Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Idler, Thursday, September 22, 2016

Booger Hole for me

DO YOU fancy a holiday in the US? How about starting out on the West Coast at Big Bottom and nipping across to Big Sag. Then liven things up a bit with a jaunt to Beer Bottle Crossing, followed by Jackpot.

But Boring and Mormon Bar are not recommended.

On the other hand, you might prefer to start on the East Coast at Flea Hill, moving through Foul Rift, Moosup, Woonsocket and Satan's Kingdom to Bald Head.


Yes, these are all names of American towns, gathered by a real estate agency casting its net countrywide, according to Huffington Post.


Other names: Chicken; Catfish Paradise; Nibley; Chugwater; Zap; Plenty Beers (er, sorry, Plenty Bears); Worms; Skiddy; Okay; Ding Dong; Waterproof; Possumneck; Toad Suck; Frankenstein; Chicken Brittle; What Cheer; Chili; Little Canada; Free Soil; Dull (Is it twinned with Boring?); Santa Claus; Booger Hole; Pig; Smartt; Scratch Ankle; Spuds; Flippen; Coward; Whynot; Fries; Coupon, Handsome Eddy; Mosquitoville; and Dummer.


Those are lively names. We have quite a wealth of such as well – Pofader (puff adder), Onderbroekspruit (where the transport riders used to wash their underwear), Fort Mistake and Baardskeerdersbos (Beard-Shavers' Bush).


And, of course, our classic Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein (Two Buffalo Shot Stone Dead With One Shot Fountain) – usually abbreviated to Twee Buffels.


Down in the Western Cape winelands near Franschhoek there's a sign to a place called Gert Se Gat, which I hope refers to Gert's favourite fishing hole.


And of course there are the names conferred, often in frustration, by the 19th century surveyors of the remote rural districts of the old Cape Colony: Hotazel (Hot As Hell); Aggeneys (Agonies); De Hel (self-explanatory); Houpoehou (a complicated multi-abbreviation describing the pangs of diarrhoea); and, of course, Baldiep (which refers to the depth at the local river crossing).


Our tourism people have a wealth of material to work with. But Toad Suck takes a lot of beating.



Razzle dazzle donkeys


BOTSWANA is an intriguing place. As we've discussed recently, they have a programme in place to paint glaring yellow eyes on the backsides of cattle, to prevent their being attacked by lions.


Now I learn that at Maun, a town near the Okavango Delta, they have another programme to place reflective tags on the ears of free-roaming donkeys. This is to protect them not from lions but from motor traffic at night. Donkeys are particularly vulnerable because their eyes do not reflect headlights.


The tags reflect both ways – forward and backward – so your headlights are likely to pick them up from whatever direction.


It seems they have 25 000 free-roaming donkeys at Maun, and the local Animal Welfare Society has so far managed to tag 500.


It sounds a most worthwhile project, but hold on – why should the two programmes not be merged? Lions surely prey on donkeys as much as they do on cattle. Why not paint glaring yellow fluorescent eyes on the backsides of the donkeys as well?


Those Maun donkeys would have more glitter on them than the Russian gals at the Thunder Lounge here in Durban. It could become an alternative tourist attraction for the Okavango Delta.


Teach those donkeys to pole dance and Maun has another money-spinner.

Don't tangle


NEVER tangle with an Aussie female. A helicopter pilot was rounding up cows at a cattle station on the Cape York peninsula in Queensland, Australia, when things went rather awry.


He got too close to the herd and next thing the skids of his chopper had locked with a cow's horns. Small helicopter, large cow – there can be only one outcome.


The helicopter went cartwheeling, crashed and burst into flames, though the pilot managed to jump free and is unharmed. The chopper is a write-off.


The cow is absolutely fine, according to the Brisbane Times.


You don't tangle with those Aussie sheilas, especially not when they're horny.




MORE metaphoric puns:

·        You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

·        Every calendar's days are numbered.

·        A lot of money is tainted – tain't yours and tain't mine.

·        A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

·        Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.




"WHAT do you think our husbands talk about down at the pub?"


"The same as us, I guess."


"What? You really think so? The dirty old buggers!"



Last word


Instant gratification takes too long. - Carrie Fisher



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Idler, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Matters maritime


Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,

We always are ready, Steady, boys, steady …


AT THE opening cruise of Royal Natal Yacht Club last weekend, they played Heart of Oak, official march of the Royal Navy (and several Commonwealth navies), before firing a small brass cannon out across the bay. No ball or shot was loaded but it made a heck of a bang. I wonder what the shipping moored the other side of the harbour made of it.

