Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fw: The Idler, Friday, July 19, 2013

----- Original Message -----
From: linscott
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:26 PM
Subject: The Idler, Friday, July 19, 2013

Unique rugby record


MY OLD SHIPMATE John Crickmay, of Uvongo, tells me his old school, Kearsney, has a rugby record that has to be unique.


Earlier this month when the British and Irish Lions played Australia in the First Test, they had in their line-up two Kearsney old boys, Brad Barret (centre) and Matt Stevens (prop). On the very same day the Springbok Under 20 side played Wales with Robert du Preez, also a Kearsney old boy, at flyhalf.


Therefore three Kearsney old boys played international rugby for two different countries on the same day. (Actually five countries if you look at the Lions as a composite side – England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales). Can any other school say the same?


Robert is the son of former Springbok and Natal scrumhalf Robert du Preez. His other two sons, twins Daniel and Jean-Luc (lock and flank respectively), play for the South African Schools and KwaZulu-Natal Schools sides.


Where are they at school? Er, Kearsney.


Able Seaman (Reserve List) Crickmay says he's sure I will find this interesting, though he doubts if I would publish it, being hopelessly biased in favour of Maritzburg College.


On the contrary, I'm delighted to spread this information. I'd no idea they were playing rugby at Kearsney.



Cool dude dogs

BEWARE of flying bulldogs … In Lima, Peru, there's a sudden craze for getting bulldogs onto skateboards. Three dogs named Otto, Biuf and Benito have been taught by their owners to use skateboards.

They practice every weekend in a car park and have developed a growing fan base on YouTube and Facebook. So popular has the thing become that one of the owners, Ivan Juscamaita, plans to open a skateboarding school for dogs.

Whatever next? Poodles on pogo-sticks?

Robin Hood defence

THEY don't have much truck in Wyoming with the merry men of Sherwood Forest. A man who claimed to have robbed a Wyoming bank so he could give money to the homeless has been handed almost six years in jail.

Corey Donaldson, an Australian living in America, attempted to use the Robin Hood defence when accused of a heist of some $140 000 (R1.4 million) last December, saying he passed on most of the cash to people who really needed it.

"You haven't lived until you have served others in such a way that they can never pay you back," he told the court.

But it didn't wash with the jury and he has to sit, after which he will probably be deported back to Australia.


Donaldson came to live in the US after marrying an American girl. But they are now divorced.


So sad. It didn't work out with Maid Marion either.



Fossil find

AUSTRALIAN workmen have uncovered crocodile, frog, fish and plant fossils believed to be 50 million years old. They relate to the period after dinosaurs died out.

The fossils were trapped in a layer of oil shale, found during excavation works near a Brisbane railway station at a depth of only about 15 m.

Queensland Museum chief executive Suzanne Miller is quoted as having told a radio station: "These could be some of the earliest mammals ever found."

We trust she is misquoted. Crocodiles, frogs and fish are not mammals.

She knows

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman already knows."

Action Man

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin continues on the Action Man trail. Having been photographed doing macho things like darting whales, darting a tiger, riding on horseback bare-chested, fighting forest fires and riding Harley-Davidsons, he has now taken a mini-submarine deep underwater.

In his latest photo opportunity, he took the small submersible craft 60m under in the Gulf of Finland, in the Baltic Sea, to look at the wreck of a naval frigate which sank in 1869. He resurfaced smiling after half an hour.

Attaboy! Obama, Cameron, Hollande – none of them come close in the Gung-Ho Stakes.



First Ms: "Congratulations, I hear you've published a book. What's it about?"

Second Ms: "Thanks. It's about sexism."

First Ms: "Wow! That's socking it to them!"

Second Ms: "Yes, it's even got pictures so men can understand."

Last word

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

Oscar Wilde,


Fw: The Idler, Thursday, July 18, 2013

----- Original Message -----
From: linscott
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:24 PM
Subject: The Idler, Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chimes for Mandela


IF YOU LIVE in the vicinity, you will have heard the tenor bell at St Mary's Church, Greyville, chime 95 times this morning from 7 o'clock. It was in honour of Nelson Mandela's birthday and the bell is, very appropriately, called "Peace" (All church bells have a name).


Last Sunday, the Greyville bellringers struck St Mary's Number 7 bell – "Delville Wood" – 97 times to commemorate the Battle of Delville Wood 97 years ago during World War I, where about 2 500 South Africans of the First Infantry Brigade died.


Present was Valri Simpson, granddaughter of Percy Bentley who was one of the few survivors of Dellville Wood.


