Exciting new wine cultivars!

I just can’t wait to get my hands on a few bottles of these paroxysm-inducing wines.

I’ve been looking for a wine that will go well with rotting carcass goulash, and the Bottoms Up! Barolo is sure to fit the bill nicely.

I rather like ducks, and because of this I’ve never wanted to invade their space by latching on to their beaks. I have, however, always wondered what the fluid contained therein would be like. With Shit-Faced Shiraz, I need wonder no longer.

I’m going to have to give the Modderdam Malbec a wide berth though. I just don’t really agree with the labour practices they’ve used to bring us this wine, no  matter how good a wine it is.

I trust I can rely on your vote?

Ballot BoxThe South African National Elections are swiftly approaching, and election posters are littering the streets.

There are plentiful examples of everyone’s favourite ANC leader, Jacob Zuma, and his cheesy it-wasn’t-me grin. Or is it more of a Alfred E. Newman “What, Me Worry?” kind of look?

Regardless of the visage of JayZee, there are also a number of posters that try to instill in us, the electorate, a passion to vote for a particular party. I’ve already made fun of the ANC’s poster, but on hindsight I’ve decided I’ve been a little discriminatory. We wouldn’t want that in the 15-year-old New South Africa.

Everyone has an election slogan, and generally these can all be improved by adding the phrase “in your pants” to the end of whatever our political overlords have told us.

If you like, you could choose your political party based on which one sounded the least (or most) ridiculous with in your pants tagged on to the end of the slogan.

Going in alphabetical order, we have:

That’s just a few. Adding in your pants to the rest of the political parties’ slogans is left as an exercise for the reader.

I will stop in your pants
I will stop at nothing in your pants
Say the right things in your pants
When electioneering in your pants
I trust I can rely on your vote in your pants

Apologies to Radiohead: Electioneering

Hunchwrist Repairs and Hospital Observations

Hunchwrist of Randpark Ridge
Hunchwrist Before

Hunchwrist Repairs

While pregnant with Jethro, Angie developed a weird growth in her wrist. Officially it is known as a ganglion cyst, but I took to calling Angie “The Hunchwrist of Randpark Ridge.”

So far, we’re still married.

She was admitted to Linksfield Park Clinic on Thurday to have the cyst removed. They insisted we get to the hospital at 6am, but only wheeled Angie into surgery at 2pm. She was out of surgery at 4pm. By the time Angie had eaten something and was dressed (more difficult with only one functioning arm) it was rush-hour. Almost two hours driving to get home. Bah!

The whole day was used up waiting for a 2 hour procedure. Surely the hospital knew which operations it would be undertaking during the day, and the approximate time each procedure takes? Surely such a schedule gives an indication of when a particular patient will go under the knife? Surely it is unreasonable to tell everyone to get to the hospital by 6am, especially if you know you’ll only deal with some of them in the afternoon?

We could try complaining, but one worries that they will spitefully remove the entire hand, instead of just the hunchwrist. The medical industry really is the most peculiar service industry out there. I think it has something to do with them referring to their clients as “patients,” and assuming patients are patient and don’t mind waiting.

Hospital Observations

Although I wasn’t the patient, I still had to do a lot of waiting around at the hospital. To pass the time I watched people enter the foyer and I drank a little too much coffee. Combined, these elements inspired me to write about these people on my cellphone in real-time. The transcript of what I wrote is reproduced below, edited only for spelling and grammar.

It comes across a little scathing, I think. I blame the coffee.

We really are just glorified hairless monkeys with technology.

The guy who just walked in, with the yellow writing on his T-shirt and the tattered jeans, walks with a funny gait. He thrusts his chest out too far, making him seem over-balanced and top-heavy. Or is he overbalanced because his stomach reaches out as far as his chest? He holds his hands up at the level of his chest, and flaps them around limply, bending at the wrists. Obviously he’s strutting, but what’s with the wrists? That doesn’t seem too macho.

Then there are these Eastern European types sitting across the table from me, incessantly talking too loud in a guttural language I can’t understand. The balding man wears a striped T-shirt and shorts, but I wish he’d worn trousers. It is a hospital, so perhaps I shouldn’t be so squeamish, but something  terrible has happened to this man’s legs recently. He’s obviously had those metal pins embedded in his tibia. You know the ones. Those things that stick out of your leg, instead of having a cast. They say the leg heals faster, but it makes you look more like a cyborg.

The wounds are obvious, and he seems to display the bloody gory bits proudly. One leg bandaged, the other not. Just round, dried-blood circles, with a red line joining the dots. A fleshy dot-2-dot puzzle. Join them up in order and you get a zombie!

He talks to his mother, but she doesn’t have any ghoulish markings on display. They quiet down when another couple sits down next to them. The old man of the couple cranes his neck around to the TV mounted on the wall. But’s it’s almost obliquely above him. Not a great angle to watch the cricket.

I wanted to go on about the cricket a little more, and how strange the behaviour of men wanting to watch it is. But my cellphone battery died. This also explains the abrupt ending.

