Tuesday, September 30, 2008
NVDL: Now is probably a great time for Americans to be asking if they can actually afford to be occupying ANY other country. My guess is they care less about what they can afford and what they can militarily achieve. Which I prognosticate is the next phase of this crisis.
It is the seamless connectivity that allows a flaw in the system to infect the whole system. And let's face it, credit and its phantom accessories are a major flaw. In the same way that you can argue that the world is better off using electronics, that life is 'easier or better', if the power goes out you are unable to function. You can't get anything off your computer. All your work and data is lost. In a non-digital universe, it's still there.
The other point to make is that the fundamental factor plaguing the markets - and virtually no one sees this, not even the bankers - is the lifeblood of our economy (energy) is draining away. It's depleting. This means, fundamentally, markets and populations have to shrink. Less energy means two things: less money (for fewer projects) and less money because more money is produced to get less (because energy costs more). Either way, the world is impoverished and that grand system we call(ed) globalisation makes a huge grinding mechanical gear shift - into reverse.
“I think we will be back in a couple of days with a proposal more palatable to more members,” said Representative John Yarmuth, a Kentucky Democrat who voted against the plan. “You don’t make the biggest financial decision in the history of this country in a few days’ time without hearings.” - NYT
“People’s re-elections played into this to a much greater degree than I would have imagined,” said Representative Deborah Pryce of Ohio. - NYT
I’m curious. I want to know more about Polo, and in particular how to get involved as a South African. It’s a sport with the same highbrow appeal as yachting or fencing – but neither of those sports seems to me to be accessible. I wonder if Polo might be any different. My first stop is Franshoek farm, about 25km from Ficksberg, 14km of which is on a grinding dirt track. It’s the same road to Rustler’s Valley and not far from the Thaba Thabo Nature Reserve. After following a number of white signs I come upon a thatched cottage Tolkien might have invented. I’m instantly under an enchantment.
Franshoek is an Anglo African mishmash. The sandstone interiors are warm and homey. I meet Tom Cinderey, an affable Englishman with a Prince Charles-sish accent. He and his wife Suzi are recent partners, running the Afrikaans sounding farm with original owner, Roz Evans. Rod Gutridge, her son, is a legend in Polo circles. He once played with Prince Charles, and is now a respected coach on the farm. Before I head out to the stables I meet Lily, a Thai pig. The resident cook specializes in Thai food, but Lily is off limits. The attention to detail at Franshoek is charming. I find a toilet seat filled with floating seashells, and a beautiful wash basin built into a sandstone shelf. Even though I don’t play Polo, I’m thinking of excuses to stay over.
While I take in the beautiful Polo grounds, and wander around the stables, a British guest offers me the low down on polo. Each match consists of 6 chukkas. A chukka is like a set in tennis. There might be 7 depending on a draw in the score, as occurs in tennis. A chukka is an intense effort lasting 6 minutes. At a professional level, a new horse is used for each new chukka, but beginners might use just 2 or 3 horses for a match. A match might last an hour or more. Committees decide a player’s handicap, and teams are matched with similar handicaps. The best players in the world are from Argentina, and the best players in South Africa, are from Natal.
Two days later I am on Ericsberg Farm, just outside Underberg, in Natal. My host, a tall, keen farmer and polo player called Brian Hein informs me about the who’s who in South African Polo. He plays for the strongest rated team in South Africa, and their club is the Underberg Polo Club. He has a beautiful farm, but unlike Franshoek, it’s a private residence.
Over a cup of tea he enthusiastically imparts his wisdom. I’m told Polo ‘ponies’ are ex-racehorses, and therefore not ponies at all (ponies are a few hands shorter than horses). They’re called ponies, as I understand, out of a sort of fondness. Gavin Chaplain is South Africa’s best Polo coach, according to Brian. He also makes and exports polo mallets.
