Tuesday, June 24, 2008

JZ is not even half guilty! How about a third? A quarter?....

Well it's a little bitsy and bobsy sort of a day today.
News 24 has been a source of giggles in no small measure.
The headline that caught my attention was the highjacked vehicle found in a living room. Yep you read that right someone parked a stolen vehicle in their living room. Or their lounge if you are not so very posh. Holy macaroni! I thought I had heard just about everything but that's a good 'un. Ok it's not as good as all that, the living room had a wall on hinges (omigoshalooly did I just say that without falling on the floor laughing?) and the whole wall opened up and behind the real-looking windows and curtains etc - was parked - one Toyota Runx.
I am impressed at the ingenuity.
I almost feel that if some dude goes to the trouble of building a whole fake room in a house with walls that open out on hinges then he should maybe get to keep the car. Of course I hope that the car gives him endless mechanical problems and keeps leaking oil on his living room carpet, but he can keep it! Just think, if he stole my Hyundai Atos he would only need to build such a teensy guest toilet to hide it in.
Motorcycles could be hidden in built-in cupboards.
Then, if that wasn't funny enough the next headline said that Jacob Zuma says he is not guilty. He goes on to state that he is not even HALF-guilty. Yup, I guess a man who can protect himself from HIV Aids by having a shower - bloody hell I can't even get rid of a cold with a shower - can be guilty by fraction. Or not guilty by a fraction as the case may be.
I got to wondering how he came up with the half-guilty option. Did he, by omission, admit to being perhaps one third guilty? Or maybe just a quarter? One fifth? I am now alleging stuff and I do apologize to JZ if he indeed is only one tenth guilty. It does make it easier to accept that he may be fractionally guilty, than not guilty at all doesn't it?
I'm starting to think that JZ as president may be just what we need in this country. After all, crime won't go down that much in the near future unless we change much more than just our president, neither will unemployment, the petrol price, the cost of electricity, pollution, DSTV, a whole host of stuff - but at least he'll have us all falling about with laughter on a daily basis. That and a good walk daily should help the constant depression.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dear Diary I had oats for breakfast

I am not a proponent of the dear diary type blog - I suppose it is mean to say this, but I am of the opinion that most of us are not the least bit interested if you had boiled lambs' tongues for dinner last night and gave your boyfriend a blow job of epic proportions. Listing all the tv programs you watched and your favourite pizza flavours may be a thrill for you but I am waiting to be charmed not lobotomised. You may rate your day as being totally newsworthy but really - no real interest happening here dahling.
But there are days when it really is just too hard to think of something scintillating to say so you are stuck with my day thus far.
I fell asleep on the couch last night and forgot to go to bed. Well, I didn't forget, so much as neglect, to go to bed. It's all the fault of Eskom - they keep insisting we turn off all uneccessary lights and I did just that which left me in the dark on the couch and snoozing turned into the next morning. I have to say, in my defence, Wednesday night tv, including DSTV is Dire! I would rather have tea with my MD than stay awake through that.
Then I woke up more confused than normal (my Maltese was sleeping on my head) and found that I had overslept for an hour and a half. Nonetheless, I fed my dogs, gave my parrot his share of parroty treats and made my oats with seeds and raisins as if I had all day. And I made myself a nice cheese sandwich with fresh bread. I just don't do hurried. I was late for work and had to sneak in on the slipstream of the tea lady's trolley. It was undignified and uncomfortable and I bumped into my manager who gave me the speculative look of a boss who's planning your next performance appraisal. Aw shit - yet another 3.5 and no increase ahead.
When I got to my desk, someone had raided my coffee pot and there was only one cup of coffee left for me. My coffee pot people! Raided and left almost empty. This day has been going downhill steadily since last night!
To add to all this sad horribleness is the fact that my office is situated next to the stoep/balcony/veranda where the smokers go to smoke. This "office" is a well-lit all glass, fishbowl and has the most powerful air conditioning unit in the building with only one temperature - winter or summer - freezing. The fresh air intake for this aircon - you guessed it - is just above the smokers balcony. So by lunchtime my eyes are watering, my nose is running and I have a sore throat and smoking headache and eyes like a serious ganja queen. Today, it's raining and cold and wet on the smokers' balcony. This is no form of deterrent for smokers; so, in and out they go like a tinkers whatsit (there goes another as I write this) and every time they open the door all the papers on my desk lift and flap and land on the floor. I have on a suede jacket, a woolly scarf, a sweater, a cardigan, thick socks and a rain hat! Plus this mornings original sweater and skirt and boots underneath all that. I meant to wear something else, but the something else seems to have shrunk! I plan on taking some of this clothing off when I go to my car - I'll be a bit warm in the outdoors.
At lunch, my hurriedly made sandwich fell apart and the cheese landed on the floor.
I forgot to say: on the way to the office from my car this morning my expensive umbrella blew inside out and my hair got soaked - now it has the frizzies and for some reason my knee hurts. I probably injured my knee creeping through the reception behind the tea trolley.
I could manage this all with my usual Charmy calm - but my faithful Principessa is going out to dinner and won't be meeting me after work for our usual post work drinkies so I'll have to deal with my depression sober.
So I'm off home shortly (I plan on sneaking out behind one of the fat girls - some of them are double-wides) and I'm going to take drugs! and drink a lot! so there.......

