Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Racism's Sad Legacy (D)

I find it incredibly distasteful that at a time when we COULD be celebrating as a nation, (how much else is to feel this good about?) we choose rather to attack the heroes of the rugby world cup, and divide ourselves. When will we ever learn to enjoy being South Africans?

Of course many people are and have been. It’s just sad to see the aftermath of the RWC deteriorate into blogger basement debates on racism. Is that always where every achievement will gravitate back towards?

Because it’s always a choice. Focus on what’s wrong or focus on what can bring us together…

There have been at least two columnists (bloggers?) who have gotten on the Racism Bandwagon thanks to the Boks winning in France. There has also been plenty of reaction. It reminds me of terrorism, quite frankly.

You find a target, one that has a lot of attention, and one that could conceivably garner a lot more if attacked in the sweet spot, and then you make sure you time your terrorism just perfectly.

Why do you you think Jake White has left? Is White ahem, the best man to coach an All Black Team? Probably not, if your intention is just that, to paint first a certain sort of officials and a certain sort of player into a side, rather than starting where you should start: figuring out how to win, doing the math, do the work.

Some people - and I'm guessing they don't even play sport - seem to think you get to the top by playing eeni meeni myni mo. You win because you did more WORK, more preparation than anyone else.

Using the same sense SARU appear to be using, why do we have a white Brazilian coaching the almost All Black Bafana Bafana? Because the plan is to win, or at least attempt to do well. But see, these are actually irrelevant questions. The questions really being asked is:
how can we score a free pass, a free ride, a free handout, using the race card?
That really is what it looks like. There's not a love for the sport, there's a greedy sense of opportunism. And I agree: it's very sad. How can we ever win, not just rugby, but anything, business contracts, respect, international relationships, if this is our skewed, weaseling and money grubbing focus.

I've heard the argument about how hard it is for disadvantaged people to make the SA Rugby team. Well it should be hard - for everyone. Sorry but I don't believe - for a second - that Jake White chose his team based on anything other than merit. And how ironic that the world's player of the year is a non-white South African.

Now, though, we're supposed to anticipate seeing the sort of Affirmative Action in rugby as we've seen in cricket. I don't watch cricket any more. Somehow, at World Cup level, we manage to come up with a dismal performance. It beggars belief, but we do.
So now we're seeing SA Rugby Transform. No harm in that you think? It's the equivalent of a 9/11 attack on this nation. It's the equivalent to decapitating one of the most positive skyscrapers rising right now in the nation. Why do I say this? Because effectively the spirit of the nation is being crushed, when we should be celebrating and enjoying our place in the world. The current agenda demonstrates that politics and power are overtly, ostensibly more important than crowds of people - all people - coming together on the streets to demonstrate support for one another.

Yes, now's the time to attack, and we so we see stories and columns like these doing the rounds:

M&G: Racism 101: What is racism?
My last posting suggested that the decision to scrap Soweto off the Springbok victory parade was racist.

The Times: Black fans deserve rugby’s respect, too

I watched the Rugby World Cup at a friend’s place in the southern suburbs of the great city of Johannesburg. It was an instructive experience — not just watching the game itself, but watching those who were watching the game.

There were about 14 of us, all black. The tension was palpable right from the word go. There we were, huddled around the screen, with our sweaty palms wrapped around cups and glasses of our favourite beverages.

We sang along as the players broke into our national anthem. There were excited comments: “Hhawu, these white boys are actually singing our anthem!” It was as if we were relieved that the white players had humbled themselves enough to learn the Nguni part of the anthem.


NVDL: I just imagine a win in ANY other country; New Zealand, Australia, France, England...the LAST things they would do is immediately fire their coach (or let him go), then launch debates on how to change a team and other analyse the sideshow issues to death. Only in South Africa can we find a way to spoil the celebrations a soon as possible by bickering about what's not right.

Francois Pienaar provided this cogent response to Mr Khumalo's stirs on racism and rugby:
As mentioned before in other posts, and in support of your post, rugby cannot be transformed from the top down, it needs to start at grass roots. Get the facilities up, get the coaches there and then get the kids interested. well, how do you get them interested? Well, by winning. Whether the team is pink, blue or black, if they win, people will be interested period. If they don’t people won’t.

On the M&G blog I answered the question: What is racism, as follows:
Racism is a conscious effort to hurt, malign or in other ways infringe on another human being using their race (against them) as a means for this attack.

And then there are arguments and counterarguments about the 'official' definition of what racism is. Jeepers guys, that's helpful. Notice how we go from celebrating something, to getting so losty and sidetracked in the negative offshoots that we lose all the momentum we once had.

So I would say that Jake White has been a victim of racism, and so has this country. Why? Because they can. Unfortunately, as seems to be a lot we cannot but avoid on the African continent, this strategy from the top will effectively transform us - unless some sanity previals - also into first a losing rugby nation, and then a nation of losers, both economic and otherwise.

Mvela to acquire Johncom stake

Tokyo Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda Group is to acquire between 25.1 percent and 30percent of Opco, a company being formed to hold the media and entertainment assets of Johnnic Communications.

by Xolile Bhengu, in The Times.co.za

The stake is being acquired from client portfolios, which are currently managed or advised by fund managers Allan Gray, for just over R1.4-billion.

The announcement saw Johncom’s share price jump more than 5 percent to R109.50, while Mvela’s weakened to 50c to R53.

Yolanda Xuba, Mvela chief executive said the deal will see it obtain part ownership of Sunday Times, Sowetan, Sunday World, The Herald, magazine publications as well las retail divisions of Johncom that include Exclusive Books and Nu Metro.

She said the deal was a culmination of two years of talks between Mvela and the media group. The Johncom board has asked that the deal only be done after the actual unbundling.
Johncom’s unbundling is estimated to be worth R7-billion. Mvela said it already had R1-billion in equity and was speaking to several banks for the remainder of funding.

For the rest of this article, go here.

Jake Quits Boks (PRESS RELEASE)

Respect, honesty and dignity are among the values of the Springbok squad over the last four years. Given recent press statements indicating why I was not considered for the national coaching role next year I felt obliged to clarify a few points, so as to ensure the Springboks’ incredible success at the World Cup is not tarnished with misinformation or inaccuracy regarding my situation.

The match against the Barbarians at Twickenham will be my last one as Springbok coach and I want to publicly thank the 72 players I have been privileged to be associated with in the last four years. The selectors and I capped 28 new Springboks in 53 Tests and to award a new player his Bok cap is among any Bok coach’s career highlights.

I’ve also had a wonderful support team within the management, most of who started with me four years ago and finished with a World Cup winners medal. I will thank them personally for their contribution when the team gets together and my hope is the decision-makers in South African rugby realize how talented these individuals are and look after them in a way befitting of the sacrifice they have made for South African rugby.

Personally, I am extremely disappointed at the manner in which the message of my supposed unavailability was conveyed to the public on Monday in a South African Rugby Union media release that stated I would not be considered for the job on the basis that I did not apply.
My contract as Springbok coach is clear that I was not obliged to apply and that all considerations would be discussed at my annual review. I did ask for time to consider my options as I was mindful of making a wrong decision based on emotion. This time was not afforded me and that is particularly disappointing.


