Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Idler, Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Perils of an editor

TOP marks for April Fool's Day go to the Sunday Tribune for their front page story by Phumlani Singh that disgraced Aussie ball-tamperer Dave Warner is coming to play for the Dolphins.

There seemed a crazy logic to it, then you got to the credit line – April 1 News Service.

Some newspapers make an art of the April Fool's Day story. Richard Steyn, former editor of the Witness, in Maritzburg, was a great exponent of it. Once he had a deadpan front page piece datelined Houston, quoting astronomers and astro-physicists on a spectacular and once in a lifetime eclipse of the sun that was happening that day.

By an astonishing combination of circumstances, the best viewing of the phenomenon, they said, would be from a small town in Africa called Maritzburg.

People were told that the safest way to observe the eclipse was to sit in a deckchair and watch it through a dishcloth soaked in washing-up liquid, placed on the face.

Next morning an irate little old lady was round at the Witness offices, banging a heavy walking stick on the counter at reception, demanding to be taken to the editor, who she intended giving a jolly good whacking.

Yes, newspaper work can be like running the gauntlet.

Uncovering worms

INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener notes in his latest grumpy newsletter that ratings agency Moody's are clearly impressed by the spirit of cleansing and revelation "supposedly" now sweeping through the nation's state-owned enterprises.  "This is uncovering worms in places where there were not thought even to be cans. It's going to be a long time before anyone will be able to trust a set of financial statements no matter who produced or audited them. But thank you anyway, Moody's. We need all the help we can get."

Greener notes further that delegates at the ANC conference last year resolved that "Free Wi-Fi (connection to the internet) must be provided to communities in both metropolitan and rural areas, and to all public schools, clinics and libraries".

This would be a very good idea, he says, but it's not the whole story.

"Reportedly, due to non-payment of its subscription to the company that publishes an on-line law library, employees of the Department of Justice can't look stuff up."

Oh dear! Don't tell Moody's!


Paper bags


RETIRED senior colleague Clyde Bawden says he shares concerns about plastics invading our environment, especially the oceans.

"I think it's fitting that credit should be given to those trying to make a difference, which brings me to an experience at the Village Mall Superstore in Kloof.

"Returning from the schools rugby festival at Kearsney,  we stopped at the supermarket for some odds and ends. My wife put the bag in the boot and, on arriving home, I retrieved it.

"To my great surprise, it was a brown paper bag with what seem to be string handles rather than the ubiquitous plastic shopping bags, the cause of much of the problem.

"I hope this is not an isolated action by this particular store and is part of an on-going initiative by the Spar group to make a difference, and that other major chains follow suit."


Smash and grab


LIFE at the Arctic Circle can make you desperate. A Russian man rammed an armoured personnel carrier into a shop window in the small northern town of Apatity this week, then climbed through the rubble to steal a bottle of wine.

He had already stolen the personnel carrier from a privately owned motorsport training ground, according to Reuters.

He struggled to turn it around in a narrow street, crushing a parked car then slamming into the shop window.

Bystanders said he appeared to have already had plenty to drink as he climbed from the personnel carrier then went in through the broken window. He was arrested before he could polish off what he'd taken from the store.

He's in big trouble, according to Reuters. Apart from all the damage, the store is not licensed to dispense liquor that early in the morning. Sticklers, these Russians.





"DOCTOR, doctor, I feel terrible"

"What are the symptoms?"

"They're a cartoon show with yellow people."


Last word


A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all - he's walking on them.

Leonard Louis Levinson


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