Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Idler, monday, February 20

Even more military than for Sona

FROM the army, navy and air force activity in Durban, you'd think somebody was about to give a State of the Nation Address. But of course it's for Armed Forces Day tomorrow. Fighter planes overhead, simulated hostage rescues, beach landings – it's stirring stuff.

The beach landings jog memories from way back. Things have changed somewhat technologically – different boats, helicopters overhead. All we had overhead at Danger Bay, on the west coast of the Cape, was thousands of seabirds screaming their indignation at our invasion of their habitat – gulls, gannets, cormorants and a couple of albatrosses.

But beach landings we were doing, just like D-Day though not for real. The ammo was all blanks (we hoped) as the bren guns opened up from the dunes and a few thunderflashes on the beaches completed the special effects.

We were towed round to Danger Bay in clinker-built whalers and cutters. We'd go in through the surf, drop anchor, put the boats about, pay in, drop our marines in waist-deep water and watch them storm up the beach with fixed bayonets. Yes, stirring stuff – just like in the movies.

Piece de resistance was the gun crew. In one of the cutters would be a small field gun of Crimean War vintage (I kid you not). The wheels of this gun fitted exactly on the gunwales of the cutter (those Victorians knew what they were about) and the gun would be wheeled up the beach, loaded and fired.


And now the perilous bit as a million seabirds wheeling overhead – gulls, gannets, cormorants and a couple of albatrosses – as one evacuated their bowels with fright. The navy did not issue us with umbrellas.

Stirring indeed. Today the technology is different but you'll never housetrain those seabirds.

Cut it out!

THIS lampooning and belittlement of Donald Trump is going too far. A newspaper in the Dominican Republic has had to apologise to readers after it mistakenly used a photograph of actor Alec Baldwin – who impersonates Trump in the Saturday Night Live show on TV – to illustrate a serious report about the US president and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of Israel.

Just as well they apologised, otherwise next thing there'd be a wall going up around the Dominican Republic.

Next I switch on to CNN, and there is Baldwin harranguing a media conference, telling it what a wonderful fellow Michael Flynn is, the national security adviser he's just fired. The reasons for firing him are true. But the news reports about it are fake.

This is outrageous. Impersonation and satire being put across on a supposed news channel. I switch to the BBC. But there's Baldwin again, still going ballistic. I must say, he's pretty good, ha, ha! All the same, it's a disgrace.

I switch to Sky News. It's still Baldwin, just about foaming at the mouth. This is ridiculous. It goes on for half an hour or more, fulminations against the lying media. No, the blond, bewigged Baldwin says, he has no interest whatever in Russia.

I switch to Russia Today. No more Trump impersonations. Phew!



LAST week we discussed cars getting stuck on stairways – one in London and one in Maritzburg. They don't cope with stairs too well. But Chris Taylor, my buddy from the Natal Cricket Society, says this does not apply to Volkswagens.

"In Windhoek on business I found myself in a pub – ordered a beer and with its delivery came a young Local German who informed me that from now on I was his guest. He introduced me to Steinegers with a beer chaser. After about  four of these he said he would drive me back to my hotel in his Volksie.


"The last 100 metres was down the pavement then up the steps to the hotel door. The Volksie handled the stairs perfectly."


Yes, very hospitable and accommodating those Windhoek Germans are. And great cars the old Volksies.



THE provincial government in North West wants to erect a 6m bronze statue of Jacob Zuma in Groot Marico, as a landmark and tourist attraction.

Now what would Herman Charles Bosman have made of that?



Waitress: "Let me get this mess out of your way."

Diner: "Thanks, but I've already called an Uber for her."


Last word

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. - Confucius





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