Last time I heard Heart of Oak was in the Maritime Club in Dubai a few years ago. The club is frequented by RN personnel who are based in Dubai for the anti-piracy patrols off Somalia; also by US Navy personnel who are based in Dubai for exactly the same reason (though both groups keep very much to themselves, being operational).

Then one evening this group of RN fellows came in. They had really tied one on somewhere. They were very jolly. They were smoking huge cigars. They ordered more drinks and stood about the bar singing Heart of Oak. These guys were on a serious celebration.

"Who's getting married?" I asked.


"This looks like a stag party."

"Stag party!" They fell about laughing.

A couple of days later an item appeared in the local paper. The RN had scored huge success capturing a Somali pirates mother ship in the Indian Ocean. These were the fellows who'd done it. They'd just come ashore and were letting their hair down.

Steady, boys, steady …


From the Bluff

ANOTHER evening in that same Maritime Club in Dubai, I was discussing with a bloke a Currie Cup game I'd watched on TV. A group of RN fellows were nearby.

One overheard us and called across to me: "Are you from Natal?"


"Me too. I'm from the Bluff."

"Hey, rough and tough and from the Bluff!"

"You got it!"

He told me he was a torpedoman with RN submarines.

"Where did you train?"


I wonder how many more of our people, trained at vast expense, are serving armies, navies and air forces elsewhere.




DURBAN got in just in time with honouring SABC honcho Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The Supreme Court of Appeal seems to have other ideas.


Vital poll

THE row over the comparative health of American presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump simmers on, but it seems a new opinion poll might put it to rest.

According to this poll, whose results are about to be released, voters believe by a margin of 9% that an unconscious Hillary Clinton would be "substantially more fit" to be president than a conscious Donald Trump.

The same poll finds that a broad majority of voters find an unconscious Donald Trump more fit to be president than a conscious one.

Yes, it's satirist Andy Borowitz again in the New Yorker, but he's the only one who makes sense these days. Less than two months to go now.

Snake River Canyon

A STUNTMAN has successfully jumped the Snake River Canyon, in southern Idaho, in the US, in a custom-built rocket.

Eddie Braun, 54, hurtled across the 1 000m- wide canyon, reaching an estimated speed of 650km/h before his parachute deployed to land him safely in fields the other side, according to Sky News.

The rocket was named "Evel Spirit" to honour Braun's boyhood idol, Evel Knievel, who performed all kinds of astonishing stunts on motorcycles but never did manage to jump the Snake River Canyon.

Braun used a rocket identical to Knievel's X2 Skycycle – the trick was correct deployment of the parachute.

Evel Knievel's real name was Robert Craig Knievel. When he was locked up one night in 1956, charged with reckless driving of his motorcycle, he was placed in the cell next to a fellow named Knofel, who was known by the cops as Awful Knofel.

Next thing Robert Knievel was Evel Knievel, and he stuck to the name throughout his spectacular stuntman career. He chose the spelling because he didn't want to be known as "evil".

Evel Knievel, Awful Knofel – gone but not forgotten.




VAN der Merwe is engaged in a major custody battle. His wife doesn't want him and his mother won't take him back.

Last word

Speak when you are angry - and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret.

Laurence J Peter


Monday, September 19, 2016

The Idler, Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A jungle out there


LAST week we looked at the Botswana practice of painting glaring yellow eyes on the backsides of cattle, to discourage lions from attacking them from behind.


Now a reader who calls himself NDC sends in a piece from the New York Times that runs along similar lines.


It seems that in the Sundurban Tiger Reserve in the Ganges Delta, in India, Bengal tigers have been killing humans at a rate of 60 a year as they come into the mangrove forest to fish and cut wood – as they are allowed to.


But a bright fellow from the Calcutta Science Club noted that tigers always attack from behind. Why not put face masks on people entering the reserve – but back to front so the tigers think they are facing them, he suggested.


They tried it with realistic rubber masks, each one having a thin moustache - apparently the fashion in the Ganges Delta - but worn back to front.


It seems to have worked. Tigers have been observed following people but they hold off because they think they are being watched. The only mask-wearer to have been zapped was an unfortunate fellow who took his off to eat lunch – and was promptly pounced on by a tiger.


By contrast, 29 people not wearing the masks have been killed in the past 18 months.


