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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YOU CAN BET ON IT !


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Regardless of the venue, be it theatre, cinema or concert hall, there’s ALWAYS that one idiot who doesn’t switch off their cell-phone. And sure enough, at a crucial moment, their phone will merrily chime to announce an incoming call. Despite turned heads, and hostile glares, the culprit often continues to sit happily engrossed in the performance, until a neighbor administers a sharp nudge and hisses: Your phone – turn it OFF!!

 

Despite clear announcements prior to performances, people ignore the polite request. What’s the matter with them? Are they so addicted to their mobiles they can’t bear to be out of communication for an hour? Or so important that such mundane things don’t apply to them? And most deaf people can lip read, so they’re not excused either .

 

And let me tell you, the culprits are not just the elderly technophobes who don’t know how to turn off their phones (and I’ve met them!) but much younger folk too.

 

Here’s a hint: turn your phone off before you enter the venue. Works every time!

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THE LAST BUNCH OF INCA LILIES


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My friend E visited me on Wednesday. She walked in, carrying a generous bunch of Inca Lilies, freshly cut from her garden. As ever, she apologised for the mess they will make, and as ever, I replied “I don’t care, they’re lovely!” Which they are. Deep red, with yellow highlights. En masse the flowers produce a light, frilly effect, but day by day the papery petals fall off, until the tall glass vase is surrounded by a halo of drying petals. I could care less – the flowers are so beautiful, and it takes but a few moments to pick up the fallen petals and bin them.

 

 
I always enjoy her visits. E’s passion in life is to travel. I listen with envy to her planned trips for 2019. Her equal passion is photography, and she take hundreds (and on occasion, literally thousands) of photos on her journeys , which she puts into visual presentations and photo-books, and shares with friends. I’m an armchair traveller, but she is a modern female Marco Polo.

 

 
Two days later she texted me to say she was in hospital, and the prognosis was not good.
I’m looking at my vase of Inca Lilies, and know that this may well be the last bunch of Inca Lilies I will receive from E’s garden.

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SAUDADE


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For some reason, I’m thinking about the Brazilian Portuguese word saudade. I’ve never been to a live performance, but my exposure to saudade music goes way way back.

 
I’m remembering my radio listening days in the 1950s, when the dial was firmly stuck on LM Radio – or, to give it the full title: Radio Club de Mozambique – please aurally visualize a heavy Portuguese accent. In those years the station was unashamedly Portuguese orientated; today, hardly at all, with the target audience living in South Africa.

 
Back then, I would have heard the melancholy, oh so wistful slow tones of an obviously heartbroken woman pouring out of my tinny radio, despite the poor reception. I say “tinny radio” deliberately, because way back then, many radios did come enclosed in a thin metal (tin?) casing.
The definition of saudade is: Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Thank you Wikipedia!

 

 

Later in my life I made the happy discovery of the Cape Verde singer, Cesare Evora and bought her CDs. Which reminds me: I should haul them out and give them a spin, just for old times sake. If you’ve never listened to Cesare Evora LINK then now would be a good time to explore the romantic, emotional saudade songs . I’ve put in a YouTube link. But if you’re currently suffering from a broken heart, then maybe not!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudade

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200 YEAR OLDS ?


centenarian-clipart-3Do I want to celebrate my 200th birthday? No: I don’t think so.

I’m about to see my 77th anniversary of arrival on this earth, and thus far a mixed bag of good and bad times, illness and health, success and failure, amazement and boredom. In short: life, in all its shades from brilliant gold to desperate black. Could I face? Enjoy? Withstand? another 123 years of the process?

Again: I don’t think so. And what about the planet? Many, if not most of our current ecological and social ills are due to one factor and one factor alone: overcrowding. Our world is over-populated. Just imagine: if we had the ability to prolong life up to 200 years, and the current birth rate continued, we’d be one gigantic seething mass, living under terrible conditions, short of every natural resource and fighting for survival. Shades of the Bladerunner movie  Pretty much how many live today in Third World countries.

Currently on my local radio station there’s an ad confidently announcing that the people who will live up to 200 years have already been born, and what are the listeners doing to adjust their financial planning accordingly? Good question. And only one of the many questions that the scenario generates. Prudent financial planning will be the least of our worries when the Two-Hundreds start multiplying. Our needs will be a great deal more basic. Food. Water. Shelter. Survival.

Just maybe that sonorous phrase to live three-score years and ten was excellent advice.

 

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