Whale meat again …

“More than 120 pregnant whales were slaughtered in the latest Japanese whale hunt in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, reigniting calls for Australia to step up efforts to stop the annual killing spree. A further 114 immature whales were killed as part of Japan’s so-called “scientific” whaling program. Japan’s summer hunt stretches into Australian whale sanctuaries.” – News reports.
Here’s a column I wrote eight years ago.
JAPAN, Norway and Iceland have killed more than 30 000 great whales since 1986. And if you think that’s good news, wait until you hear this.
A new deal being negotiated behind closed doors could see a lot more whale meat on our plates come dinner time. To be honest, I haven’t sunk my teeth into a decent southern right steak since I was a child. As a special treat my mother would buy us whale meat. I remember it clearly. It came in a yellow box with a caricature of a blue whale on the front. The whale was spouting and grinning. It might even have been winking. It was the happiest whale I had ever seen. It was the only whale I had ever seen.
At some point I discovered that this tasty cetacean snack was meant as pet food. Thanks, mom.
I had no idea where the whale in my sarmies came from. I tried asking my mother the other day but she recently adopted a position of denying everything and it was hard enough getting her to acknowledge that she had a son at all. I never thought to enquire about the origins of my lunch at the time. I was just happy to have something to eat, even if it was cat food.
Then, one day, whale was no longer served in my house. I can’t remember what replaced it. Tortoise, probably. It was the end of an era. I lost 180kgs and girls stopped asking to see my blowhole.
The whaling station on the Bluff shut down in 1975 – 70 years after Jacob Egeland, the Norwegian consul in Durban, and his sidekick Johan Bryde, formed the South African Whaling Company. If you think the beachfront smells bad today, you don’t want to know what it was like when the Scandinavians were up to their elbows in sperm whale.
In their first year they harpooned 106 of the brutes. Always eager to please, a pod of whales got together off Umhlanga and voted to name themselves after Bryde, who they had grown particularly fond of as a result of his remarkably good aim. A clean head shot, every time. Whales appreciate this sort of attention to detail.
Meanwhile, a group of jersey-wearing jellyfish on the International Whaling Commission is at this very moment conniving with powerful interests who are just as comfortable with flensing knives as they are with numbered bank accounts.
For the first time since 1986, commercial whaling is poised to make a comeback and every budding Cap’n Ahab out there is dusting off his old harpoon and getting ready to sail for the Southern Ocean.
The carnage should be spectacular.
Speaking of large mammals, did you know that 50% of South African girls aged 15 to 19 are overweight and 30% obese? Boys waddle in at 29 and nine percent respectively.
Parents need to get their kids onto some kind of programme. I can recommend a good weight-loss tape. It’s called duct tape. You stick it over their big fat mouths.
28 March 2010
 
And here’s a letter I wrote to the Japanese ambassador seventeen years ago.
Dear Ambassador,
I see that one of your government officials has described Minke whales as the “cockroaches of the sea”. I could not agree more. Dirty great things cluttering up the ocean. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Unlike land-based cockroaches, they at least don’t fly at your head when you least expect it. Getting struck in the face by an airborne Minke could ruin a good day’s fishing.
The Minke are vermin. Scum of the seas. They are forever lying there half-submerged waiting for unsuspecting yachts to come along. Many a sailor has cursed the smirking Minke while watching his boat sink. They are also far too big. Any fish that weights fifteen tons is a freak of nature. They upset the feng shui of the ocean and deserve to die.
I cannot understand why the members of the International Whaling Commission refuse to lift the ban on commercial hunting. We don’t even need them. They scoff all the shrimp and wallow about idly belching from their blowholes. And the whales are no better.
It was pure genius on the part of your government to tell the world that you are only catching Minke whales for “scientific research”. There is, after all, so much to learn from a dead whale. Made any exciting new discoveries lately.
By research, you presumably mean men in white coats inspect the meat as it is chopped into 1kg blocks and sold to fish and chip shops around Japan. Given the fact that 2500 tons of blubber are consumed in your country every year, I find it remarkable that there are so few fat Japanese. Do you feed it all to your sumo wrestlers?
