Friday, 30 November 2007

Silly Signs: Espresso for Kids

Things you dont know about Da Vinci

Every now and then one bumps into a site that is very good.
I have found another one.
If you are a Da Vinci fan, this is a "must go and look" site.
Da Vinci and Beyond
My X majored in the History of Art, and by Osmosis I picked up a lot of interesting stuff. Nothing to match this though.
It is the "beyond" that is fascinating.
The quote on the right hand bar was done before I read the posts, but read it, and see what its means!!
Who is going to do a site on Caesar?, maybe it will have to be me, someday

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Why is November the 11th Month, but means Nine?

I was wondering why November is the 11th month of the year, but is derived from the Latin word Novem which means 9. Same can be said about December, which is the 12th month, but is derived from the Latin, Decem, being 10.
When I found the answer it was obvious, but, as I went to the trouble of looking it up, I will share the obvious.
Originated from the Roman calendar, which had 10 months. This calendar was invented by Romulus, in about 753BC. This was not a lunar calendar and had 304 days. There were 61 winter days that did not fall into this calendar. So November was the 9th and December the 10th month.
In 713BC Pompilius revised the calendar to make up for the lost days and squeezed in January and February, (the missing winter months). November and December moved forwards, to make place for the new ones.
Now the calendar had 12 months.
During this time June and July were known as Quintilis and Sextilis, which were later named July and August, after the Caesars.
All calendar names from Latin.
Maybe this will pop up in Trivial Pursuit, then we will all know.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

To Toe the Line: Origin and Meaning

What does to toe the line mean?
This is an interesting one. As usual there are multiple origins, but the meanings are all similar.
To control yourself or to do things in an acceptable manner.
The oldest reference is to things nautical. The spaces between deck planks on wooden ships were filled with a black substance called oakum. This made a visible line. When sailors were ordered to fall in on deck, they positioned their toes on the line to form a straight stripe.
Also nautical, was the procedure followed when sailors were punished. They were made to “toe the line” for long periods of time, in all weather conditions.
A further reference is to politics. Politicians in the British House of Commons carried swords to meetings. Lines were drawn between the opposing parties that were more than a swords length from each other. When things became heated they would be ordered to “toe the line”, in that way they could not cause grievous bodily harm. (Imagine politicians bearing arms in political meetings today)
Also from the 19Th Century the meaning was applicable to athletics. By toeing the line an athlete would gain no advantage over his opponent

Monday, 26 November 2007

Climate Change: Loss of Income

We have had unseasonable rain the last week. Serious rain, up to 200mm, (8 inches) in some places. This during November, a non-rainy month at the beginning of summer. Globally, this is the trend. The UK, Middle East, Americas and Europe have all had their share of unseasonable weather conditions. From fires to floods, with a massive impact on the economy, both Regional and National.
If ones income is not directly coupled to the negative results of bad weather, the impact is not experienced as intensely as those who are directly influenced. The region I live in is Agricultural, wine, deciduous fruits and Citrus are a major contributors to the regions income. Many, many workers are seasonal workers that are paid per hour. The rain experienced during the last two weeks has decimated deciduous crops, both for local and export markets.
Today we should be working; the factory is silent, as it has been for most of the last week. 180 people at home, not earning money. Under normal circumstances, these people would be working long shifts and earning good money. No sign of anything significant happening for the next three weeks.
We have been told that the harvest, as estimated until 15 December, is no more. It will rot on the trees.
Economics has the term “The Multiplier Effect”. I am not in the mood to look for an academic definition, but the basic theory is like this:-
When a person earns a Dollar, Rand, Peso, whatever, you spend that money at the local shop for bread, food etc. The shopkeeper buys vegetables from a local farmer to sell in his shop, using that same money. The vegetable farmer goes off to the pub and uses part of that money to buy a beer. In this way money is “turned over” in a community. Macro Economists will be able to tell you what the turnover is, based on the characteristics of the area. In a predominately “cash” economy, like ours, the turnover is the highest. The average ratio, whatever that is worth, is about 3:1. A unit of money is spent three times before it disappears into the system, and lands up, for example, in a bank or the States account somewhere else. I am convinced that the ratio is higher here.
What am I trying to say?
In summary, the farmer has lost his crop, and each Rand he has lost, is also lost by four other people in the region. There is also a level of critical mass. This is when the loss is so high that people cannot make a living, we have unemployment and debt. I am not even going there.
People who still insist that Climate Change is a figment of the imagination, limited to Doomsday Prophets, are either blind or earn their money from a “safe” source.
Beware, the disappearance of Multiplier Effect will also catch up to you one day.
And it is still raining, hard.

