Orcas, Putin and the real Godzille

This pandemic malarkey is starting to get old. It’s all a bit 2020, really. Lockdown, schmockdown, right? Been there, done that. I mean, let’s be honest. When last were you shocked by any of the Covid-19 statistics or graphs trotted out each week by one or other government agency?

It’s been over a year and we’re bored. We need something new. If the media hope to keep our attention, they are going to have to come up with something altogether more captivating.

Hold on, what’s this? CNN is reporting that Russia’s developing something called the Poseidon 2M39 torpedo. This nuclear-powered beast is capable of carrying a multi-megaton warhead. Defence officials say it is designed to annihilate US coastal cities with radioactive tsunamis.

Yes! This is what I’m talking about. Regular tsunamis are one thing, but radioactive tsunamis! Now that’s something worth watching on the telly. I like to imagine that once Miami has been rendered even more uninhabitable than it already is, Vladimir Putin would appear shirtless on the back of an orca to survey the sheer awesomeness of his power.

While we’re waiting for climate change to melt more ice in the Arctic so that Vlad can create increasingly fabulous weapons of mass destruction, here are some other events I hope to see before the ANC’s internal squabbles finally drive me to pick up a pair of scissors and stab myself repeatedly in the eyes so that I never again have to read about them.

* Scientists at Wits University manage to successfully insert genes from the Melanorosaurus into Helen Zille’s genome. The Melanorosaurus lived in South Africa during the Late Triassic period, an era from which Zille draws many of her ideas. A herbivore with a large body and sturdy limbs, (the dinosaur, not Zille), Melanorosaurus means “Black Mountain Lizard” in ancient Greek. Analysts said the new species, Helenoboreus, meaning “White Beach Lizard”, could have a positive impact on the political landscape in that it wouldn’t be physically equipped for social media. It would, however, require its own seating arrangements in parliament and a fairly large salad bar.

* Researchers in the Transylvania region of central Romania discover a hairy-legged vampire bat that cures Covid-19. Patients infected with the coronavirus need to bite the bat and ingest at least 5ml of its blood. Side effects include an inexplicable desire to fight crime. The cured are advised to avoid joining the SA police as they will find themselves alone in their desire.

* Elon Musk renounces his American citizenship and moves to Gqeberha. He turns the Eastern Cape into a global powerhouse by growing and exporting the finest marijuana in the world. When police try to stop him, he buys the police. And then the army. Musk makes electric vehicles mandatory in the defence force. Eskom finally collapses and troops are issued with bicycles. Eswatini invades South Africa and two days later King Mswati moves into Mahlamba Ndlopfu and takes nine million new wives. Musk returns to America and is arrested as an illegal immigrant.

* To encourage creative thinking and a spirit of competition, the government abolishes salaries in the civil service and legalises the solicitation of bribes. Service delivery improves overnight.

* The conspiracy theorists are proven right about vaccines changing your DNA. Babies start being born with elephant trunks instead of noses. Old people begin barking like dogs. In Benoni, a diesel mechanic sprouts wings and flies out of his workshop and into a bus. 

* The Kraken turns out not to be fictitious and wakes on a Thursday afternoon off the coast of Norway. Half-crab, half-octopus, half-David Attenborough, it ambushes and kills the Norwegian and Icelandic whalers before swiftly moving through the world’s oceans. On its way to Japan, it stops off in the Faroe Islands and murders the men who slaughter hundreds of pilot whales each year. He also destroys bottom trawlers and visits the homes of executives who certify tuna to be dolphin-safe when they know it’s not.

* Ace Magashule abandons his political career, becomes a pastor and starts his own church. On The Run Ministries offers redemption and new identities, baptisms in holy revenue streams and a range of services that come with a 10% tithe. Confessions are not encouraged.

* Cannibalism is legalised, allowing the very poor to eat the very rich. Tuesdays only. Due to limited resources, the state will not assist the poor in catching their prey although exceptions can be made for the disabled. Hunting must be done on foot. No weapons permitted.

* With the government out of ideas on how to remedy the imbalances of the past, they reintroduce apartheid, with black people being reclassified as white and white people, black. There is mass confusion, but once the nation is properly informed about what is happening, everyone is happy. Everyone apart from the white people who are now black.