As you know, whale season here in the Western Cape is around the corner. In fact, a few Southern Rights have already been spotted in False Bay. An old hand-held harpoon has been in my family for generations and I’ve been thinking of giving it a whirl. If I manage to bag a medium-sized aquatic cockroach, I can have it transported to the embassy in no time at all. What do you say to a thousand rand a ton? Translate that into yen and you’ve got a damn fine deal.
In the meantime, here’s R10 in “development aid”. Use it wisely.
Let’s stamp out the whales!
Yours truly,
Ben Trovato
 
A few days later, the First Secretary of the Embassy replied.
He basically said they’d love to chat about the subject but that “it would be somewhat difficult to do so if one’s opinion is based on inaccurate information”. I assumed he was talking about me. This was followed by a pack of lies about their “scientific research”.
And my R10 was returned. “We are, unfortunately, not in a a position to accept the attached donation as the Government of Japan does not allow any of its bodies to accept any form of donation as worthy as it may be.”
whaleben

Raiding the municipal piggy bank

Our shiny new president is so far proving a much safer bet than the previous model, which was about as trustworthy as a Ford Kuga on a hot day. Jacob Zuma’s tendency to burst into song rather than flames disappointed many South Africans over the years.
This week, Squirrel Ramaphosa announced in parliament that he would be donating half his salary to a fund managed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. People who are too mean to even tip car guards are asking why only half. Why not his entire salary. Be reasonable. The man has a net worth of R6.4-billion. That’s pathetic compared to Nicky Oppenheimer’s R92-billion.
In other happy news, cadre deployment has proved to be a massive success as councillors and mayors around the country outdo themselves once again. Two years ago, irregular expenditure by municipalities increased by over 50% to R16-billion. However, rising to the challenge in the last financial year, they managed to boost irregular expenditure by an impressive 75%. They probably had outside assistance, but still, it couldn’t have been easy. You don’t just squander and loot that much money overnight. It takes … well, it takes a year, apparently.
I remember having friends who worked for the Durban municipality. While it was nothing to be terribly proud of, it wasn’t anything to be deeply ashamed of either. It was a way to earn beer money and stay out of trouble during the day. None of them ever rocked up at the jol in a new Ferrari or went from living in a bachelor flat to a five-bedroomed house overnight. I’m sure there was corruption at the municipality back then, but none of my mates ever benefitted from it. Too honest? Too stupid? Hard to say.
Come 2018 and auditor-general Kimi Makwetu says in the past year there’s been R28-billion in irregular expenditure among the 257 municipalities assessed by his office. Few people reading this will be able to grasp the concept of R28-billion. Think of it this way – for that kind of money, you’d be able to fill 400 swimming pools with Johnnie Walker Black. That’s enough to keep every man, woman and child drunk for three straight months.
Every year for the last five years the auditor-general has called a press conference and begged municipalities to take action. And every year they take this as a challenge to squander and steal even more money than they did the previous year.
The Eastern Cape, that glittering jewel in the provincial firmament, once again did the expected and walked away with R13.5-billion of the total amount wasted. That’s a solid 35% of the province’s budget. Taking the individual title was the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, incurring an impressive R8.1-billion in irregular expenditure. Another Eastern Cape municipality‚ OR Tambo District, put in a sterling effort but had to settle for second best with R3-billion wasted, lost and stolen.
Fifteen Eastern Cape municipalities are in “distress”, whatever that means. I get distressed if I run out of beer on a Sunday. Eighty municipalities in the Free State are on the brink of collapse. Me too, if I get to the shebeen before it closes.
Third to ninth positions on the roll of dishonour were filled by the city of Tshwane, the hellholes of Rustenburg and Ngaka Modiri Molema District in the North West, the eternally appalling Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Buffalo City Metro and the scintillating metropolis of Madibeng.
Rounding out the list of most not-wanted municipalities and squeaking into the top ten was tiny Moretele in the North West province, punching above its weight with a cheeky R557-million worth of irregular expenditure.
All ten have made the list for the last three years running. If employees had shown that kind of commitment and dedication in their day jobs, who knows … ah, hell. What’s the point.