Dellville Wood … Peace. It's a nice thought on Madiba's birthday.



Tornado season

AMERICA has had a summer of dreadful tornados. People have died and homes and buildings have been wrecked in places like Oklahoma. Nature's wrath can indeed be fearsome.

Yet danger can be a kind of magnet. People are now paying for storm-chasing holidays in the region dubbed Tornado Alley. They set out in convoys of vans – battered and dented by hail – that stalk the deadly twisters, taking the tourists right into the storm. They call it weather stalking.

Astonishing. And with all kinds of other hazards also. You can find yourself getting mixed up with wizards, cowardly lions, scarecrows and tin men. Not to mention girls named Dorothy. (I've known some highly hazardous Dorothys in my time).


WHOOPS! My sportswriter colleague Simon Osler points out that the Ashes urn is reputed to contained the ashes of a cremated cricket bail, not a cricket ball as stated yesterday.

He's quite right. Bails, balls … I blame it on the distraction of T20 which, as stated yesterday, is the cricketing equivalent of pocket billiards.

Restless comics

POLITICS is a greasy pole. Barack Obama started out in the US with such optimism and enthusiasm behind him that he seemed unstoppable. But the mood has changed as he approaches the end of his second and final term as president.

Who says so? The stand-up comedians say so. When they start wisecracking against you, your time is up.

Reader Brian Kennedy sends in some collated examples. Some of the gags seem rather cruel.

Jay Leno:

·         "The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree ... and think 25 to life would be appropriate."

·         "America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask." (Nancy Pelosi leads the Democrats in the House of Representatives).

·         "What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon? A fund raiser."

David Letterman:

·         "What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary? One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society. The other is for housing prisoners."

·         "What was the most positive result of the 'Cash for Clunkers' programme? It took 95 percent of the Obama bumper stickers off the road."


Conan O'Brien:

·        "Have you heard about McDonalds' new Obama Value Meal? Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it."

Jimmy Fallon:

·         If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean and it started to sink, who would be saved? America!"

Yes, a greasy pole. They knew what they were doing, those American legislators, when they limited a president to two terms. The comedians start getting restless halfway through the second.


HERE'S a classic of bureaucratic red tape. More than a decade ago, floods washed away the dam that supplies the remote Russian village of Bobrovka, in the Ural mountains of Siberia.

The villagers have been petitioning the authorities ever since for a new dam to be built, without success. But now wild beavers have come to their assistance. They've built a new dam themselves. It's absolutely solid and large enough to supply the village's needs.

But the beavers had no planning permission. The authorities are now threatening to demolish the dam.

Rules is rules. The mind, senor, she boggles!




A SMALL boy is listening to a Bible story. His dad reads: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt."

Small boy (concerned): "What happened to the flea?"

Last word

I like to play blackjack. I'm not addicted to gambling, I'm addicted to sitting in a semi-circle.

Mitch Hedberg


Fw: The Idler, ednesday, July 17, 2013

----- Original Message -----
From: linscott
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:21 PM
Subject: The Idler, ednesday, July 17, 2013


Ashes back with a bang


IT'S REMARKABLE the way the Ashes have today become a central part of the marketing of Test cricket between England and Australia. They have been the trophy for which the two competed in Test cricket ever since 1882.


There was a lot of excitement at the time, When Australia beat England for the first time at the Oval, in London, the Sporting Times ran a satirical obituary in which it described the death of English cricket, saying it would be cremated and taken to Australia.


When England went on a return tour to Australia, a group of women in Melbourne presented England captain Ivo Bligh with a small terracotta urn containing the ashes (reputedly) of a cricket ball.


From then on the Ashes became the trophy, though they remain permanently in the cricket museum of Marylebone Cricket Club, in London. Facsimiles are presented after each series.


But the excitement ebbed somewhat and for many years the Ashes were little more than a footnote. England/Australia regained/retained the Ashes. The technical match reports dominated.


But we're in the age of marketing ballyhoo and the Ashes – in the little terracotta urn - are back with a bang – the Ashes Series, the Ashes Test, Ashes excitement …


And if it serves the cause of Test cricket - where, let us not forget, South Africa is still at the top of the world rankings - so much the better.


Vitai Lampada


READER Mike Butcher parodies the famous poem by Henry Newbolt to capture not just the drama of the final day of the First Ashes Test between England and Australia but a controversial incident during the game as well.


There's a breathless hush in the Close tonight,

Ten to make and the match to win,

A bumping pitch and a blinding light,

An hour to play and the last man in.

But it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat

Or the shining steel of the victor's sword,

But his captain's hand on his shoulder smote,

"Play up and play like Stuart Broad."


