You know, sometimes we needs loads of evidence to point to someone being Souf Efrikans. But sometimes one photo tells the story. Unfortunately for others, 3 photos are not only enough proof to show they are Souf Efrikan, but also enough to make sure they won’t ever get a visa to go anywhere else in the world.

Take today’s victim friend… He gave me 3 photos. Was he crazy? He could have given me one corner of one half a photo and I could have pointed it out to him. Hell… This guy is so Souf Efrikan that even Mandela calls him boet. I bet you he has the typical 1, 2, 3 of Souf Efrikans – 1 liter brandy, 2 liter Coke and 3 liter Ford. That’s Souf Efrikans for you. As easy as 1, 2, 3…

I give to you Koos Baardman (Chuck Beardman)… Oh, he thought he was Keven Bennet from Seattle, but we know he is Koos Baardman from Sonderwater (Withoutwater). But let me give you a bit of background on Koos…

Every year millions of Souf Efrikans go down to the Cape for a holiday. Those Vaalies, or as we call them, Klipkakkers (Hum… Rockshitters…) come down in their numbers. Getting away from the craziness of living up at high altitude. Only problem is that they are the crazy people and they all gather down at our place. And guess what happens? It’s the same crazy people doing the same crazy things – but just with a better view. Ja, bleddie Klipkakkers…

We have a few of the farmers coming down as well. Bringing their caravans, sheep and mother-in-law with them. That is also the order of importance. Koos does that. He is a farmer. He rents a place right next to the sea every year. Okay, what he defines right next to the sea. It’s about 5 miles in and right next to the sewerage plant. But that’s no problem. Five miles is just enough for the mother-in-law to go missing for the whole day. Or whole holiday. And the smell of the sewerage plant remind him of the kraal (enclosure for sheep and cattle) back home. He is from the land where men are men and sheep are scared…

So here we have Koos at his little place by the sea. Let’s see what evidence we can find. A bit of a tester today. Try to match the red arrows to the statement of his Souf Efrikan roots…

The afdak… (The lean-to) 

Every good Souf Efrikan has got one. An afdak. But not just any afdak. There are certain things that tells us this is a Souf Efrikan afdak…

Now, let’s match the arrows… Join the dots… Check the lines… You get what I mean?

1. A roof made of old blue overalls and stitched together by his lovely wife Ant Bettie. (Blue overalls are the standard outfit for farmers in Souf Efrika.)

2. Leg of blue overall still hanging down the side of the afdak.

3. Old school lawnmower for when the last sheep is on the braai but the grass still needs to be cut.

4. House at the back where mother-in-law is locked up at night. (Just to keep her away from the booze and boys.)

5. Window Aunt Bettie uses to shout instruction like, “Pulls up yor pents Koos. Duh hole nayburhood dusn’t neet to see yor builders cleavage.” (Proper accent included.)

6. Forest for feature braai wood. It used to come right up to his back door. Yes, Koos likes to braai. Often. And big.

7. Pipe to let the steam out from the “braai”. It isn’t really a braai. It is a home made mampoer factory. (Mampoer is the strongest drink ever made. And it is home brewed. Not to be used close to an open flame. But can be used as a paint stripper. Made from fruits. Any fruits. We Souf Efrikans aren’t too picky…)

And… Did you see the generator driven computer in the background? That’s to keep up with what’s going down with AA! Fox News for Africa. Unfiltered and unbiased… Hah!

The workshop…

But you would think the guy will stop there right? That he won’t give me any more reason to “show him the way”? He did…

1. The stick part of a broom used to poke the coals, chase the bloody dog who just grabbed the meat off the braai and also to flip the dog turds off the grass like a professional golfer. (Was once used to keep Ant Bettie away when Koos by “accident” had an “accident” in the kitchen sink after too much mampoer.)

2. A telly to watch the rugby and cricket on. This is cricket you see because no true contact sport for men will really have so much padding or wear helmets. The motto of rugby players… “Real men don’t wear helmets” and “it doesn’t hurt if you can stitch it back on”.

3. A coffee mug. Koos’s favorite coffee mug. He drinks everything from this mug. It says, I Love Mum. Not allowed to be washed, only rinsed, as Koos believes the residue of coffee, mampoer and braai sauce leaves a nice aftertaste. Also known to repel flies from the braai area. And cats won’t even crap close to it. (Currently has mampoer in it.)

4. Wooden fence to keep the noisy neighbors out. Especially the mother-in-law.

5. Bag of charcoal. Only to be used when wood runs out or when you need something hard to chuck at the dogs crapping on the lawn but you don’t really want to get up from the chair.

6. The “Mampoer Bucket”. Used for any type of residue left after making mampoer. From the leftover fruits to the brown and green stuff that grows at the top of the liquid or the yellow watery stuff that comes from you after consuming too much liquid. Once the bucket is filled… Used to kill ants and bees in the garden. And stop the dogs from crapping on the lawn. And makes a mean mix with some ice and a lemon. Not sliced. Called Souf Efrikan Cocktail.

7. Chair taken from the rubbish dump and welded together again by Koos. He made his whole dining room set this way…

8. Big bag of crisps hiding behind the chair. Ant Bettie doesn’t want him to eat so much crisps. But he needs his fix. Also used to store biltong when Ant Bettie isn’t looking. And spare beer.

9. Huge bowl of dip for the chips. Currently covered in tinfoil. Key ingredients… Onion, salt and the stuff from the mampoer bucket.

10. Grass where the dogs crap. No matter what you do there will always be fresh crap in the morning.

11. Big cooler / small paraffin fridge to keep the beers cold. Always stocked full. Because you never know when the “Big Wind” of ’78 might hit you again. That was when Ant Bettie made bean stew and forced Koos to sleep outside for a few days until his “Big Wind” passed. And passed completely.

12. Spare canister attached to braai / mampoer factory to hold extra cold beers while waiting for the mampoer / braai to be done.

13. Tools hanging from braai. These tools are proper antiques and the London Museum has offered Koos loads of money for this already. They want to use it as part of their Neanderthal display. But Koos said his dad gave it to him and he has fond memories of those tools. And he can show the scars on his butt to prove it.