Later, when Brian takes me to the field where he practices at the end of every day, he says to me, “It’s all about the horses.” I get inklings now, that to love Polo, you have to love the whole atmosphere, the full spectrum of everything involving horses. And it helps if you’re part of the local farming community. “All the players around here are farmers,” he says. There’s something artistic and mystical about it, which is why rich patrons pay so much to be part of the experience. Sponsorship is private, and a lot of money is involved. Brian tells me it can be prohibitively expensive if you don’t own a farm and have to pay for the stabling of 3 or more horses. So if you’re thinking about going Polo, first make sure you have a farm, or a friend with a farm.
I leave Ericsberg farm, feeling quite envious. Imagine playing on that field with the sun
setting over those magnificent mountains. What a way to end a day!
On Brian’s instructions I head south, towards Swartberg. 10km from this tiny dorp, I see the sign Jurassic Park Polo. It’s owned by a teammate of Brian Hein, Selby Williamson, who has just returned from playing Polo in Barbados. Once again it is a short drive over rough roads. And once again I find a lovely setting with a
beautiful green field, and horses shining on it. I sit in my vehicle and gaze down at the dreamy scene below me. I’m tempted to join them, aren’t you?
Franshoek Polo School: 051 033 3938
Jurassic Park Polo: (Selby Williamson) 083 262 6893
The Captain of the South African team is Russell Watson, who owns plenty of land in the Underberg.
For information related to Polo, or Polo events, he can be contacted on 033 702 0902
Even if stocks fall and recessions begin, oil can only increase in value as it begins to demonstrate what it is - a finite resource, a precious resource, and the root reality that has exposed our fantasy psychology [unlimited growth and 'something for nothing'] for the fool's gold it always was.
Gas stations from Atlanta, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee, to Charlotte, North Carolina, are being affected by the effects of Gustav and Ike shutting down 20 percent of the nation's refining capacity, which helped drop U.S. gas inventories to a 41-year low last week.
Refinery capacity is expected to return to normal and boost gas supplies again, although no one is sure exactly when that will happen.
NVDL: Thanks. That's like saying - you are expected to die one day, but no one can say when. Thanks for that bit of news.
Sorry to say but shortages like these will force the US to divert imports - that is oil tanker shipments headed for say, Australia, South Africa or somewhere in South America - their way instead... which means some other country going without. We are in a zone now where fighting over fossil fuel scraps has started, and systems (financial and others) are collapsing as troubles spreads more and more rapidly.
Market stress has evidently reached frightening levels.
This dire situation makes decisive action essential. Beyond doubt, failure by the US Congress to pass a rescue package would court catastrophe.
Banks unable to borrow are zombies. They must be restored to health or allowed to perish quietly.
The stock plunge began even before the 228-205 vote to reject the bill was officially announced on the House floor. The decline for the day surpassed the 721-point previous record, on the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, though in percentage terms it was well short of the drops on Black Monday of October 1987 and at the start of the Depression.
NVDL: You must know things are bad when Depression era drops are being compared to current stock market wipeouts. But that's where we are now anf that's what we're facing. Personally I don't think it is right that ordinary citizens pay for the excesses of a few Wall Street Playerz.
Why? Listen here.
More: Global airline industry hit by financial turmoil in US, Europe
IATA is also forecasting that the global airline industry will fly into US$5.2 billion in losses this year, and continue to operate at a loss of US$4.1 billion in 2009.
"Perfect storm" could hit aviation, if steps not taken :IATA
As many as 25 carriers worldwide have folded up operations in the past several months due to huge losses, the latest being Italian national carrier Alitalia, leading to over 100,000 jobs in the aviation sector being lost.
With a victory on the accommodatingly flat course in 2:03:59, Gebrselassie shattered by 27 seconds his previous mark of 2:04:26, run last year in Berlin.
Alleged corruption in the allocation of RDP houses has left 466 people in Tembisa homeless.
We are talking about a very well respected South African hero who, today, is dead. I have had many conversations with people on the topic, and on every occasion once a certain amount of fact [I've read the biography] is injected into the conversation, people grow more measured and respectful in their comments.
I think the focus of people on the topic of Hansie's innocence/shame/culpability says a lot about the sort of glasses they look through every day. I have to say, it doesn't speak well of the average South African.
That is the frame in which this film portrait is displayed.
You can read my movie review here, and the plagiarised form here.