Purest form


CONTROVERSY or not, that First Test was a marvellous underlining of the undeniable fact that test cricket is the highest, purest form of the game. This Test had everything – uncertainly and excitement right from the start. A Number 11 batsman scored 98 in his first Test match ever. Anything could happen, and the seemingly impossible almost did.


Trent Bridge was packed to capacity. Nothing can compare with this. The meddlers who want absurdities like day/night test cricket, played in pyjamas with a white ball, have had another setback. They should move on to baseball and be done with it.


Test cricket, in all its subtlety, is akin to chess; one-day cricket to draughts. Twenty20? Pocket billiards comes to mind.



Skinny-dip latest


ON MONDAY we looked at the problem of women skinny-dippers distracting men while their houses are burgled. Dave Pickford follows up with more on the incident in Tennessee that highlighted the practice.


"I did hear that when the police asked for a description of the culprits, the victim responded that he did not get a good look at her face."


Yes, it was only 20 minutes that he watched her swimming in his pool.

Peashooting drama

MEANWHILE, high drama in the English village of Witcham, in Cambridgeshire.

There the World Peashooting Championship was won by Rob Bresler.

The championship has now been running 43 years. It is something to be taken seriously. Bresler won his title using a peashooter fitted with a laser sight.

Proceeds go toward upkeep of the village hall.


THIS fellow spent the entire weekend razzling with his pals. Friday night he was playing darts at the pub with them. All Saturday he was with them shooting guinea fowl. All Sunday he was with them fishing. When he got home on Sunday evening he ran into an angry confrontation with his wife.

"How would you like it if you didn't see me for two or three days?"

"I'd bear it with my customary fortitude."

Monday went by and he didn't see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went the same . On Thursday the swelling went down just enough for him to see her a little out of the corner of his left eye.

Last word

The penalty for success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you.

Nancy Astor

Fw: The Idler, Tuesday, July 19,2013

----- Original Message -----
From: linscott
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:19 PM
Subject: The Idler, Tuesday, July 19,2013

Here's the heavy roller

YESTERDAY we looked at the rapier thrusts. Here now is a bit of heavy roller stuff contained in Cassell's Dictionary of Insulting Quotations (compiled by Jonathan Green). It's a column by Cassandra (real name William Connor) in the London Daily Mirror on the arrival in Britain of American pianist/entertainer Liberace in the 1950s.

"He is the summit of sex, the pinnacle of masculine, feminine and neuter. Everything that he, she and it can ever want. I spoke to sad but kindly men on the newspaper who have met every celebrity coming from America for the past 30 years. They say that this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love has had the biggest reception and impact on London since Charlie Chaplin arrived at the same station, Waterloo, on September 12, 1921. This appalling man, and I use the word appalling in no other way than its true sense of terrifying, has hit the country in a way that is as violent as Churchill receiving the cheers on VE Day. He reeks of emetic language that can only make grown men long for a quiet corner, an aspidistra, a handkerchief and the old heave-ho. Without doubt he is the biggest sentimental vomit of all time. Slobbering over his mother, winking at his brother and counting the cash at every second, this superb piece of calculating candyfloss has an answer for every situation."

That's quite a long paragraph. And on second thoughts that's a steamroller rather than just a heavy roller. Cassandra was no fan of Liberace. He gets his point across, methinks. But it cost the Daily Mirror £8 000 in damages for libel (a lot of money in the 50s) and Liberace famously sent Connor a telegram: "What you said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank."

Back to basics

THE KREMLIN is said to be buying up old typewriters to escape the electronic surveillance capability of the United States. It seems that the revelations of Edward Snowden – who happens to be holed up/stranded in Russia - have scared the pants off them.

Stand by for another Kremlin order for empty jam tins and string. That's the kind of telephone you just can't tap.

And stand by also for yet another style of James Bond movie..


Gangsters' Gazette

JAPAN'S mafia – known as the Yakuza or the Yamaguchi-gumi – has published a members' magazine that includes a poetry page and the fishing diaries of senior gangsters.

The eight-page publication, titled Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo, is an effort to strengthen unity in the group. Its first front page carries a message by Godfather equivalent Kenichi Shinoda, instructing younger members in the values and disciplines they should observe.

Like the Italian mafia or Chinese triads, the Yakuza engages in activities ranging from gambling, drugs and prostitution to loan sharking, protection rackets, white-collar crime and business through front companies.

The gangs have historically been tolerated by the authorities, although there are periodic clampdowns on some of their activities. Shinoda writes that times have become hard for Japan's mafia and they can no longer rely on profitability.