The purpose of this statement is to put on record my passion for rugby in this country and for the Springboks. Hopefully it will also put an end to all the speculation regarding my perceived motives to stay or go.

For the record: It was the greatest honour to coach the Boks and no one can ever take away the memory of those four years. When I got the job I promised to instill and promote those values I believe should always be consistent with Springbok rugby. In 2004 the Boks were ranked sixth in the world and emotionally we were at a low after the disasters of 2003. I maintained at the time we had good enough players to win the World Cup. In those four years the Springboks won the Tri Nations, won the World Cup, won two International Player of the Year awards, two Coach of the Year awards and twice were recognized by the IRB as the team of the year. In that time we also beat every team on at least one occasion. To those players I want to say thank you. To the support staff an equal thank you.

Not only have you won the World Cup, but you have restored respect for the Bok jersey and you have honoured those values every young boy in this country should aspire to want to live.
I walk away with no regrets, but with plenty of sadness.


This is a time to thank people and from a rugby perspective I can’t emphasise enough the contribution of Eddie Jones in the last two months. The Bok team sponsor SASOL was huge in its contribution, on a personal level and in whatever the squad needs were. So too the input of the other rugby sponsors Vodacom, British Airways, Southern Sun and Absa.

Former President Nelson Mandela was a constant source of inspiration and President Thabo Mbeki was as inspirational in how he connected with the squad. I agree with President Mbeki when he says John Smit for president. We as South Africans have a special son in Smittie and let’s celebrate the qualities of the man.

Finally, to my family, to Deb and the boys I would never be able to thank you enough for allowing me to pursue my dream.

The next guy will need everyone’s support because as wonderful as it is to coach South Africa, it can be particularly lonely at times.
I wish him all the best.
Thank you.


More stories:
Jake: I was pushed
Saru not waiting for White
Jake may opt for Wallabies job

NVDL: So it's a fight for the spoils now. Everyone wants to get their hands in SA rugby's money pot. SA rugby - will it ever be the same again?

On eTV last night White was interviewed on 3rd Degree, but more telling was what was said on the news, that White had never submitted an application and had apparently missed a deadline. Appealing on us to focus on these technicalities demonstrates a lack of...what is it...transparency and the shrouding of darker motivations.

Weirder: The Best Conspiracy Theories (Lizard-People Are Running the World!)

Nasa Faked the Moon Landings


And Arthur C. Clarke wrote the script, at least in one version of the story. Space skeptics point to holes in the Apollo archive (like missing transcripts and blueprints) or oddities in the mission photos (misplaced crosshairs, funny shadows). A third of respondents to a 1970 poll thought something was fishy about mankind's giant leap. Today, 94 percent accept the official version... Saps!

The US Government Was Behind 9/11


Or Jews. Or Jews in the US government. The documentary Loose Change claimed to find major flaws in the official story — like the dearth of plane debris at the site of the Pentagon blast and that jet fule alone could never vaporize a whole 757. Judge for yourself: After Popular Mechanics debunked the theory, the magazine's editors faced off with proponents in a debate, available on YouTube.

Princess Diana Was Murdered


Rumors ran wild after Princess Diana's fatal 1997 car crash, and they haven't stopped yet. Reigning theories: She faked her death to escape the media's glare, or the royals snuffed her out (via MI6) to keep her from marrying her Muslim boyfriend. For the latest scenarios, check out http://www.alfayed.com/, the Web site of her boyfriend's dad, Mohamed Al Fayed.

The Jews Run Hollywood and Wall Street


A forged 19th-century Russian manuscript called "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" (virtually required reading in Nazi Germany) purports to lay out a Jewish plot to control media and finance, and thus the world. Several studies have exposed the text as a hoax, but it's still available in numerous languages and editions.

The Scientologists Run Hollywood


The long list of celebrities who have had Dianetics on their nightstands fuels rumors that the Church of Scientology pulls the strings in Tinseltown — vetting deals, arranging marriages, and spying on stars. The much older theory is that Jews run Hollywood, and the Scientologists have to settle for running Tom Cruise.

Paul Is Dead


Maybe you're amazed, but in 1969 major news outlets reported on rumors of the cute Beatle's death and replacement by a look-alike. True believers pointed to a series of clues buried in the Fab Four's songs and album covers. Even for skeptics, McCartney's later solo career lent credibility to the theory.

AIDS Is a Man-Made Disease


A number of scientists have argued that HIV was cooked up in a lab, either for bioweapons research or in a genocidal plot to wipe out gays and/or minorities. Who supposedly did the cooking? US Army scientists, Russian scientists, or the CIA. Mainstream researchers point to substantial evidence that HIV jumped species from African monkeys to humans.

Church's Fried Chicken Sterilizes Black Men


Sociologists call this decades-old urban legend a cultural echo of the very real syphilis study carried out on blacks in Tuskegee, Alabama. In another version, KFC is the culprit — and secretly run by the KKK. There's less controversy over whether the biscuits clog your arteries.

Lizard-People Run the World


If a science fiction-based religion isn't exotic enough, followers of onetime BBC reporter David Icke believe that certain powerful people — like George W. Bush and the British royals — actually belong to an alien race of shape-shifting lizard-people. Icke claims Princess Diana confirmed this to one of her close friends; other lizard theories (there are several) point to reptilian themes in ancient mythology. And let's not forget the '80s TV show V.

The Illuminati Run the World


The ur-conspiracy theory holds that the world's corporate and political leaders are all members of an ancient cabal: Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Freemasons — take your pick. It doesn't help that those secret societies really existed (George Washington was a Mason). Newer variations implicate the Trilateral Commission, the New World Order, and Yale's Skull and Bones society.


You can also Vote For Your Favourite Conspiracy Theory. To do so, go to Wired.com, here. To submit your own conspiracy theory, click here.
From Wired.com


NVDL: Personally I'm very sceptical that we ever made it to the moon. If we did, why don't we go any more?

Weird: Man On ARV's Grows Breasts


by Alfred Moselakgomo
It is a wonderful thing when a young girl develops breasts, but for a 42-year-old Mpumalanga man, it has become a harrowing experience.

Sabelo Maepa – not his real name – of Sakhile township in Standerton is in need of urgent medical treatment because his breasts grow bigger by the day.

“Having female-like breasts when you are not female can be a source of shame and embarrassment,” said Maepa.

From the Sowetan: Man beats his breasts over ARV effects

ALERT: Flooding (+SAT IMAGE)


National Warning - Issued on Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 06.00
Thunderstorms over the extreme northern parts of the Eastern Cape, Free State, central and eastern parts of the North-West Province and southern Gauteng may cause isolated heavy falls which may lead to localized flooding.

The weather this weekend:
Johannesburg: 14/26
Cape Town: 16/21
Durban: 19/27
Bloem: 13/29

C'mon Summer! (PHOTOGRAPHY)






3 Pictures to get into the spirit of the 2007 South African Summer

Rethinking Good Luck Charms (HUMOR)

ALERT: Oil Prices Right Now

Brent Crude Oil = US$89.41

For more background, go here.

