Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Idler, Monday, October 1, 2018

Monkey disposed

of – gorilla



SHOSHOLOZA! The monkey is off our back. The Boks somehow hung on against Australia in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, in spite of a possession rate of only about 40%, reflected in our having to make twice as many tackles as them. White-knuckle stuff.

Perhaps that 60% possession stat for the Aussies has something to do with our habit of kicking away possession and missing vital touch kicks, not to mention the enormous penalty count against.

The Aussies launched wave after wave of attack after these lapses. While the tackling was again heroic, there are better ways to win a rugby match, like running at them ball in hand.

The Boks have a mountain to climb at Loftus. Two in a row against the All Blacks is a big ask. But running at them rather than just tackling them would be a help.

Meanwhile, at Newlands the silly buggers factor was rampant - at least three passes spilled on the Western Province tryline; Province allowed to escape from their own 22 to score two tries, absolutely against the run of play. Mama mia!

The Sharks actually did a lot better than the final score suggests. They fought back from early disaster and were still in the game right up to the final quarter. But you can't beat the SBF.

We're still in the hunt for a semi-final place, needing to beat Griquas. But anything can happen. It's an away game and the SBF is known to thrive at Kimberley.

Another fascinating rugby double-header lies ahead. It's been quite a season for drama at both levels, international and Currie Cup.


INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener in his latest grumpy newsletter welcomes the apparent repeal of stringent visa requirements for tourists.

"There's been plenty of talking but among the few things that may have happened is the repeal of a section of the visa regulations by the minister who was responsible a few years ago for introducing them in the first place.

"They were decidedly unfriendly and scared off planeloads of foreign visitors who allegedly were queuing up to bring us bucketloads of money.

"Unfortunately, today there are other things making potential visitors and investors wary, like the terrifying levels of violent crime and a threatened withdrawal of the legal enforcement and protection of certain property rights.

"People who are used to living without these threats are understandably picky when it comes to choosing a place to park either their money or their sun-starved, wine-deficient bodies."



IN FRANCE there's a monsieur who sleeps with an alligator while another one keeps watch at the door. A cobra lives on the coffee table and a 50kg tortoise roams the garden.

It's the home of reptile enthusiast Phillipe Gillet at Coueron, on the banks of the River Loire, according to Huffington Post.

He sleeps with an alligator? Well, what woman would move in with a fellow who has 400 pets that include rattlesnakes, tarantulas and large lizards?







A PASSENGER on the Night Caledonian in Scotland tells an attendant he simply has to be wakened and put off the train in Perth. "I'm a heavy sleeper but I must get off there. I want you to put me off, whatever I say."

Next morning he wakes up at Inverness. He finds the attendant and rages at him.

Afterwards another attendant asks: "What put him in such a temper?"

"Och, that's nothin'. Ye should've seen the one I put off at Perth."


Last word


I don't believe in astrology, I'm a Sagittarius and we're sceptical. - Arthur C Clarke

The Idler, Friday, September 28, 2018

Airport drama

at two


AT DUBLIN airport a would-be passenger ran out of the terminal building and chased a taxi-ing aircraft, shouting for it to stop. He caught up but was overpowered by police from a jeep and pinned to the ground, according to the BBC. It seems the man and a female companion were booked on the Ryanair flight to Amsterdam but were late for the flight.

It recalls the case of two guys I knew, who were on a business trip to Namibia. They signed a timber contract with an old German fellow, who insisted on taking them to the pub to celebrate with kleine-kleines – scnhapps washed down with lager.

Time passed. The fellows got anxious about getting their flight. Nein, no problem, their host insisted. He would get then there in time.

Eventually they piled into his jeep and set off for the airport – a very small one, this was a remote part of Namibia. When they arrived, their plane was already out there on the runway, about to take off.

Undismayed, the old German drove out onto the runway and stopped in front of the aircraft. The engines were screaming. The pilot and co-pilot were leaning out of their windows gesticulating. My pals stood up in the jeep and waved their tickets.