Koos himself…

You think that is enough? How Souf Efrikan can he be? Much more…

 

1. Neck. Made for playing rugby. Take no prisoners! Real men play rugby and real men have real necks. Not rednecks.

2. Hair shaved for the holidays. Generally covered in big floppy farmer hat. Good to get a haircut once a year. Gets rid of all the things that live there. At least 3 previously unknown species was found by the Nobel prize winning group of scientists who make this yearly pilgrimage to what is known in scientific circles as “The Haircut”. (It is not known whether any of the new species will be able to survive outside the Koos habitat.)

3. Fence also used as spare wood for really big braais. It used to be 60 feet long. But then, Koos had a couple of really big braais since then.

4. The bakkie… Like every good farmer Oom Koos drives a bakkie that is diesel and the smoke it creates when you start it can be seen from space. Rumored to have led to the invasion of Iraq as the bakkie was seen as a WMD. But he drove it back to SA quickly once he filled his oil drum (now used as a braai / mampoer factory.) The US never suspected a thing. Oom Koos is good in that way. Or maybe Rummy was just bad in that way. And yes, when Oom Koos drives the bakkie it can also be heard from space.

5. The kraal where the sheep stay during the holiday. Barren because the sheep have eaten almost all the grass. Not a problem because Oom Koos have eaten almost all the sheep already. Yes, Oom Koos and Ant Bettie have been there on holiday for almost a week already.

6.  The towel used to wipe bloody hands when Koos slaughters the sheep. Also used to dry himself after a swim at the beach.

7. The path to freedom. Or at least to the outside toilet known as his “office”. That’s the right turn where he makes his number 2’s. Number 1 is done on the grass like all good Souf Efrikan men do. Koos turns left for his 1 and 2. 1 Liter brandy and 2 liter Coke. The shop is just around the corner. Oom Koos is known to be more inclined to go left than right. It’s a natural thing for him to lean towards the left.

8. Braai made from an oil drum. You know, the one he got in Iraq. He cut it in half and just welded a few spots together. High tech for a Souf Efrikan but then, he is known for his edgy attitudes towards braaing. He was once seen braaing chicken! What the hell is a salad doing on the fire? A question asked by the many onlookers. If it’s not red it’s not meat. If it’s not meat you can’t eat.

9. Rooster to place the meat on. The rooster (grill) is a key component of any braai. It leaves nice lines across the steaks. Best place to get a rooster is to cut one out of the frame of a grocery trolley. And it’s shiny too!

10. Battery backup for the mampoer factory. The clamp is used to charge the battery that runs the mampoer factory. At the moment not on as the braai and mampoer can’t be done at the same time. Koos generally empties the mampoer into his mug for “safe keeping” while he braais. No one knows how safe this really is. Not this close to an open fire in any case. Koos uses it instead of fire lighters. No, he doesn’t pour it over the coals. He just breathes over the coals. So strong that no matches are required either. The term “spontaneous combustion” was named after Koos and his fire lighting abilities.

11. Tongs used to grip the rooster. Koos is also known as an expert in grabbing thongs with his tongs. The screams of surprise and the horror when they see him can also be heard from space. Koos doesn’t mean anything with this. He just needs something to cover his hands when he grips the tongs. They get hot. Unlike the girls he gets his thongs from.

12. Meat and fish pot. Koos is famous for his daring braai techniques. You can see the pot where he mixed fish and chicken together. Men call him names because of this. Names like “traitor”, “Mr WTF” and “stupid doos”, but Koos doesn’t mind as he is a Renaissance man. Just don’t call him a maverick… Let me just clarify Koos being famous for this dishes. Infamous might be a better word for it. Eating this dish is not allowed under the Geneva Convention. It makes grown men cry. And get very, very sick. There is no known cure for this. Have you seen the movie Awakening? Now you know why…

13. A red arrow. I just threw an extra red arrow in there to make it look even more impressive. Honestly? I actually forgot why I had that other arrow in there. Or that one…

14. The chain. Some people think that Koos have dog chains around his neck. No, it isn’t. It’s his keys, tools (drillbits and screwdriver), earbud (he has used the same one since 1984. They always come clean after a rinse under hot water. Or after repeated use), tobacco for his pipe, his pipe, glasses and Swiss Army Knife. Oh, and a can of Bullybeef (Spam/Corned Beef) and a half-jack of mampoer. A man can never be too prepared. He hides it really, really well.

15. Boep. The paunch that you see is the pride of all Souf Efrikan men. Or like they would say, “I work-ad werry hart forr dis boep. U no how mutch beer I hed two drinked two get dis boep? Et leest wurf 40 bucks. Part off my retiremint plen.” A Souf Efrikan man without a boep is like having Italy not change their government every year. Or the English not lose against Souf Efrika in rugby or cricket. Or President Bush without a f*ck-up once a day. You know it is possible, but it ain’t gonna happen.

16. Rugby jersey. Every man in Souf Efrika must have a rugby jersey. You never wear it on the farm. But you also never take it off when you go on holiday. Including at night when you go to sleep. Alone. Outside. Also never washed. NEVER washed. Wash it and you could be deported and lose your citizenship. Another reason to sleep outside… The smell. Just ask Ant Bettie. Koos played rugby. He was a winger who played on the left. A left winger.

There you go! And who said that KB isn’t Souf Efrikan? Hell, he is more Souf Efrikan than me! Seattle is only where he visits for the duration of his lifetime. But Souf Efrikan he is…

Sorry Kev, but you asked for it…

______________________________________________

Who’s next? Come on… Don’t be afraid. I’ll be nice…

Dear John,

I know we haven’t spoken for a while. Not since I broke up with you a few months ago. You remember my Dear John letter? Did you even get it? Very rude of you not to write back. I mean really. Did you have to take breaking-up so seriously? Live with it John. It’s over between the two of us. But I thought we could still be friends… Not that I missed you or anything. Puh-leeze… I need you like I need another 100 years of war.

