Song challenge

I’m not sure what the rules are for the music challenge that are doing the rounds on WordPress right now? So I’m just going to make up my own thing. And then feign ignorance about the whole endeavor when I get it wrong. (Standard Joey modus operandi)

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Cultural appropriation is a hot topic. Why this should be so, mystifies me…. then again almost every form of nationalism and culture(ism) mystifies me… it all seems to get so dangerously stupid so very quickly. That’s not to say you can’t be proud of the traditions of your ancestors… but that is not the same as being outraged by someone, for example, that is not from your ‘tribe’ wearing a traditional dress that you perceive with some sense of patented ownership and exclusivity.

That’s also not to say the idiots on the other side of the fence are any better. The amount of times I’ve been subjected to the ‘well if you’re so hung up on ‘your culture’ why aren’t you living in a mud hut counter argument. Oh and stop using ‘our’ western medicine, technology etc. God… sometimes it’s tough just get out of bed in the morning with all this tit for tat reasoning being bandied about. You’d think we could have moved on from these playground dynamics by now.

Anyways. I’ve chosen Christopher Tin’s ‘version’ of Baba yetu as my song.

Which… as far as I can tell… is ALL about ‘cultural appropriation. It’s a European orchestra featuring a Black South African Gospel choir singing a Swahili translation of a Christian prayer. All directed by a Chinese American. It was also the theme song for a video game and was the first song from a game to win a Grammy. Its doesn’t get more culturally appropriated than that.

And you know what? It’s awesome. Cultural appropriation fosters tolerance and is one of the greatest forces for good there is. Just roll with it and stop getting all bent out of shape.

Disagree with me? Change my mind in the comments section below.

Life is cheap.

Arithmetically, this does make sense to me…

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I’d like to say that suspected murderers aren’t really released on bail of $34 in South Africa. But it does happen.

Still… I’d probably caution against murdering tv-license inspectors. The opportunity cost of sitting in a holding cell with several Ne’er-do-wells that will inevitably… eh… test the structural integrity of your sphincter, while your bail hearing is continually postponed for a month seems steep. From what I understand they don’t even buy you dinner first…

NOT a murder mystery

I forgot to lock my front door last night.

Terry Pratchett has this great paragraph about how, in Ankh-Morpork, there are actually very few murders. Mostly dead bodies are considered suicide. Walking in the Shades after dark for example, is suicide.

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While Johannesburg likely wasn’t used as a template for this Discworld metropolis (as far as I know) I feel it definitely ranks in the top five most Ankh-Morporkian cities on this plane of existence (up there with Lagos). The most glaring difference (which precludes Jo’burg from the top spot) is that instead of a brass bridge lined with hippos over the river Ankh (primarily used to dispose of dead bodies) we have a bridge over a train yard. (which broadly serves the same function). Also a bridge made of brass would have been stolen ages ago.

In any event, not locking your front door in South Africa is broadly considered suicide. (glad we made it!)

In all fairness in order to get into the master bedroom to murder us they’d still have to make it past the booby traps (the playroom strewn with Lego caltrops), the vicious guard basset (oh who am I kidding) and there’s always the chance they might trip over the German Shepherd in the passage (who would likely then roll over for tummy tickles). I sleep like the dead, but all the commotion might wake the missus (who will then punch me, ‘Your turn’.)

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Back when I was an (irresponsible) bachelor I slept with a Glock (.40S&W) underneath my pillow, 1UP and ready to rumble. It caused me endless frustration when girlfriends wanted to sleep over. (where is the Glock going to sleep?) Although savvy enough NOT to suggest they go sleep in the other room due to their presence deteriorating the defensive integrity of fort Joey, it generally elevated my already simmering levels of anxiety. (Clearly I had other qualities which glossed over some of the other more serious psychological… eh…  deficiencies)

Marriage has mellowed me somewhat (or turned the liquid cloudy, depending on how you look at it). These days instead of rolling out of bed and into my body armor I first have to go the cupboard and take it off a coat hanger. I also have to waste precious time taking my Glock out of the safe and cycling a round into the chamber. All this while under the added pressure of being murdered. (very inconvenient)

In other news I went for blood tests yesterday. The excitingly named D-Dimer protein test. Which looks for a protein in your blood which appears when you’re busy having a thrombosis that’s disintegrating. I’ve… torn a calf muscle (I think, although it could also be a DVT). My ability to tolerate pain after twenty five years of near constant boxing and ju-jitsu makes me weary of gritting through something that may not be what it appears. Especially since I’ve had a pulmonary embolism before. Which… as you might imagine really sucked.

