Monday, 28 April 2008
to those of you in corporate jobs out there, I ask you to support the arts, my trip and have a look at my redbubble site!!! get yourselves, your friends, your family an early wedding card, xmass card, housewarming gift, piece of art..
that sort of thing.....:-)
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Monday, 21 April 2008
Anyway, we took Gary's flatmate's dog for a walk, I think it was actually me that the boys were taking for a walk, I needed some fresh air after days of sitting in our study cell. [For those that don't know my school used to be the old Breakwater prison, and our study rooms are actual cells, the humour is endless at the GSB]
Anyway, back to the beach. It was full moon so lots of light and while we were walking back we saw...... Is it a dog? Is it a cat with a limp? No its a Cape Clawless Otter!!
[For some reason I cannot post a pic grrr, so here is the link to a pic: http://www.photohome.com/pictures/animal-pictures/water/otter-2a.jpg]
Thank god the boys were there to play David Attenborough, I was all for the cat with a limp theory (until it went swimming). It was so cool! I have heard rumours of them coming down from the vlei to the beah, but must be honest, I always thought that was a bit of tale to keep Kerry guessing kind of thing. So we sat and watched him play in the surf for a while and then got out of his way as he clearly wanted to head home and we were scaring him off.
OK, I think I have managed to make that experience into far more than it probably was... But I am in full study avoidance mode :)
Bring on Friday and a week of freedom please!!!
However, should you be feeling the need to Jew-out, here's a wonderful matzah-ball soup recipe for you, from that great website Cooking for Engineers. They note there that matzah-ball soup is affectionately known as Jewish Penicillin.
And if that wasn't enough for you, some important trivia from Wikipedia, via the International Federation for Competitive Eating: the world record for the most matzah balls consumed in one sitting belongs to a gentile. Joey Chestnut (not necessarily pictured below) apparently ate 78 - that's right, seventy-eight - matzah balls in, wait for it, EIGHT minutes. Mmmmm, delicious!
Sunday, 20 April 2008
On Saturday night, after a painful Pesach seder, i tried to ignore my rapidly constipating colon and rushed over to Luna Park to catch the DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist Hard Sell Tour. I'm too tired to go through all of the brilliant shit that they did, so you should watch the clips below and then buy the dvd, but rest assured it was brilliant. 2 hours of ALL NEW material (no filler from Brainfreeze or Product Placement), recreating a whole load of de la soul tracks from original samples, recreating their own stuff, scratching metal songs on turntables hanging from their necks, this show had it all. Oh ja, and awesome visuals. Cut Chemist looked tired as hell too, so kudos to them for doing the whole thing in such high spirits.
Friday, 18 April 2008
But it seems that I talk to soon. Just as I was feeling completely disillusioned with the state of trade unions in this country, I read this recent update on a BBC article on Zimbabwe:
Meanwhile, South African dock workers are refusing to unload a shipment of arms from China destined for Zimbabwe.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said it did "not agree with the position of the government not to intervene with this shipment".
"Our members employed at Durban container terminal will not unload this cargo, neither will any of our members in the truck-driving sector move this cargo by road," Satawu's general secretary, Randall Howard, told local media.
Big up to them for using their influence and taking a moral stand where govt and the private sector wouldn't.
This confirms the SA blogosphere's assertion that:
a) load-shedding affects waste water treatment plants that don't have backup generators (in that they can't treat incoming goodies but also can't keep letting the kak pile up while the lights are off, and so just chuck it out into rivers); and
b) news of the three plants north of Pretoria dumping untreated waste into the Yukskei and Vaal in January was both true and rather suppressed. Not sure by whom. I ain't much of a conspiracy theorist. But the DA says the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry is in denial, and that we facing a potentially serious problem.
Thursday, 17 April 2008
It's a retarded friend or foe debate in the media, but China doesn't do much to steer it in new, more sophisticated directions. Quite the opposite in fact. This latest story just reinforces the stereotypes.
That China sells lots of weapons to so-called 'pariah' states in Africa is not news. Sudan, Zimbabwe, Angola, lots of Gulf of Guinea countries, etc. But the timing of this one is pretty precious. As we all know, Zim is tangled in an electoral crisis, having suffered about 10 years of disastrous Moogs-style dictatorship. In that period most of the world has abandoned Zim, placed travel bans on Moogs and his cronies, and banned weapons sales to the country, etc etc. South Africa and some other SADC states have been more circumspect (that's diplomatic language right there).
China? No way mate! They don't give a damn. They've continued to foster cosy relations with Harare, and have given Moogs lots of goodies, like fighter jets, tractors, buses, guns, and other stuff.
And right in the middle of this elections mess - where there is substantial risk of state-on-citizen violence to ensure Moogs's 'victory' - they are sending weapons to Zim! Via South Africa! The ship carrying the goodies docked at Durban on 14 April. It has been established that the ship is carrying weapons, and that their final destination is Zim. Initially SA customs denied the ship entry. But now we've cleared it. International politics is so principled.