* A gecko has just fallen into my gin and tonic. This is not a news event. I apologise for the abrupt ending, but this requires my urgent attention. 

Vladimir, we're sorry

Dear Comrade Vladimir, Putin of all Putins, Ruler of Russia, Emperor of Eurasia, Capturer of Crimea, Nemesis of the Balkans, Vlad the Impala and Brightest Tsar of All, I throw my unworthy self at your feet.
While I am down there, allow me to apologise for this week’s disastrous court ruling that dashed Russia’s hopes of covering our countryside with nuclear power stations. Yes, I know we had an agreement, but what happened is not our government’s fault. None of us wanted to have to rely on the filthy wind or stupid sun for power. The problem lies with our courts. Unlike your country, we are still struggling to get the right people into the judiciary. Give us time.
If you are going to bomb us, please aim for the courts. The Western Cape High Court in particular is a hotbed of anti-nuclear, pro-marijuana snowflakes. If your missiles can’t reach Cape Town, send in the navy. Your men can come ashore at Camps Bay under cover of lunchtime. The police there have been trained not to question white people about anything.
I expect that our president is deeply embarrassed by the latest turn of events. I don’t just mean financially embarrassed either, although it will take some explaining to the wives why they might have to wait a bit longer for their R50-million apiece.
When Comrade Zuma got his men with pens to sign a cooperation agreement with your Rosatom heavies, he wasn’t to know it was unconstitutional and unlawful. For him to know that, he would’ve had to ask someone. He is a very busy man, our president. He doesn’t have time to go around asking people for advice. Also, he had to fire his finance minister for refusing to make duplicates of the keys to the treasury. So he got a combination lock and a new minister who can’t remember the combination. We’re not even back to square one. We’re just going in circles.
Our then idiot energy minister Tina someone-or-other – who is undoubtedly still an idiot but has since been fired and her name expunged from mortal memory – signed the secret deal with your guys last year. No problem there. Secret deals are good. However, we have a handful of people in this country who haven’t emigrated to Australia and for some reason they think they are entitled to question what the government does. This often leads to court cases and red faces in high places. You don’t have this problem. If anyone questions the Politburo, or whatever you call your inner circle these days, you get someone to cut their legs off. Not personally, obviously. You can’t be spending your days despatching brutes with chainsaws to sort out every unhinged bolshevik when you have a royal flush in a high stakes game of political poker in Syria while simultaneously toying with that kandy-coated tangerine-flake unstreamlined warbaby in the White House.
I have a confession to make. “What?” I hear you shout. “Without even being tortured?” Sorry. This is no time for jokes. Thing is, I stopped following Russian politics when Yeltsin stabbed Gorbachev in the forehead with a broken glass. A waste of good red wine if you ask me. So you’ll forgive me when I say I thought the Communist Party was still in charge. You won’t? I didn’t think so. You are not a man to whom forgiveness comes easily. Not your fault. That’s what happens when you’re breast-fed up to the age of 16.
Anyway, you probably stopped following South African politics on … what was it? Wednesday? When the nuclear deal went arse over kettle, to coin a phrase popular with the bleeding-heart liberals who sprawl across our judicial benches sucking on bongs and quoting from the constitution as if it were a real thing.