What have you been up to? No, don’t answer. I don’t really want to hear. I see and hear enough on telly. You are seriously messing up my Lost and Raising The Bar time. Talking about Lost, how’s the election going? That Obama dude is really Raising The Bar isn’t he. The audacity of the man. To actually stand for something. And something good as well. I know, it is just not on in politics. But hey, what can you do?

But I am here to help John. Wait! Really, I have a few tips for you. (Just ask Sarah, I gave her a few tips as well.) Things you can use as you try and scare enough people to vote for you. Trust me, it comes from the deepest part of my heart. You know, that part that belongs to only you. The deepest and darkest part. I give you these tips in the hope that you could use them as you move along in your life outside of politics. I mean as you move along to retirement.

Missus in a bottle...

Missus in a bottle...

1. Having a beer woman on your side gets you no points if you don’t share.

Come on John. Didn’t you learn anything from Barney they Dinosaur?  Remember what he said? “Sharing is a special way of caring?” Not sharing isn’t very nice you know. Do you know that people voted for Bush because they think he is the kinda guy they would like to have a beer with? I know, it shouldn’t really be a criteria for who you want to run the country. But hey, what are you going to do? You get what you voted for. But you can learn from this. These people don’t really care about wars and money and stuff. So don’t worry about trying to figure that one out. If you don’t have it or get it by now you really shouldn’t bother. But dude! You have a babe with over $100 million worth of beers on your side! Not fair for not sharing. Why don’t you just promise a free round for everyone? No! Not a free round of more wars you idiot. A free round of beers! Hell, people are losing their homes and the kids are fighting a stupid war in Iraq – They could do with a drink you know. Come on John, ask Cindy for a few beers to share around. I would take one as well. You know, to drown my sorrows if you win. It might just make me forget.

2. Flip-flops are shoes and not a policy.

Summer is almost over dude. You have to get rid of the flip-flops. Both. Yes, the shoes and the policies. I mean really. The shoes are only good for one season but the policies… They come back to bite you in the ass for years to come. Oh, you can have more than one pair of flip-flop shoes, but you should really try to stick to one set of policies. Treat it like you would treat your wife. Have one and stick to her. Oh wait… Sorry… But on the policy front. Pick a policy and stick to one. I don’t care what it is, just make up your mind. Sooner or later people will start noticing the closer we get to winter. And they will realize you still have your flip-flops on. But then, I guess it is better than thongs. The shoes and the underwear.

3. A chick that smiles at you isn’t always hot or a running mate.

Dude! Nice one! I see you got a chick to run with you. Unfortunately she wasn’t running away with you. Or even away from you. That would have been so much easier. But man, you gotta learn. Even at your old age. Not every girl you meet that smiles at you has got the hots for you. Or should be your running mate. Look she isn’t hot. And I don’t just mean her looks. I mean her baggage. All those rumors up there in Alaska. The firing of the Commissioner. The debt she left behind in that little town. She’s a bit lightweight isn’t she? Or as we would call it in South Africa – wet behind the ears. And she might be foreign to mainland US or far off or spaced out, but it doesn’t give her foreign policy experience. What the hell do you think Putin is going to do with her? Hey, he is second in command over there in Russia you know. Doesn’t quite compare now does she? I hear he loves barracuda for breakfast. Sorry John. You’ve been had. She isn’t hot – no matter which way you look at it. But at least you have something in common I guess. You both love flip-flops.

4. Hugging a man does not make you gay. Just stupid.

Come on John. Be honest with us here. You have a man-crush on him don’t you? I saw that look in your eyes. That big hug with your head resting on his shoulder. A sweet whisper in his hear. A brush of the cheeks. It made you feel all giddy didn’t it? It made you feel all warm inside. But don’t confuse that with love John. It isn’t love. It’s envy. You are just envious that a little man that couldn’t run a baseball team to save his life beat you back then, aren’t you? And that he started a senseless war before you could, aren’t you? And that he became the worse President before you could ruin it, aren’t you? I know John. It is difficult to take. But you don’t have to become him or love him to be your own man. Come on. You are a big boy now. You just look stupid trying to be a Little Dubya II. But you two sure look nice in that hug. Twins almost. I could hardly tell you apart. Almost like your policies. Ever seen the movie Dumb and Dumber, John?

I love your wars big fella

I love your wars big fella

5. John, you are not del.icio.us. DiggIt?

I know you are trying to be all cool and hip. But really, it isn’t working that well. You gotta get with it John. I know you don’t get “the Internets” and all that computer stuff. But you are not helping yourself here. Email has nothing to do with she-males from Taiwan. They are similar in that they can deliver a message. But it is a message we should rather not go into. And MySpace isn’t the Reagan space programme. FaceBook isn’t about you being on the cover of “Guns Daily”. Digg isn’t an oil policy. StumbleUpon isn’t the way to get a foreign policy or any policy for that matter. MicroSoft isn’t something that can be fixed by Viagra. iPod isn’t something used to escape from the Starship Enterprise (that’s fictional by the way). Apple isn’t what the doctor told you to have. HP isn’t a sauce for you meat. Del.icio.us isn’t Sarah Palin’s vetting process. LinkedIn isn’t about your relationship with Dubya. RSS Feed isn’t an official aid policy. TreeHugger isn’t a Gore family member (well, not really). FeedBurner is not about GM crops. Spock does not know Captain Kirk. PayPal is not a donor. And Twitter is not for the birds. But okay, you might be a Twit.

6. Say after me, “P” in POTUS stands for President.

It’s easy, I taught my kids to spell this way. Say after me… P.O.T.U.S. stands for President Of The United States. You knew that’s POTUS stood for that right? No, not POT-ASS. That’s something else. It stands for PRESIDENT of the United States. I know it is a big surprise. But there you have it. I didn’t make the rules. It does not stand for Pandering OR The Ultimate Sell-out. Or even Pathetic Overtures That Ultimately Suck. No-no, John. It actually means you have to have the balls to run this country. You can’t pander just to try and become President. You actually have to stand for something other than just becoming POTUS. Look at what happened the last time you went for the “Don’t-Know” option. Endless wars and an economy that is tanking. And you are owned by China and the Middle-East. Balls please John. Or else you will make the US into Please, Our Time’s Up Sir. How low can you take it John? We are pretty rock-bottom as we speak. And do remember that the POTUS is also FOR the United States. Not for McCain. There is no J or M in POTUS. You should do it for the country and not for yourself. You should want to be President for and of the US and not just to be called President McCain. So don’t just say anything to become President. Rather say something “just” to become President. Hum… that last “just” is like in righteous or truthful. We get it from a little word that might be foreign to you – justice. This isn’t about you wanting to be President. This is about being the President Of The United States. Putting yourself first is not what America needs. Putting America first is what America needs.