LA fire started by boy with matches (AP)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - A boy playing with matches started a fire in north Los Angeles County that consumed more than 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes last week, authorities said Tuesday.

The boy, whose name and age were not released [because a lot of people would likely want to BLIKSEM him], said sheriff's Sgt. Diane Hecht.

"He admitted to playing with matches and accidentally starting the fire," said Hecht said in a statement.

The boy was released to his parents and the case will be be presented to the district attorney's office, Hecht said.
From Yahoo News

NVDL: Same thing happened on our farm in the early 90's. We had a small school building with dirt soccer pitch which the locals were allowed to use for free. At the time I was a student and was living on the farmhouse. That day I was having lunch at home. It was winter. Our farmworker called while we were having lunch saying: "Baas, die huis, hy brand."
Had I left the heater on?
On the way to the farm we saw a massive column of smoke billowing into the sky. From the smoke it looked like a volcanic eruption.

When we got there the accasias on both sides of the road were burning. At the river the flames swept into a giant fan as they flared over large reed stands. We watched the wind blow tall flame ribbons across the river, alighting the reeds on the other side. So much for that fire break.

It was a devastating fire, and pretty much everything was burnt to a crisp, except the house. It had a short, mowed lawn around it that was too short to catch fire, so the fire swept around it. In any event, it was started a few hundred metres from this farmhouse, by a few kids playing with matches on that very dry, windy, winter's day. Because the fire spread in a giant V from that spot.

The postscript to the story is that I lived in this ashtray for a few more weeks, got incredibly sick (from a throat infection), and then after a burglary (stealing my recentkly retired Air Force uniform and bicycle parts - there wasn't much else in a poor student's home), I cut my losses and moved back to the suburbs. A lot of Willow trees and other trees painstakingly planted over hundreds of weekends went up in smoke that day.

Virtue is... (PHOTOGRAPHY)


...being able to see and appreciate a small bird in a boat, a tiny detail in another long and beautiful day.

USA Faces Exceptional Drought Crisis

And it is worsening. In 5 years 36 States are projected to experience catastrophic water shortages. Not 50 years, not 15 years, 5 years.

To appreciate how serious the conditions have become, notice how large the BLACK area is in the graphic above. These are large areas that are exceptionally and unusually dry.

To watch a video on the drought crisis in the US, go here.
Meanwhile consider this 2 year old CNN article below: UK scientists slam U.S. climate loonies. Loonies because they were arguing that the 'exceptional' hurricane season was not related to human activity, and that warming wasn't a certainty. It amounted to entrophy, all that dilly dallying and flip flopping. Right now, right now in the world, in everything we do, delay matters.

Farmer's around the world are going to have to learn how to conjure crops as weather becomes erratic, transitioning from droughts to floods to storms and all the way back and forth, again and again.

ALERT: Manuel forecasts lower growth

From Sowetan Online:
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel today forecast lower growth on the back of global uncertainty, announcing he will hoard some surplus revenues to absorb future shocks.

Presenting his medium-term budget to parliament, Manuel said instability on the major markets, dollar depreciation, volatile commodity prices and rising oil and food inflation are hurting South Africa’s growth projections.

“One of the first issues that arises is .. a very moderate revision downwards by 0.1% of growth this year, a more significant downward revision by 0.7% for next year and then it starts picking up again but is still down on our February forecast for the third year,” said Manuel.

In his main budget in February, Manuel had predicted economic growth of just over 5% per year up to 2009, which he now put at 4.9%, 4.5% and 4.8% for each of the three years.
For the rest of this Sowetan Online article, go here.

NVDL: Lower growth = fewer jobs = more poor/disgruntled/disenfranchised/disempowered people = more crime.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10 businesses facing extinction in 10 years

DSC01561-1
Determining which industries aren't long for this world may seem easy enough. But some types of businesses, such as telemarketing, are surprisingly hard to kill.
And then again, other industries, probably the ones you're sad to see go, can't find a way to survive.
So start setting up your office pool, because here are our picks for 10 businesses facing extinction in 10 years.

From Entrepreneur.com
By Geoff Williams

Record stores

Record stores are closing in, well, record numbers. One of the most prominent music retailers, Tower Records, shut down all 89 stores last year after concluding it couldn't withstand the onslaught of online music stores and chains like Wal-Mart, which can offer lower prices and sell other items to offset the smaller number of CDs being sold.

Odds of survival in 10 years: Great, if you consider Wal-Mart a record store.

Camera film manufacturing

This probably isn't the best business to get into right now. According to The Chicago Tribune, from May 2006 to May 2007, the volume of prints made from digital cameras grew by 34 percent. Film camera sales, meanwhile, fell by 49 percent, while digital cameras sales continued to grow — by 5 percent. Of American internet users, 70 percent own a digital camera; another survey shows that 70 percent of Canadians now use a digital camera. Odds of survival in 10 years: Some entrepreneurs who specialize in making camera film for amateur photographers could possibly make a living.

Crop dusters

They'll be around in 10 years, but likely not in their present form. The average age of the typical crop duster is 60, the number of crop dusters is dwindling, and the profession can be dangerous. Just several weeks ago, an Arkansas crop dusting company was ordered to stop flying in Iowa after spraying farm workers with a fungicide; 36 farm hands in a cornfield had to be decontaminated by a hazardous materials crew.

Odds of survival in 10 years: The type of crop dusting plane that chased after Cary Grant in "North by Northwest" will have almost certainly gone south. Farmers say that they'll always need crop dusters, even though new technologies have made them less important than in the past. But commercial airlines are increasingly taking business away from the small, independent crop dusters.

Gay bars

As The Orlando Sentinel noted in a recent article, around the country gay bars have been going out of business as gay men and women have been gaining greater acceptance in society. What used to be a hangout for people who felt unwelcome elsewhere is becoming less necessary.

Odds of survival in 10 years: As with many industries, the very best of them will endure; the rest won't.

Newspapers

Some people thought they were through when radio and TV news came about. Even after the fax machine revolutionized offices, some people predicted that everyone would have their news faxed in, since that would be quicker than relying on a newspaper. But the numbers have been falling precipitously since the 1990s when the internet came on the scene. In the past year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations twice has posted drops averaging 2.1 and 2.8 percent over six-month periods. Newsrooms across the country have been hemorrhaging staff.

Odds of survival in 10 years: They won't disappear; they'll be on the internet. We don't recommend startups investing a lot of money into a printing press plant.

Pay phones

In 1997, there were more than 2 million pay phones in the U.S.; now there are approximately half as many. There are probably always going to be certain places like airports and hotels that offer pay phones, as long as there are people who don't own or can't afford cell phones. Because phone kiosks on the streets are a favorite for drug dealers, who don't want to have their own numbers tapped and tracked, cities are shedding them.

Odds of survival in 10 years: They'll be around, but won't be anything to call home about.

Used bookstores

They've been closing fast, and those that are still open are relying on what's making them obsolete: the internet. A used bookstore used to be the place to find that beloved, out-of-print children's book you used to read 17 times a day until your little sister flushed it down the toilet. Now you just type that title in a search engine and order it within minutes. Odds of survival in 10 years: Some of them will still be eking out an existence, but the handwriting is on the wall.
Piggy banksYou may chuckle, but as we continue gravitating toward a paperless society, it's not difficult to imagine a day when piggy banks no longer exist.