No big powerful country in the world maintains any real standards of decency in international engagements. It's all about power and narrow national interests. But the baddies of the 20th century (the West, mainly) actually do try and do things differently these days (if we set aside Iraq for a moment - please bear with me here). China is a little behind the curve. Tibet, Zim, Myanmar, and Sudan kind of undo Beijing's insistence that it is a responsible global citizen.
I don't really know what to make of it all, but I do know that the PR around these Olympics, and the squirming Chinese officials will have to endure, is going to be fun to watch.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
This Vernon sighting occurred at the most recent H20 party in Boksburg. Hard to believe - I know - but you can tell it's Boksburg by the two douchebags on Vernon's left. Since then bloggers and Facepoepers have gone wild with Vernon, making him faymiss (yes there's a Facekak group called Make Vernon Koekemoer famous). He's a real dude - people see him in the gym a lot, apparently.
Anyway, no-one really cares about Vernon. Except for me of course, and that high quality
Now for the cool part: Your reward for suffering this far. The only reason I know about any of this is because I occasionally read a blog written by an acquaintance with a penchant for karaoke house parties, Haddaway (what is love?), and second-hand (or home-made) clothing. She's won quite a few SA Blog awards, because she's funny, and writes well. This Sky News clip, the very clip linked-to in this here blog-post, quite clearly features said acquaintance's blog, in bold, blue Arial, right underneath Vernon. Whatever you say about Vernon and the teenage kid obsession with poking fun at him, having one's very own blog splashed across a Sky News insert is pretty fucking cool. So I don't mind giving her like at least 2 referrals from our blog.
Monday, 14 April 2008
Seeking something meaningful and fulfilling over my saturday morning java, I aimlessly clicked around on the interweb for some blk jks material. I saw them live a few years ago, when I first moved to joburg. They were kak. I figured they must have improved a bunch since then.
Anyway I got distracted and ended up downloading a mix they mention on their blog. Goes with their Fader magazine expose. It's pretty cool. The blk jks song itself ain't bad, but is a bit of an over-influenced not-so-tight meandering melange of jazz, rock, traditional-sounding south african vocals, and other stuff. The tracks after it are rad though.
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Friday, 11 April 2008
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
My favourite bit:
When MTN first bid to enter Uganda, his [the Ugandan's] government had been suspicious of letting it operate there as it appeared to be struggling to win licences at home. A great deal of due diligence was carried out on MTN by the authorities, he said.
“It took them a long time to convince us that in SA the regulations are that bad,” Nsambu said. “Your government should provide such companies with a certificate to say the companies are good but they don’t meet our requirements because we have our own regulations,” he told Mangena [our Minister of Science and Technology - admittedly the wrong Minister to tell, but who cares].
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
But to me, these things pale in comparison to what I heard on the radio last night.
Station: SAfm, about 7pm.
Show host: Unknown.
Show type: Talk. Although this guy's idea of a talk show seems to be little more than, "hey why not give is a call and provide the material for this show I haven't planned."
Caller: Bob - thick Scottish accent. Calls in all the time - mostly just to rant and be a racist dick. But this time I was on Bob's side (he wasn't ranting or being racist).
Bob: "Hi, Bob here. I called you last Friday with a specific issue - I'm wondering why you haven't followed up?"
Unkown: "Help me out here - can't remember the issue?"
Bob: "About Gwede Mantashe lying in public about a meeting with Barney Pityana. As I explained last Friday, I think it's important to establish whether or not Mantashe did in fact lie."
Unkown: "Oh ja I remember. I didn't follow up because I don't think it's important. What's your issue with this anyway?"
Bob: "You would agree the ANC is important?"
Bob: "Then you would agree that it's important to know whether or not the ANC Secretary General lies in public about a prominent South African who, in this case, is not an ANC member, and
is being attacked for criticising the new ANC leadership."
Unkown: "I guess. But no... Aah. Bob I don't get it. Are you an ANC member? Why is this so important"
Repeated about 5 times, each time Bob patiently explaining his view. And each time Bob asking why no-one has followed up.
Unkown (quite agitated now - has done lots of sighing and huffing, and shouted down Bob a few times): "Ja but Bob the SABC, we, SABC radio, the organisation, we just don't do that sort of thing. You know, we don't go off and investigate stuff."
Bob: "Are you serious? Isn't that exactly what journalism is all about? Does the SABC really not conduct its own investigations into important issues in order to provide the nation with real news?"
Unkown: "Ummm, ok ja, ok ja the SABC does do that. But not for this. It isn't important enough!"
Bob: "But earlier you agreed with me that it is important. How can trying to find out if the Secretary General of the ANC is a truthful person in public be considered unimportant?"
Unknown (now very agitated and getting whiny): "Bob it's like you asking me if I went to get bread, and I said yes when in fact I didn't go. Who cares?"
Bob (who has remained calm throughout, confident that there is no way he can lose this one): "But you are not the Secretary General of the ANC, and you haven't lied in public, on record. That's an inappropriate comparison."
