Monday, December 26, 2016

The Idlker, Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Is this Hlaudi's moment?

AS INAUGURATION Day comes closer in the US, it seems the Donald Trump transition team are having difficulty organising showbiz folk to perform and entertain at the ceremony at the White House.

So far they have opera star Jackie Evancho and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They also have a long list of people who won't perform.

This is no doubt more than a little galling to a man with a background in casinos and beauty pageants, where there's never been any difficulty getting together troupes of glamour and glitter.

But rescue now comes from an unanticipated quarter, according to the New Yorker. Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to perform.

"In a brief statement from the Kremlin, Putin said: 'I will be most delighted to perform for my comrade.'

"The choice of Putin raised eyebrows in Washington, since the Russian, while famous for invading neighbouring countries and imprisoning political opponents, is not particularly well known as a singer.

"Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway pushed back against such criticism during an appearance on CNN: 'If we limited ourselves to people who had talent and experience, that would disqualify half of our cabinet,' she said.

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"Putin's choice of musical material also stirred controversy, as politicians on both sides of the aisle questioned his plan to perform the Russian national anthem."

This is, of course, more from satirist Andy Borowitz. But are we not becoming a little weary of this negativism? Is it not time people explored practical ways to make a resounding success of this inauguration?

It ought not to be beyond the wit of the Trump transition team to put together a Croupiers' Chorus that would wow the whole world. Perhaps we can offer some assistance from this corner of Africa.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng seems to be at a bit of a loose end these days. Yet, since the 90% local content edict on SABC, he has immediate access to throngs of kwaito, maskandi, and boeremusiek artistes. In very short time he could put together something for the White House that they'd never forget.


On a roll

HUNDREDS of Aussies gathered outside the federal parliament in Canberra recently to roll down the lawns.

The mass tumble was organised as a protest against plans to build a 2.6m security barrier that would block public access to the grassy space.

Tumble organiser Lester Yao told the BBC he was sure the architect who designed the parliamentary complex had intended the public to enjoy the grounds freely.

The proposed barrier would be to deter terrorists. It has nothing to do with kangaroos.


Frozen dummy


POLICE in upstate New York broke into a parked car to rescue what looked like an unresponsive elderly woman wearing what looked like an oxygen mask, who passersby feared had frozen to death.

But after smashing the window of the Subaru in Hudson around 8:30am. officers found the "woman" was actually jan extremely realistic life-sized mannequin, according to Huffington Post.

While they were wondering what it all meant, the vehicle's owner later returned, furious about the damage to the car. It turned out he was sales manager for a medical training aid manufacturer, and that the oxygen mask-wearing mannequin he'd strapped into the passenger seat was a CPR training device.

Angry and vulgar words were uttered, according to the Hudson Police Department, but it remains adamant that the cops acted correctly, issuing a statement: "Anyone who places a realistic mannequin in a locked car in sub-zero temperatures will have the window broken.


A CANADIAN woman tried to smuggle her cat into New Zealand in her handbag but was foiled when its presence was picked up in an X-ray scan at the airport in Auckland. Border agents found her four-year-old cat, Bella, in the handbag.

The woman claimed she had told a ticketing agent in Canada about her plans for Bella, but the Kiwi officials didn't believe her and said it made no difference anyway. Undeclared cats could bring in diseases and exotic ticks. The woman was put on a flight home, handbag, cat and all.

Such silliness. As anyone knows, only Yorkshire terriers may be carried in women's handbags. Cats should be sedated and worn about the neck as a stole.


THE proctologist quit his speciality. It gave him tunnel vision.

Last word

Like its politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves.

J B Priestley

The Idler, Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas story


"NOW one time it comes on Christmas, and in fact it is the evening before Christmas, and I am in Good Time Charley Bernstein's little speakeasy in West Forty-seventh Street, wishing Charley a Merry Christmas and having a few hot Tom and Jerrys with him."


So begins Damon Runyan's story, Dancing Dan's Christmas Gift.


The narrator and Good Time Charley are in New York, keeping out the cold with the Tom and Jerrys, when in comes a guy called Dancing Dan, carrying a large parcel which he throws into a corner. He joins them in the Tom and Jerrys.