Odds of survival in 10 years: Sure, they'll probably still be a few around — in antique shops.

Telemarketing

The good news for people who hate telemarketing calls is that the industry may finally be dying; the bad news is that it may take a while. Telemarketing has been hit hard by the national Do-Not Call list that was established five years ago, and sales have been stagnant, but the industry still managed to bring in $393 billion in revenue last year. Some of this is due to clever marketing. This includes holding raffles at shopping malls; when you sign your information, you agree to accept calls from the company running the contest and its partners. Cell phones are exempt from automated telemarketing calls, but not from individuals calling. Then there are occasional windows of opportunity: The national Do-Not Call list is set to expire in 2008, unless you remember to register again.

Odds of survival in 10 years: They'll be here. Humbled, more impotent, but probably still here.

Coin-operated arcades

With Nintendo Wii, casual gaming online and the Xbox 360, the video game arcade industry is thriving, but not the standalone brick-and-mortar arcades. For those of you who thought arcades were already dead, they still exist — at movie theaters, miniature golf courses and other touristy spots — but it seems only a matter of time before they vanish from the landscape. Ten years ago, there were 10,000 arcades in the nation, and now the number is close to 3,000, according to the American Amusement Machine Association. Revenue from arcade game units brought in $866 million last year, which sounds good until you consider that in 1994, the industry was pocketing $2.3 billion and that the profits are only still high because it costs so much to play a game.

Odds of survival in 10 years: Game over.

NVDL: The grass can't stay green forever. Interesting on this list are newspapers, record stores and gay bars. Not sure if I agree with the crop duster idea. If you buy into the philosophy that the world is about to unflatten, unshrink, become far larger, we'll see the end of a lot of industries: the hypermarket, parking lots, malls, drive thru, fast food, airline alliances like Star, the convenience store at a gas station etc.

We'll see a return of cottage industries like the butcher, the baker and the candlestickmaker. We'll also see the demassification of schools, from the current prison lookalikes, to private and home tutoring and also smaller, friendlier, more community integrated buildings.

All Black's Sports Bra (HUMOR)


And right now the Lions are suffering from the same thing...;-)

Upgrading Your Computer: Expect the Unexpected


On the strength that I couldn't play Star Wars games such as Knights of the Old Republic on my Korean born computer - shipped here in broken fragments - I decided to upgrade my PC.


Upgrade your PC...That may sound daunting in itself. Really it's just a question of getting in a new improved motherboard (includes CPU) and Graphics card. Over a 2 year period, you can't really do one without the other.

I received my new PC, smashed it on the floor, and then turned it on to find out that 2 years worth of workouts (thousands of graphs, stats etc. gone.) Other software was also gone, Like Picasa, VLC player and the rest. It's a schlepp to reinstall all this, not least because it is nearly impossible now to find a driver for my Infrared device (it reads my Heart rate Monitor files off my watch). See it's one thing to get the engine for your computer, but you need a driver to allow you to actually use, for example, usb ports and other components (although it seems Windows Vista is changing this).

In Computer Land, obsolescence, a euphemism for extinction, happens at a frightening pace. Right now CORE to DUO CPU Technology is the fastest and best, and Graphics Cards based on the PCI Express System.

So once you've decided to trust in these generic (but esssentially-meaningless-for-thelay-person) Tech Terms, you have to transfer your data to the new system. Sorry to say but while you can transfer stuff like word documents, images and films, you can't transfer programs. Well you can but it's far more laborious. It's not a simple and direct transfer. You have to source the .exe. files and then transfer, load and install. That's the headache you don't expect.

From a cost point of view it makes sense to trade in your old PC (just the tower) and build yourself a new machine with some of the latest not quite brand new hardware. This was the quote I got:


Cost on your new PC R4998.90
Trade-In on Old PC R2250.00
Balance to be transferred R2748.90




That will mean you'll have to figure out what a PCI Express is, how much a GIG is (and what's it's worth to you). It means you will have to THINK, and that may mean feeling like the screaming baby pictured above, for a couple of hours before your computer brings you back to a level of satisfaction.

ALERT: Mvela already taken control at Johncom?

There were strong rumours in the market late yesterday [Thursday] that Tokyo Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda group has quietly bought control of Johncom, owners of the Sunday Times, Sowetan and half of Business Day and the Financial Mail. An announcement may be made today.
Business Day understands that Mvela bought the stake in Johncom held by asset manager Allan Gray.


From Business Day and Sowetan Online:
By Peter Bruce

The transaction may have taken place late last week, just after Mvela published a cautionary notice. There is no indication how much was paid for the stake, but Allan Gray held about 30% of Johncom. Abdul David of Allan Gray described the reports as “speculation”.

Citibank recently valued that portion of Johncom which would remain, should management go ahead with plans to dispose of the Johncom stake in M-Net and hive off the stake in Caxton, at R6bn. That would imply Mvela paid about R2bn for a “forward stake” in what will be known as Opco or Avusa.

The new speculation arises out of a surprise announcement at the weekend by Johncom that it had ended talks with potential black investor groups. Johncom is still not viewed as a fully black-empowered company, and the need to become one had been driving the talks.

But Johncom withdrew a cautionary notice last week, just as Mvela was issuing one of its own.
Johncom is trying to sell its 38% stake in M-Net back to Naspers and to leave its 38% holding in Caxton, one of the country’s largest printers, in a listed shell of its own.


Terry Moolman, Caxton’s founder and owner, has taken the M-Net deal to the competition authorities.

It was accepted originally that front-running empowerment groups in the race to control Johncom were Mvela and Cyril Ramaphosa’s Shanduka group, but it may now be the case that Sexwale has done the deal on his own. It also seems clear that, by dealing directly with Allan Gray, Mvela will have avoided the many complications that could have arisen in dealing directly with Johncom management.
For the rest of this article, go here.

NVDL: And I had speculated earlier that Telkom would buy a stake, well, the new Telkom, Telkom Media. I guess they are still shedding their fixed line operations, and so in a sense it was a question of readiness and eligibility.

Virtue: African Tortoises Face Extinction


If you're reading this because you're interested in the fate of an animal you almost never see, well, that is an example of virtue.

Click here to watch the BBC African Tortoise Video
Any person who contributes to the welfare of animals - especially veterinarians, game rangers and the like - are really not in it for the money, or the glory. But it doesn't have to be a job, it can be you wherever you are, noticing the sparrows in a parking lot, giving your fruit scraps or putting a bowl of water out in your garden on a hot day. An animal doesn't give you a slap on the back or give you a round of applause. You get a much subtler response. You plug yourself into the world, and thereby become part of something. This is our natural place and purpose in the world. That is who we once were: Creatures who once cared not just about ourselves.

NVDL: In the above image notice the pixie hiding in the leaves, and look a little closer...do you see the witch...?

