Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crazy Crime Story

Writing for a newspaper in Johannesburg you digest many weird crime stories. After a while, you think you've seen it all - kids with Samurai swords, mining tycoons full of bullets, serial killers, etc.
But this story (post below) had me grinning with glee as I typed it up yesterday morning. I'd love to hear your comments on it. If you can't open it, click here. My favourite is the detective saying that a hit man worth his salt would have charged more than R2000...

MidSandton Murders (Almost)

Murder Plot

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hollywood or Bust

My closest brush with Hollywood was when a major US film studio called me up to explore turning a story I was covering into a movie. That was a few years ago and, so far, I have not received any invitations to to the land of palm trees, beaches and beautiful Rollerblade girls.
But today I discovered my second - if somewhat more indirect - link to Los Angeles. Their local, and much respected newspaper, LA Times, covered last week's release of the South African crime statistics. To avoid regurgitating old news, they tried to spice up their report with an interview with our new police chief. The interesting part, however, is that right at the top of their article, they quote a "South African newspaper"... the newspaper I happen to write for. And the quote they pulled out, was none other than the intro I crafted thick in the chaos of the statistics swirling around us in the newsroom. Check out the LA Times article here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tall People Conspiracy and Cats

There are a lot of tall people in Johannesburg. And last night, I'm convinced, a good number of them conspired to gather in row "i" of Monte Casino's grand theatre.
I know this because I sat in row "j" of the same theatre, attending the glittering opening night of the Cats musical and shifting from butt cheek to butt cheek trying to see the stage.
I'm not sure why tall people would want to hold a secret conspiracy meeting in a theatre, where talking to each other would clearly be difficult. Between the flashing lights, awkward seating arrangement, short interval and the goose-bump-inducing voices of the actors belting out classics like "memories", what possible plotting could take place? But there they were anyway, whispering in each other's ears and chuckling silently at the suckers behind them.
On a serious note, Cats was sensational. The theatre was transformed into a shadowy rubbish dump with cats crawling from under every crack. Returning from the interval, the cats started from the back of the audience and climbed over the rows to make their way on stage. They stopped to purr up against people, claw at their bags or steal a sip from the drinks. I managed to pat one on the head, and feel the bristle-like wig. It's an amazing experience to see the costumes so close up.
What struck me the most was how beautifully and flawlessly the cats moved. They were like one organism but with so many individual personalities, like Rum Tum Tugger - the feline version of Mick Jagger meets Michael Jackson.
Sure some of the music was a little dated and sounded like that horrible jingle you hear as the credits roll on Bold and the Beautiful or Sunset Beach. And yes, one dance routine seemed to last longer than nine lives. And if you really pick at it, you can't but assume that old Lloyd Webber must have been on some serious Acid to conjure up that Mongolian / pirate scene...
But overall, if you throw in a dinner, you can't go wrong for a fantastic evening.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pigeon VS Telkom

News just in: Winston the pigeon has just won a race to deliver 4GB of data - beating a painfully slow download on a Telkom line.
Winston, an 11-month-old bird, set out from Howick to Hillcrest (both in Kwazulu-Natal) with a memory stick containing 4GB of data. At the same time, the company organizing the race began downloading 4GB of information on an ADSL Telkom line.
When our feathery friend landed at his destination, the download was under 4% complete.
Winston Tweeted during his flight, chirping: "Flying weather cloudy and cool... feeling good... no major problems to report..."
Telkom has, so far, refused to comment.
It's unclear whether Winston will undergo gender testing after his lightning-fast finish of the 70km race.
Check out Winston's website here. Or see full story here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Chakra Challenge

Before I start, let the record show that I despise reality television. I think Big Brother was the first symptom of a terminal disease that threatens to kill global intellect. But if I were to flush my morals down the drain, and produce a reality show, I know exactly what it would be...
This morning I read a fascinating article in the LA Times about a group of Buddhists planning to live in the Arizona dessert for three years, three months and three days. The catch is: they will observe absolute silence for the entire 1190 days.
The group - most of whom gave up fancy jobs and six-figure salaries - will communicate through gestures and facial expressions. Even a pair of newly weds will have to abstain from any physical intimacy so as not to mess up their prana (inner energy).
Like in a Kibbutz, these enlightenment-seekers will grow veggies, meditate and do Yoga stretches. For three years.
Anyway, my idea is to do a reality show on this dessert retreat. Picture it: We have those well-edited inserts on their lives and what they are giving up. The parents sobbing, their poodles panting and their bosses wishing them well. Then they enter the new world - their wooden huts and wind-swept cacti.
Then... silence.
"Day 129... We are live now to the Buddhist retreat and things are exactly the way they were four months ago..."
"Day 473... the house mates are still meditating..."
"Day 864... was that a smile? No. No. That was just gas..."
"Day 990... Ooh... a new yoga position by Dreyfus..."
And so on.
Sad thing is, the world would probably lap it up.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Maths Equation on a Zombie Outbreak

Four crazy Canadians have used complex mathematical equations (real Beautiful Mind stuff) to calculate just how screwed the world would be if an outbreak of the undead occurred.
Simpler put, how quickly would an army of zombies munch their way through the entire human population?
The equations look like that cheesy cyberspace screen from the movie Hackers, where a whole bunch of figures and "@" signs float around in a hypnotic whirlwind while the kids "hack the planet".
But the conclusion of the zombie study, done by university students, is fairly straight forward: unless we hit them, and hit them hard, we're toast. Check it out here and download their report.
No surprise then that:
"In summary, a zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic, or a cure may lead to coexistence of humans and zombies, the most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often. As seen in the movies, it is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble."
Sorted bru, tagged by Add to Technorati Favorites