Meanwhile, refusing to be outdone, not a single municipality in the Free State, North West and Limpopo received a clean audit. Not one. It was probably orchestrated. That way nobody could be held up as a shining example to the others. No one likes a shining example. It just makes the rest of us look bad.
Standing upwind from the others, awkwardly shuffling their shiny goody two-shoes and trying not to look overly righteous, are the 33 municipalities that got clean audits. Coming as a surprise to exactly nobody, most of them are in the Western Cape. The other 224 rotting municipalities remain curled up in the foetal position whimpering, “Go away. It wasn’t me.”
Here’s another fun fact. Almost two out of three municipalities filed financial statements and performance reports so unintelligible and flawed that they might as well have been written in Aramaic on Wimpy serviettes.
And two out of three municipalities are dysfunctional while 87 need “urgent intervention”. They also need bigger cars, more overseas travel and better quality chicken wings, but time is money and both are running out fast.
The auditor-general must loathe his job. Every year since 2013 he gets up and repeats the same sad story and issues the same old warnings and taxpayers murmur and mutter darkly while the minister du jour says something really must be done and that’s it for another year.
Makwetu said that in 2015/16, 61% of municipalities made no attempt to even investigate his reports of wholesale malfeasance and mayhem. I’m not especially surprised by this. If my mates were robbing the company and giving me a cut and someone came along and said something’s not right and asked me to look into it, I’d stare him in the eye, shake his hand firmly and, once he’d gone, get the lads around to my house for a whiskey and tell them to step up the pace.
Makwetu also said the “audit environment” in which teams had to work had become more hostile. Yes, I expect it would in provinces where whistle-blowers and political adversaries are routinely found in remote areas suffering from an unexpected shortness of life.
Meanwhile, my hometown Durban took Worst Transgressor honours in the dodgy tender department after it was found that eThekwini municipality had awarded contracts to 377 fraudulent suppliers. This, compared to Johannesburg’s 80 and Cape Town’s paltry 68.
The audit was interrupted when the auditor-general’s team received death threats from someone who has clearly been using the supply chain department as his private ATM.
This is why I love Durban. There’s no beating around the bush, and god knows there’s plenty of bush and no shortage of beatings. But we don’t just kill people if we don’t like what they’re doing. We’re not animals, you know. We threaten to kill them first. It’s the Christian thing to do. If they don’t listen, then we kill them. Fair play to us, mate.
Durban mayor Zandile Gumede said the city was committed to clean governance and promised to find out who has been threatening who with what. Two days later, Gumede declined to comment on reports that the Hawks are investigating her for fraud, corruption and money laundering.
Thuma mina. With a baseball bat.
breakingthebank

A Letter to Kallie Kriel, Caucasian-in-Chief of AfriForum

Hello Oom Kallie. How is it going with Oom? Is it okay with Oom if I call Oom Oom? I believe it is a mark of respect in our culture, although if someone calls me Oom I want to punch him in the mouth. Maybe there is something wrong with us. When I say us, I mean we English-speakers. Not we white people. There is nothing wrong with white people. This is a well-known fact. Even scientists have proven that God chose white people as his number one race.
I just love being white. Don’t you? It’s the best colour. You can wear anything with it and never have to worry about your broeks clashing with your hemp. By hemp I am obviously referring to the marijuana that many young white people carry around in colourful fabric bags these days. Does Oom smoke boom? I hear it is very good for the cancer and also the appetite. Is it true all the Boer generals smoked it and that is why the Third Boer War never took off? Too much sitting around chatting and laughing. Still. It’s probably a good thing otherwise we’d all be speaking Australian today.
Congratulations on your recent tour of America, a country that until recently was enemy territory for you. Now that our hero Donald Trump has made the White House white again, America can once more take its rightful place in the world. Blood and soil, Oom. Blood and soil.
You even got a meeting with the US Agency for International Aid. That would never have happened while the Kenyan antichrist was president. Did they give you money? I bet they did. You should use it to stock up on dog food. When the genocide moves from the farms to the suburbs, you are going to need lots of dogs. As you know, darkies are more scared of dogs than they are of white people. You can thank democracy for that.