Springboks Interviewed at Newlands Stadium (VIDEO)

Bryan Habana Gets Tackled By Fan! (VIDEO)



What was this oke thinking? That he was gonna melt the cup down and pawn it somewhere? Hope Bryan at least got his elbow in this moron's eye.

Sizzle This Summer - Start Training Today (DOWNLOADS)


Even if you don't own a Heart Rate Monitor, Polar offers some beautiful software for you to log your workouts. It may sound liker a schlepp, actually it becomes the favorite part of exercising - the satisfaction of seeing those numbers grow.

Why To Log Workouts

Before you put on your running shoes, before you take out a gym membership, before your first step, you need to spend a little quiet time identifying what the point of all the sweat and tears is going to be.

This is the time to evaluate your life, your health, and then identify goals. Lose 5 kilograms in 5 months is a credible goals. Set broad goals, insert EVENTS within them to keep it exciting (races, outdoor trips), and keep you on track. But at the end of the day, you need to plan your workouts at least a week in advance, and then log them once done.

A great tool for this is Polar's calendar. This software is very easy to use, and as I say, you don't need a Heart Rate Monitor to get a lot of the utility of the graphs. One component that is very useful for example, is time spent per week training. Try to gradually increase your total time. I like to get to a minimum of 7 hours a week. That's an average of just an hour a day, but this becomes tough when you don't train 3 or more days in the week.

So the idea behind using this software is to develop personal consistency and accountability.

  • You can download the software here, and at the same time, download the upgrade here.
  • For those who already use this software, and want the high range stuff, try Polar's Protrainer.

Should Bafana Bafana Be Renamed? (POLL RESULTS)


The Sowetan online ran a poll and there is a split straight down the middle. Over Almost 4500 people voted, and for a while there was a slight majority voting Yes. The question is:
1) Why rename them?
2) What would you name them?
Changing the name starts with re-establishing identity, and identity must be defined - at least in part - by purpose. I don't get the feeling that Bafana are getting the sort of buy-in that the Boks are. Maybe the team just needs to start polishing itself, go and learn some skill, and have hungry players, aggressive and passionate players selected.
Perhaps we can have an unofficial 'Barbarian Bok' soccer team, chosen by popular vote. You get these guys to play Bafana, and then if they're competitive, you chose some of these grass roots guys for the national team. And it's a great way to get the whole country involved in the soccer world cup...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Very Funny


If unhappiness is funny, then something VERY funny happened immediately after I arrived home last night. I was furiously unpacking my car for the umteenth time (books, bicycle, new computer, files, dusty manuscripts (my small library of unpublished, unheralded genius), and trying to get it done so I could eat dinner and settle down to relax...maybe watch Bad Boys.

See I drove from BFN to JHB without a single stop (barring the tollgates).

So I'm unpacking my computer, you know the large tower bit, and the guy has been really considerate to wrap the sides in styrofoam cushioning. Unfortunately in my zeal, as I'm about to fully extract the tower from its cardboard cage I think - what if the styrofoam gives way - and then it does. The whole thing came down in a sickening crunch, with pieces of plastic shooting all over the place, and the THUNK noise of broken merchanise echoeing for a few horrible moments.

See, this was part of my upgrading my computer. R6000 less the trade in value of the original. The outer casing was fairly badly smashed up. Fortunately the innards still functioned, although the guy who put it together didn’t transfer all the data. For example the most important data – go figure – my Heart Rate Monitor files over 2 years, were gone, including the program that runs them. Thanks guy.

Nah, things could have been plenty worse - the innards could have been totally FUBAR. A STOOPID slap on my own forehead, I think, is called for here.

Kunstler: Unhappiness is Funny


Images are from Yahoo News Pictures of the Week.
When historians glance back at 2007 through the haze of their coal-fired stoves, they will mark this year as the onset of the Long Emergency – or whatever they choose to call the unraveling of industrial economies and the complex systems that constituted them.

And if they retain any sense of humor – which is very likely since, as wise Sam Beckett once averred, nothing is funnier than unhappiness – they will chuckle at the assumptions that drove the doings and mental operations of those in charge back then (i.e. now).

Media AWOL?

The price of oil is up 53 percent over a year ago, creeping up now toward the mid-$90-range. The news media is still AWOL on the subject. (The New York Times has nothing about it on today’s front page.) The dollar is losing a penny a week against the Euro.

US Standard of Living Dropping

In essence, the American standard of living is dropping like a sash weight. So far, a stunned public is stumbling into impoverishment drunk on Britney Spears video clips.

If they ever do sober up, and get to a “…hey, wait a minute…” moment when they recognize the gulf between reality and the story told by leaders in government, business, education, and the media, it is liable to be a very ugly moment in US history.

Smooth Transition. Really?

One of the stupidest assumptions made by the educated salient of adults these days is that we are guaranteed a smooth transition between the cancerous hypertrophy of our current economic environment and the harsher conditions that we are barreling toward.

The university profs and the tech sector worker bees are still absolutely confident that some hypothetical “they” will “come up with” magical rescue remedies for running the Happy Motoring system without gasoline.

Trains and Walking

My main message to lecture audiences these days is “…quit putting all your mental energy into propping up car dependency and turn your attention to other tasks such as walkable communities and reviving passenger rail….”

Inevitably, someone will then get up and propose that the transition to all-electric cars is nearly upon us, and we should stop worrying.

As I said, these are the educated denizens of the colleges. Imagine what the nascar morons believe – that the ghost of Davey Crockett will leave a jug of liquefied “dark matter” under everyone’s Christmas tree this year or next, guaranteed to keep the engines ringing until Elvis ushers in the Rapture.

Technology will save us. Really?

The educated folks – that is, the ones subject to the grandiose story-lines of techno-triumphalism taught in the universities – are sure that we’ll either invent or organize our way out of the current predicament.

A society that put men on the moon in 1969, the story goes, will ramp up another “Apollo Project” to keep things going here. One wonders, of course, what they mean by keeping things going.

Even if it were hypothetically possible to keep all the cars running forever, would it be good thing to make suburban-sprawl-building the basis of our economy – because that’s the direct consequence of perpetually cheap energy.

Has anyone noticed that the housing bubble and subsequent implosion is following the peak oil line exactly?

Fraud

It’s a bit harder to discern what the assumptions really are among leaders in the finance sector, since so much of their activity the past ten years has veered into sheer fraud.

The story line that everyone is putting out – from the Fed chairman Bernanke to the CEOs of the Big Fundz – is that American finance is a python that has swallowed a few too many pigs, but if we jigger around interest rates a little bit more, and allow some more money to be lent out cheaply, the python will eventually digest the pigs and go slithering happily on its way along the jungle trail with a burp.

Own Assumptions

My own assumptions are somewhat different. I think we’re likely to see a lot of nations scrambling for survival, initially manifesting in a contest for the world’s dwindling supply of oil (and oil-like substances).

For instance, when viewing the globe, few people consider that Japan currently imports 95 percent of its fossil fuel. Japan has been a “good boy” among nations since its episode of “acting out” in the mid-20th century and has enjoyed a long industrial prosperity since then.