Your Communist Party got 13% in the last elections. Ours didn’t even stand. Hell, the general-secretary can barely stand. I see your party, United Russia, is firmly in control. Well done. Our ANC is very dominant, too, even though President Zuma is still looking for his machine gun and doesn’t ride horses with his shirt off. Not while on duty, anyway. We don’t know what he rides while he’s on holiday. He might not even wear trousers, for all we know.
I hate to quote Wikipedia but they have proved marginally more reliable than tea leaves and bone throwing, and they say that United Russia “has no coherent ideology; however, it embraces specific politicians and officials with a variety of political views who support the administration”. It’s uncanny how similar this is to our ANC. The only difference is that we embrace anyone with a variety of ways to launder backhanders and … oh, right. Wikipedia knows about the chainsaws.
I have to ask you something, comrade president. Does United Russia also rely heavily on the support of the benighted proletariat and failed agronomists less familiar with the Dow Jones Index than they are with the goat/chicken exchange rate? We call it the rural vote. I suppose in your country you’d call it the Ural vote. It doesn’t matter. The point is, we’re both big fans of a multi-party dictatorship based on ignorance and fear.
But let us return to matters nuclear, since it is quite likely the only interest the Kremlin has in us. Or rather, had in us.
I was shocked when Judge Lee Bozalek – if that’s his real name – ruled in favour of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute. Shocked because two shadowy organisations nobody has ever heard of succeeded in depriving me and my friends of 9.6 GW of nuclear energy. I don’t know if that’s a week’s worth or what. I don’t know what a GW is. VW, I know. And 9.6? That’s a low number. It doesn’t sound like a good deal for one trillion rand. For that kind of money I’d expect at least 75 000 GWs per person, per day. With a free bag and maybe a T-shirt.
Comrade Vlad, perhaps you’re looking for answers and nobody at the Union Buildings or even at the head office in Saxonwold is taking your calls. This seems likely, especially if you’ve already paid the bribes. I think I know what happened here. The case has been dragging on for 18 months and Judge Bozalek shut the whole thing down because he had to get home and start the braai. Also, he might be Ukrainian.
Apparently the whole shebang was meant to be debated in parliament long before those agreements were signed with invisible ink in an unlit room on a moonless night in the middle of the darkest month of the year, thus “flouting democratic processes”. Oh, please. I can’t speak for Russia, but we are a nation of flouters. We flout at the drop of a cat. I fully expect a Floutist Party to contest the next election. I’d certainly vote for them.
Besides, aren’t parliamentary debates more for the benefit of the international investor community than the great unwashed? After all, United Russia has a 76% majority in parliament and the ANC – which can’t be called united in any sense whatsoever – has 62%. With those odds, it’s not even gambling. The house is guaranteed to win every time. The game is rigged and that’s how it has stayed ever since the Ancient Greeks invented democracy and sodomy.
It is even more saddening that this kangaroo court of ours jumped to its rabid conclusions on Chernobyl Day, a day the world sets aside to celebrate nuclear power and tries to forget the men and women who died doing whatever it was they were doing when the number four reactor reacted badly to a late night safety test. We all react badly to being tested late at night. It’s no reason to be anti-nuclear.
Comrade, I urge you not to give up on us. We have other things we can give you. Would you like an elephant? I see you on the cover of GQ magazine wearing nothing but a pair of armadillo boots and ivory spurs, urging a giant tusker into a full-blooded gallop. Maybe heading into a fight with a Zimbabwean riding a hippo. I don’t want to tell you what to do. You have your own fantasies.
I’ll pop in for vodkas next time I’m in Moscow.
Do svidaniya!

