Archive for the ‘sport’ Category

Rabies alert! But how do you tell if a bat is bat-shit crazy?

April 27, 2012

Rabid bats are plaguing California! Well actually, one rabid bat was discovered after it died, and someone bothered to figure out why it snuffed it, NPR recently reported. But of course it’s news, because well, it’s awesome news, offering great punning opportunities, and in the past, people have died after being bitten.

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This bat is clearly crazy.

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This bat is completely normal.

This is America, so a few searches turned up some cool signs, advising people not to fondle bats, no matter how adorable they were.

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... no matter how sweet and vulnerable they seem.

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I'll bet you er... $5 (cause that's what I can afford right now) that somebody is going to sue due to the confusion over whether the sign related to baseball bats or bats that fly around.

The question I have, though, is this: How do you tell if a bat is crazy? Do they fly all over the place with their eyes closed? No, they do that already. Or, do they start bumping into walls suddenly? Swooping down to steal fat people’s hamburgers?

Maybe you know for sure if you find a bat in your kitchen, making itself a cup of coffee or reading the newspaper.

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If your cat starts acting crazy, eating out, or trying to fly, you know it's bye bye kitty. Time to send it to the funny farm. At least, that's what you'll tell the kids.

Sea Point Promenade’s latest greatest things for me, and a touch of ennui.

January 8, 2012

In between my existential crisis, aka “when will America’s consulate allow me to get on with my life” and my attempt to make a short film while I’m still here – if that’s not forever – and my various visits to my past and my many reunions with loved ones, I squeezed in a walk on the Sea Point Promenade today. Isn’t it beautiful? One of my favourite places on earth.

Messages on the sea wall for Mandela's birthday in 2010.

The most beautiful park I've ever seen.

An outdoor gallery - this series of sculptures has lasted a year, despite some vandalism and weather damage.

It’s Cape Town’s Central Park, although most people in Cape Town don’t get the chance to live anywhere near it and have to drive or bus in. (I’m all for low cost housing in the area where I own property to solve that problem. Bring it on.)

The latest trends are public art and open air gyms.

It's a rocking horse...

... it's a rocking horse that talks out of its arse. And its mouth. Kids love this and have looooong conversations with each other through the mouth to ass telephones.

Here's how it works.

The outdoor public gym: Designed for adults, but mostly used as a jungle gym by kids in between swims in the sea.

The rules. No this, no that. I'm pretty sure someone's breaking them as I type this, and getting away with it. Ya South Africa.

Still standing here, in what used to my home, I felt sad. I don’t really have a purpose here right now. I can’t get a sim card without my father showing up with his ID cause my apartment is rented out so I don’t have an address. I am all about work – it makes me who I am  and I have nothing much to DO, really. Limbo feels more limbo-like now that everybody I know has gone back to work and winter term has started without me, and I am still here, staring at the perfect sea view.

I know I sound ungrateful. But I can’t help it. Though it’s amazing here, there’s only so much great steak you can eat. Only so many times you can swim in a perfect blue ocean. Only so many times you can hug your friends before you wonder… when can I go back to the torture and pure hell of making movies?

This holiday needs to end. ASAP, hunnybunnies.

Oh but first, a quick #PSA.

Dear America. THIS is a hamburger. As the lolcat said "IF I KAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER CAN I HAZ ZIS ONE PLEEZ"?

South Africa: The leader of Advertising’s Free World

February 11, 2011

I was watching the Superbowl at someone’s house and eating pizza and drinking beer. The Superbowl is a game in which they play American Football. American Football is a game I don’t understand very well yet. In it, men in spandex play a form of Rugby. And then they stop, and the adverts come on again.

Many brands launch their advertising campaigns at the Superbowl. It’s a big deal. Unfortunately, the adverts aren’t really good. American advertising is not very good. It’s kinda old fashioned. And all the expensive explosions in it can’t hide the lack of real entertainment value.