7. The comb-over is not even old school.

I know you are trying hard. Hard to be one of the cool boys. But that hair just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work in the same way that you weak attempts at telling us nothing about yourself doesn’t work. No matter which way you comb it. You can brush it to the left or brush it to the right. We still know that it is a comb-over. Like we know you are anti-sex education, anti-choice, anti-peace and anti-everything in line with more of a typical Republican right-winger. It remains a comb-over and it sucked even in the 70s. But I guess it doesn’t suck as much as your policies and the party you stand for. Your comb-over isn’t “old school”. But your politics are old school. Straight from the books back then in the 60s (and even today) – control through fear. Shave your head McCain. It might look a bit cooler. Or hang your head in shame McCain and realize that people have freedom today. Of speech. Of choice. And of self.

8. Only Texans make more sense when speaking louder.

I have seen it before. People from Texas start speaking louder the further they get away from Texas. They have “Texan logic” to back-up their claim that people from a foreign country, like Massachusetts or France, will understand them better if they speak louder. But you are not Texan my friend. You don’t make more sense the louder you speak. You just create more white noise. A lie is a lie no matter how loud you say it. No matter how many times you say it. A lie remains a lie. No. Matter. How. Many. Times. You. Say. It. Take it from me. Slow down, speak softly and tell the truth. Like the fact that your tax proposal will actually increase the taxes I pay. And that you stand for… Hum… What do you stand for again?

9. Kool-Aid can be bad for your health.

I know you used to drink this stuff when you were a kid. But hey, we didn’t know about the problems with smoking or big fat hamburgers back then either. Kool-Aid is bad for you John. You shouldn’t drink it. The Kool-Aid that the economy is just fine. Don’t drink it John. And don’t sell it at your lemonade stand either. Or would that be a soap box? That Kool-Aid that drilling would make you energy independent. Don’t drink it John. Bad for your health. And bad for the health of the economy. That Kool-Aid that Iraq is doing just fine. Don’t drink it John. It’s not Disney you know. It’s Baghdad where the bombs still go off daily. Remember that walk in the market? Did you see they didn’t sell Kool-Aid? It’s because of the 100 troops on the ground, gunships in the air and armored vehicles on the roads that kept you in fresh Kool-Aid. That Kool-Aid should be left alone John. It’s no good for you and no good for America. And no thank, I don’t want any.

10. Please don’t scare the kids.

Last thing John. You really shouldn’t scare the children. You know how easily they scare. How easily they fill up with fear. Not nice John. Not nice at all. You should really let them grow up a bit. Let them decide for themselves. Tell them the truth. Tell them they are old enough to stand on their own two legs. I mean really. They aren’t even kids anymore. They are grown ups. Maybe you should share some truths with them. Tell them that America is a powerful nation. Tell them that America stands for something good. Tell them that not everyone hates America. Tell them that it is better to love as Americans than to hate as a world. Tell them it is better to talk first as America than to bomb first in the name of America. Tell them there are no monsters under their beds. Tell them that you might not know the future but that you stand for more than being anti-everything-Obama-says. Tell them that Obama was right about the withdrawel date in Iraq. Tell them that they will pay more taxes under you than under Obama. Tell them that you made a mistake in your first big decision by nominating Palin as your running mate. Tell them that you voted for the scary monster under the bed 90% of the time while he has been in the office. Tell them that your oil policies won’t get America an inch closer to energy independence. Tell them that you love big oil and anyone else who are willing to fund your run at the White House. Tell them that your senior advisers are all big lobbyist from DC and that they run your campaign. Tell them that you don’t need universal healthcare because you can afford you own private healthcare. Tell them you aren’t one of them because you are rich beyond their wildest dreams. Tell them you don’t worry about them losing their house because you have 7… 10… 12… Who knows and who is counting? Tell them that gas prices will remain high as hell as long as you sit in your big fat SUV with your big fat ego. Tell them that you will strip the forests to make sure that you have more paper to write your memoirs of pain. Tell them that you will continue to torture people in their name. Tell them that you want them to be at war for at least a 100 years and that they will suffer the consequences long after you are gone. Tell them who you are John. Tell them the truth. But then… Maybe not… Because that would be really scary and then they might know real fear.

 

There you go my boy! Ten easy tips even you can understand. I hope you have a fun time. Just look in the mirror and repeat after me John… “I must be better and more honest than what I really am. The truth will set me free. And I’ll just sit down and cry if that doesn’t work”. Repeat a thousand time and take an Aspirin.

John, John… John. What are we going to do with you? Or rather, where are you going to take us John? I’ve been there and it is not pretty. A country filled with hate and fear. We don’t need that John. We need love and hope. Give it to us or please leave the room.

Remember John, if you want to play this game of hate and fear then we’ll play the same right back at you! No more Mr Nice guy. You must be confusing me with some liberal. I am not. I am African.

Worst wishes, no love and hope to never see you again,

Angry African (on the Loose)

Look, from an American sporting perspective I am pretty happy to be living in Boston. The Red Sox won the World Series. Again. The Patriots are still the team to beat after so many Super Bowl wins and finals in the last few years. The Celtics made history in basketball when they whipped the Lakers for the crown this year. The Revolutions are top of the league in soccer after making the finals for 3 years in a row. Hell, even the Bruins improved this year on the ice. Yep, it is pretty good to be in Boston if you like American sport. Or what they call sport.