"This Dancing Dan is a good-looking young guy, who always seems well-dressed, and he is called by the name of Dancing Dan because he is a great hand for dancing around and about with dolls in night clubs, and other spots where there is any dancing. In fact, Dan never seems to be doing anything else, although I hear rumours that when he is not dancing he is carrying on in a most illegal manner at one thing and another. But of course you can always hear rumours in this town about anybody, and personally I am rather fond of Dancing Dan as he always seems to be getting a great belt out of life … although I wish to say I always question his judgment in dancing so much with Miss Muriel O'Neill, who works in the Half Moon night club. And the reason I question his judgment in this respect is because everybody knows that Miss Muriel O'Neill is a doll who is very well thought of by Heine Schmitz, and Heine Schmitz is not such a guy as will take kindly to anybody dancing more than once and a half with a doll that he thinks well of."

They are taking more cracks of Tom and Jerry when in comes an old guy in a Santa Claus outfit named Ooky. This Ooky has been carrying a signboard advertising Moe Lewinsky's clothing joint on Sixth Avenue. He's all tuckered out and after just five mugs of Tom and Jerry he falls asleep in an armchair.


About midnight Dancing Dan wishes to see how he looks as Santa Claus. They remove Ooky's outfit and put it on Dan. Then they get to wondering where they could find a Christmas stocking to fill with gifts.

Dancing Dan says he knows of a stocking that is hung up in Miss Muriel O'Neill's flat on West forty-ninth Street. It belongs to Gammer O'Neill, Miss Muriel O'Neill's grandmother aged 90.


They set off, Dancing Dan first putting his parcel in Ooky's Santa Claus sack. They find the flat. An old doll is asleep in bed. A stocking is hanging up.  Dancing Dan then produces "a raft of big diamond bracelets, and diamond rings, and diamond brooches, and diamond necklaces" which the three proceed to stuff into Gammer O'Neill's stocking.


"And it is not until I get out in the fresh air again that all of a sudden I remember seeing large headlines in the afternoon papers about a five hundred-Gs stickup in the afternoon of one of the biggest diamond merchants in Maiden Lane while he is sitting in his office, and I also recall once hearing rumours that Dancing Dan is one of the best lone-hand git-'em-up guys in the world."


Runyan's story then skips a year. It's Christmas Eve again and he meets up with a character named Shotgun Sam, who says he last saw him a year ago when he, Good Time Charley and Ooky the Santa Claus man came out of the speakeasy very much the worse for wear .


They'd been tipped off that Dancing Dan was in the place. Heine Schmitz was sore about some doll. Shotgun Sam and two others were across the road with orders not to miss. But Dancing Dan had never showed up.


"'Well, Shotgun,' I say, 'Merry Christmas.'

"'Well, all right," Shotgun says, 'Merry Christmas.'"




IF THERE are two Santa Clauses on your roof, which one's Van der Merwe?


He's the one with the Easter eggs.


Last word


Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!

Charles Dickens





The Idler, Thursday, December 22, 2016

Carols in the bush

"O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie …" Christmas carols are a delight, and what better place for them than on a headland in the bush down at Pennington, on the South Coast, where the Umdoni Conservancy are having their annual service led by the Umdoni Choir.

Monkeys are chattering in the bush all about, squabbling over the stuff they've stolen from the picnickers. Little pithi buck dart from the thickets to see what's going on. They know they're safe. Even the little Yorkshire terrier is on a leash. It's a beautiful spot, nature in all her tranquility, the Indian Ocean below, stretching away to the horizon..

The gals are dishing out boerie rolls and prego rolls. The carols are going with great gusto.

And then a leopard springs from the undergrowth and carries off the Umdoni choirmaster. Er, no, perhaps I exaggerate slightly. The Pennington gals have been plying me with white wine, to which I am totally unaccustomed. It seems the choirmaster is still in place after all. This woodland of enchantment can play tricks with the senses.

"The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight …"


IN AUSTRALIA, a woman got a shock who she found a yellow, orange-brown and black ornament decoratively entwined with the tinsel on her Christmas tree.

It happened in Melbourne. The decoration was a venomous tiger snake.