Fascinating stuff. NDC – who seems to have spent time in the local bush on wilderness trails and things – also tells us lions prefer as prey animals that are vegetarian. They go for antelope and zebra rather than other carnivores such as hyenas or wild dogs. The lions can scent the difference.


And it poses an interesting question, NDC says.


"What do you do if you are on a wilderness walking trail with a mixed group of men and women, meat-eaters and vegetarians, and you encounter a lion? It is a tense moment. What if: You are a male meat eater and the vegetarian is a delightful woman? The vegetarian is a male competitor? You are the vegetarian?

"Do you shield the vegetarian lady with your body? Get behind the male vegetarian? Stand as still as a vegetable? Run for your vegetarian life?

"This is not an entirely academic question. Many years ago I was on a walking wilderness trail with such a mixed group and we did come face to face with a lion."


This is a most interesting conundrum. One's instinct is to say seize the delightful vegetarian woman in fast embrace so she will be defended from attack by your foul carnivorous odours. But it also raises the question – why not play safe and grab her anyway? Why wait for the lion to arrive?


In fact if you encounter a delightful vegetarian lady – and there are lots of them around – why not seize her in fast embrace wherever you happen to be? So what if it's the high street or a shopping mall? Play it safe! A lion can spring from anywhere, it's a jungle out there!

Panjandrum phones


GOVERNMENT officials seem to be permanently attached to their cellphones, investment analyst Dr James Greener notes in his latest grumpy newsletter.


"Whenever one watches a news clip where government panjandrums are out and about, most of the party will have a cellphone pressed to their ear. Even when gravely inspecting the site of a tragedy they are often simultaneously talking to someone presumably far away. Who, for goodness sake?

"So it's not really much of a surprise to read that the state spends R3.2 billion annually to provide its 1.3 million employees with telecommunications services. This amount includes the costs of data connections for computers and those fixed-line phones that ring incessantly and unanswered in empty offices.

"But it still seems like a lot of money for a business that usually demands that most of its customers present themselves in person."



MORE metaphorical puns:

·        If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.

·        With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

·        The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.



"You've got to help me, doctor. I'm under a lot of stress. I keep losing my temper with people and insulting them."

"Tell me about your problem."

"I just did, you stupid bastard!"

Last word

Money can't buy friends, but it can get you a better class of enemy.

Spike Milligan



Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Idler, Monday, September 19, 2016

Perils of high heels


I WAS astonished to read in last week's GOODLIFE supplement of the risks taken by women wearing high heels.


The altitude of these smart and sexy high heels ranges from 4cm to 13cm and the number of accidents caused by them almost doubled between 2002 and 2012, according to Dr Ina Diener, of the South African Society of Physiotherapy.


High heels alter a girl's centre of gravity, Dr Diener says. Although 72% of injuries caused by stumbles are to the ankle or foot, an astonishing 16.6% are to the upper body.


Women are advised by Dr Diener to wear low heels most days and about the house.


"High heels should be a treat like red velvet cake or a tiara," she says. "Perfect for special occasions when you want to feel smart, sexy and feminine, not for daily working and standing."


Yes, we all like the sight of a girl in high heels. They seem to make her body move in a most interesting way.


But who would have thought they were so dangerous? Is there anything we men can do about it?


Not much it seems. But the least we can do if we notice a girl teetering on her high heels is come to her assistance – seize her by the buttocks and hold on until she stabilises.


I tried it over the weekend at La Lucia Mall. The gals were effusive in their gratitude.


Prince Charles


THE above recalls the story of Prince Charles on a visit to South Africa. He's being served lunch in a restaurant in Malmesbury.


"My dear," he says to the waitress. "I love the way you roll your r-s."


"Ag, thank you. It's these high heels that makes me do it."


Water buffalo


SPLISH-splash, I was takin' a bath … at Kings Park it was a field like a waterlogged sponge, a ball like a slippery bar of soap.


Yet there was some entertaining rugby in the constant downpour, some astonishingly good handling as they splashed about like water buffalo.


The Sharks adapted well to the atrocious conditions – even though they don't stock snorkels at the ground – and did the job in fine style. That try by Inny Radebe, following a brilliant pick-up and break by Curwin Bosch, was a classic. Radebe disappeared underwater for a second or two as he dived over.


When the Lambkin came out at half-time after his long lay-off, he must have wondered if the Sharks have switched to water polo. No doubt he'll soon be turning out for the Boks, but Saturday unfortunately did not provide the conditions for anyone to judge how complete his recovery might be.