Silly Signs: Close the gate

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Bloggers Droop

I am suffering from bloggers droop. Something like Writers Block, only worse. Don’t know why the thought “droop” popped out of the keyboard, maybe Uncle Cooper had something to do with it.
Been busy, and now that there is time, the creative juices have wandered off to do business somewhere else, without me.
Now that I think about it, reminds me of a theory a wiseass man once told me. It was all about the survival of the fittest, and the consumption of alcohol and intelligence.
The theory runs like this. In the wild, it is the survival of the fittest. A lion chasing a bunch of buck, will most probably catch and eat the weakest, as it will be the slowest. This results in the “weakest link” taken out of the community, which in turn, strengthens the gene pool. So, in the Greater Order of Things, it is beneficial.
No hassle with that.
Now, according to Wiseass, it is a known fact that alcohol destroys brain cells, for those who have them. This is also a known fact.
So, therefore, when you consume alcohol, it will chase brain cells to kill them. And, as in the wild, the weakest will be caught and eaten first.
Ergo, by minimizing the weak brain cells, on average, one would be increasing your IQ.
End of Wiseass story.
Maybe tomorrow I will have something of substance to post, like the influence of the over production of bananas in Zunguland on Zimbabwe’s balance of payments

Neutrons in Government

Research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science.
The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.
A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction (that would normally take less than a second) taking from 4 days to 4 years to complete.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 5 years; It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.
This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical level of concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
From an e-mail received.
Image from Wikipedia

Monday, 19 November 2007

Speeding in a BMW

I am not good at telling or listening to long jokes. I stick to one liners.
But I liked this one.(Abridged)
A middle aged guy bought a top of the line BMW. Took it for a drive and wound it up to 200k's per hour.
The siren and blue flashing lights behind.
The BMW driver thought to himself " Geez, I can put my foot down and loose him with no problem. But I am too old for this crap".
He slows down and pulls over.
Traffic guy approaches and says
"You know, it is 10 minutes before I knock off. I want to go home. If you can give me an excuse that I have not heard in my 20 years on the job, I will give you a warning"
The old guy replies
" Well Officer, a few years ago, my wife ran off with a traffic policeman, and I thought you were bringing her back"

Hong Kong Landing in a 747

I have had more than my fair share of air travel. Extended air travel comes with it's own bunch of incidents, oftentimes retold in dramatic terms that make them seem worse than they really were. My personal favourite was landing in a 747 at Hong Kong Airport, (the "old runway"), in the early hours of a windy and rainy morning. First visit to Hong Kong, and had no warning as what to expect. Afterwards I figured out that an aircraft has only one approach to the runway. Irrespective of weather conditions. Aircraft approaches, makes a sharp right and dip at a massive chevron on a mountain side, then lands on a runway that extends into the sea.
I can vividly remember approaching the runway, flying between massive buildings on either side, that appeared to be apartments. The reverse thrust, or whatever it is that slows the aircraft down, was as bad as a 737 landing at East London. Having the sea right next to the runway was an added concern.
A clip can be seen here
Back to the 737. Arguably the most fun to fly in. Steep take offs, sharp and fast turns etc. In Chile they fly them differently. Low and fast, my perception after about a dozen local flights. It was a Chilean Air Force guy who made the statement that "737's were designed by a man who wanted to design fighter aircraft, and flown by Pilots who wanted to fly fighter aircraft". Fun stuff. About a week or so ago an engine "fell off" a SAA 737 on take off at Cape Town airport. The aircraft managed to land safely. Could find no mention as to where the engine landed. Most probably stripped and sold as scrap metal by now. The 737's must have reached their "sell by" date
A number of "incidents" that I can remember vividly.
1) A bomb threat on a Lufthansa flight from Johannesburg to Windhoek.
2) Flying from Santiago to Beunos Aires, and into a terrible storm over the Andes, even the cabin staff were visibly scared.
3) The Hong Kong landing
4) A trip from Nelspruit to Johannesburg in an 8 seater during a serious Highveld thunderstorm,... all the way. Only myself and another lady passenger. White knuckle stuff. After we landed the relieved pilot said, "Ons het so pas op Johannesburg lughawe neergestort" (Untranslateable)
5) "Falling" a couple of thousand feet , between Richards Bay and Johannesburg, with absolutely no warning, in a 58 seater turbo prop aircraft, the name of which I cannot remember.
6) An "aborted" landing at Johannesburg, in a 737
Fun stuff if all ends well.

Visuals that made a lasting impression
1) Flying over Greenland, the contrast between black and white. I cannot explain in words.
2) Flying over Algeria early in the morning and looking at towns built in circles, with roads radiating out like spokes on a wheel.
3) Flying over Rio de Janerio at night. There are millions of lights. One gets the impression that you cannot find a space big enough between the lights to place a pin point. And, in this sea of lights, the highly visible soccer stadiums.
4) Sao Paulo, looks like horizon to horizon of massive grey buildings.
5) The Andes, awesome.
6) Lesotho, flying reasonably low in a light aircraft. The mountains are spectacular. I am sure there are places there that nobody has been to.
8) Landing at Seattle, Seatac, with planes "stacked" in front and behind for landing. The control staff at this airport must be special.

