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Africa

World Cup Quote So Far…

From St. Glenn of the Hockle on the BBC upon the occasion of Mexico beating Cameroon 1-0…

“Cameroon looked like they were playing in chains”.

Given Hoddle’s previous the mere fact the BBC felt the need to employ him now is astonishing.

Just look up his opinions on the disabled, faith healers and of course “Diamond Lights”. That and the fact he tended to play Anderton. And won fuck all.

Boko Haram.

Well Nigeria is a right mess is it not? Now I’m not going to retread all the usual arguments as to the whys and the wherefores and such. I will just point out one thing. When I temped I had a Nigerian colleague. He was a decent enough lad which is why he lived in the NE of England and not Nigeria. He had just become pig-sick of the epic incompetence and corruption. He told me quite a lot about it. It sounded ghastly. Now what has this to do with the kidnap of over 200 kids to be enslaved? Actually quite a lot. I would like to think this wouldn’t happen in Britain and that is because we are not hopelessly corrupt.

The Chinese have a saying (don’t they always) that a fish rots from the head down. Now bad things, sometimes very bad things happen everywhere but to kidnap an entire school is something else and as far as I can tell it indicates something deeply rotten in the body-politic of Nigeria. OK, it is perhaps a leap from a bit of brown envelopes full of notes changing hands under the table to outright slave-raiding but is it really? Now I’m not generally convinced of “slippery slope” arguments but… If a polity has no essential moral core or the rule of law then… maybe such depravity can get going.

Note my colleague and his brother felt the need to move continents to get away from the drip, drip, drip of continual petty criminality, bribery and epic corruption. It sort of erodes your moral. I suspect this is why the Nigerian government has done nothing and why that Boko Haram bloke can look so chipper. He knows the Nigerian government is powerless to prevent his depravities and in a sense that is part of the same spectrum which means you can’t get a phone installed without a back-hander.

Kenyan fiddling with a kid.

Sex attacker is confronted by his victim in Kenyan court… a female GOAT (and he is jailed a record ten years for ‘defiling’ it)

defiling the goat? He’s not precisely covered himself in glory has he either? I mean it might have been a very attractive goat – to other goats but… it’s a goat.

A man who was jailed for 10 years for having sex with a female goat came face-to-face with his victim in a Kenyan court.

The goat watched quietly from the corner of the court room in Malindi while Katana Kitsao Gona, 28, was jailed for bestiality.

I’m really not sure about this story. It is quite possibly the first time he came (oh, er missus!) face to face with said beast. My vague understanding (and I could be very wrong) is the only critters who have sex face-to-face are humans and bonobos. Personally I don’t think he ought to have got chokey. Surely the stare of the goat* and his naming and shaming is enough? I mean that happened a few years back to a bloke from Hull who was caught molesting a goat by a railway line. He was fined (the goat was deemed OK by police vets) rather than ten years in the tank but his career was ruined. He was a chef. Well, who is going to employ a chef who sodomizes goats? And it is sodomy by pretty much any rational definition. Call me odd and all but sex with another human regardless of gender is like whatever. Shagging a goat is basically not OK. Do I have to explain why? And why the Mail has to state prominently that it was a female goat is beyond me. I suppose you just shouldn’t shag the nanny.

Anyway, on with this tale of utter depravity…

According to Jimmy Kimaru, chief prosecutor, Gona was caught sexually assaulting the goat in a bush.

It really doesn’t get better than that. Some of us dream of Brad Pitt or Keira Knightley on a Caribbean beach and some of us fuck goats in the backwoods of Kenya. Admittedly a female goat but quite frankly that doesn’t make a quantum of WTF to me. And why did this vile crime happen?

Gona, who pleaded guilty, told the court his wife is disabled and depends on him daily. Despite this, the judge jailed him for a record 10 years for ‘defiling’ the animal.

Well, as I said before some crimes are in a sense their own punishment. This is a very libertarian stance. Would you employ the goat-fucker of Malindi? No and neither would I. If you were his wife would you not seek a divorce? Obviously you would! There is not a court on the planet that would deny you. I mean an affair with another human might be forgiven but screwing a goat in a bush is simply unforgivable.

And now we get onto arguably the meat of the deal. I think the Dr Who character of Captain Jack is interesting. He is frequently described as “bisexual” but he is is actually “omnisexual” and I think calls himself that. So why does that matter here? He fancies males and females of every bipedal, thinking, speaking race in the Universe. OK, I’m fine with that but a goat is different. What is clever about Captain Jack is a couple of things. The first is there is very little hint in Dr Who of interspecies pregnancies (I’m gonna get called on that) and in that respect it is much more on the biological money than Star Trek (score one for the Brits!) but it acknowledges that sex is not just about procreation. And it acknowledges another thing. If one accepts that (and some don’t) then you have to face a tricky question and Captain Jack answers it very well. He is prepared to fancy different species so therefore he can’t see gender as that important. I think that is interesting. Obviously Captain Jack would never fuck a goat but he kissed both The Doctor and Rose. I guess what I’m getting at is that interspecies sex is acceptable in a fantasy setting (think Beren and Luthien) iff (not an sp) the species are roughly comparable and able to give informed consent and stuff. In short an Elven princess is one thing and a goat is quite, quite different.