A door opened in the aircraft fuselage. A ladder came down. Next thing an air hostess was running across to them. They boarded.

The captain was waiting for them in the plane, absolutely livid. He was going on about the Civil Aviation Act, air piracy and a throwing away of the key when they got to Johannesburg.

They buckled up. They waited … and waited. Nothing doing. Then the air hostess was back.

"Your friend has fallen asleep."

Yes, the old guy had passed out in his jeep, still blocking the aircraft. Too much kleine-kleine.

"The captain says you must wake him."

"But then you'll fly off without us."

So the air hostess went with them to wake the old German fellow.

They buckled up again and slept all the way to Johannesburg. The captain must have recovered his sense of humour by the time they arrived because they never heard another thing about it.


RUGBY, rugby, rugby tomorrow. The Sharks against Western Province at Newlands; the Boks against Australia in Port Elizabeth.

So much at stake. The Sharks and Province so far unbeaten in the Currie Cup. A home semi-final beckons. It could well end up that tomorrow's antagonists face each other again in the final.

The Sharks are playing now with composure mingled with adventure. Their running, handling game in dreadful weather conditions last weekend was an eye-opener. And with the same deadly tackling. They've gone up a gear or two. This will be a cracker.

Ole, Ole, Ole!

The Boks showed against the All Blacks what they're really made of. Now's the time to obliterate the memory of that debacle in Brisbane where we threw it all away.

And the time to build toward the big showdown in the return match against New Zealand, this time at Loftus.

These are times of high drama. Will there be feus de joie twice in the same afternoon as the gals of the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties surrender their knicker elastic for the fashioning of catapults for the traditional celebratory shooting out of the streetlights?

'Erewego, 'erewego, 'erewego!



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

Last word

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Albert Einstein




The Idler, Thursday, September 27, 2018

Razzle like

an octopus,

man …

AMERICAN neuroscientists have discovered that when you give an octopus a dose of ecstasy - the so-called "party drug" - it behaves exactly like our human ravers.

The scientists at Johns Hopkins University administered the drug to octopi, at which they became instant swingers, according to Huffington Post. They left their dark, solitary crevices in the rocks to seek out the opposite sex and the strobe lights and go-go-go!

The scientists find this remarkable, suggesting that in spite of our 500 million years of divergent evolution, humans and octopi could share some very ancient neurotransmitters.

This is just as fascinating to anyone who has frequented the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties, here in Durban, where, in fighting off the amorous advances of the damsels, it seems they do indeed have the grappling capabilities of an eight-armed creature.

Could it be that Guinness has the same qualities of arousal as ecstasy?

Those Johns Hopkins fellows would do well to extend their research out here – grapple with a real human octopus or two. It could yield several PhD theses of great benefit to science.


SIR Keir Starmer, the British Labour Party's shadow secretary for Brexit, got a standing ovation at his party's annual conference this week as he expressed support for a second referendum on the deal/no deal issue, with remaining in the EU one of the options.

At the same conference David Mallon, a young MP, argued just as strenuously against, describing the EU as a "capitalist club" – then walked across to hug leader Jeremy Corbyn (who presumably agrees).

So it seems Labour are just as divided over the issue as the Tories, where your position depends on whether you believe the Governor of the Bank of England or Boris Johnson.

The Brits are on a knife-edge. Either side could have a majority in the House of Commons. Will Brexit be stymied at the last minute?

Meanwhile, a scorpion has been caught on the third floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Birmingham, where the Tories are to hold their conference in three days' time.

I knew it. Vladimir Putin has the place bugged.


STILL with politics, it's Hitler versus Lennin in an election for mayor in a small town in Peru.

Hitler Alba Sanchez is running against Lennin Vladimir Rodriguez Valverde in Yungar, in the Andes.

Peruvians like to give their children exotic names, according to Sky News, often unaware of the associations or of the correct spelling.