There are various reasons for this.
1. America allows competitive advertising: While the South African advertising industry had to come up with something as brilliant as “beats the benz” to get away with it – and still was forced to stop airing the advert – Americans advertisers can simply play the point the finger game. Which is almost as boring to watch as it is to play.
2. Americans are scared of offending each other: Not sure why. Maybe cause they’ve all seen what happens to entire countries that offend Americans. But in any case, tip toes are the way to go. So poop jokes. Cute old people. Puppies. Yawn.
3. English rules America: There is simply no equivalent of “Met Eish”. Multiculturalism is not encouraged. It is, in theory, but without encouraging multiple languages, multiple cultures will get lost. Some things can only be said in certain languages, and keeping those languages enriches culture and keeps people on their toes.

4. Litigation kills creativity: If every advert for adult daipers needs to have a long disclaimer about nappy rash, when are we ever going to get to the funny stuff? I ask you.
5. The USA has a thriving film , comedy, and adult film industry: Desperation drives many of South Africa’s creatives into advertising, rather than film, theatre or porn, where they belong.  Here, people have options.

So to save you time, here are the highlights of America’s best superbowl adverts of the year 2011.

And Xtina’s performance with funny comments. Got to say, it was better than the version I heard at the Ducks’ game I attended.

Oh, and News24.com just published my latest column. It’s all about how to piss Americans off without firing a single shot. If you get that reference, congratulations on reading the news occasionally.

Hooters! For parents who really believe “breast is best”

January 6, 2011

I want to the Hooters website. I needed to set a scene I was writing there, okay. And also I’m always fascinated by the businesses who set up near places where men are believed to lurk at their most vulnerable or unfettered moments – like outside churches sports stadiums, and in airports. Here in the USA, places like this are generally designed to comfort and pamper the male, and are oddly food-focussed.

Nom nom nom.

I’ve never known South African strip clubs to punt their hamburgers. Why bother – that’s not what people go there for. But here in the USA the men seem willing to settle for less actual nudity, provided they can load up on calories while they skinny women in tight clothing serve them food in language loaded with sexual innuendo: “That’s the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! It’s huge!” says the woman in the frontpage flash video. “Much, much more than a mouthful.”. I guess the more deep-fried gunk guys eat, the more likely it is they’ll need to pay chicks to talk to them like that.

If I need to explain anything I’ve said so far, you’re probably too young to be reading this blog. But oddly… Hooters doesn’t seem to think so. In their merchandise section, I found THIS.

Keep your eye on the future, kid. And parents, get your baby-girl a hooters shirt now. By the time they're 18, if you keep feeding them beef full of hormones, they'll have grown into it and with any luck? Hey, they can "put themselves through college", if you know what I mean.

America. Just when you think you’re used to it, it whuppasses you with its weirdness all over again. Someone said to me last night – get this – “You shouldn’t make fun of American Football. It upsets people.”

American men may be a bunch of sports-mad perverts. But they’re a bunch of sensitive sports-mad perverts.

The USA Checklist: Ice hockey on New Year’s Eve

January 1, 2011

I’ve always wanted to go to a real ice hockey game, ever since I saw Youngblood – one of those movies from the 80s that would never be quite the same now. The 80s was a time when Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reaves stripping Rob Lowe naked and shaving him from head to toe wasn’t at all gay. At the same time, actually being gay was not at all awesome, like it is now. Specially in South Africa, where it was illegal – almost as illegal as being black.

Even without all the shaving, Ice hockey is an awesome sport. It’s definitely my favourite American sport so far. I like the fast, violent ones, you see. So American Football is out – too slow, with all the stopping. And if you’ve been to a rugby game (violent and dangerous) it’s just lame with all its padding and rules; and if you’ve been to a real football game then it’s just kinda weird that they call it football at all. Basketball is okay – I like that. But Rob Lowe never played it. And then there’s baseball, which is boring to watch on TV but may replace cricket for me if I hang around long enough. Golf? What? Fuck golf. Seriously.