Seeing as there is a species difference either way I’m not entirely sure if I can make a solid point here and I have to just really on the “yuk” factor to a certain extent here but… let’s face it making love to Arwen in the Royal Bedchamber of Minas Tirith beats the Hellskis out of goat-fucking in a bush in Kenya.

Pretty much anything beats that. The last time I had a filling beats that.

Quotes from The Mail.

*Goats have nasty stares. I recall an incident on a Greek island in the ’90s when I was surrounded by goats and the leader of the pack – a big billy with horns poised at my scrotum gave me a vile stare. I thought it about to charge and de-bollock me but then the goatherd turned-up. I have rarely if ever been more pleased with a Greek fellow entering stage left. I had also accidentally nearly troden on a snake about ten minutes before which was seriously nonplussed. Beautiful island but full of things that wanted to kill me.

Mental

When I was a student I had a housemate who was doing nursing. Because he was a big lad the NHS wanted him to do either A&E or psychiatric nursing where his physical attributes would come in handy at a push.

We once watched the Gary Olman Dracula film and he remarked during the Bedlam scenes, “No change in mental-health then.” Now OK it might be but it’s nothing to mental healthcare in Somalia.

Just read the whole thing. And I challenge anyone not to realize Somalia is even more thourhly fucked than they already knew it to be.

They either chain the mentally ill to trees and leave ‘em or they think they they can cure ‘em by locking them in a cage overnight with a hyena.

“There is a belief in my country that hyenas can see everything including the evil spirits people think cause mental illness,” says Hab. “So in Mogadishu, you will find hyenas that have been brought from the bush and families will pay £350 ($560) to have their loved one locked in the room overnight with the animal.”

One wonders who is mentally ill.

One also wonders why Somalia is such an epic shit-hole.

One Way or Another…

I was speechless – literally – when I heard of this cultural malfeasance. It was like some scrote had drawn a cock and balls on the “Rokeby Venus” with a magic marker and then sniggered. This is sheer musical vandalism.

The epically crap “boyband” One Direction have “covered” (under the aegis of the deranged and creepy Louis Walsh) the Blondie song, “One Way or Another” (from “Parallel Lines” – the Greatest Album Ever).

But wait there is more! It includes a wankensteinian “mash-up” with “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones. And just to make Jesus Christ himself vomit choleric stools with inchoate rage it also includes iDave.

They are doing it for “Comic Relief”. God help us! If comics want to help starving Africans then send Dawn French with a cooking pot and a bouquet-garni to the frigging Congo and be done with it! It isn’t just the music it is the sheer patronizing nature of the video. Nothing to do with helping the poor but all about looking good to naive fans. And for the rich to salve the consciences for being rich which is pathetic.

You appreciate it’s a song about stalking?

One way or another I’m gonna getcha, I’ll getcha, I’ll getcha getcha getcha getcha…

… Oh yes! If Ms Harry wants to do that down a back-alley somewhere I shall applaud and if Fergal Sharkey then decides to give those teenagers kicks “All through the night” then I shall be even better pleased!

It has nearly 20,000,000 hits on Youtube. And people seem to really like it. Dear God!

I wonder how many of those have even heard of the originals.

PS – For those fortunate enough not to have heard of these bum-fluffed troubadours the press, which is always reporting on them, call them, “1D” for short. This appeals both to the music lover in me and also to the mathematician.

Mali

So what are we up to in Mali?

I have never seen a more rapid and openly disingenuous escaltion ever. First it is a couple transport planes, then it’s a surveillance plane (but no boots on the ground – honest), then it’s “training” and it’s allowing tankers to operate from British airfields but still we’re “not going to be combatant”. It beggars belief. Finally all the pundit’s of Jane’s Fighting Armchairs are talking of a long-term commitment. I suppose that’s kinda like marriage. Except marriage is nice and being shot at by ragheads until HS2 is completed* (or for the duration) isn’t.

So why the interest?

iDave has annoyed the French with all this referendum on the EU nonce-sense. Helping out Hollande is some quid pro EU. He’s blotted his copy book but is now trying to get himself back in the good books by playing teacher’s pet.

Which of course begs the question. Why are the French getting involved? Could it just be that 80% of French electricity is nuclear and France buys 80% of it’s Uranium from Niger which is beginning to look almost surrounded by Islamist insurgencies…

If that domino falls to the beards France is up a gum-tree without an electric paddle.

Oh, and of course it’s back to the Caliphate. And not the future. To dark age tyranny over all of North Africa in the C21st. And boat people across the Med in huge numbers. Not that I’d blame them.

And if that happens expect the domino (I think that game is haram BTW) next to be Nigeria where we do have interests. Yet more refugees. Not that I’d blame them either. It’s not that I hate refugees – I don’t at all and they should be afforded our help, if it comes to that – but I hate the reasons for them which are universally vile – like polio better prevention than remedy (Yes, I did see Bill Gates at the RI last night – and he pussy-footed about saying polio would be no more if it wasn’t for Islamic fundamentalism – not that we can be too proud following the MMR fiasco). Politicians (by and large) do hate refugees because the Daily Wail can whip up an election killing stink over ‘em.

