Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Allegiances change at the drop of a hat...

or is that a Crown?

And it's a warm welcome to...

my baby, who has just recently set up her own blogspot...

Check it out here...

Keep the posts coming in, babe... xoxoxo

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Update on Lucky Dube murder...

Today, only four days since Lucky Dube was gunned down at his home in what police are saying was an attempted carjacking, four suspects are appearing in court on various charges ranging from attempted murder, murder and possession of an unlicenced weapon.

It amazes me to see that, when they want to and when they get their fingers out their collective arses, that our police force can actually get something done quickly.

Or is it just as a result of every South African's favourite reggae star being assassinated?

Monday, October 22, 2007

For anyone who still thinks it was a try...


As soon as Cueto went over the line, I called it out, even from the angle we originally saw from the front.

Too fuckin' bad...Springboks deservedly won...get over it...move on...try harder next time...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Karma's one for you girl...

I was sent this by a mate who knows that I'm also feeling a little down today (for some unknown reason)...

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive. "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears and then I'm heading for home!"

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around."

"It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read "Daffodil Garden". We got out of the car, each took a child's hand and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink and saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.

"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958".

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time – often just one baby-step at time – and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

Use the Daffodil Principle…

Stop waiting...

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt and Dance like no one's watching.

If you want to brighten someone's day, pass this on to someone special.

Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

According to Fishman...

this is the original of my Dr Phil picture below. I think I prefer his version...

And no, I'm not going to translate it...

Another George W email just came in...

It reads:

Dear DMDad...A number of people say I fucked up real bad in New Orleans following the floods. Any ideas? Regards. George W (president of the world)

To which I replied:

Dear George W...let's say that arriving in a Sherman tank, stogie hanging out the side of your mouth looking like Donald Sutherland in Kelly's Heroes, was perhaps not your finest moment. Also, the fishing rod disguised as an aerial was really badly done...even I picked up on that, you dumb fuck... Warmest Regards. DMDad.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's George W again...

This time, George W writes:

Dear DMDad, Don't you think Condoleeza Rice has a cute arse? Regards George W (president of the world)

In response, I sent him:

Dear George W... For a small horse, probably, but then I'm not into beastiality (you may be though, judging by your question). By the way, who dreamed up the name "Condoleeza"? Sounds like she was conceived in a little Italian rowing boat, for fuck sake. Warmest Regards...DM Dad

A word of encouragement for the 'Boks for the weekend...

Translation of the last two words..."Fuck them up"...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

George W Bush...

has taken to writing to me on a regular basis, asking advice on numerous things that he thinks are affecting his presidency of the world. In keeping with my desire to communicate with lower species of animal without the use of a microscope, I've decided to respond to his emails and show the world just how cared about him I am...

Recently, George W wrote...

"Dear DmDad...Is it just me, or does the world hate me? Regards. George W (president of the world)"

My caring response...

"Dear George's just you, George. The world hates just you... Warmest Regards. DmDad"

Stay tuned for more of these interesting emails...

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's my Brother From Another Mother's birthday today...

so everyone stand up, turn around and moon Mr D, as he's known for the benefit of this posting.

This man and I, as you can see, have lots in common including red t-shirts, dashing good looks, charm and an uncanny ability to pass as Mr Magoo in cartoon strips.

Happy Birthday, ya fat bastard...hope you have loads more, and hope you get pissed out of your brains tonight, even if it is only Monday.

Love ya, man...miss you loads...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I was feeling a bit depressed the other day...

so I called Lifeline.

I was put through to a 'call centre' in Pakistan.

I explained that I was feeling suicidal.

They were very excited at this news and wanted to know if I could drive a truck or fly an aeroplane....

The words of Billy Connolly resonate (rather loudly) in my head this morning...

A few years ago, Billy wrote some alternative lyrics to the old folks song "As Usual"...sing along if you like (but not too loudly please)...

