Friday, October 28, 2005

Cheers, Queers

okay, this may be my last post for a really long time. I'm leaving tomorrow for NY, i will be back on the 15th.

My shopping expedition was very successful. I'm glad to say that i got a bunch of really smart clothes and work paid for them and that fucking rocks. The boss said it was a little 'thank you' for all the hard work. yeah baby. that's what i'm talking about.

I think i will go and buy a guide book for new york this evening. Something with maps. I can read it on the plane. Arg, the plane.

Um, yeah, got nothing else to say. Will miss everyone stacks and look forward to coming back!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Leaving on a jet plane...

Well, it's official, i'm leaving for NY, NY on saturday, to return on the 15th. Lots of running around to do, lots of shopping for corporate clothing (yeck). I'm excited and nervous all at once, but the boss and his wife are there already and have organized me a sweet little studio apartment, fully furnished, with kitchenette and tv and all that fun stuff so i should be sorted. And the apartment is close to Rock Center. yay!

I got my second monitor today! It is so damn cool. I am loving the organizational aspect of having my inbox on the one screen and composing on the other, or having the issue list on the one screen and the application in question on the other....the list goes on. My desk just looks so damn techy. i love it.

Days like these, i know i'm a geek. There's nothing wrong with it. it's great.

Midweek Cuckoo: David Icke

Thanks to all the tags flying around, i didn't end up doing a midweek cuckoo yesterday. So here it is:

David Icke speaks for himself. There's not much more i can elaborate on this one. He is living proof that playing football makes you crazy.

On the other hand, he believes that George Bush and the Queen of England are reptilian humanoids linked to the illuminati. So maybe he's not all that mad after all?

Check out the wikipedia article for more.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tagged

I got tagged by Total Waste. So here goes:

1. I'm petrified of spiders. There are always spiders in my garage. Every morning when i open the garage, i try to touch the door as little as i can, and then jump back and let it swing open on its own. I'm sure if i stand too close a spider will fall on me.
2. I hate my breasts. if i had the money i'd get a reduction. if i got breast cancer, i'd welcome a mastectomy. As a kid at school i was horribly self conscious about them, mostly because i got teased.
3. I'm an intellectual elitist.
4. When i find out that someone i otherwise thought was an intelligent person is religious, even if i like them i can't help thinking a little less of them.
5. When i was in school my biggest dream was to be an astronaut, right up to matric, and even a bit into varsity.
6. When i was 16 i desperately wanted to kill myself, but i could never bring myself to go through with it. Instead, i just cut myself.
7. I should have been head girl at my school. When i didn't get chosen, the principal told me in her office in private that it wasn't because i wasn't the best choice. it was because i wasn't popular. later in the year the headgirl got suspended for taking drugs. I've never felt so vindicated in my life.
8. When i was two i stole money from the next door neighbour and my dad hit me with a belt.
9. I am afraid of dying. Not just in the nebulous, don't like to think about it kind of way. I'm really afraid of it, in the obsess about it kind of way.
10. When i was very young i would do puzzles upside down without the pictures.
11. I'm in a constant stuggle between perfectionism and outright laziness. Some days the one wins, some days the other.
12. When i was a year old i could say 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'.
13. Sometimes i don't try something just in case i'm no good at it.
14. If i could do anything in the world i would write for a living.
15. I have a memory of being four years old and sitting in the bath shivering as the water grew colder and colder, too scared to get out because my parents were fighting.
16. I didn't talk to my dad for three years because of his alcoholism. i didn't invite him to my first graduation.
17. My last boyfriend said he loved me but treated me like the least important thing in his life. I worshipped him and even changed who i was for him. Two years after leaving him, i'm still angry with myself for staying with him as long as i did. it's probably the one thing i most regret in my life.
18. I still have nightmares about his parents.
19. My only experiences with drugs are second hand weed smoke, and nitrous oxide. I'm curious, but i'm also afraid of losing control in front of people and making a fool of myself. It's the same reason i've never been drunk in my life.
20. I struggled to think of something to put in the last spot that didn't seem lame.

I'm not sure yet if i'm going to pass this on.

Classic Moments in Advertising

TargetĀ®, a well known American Retailer, is one of the sponsors of the Rock Center Observation Deck. You can also purchase Target merchandise at the Top of the Rock store. Here's my impression of what may have been an early advertising concept, hastily scrapped: Sometimes, there is synergy in branding that is just too good to be true.

On the NY trip front: it's 98% sure that i'm going, and i'll be leaving on friday. I have three flight options: direct from JHB which involves a 2 hour stop at dakar for refueling (but not getting off the plane), indirect through heathrow (fine there but a day stop on the way back) or indirect thru Schipol. The latter was the preferred option, but no flights on this short notice. Next try is direct from JHB. I really don't want to spend an entire day in Heathrow. It can't be that interesting.