But there is another thing – returning to the energy issue** – and that is we have got into a position where these places matter to us.

So I suggest if iDave hadn’t engaged in a cockamamie grand-standing over the EU (the price of which is helping out France in a war that at first blush has nothing to do with us) and we hadn’t put ourselves in a situation where we simply can’t generate electricity sufficiently (I’m talking base-load here) we wouldn’t be embroiled in this utter mess.

I mean the sensible thing is to just get fracking! And of course build nuke plants. And yes, I’m calling Johnnie Porridge out on this. And all the bally rest of ‘em such as Chucles the Lugs all because they dream of their deranged visions of The Shire. Deranged because unlike the Hobbits we have the tech (sadly less advanced than it ought to be due to their meddlesome obstruction) and also deranged because they dream of sitting at the high-table and lording it over the rest of us. Oddly enough I don’t get the impression (and I am a Tolkienista) that was how Hobbits actually lived. They didn’t have a Central Committee of the Righteous.

Oh, well, it’s all going to pot. But I would warn them we’re only three power cuts from bloody revolution. I hope we do not go gentle into that last dark night.

*Why is that taking so long to build. Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have reached for the smelling salts on hearing the time-scale. I mean 20-odd years to build a railway not quite as good as that the French or Japanese, or… have had for decades. It’s like me being charged through the nose for a Ford Escort to be delivered just in time for turning 60. I’m 39 BTW. Yes, that is the time-scale!

**It would appear the Cumbrians have voted against a major nuclear waste storage facility so that is British nuclear power buggered and we’re stuck with playing with whirly-gigs and importing real power from France via the Channel cables. So in that sense Niger matters to us and therefore Mali does. How it should come to this is of course a sequence of unfortunate events. And of course the oil and gas from Nigeria.

What a 100 Trillion Dollars Really Looks Like…

They are available from Amazon:

7 new from $0.79, 1 used from $3.00, 1 collectible from $3.00

(Those are USD)

Is it just me or does the image upon said note look like a gigantic turd?

Since 2009 the Zim dollar is a Norwegian Blue. It is pining for what it no longer affords. Any travelers to Zim are now advised to take RSA Rand, Botswanan Pula, Sterling or USD. I assume EUR and Yen would also play. Possibly so would beads (Yes, it took an African Nationalist to bring his serfs back to the “trading beads with the natives” stage). The book, “How to take a country seriously on the up and turn it into Pol-Pot’s wet dream”, Mugabe, R, Mugabe Publishing House Inc. probably won’t cut it. Zimbabwe ought to be rich. Well, apart from a vile scrote who ought to be hung from a lamp-post.

At least Grace Mugabe (I know) is banned from Europe. She used to enjoy her shopping trips in Paris. I guess it is Johannesburg now. The Zanu-PF always had a relationship with the ANC.

Adolph for the Tenner…

The ten pound note has to be replaced soonish. There would appear to be a serious rick-rolling of Alan Turing here which made me think “Who else?”. Now don’t get me wrong. Alan Turing would be fine with me. As would, in principle, James Maxwell (a man who is nowhere near as publically honoured as he ought to be). A truly astonishing theoretical physicist.

∇.D=p

∇.B=0

∇xE=-∂B/∂t

∇xH= ∂D/∂t+j

That is electricity and magnetism for you – all of it – that is kettles and Tesla coils, EKG and lasers – our everything. That is one of the four fundamental forces of nature conclusively decked and so neat, so simple. Those equations are also pregnant with relativity. They are, anyway, awesomely elegant. That is why I studied physics. To see such beauties dance. Think on it. Reality that will fit on a small Post-It! You can derive the speed of light as a universal constant from those simple equations if you know The Calculus and vectors. Maxwell also made profound contributions to thermodynamics as did Josiah Willard Gibbs (with his “Grand Cannonical Ensemble” – available for birthdays, weddings and ba(r/t)-mitzvahs) who we have to thank for the modern vector notation those equations are written in. Maxwell’s original work is (and was) verging on impenetrable without it. If you are reading this with a mug of tea or coffee on the go then the number of accessible microstates of that beverage is e to the power ten to the power twenty three (roughly). Trust me, that is big. And might involve a demon. I sat through many lectures on ergodic theory and it was nails. I liked that. I knew students of the Farts and Shitterature. I learned hard reality (and how to duck and cover when Denver’s (yes it was his name) and the experiment with an unfeasible quantity of used cooking oil frequently went Pete Tong*. The others learned to say such and such about some book.

So, why not Maxwell? Alas, I feel that if we replace one heavily bearded bald Victorian gent on the tenner (Darwin) with another people won’t notice the change. I will, obviously. So, let us honour Maxwell otherwise – and he deserves it. Dear Gods he does! He easily makes the Holy Trinity of British Scientists along with Newton and Darwin.

