Monday, 27 February 2006

Seen in Stellenbosch

I got this car with a drive-by shooting using my cellphone camera.

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Krog vs Watson - sound the bell...

It seems the majority opinion sides with Krog against Watson. A couple of letters on the subject can be found on LitNet's seminar room.

Of interest, this analysis by publisher Eve Gray on LitNet in defence of Krog.

BUT - the voice of reason of course, belongs to Annie Gagiano.

Gagiano's remarks remind me of stories about doing "peace-keeping" in northern kwaZulu in the early nineties. If black soldiers were sent in, the IFP side of the village complained; if white soldiers, the ANC side of the village complained. When 32 Battallion was sent in, BOTH sides of the village complained.

A treatise concerning Bushmen and pear-shaped males

The South African literary pond is sometimes even too small for medium-sized fish. I love a good spat between people that can write well. Thanks to the Sunday Times - it is all available online:

Stephen Watson's article (originally published in New Contrast - sort of "his" journal) in which he accuses Antjie Krog of stealing his ideas.

Antjie Krog's response (as any boxer could tell Watson, big hitters are never quite down, never give them a reason to start swinging)

Annie Gagiano's prior assessment of Stephen Watson's book (Stephen Who? The poet? What did he publish? Oh... oh! You mean the guy who accused the famous poet of plagiarism!)

A word is also in order about Tom Eaton:

Tom Eaton, editor of New Contrast, confirmed that Watson was a member of the journal’s board but said that this had not influenced his decision to use the piece.
“This was a very interesting article that is very pertinent to the plagiarism debate that is dragging on,” he said.
“If it’s someone else’s idea or words, in the extreme case, and you haven’t referenced or given credit where credit is due, it’s theft.”

Well Tom, of course it is pertinent to the debate, but only because of your decision to place the article that started the whole debate in the first place. Well, thanks for that, now we can enjoy the chaos.

To be fair, Tom Eaton is sometimes funny as a columnist - well, in a sort of 'I-am-trying-to-write-like-Darrel-Bristow-Bovey' kind of way. Do you remember Darrel Bristow-Bovey? Well, I get the feeling that the Cape Times is trying to use Tom Eaton as the columnist to replace the disgraced Bristow-Bovey.

Now here is something freaky: Seen from behind, one would struggle to distinguish between Tom Eaton and Darrel Bristow-Bovey. They are both slightly over-weight (just a little) and they are both pear-shaped (something very rare and slightly disgusting in males). However, according to Bristow-Bovey's number one fan, Darrel has an excuse, it must have been all those TV-dinners he munched while he did research for the "What's On" column back in the days. Now, Tom Eaton, like another infamous pear-shaped male - namely Adolf Hitler, has no such excuse that I am aware of. As Hitler's scientists realised later, it is a dangerous game to judge character from physical features, but there might be a pattern.

Come to think of it, Mussolini was also slightly overweight and pear-shaped. [I knew an old man from Barrydale that saw Mussolini's body swinging upside down slung from the roof of a gas station in Italy, but that was long ago and a totally different story with an unhappy ending and a burnt-out airplane falling in the wrong part of Europe in the wrong year]. Oh, Napoleon Bonaparte also had this pear-shape -- It must have been great for horse-riding over the steppe in winter - Josephine [before he leaves the house in the morning]: "Don't get blown apart, Bonaparte!"

Oh, and don't forget Stalin (slightly overweight and pear-shaped). Do we see a pattern here? The only counter-example I can think of is Chairman Mao - he was slightly overweight, but had the classic male apple-shape with the bulk in the tummy and not in the bum.

Oh and for Darrel Bristow-Bovey fans - click here for a publisher's bio completely omitting his plagiarist past. Shame, plagiarising Bill Bryson, what were you thinking???

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

Swem Jannie Swem

I went swimming again at the gym tonight - a seriously painful (in a nice sort of way) exercise for the Mini-Me of Moby Dick the White Whale. I specifically ignore the kids, retirees and other crazy people that look like they just want to dice - I'm not going to sink that low (sorry, had to). I guess most people prefer the treadmills and stuff (they have the advantage that you can keep your iPod with you), so whenever I say I swim recreationally, people ask me: "did you swim competitively/ in school?" or "are you a good swimmer?"

So I tell the truth: "I learnt how to swim on the Internet."

"Whoa! No way!" etc. etc. Why is it surprising that something like that can be learnt over the Internet? Of course I could do survival oriented, plaasdam-style swimming. I didn't jump in the pool at age 3 waiting at the bottom of the deep end for the instructor to come and get me for nothing. But I never had training for anything as basic as freestyle, yet I like swimming with the Interstitial One, who is infinitely better than I am at it. So one day I searched on the net and learnt all sorts of things like pretending you are rolling on a skewer, how to cup your hands and how to breathe and I practised it a bit at the Long Street swimming pool, each evening double-checking why I still had a bad case of chlorine throat.

The most amazing thing was that one day when I suddenly stopped drinking the pissy pool water and started breathing fresh air. I could never manage more than two lengths, because I couldn't sort the breathing thing out, but once I got the hang of that, it's merely a question of how fit you are.

I wouldn't like to actually see myself from the outside: making waves and whale mating calls and slowly thashing forward, refusing to drown, but it works for me. Try it. Although I can't find the underwater photos again that I used three years ago, some useful links can be found here and here and here. And I like this illustration, found here.

Now just add water.