Equip — Skills for Living

Equip Skills for Living LogoAngie’s charity has gone through a re-branding process and is now known as Equip.

This happened a while ago, but I was waiting for their webpage to go live before announcing it here.

Where many charities aim at educating children, Equip focuses on those who fell through the Bantu-education cracks when they were young. The philosophy is that adults who are better educated, and value education, will inspire these virtues in their children. An education will then change, not only their own lives, but shape the future lives of their children.

To this goal, Equip provides Adult Basic Education and Training to Matric level, via night schools. They also offer other courses including computer literacy, cashier training for point-of-sale machines, dressmaking and crafting skills, English literacy and financial literacy. Where possible, they also try to get people who successfully complete courses employed.

As with all charities, Equip needs donations to keep up the good work helping those in need. Contact Equip, and loosen those purse-strings!

On a technical note, the menus in the sidebar don’t render correctly in Firefox on Linux. When I complained, the developers showed me that Firefox for Windows doesn’t suffer these mysterious problems. Ah well. Linux and it’s 0.00000005% market-share will just have to suck it up

I haven’t noticed this on the beer bottles

The alcohol industry is starting to have to tag warning on to their products. I find some amusement in this example, and it’s not the “Alcohol abuse is dangerous to your health” bit:

Don't drink while pregnant

The joke is in this little logo:

pregnant-drinkingApparently you can spot a woman who is about to give birth to a child affected by fetal alcohol syndrome by the ponytail.
Or perhaps only drinking wine while pregnant, and simultaneously wearing a ponytail and holding your back, is prohibited?
Or perhaps it’s just obese women with back problems and ponytails that they have a problem with.

I think the best approach is to keep alcohol away from women who have ponytails, at least until they agree to undo their hair.

Clover milk is not just milk

Our milk only comes from 360 carefully evaluated, hand-picked farms
Clover milk is not just milk. Our milk only comes from 360 carefully evaluated, hand-picked farms

I’m definitely going to buy Clover milk now. If you read their website, you’ll see that they put 110% into everything they do, which makes their milk stay fresh up to 50% longer. Longer than what? Sour cream? Presumably they mean someone else’s milk that is just milk.

Is mathematics a requirement to get a marketing qualification? It really should be, because then the hey-shoo-wow marketing people wouldn’t claim to put 110% of some unspecified ingredient into all of their products. Is this why Clover milk is not just milk, because it is made up of 110% of something else? Is it even milk at all?

The site does give more comprehensive and arguably better thought-out reasons why Clover milk is not just milk, but I don’t know what the other “dairy giants” do, so how do I know that what they do isn’t standard procedure, industry wide?

Microsoft — Now writing satire

It certainly seems that Microsoft are moving into the scathing humour industry when one looks at this press release entitled “Microsoft Brings Holiday Cheer on a Budget to Hispanic Families With Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007 Language Pack in Spanish.”

Honestly, that really is the headline. Holiday Cheer on a Budget! With Microsoft Products! Now in Spanish!

It’s either satire, or Microsoft are using their system administrators to write press releases.

An excerpt if you can’t be bothered to click through and read the article yourself:

“With the current economic situation in the U.S., families are looking for ways to save money and still celebrate the holidays,” said Fred Studer, general manager of U.S. Information Worker Business Group at Microsoft. “This alliance with the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center will give us the opportunity to interact with Hispanic families and show them how to prepare inexpensive and creative holiday solutions for their homes, using easy technology tools from Microsoft Office 2007.”

What the hell is a “holiday solution”? Microsoft, you are trying to market Office 2007 Home and Student editions to Hispanic families in the US. I understand Hispanics to be typically working class people. I’m not sure they want a “holiday solution.” I’m not sure anyone does. A term like that completely pollutes the concept of a holiday. I don’t want to be laying on a beach on a tropical island somewhere, thinking myself clever to have solved my holiday problem (or is that work problem) with such a cunning holiday solution.

Certainly, I’m taking liberty with the disconnect between what America thinks a holiday is, and what the rest of the English-speaking world thinks it is. Microsoft’s Fred Studer isn’t suggesting anyone develop a creative vacation solution. But let’s look at some of the things Office 2007 offers to simplify the holiday season:

The Microsoft Office 2007 system and the Office 2007 Language Pack — Spanish offer a great deal of tools to help simplify the holiday season, with special templates and features that allow families to create fun projects such as these:

  • Personally made holiday cards, family calendars, gift tags and decorations using Office Word 2007
  • Holiday budget management using Microsoft Office Excel 2007 templates
  • Dazzling presentations for a posada gathering using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007
  • Holiday recipe organization using Office Word 2007 templates

Aside from everything that the Microsoft Office 2007 system and the Office 2007 Language Pack — Spanish offer this holiday season, the software also is the perfect gift for every student and parent.

Are those bullet points what Fred means by “holiday solutions”? Aren’t hand-made cards more beautiful? Isn’t Excel 2007 a little overpowered for a holiday budget? PowerPoint is a problem — not a solution to anything. I wasn’t aware holiday recipes needed to be organised. I’m rather glad that’s been cleared up for me.