I woke up with an achin' head
as usual
I can't remember goin' to bed
as usual
My stomach's feelin' very queer
I've got a thunder storm in my left ear
It must have been McEwan's beer
as usual

Oh we sucked the drink up like a hoover
as usual
The cheap wine and the paint remover
as usual
And somewhere deep inside my brain
I seem to hear a diesel train
And I promise not to drink again
as usual

I woke up in a public park
as usual
I must have crawled there after dark
as usual
Oh I'd better see how much I've got
Oh Jesus Christ I've spent the lot
I must have been a drunken sot
as usual

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More of the latest photos...

Dubai - Burj al-Something-or-other from close-up with helicopter pad at the top
Dubai - Yours truly, with sexy pose at the beach (this is as sexy as I get)
Dubai - one of an estimated 43 million mosques (just on this street)
Dubai - entrance to one of the King's palaces, with accompanying wild peacocks to the right of the pic
Riyadh - Got Soul? Putting some of it onto a pair of sandals I bought

Ok, here's some more Middle East photos...

Dubai - The Creek
Dubai - Burj al-Dubai - tallest tower in the world, still under construction
Dubai - Ski Slope (believe it!)
Dubai - Burj al-Something-or-other (can't remember the name - famous hotel)
Dubai - the road up to one of only two 6-star hotels in the world, both in Dubai

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sent a SMS home last night...

"...just in from CC's..sends his regards. actually, i'm half-pissed..had two good shots of johnny black he has, then a litre of home-brew wine between us. also had a good chinese food evening in the compound and its only 33deg so you can sit outside almost comfortably..."

So, believe it or not, in the middle of tee-total Saudi Arabia, one can actually get pissed. And yes, I am suffering a little for it today, so I guess the Muttawa have inadvertently got their revenge...bastards...

Leaving for home this evening and will be glad to get back to civilisation (as we know it). The sad thing is, I'll be back here again in about a month for another two week stint...getting out of hand now, but that's how slow and long it takes to get things done over here...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I get told I watch too much's why...

Bill Watterman put it so nicely...

I'm not sure of the circumstances, but I assume Bill drew this Calvin and Hobbes strip following a crime he suffered at home (or someone he knew), but he put it so well and it applies particularly to Shit Towne and SA (and the rest of the world)...

Where in the World is Cuzzin Ross?

Is this the case, or is there something more to his disappearance?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

My Pirate Name is...

My pirate name is:
Iron Davy Kidd
A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sitting in Riyadh, smelling like an expensive Saudi hoor...

It's 10h30pm, I've just come in from shopping and having a relatively cheap meal (compared to the hotel anyway). For less than the price of an Iftar meal (more on this shortly), SR155 - about ZAR310 - I've had fish and chips and a pepsi, coffee and a date-filled bagel (yum), bought two bags of Guatemalan coffee and paid for taxi to and from Al-Faisaliyya Mall. Actually, all that came to SR105, so I've scored the equivalent of ZAR100...nice...

Right, from the beginning...I left Shit Towne on Thursday evening, rain pissing down on the runway making it look more like a very long swimming pool than somewhere an aircraft would be launched from, on the 19h30 flight to Riyadh via Dubai. The flight left an hour late due to the rain but the pilot assured us he would make up some time in the air. I cared not, cos I had a 12hr stopover in Dubai again, but this time I had a complimentary hotel room lined up for the day. If you want service, fly Emirates.

We get to Dubai at around 05h30am local time, just after the sun came up over the horizon. It's humid already and the temperature is in the upper twenties. It's gonna be a scorcher. Through the passport control without much delay, I went through to the pick-up for the Millenium Hotel, as my luggage had been sent straight through to Riyadh (perhaps never to be seen again). A short five minute wait and the crowd of about ten of us get shepherded into a cool air-conditioned minibus, the like of which go careening around Shit Towne streets at 200km/hr, except this one is in good condition and has brakes. The driver, as are the rest of the drivers on the road, is very considerate toward other road users and it's evident that I'm not in Kansas any more.