As I said, Turing would be fine. The Daily Mash seems to be cheerleading for US rapper Will I Am (I think his mum still calls him “William”) which just makes me think, “Why not Ant & Dec?”. Crusty old bugger I am. But if we are to have a debate then why not Adolph? Obviously not the genocidal tooth-brush ‘tashed Austrian mono-orchid lunatic but this Adolph…

Adolph Gysbert Malan, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar (24 March 1910 – 17 September 1963), better known as Sailor Malan, was a famed South African World War II RAF fighter pilot who led No. 74 Squadron RAF during the height of the Battle of Britain. Malan was known for sending German bomber pilots home with dead crews as a warning to other Luftwaffe crews. Under his leadership No. 74 became one of the RAF’s best units. Malan scored 27 kills, seven shared destroyed, three probably destroyed and 16 damaged.

Malan survived the war – to become involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his country.

*****

With the rationalisation of 4 FTS to just two squadrons, 74(R) Sqn was disbanded on 22 September 2000.

In 2008, No.74 would have celebrated its 90th anniversary, however No. 74 (F) Squadron still lives on through the 74 (F) Tiger Squadron Association, which brings together former tigers from all generations for a yearly reunion dinner. Pending raising the necessary funds, plans are in place to create a museum dedicated to the Squadron’s history at their former base of Horsham St Faith, now Norwich Airport.

Hardly the same. Stick Sailor on the tenner. It is the least we owe him.

This is Group Captain Malan…

Sailor

Stick him on the tenner with a couple of Spitfires. Job done. We could do much worse. He fought like a tiger in a battle half a world away from his home and he kept on fighting after the war. A genuine hero.

*Denver was pouring used cooking oil down an inclined plane to investigate the connection between flow-rate and the way it “combed” at the “drip-end”. Well, I thought it interesting. Now you might think that dull but there is truly fascinating physics lurking. And useful for a huge number of industrial processes to boot!

Tossed the toilet and jumped the shark…

The heir to the Dutch throne was in the small eastern village of Rhenen on Queen’s Day, April 30, where he entered – and won – a traditional village game of toilet-bowl tossing.

Throne, geddit?

Well, I guess we have Morris dancing which is vastly more embarrassing.

But speaking at a function [not a bodily one we hope] in Rotterdam on Wednesday, the prince admitted he felt ashamed when hurling the orange-coloured ceramic potty given the lack of proper sanitary conditions in the developing world.

“Here in the Netherlands there are towns that take part in the throwing of toilet-bowls for a laugh,” he said.

“I participated with a smile, but not without shame in thinking about the some 2.6 billion people around the world that do not have this most basic infrastructure to fulfil a daily need with dignity.”

And therein lies the rub. It isn’t basic infrastructure in the sense of simple infrastructure. Here is a bit from Wikipedia on one of my Victorian heroes… You know those folks who built the modern world like George Stephenson and Nikola Tesla.

At the time, the Thames was little more than an open sewer, devoid of any fish or other wildlife, and an obvious health hazard to Londoners. Bazalgette’s solution (similar to a proposal made by painter John Martin 25 years earlier) was to construct 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of underground brick main sewers to intercept sewage outflows, and 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of street sewers, to intercept the raw sewage which up until then flowed freely through the streets and thoroughfares of London. The outflows were diverted downstream where they were dumped, untreated, into the Thames. Extensive sewage treatment facilities were built only decades later.

The scheme involved major pumping stations at Deptford (1864) and at Crossness (1865) on the Erith marshes, both on the south side of the Thames, and at Abbey Mills (in the River Lea valley, 1868) and on the Chelsea Embankment (close to Grosvenor Bridge; 1875), north of the river.

The system was opened by Edward, Prince of Wales in 1865, although the whole project was not actually completed for another ten years.

Bazalgette’s foresight may be seen in the diameter of the sewers. When planning the network he took the densest population, gave every person the most generous allowance of sewage production and came up with a diameter of pipe needed. He then said ‘Well, we’re only going to do this once and there’s always the unforeseen’ and doubled the diameter to be used. His foresight allowed for the unforeseen increase in population density with the introduction of the tower block; with the original, smaller pipe diameter the sewer would have overflowed in the 1960s [that would have brought meant the stinking '60s rather than the swinging ones - George Harrison would have been in his wellies rather than barefoot on that album cover crossing Abbey Road], rather than coping until the present day as it has.

The unintended consequence of the new sewer system was to eliminate cholera not only in places that no longer stank, but wherever water supplies ceased to be contaminated by sewage. The basic premise of this expensive project, that miasma spread cholera infection, was wrong; however, instead of this causing the project to fail, the new sewers succeeded in virtually eliminating the disease by removing the contamination.

[the good old "right for the wrong reason"].

Bazalgette’s capacity for hard work was remarkable; every connection to the sewerage system by the various Vestry Councils had to be checked and Bazalgette did this himself and the records contain thousands of linen tracings with handwritten comments in Indian ink on them “Approved JWB” “I do not like 6″ used here and 9″ should be used. JWB” and so on. It is perhaps not surprising that his health suffered as a result. The records are held by Thames Water in large blue binders gold-blocked reading “Metropolitan Board of Works” and then dated, usually two per year.