Either way, that gives me about one day to organise a 2-week trip overseas. fun.

In the news today, SA doctors had to get a court order against a family of Jehovah's Witnesses in order to save the life of a premature baby. Let me repeat that: doctors had to get the court to order a family to not just sit back and let a baby die. Why? Because Jehovah's Witnesses aren't allowed to accept blood transfusions. The motivation is a single passage in Leviticus (17:10-14):

And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood. ... Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood. ... And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

Now, i understand there being a point to freedom of religion, but there is also freedom of expression, and i'm about to make use of it. If you are a Jehovah's Witness reading this, i suggest you navigate away now, because I am about to offend you.

What the fuck are these people thinking? For a start, a premature baby has not accepted the religion or had any choice in the matter. These people are offering their children up as martyrs to a cause without the child every having had any say in it. And don't say they don't celebrate this choice. The cover of the May 22, 1994 Awake! magazine shows photos of 26 children, with the caption: "Youths Who Put God First." Inside, the magazine glorifies Witness children who died supporting Watchtower Society policy. Glorifies. It's probably one of the most disgusting things i've ever heard of. How can a premature baby know that it's putting god first? People who make this kind of decision for their children are murderers, pure and simple. If there is a god looking down and approving this sort of behaviour, then he truly is completely insane.

JWs who propose a different interpretation of the forementioned passages in the bible, that the transfer of blood intravenously does not constitute 'eating' blood, are actively shunned by other members, even to the extent of being disfellowshipped (like excommunication only worse). Nevertheless there is a movement within JW, called the Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood (AJWRB) who campaign for reassessment of the belief. Good for them.

Monday, October 24, 2005

ScienTOMogy

The scientologists are trying to get website www.scientomogy.info shut down. They may even have succeeded because the link doesn't work.

****UPDATE*****

Premature Alert, don't know why i couldn't reach it this morning, but it's working now! Go check it out before scientology's robot lawyers get rid of it too.

*****************

However, because the internet is a grand, grand place, closing down a website at its direct domain name does not necessarily mean removing it from the web. I found it here with very little googling required.

here's a picture of Tom using his OT7 super powers to kill Oprah. I laughed and laughed.



Even Jesus thinks that ScienTOMogy rocks. And we all know jesus is fucking metal.



Tired

Well, we worked a full day on Saturday, and then we had to come in early this morning to deploy before our usual monday morning meeting. Combined with staying up til 3am on saturday playing WoW, i'm pretty tired.

In the news today, ambulance drivers are threatening not to respond to calls in certain areas because they are violently attacked, mugged, or shot at while attempting to save people's lives. This isn't the first i've heard of it, either. I know a guy who works as a paramedic and fireman in Joburg, and some of the stories he has to tell are scary. Going in to fight a shack fire in Alexandria and being mugged at knife point; going in to collect a patient in Hillbrow and having to wear a bulletproof vest because you're being shot at. Baragwanath Hospital has security gates and guards at the entrance to the trauma unit, because of the proliferation of people coming in to finish the job of murder they started. There have been instances where bullets have been flying in the emergency ward because some gang member had decided that there is no try, there is only do. No wonder 50% of our graduating doctors flee the country to work somewhere where saving the lives of strangers won't get you killed.

Shocking. Anyway, i gotta get back to work now.

Friday, October 21, 2005

All Visa'd Up

Well, got the USA visa now. 10 years, for business or tourism. Sweet.

Now i just have to find out if i'm going or not. Still no idea. Looks like news on the subject early next week, so it's once more a case of hurry up and wait.

Oh, and we're probably working this weekend. I'm just too tired to think of anything else interesting to say.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

American Consulate: Scary

Well, i spent my morning applying for my US visa. The security at the consulate was scary. My phone got swabbed (for explosives residue i can only assume) twice, and my gate remote once. I had to take off my belt twice, i got paddle-scanned twice, i had to lock a bunch of stuff in a locker and couldn't take it into the embassy... hectic. At least i was warned beforehand and didn't have the usual amount of junk in my handbag (like, i don't know, my knife for example). Some people were having stuff hauled out, and being forced to show that their lighters actually lit and their hand cream actually produced cream. And before they searched us, they made us queue in the stairwell. You know, just in case we accidentally blew ourselves up, i figure it must be the safest place for us to be.

Anyway, it took at least 20 mins for me to be processed so i could be allowed in. From there, it was go to window 2. Then sit down and wait for half an hour. Then go to window 4. Then sit down and wait for half an hour. Then go to window 3 and be quizzed about why you're going to the US. I was all ready to deliver a straight-faced 'no' if asked if i was a terrorist, but alas they did not ask. When filling in the form at work, next to the question about whether i had ever been a member of the Nazi party, i was disappointed to discover that 'Nein' was not an option. You could trip up a lot of Nazis that way.