But what happens when there is not enough oil in the world to be allocated rationally by markets among the powerful nations? Will Japan just roll over and die? Will they shutter the Toyota factories and happily turn to placid tea ceremonies.

I think Japan will freak out, and it’s hard to predict exactly who will feel its wrath and how.

Europe

Similarly, Europe. Americans view Europe as a kind of theme park full of elderly café layabouts swaddled in cashmere as they enjoy demitasse cups in the outdoor cafes of their comfortable art-filled cities (some of them not long ago rebuilt from rubble).

Europe has let America do its dirty work for it in the Middle East for the past decade while enjoying tanker-loads of oil coming up through the Suez Canal.

Europe has only had to make a few lame gestures in defense of its oil supplies. But the North Sea oil fields, which for twenty years have hedged the leverage of OPEC, are crapping out at a very steep rate.

Sooner or later Europe will freak out over oil, and geo-political flat-earthers will be shocked to see that all the nations of café layabouts can mobilize potent military forces.

God knows whose side who will be on, exactly, when that happens, and where America will stand – if its own military is not so exhausted that it can even stand up.
This image courtesy New York Times.
Large World Eh?

Personally, I think the world will be growing a lot larger again, and less flat, and that eventually America will find itself isolated once again between two oceans – though incursions by desperate foreign armies in one way or another, is not out of the question as the great struggle for resource survival gets underway.

In time, however, I think the current Great Nations of the world will lose their ability to project power in the ways we’ve been conditioned to think about it.

Failure to Compute

In the meantime, our own nation has become a society incapable of thinking, and the failure at all levels of rank, education, and privilege is impressive.

If you listen to the people running for president – many of them overt clowns – you’d think that that all the comfortable furnishings of everyday life can continue with a few tweaks of the dials.

They are cowards and it is possible that they perfectly represent a whole nation of cowards who deserve cowardly leadership.

The danger, of course, is that when a non-cowardly leader finally does step forward in a desperate America, he will not shrink from pushing around a feckless people, or doing their thinking for them.
Read James Kunstler's blog here.
NVDL: There is so much noise out there that there is a collective failure to listen. As Kunstler says, the media seem to report everything except what is of vital importance. Here is a shard of truth, here is an epithet we need to respond to...
During my drive to the Big City last night I had an odd sense of peace about what is in store for our generation, starting round about now.

I believe it is probably for the best that we worked as hard, and fast and greedily as we have - the media participating in our desperate bid to indulge all our wants, all our appetities, our every individual ambition... to build our citadels, to develop technology, to shop, to turn sex into an industry, and a major form of afterhours entertainment etc.


Any number of things could have wiped us out - disease, asteroids, nuclear war. This will be a major challenge. At least we have information at our disposal (while the lights are on), libraries and an internet which could possibly survive (perhaps only fragments) the converging catastrophes of climate and an insufficient energy crunch, financial collapse and all the rest. Humanity Is...

It was important to develop some of these systems. Who expected that we would be - collectively - sufficiently highly evolved to hold ourselves back. As a species, we remain like children. Curious, hungry, easily distracted, prone to tears and burst of laughter. We like to play. We like pictures. We are not yet ready to behave in an enlightened way, but we might be close. Perhaps that will come after this phase of destruction and renewal. It's possible of course that we won't.

Next will truly be an austere period, but perhaps some good will come of it. For starters, with the world - as we know it, fast food and all the rest - ending, there will be no one to save us except ourselves, so perhaps some will rise to this challenge. That will possibly be the greatest delusion our species manages to rid itself of. Here comes the wave. Now take a deep breath...

SA beat Pakistan

SA took something like 4 wickets in the last 3 overs when it seemed like Pakistan would coast to victory! As a result the Proteas have won the series.

Pakistan needs 20 runs from 30 balls

Pakistan have 3 weeks in hand, after losing 3 in quick succession...

Climate Change: Why We Must Worry (N)


Life, if it ever becomes blase about itself, ought not to exist at all - NVDL

Very simply put, there are two reasons to be very, very concerned about what is happening right now on our planet. The first is a question of energy, the second, stability. Both of these are in a state of flux far beyond the range of flux that is considered a normal pattern. Let's look at each in turn.

Energy

There are plenty of systems at work. Our own bodies have a number of systems running, from the circulatory system, the respiratory, the excretory, nervous, lymphatic, digestive and others. If any one system breaks down - say, the immune system - it can lead to a systemic collapse.

Yes, it's true, our bodies can function fine - apparently - even though we may strain these systems, say through smoking, whilst old or sick.

Overall though, the system amounts to energy flows, chemical reactions. We can call that life, homeostasis, system - but that's what we're talking about.

This planet is very very rare in the cosmos. Any human being could spend his or her entire life searching for another planet like it. You might spend your lifetime searching through the most powerful telescopes, going through light years of distance and time, and you will find planet after planet that does not have that near magical ability: a life support system. Just the right distance from the sun, the right gravitational field, enough atmosphere to allow some sunlight through, but also a filter to protect the creatures underneath.

The point of that analogy is that life - the way it is on Earth - is not easily found in such abundance. Thus it is incredibly precious, and at the same time, fragile.

It may not seem so if you actually belong to the one planet where there is so much life; and it seemingly continues to exist over an infinite period. And those on that planet believe even if life ends, there's an 'afterlife'.

But never mind that, in terms of energy, the Earth is a system. It receive a constant stream of nourishing energy from the sun. This energy would be deadly were it not for an ancient process of converting solar energy into chemical/potential energy. And so our plants and forests, our alga's have paved the way for all other creatures. We started off with a mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere; now we have a proportion of oxygen in it.

Whatever the balancing mechanism, our millions of years, solar energy was converted into forests. Over millions of years these energies turned into rocks or were crushed into the few subterranean vaults we know today. In 100 years, mankind has successfully converted half of this planet's stored energy. In perhaps half that time we may be able to convert the rest of this stored solar energy into heat and smoke.

So essentially, looking at the entire system, we're seeing an awfully large injection of heat and smoke in an incredibly short period of time. Billions of machines are at work around the clock, 24 hours a day, converting coal, oil and gas into some form of energy, releasing heat and 'excrement' - CO2 gas, methane and the rest.

Stability

Naturally this has a significant impact on the stability of this system. For the human body it might be light eating 20 000 bars of chocolate in a week. You're basically exhausting a lifetime's supply of a resource into a very short period; choking the other systems with sugars and causing a massive injection of chemicals.

Can the Earth's body withstand such an attack? Possibly, but with the likelihood of it getting seriously sick. It may never fully recover; it may become terminally ill and go on to live a fairly long life in geological terms, but it may never be the same again.

On this planet, human beings are a small subsystem - like the lymphatic system. We're important only in the sense that we act like antibiotics - killing species in one of the world's largest species holocausts in its history. We are weapons of mass destruction from the point of view of Polar Bears, Elephants, virtually every other creature.

In terms of our atmosphere, the massive conversion of fossil fuels to heat, motion and energy creatures an atmosphere that has more heat and more evaporated moisture. Yes, the ice caps are melting, but all that melted, evaporated moisture gets loaded into the atmosphere. The warming adds up to a far more unstable atmospheric system. This system becomes far more conducive to erratic and super powerful storm systems as it attempts to shed its energy load.

