Monday, November 29, 2010
What an eventful day it's been. All this talk of espionage and terrorism and counter-terrorism and diplomacy.
One of my favourite websites after Counterpunch has just released sensitive documents relating to America's dubious foreign policy and a host of other nasties committed by that bastion of righteousness and democracy. The site which you most certainly must have either heard about, read about, or at the least visited, is WikiLeaks.
I watched with interest as they rounded up their heavyweight spin-doctors and mouthpieces, led by none other than Hillary Clinton, and tried valiantly to limit the damage caused by the leaking of these documents to the world at large.
For those that haven't seen the news or read about it, the documents contained correspondence between America, her allies, and high ranking members of state. It clearly shows the clandestine back-room politics taking place between the puppets and the puppet-master. Exposed and caught with her pants down, America resorts to the only response it knows best : Threatening the website with legal ramifications and accusing it of having the blood of the troops on it's hands.
How rich is that!?
The same America that sent it's young men and women to fight a war that the world now collectively regards as unwarranted and unjust, having watched as those same troops came back in body-bags by the thousands, now has the gall and nerve to accuse a whistle-blower of being unpatriotic? If this irony doesn't slap you in the face like a basketball hitting Obama, then I probably don't fully understand irony at all.
I had so much faith in Obama. He was like an American version of Nelson Mandela when he first came on to the scene. Leader of the free world, saviour of the planet as we know it.
At the tail-end of his term in office and suddenly we realize that he was no better than his predecessors. Full of promises, very short on delivery.
Remember his promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay if he were elected? Not happening.
Remember his promise to run a transparent administration? Think Espionage Act.
Now that his administration has been exposed for all it's devious intentions and plotting, the politically correct response would be to acknowledge the shortcomings and promise to do better going forward... Not so our leader of the most powerful nation in the world. He decides to attack the free press along with his henchmen.
Here's an extract from the Associated Press regarding WikiLeaks document release:
I never thought I'd say this, but I miss being on holiday. I always said that my idea of a perfect holiday is being at home surrounded by my books, with a wireless broadband internet connection, and a PVR filled with sport and a few choice movies.
After having been on the cruise, this has changed ever so slightly.
I still love being at home and doing the things I enjoy doing, but every so often I wonder what's happening poolside and how much longer before my meal arrives. (This is the point where the missus asks "Hows that different from when you're home?")
Well, when I'm home I don't hear the sound of the ocean or see seagulls on opening a window.
Also, 5000 miles out at sea makes it a little difficult for clients to call me and set up urgent meetings, where for some daft reason lately they've been serving the most vile food. One of my clients is on this huge cleansing diet and naturally she thinks it's polite and proper to cater her dietary requirements to the good folk attending the meeting.
Out with the samoosas and delicious steak pies and yummy morning drinks, and in with yoghurt and muesli and soya in every shape and form you can imagine, served with water of course.
On the plus side it's immediate effect was a drastic reduction in the time spent during these meetings. On the down side, travelling 18 floors down an elevator with a bunch of angry hungry people who have just had yoghurt and muesli can be an exercise in clean-air filtration techniques. I'm ready for deep-sea diving.
Back to my holiday hangover.
A sure sign that it's more serious than initially thought is when you order coffee from the convenience store at the filling station, and ask where the pink umbrella and complimentary sandwich are.
There was a couple on board the ship who won their cruise in a Bingo competition. Needless to say, the competition organizers stuck them so far down the ship in a cabin without a pothole, they could hear the barnacles making love in the middle of the night. It was their first holiday on board a ship and they were just thrilled to be there, even if they hadn't fully understood the perks that came with ocean cruising. On the last evening on board the ship, someone informed them that all meals were complimentary. Until then, they had been stocking up on snacks each time the ship docked. They just assumed that all meals would be billed to your cabin!
It's been a week already and my head is still a big fuzzy marshmallow of productivity.
If this doesn't clear up soon, I'll be forced to take some time out and attend to this fuzzy head issue.
It's been so long since I've last posted (almost a week, which is forever and a day by my standards.)
So what's been happening since I last blogged?
Well, the long and detailed account of my travels on the cruise ship will follow some time this week. I'm just waiting for the photo's from the official holiday photographer to be retouched and sent back to me. No extreme photoshopping or anything. I just needed him to turn 15kg's of blubber into a 6-pack and sublime abs.
It will be the concise version of the cruise-posts you've already read (I hope) previously.
In the meantime however, I had the opportunity of meeting with some of the folks on Twitter in person. A Tweetup is what it's called. A fantastic opportunity to put a face to the names we chat to more often than our family or siblings on any given day, for most of us at least.
So this Tweetup was organised by the same two brothers who had arranged the previous Tweetup I attended in Durban, @bashhar and @noohar. Admittedly that one had me as it's only guest, which was perfect because it meant I was the star of the show as well as the audience. Just the way I like it :)
I think I may have blogged about the Durban Tweetup earlier. I'm too lazy to check right now. (It's just after midnight on Sunday, give me a break!)
@bashhar and @noohar were down in Jozi this week and organised another Tweetup, this time inviting a few more Twitter characters, and characters they certainly were.
The venue was Primi Piatti in Melrose Arch.
The Capetonians (@bashhar and @noohar) had clearly never encountered Joburg traffic before in all it's glory, as they scheduled to have us all meet at 6pm on a Friday!
Of course I misunderstood the initial invite as I naturally assumed it was for 6am on Saturday. This would have made more sense because I'd probably have been up since the night before anyways, but more importantly it would mean I would have avoided the dreaded afternoon traffic. At 6am the only people I'm bound to bump into (literally) getting to the venue would be drunks, ravers or newspaper vendors. All of these would tell me that for a lousy 7 Bucks they can give me the latest news of the world.
I got a Tweet just after 6pm to say that @yusuf_garrick was the first to arrive at Primi Piatti. There are 47 possible reasons why he got there so early. I'm going with the fact that he was just so excited, he slept at Primi the night before and stayed there, waiting an entire day before posting his tweet. I'm basing my guess on the realistic bed-head look he had going on :)
I got there around 6:30pm and was met by the rest of the party who were already seated, except for @AmeshJeram who arrived fashionably late 5 minutes after I did.
@bashhar as always, was full of smiles and just seemed happy that we were all there. He reminds me of a weed smoker in a permanent state of happy high :) I like that about him. Though I don't think he smokes.
@noohar is like the professional dressed in tekkies. He has this cool way of changing his facial expression from laughing to serious in under 3 seconds. I'd shit myself if he were my dad ;) But luckily we saw more of the laughing and less of the serious. Right now I have this weird image of him as a judge dressed in the legal robe, wearing Ben10 pyjamas underneath, with white tekkies on his feet ;) Moving on.
