THOSE ELDERLY ELECTRONIC LUDDITES!


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Yes: I’ve hauled out my soapbox again for another rant. This time it’s the elderly Luddites, who have incurred my electronic wrath. And I can be a rudely wrathful as I like, as it’s a 100% certainty they will never read this.
It so happens I co-ordinate two social groups, and wishing to make my life as easy as possible, I communicate with the one group via WhatsApp, and the second group via e-mail. What could be quicker, cheaper and easier?

 
Except that in both groups there is one – always just that one person! – who, for whatever unfathomable reason, refuses to use a cellphone, and if perchance they actually own an ancient, brick-sized Nokia, it’s operating system can’t cope with the WhatsApp programme. No, they say vaguely, I don’t have that – whatchcallit? All my grandkids use it, but it’s not for me. Actually, they add, in confessional mode, I usually keep my cellphone switched off.  Then please explain to me why they continue to give out their number?

You are probably reading this and shaking your head in disbelief. But I swear to you, that’s a direct quote from one old dear.

 
And the other group of Luddites refuse to go anywhere near a PC or smartphone, and never, but never ever, communicate by e-mail. They might, very reluctantly, divulge their nearest and dearest’s e-mail address and hesitatingly say: “Well, I suppose you could send me an e-mail to my son’s e-mail address, but he’s so busy, I don’t know …” and of course, any e-mail you do send to Sonny Boy never gets passed on to his dear old Mum. Grrrrrrhhhh.

 
So what? you’re thinking. Where’s the problem? The problem, dear Reader, is that these Luddites constantly complain : But nobody ever told ME the date had changed / the meeting will be two hours later / the venue has changed / our monthly meeting is cancelled . Nobly refraining from leaping up and throttling them, you reply through gritted teeth: Well: if you had WhastApp /email then you’d be up to speed, wouldn’t you?

 
Thanks for reading this. I feel better now I’ve got that off my chest!

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HANDS UP! YOUR CELLPHONE OR YOUR LIFE !


 

 

 

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You think I’m being overly dramatic?
No I’m not. Ask Eric, one of the gate guards who works at the Complex where I live. He’s finally back at work, after weeks in hospital and three surgical procedures to repair the stab wounds to his abdomen. He was attacked and robbed of his cellphone , en route home from his shift at our gate.

 
Despite the attack, and the ensuing medical dramas, he managed to survive. For which, let us be devoutly thankful.

 
Part of daily life in South Africa, I regret to say. South African crime statistics are jaw droppingly horrendous. I don’t even want to Google them, so I can back up this little piece of writing with solid fact. If my readers are interested they will have to do it themselves.

 
Years ago, driving the familiar route to the office, through a leafy suburb, I spotted a fresh wreath fixed to a street light pole. I was profoundly shocked when I discovered what the wreath was commemorating. A young student, in his late teens, walking home, was stabbed and killed for his cellphone. His family had fixed the wreath to the pole to mark the place where he died. Every time I subsequently saw the wreath, I was saddened. And that incident took place fifteen years ago.

 
In the interim, things have grown significantly more dangerous. Life in South Africa. And yet I continue to live here. I know the alternatives are either : work for change or go live elsewhere. Easier said than done, when you’re elderly

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CAPE TOWN CALLING : OFF WE GO IN JANUARY!


 

 

 

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Table Mountain on the left, from the Silo District, V & A Waterfront

 

Despite the blue skies and sunshine, January is generally a gloomy month. Chiefly because our credit card statements were terrifying, and because our purses were scarily empty. We all know we shouldn’t overspend at Christmas, but guess what? We always do. South Africans are not very good at saving, despite campaigns to encourage us and offers from our major banks to open a savings account.
The Road Death Toll for the 2018 Holiday Season figures are released. As usual, they are staggering. In, the Western Cape Province, the total was 169 fatalities, over the December/January period. And still we continue to drive like maniacs and disregard the rules of the road. Statistics reveal that over 50% of road deaths are alcohol-related. And yet we continue to drink & drive. Arrrggggh. You venture forth at your peril!
Schools re-open. The tiny tots start their School careers on Day One with either floods of tears or wild delight . Mums agonise and helicopter around the kids Other parents wake up and realise they should have booked their kid’s place in the local school last year, around June 2018, so now there’s no place for little  Bongi  or Devan except in a school that’s 20 kms from home and not on a bus route. Pandemonium, threats, panic, (and probably bribery) ensues.
No sooner has the furore over school placements subsided, and the annual tsunami of grumbling over the (admittedly high) cost of school uniforms staggered to an exhausted halt, we are galvanised all over again by reports of rural schools in far flung districts that have not received any textbooks for 2019, never mind the promised water-borne sanitation that was promised at the beginning of 2018. Life in S’Affrica!
Fire Season in Cape Town flares up  every summer. Our famous Signal Hill, part of the Atlantic seaboard/CBD, was ablaze – fanned by 40 kph South-Easter winds. Wuppertal a small historic town in the Cedarberg (350 kms away) is demolished by fire. The Overberg region is ravaged by fires for days.  Apparently the initial fire was caused by some bright spark  letting off a flare on Old Year’s Night. Our noble fire fighters battled the blazes for weeks on end. They all deserve medals.