I could hardly believe my ears when President Ramaphosa said you and the man who plays Chewbacca to your Han Solo, Robin to your Batman, Donkey to your Shrek, Gollum to your Frodo, Tonto to your Lone Ranger, Gromit to your … whoops. Where was I? Yes. Ramaphosa said that instead of trying to mobilise the international community against your own country, you and Ernst Roets should “come back home for inclusive dialogue”.
Sounds familiar. You probably remember better than I the day that Zulu King Dingane invited Piet Retief and some of his men around for a spot of inclusive dialogue, then shouted, “Bulalani abathagathi!” The Voortrekker leader said, “Two sugars please,” but it wasn’t the right response and they were all killed. If you don’t understand Zulu, Oom Kallie, now would be a good time to learn.
Speaking of which, you need to get your sidekick to change the title of his self-help book. Kill the Boer sounds too much like advice. South Africans take things literally, especially the illiterate ones.
I’m not sure I agree with you that the government is complicit in farm murders. Bludgeoning is heavy work and you’d be hard pressed to find a civil servant prepared to lift a finger, let alone a blunt instrument, for less than six figures and a promise of jobs for at least five members of his family.
I must admit to being a little curious about your strategy for getting the government to reverse plans and policies that might level the playing field and nudge Afrikaners off their perch as apex predators. I’m talking purely in the financial sense, here. I don’t mean Afrikaners go around biting people’s legs off, even though they do share some characteristics of that other apex predator, the great white shark. As you know, most Afrikaners have electroreceptors on their foreheads, much like the white shark has the ampullae of Lorenzini on their snouts. If you stroke them, their mouths fall open and they go into a kind of trance, rendering them quite harmless. By the time they come to their senses, some may find their land has been expropriated without compensation.
Warn your people, Oom. Warn them not to let strangers stroke them on the forehead. By strangers I think we both know who I mean. And there’s nothing more strange in this world than people who aren’t white. Am I right? Of course I am. It’s no coincidence that white rhymes with right. Those people what wrote the dictionary knew what they were doing.
Your organisation – which I’m guessing stands for Afrikaners For Umbrage – only has a couple of hundred thousand members. Even though your motto is, “Laat jou stem hoor”, which apparently means, “Let your guns sound with the roar of a thousand lions”, I can’t see how you can take us back to the good old days through a campaign of righteous Christian violence. Not with those numbers. And certainly not without the help of the police and army. They won’t even help normal people, let alone you guys.
Thing is, I have heard talk among white people, or, as some communities affectionately call us, whypeepo, of a growing discontent within the ranks. The ranks being mostly bikers, diesel mechanics and others unfamiliar with the ways of the common apostrophe. They use cryptic phrases like, “Wait. It’s coming. You will see.” I never ask what it is that’s coming, finding it safer to lower my eyes and back away slowly.
The truth is, Oom, I am a bit of a coward. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not a leftie or a liberal. I am just a simple coward. I know I should be standing shoulder to shoulder with you and Solidarity and the Suidlanders and Dan Roodt and the people who only sing the uit die diepte van ons hemelpart of the anthem at the rugby, but I also know that we are heavily outnumbered and I don’t want to have to fight my way through forty million black people only to get to Simon’s Town and find the last boat has left.
There is a good chance I am wrong because I have been married twice and know all about being wrong, but I would sleep easier at night knowing that Steve Hofmeyr and Julius Malema might one day marry were it not for their height rather than their political differences. Is that wrong? Do I need an exorcism?
This crazy dream of mine is unlikely to come true as long as you keep saying that apartheid was not a crime against humanity. I do agree with you, though. Puffy pants and rhinestone studded denim jackets were a crime against humanity. Having the barman put Pepsi instead of Coke into your brandy is a crime against humanity. But apartheid? Okay, sure. It couldn’t have been much fun not being allowed to visit the beach or a park or cinema, theatre or restaurant, but they had things we didn’t have. Lots of brothers and sisters, for a start. And they weren’t forced to go to school. Or the army. Not a bad life at all.
As you pointed out, the security forces only killed around 700 people while the National Party was running the show. Hardly a crime against humanity. On a good day, the Israelis take care of that many Palestinians before lunch.