Sanchez insists that when he was named his dad actually knew nothing about Hitler and what he'd done. Valverde is silent on the Russian Revolution, dialectical materialism and Das Kapital.

All the same, here is an election that could have some zest if the protagonists were to read up a bit. "Lebensraum!" "Dictatorship of the Proletariat!" The posters could tell a story.

After all, the Peruvian populace would probably take such issues very seriously, high in the Andes mountains, if only they were brought to their attention.



There was a young lady of Kent,

Who said that she knew what it meant

When men asked her to dine,

Gave her cocktails and wine;

She knew what it meant but she went.


THE head waiter of a snooty restaurant recoils in disgust as a fellow in boots, torn jeans and a leather jacket approaches.

"Hey man, where's the jazz?"

"Go down the hall and turn left. When you come to a door marked 'Gentlemen', pay no attention – go right on in!"

Last word

Some weasel took the cork out of my lunch.

WC Fields


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Idler, Wednesday, September 26, 2018


with zero


WHAT is the position of those of us who are on the reserve list of the military? Can we be called up again?

The question arises after a conversation I had with a rather comely woman in The Pub With No Name, in Florida Road. She told me she'd been a captain in the military police.

"Oh? Did you start off in the catering corps?"

"No. Why?"

"I've always understood that if a fellow is a useless soldier, they make him a cook. And if he's a useless cook, they make him a military policeman."

"You cheeky bastard! I'll get you!" (The instinct never leaves these military police).

"How will you get me?"

"I've still got my connections. I know your name. I'll get you called up from the reserve list."

"That's okay. They can give me back-pay for all these years on the list as an Able Seaman Then I'll take you to dinner."

As I say, a comely wench. But I fear my chances are zero.


CAN we expect the copy-cat effect to swing into effect? This is when highly publicised incidents prompt other such incidents.

In the US a woman interrupts the process of confirming the appointment of a new high court judge by claiming that, at high school 35 years ago, he attempted to sexually molest her.

Then another woman similarly accuses him from university days.

The copy-cat effect? Who can tell?

I have a recurrent nightmare. The Idler is denounced by a girl who says he lasciviously pinched her bottom while at kindergarten.

It's a minefield out there.


INVESTMENT analyst Dr James Greener reflects in his latest grumpy newsletter on the apparently imminent boom in dagga cultivation.

"A judge has decided that it's probably OK to grow cannabis at home for one's own consumption. Reactions are widespread, starting with doubt that he meant what we thought he said.

"Nevertheless, stories with the word 'high' woven into every paragraph are widespread. What will result from taking these first steps in decriminalising what may be one of the nation's largest illegal industries?

"What happens to that huge lucrative network of production and distribution? Those guys aren't going to take this sudden hollowing out of their income stream lightly.

"And then there's the matter of the state's war against tobacco – another smokable plant – which has caused massive smuggling of, and illegal trade in, cigarettes. As much as R7 billion in tax may have been avoided and must to be 'taken back' for the good of the nation.

"Maybe the government is even now fashioning a tax on dagga."


YOU don't believe everything you hear in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties. Bird nappies?

Come on, pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

But this fellow insisted that a girl he knows sells bird nappies and she's swamped by demand.

Some research yields the following: "Flight Suits are cleverly disguised, soft, stretchy, reusable pet bird diapers. Your birds will be happier as they spend more time out of their cage, both in and out of the house, worry-free from embarrassing accidents … the patented 'poop-pouch' safely keeps droppings away from your bird's feathers, and off you too!"

Oh boy, what's the range? From frets and white-eyes to ostriches and albatrosses?

You just can't be too careful.


DICTIONARY definition: Thingy.

Female: Any part under a car's bonnet.

Male: The fastener on a woman's bra.


Last word

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.

Mary Wilson Little

The Idler, Friday, September 21, 2018

Currie Cup




IT'S the Lions tomorrow at Kings Park, the last home pool game of the season and make or break if we're to get into the Currie Cup play-offs.

