Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Idler, Friday, June 8, 2018

Steel, aluminium, bourbon …

OH BOY! A world in turmoil. As the G7 industrial nations –which more or less coincide with Nato – meet in Canada this weekend, it's Donald Trump versus the rest as he slaps on trade tariffs willy-nilly.

Nothing like this has happened post World War II. The Canadian prime minister describes Trump's statement that Canadian steel and aluminium will be subject to tariffs on grounds of national security as "insulting". The entire EU is outraged.

And a leading Republican-supporting economist warns that tariffs are tricky and unpredictable. They generally hurt the country imposing them more than they hurt the target (Mexico has already announced counter-tariffs on bourbon whiskey from Kentucky), and in 1929 they led to the Great Depression.

This should be a lively G7 meeting.

Rugby Test

MATTERS will also be lively at Ellis Park tomorrow. Both the Boks and England have an eye on the approaching World Cup and both have to re-establish themselves as contenders.

Each has a canny coach and each has new and untested players who need to slot in.

It should be a great encounter. We look to something better than last weekend against Wales.

The gals of the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties are becoming restive. There are murmurings of a knickers boycott, a withholding of elastic for the fashioning of catapults for the traditional celebratory feu de joie, in which the streetlights are shot out in the event of victory.

Perish the thought! This is rugby, not the G7.


Frightened fawn

A Bambi moment. Jessie Larson was driving down a country road in Washington state, in the US, when she saw a female deer and her fawn in the road ahead,

She slowed down and the mother deer sprang aside. But the fawn collapsed in fear in the middle of the road, according to Huffington Post.

Jessie stopped and honked her horn. "I honked once to see if she would move, but she was too scared." She then cut the engine to reassure the mother deer, who returned and nudged the fawn.

The two of them then trotted off together.

Yislaaik! What's with these Yankees? Don't they like biltong?

Sportswriting legend


NORMAN Canale, a legend of South African sportswriting, died this week, aged 93, at Waterfall, outside Durban, where he had retired from Johannesburg which was his stamping ground.

Canale was a writer who brought several new dimensions to whatever sport he was covering – boxing in particular – and to the sportsmen themselves. You could just about smell the garlic on their breath.

His was an inimitably colourful style, known to several generations of readers.

Consider this account of his interview in America with Two-Ton Tony Galento, who almost defeated the indestructible Joe Louis (as contained in Canale's memoir, Snakes in the Garden of Eden).

"None of the weird things I had read about American heavyweight boxer 'Two Ton' Tony Galento prepared me for the man I eventually met. It had the same startling effect as if I had bumped into the Abominable Snowman. I mean apart from coming within a whisker of knocking out the immortal Joe Louis, this weirdo brawler boxed a kangaroo, and a Russian bear and wrestled an octopus.


"The face behind the fat cigar that greeted me looked like it had come off second best in a collision with a brick wall, and the voice sounded like a cement mixer in urgent need of an oiling. They called him 'a beer keg in a Sunday suit' and a 'caveman without a cave'. No matter how outlandish the description of this remarkable man, it fitted him snugly. Now the pug was saying: 'Da fighters of today, dey're a bunch of sissies. Dey orta sew lace frills onna deir trunks. Muhammad Ali? Naw. He's ta purty ta fight. I'da given him da knee inna groin anna da thumbs inna eye – an he woulda squealed like a stuck pig.'"


Marvellous stuff. You can catch the garlic on Galento's breath.


Norman Canale was a gregarious, genial and gentle fellow who lamented the passing of what he called the "newspapermen's bar" which was a place of such hilarity.


In boxing parlance, he went the distance. He will be sadly missed. (But at least he wrote it all down for posterity).




THEY met in the local bean restaurant. It was instant inflatulation.


Last word


Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts.

Jim Morrison

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