Load Shedding

And so we're left with a body that is strained by too much energy, too soon, as so it attempts to dump this energy. A human body would vomit, or develop a fever, or diarrhea, or a combination. The Earth will do the same. It has started sweating. It has started to notice an infection spreading over it. That infection started off benign and helpful, like freckles on skin. We now number 6.7 billion, and we are threatening to collapse the entire system. As a result, we need to be part of that load shedding, and we will. We have breached the capacity of the system. Soon, there will not be enough energy to go around, and then we will see a crash.

Any system that exceeds capacity does not gradually fade and settle back to its equilibrium level. Like a storm, it builds, and with lightning and thunder, the storm finally breaks. We would do well to realise this, because the storm is already generating. But balance will come about whether we consent, co-operate or not.

NVDL: Barry Ronge's comments in the Sunday Time's magazine for me were disappointing. We are still arguing about the fineprint, about who is patronising who, instead of agreeing to get serious about the broad issue. More and more we hear that our survival may be at stake. This ought to be the biggest issue there is. Some idiots take the high ground and say: it's very complex, I'm not intelligent enough to figure it out - no one is.

Are you intelligent enough to magnify everything you do, multiplied by 6.7 billion? Because you ought to know it's going to strain the system.
Life was not designed for each individual to have their own house, own car, own TV, phone computer. We were supposed to share, but in time, perhaps we'll relearn that lesson.

WingSuit Parachuting (EXTREME VIDEO)


Wing Suit:EXTREME - Funny bloopers R us
NVDL: Ever dreamt of flying? This looks and feels really similar. Excuse me Superman, coming through ----->

Nature: Walking With Elephants (PICTURES)













R/$ and Brent Crude Prices (LATEST)

Rand - US Dollar : 6.5300
Brent Crude Oil : US$ 88.41

Global climate points to interesting times for SA

NVDL: No doubt more interesting than we can conceive...

ALERT: Oil prices break through $93 mark

Oil prices have risen to fresh highs due to a combination of the weak dollar, supply concerns in Mexico and continued tensions in northern Iraq.

In early Asian trading on Monday, US light crude broke through $93 a barrel for the first time, hitting $93.20 before easing back slightly to $93.06.

London's Brent also hit a new high of $89.90 a barrel, up $1.21.
Some analysts believe oil prices will hit $100 a barrel before the end of 2007 if current pressures persist.


Taking inflation into account, prices are still below the peak of $101 a barrel seen in 1980.

The US currency has fallen to a fresh low against the euro, making oil - which is priced in dollars - attractive to buy, analysts said.
For the rest of this BBC story, here.

NVDL: At $100/bbl Gauteng drivers will pay R9/l at current exchange rates.

Deadly Sections of the N1 (FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT)


Driving from BFN to JHB is quicker than the total flying time (including going to the airports and back). The downside is it's quite a dangerous drive over weekends, especially at night. I have been making the trip from Johannesburg to Bloem and back a lot lately. I'll be going down again this weekend for the OFM. I feel it's important to warn motorists of the most deadly sections.

JHB to BFN

From the perspective of someone leaving Johannesburg after work on a Friday, it's an enormously stressful and long drive, since you might leave the office at 15:30, crawl through traffic snarls for 90 minutes, meaning you're on the road for 5 hours or more - doubling your travelling time effectively. Then the last section, just before you arrive in Bloem is very dangerous. You're tired, you want to get there, and here traffic slows down to an 80km/h crawl again. It's frustrating.

Unlike the 70km or so before you reach JHB, the 200km from Kroonstad to Bloem is mostly single lane highway, with several sections where the shoulder eats away. But by the time you're 40km from Bloem, you may find very long echelons, trains of cars stuck behind trucks, sometimes two or three trucks in a line, unable to overtake - or too hesitant - and this area has some subtle rises and dips that hide solitary vehicles. Beware.

For Drivers and Cyclists

For the cyclists doing the OFM, many of the road cateyes have been ripped apart in the 20km section of N1 on the JHB side around Glen. What remains is a verticle screw. This can give cyclists carrots, and may penetrate worn tyres of vehicles, or worse if one actually skids over this vertical piece of metal. I saw quite a few of these so avoid being close to the yellow line for this section.

BFN to JHB

I probably averaged 130km/h for last night's trip. Trucks make the first section very difficult especially where two trucks hover around each other, and then a hesitant driver hangs around, making for a very difficult pass. This section is under construction, with many areas where the shoulder converges suddenly, leaving nowhere for slower vehicles to give way*. The section from Winburg to Ventersburg used to be incredibly dangerous, this is now a great section, with plenty of double lanes.

After Ventersburg the road is dangerous at night, with some sharp curves, disappearing verges, and deep and sudden dips. The Kroonstad section is great, but last night a car was parked on the right hand verge, with two wheels on the highway, and what happened was I was following a vehicle that was passing a truck, and this vehicle just scraped through an unexpectedly narrow gap, and I just held on and followed him through. I watched in my rearview mirror expecting yellow petals of flame to emerge as someone collided behind me. Hopefully no one did.

Vehicles on the side of the road are a very dangerous hazard at night. Even if your hazard lights are on, many drivers do not expect this sort of thing. On Friday night a car was lying off the road, and 200 metres further on a big truck, in complete darkness, was hovering like a black ship. Perhaps it suffered an electrical failure. But no one can blame the driver for seeing the lump of metal at the last second, half in the road, and properly ripping the steering wheel in fright and rolling the car. A police car parked behind the lorry, it's bright blue lights warning drivers of the situation.

I'd also advise listening to OFM - 94-97FM (on the Kroonstad side of the N1 towards Bloem) or 94.7 Highveld Stereo (the Kroonstad to Joburg side of the N1) as both these stations have traffic reports. OFM's are better though, and always involve reports of N1 drama.

If you know the contact numbers for either of these stations, and you see hazards etc., do other drivers a favour and phone them in, especially if you're not driving alone. If you know the traffic report contact numbers, please post them here in the comment sections. I've looked on the sites and couldn't find them.

We're all on the road together, so flashing lights at people and irritating them more than is necessary only increases the chance of people behaving rashly. If someone approaches with their brights on, flash them once. Don't overdo it. Some people have set their lights too high, and they can't do anything about it. Those cases - where driving isn't perfect - let's learn to live with it and be communicative and helpful, rather than preoccupied with a race, with haste.

Final Word

I think good drivers are confident drivers, who do sometimes take risks. But it's a problem when it's about ego, and putting yourself in front of someone else (at their expense). When taking a risk, there is an unknown factor. What I realised again last night, is sometimes there are hazards you would never know to expect (like shadowy lorries virtually invisible on the side of the road, and vehicles parked in the right hand lane). This being the case, if you take a risk you;re so much more likely to find yourself in trouble if you're unlucky enough to encounter one of these hazards while you're in the middle of a risky manuoevre.

If you anticipate danger, or if approaching traffic is heading towards a dangerous scene, put on your hazards. One flash for brights. Blinding another driver - even if his brights are on (intentionally or not) isn't going to help your chances to get home safely.