What triggered this rambling? This image of an SAA aircraft, I know not where, when how or why.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Be the Blog

Be The Blog award

Received from jos
The following quote from Mark who implemented the concept and did the designing ".......really sums up what a successful blogger does. And what I mean by successful is that they make it their own, stay with it, are interactive with their readers, and just plain have fun".
This is what I have in mind when posting, but never seen it defined in words.
Jos, apologies for taking so long to do justice to the occasion.

Wordless Thursday

Just found out that today is Thursday not Wednesday. So be it. Most probably still Wednesday somewhere.
Arrived home yesterday afternoon and K had cleaned the Oven. Red fingers and a few bloody spots as testimony to 3 hours of hard scrubbing with seriously dangerous oven cleaner. The heat in the kitchen replaced with an icy cold reception. After all I am the stupid bugger that caused it.
The image above has been around for a long time, but here it is. From what I understand it was a vehicle accident in Russia somewhere.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Oven Fire

Last night the oven caught fire, well the pack of bacon in the oven caught fire, to be precise.
What happened was K invited a bunch of her buddies around for something to munch, and do damage to some local wine. Our standing arrangement is that I do the food exercise and refrain from being rude, passing sarcastic comments in general, and desist from promising to do bad things to cell phones. This gives her time to socialize. Don’t mind that.
So I did the Kiep Kiep a la K thing. Part of this dish needs bacon to be baked in the oven at 140c, low down in the oven. So I did that, and having time to spare, looked for some reading matter and disappeared into the bathroom. I cannot do justice to the occasion without something to read. The sweat can be running down my face in anxiety but I must have reading material. Even the telephone book will do.
So, while doing what a man has to do, I hear “ Where are you?”
“In the bathroom!!!” I reply.
5 minutes later “ Where are you?” again. Geez, “In the Bathroom!!!!” my irritable reply, with unprintable thoughts.
“Have you got a book?”
“No”, says I “ I am doing it from memory” and laugh at my own questionable joke.
“Something is burning”, she shouts
“Well, go and have a look”
“The oven is on fire!!!” she screams from the kitchen.
Now I know where the expression “caught with his pants down” comes from.
With all possible haste I am off to the kitchen. The oven was smoking profusely when K arrived and she did exactly the wrong thing, she opened the oven door. (Eye level oven) The gasses in the oven spontaneously combusted and there were flames everywhere. So she closes the oven door, minus a couple of eyelashes, and this is when I arrive.
Lots of flames in the oven, black smoke and a horrible burny smell.
It is easy to say don’t open the oven door, once the oxygen has been used up the flames will die. It is more difficult to come to terms with what will happen first, will the flames die down or the kitchen burn out.
I take the fire extinguisher off the wall, and struggle to break the seal, need a pair of scissors to do that.
Now what? The bacon is still burning merrily in the oven. What will cost more? Refilling the extinguisher or repairing the oven? Sand also works, what will happen if I dump the cat sand into the oven? It will be cheaper, geez, but the cleaning, and I don’t think cat turds and urine will work well under theses conditions.
Just as I am at the point of knocking the button on the extinguisher the flames start subsiding. After a while they are gone. The kitchen is under a cloud of thick, black smoke.
After a while, open oven, remove contents and inspect damage.
The oven survived.
Next time I will remember that there is a difference between grill and bake, and give more attention to what I am doing, rather than looking for something to read.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Celestial Surgeon : Robert L Stevenson

I am not good at reading poetry, most probably partly due to translating untold stuff from and into Latin in times past. But, I found this in and old Encyclpedia and I can relate.

If I have faltered more or less
In my great task of happiness;
If I have moved among my race
And shown no glorius morning face;
If beams from happy human eyes
Have moved me not; if morning skies,
Books and my food; and summer rain
Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:-
Lord, Thy most pointed pleasure take
And stab my spirit broad awake;
Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
Choose Thou, before that sprit die,
A piercing pain, a killing sin,
And to my dead heart run them in

