The Rice Video – Carbon Dioxide in Perspective: Is There a Grain of Truth in What Roberts Has to Say?

When I was directed by an email link to this video (https://www.youtube.com/embed/BC1l4geSTP8) I thought I had been sneakily misdirected to a televangelist’s video – he looked just like your common or garden mercenary TV pastor/charlatan.

I must admit that I did not get past the first minute of his presentation when his earnest piercing eyes forced me to shut him down before I did the coyote trick and chewed my arm off.  So, this will not be a comprehensive refutation of his claims but I got enough of his drift and arguments early on and I did not wish to waste my life any further than I had to.  It’s all been said before.

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The economic effect of Covid-19

If one doubts the terrible economic consequences of the disease, then these Nasa photos will jolt you out of your complacency.  They show the amount of Nitrogen Oxide in the atmosphere which is primary due to the usage of motor cars but also any industrial process that burns fuels at high temperatures.


The first photo overs a period in January before lockdown – voluntary as well as involuntary – and the second covers the period after it has taken effect.

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The Latest Sorry Sordid Secret Saga of Marathon Running Shoes

Disclaimer: As apposed to my brother Dean, I should be the long distance runner in the family.  I, in my callow youth, was short, wiry and ornery (but mostly just went my own way).  Suddenly one day in standard 9 the ugly duckling became a ‘swan’.  From always being on the ground in the annual class photographs I suddenly found myself in the second row – heady times.  In Matric, I proudly took my place alongside all those guys in the back row who had played rugby lock their whole lives – traditionally reserved for the tallest while the coach struggled to find a position where he could hide me.  I might have got tallish, but I never got broad, let alone broadish.  I left Varsity a tad under 6 ft and weighing in at 73kg.  By the age of 55 I had put on weight – I weighed 75kg.  I was long distance material – rangy and still a bit ornery.  Dean, my elder brother by 4 years, was not the archetypal long distance runner.  He was an inch or two shorter than me and struggled with his extra poundage for his whole life.  In addition, a very, very septic burst appendix (caused by our sister Cheryl, a tough little shit of note, giving him a voltruis skop in the right side when he was 10 or 11) ensured that his 6- pack, if he could get one, was ripped to pieces by the aggressive surgery resulting in a recurrent stitch when running.

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The End of the World is (ge)Naai

I think we’re f%$@ed no matter what we do.  Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but I believe that unless we make radical interventions soon, it will be too late no matter what we do then.  I’m not referring to the tearing of the social fabric of society due to social media or violent pc games, or the destruction of rain forests, or the bleaching of coral reefs – I am only concerned here with climate change. 

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Horse Memorial: The Humanity of Man

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way that its animals are treated.

Apparently, this quote has been falsely attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.  Nevertheless, it remains a great quote.  What is not in dispute is the following broadly similar quote from 1905 that was engraved in perpetuity (we hope) on the Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth.

Main picture: The ineffably humble inscription on the Horse Memorial

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The Art of Mea Culpa and Conduct Unbecoming

Bruce Koloane obviously agreed to plead guilty to his three charges at his disciplinary hearing which meant that no evidence was led and, hence, no red faces, particularly for No. 1 – that is if his face could turn red.  Thinking about it, even if he was melatoninally challenged like me, he still would not
blush as he has no sh
ame.

But I digress. Pleading guilty is very useful in certain cases.

Main picture: Uit klaar parade, Officers Course, Tech Services Corp, Dec 1981

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Bruno: A Gobby in the Lobby

Main picture: The statue of Bruno with his gobby ball was commissioned by the Std 5 class of 1970 and has pride of place in the lobby of Herbert Hurd Primary

This is an obscure memorial, a semi private one. It is a memorial to a dog that meant so much to so many children from Newton Park in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In the words of Theo Rjis, Bruno seemed to belong to nobody but belonged to every pupil in the school and Gary Williams who struggled with schooling, “He was my school Prozac.”