On the brighter side – yes, there is one. A fire crew discovered a traumatised baby duiker in a fire zone, the little buck had badly burnt feet/hooves. They were able to catch it, and take it to a nearby vet in Somerset West, who treated and saved Bambi. Yes: that’s what the fire crew christened the little survivor, and, even better, the vet rehabilitated the animal free, gratis and for nothing! Us Saffers have big hearts when the chips are down.

 

Some much needed comic relief: in a recent development, the proposed new Gatvol Party* is sulking because the Electoral Commission won’t let them register their party name because “ the name might cause offence to some people.”  *Gatvol is a very vulgar Afrikaans expression, indicating complete disgust – I’m not even going to try to translate this one!

 

And the cherry on top: The Independent Electoral Commission announces over 240 parties have registered to contest the election in May. We can only hope this is fake news!
All this and it’s only the end of January – sterkte+, as they say in the Afrikaans classics!
+ strength

Dockside, at the V&A Waterfront

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THE GERIATRIC DIY FIEND


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I live in a gated Village for those who are over 50 years old. So far, so good. Consequently we are a mixed community of those who still have jobs or careers; those who are in their mid 60s and upwards, and the very elderly who truly are geriatric.

 
New neighbours moved into the house opposite mine, mid December . So far, so good.  Christmas is over now. All the visiting families have departed, we are into the early days of 2019 and New Neighbour turns out to be a D I Y fan of note. He hammers, bangs, and wields his electric drill with gusto, literally from morning ‘til night. What on earth can he be doing? Re-fitting the entire damn house with new cupboards? I happen to know the house has more than adequate cupboard space.
What’s equally baffling is that he’s over 80 years old, and quite stooped. When I met him in the street he gave me a tortoise grimace and pallidly shook my hand.

 
Sir: you’re supposed to be relaxing on your verandah with your cup of coffee, or snoozing in front of the Sports Channel on TV. I’m told his wife is a sweet lady and from the little I’ve seen she doesn’t fit the profile of domestic tyrant raising hell over the lack of cupboards. For goodness sake, there’s only the two of them,  not a family of ten!

 
Who knows? Meanwhile, I’m gritting my teeth and muttering : live and let live . Trouble is, our houses are jammed very close together. So any noise is shared noise. Yay.

 

Dear previous neighbour: don’t you want to come back to my street? I never really appreciated the excellent qualities of a nice sedate older school teacher until now!

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YOUR NEW 2019 CALENDAR?


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Who – or what – will be gracing your walls for the coming 12 months?
Cute kittens? Beautiful flowers? Idyllic scenery? Exotic dream destinations ?
Oriental Art? Endangered species? Wolves and Wildlife?

 

OR: macho, bare-chested mighty Vladimir Putin (yes: that VP) Will you be gazing lustfully and dreamily, like a vast number of Japanese ladies do? There’s a surprise – who knew that the Russian Bear would set those hearts aflutter? For years Hello Kitty! was a favourite Japanese icon, at least of the younger adults. Perhaps as they mature they need something less fluffy?
We must thank our lucky stars that the Mighty Orange One hasn’t been persuaded to enter the contest of the calendars. Mind you, is it cool to compete in the Testosterone Test against your Best Buddy? Help me out here.
Let me rapidly report that my daughter’s annual wildlife calendar, featuring her photos from numerous bush adventures, is the only calendar in this house!

I’m still giggling about the inexplicable Japanese calendar favourite, so my opinion is skewed and totally unimportant anyway.
I wonder what’s on your walls?