Of vigilantes and jogging

I find it difficult to focus on any one particular subject this week. For that, I blame the early onset of a mid-life crisis, Vladimir Putin, Israel, Facebook, Twitter and Windhoek lager.

My weekly deadline ritual generally involves surfing in the morning, then buying the daily papers and retiring to a beachside bar to peruse the news. During this time, I hopefully come across something that inspires a thousand words. Increasingly, however, I come across things that inspire the formation of a private militia at best and emigration at worst. By the time I reach the sports pages, I am scarlet with rage and drenched in beer. My blood pressure is out of control and waiters are refusing to serve me. Those who know me keep the paramedics on speed dial.

Let me start with the police. They have searched me, chased me, fired teargas at me, hit me with batons and tossed me into their filthy cells. Not all on the same night, obviously. This is over a period of years.

When my house is broken into, my first thought isn’t to call the cops. It’s to call Paul Kersey, a man who makes his living hunting down and terminating all the scum on our streets. People have told me that he doesn’t actually exist. That he’s just a vigilante character Charles Bronson played in the Death Wish movies. I don’t believe it. He’s out there somewhere. I don’t have his number. It’s unlisted. And for good reason, too.

So. The latest from the crime-fighting front is that persons unknown broke into the Interpol offices in Pretoria and made off with a bunch of files and computers containing highly sensitive information about ongoing investigation into international and local crime syndicates. The burglars were in possession of access cards and key codes to the offices of three colonels and two captains. They had to leave early on Saturday, probably because of dinner plans, but they were back on Sunday to finish collecting the laptops, cameras and portable hard drives. They clearly knew that these high-ranking officers were unlikely to pop in for a spot of after-hours case solving. Pity Jackie Selebi isn’t still head of Interpol. He would definitely have been at work over the weekend, if only to sort Glenn Agliotti’s honorariums into bundles of fifties and hundreds.

For a bit of light relief, there’s a story about Michael, a nine-year-old boy from Gauteng who has been drinking beer most days for the last two years. When he runs out of beer, he smokes weed. I bet his parents are journalists. Stop making him watch CNN and he’ll be fine.

The papers this week are awash in studies and surveys. Journalists love this kind of thing. It means they can fill their quota of stories without leaving the office. Well, apart from sloping off to the cafeteria for a pie every hour or so.

Did you know that only 21.8% of households are “anchored well” financially? As for the rest of us, our anchors are dragging. As if we hadn’t noticed. Here’s a quote to chew on: “Real household disposable income growth is around 0%, indicating that prices of everyday goods and services are rising faster than incomes.” I don’t have a very good grasp of numbers, but I do understand 0%. Actually, I don’t. It’s a metaphysical conundrum and I want no part of it.

The same man who is confusing and scaring us with these figures – a company CEO – said that used cars were becoming more popular as people struggled to afford new ones. You know what’s even more popular than used cars? Stolen cars. These are particular popular among households that struggle to afford food.

Moving on. Residents of Cape Town’s trendy Green Point suburb are complaining. They say there’s a siren on a shipping buoy that keeps them awake at night and too many helicopters flying overhead disturbing them during the day.

“It’s worse than fucking Gaza out there,” said nobody in particular to someone who wasn’t listening. Poor bastards. I don’t know how they cope. First they get a filthy great World Cup stadium blocking their sea views, and now this? Residents have written to Cape Town’s harbour master about the noise but their complaints have “fallen on deaf ears”. He’s the harbour master, you idiots. He can probably see the buoy from his office. Of course he’s going to be deaf.

Meanwhile, researchers have found that a little light running for five to ten minutes a few times a week could add three years to your life. No thanks. When I’m a gibbering 95-year-old wreck, I don’t want to think to myself, “Thanks to that filthy jogging, I’ve got another three years of this hell.” Sometimes I walk quickly from the bedroom to the kitchen and back. That’s going to have to do.

On a happier note, a new study has found that South Africans can’t get anti-depressants down their throats fast enough. Medical aids are forking out huge amounts of money to cheer people up. Good. I’ve paid a fortune to my medical aid over the years and I’ve only claimed once, for a small operation on my Surfer’s Ear. They owe me big time and I really hope that I don’t live a long and healthy life and die in my sleep. I want my money back, even if it means suffering a series of crippling illnesses.

The report said that medical aid budgets were “under strain” as a result of claims for drugs for “rare diseases”. Sure, they might be talking about smallpox and the Black Death, but I suspect what they really mean are the 200 or so different types of cancer. Medical aids prefer to regard cancer as a “rare disease” because it gives them the chance to weasel their way out of paying for treatment.

The report – produced by a company that manages claims for 50 medical aid companies – encouraged the use of cheaper, generic medicines. Well, they would, wouldn’t they? Got leukemia? Here, suck on this piece of tree bark and have a nice cup of tea. Don’t call us in the morning.

Lower down in the same story, a spokesman for the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (I get sad and anxious just knowing there’s a special group for these people) said that one in three South Africans has a mental illness. Our government comprises 35 ministers and 37 deputy ministers. Work it out for yourself.

And in other news, thirty students have been selected to study pharmacy in India. The KwaZulu-Natal health department is largely footing the R20m bill. It seems only fair, then, that the province’s MEC for health, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, would insist that the twelve female students be given a contraceptive implant before they leave.

The department, you see, doesn’t want to spend all this money on these girls only for them to be impregnated the moment they land in New Delhi. You know what medical students are like. Can’t keep their broeks on for longer than an hour at a time. Luckily, the 25 male students are free to add to India’s sparse population however they see fit.