She slammed the door and locked it then called a professional snake handler, who arrived and removed the snake without any problem.

The yellow, orange-brown and black tiger snake – nearly as dangerous as the mistletoe, mate!


Take a cab


RATHER take a cab this festive season. A reader shares his experience.

"I would like to share a personal experience about drinking and driving. As you know, some of us have been known to have brushes with the authorities from time to time, often on the way home after a 'social session' with family or friends.
"Well, two days ago, this happened to me: I was out for an evening with friends and had more than several scotches followed by a couple of bottles of rather nice red wine and Irish shots. Although relaxed, I still had the common sense to know I was way over the limit.

"That's when I did something I've never done before -- I took a taxi home. Sure enough, on the way there was a police roadblock, but since it was a taxi they waved it past and I arrived home safely without incident.

"This was a real surprise to me, because I had never driven a taxi before. I don't know where I got it, and now that it's in my garage I don't know what to do with it. So, anyway, if you want to borrow it give me a call. Merry Christmas to all …"



NEWS from ol' Kentucky. Two fellers were a bit sauced up and were sitting in a car in Danville discussing whether they should rob the BBQ restaurant outside which they were parked.

Unfortunately, one of them had activated the phone in his pocket and inadvertently called 911,.where a police despatcher listened to the whole thing. The call was traced to the spot outside the BBQ restaurant. The 911 cops then contacted Danville police chief Tony Gray, who was having a meal – in that very BBQ restaurant.

It was an easy arrest. Robert Bourne and David Grigsby were still sitting in their car swigging from a bottle when Gray caught them, according to Huffington Post. He decided they were not serious in their plan to rob the restaurant, but they were seriously on their ear. He charged them with public intoxication.

Tis the season to be merry.




IAN Gibson, poet laureate of Hillcrest, pens some lines on the rumour that the new mayor is sending all councilors her picture to be hung on their walls.


It seems that our mayor Gumede,

Always has a cameraman ready;

For her snapshots appear,

Everywhere, and its clear

Her narcissism is unswervingly steady.




THE contortionist went bankrupt. He couldn't make ends meet.


Last word


Television news is like a lightning flash. It makes a loud noise, lights up everything around it, leaves everything else in darkness and then is suddenly gone.

Hodding Carter



The Idler, Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hazard on the fairway

THE things you see on an Australian golf course … golfers at Paradise Palms Golf Course in Cairns, North Queensland, were startled to encounter a 4m scrub python swallowing a wallaby on the 17th fairway.

They watched for a bit then played through.

A course manager told the BBC the display did not deter golfers from finishing their rounds. Local golfers were accustomed to encountering wildlife on the course, which is on the fringes of the rain forest.

Quite. Until they encounter a scrub python swallowing a golfer, there's no need for panic.

Pie in sky

EE, PROPER reet good that were … a meat and potato pie (meat an tata cake, in the local Lancashire lingo) was launched into space last week from a pub car park in Wigan.

It was attached to a weather balloon and soared to 30 000m in three hours before crashing back to earth.

The launch was to publicise the World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan later this week.

Meanwhile, experts are analysing whether the pie's molecular structure has been altered in any way by its being frozen in the stratosphere, then reheated in its plunge back through the atmosphere.

Ee, daft I calls it. Bring the scran, lass. Ah could eat an 'orse between two breadvans.

Desperate Doris

AN 86-YEAR-OLD American woman has been arrested for stealing a necklace worth $2 000 (R25 000). She was stopped as she tried to leave a department store in Dunwoody, near Atlanta.

Then it turned out she was none other than the lady made famous by a TV documentary in 2013, titled The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.

This depicted her as a career criminal who had stolen jewellery worth $2 million (R31 million) since her 20s.

She would dress in fine clothes, charm salesgirls at upmarket department stores and pocket expensive items while they were distracted.

In the documentary, Doris said she had no regrets about her life of crime, which had brought her lengthy jail terms – "only getting caught".

Last October, she was arrested in Atlanta after she allegedly took a pair of $690 (R9 715) Christian Dior earrings from a department store.

At the time, she was also wanted by police in North Carolina over the theft of a $33 000 (R4.6 million) engagement ring. The law still has to run its course in these matters.