 

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2 JANUARY 2019 : CRUNCH TIME


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Determined to make good my silent promise to myself about making more of an effort, there I was, on 2 January, briskly walking on the treadmill at the gym. Was this my New Year’s Resolution? No – not exactly; but acting on the need to become fitter, and to stick to regular exercise. I’m a terrific starter. Propose a new activity, and I’m super enthusiastic and get going with gusto. But. And here’s the sticky patch: I’m not a good stayer.

 
In view of my daily – sometimes twice daily! – dog-walking in December , which was quite enjoyable but somewhat leisurely because The Dog just had to sniff, and (usually) christen every tree trunk and pole we encountered, and my Village has a fair number of both. So the Dog Walking got me going again, and I didn’t do too badly on the treadmill. Nothing dramatic you understand, given my age etc etc.

 
I thought the Gym would be packed with people pounding off the Christmas indulgence, and while there were more people than usual., it wasn’t throbbing as I’d expected. Sure – more men sweating on exercise bikes, but I suspect that’s because they’re still on holiday. South Africa doesn’t really get going until the second week in January. Work ethic and productivity are not our strong suit!

 
While I’m all in favour of life reviews at year end, or setting goals in early January, I know from past experience that New Year’s resolutions don’t really work for me.

 
I asked my New Year’s Day lunch guests what they had planned for 2019? One reply was to move up to the Silver category in Ballroom dancing, so that was a firm commitment. Another reply was to make more use of their new gym membership …. That wasn’t me, but another luncher. Another person is launching a new home business venture and possibly moving to the Southern Cape. Somebody else wants to improve their photography skills. Concrete goals, all progress related I note. Oh – one woman said this was the year she wanted to leap out of a plane, attached to a parachute, but I think she’d had too much champagne!

 
How about you? Any New Year’s resolutions? Personal promises and goals?

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A CAPE TOWN DECEMBER 2018 SNAPSHOT


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Our world famous Clifton Fourth Beach

 
Me: nobly dog-sitting the neighbour’s Papillion dog. Virtuous dog-walking to off-set the Christmas fare. Dog returned with relief. Little dogs are demanding. Give me a nice self-sufficient cat any day!

 
Different voices on my local radio station while the regular announcers took a well deserved break after a hectic year. Less hard news – more Christmasy items – where to go for the perfect picnic, how to cook the tenderest turkey – which will be the place to celebrate New Year? Does the annual Cape Minstrels Parade (PC-speak for the traditional Coon Carnival) still have any significance? Reminiscences about Christmases Past, when life was simpler and easier: grand family gatherings. Boxing Day beach picnics. Volunteering at Christmas for the less fortunate; plenty of street people in Cape Town in need of festive cheer, blue skies & sunshine notwithstanding.

 

 

And then hard news with hard facts about real life kept intervening: the annual carnage on our roads; I don’t even want to think about the numbers.

 

EMS  crews being attacked and robbed when they enter some of the more dangerous townships. Can you believe it? Robbing Ambulance crews!
And of course – 3 drownings. The Western Cape is a coastal province, and most of the locals have never learnt to swim, so predictably, every holiday season, there are beach fatalities despite lifeguards on the beaches, and PRO exercises by the NSRI.  . So sad when fatalities could be prevented if people only listened and swam where indicated or on beaches with lifeguards. But of course, they don’t. People being people. https://www.nsri.org.za/

 
A Rambo type private security firm illegally chasing people off Clifton’s famous 4th beach and the ensuing uproar, the politicising, the protests, the slaughtering of a sheep on the beach to make a point (poor old sheep, I say) and then the fresh uproar about debasing customary Xhosa ritual animal sacrifice for political gains – it wouldn’t be South Africa if we didn’t have at least one issue in December with inflammatory ingredients.

 
Aforementioned Rambo Security Service arbitrarily closing off roads – ‘coning’ they call it, this is not a typo, it refers to the orange traffic cones used by the Traffic Cops in Cape Town They closed roads in an affluent area thus provoking further outrage and uproar, and and and … sigh, whatever happened to the Season of Goodwill? Just asking.

 
In my own tiny little world, there were gatherings, festive meals, modest gifts, laughter, stories, jokes, Christmas crackers that wouldn’t crack (el cheapos don’t) and more hilarity as we read out the terrible terrible puns and jokes spilling out on tiny paper strips. Now we know what Santa’s elves do post-Christmas during those long Arctic nights. I mean, how elf could they be gainfully employed? A feeble pun I know, but indulge me.