So the visa will be ready tomorrow at 3. To be honest that's pretty swift, but i did have all my ducks in a row so that was in my favour. Also, here's the fun bit: You have to pay for the visa at a nedbank branch before you even apply. You have to hand in your application with the deposit slip. R660. Joy. I am so glad the company is footing the bill for this.

In the good news department, the boss has said i need to speak to him before buying any new clothes for the trip (the clients are super formal). Maybe i will get a little clothing allowance. w00t!

In the bad news department, i will most likely be on my way by the 28th, which means i will be missing the opportunity to go see Night of the Living Dead (original edition) at the Labia on Saturday! And sushi with Schpat and Elisabeth! Suxxx!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Midweek Cuckoo: Jack Thompson

Well, it didn't take me long to find one. This guy is definitely mad, as well as topical.

John Bruce "Jack" Thompson is a lawyer who is determined to have the world believe that violent video games should be made illegal because they create killers. He calls them 'murder simulators'. He refuses to accept that just like violent cinema and television, at the end of the day it has an age restriction to inform parents, and from then on it's their choice what they let their kids play or watch. He also refuses to believe that making it illegal isn't going to make it any less available (think drugs and prostitution). No, no, video games are the 'tools of the devil', and make kids insane. Seriously. Read the wikipedia article for more of his previous insanity.

So fervent is he in his madness that he recently issued the following challenge to the gaming industry: make a game based on this scenario (where a man takes revenge on the gaming industry for supposedly creating his son's killer, by brutally murdering the heads of the major gaming companies) and he will donate $10,000 to charity.

Guess what? Some gaming company made it. Did Jack stay true to his word? Of course not. He said it was only 'satire'. Penny Arcade, in a damning move, donated $10,000 to charity in his name.

Did he thank them? No, in fact he apparently reported them to the Seattle Police Chief for harrassment, because of their comments about him on their website, a cartoon they did about him, and a shirt they apparently sell that says 'I Hate Jack Thompson'. Wow, that's some serious harrassment. He even called their donation criminal harrassment. Is this guy insane or what?

See comments from VGCats (as well as an email correspondence they recorded which shows his particular variety of spittle-flecked insane ranting), and also Cntrl-Alt-Del.

Other interesting sites about Jack:
stopkill. com - Jack's site
stopstopkill.com - an anti-jack site.

Evolution in action

Right, this guy is the definition of stupid. Sees a number on his girlfriend's phone that he doesn't recognise, assumes she's cheating on him, and after an all-night fight he shoots himself dead. And it was a wrong number. I wonder if he qualifies for a Darwin award?

While this guy was obviously out of his mind, he doesn't quite qualify for a Wednesday level of sheer insanity, so i'll be back later with the Midweek Cuckoo.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New York! Neeeeeeeew Yoooooork!

I might need to go to New York on super short notice within the next 3 weeks. The clients would like an extra body on deck for the opening of the Rockefeller Center Observation Deck. The boss is already going to be there for three weeks around go live, but they need someone else to do mad running around telling the sales personnel 'No! Not that button!'

Here's the thing tho: we don't know when i'll leave, how long i'll be gone for, or even if i will be going. But just in case, i need to apply for a visa this week. So I will be driving in to town on thursday morning to apply. Joy. And the appointment confirmation says "please do not bring large bundles or backpacks with you when you come for your appointment, as you may not be able to enter the consulate with them." Eeek.

Even worse: dress code there is very formal. If i go, i'm going to have to get a whole new damn wardrobe before i leave. I see my edgars card getting a workout. Blegh, i don't like formal clothes. I want to wear my top with the skulls on to work!

On the upside, i get to see new york, so that's pretty cool.

Here's some cool science stuff about mars' Magnetic Field.

And this is where all your tax money goes. Lovin' it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

RAF vs The Constitution: Only the Facts

Ok, some people have asked for only the facts of the RAF bill. i don't normally rise to the kind of baiting that's been going on here, but I'm tired of it now so this will be my last comment on this subject.

Here you go. Every single one of the following is a fact:

1. According the the Constitution, Chapter 1, Section 3, subsection 2, i quote "All citizens are equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship."

2. From same Constitution, Chapter 2, Section 34: "Everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or, where appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or forum."

3. Again from same Constitution, Chapter 8, Section 173: "The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and High Courts have the inherent power to protect and regulate their own process, and to develop the common law, taking into account the interests of justice. "

4. All people who purchase petrol or pay for public transport and thus indirectly purchase petrol, have contributed into the road accident fund. Even if you do not qualify for the same benefits as other contributors, you are still required to contribute.