This is one we simply have to win. And let's put on the kind of display to show the Currie Cup still does count; that it's the breeding tank for our game nationally. It's not to be downplayed.

The strumming at their knickers by the damsels of the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties captures the general tension in the air as they ready themselves for the provision of elastic for the fashioning of catapults for the traditional celebratory feu de joie in which the streetlights are shot out.

Down at the ground the Duikers' Club readies itself for the more decorous bok-bok and Cossack dancing that follows a win.

But there are the 80 minutes in which this has to be achieved. The Lions will be smarting after the way Western Province dished it to them last weekend and eager to claw their bay back. A wounded Lion is a dangerous Lion.

But we have it in us. Just hou kop, avoid the silly buggers stuff, don't kick away possesion, keep it ball-in-hand and tackle the way you have all season. Play as the Boks did last weekend. Don't give away penalties.

As Shakespeare put it in Henry V's pep talk before the Test against France at Agincourt:

Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,

Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit

To his full height …

Get all that right and it's a cinch. The gals at the Street Shelter will be unplayable. I say we'll moider da bums!

'Erewego,'erewego, 'erewego!


IF YOU think the White House is somewhat off the wall these days, try the Rabbit Hash unincorporated community in Kentucky.

Here the folk regularly elect a dog as mayor, though there have been challenges, one by an opossum and another by a jackass.

A popular mayor was a Border collie name Lucy-Lou who held the post for eight years, campaigning under the slogan "The bitch you can count on!"

There was talk of her also running for the presidency, according to Huffington Post, her owner and campaign manager, Bobbi Kayser, declaring in 2016 : "All the other presidential candidates are dogs. Why shouldn't a real one run?"

But nothing came of it unfortunately. Lucy Lou stepped down as mayor of Rabbit Hash, a pitbull named Brynneth Pawltro taking over.

Now, sad to say, Lucy Lou has died aged 12. Bobbi Kayser posted a tribute: "She was an astounding canine who brought joy to many more people than just her immediate family. I'm so proud to have known her and shared these short years on earth with her. Run free and easy, sweet girl. Momma loves you."

They do things different in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.


Ian Gibson, poet laureate of Hillcrest, pens some hazy lines on the near-legalisation of dagga.


Guaranteed to bring universal bliss,

Is the substance called cannibis;

Dagga is its common name,

But its effect is just the same;

What could be better for us than this?



SCENE on a Margate hotel roof garden where the head waiter is speaking to a blonde lying on her tummy with a towel over her back.

"I agree, Madam, that you don't have to wear your bikini and you are covered by a towel. But you're causing a riot. You're lying on the dining room skylight."


Last word

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.

Chuck Reid


The Idler, Thursday, September 17, 2018

Who the gods


destroy …

CAR manufacturing giant BMW will close its famous Mini plant in Oxford for a month or so after Brexit Day next year to consider its position and re-arrange things. Aircraft manufacturing giant Airbus has already said it will leave Britain in the case of a "No Deal" Brexit – the cliff-edge scenario.

Outsiders look on with morbid fascination as this self-inflicted devastation unfolds. Many of us had forgotten that BMW now produces the emblematically British Mini. Oxford apparently also produces parts for the cars made in Germany.

To sort this one out post-Brexit will be like trying to unscramble an omelette. And the same is true across the range of economic activity.

Economic decline since the Brexit referendum has already cost Britain £40 billion (R776bn), according to the Governor of the Bank of England. The Financial Times puts it at £450m a week.

House values will drop post-Brexit, according to the Bank of England, possibly by 35% in the worst case scenario. That ain't funny for the folk who will have to keep on paying their mortgages on the original prices..

Meanwhile, the City of London investment firm co-founded by  Jacob Rees-Mogg, a vociferous bankbench brexiteer MP, has founded a branch in Dublin (which will still be in the EU) to cope with post-Brexit difficulties. How's that for a vote of confidence?