Sigh! It's a fair cop.

Losing bet

OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "My two uncles has a bet on who would remain a bachelor longest. Then one upped the ante."

Christmas squeakers

IN THE Swedish city of Malmo, they're giving the mouseholes a facelift this Christmas. If you look down while walking down the main shopping streets you're likely to see, set into the walls at pavement level, tiny, mouse-size shops – such as a bakery or a cheese and cracker shop - with display windows and counters and stocked with nuts and other goodies.

They're the work of an organisation called Anonymouse MMX, a group of artists who are influenced by Walt Disney, American animation artist Don Bluth and Swedish children's books author Astrid Lindgren, according to Huffington Post..

It seems these mouse shops are purely decorative. They aren't actually open and they're not trading.

But the cats of Malmo have them under close surveillance.

Sometimes solo

Old age is not always accompanied by wisdom. Old age sometimes arrives alone.

Writing good

SOME writing tips come this way:

1.   Avoid alliteration. Always.

2.   Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3.   Avoid cliches like the plague.

4.   Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

5.   Be more or less specific.

6.   Writers should never generalise.

Seven. Be consistent.

8.   Don't be redundant, don't use more words than necessary, it's highly superfluous.

9.    Who needs rhetorical questions?

10.                     Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Thankee, we wordsmiths need all the help we can get.



DADDY takes his little boy to the zoo. When they get back that evening, Mummy asks if they had fun? Did he see the animals?

"Such fun, Mummy! For Daddy too. One of the animals came in at 30 to one!"

Last word

It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.

Kingsley Amis



The Idler, Tuesday, December 21, 2016

Asbestos time, Christmas carols time

DING-Dong merrily on high … it seems that in these digitally-driven days you can get a tie that – unprompted – belts out Christmas carols.

Inadvertently or otherwise, Irish MP Aengus Ó' Snodaigh was wearing one while giving a speech to fellow MPs on the serious topic of asbestos exposure.

But his tie kept interrupting him with bursts of We Wish You A Merry Christmas and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

It detracted from the weighty issues of asbestos exposure. Eventually O'Snodaigh took off his tie in frustration and gave it to fellow-MP Jim Daly.

Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea at Westminster, Labour Party MPs donned Santa Claus hats and antlers to record a song based on the 1980s hit, Don't They Know It's Christmas? This attacked the Tories' national living wage and "Scrooge" employers.

It is no doubt rich in satire and melody, but alas seems no more likely to make it to the charts than Aengus O'Snodaigh's tie.

Local carol


MEANWHILE, a carol with a local flavour:


On the twelfth day of Christmas the Commissioner sent to me

Twelve cops a bumbling

Eleven judges grumbling

Ten pervs a peeping

Nine dealers dealing

Eight suspects ducking

Seven lawyers scoring

Six crooks a-taking

Five golden things

Four public works

Three enterprises

Two stolen guns

And a cartridge at a crime scene.


NEWS from America. A fellow wrote a piece for a newspaper circulating in his retirement village.


"My name is Bob. It is important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger. When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are oversensitive, and there is nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

"Let me relate to you how I handled the situation with my wife, Debbie. When I took early retirement last year, it became necessary for Debbie to get a full-time job along with her part time job for the extra income and for the health benefits that we needed.

"Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age. I usually get home from the golf course about the same time as she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says that she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don't yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table.

"But she's definitely ageing. It takes her hours to get round to washing the dishes. I have to keep reminding her.

"Then she gets tuckered out mowing the lawn. Do I complain? No sir. I tell her: 'You just take a rest. Squeeze yourself some fresh lemonade and relax. And while you're about it you can squeeze one for me.'

 "I know I probably look like a saint the way I support Debbie. I'm not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. However, guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your ageing wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was worthwhile."


·       "Editor's note: Bob died suddenly on November 27. The police report says he was found with a Calloway extra long 50-inch Big Bertha Driver-II golf club rammed up his butt, with only two inches of grip showing. His wife, Debbie, was arrested and charged with his murder. However, the all-woman jury found her not guilty, accepting her defence that he accidentally sat down on it." 




FOUR stages of life: You believe in Santa Claus; you don't believe in Santa Claus; you are Santa Claus; you look like Santa Claus.