@saajidamoolla was the first of the girls I met. She had this nervous look on her face when I stuck my hand out to introduce myself. I wasn't sure if she thought I was the waiter, or whether she was considering the Shariah ruling on shaking hands with a strange guy. She turned out to be tons of fun and has sarcasm down to a fine art. Must be all those hours she puts in working at Telkom ;)
@zaakiramoolla was seated next to her, and based on the names I'm sure you've already figured out that they're sisters. If you haven't, Hanna Montana starts at 7am! You should be in bed already! I met @zaakiramoolla for the very first time a few months back when the Apple store held a Joburg day for a few select people, and the two of us including @yusuf_garrick got to cruise the streets of Jozi in a Mini Cooper of our choice and take random pics. No wait, thats not right. The first time I met her, I was selling her a laptop and she brought her mom along because her mom knows Karate, Ninjitsu, Taekwondo and 7 other Japanese words, and they weren't sure if I was legit. Turns out I am, and we've been friend's since. I was disappointed I never got to see any of those Karate moves from Mrs Moolla, but there's always next time ;)
@pandora2707 was next at the table, and I'm still confused by her job description. It's three days later a I'm still not sure whether she said she did marketing for a rock-band, if she was the lead singer in a rock-band, or whether she breeds rocks and sells hair-bands. Either way, she rocks and I liked her sense of humour. (By sense of humour I mean her constant smacking of the table whenever someone said something doff... hang on! She smacked the table a lot whenever I was speaking!!!) Also, she guessed my age at around 28 which makes her a favourite in my book! ;)
@corpsekicker was the last of the girls I met, and admittedly at first I assumed she worked in the morgue based on her name, and wasn't sure about the customary hand-shake. It turns out she's engaged to another Twitter friend I had met a few weeks earlier while in Durban, @concerningmj. She is funny as all heck and I can see why the two of them make such a power-couple. Did I mention that she's also the sister of @pandora2707 ? She had the hugest mug of latte I have ever seen in my coffee-&-latte drinking life! If I described this juggernaut of a cup as something African tribes use to store water for the village, it would be no exagerration. (I think I may have spelt that wrong but its too late to spell-check dammit!) I'm hoping that once they're settled and all honeymooned out, they'll come around and visit or just hang out. Awesome company the both of them.
@AmeshJeram made the late arrival and sat next to me. For some weird reason he kept standing up each time my missus walked in (she was shopping in the area) or whenever my daughter walked in (shopping with the missus). At first I thought he kept standing up because he's English, but as soon as he started talking I figured that can't be it ;) English folk have a liking for scones & tea, not boobies and adolescent girls ;) He turned out to be lots of fun and had the craziest stories to tell. My favourite is the one about girls from Lenz who he clubs on the head and drags back to Limpopo where they fall in love with him and want to move to his village :)
@yusuf_garrick made up the last of the characters and he sat to my left. He's studying to be a Doctor and was hoping to specialize in Neurology but after having spoken to me during the course of the evening, he's changing his focus to Proctology. He offered to give me a complimentary prostate exam at the table but I'd just ordered pasta and figured it could get messy. He's a swell guy and I've just decided to make it my duty to find him a decent Indian girl to settle down with. All this hanging around at the Plaza is getting him nowhere. Besides, security is starting to flag him as a crazy white guy stalking brown girls.
So there you have it folks. The Jozi Tweetup was a fantastic evening and I'm so looking forward to the next one. I chatted to another great friend of mine, @Georgie_81 , and we're thinking of hooking up and doing it together. That will be epic and awesome on a grand scale!
Watch this space.
PS: Thanks to all the wonderful folk who made Friday night so great. We should do it more often.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
It seems I made quite an impression on some of the passengers and crew in just a few short days.
I lost my sea-legs after lunch and was feeling rather green, so I decided to give supper a miss. The missus went down to the restaurant on her own and it turns out everybody around our usual seat were disappointed that I hadn't come for the last supper. One couple in particular said they missed hearing my hearty laugh, and another commented that I was like their daily entertainment. So heartwarming to know that people are getting away with a free show at my expense!
So tonight we begin packing bags and we need to have them ready outside our room door for collection by 2am!
These crew members don't muck about. A hard working lot they are.
I met a couple at tonights Vegas-themed show (there's shows every evening on board the ship, always with different themes) and the husband was telling us how he won $3000 in last nights Bingo!
Turns out he's been on 3 different cruise ships in his lifetime, and each time he's won at Bingo. I reckon he should only ever book a cruise that has Bingo on it. How lucky is he?!
The one thing I'm not going to miss from the cruise is these Vacumm-toilets. If you've never seen one, the best was I can describe it is to imagine a very powerful Kirby vacuum-cleaner being turned on when u done with your business.
Very powerful indeed.
If your bum covers the entire rim of the toilet seat, and you hit the 'Flush' button, there's a high possibility that you could end up with a free colonoscopy! I'm not even kidding about that.
Actually, if you timed the whole flushing routine right, you wouldn't even need toilet-paper!
*insert eeeuww here .....*
Alrighty folks, time for me to put some motion in this ocean. After all, it is our last night on board the MSC Sinfonia, and the missus did say she better meet some seamen before she gets off ;)
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Thursday, November 18, 2010
We arrived early this morning and it was an awesome sight to see half a dozen rubber dinghy's lined up ready to take us to shore.
I plan on doing some snorkelling this morning, hopefully for free if I meet Indian Aunty later (refer to previous post).
I packed a few items to take with to the Island, one of them being this fantastic book which I'm currently reading, Arundhati Roy's 'The Ordinary Persons Guide To Empire.'
Brilliant. I highly recommend it.
Possibly a tad serious in content for an island holiday, but I'd rather be reading this than any of the missus's soppy romance novels.
As the comment by the 'Observer' says on the cover, "She compels you to have an opinion."
Island holiday aside, most of the books in my personal library fall into one of 3 categories: 1)Business & Autobiographies 2)Politics 3)Humour & Religion. Yes, Humour and Religion go together in my library.
So whilst reading Arundhati's book, it got me thinking about everything I had ever read regarding America and its failed wars and failing economy and failed leaders.
Some day I intend writing an opinion-piece about why I think Obama was elected President of the most powerful nation on earth.
The post will give you clearer insight into my opinion, but in summary I think that the old guard from both the Republicans and the Democrats got together and decided that they needed to pin the aftermath of certain calamity from George Bush's colossal failures onto a scapegoat; someone who wouldn't last long but would serve the purpose of appeasing the minorities. Who better than the black guy?
Bush's screw-ups will be felt for another decade if not longer,so they threw Obama into the meltingpot to clean up the mess, knowing he didn't stand a chance in hell.
After his inevitable failure, which it will certainly be portrayed as (all the good intentions of his administration aside) he will get voted out and the old guard will simply tell the American public "Well, we gave your minority candidate a chance, he cocked it up, so never again shall we pander to your demands for another person of colour to be Commander In Chief."
That's my theory and I'm sticking by it.
The complete post will be done soonishly, I promise.