A Gangsters' Gazette? (Let nobody say anything rude about our own Government Gazette).


SHE: "Do you drink beer?"

He: "Yes."

She: "How many a day?"

He: "Usually about three."

She: "How much do you pay per beer?"

He: "About R20."

She: "And how long have you been drinking?"

He: "About 20 years, I suppose."

She: "So a beer costs R20 and you have three beers a day which puts your spending each month at R1 800. In one year it would be approximately R21 600 … correct?"

He: "Correct."

She: "If in 1 year you spend R21 600, not accounting for inflation, the past 20 years puts your spending at R432 000, correct?"

He: "Correct."

She: "Do you know that if you didn't drink so much beer, that money could have been put in a step-up interest savings account and after accounting for compound interest for the past 20 years, you could have now bought a Ferrari?"

He: "Do you drink beer?"

She: "No."

He: "Then where's your Ferrari?"

Last word

You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men.

Max Beerbohm


Fw: The Idler, Friday, July 12

----- Original Message -----
From: linscott
Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:15 PM
Subject: The Idler, Friday, July 12

I love you, sweetheart …


THE SEMINAR, the workshop the talkfest – they have become a feature of our lives, a part of our decision-making. If anything presents a challenge, we "workshop" it. The workshop co-ordinator is a powerful figure.


Details come to hand – courtesy of Gerald Sieberhagen, of Umhlanga - of a recent seminar of women who wanted to learn how to live in a loving relationship with their husband.


The women were asked: "How many of you love your husband?"  All raised their hands.

Then they were asked: "When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?" Some women answered today, some yesterday, some could not remember.

Then they were told to take out their cellphones and text their husband: "I love you, sweetheart."

Then they were told to exchange phones and read aloud the text message responses.


Some of the replies:


·        Who is this?

·        Eh, mother of my children, are you sick?

·        I love you too.

·        What now? Did you crash the car again?

·        I don't understand what you mean?

·        What did you do now?

·        ?!?

·        Don't beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?

·        Am I dreaming?

·        I thought we agreed we would not drink during the day.

·        Your mother is coming to stay, isn't she??


Makes ya think




IS ANYONE annoying you? Needs being put in his place? A book comes this way that is just the thing. The Dictionary of Insulting Quotations, compiled by Jonathan Green (Cassell), contains a range of invective to be adapted to fit any case. Some examples:

·        Winston Churchill on Lenin. "It was with a sense of awe that the Germans turned upon Russia the most grisly of all weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland into Russia"

·        George Bernard Shaw on Queen Victoria. "Nowadays a parlour-maid as ignorant as Queen Victoria was when she came to the throne would be classed as mentally defective."

·        Mark Twain on Cecil John Rhodes. "I admire him, I frankly confess it; and when his time comes I will buy a piece of the rope for a keepsake."



 Oz intruder

AUSTRALIAN police were stumped by a break-in to a charity shop in Ingham, North Queensland. The intruder had come in through the ceiling, staggered about the place smashing crockery, chundered on the floor – then disappeared.

This was pretty standard Aussie behaviour, but they couldn't work out where he'd got to. It was only a day later that shop staff found the culprit lying against a wall – a huge 5.7m python. He it was who had made like a jolly swagman.

A local snake-catcher was called in and the python, which weighed 17kg and had a head the size of a small dog, was released into a nearby wetland.

Key employee


THE MORE things change, the more they stay the same. Reader Naomi Stapersma recalls a joke from her childhood about the lion that went to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and ate one government employee a day.


"It was only when he inadvertently ate the Tea Lady that there was a hue and cry."


Yep, some things don't change.

Mars shots

MORE shots of an arid, rock-strewn surface as Nasa's Curiosity Mars rover at last begins its drive to Mount Sharp. For a long time now it has been loitering at a place called Yellowknife Bay.

I suppose those Nasa fellows know what they're talking about, but the resemblance to the playing surface of the Griquas rugby field at Kimberley is simply incredible.

Dellville Wood

THIS  Sunday is the 97th anniversary of the Battle of Dellville Wood, in which some 2 500 men of the South African First Infantry Brigade died in the Somme offensive of World War I.


To mark the anniversary, the Durban Guild of Bellringers will strike 97 bellstrokes on Number 7 Bell at St Mary's Church, Greyville, starting at 7.45 am.


Every church bell has its unique name and Number 7, St Mary's, is called Dellville Wood, after the battle.






Last word

My Grandmother is over eighty and still doesn't need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.

Henny Youngman