Port Elizabeth of Yore: Powering the Harbour in the late 1800s

Prior to the era of electricity, without light, the harbour was unable to operate at night. As steam powered cranes were available from the mid-1800s, these were installed during 1881 on the North Jetty. In due course, these would be replaced with hydraulic and later electrically powered cranes.

From an openness and disclosure viewpoint, I hereby state that all the technical details have been supplied by the Technical Editor, my brother Blaine. This does not imply nepotism as he provides his assistance purely on a pro bono basis.

Main picture: Steam powered cranes on North Jetty

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A SMAC in the Face #59: A Stormy in a D-Cup

With Donald J. Trump, one-time Acting President of the US of A and fulltime leader of the MAGA movement, darling of the NRA, Evangelicals, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, anti-abortionists and any number of disaffected idiots and conspiracy theorists, election, climate change and vaccine denialists, things get messy pretty quickly.  And complicated.  So, bear with me in this long intro.

Once upon a time in 2006, Donald Trump, probably frustrated at not getting any nookie from his pre, neo- and post-natal Melania, ended up in a one-night stand with a leading porn star, one Stormy Daniels.  This was to end badly for him.  Not necessarily that night.  As I haven’t read her Full Disclosure book, I can’t give you the skinny, if that’s the right word with Donald, on his performance.  No, it came back to bite him ten years later on the eve of his winning the 2016 Pestilential erection.   

He tried to cover his arse, a technical legal term, by buying her off.  The problem was the source of his funds.  His fixer, one Michael Cohen, has already been sentenced to three years in chookie and is spitting mad.  Trump is now belatedly facing a court case in New York State, starting in March 2024.  This is slap bang (which is probably was he did to Stormy with a bit of tickle to show his softer side) in the middle of the Republican primaries.  He recently tried to get it moved to Federal court which would kick the can down the road until, he hopes, he’s Acting President again and hence untouchable and completely declassified.

And so, the countdown begins on his comeuppance on his godownance a long, long time ago.

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Building’s name reflects change

Most buildings bear the same name throughout their life. This assumes that its name is not that of the tenant. In South Africa’s case, there is another reason for name change: politics. In this process, many buildings since 1994 have been renamed to reflect the new political order. In the case of this building, it has had to suffer the indignity of two names, each one to reflect this change.

In this process the Colonial Mutual Life [CML] building was renamed Pleinhuis and ultimately Noninzi Luzipho. In the case of the sale by CML in 1980 of this four storey Art Deco style building on the corner of Baakens Street and Whites Road evoked concerns regarding “insensitive changes.”

Main picture: The CML Building per La Femme 28 Aug 1996

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Port Elizabeth of Today: Threats Confronting the Swartkops River and Estuary

.In the Swartkops River and its estuary, Port Elizabeth possesses a priceless environmental jewel. Will it ultimately follow the dismal well-trodden path taken by the mouth of the Papenkuils River known as Smelly Creek. By the early 1960’s it was taking its last gasp The destruction of the habitant chocked the water flow and the ingress of industrial chemicals killed the reeds and other vegetation. Ultimately the few resilient flamingos doffed their caps and bade their millennia old sanctuary adieu. And not a tear was shed.

Too easily the same steep and slippery slope could ineluctably overwhelm nature’s defences in the Swartkops Valley.

To eliminate the threats and mitigate others, this is what the plan of action should encompass.

Main picture: The Swartkops Estuary

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A SMAC in the Face #58:  King Con

The King of the grifters, King Con, found himself in court and it has been a virtuoso display of petulance, bullying, victimhood, obfuscation, deflection, blame the other guy, denial and meandering logic.  Although he didn’t have to attend proceedings until called, he elected to sit at his lawyers’ table and defiantly glare at everyone, particularly if there was a camera pointing at him.  This is the glare he had stayed up all night practicing for his mugshot on 24 August when he was arraigned on election racketeering charges. 

This trial is a civil case of fraud and he had already been found guilty of fraudulently overvaluing his properties.  The court is now sitting to determine his sentence

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Scandalous Female Cyclist of the 1890s

Outdated sexual mores impede the development of humankind in multiple ways. In a previous blog I have already dealt with all the rules and regulations preventing males and females from sharing a swim. These rules were only dispensed with on the opening of King’s Beach in the early 1900s. Unbelievably female cyclists were frowned upon for cycling, let alone for being accompanied by men. Unlike their swimming counterparts, these restrictions were normative rather than rules and regulations based.

This is the story of a female who defied those norms.

Main picture: The Brown family cycling at the Van Staadens River

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Motor Industry in the 1920s

In the space of a century, not only have the vehicles vastly improved but the modus operandi of the industry too. In this blog we will follow the work experiences of Rupert Charles Mouat during this influential period in the development of this industry which would become pivotal to rescuing Port Elizabeth from insignificance as the Transvaal grew by leaps and bounds  

Main picture: 1926 – General Motor’s first factory in Darling Street

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A SMAC in the Face #57: God Wants Semtex

The Israeli/Palestinian issue has seen five conventional wars since 1948 between the Israelis and various coalitions of Arabs in support of the Palestinians.  This area also became a proxy war for the West supporting Israel and Russia supporting the Arabs.  The Russian bear went into hibernation in 1989, but reawakened with the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the invasion of Ukraine last year.  Although it is a shadow of its former self, it has aligned itself with the next superpower, China, and a bunch of crazy as bat shit nuclear regimes like Iran and North Korea.  Meanwhile, China is increasingly flexing its muscle in the South China Sea and ramping up its rhetoric and intimidatory manoeuvres against Taiwan.

Has the outrage by Iran-backed Hamas been carefully scripted by Iran to take advantage of the realignment of world order to force a massive international confrontation.  Will history record this as the spark that led to WWIII, like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that snowballed into WWI?

Given China’s leading role in this possible outcome, perhaps it will be called WWXI.

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