5. If the bill goes forward, only people with "serious" injuries will be deemed deserving of compensation for pain and suffering. Serious injuries are defined as disablement, paralysis, dysfunction of a vital organ, brain injury, or an injury as defined by the minister of transport. Even then there is a cap of R100,000 on claims for these.

6. If the bill goes forward, people who earn more than R13,000 per month will not be entitled to full compensation of lost earnings.

7. However, according to the department's own statistics, less than 1% of the amount paid out annually is to this earning bracket.

7. If the bill goes forward, actuaries predict that medical aid premiums will rise considerably as medical aid schemes usually pay out and then are compensated by the fund. Reduce the amount of compensation, increase the cost to the medical aid, increase the cost to you.

8. The RAF bill will take away your right to litigate against the guilty party for compensation. This is in direct contravention of item 2 above, and item 3 in that the courts are not regulating the process in this regard, the government is.

9. The DA called the latter "an untenable position and a fundamental change to our Common Law rights."

10. The IFP called the Bill a legal disaster.

11. The fund has been the focus of several allegations of corruption, fraud and embezzlement. Evidence has been found of applicants signing power of attorney on dates after their death, recording claims on dates prior to the accident, and in some cases the same details being used in several applications over a short period.

12. The head of the RAF was fired in May amid allegations of corruption.

13. The fund is over R18 million in the red. This is cited as being the reason for the reforms outlined in the bill.

14. In the report of the RAF commission 2002, Judge Kathy Satchwell noted that about 35 percent to 55 percent of the fuel levy income paid to the RAF did not reach victims of road accidents, but was spent on administration.

15. In this year's budget, Manuel noted that over the past three years the revenue to the RAF had increased from R2,6-billion to R4,5-billion at an annual average increase of 20,3 percent.

These are all facts. Put them together in context and you can form your own opinion. If that opinion, like mine, is that the bill is unconstitutional, is a knee-jerk reaction to appear to be doing something about gross mismanagement, and is only going to result in the citizens being screwed while the officials still skim off the top, sign the petition.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Road Accident Fund: Stop the Bill

Picture this: it's a pleasant saturday evening and you're taking a walk down the road to the shops. Suddenly out of nowhere some drunk fool veers off the road and slams his BMW into you. You break an arm, a leg, and your face is scarred for life. He's rich and you are just a student.

Does the Road Accident Fund pay out? NO.
Can you sue him for pain and suffering, or even your medical costs? NO.

This is what the new RAF bill is proposing. Broken arms, legs and facial scarring will no longer be considered serious enough for the fund to pay out. And they are going to take away your common law right to sue the guilty party for compensation. How is this constitutional?

The govt feels they are losing too much money to road accident victims, so they are going to reduce payouts. And we already pay 31.5c on every litre of petrol to this fund. What for?

This bill proposes a blatant contravention of your rights. It is unfair, unconstitutional and unrealistic. Do your part to stop this bill and sign the online petition.

----------

OK, now that i've done my bit for the day :)

Yesterday I was talking about how zimbabwe's rulers use the acquisition of white-owned farms as a lie to cover up acquisition of land for the government's own use. In SA, land redistribution has so far taken the path that both the buyer and seller must agree to the terms of sale for the sale to go through, and the process is merely mediated by the government. Sounds fair, right? It would be if they were planning to keep it that way. The first seizure order on a white owned farm in SA has been delivered. The floodgates are official open. The government has seen how Mugabe has got away with it for so long without any real retaliation from africa or the world, and now they know they can go right ahead and do it too. Gotta love that constitution.

And Tony Yengeni, the one attempting to get his corruption sentence reduced so he can continue to serve in parliament, is in the news again. This time, a man fitting his description, driving a car registered to him, was spotted driving recklessly on all four rims down Marine Drive in Table View. He was apparently drunk. He eventually stopped, spoke to the people who reported the incident and had been following him, and to two security guards who were at the scene. They all agree that it was him. He then drove off before the police arrived. And this man wants to be allowed to continue to serve in public office. Brilliant. He hasn't even been arrested yet. 'An investigation is in progress'. Uhuh. Sure.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

News from the subcontinent

I've mentioned Matthias Rath on this blog before, that fast talking snakeoil salesman who tries to get people to believe that his multivitamins will cure AIDS. He's back in the news, disgraced again by at least one admission from a supporter of his, who declared that his vitamins had helped her, that she had been on anti retrovirals all along. And she says she's not the only one. In addition, one of his most vocal supporters, who publicly rejected ARVs to go on his multivitamin schedule, has died. Of AIDS. The question is, will this stop people believing his lies? No, of course not.