On the photographic front, I was impressed with the picture of FW de Klerk sitting back and smiling while a black man washed his feet. Well done, FW. It’s not easy for a whitey to pull that kind of thing off these days – especially not one who once led a government second only to the Third Reich in its commitment to humanitarianism. Okay, so you had just stuck your feet into a tray of clay at the Cradle of Humankind heritage site. But still. You might want to wash your own feet next time. It would make you look a little more evolved.

I also liked the photo of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, at the Commonwealth Games playing what was described as “a traditional South African game”. She was pictured jumping over three cans of what looked like pilchards or maybe dog food. Apparently it’s called “Drie Blikkies”. I have never heard of it, let alone played it. Perhaps I went to the wrong school. I have, however, used the phrase “drie blikkies” on occasion, usually at the bottle store during the week before payday. The game involves knocking the tins down with a ball before restacking them and then hopping over them three times. Almost as much fun as apartheid.










The Fear Factor

Comrades, we have new things to fear.

Russia provoking world war three. The Oscar Pistorius trial dragging on for months. Protein.

Let us begin with the first. It’s the least likely to affect us directly because South Africa won’t be invited to participate in the third world war. We never get invited to anything. And when we do, we don’t pitch up. Besides, by the time we have fixed our submarines and found someone to drive our warships, a consortium of American businessmen would have turned Crimea into the world’s biggest theme park. And McDonald’s would have bought the Kremlin and turned it into their new eastern European headquarters.

The other scenario is that American schools would be teaching Russian and the White House would be owned by the Stolichnaya company. Leased, I should say. There would be no such thing as private property in the event of a Russian win when the final whistle is blown at the end of WW3.

Even though Vladimir Putin is currently channelling the ghost of Josef Stalin, I’m finding it difficult to worry about what’s happening 9 419kms away. I know I should. But it seems wrong to care about people in the Ukraine when there are people in a township 3kms from my house who I don’t care about. If I’m not going to care about someone, my fellow countrymen should come first.

I’m a bit concerned about Crimea, but only because it’s a really cool name and whoever wins this war will probably want to change it. I doubt I would feel the same way about it if it were called, say, the Autonomous Okrug of Krasnovorskashtanerova. Or, should there be an upset, Californiobama, America’s 51st state.

Wait! I’ve changed my mind. It has since come to my attention that Crimea’s currency is called the hryvna. There is no way that a country with a currency called hryvna should be allowed to survive. Was their first finance minister a five-year-old with access to fridge magnets? It gets worse. The hryvna is made up of a hundred kopiyok. And they want us to take them seriously? Please.

Right, I’ve had a few beers and a bit of a lie-down. Maybe they deserve a second chance. Let’s see what they produce. This is what I found on the website of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The enterprises of Crimean food industry produce meat products, animal butter, dairy products, cheeses, oil, can foods, confectionary, groats and flour, alcoholic beverage, tobacco wares.”

I don’t know if you’re meant to eat, drink or snort a groat, but I want no part of it. And what the hell kind of animals do you make butter from? Mmmm. Creamy Crimean butter produced from only the freshest of field voles. With added epizooties! Yum yum.

We are assured, however, that “the tourist industry is very perspective”. Visitors can look forward to “mounting-foot, research, walks on yachts and car tours”. The cultural life of the Crimea consists of their many festivals and competitions, including Bilya Chornogo Morya, Zirky Planety and Artekivski Zori.

“Hurry up, honey! We’re going to be late for the Zirky Planety.”

“I thought we were going to the Artekivski Zori this year!”

“The Zori is too expensive. I’m not paying five billion hryvna to watch dancing voles being turned into butter.”

Let us now turn our attention to the second latest thing to fear – the unnecessary prolongation of Oscar Pistorius’s trial. Defence lawyer Barry Roux is so adept at badgering witnesses that I have come to believe that he is, in fact, a badger wearing a human bodysuit. There is evidence.