Monday, 12 November 2007

Greek Mythology: The Trojan Horse

This is the story of how the Wooden Horse came to Troy. The Greeks had laid siege to Troy for 10 years without any success. Revenge for Menelaus, after Helen had run off with Paris, had not been achieved.
So, Ulysses, with a little help from the Goddess Athena, devised the famous wooden horse and a Greek sculptor built this hollow colossus. It was big enough to contain 100-armed men. Ulysses and his buddies climbed into the horse, and the opening underneath was bolted closed. The rest of the Greeks packed up camp, climbed into their ships and set off to sea, leaving the horse behind.
The Trojans were happy, after 10 years of futile combat the Greeks had had enough, and were returning home to Mamma and Royco soup. They saw the wooden horse as a peace offering to Athena.
Great rejoicing and happiness around the horse. Some of the Trojans were wary and suspected a trick. Laocoon, a Trojan Priest did not trust this setup at all. “Put no trust in the horse, men of Troy”, the wise man said. “Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts”. Nobody listened to the wise man, as is the case even today, only wise men listen to wise men. In frustration the priest flung his spear at the wooden beast, and it bounced off, giving an ominous hollow sound.
At this point in time a couple of Trojan shepherds brought in a Greek prisoner, a certain Sinon by name, who had been captured on the beach. He begged for pity, and maintained that he was about to be sacrificed to Athena by his comrades, when he made his escape. He confirmed that the horse was a gift to Athena, but that it had been built too big to fit through the gates of Troy, as this would mean that the favour of Athena would also be transferred to Troy. Obviously, Sinon had been left on purpose by the Greeks to do exactly what he did.
While all this was happening, two very large serpents rose from the sea, twisted themselves around the Trojan priest and his two sons, and squeezed them to death. The masses saw this as an omen. Punishment for Laocoon’s sacrilege against the sacred gift.
All problems sorted out, the horse was dragged into the city in the belief that the Gods would favour them.
That evening there was a great party, sponsored by Bacchus and a number of his buddies, after which all the Trojan warriors fell asleep.
This is where Sinon did part two of his task; he lit a fire to call back the Greek army, hiding behind the horizon, and opened the belly of the horse and out came the hidden Greeks.
The Greeks entered the City of Troy and slaughtered about everybody, in the morning only smoldering ruins were left.
Helen was rescued and taken back to Greece, Ulysses went on to complete his adventures.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

How to handle a flood

Received this via e-mail. This could be South Africa as well, only difference would be cans of Castle and a braai fire somewhere.
Been busy, busy the last week. This is all Jeans fault. Getting up at all hours for her Air Freight. Will get back to proper posting next week.
People actually read the spaghetti thingy. Had three mails, two said it was lekker (good), and one said my "directions" need more attention. Anyhow, thanks for that.

Sunday, 04 November 2007

Friday, 02 November 2007

Spaghetti a la Horny

Need something good to eat that is economical, easy, fast and tasty? This is it. Obviously a spaghetti thingy. (The name is another story.)
Firstly and most importantly, you need a pack of Spaghetti. My way of looking at it is that a pack is enough for 4 hungry people. More eaters than that, and some will eat and others will be spectators. Good, now break the spaghetti in half. I do this as it is easy to twirl the spaghetti around the fork, and I hate watching people slurping so fast that it bangs both ears before disappearing down the hatch. The spoon way still challenges me and I avoid that.
Take a medium sized pot and fill up to ¾ with water. On the stove, on high and bring to the boil. Half a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of Olive oil. Olive is best but, what the hell, if not in the cupboard, a dash of cooking oil will do. This is to stop the spaghetti from sticking together. When boiling away merrily drop the spaghetti into the pot, vertically, in 4 or 5 handfuls. Don’t worry if they stick up in the air for a while, they will move down under the water. Stir every now and then to make sure the buggers are not sticking together.
This is the time to open a can or bottle of something you enjoy. The spaghetti will cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn down a notch or so if it looks like the spaghetti is going to climb out of the pot.
Cook, bake or grill a bunch of bacon bits or pieces in the micro or whatever, I bake them in the oven. (160c). Main thing is the bacon must not be raw.
Next is to take a glass bowl or any other container that can take about 500ml. What one is going to do now, is create a mixture that will be poured over the hot spaghetti when cooked. Into the bowl goes 1 egg per two eaters. Do the math for 4 people. Then take grated cheese, preferably a white cheese like Parmesan, and into the bowl with the egg it goes. Grind a tad of black pepper ½ teaspoon and in it goes with a dash of salt. Chop up a handful of parsley, follow up with about a cup of cream. Stir away until all mixed.
After the bacon is ready add to the mixture with a bunch of olives and cherry tomatoes.
Spaghetti should be ready by now. Just taste it, if you think it is fine, its ready, if not ask someone else. There is usually someone in the kitchen that knows everything.
Drain the spaghetti and pour hot water from the kettle over the lot to flush, and then into a serving bowl. Add the mixture and toss around quickly. The heat of the spaghetti will “cook” the egg.
Zap some extra parsley on top and mix in a couple of leaves of green rabbit food, Rocket the best, and serve.
Good stuff, Naked Chef beware!!!