So, it isn’t simple. The richest and greatest city the World has ever seen only managed it by 1875 and then only via much kicking and screaming and even then the effective treatment of sewage took much longer to achieve. And it only started when the stink reached parliament. A jaundiced chap like me might suggest these days that is were the Dame Judiths come from. These are massive civil works and it is naive beyond belief that a toilet alone constitutes sanitation. When my parents worked in Zambia before I was born Kenneth Kaunda, one of the less murderous despots of that benighted continent (and he was up against some stiff opposition with the likes of Idi Amin – my parents had Indian friends and smuggled gold out of Uganda – the border guards were easy to bribe if you had Marlboros and Scotch and some USD anyway after a couple of swigs of The Quickening they wouldn’t give a toss if you had 10kgs of cocaine a murdered hooker and a Picasso in the boot of the car).

And herein lies the fundamental point about the developing world. It is poor because it is poor. It is poor because the infrastructure Dutch crown-princes take for granted is neither obvious nor simple. It is fundamental but that is not the same thing as simple. It’s just an engineering problem. “Just”? Tell that one to the shade of Kelly Johnson because you’d leave with your teeth in a paper bag. It’s like the old saw from the ’80s about the planet producing enough food to feed everyone – you “just” need to distribute it – yeah now if I could master that TESCO would be scared. It just isn’t that simple. You need distribution and that means roads and service stations and motor dealerships and that means electricity and reasonably uncorrupt courts and building storm drains and sewers and railways and airports and getting investment done without having to pay grand an hour hookers. Modernity cannot be achieved one system at a time because all systems interlink. How do you run a railway if the phone network is pants? How do you install or maintain a phone network if the roads are dreadful? How do you persuade the skilled people to stay in such countries and not take-up that offer from Japan if the lifestyle is medieval and you have to shit in a bucket and chuck it out the window?

Moreover it’s like some of the demented anti HIV/AIDS campaigns. Let’s roll-out anti-retrovirals like smarties to Africa pro-bono (and also pro the ego of Bono). Won’t work. These are powerful drugs and they need doctors to prescribe them and check things and adjust specific doses of the cocktail and some drugs need refrigeration and that means electricity and trucks and roads for the getting them about and…

I guess what I am saying is you can’t just have toilets. Or cake. You have to have the full nine yards. There is a model and it is capitalism. It’s not an especially quick fix (though alleged quick fixes do more harm than good) but, I dunno, the Republic of Korea went in much less than a lifetime from medieval poverty to being a high-tech wonderland. This is because capitalism distributes resources efficiently and widely so unlike Mao and his war on sparrows which led to the Great Leap Backwards. It’s tough but it works.

Here endeth the lesson.

Aid to enemies…

A bill that would make the death sentence mandatory for gay “repeat offenders” has been reintroduced in the Ugandan parliament, a move likely to draw fresh condemnation from western aid donors.

Well, yes. The death penalty for a victimless crime is utterly obscene and quite frankly such a government does not deserve aid. And no, we shouldn’t be building bridges in the ‘stan either. We should have gone in hard and fast, snagged the baddies and burnt the bodies and then fucked off and let them wallow in their own crapulence. We should not be taking tea with twinkly tribal elders with beards you could lose a medium-sized mammal in who don’t want anything to ever change. I saw on the tellybox a couple of years ago a junior US Army officer (a Lt or Captain of engineers) eating his own teeth in frustration after a meeting with such. Yes they did want the primary school rebuilt, but only for boys and only to teach what they “needed to know” – the recitation of the Qu’ran. The US Army officer also noted (after the meeting – he was offering work for young fellas from the village) there weren’t many young fellas about. Guess what they were up to? Yes, they’d gone a Talibanning! He looked about an inch away from calling in an air-strike on general principles. “This is PBR Streetgang…”

Much like a similar twinkly elder with a similar beard in Pakistan who said in a twinkly manner following the influx of foreign aid-workers rebuilding his local primary school after a terrible earthquake, “Just the Qu’ran and just for boys or we’ll kill them and burn the school down.” You know I felt extremely sorry for the poor folks in Pakistan following that terrible natural disaster but after I heard that old git I began thinking awful things like, “Well if that’s their view then fuck ‘em”. This elderly chap specifically noted that not even the lads needed to know mathematics or science – just the Qu’ran. Which is why his village (what was left of it) looked like a goat-fucker’s paradise with a level of infrastructure that my iron age forebears would have been embarrassed about. I mean there was fuck all there and they didn’t want anything else. So bugger them, frankly.

