Morne Harmse – sentence is passed

And the recriminations can now begin.

Morne Harmse, the schoolboy with the masks and the Samurai sword who killed a fellow pupil at his Krugersdorp School last year, was this week sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison.
And of course, there are those who think this is too lenient and those who think it is too harsh. Aren’t there always?

In sentencing someone for these sort of crimes, I believe, a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration by the judge: the degree of premeditation, the effects of the crime and perhaps most importantly, the underlying reasons that the incident took place. And on that, there is also considerable disagreement. The sensationalists went with Satanism and Slipknot, the more rational minds with the sorry mental state of a confused and misunderstood teenage boy.

The State – pandering to the masses – wheeled out Kobus Jonker, self-styled “expert” on “the occult”, who interviewed Harmse and gave testimony that although he (Harmse) had dabbled in “the occult”, there was little evidence to suggest that this was the cause of Harmse’s attack. Wrong coloured candles, apparently. Helpful stuff.

Jonker has a dubious reputation in South Africa, as Jacques Rousseau points out in The Star today and one can only hope that in sentencing, the judge completely disregarded the nonsense this “expert” gave the court.

Perhaps there would be more value in following the advice of The Times commenter ‘RSinangola’ on this issue:

Bring back corporal punishment at school and at home and there will be a more than 50% chance that this won’t happen again.

RSinangola  explains neither the  background nor the mathematical workings behind his theory, but since he has submitted them for publication in a national newspaper, I think we can rest assured that he has thoroughly tested his hypothesis.
And until someone comes up with a better plan, which may give us, say, “a more than 75% chance that this won’t happen again”, maybe we should take his comment on board and reinstitute corporal punishment forthwith.
Well done, that man.

Morten Harket 1959-2009

…and beyond, I hope. But at least I got your attention.

Yes, Morten Harket, lead singer of Norwegian synth-pop supergroup a-ha turns 50 today. And what better way to mark the occasion on 6000 miles… that the ground-breakingly brilliant video for their 1985 hit, Take on Me:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EXxMlIExpo 650 390]

Amazing to think that this was 24 years ago and that a-ha are still going strong, having just released their ninth studio album.  I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been a huge fan from those early days and still love their music today.

Happy Birthday, Morten.

The Promotion

It’s not very often that Mrs 6k gets me to go to the cinema. Nor that she gets me to watch a film at home – either on the TV or DVD. The reason for this is very simple – I don’t like movies.

People don’t seem to understand that not liking movies is actually completely fine. And I don’t understand people because people don’t understand that. See, I like football. But I understand that some people don’t like football. And that’s fine because if everyone were exactly the same then life would be very boring. Or perhaps it would actually be very cool, because we wouldn’t know the difference and the world would be set up to cater for stuff that everyone liked. Football or movies (or both) would be on 24/7. Everyone would be happy all the time. Utopia.
But I digress.

No, people recoil in horror when I tell them that I have never seen any of The Matrix Trilogy, none of the new Star Wars films, Harry Sodding Potter, Batman or Lord of the Bloody Rings. How can I have survived this long without those “essential” experiences?
Well, I guess that depends on your definition of “essential”. If it means trotting off to waste two or three hours of your life so that you can say you’ve seen the rubbish bits of the film that fill in between the trailers everyone’s been watching for the last 6 months on YouTube, then fine. Well done. My only interest in films stems from the need to have some sort of awareness of plot and cast for pub quiz purposes. I don’t need to pay R70 to sit with 100 cellphone-using, popcorn-crunching people in the dark for 3 hours to pick that up.
Oh yes, and I do know what cinematography is, but I don’t pretend to be an expert in it. Especially at braais.
Like some people do.
You know? Yes, you know.
So no, films are not for me. Thank you, but no thank you.

Marriage. Now that’s for me. And marriage requires work, love, and a willingness to compromise. And thus, because Mrs 6k does enjoy watching films, I do watch films with her every now and again. However, she has scored a couple of own goals of late, which may affect that ongoing arrangement that we have regarding movie watching. Last week, we went to watch The Proposal. The Proposal could be described as a “chickflick”, a “romcom” or “utterly pisspoor”. And it starred Sandra Bullock. I don’t have hugely strong feelings about Hollywood stars generally, but I do hate her with a passion. Even putting that aside though, the film was bloody awful.

Yesterday, Mrs 6k and Alex went off to find a DVD for our viewing pleasure. Alex came back with Curious George, which he watched all afternoon. Wonderful stuff. My wife came back with The Promotion. This was “a comedy”. I’ve used the inverted commas there because I always thought that “comedy” was meant to be amusing, funny, comical, humorous.
This was none of the above.
It was mildly depressing story of two assistant managers at a supermarket, one of whom is a recovering drug addict and the other who has self-esteem and security issues stemming from a lack of achievement in his life. These two assistant managers are both interviewed for a manager’s position at the supermarket, without hilarious consequences. Two hours later, one of them gets the job and the other doesn’t.

The lesson here could be “don’t watch films whose titles begin with The Pro…” but why make things so very complicated?
Just follow my advice and don’t watch films full stop. Believe me, it’s a great way to not spend a couple of hours.

Here’s proof

Herewith proof that you can write a perfectly acceptable blog post (IMHO, anyway) while cooking a rather tasty chili con carne. The carne in question being beef and ostrich. I can like to be supporting the local cow and bird slaughtering industries.
The builders are still here and the internet is still almost completely unavailable, the playroom is all over the living room and the study doesn’t even exist in any functional sense. It’s beginning to get me down and I really wish I was going to a five star resort for a weekend away in the very near future. More on that later, maybe.

Anyway, that’s your lot for now. I will probably be back to my best when I can actually use my own computer and not Mrs 6k’s laptop and its dodgy Vodacom GPRS connection from the kitchen. Maybe I’ll say something truthful but horribly controversial like “Caster Semeya looks like a man” or “South Africa is actually a really nice place to live if you’re white”.
Maybe I won’t. It’s this sort of suspense that gets readers coming back time and time again.  

But for now, it’s back to the red wine and the dangerously hot dinner.

Makeshift quota photo post

Having spent the day looking after the kids, with the builders building all around us and dust and noise everywhere, I find myself sitting on the floor stuck with a makeshift computer setup – wires everywhere, minimum necessary equipment connected: monitor (on coffee table), keyboard (on lap), mouse (works on carpet – impressed) – just like the old days.

Tonight, I have two tasks to complete – upload photos to Flickr and write a blog post. The former is underway (by pigeon), the latter is what you’re reading at the moment. And then I thought:

Why not combine the two?

Hence, you get this quota photo:


Want more generous dimensions?

Taken fromWynberg School field this evening where we took the kids to get rid of their excess energy. Judging by the silence upstairs, it seems to have worked.
Viva Wynberg School field, Viva!