Okay, back to my island holiday.
I think the couple in the suite next to ours were having wild raucious monkey-sex last night.
I heard the lady screaming "Oh God Yes!" for a whole 5 minutes. Either that or she's very religious.
I did what any reasonable guy in my situation would do... I put my ear against the headboard to listen better. I just needed to clarify what denomination she was from. You know, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Orthodox. These things are important.
The missus wasn't in the room at the time, so I had 5 minutes of uninterrupted listening.
This morning as I left for breakfast, I bumped into said lady in the corridor. She didn't look very religious to me.
Maybe she's a Mormoan. She did moan a lot last night.
Alrighty then, time for me to take the dinghy to the island.
I'll post again later if I'm not too knackered.
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Last night was the sea-party to rival all other sea-parties! Dancing, cabaret, magic shows, karaoke, and finally a midnite dessert buffet that would have given every member of the Heart Foundation a heart-attack! I've never seen so much of dessert in one place before. Truly unbelievable.
This cruise is turning into a cullinary holiday. I've said it before and I'll say it again; all we ever do on this ship is eat!
The journey back is a bit rougher than its been over the past 3 days. I'm not sure if we're sailing through a storm because I've just woken up and haven't drawn the curtains yet. The ship certainly is rocking more than it has previously. This means the motion-sickness tablets will have to come out. For those passengers that haven't brought any, I'll be staying far away from them.
I think the crew on board knew about todays expected weather conditions, because coming back from the party last night there were these blue Barf-Bags randomly placed throughout the ship. Good thinking!
I'm off to lunch now, and this rocking is going to test my sea-legs.
Wish me luck.
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Okay so admittedly the beautiful girls on this particular cruise may be their daughters, but they have that same awesome Vegas flair. We just got back from a show called 'Storm' and I was pleasantly surprised. Yesterday I gave it a miss and sent the missus on her own. Tonight I regret that decision, because apparently last nights performance involved less attire than tonights bikini-parade! How do you get less attire than a bikini?
Now to the highlight of my day.
We boarded the rubber dinghys to Bazarutto (as mentioned in Part 1) and were immediately met by the crafty salesmen of the beach market. No pun intended. Every concievable wooden craftwork was on display, from jewellery to ornaments to ashtrays and even ships and helicopters. On the boatride over to the island, I had already advised the missus that buying from these markets was almost gauranteed to be a rip-off, so we planned on doing our souvenier shopping at one of the Chinese shops once we arrived back in Durban. Doesn't everybody do this?
Anyways, I know the missus loves her trinlets and home ornaments so I silently figured that unless we saw something we really desired, I wasn't going to show interest in anything on display.
Along comes Toni.
He's a woodcarver extraordinaire! I don't use that word lightly.
This guy has got talent oozing out of his uncut fingernails. He sat there carving a mannequin as we watched him in awe, so I already knew that he was not simply a broker or salesman, but the manufacturer as well.
This is important because as any Indian knows, it indicates that the price will be cheaper because we've already removed the Middle-Man (think Outsurance).
The missus and I both fall in love with an amazing carved Toyota LandCruiser, painted and detailed so well it would make a Japanese car designer shed a tear. The next item was a splendid Coke bottle, again carved in wood and painted very artistically.
Toni could sense my interest and his keen entrepreneural nose smelled a deal coming along. What he hadn't accounted for was the fact that I was no European tourist armed with a wad full of Dollars. Oh no. Toni hadn't accounted for the Indian from Johannesburg armed with Rands!
I picked up the LandCruiser, the missus picked up the Coke bottle.
Before either of us could inspect the items further, Toni already had his arm around me telling me how he was going to do me a good deal.
Off the mark he wanted R700 for the Toyota and R200 for the Coke bottle.
My Grandad always taught me that whenever you're in a negotiation, the seller will start with a high price, and you should start with your base price around the 'For Free' range. That way, when you meet each other halfway, you can assume you got a good deal.
Toni was no amateur salesman.
I was no amateur customer.
This was going to be a battle of wits to the bitter end, and the last man standing would walk away with the spoils.
I'd give you a play-by-play of how the negotiations went, but it's easier if I simply say that we ended up with me giving Toni R140 and my old sunglasses I had bought at the roadside in Jozi for R20.
He spent a full 5 minutes telling me he thought he was being conned.
I spent a full 5 minutes telling him to not be so negative, and think of it as a lesson in Indian Sales Technique.
The missus was gobsmacked and I had to lift her jaw off the beach. She admitted to me later that she would willingly have paid R600 for everything!
Indian Aunty wants to visit me later to take notes and have me sign autographs.
I'll post a pic of the LandCruiser and Coke bottle when I'm back.
In case you haven't already figured, I'm writing all these posts and saving them on my iPad since I have no signal... And as soon as I do I will be posting them. Which means there may be 5 or more posts all arriving at once :)
Adios until later.
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That sleep was so good and sound we didn't even realise we had missed breakfast. Rumour has it that the breakfast spread was so impressive it would have made a few Greek Gods envious.
It was a beautiful morning though, waking up to the ship already docked in Maputo Bay. Absolutely stunning scenery and I shall forever remember to insist on a room with a balcony, because there is nothing more romantic than having a late breakfast delivered to your suite and you enjoying it overlooking the calm waters of Maputo. Nothing.
Okay maybe a hot air balloon breakfast overlooking the Drakensberg.
Possibly the sunrise on a yacht sailing across Lake Geneva.
All right all right, you get the picture.
We couldn't decide over breakfast whether we should do the overpriced City Tour of Maputo, or the extortionist rates of the Maputo Guided Walking Tour. So we did what any Indian on a holiday does... We waited until we saw a Guided Walking Tour group leave, then followed them. We stayed within earshot of the Tour Guide, and whenever a member of the group turned to look at myself or the missus, we pretended to be the Official Photographers for the tour. I carried the Handycam, she carried the digital camera, so we certainly looked the part.
Two hours later and a saving of $60, I was rather proud of myself. That's $60 I can now spend on tomorrows snorkelling. Maybe I could go into Bazarutto town, by some cheap-ass snorkells and just follow the snorkelling tour? Hhmm... Only problem with that is that if these bastards catch on to me, they not going to tell me if a shark heads our way.
Aah well, if you don't hear from me by this time tomorrow, you'll know I've joined the Organ Donor Foundation for marine mammals.
Right now we're on our way to Bazarutto, and I can hear the band on the Sundeck playing Shania Twain. Country music while you're in the middle of the Indian Ocean... There's something odd about that. Maybe the country music is to scare off the Somali pirates. I'll find out and report back to you.
In my earlier post I mentioned that this cruise seemed to be a cullinary tour if previous travellers are to be believed. Well I can confirm that I have eaten more in these past two days than any man has ever eaten in the history of mankind. I'm starting to wonder if those Somali pirates aren't just after all the food on board these ships? It could be that they attacked the very first ship after hearing about the food, and some dumb European insurance guy decided to pay them $10 Million to release the ship, and before you knew it the Somalians were like "Hey WTF!? Free food and they pay us to let the ship go? Awesome! Let's tell all our brothers and we can start franchising!"