At this point I need to make another comment. This is deeply ironic. The UK military is (due to defence cuts) cutting the number of Gurkhas. We are doing this whilst overseas aid (including Nepal) is ring-fenced so our overall spend on Nepal is the same but we have fewer of those ineffably hard bastards dis-ordering Mrs Kirchner’s pantyhose. Moreover guess what the single most effective means of overseas aid is? It isn’t government and it isn’t charities. It is very simple and if you have lived in a major British city over the last 20 years you shall know it. It is folks coming over here, getting a job and wiring money to their rellies. It is effective because after Western Union (or whatever) take their modest cut it’s all gravy and it’s wonderfully targeted. The same applies of course with the Gurkhas. Time to get out Ms Lumley again! I mean if we give money to Uganda they’ll only spend it on rope to hang queers and the rest they’ll waste. Children will die of diseases that just don’t happen here but some high-roller will get a swimming pool and a third car with a three-pointed star on the hood. You doubt me? I have a phrase to counter that, “gap year”. Very popular with the upper middle-classes here in a sort of white-man’s burden way (and yes it’s just as fucking patronising) because it elicits the same responses, “But how could you cope with seeing the poverty…” Seeing poverty is easy. Being poverty isn’t. Did you know Addis Ababa is a par-tay town due to the number of posh kids doing something for their CV? Does fuck all for the lokes. And if the posh kids are environmentalists who object to electricity on principle via their iPads then they are making matters worse. The great famine in the ’80s was largely due to deforestation for cooking and heating. I mean when you, dear reader, want a pie do you have to chop a tree down? No, thought not.

I was oddly enough conceived in Zambia (not a million miles from Uganda). My parents were teaching for the FCO. They lived in Luanshya in the copper-belt. It wasn’t a bad town but that was entirely due to the mine that built schools (do you want the illiterate shot-firing?) and hospitals and even ran a small farm which was the only source of fresh fruit and vegetables other than imports from Rhodesia. Nowadays Zambia exports fruit and veg to Zimbabwe – so complete is the devastation Comrade Bob has wrought. I guess invoicing is an issue – the average Zambian wholesaler has to leave space for an unspecified number of additional zeroes. Uganda was a hell-hole then due to Idi Amin (King of Scotland). My parents went there (wonderful game parks and such) but the cost of admission was a case of Marlboro and a bottle of Scotch and a number of USD to the “Border Guard Benevolent Fund”. My parents also had another aim in mind. The Zambians (who had a space program – they did) employed a whole load of teachers from all over. Many were Indian and had relatives in Uganda so my parents took in the lions and leopards and also ran valuables out of Field Marshall Amin’s wonderland. Now I’m not saying my parents were secret squirrels as such because it is easy to secrete gold and diamonds around a Ford Cortina 1600E if the border guards are (a) already pissed (b) ripped to their tits on cannabis and (c) you have 200 ciggies Americano and a bottle of Johhnie Walker for ‘em. Of course if you actually had cannabis on you you were for the high-jump despite the fact your arresting officer almost certainly had a spliff on the go at the time. Attempting to cross that border without your “passport” of booze (and it had to be pukka Scotch) and ciggies (Camels or B&H would do at a push) would lead to the fella having jump leads from a filched car-battery applied to the scrotum and “his” (for that is how they thought*) wife being “enjoyed” repeatedly.

But that was then… How much has changed? Well, Zambia is doing better (due largely to the hike in Copper prices because the likes of me keep buying electrical thingies, Zimbabwe has starving billionaires and in the “Rainbow Nation” of the RSA they are raping lesbians to “cure” them. Well, at least they aren’t eating each other anymore. Yes, my Dad does have a clipping from the Times of Zambia about an outbreak of cannibalism in a remote province. Guess what the headline was? If you thought, “Gobblers Strike Again!” you’d be right. Apparently this was an isolated outbreak of that sort of Tom and Jerryism which had spread from Congo where it was (probably still is) rife. Forty years ago the Congo was the Heart of Darkness. Still is and indeed was when the Belgians were behaving like epic cunts there. The Belgian Empire – for fuck’s sake! Anyway my Dad had a pal who’d been into Congo and got out by the skin of his teeth. He’d seen a market-place there where slaughtered nuns were on sale. On hooks.

I guess what I’m saying is that governmental foreign aid doesn’t work. Foreign people coming over here and wiring money home does work. Because if they just got a text from their uncle back in the old country and he needs to rebuild the hen coop or fix-up his scooter or whatever then that is what the money shall be spent on. It will not be spent on greasing already greasy palms or on grand-a-night hookers or half-arsed attempts to sell India Typhoon jets – God knows what The Sarcophagus did to clinch that. But don’t believe me. Believe a lad I temped with about ten years ago. Tunde was from Nigeria. This is almost an exact quote, “I love Nigeria – my friends and family are there and I love the music and the food but I want a proper job (he was doing an MSc in Computer Science at Sunderland University) and I can get that here – back in Nigeria nothing can be done without bribes, nothing”. I can imagine how wearing that was to a decent, productive soul like Tunde.

I should perhaps leave the final word to Tunde but I can’t help but add this gem…

This is a Communist-era Georgian (Think Tblisi, not Atlanta) curse…

“May you have to live on your salary”.

*That is not a reflection of the general populace. Just the sort of cunts who think, “Border guard – that’s the job for me!”. It’s pretty universal. The difference is whilst the US’s TSA are arseholes of the first water they are still under the rule of law and the Constitution and such whereas this mob was under the diktat of Idi Amin. Big difference.

The morality of beer, condoms and bombing.

As a Brit I’m used to terrorism – the IRA and all that but the IRA had standards. No they didn’t – they blew-up a remembrance day ceremony. Cunts. Utter cunts but the recent bombings in Nigeria raise the bar somewhat.