In news of our neighbouring country, Mugabe has made a move that has finally proven beyond doubt his real motivation behind reclaiming white-owned land. Here's the six-step process to screwing over your own people to get more power. Step One: claim you are going to take back white owned land and give it to the people, who it was stolen from by the hated colonialist opressors. Step Two: take all the food-producing land that feeds the entire country and give it over to subsistence farmers who only feed themselves. Step Three: claim this as a great victory for african people. Step Four (and now it starts): rig the elections so that you win by sufficient majority to give you unopposed power to change the constituation. Step Five: make all previously white-owned farms that have been seized, property of the state.

And now, the humdinger: Step Six: make it illegal to occupy state land. So all those subsistence farmers? Gotta go. The land? All belongs to the government to do with it as it pleases. So much for supporting his people.

Back at home, in the news last night, the presenter quoted that there are approximately 70 riots per month in our country, over the lack of housing, water and basic sanitation. Cue scenes of police shooting rioters with rubber bullets and lobbing tear gas grenades, and rioters throwing molotov cocktails and half-bricks. You would be excused for thinking you where watching archive footage from the days of apartheid. Except now, both sides are black. Good to know things have improved so very much in the 11 years of democracy. Nice going, government.

Fighting the Man and Losing

Okay, so to paint the scene, a few weeks ago i'm watching TV on sunday and this chatshow is on, called Chatroom. They're talking about whether or not english should be spoken across the board in SA. It's a show where there are two teams of two debaters, a panel of expers and a live audience, plus one presenter.

Never mind that there was not a single white or coloured face in the audience. Never mind that people repeatedly spoke of 9 indigenous languages in SA when there are 10 (official, anyway). Never mind that one of the debaters was Indian, so they obviously felt that non-indigenous, non-official languages like Hindi should be represented, but afrikaans which is both indigenous and official, should not. Here's the problem I really had:

The presenter's opinion is very obviously biased towards the 'no' camp. She argues with every statement for, and agrees with every statement against. Then one of the experts, an author and economist who speaks 5 languages (english, japanese, german, and two african languages) states that his daughter speaks to him only in english. The presenter asks if he encourages this. Yes, he says, he wants her to be able to communicate effectively and so began speaking to her in english from a young age. The presenter is obviously disapproving. Isn't his daughter going to lose her heritage? No, he replies, she speaks to her father's family in one african language, and her mother's in the other, and to her father in english. She is fluent in all three.

The presenter is not impressed. She turns to the audience. 'Let's hear what some other non coconuts have to say.'

Um, excuse me? For those of you not familiar with the term, think of the imagery. Coconut: brown on the outside, white on the inside. I don't think anyone would disagree with me that this term is inherently racist as it relies on the distinction of race for its meaning. Black skin on the outside, white thoughts and viewpoints on the inside. This term is not used as a compliment, believe me. It's an insult. The intention is to dismiss the speaker's view as 'white' and therefore not legitimate. Zenstar, who was watching with me, agrees. This is not the kind of objective, respectful behaviour a presenter should display.

So I wanted to say something about it. I know they have an email address to send comments to, but i missed it. I email the South African Broadcasting Commission, who air the show, to ask for it. No reply. I email again. Still no reply. I ask some other people if they think the comment was out of place. They agree. I decide to give the SABC on more week to reply, and then i'm going to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.

Still no reply. I lodge a complaint with the BCC. Today, I get SABC's reply. It's pathetic. Their defenses can be summarised as follows:
1. This term is commonly used amongst black people so it must be okay.
2. This term has been used on other shows so it must be okay.
3. An audience member brought up the term earlier, so it must be okay.
4. The presenter meant it in jest, so it must be okay.
5. The term isn't racist because it means you have western views, so it must be okay.
6. The presenter was introducing a street term to make the show more 'real'.

Now, let me answer these:
1. So? I can think of some other terms that used to be common in SA for black people, does that make them okay?
2. Because a daytime soapie that strives to show realistic tensions between characters uses it, does not mean it is acceptable to use it in a live talk show where the host has a duty to be respectful to her guests.
3. The audience member also said that she was called one all the time because of her views and she has just had to get used to it and that other people's opinions don't matter to her. Does that sound like she's talking about a term that isn't insulting or dismissive of her views? Why does she have to get 'used' to it if it's okay?
4. Oh sure, she got a laugh from the audience at the expense of a guest's dignity. That makes it all better.
5. Think for a second about why the term is 'coconut'. Coconuts are not western on the inside, they are white on the inside. It has to do with race, and it's meant as an insult, and it is therefore racist. Get a clue.
6. WTF? Have you people never heard of a thing called appropriateness?