Speaking about all the free food on board, I wonder why it is that these marketting geniuses who promote these cruises haven't targetted the Indian demographic?
I know that the Indians by nature have a certain distrust to any European or white man telling them "Come to my ship, and I will give you a room and free food, and it will only cost you X."
Every Indian I know would be thinking "Fuck you bastard white guy! You're not taking me to work in your sugar-cane field. My people will not fall for that again!"
Seriously though, if these cruise marketting geniuses hired a helicopter for one day, printed pamphlets which said "Free Food! Eat as much as you like!" on them, and dropped it over Chatsworth, Tongaat and Lenasia, I promise you they would be fully booked until South Africa has another white President, or America has another black one!
This old lady I met after lunch today was bitching about how expensive the water on board the ship is. I guess its all relative really. A litre of bottled water costs $2.20. That's like around R15 in local terms. I couldn't exactly tell her that, because she assumed I'm brown skin, she's brown skin, and therefore we have a common hate for capitalism and the exchange rate.
Next thing she whips out this battered and bruised empty 2 litre Valpre plastic bottle with the neck cut open. At first I thought she was going to commit suicide by sticking her head in it and suffocating herself.
It turns out that she was going to get free ice from the bar, fill her bottle, wait for it to melt, and Voila! Free water!!
Indian Aunty is a genius!
Tomorrow she and I are going snorkelling ;)
Right then folks, its supper time and tonight I plan on trying the duck.
Something weird about eating a bird that spends its life floating above the water, laughing at all the fish that has to swim in its poop.
Such a regal and majestic bird it is. Its like at the top of the food-chain as far as floating birds go.
Then along comes Kaloo on his cruise holiday and says "Aah, I'll try the flaoting bird and show it who's boss. You wanna poop on the fish, tonight I shall enjoy you and turn you into..." No, I don't like where this train of thought is going. Let's just leave it at "Bon Appetit".
PS: I'm thinking of starting a weekly video Podcast on Youtube when I get back.
What do you guys think?
I'm interested to know your opinions...
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Monday, November 15, 2010
At first I was a little concerned because it seemed that most passengers were either sporting mullets, or they were here for a Weigh-Less Convention. By late morning things seemed to have picked up with the arrival of some pretty ladies who I suspect are on a bachorlorette's weekend (I might have spelt that wrong. I blame it on the motion-sickness which I'm just barely winning the battle against.)
Just before we boarded, there was a noisy hullabaloo as the gay brigade arrived. No cruise is complete without these guys, or so I'm told. Within an hour of boarding I could see why! They were dancing it up like it was auditions for Birdcage 2 on deck. There's a Miss Sinfonia Cruise beauty contest tomorrow and I have a sneaky suspicion one of these guys are gonna be shaving their legs and entering.
We took a walk throughout the ship and I must say it is massive! Everybody and their whims have been catered for. Speaking of catering, the food on this ship must be sufficient to feed a small African country for a year! I had undoubtably the most delicious grilled burger I have ever tasted for lunch. The way burgers are supposed to taste. Real juicy meat. So awesome I could her the cow mooing every time I bit into it! It made me realise how much MacDonalds has brainwashed us into believing that beef burgers are supposed to taste like wet cardboard!
The dinner seating was quite interesting. You get allocated a seat randomly on a 4-seater or 6-seater table, which means you're either sitting with 2 complete strangers or 4!
We got the "2 complete strangers" package, and they turned out to be Chris (a software developer for a medical company) and his wife Karina (who works for the same company). They've been married 2 months so this is like a second-honeymoon for them.
At first I thought they were going to be reclusive and keep to themselves, but once I started jabbering they opened up and before long we were all having a merry old time like lifelong sailors.
Oh, I almost forgot the safety drill!
So I'm laying on the bed earlier this afternoon, about to doze off and dream of being captured by Somali pirates and swashbuckling my way through them as I save all the passengers using a plastic knife and dressed like Osama Bin Laden (this is my dream. When you're laying on your bed, you can have your own dream, ok!).
Anyways, the siren in the bedroom and corridor suddenly goes beserk and the missus rushes in saying we need to grab our lifejackets and head to the Emergency Meeting Point! Any reasonable person would think its a full-blown emergency and wouldn't bother stopping to ask for an explanation, right? So I grab my lifejacket and run out the room, down the corridor, and there's like a bazillion people all doing the same. It didn't strike me that they were all relatively calm. I just assumed they were drunk.
So I race past them with the missus in tow, and all the while she's telling me to calm down and all I can think of is that scene in the Titanic where Rose leaves Jacks hand and he sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
We finally get to the safety deck and as we're congregating, the safety officers on board are telling us how to fasten our lifejackets. Again, all very calm while I just want to jump into my lifeboat!
The lady behind me taps me on my shoulder and says "Nice shorts" and gives me this huge toothy smile. I realised I was standing in my boxers almost as soon as I realised it was a fire-drill.
Of course it would be my silky boxers that have Snoopy all over them.
Tomorrow I get elected as the Captain of the Gay Dancing Team. Wish me luck.
Well I'm not sure for how much longer I will enjoy cellphone reception, but I'll try to blog every chance I get.
Don't miss me too much now :)
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It's been an awesome weekend of preparation for this long-awaited holiday, interspersed with meeting people from Twitter & Facebook. You would think that with over 500 followers/ friends on each of these social networks, I would have met hundreds already. The truth is, prior to this weekend I had only met two people before.
@yusuf_garrick and @zaakiramoolla were the first two tweeple I met in person. Next came @concerningmj who I met yesterday, and unsurprisingly he was as awesome in person as he is on his blog and Facebook. Always such a huge disappointment when people have a perception of the person and when they finally meet face-to-face there's a huge disappointment. Like reading about Lobster Thermidore and Googling it and checking out net images of it, and then finally going to a restaurant & ordering it and they serve you stinky hake with a side-order of stink!
Today I met @bashhar and @noohar, and they were equally good company. Admittedly I was secretly hoping that @noohar was a hot and sleazy asian girl, but he turned out to be a rather decent character.
I'm never shy or nervous when I meet people for the first time, except maybe that one time when the cops busted in and I was holding the camera while these two naked chinese midgets were getting nasty with the massage oil in that motel room, but that's a whole other story. So after this weekends tweetups, I decided that I should set a target of meeting possibly 5 new Twitter friends each month.
This could possibly be my last blog post until I get back next week, unless MTN is really nice to me and provides me with signal all week while I'm out at sea (Here's hoping).