Let me be blunt here. Blowing up a churches on Christmas Day is unbelievable cuntery. It is beyond cuntspicable. It is profoundly evil. The people “responsible” for this outrage, Boko Haram did it for the glory of Allah. Well I hope He is fucking proud of His slaves. These are essentially the same fuckers who rioted over Miss World (remember that hilarity) a few years back – like anybody cares! Of course this is all to do with bringing about shariah law. Perhaps they ought to consider whether the banning of beer and bacon and breasts (in a “tasteful” swimsuit mode – the owners of which want to bring about world peace and work with children and animals) is morally more important than not blowing people up. Because regardless of your “morals” (and some folk think of a ham sandwich as a sin) not blowing-up places of worship on an especially holy day really ought to be on your radar but if it isn’t you can supremely fuck off because your “minor morals” are something I cannot take seriously at all. I simply can’t comprehend how you can fuss over dietary laws but are OK with carnage and slaughter.

Because almost every fucker on the planet figured that one out millennia back. Or maybe not. One of the most outrageous things I ever heard was the IRA figured out that a vital part of the initiator of a fertilizer bomb was a condom and being “good Catholics” they worried about the “use of an immoral object”. That was the condom, not a bomb that filled a Transit van. It must be cute to ponder such small moralities but not worry too much about killing and maiming. It must be wonderful to have such moral clarity.

Zambonauts!

My parents taught in Zambia in the early ’70s. My Dad told me this story so respect to Infidel753 for reminding me of one of the less reported candidates in the Space Race. In the early sixties space was the big thing. Yuri had taken a trip and newly independent British colonies wanted a piece of star pie. They were young, new nations brimming with confidence so why not? Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with the utterly quixotic Zambian Space Program!

One of the problems of looking for the bizarre in history is that, after a while, you’ve read everything before: mermaid funerals in the Hebrides, tick; bats used in bombs against Japan, tick; Roman legionaries in China, tick… But then every so often something comes along that is fresh and that has completely escaped your notice and suddenly life feels worth living again. That, anyway, was the emotion that Beachcombing had when he read last week about Zambia’s attempt in the early 1960s to enter the space race. Beach writes ‘Zambia’ that would be wild enough, but actually this was Edward Makuka Nkoloso, a Zambian high school science teacher who became head of the National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy, an organisation that naturally EMN founded.

His ten Zambian astronauts and a seventeen-year-old African girl are poised for the countdown. [EMN] said: ‘I’ll have my first Zambian astronaut on the moon by 1965. My spacemen are ready, but we’re having a few difficulties…we are using my own firing system, derived from the catapult.’

NASA clearly were wasting their time with a 7,648,000 pound thrust Saturn V when all you really needed was a lacky band.

Mr. Nkoloso continued: ‘To really get going we need about seven hundred million pounds. It sounds a lot of money, but imagine the prestige value it would earn for Zambia. But I’ve had trouble with my space-men and space-women. They won’t concentrate on space-flight; there’s too much love-making when they should be studying the moon. Matha Mwamba, the seventeen-year-old girl who had been chosen to be the first coloured woman on Mars, has also to feed her ten cats, who will be her companions on the long space flight… I’m getting [the astronauts] acclimatised to space-travel by placing them in my space-capsule every day. It’s a 40-gallon oil drum in which they sit, and I then roll them down a hill. This gives them the feeling of rushing through space. I also make them swing from the end of a long rope. When they reach the highest point, I cut the rope – this produces a feeling of free fall.’

Mars with ten cats. Wow! Just wow!

You think I’m making this up? Here’s the video…

The bizarrely ironic thing is Zambia is actually close enough to the equator and with predictable weather to be a reasonable launch site. Glorious insanity! The Youtube link, alas, contains some frankly deeply racist comments which is a shame because I tend to think it’s straight out of the glorious tradition of mad men in sheds. So Mr Stephenson has invented a moving kettle and Messrs Wright have cracked the control problem for heavier than air flight! A miner and the owners of a bike shop! Hell’s teeth John Logie Baird’s experiments with TV involved a bizarre assemblage involving a hat-box and a coffin lid (quite how one obtains a coffin lid without the rest of the coffin is an exercise I leave to the reader). Philo T Farnsworth who invented TV in the electronic sense was a farm-boy who got his ideas about scan-lines from plowing a field. We are all enriched by such impossible dreams and sometimes they work and everything changes. Do you know what the Wright’s spent to get Flyer I airborne? Have a guess!

They spent roughly $1000 of their own money. Their biggest competitor Samuel Langley (director of the Smithsonian) spent $50,000 of US Navy money and this happened…

Now you don’t have to be a student of aerodynamics to tell that is not going up. The pilot took an early bath in the Potomac. Langley had invited all the press. Epic fail.

Shortly afterwards…

And the rest was history. The Wright’s didn’t have the press. Their craft was spotted by the local life guards and a “curious teenager”. Langley’s Aerodrome was launched from a $10,000 steam catapult and the Wrights bought $4 worth of timber from a local yard to build a launch rail.

Hung like a….

A Zimbabwean man has told a court that he hired a prostitute who during the night transformed into a donkey, and that he is now “seriously in love” with the animal, according to state media.