So many signs I couldn't take a photograph of anything so instead I focussed on this massive pig-shaped blimp that was dropping frozen yogurt vouchers from the air. Everything - and everything - is sponsored by someone. Even the weird-ass vibratoed singing of the national anthem (which for some reason made my Mom cry) came with a dedication to "America's military forces all over the world."

And yes, ice hockey, for me, like most sports, is largely about the kind of sex appeal that a woman who’s been given every opportunity to develop sophisticated tastes should know better than to feel appealed to by. I feel the same way about the players as straight guys probably feel about the chicks who sweep the ice in tiny little skirts in the breaks. Don’t talk. Just do your moves. I don’t think any amount of feminism, religious indoctrination or censorship will fix any of us when it comes to that stuff.

The ducks goalie can't see me from down there on the cold, cold ice, but nevertheless, I feel we have a "connection".

So ya the Mighty Ducks won. It seemed kinda obvious that they would. They were bigger and their uniforms were scarier than those worn by the Philly Fliers. The fans were very rude about it. They boo at the opposing teams – something that would be considered very rude at a soccer match, and grounds for social expulsion at a test cricket match in South Africa. They don’t applaud opposing teams’ goals. And then sometimes the players get into fights on the ice. The woman sitting next to my mom and I said: “Yeah, it’s encouraged.”

Ducks' goalkeeper Jonas Hiller. Is there anyone whose type he "isn't". I mean, really.

Any way, it was awesome. Even the hot dogs and the lame beer was awesome. Which is good, because it looks like the remainder of my new years is going to be seriously awful – the grown-up equivalent of not being invited to the only party in middle school. My mom’s going to sleep now (10pm) and since most of the people I usually hang out with are scattered all over the USA, I have no plans. Except maybe watching many consecutive episodes of Arrested Development. Actually that’s starting to sound like a really attractive option. Maybe when my SA friends wake up, clutching their heads, their eyes the colour of Natalie Portman’s at the end of Black Swan, I’ll score a little conversation, drink a little of the stale white wine in the fridge. Or just mock their pain.

I guess that’s something to look forward to. And I have so much to be grateful for. Like not being an ice hockey fan from Philadelphia tonight. Or not being a Hooters Girl, who tonight will be forced to serve five free chicken wings to all the drunk guys who show their Duck’s tickets. Like all the stuff I achieved this year – the impossible in a way. But I can’t help it. I got the oh poor me’s real bad right now.  There’s something horribly sad about the sound of fireworks starting to go off at someone else’s party on New Year’s Eve. People are having fun out there. In here, I’m sulking up a storm.

Bowling. Not for Columbine*. Just for fun.

November 9, 2010

… in which an alien goes bowling, breaks her In & Out cherry, and hears the sound of music.

This Japanese poster for The Big Lebowski is just... I don't even want to know what the title became.

Considering The Big Lebowski is one of the top 10 reasons I am becoming a screenwriter, and considering the fact that Cape Town is in truth very, very close to Parow, it’s surprising that I do not know how to bowl. I think I went, once, as part of someone’s birthday party, but all I remember about it was how much the birthday girl’s brother complained about driving to Parow the whole way through. I was dating the annoying, self-centred brother. Apologies for stating the obvious.

I got a ride with a girl in my class, Sarah, who has been nice to me. She’s also cool in an odd way my friends back home would like – the kind of person who could make driving a motorised tricycle seem stylish, but isn’t pretentious enough to do it. We we went cruising down the boulevard through 23.5 identical suburbs, past 789 identical 8-store markets, passing Disneyland’s nightly fireworks display and on. I’m not surprised onse babe Charlize Theron feels at home in California. It’s really very much like her native Benoni – just with fewer guns and better Mexican food. The GPS didn’t know which side of the road the bowling alley was on, but as it turned out, that wasn’t really a problem.

This sign is one of only 56,000,8998,99766 signs in the U.S.A. that is visible to the naked eye from space. The alien schools already hold compulsory early morning bowling classes in the belief that it will "help them blend in". Now you know.