Well, the BCC said i was welcome to appeal against the defence, but I replied that i felt it would be in vain. I added some comments of the sort above. They're going to pass them on to the SABC. To be honest, I don't expect anything to come of this other than some letter from some SABC toadie attempting to tell me again that i'm wrong because i'm white and so obviously can't understand inter-black culture. You know what? I get it. I get that it might be okay on the street for one black to call another black 'nigger'. That does not make it okay for a professional presenter to call her guest a nigger! Context, god damn it!

Anyway, that's my rant for the day. Just had to get that out there. Let me know if you agree/ disagree with me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Midweek Cockoo: Prophet Yahweh

I would be inclined to say he's taking the piss, but Ramon Watkins has actually legally changed his name to Prophet Yahweh. He has documents to prove it.

The Great Prophet Yahweh has the divine power (via the Hebrew Old Testament) to call down UFOs at will. He has accepted James Randi's Million Dollar Challenge and will be proving his power before an audience of skeptics, in a mutually agreed manner, in January 2006 in Las Vegas. In his own words:

I, Prophet Yahweh, have been blessed to discover the lost, ancient art of summoning UFOs and spaceships on-demand.There is a difference between UFOs and spaceships. UFOs are usually small flying objects: glowing orbs, metallic spheres, satellite-type flying machines, etc.And, their flight patterns suggest that they are not of this world.But, spaceships are large futuristic vehicles that are clearly designed to carry passengers, in like you see in the movies.Since 1979, more than 1,500 UFOs and/or spaceships have appeared on my signal before witnesses or at unawares.

Sounds like an impressive track record. At first, Prophet Yahweh kept this to himself and a few friends, but now he says the voice in his head has told him to go public. I'm not kidding. His words, not mine.

I've watched one of the videos on his site and to me, it just looks like a balloon. Let me know if it looks convincing to you, but one way or another we'll find out in january. I think it's amusing that his Vegas sightings have a tendency to go over Nellis Air Force Base. When a news presenter called Nellis to see if they had any idea what it was, they didn't call back.

Good for a laugh

A few days ago i posted about the Kitzmiller vs. Dover court case where 11 parents are taking a Pennsylvania school district to court for trying to get their kids to learn Intelligent Design. There was a statement that was read out to the students.

In Highest School, a very good parody site about a balanced view in education, the author applies the same statement to the Scientific Method. It's funny, and illustrates just how stupid the statement really is.

The same guy has another parody site about atheism. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

SARS: Sodomy and Rape Society

Well, i got my tax assessment back, and SARS says I owe them money. Yes, indeed, I have to pay them taxes on the money i earned as a student, when i didn't earn enough to pay taxes, because later that tax year i got a real job. So, because halfway through the tax year i started earning enough to pay taxes, i get to also pay taxes on the first half. So, what it really means when they say 'you are exempt from paying tax because you are poor', as that you had better god damn stay poor for the full tax year or all bets are off.

Fucking tax man. There are times when it sucks to be an honest citizen.

Rants aside, I saw Sin City this weekend and it was everything i could have hoped for and more. If you don't like this film, there is something wrong with you. This is a definite to-own-on-dvd.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Lotto Winner: Big Loser

Ottawa - A lottery winner who squandered every penny of his CAN$10-million (about R55-million) jackpot hanged himself in his parents' garage this week, newspapers reported on Wednesday.

There are a couple of lines I'd like to hilight from that article.

A photo at the time showed [the lotto winner] with a broad toothless grin, wearing a baseball cap with long hair and a moustache.

In July, [the lotto winner] was forced to take a job doing heavy lifting on a friend's farm to support his girlfriend and six young children.

Hanging participles aside, is the term 'trailer trash' coming to anyone else's mind? There should be a law against people like that winning millions without taking some sort of compulsory course in handling finances.

Here's another lotto winner who is miserable after winning millions. After the deeply religious man donated $20-million to churches and charities and other worthy causes, and set up a foundation that provides clothing and food to the poor, his luck changed. A briefcase with $545,000 was stolen from his car while it was parked at a strip club. Soon his car, office and house were also targeted. Then he was charged for drunk driving, prosecuted for illegal possession of a weapon, and was sentenced to probation for assaulting a bar owner. Add to that numerous other pending lawsuits surrounding charges of assault and sexual harrassment. And then both his granddaughter and her friend die of drug overdoses. The same granddaughter he gave 6 cars to after winning the lotto. Spoiled much?

And he blames it all on winning the Lotto. I think all the lotto winning did was to allow him to further explore the depth of his stupidity. Especially given that he actually started out doing quite well.