 
We drank toasts to a Happy Christmas, and one week later we did it all again and drank a toast to a Happy New Year. Everybody agreed that 2018 was challenging and difficult, so we’re looking forward to an easier year in 2019. There’s an encouraging start on 2 January when the new monthly petrol price comes in, with a ZAR1.00 price reduction per litre. That’s good news!

 
And so I wish all my readers a peaceful and prosperous year ahead.

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NO MORE READY-MEALS FOR SHARKS!


 

The university of Stellenbosch  has created a department to market some of the incredible scientific advances that their scientists dream up. For example: an eco-friendly shark barrier.

 

South Africa’s Indian ocean coast is subject to shark attacks, and fatalities.https://www.portfoliocollection.com/travel-blog/south-africa-s
Existing shark nets are a mixed blessing, because other marine life gets trapped in the netting and perhaps, on balance, the nets do as much harm as good.

 

But the bright boffins have come up with the brilliant idea of an artificial kelp forest, which emits a small magnetic and electric current. I learn that sharks have very acute sensors located on their faces, and would sense the hostile barrier, and swim no further. Isn’t that clever?

 

Yet again, a kernel of new knowledge via my local radio station, Cape Talk Radio

 

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SOUTH AFRICA NEEDS MADAM SECRETARY!


 

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I’m a huge fan of the award winning TV series Madam Secretary.
Not only do I enjoy the plots, which are always up to date and compelling, but the chief focus is on the fictional female incumbent of the USA Secretary of State Ms Elizabeth McCord. The fact that the series promotes a feisty, fearless woman in one of the world’s most challenging political roles, cheers me immensely. Especially in the current period of Trump turmoil in the White House.

 
I recall that in Series One, an episode showed Madeleine Albright  mentoring her fictional counterpart with sage advice based on her own experience in the position. How’s that for authenticity? Ms Albright occupied the powerful and demanding position during from 1997 to 2001. She was the first woman to hold the cabinet post of U.S. secretary of state.

 
I’m well aware that TV series stretch and embellish fact, for the sake of dramatic impact. I know that TV stations/movie production companies all have a particular agenda they want to promote. I’m also  well aware that I’m watching fictional events play out on my TV screen. This said, I am struck over and over again, by the frequent reference in the dialogue to the importance of upholding a democracy, and how Madam Secretary often says things like: It’s a privilege to uphold or contribute Public Service. OMG. I can’t imagine any South African politician saying anything remotely like that.

 
South African politicians, I am very sorry to say, seem to enter politics for one reason and one reason only: to enrich themselves. Public Service and democratic principle are a foreign concept to them so far as one can see. Our country has gone through a black period of corruption and maladministration for 9 years. At the moment we are gingerly creeping out of the stinking swamp and scrabbling for dry land and a public service driven by ideals, hard work and recognition that the citizens of South Africa have a right to a better life and clean governance.

 

Reference is often made to our Constitution , very recently composed in the late 1990s, and held up as the best Constitution in the world. Maybe it is, on paper, but in the real world our politicians flout it at every turn.

 
Elizabeth Mc Cord: please pay us a visit – we desperately need you!

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HOLO-MARRIAGE or is it a HOLLOW MARRIAGE?


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At my age, thought I’d heard everything, but no.

 
Heard on radio today: A man in Japan threw a standard wedding party bash when he married a hologram. Apparently his family refused to attend. Now, why ever would that be do you suppose ?

 
The man, a mid-level manager, stated that he’d been disappointed by women, so he was marrying his perfect woman who just happens to be a hologram. A singer, I think they said, with those round saucer eyes that the Japanese love so much, and blue hair or skin – I was so stunned that some of the details didn’t penetrate my brain. The hologram apparently says goodbye dear, every day as he leaves for work. Isn’t that nice?

 
Which brings me to the much darker topic of the Incel Movement , an on-line sub-culture populated by misogynistic young-ish men, not only disappointed by women/girls but now actively hating them. When I saw the pictures, I could well believe that the pudgy, pasty-faced Goth style geeks wouldn’t be that attractive to many girls. Aaarggghhh …. A disturbing social trend? Movement ? manifestation? Too much on-line fantasy clashing with reality ? I don’t know. Items like this make me wonder if I’ve fallen on to an alien planet during the night, or blundered into a time-warp.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incel

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