Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Idler, W#ednesday, AQpril 8

The Idler, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Kokstad rugby conundrum

SEVERAL readers have questioned last week's team photograph of the Kokstad Rugby Club in 1908 .

Dave Thompson, of Umhlali, notes that the photograph features a football.

"Why did they play with a football? Another story from the 'Wild West'?"

My old colleague Des Cooney notes that only 11 were wearing kit. Äre you sure it's not their soccer 


Chris Krause says the photo looks suspiciously like a soccer team. "But I suppose they weren't fussy in 

Kokstad in those days!"

Then Don Porter (a pernickety fellow-member of the Natal Cricket Society and an austere lunch club to 

which I belong) expresses himself thus:

"Your photo of the Kokstad Rugby Club team of 1908 shows a round (not

oval) ball and 11 men in playing kit (one of whom has a different shirt and is

bigger than the others and must be the goalie) plus four four older men wearing jackets and

ties, as would befit the club officials."

Well spotted, gentlemen, but there's an explanation. No, it's not that the Kokstad Rugby Club of 1908 

were traditionalists who played with the same type of ball – a football – as William Webb-Ellis picked up 

and ran away with at Rugby School all those years ago, to launch the game of rugby.

It's rather more prosaic. In Kokstad in those days they played rugby with a watermelon. In the 

photograph what appears to be a football is in fact a watermelon, bows-on.

In Kokstad in those early days you had to earn your rugby colours and kit. The gentlemen in jackets and 

ties were novices who had not yet earned their colours and kit. They had to strip down and play in their 

underpants, which in those days were made of sturdy corduroy.

Come to Kokstad this weekend and watch the Sharks play the Cheetahs in the Vodacom Cup. To mark 

Kokstad Rugby Club's 125th

Will they strip to their underpants? Not on the field –that happens only afterwards in the pub.

Rugby debacle

HISTORY was made at King's Park last Saturday. For the first time the rugby on display was worse than 

the cacophonous "music" with which we were bombarded.

Has anyone ever seen anything like it? This wasn't just a bad day at the office, it was a day nobody 

pitched up.

Those inept attempts to pick up rolling ball in our own 22. Those calamitous line-outs. Those missed 

tackles. That line-out where we allowed a Crusader to burst through, run 25m and score. Mama mia! We 

babo! Is there any recovery from this?

The punters in the Duikers'Club afterwards were unanimous. Not in decades of provincial rugby had 

there been a humiliation like this.

It's a good thing this is the professional era where primordial loyalties are not quite as strong as they 

once were. If Natal had ever taken a hiding like this, I'd have become emotional.

 anniversary, they'll be playing with a watermelon..

Fat ants

UNK food is getting out of hand. Scientists in New York have discovered that 

pavement ants are eating the same junk food as their human counterparts – 

hamburgers, chips, sugary drinks – meaning we can look forward to an epoch of 

grossly obese ants.

Tests were performed on ants collected from pavements and traffic islands 

in Manhattan . Their bodies contained the molecular fingerprint of junk food, 

according to research conducted in North Carolina State University.

The same was not true of more genteel ants that frequent leafy park areas.

Several researchers from North Carolina State University have gone missing. A 

few have been found in lunatic asylums, and the university is trying to trace the 

rest who are still caught upo inb the New York court system.

New York policemen are sceptical about people who claim to be testing 

poavement ants for junk food, and they turn them in for their own good.


A WOMAN and a man are lying in bed when her cellphone rings.

She answers in a cheery voice: "Hi, I'm so glad you called. Really? That's wonderful. I'm so happy for 

you. That sounds terrific. Great! Thanks. Okay. Bye bye."

"Who was that?"

"My husband - telling me about the great time he's having on his golf trip with you."

Last word

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a 

profound truth may well be another profound truth. 

Niels Bohr

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Idler, Monday, April 6, 2015

Berea bear trap

SUCH excitement at the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties on 

Maundy Thursday – that giant sinkhole was right outside.

What happened was that one of the pipes to the draught pumps 

sprang a leak, scouring out the road's underfill and creating a huge 

underground lake of beer.

Two hefty wenches were crossing at the intersection to attend the 

Thursday evening quiz competition.

Then – collapso! – the ground gave way under them, the sinkhole 

yawned and the two wenches were "treading water" in beer. They 

emerged after swallowing about a gallon apiece and were in fine 

form for the quiz, though their answers didn't quite tally with the 


In fact some of their answers were so studded with exotic 

language, they had to be asked to tone down or leave.

The breweries folk fixed the leak and all we were left with was the 

sinkhole. And of course a large gaping hole outside a place like the 

Street Shelter is like a bear trap. All kinds of citizens were found at 

the bottom next morning – including the proprietor, I'm told. Tsk, 


Life is eventful these days. If it's not power cuts, it's sinkholes.

BE CAREFUL when choosing your company signage on the 

internet. Beau Lintner sends in some examples of where things 

were not quite thought through:

• Who Represents is where you can find the name of the 

agent who represents any celebrity. Their website is: 

• Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where 

programmers can exchange advice and views at: 

• Looking for a great pen? Look no further than Pen 

Island. It can be found at:

• Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at: 

• Then there's the Italian Power Generator company. 

Check it out at:

• IP Computer Software? Try:

• And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their 



INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener spots a stunning 

contradiction in recent statements by President JZ.

In his latest grumpy newsletter he says the president said too 

many people were reliant on state hand-outs. Then, almost in the 

same breath, he promised that about a billion rands would be set 

aside for low interest loans for businessmen selected by race.

"Without dwelling on the likely unconstitutionality of that policy, the 

contradiction is stunning and is a perfect example of the lack of 

understanding of how economies work. 

"Any business that survives only because of taxpayer subsidies 

is not adding any value. The president also complained that this 

step was necessary because commercial lenders were refusing 

to supply cash to these applicants, but failed to spot that this 

was most likely because the banks saw a low probability that the 

businesses would be able to repay the loan.

"Governments of course have no such qualms."

Why indeed?

THE scenes of jubilation among the Aussies after winning the 

Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne remind Michael Green 

– retired editor of our sister newspaper, the Daily News – of 

something he read years ago in the now-defunct Boys' Own 


"An innocent little schoolboy was quoted as writing in an 

essay: 'Why do footballers kiss each other when they've scored? 

They're not married, they're not even engaged'."

A very good question.

Statues struggle

IAN Gibson, poet laureate of Hillcrest, pens some lines on the 

current controversy over statues.

Don't you wish you were a struggle hero

Instead of colonial white and quite a zero;

To stride the high ground

With morals true and sound?

But no! Jan Van Riebeeck won't let go!


THEY'VE finally tied the knot after living together for years. One 

evening he's cleaning his golf shoes.

She says: "Honey, now that we're married isn't it time you quit 

golfing? Maybe you should sell your golf clubs."

He looks at her in total horror.

"Darling, what's wrong?"

"For a moment there you were sounding like my ex-wife."

"Ex-wife?" she screams, "I didn't know you were married before!"

"I wasn't."

Last word

The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there 

aren't any space aliens. We can't be the best that creation has to offer. I pray 

we're not all there is. If so, we're in big trouble. 

Ellen DeGeneres