Again, there should be some sort of law. Compulsary re-education for people who win ridiculous sums of money. No, you shouldn't spend it all on shit. Yes, drugs, alcohol and prostitutes count as spending it on shit. No, just because you have millions is no reason to leave hundreds of thousands just lying around in your car. No, you shouldn't go on TV and Radio telling everyone your name and where you live and the names of your family and friends, unless you actually want criminals to target you. And finally, no, you can't blame all your shitty life choices on being rich.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Midweek Cuckoo: Dr Hulda Clark

In a post earlier this week about the recently awarded Nobel Prize in medicine, i mentioned not-a-medical-Dr Hulda Clark. Here's a little more information about this woman:

Dr. Hulda Regehr Clark, Ph.D. N.D., received her Doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1958. She likes to point out that it is in the subject of physiology, as if that supports her foray into the medical world. What she fails to mention in her official bio is that she studied crab physiology. She then went on to get a Degree in Naturopathy from the Clayton College of Natural Health. This was a mail-order degree.

Dr. Clark also tends to gloss over the fact that the US Federal Trade Commission ruled that she was selling worthless products and ordered her to refund all her customers. Maybe that's why her clinic is in Tijuana, Mexico now.

Dr Clark believes that she can cure everything from Cancer to HIV because she has identified the real cause of these diseases. Here's a quote from her website (her bold):

The human intestinal fluke (Fasciolopsis buskii) is the source of the HIV virus. This parasite typically lives in the intestine where it might do little harm, causing only colitis, Crohn's disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, or perhaps nothing at all. But if it invades a different organ, like the uterus or the kidneys or liver, it does a great deal of harm. If it establishes itself in the thymus, it causes HIV/AIDS!
It only establishes itself in the thymus in some people. These people have benzene in their bodies. All HIV patients (100%) have both benzene and a stage of the intestinal fluke in their thymuses. The solvent benzene is responsible for letting the fluke establish itself in the thymus. In order to get HIV, you must have both the parasite and benzene in your body. The HIV virus belongs to this fluke. It is not difficult to kill this parasite
and all its stages.
AIDS is a condition. When the thymus gland cannot "make" enough T cells, your immunity is lowered. Benzene is the cause of AIDS. Different toxins accumulate in different organs. If you eat or rub in the tiniest bit of benzene it goes directly to the thymus. It damages the thymus so much that everything else is allowed to land there, too: The mercury from metal tooth fillings, the copper from your copper water pipes etc. Is it any wonder that the thymus can't turn out T cells when it is full of bits of your toothpaste, your hand lotion, your hair spray, toxic food and beverages?


(From: "The Cure for HIV/AIDS", p.1ff; Copyright 1993 by Hulda Regehr Clark, Ph.D., N.D. All rights reserved. )

Dr. Clark has discovered that the human intestinal fluke is also the source of all cancers. She prescribes strict protocols of treatment, including being zapped with her patented Zapper. For proof of the efficacy of Dr. Clark's protocol, here's an example taken directly from her site:

The best proof for Dr. Hulda Clark's theories is the fact that she reports recoveries of even most advanced AIDS patients at her clinic: In 2000 she accepted a number of advanced AIDS patients in the course of a study which proved highly successful. Also, Dr. Clark has achieved a number of close to 20 CONSECUTIVE HIV cases that became HIV negative as confirmed by the lab with the state of the art PCR test -- with the exception of a couple of cases whose count was significantly lower but not negative. Some of these cases are described in the book "The Cure for HIV and AIDS". Note that Dr. Clark's case studies are not considered scientific by US Government agencies.

I didn't add that last sentence. That's how it's stated on the site. As the general disclaimer for the website reads: Many of the statements by Dr. Hulda Clark have not yet been corroborated by other scientists. You must reach your own decisions.

Here's another statement i like from the disclaimer:

Note that Dr. Clark's research is based on bio feedback testing with a unit called the Syncrometer which has been developed by Dr. Hulda Clark. Bio feedback testing is not considered scientific by US Government agencies, nor is the Syncrometer an approved medical device and may not be used for diagnosis with humans.

Wait.. she bases her research on human diseases by using a device her website freely admits may not be used for diagnosis with humans? Can I be reading this correctly?

As the website said, you must reach your own decisions.

(All text in italics obtained from http://www.drclark.net, (c)1999-2005 by Dr. Clark Information Center).

Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr Clark. They may reflect the opinions of the readers. Decide for yourself.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Crime and Punishment

The juxtaposition of these two stories in today's news headlines was just too priceless.

South African judges are disgusted at Tony Yengeni's appeal to reduce his sentence for corruption from 4 years with possibility of probation after 8 months, to 18 months suspended sentence. The reason is that government officials only have to give up their seats if they are dealt a sentence of 12 months or more of jail time. Reduction of the sentence will allow Yengeni to return to parliament. Yes, that's right, in South Africa you may still serve in government after being convicted of corruption. Yes, we still like to pretend we live in a country with a real government and not a banana republic.