And apartheid wasn’t our fault, either. There would have been none of that business in this beautiful country if there had been no black people to start with. But we have forgiven them for making us do the apartheid and it is time they stopped talking about it.
Actually, Oom, there’s something called the Rome Statute that recognises apartheid as a crime against humanity. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking of the marble statute of that kaalgat oke David with the little willy and wondering how a statute can recognise anything.
You and many of your followers are doubly blessed. Not only are you members of the master race but you are also beneficiaries of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This is what the darkies must mean by white privilege.
Anyway, Oom Kallie, I must go and find my passport in case of the genocide. If the airports are closed, I will see you at the harbour.
Steve:Julius

And with a lick of her lips, she started to strip (her moer)

Dear Mmusi Maimane, Bleeder of the Opposition.
Congratulations on finally getting rid of your mayor in Cape Town. Patricia de Lille is extremely dangerous and I’m not saying that just because she is a woman. She was born in Beaufort West, for heaven’s sake. It was only a matter of time before she started selling crack and bludgeoning councillors with her mayoral chain.
You’ve had a rough time of it lately. There will always be barbarians banging at your gate, but more worrying is the enemy that lurks within. The old Democratic Party should never have allowed the New National Party to wheel its Trojan horse into what is now your house. Not your fault. You were fresh out of school at the time. Sometimes I forget how young you are.
You addressed a rally on Freedom Day and made the rookie mistake of suggesting that white privilege was getting in the way of ending black poverty and needed to be addressed. This might have gone down with the great unwashed, but not no much with some of the senior members of your party. By senior I obviously mean white.
Your remarks struck a jarring chord with your silver-tongued shadow minister of public enterprises, Natasha Mazzone, who held up her father as an example of why not all whites were privileged. You’ll be familiar with her tweet but here it is again, just to give you one more sleepless night. “My father arrived from Naples in Italy, he was dark, and could not speak English or Afrikaans, but he was a great chef. He built himself up from nothing to make a good life for his family.”
She has a point. I remember seeing the signs along Durban’s beachfront in the 1980s, “Whites Only – No Blacks or Italians”. It was a struggle for those Napoleons, or whatever the hell people from Naples are called. A new kid appeared in my grade eight class after the second term and didn’t seem to speak any language at all. I liked him. A couple of days later the history teacher threatened to kill him if he didn’t provide his name. It was Giovanni Aquavelva or something. The teacher excused himself and ten minutes later the alarm went off and everyone ran outside into what appeared to be some sort of police ambush. The last I saw of Giovanni he was being carried off in the jaws of an Alsatian dog. He’s probably still trying to get his matric at a school in KwaMashu.
Not being able to speak English or Afrikaans clearly counted in the Mazzone patriarch’s favour. Whoever hired him and helped him on his way to becoming a great chef must’ve mistaken him for a well-tanned mute from Margate. If word had got out that he was Italian, he would have been lucky to find work at the Soshanguve Wimpy.
There seems to be a pattern here, comrade. May I call you comrade? I know the honorific is generally reserved for active members of the league of revolutionaries, but as a white man I find it prudent to call all black people ‘comrade’. Unlike AfriForum, some of us think it a bad idea to continue hammering nails into our own coffin.
But getting back to the pattern. Most of your problems seem to be caused by women. Who among us can forget Lindiwe whats-her-name who claimed to have been human trafficked into the DA and was eventually granted asylum by Harvard University?
You also tried to muzzle your predecessor, Helen Zille, who seems to have developed either a drinking problem or a thinking problem. She does have her moments of lucidity, but then gets onto Twitter and all hell breaks loose.
Then you had Dianne Kohler Barnard sharing a Facebook post by a flaming cockwomble who suggested that life in South Africa was better under the Fuhrer PW Botha.
And Phumzile van Damme resigned as the DA’s spokesperson earlier this year to spend more time “studying” and starting a “family”, which is political code for “I can’t be around these people any more”.
So, in the end, it was De Lille’s radio interview with Eusebius whats-his-face that enabled you to sever all ties with her. “I will walk away from the DA once I have cleared my name,” she said, recklessly violating section 3.5.1.2 of the party’s code of conduct.