A STUNNINGLY attractive woman goes to the casino craps table and places 20 000 bucks on a single throw.


"I hope you don't mind," she says. "I feel luckier when bottomless." At which she strips from the waist down, cups the dice and rolls them, yelling: "Momma needs a new pair of pants!"


The dice fall and she yells: "Yes! I win! I win!"


She sweeps up her winnings and is gone.


First croupier" "What'd she roll?"


Second croupier: "Dunno, I thought you were watching the dice."



Last word


Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.

Albert Camus





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The Idler, Monday December 19, 2016

The hackers are at it again

HAS your toaster been misbehaving? It could be you've been computer-hacked by the Russians. Or maybe the CIA. A while ago it might have been the Chinese, but they seem to have gone out of fashion lately.

It's odd what these hackers can do. It seems they can cause ATMs to malfunction, power stations to shut down and traffic control systems to go haywire, causing gridlock – in which case it explains a lot about Durban in recent years.

Is all this just the equivalent of old wives' tales in the digital age? Imagination gone nano-crazy?

But now President Obama, no less, has directly accused the Russians – President Putin in person – of hacking into the recent American election campaign in an attempt to influence it in favour of Donald Trump. He bases this on information from the CIA. Hillary backs him up.

And Trump says he doesn't listen to the CIA.

Is this for real? What is one to think?

According to the New Yorker, Trump has announced that when he becomes president he will spend only half his time at the Kremlin, half at Trump Tower in New York. It's because his wife Melania doesn't want to live full-time in Moscow.

It was part of the deal when he ran for president that he would go to the Kremlin and she would stay behind in New York, a source close to the Trumps said.

"Appearing on Russian television, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway said that Trump's decision to split his time between Moscow and New York would have 'no impact whatsoever' on his ability to function as an integral part of the Kremlin team."

Of course, this is satirist Andy Borowitz again. Or is it? Could it be that CIA hackers have got into my computer and are writing this without my knowledge, while I'm at the beach? Things become more confusing by the day.

Watch that toaster!


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Loophole expert


INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener says in his latest grumpy newsletter that the parliamentary investigation into the SABC  has established one thing for certain – nobody has a clue.

"The chief politico in charge of the farrago, who is misleadingly titled the minister of communication, demonstrated award-winning skills in denying responsibility and buck-passing.

"Her performance made it abundantly clear why the SABC and the country's overdue so-called digital migration project are in chaos. Complicated technical issues such as bandwidth, broadcast spectrum and signal encryption are obviously secondary to ensuring maximum benefits for insiders including Number One and his puppet masters.

"Minister Faith Muthambi has, to quote her official profile, 'a string of qualifications' of which only a certificate in computer training might be even vaguely relevant to her current post. However, as an advocate of the high court she undoubtedly knows how to find and argue a loophole."

Pillow talk

AMERICAN independent film-maker Adam Rosenberg had been told he talks a lot in his sleep. Curious to find out what he was saying, he set up recording apparatus.

It turned out earth-shaking stuff, as he told Huffington Post:

"Shhh. Shut up. Shut your fat butt. Just add look dust! Da Look as. Cause, cause you act like a booger cause, you fuzzy. Cause it fancy."

Then poetry:"Keedle? Keedle-leedle-leedle-loodle? Dooda-laddle?"

Finale:"Pip pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup pup psssssssss."


They say his movies aren't too bad though.

Ken Gillings

I WAS shocked and saddened to learn last week of the death of Ken Gillings while snorkeling at Cape Vidal.

Ken was one of the best and most knowledgeable tour guides to the battlefields of this province. As regimental sergeant-major of the Natal Field Artillery and chairman of the Military History Society, he had an insight to and understanding of KwaZulu-Natal, past and present, that made him a favourite with thousands of tourists, local and from overseas. The Dundee district was his particular stamping ground.

Ken also had a great sense of fun. He will be sadly missed.



"ENJOY your trip, dear, and travel safely."

""It's only a month. I'll be back before you know it."

"All the same, don't forget to write."

"It's highly unlikely I'd lose such a basic skill in a month."

Last word

Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning.

Marlo Thomas