Zero Tolerance Radar

Thursday, 01 November 2007

Origin and meaning of "Let the Cat out of the Bag"

One of those "where did that come from" expressions. The meaning is straight forward. To give a secret away.
Would appear as though in days of past one would trot off and buy a pig from your local butcher at the market. The pig would be placed in a bag for convenience. (The bag was called a "poke"). A dishonest butcher would replace the pig with a big cat.
Now, if you opened the bag later, to find out that you had been taken for a ride, the cat was "let out of the bag", the Butchers secret was exposed.
Back to the poke. If you buy a pig in a poke you have bought something worthless. From the same origin.
A number of sources say this is not true, the cat referred to is the cat 'o nine tails, used to flog sailors in the Royal Navy. The whip was kept in a bag, and when taken out, it meant that the flogging was a certainty.
There you have it.....

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Beer with someone from History : Jonny Stensby

Jonny has done one with Adam and Eve and Nostradamus.
Pop around and read. This post appeals to my sense of humour.
How about some more contributions!! Anybody, just do it, let me know so we can all share.
I don't want to tag people. Give it a go.

Business as Usual

The short vacation is something of the past. Good stuff.
I returned to find that someone, the who cannot be determined, had fiddled around with my computer, and I had to get the IT people to take it away for intensive care at their workshop. Bottom line is I am still seriously pissed off and am using a "pool" computer that must have been one of the two Noah had in the ark.
I was away for about a week and when I logged in I immediately went to see what had happened to my ratings. Dropped from 197 to 350 something on Amatomu. Goes to show, if you don't read or post, nothing happens. Poor statement, things do happen, but not positive things. Anyhow, will work on that, I was having my best month ever and was heading for 2000 hits, (Chicken feed to most sites,I know, but for me a milestone), and came shy of a couple of hundred
A while ago we went off to Hermanus to look for whales and found nothing. That is how it works. This time we went to L'Aghulas expecting nothing and had whales doing their thing 300 metres from the house where we were staying. Could not have placed an order for any better.
I have had my fix of Lighthouse and shipwreck history that will keep me happy for a while.
Did I miss posting stuff? Yes.
Did I have withdrawal symptom's? First two days....yes.
Anyhow, things need to be done, like finding the Rsole that screwed up my computer.
First Xmas stuff in the shops, countdown in days has started.
Halloween? This now becoming a South African thing as well?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

A Couple of days leave.

Our season starts in a weeks time, 18 hours a day 24/7 for 6 months.
Stress, bad language, irritable, tired, aggression are all on the menu.
So, I am off until next week to Cape L'Aghulas for a few days of peace and quiet. This image is as close as dammit to where we will be staying, the most southern point of africa.

Lady Godiva : Butt naked on a Horse

One of those "where does that come from?" stuff.
As is often the case there is doubt as to what is fact, fiction or faction. Without splitting hairs this is the story.
Godiva was married to the Earl of Mercia and they founded a Monastery at Coventry round about 1050 AD. She wanted to relieve their subjects of the burden of heavy taxes, and her hubby could do that. But, despite her continual requests, prayers and most probably continual nagging he, the Earl, would not give in. After a while her continual requests irritated him so much that he said " Mount your horse and ride naked, before all the people, through the market of this town. and I will grant you your request". Given the times before streaking, this was unthinkable. But, Lady Godiva had another idea. She passed a decree that forbade any of the subjects to be out of doors, or to look out of the windows at a given time. Naked she jumped up onto a horse and covered the most private parts of her anatomy with her long hair. Escorted by two knights she did justice to the occasion and hubby was forced to reduce horse tax.
Now, it would appear as though one of her subjects, a certain Tom, bored a hole in the wall of his home, and had a good peep while she trotted by. Legend has it Tom was either struck blind or dead, and this is where "A Peeping Tom" comes from.
The End
Image from Wikipedia)

What is this?

In the past I have posted images and asked for captions/comments with dismal results. Despite that, I am doing it again.
Give it a go..........

Beer with someone from History : Carol

Carol from My View of It has done the beer thing. Somehow I knew George Bush would be on the list, and Plato does not suprise me at all.
Read it at My view of it.
A couple of weeks ago I was meandering around one of her other sites and tripped over a post on legislation applicable to Bloggers, specifically in the USA, but, in essence, this post is applicable to all of us. When I started this site "legal stuff" was not part of my terms of reference, "just do it" kind of approach. This post is a must read if your legal knowledge is/was as limited as mine. It is easy to read and makes sense.
Read it at My Reviews and Finds
Thanks Carol.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Beer with someone from History : Marloes

Marloes of Double Dutch has joined in and you can read her post at Marloes.
While reading, I wondered where the term Double Dutch originated from. So I went off digging and came up with the following. (As with most expressions, idioms etc, there are a number of explanations.)
The most popular definition is of English origin meaning "something incomphrehensible", I could not find anything incomprehensible at Double Dutch though.
The Second reference is to a skipping game "a game of jump rope in which players jump over two ropes swung in a crisscross formation by two turners", as per Wikipedia. By all accounts this is a difficult exercise.
The third reference I could find is to a brand of Lager available in the United Kingdom. (I would like to know more abouth this one)
And, a final reference is to the usage of a condom with the pill.
Also, while wondering around looking this up, the "The Flying Dutchman" story popped up. This is the story of a ghost ship still sailing around in Cape waters. That is another story for another time.