Friday, June 13, 2008

Goonie Gertie killer of snakes!

It had to happen. Eventually I would have to show you a little of where I come from and why I am like I am. So today I will introduce you to my late, maternal grandmother. She was a woman of real substance in a world where women were submissive, sweet and concerned about their image.
She was born in Johannesburg at the turn of the last century (I'm guessing because she habitually lied about - or just wouldn't tell - about her age).
The daughter of an immigrant who came from a place in Germany called Memel (which no longer exists or has been sold to defray expenses). Her immigrant father started out life as a smous complete with a tray on straps and ended up a friend of Paul Kruger and owned a town which was named after his wife and which later ended up with a name that although it sounded triumphant was in fact quite shameful. Enough clues there? More information can be found at the Apartheid Museum I'm told. This is not a work of fiction but I don't have to spell it all out to you do I?
After the Anglo Boer War (the second one of course) my great-grandfather left South Africa - apparently he couldn't / wouldn't live here under the Brits - and went to Germany. It is rumoured that he was the person who transported the famed Kruger Millions out of the country and family history has it that the British soldiers arrived at their house shortly after he had left (wife and children were still here and were to follow him later on) and dug up the floors etc searching for said Millions. Natch they weren't found and I sure don't have them!
So my Ouma lived in Germany and England as a girl, wore ermine-trimmed cloaks and bonnets trimmed with guipure lace, had a governess and had her picture taken by the German Royal Court Photographer. The family later returned to South Africa and my grandmother went to a convent school where she learned useful stuff like embroidery, singing, painting etc.
Whatever her education and her early life she ended up the funniest woman I have ever known from a family of very funny women. She had cousins who could start you laughing at breakfast and keep you in hysterics till bedtime.
My Oumie was definitely NOT a linguist but this never stood in her way. She always spoke to her domestic in Afrikaans - she couldn't actually speak Afrikaans, but she just made it up as she went along and the domestics never ever laughed either. They probably thought she was talking Russian. She knew a smattering of Yiddish - most of which she twisted and abused and used the rudest of the rude words at the most inopportune moments. She made up words that we all thought were real and gave us what she insisted were the "dictionary" definitions if she was challenged. To this day my family ALL use sayings and words that my Ouma simply introduced as unassailably part of the english/afrikaans/yiddish/german/french language. Incidentally she learnt French at the convent school and my Oupa* always said that the nuns should have refunded the money they never earned.
She had a nickname which had been shortened to Goon or Goonnie which came from the Zulu word for mouse - she was deathly afraid of mice - and had been given to her by the workers on their farm (more in a later post).
She was a lady to her kidskin gloved fingertips but could be utterly vulgar with the sweetest most innocent smile on her face.
She refused to eat, wear, drink or contemplate anything which was not imported. She simply got urticaria and bumps from anything that didn't come from France, Germany, Switzerland, England etc.
She was my shopping mentor and could spend the day (with me in tow) finding the perfect pair of gloves, or having her french-made corset and bras fitted by a special bra-fitter. Her corsetry was like a suit of armour and it was all linked together by a series of teeny hooks and covered with silk french knickers and cami's. Pinching my Ouma's butt was pretty much impossible. Bumping into her could give you bruises and she had the best posture - who can slouch with that much whalebone! She told me that ladies never counted their change - a rule I followed faithfully for years - till I realised she made it up because she never had any idea what amount she should be getting - those nuns had a lot to answer for.
Apart from mice, she was absolutely fearless - she once was accosted by a snake - in her living room (or was it the drawing room - no I jest - it was the lounge). She beat the poor reptile to an early death. With a FLYSWATTER.
Once, during one of those holidays where the entire family was staying over at my grandparents' house, my aunt was passing by their bedroom door where my Oupie was giving my Oumie a rather passionate goodnight kiss - auntie heard my Ouma's clear and beautiful voice saying "Alec stoppit! The children will think their mother is a prostitute!"
She took up smoking in her 70's because she felt she needed a hobby and thought it would look stylish if she smoked - whilst turning out dainty little pastel drawings!
Oh I am so lucky to have known this fabulous lady! And she had 3 daughters who are all eccentric delightful dames in their own right.
*My Oupa was a remarkable linguist and learned languages with frightening ease. He was a phenomenal man and I will tell you about him one day too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Million Man March - Oh let me just stick out my neck here please!

