Dr Doolittle

You know what? I’ve always wondered what would happen:

If I conferred with our furry friends, man to animal
Think of the amazing repartee.
If I could walk with the animals, talk with the animals
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals
And they could talk to meeeeeeeeee…… [Jazz Hands to fade]

But look no further, young Padawan, because now there’s a animal communication course that you can do. It’s in Port Elizabeth, so enough said really, but then there’s a redeeming feature in that the Facebook ad has a Boston Terrier and a telephone receiver on it, so it must be good, right?

Hopefully the animals are going to put some effort into studying too though, because that’s not how you use a phone, is it?

Enough of my questions though, because the course organisers have a couple of their own:

Have you ever considered the possibility that you and your animal have spiritual agreements to assist each other?

I’m sorry, what?

No. No, I haven’t considered that possibility. Primarily, I feel, because an agreement, you see, is something that both parties have to… er… agree to, and I’m pretty sure that I’d remember entering into some sort of mystical, mutually beneficial pact with the beagle. So no, it’s not a possibility that I have ever considered. Next question please.

Could it be that your animal has valuable information for you and because you have never thought about it, you haven’t spent much effort learning how to communicate more effectively with him or her?

To be honest, there are only a few pieces of valuable information that I’d really require. The winner of the 2:30 on Saturday at Turffontein would be good, a medium to long-term outlook on the currency markets would be even better, and the GPS coordinates for the well that little Tommy has fallen down would certainly assist the people currently out searching for little Tommy.

I digress… I find it highly unlikely that the beagle, an animal so thick that it can’t even recognise its own reflection, would be able to furnish me with any of these important details. Look, it’s very good at knowing where the kitchen is when I’m cooking or making the kids’ packed lunches, so if I ever need to know where the kitchen is, I’m sorted. But to be honest, I’m yet to find any other use for it, and it’s been three years now.
And anyway, it can already communicate: it scratches on the back door when it wants to go outside, and it scratches on the other side of the back door when it wants to come back in. It’s not exactly high level communication, but since we have no spiritual agreement to assist each other in place, it’s about as good as things are ever going to get.

Can this course teach me more? Of course it can.

Learn how you can learn to directly communicate with animals. All living creatures have the ability to think, feel, and communicate although most people have forgotten this. This course teaches how to open up to the messages that animals around us are sending all the time.

This makes your household pet sound like a spy. If the beagle is sending messages all the time, to whom is it sending them? And what do they say? And how is it sending them? And why do the recipients want to know? All of these questions will obviously be answered on the course, but if I were to learn how to tune in or intercept these messages that the beagle is allegedly sending all the time, then at best, I would feel that I was eavesdropping or intruding upon its privacy, and at worse, I would probably want to strangle the treacherous little sod.

It all depends on what it’s been saying. But either way, I see no benefit for anyone here.

In this one day course you will learn inter species communicate with each other and how you can effectively send messages to animals and hear their answers.

I can’t help that if someone is running a course on any sort of communication, they should be able to write in sentences which make sense. This one doesn’t, but what it lacks in basic English, it makes up for by promising some incredible things. Not the “effectively sending messages to animals” bit – that’s not tough to do if you’ve got a shoe on your foot some tasty tidbits to reward their good behaviour with. They soon learn what you’re telling them.

No, but hearing their answers would be amazing. Well, I say that, but the beagle is notoriously good at ignoring any command you give it, so do I really want to hear what it has to say?

Now:
Me: Hey, beagle, come here!
Beagle: [looks up, ignores instruction]

After ‘Beginner animal communication course’:
Me: Hey, beagle, come here!
Beagle: [looks up, ignores instruction] Fuck off.

Again, I see no advantage for myself or the beagle here.

The individual who can like to be presenting this course goes by the stage name ‘Animal Benefits’, and a quick look at their Facebook page yields (along with lonely dogs and depressed horses), this gem from last month:

This smacks of the nonsense spouted during the search for Vienna. And you’re going to pay money to sit in a room with this [           ]* for a whole day? Ugh. You’re the one who’s atrocious.

Look, even this light-hearted, so-called example of alleged animal communication is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to justify eating more chocolate:

[delicate female voice] “Oh, but I cannot feed it to my dog, because chocolate is bad for dogs, so I will just have to have it for myself, no matter if he thinks I am being ‘atrocious’ (yes, he used that word, ‘atrocious’)! OMNOMNOMNOM! Ha ha ha!”

To be fair, I have tried the same thing with the beagle and brandy, but at least I don’t charge idiots a fat fee to come and listen how to I do it.

If you willingly choose to pay real money to go on this course, you’re on your own. There are a million better things that you could do with your hard-earned cash and precious time.

If she locks the door once you’ve sat down, it’s been nice knowing you.

Don’t go near any wells.

 

 

* redacted for legal reasons

Should have seen it coming

The Sun newspaper has done an investigation into the £40m Psychic, Medium and Clairvoyant industry in the UK:

There have been numerous reports of people being ripped off by charlatans who claim to have abilities they do not.
All over the country mediums are charging anything between £30 and £200 for a one-hour session.