Levels of Conversation

My Significant Other (MSO) had four of her friends around a while ago. If I can remember correctly it was her birthday. Anyhow, as the only male around, my job was to be nice, make sure that the snacks were always above the half-full level, fetch and carry drinks, contain my irritation and desist from being rude regarding mobile phone use.
No possibility of disappearing to a male heaven, all part of a deal, that I will not go into.
I can do all of that.
Now, on a point of clarification, these 5, good friends for many years, had not been in one room, together, for a long, long time.
NEVER before have I witnessed five good friends holding six conversations, at once, and having a good time. There was a stage, and I had a double take to make sure I was not hallucinating; each person was talking about her own thing. From where I was standing, as an outsider, this was ridiculous. A gaggle of babbles. I made the mistake of “chipping in” and asking if any of them knew what was being said. Immediately there was a stunned silence, and then I was told in no uncertain terms that each one of them knew exactly what was being said by each person present. Somehow I believe them….
Reminds me of a wise man who classified conversations into three kinds. The first and lowest level of conversation is where people only talk about other people. For want of a better definition a “ gossiping orgy”.
The second level is a conversation where “happenings” are discussed. Example, what was on the news or in the papers.
The third level is where ideas are discussed.
Each conversation in reality can consist of all 3 levels, but the dominant level will give an indication as to the overall level of the discussion.
That Guru should have been present at this table.
Edit: 15 october 2008
Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
Quote that I found today, attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

Rugby: World Cup Final



Saturday, 20 October 2007

Cats: Be what you want to be

This image I like.
On the way to work this morning I popped into Pick n Pay. Rugby fever is everywhere. Green and Gold clothing, flags on cars, even a dog dressed up in Springbok colours. I have witnessed a number of rugby cup finals, and this one has the most public support ever.
Win or lose, it is going to be a great game. Roll on 9pm.


Friday, 19 October 2007

Crazy Kids: Slide

This reminds me of stuff I was forced to do as a youngster, under duress. Not going to go there now....

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Red light district, origin and meaning

I don’t think one has to say anything about the meaning, it is the origin that I found interesting. As with most expressions there is more than one possible source.
The color red and prostitution dates back to biblical times. A prostitute in Jericho identified her house with a red piece of material or rope so that her house could be identified by spies as a safe haven. (Rahab). But this is in a different context.
One most often cited origin is from the United States circa 1900. Railway workers had red lanterns. And when visiting a brothel the lantern would be placed at the door. Either to signify that the particular lady was busy, or as a reference as to where the gentlemen could be found in a case of emergency.
In Japan a red-light district is known as akasen, which means a red line. This is in reference to a red line drawn by authorities on a map to indicate a legal brothel area. A blue line indicated a non legal area. I could not determine how old this practice is.
In ancient china red paper lanterns were reportedly used to indicate brothels. This is the oldest reference I could find.
Somewhere I read that red is a colour associated with passion, I don’t know if this is true, the most common interpretation is anger.
That’s it…..

Beer with someone from history. (Continued)

Five people have either been coerced or volunteered into writing a post on this topic.
JD has done justice to the occasion.
Other contributions on their way:-
David Alexander
I will post those done on the sidebar so we can all read them
Please, this is not a by invitation, if it appeals to, just do it.
Just let me know so we can all share in your endeavour.
The image is of a beer accident in Russia, enough there to go around.
(I have already received a snide remark about a thinly disguised attempt to increase traffic to this site. THIS IS NOT MY INTENTION, I am happy with my hits, and will not refer to this nonsense again)
History defined as someone no longer with us, ie dead
Can be one or multiple persons
If a post has been done on someone, does not mean he cannot be "visited" again.

Rugby World Cup Final: England And South Africa

The final of the rugby World Cup is to be decided on Saturday evening.
The first thing on my mind is what will the score be. The "pool" at the local pub has steadily increased to just shy of 10 Grand. That is a lot of money. I have 4 scores to play, and the result must be an exact match. I have no shortage of help with the scores from by more "informed" colleagues and friends, but I am not going to share 10G's with anybody, being the selfish Rsole I am. All said and done I am going to split my scores both ways for a win. Patriotism is good but 10G's is also good.
We will be off to our favourite watering hole for a spit braai before the game. Then the game, and we will all become delinquent adults.
Percy Montgomery will be playing and my Significant Other will have jelly knees again. Go for it Percy, no matter what, The Significant Other has already voted you Man of the Match.