Wow. Actually, bow-wow, not that Bruno said anything. He was the strong silent type as Staffies are wont to be.

This is the story of Bruno, a brindle Staffie, who was memorialized by the Std 5’s of 1970 and still lies guarding his gobby in the lobby of Herbert Hurd Primary School – my school.

The statue of Bruno with his gobby ball was commissioned by the Std 5 class of 1970 and has pride of place in the lobby of Herbert Hurd Primary
Bruno didn’t know about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as he was only in primary school, and even if he did, they were all taken care of. By night he lived with the Roberts, his part-time owners, on the corner of Hudson Street and 5th Avenue and by day he lived at our school. If his owners didn’t feed him interesting stuff, then there were more than 500 kids clamoring to see to his needs. If the Roberts weren’t loving enough there was always Mr Presley, the school caretaker who pampered him, not mention those 500 kids. And as for sex, well the Roberts had taken care of that for him.

Bruno’s only need, nay addiction, that he struggled with throughout his life was the need to chase a gobby ball. If it did sometimes happen that he was ball-less when Mr Presley, the caretaker, had run out old cricket balls or the kids were being stingy, then a half brick would suffice. I was also told that when he was caught short during school holidays, he would become a shoplifter. He would tootle over to Hill’s Chemist on the corner of 3rd Ave and Cape Road and steal a used tennis ball out of the basket where they were loosely kept – needs must and all that.

I suppose that there are many other stories, but I personally know of two:
It was around 1968 and Bruno was by now solidly in his middle age. One day, a white bull terrier – the kind with the bullet nose and who say nothing but just take your name down – appeared on the grounds during break. HKGK. Before we knew it, the two were having a rort . They went for each other as only dogs of those breeds can do, with Australian subtitles since they were on mute as these breeds are wont to be. It was a cage fight of the most vicious kind with us forming the cage. When someone eventually managed to part them, Bruno was beaten and slunk bloodily away. We were distraught.

This new dog became king of the school, but not for us. We missed our happy, friendly Bruno and this young pretender with pink eyes did not cut it for us. Unbeknownst to us Bruno was at home licking his wounds, thinking to himself, “I’ll be back.” A long week went by and then Bruno returned. They had a massive rort again with Afrikaans subtitles thrown into the mix this time. Bruno saw off the pretender and was never challenged again. Order in the Universe had been restored.

On another occasion we came out at first break to find Bruno furiously digging around the concrete base of a post or pole that had long since disappeared. This was on the Willet Street side, about half way down the rugby field. That day we forwent our ritual games of Cops and Robbers as we munched our wax paper wrapped peanut butter sammies while curiously watching him. It was like a rort and we boys formed a rowdy circle around Bruno and his protagonist – The Rock. We shouted encouragement and advice but he didn’t need any, he knew what he was doing. Bruno, with his stiff little tail wagging enthusiastically in the air as he scrambled with his forepaws, was trying to dig around the side of this lump of concrete. Eventually the bell went and we trudged bemused back to the classroom wondering what second break would bring. Second break came and we eagerly rushed outside to see what progress had been made. There was Bruno proudly standing next to his lump of concrete which was about half his size and which was now out of the hole. His nose was all bloodied from nudging at the lump but his smile was bigger than ever.

Plaque on statue to Bruno

The plaque says it all:

A friend who gave so much pleasure to so many for so long while visiting this school.


[1] We used the word rort to describe a fight.  Why, I don’t know but there is a dated Australian usage that means a wild party.  Seems reasonably apt to me. 

[2] “I’ll be back” are the immortal words spoken by the robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 science fiction film, The Terminator.

Estina Dairy Farm: The World’s Greatest Business Plan

Even according to the most favourable estimates, the Estina Dairy Farm was at best, a marginal enterprise. Even giving the proposers the benefit of the doubt regarding its viability, surely the accountants who perused the proposal would have poked numerous holes in the financial logic.

On checking the current status of this project, the Sunday Times has uncovered an even deeper hole.

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