Unknown: "Ok Bob I'm cutting you off now, you're just wasting airtime...."
Er, no Unknown, you're wasting the airtime. Can you believe this shit?
Station: Radio 2000, about 9.30pm
Show host: Some doos
Show type: Usual Radio 2000 shmaltz. Music and inane commentary.
Song playing: the totally rocking Queen/Bowie classic "Under Pressure". I'm singing along like a Hong Kong karaoke regular on crack. Song ends, I'm vibing.
Then, THEN, Doos comes on and says, I swear I kid you not these were his exact words: "The older I get the more I prefer this version, as opposed to the version Vanilla Ice did."
WHAT THE FUCK?!! Vanilla Ice covered Under Pressure?! Are you SERIOUS?
The point of my rant: How do people like this get these jobs, and what schools did they go to? If this is the best SA radio can do, does it really matter that our likely next president can't really say anything intelligent on policy?
Ok I can get on with my day now.
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Friday, 4 April 2008
TB Patients Chafe Under Lockdown in South Africa
Mariella Furrer for The New York Times
A guard keeps watch at the perimeter of the Jose Pearson TB Hospital in Port Elizabeth. Patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis often try to escape the grounds. More Photos >
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — The Jose Pearson TB Hospital here is like a prison for the sick. It is encircled by three fences topped with coils of razor wire to keep patients infected with lethal strains of tuberculosis from escaping.
But at Christmastime and again around Easter, dozens of them cut holes in the fences, slipped through electrified wires or pushed through the gates in a desperate bid to spend the holidays with their families. Patients have been tracked down and forced to return; the hospital has quadrupled the number of guards. Many patients fear they will get out of here only in a coffin.
“We’re being held here like prisoners, but we didn’t commit a crime,” Siyasanga Lukas, 20, who has been here since 2006, said before escaping last week. “I’ve seen people die and die and die. The only discharge you get from this place is to the mortuary.”
Struggling to contain a dangerous epidemic of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, known as XDR-TB, the South African government’s policy is to hospitalize those unlucky enough to have the disease until they are no longer infectious. Hospitals in two of the three provinces with the most cases — here in the Eastern Cape, as well as in the Western Cape — have sought court orders to compel the return of runaways.
The public health threat is grave. The disease spreads through the air when patients cough and sneeze. It is resistant to the most effective drugs. And in South Africa, where these resistant strains of tuberculosis have reached every province and prey on those whose immune systems are weakened by AIDS, it will kill many, if not most, of those who contract it.
As extensively drug-resistant TB rapidly emerges as a global threat to public health — one found in 45 countries — South Africa is grappling with a sticky ethical problem: how to balance the liberty of individual patients against the need to protect society.
It is a quandary that has recurred over the past century, not least in New York City, where uncooperative TB patients were confined to North Brother Island in the East River in the early 1900s and to Rikers Island in the 1950s.
In the early 1990s, when New York faced its own outbreak of drug-resistant TB, the city treated people as outpatients and locked them up in hospitals only as a last resort.
Most other countries are now treating drug-resistant TB on a voluntary basis, public health experts say. But health officials here contend that the best way to protect society is to isolate patients in TB hospitals. Infected people cannot be relied on to avoid public places, they say. And treating people in their homes has serious risks: Patients from rural areas often live in windowless shacks where families sleep jammed in a single room — ideal conditions for spreading the disease.
“XDR is like biological warfare,” said Dr. Bongani Lujabe, the chief medical officer at Jose Pearson hospital. “If you let it loose, you decimate a population, especially in poor communities with a high prevalence of H.I.V./AIDS.”
But other public health experts say overcrowded, poorly ventilated hospitals have themselves been a driving force in spreading the disease in South Africa. The public would be safer if patients were treated at home, they say, with regular monitoring by health workers and contagion-control measures for the family. Locking up the sick until death will also discourage those with undiagnosed cases from coming forward, most likely driving the epidemic underground.
“It’s much better to know where the patients are and treat them where they’re happy,” said Dr. Tony Moll, chief medical officer at the Church of Scotland Hospital in Tugela Ferry. It is running a pilot project to care for patients at home.
Some 563 people were confirmed with extensively drug-resistant TB last year in South Africa and started on treatment, compared with only 20 cases in the United States from 2000 through 2006. A third of those patients in South Africa died in 2007; more than 300 remained in hospitals.
Further complicating matters, South Africa’s provinces have taken different approaches to deciding how long to hospitalize people with XDR-TB. In KwaZulu-Natal, the other province with the most cases, the main hospital is discharging patients after six months of treatment, even if they remain infectious, to make room for new patients who have a better chance of being cured. The province is rapidly adding beds, part of a national expansion of hospital capacity for XDR-TB.
“We know we’re putting out patients who are a risk to the public, but we don’t have an alternative,” said Dr. Iqbal Master, chief medical officer of the King George V Hospital in Durban.