Reminds me of a joke running around.
The Seven dwarfs were working in a mine.
Snow White took them their lunch.
"Hellooo" she shouted down the mine.
No Answer.
She was concerned, maybe something bad had happened.
Who is going to win the world cup? she shouts
" England" is the muffled reply from below.
Thank heavens, thinks Snow White, Dopey is still alive.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

People from History I would like to have a Beer with.

People from history I would like to have a few beers with and sort out a couple of questions:
Julius Caesar. He would be my first choice. He was known not to be a heavy drinker, but I am sure he would be partial to a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. The conversation would include a discussion on the Rubicon fiasco, which ultimately lead to his demise. I would also want to know if he really said “e tu Brute” when stabbed by Brutus, or did Shakespeare think that one up. Clarification on whether flush toilets were invented yet and the protocols and requirements for a good Roman orgy, would be discussed in detail.

Albert Einstein. High on the list. If I was able to communicate with him I would like to know if he could change a light bulb or button up his shirt properly. What would his comments be on the Climate Change scenario? What would he see as the next level of weapons of mass destruction? Also a bottle of wine for this occasion, a good Grand Crux.

Napoleon would also be on the list. A bottle of brandy would most probably be appropriate. First thing I would ask is why his hand was always tucked in under his shirt. Serious indigestion? (Would check out to see if he was really as short as they say). Did he really say “not tonight Josephine”, as viagra had not been discovered?, or is that why his hand was always under his jacket?

Leonardo da Vinci. A must. Red Bull and Vodka to get the conversation going. Who the hell was Mona Lisa, was she real? (That painting is priceless, best valuation I could get on the Net was 175 million US).
Did aliens help him with his inventions? If he had battery or an internal combustion engine what else would he have invented.

Sigmund Freud. This would not be a friendly conversation. A bottle of plonk, no hard tack here, he would most probably run off and tell his Mom. I would explain to him that he made my life hell. My X majored in Psychology and his theories were rammed down my throat every time we had an argument, and there were many. I had no desire to have my father killed, and I loved my mother as any son does. And by the way, Oedipus, did not have any of the emotions as defined in your theory.

Christopher Columbus. A bottle of Rum, a good one. This would be a long conversation. Who was he? Nobody really seems to know. More books written about whom he was not that who he was. Did he really believe he had found the East?

Duty calls, there are a few more, but they will have to wait

If you could have a beer with someone from history, who would it be?

If you could have a beer with someone from history, who would it be? I did a post like that yesterday and I enjoyed it. However, The post should have been one person only, and with more substance. Now, what am I getting to…?
I am going to request, bully, threaten and/or beg three people to write a post on exactly that. A post on what you would discuss with someone from history.
Just the one post, no obligations, no follow ups, no linking, no tagging, just for fun.
The three that are on my list are.
Jonny Stensby – (If he is not wandering about on the high seas)
Marloes – (I know this will be a good one) Happy birthday Marloes!
Carol – (I would like to be a fly on the wall at this meeting)
Over a beer, tea, in a court, serious, funny, whatever, let the right brain out of the box.
If this works I will pressgang another three. (I have them in mind)
On a point of clarification, I am not soliciting for hits here, that is not the point.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Hand Art

This is really good stuff.
Originally found them at JD
with another bunch at
If this appeals to you, go have a look at the whole range.
Good Stuff

Climate Change and Malthus

Blog Action Day (15th) has come and passed. I have been around and read a lot of them, and I will be reading more. One aspect amazes me. The "passion" is there. The need to do "something" is there, but the who, and what must be done is not defined. Graphic verbal illustrations of what is happening are abundant. But not the solution.
The Inconvenient Truth Theory.
Before I run off at a tangent ...focus ...focus.
Inherent in mostly all serious posts is the distorted global balance between population, resources and production. These are the major variables that resulted in Climate Change, (Global Warming, whatever), and one could argue that these are the variables that need to be addressed to do damage control.
To have an informed insight to Population Growth Theory, one should start at the beginning, and that is Malthus, a Classical Economist of the 1700's. Believe or dismiss his theory, that is each persons own choice, but read it.
Otherwise, come back later, I will post a bit by bit background to his theory over the next few days.
What made me think about this was a post by Kim


Soccer: England and Russia.

