been set up. Since I discovered it, this page has been my immediate goto site each time I have a moment to spare in the lab.

Some of them are a bit nuts.

The first thing that interested me when I stumbled across the page was this sort of posting:

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I was impressed. And hopeful. If this missing dog has a camera around its neck, then just share the screenshots and someone will know where it is. This individual is right in requesting assistance if they don’t know the terrain, but someone will recognise it, so don’t just describe it – show us the image.

Except there is no image, because there is no camera. What’s being shared are descriptions of an “animal communicator” who has linked with the missing Vienna and is “assisting” by sharing “her visions”.

That’ll help.

“It sounds like [this place]” comments someone, “But it can’t be because you can see the sea from there.” Trouble with that is though, these are dog visions, not human visions.

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Good point.

There’s also an issue with people not being allowed into private areas of the National Park. This was never an problem before, was it? Was it? Everything has been taken from us. When did this happen? And why can’t dachshunds climb fences? That’s a weakness that needs to be addressed. A bigger dog would be able to do that. Or a monkey. Or a human.

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Yes, cape townians. How?

Incidentally, that same person was relying on that self-same security not so long ago:

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Yeah. With a few thousand visiting vehicles each day, that’s in no way asking too much.

But help is even coming from overseas

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I think the issue with this approach is “when you see her” bit. It’s not being able to “see her” that is the underlying problem here. If Jayne could “see her”, then none of this would be happening. I think that Turtle Creek, PA needs to review its search and rescue provision. They seem to have missed an important bit of the whole process.

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No. It wasn’t.
Hindsight, ne? 20/20.

The most concerning bit for me though is the way people are being led by charlatans. Latest news is that the animal communicator has said that Vienna is on tarmac or under a car. This didn’t sound like a good ending to me, but then I realised that it’s all bullshit anyway. Suddenly, there’s a massive rush to look in car parks.
Not this car park, obviously, because that’s gravel, but could someone maybe check that car park, because that car park is tarmac, isn’t it?

People are wasting their valuable time and effort on this sort of crap. Go do something useful.

Like when someone on the page stated:

I had a dream that Vienna was limping.

and people immediately started speculating whether it was through tiredness or maybe a thorn in her paw.

It was a dream.

On that note, last night, I had a dream that I was reconcreting the floor of Fishhoek Yacht Club, but I’m not going down there this morning to cordon it off so that people don’t walk on it.

BECAUSE IT WAS A DREAM. NOT REALITY.

But wait.
BREAKING NEWS: there’s now a white car involved.

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But is Vienna in the car? Or could there be an alternative explanation?

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Ah. Yes. That fits nicely.

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Kerching

I must go now, because real life. But I will be keeping an eye on the HFV group. Because it’s amazing.

If you have any information on Vienna, or feel that you may be able to help (hopefully more than that damn “animal communicator”), get in touch with the group on the link above.

Checkers Outrage

A local supermarket chain is currently running a promotion whereby, for each R150 spent in their store, you get an item from their (and here I quote) “#CheckersLittleShop big brand mini groceries”. These are miniature versions of some of their more popular (some might say iconic) local brands. There’s also an educational arm to it – “Become an entrepreneur – Encouraging tomorrow’s tycoons” .
Nice. Cute.

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Not everyone thinks so though. Some people on Facebook are outraged.
Now there’s a surprise.

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Blimey. Who knew?

Where to begin? Let’s go through this spectacular rant piece by piece, shall we?

The starvation and the unemployment figures, the drought. All of these things are sadly true. As is the fact that Checkers paid an ad agency or promo agency to come up with this c**p, as the erstwhile commenter comments, erstwhiley.

But then it all goes a bit off the rails. The fact that Checkers paid an ad agency or promo agency to come up with this c**p has very little to do with the elevated levels of our grocery bills. There are bigger things at play there. Inflation, the somewhat disappointing exchange rate, the price of manufacturing goods and transporting them, because of  the higher price of oil and therefore petrol; the cost of fertiliser. Starvation and unemployment have little or no effect of the size of your grocery bill. The drought does make things more expensive though. So, only 1 out of 4 guesses on the causes of higher grocery bills. You’re playing catch-up now, furious Facebook commenter.

We move on to the second paragraph, and it actually starts rather well, with another solid fact, describing the mini plastic & polystyrene mock ups of products that Checkers sell in their stores as “Mini plastic & polystyrene mock ups of products you sell in your stores.”
As a description of the mini plastic & polystyrene mock ups of products Checkers sell in their stores, it’s near perfection.

And what happens when the promotion is over? Where does she think these things end up?

In our oceans. In a trash heap where most of it might never biodegrade.