But Americans really don’t play any sport. Oh they call it sport, but it really isn’t. American football (known incorrectly as Gridiron by some) are really only played by bunch of wimps. So much steroids, protective gear and stop-and-start kinda play that they look more like Transformers running low on batteries. Basketball is really just netball played by guys in over-sized pajama pants. Ice hockey is for guys who are too sober to get involved in a proper bar fight. Their soccer is watched by an average crowd of 7, including family, friends and coaching staff. And baseball is for guys who can’t play cricket.

Ah, cricket. Good old cricket. Nothing like watching the swing of the willow sitting on the Oaks at Newlands. Have a braai and a beer (and Klippies offered by your neighbour). I miss good old cricket. It isn’t shown on television over here. Americans just don’t get it. Their eyes glass over when I try to explain that it is a game played for five days from 10 am to 6 pm with a lunch break and two tea breaks each day – and you are still not guaranteed a result. Except if it is England playing and you pretty much know they will lose. But Americans can’t handle anything that will potentially interfere with the trip to the mall or watching daytime soaps. Or work for that matter. Short attention span. They have ADD when it comes to cricket.

And they don’t get the names either. Here it is all blood and gore – Steelers, Cowboys, Jaguars, Giants, Bears and more in the NFL (football). The Devils, Thrashers, Hurricanes, Avalanche, Predators, Flames and more in the NHL (ice hockey). Fire, Revolution, Earthquakes and more in MLS (soccer). We have the Warriors, Hawks, Rockets, Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Raptors and more in the NBA (basketball). And MLB (baseball). Well, let’s just say that the Brewers, Royals, Twins, Blue Jays and Sox don’t quite have the same bite to it. And what the hell is an Oriole? Is it a breakfast or a bird? Can you imagine them being known by the proper Latin name – The Baltimore Icterus Galbula? Anyway… The Proteas just doesn’t have the same ring or sting to it when it comes to the more blood and gore type names Americans love so much. (Note to self – look if there is a link between President Bush’s approach to foreign policy and the violent names of American sport teams.)

But I follow the cricket. Especially now when South Africa is doing their yearly humiliation of England. (Did I hear anyone say 1 up?) Like I said, I can’t watch it. But I read it. On my mobile phone. Via the live texting of the BBC. It is brilliant. Not the actual cricket, but the commentating. I know South Africa will win, but I keep on following the live texts because of the sense of humor and descriptions given by the BBC team. They are really special. Got to love the English for that. They might be getting their backsides kicked by Kallis, Ntini, Prince and the gang, but they sure know how to commentate. And keep you laughing all the way. It might be all they have left in sport – a good sense of humor. The play cricket, rugby and soccer like a bunch of clowns in any case.

I now check the updates every hour or so. It’s less about the cricket score than the wisdom and wise cracks from the BBC team. I want to share a few with you. It’ll hopefully give you an insight into British humor. Unfortunately it won’t help you understand cricket any more than eating a burger will help you drive better. There is no link. But I hope you enjoy these. I’ll might try to update these over the next few days. Now, sit back and enjoy the company of the BBC cricket commentators – in their words. It all started with their first text update this morning… (It’s in UK time and remember to read it in a ‘proper’ English accent.

And Nel takes another England wicket...

And Nel takes another England wicket...

10:33 – New Kid’s out on his ear because he upset ‘team unity’ (is the England dressing room actually some delicate eco-system?) and Colly’s back on the back of a few runs in a Twenty20 knockabout. If I was Owais Shah or Ravi Bopara, not only would I be a different colour, I’d be a little bit irritated as well.

It’s all so chummy, I wouldn’t be surprised if the England team all bundled round Vaughany’s mum and dad’s house for a pyjama party after today’s play. Maybe Colly’s back in the side because he can get his hands on Porky’s?

11:28 – The man to the left of me has just pulled out a plum of a lookalike – Morkel and 1980’s ‘Brat Pack’ stalwart Anthony Michael Hall. If you were to stretch Morkel on a rack like a Catholic martyr, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart.

Vaughny was pricklier than the famed Jungle Book paw-paw in his Aggers interview. He said it with a laugh but it was saucer of milk for table two stuff.

11:54 – Plenty of empty seats at Edgbaston, not sure why that is. It’s got all the atmosphere of a nursing home Christmas party at the moment.

12:06 – Nel – or is it Gunther? – strolls down the wicket and spits a few verbals Cook’s way. I’ve got to be honest, Nel seems more simple than intimidating. It must be like batting against Lennie from Of Mice and Men. He drags another one in short – not sure why he keeps doing that, this pitch has the consistency of a lemon drizzle cake.

12:16 – A few more strokes like that and the ball will be speaking the Queen’s English.

Send back the defibrillators, I think this pitch might already be dead…

12:36 – Umpire Dar had no doubts, although Vaughan looks at him as though he’s just found him heavy petting with his mother on the sofa as he leaves the field.

12:46 – Cook gropes at an away-cutter from Nel and the South African paceman grins maniacally, like a staggering drunk who’s just seen up a lady’s skirt.

13:39 – I have o report that the England skipper is getting absolutely slaughtered in your email, anyone would think he’d nutted the pope.

13:59 – Another wicked delivery from Morkel Cook nibbling before pulling his bat out of the way as if he’s just been caught with his hands in his mother’s handbag.

14:12 – He actually has pretty good figures in test and first-class cricket but he’s had about as much cutting edge as a jam roly-poly in this series so far.

14:16 – If Graeme Smith is the nasty prison governor from Shawshank Redemption, Nel is the bully-club wielding prison guard.

14:25 – I’d hate to be there when something genuinely bad actually happens to Nel – he reacted to Bell hitting that four as if he’s just seen his car. Nel lets out a primeval roar – Gunther is clearly a very angry man.

14:42 – This England team reminds me of when I used to want to hang about with my older brother and his mates when I was a kid. My brother used to tolerate me, but you could tell he never really wanted me there. I got a bit choked up writing that.. such sad memories…

14:52 – Nel roars in Smith’s direction – Smith better watch his back, drop another catch and Nel will make his ears into a necklace.