Oh dear, the Boks. The negative pundits wuz proved so right. I say nuttin' except to repeat that we need a Rugby Indaba to analyse where our game has gone wrong in the professional era and whether it has become badly structured at provincial and club levels.


Clued-up guys like Naas Botha and Mick Mallett should lead the thing (I've almost forgiven Mallett for dropping Gary Teichmann as Bok captain).





FORMER All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is now flying helicopters, we're told.


It's as well he's retired from rugby. McCaw was adept enough at pinching ball from an offside position. In a helicopter he'd be unplayable.




SOME puns come this way. Or are they aphorisms masquerading as puns?

·        Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.

·        When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

·        A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tyred.

·        In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.

·        She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.

·        A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.





THIS fellow checks into a holiday hotel on a tropical island. From the jungle he hears drums. He goes to the beach. He hears drums. In the bar that evening he hears the same drums. In bed that night they're still drumming from the jungle.


At the reception desk next morning he asks: "What's with the drums? Do they never stop? They're driving me nuts.


"Drums must not stop, sir."


"Why not?"


"Because when drums stop, bass solo follows."



Last word


Slap a mask on a drunk and you're going to have trouble. It's like having a live re-enactment of anonymous forum comments.

Randy K. Milholland


The Idler, Friday, September 16, 2016

This little pig …


'Twas an evening in October, I'll confess I wasn't sober,

I was carting home a load with manly pride,

When my feet began to stutter and I fell into the gutter,

And a pig came up and lay down by my side.

Then I lay there in the gutter and my heart was all a-flutter,

'Til a lady, passing by, did chance to say:

'You can tell a man that boozes by the company he chooses,'

Then the pig got up and slowly walked away …


THE social quality at the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties went up a few notches the other evening when a pig wandered into the bar, unannounced and unexplained.


It was somewhere between a piglet and a fully-grown pig, a scruffy little black and white critter, and he/she looked quite at home and determined to stay.


Was this an escaped pet? Was it Sunday dinner, escaped from a Transkei taxi? Was it looking to enrol at DHS, which is just over the way?


The staff were concerned that the pig would wander out into the road and be hit by a car. Also, the Street Shelter damsels were showing hostility at this competition for good looks. So the staff phoned the SPCA, who came and collected Piggy-Wiggy.


Anyone who's lost a scruffy little black and white pig now knows where to look.






Doors syndrome

WE ALL of us have that experience of walking into a room then thinking: "What the heck did I come here for?" Then remembering when we go back where we came from.

It's a sign of the advancing enfeeblement of old age, we've always believed. Except that reader Doug McGarr has news for us – it's caused by doors.

"Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next.

"Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

"It's not ageing, it's the door!"

Now what the heck am I doing at this keyboard?

Tough 'un

ADVERSITY brings out the best in us. Let's hope that works for the Boks tomorrow down in the Land of the Long White Underpants. They've been written off so comprehensively in advance by all the pundits – and quite justifiably given performance – that in a sense they can only improve.

England coach Eddie Jones says the All Blacks are good but they have flaws in their game. They can be beaten. I haven't noticed too many flaws but if that's what Eddie says, flaws there are. Rugby is a game played with an awkwardly bouncing oval ball - you never know.

Meanwhile, the Sharks must surely sort out the glitches against Eastern Province at King's Park. They've got what it takes – they must just get rid of the Silly Buggers factor that has them kicking away possession and conceding penalties.

We're still in the hunt for the Currie Cup. We must stay there.

Doonge Gold

I WAS deeply saddened to learn of the death last week of Doonge Gold, one of the more delightful characters of the Midlands.

When Doonge was still at school at Hilton College he would enliven the Anglican liturgy at chapel with a sotto voce "Stick 'em up!" as the parson was about to raise his hands for the blessing.

This irreverent sense of fun infused his highly convivial social life, much of it conducted in fluent Zulu. Doonge was the life and soul of the party wherever he went.

For years he turned out for Otto's Bluff against the Durban Press XI, where his prowess as a fast bowler at Hilton had subsided into cunning, guile and very rude sledging from the slips.

Doonge died last week in a horror crash near Witbank, on a trip to Kruger National Park. His sister and daughter were injured but thankfully have survived.

He will be sadly missed. His memorial service will be in the same Hilton chapel at 11am on Tuesday.



A POLE is having his eyesight tested. The optician shows him a wall chart with the letters: CKOPVWXSCZY.

"Can you read that?"

"Read it? I know the guy!"


Last word


All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy. - Spike Milligan