Polling commissioned by Global Future shows that voters, including those who backed Brexit, fear that leaving the EU will come at "too high a price". Even those who voted to leave now support continued membership of the Single Market and free movement of people.

Yet the lemming rush continues. Who the gods would destroy they first make mad.

·       OVERHEARD in the Street Shelter for the Over-Forties: "What's the difference between men and pigs? Pigs don't turn into men when they get drunk."


·       Five baby squirrels whose tails became tangled together in their nest have been freed by a wildlife team in Wisconsin, in the US.

They were found with their tails entangled, together with grass and plastic their mother had used as nest material, according to Sky News.

An animal rehabilitation team spent 20 minutes delicately separating the tails to avoid hurting any of them.

"It was impossible to tell whose tail was whose, and we were increasingly concerned because all of them had suffered from varying degrees of tissue damage to their tails caused by circulatory impairment," the team reported.


Now why does everything remind us of the Brexit business?

·       IN THE Missouri town of Uranus, in the US, they've started a  newspaper to replace the Daily Guide, the county paper that has now gone defunct, according to Huffington Post.

It's all go. The new editor, Natalie Sanders, was with the Daily Guide and knows the town inside out. She says the new publication will be "fun" and will carry local news as well promote the local tourism industry, which has some quirky attractions including a fudge shop and the world's largest belt buckle.

However, some local people have reservations about the name of the new publication. It could be open to misrepresentation and ridicule, they say.

The name: Uranus Examiner.


"Would you like to dance?"

"I don't like this music and even if I did, you'd be the last one I want to dance with."

"I'm sorry, you must have misheard. I said: 'You look fat in that dress.'"

Last word

Frisbeetarianism is th

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Idler, Wednesday,DSeptember 19, 2018


extortion in

the Midlands


HOWICK'S resident theoretical physicist, Rob Nicolai, today lifts the lid on a sinister pornography/extortion racket.

"The latest online scammer threatened to release a video of me watching online porn unless I paid him $5 000 (R74 600) in Bitcoin.

"I have no webcam on my PC so unless the scammers have advanced stealthy spy drones, he was bluffing. "Anyway, I told him that $5 000 would use up all the earnings I'm currently getting from appearing in online porn, but if he wants to promote my videos I could give him a cut of the increased earnings from viewership fees.

"Online scammers are obviously getting desperate if they think people who watch online porn have a reputation that is worth expensive protection. I suppose all the fake lottery-winning scam e-mails are not working any more and scammers are getting vindictive."

A superb response, Rob. One wonders where the e-mail originated. It could have been anywhere – Moscow, New Delhi, Isipingo …

It could also have been from close by – Merrievale, Tweedie, The Dargle … one never knows these days.

In fact I hear disturbing rumours that events in America are likely to soon prompt vivid exposes of hanky-panky and kaaltit in the haylofts and cattle byres of the Midlands in days of yore, which was part of growing up in those benighted days.

Distressing times, yet we bear up with fortitude.


·       READER Clive Phelps is after information/experiences concerning the Volkswagen Beetle (sometimes known as "Hitler's Revenge") which was ubiquitous on our roads from the 1950s to a couple of decades on.

I myself did not own a Beetle, but I often raced them down the pavements of Maritzburg late at night in my Fiat Cub, after dining at Twiggy's Pie Cart.

The VW Beetle was a nifty vehicle indeed but the Fiat Cub had the advantage of being small enough to take short cuts down the pedestrian lanes of the CBD, where the lawyers hang out. The Fiat Cub had an open top and one night I had with me a most irresponsible fellow (he later played wing for Natal) who leaped up to swing on a lawyer's signboard, which then came crashing down on the car.

We hastened down the lane pursued by a nightwatchman with a knobkierie and a police whistle, but we easily outpaced him.

Ah, them wuz the days!

·       SPOT the contradiction.