Anyways, the doc phoned me with the results of my test this morning. Negative (but with provisos). He thinks maybe I should go onto the rat poison for a month… just to be sure… which I’m not particularly keen on. Since I was going for blood tests anyway, I did a non-fasting lipid test. Which was was higher than it should be. I’m more annoyed about my cholesterol than the rat poison. I generally pride myself in eating healthy.

The indestructibility of youth is ebbing away to its inevitable conclusion. So annoying.

The chemicals between us.

I suppose this post needs some context. I’m rearranging my warehouse. Well, I’m folding one into the other. I have two warehouses, right next to each other. In reality I have far too much space, and that’s made me super inefficient over the years. Lately its been upsetting my German-ness. I’ve also trimmed down my product lines somewhat and changed the scope of my business. In any event all this space feels excessive and wasteful.

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Joeys racks.

Being paranoid I run two independent asymmetrical security systems in my warehouse. One of which is a pepper fog system. One of my forklift drivers clipped a pallet which graunched a cable leading to a passive sensor which (I think) caused one of the gas canisters to expedite its load into the immediate atmosphere.

I’m still not fully recovered. Damn. I’ve been tear gassed before, about twenty years ago. In the Commando (the day after my birthday) we were corralled into this rusty 40ft container. You have your masks on. Then a corporal or a sergeant pops off a tear-gas grenade and you have to gut it out for a minute (or however long it was). After that someone blows a whistle and  you rip off your mask and leave the container (just so you  get to experience what the full effect is like) Outside they had this trough made from a doubled over plastic tarp with water of a dubious hygienic quality with which to rinse your eyeballs and larynx. (not super helpful) After that went for a nice gentle jog up the hill, because well, sadism.

You know when you’re watching a riot on tv where some youthful individual runs forward with a wet towel wrapped around his head, picks up the 40mm tear gas round and throws it back at the police line… that always impressed me. (because clearly its your first time and obviously in your country you don’t fear the police)

A security branch policeman with a lot of riot experience during Apartheid once explained to me that that didn’t really happen in South Africa. Once the police started using tear-gas they were done playing and you should really consider going home. Picking up a canister and throwing it back was considered a severely life limiting move, which meant either one of two things. Either there was a 40kg fur projectile in your immediate future (apparently the GSD’s weren’t affected by CS, although I don’t actually know if that is true) OR the young crack-shot (who had grown up hunting Gemsbok barefoot in the Kalahari) on top the Casspir with his FN-FAL would put you down with a 7.62mm to the head.

This was all WAY before my time. My Commando experience was (in all honesty) spent mostly drinking. And then falling out of a Aerospatiale SA 330 Puma when my stick was being deployed to assist in a police operation. (totally less dramatic than it sounds). Topping off my list of embarrassing endeavors was chasing down suspected livestock* thieves at 2am in the morning through the veld and running straight into a telephone pole** and almost knocking myself unconscious. Sheer awesome.

*livestock sounds better than pigs. But they were stealing pigs.

**in my defense it was almost pitch black and pole was painted with bitumen. (although maybe I mean carbolineum. That black stuff they use to water proof)

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This is the only surviving photo I have from that time. Pre-digital camera. The uniforms changed from Browns to Flecktarn soon after this.

Anyways, I think the point I wanted to make is that tear-gas really sucks. This pepper fog this morning felt way worse. I don’t remember tear gas getting in your skin like that. (although its been a while) I thought initially that my staff were just being dramatic. Toughen up people. It was only one canister and the warehouse is two thousand squares with high ceilings. Coughing, spluttering, tears and snot running down my face has changed my mind somewhat.

Its made me less keen on rearranging things and being productive today. So instead I have retreated into my office (ostensibly to feel sorry for myself) with a roll of toilet paper, a cup of coffee and uberEats on their way.

Hmmm… There’s a delivery truck parked outside my window. They’re collecting something. I don’t normally take much notice… only these barrels are marked…

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“Does it strike you as weird that they are transporting phosphorus on the back of a flat bed truck’, I say to my sales manager, who distributing our uberEats order. She shrugs. ‘South Africa’.

I google the UN 1381 number.

UN 1381 – Spontaneously Combustible Class 4.2

Having already had my fair share of chemical fun this morning. I don’t really feel like pushing my luck. I think I’ll take my tuna-mayo-avocado upstairs for now.