Sky News had a news flash on the Moscow Police preparing for spectator violence at a Russian/English soccer game in the near future.
The first thing that came to mind was the similarities between the formation and "weapons" of the riot squad and a unit in the BC Roman army. This will make Julius Caesar proud. Helmets, shields, formation, body armour and batons in place of swords, same difference.
The second thing, somebody is going to bleed. As in serious pain. It would appear as though local Russian "gangs" have teemed up to vent their lust for violence and property destruction against the English supporters, in particular, and the world in general. The proverbial writing is on the wall.( Where did that expression come from?)
I have had more than a passing experience regarding riot control. And this is what this situation will develop into. A full scale riot. All the ingredients are there.
Most "peaceful demonstrations" also end up as a riot of some sort, usually due to criminal/political interference that bears no relationship to the original "cause".
The Russian Police will bear the brunt of the criticism after all is said and done, that is the way of "things".

Monday, 15 October 2007

Cape St Francis Iceberg: Mirage or Hoax?

It would appear as though the Intini entered Mosselbay a few days ago and ducked and dived the media on arrival. There are virtually no weekend newspaper reports covering this issue. So, there is no formal explanation from the Skipper or the crew. There are no photos. The general consensus in the media is that, given that there is no proof, and that the crew will not speak about it, it was either a hoax or a “mirage”.
I find it hard to believe that an experienced Skipper would unnecessarily cause this “situation”, given the gravity of the consequences of the “warning”; surely there is an official body that will follow this up?
Having said that, I had a long conversation at my favourite watering hole on Friday evening with two seasoned yachtsmen, who sail these seas regularly. They are adamant that the sea currents around the coast are such that an Iceberg from down South could not land up off Cape St Francis. They maintain it is a physical impossibility, and get pissed off when one “questions” their explanations.
Only the Skipper and the crew know what they saw, and they are not talking about it.
Maybe later.....

Climate Change and 15 October

15th of October, the day to think about Climate Change and put something to paper. When I saw this “exercise” I immediately backed off. Despite the advantages, the cynic in me did not want to go back to where I have been, and re-hash stuff that has been posted. Then I thought to myself, “could you summarize the entire Climate Change concept as per your perception, in a post short enough so that it could be read without taking a breath?” (Based on my subjective viewpoint that any post that is longer than that will not be read by 90% of visitors). That is a challenge. Here we go….
Stop breathing Now.

We need not wait for Global Climate Change to arrive, it is here, now. No Government, Continent, Organization, Individual or Band in the Park, can, or will stop the exponential increase to the damage to the Planet. Stabilization alone will require a paradigm shift to a negative global economic growth theory (e.g. no air travel), which no Government will support until forced to do so by disasters of biblical proportions. The challenge to our children will be to address and adapt to the “new” planet rather than to protect it. Man may be progressing, but the planet is regressing, and man is dependant on the planet. Mother Earth owes us nothing; she was here long before us.

Resume breathing…..there is still enough oxygen.

Half Assed, the meaning of

When something is done half assed, it is not done properly. Why half an ass? So to have a FULL ASS job done, one must screw it up completely? Use the whole ASS. I have never given this any thought. Half ass is half ass. I never questioned why half an ass would be half of a proper job. I keep seeing half a butt in my mind. (Half ass in the hand is worth two in the bush?)
Here is a possible answer to why something is half ass.
An ADZE is a woodworking tool that has been used for thousands of years. It is used to “finish” the surface of timber. So if you ordered a product from timber that was only finished on one side properly, as in the visible side, it was done half adzed. Full adze would be both sides. No need to do extra work or pay for something you will not see.
Over the years this evolved into half assed.
Also a mispronunciation of “haphazard” they say, but I cannot work that one out. ( Haph Assard?)
This is a full ass posting

Son of a Gun, origin and meaning.

Although there are a number of interpretations, there appears to be consensus that this expression is of nautical origin.
The expression is usually used in a derogatory manner when the parentage if a person is questioned. “Son of a Bitch” most probably evolved from this saying, and is more commonly used today.
Originated during the days of sailing ships.
It would appear as though sailors were permitted female company either during voyages or while in ports. A child conceived where the father was “unknown” or where the father was not named, was called “ a son of a gun”. Conception would most probably have take place on one of the gun decks next to the guns, as this would have been the only place of privacy for the sailors. (“Sons between guns”)
Son of a Gun was/is used to infer illegitimacy and convey contempt.
Another version is that women were allowed to enlist in non-combative roles in days past, and would give birth at sea on the gun deck between the guns.
Associated to this version was the firing of cannon next to the expectant mother during a difficult labour, to hasten the process. I was present at the birth of my 3 children, and firing a cannon right next to me during this process would have caused WW III.
My father was English, from a military family and a World War II veteran. He often used the expression “son of a gun”, with admiration. Up until today, I personally never knew that the expression was derogatory. This gives credence to the other possible origin, namely that a “son of a gun” was the son of a Soldier or a bearer of arms.
Post suggested by JonnyStensby, Norwegian expat in South Africa