Well, yeah. Or it might get recycled after a couple of years being played with in a kid’s doll house. To be honest, we all know that plastic isn’t great for the oceans or renowned for its biodegradability, but then, we all continue to use it, don’t we? And while I appreciate the need to cut down, these are awfully small things. “Mini”, some might say.
One fewer 2l fabric conditioner bottle will offset a full collection and more.
And, if that “most of it might never biodegrade” line above is the case, then all toys made of plastic (and everything else besides) should be banned. Immediately.

Bye bye, Barbie. Barbie, bye bye.
[Link]

Meh. I’m unconvinced. If only there was one final line to persuade me that the inconsolably annoyed and ranty Facebook woman has a point.

Maybe, a child might actually mistake it for food and try eat it and accidentally choke and die?
Shame on you.

Yeah. “Maybe” that “might” happen. Equally, that might happen with a piece of wood or a rock though.
Yes, these are mock-ups of groceries, but they are also in their mock-up packaging. If a child mistakes a genuine bottle of All Gold Tomato Sauce for food and ingests it, it will also die, because it’s a glass bottle.

Additionally, some of them are mock-up detergents, moisturisers, deodorants and nappies. Your child deserves to die if it eats that and chokes. Darwin’s Law, that’s called. Shame on it, more like.

But then, there is a plus side to all of these pitiful arguments. Because if they’re true…
[But they’re not – Ed.]

Shut up.
Because… if they’re true, and Checkers’ promotion is actually responsible for all of these things: unemployment, malnutrition, the drought (lol… as if the drought is Checkers’ fault, ffs!), the inability of plastic to biodegrade within any reasonable timeframe, oh, and and infant asphyxiation, then surely if or when Checkers choose to end the promotion, surely all these nasties will become a thing of the past.

Could Checkers (possibly inadvertently, but still) could they have come up with a plan to literally end world suffering, simply by causing it all in the first place?

Or should Ms Ranty Facebook lady go and find something more beneficial to do with her time than blaming everything ever on a 6-week promo in a second-rate local supermarket?

Your call.

 

 

 

(Hint: It’s the second one.)

(Number 2)

People not reading

Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-English speaking countries as to those that occur in English speaking countries.

Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, 2007

(Actually, that line doesn’t quite work here, but I trust you’ll get the gist.)

After the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, there was (even more) outrage at the apparent and alleged disproportionate coverage given to those attacks in the media, compared with that given to similar atrocities in other parts of the world – Beirut and Baghdad the other parts of the world in question on that occasion.

At the time, I suggested:

On that, perhaps stop watching Western media, in much the same way that I stopped watching ‘Look North’ when I got fed up just hearing what was happening in Leeds. I’m quite sure that Iraqi, Lebanese and Middle Eastern media generally have disproportionate reporting as well. Go watch them for some of the time. But honestly, don’t watch Western TV news and use Western-based social media the day after the biggest attack on France since World War 2 and expect to hear about much else.

And I stand by that.

But then after more attacks in Istanbul, Brussels and Lahore over the last few days, the situation has raised its ugly head again, adding further insult to already galling injury and wholly unnecessary death. I was rather surprised to hear that people felt that way about the Istanbul attacks – I thought that they were well covered in the Western media. I’m less able to comment of the media coverage of the events in Lahore, as I was away with no TV, no radio and I was only accessing the internet sporadically (and with that sort of cheery news waiting for you when you do go online, who would?). But then this morning, I saw this piece from “Social & New Formats Editor for the Guardian” (woo!), Martin Belam. He argues that some coverage of events like Lahore is there, it’s just that people choose not to read it:

It’s undoubtedly true that there is less coverage, but it is also regretfully true that there seems to be less of an audience.

Why? He laments and hypothesises:

I find it a bit depressing really, but unsurprising.

It’s harder to get mainstream reader empathy and interest in terrorism attacks that occur further from our shores. Many, many of our readers will have visited Brussels or Paris. Far fewer will have ever ventured to Pakistan.

For most of the UK’s population, Europe’s capitals are much closer culturally and logistically.

Not. Rocket. Science.

Yes, we should be (and, I’d argue, we are) outraged and disgusted by innocent lives being taken in these sort of despicable acts, wherever they may occur, but I am also unsurprised by the fact that we appear to “care” more about events closer to home. I’d wager that the same situation (albeit obviously reversed) exists in Pakistan and their media coverage and public interest in the attacks in Lahore and Brussels.

Sure, it would be “nice”, if we were to care equally about all of these horrible incidents, but it’s simply human nature to empathise more with those we feel are closer to us, for whatever reason and to whatever degree.
For the most part we’re not ignoring what’s happening elsewhere – and actually, nor are the “Lamestream” “Western” media – it just seems less relevant to us in the same way that we might pay less attention to stuff happening in Windhoek than in Cape Town.

I don’t think we should beat ourselves up or allow ourselves to be shamed by certain self-righteous individuals on Facebook (you all know who they are on your timeline) over feeling this way.