Until then, have an awesome week folks and I promise to have tons to write about when I get back.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010
As fate would have it, the one time I decide to do a holiday on a ship, the Somali pirates decide to up their game, and other Ocean Cruise ships get stuck in the middle of the sea for no good reason! How hectic is that? Being out at sea with no mobile or internet signal, on a massive cruise ship, and the engine decides its had enough and konks out!
It's not like the Captain can announce that the ship is stuck. Technically I don't even know if it's called being stuck? Because your'e actually not stuck in the true sense of the word, you're still kind of drifting. Also, you can't just get up and decide you're going to start pushing. So maybe they mean you're stuck in the sense that you can't really do anything but wait.
Then they radio for help and a helicopter comes flying in from hundreds of miles away, and the engineer goes down to the engine room. 3 Hours later and with passengers already deciding which shoes will go best with those bright orange life-jackets, the Captain announces that the problem has been sorted out and it was just a $1.50 fuse that blew.
I already decided that before the ship even leaves port on Monday, I'm going to announce that I'm looking for THAT guy. I want to meet him,introduce myself, and tell him that if we DO get stuck, I'll be looking for him. Then I'm going to throw him overboard and he can fulfill his dream of saving us all from certain death.
There's nothing worse that a guy who has a dream of jumping overboard to swim for help, and when the moment arrives he never gets the opportunity. So yes, I will be identifying the hero's before we depart.
As for me, I'm more of a "Hold on to your laptop, iPod, Blackberry & iPad, and PRAY!" kind of guy.
There's no way I'm jumping overboard to swim to land.
Firstly, that Atlantic Ocean is fookin cold! I've swam in Cape Town beaches, I know what I'm talking about.
Secondly, rumour has it that sharks like their meat nicely cooked and spicy. You don't get more nicely cooked and spicy than me, Indian Guy!
Thirdly and most importantly, my religion teaches me to protect the women and children in times of crisis, in that particular order. If all the men decide to be macho and jump ship to start swimming, who's going to be fulfilling this religious duty? Exactly!
Not going to be easy. Definitely not.
I've already sent an email to all my client's informing them that I will not be available for the coming week. Most of the responses were of the "Enjoy your holiday and have a fabulous time" kind.
One in particular had me wondering about the calibre and IQ of my clients. She mailed me back saying "You're going to be at sea? Thats awesome. Wouldn't it be easier to fly wherever you're going,or are there no airports there?" Right. Remind me to remove you from my client-list when I get back.
Yes, as the title of this post say's. If you see a pirate, just say NO! That's what I intend doing. I'm not sure how you say NO in Somali, but I'm guessing a good hard kick in the groin is a universally understood language. Unless there's more than 5 of them (because 5 Somali's are usually the size of one well-rounded Indian).
There's an evening of dress-up that's scheduled on Thursday on board the ship. You're supposed to wear a costume of sorts and everyone has a ball. I wanted to do the whole Pirate-Costume thing, but I figure it must be worn thin by now with probably every second guy going for the same look.
So I decided this Thursday, I'll be dressed as Osama Bin laden.
That should go down well.
The only thing I've already packed is a long trench-coat. I figure I need something thats going to blow in the wind and look cool when I'm taking my Titanic shot! Every guy wants to have a Leonardo DiCaprio moment and take a pic of himself standing on the bow of the ship screaming "I'm top of the world!". Most guy's wont admit it, but it's true.
I'v seen the movie about 20 times this week, just to prepare myself for any eventuality. The first thing I intend doing on boarding the ship is to have a word with the look-out guy. If he doesn't spot an iceberg in time and we happen to hit one, I'm coming to look for him and I'm going to hit him on the head with my laptop. Then I'm going to look for that Hero fellow and throw him overboard, and say "Start swimming wise guy!"
Ok, time to pack.
I'm hoping for some signal while cruising so I can blog and post pics.
If not, this is the last you will hear from me until two Mondays from today.
Ps: I'm also packing a pocket-chainsaw, because Leonardo almost didn't make it when he was handcuffed downstairs and couldn't cut that chain! I'm not taking any chances.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Remember this face. Some day it's going to be on T-shirts and cartoons and everybody will want to use it as their avatar.
Oh wait! That day has arrived, and it's today! (well technically tomorrow, unless you're reading this on Saturday, in which case it would be yesterday.)
This is the leader of the ANC Yoot Lig. Of course you already knew that.
His name is Julius Malema, but we like to call him Juju.
Our country's heroes have come up through the struggle ranks having being beaten, jailed, exiled and tortured in order to gain the freedom we currently enjoy as South Africans.
Years later there was a little boy who failed Matric and got 20% for woodwork, and decided that these credentials were sufficient to lead the youth of our beautiful land forward in the struggle heading into the 21st century. Juju has been a leader of exemplary standing. He has looked north in the direction of our neighbours and applauded the sterling work being done by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF henchmen. I always wondered what PF stood for, until I Googled it and found out it meant "Presidential Fucktards".
Juju has his hand firmly grasped on the seat of power within the ANC junior ranks, so firmly grasped in fact that he was recently diagnosed with Tendernitis. An acute inflammation of the monetary passage. He has visions of some day replacing Jacob Zuma as Head Of State. A prospect so daunting it's mere mention sends our Stock Exchange into a downward spiral.
There's a beautiful story of Julius and his meeting with the Pope a few years back.
The Pope and Julius Malema were on the same stage in front of a huge crowd.
The Pope leaned toward Julius and said "Do you know that with one little wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display, like that of your followers, but it will go deep into their hearts and they will forever speak of this day and rejoice!"
Julius looked at the Pope and replied, "I seriously doubt that. You can make them wild with joy just with one little wave of your hand? Show me."
So the Pope slapped him....
I guess the guy just has a way of putting his foot in his mouth every time he opens it.
I've travelled and lived abroad and can honestly say that I have never come across any politician in the world who has a knack for getting more and more people to detest and ridicule him every chance they get. George W. Bush comes close, but I think Juju would still beat George in a showdown for most ridiculous politician.
A friend of mine told me about Julius Malema drinking water from a fountain in the centre of the city. An official happened to walk by and stopped to tell him, "Hey, kyk hier. Moenie daai water drink nie! Daar's bollie en poop in die water!" So Julius looked at the official and said "I'm Julius Malema. Speak English you bloody bastard agent!" and the guy replied, "Oh sorry Sir. I was just saying you must use two hands, you can drink more like that."
He could very well be leader of our nation some day, and for that reason I will refrain from making jokes about him. I don't want to end up buried in cement under a statue of the guy somewhere in Melrose Arch some time in the future. Speaking of statues, I heard recently that he wanted to learn more about other cultures and societies within the country. He was taken on a tour of Chinatown in Johannesburg, where he met with some of the Asian cultural leaders. They took him on a tour of their historic buildings, one of which included the Chinese Museum.
He came across a statue of a Bhuddist monk and leaned on it, breaking the arm.
The Chinese were horrified, and shouted "Thats a 500 year old statue you just broke!"