Big mistake. Firing her on those grounds, that is. What you should have done is gone around to her house with a baseball bat and made it clear that even if she did succeed in clearing her name, she wouldn’t be walking anywhere anytime soon. You want to leave the DA? Fine. But you’re gonna have to crawl on broken legs, baby. Get Mazzone’s people to do it. They know. Then again, Mazzone and almost everyone in your party has a lot to learn about Omerta. If there’s one thing the DA could benefit from, it’s the Mafia’s code of silence. Do your people ever shut up? Even the president is with me on this.
Because nobody really knew why you wanted De Lille out so badly, the charge sheet was released this week. It seemed a bit limp, to be honest. I’ve been accused of way more serious stuff over the years and have never been asked to leave anything apart from a couple of pubs and one or two marriages.
There was this one thing, though. She had a meeting with a certain Anthony Faul in December 2012 in which he demonstrated a device that would automatically put out shack fires. According to Faul, De Lille later appeared to resent the fact that he would be making R10-million out of the deal and strongly recommended that he give her half. Stupidly, he refused and that was the end of that.
If you can prove just this one charge, Mmusi, the Patricia problem will go away. Possibly for fifteen years without the option of a fine.
People say the DA is misreading the mood of the voters. They are only half right because fifty percent of your voters are preoccupied with menstruating and menopausing and you’d be a fool to guess what kind of mood they might be in. As for the men, well, it’s hard to say. When South African men get in a mood, they don’t necessarily blame their political party and change sides. They might murder their wives and girlfriends or drag the family off to Perth, but it would take more than a palace coup in the mayoral chambers to get them to vote for the ANC.
Besides, a thundering tsunami of fresh crises and scandals will crash down on us between now and next year’s elections. The dogs will keep barking for as long as the caravans keep coming and going. It’s when the dogs fall silent that we need to start worrying.
Speaking of baying hounds, I see the media has begun turning on you almost en masse. I can’t understand it. You were their darling for years. It’s becoming increasingly clear that you need a big move, and the sooner the better.
I suggest you declare the DA a guerrilla movement and start wearing camouflaged battledress. Get yourself a pair of aviator sunglasses and a beret. No, not a beret. A top hat. Instead of going to the bush, you hole up in the coffee shops. There’s a fabulous steampunk outfit in central Cape Town called Truth. The baristas look like insouciant rebels who travel through time and, best of all, they’re black. It’s perfect for your headquarters. You could be the Jonas Savimbi of our time, but better dressed, more eloquent, clean-shaven, slimmer around the hips and, when things get tough, you reach not for an AK-47, but for a mug of gourmet home-roasted coffee. In no time at all, you’d win back the white voters you’ve lost in the past few weeks.
By the way, condolences on what President Ramaphosa did to you in parliament the other day. “We will be the first to defend Mmusi Maimane against those in his own party who deny racial inequality,” said the wily coyote. It was like handing a thirsty man a poisoned chalice. Ancient tactic, divide and conquer. Instead of simply sitting there looking forlorn, you should’ve leapt to your feet and told him in no uncertain terms where he could stick his Machiavellian strategies.
On the other hand, we all welcome a kind word when days are dark and friends are few.
849x493q70Becs-DA-SONA

Gimme an issue …

It’s not easy, this column-writing lark.
Well, the actual writing is relatively easy. I’ve been doing it long enough not to have to pace up and down, kick the furniture and scream into the night every few minutes. I do that once just before I start and, if I’m still standing, again at the end.
The hard part is deciding what to write about. That’s a four-beer process right there. There’s no shortage of material, thanks to Twitter’s 24-hour willingness to spread its electronic butt cheeks and allow anyone off the street a glimpse into the alimentary canal of the world. It’s a modern day version of the freak show at Dickensian circuses, except it’s free. But it isn’t really. We don’t know it yet, but there’s a heavy price to be paid for having instant access to every happiness and horror this planet has to offer.
Anyway. Back to me. The difficulty lies in settling on a single issue – preferably one that won’t already have been thoroughly eviscerated by Sunday. The internet has created analysts and comedians out of everyone. It’s crowded out there. When something big happens, it’s a matter of minutes if not seconds before the ravening, babbling hordes descend, ripping and tearing, attacking and defending. I can either join the pack and try to say something that might not have already been said in a million different ways, or I can … well, there usually is no ‘or’.