Donald Trump persuades China to impose sanctions on North Korea as part of a campaign to encourage Kim Jong-un to denuclearise and join international polite society.

Donald Trump launches a trade war with China.



·       VLADIMIR Putin is  having a thin time of it these days.

The Salisbury poison attack – and the Russian response – has made his much-vaunted cloak-and-dagger service something of an international laughing stock, in spite of its evil.

Russians are out on the streets in their thousands in protest at his raising of the retirement age, meaning that many will receive a pension for a year or two at most before they shuffle off this mortal coil.

And now his bosom allies, the Syrian government forces, have shot down one of his military aircraft.

It's difficult to pin it all on the protest group, Pussy Riot.


PADDY is at the optician's.

"This is amazing, Paddy. Your eyesight seems to be improving.

"Ah, to be sure, to be sure, 'tis de luck of de Iris."


Last word

It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.

Bertrand Russell

The Idler, Tuesday, September 17, 2018


book sales


SALES of Bob Woodward's book, Fear: Donald Trump in the White House, topped 750 000 on the day it was launched in the US a week ago, seemingly coinciding with some puzzlingly contradictory statstics.

Although the American economy is booming, opinion polls suggest President Trump's standing among voters has dipped appreciably, especially among the "independent" category who identify with neither major party. This disjuncture is highly unusual. But the dip could not have been caused by Woodward's book – the opinion data would have been captured well before the launch.

But could that explain the book's runaway success? The American public are anxious, in spite of the booming economy?

Whatever, Woodward, a journalist renowned for his meticulous attention to accuracy and detail gave a fascinating insight to Fareed Zacharia on CNN the other night of his modus operandi. (He co-wrote with Carl Bernstein, All The President's Men, which detailed their investigation of the Watergate scandal which ended in the downfall of the Nixon presidency.

He speaks to insiders connected with the subject of the investigation – in this case the White House. He guarantees their anonymity. He then checks with other inside sources the accuracy of what he has been told (also guaranteeing their anonymity). Then if they bear out what he was told by the original source, he goes ahead and publishes.

But it doesn't end there. Everything is carefully recorded and classified – names and everything. Then it is lodged with a university for release and study sometime in the future. It's the kind of operation whose credibility it is difficult to shake.

The outcome is an astonishingly fresh and frank account of events, including quotes attributed to major players by others who were there at the time.

The US mid-term elections bear down. Will the sales of Fear continue to soar? Is there a disconnect between the presidency and mid-term elections to the Senate and the House of Representatives? We'll know in a couple of months.


·       A HIP-HOP artist named Fatman Scoop has become a figure on America's political scene. After three weeks in the top job, new prime minister Scott Morrison posted on social media a video showing MPs raising their hands during question time in parliament, according to Sky News.

It was overlaid with a snippet from Fatman's hit, Be Faithful.

You gotta hundred dollar bill put your hands up,

You gotta fifty dollar bill put your hands up,

You gotta twenty dollar bill, pout your hands up,

You gotta ten dollar bill put your hands up.

The lines seem inoffensive enough but there was a furore and Morrison had to take down the post and apologise. It seems Fatman Scoop's song goes on to become sexually suggestive.

Oh dear, such prudishness. It's not like the Aussies I've known.


·       SEEN any sharks in the footage on North Carolina? A fellow in Scotland called McCann never misses the American hurricane season, according to Huffington Post.

It began with Hurricane Irene in 2011 with a photograph posted on social media of a shark swimming down a flooded street past parked cars and things. McCann has kept it up since then.

Snopes labelled the picture a fake, but McCann admits that. "I know it's fake," he said after tweeting the image during Hurricane Harvey last year. "It's part of the reason I share the bloomin' thing."


DOCTORS at a hospital went on strike, picketing outside with placards. The administrators sent a pharmacist to read the placards.

Last word

COMPUTER dating is fine, if you're a computer. – Rita Mae Brown