No hassle at the hotel check-in..."Goo Monnin Meesta Duckless" whined the Filipino receptionist, "yoo enchoy yo fly? Whelcum Toobye". "Thank you", I reply, not wanting to go off about being tired and cranky as I'm sure she can see it in my face anyway. "Yoo loom numma too thlee wun wun, thir flo. We call yoo fo pee-em fo bus, che cow fo thirry pee-em". "Thank you", I reply, my eyes already searching for the lift to the third floor, which I spy to my right. No mess, no fuss...Emirates is just pure organisation. They even own the hotel due to the large numbers of transit passengers they have at all times. There's a constant trail of minibuses to and from the airport, as if they're on rails.

In my sparsely furnished room (what did I care, all I wanted was a shower and a bed) where I found a shower and a bed (and a couch and a TV), I had soon showered, sent Steph a quick SMS to say I had arrived and set my phone alarm to give me four hours sleep. Just after 11am, I was woken by the alarm, turned on the TV to see what was on the news (nothing interesting which is about par for the course wherever you go), got up and showered again, dressed and went down for lunch just before noon. I was going to have a bite to eat (freebie buffet lunch sponsored by Emirates, and quite a spread) and see if I could organise a tour of Dubai. As it happens, a four hour tour of the city started as I'd woken up, but the tour operator said she could organise me a two-hour tour for USD50 (about ZAR350). "What the fuck", I thought and signed up. The tour would leave at 1pm, giving me time to enjoy a leisurely meal, which as I mentioned, was really quite good.

I happened to be the only one on the tour so it really was a personalised trip, my driver Kush from Pakistan taking me to all the familiar sights one sees of Dubai on the TV. He was a bundle of insight, very knowledgable about his adopted city. I found out that he has a family somewhere in Pakistan (he told me, but I can't remember where) that he goes home to visit once a year. It's too expensive to bring his family over to Dubai to live, so he works and sends money home monthly for them to survive. The tour group, under Islamic law, is obliged to pay his flight home once a year, so at least that doesn't come out of his pocket.

One very interesting piece of information Kush had was that Dubai is populated by only 20% Arabs at any one time, and the other 80% is made up of ex-pat workers and tourists. Of a city of 1.4million people, that means that only 280,000 are true residents, everyone else is on some form of visa.

You'll have to wait for the photos (cos I left my USB cable at home), but we went to all the familiar tourist traps, but also to a fantastic Souk (market) where one could spend many hours shopping, as well as something you would not expect to find in the notoriously hot middle east, a mall called "Ski Dubai". I shit you not, a fuckin' snow ski slope in the middle of the city!! The building stands out like a sore thumb, unmistakeable when you get told what the building is. There's a shopping mall built around it, and the slope is the centrepiece. While the air temperature outside is around 35degC, the mall is cooled to about 20degC to prevent condensation misting up the windows. The temperature inside the ski arena is minus 6degC!! There are whole families in the arena, bundled up in parka jackets and beanies, sliding down ice slides on mats or skiing down snow slopes, every one of them with a smile on their face.

We spend only a couple of minutes in the mall for me to take some pictures and Kush to show off his knowledge of the mall, and then it's back into the minibus to tour some more. We drive down the road that will eventually lead onto the World Islands, where may famous people have "bought" a piece of sand they can call their own for 99 years, not being able to go too far as the rest is for construction vehicles. We drive down onto the beach road that leads us to the Burj al-Arab, the famous hotel that takes the shape of a yacht sail (the white piece on the curved side of the building is actually a piece of cloth, designed to keep most of the wind-blown sand out and let cooling air through). We drive past the edge of the new part of the city, its skyline criss-crossed with cranes. It's easy to see why the city is the fastest-frowing place on eart at the moment. They're even busy building the highest tower in the world, the Burj al-Dubai, a tower that (if memory serves me correctly) will be over 700m in height when completed, supposedly by 2010.

All too quickly, my two hours is up, and Kush leaves me in the hotel lobby almost exactly on 3pm. I make my way up to my room for a short rest before heading down for the bus back to the airport. A few minutes before 4pm, the room phone rings and the voice says "Arro, che cow remida call, thak yoo" Leaving me no chance to say thanks back, the voice obviously has a few reminder calls to make and I hang up the phone, get my stuff together and make my way down to the lobby again. Hand the room key to the bell-hop, get shown to the airconditioned minibus and it takes us about ten minutes to get back to the airport. Again, no mess, no fuss...pure organisation.