Rowan Williams – moral heart of the nation or beardie twat?

Dr Rowan Williams has requested a meeting with the Zimbabwean president when he travels to Harare as part of a tour of the south of the continent, according to his spokeswoman.

Dr Williams, who will become the first prominent British representative to visit Zimbabwe’s capital in a decade, is making the journey in an attempt to ”show solidarity” with Anglicans in the region, she added.

In recent months priests are said to have been beaten and arrested by police, staff evicted from church buildings and property seized, while some Anglicans have allegedly been arrested and murdered.

So he’s taking a team of the SAS, the Marines, the Paras, the Girls Brigade?

Some have questioned whether Dr Williams would make the trip due to the violent regime, but Lambeth Palace said there had never been any debate over the matter.

Really? You know if I were to meet a genocidal maniac I’d have a chat with folk first – mainly those who know subtle ways of killing. If I want to buy a Coke – fine but meeting Africa’s foremost dictator (now Muammar is on the back foot) is not buying a Coke.

The Archbishop’s spokeswoman, who confirmed he will also visit Malawi and Zambia during the trip, said the recent persecution is ”more of a reason to go because people need more pastoral care”.

If you ask me they need the heavily armed “technicals” which God hopes will soon be surplus in Libya but Dr Williams didn’t ask me. He never does.

She said: ”The aim of the trip as a whole is a pastoral visit and it’s to show solidarity with Anglicans there, that’s really the aim of the trip.”

So, Dr Williams you’re going to pray with a woman who was raped by Mugabe’s thugs and her husband “disappeared”. That might be an awkward TV opportunity. I appreciate as a Christian (allegedly) you’re more New Testament but in the case of Mugabe might I suggest some smiting might be in order. Just a side order of it.

Because of the 100 trillion dollar notes that were not worth the paper it was printed on.

Because of the “beautification schemes” that destroyed people’s homes. Homes with phone lines and electricity.

Because of this guy…

Who couldn’t buy a Coke even with that. And that is before it went into dazzling levels of mathematics.

Because Mugabe wrecked a prosperous country and reduced it to penury.

Because he said it would be better off with fewer people. Where have we heard that before?

Because of the theft of farms and the resultant starvation in some of the richest agricultural land in Africa.

Because of the torture, the rape, the killings, the Hitler ‘tache.

Because of Grace Mugabe’s shopping trips to Paris which were genuine “Marie-Antoinette moments”. The original never said anything about cake. Mrs Mugabe took a Boeing. For herself entire.

Because Dr Williams you are going to meet a man who kills your flock. And you requested this meeting. Do you think the Chief Rabbi supplicated himself to Hitler in ’39? I know I’m Godwining myself but…

Dr Chad Gandiya, the Bishop of Harare, told The Times he hoped the visit would bring respite to the Zimbabwean Church.

Oh, Hell!

Referring to Dr Williams’ visit he added: ”He is visiting the province. He is going to Malawi and from there he is coming to Zimbabwe. It is a pastoral visit, it is not a political visit.

Dr Gandiya either has a boot on his neck or he is as mad as Dr Williams.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, cut up his clerical dog collar in 2007 in protest at the regime of President Mugabe, saying he would not wear it again until the president had left office.

Now that is a man you can believe in.

The Arab Autumn

So it looks like Gadaffi is finally screwed beyond all redemption. His sons are caught and the fat lady is warming-up with scales. For all the hellfire, damnation, death and suffering that the Idi Amin of North Africa has caused I hope he gets to meet Mussolini by a similar route Il Duce took. Satre said “Hell is other People”. Well Muammar and Benito ought to get on like a house on fire. The revolutionary and the former colonial potentate. Excellent! They shall have so much to discuss. And next stop Syria. That’s you Assad Minor! Is the scalp of Comrade Kim too much to wish for? I think it would be fitting and sweet for him to be beaten to death with 42″ Samsung LED panels. South Koreans of course having been so oppressed all these years…

What I haven’t heard about though is the effect the fall of Gadaffi will have on his great mate Bob in Zimbabwe… Zimbabwe is through the looking-glass fucked which is appalling because it is essentially a very rich country. I am informed by that from my parents who taught in neighbouring Zambia in the early ’70s. Rhodesia (as was) was an agricultural wonderland. We can argue till the cows come home (assuming there are any left) about how the pie is split but the question becomes somewhat academic when it’s only crumbs left to scrabble for. We all know about the land “redistribution” at the hands of “war veterans” but what is less well known is that the landlord for much of that is (hopefully) soon to be hung by his knackers in Tripoli*. Yes, Libya did land for oil to grease the wonky wheels of Mugabe’s jalopy. Let us hope they fall off soon.

Revolutions of course work out all sorts of ways. But that should not take from the fact that we can rejoice (for a moment) in a mad dog getting put-down.

*A more moderate (and commercial) solution is these loons are put in the Big Brother House because Jedward dressed as mummies and Mohammed Al-Fayed doing a turn dressed as a pharaoh isn’t floating my boat. Not that I watch. No really I don’t. I just see the papers.

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