15:00 – There’s former England skipper Graham Taylor in the stand – black shades, black shirt, white tie, he looks like he’s going to pull out a Tommy gun and start strafing the South African fielders.

15:05 – And he’s tighter than the elephant man’s hatband today.

15:11 – Thank God for that, watching the Durham man trying to get off the mark was like watching open heart surgery.

15:18 – The Durham man staggers out of his crease like a man emerging from solitary confinement.

15:26 – Does anyone else feel like trying to understand the England selectors is like banging your head against a brick wall whilst wearing a straight jacket and being held upside down in a vat of marmalade?

15:37 – As an England fan, I would rather smash my arm repeatedly in a car door than watch much more of this…

15:43 – Ambrose – another in the England batting line-up who makes Bill Wyman look like Gary Sobers at the moment. Old Nel is madder than a box of frogs.

… that’s tea. I’m sure it will be a cosy one in the England dressing room, all chums together sharing out the Werther’s Originals and telling tales of the 2005 Ashes series. I can just imagine Vaughany leaning forward in his armchair like Uncle Albert and proclaiming every now and again: “During the 2005 Ashes…” I wonder if they’ve got an open fire up there?

16:04 – Regarding the reference to the Elephant Man, whatever happened to him, he made on good film and no-one’s seen him since?

16:13 – Surely a couple of Ambrose failures here will lead him to being dropped – the Warwickshire gloveman looks like he’s been batting with an upright hoover for most of this summer.

16:19 – Nel chuntering down to the deep mid-wicket rope like a startled rhinoceros.

16:35 – Watching Flintoff having to bat like this makes for rather painful viewing, it’s like Maradona playing at full-back.

16:49 – Nel licks his fingers and grins, like a naughty boy who’s just polished off a sticky bun.

17:11 – Watching these two batsmen scratch away, I just had the sudden urge to start singing Onward Christian Soldiers. I’ve also got this image in my head of Freddie and Ambrose under siege in a dilapidated building, poking their heads round the corner every few minutes to fire a couple of shots.

17:30 – Good job Ntini ducked or his team-mates would have had to rechristen him Anne Boleyn.

17:37 – If you’d have believed my nan, her glory years were spent wearing a tin helmet in a coal shed fending off rats the size of rottweilers while the German bombs fell all around her. A deeply miserable woman, she didn’t tend to go out much after the War ended.

17:47 – Most of the England players are looking a little bit sheepish in the field, like schoolboys shuffling nervously outside the headmaster’s office awaiting to hear their fate.

18:02 – The South Africa openers could only look more relaxed if they were basted in butter.

18:05 – A day spent browsing for ceiling tiles in B&Q would have raised the spirits higher than this.

End of day 1… With the South Africans way on top. England all out for 230 and South Africa sitting pretty at 38 for one. Now, where is that beer and braai

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Here we go again…

1. The world growing bigger?

The only problem is that not everything else is expanding with it. I know it is disturbing. But don’t worry. We are. Humans. And other planets. And animals. At least until we slaughter them and turn them into burgers and steaks. Even our measurements are expanding. And no, I don’t mean our waistlines. Okay. Not only our waistlines. Also our waste-lines. No idea what that means, but it sounded good when I wrote it. Anyway… I thought the world must be growing while our food and drinks stay the same size. Why? Because everything is getting smaller. Bought a salad the other day and realized that it is smaller than what I remembered from the last time I bought a salad. But then I had a closer look. Damnit. Can you believe it. Even salads are being reduced in size. No – not because of obesity. Rather because of profits. With “raw” materials and overheads going up they had to cut cost somewhere. Why not start with the portions they sell? No problem. Right? Well, I don’t have a problem with it. But it would have been nice of them to tell me. I felt a bit cheated. Dirty. And looking at the smaller packet made me feel all grown up and bigger than what I feel really comfortable with. I felt a bit like Alice for a minute. But, as you might know, I am not a big salad eater. So it didn’t faze me. But I lost it when I realized that they are doing it to beer! Bloody hell people! That’s a line you should never, ever cross. Do what you want with us, but leave our beer alone. You thought President Bush got all pissed at Iraq trying to kill his daddy. Don’t mess with an African and his beer. But they did. Selling us 14 ounce beers but passing it off as a 16 ounce beer! Sacrilege! But the trend continues. Cars are getting smaller. Which is a good thing. My ego can fit into a Mini. But those guys with the big trucks and girls with the big SUV’s. Not sure if their ego can fit into a Ford Focus. I mean really, they only just manage to squeeze into a Hummer. Yeah. The world is shrinking. No, you aren’t getting fat. It’s the clothes shrinking… We’ll all look like Lance Armstrong soon. Tights everywhere. Okay, maybe with two… hum… you know. Oh, I was lying about the salad. It is shrinking, but I am African. We don’t do salad. A good salad is anything not meaty – like chicken.

2. Getting ready to be arrested

I am off to China this weekend. But I’ll tell you about that later. Once I am back. Still waiting for my visa, but hopefully that will be sorted today. There is a reason why I use the name Angry African you know… Anyway. I have been talking to my IT guy about staying connected while I am over there. Apparently it won’t be a good idea to blog from there. Not only do they sometimes “relieve” you of the burden carrying your laptop around, but don’t like bloggers speaking out that much. Not much at all. You see, China, Burma, Iran and Egypt heads the list of countries arresting people because they blog about their political views. I am safe then I guess. I don’t do political views… What I write is nothing but an impartial view of the world and what is happening around us. So I should be safe. But many bloggers are not. 334 got arrested in Burma alone. But thanks to their “somewhat” restrictive government, these could not be verified. When you drop of the face of the earth… 

3. No workers, no problem

Biofuels are held up as either the answer to all our problems or the next disaster to hit us. I don’t have much of a view on this one. I think biofuels could be part of the solution (not the solution), but the current approach sucks. Using corn and sugar just don’t make sense. it pushes food prices right up and we cut down forests meant to protect us from emissions. Sounds like stupid economics to me. And Brazil has a huge problem. They are cutting down the Amazon rainforest faster than you can say “Hummer”. I mean really. 1,123 square kilometers were cut down in April alone… So Unica, the Brazilian ethanol lobby decided to go on the charm offensive. They invited a few journalist around to show them all the good stuff they are doing. Apart from the cutting down of trees that they forgot to mention, most of their ideas are just fine. Like going all mechanical in the cutting of the cane. Less pollution because they don’t have to burn them anymore. But there was something else that caught my eye. The reporter only mentions it as a “by the way”. But it struck me that Unico might still need some more PR training. Unico said that companies are going all mechanical on us because it addresses two challenges. One, the pollution. Check. Secondly, it will get rid of the cane-cutters and therefore also get rid of any labor problems and labor critics. Hum. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned that one. Keep spinning the “we chop down trees to be green” line. It’s not only more believable, it also makes the “little people” go away.