To which Julius replied "Oh thank God! I thought it was a new statue."
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I never really wrote about it before because my friends, family, total strangers and my legal team all advised me against it, citing the libel and defamation of character legal cases that would be opened against me.
It's only this year that this became a mute point, as my bank balance after the recession means I no longer have anything to lose by being sued. That Happy Meal fund I once kept in a trust account has now been exhausted, and I can finally throw caution to the wind.
For thousands of years, (millions if you count the dinosaurs who were religious), men and mammals have been roaming this earth and doing the most basic thing all men do: eating! (Sex will be discussed in a later post.)
When fire was discovered in 12BC (give or take a few thousand years), man (and by man I mean human beings, which includes women too) realized that adding heat to meat resulted in a sensory orgasm to the taste buds. You can only imagine what Marco Polo's journey to the East and subsequent discovery of spices in India did to the average Europeans palate!
Moving ahead 675 years, a guy by the name of Bilal arrived aboard the Dromedaris as a slave labourer in Durban, and worked the sugar-cane fields of what is now known as KwaZulu Natal.
When his cousins, uncles and 429 other immediate relatives disembarked and set up home in the Natal South Coast, predominantly in areas such as Stanger, Verulam and Chatsworth, Bilal soon realized that they were going to have a huge dinner problem that night since no women were imported from India on the same ship.
By 8pm that evening, the entrepreneurial and resourceful Bilal had set up the very first Muslim-owned fast-food outlet: Bilals Bunny Chows.
Nobody knows why or how the term "Bunny Chow" was coined, but rumour has it there was a rabbit and a Chinamen involved somewhere.
Some time in the early 70's, two mercurial friends from vastly different backgrounds were discussing the success stories of members of their respective faiths.
Saeed, a devout Muslim who owned a fabric store in the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg, and who was renowned for selling his cloth cheaper than Rajeev Patel in India who owned the factory which made the material and sold it to Saeed; and Avraham Ben-Zion, an orthodox Jew from Norwood in Johannesburg who's family sold Hazmat suits to the emergency services sector.
Saeed and Avraham were discussing the booming fast-food industry in South Africa, and contemplated how they could best capitalize on this growing segment. During their discussions, Avraham mentioned Kashrus Beth Din and how this single body certified all kosher food as being fit for Jewish consumption, and how fantastic it was that this non-profit organization provided a much-needed service to consumers, manufacturers and retailers alike.
Saeed was astounded. Partly at the remarkable effort involved in such an operation, partly at the immense trust and faith that would be required by all parties involved, but mostly he was astounded that the notorious money-hoarding Jews hadn't yet figured out a way of making money off this crucial service!
Our intrepid entrepreneur knew that the combination of fear to consumers and potential losses to the industry was sufficient armour with which to battle and divide the sheep. The time was ripe to fleece the people, and he would rely on sheer ingenuity by pulling the wool over their eyes!
Fast-forward twenty years and Saeed was now wealthy and mighty beyond numbers and words. He was so wealthy in fact, that the mere mention from this Halaal certifying deity that a certain business had not been verified by him, was sufficient to see the business lose loyal support and ultimately close down!
He was so wealthy and mighty that the mere mention that he had not verified Sheikh Haji Mohammed Ebrahim Kareem as being Muslim, and hence the samoosas made by Sheikh Haji Mohammed Ebrahim Kareems wife, Aalima Bibi Fathima Nawaab Rasool, could not be verified as being Halaal, was sufficient to prevent the entire Muslim population from buying any samoosas made or sold by this humble family.
Forgotten were the days when the Muslim society would walk into a store, greet the owner or manager cordially and inquire as to the Halaal status of the food served, and upon being satisfied, sit down to a hearty meal.
Forgotten were the days when people would share a common trust, and there was honour between buyer and seller.
Saeed in his brilliant shrewdness had devised a way in which trust and honour were replaced by fear and uncertainty.
He had found a loophole that the Jews in their mastery of all things capitalist had overlooked.
He had found a way to make the Muslim nation fear the unknown, and to charge manufacturers and suppliers and retailers to appease those fears!
Saeed had a vision where one day, every product made and manufactured, would carry the stamp of his Halaal certifying authority, and each stamp would come at a price. It would be like owning your own money-printing press! He would compete with the Reserve Bank to see who could print money faster!
By the turn of the 21st century, Saeed was making so much money, he was regarded by most as God's Banker. He was charging to certify everything and anything as being Halaal, even shoes and clothes! The depth of gullibility of the South African Muslim knew no limits. They were being led to the slaughterhouse like blind sheep. Nobody questioned. Not even when Saeed declared the most idiotic items as being unfit for Muslim consumption, simply because the manufacturer or supplier was not willing to pay him his extortion fee!
Reactionary groups were quickly formed to object to Saeeds business practices, but not with the intention of shutting him down. Instead they were furious that Saeed was not sharing the proceeds of his extortion. Within 10 years there were more Halaal certifying authorities springing up all over the country.
They had realized that the old business adage "where there are sheep there will always be a need for shepherds" would hold true for many more years, probably until Jesus came back to earth.
Avraham Ben-Zion watched in awe as such a simple act of enjoying a meal, buying a shoe or garment, or even breathing, had been turned into a racketeering and extortionist enterprise by Saeed. He couldn't believe that an entire religious society comprising doctors, lawyers, academics and professors could be so easily duped into believing that they had to pay for the right to trust.
Many years later, Avraham Ben-Zion bumped into Saeed at a local Mochacho's Chicken Outlet. The two sat down to a hearty meal and Avraham finally asked Saeed the question that had been burning inside of him for over forty years : How much is enough Saeed?
Saeed raised his gaze and smiled at Avraham.
"Until they wake up my friend, and realize the truth. Until they wake up."
Avraham sat in disbelief as Saeed detailed each new certification, and how he thought "I'll try this one on them, push the envelope, and see if they wake up." Each time the masses willingly followed. He certified fruit, and they followed. He certified water, and they followed. He certified shoes, and they followed. He certified jackets and clothing, and they followed. He certified items which had absolutely nothing to do with consumption, and yet they followed.
Every manufacturer and supplier and retailer of every product in the world was paying Saeed to place his stamp of approval on their merchandise, simply to settle the fear of the Muslim buyer that the product was Halaal, or approved for their use.
Then he outlined his plan for total domination!
He was in the process of certifying air. The very air we breath.
"Surely they will not fall for this!" Avraham Ben-Zion exclaimed.
"Surely, you would think... but they have fallen for every other idiotic idea so far, haven't they?" Saeed answered.
An empire built on the fear and belief that everything made for either consumption or use, surely contains pig fat or traces of pork, unless Saeed or his merry henchmen say otherwise.
The quote from the good book mentions neither Saeed nor any "Halaal Certifying Authority"...
On a side-note, Bilals Bunny Chows currently has over 650 outlets nationwide, second only to MacDonalds.