Of course, having read their damning report on this fraudulent, rip-off industry which preys on the most vulnerable and stupid members of society, if you still wish to contact a psychic, you can do so via, er… The Sun newspaper’s own “Mystic Meg”:

mmeg

And at £1.53 per minute, that’s “just” £91.80 for an hour of complete bullshit psychic insight.

I predict that a lot of people are going to continue being ripped off.

Not worth waiting for…

James Lech has finally released “Part 1” of his statement on the “incident” on Clifton beach. You can read it here, nestled neatly below an ad for yet another Pack Walk – this time in the Full Moon (rather you than me) – and a recipe for completely harmless Raw Cauliflower, Cashew and Chilli Mash.
That said, it’s probably not worth the effort of the clickthrough:

Learning is a Gift. Even when pain is your teacher.
Accidents are unfortunate, traumatic events that often have dire consequences. I have learned a hard lesson. Yet, I am not the first in my profession to be faced with this kind of challenge and I undertake to be more vigilant around such cases in the future. D has made remarkable progress in his rehabilitation process and has become a treasured pet and a valued member of my pack. I stand by my business ethic and rehabilitation practice as will be supported by the positive results and outcomes experienced by many dog owners and their pets, who have benefited from my assistance in South Africa and abroad over the past several years.

Unfortunately, due to this matter still being under official investigation that involves other parties, I am not yet at liberty to release documentation, reports and or specific details regarding the incident. Once the investigation has been completed and officially assessed, I shall then be given permission to publish material and information. We are working hard at fast tracking everything.

Meanwhile, Lech has been asked to remove more dodgy claims from his website:

Camps Bay “Dog Whisperer” James Lech has been instructed to remove “misleading, untruthful and deceitful” information from his website linking him to the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) and the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL).

Lech has been asked to remove claims that he is linked to both organisations. His website lists him as a “consultant and speaker to the AACL” and a “guest speaker at SPCA fundraising and education events”.

NSPCA spokeswoman Christine Kuch said the claims were false.

“Both the Animal Anti-Cruelty League and the National Council of SPCAs afforded Mr Lech the opportunity to substantiate the statements, which he has been unable to do. We have approached him to substantiate it, and if he cannot, then to remove the information. We have circulated it to all SPCAs, and there is no link or endorsement of Lech.”

And the Cape Times reports today that the dog which attacked toddler Meeka Riley Lackay is to be “privately euthanased” at Lech’s request. Sadly, it seems the dog cannot request the same fate for its owner, who shouldn’t have been walking it on the beach where it attacked the little Meeka in the first place.

Amnesty for Zuma?

The debate is on. Should the charge of racketeering, the four charges of corruption, the charge of money laundering and the twelve charges of fraud against ANC President Jacob Zuma be dropped?

The charges stem from an arms deal way back in 1999 and the case has been dragging on ever since. In the meantime, Zuma has been sacked from his post as Deputy President of the country, has successfully defended himself against charges of rape and, more recently, been elected President of the ANC and is now effectively South Africa’s President-in-waiting. But all the while – in fact, now more than ever – those corruption (and racketeering, money laundering and fraud) charges have been hanging over him.

Over the years, certain groups have continually protested Zuma’s innocence and called for the charges against him to be dropped, claiming that they are no more than a political smear campaign. Now, as we finally approach the 2009 election and a possible trial date for Zuma, those groups are becoming ever more vocal.
They say that the trouble is that if (ok… WHEN) Zuma is elected as President of the Republic next year, it’s going to do the country’s somewhat shaky reputation a whole lot more damage to have a potentially corrupt fraudster in charge. I see that.
What I don’t get is their insistence that things will be better if we drop the charges. Look at it this way: if it goes to court and Zuma is innocent, then it’s all ok – we’re in the clear with him. If he’s not, then we’re in the poop. Again, with him.
But if the charges are dropped and we never find out, then what are people going to assume?

I also don’t like the way they are going about attempting to force this issue through. Threats of violence, anarchy, civil disobedience. COSATU’s General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi:

“There are sentiments that Zuma is a target of machinations that go very, very deep. And all of us fear what the reaction is going to be and what may happen the day something happens to him (Zuma) in particular. We can see exactly what the reaction is going to be.
People may misinterpret this as a threat to the judiciary or as a form of blackmail to try and get Jacob Zuma off the hook.
But this is an honest assessment. We honestly do fear what may happen if eventually the matter goes to court and the verdict is that he is guilty and going 14 years to prison.”

Struggling with what I should think on the subject, I tried to contact our 6000 miles… political analyst. But he’s in the USA chasing good-looking girls with strange accents and being re-educated into renouncing his links with Blade Nzimande.

I too fear for the future in SA if JZ goes to court. Then, equally, I fear for the future if he doesn’t go to court. But what message are we sending out if the charges are dropped? That certain individuals are above the law, no matter what crimes they may have committed?
We’re in for a very rough ride over the next few months (or years?) whatever happens, but while I see the sense in protecting the country’s reputation and economic status, something just won’t let me support an amnesty for JZ.

Sorry, Msholozi.