4. The two stooges

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are meeting as we speak. I mean Mbeki and Mugabe are meeting. In Zimbabwe. Not sure why. Maybe to discuss the weather. Or the latest fashion. Or what curtains to pick for their new houses. Or fining new and more spouses. Bloody idiots. Look. I have supported Mbeki through thick and thin. Defended him wherever I could. I even defended his initial position on HIV/Aids in South Africa. And justified his initial approach to the Zimbabwean crisis. But it has gone too far. People are dying in South Africa because of his idiotic HIV/Aids policies and lack of action. And people are dying in Zimbabwe because of a tyrant that has gone bonkers. Mbeki and his “quiet diplomacy” just sounds like “staying quiet”. Sorry you two idiots. Time’s up. You are not welcome anymore. Just take your stuff and go sit in the corner. And be quiet. We have a name for people like you. It starts with an “m”. “Moer-something” in Afrikaans and “Mother-something” in English. Just go. Don’t hang your curtains. Hang your heads in shame. Or just hang your heads.

5. McCain inspiring old white men in Europe

I don’t think so. Okay, maybe he does if you include the arms dealers. But other than that, McCain inspires people outside the US about as much as Osama Bin Laden inspires tolerance. yes, there might be one or two out there who would fall for them. But they are loonies and at the fringe. But Obama. Now that is another story. He isn’t even President (yet) and he is already inspiring people across the world. telling them to break out of their racial stereotype and that anything is possible. That you can do it – no matter where you come from. France is going through some tough times right now. Race is at the forefront of so many debates. And they have violence on the streets of Paris. Because people feel hopeless. That in the land of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Well educated blacks have to compete with 15-year old white kids for a job at McDonald’s. Nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s. But when the color of your skin stoops you from aiming higher, then you have a problem. But all of a sudden Obama is making people talk about race in France. And what it means. And how it can be overcome. And how it can inspire people to continue to fight the good fight for equality. Real equality. Not just a French word. That is inspiring. That is Obama. McSame? Well, apparently the old people in France likes his comb-over. It is so provincial.

See ya later.

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Here we go again…

1. They virtually found Bin Laden

It’s been going on for months. Hunting down the Recruiters. Those terrorists who prey on the young and vulnerable. These terrorists are smart. They play the game the way the kids do. It starts with a chat. And it moves on to training at a special place – behind the guarded gates. Well, we now know the terrorists are hiding just behind those gates. If only we knew how to get in. You never know. Bin Laden might be hiding behind those walls. Who knows. Who knows. Problem is that the gates are difficult to get past. Not only is it heavily guarded, but it is virtually coded. What? I am talking about the government agency IARPA hunting down terrorists in the virtual gaming world. IARPA is not a character name, but out there to find new and innovative ways to hunt down terrorists. Cool idea. Really. No, really. I think they should try every angle to find those bastards. You never know, we might at last find out where Bin Laden has been hiding… Problem is that it seems as if they are struggling just as much to find virtual terrorists than real ones. So far they have only managed to hunt down a few kids who fit the profile. Wonder if they have thought of having a virtual “Gitmo” as well? Hey, torture is allowed in the virtual world. No need for a memo there.

2. The dark side of Global Warming

A lot have been said about Global Warming. The debate is raging on and on and on. Every scientist forms a new group with a new theory. Some deny it and other tell us about the new apocalypse. It’s become part of our cultural debate. Day in and day out. Households are torn. Father deny it’s getting hotter – it’s just the central heating that needs to be turned down. Daughters cry and accuse their parents of killing this little world they hoped to inherit. Friends are arguing in the ballparks (is Manny getting thinner because of the sauna affect?) and debating in the bars. Yes. It’s Global Warming – the OJ trail of nature. But we might just have reached tipping point. Where all those SUV and pick-up driving deniers of Global Warming might have met their maker. They are turning to the pro side now. Urging government to do something before this world of ours goes up in a ball of smoke. And who should we thank? Beer! Yes, good old beer. It seems as if Global Warming will hit that one place that really hurt – the beer belly. Beer experts (not the “expert” drinking type) are saying that those precious crops are in danger of getting hit by the hotter weather. So we won’t even be able to have a cold one when the frying starts. (Damn. Damn you all.) Now that is something that will get everyone hot under the collar.

3. Are you just happy to see me?

Is that a _______ in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? In Frisco – city of fun – it got a whole new meaning this week. San Francisco voted a while back that they wanted to ban all handguns in the city. I think they thought they were already a barrel of fun and didn’t need anything more to prove that they are men. I don’t know if it was because I visited them earlier in the week, but the “will of the people” of San Francisco was overturned this week. The ban on handguns got overturned – thank you NRA. Now the place where men are well… pretty much anything they want to be, can carry their concealed weapons again. And we can again ask them – is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Actually, I don’t know if it needs to be concealed or whether it means they can just let it all hang out. It is Frisco after all. Back to “if you’ve got it – flaunt it” I guess.