None of them certified as Halaal by Saeed.
On a personal note, whenever I see any of the signs below on any item I intend purchasing, I always wonder how much extortion fee's the manufacturer had to pay for the stamp of approval. Then I buy the one which doesn't have the stamp.
Being gullible and unable to use your brain to figure out right from wrong unless someone tell's it to you, is against mine.
Monday, November 8, 2010
For those that don't know, I own a commercial property maintenance company, and also a construction company. It's the former that allows me the opportunity to meet all these interesting people on any given day.
This past week was no different.
The maintenance manager at a company we started a project at on Monday called me in the morning to confirm a few things. I happened to be driving when he called, and we chatted about the project schedule.
This is a transcript of the tail-end of the conversation.
Me: Right then, so everything is on track.
Him : Yes. Now do you have a pepa?
Me: A pepa? What's a pepa?
(At this point I was suffering from extreme anxiety as I thought he was speaking about a tool or machine which I didn't know about)
Him : A pepa man, a pepa!
Me : (still highly confused)
What do I need this pepa for?
Him : To write down a phone number on!
*They live amongst us*
If this was just the start of my week, I hoped it would only get better.
Aah, that wonderful word "Hope".
On Tuesday I was back at my Italian clients place. I wrote about her here.
She's very hot as you would expect an Italian woman to be, and she's extremely friendly. So I mentioned her to my crazy inner-circle on Twitter, and they insisted I take a picture of her on my camera-phone. Easy when you're taking a pic of a house you want to buy or a car you think is awesome, maybe even of a cute puppy in your neighbours yard. Not so easy when you're trying to take the pic of someone standing less than a metre away from you, with sweaty palms.
Needless to say, I took out my Blackberry and my first attempt was hopeless. The second attempt was a blurry shot of her foot. My final attempt did'nt get very far because she turned around as I zoomed in on her butt, and I would have been caught blushing with embarrassment had it not been for my quick thinking. I told her the insurance company required me to take as many pics as possible, and I left it at that.
So to my Twitter inner-circle (you Twits know who you are), I say Thank You for a day I'd sooner forget.
Ps: This story is not intended to imply that I take random pics of my clients butts. It is meant as a lesson to other's never to fall for the charms of an Italian in tights, and most importantly, not everyone on Twitter is your friend!
On Friday night the missus and I decided to stay in and watch a movie. Sabreen wasn't feeling too great so we thought we'd order Pizza instead of the usual Fordsburg dinner followed by night-time shopping at the flea-market. I called the Pizza place and gave them my order. I asked how long before the delivery arrived and they said approximately 30 minutes.
Forty minutes later and with still no sign of food or scooter, I decided to call and find out how much longer I would have to wait before I started gnawing on my foot. The guy who answered the phone was not the same guy I had spoken to earlier. The previous guy's name was Peter. This new guy was called "Realization". I couldn't make this stuff up if I were armed with a bucket of mampoer and a cannabis joint the size of my arm!
This is the transcript of that call.
Me: Who am I speaking to?
Him : Its Realization Sir.
Me : Realization?
Him : Yes Sir. How may I help you?
Me : I placed an order 40 minutes ago. Do you realize it has not yet arrived.
Him : What is your address Sir?
Me : (Gives him address. Listens while he writes it down on a pepa.)
Him : I'm sorry Sir. The driver is back. He could not find your place.
Me : WHAT??!!! How could he not find the place? I gave him the address!!
(At this point my fury had overtaken my hunger)
Him : He said he could not find One Four Three.
Me : One Four Three? Who lives at One Four Three?
Him : It say's here on your order Sir. Two Large pizzas, Richard Street, for one Mr Kaloo, One Four Three.
Me : Good Lawd Realization! It's 2 large pizzas, and One For Free on your special, for Mr Kaloo, one Richard Street!
Him : Aah!. Oh? Aish.... Yoh, I'm sorry sir.
Me : Click!
*They live amongst us*
Just when you think you've met the daftest human being on the planet, along comes one who totally lowers the bar even further :)
How's this guy on Who Want's To Be A Millionaire?
I think he sets a new standard for the show.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
These are two of my favourite reality TV shows. More often than not though, they edit the best parts of these shows for whatever reason the suits think would make good viewing. Personally I think the more bloopers you aired, the more real the show would look and the more viewers you'd get.
Having said that, there's probably a valid reason I'm writing this sitting on my sofa in my lounge contemplating getting my butt up early in the morning to get to work, while those TV execs are probably out having a jolly good time on the private jet heading to their weekend homes.
This is a clip from The Amazing Race.
This is what reality TV is all about.
I'd like to think that I've watched almost every blooper video that's ever been uploaded onto Youtube.
Anyways, I thought maybe once every week I should post my video of the week.
Totally random, and sometime's it may even be totally nonsensical.
The best thing about blooper video's is that people are so great at screwing up and making ass's of themselves, I hardly have to put in much effort to look for some of these great clips.
Here's one from that bastion of blooperdom, Fox News.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Yes the announcement left thousands in shock and despair, but the fact of the matter is that it's a television program and it's all about the viewership.
I always suspected the show was rigged.
As soon as Elvis declared that he would be splitting the prize-money with Lloyd, as admirable and noble a gesture as it was, I changed the channel.
I'm sure he's a great guy and so is Lloyd, but if ever there was going to be a talking point about a talent contest, that has to be it.
I won't be at all surprised if MNet announces in the next few days that they have, in light of Elvis's generous decision, decided to give them both the same amount as prize-money. Watch this space.
I've said this on my Twitter (@kaloo5 ) and I'll say it again : Lloyd may be married to an Indian, but he definitely doesn't have any Indian in him!
If he did, there's no way he'd be sharing that prize-money with anybody,let alone make a deal like that with Elvis!
If an Indian dude won Idols,he's family would have half the prize-money invested in an education policy and the other half put toward his wedding before he even got off the stage!
I remember watching a season of Idols years ago where Gareth and Randall asked one of the contestants in the Auditions phase what he would do if he won Idols.
He sang really well and I honestly thought he stood a chance.
Then he blew it with his answer to the question : Something about giving a whole chunk to charity, and investing some, and then giving another whole chunk to charity.
The words hardly left his lips when the judges told him to leave.
That's honesty right there. The judges knew he was bullshitting and called him out on it.
Seriously now, as noble as it sounds, how many winners do you know give whole chunks of money to charity? You'd have a better chance of finding them drunk and high with hookers in a Formula1 Hotel a year down the line.
I'm not saying we shouldn't promise some of our winnings to charity, I'm just saying that people need to be sincere about it.
Nothing annoys me more than people who go on about charity and how much they would like to do, when at the present moment they're doing nothing at all!
Well done to Elvis and well done to Lloyd.
I have a feeling these two friends are going to do much better than our previous winners and runners-up respectively. Maybe even do a collaboration.
Ok, that's my rant for the evening.