We were out in Anaheim because one of the students who came from New York wound up living out there, thinking “eight miles from school isn’t far.” And because the beer was supposedly cheaper.

Americans have a newspaper for everything. For instance, Adult Daipers Monthly, which is printed on recycled disposible adult daipers. (Not really, but that'd be cool.)

It’s B.Y.O. socks for the next bit, where you hire a pair of shoes for $3.25 and pay 5 bucks to bowl. Or you order a pint of Newcastle and watch other people. That’s what I did. I have been having one of those weeks where stuff lands on your head all the time, and you fall all the time. If I wasn’t driving, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be handling balls that weigh more than my head.

I'm not sure I understand the need for the giant rear view mirror. I for one do not want to see my own ass on the way out.

At about midnight, we ended up at In and Out Burger. I’ve been trying to avoid this discovery, as their food is clearly addictive. Now I have tried it, I think about it three times a day. When I grow up, I want to be an In and Out Burger Dealer, although I’m not sure whether or not I’d be keen to sleep with In an Out Burger ‘ho’s. It’s not delicious because it’s packed with healthy goodness. In and Out is basically everything McDonalds wants to be, but isn’t. It’s like McDonalds that doesn’t have McD’s signature “faint whiff of garbage truck”.

Then it was back to the Bowling Alley, and the bar had closed.

The sign on the right says "Popcorn only in the bar". I guess the popcorn must be the free bar snack.

See now, in South Africa, when the bar closes, everyone bails. Often drunk drives, but if not, shares taxis, or whatever. In America… they start singing the songs from Musicals, apparently. Or maybe it’s just the film school students I hang out with.

Sarah wouldn't let me take a picture where she wasn't pulling a face.

I don’t know any songs from Musicals. They’re kinda big here. I guess a lot of them are from here.

Anyhow, they sang for hours, and then when everyone was sober, and only then, we left. Not that anyone got particularly drunk in the first place. I was impressed, and amused.

Driving back to American and British rock ‘n roll classics on the radio, I realised one of the very powerful things about American culture: That musicals and rock ‘n roll and pop radio hits are part of shared folk culture here. I suspect would be unimaginable, in America, to grow up with parents who couldn’t sing you a Doors song, or were vague about who Billy Holiday or Fleetwood Mac or Nina Simone might be.

I wonder what the South African equivalent is. Miriam Makeba, perhaps, or oh no, no. Not Shosholoza? I love being from a place with many questions, with no clear answers, that could still become anything it wants to. But sometimes, from far away, it’s hard to grasp and impossible to hold onto.

* Wiki says: The film title originates from the story of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – the two students responsible for the Columbine High School massacre – attended a school bowling class early that morning, at 6:00 a.m., before they committed the attacks at school starting at 11:19 a.m. Later investigation showed that this was based on mistaken recollections, and Glenn Moore of the Golden Police Department concluded that they were absent from school on the day of the attack.[4]

I haven't seen The Sound of Music. But I've heard the whole thing now.

Wednesday night lights

September 7, 2010

The college football team where I’m from is only a 3rd tier team or something, but it seems we still have a pretty hot field, with big lights that make even the try-outs seem really glam. I think they were picking new squads on Wednesday. There were all these tall guys in weird cycling clothes with helmets running into pillows at high speeds.

This looks like it was made by a lone cheerleader squad... there was no evidence of cheerleader activity at the time, although I wasn't able to check the showers for Debbie action.

I got a good 360 degree view, as I was trying to gain access to the pool area, which it turned out was closed.

Holly the panther

The mascot, Holly the Panther.

The team’s first home game is on September 25th. I’ll be there… I have to go to at least one game. I mean we’re talking men in tight SILVER shorts. With padding all over their upper bodies. What’s not to like? Plus if you know me well, you know I’m a fan of Friday Night Lights. I just can’t help it.

A week later, I am still slightly aroused.