4. McCain and Jeffrey Dahmer

These so-called Conservatives just don’t know about being subtle do they? And one of the speakers, David Bellavia, said, “Rest assured that people like Senator McCain will be the goal and the men that my two young boys will emulate an admire. You can have your Tiger Woods. We have Senator McCain.” Now where do I even start with this? Was he trying to be funny? About the best golfer in the world? You want to tell me there wasn’t a racial tone in this? That people should support Phil Michelson and not the black dude that is beating his ass week in and week out? Okay – let’s play the race game. “Rest assured that people like Senator Obama will be the goal and the men that my two young girls will emulate an admire. You can have your Jeffrey Dahmer (or any other bad white dude). We have Senator Obama.” Puh-lease. Stop the racial slurs – you are not even being subtle. You are just being stupid. Next thing is you will start calling the Vietnamese gooks. Oh, sorry – you did.

5. RIP Robert Mugabe… or maybe not

Bob, Bob, Bob. What the hell are we going to do with you? I mean really. This is not even funny anymore. You control the newspapers. You control the television. You control the radio. You control the farms. You control the army. You control the police. You control the economy. Oh, sorry – you don’t control the economy. Not at 100,000% inflation. (Not a joke.) But you control everything in Zimbabwe except the economy and your wife’s shopping at Harrod’s. You even control the judicial system and the elections. You set up the Zim election body and filled it with your guys. And then you somehow still manage to lose the election! How the bloody hell did you get that right? I mean come on. You are giving tyrants across the world a bad name. At least you are standing up and refusing to even give us the official results a week after all the other results are in – even after it was posted outside the poll stations. And arrested your own puppets who ran the elections – demanding a recount. I guess your education system is failing faster than the economy. Your own puppets can’t even add enough votes for you to win. And it looks like you are staging a coup against the government of Zimbabwe. Wait a minute. You are the government of Zimbabwe. Sorry Bob. It is getting a bit much now. Just get the hell out of there for us to start looking after your people. It is obvious you can’t hear their crying and dying. Bye-bye Bob. The sooner the better.

That’s it folks. See ya all next week for more news. Maybe…

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I love coffee. It might just be my number one addiction. A good cup of Ethiopian Sidamo coffee. Oh, I can taste it already. But maybe I am in love with the coffee shop culture. Just lazying around, having a cup of coffee and reading the paper. The easy life. The time where I can just sit and be at peace with myself. Having a nice cuppa in a good coffee shop is one of my favourite “small things in life“.

We all have them. It could be reading a good book. Or lying in the arms of someone we love. Maybe it is hearing the laughter of kids having fun. A nice home-cooked meal prepared by loving hands. Sitting around the fire having a beer with friends and making a potjie and pap (traditional food in a black pot and a maize meal dish in South Africa). Watching your team win the World Cup in rugby or Ajax Cape Town beating Kaizer Chiefs again (sorry guys – I was a Seven Stars fan originally). Listening to my music on my iPod while commuting to and from work. Or maybe it is sharing your thoughts and worries with those who you have never met and will most likely never meet. Yes. We all have small things in life. Small things to make the big things tolerable.

The small things in life makes it possible for us to just switch off from the outside world for a little while. It creates a bit of space between you and the reality of the world out there. The world of daily struggles of life and living. It creates some white noise to block off the shouting and crying you hear when you open your ears. It gives us a little breathing space from those things we see and can’t get out of our heads. The world will drive us crazy if we sit still for a minute and think too hard. There are just too many things that are wrong in this world for one mind to handle. For one life to live. These little things in life makes life worthwhile. A stolen moment while we take a breath and recharge our batteries.

Many years ago, back in South Africa, I was enjoying such a moment when it struck me – what is the small thing in life for those who suffer? I was just sitting having a cup of good coffee. Staring out the window at nothing. A newspaper open on the table and my cigarette burning in the ashtray. But I wasn’t smoking and I wasn’t reading. I was just staring. Staring out the window and staring at nothing. My mind was blank. Taking a rest for a little while. That’s when I saw him on the other side of the window.

It was only for a split second. But it felt like a lifetime. He was just walking in the streets. I don’t know where he was going or what he was going to do – I just saw him walking past the window. I didn’t know him and still don’t know who he was. I just saw his face as he looked through the window as he walked past. It was just that split second while he appeared in the window. But it felt as if he stood there and looked at me and the coffee shop for an hour. His face burned into my memory. He eyes asked a thousand questions.

What are you doing? Why are you sitting there? Who are you people sitting there and doing nothing? It wasn’t an expression of distaste. It was just an expression of someone who could not understand what this was all about. I could see that what I doing in that coffee shop was completely foreign to him. No idea why this was my moment. No idea that this was my small thing in life. I was a stranger to him. And my actions even stranger. And it made me think. What is his small thing in life?

He was obviously from the township. I could see it in his face and in his clothes. He was neat. But he had old and worn clothes on. But he walked with pride and a little hop in his step. A sign of people who have suffered before, but who are happy and proud of the job they have today. The life they lived and the future they face. Happy times. And it made me think. What is his small things in life out there in the township? But I knew. I have been there. I have shared the moments. Just not with him.

It is the laughter of the children playing in the streets. Coming home to a warm meal and open friendly faces. Lying in the arms of a loved one. Standing around the fire with the boys while having a braai (barbecue). Watching soccer with friends and hoping Kaizer Chiefs will win this time. Playing music for the girls to dance. Sharing a beer and stories with friends in the shebeen. You know. Those other small things in life.

Yes. We might have been on different sides of the window. But we knew each other. We shared the same small things in life. We all share the same little things in life. Well, most of the time. I have my coffee. My wife has her dancing. (I have two left feet unfortunately). But it does the same for all of us. It let’s us forget about the bad times and the sorrows for a little while. It switches off the lights for just a little while. Recharging the batteries of life so we can start again tomorrow.

I have seen it everywhere I go. I look for it. I hunt for it. Just to steal a moment in their eyes. Those small things in life. Whether it is in the market in Bamako. Or the Green Frog in Lusaka. The Red Sox at Fenway. A night at the pub in London. Coffee in Paris. It’s all the same. We all have our small things in life. It’s just the faces and places that differ.

I would have liked to share a cup of Ethiopian best with that face in the window though. Have a little time to ourselves. Share a moment in life together. Share a small thing in life. And leave – ready to face the world again. Strangers. But not.

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