Badgers are short-legged omnivores. Roux is a short-legged omnibore. Badgers belong to a branch that includes polecats and weasels. Roux belongs to a branch that includes advocates and attorneys. Both are distantly related to the Asiatic stink badger, a member of the skunk family, which is often found defending Crimean voles on charges of treason.

I, for one, cannot listen, let alone watch, the Badgeroo go about his unpleasant business of forcing ordinary folk to the brink of confessing their own dark secrets. The biggest mistake these poor people ever made was to live within screaming distance of Oscar’s house. Now they are paying for it.

This case sends a valuable lesson to potential witnesses everywhere. Do not ever admit to hearing or seeing anything. Ever. I live at the coast and even I was woken by Oscar’s shrill girly screams. I heard his cricket bat spontaneously detonating three minutes later. I also thought I heard him ordering pizza but that might have been the neighbours. But did you see me put my hand up and volunteer to testify? Hellz, no.

Where there are cameras, there are politicians. Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane sat with Reeva’s family in court this week and told them that “even real South African men are ashamed”. Am I real South African man? I hope not. Am I ashamed? Yes, I am.

When I was but a pup, my father grabbed his Walther PPK pistol one Saturday morning and took me down to the mangroves near Blue Lagoon. I thought he was going to murder me. Instead, he set up a row of empty Black Label beer cans. Well, they were empty by the time he had finished with them. Then he put the gun in my hand and said, “Son, shoot those cans.” If that was some kind of rite of passage, I failed miserably. “Go a bit closer,” he said every time I missed. Eventually I had the barrel of the gun resting against one of the cans. It was like an execution.

So, yes. I’m ashamed that I can’t shoot accurately with a handgun. But put an R1 rifle in my hands and oh, baby, I could hit you if you lived in the next province. That should go some way towards redeeming me in the eyes of the premier, surely.

Now on to the third latest new thing to fear. Protein. Meat, in case you haven’t heard, is the new Marlboro. Cheese is a death sentence and eggs will kill you quicker than heroin. That glass of milk? Why not just drink cyanide?

We have been eating protein ever since we split from the monkeys two million years ago. And only now they tell us it’s bad for us? What the hell have they been doing all this time?

But not all protein is bad, apparently. The protein in beans and legumes is fine. Okaaay! Bean party this Saturday, your place! Bring your own beans. If someone pitches up with a bag of legumes saying that he wants to party, don’t let him in. Those legume fiends are nothing but trouble.

This new study reveals that middle-aged people who eat a lot of animal protein die younger. But the same diet protects a person’s health in old age. Man, my 70th is going to be one helluva cheese ‘n meat party. Bring your own sheep.

These findings have emerged from a study of six thousand people aged 50 and over. I don’t know anyone over 50 who tells the truth. Once you reach a certain age, lying becomes your default position. Most of them probably just wanted someone to talk to.

“Yeah, I eat a lot of meat and I have this thing growing inside my brain. So what? Sit down. Let me tell you about the time I caught a whale shark on a trout rod in the Drakensberg.”

I don’t know what to believe anymore. I’m scared of carbohydrates and now I’m terrified of protein. These scaremongering killjoys are telling us that we should restrict ourselves to no more than 0.8g of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Well, let me tell you something, Mr Smartypants scientist. We don’t all have brains that work like computers. We don’t know what we weigh. We also don’t know what 0.8g of anything looks like. Apart from maybe cocaine or weed. Rather tell us that if we hold a piece of meat against our leg, we shouldn’t eat beyond the knee.

And it’s no good telling us that we need to switch to a diet where nine or ten percent of our calories come from protein. Calories sounds like a made-up Crimean word. I cannot picture a calorie and therefore it does not exist. Stop playing mind-games with us.

You know what else they said? “Spend a couple of months looking at the labels on your food.” Idiots. Do they not know we also have to go to work? Besides, the human body cannot go more than 40 days without food. You have more chance of surviving by licking at the labels on your food.

There’s only one thing I want to know. What can I eat that will help me live forever? There has to be something, right? Look at Robert Mugabe. He’s at least 184 years old and he still won’t go down. I want some of what he’s having. Fuck death. And if I can’t have that, I’m moving to Simferopol and switching to a diet of Slavic whores, cheap vodka and lashings of vole butter pudding.