Adding to the torment, I have had to borrow a laptop from a friend because the charger for my Macbook Pro stopped working a few minutes ago. I bought the charger from a Middle Eastern gentleman who runs a kiosk on the main road. I have replaced it five times in three months. I’m starting to think it might not be a genuine Apple product.
My friend’s laptop is not a Mac. It’s the other thing. It runs on Windows 7 and is loaded with Word 97. The cursor is jumpier than a kangaroo on crack and the track pad is like my ex-wife – it reacts badly to being touched. I never thought I’d hate Bill Gates for anything other than his wealth.
There is plenty to write about. For instance, Kanye West reckons the slaves who were brought to America have only themselves to blame for putting up with it for so long. If they’d read the small print in their contracts they would have seen the opt-out clause. They only have themselves to blame. So that story has been blown apart. I don’t have the stomach for it, anyway, because I’d have to mention Kanye’s wife which I have sworn never to do.
The Boy Scouts of America is changing its name after deciding to allow girls to join. This marks the beginning of the end of the world as we know it but I can’t get into it right now.
Closer to home, an idiot ex-pat from Britain got himself lightly mauled by what he thought was his pet lion. Having been hand-raised from birth, Shamba probably considered Mike Hodge a member of the pride – albeit a pretty pathetic one – and decided for whatever reason to teach him a lesson lion-style.
Hodge’s family described it as a double-tragedy. Indeed. Shamba was hand-reared and Shamba was shot. Those are the only two tragedies I can see.
The only humour in this story came from Field Marshall Floyd Shivambu who said in a tweet, “The whole thing of Caucasians callously killing our animals is out of order and unacceptable. The Brit acted stupidly & now our Lion, which responded acceptably and responsibly, is murdered! The animals, like all land, belongs to indigenous people of Africa and must be defended.” 
Someone I can usually trust suggested I write about an issue close to my heart. My thoughts turned to the great philanthropist, Lou Reed, who famously remarked on his 1978 Live: Take No Prisoners album, “Give me an issue, I’ll give you a tissue and you can wipe my ass with it.”
I imagine Lou was suffering from issue fatigue. That, and possibly too much heroin. There was a lot of it about in the late ’70s. A deeply sensitive man in his youth, Lou was clearly overwhelmed by the many issues of the day – the Vietnam war, Nixon, women’s rights, affirmative action, gay pride, mood rings, lava lamps, Sea Monkeys, pet rocks and that fucking Rubik’s cube.
When it comes to things close to my heart, clogged arteries are second only to the issues that jostle one another for attention, each crying out louder than the other, “Me! Me! Choose meeee!” until I can stand it no longer and bang my head against the floor until the voices die down.
Smoking. Now there’s an issue you can get your yellow teeth into. At some point you might even need a tissue to wipe the blood-flecked foam from your lips.
There’s a new law in the pipeline. If it gets passed, you won’t even be able to light up outside if other people are around. Cigarette vending machines will be banned and all those vaping hipsters will be treated like the vermin they are.
The government expects “push-back” from the tobacco industry. If you’re not a smoker, my advice is that you push them right back.
My mother died of lung cancer six years ago. She also had emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. A small price to pay for many happy years of smoking.
I stopped smoking a few years ago but the damage has been done. I can no longer run the 100m in under ten minutes. Thanks to the makers of Lexington, Chesterfield and Camel, I now have to drive if I want to travel that distance in a hurry.
There are few things in this world madder than repeatedly paying for something that delivers 321 dangerous chemicals directly into your lungs and blood stream without causing you to at least hallucinate or even stay awake for three days talking, laughing and having sex.
I don’t think smoking should be banned because I want to live in a world that affords people the greatest degree of freedom possible. But, as Charles Manson once said, with great freedom comes great responsibility.
When six people sit down at the table next to me and all light up at once, it’s like the death-eaters in Harry Potter have arrived. They are oblivious to my obvious signs of discomfort. One of these days I shall reach down their throats and rip out their diseased lungs, wring them into a bucket and use the tar to fill the potholes in my road.
fish