Passport control and check-in is relatively painless, apart from having to pass through three sets of x-ray machines and searches. Fuck knows why though, one should be enough seeing as you do one before passport control and there's no way in between to be handed anything you're not supposed to have on you. Anyway...through to Retail La La Land (also known as Dubai Duty Free) and I pick up a couple (ok, three) CD's, a double album "The Essential Johnny Cash", "Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight" (that got stolen in my hijacked car) and "Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me".

I notice that the gate for the Riyadh flight is already open and decide I better move through, just in case my seat gets given away by some over-zealous ticketer. No chance, this is Emirates. There's a screaming Arabian rugrat going off a few seats down from me, so I plug the MP3 headphones into my ears and crank up Blue Monday by New Order, a classic 1983 track and just the thing to drown out screaming Arabian rugrats. A half hour or so later and the entire Pakistani contingent getting on the plane stands up in unison and races off toward the boarding gate. I sit still to avoid being trampled into the marble floor. Fifteen minutes later and there's a bit of a gap so I make my way to the gate too, elbowing my way in in front of a couple of yakking Filipinos. Between them and the Pakis, they're a rude lot, so I have no guilty feelings about using my elbows to move forward in the queue. They do the same, except they just about hit me on the knees with their elbows due to their diminutive size.

The flight to Riyadh is also painless, with the Muslim passengers being given what I call a Ramadan Carry-out, a small box of eats and drinks for them to audibly consume when Iftar comes along. Iftar is the official time that the sun goes down behind Makkah (Mecca) and the official end of daylight, which means that during the month of Ramadan the Muslims can eat and drink again. There is absolutely no eating or drinking (even water) during daylight hours during Ramadan and even westerners are officially expected to obey this religious custom. Most westerners, however, take a lunch to work which they eat or drink behind closed doors, and to which Muslims turn a blind eye. Some Saudis don't like the infidels to be seen observing their customs but are hypocritically quite happy to point fingers when they see a westerner eating or drinking something.

Even going through passport control in Riyadh is painless, taking only seconds, unlike the first time I came here a few weeks ago. Same as last time, however, I wait for almost 20mins for my suitcase to appear on the merry-go-round. Through yet another x-ray machine (just to make sure I hadn't bought any booze in Retail La La Land) and I move through to where my driver is waiting for me, impatient bastard that he is. I acknowledge the board he is holding that has my name on and he takes off for the parking lot, barely saying hello, me dragging my suitcase along in his wake. Immediately I can feel that the temperature for this time of night has dropped at least ten degrees since I was last here, and it's almost pleasant at 35degC...not bad for 8pm.

A speedy drive along the highway, zipping in and out of traffic with the Chrysler's warning system beeping when the driver goes over 120km/hr, and he drops me at the hotel. After opening the boot and having me lift my own suitcase and rucksack out of the boot, he slams it shut and zooms off again. Maybe he hadn't had his Ramadan Carry-out yet...

The concierge in the hotel remembers me from my last visit, enquires as to my health, and uses the Intercontinental Loyalty card to check me in. No mess, no fuss...gotta love it.

I let Steph know that I'm in the hotel by SMS and unpack my case, then settle down for the night having had a pleasantly edible meal on the plane. It appears that Ramadan is a time for travel to this part of the world and the airline food improves with the festivities.

On Saturday morning, I'm up for work, showered and dressed and out the door to the taxi by just after 8am. I shouldn't have bothered though, as work doesn't officially start until 10am at the client. I didn't know this though and after a quick call to my host to ask what the fuck is going on, I walk up to the Marriott hotel and sit in the airconditioned lobby to read the newspaper for an hour or so. I can't even get a cup of coffee cos of the Ramadan fast that's in effect. Hell, I'm not even allowed to take a sip from the bottle of water I have in my rucksack.