Meanwhile, in China, the punishment for corruption is death, previously administered by a bullet to the back of the head, more recently by lethal injection. Human Rights activists are all over this like flies on shit. Personally, I don't see the problem.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Constitutional Court 2, Manto 0

Well, our ministers are at it again, making proclamations of policy that bear no resemblance to anything even close to reality. Here are some examples of recent attempts by various departments to impose ridiculous rulings:

Case No 1: Department of Health, under Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, declares that no pharmacy may add more than a 26% dispensing fee to any one product.
Theory: that forcing pharmacies to charge less will make medicines more available at cheaper rates to the poor.
Reality: Maximum dispensing fee is so low, and not taking into account expenses such as rent, salaries and wages, that pharmacies almost immediately begin to go out of business. Those that remain in business largely do so by retrenching employees. The areas most largely hit? The small, rural pharmacies and the pharmacies in poor areas. Jobs lost, businesses in ruins, poor people having to travel even further to find medicine.
Conclusion: after the pharmacists took Manto to court and won, and she appealed and lost, she still hasn't realised that her policy is doing exactly the opposite to what it was meant to do. The health department has been ordered by the Constitutional Court to review the policy. In the meantime, pharmacists may charge whatever they like, in keeping with the free market economy we like to pretend we have.

Case No 2: Department of Transport declares that by 2008, motorists travelling on their own during rush hour will be fined.
Theory: that motorists should be encouraged to use car pools and public transport to reduce congestion.
Reality: the public transport system is currently dangerous to the point of fatal. Minibus taxis and buses are among to biggest sources of road death. Trains are plagued by muggings, stabbings and rape. The transport network does not even reach to all parts of any city or its surrounds. The argument that for places that are not serviced by public transport, carpools should be used, is ridiculous. What if the person you carpool with is ill, or on vacation?
Conclusion: The Kwa-Zulu Natal Provincial Department of Transport has already said there is no way they can increase the public transport infrastructure to support such a move by 2008.

And these are just the bumblings that have been in the news again recently. Let's not go into the fracas around the new gun laws that have seen the majority of gunshop owners in the country lose their business and livelihood, with no reduction in gun crime. Or the compulsory year's public service at almost no pay for newly qualified doctors (that can see you being sent far from family and friends to areas with no health care equipment and where no one speaks the same language as you) that is largely the cause of over 50% of our new MDs to leave the country and seek work elsewhere. Or the new education standards that, in an effort to bring everyone to the same level, drop the standard down to the lowest common denominator. Well done, departments of Safety and Security, Health (again!), and Education.

The sad thing is, no matter how badly they fuck up, their party will still win next election, because they are at least smart enough to know that keeping the voting populace stupid is in their best interest. And all that will happen is they will shuffle everyone around again. Manto will become minister of transport (and tell us we can power our cars with african potatos and this is an alternative to petrol and we need all the options). Winnie Mandela will be made minister of science fiction and fantasy ('i was not there at the time, your honour, and i do not recall the incident in any case'). Zuma can be made minister of finance (at least he will skim so much off the top there will be none left to throw away down the black hole that is zimbabwe). And the president can be replaced with a cardboard cutout and we wouldn't know the difference.

A Sad Day for Altworld

Well, the Nobel Prize in Medicine has once again been awarded to serious scientists willing to conduct arduous and repetitive tests under strict conditions, and submit their findings to peer review journals to prove their claims beyond a shadow of a doubt.

When, oh when, will homeopathy be recognized by the imminent Swedes? When will they honor the pioneers who discovered that vaccines cause autism? That aspartame is the culprit behind Gulf War Syndrome? When will not-a-medical-Dr Hulda Clark be awarded for her discovery that all cancer is caused by the common intestinal fluke?

Oh, this is a sad, sad day for alternative medicine.

On a related note, remember last week I said that 80% of people in South Africa consult traditional healers before going to a real doctor? Well, now you can read all about the consequences of this. A young woman, who was obviously psychologically troubled, was beaten to death during an 'exorcism', while her family was just inside the house, listening to her cries. Because a traditional healer told them not to pity her, and that the beating would not hurt her.

I would like to highlight one passage in the article:

"We have been to spiritual healers from all religions. My child was suffering, I could not just stand by and watch her suffer," Shireen said. "We were desperate and we took any kind of help we could get."

But, amazingly, not desperate enough to consult a psychologist.

Police have opened a docket of murder. If you ask me, the family should be charged as accessories. They had every opportunity to avoid this by taking her to a real doctor. But instead, they delivered her right into the hands of her murderers, and stood by while she was brutally, fatally beaten. They may as well have killed her themselves.