Time to watch my team whip Bursaspor in the UEFA Champions League.
Glory Glory Man United!
No charity there! :)
Monday, November 1, 2010
Although it’s common for the current party of control to lose some seats in the mid-terms, the economic crisis has been severely damaging for President Obama and the Democratic Party and it looks quite possible at the moment that the Democrats could lose their command of the House of Representatives leading to a divided government.
Stranger things have happened before though, so it's quite possible that Social Media networks will once again trump Corporate Media, and the people's voices will be heard louder on Twitter & Facebook than corporates & big-business's voices on CNN & Fox News.
We live in truly exciting times, and I think tomorrow's elections in America may prove definitively the power shift from newspapers and television to social media networks.
With 225 million registered voters eligible to vote, it's certainly going to be interesting.
Quite frankly I don't know who the better of the two evils are, the Democrats or the Republicans, as I'm not informed enough to make a judgement. What I do know however is that the Republicans are knobs.
Ok so here's a small lesson in politics courtesy of myself.
Remember that my area's of expertise does include politics, but not the kind of politics which involve governments and politicians. Now that I've cleared that up, let's move on.
Some common phrases you may hear during the course of these elections, and possibly future elections in other countries as well:
Registered Voter : These are usually the guys you want on your side, unless you are George Bush's cousin and you live in Florida; in which case you'll probably want to sieve through these registered voters very carefully and remove Mexicans, Chinese and all prisoners.
Bipartisan : This can best be described as two parties being undecided about what to do with a drunken hooker they found upstairs during a house-party, and end up shagging her and agreeing not to tell anybody. Or in political terms, it's when two parties share a common goal. eg: Democrats and Republicans are hoping for a Bipartisan foreign policy.
Foreign Policy : A common word sprinkled about like tenders at an ANC conference, all politicians want to sound intelligent by talking about Foreign Policy. Locally, the term refers to the origin of a politicians suit or shoes. eg : Julius Malema has a very strong Italian Foreign Policy.
In American terms, Foreign Policy refers largely to which countries will be attacked/ colonized for the illegal acquisition of their natural resources, and also to which countries America will hop into bed with and turn a blind eye to regarding their Human Rights violations; with a view to strengthening trade agreements. In common terms, these would be countries America has a very flexible and relaxed Foreign Policy accord with, so relaxed in fact that the policy documents are in fact written by the bed-partner instead of America! eg: America's foreign policy with dictatorships and occupying nations may best be described as a case of "You sleep with my sister, & I'll sleep with yours. Heck I'll even sleep with mine. But if anyone asks, we're just friends, ok." Foreign Policy, like a loaf of bread, can be bought at a price.
Foreign Affairs : Not to be confused with Foreign Policy. Bill Clinton had no Foreign Policy on Monica Lewinsky, but he definitely did have a Foreign Affair with her. In a nutshell, this encompasses all affairs not conducted at home. Any affair which falls under the category of "Mistress", and not condoned by the wife, is deemed to be a Foreign Affair. In local politics, our ingenious leader Jacob Zuma chose to convert his Foreign Affairs departments into Home Affairs. Not a common solution, as too many Home Affairs taking place under one roof could ultimately lead to a Bipartisan Foreign Policy. (See above)
Trade Agreements : Usually one would need a very clear understanding of Capitalism in order to fully grasp the depth of this term. Basically, a Trade Agreement takes the place of either a unilateral or a bilateral format. Iraq for example would have a Unilateral Trade Agreement with America which in essence translates to "We shall steal your oil and sell it to our friends and cohorts, and you shall say Thank You." China on the other hand, having a permanent seat on the UN Security Council coupled with sufficient military clout and a dash of unstable madness, is in a Bilateral Trade Agreement with America. The crux of this agreement is simply "Dear America. We will sell you our products and materials since we already make everything sold in the world, and once every ten years we will buy MacDonalds burgers from you. Furthermore, you shall not question our Human Rights track record or policy, or else we will stop selling you the paper to make the boxes to put your MacDonalds burgers in. Let's not go into the issue of threatening us, because we will kick your arse. Ni Hao and Zai Jian."
Left Wing : Also referred to as the Leftists, this group supports social change and their goal is to create an egalitarian society.(Wikipedia: adj. asserting, resulting from or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, esp. in political, economic or social life)Think Greenpeace, Tree-Huggers and pretty much anyone who boycotted BP during the recent oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. If you're not sure which oil spill I'm referring to, close this page and click on Hannah Montana's Homepage. In local politics, your Leftists would be the Labour Unions headed by Zwelinzima Vavi and his sidekicks. Anyone wearing an ANC badge or who lives within 3 blocks of Julius Malema, Tokyo Sexwale or Cyril Ramaphosa would be the extreme opposite of a Leftist, and stands the risk of being mistaken for an investigative reporter and consequently shot.
Right Wing : Also referred to as Rightists, this group supports a free market system and worships Capitalism in all its forms. Synonymous with monarchs, aristocrats, nationalization and wanton greed. If the collective taxes of the people and corporations were put into a huge pile and converted into a mountain of food, these guys would be head of the Pig Trough gouging themselves until their gluttonous feasting resulted in "Fat Pig" syndrome. Then they would wake up and ask where the beer and alcohol was. In the meanwhile, the Leftists would be at the back of the queue trying to organize the line into women and children, then the poor and destitute, and finally the men. Remember the movie Titanic? The Rightist were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats, while the Leftists were trapped in the lower decks fighting for survival, or staying on board and playing the violin. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Capitalism. I love money more than most guys I know, and I love making money more than I love making love. (Ask my wife, she'll tell you!) It's your social responsibility and conscience that ultimately defines your position in front of the Pig Trough.
In it's most extreme form, the Right Wing consider themselves elitists and above all other classes and creeds. Think German skinheads and Russian Moscovite gangs, and of course the most Right Wing of all Right Wing groups, the Nazis.
West Wing : A television series not to be taken seriously, especially since it stars Rob Lowe.
That's todays episode of "Politics For Dummies."
Watch this space for updates and more educational posts on the subject.
I sat on the loo and turned the telly on (Yes yes, I have one in the Porcelain Palace) and there it was again, news on the ring around the sun, but no pics.
I traipsed into the shower and on the Radio-On-A-Rope all the callers were talking about the end of the world and how the ring around the Sun signified doomsday.
So I finally decided to check out the Sun for myself and I must admit I was suitably impressed.
It looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. I stood there waiting for Bruce Willis or Will Smith to arrive by helicopter, take my Fruit-Loop cereal out of my hands, and tell me that everything was going to be OK.
Neither of them arrived, but my Blackberry saved the day (and the planet) by informing me via Google that what I was looking at was called a Sundog.
Something about ice crystals and sunlight and reflections blah blah woof woof.
So I took the liberty of posting these pics, taken from News24, for my international visitors, so that you too may have a glimpse of the awesomeness us Joburgers woke up to.