Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Priceless Friday Evening

Coming home after a difficult, and rather unusual Friday, maybe slightly later than usual, I started it off with a good hour of play with the granddaughter and then a crispy glass of Vernaccia di San Gimignano (DOCG) as an aperitif, produced by Az. Agr. San Quirico from the province of Siena, Italy. It’s a really nice, easy drinking white wine. I must admit I kind of fell in love with the Italian DOC wines when I drank my first bottle on a rainy day at lunch with a pot of seafood pasta in Monterrosa al Mare, one of the 5 villages in the Cinque Terre region of Italy. I like the crispiness of it, but without the heavy acidity of some white wines that tends to get stuck at the back of the jaw.

That was followed by a simple, but excellent Italian dinner of Spaghetti Bolognaise al Ragu and a few glasses of Cono Sur from Chile, a red wine made from the Carménère grape, a cultivar I never had before, something that Monica brought home from a wine buying excursion in Lexington. (She buys wine like she buys cars. She looks at the shape for the bottle and the attractiveness of the label. And more often than not the wine surprises the hell out of me.) Cono Sur, for the non-Spanish, it looks like an obvious wordplay on the French word connoisseur, a person knowledgeable about wine, but it actually refers to the Southern (sur) cone (cono) region of South America including all of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, and sometimes Paraguay and southern portions of Brazil.

If you go west in the cono sur, squeezed between the Andes mountains and the Pacific ocean, you will find that long thin land called Chile, the largest producer of Carménère. The Carménère is a member of the Cabernet family. It is a cultivar with a fruity aroma and taste of plum and blackberry, a hint of chocolate and the smokiness of a Merlot. It is originally from the region of Bordeaux in France, but these days it is rarely found in France. Among wine historians Carménère is one of the 6 noble red grapes from Bordeaux. The others being Cabernet sauvignon (the king of reds), Cabernet franc (a great blender), Merlot (the smoky one), Malbac (which is doing great things for Argentinean wine farmers) and Petit verdot.

After dinner I opened a fresh bottle of ten year old KWV brandy, which Monica brought back from her recent trip to South Africa, poured me a sniffer, and I retreated to the study to watch the Stormers, (being a blue and white-hooped blooded Capetonian) gave the Western Force, in their own backyard of Perth, Australia, a solid hiding in a Super 14 rugby match.

A perfect end to a busy and tiresome week and a great Friday evening.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Let’s Keep it in the Family

In September 2007 it was published that Sen. Barack Obama was related to President George W Bush. A month later it was revealed that Obama is an eigth cousin, once removed, from Vice President Dick Cheney. At that stage Obama observed that “every family has a black sheep.”

Today it was reported that Obama is a distant cousin of Brad Pitt and Hilary Clinton is a distant cousin of Angelina Joley.

OK. Who cares? Some people obviously do.

Now, Obama has a very famous lineage it seems. Researchers have already established that he is related to the George W. "Don't mess with Texas" Bush and his father George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman, and James Madison. I guess that makes him presidential material. He is also related to Sir Winston Churchill and Civil War General Robert E. Lee.

Hilary Clinton, researchers claim is a distant cousins of Madonna, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, and Camilla Parker-Bowles. It doesn’t seem like there are any famous males in her lineage. Maybe that’s why so many cartoonists find her so “entertaining.” (Clap clap point point.)

Let me guess. By the time the conventions come around Barack Obama will be everyone’s “cousin” and have an even longer presidential lineage and Hilary Clinton, it will be reported that, not to make her feel unpresidential, she is actually married to a former president, Bill "Bluedress" Clinton.

Poor Sen. John McCain. His records are a bit murky. He is only a distant cousin of Laura Bush. Maybe that's why he is crying on Bush's shoulder.

Sorry for Apartheid

After the recent apology by the Australian government to the Aboriginal people for wrong doings of the past, the chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Jody Kollapen, suggested that white South Africans should also do the same, say sorry for apartheid.
Off course it didn’t take long before the emails started to fly around with their kick ass response.

We Apologize To the Previously Disadvantaged for Apartheid

We are sorry that our ancestors were intelligent, advanced and daring enough to explore the wild oceans to discover new countries and develop them.

We are sorry that those who came before us took you out of the bush and taught you that there was more to life than beating drums, killing each other and chasing animals with sticks and stones.

We are sorry that they planned, funded and developed roads, towns, mines, factories, airports and harbors, all of which you now claim to be your long deprived inheritance
giving you every right to change and rename these at your discretion.

We are sorry that our parents taught us the value of small but strong families, to not breed like rabbits and end up as underfed, diseased, illiterate shack dwellers living in poverty.

We are sorry that when the evil apartheid government provided you with schools, you decided they'd look better without windows or in piles of ashes.

We happily gave up those bad days of getting spanked in our all white schools for doing something wrong and much prefer these days of freedom where problems can be resolved with knives and guns.

We are sorry that it is hard to shake off the bitterness of the past when you keep on raping, torturing and killing our friends and family members, and then hide behind the fence of "human rights" with smiles on your faces.

We are sorry that we do not trust the government. We have no reason to be so suspicious because none of these poor hard working intellectuals have ever been involved in any form of corruption or "irregularities".

We are sorry that we do not trust the police force and, even though they have openly admitted that they have lost the war against crime and criminals, we should not be negative and just ignore their corruption and carry on hoping for the best.

We are sorry that it is more important to you to have players of color in our national teams than winning games and promoting patriotism. We know that sponsorship doesn't depend on a team's success.

We are sorry that our border posts have been flung open and now left you competing for jobs against illegal immigrants from our beautiful neighboring countries, all of those countries that have grown into economic powerhouses after kicking out the "settlers".