Work goes off uneventfully, boring actually and I decide to leave the office early, around 3pm so that I can do some work and check my email from the comfort of my hotel room, and where I can have a cup of coffee and a banana (complimentary fruit basket in my room) to fend off the hunger pains.

At ten to six, pm, I move down to the banquet hall in the hotel complex. I was advised that the hotel holds its own Iftar banquet every evening of Ramadan and I decided to give it a bash. The banquet hall is decked out magnificently (no photos allowed) in strung fairy lights hanging from the centre of the room, the walls are painted in patterns resembling Turkish carpets and one side of the room is closed off by means of a translucent cloth hanging from ceiling to floor where the traditionalist Muslims have their meals. There are two large screens on the walls on opposing sides of the room, on which is shown footage of pilgrims at Makkah doing their rounds. There's even a sponsored raffle, each diner being given a free ticket, prizes in the form of SR250 shopping vouchers from the sponsors. I was told that this is normal for Ramadan, and some banquets (obviously where the elite hang out) have brand new cars given away as prizes in their raffles!

And what a spread! There's more food and drink in this room than there is at a White House election banquet. There's curries, chinese food, "samboosas" (yes, same as our samoosas), lamb stews, beef stews, calamari, fish, roast potatos, seasonal veggies, three types of rice, gravy, sauces, cold meats, salads, roti's for the curry, bread rolls, cold soups, houmous, green and black olives, at least ten different types of cake, orange-flavoured jelly, cream, ice cream, cheesecake, biscuits, cheeses,... you name it, it was on the serving tables (well, everything except good old pork products).

On the dining tables, there was a pot of tea, a pot of Arabian coffee (actually tastes nothing like coffee and is an acquired taste - not too bad) that tastes of cardamom, flagons of cranberry and date juice, and a rather weak, almost sour, tasteless, drinking yoghurt that I thought was either thick milk or cream when I first poured it. Needless to say, I tried the whole fuckin' lot of them. The date juice was surprisingly tasty and I had a couple of glasses of it. I also had some dessert that reminded me of a good old "koeksuster" except that it was shaped like a tiny rugby ball.

Comfortably full, I paid my bill (gladly, this time) and headed back to my room for the evening and some light work before retiring to watch some TV. I nodded off sometime around midnight and woke up only long enough to switch the box off.

On Sunday morning, I got up around 7h45am, knowing the work routine, showered, shaved and dressed, checked and sent some email, then took a taxi (good old Khalid, who remembered me from last visit) to the office just after 10am. Traffic was chaotic and what normally takes only 10mins, took almost a half hour. I was told that it's always like this at this time of year. Work, as usual, was boring and I finished off a presentation that I'm giving on Monday, had a meeting with the project sponsor and did a bit more work before heading back to the hotel just after 5pm, again in the chaotic traffic.

I'd decided earlier today to take a taxi into Al-Faisaliyya Mall to have a cheap meal and perhaps do some shopping for a gift to take back to Steph on Thursday which is when I leave here. A decent fish and chip supper from London Fish, a Pepsi (Saudi champagne) and I took a walk around the mall, which by now had opened after evening prayer time. Shopping goes on until the early hours due to all the prayer time one has to endure.

Going back to the beginning of this post, I'm stinking like an expensive Saudi hoor thanks to the over-eager salesman in the perfume shop. I had waked past the perfume shop earlier, seen the fancy bottles on display and decided to investigate further. I found what turns out to be a rather strong oil-based Ajmal perfume for Steph, which the salesman just had to dab on my forearm and get me to rub into my other forearm. Needless to say, once the perfume warmed up, it became quite powerful and I'm sure I got a few furtive glances from passing black robes (mind you, that was probably due to my dashing good looks rather than smelling like a tart). Even three hours later, after getting back to the hotel and scrubbing my arms with soap the perfume smell is as strong as ever and will probably be on me tomorrow morning too. Fuck knows what the guys in the office are going to say...'s almost 1am and I better get some sleep before the alarm goes off at 7h30am for work...

Stay well, y'all...I'll keep you posted on further happenings...