PS. Notice Ron Weasely will be starring in a new comedy...
*In fact it is now illegal to drive within the yellow line area, so if someone does not give way, be patient.
**Contact details I have for OFM are:
Hannika Struwig, Communication Executive: OFM, Tel: 051 5050900, Fax: 051 5050905,
Cell: 082 873 2650, E-mail: hanna@ofm.co.za

2010 Under Threat, Again

From the Sowetan:
Under threat: Construction on all 2010 World Cup stadiums might grind to a halt today.

The Building Construction and Allied Workers’ Union (BCAWU) has threatened to hold the country to ransom and halt all construction today unless the companies building the stadiums almost double the wages they pay their workers.

The union’s president Albert Masuku said the disruption would affect most of the 2010 stadiums.


NVDL: They are also upgrading Vodacom Park. The section that is lower, with all the 'losies' already has a portion of the roof removed, and this will be expanded in line with the rest of the stadium. There is also a plan to build an airbridge that connects from the Waterfront complex over the road, directly to the stadium.

Hooka Chekkah Cheetah (PICTURES)


Well it was always going to be a good weekend, and it turned out to be a feast - and I'm not talking about just food here. from the point of view of Vrystaaaters, life couldn't be better. A Bok win, the Boks in Bloem, the Boks walking around a rugby field at Grey College, and then a thrilling Currie Final - the Cheetah's finishing in a sprint to edge out the lions.

Great stuff.
I also dragged my sleep deprived corpse out of bed on a grizzly cold and windy Saturday morning for a 100km race.

Time: 2:57
HR: 159 average (171 max)
KCal: 3225
Ascent: 525
Temp: 12/15/18
Altitude avg: 1277 (1197 min/1383 max)
Distance Officially 100km, was actually about 95.7km.
Average speed: 32.3km/h

There were periods were I was giving 100% on this ride, absolute maximal effort. I'm not talking about a sprint, about pushing against a long drag after 85km, against the wind, on legs that haven't gone further than 50km in trining (once a week!). The result: I was completely whacked for the rest of the day, and the next day also.

We had dinner at the Mexican, and after 2 double whiskies I was in la la land. Outside 2nd Avenue was rocking, with lots of the goddesses on this website walking around freely...and all I wanted to go was go sleep.

Image above shows the Boks doing a lap of honour at half time. Cheetah's Juan Smith and Os held the cup to load applause.

Felt like an old man Sunday morning, but what a beautiful morning. Crisp and bright, the sun soft and light and brisk through the leftover fluff of the vigorous front that had whisked through.
Went to what used to be my Granny's old house - it's now D'Marco's - and had something to drink on the stoep. Was weird to wander through the old house, people were having lunch in what used to be her bedroom.

Watched part of the highlights again with my dad on Sunday afternoon. with 15 minutes to go the score was 18-6. We made up the deficit with Generaal de Waal not missing any of the vital kicks. Final score: 18-20 to the Cheetah's. It's great that we have Oom Leon supporting our team; we get our own song which Supersport also punts. The motorbikes, balloons, dancing girls, stetsons and overall 'House of Orange' add up to a fabulous atmosphere. I mean, it's what being a South African is all about isn't it.

Alles in die kol as die Cheetah hol.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Cheetah's Are Also FireStarters


Another disturbing but strangely captivating image from southern california. It reminds me of that song by Prodigy:

I'm a Firestarter, twisted Vrystaater...or words to that effect;-)
Have a good weekend, I am outa here.

Die Sterkste Span Het Gewen (KLIPDRIFT AD)

Hilary Rhoda: New Face of Estee Lauder


My mistake; it wasn't Miranda Kerr...I found the actual magazine picture online. See above. Beautiful mouth.

Miranda and Me


Er, can I get your attention please? Okay have you finished looking at the above picture? Hello? Hellooooooooooo... Okay, now that I have your attention: I bought the Oprah magazine (sopme throat clearing) ostensibly to get the contact details for article submissions inside. Inside the front cover was a face for Estee Lauder that literally stopped me in my (thought) tracks. I think it's Miranda Kerr, Orlando Blooms new girlfriend. It may be airbrushed, but it is a beautiful image.

For background on Amanda Kerr, go here.

ALERT: National Weather Warning

Very cold conditions are expected in places on the highveld and escarpment of Mpumalanga.

Severe thunderstorms with a possibility of heavy falls of rain, strong, gusty winds and damaging hail are expected in places over Gordonia, the Upper Karoo and the northern interior of the Eastern Cape.

BOKS: Dankie vir die moerse Babbalas


NVDL: Right now the Boks are within about a mile of where I am. I have, at various levels of intoxication, sworn that I am their most loyal supporter. I have cheered them on, stormed the TV whilst they did their scrums and rucks. Was ANYTHING going to come between me and the parade? Of course not.

Voice Offstage: Nick, it's raining outside.

NVDL: Okay leave it.
Read THOUSANDS CHEER BOK PARADE here.

The God Con (LUXURY TRIP TO HEAVEN and all that)



In Bloem right now they are a building ginormous cathedral - it looks more like a Hypermarket - in Langenhovenpark, a stone's throw from another Monolithic superstore - er, church, the Baptist church.

It seems that in the same way that people want to worship celebrities for their wealth and good looks, or just because they're celebrities, we want to vote for people with big glossy cars, and when it comes to men of the cloth; it's no different.

It took me a while to realise:"Wow, when you give money to the church, although they may say it's for the poor and quote some awesome verses, it's really going to the preacher's salary." Given this convenient overlap, it makes sense that your preacher, who must be wanting to earn top dollar, will say wjhat is most MOST APPROPRIATE, most conducive to a collective opening of purse strings. Is he going to berate you for being stupid, for your own indulgences? No; he's going to congratulate you on your blessings.

I realised the facile nature of this whole thing - let's call it a CON - when I was in Korea. There they don't even go to the trouble or the pretence of building churches (you know, tall, atmiospheric buildings with steeple, stained glass windows and such). They just plonk a cross on a part of a square mausoleum, and churches do their thing beside massage parlours, schools, internet cafes, restaurants and all the rest. Some go even future and demand a 10% tithe - where workers give back that fraction of their salaries to their bosses. It's got something to do with the boss doing the work of God, so a tithe to the boss is just like a direct donation to God.

If that sounds ridiculous, it's really not a much longer walk than what you're doing in church. If churches didn't care about money - beyond subsistence - I wonder how many church men we would see. It's been rumored that the ginormous church in Bloem is used to bankrool a shopping mall. When I confront Christians there about this they are completely unsurprised. They bravely say: Even if they are using their money for that, I dopn't care. I'm giving it to God. Meanwhile some people are laughing, chuckling, giggling on their way to another sizable dank deposit.

Rain on Bok Parade


In Pretoria earlier today, the parade got off to a more miserable start than anyone expected. Green Sasol emblazoned umbrellas covered many of the blazer clad Boks huddling on the upper deck of the Bok Bus. Camera footage we've seen so far was splattered with raindrops.

Bloemfontein ought to have better weather tomorrow. Weather reports predict a 24 degree Maximum.