We are sorry that we don't believe in witchcraft, beetroot and garlic cures, urinating on street corners, virginity testing, slaughtering of bulls in our backyards, trading women for cattle and other barbaric practices. Maybe we just grew up differently.

We are sorry that your medical care, water supplies, roads, railway and electricity supplies are going down the toilet because skilled people who could have planned for and resolved these issues had to be shown away because they were of the wrong ethnic background and now have to work in foreign countries where their skills are more needed.

We are so sorry that we'd like this country to fulfill its potential so we can once again be proud South Africans.

The Previously Advantaged

I wonder if ex-Rhodesians should also start to apologize to current day people of Zimbabwe for the current state of their old country. How far do we go back on this issue? What about the current day Americans apologizing to the Native Indian Americans? Or the Spanish conquistadors saying sorry to the Aztecs in Mexico?

The question is should every white South African personally apologize or should they just acknowledge that apartheid was wrong. And how and who is going to do this? They don’t really have anymore leaders. After all, didn’t the former President F.W. De Klerk already apologized (twice I think) for apartheid. When Jody Kollapen was asked how this should be done and by whom, he did not have a clear indication and suggested there should “be some discussion around it.” Well the Truth and Reconciliation Commission talked and discussed this for two years; thousands told their stories and apologized. Will that not suffices? I guess not.

The bigger question off course, is will saying sorry eliminate racism?

Oh well, I am just doing some load-shedding.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Op Soek Na Nuwe Afrikaanse Rock Musiek

Ek het die afgelope paar weke so ‘n bietjie deur cyberspace gewandel opsoek na nuwe Afrikaanse musiek. As ‘n mens nie fisies kan instap by ‘n musiekwinkel nie, rond loer and luister nie, dan moet ‘n mens maar tevrede wees om die Internet te gebruik.

My wandelinge het my op baie interessante webwerwe laat beland. Sommige wat Afrikaanse musiek summier afkraak in woorde wat ek nie hier sal herhaal nie. (Ek probeer nie hipokraties wees nie. Ek is ‘n groot voorstander van vrye spraak en ek gebruik ook soms taal wat kru and kras is, maar om the vloek net omdat ‘n mens dink vloek is fashion en om ligaamsdele toe te voeg aan die beskrywing van musiek terwyl dit geen bydra maak tot die trefkrag van die boodskap nie, dan los ek dit maar liewers uit.) Gelukkig is meeste webwerwe positief oor Afrikaanse musiek.

Kyk, ek stem saam. Nagelang van persoonlike smaak is daar baie kak Afrikaanse musiek op die mark. Deur die jare is daar baie Afrikaanse musiek ge-release wat nooit die lig moes sien nie. Maar daar is ook baie Engels kak op die mark. Na my mening, as ek kyk na die ratio tussen hoeveel Engelse en hoeveel Afrikaanse musiek daagliks uitgereik word, dan verskyn daar sekerlik bakkies vol meer Engelse kak op die mark as Afrikaanse kak.

Nog ‘n rede hoekom Afrikaanse musiek nie altyd die by klank vind by sommige mense nie, is omdat die grootste gros Afrikaanse musiek “ligte luister” musiek is. Lees dit as “nie ernstige artistiese musiek.” En ek erken ek is nie juis opsoek na strooperige ligte luister musiek nie, maar ook nie na gothic of nywerheids-rock nie. Erens tussen in is daar ‘n aanvaarbare middeweg. Ek hoop so.

Dis nie dat Afrikaners nie goeie musiek kan maak of het nie. Daar is verskeie enkele snitte van verskeie kustenaars wat ek vind van hoogstaanded gehalte is, maar musiek van konstante goeie kwaliteit van dieselfe kustenaar is raar. En om ‘n hele CD van goeie musiek in die hande te kry is so skaars soos daglig by die Noordpool in Desember.

Hier is ‘n paar videos wat darem regtig nie die beeld van Afrikaanse musiek verbeter nie.

Hierdie een van Robbie Klay - Ra Ta Ta - Laat my dink aan die Da Da Da song van die tagtiger jare.

Ek stem saam boeremeisies is tops, maar A-ou A-ou, hierdie een van Lea Le Roux maak die ore seer.

Kyk as dit 'n kerk bazaar was het Dewald Dippenaar se Wys Jou Muis sekerlik die koek (excuse the pun) gevat vir die song met die slegste smaak. Iemand het regtig baie geld gemors om die video te maak.

Vergelyk nou die Jan Blohm video met die boonste videos en die verskil is soos dag en nag. En boonop is daar nog 'n bietjie "kultuur" humor ingesluit in Jan se video.

Dan praat ek nie eens van Blohm se 9mm Blues nie. Dis mos nou Afrikaanse rock.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Rest is History

Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden feeling very lonely.
So God asked Adam, "What is wrong?"
Adam said he didn't have anyone with whom to talk.
God said he was going to give him a companion and it would be a woman.
He said, this person will cook for you and wash your clothes and she will always agree with every decision you make.
She will bear you children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them.
She will not nag you, and will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you have had a disagreement.
She will never have a headache, and will freely give you love and compassion whenever needed.
Adam asked God, "What would a woman like this cost?"
God said, "An arm and a leg."
Adam said "What can I get for just a rib?"

The rest is history.

Growing Up Fast

Pictures of the granddaughter after special requests from family and friends in South Africa.

1 year old and growing up fast

Playing house inside her tented kitchen.

Hard not to love a face like that.

In her favorite place, Ouma's arms.

"Little Red Riding Hood"

Make that Pink and Red Furry Riding Hood