I just know I shouldn't do this but I can't resist and Don't Believe A Word I Write has "gently" reminded me to write something so here is my opinion on the Million Man March - or shall I say my opinion on aspects of the march.
A million men - in South Africa you are going to find a million men to march for anything other than increased wages, housing or lost public holidays? Not likely eh?
A well-intentioned Desmond Dube, spurred on by the murder of Lucky Dube, no relative, and the rape and shooting of his (Desmond's) neighbours 9 year-old daughter, and various other everyday crime occurrences (everyday for us South Africans that is) decided that he had to do something about it. He thought he would fashion a march of a million men just like in the USA to make a statement about how we have had enough of the crime in this country.
Wow, and they all gathered in Pretoria today (some thousands) and handed over their memorandum or whatever to the government.
Weeelll, according to News24 the turnout was disappointing, and, naturally Thabo Mbeki did not appear. Now, I hate to sound like a Negative Nellie, but Folks, what in Hasoos' name did you expect?
Most South Africans understand that you can march till your shoes have no soles but the chances of crime being dealt a blow by our government as a result of your protests - not happening people!
In order to fight crime we would have to change our National psyche I think. More of us would have to have respect for each other. We would have to be law-abiding in every aspect of our lives. D'ya geddit? We would not speed along the freeway only slowing down at the cameras. We would never buy goods from the pavement hawker that are half the price of the supermarket's stock (eww how old is most of that shit anyway?). Our neighbours wouldn't buy electronic equipment that fell off the back of a truck (it's probably their colleagues' that was stolen last week). No, we would not pad our insurance claims and get the panel beater to factor in our excess. We would exercise self-discipline and we would allow our schools to discipline our children (no they don't have to beat the little buggers, just discipline them and expel them if they won't shape up). We would discipline our children at home too and we would stop buying them everything they believe they need to keep up with their peers. We would pick up our rubbish and fight back every chance we have.
Our politicians would be honest, unbribable and accountable. Our policemen would be numerous, tough, fair, and trustworthy. We would appear in court as witnesses and lay charges when asked to by the Police and not decide that it's not worth spending the day in court.
And we would definitely have a Million People's March. Please, Desmond, next time remember, we are an equal opportunity nation of victims.
So, I've had my rant, but having said all that I've said, I still believe that with a Government as indifferent to the daily abuses of the average South African as ours is - we have a long way to go sisters.